Here are some of today's top headlines from around the area, including Cleveland firefighters punished for urine prank, Kent City School District working to limit false security alarms and UA professors speaking out against program suspensions.
UA PROGRAM CUTS: Following an announcement that University of Akron is considering eliminating 55 programs, about 50 faculty members at Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting defended those programs and demanded to know how officials picked the programs that ended up on the chopping block, according to the Beacon Journal. Provost Mike Sherman said that the Board of Trustees is looking to suspend programs with low enrollment or placement rates, and include bachelor's and master's degrees in theater arts, the master's program in physics and doctoral programs in elementary and secondary education. The about 600 students in suspended programs would be permitted to finish their degrees but UA would not permit new students to enroll in them. The Board of Trustees is expected to decide on program suspensions at their next meeting April 23. Click here to read more at Ohio.com.
AKRON SEWERS: Akron City Council members voted 8-5 Monday to approve a 70 percent increase on sewer rates, but it was clear that reelection was on the minds of several council members when it came time to vote, according to the Beacon Journal. Several council members mentioned both the 2013 and upcoming 2015 elections in their speeches regarding the sewer rate hike. The increase follows a federal environmental lawsuit requiring the city to address sewage overflows into local waterways during heavy rains because of an aging sewer system, and the money will go toward improving the sewer system and exploring environmentally friendly alternatives. Click here to read more at Ohio.com.
FALSE ALARMS: Kent City School District is working to limit the amount of false alarms coming from their schools due to human error or alarm sensitivity to limit the fines imposed on them from the Kent Police Department, according to the Daily Kent Stater. Kent Roosevelt High School has generated 12 false alarms in the past six months and is up to $500 in fines due to the police department's new 559.03 ordinance, which charges schools and businesses $50 for each false alarm following the second false alarm. Jim Soyars, the director of business services for the district, said that false alarms happen when staff members go into areas of the building they aren't supposed to, but things like bats or things falling off the walls in the hallway will set off the alarm. Soyars said the district is working with the security company to adjust the sensitivity of the alarms to prevent more false alarms. Click here to read more at KentWired.com.
AMISH SENTENCED: Raymond F. Miller, an 18-year-old Parkman native, was sentenced to the minimum three years in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in June, according to The News Herald. Defense said Miller, who had previously pleaded guilty to rape in Geauga County Common Pleas Court, had been watching porn with his friends just before the incident, which may have given him an unrealistic view of sex. He also said Miller is "an extremely naive person, both sexually and socially." Judge Forrest W. Burt stated that he didn't want to sentence Miller to prison due to his small size and Amish beliefs, believing he would have a harder time in prison, but had to give him the minimum 3 years. Click here to read more at News-Herald.com.
FIREFIGHTERS: Eight Cleveland firefighters received punishments ranging from demotion to suspension Thursday for their part in a joke that involved putting a photograph of former Chief Daryl McGinnis in urinals and urinating on it, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group. The joke occurred at two Kamm's Corners bars in August at a celebration for new firefighters in which members of the public and family members of the graduates were present. Capt. Roy Ziganti was demoted to the rank of firefighter and is banned from ever instructing other firefighters. Two other captains, a lieutenant and four firefighters were given unpaid suspensions ranging from 3 days to 6 months, and charges against one instructor and a probationary cadet were dismissed. A division officer was also found guilty, but his discipline hearing will be held when he returns from sick leave. Click here to read more at Cleveland.com.