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Cuyahoga County: Three heroin deaths in one day tied to powerful painkiller
Other morning headlines: Cleveland police chief to announce pursuit policy changes; Amish family wants Supreme Court to hear chemotherapy case
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Download (WKSU Only)
  • Cuyahoga County: Three heroin deaths in one day tied to powerful painkiller 
  • Cleveland police chief to announce pursuit policy changes
  • Ohio Supreme Court agrees to hear sewer district fee 
  • Amish family wants Supreme Court to hear chemotherapy case
  • State: Fewer inmates going back to prison
  • Closing arguments to begin in Ashland slavery case
  • Cuyahoga County-based Dots clothing to begin liquidation
  • USEC files for bankruptcy
  • Acura shifting more production to Ohio plant
  • Toledo art museum statue possibly stolen prior to acquisition
  • Cuyahoga County: Three heroin deaths in one day tied to powerful painkiller 
    Cuyahoga County is reporting three suspected heroin deaths in one day Tuesday.  The medical examiner's office says the ongoing public health threat now includes cases in which heroin has been laced with the prescription painkiller fentanyl. Fentanyl is about 80 times the strength of heroin and is being blamed for dozens of recent overdose deaths across the country. Authorities are warning people about the possibility of the drug being substituted and sold as heroin. Reports from Cleveland police and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department indicate there were another five non-fatal suspected heroin cases between Monday and Tuesday.

    Cleveland police chief to announce pursuit policy changes
    Cleveland’s police chief will announce changes in the city’s vehicle-pursuit policy during a press conference today. The announcement comes about 15 months after a massive chase in which more than a hundred patrolmen, supervisors and dispatchers played a role. It ended with 137 shots being fired at and killing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, neither of whom was armed. The city disciplined dozens of officers -- including firing one supervisor -- for their actions during the chase, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called it a “systemic failure.” A Cuyahoga grand jury is considering criminal charges tied to the shooting. The officers said they feared for their lives.

    Ohio Supreme Court agrees to hear sewer district fee 
    The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s plan to charge a fee for handling storm water will now go to the Ohio Supreme Court. The Plain Dealer reports that the state’s highest court has agreed to hear the case, after the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals struck down the fee before it went into effect last year. The sewer district wants to charge customers in Cleveland and 61 surrounding suburbs an average of $9 to $27 each quarter. The appeals court ruled storm water doesn’t fall under the sewer district’s jurisdiction, but the district argues storm runoff gets into sanitary sewers through cracks. The proposed fee would raise $35 million each year for maintenance and projects.

    Amish family wants Supreme Court to hear chemotherapy case
    A Medina County Amish family wants the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its decision not to hear a case involving the couple who fought an Akron hospital over forcing chemotherapy for their 11-year-old daughter. The family's attorney had hoped the court would strike down a decision allowing a court-appointed guardian to make medical decisions for Sarah Hershberger. Last month, the court said it would not hear the case. The guardian already has dropped her attempt to force the girl to resume chemotherapy for leukemia. But the family  still wants the original ruling thrown out because they say the decision robbed them of their constitutional rights. The family's legal fight with Akron Children’s Hospital began last summer.

    State: Fewer inmates going back to prison
    Ohio says fewer inmates than ever are going back to prison after they've been released. State prisons director Gary Mohr attributes the drop to community programs that work with newly released inmates, and new prison units that prepare inmates for life outside bars. Mohr tells The Associated Press Wednesday that a lower return rate means fewer crime victims and more savings for taxpayers. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says the new inmate return rate of 27.1 percent is far below the national rate of 40-44 percent. The rate is based on a three-year study of inmates released in 2010. Mohr says a lower return rate will also help the state as it attempts to reduce its inmate population, currently about 50,500.

    Closing arguments to begin in Ashland slavery case
    A jury close to beginning deliberations in the trial of two Ashland people accused of enslaving a mentally disabled woman for two years with her child. Closing arguments are slated to begin today before jurors get the case in a Youngstown federal court. Prosecutors say the pair raided the accuser's bank account while forcing her and her daughter to live in a locked basement. One of the two defendants, Jessica Hunt, testified during the trial that the alleged victim was free to go as she pleased and at times left the home for several days. Hunt and her 27-year-old boyfriend, Jordie Callahan, have pleaded not guilty.

    Cuyahoga County-based Dots clothing to begin liquidation
    Northeast Ohio-based discount women’s clothing store Dots is shutting its doors. The company based in Glenwillow in Cuyahoga County filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in January. Now, Dots says its 360 stores will begin liquidating. It has about 3,500 employees nationwide and about 100 at its Glenwillow location.

    USEC files for bankruptcy
    The company that’s long planned to build a uranium-enrichment plant in southern Ohio has declared bankruptcy. Maryland-based USEC signaled in December that it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It did so on Wednesday but maintains developing the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon is not in jeopardy. USEC says the bankruptcy filing will make it easier for the company to restructure more than half a billion dollars in debt to bondholders that would have matured this October. The new arrangement will mature in five years and be worth about $200 million. In January, Congress allocated nearly $120 million for the facility. USEC has invested about $2.5 billion to date.  

    Acura shifting more production to Ohio
    Automaker Acura is adding another vehicle to its Marysville plant in central Ohio. The company says it will shift production of its ILX compact luxury sedan from Indiana to Ohio next year. The Marysville also makes the Acura TLX and TL alongside the Honda Accord.  Acura says the move will not affect employment at either facility. Around 4,500 work at the Marysville plant. Its two production lines are capable of producing nearly 450,000 vehicles a year.

    Toledo art museum statue possibly stolen prior to acquisition
    An Ohio art museum says an 11th-century statue under investigation by federal authorities may have been stolen before the facility purchased it. The Toledo Museum of Art says it saw no signs of trouble when it bought the small bronze statue of a Hindu deity in 2006 from a New York dealer now charged in India. The statue resembles an idol now listed as stolen in India. A museum spokeswoman tells The Blade newspaper that the facility is cooperating with the Justice Department's probe. For now, the museum is keeping the figure. The facility has twice returned ill-gotten items. 

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