Cleveland rapist on trial for more rape charges, University of Akron may suspend 55 programs and eagles close parts of national park: News Around Your Area

Rebecca Reis | Web Editor Published:

Here are some of today's top headlines around the area, including a convicted Cleveland rapist representing himself on more rape charges, 55 University of Akron programs that may disappear and a pair of bald eagles that shut down part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

EAGLES NEST: Cuyahoga Valley National Park is closing parts of the Pinery Narrows near Brecksville until July 31 to protect a pair of nesting bald eagles, according to the Nordonia Hills News-Leader. Eagles lay one to three eggs in late winter and incubate them for about 35 days, but eagle eggs are sensitive to the cold. The park wants to protect the eagles nest from human disturbance so the birds won't leave the eggs in the cold. This pair of eagles successfully raised two eaglets last year. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail will remain open, but the park is closing the railroad tracks to pedestrian traffic from the Route 82 bridge north to the railroad tracks at Fitzwater yard, as well as prohibiting water activities at the Cuyahoga River downstream of the Brecksville Dam to the Fitzwater Road Bridge. Click here to read more at The-News-Leader.com.

WRESTLING COACH: Jerry Brady, Lakeside High School Varsity Wrestling Coach, is facing charges of two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after allegedly watched a student beat up another student over a gym bag, according to the Star Beacon. The 16-year-old victim reported that four varsity wrestlers confronted him about owning a Lakeside wrestling gym bag and tried to take the bag from him. The victim allegedly punched one of the wrestlers in the face once, and the wrestler reportedly beat him in the head 25 to 30 times. Brady allegedly did nothing to stop the attack and witnesses say Brady encouraged the wrestler because the victim threw the first punch. Click here to read more at StarBeacon.com.

UNIVERSITY OF AKRON: The University of Akron is considering suspending 55 degree programs that are no longer popular or relevant, consisting of 27 master's, 13 bachelor's, 11 associate and four doctoral degree programs, according to the Beacon Journal.The approximately 600 students currently in the 55 programs would be allowed to to finish their program, and the 115 students who have shown interest in those programs would be notified before May 1 if their program is suspended. The programs being considered are ones with low enrollment such as theatre arts or physics, so that money can go to stronger programs. Provost Mike Sherman identified these 55 degrees to trustees, which will act on the recommendation April 23. Click here to read more at Ohio.com.

COUSIN MURDER: Akron-native Randy Thomas, 21, was convicted of murder Tuesday for shooting his cousin, 21-year-old Anthony Smith, in April, according to the WKYC. According to the prosecutor, Thomas found Smith outside his grandmother's home on Seventh Avenue and got into an argument. They decided to drive to Eighth Avenue to fight, where Thomas then shot Smith three times, according to the prosecutor. Thomas was sentenced to life in prison but will be eligible for parole in 19 years. Click here to read more at WKYC.com.

CLEVELAND RAPIST: The first man indicted in Ohio following the testing of old rape kits is being tried for four rapes from 1993 and 1994 this week, according to The Plain Dealer. Charles Steele, who was in prison at the time the results of the rape kits came back for two Cincinnati-area rapes in 1994, pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping charges and is representing himself in the trial. Steele argued to Common Please Judge Steven Gall that the statute of limitations had expired for the first rape in 1993 because the statute had not yet been extended from six years to 20 at the time. He also asked to move the case to a different court, saying that media exposure had "potentially tainted the jury pool." Gall denied these requests, and a jury is being picked Thursday morning. Click here to read more at Cleveland.com.

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