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Cleveland police officers describe rescuing missing women
Also in morning headlines: two former casino employees banned for life; families in 'cancer cluster' claim they've found the source
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Cleveland police officers describe rescuing missing women
  • Cuyahoga County to announce new "Missing Persons Initiative"
  • Two former casino employees banned for life
  • Families in 'cancer cluster' claim they've found the source
  • House clears bill clearing up confusion over youths concussions
  • New $20 million housing development underway in Slavic Village
  • Wet spring concerns for toxic algae
  • House passes bill to make more teachers eligible to participate in meeting Ohio's new third-grade reading guarantee
  •  
    Cleveland police officers describe rescuing missing women
    About a dozen Cleveland police officers who responded to 911 calls leading to three long-missing women have been applauded by rank-and-file members at a union hall event. Four officers at the Wednesday event recounted the emotionally charged moments of finding the women at a home and realizing one who escaped and called 911 was Amanda Berry, who disappeared a decade earlier. Barbara Johnson said when she got the call to head to the Seymour Avenue house where the three had been held captive, she prayed it wasn’t a hoax. Johnson was one of few females on the scene. She accompanied the women to Metrohealth Hospital and stayed with them for five or six hours. Officers Michael Simon, Anthony Estrada and Michael Tracy gave equally emotional accounts, saying the experience was unique in their careers. The officers were not allowed to give specific details of the rescue.

    Cuyahoga County to announce new "Missing Persons Initiative"
    Cuyahoga County’s leader plans to discuss details of a new "Missing Persons Initiative" intended to help locate those who have disappeared and offer help for residents and law enforcement in that process. The planned announcement today by County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Sheriff Frank Bova comes 10 days after 911 calls led police to a home where they found three missing Cleveland women. The county administration says coordinating with the community is key in missing-person cases. In recent years, Cleveland police have overhauled how they handle missing-person and sex crime investigations based on recommendations issued after the remains of 11 women were found at the home of Anthony Sowell, who is now on death row. 

    Two former casino employees banned for life
    The state agency that controls Ohio’s four casinos has put out its first list of people who are banned from the facilities forever. So far, it’s just two people, employees who were convicted of gaming crimes and fired from Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino and Toledo’s Hollywood Casino. Twenty-seven-year-old Ryan Straker of Steubenville pleaded guilty to charges that he took $500 in chips at the Horseshoe last July and hid them up his sleeve. Twenty-four-year-old Cordero Young of Michigan pleaded no contest to charges that he deliberately overpaid blackjack winnings to an accomplice. 

    Families in 'cancer cluster' claim they've found the source
    Families whose children have been among dozens sickened in a Northwest Ohio cancer cluster are hoping they have pinpointed a cause for the illnesses. More than two dozen family members say in a federal lawsuit filed in Toledo that testing in the attics of homes around the city of Clyde found a chemical compound that is suspected of causing cancer. They say that compound came from a Whirlpool Corp. plant that is within a rural area where 35 children have been diagnosed with cancer and three have died since the mid-1990s. Michigan-based Whirlpool says in a statement that it will defend itself against the allegations.

    House clears bill clearing up confusion over youths concussions
    The Ohio House has cleared a bill correcting a new state law that inadvertently allows coaches and referees in youth sports leagues to be criminally prosecuted for violating rules regarding players' head injuries. The House voted unanimously Wednesday to fix the error in the law. The Senate passed an earlier version. The new law requires coaches, volunteers and officials in youth sports organizations to have players who show concussion-like symptoms sit out games or practices until they're checked and cleared by a doctor or licensed health care provider. Coaches are also required to know more about concussions.

    New $20 million housing development underway in Slavic Village
    Construction of a new $20 million public/private housing development is underway in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. The former industrial property will be turned into 95 townhouses and cottages. It’s an effort between the city of Cleveland, the nonprofit Slavic Village Development group, the Clean Ohio program and others. The homes will carry 15-year property tax abatement and the first ten buyers will get down payment assistance. 

    Wet spring concerns for toxic algae
    State officials are concerned that the wet Ohio spring will bring toxic algae problems back to Lake Erie. Heavy rain this year in northwestern Ohio has nearly doubled the average amount of phosphorus that washes off farm fields each spring and flows down the Maumee River to Lake Erie. The Columbus Dispatch reports that researchers tracked about 210 tons of dissolved phosphorus in the Maumee from March through April 29. About 120 tons would be considered typical.

    House passes bill to make more teachers eligible to participate in meeting Ohio's new third-grade reading guarantee
    The Ohio House has unanimously approved a bill making more teachers eligible to participate in meeting Ohio's new third-grade reading guarantee. School districts and educators raised concerns about having adequate staff to help meet the guarantee that requires that students be proficient in reading before leaving third grade.  Fewer than 5,000 of Ohio's 34,000 licensed preschool-through-3rd grade teachers would have qualified as program instructors under initial guidelines. The chairman of the house education committee said lawmakers weren't given enough time last year to anticipate all the problems with the program before it was approved as part of Gov. John Kasich's midterm budget. House changes now return to the Senate.
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