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Morning Headlines: LaRose Explores Automated Voter Registration, Hopkins Denies Malware Attack

early voting 2012
A citizen casting their vote.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, April 26: 

  • Proposed law would automate voter registration;
  • 20 accused in Cleveland drug ring;
  • Hopkins denies hacking left personal records vulnerable;
  • NE Ohio native to oversee Biden's campaign;
  • Towpath to start final construction phase;
  • Ohio ranks fourth nationwide for beer production;
  • Geauga County lawmaker to resign, head state agency for children;
  • Public can discard unused, unwanted prescription medicine;
  • Cleveland cathedral to hold service in honor of Sri Lanka bombing victims;

Proposed law would automate voter registration
Ohio’s election chief is backing a proposed law that would automatically register voters when they interact with a state agency. It's part of a package of election law changes Secretary of State Frank LaRose tapped a working group to hammer out over the next few months. LaRose wants eligible Ohioans to be automatically registered to vote when they file taxes, renew a driver's or finishing license unless they opt out. He also supports requiring state agencies to tell his office when a voter updates their address. Fifteen other states have the opt-out voter registration system.

20 accused in Cleveland drug ring
Twenty people have been accused of running a drug ring on Cleveland’s west side. The district attorney’s office said two Sheffield Lake dealers provided heroin and fentanyl to people in Cleveland who then sold it in the parking lots of fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations. Charges include drug conspiracy, weapons charges, and money laundering. $44,000 in cash and six guns and ammunition were seized during raids earlier this month.

Hopkins denies hacking left personal records vulnerable
Cleveland Hopkins airport officials are denying reports that hackers have compromised baggage and flight screens, along with its payroll system. The statement follows reports that hackers installed malware that's been causing the problems for going on five days. The airport said the city manages payroll and it remains fully functional, and that public information has not been compromised. The FBI has been called in to investigate the computer malfunction.

NE Ohio native to oversee Biden's campaign
A Northeast Ohio native has been chosen to direct Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Greg Schultz is from North Royalton and graduated from Ohio State University. He served as a senior advisor to Biden and a special assistant to President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017. He has also served as the state director for Ohio's Obama for America and was the director of the Franklin County Democratic Party in 2012. Schultz resigned from the position after county officials investigated the party for payments made to a Democratic fundraising campaign.

Towpath to start final construction phase
The final stage of construction of the Towpath Trail in Cleveland is set to begin in June. Cleveland.com reports that the nearly $9 million final section of the trail will start in Tremont, wind through the flats, and end at the future Canal Basin Park near Settlers Landing. Once the final stage is complete in 2020, the Towpath Trail will run from New Philadelphia to Lake Erie.

Ohio ranks fourth nationwide for beer production
Ohio is at the center of the craft beer boom. The National Brewers Association ranks the Buckeye State fourth in the nation in output with 1.4 million barrels produced last year. Ohio has held the number four spot for four out of the past five years, neck and neck with Colorado and Florida. Ohio has 290 craft breweries – a 500% increase since 2012, with an estimated $2.6 billion economic impact.

Geauga County lawmaker to step down, head state agency for children
A Geauga County lawmaker is stepping down for a job with a state agency serving children. Republican State Rep. Sarah LaTourette will leave the legislature on May 5th to become head of Ohio Family and Children First. She was selected by Gov. Mike DeWine to lead the partnership of state agencies and local organizations working to coordinate services for children in need. LaTourette was re-elected for a third term this past November. Earlier this week, Republican State Rep. Steve Arndt of Port Clinton announced he will retire this summer.

Public can discard unused, unwanted prescription medicine
Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an effort to encourage the public to properly dispose of unneeded medications. There are nearly 250 drop off sites statewide, including many police and sheriff's departments and drug task force locations across the region.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration launched the program nine years ago to help curb abuse of leftover addictive drugs like painkillers. To find a location near you, click here.

Cleveland cathedral to hold service in honor of Sri Lanka bombing victims
There will be an interfaith memorial prayer service to remember the victims of the Sri Lanka bombings Sunday evening at the Cathedral of St. John Evangelist in Downtown Cleveland. The bombings killed more than 250 people in Sri Lanka on Easter. The service will be led by Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez and will also include the Sri Lankan Choir of Greater Cleveland. It beings at 7:30 p.m.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.