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Morning Headlines: Company Interested in Lordstown GM Plant; Former UA Athlete Files Complaint

photo of Lordstown GM assembly line
The last of the Chevy Cruzes rolling off of the Lordstown General Motors' plant assembly line.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Oct. 28:

  • Ohio governor: Another company interested in Lordstown GM plant;
  • Former UA basketball player files complaint against university;
  • Drug access means no more Ohio executions likely this year;
  • Schools can now apply for share of $10M in safety grants;
  • Few Ohioans opting for federally compliant ID so far;
  • State lawmakers hope to prevent crashes with rumble strips;

DeWine: Another company interested in Lordstown GM plant
Gov. Mike DeWine said a second potential buyer is showing interest in the shuttered General Motors (GM) plant near Youngstown. But DeWine wouldn't give any hints who it might be while speaking with the Warren Tribune Chronicle this past week. DeWine did say Ohio is prepared to offer incentives to companies interested in the Lordstown plant. GM stopped production at the plant in March and is planning to sell the massive complex. One potential buyer is a fledgling electric vehicle maker that has said it plans to initially employ about 400 workers if it can raise the money to buy the plant. GM employed 4,500 people at the factory just two years ago.

Former UA basketball player files complaint against university
A former University of Akron basketball player has filed a complaint against the school and head coach John Groce following a fight with a teammate last December. Cleveland.com reports Mark Kostelac said he required surgery after he was punched in the face by Khadim Gueye during practice. The lawsuit also accuses university trainers of failing to care for his severe injuries and told him to drive home to Chardon by himself. Kostelac also claimed he suffered discrimination because he was white and Catholic on a black-majority team at the time, and that the school did nothing to address those concerns. The university has not commented. Gueye pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to probation. Both players ended up transferring schools.

Drug access means no more Ohio executions likely this year
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said it's "highly unlikely" the state's last execution scheduled for this year will be carried out because of problems finding lethal injection drugs. DeWine reiterated his concern that drugmakers might cut off supplies of medications to state agencies if they learn any of their drugs were used for capital punishment. DeWine's comments mean a probable delay for the Dec. 11 execution of James Hanna. He is sentenced to die for killing cellmate Peter Copas at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in 1997. DeWine initially delayed executions because of concerns about the constitutionality of the first pharmaceutical used in Ohio's three-drug method. That drug is the sedative midazolam. It has been used in several problematic executions. Critics say it doesn't render inmates deeply unconscious enough.

Schools can now apply for share of $10M in safety grants
Ohio schools can now apply for their share of $10 million in school safety grants for the 2019-20 school year. Public schools, chartered nonpublic schools and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities are eligible to receive either $2,500 or $4.49 per student, whichever amount is greater. Funding for the grants comes from dollars that legislators set aside for school safety in House Bill 166. The law gives school leaders flexibility to decide how the funds can best benefit school safety and security efforts. Those efforts may include active shooter and school safety training or equipment and training to identify and assist students with mental issues, among other initiatives. The Ohio Attorney General's Office will award the grants. All applications are due by Dec. 13.

Few Ohioans opting for federally compliant ID so far
Only a small percentage of Ohio's licensed drivers and identification card holders have opted to get a new federally compliant ID needed in the future for boarding planes and entering federal facilities. The Columbus Dispatch reports about 14% of the state's licensed drivers and identification card holders so far have obtained the new compliant IDs that require more documentation than Ohio's standard ones. Ohio has issued about 1.3 million compliant IDs since it began offering them July 2, 2018. That leaves about 8.1 million licensed drivers and state ID holders who haven't opted for them. Travelers beginning in October 2020 will need the updated IDs or other compliant identification such as passports to board planes. Non-compliant driver's licenses and state IDs can still be used for driving and voting.

State lawmakers hope to prevent crashes with rumble strips
Some Ohio lawmakers said they hope to prevent numerous vehicle crashes by gradually installing rumble strips down the center of some roads. Legislation would require the Ohio Department of Transportation to add rumble strips on all undivided, two-way highways with speed limits higher than 45 mph. Ohio's House passed the bill unanimously in June and the Senate Transportation Committee held a hearing on it last week. State Highway Patrol data shows more than 500 people have died over the past five years due to drivers crossing over the center of undivided Ohio highways.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.