Ohio News Briefs

Orchards say rain, heat spoiled popular Honeycrisp crop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s supply of the popular Honeycrisp apple is in danger, thanks to this summer’s combination of heavy rain and excessive heat, which is also leading to school closures.

Half the Honeycrisp apples at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala in central Ohio have fallen victim to disease, leading to the cancellation of an annual pick-your-own event this coming weekend, co-owner Andy Lynd told the Columbus Dispatch.

“We built a reputation on providing quality apples for our customers, and the last thing we want to do is provide a low-quality apple to a customer,” said Lynd, who said it’s the first time in 42 years he canceled a pick-your-own weekend because of quality concerns.

Honeycrisp apples will still be on sale at the farm, but those are handpicked by employees and inspected for signs of the disease, known as bitter rot, Lynd said. The Hugus Fruit Farm in Rushville in Fairfield County also lost at least half of its normal Honeycrisp crop because of heat and humidity experienced over the summer, owner Ralph Hugus told the paper.

In southeastern Ohio, Robert Bowers the weather has affected all the apple crops at his Laurelville Fruit Farm, including Honeycrisps.

Honeycrisps are difficult apples to grow because of their susceptibility to disease, said Bill Dodd, president of the Ohio Fruit Growers Marketing Association.

People across Ohio have been suffering thanks to unusually hot weather in the 90s, which is finally supposed to break on Thursday. Dozens of schools have closed early or altogether over the past week, including Columbus city schools, the state’s largest district, with about 51,000 students.

On Tuesday, an Ohio lawmaker asked the state for the cost of adding air conditioning to all schools without it. Rep. Niraj Antani said in a letter to the state schools superintendent that the closures are creating a hostile environment for teaching and learning.

It’s unclear who has the information Antani wants. The Department of Education says schools don’t report such data to the agency. Ohio’s facilities construction commission says it tracks only the 1,200 buildings it helped build or renovate since 1998, all of which have air conditioning.

Antani said it’s ridiculous that in 2018 heat is forcing schools to close.

Diocese to list names of priests removed over sexual abuse

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — The head of a Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio says it will publish the names of priests who have been removed due to sexual abuse.

Bishop George Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown says the list of names will be made public during the next two months and go back as far as possible.

He says the diocese won’t stand in the way if any prosecutors in the six-county diocese want to investigate priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Murry says some accusers don’t want to prosecute and some of the cases are past the 20-year statute of limitations.

The announcement comes after an investigation in Pennsylvania uncovered widespread child sexual abuse in six dioceses.

Ohio college offers half-price tuition to encourage service

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio college is offering a 50 percent tuition break for undergraduates whose families work in “mission-centered” nonprofit and public-service jobs.

Capital University in Columbus is calling the program the “Good Guarantee” and will apply to new, full-time undergraduate students starting at Capital next year.

The university says students will be eligible if they, their spouses, parents or legal guardians, are paid employees of a nonprofit or public-service organization.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that includes teachers, law enforcement professionals, church and faith-based employees, arts organizations workers and military personnel, among others.

Capital President Elizabeth Paul says the university came up with the idea last year as it focused on renewing its public mission.

Icelandic air carriers cancel winter flights from Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two Icelandic air carriers have cancelled their winter flights from Cleveland.

Cleveland.com reports Icelandair’s service between Cleveland and Iceland will end Oct. 31 and start again on Mar. 22. Wow Air is suspending service from Cleveland in late October. It’s unclear when Wow flights will resume their service.

Icelandair Director of Network Planning Egill Almar Agustsson says the company determined that flying during the “darkest couple of months” wasn’t a good decision.

Wow Air didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both companies launched flights from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Iceland in May. The service marked Cleveland’s return to trans-Atlantic flights after nearly 10 years.