Morning Headlines: Medina Passes LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Policy, Akron Approves New Projects

Jul 9, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, July 9: 

  • Medina passes LGBTQ anti-discrimination policy;
  • Akron Council action provides hint for future of Rolling Acres;
  • Ohio has been using driver's license photos for facial recognition;
  • Farmers can once again apply to program to decrease loan interest rates;
  • Carroll County coroner says 14-year-old died from fentanyl intoxication;
  • Reward increased for driver who hit Cleveland officer;
  • Akron police trying to find man who drove bulldozer into construction site;
  • Opponents of Columbus's new taxes attempt to put issue on ballot;

Medina passes LGBTQ anti-discrimination policy

Medina City Council has passed legislation banning discrimination against the LGBTQ community in housing, employment or public accommodations. Cleveland.com reports council voted 5-2 on the non-discrimination ordinance. It also separately approved amending the city’s criminal intimidation ordinance to include gender identity or sexual orientation when it comes to harassment.

Akron Council action provides hint for future for Rolling Acres

Akron City Council approved more than a half-dozen public works projects at last night’s meeting; one of them could be another indication of what the future holds for the former Rolling Acres Mall site.  Cleveland.com reports that of the eight projects approved by council, one is for the reconfiguration of the I-77 interchange with Vernon Odom Boulevard to accommodate additional truck traffic. The Akron Beacon Journal has previously reported it’s seen blueprints that show an Amazon fulfillment center to be built nearby on the Rolling Acres site with construction expected to begin this Fall.

Ohio has been using driver's license photos for facial recognition

The FBI has been running driver's license photos through facial recognition software despite not getting authorization from Congress or state legislatures. The Columbus Dispatch reports it's been happening in Ohio since 2011 after then-Attorney General Mike DeWine gave permission to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to help identify criminal suspects. DeWine then gave the FBI access to the database in 2016. Ohio's Department of Public Safety says it hasn't turned over any additional photos for criminal investigations since 2011. Immigration officials also have access to the database. The Washington Post reported Sunday that the FBI has been mining driver's license photos nationwide for years without consent from drivers.

Farmers can once again apply to program to decrease loan interest rates

Ohio farmers are once again able to apply for a state program that helps provide reduced interest rates on loans. Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has re-opened the Ag-LINK Program's application period due to the impact of recent storms and flooding. It will remain open until Nov. 15. Under the program, farmers and agribusiness owners based in Ohio can apply to receive a 2% interest rate reduction on loans up to $150,000. The treasurer's office administers the program to help farm operators and other agricultural businesses finance up-front operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel and other flood-related expenses.

Carroll County coroner says 14-year-old died from fentanyl intoxication

The Carroll county coroner says a 14-year-old boy whose body was found in a shallow grave in Ohio died from acute fentanyl intoxication. The coroner has ruled the manner of Jonathan Minard's death as homicide. The ruling means only that the death was caused by the actions or omissions of another person. He said those deaths may or may not result in criminal prosecution. Investigators found the body in April at a Washington Township farm. The teen had been reported missing five days earlier. 

Reward increased for driver who hit Cleveland officer

Authorities searching for the driver of a vehicle that struck and injured a Cleveland police officer say a reward in the case has been increased. The reward offered by Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County has been raised to $7,500. Police said the officer was hit while working in downtown Cleveland's Warehouse District early Saturday morning and was hospitalized with broken ribs. The officer's identity has not been released. Investigators are searching for a white Jeep Compass with heavy front-end damage.

Akron police trying to find man who drove bulldozer into construction site

Akron Police are trying to locate a man who drove a bulldozer on a wild, destructive ride from a construction site down a residential street.  They got a 911 call Friday afternoon about a man driving the bulldozer erratically. The caller said he didn't believe the man was a construction worker because he was shirtless and possibly wearing only underpants. Police say the bulldozer slammed into the front of a home. A mother and children inside retreated to the home's back and weren't injured. Police said the bulldozer also rammed a vehicle and chain link fence. It was found abandoned. Police are asking for help identifying the man.

Opponents of Columbus's new taxes attempt to put issue on ballot

Opponents of two new taxes on arts, sports and entertainment ticket sales in Columbus have filed petitions seeking to put the matter on the November ballot. They want to eliminate new 5% taxes for supporting the arts and for improvement to Nationwide Arena and prevent similar ones in the future. The taxes are expected to generate millions of dollars.

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