Morning Headlines: Amazon to Bring 1,500 Jobs to Akron; 400 Evacuated in Wooster Amid Flash Floods

Jul 22, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, July 22:

  • Amazon to bring 1,500 jobs to Akron;
  • 400 people evacuated in Wooster amid flash floods;
  • Southbound Kenmore Leg to close for months;
  • DEA: Distributors circulated 3 billion opioids in Ohio over six-year span;
  • Senators want to rename NASA facility after Neil Armstrong;
  • State data: Number of children enrolled in Medicaid declines;
  • Ohio extends program helping drivers get licenses reinstated;

Amazon to bring 1,500 jobs to Akron
Amazon has officially announced that it will be building two fulfillment centers in Ohio, including one in Akron. It'll be at the former Rolling Acres Mall site, creating 1,500 full-time jobs. It's an announcement that's been anticipated for months. The other center will be in Rossford near Toledo. The 700,000 square-foot centers will be used to pack and ship small items to customers such as books and electronics. The centers are expected to create 2,500 jobs combined, as well as many minimum wage jobs starting at $15 an hour.

400 people evacuated in Wooster amid flash floods
There were some nervous moments in the Wooster area last night as flash floods resulted in evacuations and rescues. More than 400 people were evacuated from Prairie Lane Lake Park campground. Officials estimate Wooster and Apple Creak received as much as five inches of rain last night, with showers and storms in the forecast Monday. There were lots of road closures. The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Grace Church in Wooster.

Southbound Kenmore Leg to close for months
The southbound lanes of Akron's Kenmore Leg at I-76 between I-77 and I-277 will close Tuesday for a few months. The closures are a part of a $25 million reconstruction project. While the northbound lanes will close just for one day, starting tonight, the southbound lanes will close through mid-September. Then northbound lanes will close for more than a month.

DEA: Distributors circulated 3 billion opioids in Ohio over six-year span
From 2006 to 2012, more than 3 billion prescription pain pills were distributed around the state. The data from the Drug Enforcement Administration shows that more than 700 million of those pills came from Dublin-based Cardinal Health, one of the nation’s biggest wholesale drug distributors. During the same years, drug distributors circulated more than 76 billion opioids. Ohio University released a study that shows more than 1 million years of life was lost over the last decade. Cardinal Health is one of many distributors being sued in federal court in Cleveland over the opioid crisis.

Senators want to rename NASA facility after Neil Armstrong
Ohio's two U.S. senators plan on asking Congress to rename a NASA research facility in northern Ohio after astronaut Neil Armstrong. Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown want to honor the Ohio native by renaming the NASA Plum Brook Station in Sandusky. Portman said he talked about the idea with Armstrong a year before his death in 2012. But the senator says Armstrong was so humble that he balked at the suggestion. Portman said he has since talked with Armstrong's family and NASA and that they support renaming the facility.

State data: Number of children enrolled in Medicaid declines
State data shows the number of children enrolled in Ohio's Medicaid program declined over a 15-month period, with nearly 37,000 fewer children enrolled as of May of this year, compared with 2018. Ohio had previously seen progress for nearly a decade in its efforts to make sure every child had health insurance, expanding Medicaid enrollment to more than 1.2 million children. Child advocacy organizations are urging the state to simplify a Medicaid re-enrollment process that can be difficult, particularly for those in poverty. Some people don't understand the renewal paperwork they receive in the mail, while others don't receive the paperwork because they moved one or more times in the last year. The director of Department of Medicaid said her team is working to improve state outreach.

Ohio extends program helping drivers get licenses reinstated
A program that has helped more than 6,500 Ohio drivers get their licenses reinstated after suspensions is being extended until the end of the year. Eligible drivers must have completed any other court-ordered sanctions, and at least 18 months must have passed since any court-ordered suspension ended. Over 79,000 people have applied for amnesty in the program's first six months. Officials waived or reduced fees for roughly 71,000 people, eliminating nearly $60 million in fees. State Representatives Republican Dave Greenspan of Westlake and Democrat Juanita Brent of Cleveland are proposing the program be made permanent.