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Morning Headlines: Oberlin College Community Protests Job Cuts; Lordstown Approves GM Tax Break

A Lorain County jury ruled against Oberlin College and ordered it to pay Gibson's Bakery $44 million in damages.
A Lorain County jury ruled against Oberlin College and ordered it to pay Gibson's Bakery $44 million in damages.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Feb. 20:

  • Oberlin College community protests job cuts;
  • Lordstown approves tax break for GM factory;
  • Ohio governments working to craft unusual opioid bargain;
  • Stark County man accused of killing family members competent to stand trial;
  • Fans seek John Glenn statue to mark milestones at Statehouse;
  • Brecksville offers Sherwin-Williams $100M tax breaks over next 30 years;
  • Cedar Fair breaks attendance record;
  • Judge convicts man for 2015 shooting of University of Akron student;
  • Administrator to temporarily lead Diocese of Cleveland;

Oberlin College community stages protest over cuts

Nearly 800 Oberlin College students, staff and community members gathered Wednesday to protest the school's plan to lay off more than 100 union workers. In an email to the campus community, administrators said Oberlin is looking to hire outside vendors for dining and custodial services to save costs. Most of the current employees are with the United Auto Workers union. Demonstrators told the Morning Journal they believe it's unfair for the school to give the union workers just two months to find another job. The school said it's not a decision they're taking lightly.

GM gets tax break for Lordstown factory

Village leaders in Lordstown have approved a tax break for General Motors (GM) and its new electric battery plant that's expected to hire 1,100 workers. The move comes nearly a year after GM closed its assembly plant in that once employed 4,500 workers. GM and its Korean partner LG Chem plan to break ground on the new plant later this year. It will be built next to the site of the former assembly plant. Local leaders said the tax break was needed to secure the new jobs. GM stopped making cars at its Lordstown plant last March after over 50 years of production.

Ohio governments working to craft unusual opioid bargain

Ohio's governor, attorney general and dozens of local governments are nearing an agreement on how they'd divvy up proceeds of a potentially huge settlement with the opioid industry. Officials are hoping to avoid mistakes made with the 1998 national tobacco settlement.  The One Ohio plan would give local governments much of the control of the purse strings and cut out state lawmakers, who diverted tobacco dollars to other pet projects. Communities would receive 30%, double the state's 15% and some long-term sway over regional boards reporting to a nonprofit foundation. Some locals want guarantees the foundation's 55% would flow to communities.  

Stark County man accused of killing family members competent to stand trial

A Stark County man accused of killing two members of his family bluegrass band has been deemed competent to stand trial. Jacob Stockdale, 27, is accused of shooting his mother and brother at their Bethlehem Township home in 2017. Stockdale had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He suffered severe brain injuries after turning the gun himself after the shootings. The Stockdales appeared on the show "Wife Swap" in 2008. Pretrial is scheduled for Monday.

Fans seek John Glenn statue to mark milestones at Statehouse

Fans of the late astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn are working to bring a statue of his likeness to the Ohio Statehouse to mark major future milestones. Thursday marks 58 years since Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, making him an instant national hero in 1962. Zanesville Republican state Rep. Adam Holmes has proposed temporarily placing a statue of Glenn on Statehouse grounds beginning with what would have been his 100th birthday next year and then on the 60th anniversary of his space flight in 2022.

Brecksville offers Sherwin-Williams $100M tax breaks over next 30 years

The city of Brecksville has offered global paint maker Sherwin-Williams tax breaks that could amount to more than $100 million over the next 30 years. Cleveland.com reports the city is also setting aside 75 acres of land at a former Veteran Affairs hospital site. The company announced earlier this month it plans to build a research and development center in Brecksville, along with a new headquarters in downtown Cleveland. If Sherwin-Williams maintains current projections of at least 680 workers, the company could be eligible for nearly $400,000 annually. Cuyahoga County Council is currently considering a $14 million grant for construction of the new locations. The state and city of Cleveland have yet to disclose their incentive offerings.

Cedar Fair breaks attendance record

Cedar Point's parent company Cedar Fair hit a new attendance record last year. Attendance increased by nearly 30 million guests across Cedar Fair's 11 amusement parks. Season pass sales also increased by 40%. The company expects to keep the momentum with new rides, like the Orion at Kings Island which is under construction. Cedar Point will also debut its new ride Snake River Expedition. The parks open for the season in May.

Judge convicts man for 2015 shooting of University of Akron student

A 25-year-old man has been convicted in the shooting death of a University of Akron student in 2015. Shaquille Anderson pleaded guilty after confessing to killing Zakareia “Zak” Husein while attempting to rob Husein’s family pizza shop. Anderson is already serving a 21-year prison sentence on robbery charges.

Administrator to temporarily lead Diocese of Cleveland

The Rev. Donald Oleksiak will temporarily oversee the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland until Pope Francis names a new bishop. Former Bishop Nelson Perez was intalled as the Archbishop of Philadelphia this week. Oleksiak, 57, worked as an administrator for the diocese for more than a decade and has served in other parishes in Westlake and Strongsville. The search for a new bishop could take eight months or longer.

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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.