Here are your morning headlines for Friday, July 20:
- Cuyahoga County considers more LGBTQ protections;
- Panel delays Gov. Kasich's executive order on algal blooms;
- Owners of Akron chemical plant apologize for explosion;
- Libertarian candidate emerges in 12th congressional district;
- New Cleveland medical school named after Cleveland Clinic donors;
- University of Akron offers training for attorneys helping immigrants;
- Ohio mayors from 30 cities lay out their agenda;
- Construction to close portion of I-77 this weekend;
- Lawyers claim UH fertility clinic failure worse than first thought;
Cuyahoga County considers more LGBTQ protections
Cuyahoga County Council is considering more protections for LGBTQ residents. The legislation would form the Commission on Human Rights. Its members would be attorneys with the authority to levy fines for cases of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. Money collected from those fines would be used to fund education and awareness efforts. Council is expected to vote on the legislation next month.
Panel delays Gov. Kasich's executive order to fight algal blooms
A panel largely appointed by Gov. John Kasich has delayed immediate action on his executive order intensifying Ohio's efforts to fight toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie. The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission on Thursday agreed to further study the issue after farmers and some legislative Republicans raised concerns. Kasich wanted the commission to declare eight watersheds in distress, potentially forcing affected farmers to change how they manage fertilizer and manure runoff. Republican House Speaker Ryan Smith and House Agriculture Chairman Brian Hill had said they were disappointed that such a major policy directive side-stepped lawmakers. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation commended the commission for taking more time with the issue.
Owners of Akron chemical plant apologize for explosion
The owners of an Akron chemical plant that exploded Wednesday are apologizing. Emerald Performance Materials sent a letter Thursday thanking first responders and Akron’s HAZMAT team and apologized for the blast that shook the neighborhood near Firestone Park. A section of South Main Street was also closed as fire officials sent a drone into the plant to assess the likelihood of a second explosion. Investigators are still seeking details. No one was injured.
Libertarian candidate emerges in 12th congressional district
A second candidate surnamed O'Connor could soon be running for an open congressional seat in Ohio. Cleveland.com reports Matthew Brendan O'Connor is preparing to run for Ohio's 12th congressional district as a Libertarian. If he makes the ballot, it could draw support away from Democrat Danny O'Connor, the Franklin County recorder, in his race against Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson. Matthew O'Connor doesn't plan to run in an Aug. 7 special election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who retired in January. He would seek a full term in November. Republicans have held the 12th district from nearly 35 years, but Democrats nationally believe they have a chance given Republican President Donald Trump's persistently weak approval ratings.
Lawyers claim UH fertility clinic failure worse than first thought
The number of eggs and embryos lost in a March fertility clinic failure is possibly more than originally thought. That’s what lawyers representing families in a lawsuit against University Hospitals claim. They held a press conference Thursday to announce that a woman received a letter last week informing her and her husband that their embryos had been compromised when the temperature in the tank rose to dangerous levels. The woman claims UH previously told her the embryos were not damaged. In late March, UH revised the numbers to 4,000 eggs and embryos lost, and 950 patients affected. In a statement UH said that letters were sent to two patients who had eggs or embryos donated to them, and they were the only patients in this situation. UH on Monday asked a judge for a gag order against the families' attorneys.
New Cleveland medical school named after Cleveland Clinic donors
A new medical school in Cleveland is being named after major donors to the Cleveland Clinic. The Sheila and Eric Sampson pavilion will be the centerpiece of the new 485,000-square-foot facility that will combine Case Western Reserve University’s medical school with the Cleveland Clinic’s. The $515 million medical campus is expected to open next year and bring more than 2,000 medical, dental and nursing students together under one roof.
University of Akron offers training for attorneys helping immigrants
The University of Akron law school is offering free training for attorneys interested in providing legal assistance to immigrants seeking asylum. Following two major raids by federal agents, the school says the need for pro bono representation for detained immigrants in Ohio is quickly skyrocketing. The full-day training session is August 1 for any attorney who promises to help detainees being held at a facility in Youngstown.
Ohio mayors from 30 cities lay out their agenda
Mayors from the 30 largest cities in the state have laid out an agenda they’d like to see Ohio’s next governor and new legislature follow. The Ohio Mayors Alliance wants a home rule compact and a new state fund to benefit local governments. Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther says cities have lost important state dollars while, at the same time, he notes more than 86 percent of the wages in the state are in Ohio’s metro areas. The mayors also want a state level Office of Drug Policy to deal with the opioid crisis. And they want the state to revamp its transportation infrastructure.
Construction to close I-77 this weekend
I-77 will close this weekend between Interstates 480 and 490 for construction. ODOT says I-77 will close from 8 p.m. Friday through Monday at 6 a.m. Vehicles will be detoured to I-76 and back. Crews will install bridge beams of concrete at Broadway Avenue and steel at the State Road 21 ramp.