Morning Headlines: State Seeks Billions for Local Projects; EPA Finishes Clearing Illegal Dump

Feb 28, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Feb. 28:

  • Lawmakers propose $2.6 billion plan to fund local projects;
  • Ohio EPA completes cleanup of illegal East Cleveland dump;
  • Jackson parents call for better emergency communication after school shooting;
  • Cleveland Municipal Court failed to keep background check database updated;
  • Ohio drops in U.S. News and World Report rankings;
  • Akron child dies of suspected drug overdose;
  • State asks Ohio Supreme Court not to reconsider Toledo abortion clinic case ;
  • Cavs ban fan who yelled racial slurs on national broadcast;
  • Justice Department voices support for lawsuits against drug companies;
  • Cleveland EMS suspends workers who refused to send an ambulance to shooting victim;
  • State highway patrol trooper charged with drug trafficking;

Lawmakers propose $2.6 billion plan to fund local projects
Ohio lawmakers have introduced a plan to fund local construction projects throughout the state. It would give a total of $2.6 billion to various projects in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. The proposal includes $100,000 for the demolition of Akron’s Rubber Bowl. It also includes more than $1 million to renovate Blossom Music Center and half a million for Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Summit and Stark Counties would share a $15 million grant to improve mental health and drug addiction services. The spending bill would give Kent State University more than $20 million, with most of it funding the university’s new Design Innovation Center. The plan is making its way through both chambers as House Bill 529 and Senate Bill 266.

Ohio EPA completes cleanup of illegal East Cleveland dump
State environmental officials have finished clearing an illegal dump in East Cleveland. The Ohio EPA announced Tuesday they’ve removed more than 150,000 tons of construction waste at the Arco dump on Noble Road. Officials last year discovered high concentrations of a flammable gas and the dump eventually caught fire. The cleanup effort was prompted by resident complaints. The state EPA paid almost $9 million for the cleanup. They’re hoping to recover the cost from the owners of the dump.

Jackson parents call for better emergency communication after school shooting
Hundreds of parents, students and staff met Tuesday to talk about school safety after a teenager fatally shot himself at Jackson Memorial Middle School. The Repository reports a number of parents said they got news of last week's shooting via text messages from their children. At Tuesday's school board meeting, parents called for better communication with school officials and suggested the district implement an emergency text message system. The district plans to spend more than $200,000 to install new security cameras on its school buses. Superintendent Chris DiLoreto said he will be available to meet directly with parents on Wednesday and Saturday.

Cleveland Municipal Court failed to keep background check database updated
A new report shows officials at Cleveland’s Municipal Court failed to add names of convicted felons to a nationwide database used to conduct background checks for gun purchases. A state audit includes one court official who said manually entering names into the database was too time-consuming. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports at least 90 courts throughout the state also failed to keep their records up to date. Courts are required by state law to update their list of people barred from purchasing firearms at least once a week.

Ohio drops in U.S. News and World Report rankings
U.S. News and World Report has released its annual rankings. Ohio has dropped five spots to 40th place in the overall rankings. The state continues to lead the nation in affordability. But Ohio is now among the last states for public health, higher education, employment and quality of life. Ohio ranks among the top 20 states for crime and corrections. The rankings use a mix of government and proprietary data.

Akron child dies of suspected drug overdose
A 3-year-old girl has died two days after her 2-year-old sister was hospitalized in Ohio from what police suspect is an overdose. The Beacon Journal reports Minnie Maye Riley died Sunday at Akron Children's Hospital from a suspected overdose. Police say her younger sister apparently overdosed two days before and remains hospitalized. Authorities say the Riley family was visiting relatives in Akron, and both girls overdosed in the same house. Investigators are waiting on test results to confirm what drug the girls ingested. No charges have been filed. Police said Tuesday an investigation is ongoing. The girls are the second and third toddlers that police suspect of overdosing in Akron over a five-day period.

State health department asks Ohio Supreme Court not to reconsider Toledo abortion clinic case 
Ohio's health department is asking the state Supreme Court not to revisit a decision that upheld the shuttering of an abortion clinic. Justices ruled the department was within its rights when it revoked the license of Capital Care of Toledo. At the time, the clinic didn't have a required patient-transfer agreement with a local hospital. Days after the ruling, the ProMedica hospital system authorized such an agreement. The clinic cited that development in a filing last week seeking reconsideration. Lawyers for the state said in a motion on Monday that the new agreement doesn't change past noncompliance and the clinic should reapply through the normal process.

Cavs ban fan who yelled racial slurs on national broadcast
The Cavs have indefinitely banned a fan from their arena for making racial taunts at San Antonio's Patty Mills. Security officials reviewed videotape from Sunday's game and identified the fan sitting near the court. He yelled at Mills while the Spurs guard was shooting free throws in the fourth quarter. The team did not disclose his name or any details about him. He is barred from events at Quicken Loans Arena, with the team to review the ban after one year.

Justice Department voices support for lawsuits against drug companies
The U.S. Justice Department says it will support local officials in hundreds of lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says it’s the first action by a newly formed task force that aims to more aggressively target drug makers and distributors of opioids. Critics say its efforts fall far short of what is needed. The Justice Department hopes to collect on any settlement payout that comes from the lawsuits. Sessions says the federal government has borne substantial costs as a result of the drug crisis, which claimed more than 64,000 lives in 2016.

Cleveland EMS suspends workers who refused to send an ambulance to shooting victim
A Cleveland Emergency Medical Services dispatcher and supervisor have been suspended without pay for one day for refusing to send an ambulance to a man who was shot 16 times and drove across the city line. Police say the 22-year-old victim was shot Jan. 14 with an assault rifle and managed to drive into Euclid, where he was discovered by a police officer. Police say Cleveland EMS refused to send an ambulance because he left the city. The victim survived the shooting.

State highway patrol trooper charged with drug trafficking
An Ohio Highway Patrol trooper is accused of selling illegal drugs, providing an accomplice with a bulletproof vest and lying to police. Jason Delcol was one of six men charged in the drug trafficking scheme around the city of Delaware in central Ohio. It is the third time Delcol has been fired since 2012. Arbitrators twice ruled to reinstate him.