Morning Headlines: Affinity, Massillon Move Toward Deal; Akron Takes Ownership of Rubber Bowl

Feb 1, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Feb. 1:

  • Affinity and the city of Massillon to hold settlement talks;
  • Akron assumes ownership of Rubber Bowl stadium;
  • Mahoning school district temporarily halts prayer before sporting events;
  • Campaign filings show fundraising push in last month of Cleveland mayoral race;
  • Former wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez leads fundraising in 16th district race;
  • Anti-Semitic threat on Wooster High School bathroom wall prompts lockdown;
  • College of Wooster announces $20,000 for diversity office after student sit-in;
  • Husted predicts vindication in dispute over voter roll purges;
  • State budget could include funding for community centers to combat opioid crisis;
  • Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear Cleveland's appeal on gun control ordinances;
  • Ethics complaint asks Ohio Supreme Court Justice to recuse himself in online charter school case;
  • Ohio Republican lawmakers were on Amtrak train that collided with truck;

Affinity and the city of Massillon to hold settlement talks

Settlement talks are scheduled for this morning in the case of whether Massillon’s Affinity Medical Center should be allowed to close this month. The Repository reports the hospital and the city are working on a deal to end their legal fight over the hospital’s planned closure. An attorney representing the city confirmed to the newspaper last night that a “long-term solution” regarding the hospital’s future is in the works.

Akron assumes ownership of Rubber Bowl stadium

The city of Akron has approved a measure giving the city ownership of the Rubber Bowl. The city will take over the title from the Summit County Land Bank and move forward with plans to demolish the stadium. The city is waiting to hear back from the state about a grant to cover half the cost of demolition, estimated at $400,000. The other half would be split between the city and Summit County. Akron City Council still needs to approve the capital budget allocating funds for the demolition.

Mahoning school district temporarily halts prayer before sporting events

A school district in Mahoning County is temporarily banning prayer before sporting events. The ban at West Branch Schools comes after the Freedom From Religion Foundation said it received complaints from two community members. The non-profit and the Ohio ACLU say prayer before games is unconstitutional. WFMJ-TV reports the district’s legal counsel recommended stopping prayer while it reviews the complaint.

Campaign filings show fundraising push in last month of Cleveland mayoral race

New filings with election officials show a major fundraising push by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s re-election campaign in last year’s mayoral race. The Cleveland Forward PAC reports it raised more than $325,000 in the last month before election day. Most of that money was spent on campaign ads. Top contributors to the PAC included the CEO of Minute Men Staffing Services and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

Former wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez leads fundraising in 16th district race

A former football star is leading fundraising efforts in the race for Ohio’s 16th district. The latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show former Buckeye and Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez collected more than $846,000 last year for his Republican campaign. Gonzalez is vying to replace Republican Congressman Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, who’s now running for U.S. Senate. After expenses, the Gonzalez campaign has more than $700,000 in its war chest, more than most incumbent members of Congress.

Anti-Semitic threat on Wooster High School bathroom wall prompts lockdown

A message on Wooster High School’s bathroom wall included a swastika and the phrase "kill them all." The threat mentioning today’s date has prompted a police investigation and heightened security. Wooster school officials say that the threat seems to have little credibility but that they're taking it seriously as they continue classes. The Daily Record reports school buildings will be kept on lockdown and there will not be recess throughout the district.

College of Wooster announces $20,000 for diversity office after student sit-in

The College of Wooster says it will commit more money to fighting discrimination on campus following a student sit-in. President Sarah Bolton announced $20,000 in spending to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, additional training for students, staff, and faculty; and easier ways to report discrimination. Last week’s protest was sparked by racist memes posted in a Facebook group by a member of a conservative campus political club. 300 students took part in the demonstration, about 15 percent of enrollment.

Husted predicts vindication in dispute over voter roll purges

Ohio's elections chief is predicting the U.S. Supreme Court will side with the state in a dispute over the pruning of voter rolls. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said Wednesday he was surprised the voter roll case ended up with the nation's high court. Husted blamed outside groups trying to shape Ohio elections law in the federal courts. He said the issue hasn't been controversial within the state. Ohio is among a handful of states that use voters' inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from voter rolls. The high court heard a challenge of the system earlier this month.

State budget could include funding for community centers to combat opioid crisis

Gov. John Kasich wants to provide state money for community centers in rural areas to help fight the state's opioid crisis. Kasich says he'll ask for the money in his upcoming capital budget. He wants to aim it at places like Boys and Girls clubs that serve children who sometimes have no place else to go. Kasich says he was moved by a recent visit to rural Pike County and the stories of struggling teens he heard there.

Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear Cleveland's appeal on gun control ordinances

Ohio’s top court has denied the city of Cleveland’s effort to uphold a set of gun control measures. The Ohio Supreme Court says it will not hear an appeal of a 2017 decision that rendered most of the ordinances invalid. The laws were passed by City Council in 2015 amid a spike in gun homicides. The lower court decision left intact a provision restricting gun sales to people who are intoxicated. It also kept a rule making it illegal to give guns to minors. Ohio limits the ability of cities to enact gun control measures that go beyond state law.

Ethics complaint asks Ohio Supreme Court Justice to recuse himself in online charter school case

An ethics complaint says an Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O'Donnell should recuse himself from hearing a case affecting funding for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, the giant online charter school for which he was commencement speaker in 2013. The complaint asks the court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel to review whether O'Donnell's ability to be impartial is affected by his relationship with ECOT founder William Lager, including receiving a financial contribution from Lager's company in 2012. The liberal policy group ProgressOhio and good-government group Common Cause Ohio filed their complaint Wednesday. The court hears arguments Feb. 13 in the case involving ECOT, which recently closed. It's challenging how Ohio tallied student participation to determine ECOT should repay nearly $80 million.

Ohio Republican lawmakers were on Amtrak train that collided with truck

Several Ohio Republicans were on a train that collided with a truck on its way to a GOP retreat in West Virginia. The White House says one person on the truck was killed. Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson of Marietta, along with Ohio Senator Rob Portman and his wife were not hurt. Representative Brad Wenstrup of Cincinnati was among the Congressional members who are also physicians who are reported to have assisted in treating the injured.

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