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Morning Headlines: Ohio EPA Approves Wind Turbine Project; Kasich Signs Payday Lending Bill

photo of a wind turbine

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, July 31:

  • Ohio EPA approves wind turbine project;
  • Gov. Kasich signs payday lending bill;
  • Cultivator license awarded to Eastlake med pot business;
  • Canton pushes Market Square project forward;
  • Baldwin Wallace strips theater building namesakes amid allegations;
  • Ohio University drops ban on spontaneous protests;
  • Three charged in Cleveland construction site scam;

Ohio EPA approves wind turbine project

A massive wind turbine project in Lake Erie is getting approval from the state EPA. The agency awarded a certificate of approval to the Icebreaker Windpower project, saying it meets federal Clean Water Act standards. LEEDco, which has proposed the project, still needs to get permits from 14 local, state and federal agencies before it can begin construction, slated for 2021. It would be the first freshwater wind turbine project in North America.

Gov. Kasich signs payday lending bill

Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a crack-down on Ohio's short-term lending industry. The bill caps interest rates and limits fees on such loans.  It also bars loans with terms of less than 30 days. Payments on loans of 90 days or less can't exceed 7 percent of a borrower's monthly net income, or 6 percent of the gross income. Fees and interest can't be more than 60 percent of the loan's original principal amount. Ohio has some of the highest payday loan rates in the nation.

Cultivator license awarded to Eastlake med pot business 

State regulators have given the OK to a northeast Ohio medical marijuana cultivator to start planting its crop. Ohio's Department of Commerce says Buckeye Relief is the first large-scale grower to pass inspection and receive its operation certificate. The company will begin planting immediately at its cultivation facility in Eastlake. The state says Buckeye Relief plans to have its finished product ready by the end of the year. Ohio's delays in selecting processors and allowing cultivators to grow plants have pushed the availability of medical marijuana past the state legislature's Sept. 8 deadline. Two other smaller sites already have been issued certificates of operation to grow plants.

Canton pushes Market Square project forward

Canton city council is pushing for the years-long downtown Market Square project to be finished by the NFL’s centennial in 2020. Council on Monday authorized officials to move forward with any contracts needed to complete the project to transform a block of green space downtown into an entertainment space with a stage, video screen and public art displays. Plans began in 2013 and council selected a design two years ago. The state has designated $1.5 million for the nearly $6 million project, and the rest will be covered by a portion of the city’s new income tax revenue.

Baldwin Wallace theater buildings stripped of namesakes amid allegations

After hearing decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct, Baldwin Wallace University stripped two campus theaters of their namesakes yesterday. Cleveland.com reports the theaters were named after long-time Baldwin Wallace theater professor William Allman, who died more than a decade ago, and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright John Patrick who died in 1955 and visited campus during Allman’s time at the college. The university didn’t release any details about the allegations.

Ohio University drops ban on spontaneous protests

Ohio University is dropping a policy that bans spontaneous protests in academic buildings. It was enacted after 70 students refused to leave an immigration protest at a building last year. The Athens campus says spontaneous protests will be allowed in unoccupied classrooms or by reserving a space, however, remain banned from offices, hallways and lobbies.

Three charged in Cleveland construction site thefts

Three men have been charged for allegedly stealing $150,000 in equipment from construction sites across Cleveland, including vacant office and apartment buildings and schools. Officials say the scheme ran for six months beginning last August, looting sites of tools and appliances, like air conditioners and nail guns. They targeted projects including University Hospital's Rainbow Center for Women and Children and the 115-year-old St. Wendelin Catholic Church in Ohio City.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.