Kent State/Cleveland Orchestra partnership gets nod for $5.5 million
Kent State University and the Cleveland Orchestra Musical Arts Association will be reimbursed for more than $5.5 million in repairs to Blossom Music Center. The Ohio Controlling Board approved the payments Monday that will cover work to make restrooms and other facilities at Blossom more handicapped accessible. Seats were rearranged and new lighting was installed. Kent State's College of the Arts has teamed up with the Cleveland Orchestra for about a half-dozen joint-use agreements since the early 1990's. In March, the Controlling Board approved $750,000 for the partnership to make renovations at Severance Hall.
Kasich signs epinephrine shot bill
Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill making it easier for schools, camps and coaches to stock general-use supplies of epinephrine shots used to counter allergic reactions. The measure unanimously passed both chambers of the Legislature earlier this month. Kasich signed it on Monday. The legislation would not force schools and others to stock epinephrine injectors, but would allow the practice by removing barriers such as cost.
Prosecutor wants death sentence changed
Cuyahoga County’s prosecutor says the death sentence of a condemned killer should be commuted to life without parole, arguing that statements of the killer's co-defendant could undermine confidence in the sentence. Tim McGinty also argues that the lack of the life without parole option in 1983 may have led to the death sentence for Arthur Tyler over lesser options available at the time. McGinty argues that Tyler remains guilty of the shooting of Cleveland produce vendor Sander Leach.
Ohio State launches mumps vaccination campaign
Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has topped 250 cases. That's more than half of the nation's 438 reported cases last year. The total as of Monday was 253 cases of the contagious viral illness, with 153 of those linked to Ohio State University. The school has started a campaign to vaccinate more students and employees, sending an email Monday urging those who are most susceptible to the virus to receive two doses of the vaccine unless they can document that they have already been immunized.
Lawmaker wants prison food contract terminated
An Ohio state lawmaker says the state prisons department should terminate its contract with a private food service operator after fining the company last week for repeatedly failing to meet promised staffing levels. Democratic state Rep. Matt Lundy says that deficiencies identified in Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services' performance reaffirm his and other opponents' concerns about privatization. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction fined Aramark nearly $150,000 Friday. The private food vendor took over feeding Ohio's 50,000 prisoners from state employees in September. An Aramark spokeswoman says the transition is complex but the company is saving Ohio money.
Summit County Council considers raises for non-union employees
Summit County’s non-union employees could be getting raises. A council committee is considering 1.5 percent pay increases for about 600 employees --- including council members, prosecutor’s office employees and the clerk of courts staff. The Beacon Journal reports the raises would cost the county more than $550,000 annually and keep wages in line with union salaries. A fact-finder recently recommended that unionized Summit County sheriff’s deputies get a 1.5 percent increases.
Symposium focuses on youth homelessness
A meeting of minds is focusing on youth homelessness in Ohio. Around 100 people from victim services agencies from around the state are expected to attend today’s Strategies to End Youth Homelessness Symposium. State-funded programs serving homeless youth have reported assisting 10,000 to 12,000 people per year.
North Akron Savings Bank acquired by Peoples Bancorp
North Akron Savings Bank is being acquired by southeast Ohio-based Peoples Bancorp of Marietta. The Akron-based bank will merge with Peoples and become Peoples Bank NA. The $20 million deal is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Last October, Peoples Bancorp also acquired Beachwood’s Ohio Commerce Bank.
Time running out for Save the Dream Ohio program
Nearly $80 million is still available to Ohio homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgage, but the deadline is nearing. The Save the Dream Ohio program began in 2008 when the U.S. Department of the Treasury allocated $570 million so the agency could provide aid to homeowners facing loan defaults and foreclosure. Successful applicants can get up to 18 months of their mortgage paid, pay off lein holders, or receive a lump sum payment to lower mortgages or catch up on payments. The application process must be finished by April 30. About 18,000 people had received help through March.