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Morning Headlines: Akron Councilman Disciplined for Derogatory Behavior; Northside Marketplace Opens

photo of Northside Marketplace
DOWNTOWN AKRON

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, October 17th:

  • Akron councilman loses chairmanship over derogatory comments;
  • Akron hospital damaged in fire will reopen next week;
  • Northside Market holds soft open, featuring local entrepreneurs;
  • Cleveland expands abandoned home demolition program;
  • Rape kit testing leads to convictions in two cold cases;
  • Ohio's Somali community condemns truck bomb attack;
  • ODOT plans for self-driving cars with new travel alert system;
  • Cleveland approves tax package for Terminal Tower developer;
  • Cleveland approves crack down on dirt bikes;
  • Euclid settles with woman injured in high-speed police chase;

Akron councilman loses chairmanship over derogatory comments
An Akron City Councilman has been disciplined after making derogatory comments about minority councilmembers. Bob Hoch of Ellet told black, female colleagues to sit down and shut up at a meeting in September. The Beacon Journal reports Hoch was removed as chair of the Public Services Committee by a unanimous vote on Monday. The committee will now be chaired by at-large councilwoman Veronica Sims. Council will continue to work on unresolved issues with a conflict management specialist.

Akron hospital damaged in fire will reopen next week
It will be next week before Akron’s St. Thomas Hospital reopens from fire damage. In a statement, Summa says it’s contracted with a company to clean up the fire that caused significant damage Friday. Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, which started in a storage unit in the basement. Nobody was hurt, but about 100 patients had to be transferred to other facilities.

Northside Market holds soft open, featuring local entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs in Akron have a new retail space. The Northside Marketplace opened for a sneak preview on Monday, with everything from locally-roasted coffee to baked goods, art and electronics. The space also features lounge areas and a bar. Cleveland.com reports about half of the businesses are up and running. The market has 35 vendors ranging from large anchor businesses to Akron startups.

Cleveland expands abandoned home demolition program
Cleveland City Council has approved $8 million to tear down abandoned houses and commercial properties. The program aims to raze run-down houses within 1,000 feet of public schools and make those areas safer for children walking to school. The money was originally earmarked for programs that now won’t be needed until next year. Cleveland.com reports it costs the city about $10,000 to tear down a house. The program was originally expected to remove more than 500 houses. It’s not clear how many more homes will be torn down with the extra funds.

Rape kit testing leads to convictions in two cold cases
Two men have been indicted on rape and other charges in separate cold cases in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley says a grand jury has indicted 48-year-old Daniel Fridley in the 2002 case where the victim was a legally blind woman. 54-year-old Darryl Williams was indicted in the 1998 case where the victim was a 16-year-old girl. The prosecutor says ongoing testing of rape kits for DNA matches helped lead to the charges. Both men were later convicted in other rape cases and are still in prison on those convictions.

Ohio's Somali community condemns truck bomb attack
Members of Ohio's Somali community are condemning a truck bombing in Somalia's capital that killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds more. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab. Somali Islamic Centers of Ohio says virtually everyone has a friend or relative affected by the attack. The Columbus area has the country's second largest population of Somalis after the Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

ODOT plans for self-driving cars with new travel alert system
Officials are planning a new system of travel alert information for part of the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland with an eye toward a day when autonomous vehicles might regularly cruise that roadway. The Plain Dealer reports the Turnpike Commission will use roadside sensors and other technology to produce traffic and weather alerts that could serve self-driving vehicles. For now, the data about factors such as foggy conditions and snowplow angles could serve newer vehicles equipped to receive digital short-range radio signals and display the results for drivers. The commission approved a $1.46 million contract for the equipment and software. The technology should be in use by early next year between Amherst and Streetsboro. Turnpike officials say if the results are good, they might expand it along the 241-mile toll road.

Cleveland approves tax package for Terminal Tower developer
Cleveland’s downtown Terminal Tower is closer to becoming an apartment building. Cleveland City Council on Monday approved a tax package sought by a developer to convert 12 floors into apartments. K&D's plan would leave the upper floors as offices and the observation deck will remain open on weekends. 

Cleveland approves crack down on dirt bikes
Cleveland City Council has approved new regulations to curb illegal dirt bike riding in the city.  The legislation applies requires that the bikes be licensed on city streets, and bans stunts on city streets or other public property.  Dirt bike riders are also banned from filling up at gas stations unless the bikes are being transported on another vehicle. Mayor Frank Jackson called for the regulations. A plan to build a dirt bike track was shelved last month.

Euclid settles with woman injured in high-speed police chase
The City of Euclid has agreed to a $675,000 settlement with a woman who was injured during a high-speed police chase. It started when Euclid Police Officer Jose Alcantara attempted to make a traffic stop in 2013. The driver took off and Alcantara followed, at times reaching 100 miles per hour on a busy street. The driver being pursued then crashed into Regina Hardesty's vehicle. She suffered significant injuries.  Alcantara was eventually reprimanded for failing to end the chase.