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Morning Headlines: Judge Dismantles Lake Erie Bill of Rights; Renowned Cleveland Cardiologist Dies

Lake Erie
Jeff St. Clair
Lake Erie

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Feb. 28:

  • Judge dismantles Lake Erie Bill of Rights;
  • Renowned Cleveland doctor dies;
  • Mustard Seed to sell Earth Fare products;
  • Truck business eyes former Akron garden center site;
  • FirstEnergy Solutions is now Energy Harbor;
  • Ohio governor: Sense of urgency needed for new virus threat;
  • All five escaped Stark County inmates are in custody;
  • Proposal for 16-year term limits on lawmakers clears hurdle;

Judge dismantles Lake Erie Bill of Rights

A federal judge has struck down a so-called Bill of Rights that Toledo residents approved to put protections in place for Lake Erie. The citizen-led referendum came about after a harmful algal bloom polluted drinking water for three days in 2014. It allowed the city to sue businesses on the lake’s behalf to fight against pollution. Senior U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary ruled that the measure is vague, unconstitutional and exceeds the power of municipal government. An agricultural corporation called Drewes Farms south of Toledo sued over the referendum.

Renowned Cleveland doctor dies

A Cleveland Clinic cardiologist known worldwide for his heart transplant work has died from complications of the flu. Dr. David Taylor was 60. He spent 19 years working at the Clinic, taught aspiring cardiologists at Case Western Reserve University and was a former president of the . There have been five recent flu-related deaths in Cuyahoga County.

Mustard Seed to sell Earth Fare products amid closures

Akron-based Mustard Seed Market will sell a popular organic foods brand that's going out of business. Mustard Seed has agreed to buy 200 Earth Fare products to make available for a limited time. Earth Fare announced earlier this month that it’s closing all of its stores, including three in Northeast Ohio.

Truck business eyes former Akron garden center site 

The now-vacant site of a former east Akron garden center could be filled soon. The Beacon Journal reports Penske Truck Leasing Co. is asking for city permission to build a $2.5 million truck service and rental center at the site of Donzell’s. The Pennsylvania-based company said it would employ 32 people. The city’s planning commission will review the proposal. Donzell’s operated at the site for 66 years before closing last year.

FirstEnergy Solutions is now Energy Harbor

After nearly two years in bankruptcy court, the former FirstEnergy Solutions officially has a new name. Energy Harbor is now a stand-alone firm after its lengthy separation from parent company FirstEnergy. It’s owned by a group of private equity managers. The separation is not entirely complete — the final agreement includes FirstEnergy paying a $125 million settlement to Energy Harbor, and allowing the company’s 4,600 employees continued access to its IT system. Energy Harbor is refueling its Davis-Besse nuclear reactor this weekend and will need access to FirstEnergy computers. Lawmakers last year approved a billion dollar bailout of the company’s two nuclear and two coal-fired plants.

Ohio governor: Sense of urgency needed for new virus threat

Gov. Mike DeWine said all Ohioans must have a “sense of urgency” about the emerging threat of the COVID-19 virus, popularly known as the coronavirus. DeWine along with state and local health officials gave a briefing Thursday at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland about how Ohio is preparing for the inevitability of COVID-19 cases being diagnosed in the state. DeWine said seven people who had returned to Ohio from overseas have been tested for the virus. All tested negative. More than 200 people in the state have been asked to voluntarily quarantine 14 days after traveling overseas. The state will be taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus, such as ordering the Ohio Department of Transportation to post information in all state rest areas about proper hand-washing protocols. DeWine is also asking colleges and universities to have their students, faculty members and employees immediately receive a flu shot if they have not already. He’s also calling on the Ohio Department of Aging to identify "the most vulnerable adults in our communities." DeWine is asking local aging advocates across Ohio to go out into their communities to check on nursing care facilities to ensure that all illness prevention methods are in place.  

All five escaped Stark County inmates are in custody

The final of five inmates who escaped from a Canton detention center earlier this month has been captured. Vincent Blanc, 24, was arrested today by US Marshalls in Canton. He and four inmates at the Stark County Regional Community Correction Center, a low-level felony drug treatment center, escaped Feb. 10 by smashing a window. They could be convicted for up to five years on top of the sentences they're already serving.

Proposal for 16-year term limits on lawmakers clears hurdle

A proposed constitutional amendment that would set 16-year limits on legislators in the Ohio House or Senate has cleared its initial hurdle. Ohioans for Legislative Term Limits is the group seeking to close a loophole that's allowed multiple legislators to jump back and forth between the House and Senate after reaching the current eight-year limit in one chamber. The group's goal is to place the amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot. The issue goes next to the state Ballot Board. 

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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.