Morning Headlines: Cuyahoga Co. Set to Ban Plastic Bags, Summit Co. Dems Refuse to Back Incumbents

May 2, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, May 2: 

  • Cuyahoga County set to pass plastic bag ban;
  • Summit County Dems refuse to back council incumbents;
  • House passes bill endig state takeover of school districts;
  • Euclid woman sues MetroHealth for alleged religious discrimination;
  • Timken reports positive first quarter earnings;
  • Akron to get new sand volleyball courts;
  • Former news anchor Doug Adair passes away at 89;
  • Federal court to consider news outlet access to opioid data;

Cuyahoga County set to pass plastic bag ban
Cuyahoga County Council is set to pass a bill that would eliminate plastic bags in the county. Cleveland.com reports all members of a council committee voiced support for the legislation last night. The ban would go into effect Oct. 1, prohibiting the use of single-use plastic bags and nonrecyclable paper bags. It would also ban bags that aren't made up of more than 40% of recycled material. It wouldn't apply to bags that customers bring into retailers or carry out orders at restaurants. First-time violators would get a written warning, but those who violate the ban more than two times could face fines up to $500. The full council still needs to vote. 

Summit County Dems refuse to back council incumbents
In a rare move, the Summit County Democratic party is campaigning against three Democratic incumbents in Akron. The Beacon Journal reports that ahead of Tuesday’s primary, the party is sending information discouraging voters from backing Councilmen Bruce Kilby, Bob Hoch, and Zack Milkovich. County Democratic Party Chair Tom Bevan says it was his decision to endorse opponents in those races. Veteran councilman Kilby told the Beacon that he expected nothing less from the local “Democratic Party machine.” Bob Hoch said he’s not concerned about endorsements. Milkovich was not available for comment.

House passes bill ending state takeover of school districts
The Ohio House has passed a bill that would end a program of state takeovers of failing school districts. The so-called Youngstown plan has installed state-appointed CEO’s to run school districts in three cities:  Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland. The takeover system has garnered criticism since it was passed in a one-day session in 2015, with very little discussion. Lawmakers voted to dissolve existing Academic Distress Commissions in those cities, prevent new ones, and require local boards of education to establish improvement plans for low-performing schools. Under the current system, 10 other districts are in-line for state takeover, including Canton, Ashtabula, Euclid and Painesville. The House bill dismantles that process. It now heads to the Senate.

Euclid woman sues MetroHealth for alleged religious discrimination
A Eulid woman is suing MetroHealth, claiming the company rescinded a job offer because her religion prohibits flu shots. Cleveland.com reports India Pouge filed a vaccine exemption request in January along with a letter from her pastor explaining her reilgious beliefs. Pouge then claimed she received a call two days later and was told her job offer was no longer valid. Court documents state MetroHealth required a flu shot for the job. Pouge is seeking $75,000 in damages.

Timken reports positive first quarter earnings
North Canton-based Timken posted positive first-quarter earnings. Timken had profits of nearly $92 million, a 14.5% gain compared to last year. Improved profits came on sales of nearly $980 million, an 11% gain in the 2018 first quarter. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. Timken shares have increased 29% since the beginning of the year.

Akron to get new sand volleyball courts
Downtown Akron is trading in more asphalt for sand. The city is building four sand volleyball courts and a park along the Towpath Trail in Canal Place, which once housed B.F. Goodrich. The projects will be funded by a $155,000 Knight Foundation grant. It'll also be the new home for Summit Sports, which has been running volleyball leagues in Akron since 2016.

Former news anchor Doug Adair passes away at 89
A prominent former Ohio TV news anchor has died. Doug Adair worked at WJW and WKYC in Cleveland, and WCMH in Columbus. Adair retired in 1994 as the longest-serving TV news anchor in Ohio. He interviewed many well-known historical figures, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Calling hours will be June 1 at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. Adair was 89.

Federal court to consider news outlet access to opioid data
A three-judge panel will hear arguments on whether federal data about how prescription opioid drugs were distributed should be made public. Attorneys for two news organizations are urging the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to overturn a lower-court judge's denial of access to the information. The data is a key piece of evidence in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments against companies that make and distribute the drugs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency provided it to parties in the suits. It details the flow of prescription painkillers to pharmacies, showing the number and doses of pills. Cleveland-based Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing more than 1,500 of the lawsuits, ruled it cannot be made public. He said doing so would reveal trade secrets.