Morning Headlines: Akron Rejects City’s 33rd Discount Store; 175 Self-Quarantined for Coronavirus

Feb 25, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, Feb. 25:

  • Akron rejects city's 33rd discount store
  • 175 self-quarantined for coronavirus;
  • Attorney General says half of state loans not in compliance;
  • World's first vitro cheetah cubs born at Ohio zoo;
  • Recreational marijuana petition drive underway;
  • Grants seek market-based reductions of Great Lakes pollution;
  • Fund to help Ohio child agencies battered by opioid crisis;
  • Rocky River condos didn't have sprinkler system, dry wall;

Akron rejects the city's 33rd discount store
Akron City Council has denied a request to build a new Dollar General store. The Beacon Journal reports council cited a new local law that prevents new dollar stores within 2,500 feet of existing ones. Council argued that adding what would be the city's 33rd discount store would overload the area with retail and compete with grocery stores. But the newspaper reports Councilwoman Tara Samples broke with her colleagues on the vote, saying not all neighborhoods were taken into consideration, especially black-dominant and low income neighborhoods.

175 self-quarantined for coronavirus
Nearly 175 people who have arrived in Ohio from China are being asked to self-quarantine themselves for at least two weeks. The Ohio Department of Health said the travelers could have possibly been exposed to the coronavirus, now known as COVID-19. There have been no confirmed cases in Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said masks are not needed at this time, but recommends using hand sanitizers and washing hands. Infections are slowing down in China, but are spreading rapidly in other countries including Italy and Iran.

Attorney General says half of state loans not in compliance
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said only half of the entities receiving state economic development loans substantially complied with the terms of the loan. Yost said Monday that the noncompliant groups received almost $14 million in loans closed out in 2018. Yost also said the state Development Services Agency modified grant requirements after the fact to allow grantees to be compliant. Yost likened this to moving the goal posts in a football game. Yost is recommending that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and lawmakers review the loan program.

World's first vitro cheetah cubs born at Ohio zoo
The Columbus Zoo has announced that two cheetah cubs have been born through in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer to a surrogate mother for the first time. Zoo officials said the births could have broader implications for managing the species' population in the future. It was the third time scientists have attempted the procedure and it was the first time it worked.

Recreational marijuana petition drive underway
Voters heading to the polls in November may see another attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio. Cleveland.com reports that backers of the effort plan to submit petition language later this week with the Ohio Attorney General’s office. It’s the first step in a long and expensive process that includes gathering more than 440,000 valid signatures. Ohio voters in 2015 rejected a constitutional amendment that would have created a limited network of private pot growers. Lawmakers in 2016 created a medical marijuana program that went into effect last year. Eleven states have legalized recreational pot. More than a dozen Ohio cities have decriminalized marijuana.

Grants seek market-based reductions of Great Lakes pollution
The federal government has awarded grants totaling more than $1.8 million for projects designed to reduce nutrient pollution that helps cause harmful algae blooms in the Great Lakes. The U.S. EPA said the money is being divided among five organizations that will use market-based approaches for targeting runoff of nutrients such as phosphorus. The funding will come from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that deals with some of the lakes' most persistent environmental problems.

Fund to help Ohio child agencies battered by opioid crisis
Ohio's human services agency said it's investing nearly $1 million in an emergency fund to help county children services departments battered by the opioid epidemic. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the fund will help agencies in crisis because of large-scale staff turnover, a child's death, concerns about an agency's performance, or other emergencies. A record high of nearly 16,000 children are in custody in Ohio.

Rocky River condos didn't have sprinkler system, dry wall
The Rocky River condominium complex that caught fire Sunday didn't have a sprinkler system or drywall installed. Cleveland.com reports Rockport River was under construction and had its wooden frame exposed, making it susceptible to the massive blaze. The fire temporarily shut down a part of I-90 and could be seen from Euclid across Lake Erie. The investigation is ongoing, but authorities don’t suspect arson.