Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Updated: Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read Black online newspaper, takes a look back at its 20 most memorable news article moments of 2012, including the presidential election, Occupy Cleveland, Judge Patricia Ann Blackmon, Gabby Douglas, Tim McGinty, Jimmy Dimora, George Forbes, The Rev. Hilton Smith, Obamacare, the uppercut RTA bus driver incident, Emilliano, The 137-bullets- shooting- deaths of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Ray Russell by a group of White Cleveland police officers, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge's election as chair of Congressional Black Caucus, Cleveland Mayor Jackson and Blaine Griffin and the Cleveland schools levy, State Senator Turner, Cleveland Councilwomen Cleveland and Mitchell and community activists in fighting against racist voter suppression billboards, Imperial Avenue Murders anniversary rally and vigil, the Connecticut and Chardon High School shootings, Travon Martin, Hurricane Sandy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper's restructuring plan, the fiscal cliff deal, NAACP President Ben Jealous' support of Obama's stance on gay marriage, Bill Mason's departure as county prosecutor, new Ohio laws for expunging criminal records to give non-violent Ohioans a second chance pushed by State Senator Shirley Smith and sanctioned by Governor John Kasich

By Kathy Wray Coleman, Publisher, Editor-n-Chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper(

CLEVELAND, Ohio-As the 2013 new year takes off Cleveland Urban News.Com takes a look back at some of the most memorable moments of 2012 that impacted the national political scene, Ohio, and the greater Cleveland community, all from a Black and urban perspective.   

United States President Barack Obama
Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (D-25)

Cleveland Ward 5 Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland

Cleveland Ward 6 Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell
1. President Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States of America, wins reelection to a second four-year-term, beating Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. The president also won Ohio by 2 percentage points with the help of Black elected officials. Democrats of Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and the Ohio Democratic Party helped too. The win came also with legal battles and other political fights including a ruling by a federal district judge that reinstated early voting in Ohio following a suit by the Obama for America Campaign and the taking down by Clear Channel Outdoor of racist voter suppression billboards in Wisconsin and Ohio, including Cleveland, that threatened poor communities of color with prison, a fine and a felony if they voted  this year. (Editor's note: The billboards came down after protests by community activists in Cleveland, including The Imperial Women, and outcries from Black elected officials including state Sen. Nina Turner (D-25), and Cleveland Councilwomen Phyllis Cleveland and Mamie Mitchell).

2. A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court, led by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts,  upholds The Affordable Care Act, president Obama's sweeping heathcare reform agenda that was adopted into law by congress in 2010. On this issue, history will show that President Obama has accomplished what no U.S. president before him could do, including presidents Roosevelt and Clinton. 

3. Unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin (pictured on rt.)) is gunned down by neo-community watchman George Zimmerman (pictured on lt..) in a Florida suburb and Zimmerman, who is White, is not charged criminally until national protests led by the Rev. Al Sharpton and National NAACP President Ben Jealous erupt with claims of racism and selective prosecution. 

4. Gun violence in public schools claims the lives of three Chardon High School students by accused student gunman T.J. Lane (pictured) and  20 first graders and six female educators are gunned downed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. by suspected 30-year-old shooter Adam Lanza (pictured below), who then turned a gun on himself.

5. On Nov. 29 unarmed Malissa Williams (pictured), 30, and Timothy Ray Russell (pictured), 43, both Black, are gunned down by a group of White Cleveland police officers after a car chase that begins in Cleveland and ends in the neighboring city of East Cleveland. Police shoot up the car with 137 rounds of ammunition, a shooting called "a good shooting" by Cleveland police union leaders and racist by the victims families. The Cleveland NAACP, community activists,  Ohio Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, East Ceveland Mayor Gary Norton and prominent Cleveland area ministers and the Rev. Dr. Jawanza Colvin, senior pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, have called for the FBI to take full control over the investigations around the deadly shootings to ensure due process protections for Russell and Williams. The tragedy has caused racial unrest in the predominantly Black major metropolitan city of Cleveland, a municipality of some 400,000 people. 

6. Facing an unannounced illness Cleveland NAACP President George Forbes (pictured) officially resigns as head of the local branch of the nation's most prominent Civil Rights organization after holding the helm since 1992. One of Cleveland's most colorful Black leaders who ran for city mayor and served at one time as council president Forbes, 81, who since 1998 has been the general counsel for the Call and Post Newspaper, is one of the city's most powerful political brokers for the Black community, controversy notwithstanding. The Rev. Hilton Smith (pictured), a top executive with Turner Construction Company in Cleveland and an associated minister at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, Hilton was elected by the membership to replace Forbes.

7. American teen Gabby Douglas (pictured) becomes the first African-American to win all around and team competitions in gymnastics at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

 8. In a 16-page opinion written by Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Ann Blackmon (pictured), a three-judge- panel of the appellate court of Cuyahoga County rules that a city ordinance pushed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and adopted by the 19-member Cleveland City Council that precluded protests on Public Square in downtown Cleveland without a permit an unconstitutional violation of freedom of speech and assembly under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The free speech win by Occupy Cleveland is bittersweet as four former members were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 to 11.5 years by federal judge David Dowd after pleading guilty to a foiled plot to bomb a bridge between Akron and Cleveland, Oh. with dummy explosives provided by an FBI informant that found them housing and gave them fed them food and drugs.

From top left Connor Stephens, Brandon Baxter and Douglas White, all former members of Occupy Cleveland that U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd Jr.  of the Federal District Court of the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland sentenced to prison terms after the trio pleaded guilty earlier this year to a plot to bomb an Ohio bridge between Akron and Cleveland. From bottom Anthony Hayne, 35, (bottom left) who was also sentenced after pleading guilty and agreeing to help federal prosecutors, and Joshua Safford, 23, whose case is still pending as  he undergoes psychiatric analysis.

9. The uppercut RTA bus incident goes viral after since fired RTA bus Driver Artis Hughes sucker punches passenger Shidea Lane and tosses her from the bus following a heated argument between the two. 
Shidea N. Lane, a passenger on a Regional Transit Authority bus in greater Cleveland that RTA bus driver Artis Hughes, who was has since been fired, sucker punched to the floor and tossed off the bus on Sept. 18 after an argument between the two ensued. 

Former RTA bus driver Artis Hughes, who sucker punched and chokes a young Black RTA passenger Shidea Lane, 25, and tossed her off the bus he was driving. Hughes, 59, was fired from his job for violating RTA rules, regulations and policies relative to his attack on Lane.

10. After a manhunt through greater Cleveland neighborhoods with community activists and city and law enforcement officials and police  the lifeless body of three-year-old Emilliano Terry (pictured) of Cleveland is found wrapped in a garbage bag in an Oakwood, OH landfill and his 20-year-old mother is in jail on a $2 million bond facing aggravated murder and other charges. Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services officials ignored the the young single mother's repeated cries for help, data show. 

11. After convictions on more than 27 counts of corruption- related crimes, including racketeering , former Cuyahoga County Commissioner and prior Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairman Jimmy Dimora (pictured) is sentenced to 28 years in prison by federal district court judge Sara Lioi of Akron, a sentence deemed unfair and prejudicial by greater Cleveland area community activists. Dimora is among some 50 Cuyhoga County Democratic Party affiliates, including two former Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judges, that have either pleaded guilty or have been convicted of malfeasance in office following a widespread county corruption probe initiated by the FBI than began four years ago. Many convictions came with the help of former county auditor turned-snitch Frank Russo, though claims of bias surfaced since Republicans were sparred and the Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper, Ohio's largest, was accused of targeting the county Democratic party for the benefit of Republicans. The newspaper contends that it was just doing its job in exposing corrupt politicians of Cuyahoga County, Ohio's largest county and one of 88 counties statewide. 

12. The Cleveland Municipal School District, in spite of opposition from Ohio State Sen. Shirley Smith (D-22), community activists and others, who soundly raised issues of fiscal irresponsibility and  top heavy central office administrative salaries, wins support by voters for a 15-mill schools operating levy following a successful campaign led by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (pictured), who controls the city schools under state law, and Cleveland Community Relations Board Community Relations Director Blaine Griffin (pictured below). Those in opposition to the levy say now that they will work with the mayor but will continue to monitor his fiscal habits as chief over the majority Black and impoverished school district of which the city mayor, under state law, appoints the Cleveland Board of Education.  Prior to 2012, the last schools operating levy was passed by Cleveland voters in 1996.

 13. Cleveland area community activists and Black elected officials remember the 11 Black women murdered and dismembered on Imperial Ave by since convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell (pictured below) at a rally and vigil on Imperial Ave. Sowell's case is on appeal and he is on death roll. 

14. Ohio State Sen. Shirley Smith (pictured) (D-22) , with help from Gov. John Kasich, wins approval by the Republican controlled Ohio State Legislature of a bill, now a state law, that permits an Ohio trial court judge to expunge either two non-violent misdemeanors convictions or a misdemeanor and a non-violent felony conviction. Data show that Blacks and other minorities often lack resources to defend against frivolous criminal prosecutions and a study commissioned by the Cleveland NAACP found that Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas general division judges, now led by chief judge Nancy Fuerst,  collectively give harsher sentences to Blacks in comparison to their similarly situated White counterparts.

15. Ohio Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-11) is elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. (A Warrrensville Hts. Democrat, Fudge was elected the 123rd chairperson of the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus by a unanimous vote of her peers. 
She is the only Black congressperson from Ohio. Her 11th congressional district includes the predominantly Black east side Cleveland and its eastern suburbs of Cuyahoga County and a part of Akron and staggering parts of its Summit County suburbs. Fudge has said that she is honored to have been chosen by her colleagues to lead the prestigious organization).

16. Congress reaches a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, a financial crisis measure that increases taxes by automatically eliminating tax cuts and induces radical spending cuts unless Congress reaches a deficit reduction deal by the end of the year 
     Democratic United States President Barack Obama                            
Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner of Ohio (R-8)
Ohio Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-11), also chair-elect of the Congressional Black Caucus, who argues that spending cuts to avert the fiscal cliff must not target vulnerable communities such as minorities, women and elderly people on fixed incomes

17. President Barack Obama announces his support of gay marriage with support from gay rights and Civil rights groups across the country, including the National NAACP, which is led by Ben Jealous (pictured), the current president of the Civil Rights group and a Rhodes Scholar.  History will show that President Obama is the first U.S. president to publicly voice support on the gay marriage issue. 

18. Hurricane Sandy devastates the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern parts of the U.S. causing power outages and deaths across the nation (From Maine to Delaware and New York to West Virginia nature's sweeping attack on America's homelands through a hurricane 700 miles wide that came packing robust wind and rain, Hurricane Sandy caused airlines to cancel an estimated 13,000 flights and has aroused America in what meteorologists are calling "the perfect storm and a once-in--a-life-time weather disaster". Some greater Cleveland residents experienced power outages too, some lasting as long as a week).

19. The Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper, Ohio's largest, announces a soon- to -be shake up  upcoming for 2013 with news leaking that it is poised to become a three-day-a-week print version with other news online and daily at, which brings in a fraction of the revue of the print publications. Once the state's most prominent news venue, employees at the newspaper, including writers, editors and photographers of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper's Guild Local One, brace for news on what the publisher, Advance Publishing, has in store, though continuing the fight to keep the newspaper a daily and for compliance with union collective bargaining provisions during the anticipated shake up process.  Black elected officials and community activists are big time and collectively agree that a daily print version is needed but say that such support is contingent on fair reporting of the Black community, something they say the Plain Dealer has simply not done. 

20.  Cuyahoga County voters elect controversial former county common pleas judge Tim McGinty , 61, as county prosecutor after Bill Mason (pictured below), 53, who was county prosecutor since 1999, chose not to seek a third four-year term and took a job with the Columbus- based law firm of Bricker and Eckler. 

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