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Morning Headlines: Developers Buy Longaberger 'Basket Building'; Central Ohio Gets 911 Texting

photo of Longaberger Basket Building

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, January 2:

  • High school diplomas will recognize workplace competencies;
  • Longaberger Co. basket building acquired by developer;
  • State prisons must disclose lethal injection drug records;
  • Akron posts grim year-end homicide figures, Cleveland killings dip slightly;
  • Central Ohio to add 9-1-1 texting service;

High school diplomas will recognize workplace competencies
Ohio will use a new seal on high school diplomas to recognize students who demonstrate certain workplace characteristics that aren't explicitly reflected in their grades, such as reliability, leadership and a commitment to being drug-free. Ohio employers helped identify 15 skills required for the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal. Students can qualify if mentors from school, work or the community validate that they have demonstrated all those skills. The list includes creativity, problem-solving, punctuality, effective teamwork and communication, familiarity with digital technology and an ability to learn from diverse people.  State officials say the seal helps students show their job-readiness to colleges and potential employers.

Longaberger Co. basket building acquired by developer
A developer with a specialty renovating historic structures has bought the basket-shaped Ohio building formerly used by The Longaberger Company. Canton-based developer Steve Coon and his partner, Bobby George of Cleveland, closed on the building last week. The iconic basket structure had stood empty for more than a year. Coon said he has a "big vision in mind" for the building with details to come. Longaberger opened the $32 million building in 1997 but later suffered financial problems as sales dropped off. Coon hopes to place the structure on the National Register of Historic Places.

State prisons must disclose lethal injection drug records
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s prison system must produce records about drugs used in executions it wants shielded from public view for justices to review privately as part of an open records dispute. At issue is a lawyer's request for multiple records about Ohio's lethal injection drugs, including who made them and when they expire, and whether a state secrecy law prohibits that information from release. Among other disputed documents are correspondence related to Ohio's efforts to obtain those drugs, and correspondence from the prison system to or from any manufacturers.

Akron posts grim year-end homicide figures, Cleveland killings dip slightly
2017 was a notable year for homicides in Northeast Ohio. Preliminary year-end statistics show Akron ended the year with 42 homicides. Akron is seeing a rise in killings, approaching a record level last seen in the late ‘70s. The Beacon Journal reports Akron homicides have largely been concentrated in poor areas surrounding downtown and the University. Meanwhile, Cleveland saw a slight dip in killings last year. Police counted 130 homicides last year, just three fewer than in 2016.

Central Ohio to add 9-1-1 texting service
Central Ohio residents with emergencies will soon have the option to text 911 instead of placing a call. Local governments in Delaware and Franklin counties plan to test technology in the first three months of 2018 allowing the emergency texts. The Columbus area joins a few other municipalities in Ohio with the technology, including Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties.