Morning Headlines: ODOT Unveils $51 Million Highway Project; Church to Convert Mike Tyson's Mansion

Mar 5, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 5:

  • ODOT unveils $51 million infrastructure project;
  • Canton to vote on ordinance to round up abandoned shopping carts;
  • Independence man launches online fundraiser to purchase Geauga Lake;
  • Drug distributors push back on stricter regulations;
  • Land owners win $1 million after turnpike commission underpaid for property;
  • Ailing death row inmate Alva Campbell dies of natural causes;
  • Richmond Heights lawmaker proposes $30 million to fill potholes;
  • Maple syrup producers battle mild weather;
  • Attorney general creates tool to inform crime victims of their rights;
  • Mike Tyson's Trumbull County mansion to be converted into a church;

ODOT unveils $51 million infrastructure project
The Ohio Department of Transportation is revealing a $51 million project to revamp the Akron Expressway and Central Interchange. The Beacon Journal reports the project unveiled Tuesday will be a scaled-down version of a $275 million project proposed 12 years ago. The current proposal involves building new high-level ramps, permanently closing exit ramps and installing noise walls. The department says the project will help improve safety and replace bridges built in the 1950s. The three-year project is scheduled to start in 2021. Officials say the state does not plan on taking property around the interchange. ODOT is hosting a public meeting on the project Tuesday at the Glover Community Learning Center in Akron.

Canton to vote on ordinance to round up abandoned shopping carts
The city of Canton today will consider a more relaxed version of an ordinance to round up stray shopping carts. An earlier proposal in January would have imposed criminal penalties on business owners. It was deemed too severe and expensive for businesses. Council members say abandoned shopping carts are a safety hazard and an eyesore. The latest version of the ordinance lets customers request permission from stores to borrow carts. Businesses could still face warnings and fines if their carts become a recurring problem. The city would sell or dispose of carts not retrieved within 30 days.

Independence man launches online fundraiser to purchase Geauga Lake
An Independence man is raising funds to purchase the former site of Geauga Lake. Brian Roote is attempting to raise $20 million through the fundraising site Go Fund Me to buy what’s left of the park. Cleveland.com reports acquiring the land alone would cost $50 million. The fundraiser has brought in just under $900 so far. If the campaign is not successful, the raised funds will go to charity.

Drug distributors push back on stricter regulations
Companies that distribute drugs are pushing back on stricter regulation in Ohio, protesting what they call a patchwork approach that could lead to confusion and uncertainty. The state pharmacy board should wait for new federal regulations before enacting state rules, including some that could violate federal law, the companies say in documents obtained by The Associated Press. The Food and Drug Administration is planning new rules for drug wholesalers later this summer, while the Drug Enforcement Administration is working on its own regulation for dealing with suspicious drug orders. The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative took issue with several aspects of Ohio's proposed regulations for handling suspicious orders, including a requirement that companies submit paperwork when no suspicious orders are detected. Grocery store chain Kroger, drugmaker Pfizer and drug distributor AmerisourceBergen were among other companies raising similar objections.

Land owners win $1 million after turnpike commission underpaid for property
The owners of a parcel of less than a half-acre taken by Ohio's turnpike commission for a construction project has won a $1 million judgment from a jury for land the commission tried to acquire for less than $12,000. A Lorain County jury has ordered the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission to pay the family that owned the Amherst property $1.1 million for the parcel. The turnpike offered the family nearly $12,000 based on its appraisal.

Ailing death row inmate Alva Campbell dies of natural causes
A twice-convicted murderer whose execution in November had to be halted when a usable vein couldn't be found to administer execution drugs died Saturday morning of natural causes. Alva Campbell, 69, was found unresponsive in his death row cell Saturday morning at a prison in Chillicothe. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals last month denied a challenge filed by Campbell and another death row inmate to Ohio's execution protocol, arguing the three-drug combination used to carry out the death penalty posed an unacceptable risk of pain and suffering. After the failed execution attempt in November, Gov. John Kasich set a new execution date of June 2019, for Campbell. Campbell was sentenced to die in 1998 in Franklin County after being convicted of killing an 18-year-old man during a carjacking.

Richmond Heights lawmaker proposes $30 million to fill potholes
Ohio's Senate minority leader is pushing a bill that would immediately give $30 million to communities to fill rim-rattling potholes. Sen. Kenny Yuko, a Richmond Heights Democrat, says constituents have been complaining about potholes after a harsh winter of sub-freezing temperatures. Yuko says the one-time payment would come from Ohio's $2 billion rainy day fund. Yuko cited East Cleveland, one of the poorest communities in the state, which needs money to smooth out the city's pothole-cratered main thoroughfare, Euclid Avenue. He also pointed to the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2017 Infrastructure Report Card that estimates Ohio motorists spend an average of $475 a year on pothole-related repairs.

Maple syrup producers battle mild weather
Maple syrup producers in central Ohio are hoping for a cold snap to save what's left of their season. The Dispatch reports syrup producers were encouraged by the start of the season in January with ideal conditions — above-freezing temperatures during the day and below-freezing temperatures at night allowing sap to flow from maple trees native to Ohio. A stretch of weather in February that brought milder weather halted the flow. Producers are counting on another freeze to get sap flowing again before maple trees begin to bud and make the sap too bitter for syrup. Ohio produced 80,000 gallons of maple syrup last year. The state is the eighth-largest producer of syrup, just behind Massachusetts. Vermont is the top producer, providing about half the syrup in the U.S.

Attorney general creates tool to inform crime victims of their rights
The Ohio Attorney General's Office has created a tool that law enforcement can use to inform crime victims of their rights under Marsy's Law. The palm-sized card released Friday outlines victims' rights under the law and provides space to write information like the date and an incident description. The law named for a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983 was enacted by Ohio voters in November 2017 as an amendment to the state Constitution. Among other things, it requires police to notify victims of their right to be present at all court proceedings involving their case and to notify them when an offender is released from jail or escapes. Any law enforcement agency in Ohio can request the cards from the attorney general's Crime Victims Services.

Mike Tyson's Trumbull County mansion to be converted into a church
A church is converting former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson's mansion in rural Trumbull County into a house of worship. Living Word Sanctuary Church is converting an indoor pool room into a sanctuary and other rooms into offices, classrooms and a nursery. Cages where Tyson kept four tigers have been dismantled for a pavilion. The church currently holds services at a YMCA.