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Morning Headlines: Chapel Hill Mall to Lose J.C. Penney; CLE Changes Stance on Marijuana Possession

Chapel Hill Mall
Chapel Hill Mall

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Jan. 17:

  • Chapel Hill Mall to lose J.C. Penney;
  • Cleveland changes stance on marijuana possession;
  • Akron delays new eviction rules;
  • Cuyahoga County's plan to keep Sherwin-Williams headquarters unknown;
  • OSHA fines Ohio construction company nearly $40,000;
  • Farmers get green light to plant hemp in the spring;
  • Ohio National Guard Members head to Puerto Rico;
  • United Airlines ends two nonstop flights at Cleveland Hopkins;

Chapel Hill Mall to lose J.C. Penney

The last retail anchor store at Akron's troubled Chapel Hill Mall is closing. The Beacon Journal reports J.C. Penney will close in April after five decades. The announcement comes as the mall's owner, New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, faces foreclosure from Summit County for $750,000 in property tax payments. Ohio Edison is also threatening another power shut off. The Beacon reports Kohan declined to comment on the J.C. Penney announcement.

Cleveland changes stance on marijuana possession

Cleveland is ready to end to the prosecution of low-level marijuana possession. City Council's Safety Committee approved legislation Wednesday that will eliminate fines or jail time for possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana. The current law states that up to 100 grams of marijuana has a fine of $150. 200 grams can carry a fine of $250 and up to 30 days in jail. The legislation also states people who have been convicted of minor misdemeanor and misdemeanor possession won't have a criminal record. The full council is expected to pass the measure by the end of the month. Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Cincinnati have passed similar legislation.

Akron delays new eviction rules

Akron Municipal Court is holding off on implementing the city's new set of eviction rules. The Beacon Journal reports that residents will have until the end of the month to comment on the new rules that will now go into effect in February. The new rules detail how to seal eviction records and require landlords to provide more documentation when seeking evictions. Akron Municipal Judge Jon Oldham said the changes will bring Akron in-line with state law, not improve the city's eviction rate. He said that’s the job of the city’s Eviction Task Force. Akron has the highest eviction rate in Ohio and among the highest in the nation.

Cuyahoga County's plan to keep Sherwin-Williams headquarters unknown

Cuyahoga County officials are not ready to share details of how they hope to land the new Sherwin-Williams headquarters. Cleveland.com reports that the county has signed a nondisclosure agreement through the law firm handling negotiations with the global paint company. The county also kept details of a proposed package to land the Amazon headquarters in 2017 that offered billions of dollars in incentives secret. Cleveland.com eventually sued to force disclosure of that deal. County Council President Dan Brady said the county will address issues with transparency in negotiations with Sherwin-Williams.

OSHA fines Ohio construction company nearly $40,000

A Cleveland construction company will have to pay around $40,000 after steel beams dropped on top parking garage in Playhouse Square last year. Cleveland.com reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that overloaded cranes while working on The Lumen apartment building. No injuries were reported. The violations also include failing to ensure nobody was underneath the steel beams when they were loaded on the crane.

Farmers get green light to plant hemp in the spring

Ohio farmers can start planting hemp this spring after lawmakers on Thursday cleared the final hurdle to the crop. Farmers can begin applying for licenses in a few weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Hemp is an industrial plant used for fiber and other materials. It’s also the source of CBD oil. It was legalized, after more than 80 years of prohibition, in the 2018 federal farm bill.

Ohio National Guard Members head to Puerto Rico

Ohio National Guard members are being deployed to Puerto Rico to help earthquake recovery efforts. Gov. Mike DeWine issued a proclamation Thursday authorizing specified members of the Ohio Air National Guard 200th RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer), headquartered out of Port Clinton, with a detachment in Mansfield. The unit will establish two Disaster Relief Beddown Systems kits capable of providing basic housing and life support facilities such as tents, showers and latrines for up to 150 military personnel responding to the disaster. 

United Airlines ends two nonstop flights at Cleveland Hopkins

United Airlines is dropping its nonstop service between Cleveland Hopkins and two business airports. In late March, United will stop flying between Cleveland and New York LaGuardia and Reagan National in Washington D.C. Cleveland.com reports United will add new capacity to existing service from Cleveland to Newark International Airport and Dulles International Airport. United will also add a Cleveland to Tampa weekend flight back into the schedule, starting in the spring.

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Amanda Rabinowitz
Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. Her days begin before the sun comes up as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition, which airs on WKSU each weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio’s sports scene.
Lydia Taylor is a news intern for WKSU. She is a junior multimedia journalism major at Kent State University with experience in print and visual journalism. She is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Journalism. During the school year, Taylor works for Kent State Student Media in The Kent Stater and KentWired. She is currently an assigning editor and a reporter in the Kent State University Student Media Newsroom for the spring semester.