Morning Headlines: Cleveland Passes Disclosure Requirements for Ballot Measures; Akron Swaps Land

Nov 21, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, November 21st:

  • Akron swaps land with hospital to promote downtown development;
  • Cleveland approves disclosure requirements for ballot initiatives;
  • Facial reconstruction helps investigators put a face to unsolved case;
  • Lottery for Kentucky bourbon attracts tens of thousands of hopeful buyers;
  • More than 300 applications received to operate medical marijuana dispensaries;
  • Ohio Senate Republicans' chief of staff steps down;
  • Justice Department grant helps Canton hire more police;
  • State Highway Patrol sends Thanksgiving warning to holiday travelers;
  • Pop-up nature center gets state recognition;
  • Two former Indians players make hall of fame ballot;

Akron swaps land with hospital to promote downtown development
The city of Akron is trading land with one of its hospitals in an effort to spur private development downtown. Akron Children’s Hospital is giving the city a lot near Glendale Cemetery, plus about $2 million. In exchange, the city will give the hospital two properties valued at about $3 million. The Beacon Journal reports at the end of the day, the deal is costing the city about $1 million. City officials say the deal could help keep good-paying medical jobs near downtown and attract customers to new apartments and businesses.

Cleveland approves disclosure requirements for ballot initiatives
The city of Cleveland is looking to create more transparency in how issues get on the ballot. City Council on Monday approved a new measure requiring groups to disclose backers. While Ohio already has filing requirements in place for statewide measures, individual cities do not. Cleveland’s measure requires disclosure of any professionals hired to collect signatures and how much they were paid. Council President Kevin Kelley tells Cleveland.com the new requirements let people know “who’s walking around” in Cleveland’s neighborhoods to collect signatures. Out-of-state organizations have controversially spent money to get issues on the ballot, like the effort to raise Cleveland’s minimum wage to $15. The new ordinance does not include reporting requirements for candidates for office.

Facial reconstruction helps investigators put a face to unsolved case
State investigators have used a 3D printer to shed light on remains found in Twinsburg 35 years ago. The facial reconstruction shows the remains are likely those of a 20- to 30-year-old black man. Forensic artists took CT scans of the man’s skull and uploaded them to a 3D printer to create the model. It’s only the fifth time forensic facial reconstruction has been used in the state. In a release, Twinsburg’s police chief said he hopes the model will help investigators identify the man.

Lottery for Kentucky bourbon attracts tens of thousands of hopeful buyers
A statewide lottery to purchase a bottle of rare Kentucky bourbon has attracted more than 27,000 potential buyers. Only a few hundred people will get the right to purchase one bottle of the sought-after Pappy Van Winkle. It’s the second time the state has held a lottery to purchase liquor. Ohio has a state allotment of about 500 bottles. Each bottle ranges in price from $60 to $270. Winners will be randomly chosen.

More than 300 applications received to operate medical marijuana dispensaries
State officials say they've received more than 300 applications to operate 60 dispensaries that will sell medical marijuana. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy said on Monday that it had received 370 applications to operate the dispensaries the state expects to have up and running in about a year. The deadline for applications was Friday. A board spokesman says no deadline has been set for determining which businesses will get licenses to operate the dispensaries. The state application fee was $5,000. No single company will be allowed to own more than five dispensaries. Ohioans with one of 21 medical conditions can legally buy and use medical marijuana if it's recommended to them by a physician.

Ohio Senate Republicans' chief of staff steps down
The chief of staff to Ohio Senate majority Republicans says he is stepping down. Jason Mauk tells The Associated Press his last day will be Dec. 1. The seven-year Senate veteran says his departure is unrelated to allegations of inappropriate conduct that are roiling the chamber. GOP state Sen. Clifford Hite resigned last month after a female state employee complained that Hite had engaged in inappropriate conversations and physical contact with her over a two-month period.  Senate Democrats' chief of staff, Michael Premo, resigned last week over undisclosed inappropriate behavior. Mauk said Senate President Larry Obhof has known of his interest to pursue new career opportunities for nearly a year, but asked him to stay to finalize the state budget.

Justice Department grant helps Canton hire more police
The city of Canton will be able to fund eight police officer positions with a $1 million U.S. Department of Justice grant. Canton is one of seven Ohio municipalities to receive the funding. The Repository reports Canton has consecutively received the grant for several years, using the most recent ones to retain rather than hire officers and will likely do the same this time.

State Highway Patrol sends Thanksgiving warning to holiday travelers
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning drivers heading into the Thanksgiving holiday period to follow all traffic laws, including buckling seat belts and never driving impaired. The patrol says nine people were killed in nine crashes on Ohio roads during the long holiday weekend last year. Five of those fatalities resulted from impaired drivers and six did not use seat belts. Troopers say they will have an increased presence on Ohio's roadways in an effort to remove impaired drivers. AAA projects nealry 51 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. That's a 3.3 percent increase over last year.

Pop-up nature center gets state recognition
A Summit County nature center is drawing attention from the state. The Summit Metro Parkspop-up nature center was originally meant to be temporary. The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association has named it the top environmental and interpretive program for 2017. The center, which offers children’s programs and adult fitness classes, was originally supposed to close after Labor Day. It will now stay open through December.

Two former Indians players make hall of fame ballot
Former Indians players Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel are among the 19 new candidates to appear on the 2018 ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Thome ranks eighth all-time with 612 homers. Vizquel, who played 24 seasons, played the most games ever at shortstop. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are expected to vote with results announced January 24th.