Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 14:
- Northeast Ohio students to support gun control in nationwide walkouts;
- Ohio school shooting survivor calls for non-political memorial to Parkland victims;
- University Hospitals under investigation after fertility clinic equipment malfunction;
- Lawmakers consider bringing education department under governor's control;
- West Virginia orders Rover pipeline to halt construction;
- Anti-fracking amendment will not be on the May ballot;
- Geauga County residents voice opposition to Akroin's planned tree harvest;
- Pennsylvania man who assaulted Middle Eastern Clevelander gets five years' probation;
Northeast Ohio students to support gun control in nationwide walkouts
Students at scores of schools in Northeast Ohio are expected to join a nationwide walkout this morning to honor the 17 people shot to death at last month's high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and to bring attention to gun violence. The walkouts are set to begin at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes. Students at Firestone High School in Akron have said they’ll also be addressing the school board over safety issues. Most schools districts have said students will not face disciplinary action for participating. But West Liberty-Salem Local Schools in central Ohio says students will be disciplined per school policy and walkouts will be marked as unexcused absences. Meanwhile, a town hall on school violence sponsored by the LeBron James Family Foundation is to be held tonight on the University of Akron campus.
Ohio school shooting survivor calls for non-political memorial to Parkland victims
An Ohio teenager wounded in a school shooting last year says he thinks it's disrespectful to victims of the February massacre in Parkland, Florida, to use that tragedy to further a political agenda. West Liberty-Salem student Logan Cole says he won't participate in the Wednesday student walkouts promoted by organizers of the Women's March. Instead, he says he'll attend a memorial service at his school that day because he thinks it's better to honor the Parkland victims in a nonpolitical way.
University Hospitals under investigation after fertility clinic equipment malfunction
The Ohio Department of Health and two accrediting bodies are investigating University Hospitals' fertility clinic after a storage tank malfunction potentially damaged 2,000 embryos and eggs. Cleveland.com reports the College of American Pathology will be giving UH 10 days to respond to questions about the equipment malfunction and monitoring. Meanwhile, a half-dozen lawsuits have been filed against the clinic, including a class-action suit filed on behalf of couples in Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Medina, Portage and other Northeast Ohio counties. The suit claims the hospital could have invested in remote monitoring equipment.
Lawmakers consider bringing education department under governor's control
Gov. John Kasich has long pushed to take over the Ohio Department of Education, viewing its more independent structure as a hindrance to unified school policy. Fast-tracked legislation would merge that department, which oversees K-12 schools, with Kasich's workforce transformation office and the department overseeing colleges. The merged agency would be under the governor's control. Critics say the bill creates a cumbersome bureaucracy that would be less accountable to educators and the public.
West Virginia orders Rover pipeline to halt construction
West Virginia has ordered construction to stop on the Rover pipeline after state inspectors found 14 violations there. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the problems include improperly installed perimeter control, burning trash and construction debris on the site, and failure to inspect or clean private roads around the construction site. The 713-mile pipeline, owned by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, has also run into problems in Ohio. Energy Transfer says it’s working with state and federal officials to resolve concerns. The pipeline is expected to carry 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from processing plants in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Anti-fracking amendment will not be on the May ballot
Supporters of another attempt to ban fracking in Youngstown say they’re prepared to go to the Supreme Court to get the measure on the May 8 ballot. The Vindicator reports the Mahoning County Board of Elections has voted again to block the initiative from the ballot. It did the same thing last September, and a 4-3 Supreme Court upheld that decision. State law puts fracking under state jurisdiction and requires boards to reject initiative petitions if they would restrict something over which local governments have no control.
Geauga County residents voice opposition to planned Akron tree harvest
Akron’s plans to harvest 400 trees around its LaDue Reservoir in Geauga County are stirring protests. Residents in the county are worried the harvest timber will hurt water quality and wildlife. Organizers say the city has underestimated how many trees will be cut down. Akron hopes to raise more than $120,000 from the timber sales. Residents plan to hold a meeting Thursday night.
Pennsylvania man who assaulted Middle Eastern man gets five years' probation
A Pennsylvania man who yelled an anti-immigrant slur before he punched a man of Middle Eastern descent in Cleveland has been sentenced to five years of probation including alcohol treatment and monitoring. Gregory Brzoza, 24, had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation in the attack last August in the Flats. He apologized and said he was drunk. Cleveland.com reports the victim was not in court because he had to have surgery to address complications from jaw repair surgery. Prosecutors read a statement, in which the victim wrote, "No person of color should feel like they don't belong in this country and no person should be assaulted because of it.”