Morning Headlines: Beacon Journal Sold for $16 Million; Three Drug Company Lawsuits Get Trial Date

Apr 12, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, April 12:

  • Gatehouse Media purchases Akron Beacon Journal for $16 million;
  • Three lawsuits against drug companies slated for 2019 trial date;
  • Cuyahoga executive credits county officials with triggering corruption investigation;
  • Cleveland to study possibility of restoring mini police stations in neighborhoods;
  • Sears stores in Northeast Ohio to be auctioned off;
  • First round of Ohio physicians approved to recommend medical marijuana;
  • Christmas Story house owners acquire the Bumpus' house;
  • John Glenn congressional medal proposal moves ahead;

Gatehouse Media purchases Akron Beacon Journal for $16 million
The Akron Beacon Journal has a new owner. The 179-year-old newspaper is being purchased by Gatehouse Media for $16 million. During a Wednesday staff meeting, company officials notified union employees that their existing contract would not be honored by the new owners and all employees must reapply for their jobs. Gatehouse owns 142 newspapers in 36 states, including the Canton Repository and Columbus Dispatch. The Beacon was once the flagship paper of the Knight Ridder chain before it was eventually bought in 2006 by the Canadian publisher Black Press. The paper's headquarters on Exchange Street in Akron is not included in the sale.

Three lawsuits against drug companies slated for 2019 trial date
A federal judge in Cleveland has set a trial date for three lawsuits filed against drug companies over the opioid crisis. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster announced on Wednesday he will hold the trial on March 18, 2019. Polster is handling hundreds of suits against drug companies from across the U.S. The combined trial will include lawsuits brought by the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga and Summit counties. It will be the first in a series of test cases to see how future trials could be handled. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Cuyahoga executive credits county officials with triggering corruption investigation
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish is crediting county officials for an ongoing corruption investigation into his own administration. Budish made the claim during his State of the County address yesterday. In his speech, Budish credited the county’s inspector general and internal auditor with triggering the investigation. Both positions were created following the ouster of former commissioner Jimmy Dimora. The current investigation is thought to involve a possible conflict of interest between county employees and IT contractors.

Cleveland to study possibility of restoring mini police stations in neighborhoods
A Cleveland councilman has announced the city will study the possibility of re-opening neighborhood police stations, known as mini stations. Safety Committee chair Matt Zone made the announcement as several council members grilled Police Chief Calvin Williams at a meeting Wednesday. A dozen council members sent Williams a letter earlier this week asking him to consider bringing back the mini stations. The stations were closed in 2005 due to a lack of federal funding. Council and residents have previously called for the revival of the stations.

Sears stores in Northeast Ohio to be auctioned off
Three Northeast Ohio Sears stores are on the auction block. The Dispatch reports that Sears stores at Southpark Center in Strongsville, Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted; and Richland Mall in Mansfield will be sold May 1 in an online auction. The retailer is selling 16 of its stores in five states. One developer has laid out plans to convert the former Sear stores in mixed use facilities with dining, residential space, fitness centers and new retailers.

First round of Ohio physicians approved to recommend medical marijuana
More than three dozen Ohio doctors have been approved to recommend medical marijuana to their patients starting this fall. Cleveland.com reports that 37 physicians are part of the first round of applicants to Ohio’s new program. More cannabis doctors are expected to be named next month. Doctors in Ohio will be able to recommend medical marijuana to treat a list of 21 medical conditions including Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. Patients are expected to be able to begin applying to purchase medical marijuana in July. Dispensaries are required to be operating by September.

Christmas Story house owners acquire the Bumpus' house
A Cleveland house known for its appearance in the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" is planning to expand. The owners of the A Christmas Story House have purchased the home next door, which was featured in the film as the home of the Parker family's neighbors, the Bumpuses. The A Christmas Story House began offering overnight rentals last year. By acquiring the Bumpus house, more people will be able to stay overnight.

John Glenn congressional medal proposal moves ahead
A proposal aimed at getting late astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie, a congressional medal has cleared its first major legislative hurdle. The Ohio House unanimously approved a resolution urging Congress to recognize Glenn and his widow with a Congressional Gold Medal. John Glenn died in 2016 at age 95. He was the first American to orbit Earth and a longtime Democratic U.S. senator. Annie Glenn, 98, overcame a debilitating stutter to become a leading advocate for Americans with communicative disorders.