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Morning Headlines: Two Akron Park Projects Win $100,000 Grants; Browns to Stay in Berea for 20 Years

Canal way park
Katelyn Freil
Ohio & Erie CanalWay Coalition
Canal Way Park

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, June 18:

  • Two Akron park projects win $100,000 grants;
  • Diebolf Nixdorf to move 200 jobs to Hoover District;
  • NWS confirms two NE tornadoes from weekend storms;
  • Barberton flooding creates confusion about evacuation;
  • Report: Ohio's children well-being declines;
  • Senate budget proposal includes 17% tax on vaping products;
  • AFL-CIO president to visit Cleveland;
  • New program could cut time spent in line at BMV;
  • Supreme Court to decide future of Dayton abortion clinic;
  • DeWine shifts focus to preventing Lake Erie algae blooms;
  • Browns to stay in Berea for 20 years;
  • Akron garden center to close after 66 years;

Two Akron park projects win $100,000 grants
Two Akron parks near downtown will receive $100,000 grants for improvements based off of designs submitted by residents. Proposals for Elizabeth Park and Canal Park won the second annual Akron Parks Challenge. A Kent State professor pitched the idea to create a group to keep up with Elizabeth Park. Thomas Fuller, head of nonprofit housing developer Alpha Homes, wants to make Canal Park a safer area for recreation. The city will host community meetings and surveys to finalize plans over the next few months. Three parks received grants last year — Cadillac, Chestnut Ridge and Reservoir.

Diebolf Nixdorf to bring 200 jobs to Hoover District
North Canton-based Diebold Nixdorf plans to move 215 jobs to the Hoover District beginning in August. The Canton Repository reports the company has signed a five-year lease to move into vacant space at the complex. Diebold will receive incentives from the city, including reimbursement for permit fees and building plans. The city will also return 50% of income taxes collected over the next five years. Diebold is consolidating assembly for some of its retail point-of-sale cashier check-out machinery.

NWS confirms two NE tornadoes from weekend storms
The National Weather Service has confirmed that Sunday’s storms spawned two tornados in Northeast Ohio. One tornado was spotted Sunday afternoon in southeast Cuyahoga County that traveled about two miles. And a second twister hit parts of Portage and Trumbull counties damaging several buildings along its 13-mile path. No injuries were reported.

Barberton flooding creates confusion about evacuations
Residents in Barberton were told to leave their homes Monday as flood waters were rising, but city officials soon gave the all clear. The Beacon Journal reports that police said the evacuation notice Monday morning was a miscommunication. Barber Road remains closed. Flooding also closed several downtown streets. The National Weather Service reports Barberton and Wadsworth received more than four inches of rain as of Monday morning.

Report: Ohio's children well-being declines
A recent report shows the overall well-being of Ohio children declined between 2016 and 2017. The report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Ohio saw its biggest drop in children’s health, moving from 23rd place to 29th nationwide. Child and teen deaths have also increased, which the report attributes to suicides and the opioid epidemic. The state did report a drop in child poverty by nearly 12,000.

Senate budget proposal includes 17% tax on vaping products
A proposal in the Senate version of Ohio's budget would place a 17% tax on the invoice price of vaping products. Senate Finance Chairman Matt Dolan, a Republican from Chagrin Falls, said he's concerned that vaping has filled a niche in Ohio that is attracting teens. Industry groups oppose the tax proposal, arguing lawmakers are treating their products too similarly to cigarettes and other tobacco products.

AFL-CIO president to visit Cleveland
The president of the largest federation of unions nonprofit will be hosting a town hall in Cleveland Tuesday to urge union members to oppose the new free trade agreement. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the proposed NAFTA deal could harm workers, but supporters of it said it could address important issues like job loss. The NAFTA deal on the table is called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement and all countries will have to ratify the pact before it takes effect. The event will be at 6 p.m. at United Steelworkers Local. It’s one of many stops on his tour, and he plans to speak in swing states President Donald Trump won in 2016.

New program could cut time spent in line at BMV
The state is testing a program that could reduce the time people spend in line at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. People who need to renew their driver's license or auto registration can check-in online and advance in the queue without physically waiting in a BMV office. After checking in online, customers will have a four-hour window to arrive at the office, check in at a kiosk and claim their spot in line. The state announced Monday that the pilot program will be tested at 12 deputy registrar locations, mostly in the Columbus area. State officials say it could be expanded to additional bureau offices in other parts of the state later. There are 186 deputy registrar locations in Ohio. They process about 16 million transactions annually.

Supreme Court to decide future of Dayton abortion clinic
The state Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of a southwest Ohio abortion clinic. Justices will decide whether to hear an appeal by Women's Med Center, the Dayton area's last abortion clinic. It continues operating during a long-running licensure dispute. At issue is the center’s inability to secure the written transfer agreement with a nearby hospital required under Ohio's increasingly stringent abortion laws. The Ohio Department of Health says it revoked Women's Med's license in April after a lower court upheld the order.  A County court then blocked that revocation while the clinic appeals. Ohio's Republican attorney general argued in a recent filing that the high court should uphold the order to close the clinic.

DeWine shifts focus to preventing Lake Erie algae blooms
Gov. Mike DeWine has recommitted Ohio to reduce the nutrients that feed harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. DeWine last week committed to reducing phosphorus by 40% by 2025 as part of a multinational agreement with other Great Lakes states and Canada. It’s the same promise the Kasich administration made four years ago. Ohio lawmakers resisted Kasich’s efforts to enforce phosphorus reduction programs and those efforts remain voluntary. Toxic algae is fed mostly by farm runoff. Gov. DeWine has proposed a $900 million fund to expand water quality projects, such as wetland restoration and lead pipe replacement. Ohio lawmakers are still debating whether to include the H2Ohio plan in the upcoming state budget.

Browns extend lease in Berea for 20 years
The Cleveland Browns are keeping their headquarters and training facility in Berea at least for the next 20 years. The city owns the complex and leases it to the team. Council will vote next month on a deal that will extend the least through 2039. Berea became the home of Browns headquarters in 1991. The team extended its lease with the city through 2028 in 2015.

Akron garden center to close after 66 years
An Akron garden center is closing after 66 years in business. Donzell’s on Waterloo Road said it’s been struggling financially during the summer and fall seasons and has failed to recover from the 2007 recession. The Donzelli family said they’ll post liquidation dates on their Facebook page in the coming days. There is no specific closing date. The property is currently for sale.

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.