Morning Headlines: Affinity Closes its Doors; OxyContin Maker to Stop Marketing to Doctors

Feb 12, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Feb. 12:

  • Affinity Medical Center closes;
  • FAA investigates second mechanical failure on Spirit Airlines plane;
  • CSU campus declared safe after shelter in place alert;
  • Akron teachers to protest district's handling of student misconduct;
  • Shooter charged in death of two Westerville police officers;
  • University of Akron trades parking tickets for food donations;
  • Ohio Supreme Court to consider Miranda warnings by social workers;
  • OxyContin maker to stop marketing to doctors;
  • Site of Brecksville VA hospital to be placed on National Register of Historic Places;

Affinity Medical Center closes
Affinity Medical Center in Massillon has closed its doors. The hospital’s last patient was seen Sunday evening. After multiple efforts by physicians and city officials to save the hospital, the city entered into a deal earlier this month to buy the hospital for one dollar, but it will take some time to work out getting it back up and running. Affinity employed more than 800 people. The hospital’s website says employees will continue to be paid until March 6.

FAA investigates second mechanical failure on Spirit Airlines plane
Federal aviation officials are investigating two mechanical malfunctions on a plane operated by Spirit Airlines. The aircraft first had problems on a Jan. 28 flight from Akron to Ft. Lauderdale, in which fumes in the cabin made passengers sick. The same aircraft began shaking violently on a recent flight from Las Vegas to Oakland, California. An FAA spokesman tells the Sacramento Bee the two incidents on the Airbus A321 are unrelated.  Spirit airlines says no crew members or passengers were hospitalized in either incident.

CSU campus declared safe after shelter in place alert
Officials at Cleveland State University say the campus is now safe after students were asked to shelter in place over the weekend. CSU sent out an alert via Twitter on Saturday advising students to avoid the Science and Research Building. WJW-TV reports a person connected to a domestic incident in South Euclid was believed to have parked their vehicle on CSU’s campus. South Euclid and CSU police searched the campus but did not find the vehicle.

Akron teachers to protest district's handling of student misconduct
Union teachers at Akron Public Schools are planning a rally Monday afternoon to protest the district’s handling of student misconduct. The union says the district is not addressing verbal and physical assaults against teachers. The Beacon Journal reports one case in which a teen body-slammed a male teacher but was allowed to stay in school. The protest will take place before the school board’s regular meeting.

Shooter charged in death of two Westerville police officers
A man accused of killing two Westerville police officers has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder. Authorities filed the charges against Quentin Smith, 30, late Sunday afternoon. Westerville police officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli were killed Saturday while responding to a 911 hang-up call at a townhome in the city. Authorities say the officers shot and wounded Smith, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Reports show police had previously gone to the home where the officers were shot for three domestic disputes but no arrests were ever made. President Donald Trump on Sunday wrote on Twitter that he had reached out to Gov. John Kasich to express his condolences over the officers' deaths.

University of Akron trades parking tickets for food donations
The University of Akron is waiving parking tickets in exchange for nonperishable food donations. The university is holding a “Food for Fines” program to benefit the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank. Faculty, staff and students can turn in five or more items to have a minor citation thrown out. The program is limited to one waiver per person. It runs today through the end of the month.

Ohio Supreme Court to consider Miranda warnings by social workers
The Ohio Supreme Court will decide whether social workers must inform criminal defendants of their Miranda rights when conducting interviews. At issue are statements given to a social worker by a jailed Cleveland man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl. A judge allowed the social worker to testify at trial about offender Demetrius Jackson's statements. He was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in prison. A lower court overturned that conviction in 2016. Court justices scheduled arguments in the case for Tuesday. Jackson's lawyer argues that social workers are state investigators who should be required to give Miranda warnings before beginning interviews. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office says social workers aren't considered law enforcement investigators under Ohio law and aren't trained in criminal procedure.

OxyContin maker to stop marketing to doctors
The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors, bowing to a key demand of lawsuits - including one filed by the state of Ohio - that blame the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic. OxyContin has long been the world's top-selling opioid painkiller, bringing in billions in sales for privately-held Purdue. Purdue's statement said it eliminated more than half its sales staff this week and will no longer send sales representatives to doctors' offices to discuss opioid drugs. Its remaining sales staff of about 200 will focus on other medications. In May 2017, Ohio became the second state to sue five drug companies, including Purdue. On Sunday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Purdue's decision to cease marketing opioids to doctors is "a victory for everyone, but it's too little, too late."

Site of Brecksville VA hospital to be placed on National Register of Historic Places
The site of a former veterans’ hospital in Brecksville is set to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All or part of the 100-acre property would commemorate the VA’s significance as a post-World War II veterans’ hospital. A developer in Independence plans to convert the site into a commercial space. The redevelopment would also include a memorial park and monuments representing the various branches of the military.