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Morning Headlines: $10M Summit Lake Plan Moves Forward; UA Event Canceled Amid Coronavirus Concerns

The Knight Foundation's report points to small improvements making a big difference in Summit Lake, Park East and downtown Akron.
The Knight Foundation's report points to small improvements making a big difference in Summit Lake, Park East and downtown Akron.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Jan. 29:

  • $10M Summit Lake plan moves forward;
  • University of Akron event canceled amid coronavirus concerns;
  • Law expert to review Akron's sewer project;
  • GOJO to remove claims about hand sanitizers; 
  • Cleveland among three Ohio metro areas to see largest job growth;
  • CDC investigates possible coronavirus cases at Miami University;
  • Historians: Sobibor death camp photos may feature Demjanjuk;
  • Akron Children's Museum to expand under city lease;
  • Cuyahoga County to put HHS tax increase before voters in March;
  • Ohio Senate reaches deal for EdChoice vouchers, House to vote;

$10M Summit Lake plan moves forward

Akron City Council is backing a $10 million plan to revitalize Summit Lake. City administrators have committed $3 million to the plan that includes building a trail along the Ohio & Erie Canal, an amphitheater and a boat launch. The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition plans to seek a $500,000 grant and $1.7 million from state lawmakers. The rest will likely come from donors. The project is among five nationally that aim to revitalize neighborhoods and reactivate community assets through Reimagining the Civic Commons.

University of Akron event canceled amid coronavirus concerns

The University of Akron's annual Chinese New Year Gala this Friday is canceled due to coronavirus concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating more than 100 possible cases in the U.S., including two at Miami University in Ohio. The respiratory virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China and has spread to multiple countries. More than 100 people have died. The Beacon Journal reports around 400 guests and performers planned to attend the event. The university hasn't announced plans to reschedule.

Law expert to review Akron's sewer project

A federal judge is hiring an environmental law expert to review Akron’s progress in its decade-long storm sewer separation project. Cleveland.com reports that U.S. District Judge John Adams, who is overseeing the consent decree the city signed with the U.S. Justice Department, said the expert will review Akron’s compliance with the agreement. Akron missed a 2018 deadline to finish the mile-long Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel but has vowed to have it finished by this summer. Akron is hoping to amend the current $1 billion agreement to avoid building a second intercept tunnel in north Akron.

GOJO to remove claims about hand sanitizer

Akron-based GOJO said it’s updating its website after receiving a letter from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warning about the disease-fighting claims of its products. GOJO has said that its Purell hand sanitizer kills 99.99% of germs including the Ebola virus, norovirus and influenza. The FDA warned GOJO that those claims are not backed-up by well-controlled studies. The warning comes as the U.S. is responding to a scare surrounding the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus in China.

Cleveland among three Ohio metro areas to see largest job growth

Ohio's three largest metro areas dominated in job creation over the last year. Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati added more a total of more than 40,000 jobs since December 2018, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Cleveland added more than 12,000 jobs, a growth rate of about 1.2%. However, Akron and Youngstown lost more than 10,000 jobs combined.

CDC investigates possible coronavirus cases at Miami University

Ohio health officials are investigating two possible cases of coronavirus. Two students at Miami University in Oxford are exhibiting flu-like symptoms and are being tested, which could take several days. Heaalth officials say the risk is low. The two students returned to Miami over the weekend from a trip to China over the university’s January break. Kent State University sent an email to the campus community Tuesday night saying it’s working to be prepared and asks anyone who recently from China to visit the health center. They also encourage good hand washing. Five cases of coronavirus have been found in the U.S.

Historians: Sobibor death camp photos may feature Demjanjuk

Historians have presented a collection of photos kept by the deputy commander of the Nazis' Sobibor death camp which they say appears to include images of John Demjanjuk, the retired Seven Hills auto worker who was tried in Germany for his alleged time as a Sobibor guard. The collection unveiled Tuesday in Berlin comprises 361 photos as well as written documents illustrating Johann Niemann's career. Niemann was the deputy commander of Sobibor.

Akron Children's Museum to expand under city lease

The Akron Children's Museum is growing by 4,000 sq.-ft. with a new 10-year lease from the city. Cleveland.com reports the museum will occupy a total of 10,500-square-feet on the ground floor of the O'Neil's parking deck next to Lock 3 downtown. The expansion will include a sensory room, interactive exhibits and a learning lab.

Cuyahoga County to put tax HHS increase before voters in March

Cuyahoga County is kicking off its campaign for a March ballot issue. Voters will be asked to approve a .08-mill increase for health and human services. County Executive Armond Budish said it would generate an additional $35 million a year starting in 2021. It would go toward programs for people with mental illness, children and seniors. The increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $41 more a year.

Ohio Senate reaches deal for EdChoice vouchers

The Ohio Senate has approved a deal that takes more than 800 public school buildings off the list of more than 1,200 where students will be eligible for private school vouchers starting this weekend. The plan on the performance-based EdChoice vouchers would increase state-paid need-based vouchers to 300% of the federal poverty level, or more than $78,000 a year for a family of four. The legislation will head to the House this morning, where Republican Speaker Larry Householder has a problem with expanding those vouchers past the 200% level. Householder also wants K-3 literacy rates to be dropped as a factor in determining whether a building is failing and therefore students qualify for EdChoice vouchers, which are taken out of school district budgets.

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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.