Morning Headlines: Feds Raid Cleveland City Hall; Franklin GOP Backs Novice for U.S. Senate

Dec 7, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, December 7th:

  • University of Akron will hike and freeze tuition;
  • Kent State journalism student dies;
  • Feds spotted raiding Cleveland City Hall;
  • Former tech consulting CEO charged with embezzlement;
  • New group aims to bring supermarkets to Cleveland's food deserts;
  • State grants for opioid research to be announced Thursday;
  • Franklin County GOP backs newcomer for U.S. Senate;
  • The Indians will expand safety netting at ballparks;
  • State comes under fire after hiring medical marijuana consultant with a drug conviction;
  • Efforts to recoup funds from online charter school will move ahead;
  • Community rights ballot issues are approved to gather signatures;
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History CEO steps down;

University of Akron will hike and freeze tuition
The University of Akron will increase tuition and fees by 6 percent to $11,857 for in-state freshmen in fall 2018, but freeze that amount for four years. The university will need to get approval from Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey to put the plan in effect. Tuition and fees for current in-state undergraduates will remain at $11,186. The increase follows a similar move by Cleveland State University last week. Kent State University trustees are expected to do something similar later this month.

Kent State journalism student dies
A journalism student at Kent State University has died. Student media report Devin Moore was seen playing basketball at the university rec center on Wednesday when he collapsed on the court. Moore was transported to a nearby hospital after staff attempted CPR. Students and faculty held a vigil last night for Moore. He was a senior journalism major.

Feds spotted raiding Cleveland City Hall
Three federal agencies conducted a nighttime raid at Cleveland City Hall on Wednesday. Cleveland.com reports agents from the IRS, FBI and Department of Housing and Urban Development were spotted at the city's offices on Lakeside Ave. An IRS spokesman said the agents were conducting “official business” as part of a criminal investigation but did not give details. It’s not clear what the agents were investigating.

Former tech consulting CEO charged with embezzlement
An entrepreneur from Rocky River has been charged with misusing funds collected from his employees. C. David Snyder, 65, served as president and CEO of a Cleveland-based tech consulting firm. Cleveland.com reports Snyder took nearly $860,000 in payroll taxes from employees but never gave the money to the IRS. Snyder is also accused of embezzling more than $130,000 from an employee retirement plan.

New group aims to bring supermarkets to Cleveland's food deserts
A newly formed advocacy group says it wants to improve access to supermarkets for Cuyahoga County’s poorest residents. Cleveland.com reports the Supermarket Coalition is aiming to put supermarkets in areas known as food deserts without access to healthy grocery stores. The group says it’s considering using local and state grants to attract grocers to those areas. According to one member, the grants may come with strings attached, like requiring grocers to hire locally and pay certain wages.

State grants for opioid research to be announced Thursday
Ohio is set to name recipients of up to $12 million in competitive grants aimed at supporting scientific breakthroughs to solve the national opioid crisis. The Third Frontier Commission is expected to announce grant winners today. The awards are part of Ohio's two-pronged strategy to drive innovative research and development in opioid and addiction science. The second element is an $8 million innovation challenge modeled after the Head Health competition launched by the NFL, Under Armour and GE to address traumatic brain injuries. Gov. John Kasich called in April for dedicating up to $20 million to the cause and accelerating distribution.

Franklin County GOP backs newcomer for U.S. Senate
Republicans in Ohio's second-largest county have passed over State Treasurer Josh Mandel to back a novice politician from Cleveland for U.S. Senate. The Franklin County Republican Party endorsed investment banker Mike Gibbons in an 85-16 upset vote Wednesday. The campaign called it a major victory. The Gibbons, 65, is an investment banker and major Republican contributor. He has touted his business experience and his ideas for economic growth and improving health care. Mandel, 40, is a U.S. Marine veteran and former state lawmaker. He has modeled his campaign after President Donald Trump's 2016 run in many of its themes and in tone. Mandel lost to incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2012.

The Indians will expand safety netting at ballparks
The Indians and Minnesota Twins are the latest Major League Baseball teams to announce plans to expand safety netting at their ballparks for the 2018 season. The Indians will extend the current vertical netting behind home plate down the foul lines at Progressive Field to the ends of the dugouts in an effort to better protect fans from hard-hit foul balls and bats flying into the stands. Also, the canopy nets will be stretched slightly farther down the third-base line. Both teams say they'd use the latest available technology to minimize the obstruction of views of the playing field.

State comes under fire after hiring medical marijuana consultant with a drug conviction
The state faced criticism Wednesday for hiring a consultant with a drug conviction to help select Ohio's medical marijuana growers. At issue is a 2005 guilty plea in Pennsylvania by consultant Trevor Bozeman at age 20 to charges of manufacturing, possessing and distributing drugs. A marijuana possession charge was dropped. Bozeman was one of three consultants the state selected to help grade the grower applications that were selected last week. State Auditor David Yost, a candidate for attorney general, on Wednesday called for the grower selection process to be stopped and reviewed.

Efforts to recoup funds from online charter school will move ahead
The Ohio Supreme Court will not temporarily halt the state’s efforts to recoup $60 million from one of the nation’s largest online charter schools, which says it could be forced to close in the middle of the school year. The state reduced monthly payments to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow to start recouping money while ECOT challenges how officials tallied student logins to determine funding adjustments. ECOT says it will run out of cash and close in 2018, in the middle of the school year, if the court doesn’t intervene. ECOT’s spokesman says it has been unfairly targeted.

Community rights ballot issues are approved to gather signatures
Two proposed ballot issues that supporters say would restore Ohio communities' rights to challenge corporate incursions have been cleared for signature-gathering. The Ohio Ballot Board certified the Ohio Community Rights Amendment and a companion measure extending initiative and referendum rights to counties and townships on Tuesday, each as a single issue. Backers now must collect roughly 306,000 valid signatures to place each issue on the ballot. The push stems from mounting frustration among environmental groups that have failed for years to push fracking bans onto local ballots. Activist groups now want to make it easier to pass local regulations on predatory lending, puppy mills, wireless equipment location, minimum wages and a host of other issues. Leading Ohio business groups oppose the measures as overly broad impediments to economic development.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History CEO steps down
The head of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History says she’s stepping down effective immediately. Cleveland.com reports that after seven years as CEO and overseeing the first half of a $150 million expansion and renovation Evalyn Gates announced today that she’s leaving for personal reasons and because of disagreements over the museum's ambitious expansion project. Gates spearheaded a fundraising campaign that has raised $77 million – the midpoint of a massive expansion. Gates has a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Case Western Reserve University and left a position at Fermi Lab west of Chicago in 2010 to come to Cleveland.