Morning Headlines: Ohio National Guard Arrives in Puerto Rico; Vandals Strike McKinley Monument

Oct 5, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, October 5th:

  • U.S. Attorney's office shifts priorities from civil rights to opioid abuse, violent crime;
  • Ohio National Guard arrives in Puerto Rico;
  • Akron energy group acquires shale in Pennsylvania;
  • Guns and ammo stolen from Garfield Heights home;
  • Summa gets $5 million for breast health center from longtime physician;
  • Akron holds cultural exchange with Iraqi mental health professionals and educators;
  • State investigators have tested more than 13,000 rape kits;
  • Ohio school district feels loss of devalued nuclear plant;
  • Vandals strike McKinley monument in Canton;
  • Ohio Supreme Court overturns death sentence;
  • Ohio gets federal grant to improve child literacy;

U.S. Attorney's office shifts priorities from civil rights to opioid abuse, violent crime
The recently installed U.S. Attorney in Northeast Ohio has dismantled the office’s civil rights unit and created a new violent crimes unit. Cleveland.com reports Justin Herdman says the workload did not warrant a separate civil rights unit. The move is in-line with priorities set by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The district’s civil rights unit had played a major role in Cleveland’s consent decree with its police department under the Obama administration. Herdman says those issues will now be handled by prosecutors in other units. He says the focus now is on fighting opioid abuse and violent crime.

Ohio National Guard arrives in Puerto Rico
30 Ohio National Guard members have landed in Puerto Rico to assist with relief efforts. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the soldiers are the first of 100 Ohio guardsmen scheduled to head to the island. This first group is made-up of soldiers trained in communications and medical relief.  Around 30 airmen from two Air National Guard units remain in the U.S. Virgin Islands assisting disaster relief there.

Akron energy group buys shale in Pennsylvania
Akron-based oil and gas producer Pin Oak Energy Partners says it has acquired shale assets in four Pennsylvania counties. Crain's reports financial terms of the deal with Seneca Resources Corp. of Houston have not been disclosed. Pin Oak said in a news release that the acquisition includes 14 producing Marcellus Shale wells and two producing Utica/Point Pleasant Shale wells across about 4,300 acres. Pin Oak operates 363 wells across more than 32,000 acres.

Guns and ammo stolen from Garfield Heights home
Police are investigating the theft of about 70 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition from a suburban Cleveland home. Garfield Heights police say the resident reported that he was awoken by a gunshot last week and confronted by two men who demanded to know where his guns where. He said the thieves grabbed the guns and ammunition from a safe and stuffed them into pillow cases before they escaped. No arrests have been made.

Summa gets $5 million for breast health center from longtime physician
A longtime Summa Health physician is donating $5 million for a new breast health center. It’s the largest gift from a physician in the hospital’s history. Dr. Gary and Pamela Williams will have their name on the new center, which consolidates outpatient services in one area. Dr. Williams tells the Beacon Journal the unrestricted gift can go toward anything from equipment upgrades to staff training. The Center for Breast Health will be part of the new West Tower at Summa’s City Hospital campus. The new tower includes private patient rooms and two floors devoted to women’s health.

Akron holds cultural exchange with Iraqi mental health professionals and educators
The U.S. State Department has partnered with an Akron nonprofit to promote cultural exchanges between the city and residents of war-torn countries. A 13-member group from Iraq visited Akron on Wednesday as part of a three-week educational trip to the U.S. The group included Iraqi mental health professionals and educators. They met with local peace groups and counselors to learn how refugees in Akron have dealt with the trauma of war and resettlement. They also discussed how to make sure young refugees can overcome those experiences as adults.

State investigators have tested more than 13,000 rape kits
The state says forensic scientists from its Bureau of Criminal Investigation have now tested more than 13,000 rape kits submitted by law enforcement agencies around Ohio to check for possible DNA matches. Attorney General Mike DeWine released the latest numbers on Wednesday. DeWine launched the initiative in 2011 and law enforcement agencies have submitted about 14,000 rape kits, including some that were decades old.

Ohio school district feels loss of devalued nuclear plant
A northwestern Ohio school district stands to lose nearly a quarter of its yearly revenue after a nuclear plant saw its tax value lowered by the state. The devaluation of the Davis-Besse nuclear plant will cost the Benton-Carroll-Salem school district near Toledo $4.6 million from its annual funds. In all, the plant will pay $6.7 million less in taxes.

Vandals strike McKinley monument in Canton
A memorial in Canton honoring former President William McKinley has been vandalized. The Canton Repository reports someone unbolted two bronze window covers from the base of the McKinley National Memorial last weekend. Facilities manager Ronald Hermann said the culprits didn't get away with them because they were too heavy to carry. Each weighs about 90 pounds. The damage was discovered by repair workers on Monday morning. On average, more than 200,000 people visit the memorial each year. Security footage from the memorial's four cameras has not yet been released.

Ohio Supreme Court overturns death sentence
A divided Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday overturned the conviction and death sentence of a Lake County man. The ruling will give 33-year-old Joseph Thomas a new trial. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2012 for the slaying of Annie McSween two years earlier. Justice Terrence O'Donnell said the trial judge improperly allowed into evidence a knife collection that belongs to Thomas but was not involved in the killing.

Ohio gets federal grant to improve child literacy
Education officials say Ohio is getting a $35 million federal grant to help improve child literacy. The Ohio Department of Education says the bulk of funding from the three-year grant will be distributed to schools and early childhood care providers focusing on serving children in poverty, those, with disabilities, English learners and students with reading disabilities.