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Morning Headlines: NAACP Endorses Voting Ballot Initiative; New Program to Fight Toxic Algae Begins

Walkway along Lake Erie
Walkway along Lake Erie

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Jan. 30:

  • NAACP endorses voting ballot intiative;
  • Ohio rolls out program to fight toxic algae;
  • Lawmakers consider changing eligibility requirements for EdChoice vouchers;
  • 100 Cuyahoga County employees to have paychecks docked;
  • Tim Ryan talks with Lordstown Motors CEO;
  • Donations to find missing Port Clinton boy will be put toward funeral expenses;
  • Cleveland Browns shakes up front office;


NAACP endorses voting ballot intiative

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People () has endorsed a ballot initiative aimed at streamlining Ohio's voting process. It calls the Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections measure “a necessary step” to modernizing Ohio elections. The proposal would establish automatic voter registration for anyone doing business at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, with an opt-out provision. It would also establish an early voting calendar that allows eligible citizens to register and vote on the same day. The Ohio conference of the NAACP said the measure keeps with the organization's mission of expanding access for people of color and disenfranchised communities.

Ohio rolls out program to fight toxic algae

Ohio is rolling out a new strategy to save Lake Erie from the toxic algae. Beginning in February, the state will start offering financial incentives to farmers who adopt new agriculture practices. The incentives are designed to reduce farm runoff that feeds algae in the lake. Ohio’s approach is being watched closely by states around the U.S. that are struggling with an increasing number of algae outbreaks in lakes and rivers. Some environmental groups are skeptical about whether it will work because the plan relies on voluntary cooperation and not tougher rules on farmers.

Lawmakers consider changing eligibility requirements for EdChoice vouchers

Ohio lawmakers are considering changing eligibility guidelines to avoid a spike in qualifying locations for school vouchers. EdChoice is supposed to help fund private school tuition for students from poor-performing districts and schools. Public school officials complained that expanded eligibility would funnel away more state money and that even some high-performing schools were qualifying. The Ohio Senate approved a proposal to instead shrink the list of eligible locations while expanding for income-based scholarships. The Ohio House rejected that proposal Wednesday, leaving a committee of lawmakers from both chambers trying to work toward an agreement. 

100 Cuyahoga County employees to have paychecks docked

About 100 Cuyahoga County employees are going to have the paychecks docked all this year to make up for a mistake last year in not paying enough for their health insurance premiums. Cleveland.com reports it affects custodians, mailroom clerks and landscapers in the Public Works Department. Each will have an additional deduction from their paychecks of anywhere from $10 to $40 for the entire year. The error which was first reported by WKYC-TV was initially blamed on human error but was later attributed to a software glitch.

Tim Ryan talks with Lordstown Motors CEO

Congressman Tim Ryan met with the CEO of Lordstown Motors this week to talk about the company’s application for a $200 million grant from the Department of Energy. Steve Burns wants to use the money to upgrade the former General Motors assembly facility. Burns plans on building electric-powered pickup trucks at the plant. Ryan called the meeting “incredibly productive” in a statement released by his office. The company is expected to hire about 400 workers and begin production later this year.

Donations to find missing Port Clinton boy will be put toward funeral expenses

The Port Clinton police department has announced that over $20,000 that was donated to find a missing boy will instead be split between covering funeral expenses and supporting a non-profit. WEWS-TV reports the department will cover the funeral expenses for Harley Dilly, who was 14. It will donate what's left, more than $10,000, to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Dilly disappeared on Dec. 20 and was found in January inside a chimney across the street from his parents home. Authorities said they believe Dilly climbed onto the roof and suffocated in the chimney.

Cleveland Browns shakes up leadership

The Cleveland Browns are shaking  up their front office. A source told The Associated Press the team has parted ways with assistant general manager Eliot Wolf and vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith. Wolf and Highsmith spent two seasons with the Browns. Also out is college scouting director Steve Malin. The shakeup comes one day after the official hiring of general manager Andrew Berry, 32. Berry is the NFL's youngest GM. 

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