University of Akron trustees approve $370 million budget; increase tuition
University of Akron trustees have approved a balanced budget, but not without making cuts and raising tuition. The Beacon Journal reports the nearly $370 million budget includes eliminating nearly 40 positions, half of which are vacant. It also includes a 2 percent tuition hike this fall, the maximum allowed by the state. The budget assumes that enrollment will decrease by 4 percent, though the university’s CFO hopes that number will be closer to 2 percent.
Thistledown Racino decides to stay put
A northeast Ohio racino will remain at its suburban location east of Cleveland rather than moving to a state-approved optional site near the Akron-Canton airport in Green. Owner Rock Ohio Caesars had considered moving Thistledown Racino from the current location straddling the city of North Randall and the village of Warrensville Heights. Caesars' officials say a determining factor in the decision was the desire of the village, the city and Cuyahoga County to make needed upgrades and improvements and further develop the area. The 89-year-old racetrack expanded to include video lottery terminals and reopened as a racino in spring 2013. Thistledown says it will invest at least $60 million to update and add guest amenities.
Weekend closure costs Cedar Point at least $1 million
Cedar Point’s two-day closure was costly for the amusement park. The Chronicle-Telegram reports the shutdown that was caused by a water main break likely cost the park as much as $1.75 million. Because of the shutdown, the park is offering reduced price tickets and free admission to the water park through Sunday.
Ohio Supreme Court rules in favor of payday loans
In a victory for payday lenders, the state's Supreme Court has ruled that a two-week loan to an Elyria man that imposed more than 235 percent interest is not prohibited under Ohio's mortgage lending laws. In a unanimous decision Wednesday, the court sent Rodney Scott's case against Ohio Neighborhood Finance, owner of Cashland stores, back to the trial court for further proceedings. A lower court ruled Ohio lawmakers intended the 2008 law to prohibit payday loans. Justices ruled Wednesday that the law doesn't have that effect.
Sheriff's office rounds up Cuyahoga County gang members
Cuyahoga County is rounding up suspected current and former members of the Heartless Felons Gang. The Plain Dealer reports the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office has led this week’s sweep and the prosecutor’s office will release more details today. The gang has been gaining prominence recently in Cleveland and has a history of violence. Five suspected members were indicted in May for gang-related crimes, including aggravated murder and robbery.
Former astronaut and Senator John Glenn recovers from heart valve replacement
Former astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn has had a heart valve replacement as he approaches his 93rd birthday. John Glenn School of Public Affairs spokesman Hank Wilson says Glenn had a minimally invasive version of the valve replacement procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in May. He says Glenn is recovering well. In 1962, Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth as a member of the Mercury 7 program. He later spent more than two decades as a U.S. senator and returned to space at age 77 aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
Ohio Third Frontier awards over $40 million to Northeast Ohio companies
Twelve companies from Northeast Ohio received a total of over $40 million from a state economic fund. The biggest winner, receiving over half of the money from Ohio Third Frontier, is University Hospitals. The money will help fund a center for medical innovations. Other companies that received funds include the Cleveland Clinic, Canton-based angel investment group Angel Impact, and Cervilenz Inc, a company whose product aims to measure the cervix to prevent premature births.
Secretary of State Husted says he will comply with court ruling on early voting
Ohio's elections chief says he will follow a federal judge's order that calls on him to set early voting hours on the three days before elections. The order came Wednesday in a long-running dispute over the days. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and Democrats filed a lawsuit in 2012 against Secretary of State Jon Husted over a state law that cuts off in-person early voting for most residents three days prior to Election Day. Democrats claimed that was unequal treatment and everyone should have the chance to vote on the three days. The federal judge agreed. Husted's statement in response does not reference new hours. His fall election voting schedule only includes Saturday hours before Election Day.
Former CFO says Canton businessman knew his campaign contributions were illegal
The former chief financial officer for a northeast Ohio telemarketing company says he knew it was illegal when the company reimbursed employees and others who had been asked to make campaign contributions to two prominent Republican politicians. Michael Giorgio testified Wednesday in federal court in Cleveland about helping Stark County businessman Ben Suarez collect donations for the 2012 campaign of Congressman Jim Renacci and the failed U.S. Senate bid of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. Giorgio says all of the contributors were quickly reimbursed by the company with checks that appeared to be normal compensation. Giorgio pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges last month and agreed to testify against Suarez in return for a reduced prison sentence.
Ohio continues above-average economic growth
Newly released numbers show Ohio matched the growth of the national economy last year. That makes the fourth straight year that growth in the Buckeye State either matched or surpassed the national average after trailing the nation for years heading into the Great Recession. That is according to federal data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and reported by The Columbus Dispatch. The statistics show the Ohio economy grew by 1.8 percent in 2013, ranking 26th among the states. However, the growth last year was less than the past three years.