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CLEVELAND -- Gazing into the 2014 crystal ball, some of the biggest local and state stories are already clear.

The Gay Games will bring thousands of athletes and visitors, millions of dollars and worldwide attention to Cleveland, Akron and much of Northeast Ohio.

The Governor's race will find John Kasich defending his record of balancing budgets and trying to create jobs.

It appeared certain he would be challenged by Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. But Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune is campaigning to see if there's enough support for him to get in the Democratic primary race.

There will be a battle to succeed FitzGerald. Armond Budish, Bob Reid and Shirley Smith are vying for the Democratic nomination. Budish is the perceived frontrunner.

Cuyahoga County Council member Jack Schron is poised to launch a campaign as a Voinovich-style Republican.

There will be discussions about whether Cleveland should annex financially struggling East Cleveland.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will take his third oath of office. He will focus on the school transformation plan, lakefront development and making project agreements deliver jobs and business to Cleveland residents and companies.

A Cuyahoga County Grand Jury will decide if any of 13 police officers who fired a total of 137 shots, killing two unarmed suspects in a November, 2012 chase and shootout will face criminal charges.

And a federal Grand Jury in Tennessee is expected to decide whether or not to indict Browns owner Jimmy Haslam in connection with a scheme to swindle trucking company customers of his Pilot Flying J Truck stop business.

But of course, a cardinal rule of the news business remains -- expect the unexpected.

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