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Morning Headlines: Akron to Vote on Raising Tobacco Purchase Age to 21; NFL Centennial Prep Begins

Morning headlines for Monday, April 16

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, April 16:

  • Lordstown mayor remains confident after GM plant loses second shift;
  • Cleveland police raid massive marijuana grow operation;
  • Army Corps to dredge Rocky River and Vermilion harbors;
  • Akron house fires leave one dead, five displaced;
  • Mahoning election officials move polling places amid safety concerns;
  • Akron to vote on measure to raise tobacco purchase age to 21;
  • 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival attracts more than 100,000 film buffs;
  • NFL Centennial preparations begin in Canton;

Lordstown mayor remains confident after GM plant loses second shift

The mayor of Lordstown says the village should be able to weather General Motors’ plan to eliminate a production shift at the plant that assembles the Chevy Cruze. Friday’s announcement that 1,500 second shift workers will be laid off comes after the elimination of the third shift last year. Mayor Arno Hill says losing the highly-paid third shift was difficult for the village, but they planned ahead and were able to stay financially prudent when the plant was doing well. Hill says he’s still optimistic about the plant’s future because the Cruze will be built there for about four more years.

Cleveland police raid massive marijuana grow operation

Cleveland police alerted by odors emanating from a building's exhaust system have raided a large indoor marijuana grow operation in an inner-city neighborhood. Cleveland.com reports police during a raid Friday found around 250 plants and 300 pounds of harvested marijuana inside a building outfitted with grow lights worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A man identified as the operator of the grow site was arrested. An employee at a business across the street from the building said the operator told people he made and repaired furniture when he moved there a year ago. The employee says the neighborhood often reeked from the smell of marijuana.

Army Corps to dredge Rocky River and Vermilion harbors

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will dredge two recreational harbors in Ohio for the first time in several years. The Army Corps says it will dredge the Rocky River and Vermilion harbors this summer. Documents show $920,000 in federal money will help fund the Rocky River project and $880,000 has been earmarked for Vermilion. High water levels in the Great Lakes have helped postpone dredging projects at many harbors. Army Corps officials say shallow draft recreational harbors used by fishing and recreational boats are most in need of dredging. Rocky River and Vermilion are the only shallow draft recreational harbors in northeast Ohio.

Akron house fires leave one dead, five displaced

The Akron Fire Department is investigating two house fires that left five people without shelter and one person dead. The first fire on the 600 block of Crouse Street began Saturday evening. The Beacon Journal reports the fire killed one elderly woman. A man believed to be her son escaped the blaze. A second fire began early Sunday morning on the 300 block of North Arlington Street. One child and four adults escaped. A fire spokesman said both fires resulted in total losses. The identities of the victims and the causes of the fires have not been released.

Mahoning election officials move polling places amid safety concerns

A handful of polling places are being moved out of Youngstown-area schools for the May primary over concern for student safety. The Mahoning County Board of Elections says it's moving polling locations from six schools because many of the locations would have had voters sharing hallways or entrances with students. One board member says the move is precautionary and that she would "rather be safe than sorry with kids."

Akron to vote on measure to raise tobacco purchase age to 21

Akron City Council is expected to vote tonight on whether to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to those under 21. Public health officials, pediatricians, the national group Tobacco21 and the head of the city’s effort to combat infant mortality are all pushing to increase the age from 18 to 21. They note that 2 percent of tobacco sales are to people under age 21, but those sales end up producing 90 percent of new smokers. No one has lobbied openly against the proposal.

42nd Cleveland International Film Festival attracts more than 100,000 film buffs

That’s a wrap on the 42nd annual Cleveland International Film Festival. Over 12 days, more than 100,000 people saw nearly 500 films. Single-day attendance peaked in the first weekend, with more than 13,000 moviegoers. Best documentary went to Jason Kohn for the tennis film, “Love Means Zero.” Irish filmmaker Nick Kelly took home the audience choice award for his debut feature-length drama, “The Drummer and the Keeper.”

NFL Centennial preparations begin in Canton

Organizers are beginning to plan for the NFL Centennial Celebration in two years. Officials in Canton haven't yet announced any of the events for the week-long celebration in the NFL's birth city. But Pro Football Hall of Fame officials say they expect it will be the biggest gathering in the history of football. The event is to take place during September 2020 to mark the league's 100th season. Members of the host committee tell the Repository they are in the early stages of planning. The head of the Canton visitors’ bureau says the event should have a significant economic impact that spreads through northeastern Ohio.

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