Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 3:
- Akron middle school students receive updgraded STEM lab;
- Lawmakers approve gas tax increase;
- Cleveland lead safe advocacy group takes signatures to city council;
- Court rules against abortion clinic's attempt to stay open;
- Chapel Hill Mall stores get power shutoff notices;
- Ron 'The Ghoul' Sweed passes away at 70;
Akron middle school students receive updgraded STEM lab
Middle school students at Akron's Buchtel Community Learning Center now have a newly-upgraded STEM lab to work in. The lab is a collaboration between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The two have also given a total of $1 million to fund STEM programs between Akron Public Schools and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The lab will allow students to work with robots, 3D printing and green screen technology.
Lawmakers approve gas tax increase
Ohio's House and Senate have approved a proposal to increase the state tax on gas by 10.5 cents a gallon and the tax on diesel fuel by 19 cents to maintain deteriorating roads and bridges. Both chambers voted Tuesday to approve the long-awaited compromises on the tax increases in the state transportation budget. The compromises cleared a conference committee earlier Tuesday. The new tax rates would start July 1 under the plan, which still requires the governor's signature. The increases mean Ohioans would pay a state tax rate of 38.5 cents per gallon on gas and 47 cents a gallon on diesel fuel. The budget plan also would allow for removal of front license plates starting July 1, 2020, and would boost public transportation funding by adding $70 million a year.
Cleveland lead safe advocacy group takes signatures to city council
A lead safe advocacy group said it has collected 10,000 voter signatures within six weeks to put legislation on the November ballot. The Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing plans to submit the signatures Wednesday to city council. The group's legislation would require owners of Cleveland rental homes to prove properties are lead safe by 2021. It also requires tenants to advertise whether a home is lead safe. Cleveland's charter requires 5,000 voter signatures for legislation to be considered by city council.
Court rules against abortion clinic's attempt to stay open
An Ohio appeals court has upheld a state order revoking the license of the Dayton area's only remaining abortion provider. Ohio's 2nd District Court of Appeals rejected the Women's Med Center appeal. The Ohio Department of Health in 2016 ordered the clinic in Kettering to close because it can't obtain a written patient-transfer agreement from local hospitals. Clinic officials said they will seek to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.
Chapel Hill Mall stores get power shutoff notices
Things could be getting darker for Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall. The Beacon Journal reports stores at the struggling mall have been warned by Ohio Edison that it could shut off their power in the coming days because the mall’s owner hasn't been paying the electric bills. The owner of the mall, Kohan Retail Investment Group, said the electric bill just got overlooked and will be paid quickly. Michael Kohan tells the Beacon Journal that there’s nothing to worry about. A spokesperson for Mayor Dan Horrigan said this is the second time this year they’ve been notified about a possible power shutoff at the mall.
Ron 'The Ghoul' Sweed passes away at 70
Cleveland TV personality Ron Sweed, better known as "The Ghoul," passed away this week at 70 years old. The Euclid native took to Cleveland's late night airwaves in the 1970s, performing crazy stunts, including making a mess of Cheez Whiz and pierogis. He got an early start in the business by working as an assistant for Ernie Anderson, who is best known for his portrayal of "Ghoulardi".