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Morning Headlines: UA Offers Students Emergency Grants; New Hemp Rules Could Create Barriers

photo of University of Akron Law School
University of Akron

Here are the morning headlines for Monday, Nov. 25:

  • UA offers students emergency grants;
  • New hemp rules could create barriers for farmers;
  • Ohio state forest to open new all-purpose vehicle trails;
  • Ohio village mayor's race once again decided by coin flip;
  • Ohio offices partner to preserve future of online checkbook;
  • Proposed legal settlement to aid special education students;
  • Virtual assessment to expand driver training in Ohio;

UA offers students emergency grants
The University of Akron is offeringemergency grants to students in need. Students who are eligible for the federal Pell grant scholarships can apply for up to $1,000 one time during college. The money is meant to help students pay for things like food, transportation or housing – hardships that may lead them to drop out. The university decided to make the program permanent after testing it through grant money. It's currently operating off of donations.

New hemp rules could create barriers
Ohio farmers said the state’shempplanting minimums and licensing fees may create a barrier for smaller growers. The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s proposed hemp rules call for a minimum of 1,000 plants on at least a quarter acre of land. Farmers and industry groups said the planting minimum and $500 application fee may be too costly for some. The Columbus Dispatch reportsthe state said fees cover inspection costs and the planting minimum makes it easier to regulate hemp.

Ohio state forest to open new all-purpose vehicle trails
Enthusiasts are getting a new area in Ohio where they can take all-terrain vehicles, mini dirt bikes, four-wheelers and other all-purpose vehicles. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' forestry division said it has purchased 1,405 acres that it plans to add to Pike State Forest in southern Ohio's Pike and Highland counties to expand the forest’s current APV area. Division Chief Dan Balser said the acquisition will double the size of the forest's current APV area.

Ohio village mayor's race once again decided by coin flip
The mayor's race in a Stark County village has once again been decided by a coin flip. Travis Boyd's call of heads at the Stark County Board of Elections has won him a seat as mayor of Magnolia for the next four years. An election Nov. 5 left Boyd and opponent Grant Downes tied at 147 votes each. The two men shook hands after the flip. The men ran for the position after longtime Mayor Robert Leach decided not to seek reelection. Leach was elected the Magnolia mayor in 1979 after winning, that's right, a coin flip. He ran unopposed for his next nine terms.

Ohio offices partner to preserve future of online checkbook
Two state government offices previously at odds over Ohio’s online checkbook are partnering to keep the website going. The state treasurer’s office and the Office of Budget and Management recently announced the collaboration. Under previous administrations, the two offices launched separate, competing sites for searching state spending information. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Treasurer Robert Sprague said collaboration will mean better service at lower cost and will enhance transparency for the media and public. Their plan calls for OhioCheckbook.com, which provides government spending data, to continue while folding in revenue information from OBM’s Interactive Budget. Then-Treasurer Josh Mandel launched OhioCheckbook.com in 2014. He accused then-Gov. John Kasich of undermining the site’s future. Both are Republicans. Kasich said the budget office could provide more thorough information.

Proposed legal settlement to aid special education students
Special education students from several Ohio school districts are expected to receive more academic support aimed at improving learning and testing outcomes under a proposed settlement of a 28-year lawsuit. Cleveland.com reports the proposed settlement will impact 11 districts including Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus where special education students have lower academic outcomes. Parents of special education students will be able to review and comment on the proposal.

Virtual assessment to expand driver training in Ohio
Ohio will use more than 400 virtual driving terminals placed at driver schools and examination locations to determine the skills would-be drivers need to work on. The Columbus Dispatch reports that data could lead to changes in the state’s driver-training program. Gov. Mike DeWine said the terminals are not simulators but meant as diagnostic tools. Drivers will still have to pass on-road exams to get their licenses. DeWine said the data will be shared with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The state will pay for startup costs using a federal grant for $350,000 and will not charge driving schools for the equipment.

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