Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Feb. 24:
- Route 8 traffic pattern changing;
- Developer eyes Muni Lot for Cleveland mall;
- Bloomberg spends more than $9M in Ohio advertising;
- Cause of massive Rocky River condo fire unknown;
- Ohio legislation would make assaulting referees a crime;
- Aultman Hopsita, CommQuest opens detox center;
- Ohio BMV considering digital applications for new ID;
- New group to serve crime victims who have disabilities;
- Warren looks to state for help demolishing empty hospital;
- Governor signs bill allowing motorcyclists ear protection;
- John Kerry joining ex-Gov. Kasich to talk climate change;
Route 8 traffic pattern changing
Traffic patterns will change on Route 8 beginning Wednesday in Summit County. Between Graham Road and Route 303, northbound traffic will be split into two lanes. The right lane will use the recently reconstructed median lane while the left lane will cross over onto Route 8 southbound. The traffic pattern is expected to last until late October. Ramps at Graham and Steels Corners roads and Route 303 will close until around June. It's the second phase of a nearly $60 million reconstruction project. The Ohio Department of Transportation estimates nearly 60,000 drivers use the affected stretch of Route 8 daily.
Developer eyes Muni Lot for Cleveland mall
A popular Cleveland Browns tailgating spot may be the site of a new outlet mall. Cleveland.com reports Illinois-based Horizon Group Properties Inc. is eyeing the Lakefront Municipal Parking Lot — the "Muni Lot" as locals call it — at the edge of town to build a two-story mall. Plans show large restaurant and entertainment spaces, with tenants including Nike, Coach and North Face. Horizon aims to open the project as soon as 2022.
Bloomberg spends more than $9M in Ohio advertising
Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg continues to invest heavily in Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch reports that since launching his campaign in November, Bloomberg has spent about $9.4 million across Ohio for thousands of television advertising spots on major metropolitan broadcast channels. That’s not including what Ohioans see on national networks such as CNN. The FCC figures include only include local advertisement sales. The only other candidate to invest any money so far on political television advertising in Ohio was another billionaire, Tom Steyer, who had agreed to several million-dollar advertising deals through the national Sinclair network.
Cause of massive Rocky River fire unknown
A massive fire broke out near Rocky River Sunday, shutting down part of I-90 for a few hours. Cleveland.com reports a fire engulfed a condominium building that was under construction. High winds blew ashes across the interstate. More than five fire departments were at the scene. Smoke could be seen across Lake Erie from Euclid. It's unknown what caused the fire.
Ohio legislation would make assaulting referees a crime
Pending Ohio House legislation would make assaulting referees while they do their jobs a crime. The House Criminal Justice Committee is considering a bill that would make an assault a first-degree misdemeanor with an automatic fine of $1,500 and 40 hours of community service. The current version of the bill wouldn't stop prosecutors from pursuing more serious charges based on available evidence.
Aultman Hopsital, CommQuest opens detox center
A new detox center is opening this week in Canton. Aultman Hospital partnered with addiction treatment services provider CommQuest Services to open the 20-bed facility. The hospital expects to treat around 750 patients a year for drug and alcohol addiction. Patients will start moving in Wednesday.
Ohio BMV considering digital applications for new ID
Ohio's Bureau of Motor Vehicles is considering whether to allow residents to submit digital copies of birth certificates and passports to obtain a new higher-security ID. It follows a recent Department of Homeland Security directive to help streamline to process and avoid long lines in the coming months. Beginning Oct. 1, standard driver's licenses will no longer be valid to get through airport security checkpoints. The Ohio BMV supported the decision to allow electronic submissions. State officials haven't made a decision.
New group to serve crime victims who have disabilities
A new organization has formed to serve Ohio adults with disabilities who are victims of crime or witnesses of abuse, maltreatment or neglect. Katherine Yoder with Adult Advocacy Centers told The Columbus Dispatch that Ohio is the first state developing one-stop centers to help people with disabilities that are coordinated with law enforcement, medical professionals, case managers and others. Yoder said the group's efforts are getting national attention.
Warren looks to state for help demolishing empty hospital
The city of Warren is looking to the state for money to demolish an abandoned hospital that's become a dangerous eyesore. The former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital has been largely abandoned since its emergency room closed in 1996. The Warren Tribune-Chronicle reports that the graffiti-ridden and vandalized building sits in a residential neighborhood near other healthcare facilities including a Veterans Affair clinic. The paper says city officials are pressing local state lawmakers to find money in the upcoming capital budget for the $4 to $8 million needed for demolition.
Governor signs bill allowing motorcyclists ear protection
Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill aimed at protecting the hearing of Ohio motorcyclists. The legislation allows motorcyclists to wear earplugs or earphones while on their bikes. The House and Senate previously approved the bill. Motorcyclists are not allowed to listen to music while riding under the measure.
John Kerry joining ex-Gov. Kasich to talk climate change
Former Secretary of State John Kerry and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are coming to Ohio to join with former Gov. John Kasich to talk about climate change. All three are involved in a new campaign aimed at combating climate change and pollution. The project called World War Zero has enlisted dozens of celebrities and a bipartisan group of politicians. Kerry and the two former governors will take part in a town hall meeting at Otterbein University near Columbus on March 8. They plan to talk about the impacts of climate change and what people can do to help.