Morning Headlines: No Injuries in Akron Chemical Plant Explosion; NEXUS Installing Pipeline in Green

Jul 19, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, July 19:

  • No injuries in Akron chemical plant explosion;
  • NEXUS is ready to install pipeline through Green;
  • City approves plan to move Cleveland police headquarters; 
  • Family offers $50,000 for information on son's 2014 death at concert;
  • Report says shipping on Great Lakes, Seaway generated $4 billion in Ohio;
  • Owner of American flag company indicted on tax charge;
  • Farmers oppose Gov. Kasich's executive order on runoff regulations;
  • Put-in-Bay officer indicted on excessive force charge;

Akron chemical plant catches fire, explodes

An Akron chemical manufacturing plant exploded and caught fire Wednesday afternoon. Emerald Performance Materials evacuated the plant and no one was injured. Evacuations of a mile-wide section of South Main Street were ordered because the primary chemical used there is butadiene, a colorless gas that is flammable and can cause irritation in people. The cause of the blast is unknown. WEWS-TV reports Emerald has a history of environmental and workplace safety violations, including a $100,000 settlement in 2016 with the U.S. EPA for issues including a "failure to prevent non-sudden releases of hazardous materials."

NEXUS to install pipeline through Green

NEXUS is ready to install a controversial natural gas pipeline through the city of Green in Summit County. A legal challenge from residents and the city delayed an 8-mile section of the 255-mile project. Earlier this year, the city settled with the company. Once the pipeline is completed, it will carry nearly 2 billion cubic feet daily from the Utica and Marcellus shales through Ohio, Michigan and into Canada.

City approves plan to move Cleveland police headquarters 

Cleveland City Council has approved moving police headquarters into the building that formerly housed the Plain Dealer newspaper. Council voted Wednesday to allow Mayor Frank Jackson's administration to purchase the building and start renovations. The project will cost an estimated $60 million. City officials say the building will be more cost effective, and it will allow them to consolidate offices. Police Chief Calvin Williams says the new space will also be more welcoming to visitors. Williams says the department expects to move into the new headquarters by spring.

Family offers $50,000 for information on son's death at concert

The family of a 22-year-old man who went missing and died following a 2014 concert at Progressive Field is offering a $50,000 reward for information. Investigators concluded Cory Barron fell five stories through a garbage chute to his death. His body was found four days later in a landfill. A coroner ruled there was no sign of foul play. Barron's family believes his death should be ruled a homicide.

Report says shipping on Great Lakes, Seaway generated $4 billion in Ohio

Shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway generated $35 billion for the economy last year — nearly $4 billion of that in Ohio. A report from the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership also shows the industry supported over 30,000 jobs in Ohio. The study measured cargo movements at 40 U.S. and Canadian ports, as well as the impact on jobs at the ports and economic activity.

American flag company owner indicted on tax charge

The owner of a Canton company that makes American flags has been charged for failing to forward more than $160,000 in payroll taxes to the IRS. Prosecutors say 51-year-old Richard Spencer controls a company called RS Sewing and classified some workers as independent contractors even though they are required to clock in and out and receive hourly wages. It's alleged that taxes were deducted from properly classified employees but that money wasn't sent to the IRS.

Farmers oppose Gov. Kasich's executive order on runoff regulations

Farmers and state lawmakers are urging Gov. John Kasich to rescind last week's executive order intensifying Ohio's efforts to fight toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie. House Speaker Ryan Smith, a fellow Republican, says he's disappointed such a major policy directive side-stepped the legislative process. House Agriculture Chairman Brian Hill says Kasich's directive will affect some 6,000 Ohio farmers. The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission votes today on whether to direct Kasich's agriculture director to declare eight watersheds in distress, that could force farmers to change how they manage fertilizer and manure runoff that's feeding the blooms.

Put-in-Bay officer indicted on excessive force charge

A former Put-in-Bay police officer accused of using excessive force against a man in has been indicted on federal charges. El'Shawn Williams, 28, is accused of punching the man multiple times after the man was restrained by another officer. Authorities also say Williams gave false statements to an investigator.