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Morning Headlines: Akron Teachers Approve Contract; St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School to Close


Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Jan. 27:

  • Akron teachers approve contract;
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School to close;
  • Former judge, civil rights activist Nathaniel Jones dies;
  • Bill seeks extended safety netting at all Ohio pro ballparks;
  • Proposal would create Ohio database of convicted sex buyers;
  • Attorneys: Fatal arson suspect shouldn't face death penalty;
  • Startup may ask for loan to revamp former GM Lordstown plant;

Akron teachers approve contract

Akron Public School teachers overwhelmingly approved a new labor contract Sunday after months of negotiations. The Beacon Journal reports school administrators and the union hit a roadblock in June after their three-year contract expired for some 2,400 teachers. A fact finder was brought in for a compromise. Details of the deal have not yet been disclosed. The sticking points centered on health care benefits and salaries. The school board plans to vote on the contract Monday.

St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School to close

The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is closing St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School at the end of the school year. The downtown Cleveland school had been in operation for more than 120 years. WEWS reports several factors led to the decision, including declining enrollment and rising costs. The Diocese has been supporting the school since 1993 when the St. Thomas Aquinas parish closed. The elementary school had its highest enrollment in 1945 of more than 1,000 students.

Former judge, civil rights activist Nathaniel Jones dies

A former federal judge who served for more than two decades on the federal appeals court in Cincinnati and previously served as general counsel for the NAACP has died. Nathaniel Jones was 93. He was appointed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in 1979 by former President Jimmy Carter. He retired in 2002. The Youngstown native also served as general counsel for the NAACP. In 2003, Youngstown’s second federal courthouse was named to honor Jones.

Bill seeks extended safety netting at all Ohio pro ballparks

An Ohio lawmaker is pushing legislation requiring all major and minor league baseball teams in the state to install protective netting from foul pole to foul pole. The Columbus Dispatch reports state Rep. John Patterson, a Geauga County Democrat, introduced his bill Thursday in response to concerns from a constituent blinded in one eye by a hard-hit foul ball. Dina Simpson, 46, has been pushing for the change since being injured in 2017. Patterson's legislation would require foul pole-to-foul pole netting be installed by the 2021 season. No additional protection would be required in front of outfield bleachers.

Proposal would create Ohio database of convicted sex buyers

Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill to create a database of individuals convicted of trying to buy sex. Supporters said the legislation backed by Attorney General David Yost is aimed at shining a light on traffickers who sell women and on men who purchase sex. State Rep. Rick Carfagna is a Republican from Genoa Township in suburban Columbus. He said the bill goes after the demand side of prostitution and that it could provide the deterrent needed to stop people from soliciting sex. Individuals would drop off the database if five years pass without another conviction.

Attorneys: Fatal arson suspect shouldn't face death penalty

Attorneys for an Akron man facing aggravated murder charges in the arson deaths of nine people said extensive brain damage makes him ineligible for a death sentence. Defense attorneys Stanley Ford, 60, wrote in a brief that Ford is cognitively impaired and has the mental capacity of a juvenile or an intellectually disabled person. Summit County prosecutors disagreed, saying Ford has a rational understanding of the punishment he could face if convicted. Ford is accused of killing his Akron neighbors in two separate arson fires in 2016 and 2017.

Startup may ask for loan to revamp former GM Lordstown plant

A startup company that wants to build electric trucks at the former Lordstown General Motors assembly plant is considering asking for a federal loan to get production running. Youngstown-area Congressman Tim Ryan said he expects Lordstown Motors Corp. to apply soon for a $200 million loan. The company announced late last year that it had bought the once-bustling factory near Youngstown that closed last March. Lordstown Motors said it's learning more about the loan program. The company didn't reveal additional details. It has said it wants to begin production by year's end.

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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.