Morning Headlines: Former Cleveland Clinic Exec Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud; Absentee Voting Begins

Oct 11, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, October 11th:

  • Mantua school district offers few details about its investigation;
  • Drilling company spills 500 gallons of fuel along the Ohio River;
  • Frontier Airlines flight reportedly ends with injuries and confusion;
  • Ohio glass factory workers for Chinese company try to unionize;
  • Parma resident files federal civil rights suit accusing police of arresting him for satirical social media posts;
  • State school employees retirement system will freeze cost-of-living increases for school employees;
  • Former Cleveland Clinic executive pleads guilty to fraud;
  • Cuyahoga County considers bag fees at grocery stores;
  • Absentee voting begins in Ohio;

Mantua school district offers few details about its investigation
The Crestwood Local School District has released a statement after investigators wrapped up an investigation of alleged student misconduct. The school district reinstated its football program this week, after it had been suspended for 10 days. The statement does not include new details about what was being investigated. It says “comments are limited by state and federal privacy laws.” Mantua police told Cleveland Scene the incident appeared to be “horseplay” and that there were no injuries. Crestwood’s football team will take on Rootstown this Friday.

Drilling company spills 500 gallons of fuel along the Ohio River
Crews are working to clean up a diesel fuel spill in Wellsville. Anchor Drilling Fluids tells WKBN that 500 gallons of fuel spilled or leaked overnight. Some of that fuel ended up in the Ohio River. An Ohio EPA spokesman says a spill of this size could pose a threat to wildlife and drinking water. Anchor Drilling said in a statement the spill is contained. A HAZMAT crew is also at the scene. The cause of the spill is still being investigated.

Frontier Airlines flight reportedly ends with injuries and confusion
Passengers on a Frontier Airlines flight are looking for answers after several people were injured mid-flight. Travelers going from Las Vegas to Cleveland told reporters some were suffering anxiety attacks, screaming and crying during the flight. Passengers also say turbulence caused one woman to have what appeared to be a seizure. The budget airline says take-off was safe and the crew did not report severe turbulence. Frontier says the flight may have been “a little bumpy.”

Ohio glass factory workers for Chinese company try to unionize
Ohio workers at a Dayton glass factory are trying to organize a labor union. The factory belongs to one of China’s biggest glass manufacturers. Since it opened two years ago, the Fuyao Glass factory has been cited for multiple workplace safety violations. Voice of America reports federal investigators have been to the factory more times than any other glass plant in the U.S. The company’s president says the real issue is culture, not safety. At least one worker is against forming a union. Supporters need signatures from about a third of production workers to have a vote.

Parma resident files federal civil rights suit accusing police of arresting him for satirical social media posts
A Parma resident has filed a civil rights lawsuit against police, saying officers violated his First Amendment right to criticize them. An attorney for Anthony Novak says Novak created a satirical Facebook page mocking Parma police and suggesting officers are racially insensitive and unqualified. The complaint alleges police used investigators and techniques irrelevant to the case to retaliate against Novak. The claim against Parma police includes alleged violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as perjury and obstruction of justice. A jury acquitted Novak last year.

State school employees retirement system will freeze cost-of-living increases for school employees
The School Employee Retirement System in Ohio will freeze cost-of-living increases for three years for 75,000 pensioners and is pushing for a similar change for more future retirees. The Columbus Dispatch reports the SERS board voted Monday to enact an identical freeze for about 125,000 future retirees. The freeze for current retirees will start in January. The pension fund covers non-teaching school employees such as cooks, librarians and bus drivers. The system has more than $12 billion in assets.

Former Cleveland Clinic executive pleads guilty to fraud charges
A former Cleveland Clinic Innovations executive has pleaded guilty to $2.7 million in fraud against hospital system. Cleveland.com reports Gary Fingerhut is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and wire fraud. Prosecutors say he received nearly $470,000 in illegal payments as part of the multi-million dollar scheme. Fingerhut was charged in September and formalized his plea agreement Tuesday. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of between 41 and 51 months in federal prison.

Cuyahoga County considers bag fees at grocery stores
Customers may soon pay 10 cents per each paper or plastic bag at Cuyahoga County grocery stores, retailers or convenience stores under proposed legislation being considered by the county’s council. WKYC reports the bag fee, if passed, would go into effect July 1, 2018. The fee would not apply if customers provide their own bags or if a bag is provided by a pharmacist containing a prescription drug. The 10 cent charge would also apply to bags used to package bulk items, restaurant take out, dry cleaning, and garbage, pet and yard waste.

Absentee voting begins in Ohio
Absentee voting is beginning for Ohio's fall election. Today marks the first day of absentee voting for the general election on Nov. 7. The deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming election was Tuesday. Issue 1, a constitutional amendment, calls for giving crime victims and their families the same rights as the accused. Issue 2, a citizen-initiated statute, requires Ohio to align the prices it pays for drugs to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which receives deep discounts.