Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 17:
- Signet Jewelers to lay off workers;
- Summit County enacts First Peoples Day;
- National Weather Service confirms tornado in Stark County;
- Cleveland man who represented himself at trial convicted of murder;
- Workers finish making replacement parts at idled GM plant;
- Fourth-generation dairy farmer quits the milking business;
- Ohio lawmakers get feedback on plans for more school funding;
- Activist behind anti-abortion heartbeat bill not at signing;
- Lead-safe advocacy group urges Cleveland City Council to reverse decision;
- Canton City Schools has new superintendent;
- Cleveland RTA delays fare increase;
Signet Jewelers to lay off workers
Akron-based Signet Jewelers is laying off workers at both its Akron and Dallas locations. The company in February offered employees a voluntary transition program in an effort to cut about $70 million in costs. Spokesman David Bouffard said that buyout offers did not produce enough savings. He would not say how many workers are being laid off, but said they will receive help finding other jobs. Signet has about 2,600 employees at its Akron campus. It operates more than 3,000 stores including Zales, Jared and Kay Jewelers.
Summit County enacts First Peoples Day
The first Monday of October will now be known as North American First Peoples Day in Summit County. County Council voted this week to adopt the designation to honor indigenous Americans. First Peoples Day comes a week before the traditional Columbus Day holiday, which honors the Italian explorer. Summit County’s recognition of the region’s First Peoples was proposed by the Lippman School in Akron through its long-term cultural exchange with the Cheyenne Nation.
National Weather Service confirms tornado in Stark County
The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Stark County Sunday. The 50-yard wide tornado was on the ground for nearly four miles in Lawrence Township. It was classified as EF-0, the lowest rating with about 75-mile-per-hour winds. The Weather Service also confirmed a very weak tornado touched down briefly in Tuscarawas County.
Cleveland man who represented himself at trial convicted of murder
A jury has found a Cleveland man guilty for killing a couple inside their used car lot in the Collinwood neighborhood in 2017. Joseph McAlpin now faces the death penalty. He represented himself at trial, which Cleveland.com reports is believed to be the first time for that to happen in a capital trial in Cuyahoga County.
Workers finish making replacement parts at idled GM plant
Workers have finished making replacement parts for the Chevy Cruze at General Motors’ Lordstown plant that ended production last month. Local union president Dave Green said GM originally estimated that metal stamping of replacement parts would continue through the end of June. Green says that work ended last week. The idling of the Lordstown assembly plant outside Youngstown has resulted in the elimination of 1,700 union jobs. Around 100 workers remain inside the plant with more layoffs looming.
Fourth-generation dairy farmer quits the milking business
A dairy farm operated by a Stark County family for four generations is halting milk production. The Repository reports Dwight Raber, of Raber Dairy Farms, is scheduled to auction off his dairy cows and much of the dairy equipment today. The 58-year-old farmer says he can no longer make a living by milking cows and has lost money the last two years. Ohio Department of Agriculture statistics show the number of dairy farms in the state dropped by more than 600 between January 2017 and January 2019. Raber's farm in Nimishillen Township was founded by his great-grandfather who came to the U.S. from Switzerland in 1891. Raber plans to grow his beef cattle herd and sell crops formerly used to feed his dairy cows.
Ohio lawmakers get feedback on plans for more school funding
Ohio lawmakers considering public input on proposed school-funding changes are hearing from lots of interested parties who say it's a solid start to the discussion but want more: more money for certain schools, more clarity on charter-school funding changes, more help for the economically disadvantaged. Ohio would increase spending on schools by an estimated $1.2 billion for a two-year period under a plan from lawmakers who studied the issue. They say it would more fairly split local and state shares of funding, and factor in the cost of educating a child and a community's ability to help pay for it. Lawmakers are considering how that compares with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's budget proposal for $550 million in new funding over two years to help schools, targeted largely toward higher-poverty areas.
Activist behind anti-abortion heartbeat bill not at signing
A key activist was missing when Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio's stringent heartbeat abortion ban. Janet Porter, the polarizing figure who originated the bill and championed it for a decade, says it stung to be excluded from Thursday's signing. But she's pleased the bill is finally law. Porter acknowledges that her unusual tactics have spawned some political enemies over the years. That includes the powerful Ohio Right to Life and the Ohio Senate president, whom she challenged in a primary. Right to Life's president said the appropriate people "bar none" were at the bill-signing. That included representatives of his organization, which has supported the heartbeat bill since Dec. 27. A DeWine spokesman declined to directly address why Porter wasn't invited.
Lead-safe advocacy group urges Cleveland City Council to reverse decision
A citizen's group has asked Cleveland City Council to reconsider its decision of rejecting 10,000 signatures for a ballot measure to address lead in homes. Council denied petitions submitted by The Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing because they lacked language required by Ohio law. Cleveland.com reports the group will ask a court to decide whether the legislation must be introduced and considered by council even if it legally could not appear on the ballot. The ballot issue would require rental housing and day care centers to be lead safe by 2021.
Canton City Schools has new superintendent
After a nearly 100-day search, the Canton City School District has a new superintendent. The Repository reports the board voted in Jeffrey Graham, who will leave his position as regional superintendent for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Graham became a sole finalist for the position after Alliance City Schools superintendent Jeffery Talbert withdrew from the race. Graham will start his new role this summer.
Cleveland RTA delays fare increase
Cleveland's public transit agency has again postponed a fare increase planned for this August. The Greater Cleveland RTA was set to implement a 25 cent increase to $2.75 per ride. The increase was initially going to into effect last year, but RTA decided to hold off amid uncertainties surrounding the agency's finances. The fare hike is now planned for August 2020.