Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, December 28:
- Summa Health and Western Reserve Hospital resolve legal dispute;
- Fourth person charged in connection with smuggling ring;
- State officials urge care for older residents amid bitter cold;
- Akron opens warming centers;
- Cleveland blames west side power outage on transformer explosion;
- Teens charged with murder in death of man hit by sandbag;
- Dairy Queen owner takes to social media to find thieves;
- Browns coach confident he'll keep his job;
- Isaiah Thomas' Cavs debut postponed;
- Youngstown court's first African American female judge sworn in;
- Boardman billboard shows conflicting political messages;
Summa Health and Western Reserve Hospital resolve legal dispute
The long-running legal battle between Summa Health and Western Reserve Hospital Partners is over. Summa has agreed to sell its 40 percent stake in the hospital to an independent third-party and to sell Western Reserve Hospital stakeholders the building itself. The deal follows an announcement last month that a settlement was at hand. Summa’s interim CEO Dr. Cliff Deveney says the deal ensures the best interest of the Cuyahoga Falls community. According to a press release, the terms of the agreement are being kept confidential.
Fourth person charged in connection with smuggling ring
Federal prosecutors say a fourth person is in custody and charged with taking part in a scheme to smuggle teens into the U.S. and force them to work at an Ohio egg farm. The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that Pablo Duran Ramirez was arrested this past weekend by border patrol agents while trying to cross the border between Mexico and the U.S. Three others already have been convicted and sentenced in the investigation that included the 2014 rescue of 10 young Guatemalans brought to work at the egg farm. Prosecutors say the teens were kept as virtual slave laborers.
State officials urge care for older residents amid bitter cold
The bitterly cold weather has state authorities urging people to check on older residents to make sure they're safe. The Department of Aging says older people are at increased risk from such severe cold, from medication side effects to falling risks. The department urges people to check on family, friends and neighbors to make sure they're warm enough and have their needed medications and sufficient food and water. Authorities also say as winter worsens, all Ohioans should have a three-day emergency plan in case they're stranded in their homes. They warn against leaving space heaters unattended and against using kitchen stoves or other appliances for heat.
Akron opens warming centers
With temperatures down into the single digits and wind-chills below zero, Akron has opened warming centers around the city. The Beacon Journal reports there are now five centers open around the city. Anyone looking for shelter should call the Summit County Info Line by dialing 2-1-1. A spokesman for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson tells Cleveland.com the city will keep four rec centers open as warming centers and consider their next step later today.
Cleveland blames West Side power outage on transformer explosion
Cleveland officials say it was a transformer explosion on the West Side that knocked out power to 40,000 residents Tuesday evening. It happened around 5:30 p.m. Officials tell Cleveland.com they don’t yet know what caused the failure. About three-quarters of the residents had power back by around 9 p.m. Power was restored to the rest by early Wednesday morning.
Teens charged with murder in death of man hit by sandbag
Four teens will remain in an Ohio jail on murder charges in the death of a man struck by a sandbag thrown from an interstate overpass in Northwestern Ohio. The boys, ages 13 to 15, appeared in juvenile court Wednesday in Toledo where they entered denial pleas to the murder charges. Prosecutors filed the new charges after Marquise Byrd, 22, died last week at a hospital. The Warren, Mich. man was in the front passenger seat of a car traveling south on I-75 in Toledo when a sandbag smashed through the windshield.
Dairy Queen owner takes to social media to find thieves
The owner of a Dairy Queen in Akron’s North Hill is turning to Facebook to look for tips leading to who broke into his store and cleaned out the freezer. The owner posted photos of the alleged men who broke into the Dairy Queen on Cuyahoga Falls Avenue. He writes in the post that if you see DQ chicken, orange juice or bacon to call the Akron police. The break-in two weeks ago was first reported by WKYC-TV. The Beacon Journal reports that police have not yet posted a police report of the incident.
Browns coach confident he'll keep his job
Browns coach Hue Jackson says he has no doubt owner Jimmy Haslam will keep his word and keep him around in 2018. When Haslam fired Sashi Brown, the team's vice president of football operations, on Dec. 8 and replaced him with general manager John Dorsey, he also announced Jackson would return. However, despite Haslam's support, there remains rampant speculation about Jackson's future. The Browns are 0-15 heading into this weekend’s season finale with Pittsburgh. The team has shown little progress and are one loss from joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history. If that happens, some Cleveland fans plan to mark one of the worst seasons in professional sports with a parade around the Browns' downtown stadium. Jackson says he understands and respects why there is some outcry about Haslam's decision to keep him.
Isaiah Thomas' Cavs debut postponed
Isaiah Thomas' long-awaited debut for Cleveland was held off for at least another game. The veteran point guard, who is coming back from a right hip injury, worked out before last night’s 109-95 loss to Sacramento and there was speculation he might play against the Kings. Coach Tyronn Lue left open the possibility that he could be activated for Saturday's game in Utah.
Youngstown court's first African American female judge sworn in
Youngstown Municipal Court has its first African-American female judge. Magistrate Carla Baldwin was sworn in Wednesday afternoon. She defeated her predecessor in May’s primary election. Baldwin served in Youngstown’s juvenile court and worked as an Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor for eight years. Baldwin has said she hopes to show communities how the court system can help people.
Boardman billboard shows conflicting political messages
A political feud is playing out on a billboard in Boardman Township. A rotating billboard on South Avenue features a blue background and the word “impeach” written in big, white letters. The Business Journal Daily reports the message was apparently paid for by a group called Youngstown Neighbors. A rival group calling itself Youngstown Deplorables put up a competing ad, showing a picture of the first family and a Christmas greeting. The billboard is owned by Genesis Outdoor Advertising, which does not release the identities of people who purchase ad space.