Morning Headlines: 10th Subpoena Served on Cuyahoga County; New Errors in Marijuana Grower Selection

May 1, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, May 1:

  • Corruption investigators serve 10th subpoena on Cuyahoga County administration;
  • State auditor finds more mistakes in marijuana grower selection process;
  • Watchdogs seek info on public money used to keep ECOT employees quiet;
  • Grid operator determines nuclear plant closures will not destabilize the grid;
  • GM to power Ohio and Indiana factories with new wind farm;
  • Trump to promote tax overhaul in Cleveland;
  • Akron schools expect more seniors to graduate;
  • Cleveland to borrow $156 for capital improvements;
  • Catholic Diocese of Youngstown leader diagnosed with leukemia;

Corruption investigators serve 10th subpoena on Cuyahoga County administration
Investigators in Cuyahoga County have served yet another subpoena on the administration of County Executive Armond Budish. It’s the 10th subpoena in an ongoing corruption investigation. It requests information about contracts awarded to tech companies Vox Mobile and Spyglass Acquisition. Vox is named in previous subpoenas, along with Westlake-based Hyland Software. Last week, Cleveland.com reported the county’s contract with Vox had doubled apparently without board approval. The purpose of the investigation is not yet clear.

State auditor finds more mistakes in marijuana grower selection process
The state auditor's office has found another problem with how regulators selected grower applicants for Ohio's medical marijuana program. Cleveland.com reports Ohio Clean Leaf LLC was marked "no" on security portions of two applications, but it received either full credit or three points instead of one. Chief Deputy Auditor Robert Hinkle said the discrepancies in scoring should have disqualified the company. The state Department of Commerce has acknowledged the difference in scoring, but said Monday the company's final scores were accurate. The department says it will not pull Clean Leaf's license. Some unsuccessful applicants are suing the state, alleging failures in the licensing process. The department has hired a consultant to review and validate all scores.

Watchdogs seek info on public money used to keep ECOT employees quiet
Two government watchdog groups are seeking information from the sponsor of Ohio's once-largest online charter school about any public money the school spent to keep employees from speaking out. Common Cause Ohio and Innovation Ohio say the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) offered non-disclosure agreements to an unknown number of employees. That included a former ECOT technology worker whose allegations of misconduct were recently reported by The Associated Press. The man refused to sign the agreement barring him from making comments "disparaging or negative toward" the now-shuttered e-school. It cost him his severance package.

Grid operator determines nuclear plant closures will not destabilize the grid
A multi-state power grid operator has determined the closure of FirstEnergy Solutions’ nuclear plants will not destabilize the grid. FirstEnergy and its power plant subsidiary have claimed the opposite in appeals for aid from the Trump administration. PJM Interconnection, which operates a grid spanning 13 states including Ohio, announced on Monday it will focus on finding sustainable fuel sources. Meanwhile, FirstEnergy Solutions’ request for federal emergency aid is still pending.

GM to power Ohio and Indiana factories with new wind farm
General Motors says a new wind farm being built in Ohio will generate power for its factories in Ohio and Indiana. The automaker says it will buy 200 megawatts of energy from the wind farm in northwestern Ohio's Paulding County and a second one in central Illinois. General Motors says it wants all electrical power for its facilities worldwide to come from renewable energy by 2050. The Northwest Ohio Wind Farm is expected to be completed this summer.

Trump to promote tax overhaul in Cleveland
President Donald Trump is set to promote the Republican tax law this weekend in Cleveland. The president will highlight the law's benefits to small businesses on Saturday. The trip marks the second time Trump has come to Northeast Ohio on an official visit in as many months. In March, he visited a Richfield union training facility to promote his infrastructure plan. Trump’s visit will come days before Ohio’s primary that includes bitter races for U.S. Senate and governor.

Akron schools expect more seniors to graduate
Akron Public Schools is expecting more high schoolers to graduate as a result of new state requirements. The Beacon Journal reports Akron school officials are projecting a 93 percent graduation rate this year. It was projected at 54 percent at the start of the school year. This year, students who did not earn enough points on state exams can fulfill two of nine alternative conditions instead. Those include having a GPA of 2.5 or higher and earning an industry credential.

Cleveland to borrow $156 for capital improvements
The city of Cleveland plans to borrow $156 million for capital improvements. City Council approved a series of ordinances on Monday allowing Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration to borrow the funds. Planned projects include a $64 million police headquarters, $6 million for street light security cameras and almost $19 million for parks and rec improvements. The Jackson administration is set to present its 20-18 capital improvement plan to council in the coming weeks.

Catholic Diocese of Youngstown leader diagnosed with leukemia
The head of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has been diagnosed with leukemia. The Diocese issued a statement Monday saying Bishop George Murry, 69, had been admitted to Cleveland Clinic to undergo intensive chemo therapy for the next four weeks. Murry was appointed to lead the Youngstown Diocese in 2007.