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Morning Headlines: Hopkins To Spend $3M To Alleviate Traffic; Akron Schools Face $2M Deficit

photo of Cleveland Hopkins Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, October 23:

  • Hopkins airport gets approval to spend $3M;
  • Akron school district faces $2M deficit;
  • Akron residents question officer's use of force;
  • Kasich fires agriculture director;
  • Clergy members allege discrimination in police division;
  • Euclid officer to get job back after hitting a man during traffic stop;
  • Ohio bill focuses on use, funding of school features like AC;
  • Health officials confirm three new cases of polio-like disease in Ohio;
  • Judge rejects Dimora's request to be released from prison;

Hopkins airport gets approval to spend $3M
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is getting approval to spend $3 million for improvements to reduce traffic congestion. Cleveland City Council approved the request for the work that includes expanding the area for taxis, limos and shuttles. It also includes adding canopies to shield passengers from the weather. Four council members voted against the plan and said it will be an added inconvenience for passengers who would be subject to longer walks in the elements. The work is expected to be complete next year.

Akron school district faces $2M deficit
The Akron City School District is facing a nearly $2 million deficit starting next year. The Beacon Journal reports that was the main takeaway from the district’s five-year forecast presented to the board last night. Officials said the deficit is the result of decreasing revenue and property values. There are also concerns that new housing developments planned in the city will drive up enrollment at a time when buildings are nearly filled to or above capacity or in need of repair. It’s projected the deficit could swell to $18 million in the 2021-22 school year.

Akron residents question officer's use of force
Some Akron residents are questioning officers' use of force in a viral video posted on Sunday. It shows an Akron officer repeatedly punching Patrick King as he struggled against being handcuffed. About 10 officers were involved, and one is seen punching the suspect at least 30 times and he was stunned with a tazer. King was taken away by ambulance and the Beacon Journal reports he was arrested for a parole violation on a burglary charge. Other drug-related charges were added, as well as resisting arrest and giving a false identity. An officer told the newspaper the violence was justified because the stakes are high when wrestling suspects.

Kasich fires agriculture director
Gov. John Kasich fired his agriculture director just months before Kasich himself steps down. David Daniels believed he was fired over his resistance to enforce an executive order Kasich issued this summer to fight farm runoff feeding toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. Kasich has said that voluntary efforts to reduce farm nutrient from flowing into the lake have not worked and issued stricter regulations. Daniels instead sided with farmers and labeled Kasich’s plan as ‘unworkable,' calling for more research into sources of the runoff. Kasich gave no explanation for the firing.

Clergy members allege discrimination in police division
Members of the clergy in Ohio's capital city are demanding changes regarding allegations of a climate of discrimination in its police department. More than 30 members signed a letter that was recently delivered to Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther's office asking for several changes, including transferring department discrimination complaints within from the police's Internal Affairs Bureau to the city's Department of Human Resources. Other requests include improving working conditions for minority officers and improving interactions between police and community members. Lawsuits alleging racism within the police division have been filed against the department.

Euclid officer to get job back after hitting a man during traffic stop
Euclid police officer seen in a viral video hitting a man during a traffic stop will be getting his job back. An arbitrator ruled Monday that Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail didn't have cause to fire Patrolman Michael Amiott, who was caught on video punching Richard Hubbard last year. Cleveland.com reports Amiott must be reinstated within two weeks and he will receive back pay. He'll have to complete required training, will be removed from SWAT and cannot hold any side jobs during probation.

Ohio bill focuses on use, funding of school features like AC
Ohio would have to study which of its schools have air conditioning, safety measures and certain other building features under a state lawmaker's proposal to direct some school construction money specifically for those purposes.

Republican Rep. Niraj Antani of Miamisburg said he hopes his proposal starts a conversation about changing how the state funds school infrastructure. Antani, who's running for re-election, says every school should have those features but too many don't. There's no state tally on that, so the evidence is anecdotal. Early this school year, for example, a heat wave caused scores of schools around Ohio to close or send students home early.

Health officials confirm three new cases of polio-like disease in Ohio
Health officials in Ohio have confirmed three new cases of a polio-like disease that has stumped researchers. The Columbus Dispatch reports that brings the total to four cases in Ohio this year. One is in Cuyahoga County. Accute flaccid myelitis is a rare neurological condition that mostly affects boys – it attacks the spinal cord and causes a sudden weakness in arm or leg muscles. Researchers know little about what causes disease, or how to treat it. Health officials are asking doctors to contact the state or local health department with any suspected cases.

Judge rejects Dimora's request to be released from prison
Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s appeal to be released from federal prison has been struck down. U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi on Monday rejected Dimora’s attempt to overturn more than two-dozen corruption convictions. Lioi rejected Dimora's arguments that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 2016 invalidated the instructions given to the jury in his trial. Dimora, 63, was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison in 2012 for his role in the sweeping Cuyahoga County corruption probe.

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