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Morning Headlines: Jim Jordan Part of Trump Defense Team; Lights Still On at Chapel Hill Mall

Photo of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
LYDIA TAYLOR
/
WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, Jan. 21:

  • Jim Jordan part of Trump defense team in impeachment trial;
  • Lights still on at Chapel Hill Mall;
  • State releases plan to address defects in Medicaid system;
  • Janitor union says Sherwin-Williams shouldn't get public funding;
  • Bill would create student debt repayment program to help retain public defenders;
  • Cleveland Browns looking into the Vikings to fill GM spot;
  • 10-year forest plan to address climate change, fracking;
  • Invasive bug species killing off plants near Ohio;
  • Akron Children's Museum moving forward with expansion project;

Jim Jordan part of Trump defense team in impeachment trial
The White House has named Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan to President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team. Politco reports Jordan is one of eight GOP members of congress tapped to serve on Trump's defense team to work to combat a "hyper-partisan and baseless impeachment." The Urbana Republican represents Ohio’s 4th Congresstional District and has been one of Trump’s most ardent defenders. The Senate impeachment trial starts Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. WKSU will be carrying live coverage on 89.7. 

Lights still on at Chapel Hill Mall
After weeks of uncertainty, the lights are still on at Akron's Chapel Hill Mall. But Ohio Edison said it’s suing the mall owner to try and recoup the money the utility is owed. Ohio Edison said they did not shut off the power Monday as threatened because mall owner Kohan Retail Investment Group submitted a partial payment. The owner is behind on property tax payments. Summit County has initiated foreclosure proceedings. The last anchor store at the Mall, J.C. Penney, announced last week that the store will close in April.

State releases plan to address defects in Medicaid system
The state has released a plan to address multiple problems a federal audit found with Ohio's Medicaid system. Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran told federal regulators the number of applications pending for more than 45 days should be down to 8,000 by July from more than 53,000 a year ago. The Columbus Dispatch reports the state also is working on more than 129,000 cases past due for annual checks to redetermine Medicaid eligibility. Corcoran said earlier this month that the federal audit found high error rates in the areas of payment and eligibility determination. The program for poor children and families insures nearly 3 million people.

Janitor union says Sherwin-Williams shouldn't get public funding
The union representing janitors at Sherwin-Williams said the company should be excluded from any public funding for its plans for a new headquarters. Cleveland.com reports For Service Employees International Union Local 1 said Sherwin-Williams is getting rid of union janitors in favor of a contractor that doesn't use union labor. The paint manufacturing company will eliminate 30 union janitor jobs at the end of the month. The union said its janitors are paid between $12-$15 per hour while nonunion workers are typically paid $9 or $10 an hour. In an emailed statement, Sherwin-Williams told The Plain Dealer the company decided to change cleaning contractors because of poor performance. Sherwin-Williams is currently negotiating incentives to build a new headquarters in Cuyahoga County.

Bill would create student debt repayment program to help retain public defenders
An Ohio Senate committee is considering a bill that would create a student loan repayment program to help recruit and retain attorneys to serve as much needed public defenders in the state. The proposed program is similar to those in Ohio aimed at encouraging physicians, dentists and dental hygienists to practice in underserved areas. The program would give lawyers who become public defenders tuition loan assistance of up to $85,000 for five years of service. The House passed the bill last year, and it's now before the Senate Finance Committee.

Cleveland Browns looking into the Vikings to fill GM spot
A person familiar with the Cleveland Browns' plans said the team has interviewed Vikings assistant general manager George Paton for their general manager vacancy. Paton has spent the past 13 seasons in Minnesota working with new Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not making its plans known. Paton is the third candidate to interview for Cleveland's job, and he's expected to meet with the Browns again this week. The team also met with Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry and Patriots scouting director Monti Ossenfort.

10-year forest plan to address climate change, fracking
Ohio forestry officials are putting together a 10-year forest action plan which officials said will address climate change and fracking. The Columbus Dispatch reports the first of four meetings seeking public input will be held this week in Columbus. A meeting in Akron is set for Fed. 12 at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources office in Portage Lakes. Fifteen percent of Ohio’s nearly 8 million acres of forestland are government owned. The plan will also examine how native tree species will survive in a changing climate and what invasive pests could be moving into Ohio.

Invasive bug species killing off plants near Ohio
Among the pests generating concern in the area is an invasive insect known for killing off grapes, hops and certain trees. Spotted lantern-fly eggs have been found in Beaver County, Pennsylvania — about 15 miles east of the Ohio border. The Columbus Dispatch reports Pennsylvania authorities have treated the eggs found at a rail yard, but they won’t know until spring whether the treatment was successful. Some Ohio farmers have been clearing ailanthus, also known as tree of heaven, which is a preferred food source of the lantern-fly. The insects are native to China, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Pennsylvania has been fighting them since 2014. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is asking people to report any signs of the inch-long insects that have black and red spotted wings and a yellow belly with black stripes.

Akron Children's Museum moving forward with expansion project
The Akron Children’s Museum hopes to begin construction later this year on a 3,000-foot expansion that will include a learning lab for field trips. The Beacon Journal reports the project will nearly double the current size of the facility which is located beside Lock 3 in downtown Akron. The 4-year-old nonprofit museum has reached half of the $500,000 it needs for the project.