Morning Headlines: AP Records Show Ohio Has Plenty of Lethal Drug; ECOT Threatens to Close

Oct 6, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, October 6th:

  • University of Akron entices out-of-state students with lower tuition;
  • Case gets federal grant to study healthcare inequality among minorities;
  • Cleveland police receives grant to test old rape kits;
  • OSU and Apple partner to give undergrads iPads;
  • Wife of dead inmate sues Summit County Jail;
  • ECOT threatens to close if state claws back disputed funds;
  • State regulators green light two natural gas plants;
  • New supplies of lethal drugs pave way for more executions;
  • Portage superintendent asks prosecutor to look for criminal charges involving football team;
  • Cleveland Foundation is collecting funds for Puerto Rico;

University of Akron entices out-of-state students with lower tuition
The University of Akron says it’s lowering out-of-state tuition next year by 20 percent. The cut will bring tuition down to around $15,000. The estimated cost with room, board and other expenses is about $31,000. University president Matt Wilson said in a letter that the tuition cut will help attract and keep students from outside Ohio. The decrease comes as the university’s enrollment has risen about 10 percent since last year. It’s not clear if current out-of-state students qualify for the new reduced tuition.

Case gets federal grant to study healthcare inequality among minorities
Case Western Reserve University has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the health of minorities. Case is one of a dozen universities that will share $82 million dollars to research inequality in healthcare. The grant will also be used to train healthcare workers and hold community engagement events. The money comes from a federal program that studies populations who disproportionately suffer from medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Case’s program will specifically study hypertension among African Americans.

Cleveland police receives grant to test old rape kits
The Cleveland police department has received a $2 million to continue testing decades-old rape kits. More than 4,000 kits have already been collected from victims dating as far back as 1993. But Cleveland.com reports even older kits could still contain valuable evidence. As part of the grant, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center will provide counseling as some victims re-visit trauma from decades ago. While it’s likely too late to prosecute most of the cases, officials say the evidence can still provide insight and closure for victims. The federal grant is part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Program.

OSU and Apple partner to give undergrads iPads
Ohio State University says all of its new undergraduate students will be getting an iPad beginning next fall. The university says it's part of a new collaboration with Apple. The tech giant and Ohio State will create an iOS design laboratory for the university and help students learn coding skills and mobile app development.

Wife of dead inmate sues Summit County Jail
The wife of a man who killed himself at the Summit County Jail has filed a lawsuit claiming jail staff didn't take sufficient precautions to prevent his death. Wayne Jordan's wife filed the lawsuit last week in federal court in Akron. Jordan died at the jail last year. At the time, a sheriff's office spokesman said the 63-year-old hadn't shown any signs of being suicidal. The suit says that Jordan denied considering suicide when initially booked but his mental condition deteriorated before his death four months later. The suit says there was no suicide monitoring in place when he hanged himself in his cell days before his trial on rape charges was set to start. A sheriff's spokesman declined to comment.

ECOT threatens to close if state claws back disputed funds
One of the nation's largest online charter schools says it will close within four months, in the middle of the school year, if Ohio's efforts to recoup $60 million or more in disputed funding aren't halted. In a new court filing, attorneys for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow say the closure would affect almost 12,000 students and eliminate 800 jobs. ECOT's lawyers are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to block the state from clawing back funding until the case is settled, or to expedite hearing the case before the potential closure. ECOT is challenging how the Ohio Department of Education tallied student logins to determine that ECOT should repay $60 million from 2015-16. The state says ECOT could owe nearly $20 million more from 2016-17, though ECOT can appeal that finding.

State regulators green light two natural gas plants
Regulators have approved the construction of two new natural gas power plants in Ohio. The Ohio Power Siting Board on Thursday approved plans for the two separate projects in Guernsey and Trumbull counties that are targeted to begin operating in 2020. The plant in Lordstown near Youngstown will be able to produce 940 megawatts. One in Guernsey County will be south of Cambridge and produce up to 1,100 megawatts. Close to a dozen natural gas power plants are being built or are in the planning stages around the state. They use gas from the Appalachian shale fields and turn it into electricity.

New supplies of lethal drugs pave the way for more executions
Ohio has been able to replenish part of its lethal drug supply in recent months, and could carry out nearly 20 additional executions under certain conditions, according to new records obtained by The Associated Press. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction took in new supplies of midazolam, a sedative administered first to condemned inmates, and potassium chloride, which stops prisoners' hearts, in December and January, several weeks after receiving previous supplies of the drugs, the records show. The records don't indicate whether the department received fresh supplies of the second drug in Ohio's method which paralyzes inmates. But even relying on previous supplies, Ohio still has enough drugs for 18 more executions.

Portage superintendent asks prosecutor to look for criminal charges involving football team
A Portage County school district has asked the county prosecutor to review evidence gathered in an investigation into an unspecified incident involving its football team. The Record-Courier reports that Crestwood Superintendent David Toth has asked county prosecutor Victor Vigluici to review the case for possible criminal charges. Mantua police have cited one incident that occurred during “a football exercise,” in July but added that no students were injured. Crestwood cancelled two football games during the investigation but it could resume next week.

Cuyahoga GOP postpones endorsement of 16th district congressional candidate
The Cuyahoga County Republican Party is postponing its endorsement of a congressional candidate for Ohio’s 16th district. The party was expected to endorse State Rep. Tom Patton, of Strongsville. The campaign was pushing for an early endorsement. But Tea Party activist Ralph King moved to block the endorsement. The motion was approved by a slim margin on Thursday, with supporters saying an early endorsement would discourage competition in the race. The 16th district includes all of Wayne county, along with parts of Cuyahoga, Medina, Portage, Stark and Summit counties.

Cleveland Foundation is collecting funds for Puerto Rico
The Cleveland Foundation is leading an ongoing fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The money is being sent directly to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund. So far, the Cleveland Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland are giving a total of $75,000. Donations are being collected online through the Cleveland Foundation website.