Axios Cleveland

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πŸͺ Hump Day alert!

  • On this day in 1961, the John F. Kennedy administration authorized the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.

🌧️ Today's weather: Showers through the day. High of 72.

πŸ•ΊπŸ» Sounds like: "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Situational awareness: A Franklin County judge yesterday blocked a law, set to take effect April 24, that would have restricted medical care for transgender minors in Ohio.

Today's newsletter is 928 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: DeWine wants stronger seat belt laws

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

Gov. Mike DeWine wants to make it easier for police to enforce mandatory seat belt laws for drivers and passengers.

Why it matters: Most of those killed in Ohio car crashes were not wearing seat belts, state data shows, making enforcement a matter of life and death.

  • There have been over 270,000 crashes involving an unbelted occupant since the beginning of 2019.
  • These resulted in 2,667 unbelted fatalities, making up 61% of all crash deaths.

State of play: Under current law, all drivers and front seat passengers are required to wear a seat belt.

  • In the back seat, seat belts are required for passengers 8-15 years old and optional for those 16 and older.
  • Seat belts are required for all passengers if the driver has a learner's permit or probationary driver's license.

Yes, but: Seat belt violations are secondary traffic offenses, meaning law enforcement cannot pull someone over solely to issue citations for not wearing them.

  • Fines are modest β€” $30 for a driver not wearing a seat belt, $20 for a passenger.

Driving the news: DeWine told lawmakers in his recent State of the State address he would soon pitch legislation to make these primary offenses.

  • The governor previously included this change in his 2023 state budget, but lawmakers rejected it.

The other side: Republican legislative leaders are reluctant to make the change, reports.

  • House Speaker Jason Stephens of Kitts Hill says drivers should be personally responsible for belting up.

By the numbers: Ohio's seat belt use rate has noticeably declined in recent years.

  • Around 81% of drivers wore seat belts in 2022, far below the national rate of nearly 92%.
  • That's down from 86% in Ohio in 2019.

Between the lines...

2. 🎸 Rock Hall goes mainstream

Photo: Mitch Haaseth/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is taking the announcement of its class of 2024 to prime time.

Driving the news: This year's inductees will be announced during a Rock Hall-themed episode of ABC's "American Idol" on Sunday.

Why it matters: The episode is expected to draw several million viewers and bring unprecedented attention to the Rock Hall inductions taking place in Cleveland this fall.

Flashback: In previous years, the announcement of the inductees was made via the Rock Hall's former radio partnership with SiriusXM.

The intrigue: The "Idol" partnership comes on the heels of the annual induction ceremony's move to livestreaming on Disney+ last year.

  • Between the streams on Disney+ and Hulu, and a highlight special that aired on ABC on New Year's Day, the 2023 ceremony drew a record 13 million viewers.

What they're saying: Neil Walls, who runs the website Future Rock Legends, which is devoted to the Hall, calls the "Idol" announcement the museum's "biggest ever."

What's next: "American Idol" airs at 8pm Sunday.

  • This year's potential inductees include Mariah Carey, Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, Lenny Kravitz and Dave Matthews Band.

3. The Terminal: News overruns

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

⛡️ Cleveland City Council is smarting after the Bibb administration asked for an additional $400,000 for Field Operations, the New York-based architecture firm working on the lakefront master plan.

  • Council initially approved a $500,000 contract, but the firm has already billed $260,000 in cost overruns. (Signal Cleveland)

🍫 The cost of chocolate per pound could nearly double in 2025 for Northeast Ohio chocolatiers like Malley's due to weather conditions and poor harvests in western Africa. (Crain's Cleveland Business)

πŸš” University Circle will become a "Special Improvement District," with financial contributions from the neighborhood's anchor institutions to fund police patrolling there. (Cleveland Scene)

πŸ‡¨πŸ‡© Nearly 40% of the 900 refugees that have come to Ohio in 2024 hail from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (

4. Cavs Corner, Week 25: Deep breaths!

Allen was a beast on the boards all year. Photo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images

It's the final edition of Cavs Corner for the 2023-24 season, and your Cleveland Cavaliers are playoff-bound.

  • The fourth-seed Cavs will take on the fifth-seed Orlando Magic in a first-round series that begins Saturday.

Record: (48-34); Last week: (46-33)

Weekly slate: Win vs. Memphis (110-98); Win vs. Indiana (129-120); Loss vs. Charlotte (120-110).

The big picture: The Cavs finished three games worse than in 2022-23, with looming questions that the playoffs should help answer.

  • The biggie: Will Donovan Mitchell sign an extension and remain a Cavalier?

Between the lines: The roller coaster season was marked by one of the greatest 20-game stretches in franchise history, but also plagued by persistent lineup questions due to injuries, stunted player development and baffling coaching decisions.

βœ… Season winner: Jarrett Allen. A double-double machine, the Fro led the Cavs in minutes played and was the team's defensive anchor all year.

❎ Season loser: Darius Garland. It was a rocky, injury-plagued season for the fifth-year guard, who never quite found his groove.

πŸ—“οΈ Programming note: We'll publish a playoff preview Friday, with periodic updates as the postseason progresses.

5. Today in history: 🏈 Browns draft Tim Couch

Couch gets pancaked. Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images

On April 17, 1999, the Browns made one of the biggest blunders in NFL draft history.

Flashback: The 1999 season marked the return of football to Cleveland after owner Art Modell moved the original team to Baltimore after the 1995 season.

  • As an expansion franchise, the Browns were granted the first pick in the 1999 draft.

The intrigue: The team selected University of Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch, one of the highest-graded quarterbacks in draft history, who was expected to lead the Browns' storied franchise back to prominence.

Reality check: He played just five seasons in Cleveland, throwing 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.

The other side: Cleveland could have selected quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Dante Culpepper instead. Both had Pro Bowl careers.

The bottom line: Couch was a starting point for more than two decades of quarterback woes in Cleveland.

Thanks to our editor Lindsey Erdody and copy editors Rob Reinalda and Yasmeen Altaji.

Our picks:

πŸ€” Sam is reading his colleagues' reporting on the rising Ohio prison population, and he remembers how quickly officials in Cuyahoga County reduced the jail population in the early days of COVID.

πŸ’™ Troy is one of millions of parents still in their feelings after watching the new "Bluey" special titled "The Sign."