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Morning Headlines: Cleveland Finally Releases Amazon Bid, Cuyahoga Nears 800th Rape Kit Indictment

Cleveland skyline
Cleveland skyline

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 11:

  • Cleveland releases Amazon bid proposal;
  • Rape kits lead to hundreds of indictments;
  • Canton boy diagnosed with 'childhood Alzheimer's';
  • Ohio Republicans defending state congressional map in court;
  • Dozens rescued after being trapped on Lake Erie ice floe;
  • Wayne National Forest plans fires for tree, wildlife health;
  • Bill would regulate light-weight electric scooters in state;

Cleveland releases Amazon bid proposal
Cleveland has released its proposal that tried to convince online giant Amazon to build its second headquarters there. Cleveland.com reports the proposal offered a total value incentive of $3.5 billion in tax breaks and grants. It also offered 100 acres, including a skyscraper in Public Square and multiple other buildings that would have weaved the headquarters throughout the heart of the city. The proposal estimated Amazon would have brought roughly 40,000 jobs. The city initially refused to release the proposal multiple times until Channel 5 Cleveland filed a lawsuit.

Rape kits lead to hundreds of indictments
A sexual assault kit task force in Cuyahoga County has opened cases connected to more than 7,00 rape kits and is nearing 800 indictments from those investigations. The Plain Dealer reports Rick Bell, chief of special investigations with the county Prosecutor's Office, said the task force first focused on getting indictments in decades-old cases before the statute of limitations for prosecution expired. The task force then turned its attention to identifying and investigating possible serial rape cases and cases that happened in recent years, especially if the suspect wasn't in prison. Bell said it could take two to three more years to finish the current investigations. He said there could be up to 1,000 indictments by the time that work is completed.

Canton boy diagnosed with 'childhood Alzheimer's'
A 2-year-old boy in Canton has been diagnosed with a rare disease referred to as “childhood Alzheimer’s.” Doctors diagnosed Karson Ross with Niemann-Pick type C. It’s a hereditary disease that causes the buildup of cholesterol and fats in the body, affecting the brain. His family has been going to Chicago for an experimental drug that helps stabilize the disease, and they are asking the FDA to make the drug locally available to help pursue research in possible treatments. Niemann-Pick doesn’t have a cure, and only 500 cases are diagnosed worldwide each year.  

Ohio Republicans defending state congressional map in court
Attorneys for Ohio Republican officials will call witnesses this week to defend the state's congressional map. A federal trial enters its second week Monday in a lawsuit by voter rights groups that say the current seats resulted from "an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander." Their witnesses have included Democratic activists and voters who have expressed frustration and confusion with districts that have stayed at 12 Republicans, four Democrats, since they were drawn ahead of the 2012 elections. Attorneys for the Republican officials being sued said the map resulted from bipartisan compromise, with each party losing one seat after population shifts in the 2010 U.S. Census caused Ohio to lose two congressional seats. Among potential GOP witnesses is former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester.

Dozens rescued after being trapped on Lake Erie ice floe
Nearly four dozen fishermen trapped on an ice floe in Lake Erie were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and local emergency personnel Saturday. The Coast Guard and Ottawa County Sheriff's Office said people had become stuck on an ice floe that had broken off from the main ice pack connected to Catawba Island. The Coast Guard launched helicopters out of Detroit, and along with local rescue personnel, sent airboats to retrieve the stranded fishermen. About 45 people were rescued, including two fishermen who were hoisted by helicopter. About 100 people made it back to shore on their own, some wading through the frigid water.

Wayne National Forest plans fires for tree, wildlife health
Nearly 2,000 acres of Wayne National Forest will be intentionally burned over the next three months as part of the area's fire management efforts. Forest officials said controlled fires help increase nutrient availability in the forest and remove some leaf litter and smaller trees and brush. That, in turn, allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor to regenerate oak and hickory trees and sun-loving plants. Officials said about 1,700 acres are scheduled for controlled burns during March, April and May on the southern Ohio forest's Ironton Ranger District. The forest supervisor said prescribed burns follow strict guidelines and take place only under specific weather conditions.

Bill would regulate light-weight electric scooters in state
An Ohio House transportation budget bill now in the state Senate for consideration includes regulations over light-weight electric scooters, which have been showing up in some Ohio communities. The two-year budget bill passed by the House last week creates several laws regulating the low-speed scooters currently regulated under various municipal rules. Under House Bill 62, scooters couldn't go over 15 mph, and would have to use lighting at night. Operators would have to yield to pedestrians at all times and give an audible signal when overtaking and passing a pedestrian. People under age 16 would be prohibited from using the scooters allowed on public streets, highways, sidewalks, paths and bike lanes.