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Morning Headlines: Ohio Absentee Ballot Requests Soar, Testa Gives $15M Gift to Akron Children's

photo of early voters in Stark County
Early voters in Stark County fill out their ballots.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, October 17:

  • Ohio absentee ballot requests soar;
  • Testa gives $15M gift to Akron Children's;
  • WOW Air ends service in Cleveland;
  • Ohio Democratic candidates for Congress out-fundraising Republican incumbents;
  • Southwest Ohio congressional candidates spar at forum;
  • Ohio University student charged with making false claims;
  • Sears to close three stores in NE Ohio;
  • Routine drill at Akron Zoo turns into panic;
  • New report shows benefits for city that hosts NFL draft;
  • Cleveland files complaint against Houston Astros for attempting to film Indians dugout;
  • Ohio State football player Nick Bosa's college career comes to an end;

Ohio absentee ballot requests soar
State election officials said Ohio residents have requested nearly a million absentee ballots ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. The Ohio Secretary of State's Office said more than 42,000 have already been cast by mail or in person. The office said four years ago at this time, about 200,000 fewer absentee ballots had been requested. Voters will choose a new governor, decide a U.S. Senate race and other state and federal races, and vote on a statewide drug sentencing issue. You can get more details from our online voter guide at wksu.org.

Testa gives $15M gift to Akron Children's
Testa Development is making a 15 million-dollar gift to Akron Children’s Hospital. The company is building a new facility for the Hospital in Boston Heights. Crains Cleveland reports Testa announced it will give the building to the hospital at the end of its 30-year lease. The new two-story facility is expected to open next August.

WOW Air ends service in Cleveland
Cleveland officials have announced it’s losing one of it’s two non-stop transatlantic carriers.  The city has released a statement confirming that WOW air is ending all service to and from Hopkins on October 26th. In a statement, the airline said that while the Cleveland route met its load factor goals, the yields were lower than expected. Airport director Robert Kennedy said he’s disappointed, the strong response to service from WOW and Icelandair shows there’s growing demand for the service. Icelandair’s service is currently suspended but expected to resume next year.

Ohio Democratic candidates for Congress out-fundraising Republican Incumbents
Ohio Democrats running for Congress are doing better than the Republican Congressman they’re challenging according to the most recent fundraising reports. The Columbus Dispatch reports that challengers Betsy Rader, Ken Harbaugh, Danny O’Connor, Janet Garrett, Aftab Pureval and Theresa Gasper all outraised their opponents. The Dispatch also reports that most Republican incumbents still have much more cash on hand than their challengers to spend in the final weeks of the campaign.

Southwest Ohio congressional candidates spar at forum
A heated U.S. House race in southwest Ohio has gotten a little hotter. Republican Congressman Steve Chabot and Democratic challenger Aftab Pureval picked up where months of negative TV ads in their race left off, with each accusing the other of lying about the other's record as they sat side-by-side in a forum last night organized by Jewish community groups in suburban Cincinnati. Chabot said Pureval has been reciting national Democratic campaign talking points, taking his congressional votes out of context, and doesn't know much about the district. Pureval said repeatedly that Chabot has accomplished little during 22 years in Congress while he is offering fresh new leadership. Pureval has drawn national Democratic attention since scoring a major local upset in 2016 to become Hamilton County's clerk of courts. A Pureval win in November could boost Democratic hopes of re-taking a House majority.

Ohio University student charged with making false claims
An Ohio University student charged with making false alarms alleging she was harassed and threatened in reference to her LGBTQ identity has pleaded not guilty. The Athens Messenger reports Anna Ayers recently pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges in Athens Municipal Court. Authorities said Ayers reported receiving a harassing note in her OU Student Senate office desk referring to her LGBTQ identity. They said she also said she received a second note in her desk drawer threatening her life, and a third note at her residence. University police allege Ayers placed the messages herself. The student has since resigned from the senate.

Sears to close three stores in NE Ohio
Three Sears stores in Northeast Ohio are among the locations expected to be closed following Monday’s announcement the retailer was seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Crains Cleveland reports the stores in Niles, Middleburg Heights and East Liverpool are among the 142 locations that will be closed.  46 stores closed earlier this year, before the bankruptcy; none of those were in Northeast Ohio.

Routine drill at Akron Zoo turns into panic
A routine drill at the Akron zoo turned to panic after someone misheard chatter on a police scanner and believed a jaguar had escaped. People turned to social media to say the jaguar named Bella was on the loose and that the Akron police SWAT team responded along with zookeepers armed with tranquilizers. The Akron Beacon Journal reports this was not true and that the reported escape was just a drill to train for potential animal escapes.  During the drill itself, the role of escaped ferocious creature was played by a zookeeper carrying a picture of a jaguar and mimicking the movements of the cat. Zoo officials said they fielded calls and calmed residents, and also took to social media to set the record straight.

New report shows benefits for city that hosts NFL draft
A new report find that the NFL draft can be a real windfall for the city that gets to host it. Crains Cleveland reports the findings are in an economic impact report put together by Visit Dallas. If finds that this year’s draft brought in more than 200-thousand fans and generated more than 125 million dollars in economic activity. Cleveland and Canton are vying jointly to host the 2020 draft. The NFL has not released a timeline for when that announcement will be made.

Cleveland Indians files complaint against Houston Astros for attempting to film dugout
A person familiar with the situation said the Cleveland Indians have filed a complaint with Major League Baseball about a man associated with the Houston Astros attempting to film in their dugout during Game 3 of the A.L. Division Series. MLB also said it is aware of a report that a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed from a credentialed area near the Boston Red Sox dugout during the A.L. Championship Series opener at Fenway Park.

Ohio State football player Nick Bosa's career comes to an end
Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa's college football career is over. The injured All-American intends to withdraw from school to spend time rehabilitating and training for an NFL career. He is expected to be a first-round draft pick. The junior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was considered one of the top players in college football before he suffered a core muscle injury on Sept. 15. Coach Urban Meyer said he understands the decision and wishes Bosa well.

Andrew joined WKSU News in 2014. He oversees the daily operations of the WKSU news department and its reporters and hosts, coordinates daily coverage, and serves as editor. His commitment is to help foster reporting that marks the best of what public radio has to offer: a mix of first-rate journalism with great storytelling. His responsibilities also include long-term strategic planning for news coverage in Northeast Ohio that serves WKSU’s audience via on-air, online, by social media and through emerging technologies. Andrew also serves as a back-up local host for Morning Edition, Here and Now and All Things Considered.