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Morning Headlines: Metal Scrapping Led To House Explosion; Google Challenges Cleveland Nonprofits

Cleveland skyline

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, June 13:​

  • Investigators identify probable cause of East Cleveland house explosion;
  • Google challenges Cleveland nonprofits;
  • Rocky River business man guilty of embezzling $1 million;
  • Supreme Court takes up Cincinnati Reds bobblehead case;
  • Cleveland-Cliffs gets out of business in Australia;
  • Black bear struck, killed on I-77;
  • Study highlights public univerisities' impact on Ohio economy;
  • No Ohio voters will be purged from rolls by November midterms;
  • Portage County boy to undergo mental evaluation in shooting death of brother;
  • Cleveland Zoo opens $4.5M Asian Highlands;
  • The Cavaliers get $4M playoff payout;

Investigators identify probable cause of East Cleveland house explosion

Investigators say people scrapping for metal likely caused the East Cleveland home explosion that killed one person and left another critically injured. Cleveland police say two 50-year-old suspects are in custody. The explosion Sunday killed 27-year-old Tracey Brooks and injured 51-year-old Craig Kelly. Police say Brooks, Kelly and the two 50-year-old men were stealing metal from the home and likely caused a natural gas leak. No charges have been filed. The home was recently sold to a new owner.

Google challenges Cleveland nonprofits

Google is giving four Cleveland-area nonprofits a chance to win a $50,000. The Google.org Cleveland Impact Challenge invites nonprofits to propose an innovative idea to stimulate economic growth. The deadline to apply is July 11, and in mid-September, the public will decide which four projects will have the greatest impact.

Rocky River businessman guilty of embezzling $1 million

A jury has found a Rocky River businessman guilty of embezzling close to $1 million in employee payroll taxes and retirement plans to fund his lavish lifestyle. Prosecutors say 66-year-old C. David Snyder collected payroll taxes from his employees at Attevo, a now-closed technology consulting company based in Cleveland. He also embezzled more than $126,000 from a 401(k) and profit-sharing retirement plan for employees. He’ll be sentenced in October.

Ohio Supreme Court takes up Cincinnati Reds bobblehead case

The Ohio Supreme Court plans to hear arguments today in a dispute over promotions including bobbleheads and other items offered by the Cincinnati Reds to ticket buyers. At issue is whether the Reds are exempt from paying tax on the purchase of the promotional items. Attorneys for the Reds argue they don't have to pay tax because they resell the promotional items as part of the ticket package. Ohio law exempts companies from paying tax on items they buy to resell.

Cleveland-Cliffs gets out of business in Australia

Cleveland-Cliffs is getting out of business in Australia. The iron ore producer will sell its Asia Pacific assets to Mineral Resources Limited. After the deal is completed, Cliffs will become a strictly U.S. pellet producer.

Black bear struck, killed on I-77

Authorities say a tagged black bear from Pennsylvania was struck and killed on I-77 in Akron Tuesday. The bear was four-years-old and weighed 225 pounds. There had been numerous sightings of the bear throughout northeast Ohio since mid-May, including Wadsworth, Hudson and Brecksville.

Study highlights public univerisities' impact on Ohio economy

A new report shows Ohio’s 14 public universities contribute around $42 billion annually to the economy. The study by the Inter-University Council of Ohio looks at payroll, student dollars, research spending, construction, spin-off companies and alumni spending. The study claims that the combined spending by the universities supports more than 550,000 jobs. It also looks at the cost benefit ratio for taxpayers, saying Ohio’s public universities provide an 8.6% return on investment. The state spends around $2 billion annually on the 14 public universities. As part of the study, The University of Akron calculated it economic impact last year at $2.7 billion. 

Election's chief says no voters will be purged before November midterms

The Ohio Secretary of State's Officehas notified all county boards of elections that it will not purge voter rolls before the November election. In a statement, John Husted says voter “cancellations” will resume after the midterms. The US Supreme Court this week upheld Ohio’s process for dropping registered voters from the rolls if they fail to vote within a six year period and don’t reply to letters from the board of election. The high court’s decision would allow for the purging of at least 7,500 registered voters who had been retained in 2016 while the case was being decided. Tens of thousands of further registered voters could be purged when the process resumes next year.

Portage County boy to undergo mental evaluation in shooting death of his brother

A 13-year-old Portage County boy charged in the shooting death of his 11-year-old brother will be evaluated to determine if he's competent to stand trial. He's charged with aggravated murder for killing his brother at their family's Streetsboro home in April using a handgun stolen from their grandfather. Police have said the shooting was premeditated. The teen could be ordered to spend some of his sentence in adult prison if the judge classifies him as a serious youthful offender.

Cleveland Zoo opens $4.5M Asian Highlands exhibit

The Cleveland Zoo opened its $4.5 million Asian Highlands exhibit on Tuesday. It houses the highly endangered Amur Leopard, plus rare snow leopards, red pandas, and the exotic looking Takin - a cross between a goat and an antelope. 

Cavs get $4M playoff payout

The Cavs are getting a nearly $4 million payout from their NBA Finals run. It comes from the NBA Playoff Pool that's funded by post-season gate receipts. They're getting about $900,000 more than last year thanks to a new collective bargaining agreement.

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