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Ohio public school open-enrollment sets record
Other morning headlines: Historic Cleveland hotel up for sale?; Richmond Heights School Board to meet following supt.'s arrest

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • Ohio public school open-enrollment sets record
  • Historic Cleveland hotel up for sale?
  • Cleveland officials head to D.C. to pitch for convention
  • Fewer heart transplants performed in Ohio
  • Hard winter tough for maple syrup producers
  • Gas prices on the rise in Ohio
  • Richmond Heights School Board to meet following supt.'s arrest
  • Bill cracking down on predatory towing advances
  • Racincos still waiting on funding 
  • Local Olympian Stack adopting dog from Sochi
  • Ohio public school open-enrollment sets record
    Last year was a record for Ohio public school students moving outside of their home districts as part of the state's open-enrollment process. The Beacon Journal reports that another 72,000 students sought education in another district, leading to $360 million in public-school funding being shifted from one community to another. Open enrollment is a process that allows parents to send their children across district borders without changing their address. And last year reflected the largest jump in the program, which is more than 20 years old. For suburban and rural schools that want to fill out classrooms, it's the answer to budget shortfalls. But because it typically results in urban schools losing a disproportionate number of white, middle-class students, the policy has repeatedly raised concerns about racial segregation.

    Historic Cleveland hotel up for sale?
    Cleveland’s largest and oldest downtown hotel could be in for a big change. Crain’s Cleveland Business reports that that Chicago-based hotel brokerage unit Jones Lang LaSalle is shopping the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel on behalf of its owner. The Renaissance, located in Public Square, is owned by global hotel power CTF Development, Inc., based in China. CTF wouldn’t confirm whether the hotel was nearing a sale or on the market. If a sale is in the near future, experts say now would be the best time—before construction begins for the new 600-room convention center hotel expected to open in 2016.

    Cleveland officials head to D.C. to pitch for convention
    Cleveland city leaders are in Washington D.C. today, making their pitch to Republican Party leaders for the 2016 presidential convention. Cleveland was named one of eight finalists by the RNC last week, along with Columbus and Cincinnati.  Getting the convention could mean millions of dollars for the winning city’s economy. Last week, Cuyahoga County Council approved spending $5 million to try to draw a presidential convention to the city. The money is contingent on a winning bid. The last time a presidential convention was in Ohio was when the Republicans gathered in Cleveland in 1936.

    Fewer heart transplants performed in Ohio

    The number of heart transplants performed in Ohio fell last year to its lowest level since 1989. In the past seven years at the Cleveland Clinic, heart transplants dropped from 76 to 44. That's more than 40 percent. The clinic performed about two-thirds of the state's heart transplants last year. Ohio State University's transplant center performed 10 heart transplants last year. That's about half of its peak of 19 in 2006. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the decreases are the result of a 2006 policy change by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network that expanded regional organ sharing. The change was aimed at reducing deaths among people waiting for transplants. For Ohio, the policy change has made the state a net exporter of donor hearts.

    Hard winter tough for maple syrup producers
    The unrelenting winter is turning out to be particularly bitter for Ohio's maple syrup producers. Syrup season in the state typically begins by mid-February, but many producers still haven't tapped their trees. The Plain Dealer reports that's because of the unusually frigid February. Ideal syrup conditions are warm days followed by below-freezing nights. Of the 12 states in the country that produce syrup, Ohio typically ranks fourth or fifth. The state produced 155,000 gallons of the sweet stuff in 2013, beaten only by Vermont, New York, Maine and Wisconsin.

    Gas prices on the rise in Ohio

    Gas prices in Ohio continue to rise. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio is averaging $3.59 in today’s survey from auto club AAA and its partners. That's 6 cents higher than last Monday and 27 cents higher than this time last month. Analysts say prices are up because seasonal maintenance is taking place at refineries, and crude oil prices have been rising as Russia's military advance into Ukraine raised fears of economic sanctions against one of the world's major energy producers.

    Richmond Heights School Board to meet following supt.'s arrest 
    The Richmond Heights School Board will hold an emergency meeting tonight to discuss the arrest of its superintendent over the weekend. Robert Moore II was arrested along with the district’s building and grounds director, Richard Muse. The two will be in court today on bribery and theft in office charges. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office says there’s videotaped evidence of the two “shaking down” a business that does work for the district. The county prosecutor’s office says indictments against Moore and Muse will be sought as early as this week. The high school principal has been put in charge of the district for now.

    Bill cracking down on predatory towing advances 

    A bill is advancing the Ohio legislature that aims to crack down on predatory towing. The bill that cleared a House committee last week would set pricing restrictions and operating regulations, along with new safety standards. Property owners would have to sign written contracts with towing companies, clear signage would be required, and towing companies would have to accept credit cards. Ohio has come under scrutiny for its loose regulation on towing companies. The bill is expected to have a full House vote within two weeks.

    Racinos still waiting on funding
    Redevelopment of the fairgrounds in one southwestern Ohio county is on hold as state officials figure out the details of distributing $12 million in payments to communities affected by the legalization of racinos. Lebanon in Warren County, north of Cincinnati, is the first of four communities around Ohio eligible for up to $3 million from a fund set up as part of the 2011 law that allowed racetrack owners to add electronic slot machines. The Dayton Daily News reports that as many as three other communities could also receive state money if they lose their local racetracks as a result of the trend toward racinos. To receive the money, the communities will be required to submit plans to the state for creating jobs and stimulating economic development.

    Local Olympian adopting dog from Sochi
    Northeast Ohio Olympian Kelli Stack may not have made it home with a gold medal, but she is hoping to bring something else home from Sochi. The Plain Dealer reports Stack raised more than $1,800 in a few hours last week, to help adopt a stray dog she met at the Olympics. The puppy is a Shar Pei-shepherd mix Stack found at a shelter near the Olympic Village. Stack plans to name the puppy Shayba. That's the name of the rink where the women’s hockey team won a silver medal. The money will pay for the dog to go through customs, vaccinations, and weeks of quarantine prior to crossing the border.

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