Morning Headlines: Amazon Warehouse to Replace Abandoned Mall; Akron Debt to Reach Record $1 Billion

Sep 29, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, September 29th:

  • Amazon warehouse to replace abandoned shopping mall;
  • University of Akron law professor gets nominated to federal court;
  • Confederate monument, previously removed, could be resurrected near Cincinnati;
  • Ohio's high court lightens its docket;
  • Shooting at a car dealership wounds two officers;
  • Online charter school gets more fines for suspect enrollment figures;
  • Burial vault trespasser unsuccessfully tries to cremate body;
  • Cleveland police adopt high-tech field reporting system;
  • Congressman Renacci further aligns with Trump in bid for governor;
  • Summit County considers task force to scrutinize jails;
  • Akron's debt will soon reach a record high;

Amazon warehouse to replace abandoned mall
Amazon plans to build a second large warehouse on the site of a closed shopping mall outside of Cleveland. The Seattle-based company will raze Euclid Square Mall in Euclid to build a 650,000-square-foot warehouse that will employ 1,000 people. The deal comes a month after Amazon finalized a deal to build a "fulfillment center" on a former mall site in North Randall that is supposed to create 2,000 full-time jobs. The Euclid warehouse will be completed sometime in 2019. The city ordered Euclid Square Mall to close last year for safety reasons.

University of Akron law professor gets nominated to federal court
President Donald Trump has nominated a University of Akron law school professor to sit on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Ryan Holte will serve in Washington, D.C. and hear claims for money filed against the federal government. He joined Akron’s law school faculty this year and leads their Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology. Holte previously worked as a trial attorney at the Federal Trade Commission. Holte will serve a 15-year term in D-C if he’s confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Confederate monument, previously removed, could be resurrected near Cincinnati
Officials in a township north of Cincinnati say a marker honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee will be reinstalled and re-dedicated. Some Franklin Township residents became angry when they learned the 90-year-old marker had been removed in August after deadly violence during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over a statue honoring Lee. The marker was removed by a city crew in neighboring Franklin, which controlled the location near an intersection. The city subsequently returned the marker to Franklin Township and paid $2,000 to repair the plaque after it was damaged during removal.

Ohio's high court lightens its docket
As of today, Ohioans lose the right to appeal disputed tax decisions directly to the state's high court. The change was slipped into the state budget bill at the request of the Ohio Supreme Court. Justices argue it was necessary to lighten their docket of a flood of market-driven property tax disputes and to preserve their role as arbiters of significant legal questions. A high court analysis found only 14 of the 152 appeals of Ohio Board of Tax Appeals decisions filed in 2014 involved matters of law deserving its attention.

Shooting at a car dealership wounds two officers
Two Willoughby Hills police officers were wounded in a shooting at a car dealership, and a suspect was also shot and is in custody. Chief Christopher Collins says both the officers and the suspect are in stable condition at local hospitals. Collins says the dealership called police about a problem with a customer Thursday afternoon. A man pulled a handgun and fired at the officers when they arrived. Both were wearing protective vests. Schools in the area were put on lockdown during the investigation.

Online charter school gets more fines for suspect enrollment figures
The state says Ohio's largest online charter school could owe another $20 million for failing to verify enrollment properly. The payment would come on top of $60 million the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT, is already repaying the Ohio Department of Education. The state says the school couldn't prove that 18.5 percent of its students did enough classwork to satisfy the state. The school is challenging how the state tallied its student log-ins. A school spokesman says they need time to create systems for documentation. He also says the state's tally does not account for student engagement and academic success. The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to consider the dispute.

Burial vault trespasser unsuccessfully tries to cremate body
Police say a trespasser at an Akron burial vault business tried unsuccessfully to cremate a corpse. Police say the break-in at Akron Burial Vault happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday. A body that had been in a cardboard cremation container was found on the floor. The business’s owner tells WKYC-TV the body toppled out of the container after someone tried to push it into the oven.

Cleveland police adopt high-tech field reporting system
Cleveland police say they hope to have all officers trained by the end of the year to file reports from their in-car computers in an effort to increase the time spent patrolling streets and decrease time filling out paperwork at the station. Cleveland.com reports the field-based reporting system is a mandated part of a 2015 settlement that the city reached with the Justice Department to reform the police force. In a video posted to Facebook, police officials say about 120 of the city's 1,400 officers are currently trained to use the system.

Congressman Renacci further aligns with Trump in bid for governor
Republican Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci is borrowing from President Donald Trump's successful 2016 campaign in his bid for governor next year. Renacci, of Wadsworth, launched digital and television ads Thursday that position himself as a political outsider against three "Columbus fat cats." It's a key message in Renacci's campaign against three better known competitors: Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Secretary of State Jon Husted. The ads suggest each would continue the approach of Republican Gov. John Kasich, a Trump critic, if elected.

Summit County considers task force to scrutinize jails
The death of an inmate at a Summit County jail has sparked an effort to take a closer look at jail operations. Summit County Council is considering forming a 10-member task force that would look into jail finances, equipment and staffing. Councilman David Hamilton told the Beacon Journal constituents have complained of overcrowding at the jail for months. The death of inmate Anthony Jones earlier this month prompted Hamilton to put forward the proposal that Council will consider on Monday. Hamilton hopes to have the task force up and running by early December.

Akron's debt will soon reach a record high
The City of Akron is on track to set a new record. By the end of this year, the city will owe lenders more than $1 billion for the first time in its history. The Beacon Journal reports a sewer overhaul project is putting the city’s finances over the top. The city borrowed more than $600 million for the federally mandated project. City officials say the debt is still manageable, and the city has never defaulted on a loan. Paying back the estimated $1.3 billion will likely require the city to raise taxes and fees. But low interest rates on state-subsidized loans mean the city can spread out the repayment period over the next several decades.