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Morning headlines: Castro to face a judge today
Also: Fund created to benefit women found on Seymour Ave., Cleveland schools, teachers reach agreement on transformation

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • Ariel Castro charged in Cleveland kidnappings
  • Seymour Ave. prayer vigil gives hope that others missing may be alive
  • Cleveland councilmen creates fund to benefit found women
  • U of Akron want to offer sale on summer courses
  • Cleveland schools reach agreement with teachers on transformation plan
  • Supporters of Medicaid expansion ballot issue holding off for now
  • Prisons cut millions for inmate medical expenses
  • Ariel Castro charged in Cleveland kidnappings
    Ariel Castro was charged Wednesday in the kidnappings of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. While the authorities continue to search the Seymour Avenue home and several surrounding it, the three women are trying to adjust to returning home after more than a decade. Berry and DeJesus were met with throngs of reporters, cameras, cheers and gifts. Amanda Berry’s sister made a brief statement thanking the media and asking for privacy. Michelle Knight is back at MetroHealth Medical Center in good condition. Officials are not giving a reason.

    Seymour Ave. prayer vigil gives hope that others missing may be alive
    Several dozen people gathered to pray near the Seymour Avenue home where the three women missing for about a decade were found alive this week. Pastor Larry Harris of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and about 20 faith leaders and dozens more people met Wednesday to pray for the women and the healing process they'll face. Harris says the gathering was upbeat because the case renewed hopes that other missing people may be alive. Harris said the praying community members were an expression of the hope that others missing would eventually return home, too.

    Cleveland councilmen creates fund to benefit found women
    Meanwhile, A Cleveland city councilman has created a fund to benefit the women found on Seymour Ave. The Cleveland Courage Fund is the brainchild of ward 14 councilman Brian Cummins who represents the district where the women were found on Monday. Donations can be made at any KeyBank branch in the U.S.  The account is being administered by the Cleveland Foundation. The contributions will support the recovery efforts of the three women by aiding the local non-profit organizations that assist in the victims' healing. Some media outlets have posted contact information for the Cleveland Courage Fund, specifically a Gmail address. KeyBank says that is NOT an authorized email address for the fund.

    U of Akron want to offer sale on summer courses
    The University of Akron is hoping to offer a sale on summer courses. The board of trustees Wednesday approved an early enrollment plan for incoming freshmen called Zip-Start.  It offers a flat rate of $750 dollars for a three-hour summer course or one-thousand dollars for two three-hour courses.  The general service fees are eliminated.   The plan would go into effect this summer if the Chancellor of the state Board of Regents approves.

    Cleveland schools reach agreement with teachers on transformation plan
    Cleveland school officials say they’ve reached a tentative agreement with teachers about how to carry out a sweeping transformation plan for the struggling district. The Cleveland Plan was approved by the state legislature last summer. It allows for a longer school day and year and makes teacher performance the key factor in salary and layoff decisions instead of seniority.  Details of the agreement haven’t been released. The school board will vote on the tentative agreement next week, followed by the union.

    Supporters of Medicaid expansion ballot issue holding off for now
    Supporters of extending health coverage to more low-income Ohioans say they plan to hold off further work on putting the issue to a statewide vote, at least for now. John Begala, of the Center for Community Solutions, said Wednesday the Cleveland-based policy organization and its partners have plenty of time to pursue a ballot initiative if the Legislature fails to act. Begala said supporters will wait until July to further consider an initiative. Republicans in the Ohio House dropped Medicaid expansion from the two-year state budget last month before sending it to the Senate. And the Senate's leader has said his chamber's version of the budget won't include the expansion. Begala said the group will focus its attention on supporting the governor and Legislature in getting Medicaid expansion adopted.

    Prisons cut millions for inmate medical expenses
    Authorities say Ohio prisons cut more than $26 million from inmate medical expenses last year. That's according to a new report from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee released Wednesday. It shows a 15.2-percent reduction in prison medical expenses last year. The Columbus Dispatch reports that a $2 inmate co-pay, mail-order drugs, requiring prisoners to buy their own aspirin, and other measures allowed the savings. The state paid $188.3 million for prison medical expenses last year, compared with 211.5 million in 2011, and $222.8 million in 2010.



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