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Morning Headlines: TJX HomeGoods Buys Land in Lordstown, Akron Refugee Resettlement Agency to Close

Distribution Center, Brownsburg, IN
TJX website
HomeGoods distribution center in Indiana

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, April 1: 

  • TJX HomeGoods buys land in Lordstown;
  • DeWine proclaims April 'Month of the Child';
  • Akron refugee resettlement agency to close;
  • Summit County introduces new program for probation;
  • General Motors seeks dismissal of union lawsuit on closures;
  • Ohio predicts excellent fishing this year on Lake Erie;
  • Judge drops Infowars' Alex Jones from Ohio flag-burning suit;
  • Panel hashing out gas tax deal to resume Monday;
  • 14-year-old fatally shot in Canton;

TJX HomeGoods buys land in Lordstown
TJX HomeGoods, the parent company of T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and HomeGoods, has announced its purchase of a large chuck of land in Lordstown. It’ll be home to a HomeGoods distribution center, which is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the area. Construction is expected to begin within the next few weeks. The community near Youngstown is reeling from the closure of its GM plant earlier this month.

DeWine pushes for 'Month of the Child'
Gov. Mike DeWine is drawing attention to a key policy priority with a proclamation honoring young children. DeWine has declared April 2019 the "Month of the Young Child" and the week of April 8-12 the "Week of the Young Child." The pronouncements dovetail with DeWine's efforts to elevate children's issues, from education to services for at-risk youth to job matching. Among his earliest acts were dedicating a top adviser to the issue and calling for $74 million in additional funding for children's services and Ohio's child protection system. The Ohio Children's Budget Coalition is an organization of child-serving groups formed in response to DeWine's efforts.

Akron refugee resettlement agency to close
One of Akron’s refugee resettlement agencies will be closing at the end of the month. The Beacon Journal reports the Akron office of World Relief fund will shut down April 30 after helping more than 400 immigrants. The closure is a result of the White House’s decision to limit the number of refugees allowed to settle in the U.S. to 30,000. It’s the lowest limit since the refugee program was created more than 30 years ago. International Institute is the only other refugee resettlement agency in the city.

Summit County introduces new program for probation
Summit County officials want to reduce the number of offenders on probation, which is in the thousands. The Beacon Journal reports participants in the Summit County Offender Recidivism Reduction Program will serve 18 months compared to the normal two years. About 30-50 people will be selected each year based on how likely they are to fail their probation. To graduate, participants must be drug- and alcohol-free for 165 days and have a job. Summit County got a $600,000 federal grant for the 3-year test program.

General Motors seeks dismissal of union lawsuit on closures
Attorneys for General Motors (GM) have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the automaker sidestepped an agreement with union workers through its plans to idle three plants, including one in Lordstown. GM's motion argues the United Auto Workers’ contract bars the union from going to court over a contractual dispute while grievances remain open, and GM says two grievances over plant idling are pending. The UAW sued GM in February over a breach of contract claim.

Ohio predicts excellent fishing this year on Lake Erie
Ohio's Department of Natural Resources said the Lake Erie fishing outlook appears excellent after a record walleye harvest in 2018. The state has set a bag limit of four walleye per angler through April 30 and a six-fish limit from May through next February. New regulations for smallmouth and largemouth bass have been put in place for 2019. Anglers can take one fish at least 18 inches long until May 1, and five fish at least 14 inches long through next April.

Judge drops Infowars' Alex Jones from Ohio flag-burning suit
A federal judge has dismissed Infowars radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and two of his associates from a lawsuit filed by a man claiming his rights were violated when police arrested him for trying to burn an American flag during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by Gregory Lee Johnson, whose arrest for flag burning at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas led to a U.S. Supreme Court invalidating state flag-burning laws. Johnson's suit claims Cleveland police officers lied when they said Johnson set himself on fire and that Jones' associates lied about being injured during the flag-burning attempt. Judge Solomon Oliver ruled that statements Jones' associates gave to police are protected and can't be used in the lawsuit.

Panel hashing out gas tax deal to resume Monday
A joint Senate-House committee working on a compromise over a new state gas tax will get back to work Monday. The committee is trying to iron out differences between an 11-cent increase proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine and House Speaker Larry Householder and a 6-cent increase proposed by Senate President Larry Obhof. The tax is needed to fix deteriorating roads and bridges, but lawmakers disagree on how much funding is necessary. The transportation budget was supposed to be passed by midnight Sunday. Most of the transportation funding doesn’t go into effect until July 1, so an interim budget could be passed.

14-year-old fatally shot in Canton
A 14-year-old girl has been fatally shot in Canton. Authorities said Sylvia McGhee, an eighth-grader in the Canton City Schools was shot in the head. She was found in an alley early Saturday. No other details have been released and authorities say they are continuing to investigate.

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.