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Morning Headlines: UA Considers Private Presidential Search, Wooster Debates Fining the Homeless

A photo of the University of Akron.
University of Akron

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Nov. 29:

  • University of Akron considers private presidential search;
  • Wooster debates ordinance that would fine the homeless;
  • Ohio Senate passes bill to make strangulation of partners, family a felony;
  • Two Cleveland officials suspended without pay;
  • Two Akron teens killed in apparent accidental shooting, suicide;
  • Ohio gas pump credit card scammer sentenced to prison;
  • I-76 construction creates westbound lane change;
  • Bald eagle population grows in Cleveland's industrial valley;

University of Akron considers closed presidential search
The University of Akron will consider expanding its presidential search committee and could keep the process confidential. The Beacon Journal reports the board of trustees is considering a proposal that would drop a policy that brings finalists to campus to meet with various university groups. Currently the presidential search is made up of University trustees, but the proposal would add some members of the Faculty Senate, the faculty union and student government. It's UA's third presidential search since 2014.

Wooster debates ordinance that would fine the homeless
Wooster is considering an ordinance that would charge homeless people with a crime if they refuse to go to a shelter. The Beacon Journal reports a first offense would be a minor misdemeanor with a $150 fine, and the second offense could result with 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. The city council will discuss the ordinance next week.

Ohio Senate passes bill to make strangulation of partners, family a felony
The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that would make strangulation and suffocation of partners and family members a felony. The crimes are currently misdemeanors, giving judges discretion if offenders are sentenced to prison and for how long. Fourty-two states across the country currently classify strangulation as a felony. The bill passed the Senate 30 to 0. It now heads to the Ohio House of Representatives, where it will compete for attention with dozens of other bills with the end of the current legislative session quickly approaching.

Two Cleveland officials suspended without pay
Two top officials in Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s office have been suspended for bypassing airport security at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Hopkins Assistant Director Fred Szabo and Darnell Brown, the mayor's chief of operations, were both suspended without pay — with Szabo suspended for 10 days and Brown for five days. Cleveland.com reports Szabo used his clearance to help Brown retrieve a laptop from his car and bypass airport security to return to a flight. Authorities said Szabo will also lose airport privileges for 90 days, including the ability to bypass Transportation Security Administration security and escort others through security. Jackson's administration says the pair's suspensions took effect Monday, and said the administration considers the matter closed. The TSA said it will conduct its own investigation.

Ohio gas pump credit card scammer sentenced to prison
The head of a group that installed credit card skimmers on gas pumps in five states, including cities in Northeast Ohio, has been sentenced to more than six years in prison. Cleveland.com reports Miami resident Ranset Rodriguez was sentenced yesterday Wednesday in the Northern District of Ohio. Officials said Rodriguez and 12 others installed skimmers to steal credit card information from gas stations in Cleveland, Rocky River, Solon, Stow, Hudson, Fairview Park, Medina, Canton, Cuyahoga Falls, Norton and Austintown. Officials said the group also installed skimmers in Colorado, Maryland, and Utah between 2014 and 2017. Ten people have pleaded guilty to federal charges and two suspects remain at large, including a Parma man.

I-76 construction creates westbound lane change
The construction on 1-76 through Akron continues with more lane changes. ODOT has reduced I-76 West down to one lane between Market Street and Innovation Way until Dec. 5. The changes are a result of bridge joint repairs.

Bald eagle population grows in Cleveland's industrial valley
Bald eagles are gathering in large numbers in Cleveland's Industrial Valley. Cleveland.com reports Cleveland Metroparks naturalists have counted 15 eagles about a mile south of Harvard Road in cottonwood. The eagles appear to be perching around a recently discovered bald eagle nest in the valley. Most of Ohio's 221 pairs of nesting bald eagles live around the Lake Erie shoreline and other large bodies of water around the state, but Ohio Division of Wildlife says most disperse looking for food sources as winter nears. The once plentiful population of Bald Eagles had been nearly wiped out due to pesticides like DDT, which has since been banned. Bald Eagle numbers have been steadily increasing since the late 70s.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.