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Morning Headlines: UH Faces Lawsuit Over Damaged Embryos; Republic Steel to Reopen Lorain Plant

photo of University Hospitals Lerner Tower

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 12:

  • UH faces lawsuit over damaged eggs and embryos;
  • Republic Steel to reopen Lorain plant;
  • Kasich to announce major partner for Belmont County ethane cracker facility;
  • State issued hundreds of citations for public records violations in 2017;
  • Hundreds protest proposed gun restrictions at the Statehouse;
  • Ohio Supreme Court to hear case over excessive court costs;
  • GOP Sen. La Rose proposes buying new voting machines before 2020 election;
  • St. Paul's school in Akron to close;
  • Donations stolen from grieving families of deceased Westerville officers;
  • Cedar Point to hire 5,000 people this summer;

UH faces lawsuit over damaged eggs and embryos
University Hospitals is facing a class-action lawsuit over a freezer malfunction that may have damaged about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos. The suit was first reported by WEWS. It was filed on behalf of Amber and Elliott Ash of Bay Village, who were among the 700 fertility patients who UH alerted to the freezer fluctuation that occurred on March 4.  The hospital started notifying patients last Tuesday. Meanwhile, a California fertility clinic has announced that thousands of frozen eggs and embryos might have been damaged because of a failure of a storage tank on the same day the Pacific Fertility Center announced about 400 patients were affected.

Republic Steel to reopen Lorain plant
Republic Steel plans to restart its steel plant in Lorain, which could restore more than 1,000 jobs. The company, which is based in Canton but owned by a Mexican multinational group, is crediting President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The Lorain operation has been idled since 2016.

Kasich to announce major partner for Belmont County ethane cracker facility
Gov. John Kasich and the head of JobsOhioare expected on Monday afternoon to announce a new international partner in a $6 billion ethane cracker in southeast Ohio. Two years ago, Kasich joined PTT Global Chemical in announcing plans to spend at least $100 million to design and engineer the chemical plant. PTT Global Chemical is a Thailand-based company. JobsOhio is the publicly funded private development corporation used spur economic development.

State issued hundreds of citations for public records violations in 2017
State Auditor Dave Yost has issued 321 citations to nearly 270 local governments, police departments and schools in 2017 for violating public-records requirements. Yost said more than 5 percent of the more than 48-hundred audits he did last year included governments not complying with public records law. That was down 22 percent from 2016.

Hundreds protest possible gun restrictions at the Statehouse
About a thousand gun rights advocates gathered at the Statehouse over the weekend to protest moves toward gun restrictions. Organizers said the protests were set up to challenge moves in Ohio and elsewhere to raise the age limit to buy assault-style weapons, tighten background checks and implement other gun control measures. On March 24, gun-control advocates plan to hold events across the country, including in Columbus, called the “March for Our Lives.”

Ohio Supreme Court to hear case over excessive court costs
The Ohio Supreme Court will hear a convicted murderer's challenge of what he considers to be excessive court costs. The issue before the court is whether judges should consider offenders' future ability to pay costs when they're asked to modify those expenses. Lawyers for James Dunson says it will take him years to pay off the more than $6,000 in court costs assessed after his 2013 murder conviction. The Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office says nothing in state law requires judges to determine whether a prisoner has a present or future ability to pay court costs. The Supreme Court on Friday scheduled oral arguments for April 24. The case comes during a national debate over whether the imposition of fines, fees or bail is a tactic to simply raise money.

GOP Sen. La Rose proposes buying new voting machines before 2020 election
Ohio lawmakers are considering a $115 million plan to help counties buy new voting machines. The Plain Dealer reports Sen. Frank LaRose, a Hudson Republican, presented the proposal Thursday. Lawmakers agree new machines are needed before the 2020 election, yet funding for the overhaul remains an issue. LaRose's plan calls for dividing money based on the number of registered voters in each county. Counties would be able to choose between electronic machines and lower-cost scanning equipment. Both the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Ohio Association of Election Officials support the plan. LaRose is running for secretary of state. His Democratic opponent, Rep. Kathleen Clyde, of Kent, says the state should tap the capital budget bill for funding and that LaRose's plan is a political maneuver.

St. Paul's schools in Akron to close
Despite protests and offers of help from the community, St. Paul’s school in Akron will close at the end of this school year. The Beacon Journal reports staff were notified of the closing late last month because of increased costs and declining enrollment. More than 700 people have signed a petition asking the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to reevaluate. Enrollment in K-6 has dropped to just 126. It had peaked in the 1960s at 1,600.

Donations stolen from grieving families of deceased Westerville officers
A Columbus restaurant says someone stole nearly all of the donations it was collecting for the families of two Westerville police officers killed while responding to a domestic violence call last month. A surveillance video at Joe’s Pub and Grill shows a woman apparently taking the money to spend on nearby lottery machines. The box had a couple hundred dollars in it.

Cedar Point to hire 5,000 people this summer
Cedar Point plans to hire 5,000 people for the coming season. Cleveland.com is reporting the pay will be between $9.25 and $12.50 an hour. Job fairs will be March 22 and April 8 in Sandusky, with the park opening May 5. Last week, the amusement park announced its daily admission tickets would climb 7.5 percent to $72.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.