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Morning Headlines: Sykes Set to Become Minority Leader; Racial Threats Ongoing at Toledo GM Plant

Photo of Emilia Sykes
Rep. Emilia Sykes of Akron

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

  • Rep. Emilia Sykes poised to become Ohio House minority leader;
  • Shutdown affects 7,000 Ohio workers;
  • Toledo GM workers say racial harassment is ongoing;
  • Cleveland women's march still on despite snowstorm;
  • Ohio Democrats join criticism against withdrawal from Syria;
  • Cleveland to expand summer programs to year-round;
  • NE Ohio to lose five Eat'n Park restaurants;

Rep. Emilia Sykes to become Ohio House minority leader
Democratic State Representative Emilia Sykes of Akron isreportedly set to becomeHouse minority leader. The Beacon Journal reports it's looking like House Democratic leadership will include three women — two of whom, including Sykes, are black. Sykes has been a state representative since 2014. The caucus will vote on leadership positions next week.

Shutdown affects 7,000 Ohio workers
Nearly 7,000 federal workers in Ohio are among the 800,000 affected by the government shutdown. Cleveland.com reports many of them continue working without pay. Prison workers along with TSA agents, Coast Guard and others are among those deemed essential and are required to report to work without pay. Area non-profits are also effected. The Beacon Journal reports that the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties has stopped buying supplies and suspended employee training because of the shutdown. Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and other victims’ advocacy agencies are also suspending some activities due to a halt in federal funding.

Toledo GM workers say racial harassment is ongoing
Workers who sued General Motors after nooses and racist graffiti were found at a Toledo plant nearly two years ago are still facing racial harassment. Their attorney says just this week, one of the workers found a monkey doll and a racist drawing near his work station. Nine workers sued GM last April, saying the company didn't do enough to stop racial harassment that stretched over four years and included the discovery of five nooses in the spring of 2017. GM said Thursday it is taking the matter seriously and has taken several steps to address harassment at the plant, including mandatory training. It also said it's continuing to investigate but has not yet identified those responsible.

Cleveland women's march still on despite snowstorm
Organizers of the Cleveland women's march say the event is still on for tomorrow despite the expected snowstorm. It begins at 11 a.m. at Public Square with speeches from Tamir Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice as well as local and state elected officials. About 9,000 people have said they’re interested in attending the event on Facebook. Akron is hosting a similar event tomorrow beginning with an 11 a.m. rally at the John F. Seiberling Federal Building on South Main Street. It will include a reenactment of abolitionist Sojourner Truth's speech at the 1851 Ohio Women's Rights Convention.

Ohio Democrats join criticism against withdrawal from Syria
Ohio Democrats are part of a bipartisan barrage of criticism over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo sent a sharply worded letter Wednesday to Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton for what she calls a “unilateral change in strategy” in Syria, which she says has “emboldened” ISIS. Two American soldiers and two American civilians died in an ISIS attack Wednesday. Sen. Sherrod Brown says “the attack underscores the need for the president to present the American people with a clear plan for the region.”

Cleveland to expand summer programs to year-round
Cleveland plans to expand its summer youth programs year-round. Cleveland.com reports programming in the city’s 22 recreation centers will soon include more opportunities for young adults, including internships. The programs will target job preparedness, leadership, the performing arts and help improve social, emotional and cognitive skills.

NE to lose five Eat'n Park restaurants
Northeast Ohio will say goodbye to five Eat’n Park restaurants. The Pennsylvania-based chain says the closings next month include locations in Akron, Cuyahoga Falls and Medina Township. It's focusing instead on its burger and salad eatery, Hello Bistro, with one planned at Summit Mall. The roughly 200 employees affected can transfer to another location or receive severance.

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