Morning Headlines: Gun Groups Voice Opposition to 'Red Flag' Law; Akron's Northside Gets a Mural

May 25, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, May 25:

  • Judge calls on environmental regulators to solve Lake Erie algae blooms;
  • 'Red flag' law faces vocal opposition from gun rights groups;
  • Akron man faces 20 years in prison for overdose death of Wadsworth man;
  • West Point Market to remain open during bankruptcy;
  • Tri-C to increase tuition $10 per credit hour;
  • Democratic lawmakers worry new defense bill will cut jobs;
  • Executive order expands tech services for the developmentally disabled;
  • Cleveland to post lead hazard signs on homes;
  • New Koch-backed campaign ads include praise for Renacci;
  • Northside District gets a splash of color;

Judge calls on environmental regulators to solve Lake Erie algae blooms
A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit in Ohio says he wants state and federal regulators to take serious steps to find and implement solutions to Lake Erie's persistent algae problem instead of leaving the issue to the courts. U.S. District Judge James Carr met earlier this week with lawyers from the U.S. EPA and an environmental group to discuss what should happen next. Carr said last month that state and federal agencies have mishandled the issue over whether the lake should be designated as impaired. Carr said it's time for tougher rules to clean up the lake and to prevent the formation of sometimes toxic algae blooms that plague the lake's western basin each year.

'Red flag' law faces vocal opposition from gun rights groups
Second Amendment supporters are opposing so-called “red flag” legislation backed by Gov. John Kasich. The law would let family members or law enforcement seize guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. During hearings on the bill Thursday, almost 20 gun rights supporters testified in opposition of House Bill 585. The Dispatch reports one man called Kasich a “radical gun control militant” during his testimony. Others said the proposed law would make it too easy to remove guns from law-abiding gun owners without due process. The bill would still require a formal court hearing after a gun is seized.

Akron man faces 20 years in prison for overdose death of Wadsworth man
An Akron man is facing decades in prison for giving a fatal dose of drugs to a Wadsworth man in 2015. LeTroy Vaughn, 26, was indicted in U.S. District Court last December on one count of distributing fentanyl. A new indictment this week increases the possible sentence from 11 to 20 years. Vaughn is already serving a five-year sentence in state prison for unrelated drug charges. Akron police charged Vaughn with involuntary manslaughter two years ago for the overdose death of 25-year-old Eric Ward. The case was thrown out by Summit County Common Pleas Court because of missing paperwork.

West Point Market to remain open during bankruptcy
West Point Market in Fairlawn is expected to remain open during its bankruptcy process. The iconic market filed for Chapter 11 protection on Thursday. The store relocated in 2016 to a new building in Fairlawn after decades in Akron’s Wallhaven neighborhood. The Beacon Journal reports the businesses took a hit from delays in construction and in opening an on-site bakery. The court filing says the market is still waiting for permits to be granted by the county for the bakery. The business says its goal is to retain employees and that customers shouldn’t notice any change during the bankruptcy process.

Tri-C to increase tuition $10 per credit hour
Tuition is going up by nearly 10 percent at Cuyahoga Community College. Trustees on Thursday approved a $10 per credit hour increase for Cuyahoga County residents. Cleveland.com reports the college, which set a record with nearly 5,000 graduates this school year, last raised tuition in 2014. It says students who enroll for the fall before July 2 will stay at the current rate. Like most public colleges in Ohio, Tri-C also offers a guarantee which ensures that students who enroll for three years keep the same tuition rate.

Democratic lawmakers worry new defense bill will cut jobs
The U.S. House has adopted a bill that some Democratic lawmakers say could threaten thousands of defense jobs in Ohio. A provision in the bill requires the Pentagon to eliminate positions across 28 military support divisions by the year 2021.That includes about 2,500 in Cleveland. Those backing the bill say it’s meant to save money by removing redundant positions. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown says he expects the cuts will be eliminated from the Senate version of the legislation.

Executive order expands tech services for the developmentally disabled
Gov. John Kasich on Thursday signed an executive order to find ways to expand the use of technology to assist Ohioans with developmental disabilities. The State Department of Developmental Disabilities says devices such as smart speakers, call buttons, video monitoring and customized sensors can lessen the reliance on or need for 24-hour human assistance.  Kasich was joined at the announcement by a robot named Milo that's designed to work with autistic children who have difficulty interacting with humans. Kasich said the state plans to buy 10 Milo units at $5,000 apiece. His order calls for creating a 10-member Ohio Technology First Council that will make recommendations for better incorporating technology to assist individuals with disabilities.

Cleveland to post lead hazard signs on homes
The city of Cleveland is now required to post signs on homes that pose a lead hazard. That’s according to an appeals court ruling issued this week in Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals. The ruling stems from a 2016 case involving a toddler who suffered lead poisoning in a West Side rental home. The suit claims city officials failed to address lead contamination and put hundreds of children at risk. The signs warning potential tenants of lead hazards must remain posted until the hazard is removed. The city has 30 days to comply with the ruling.

New Koch-backed campaign ads include praise for Renacci
Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee is being praised by a conservative group in new ads and mailers. The Americans for Prosperity organization backed by the wealthy Koch brothers is launching a six-figure nationwide campaign aimed at curbing "wasteful spending" in Congress. Ads target 17 House Republicans and Democrats who voted for this year's $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill while thanking 13 representatives who opposed it, including Jim Renacci. Renacci won this month's GOP primary to oppose second-term Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. Brown's campaign has aired a TV ad saying Renacci has "always looked out for himself."

Northside District gets a splash of color
Akron’s Northside District has a new splash of color thanks to local artists and volunteers. Akron artist April Couch designed a colorful painted walkway that spans a redesigned parking lot in the neighborhood. Another Akron artist, Mac Love, drew the full-scale design on the pavement. 80 volunteers spent two days this week filling the design with seven colors of paint. A grand opening for the new Northside Green is scheduled for next week.