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Morning Headlines: U.S. EPA Revisits Decision on Lake Erie Impairment; Pillich Names Running Mate

photo of Lake Erie

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Jan. 18:

  • U.S. EPA reverses stance on Lake Erie impairment designation;
  • Trumbull County woman extradited from Brazil, charged with husband's murder;
  • Connie Pillich selects Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer as running mate;
  • Cuyahoga Falls' Front Street mall to open to two-way traffic;
  • Deputy fatally shoots teenager in Columbus courtroom;
  • Feds approve Ohio's education accountability plan;
  • Canton teacher who body slammed a student resigns;
  • Proposed changes to handling of fetal remains passes Ohio Senate;

U.S. EPA reverses stance on Lake Erie impairment designation
The U.S. EPA says it shouldn't have approved Ohio's recommendation not to declare Ohio's western end of Lake Erie impaired by toxic algae. The agency's reversal didn't go as far as ordering the lake to be designated as an impaired watershed. But the EPA's reversal sent in a letter to Ohio officials said the state's list of impaired waters was incomplete and didn't properly evaluate the lake's waters. Several environmental groups have sued the EPA saying the lake should be classified impaired because algae blooms are preventing the waters from meeting basic quality standards.

Trumbull County woman extradited from Brazil, charged with husband's murder
A Newton Falls woman accused of killing her husband and fleeing the country has been arrested. Claudia Hoerig is accused in the 2007 murder of her husband, a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and former pilot for Southwest Airlines. She fled to her native country of Brazil more than a decade ago. She was extradited Wednesday night and is being held on charges of aggravated murder. Trumbull County officials spent years trying to get Hoerig back in the U.S. The Brazilian government eventually revoked her citizenship in 2013 because the country’s constitution does not allow extradition of its citizens. Hoerig is set to be arraigned Friday morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Connie Pillich selects Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer as running mate
Democratic candidate for governor Connie Pillich has selected Marion mayor Scott Schertzer as her running mate. Schertzer has Democratic roots but also appeals to rural Republican voters. The 51-year-old was elected mayor in 2007 and is the current president of the Ohio Municipal League. Before taking office, he spent 13 years as a public school teacher. He also worked for then-Secretary of State Sherrod Brown. Pillich faces a five-way Democratic primary for a spot in the general election contest to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich, who's term-limited.

Cuyahoga Falls' Front Street mall to open to two-way traffic
A longtime pedestrian mall in Cuyahoga Falls will soon be open to two-way vehicle traffic. Front Street in downtown Cuyahoga Falls had been a pedestrian mall for more than 40 years. The outdoor mall languished over the years, prompting the city to embark on a $10 million Downtown Transformation Project. The renovation added pavement, new curbs and sitting areas for pedestrians. A number of small businesses are set to open, including ice cream shops, restaurants and a beauty salon. A soft reopening ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 3. A full grand opening will take place in the summer.

Deputy fatally shoots teenager in Columbus courtroom
A deputy fatally shot a 16-year-old boy in a Columbus courtroom when a fight broke out involving the boy, his family and the officer on Wednesday. Joseph Haynes was struck once in the abdomen during the fight that began as a hearing concluded in a domestic relations courtroom.

Feds approve Ohio's education accountability plan
Ohio has received federal approval for its education accountability plan required under ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act. The U.S. Department of Education signed off on the state’s proposal Tuesday, along with ten other states. Ohio’s plan details the state’s current academic content standards, which identify what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade in each subject area. It contains an accountability system for schools based on the current A through F reports cards, which are based on scores for graduation rates, K-3 grade literacy, and growth year-to-year of standardized test scores, among other things.

Canton teacher who body slammed a student resigns
A Canton teacher has resigned after video shows him apparently body slamming a student to the ground. WEWS-TV reports McKinley High School teacher Ken Weatherbee was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident in December and later resigned. Superintendent Adrian Allison released a statement after the video went viral calling Weatherbee’s behavior disturbing and unprofessional.

Proposed changes to handling of fetal remains passes Ohio Senate
The state Senate has passed a billthat would change the way fetal remains can be handled. Senate Bill 28 requires what is being called the human burial or cremation of fetal remains following an abortion, and as expected, it passed along party lines. The legislation is backed by Ohio Right to Life. But opponents of it say it is unconstitutional. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.  A similar bill was proposed in the House in 2015, but never got through committee.

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