Morning Headlines: Ohio Uninsured Population Rises; Barberton Mayor Reelected

Sep 11, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, September 11: 

  • Ohio uninsured population rises;
  • ODH to launch $4M vaping awareness campaign;
  • UA to hire new faculty, administrators;
  • Ohio to invest $18M into self-driving vehicle study;
  • Barberton mayor reelected;
  • Court orders federal agency to explain pipeline decision;
  • Kent State criticized for ending match early for fireworks;
  • Akron approves sale of 10 old school properties;
  • Northeast Ohio man charged in 1970 slayings;
  • Proposal would give shooting victims' families $250K each;

Ohio uninsured population rises
Ohio’s uninsured population is rising, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. Ohio was one of eight states to see a rise in people without medical insurance — nearly 58,000 more than 2017. Nationally, the number of Americans with public coverage like Medicaid fell in the last year, while those with private coverage remained steady. In 2017, the Trump administration cut funding to a program that helps people understand Medicaid, and also cut the Affordable Care Act’s budget by 90%. Ohio was also one of four states with Medicaid expansion to see a decrease.

ODH to launch $4M vaping awareness campaign
The Ohio Department of Health will use $4 million to launch an awareness campaign about the dangers of vaping. The plan includes online education, encouraging schools to prohibit vaping and campaigns to alert parents and kids about Ohio's new state law that bans anyone under 21 from purchasing tobacco-related products, including e-cigarettes. The department said 10 people in Ohio between ages 16 to 26 have suffered severe respiratory illness related to vaping.

UA to hire new faculty, administrators
The University of Akron plans to hire 17 new faculty members and five administrators as its new president Gary Miller takes over in a few weeks. The positions include four deans and a chief academic officer. Cleveland.com reports interim president John Green sent out email to the campus community last week stating that Akron may revisit its reorganization plan once Miller takes over Oct. 2. Miller has said one of his priorities will be to begin a strategic planning process.

Ohio to invest $18M into self-driving vehicle study
Ohio is jumpstarting its research into self-driving vehicles with nearly $18 million in funding. The state's DriveOhio program will launch a four-year study to test the capability of self-driving vehicles in different weather and road conditions and times of day, mainly in rural areas. The project is funded by a $7.5 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant. The rest of the money is coming from partners in the project, including the Ohio Department of Transportation and academic institutions.

Barberton mayor reelected
Barberton mayor William Judge will serve a third term. The Beacon Journal reports Judge grabbed a narrow victory in the Democratic primary Tuesday, beating challengers Carla Debevec, a city council member, and Steve Brookens, a former wrestler. Judge faces no Republican challengers in the November general election.

Court orders federal agency to explain pipeline decision
The nation's top appeals court has ordered a federal agency to explain why it approved the construction of a pipeline sending substantial quantities of natural gas to Canada. The D.C. Court of Appeals agreed with the city of Oberlin and other plaintiffs that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, failed to justify giving owners of the NEXUS Gas pipeline credit for gas shipped to Canada to prove the project's need. Opponents argued it was unlawful to force U.S. citizens to sell property so the pipeline stretching across northern Ohio and into Michigan could be built to supply Canada. The decision dismissed other claims and allows the pipeline to continue operating.

Kent State criticized for ending match early for fireworks
Kent State University’s athletic director has apologized for ending a women's field hockey match early to put on a football pregame fireworks show. Kent State issued the apology after being widely criticized for halting a match it was hosting between the University of Maine and Temple University Saturday. Kent State officials said in a statement that the game should've been allowed to conclude. The school cited orders from the fire marshal to end the match by 10:30 a.m. The teams were tied at zero in a second overtime period.

Akron approves sale of 10 old school properties
The Akron Board of Education has approved the sale of 10 old school buildings and properties. The Beacon Journal reports that the highest ticket item was the former Bettes Elementary building in the Chapel Hill neighborhood that sold for nearly $190,000. A Bhutanese group plans to turn the school into a community center for Akron’s growing refugee population. Former Akron City Council member Ernie Tarle purchased Goodrich Middle School for just over $36,000. He plans to establish a basketball training camp there.

Northeast Ohio man charged in 1970 slayings
A Northeast Ohio man faces murder charges in the unsolved slayings of two women outside Akron in the 1970s. Gustave Sapharas, 75, was arrested for the stabbing deaths of Louise Bentz, 18, in 1970 and Loretta Jean Davis, 21, in 1975. Both were killed in Tallmadge. Police began reinvestigating Bentz's death in 2013 and eventually connected both slayings to Sapharas. He was convicted of raping a Cuyahoga Falls woman in the 1970s and was acquitted in the 1991 slaying of a Columbus woman.

Proposal would give Ohio shooting victims' families $250K each
An Ohio nonprofit has proposed most of the money donated in the wake of the recent mass shooting go to the families of those killed in that tragedy. A draft proposal shows the Dayton Foundation plans to distribute about 75% of the $3 million raised to the families of the nine victims killed in the Aug. 4 massacre at the Oregon District. That amounts to about $250,000 for each family or applicant for the deceased shooting victim. The draft also said about $600,000 would go to those who were hospitalized for 48 hours or more.