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Morning Headlines: Akron Plans New Courthouse, Police HQ; 5 Charged in Illegal Liquor Sales

photo of Downtown Akron
Shane Wynn
Downtown Akron

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, January 7:

  • Akron plans new courthouse, police headquarters;
  • Drug companies want sanctions against DeWine, lawyers for comments on '60 Minutes';
  • 5 charged for illegal liquor sales;
  • Ohio treasurer-elect announces details of swearing-in ceremony;
  • Psychic medium to host tours at former Akron rubber factory;

Akron plans new courthouse, police headquarters
The City of Akron is planning a new courthouse and police headquarters after accepting a 200,000 square feet office building from the state. The state agreed to pass on ownership of the downtown Ocasek Building to the city in one of the last bills signed by outgoing Gov. John Kasich. The Beacon Journal reports the city's courthouse would be moved out of the aging Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center into the Ocasek Building with plans to then build a new city police headquarters elsewhere in the future. The paper reports there is no cash deal set in place and that the city would lease space in the building back to the state at no cost. An agreement on the move is expected to be reached in February.

5 individuals charged for illegal liquor sales
Ohio authorities say an investigation into illegal secondary-market liquor sales have led to charges against five individuals. Such sales involve the out-of-state purchase of alcohol difficult to find in Ohio that is then resold over the internet and social media sites. Ohio law only allows consumers to buy liquor, such as bourbon and vodka, in authorized state liquor locations, with revenue going to the state to support economic development. The Ohio Investigative Unit said people buying alcohol through secondary sales aren't guaranteed that the product is safe. The misdemeanor charges against the five individuals announced last week include the illegal sale of beer or intoxicating liquor.

Ohio treasurer-elect announces details of swearing-in ceremony
Ohio's state treasurer-elect has announced details of his swearing-in ceremony to be held later this month. GOP state Rep. Robert Sprague, of Findlay, won the office in November by defeating Democrat Rob Richardson, a Cincinnati attorney. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy will administer the oath of office to Sprague on Jan. 11 at the Hancock Hotel in Findlay in northwestern Ohio. Sprague was part of a GOP sweep of statewide offices in November. He succeeds Republican Josh Mandel, who is term-limited.

Drug companies want sanctions against DeWine, lawyers for comments on '60 Minutes'
Several drug manufacturers targeted in lawsuits over the opioid epidemic have asked a federal judge in Cleveland to sanction Ohio's attorney general and governor-elect Mike DeWine, along with two other lawyers, for statements they made in recent television interviews. A motion filed last week said statements by DeWine and attorneys Mike Moore and Burton LeBlanc on an episode of CBS' "60 Minutes" were calculated to taint potential jury pools, Cleveland.com reports. They were part of a Dec. 16 segment on the news magazine show about litigation over the role of big pharmaceutical companies in the deadly opioid epidemic. The motion was filed by attorneys for several drug manufacturers and distributors, including Cardinal Health, Endo, AmerisourceBergen and Purdue Pharma. The motion comes amid preparations for a September trial over claims against drug companies by the cities of Cleveland and Akron, and their respective counties, Cuyahoga and Summit. 

Psychic medium to host tours at former Akron rubber factory
A psychic medium plans to hold tours below the former B.F. Goodrich complex in Akron. The Beacon Journal reports the tour is being formed by the Summit County Historical Society as part of a ghost hunting event. The group says the former rubber factory is full of rich history and maybe even ghostly activity. The psychic leading the tour, Laura Lyn, has apparently already scouted the area and reports the presence of so-called high-energy activity.

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.