Morning Headlines: Big Pharma Vastly Outspends Issue 2 Backers; Akron Expands Citizenship Program

Oct 27, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, October 27th:

  • Park ranger accused of assaulting elderly couple fired;
  • Ohio named a leader in eco-friendly schools;
  • Pharmaceutical industry vastly outspends backers of drug price ballot measure;
  • Program to help immigrants become citizens expands in Akron;
  • Cleveland Clinic's future in ACA exchanges is uncertain;
  • Teamsters Local 507 endorse Zack Reed for Cleveland mayor;
  • Cleveland police search for teens to assaulted off-duty cop;
  • Elementary school students learn civics by protesting trick-or-treating curfew;

Park ranger accused of assaulting elderly couple fired
Summit Metro Parks has fired a ranger accused of kicking an elderly woman and throwing her husband to the ground before placing them in handcuffs. A park executive says the ranger was fired Wednesday for violating park procedures, exceeding his authority and using excessive force. The ranger followed Carl Wilson and his wife Margaret home from an Akron park after they honked their car horn at him. The couple, both in their 70s, had faced obstruction of justice charges, but the charges were dismissed.

Ohio named a leader in eco-friendly schools
Ohio has been named the nationwide leader in building environmentally-friendly school buildings. The U.S. Green Buildings Council recognized the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for having surpassed 300 green K-12 school buildings. Gov. John Kasich issued a resolution Thursday honoring the commission and its staff.

Pharmaceutical industry vastly outspends backers of drug price ballot measure
Backers of the fall ballot Issue 2, aimed at lowering what the state pays for drugs, have been outspent by the pharmaceutical industry-funded opposition by nearly 4-1. Campaign finance reports filed Thursday show Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue has spent nearly $40 million against Issue 2 since July, with nearly $8 million still in the bank. Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices has spent $10.4 million and has about $9,000 in the bank. The two sides are engaged in a high-profile ad war over the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, which seeks to bar state agencies from buying drugs at prices higher than what's paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which receives deep discounts.

Program to help immigrants become citizens expands in Akron
A national program to help immigrants become U.S. citizens is expanding. The Knight Foundation is giving $1.5 million to the New Americans Campaign, a national group of nonprofits, faith organizations and immigrant rights groups. The expanded program will help Akron and other cities provide support services for immigrants seeking citizenship in the U.S. Local partners will include the International Institute of Akron and ASIA, Inc.

Cleveland Clinic's future in ACA exchanges is uncertain
The Cleveland Clinic’s future in the Obamacare exchanges could be in jeopardy next year. A Clinic executive tells Cleveland.com a number of plans have independently decided to leave the exchange marketplace. But the Clinic says it will offer new exchange plans to people who enroll with Oscar Insurance Corp. Oscar Health is an insurance tech startup run by the brother of President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The Clinic says its new offerings through Oscar are not the reason it’s leaving exchange plans. Almost a quarter million Ohioans get their insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

Teamsters Local 507 endorse Zack Reed for Cleveland mayor
The labor group representing Cleveland city workers is endorsing Councilman Zack Reed for mayor. The Teamsters Local 507 are the second labor group to endorse Reed this week. Cleveland.com reports the union will campaign for Reed because of his promise to develop the city’s neighborhoods. Reed is running against incumbent Mayor Frank Jackson.

Cleveland police search for teens to assaulted off-duty cop
Cleveland police are searching for two suspects who attacked an off-duty officer on the city’s East Side. Cleveland.com reports the officer was working security at a Taco Bell on Lee Road. The officer was escorting a customer to a vehicle when two males attacked her and took her handgun. Both suspects are believed to be in their late teens. The unidentified officer was treated for injuries to her face at a nearby hospital.

Elementary school students learn civics by protesting trick-or-treating curfew
An unusually young group of protesters have taken up their cause in a Cleveland suburb. Fourth grade students from Brook Park Elementary have asked the city to extend trick-or-treating hours. The students marched to City Hall yesterday with about 200 signatures. The march was part of a school lesson on government. Democratic Mayor Tom Coyne met with the students and agreed to extend trick-or-treating in Brook Park by a half hour to 8:30 p.m.