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Morning Headlines: Meijer to Hire 600 Workers in NE Ohio; Lordstown GM Battery Plant Moves Forward

A banner reading "GM INVEST IN LORDSTOWN" hangs on the fence along the truck gate to the shuttered GM Lordstown Assembly Facility.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, January 15:

  • Meijer to hire 600 workers in NE Ohio;
  • Lordstown GM battery plant moves forward;
  • Missing Port Clinton teen found dead;
  • Rock Hall announces 2020 inductees;
  • Ohio to receive funding to help fight homelessness;
  • DeWine signs TechCred bill into law;
  • Youngstown to start charging for fire department responses to car accidents;
  • Lawmakers criticize the state's medical marijuana program;
  • OSU's online bachelor's programs best in the nation;
  • Akron man accused of setting fires that killed 9 is competent to stand trial;
  • Cuyahoga County distributes reusable bags to seniors;

Meijer to hire 600 workers in NE Ohio
A new grocery chain expanding in Northeast Ohio is going on a hiring blitz. Michigan-based Meijer said it’s hiring 600 people for its new stores in Brimfield and Lorain. The new stores are hiring clerks, cake decorators, cashiers, dock workers and meat cutters. Meijer last year opened three stores in Stow, Avon, and Mentor.

Lordstown GM battery plant moves forward
General Motors (GM) is moving ahead with plans to build a new battery plant near its former Lordstown Assembly plant. The Detroit News reports that GM has purchased 158 acres and filed applications with Ohio regulators to build on the property’s 66 acres of wetlands. GM is teaming with LG Chem to build a $2.3 billion plant to make batteries for its planned fleet of electric vehicles. The new plant is expected to create 1,100 new jobs.

Missing Port Clinton teen found dead
The search for a teenager missing since Dec. 20 in Port Clinton has come to a tragic end. Police said they found the body of Harley Dilly, 14, stuck in a chimney of a vacant house across the street from the family home. Police believe Dilly climbed on a roof to get inside the home, went down the chimney and got stuck.  It’s not known why he did it. Volunteers along with state and local authorities have been searching for Dilly since he was last seen leaving home for school.

Rock Hall announces 2020 inductees
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2020 class has been announced: Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T.Rex will be enshrined in Cleveland this spring. Dave Matthews Band, which won the fan vote, didn't get the nod.

Ohio to receive funding to help fight homelessness
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has announced new grants to help Ohioans afford new homes. The grants include $109 million for homelessness projects, with $28 million going to Cuyahoga County. WOSU reports official estimates of Ohio’s homeless population are around 10,300 people as of 2019. Since 2014, Ohio's homeless rate has dropped around 13%, but saw a gradual increase since 2017. Carson said while rising home prices are a sign of a rebounding economy, it does make it harder for the homeless to settle.

DeWine signs TechCred bill into law
Gov. Mike DeWine has signed new bipartisan legislation that will boost job training and workforce development for Ohio businesses. The so-called TechCred and Microcredential Assistance Program reimburses employers for the costs of training both current workers and new hires. Microcredentials are online programs that provide certification in specialty skills. The program focuses on low-income, underemployed, or unemployed people.

Youngstown to start charging for fire department responses to car accidents
Youngstown has announced that it will begin charging for fire department responses to car accidents. Mahoning Matters reports that the city will charge around $500 for a car accident, nearly $700 to put out a car fire, and nearly $1,500 to extract a victim from a car. Youngstown has hired California-based Fire Recovery USA to collect the fees. The city will charge residents for only the amount their insurance will cover. Non-residents will be billed the total amount.

Lawmakers criticize of Ohio's medical marijuana program 
It’s been one year since the first sales of medical marijuana in Ohio, and lawmakers say the program is still not up-to-speed. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Sen. Kenny Yuko, a Democrat from Richmond Heights says the program has too speeds, slow and slower. Three state agencies are tasked with devising rules and regulating the industry, and many patients said problems still plague the program. Still, more than 78,000 patients have registered for medical marijuana and have spent around $61 million in the past year. 47 of the state’s 57 licensed dispensaries have opened. The state now has 12 cultivators and 27 processors that make marijuana infused products.

OSU's online bachelor's programs best in the nation
Ohio State University's (OSU) online bachelor's degree programs are the best in the nation, according to rankings released by the U.S. News & World Report. The rankings are based on how much schools engage with students, the technology they offer and faculty credentials. OSU placed third last year. Four other Ohio schools made the list — University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Ohio University and Ashland University. The rankings are in response to the growing number of students enrolling in online higher education, which increased 4% over the last few years. Cleveland State made the list for nursing and Kent State for its online MBA programs.

Akron man accused of setting fires that killed 9 is competent to stand trial
An Akron man who is accused of setting fires that killed nine people in 2016 and 2017 has been found competent to stand trial. The Beacon Journal reports a Summit County judge made the ruling yesterday after a month-long debate over Stanley Ford's mental status.  Ford, 60, had a court-ordered mental evaluation that showed signs of anxiety and depression, but no serious mental illness that wouldn't allow him to stand trial. Ford has a hearing Friday over whether the death penalty should be dropped from the case. Ford was indicted in 2017 on 29 charges.

Cuyahoga County distributes reusable bags to seniors
Cuyahoga County helped distribute more than 1,000 reusable bags to senior citizens yesterday to help adapt the public to the new plastic bag ban. County and local leaders held the Bring Your Own Bags event at the Euclid Senior Center to speak about the positive environmental impact of reusable bags, such as preventing plastic pollution in Lake Erie. The county's ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect Jan. 1 but won't be enforced for another six months.

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