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Funding approved for local parks

Columbus -- The state Controlling Board OK'd more than $2.3 million in funding for parks projects around the state, including several in the area.

The latest grants are part of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' NatureWorks Local Parks program. A total of 129 applications for funding were submitted, and ODNR recommended 90 for grants.

In Portage County, Atwater Township will receive $21,506 toward $50,634 in new playground equipment and play surfaces at the Old School Park.

In Summit County, the village of Richfield will receive more than $51,000 toward $69,000 in additions to the Town Hall Park Rock Garden.

And the city of Macedonia will receive $30,826 toward $41,102 in improvements, including new playground equipment, at Sugarbush Park.

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

54,000 apply online for Medicaid

Columbus -- Ohio officials say they've received more than 54,000 applications from people seeking Medicaid health coverage through a new state website.

Of those submitted, Ohio Medicaid says more than 20,000 applications had been approved as of Jan. 22. Almost 4,000 applications were denied.

The online enrollment option became available in December to eligible low-income families, along with individuals who fell under an expansion of the federal-state program for the poor and disabled. County caseworkers are helping to finalize most of the initial online applications.

It wasn't immediately known how many applications came from those who are newly eligible under the Medicaid extension. The state expects to have those figures in mid-February.

Gov. John Kasich's administration moved forward with expanding Medicaid last fall. Coverage took effect Jan. 1.

-- Associated Press

700 take early

retirement at Clinic

Cleveland -- The Cleveland Clinic says more than 700 workers will take early retirement as the region's largest employer tries to cut costs.

WKYC-TV3 reports that the Northeast Ohio hospital system is moving forward with a multi-year plan to cut about $330 million from its budget.

Clinic officials said in a statement they plan to "backfill" nearly half of the jobs. They also said several hundred open positions would be closed.

The Cleveland Clinic system has about 42,000 employees in the region.

-- Associated Press

3 claim abuse by county dorm mother

Youngstown -- Three women have sued a county social-service agency in Northeast Ohio, claiming they were sexually abused as teens by a dorm mother.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 28 in state court in Youngstown against the Trumbull County Children Services agency in Warren.

An earlier federal lawsuit involving the same allegations was thrown out over filing deadlines.

According to the Warren Tribune Chronicle, agency director Tim Schaffner has said the claims were unfounded and no charges were filed.

The women, who were teens at the time, claim the dorm mother enticed them to have sex at her apartment while under her care in county custody. The woman has resigned.

The lawsuit seeks $3 million in damages for each woman.

-- Associated Press

8-year-old designs new police logo

Mogadore -- A village police department in Northeast Ohio has a new logo -- designed by an 8-year-old boy.

A submission by third-grader Johnathan Ardelian was chosen as the new logo by the police chief in Mogadore, a village of about 3,800 people east of Akron.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the village's new chief, Todd Higgins, challenged kids at O.H. Somers Elementary School to come up the new look.

Johnathan submitted a drawing of an eagle soaring over the village's iconic Grist Mill, which was adapted for police uniform patches. The boy -- who says he wants to be a police officer when he grows up -- says it symbolizes officers' readiness to protect and serve the community.

-- Associated Press

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