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Morning Headlines: Cuyahoga Judge Russo Dies; New Vaccine Lottery Program Opens

A picture of Gov. Mike DeWine
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Ohioans can begin signing up today for the state’s new Vax-to-College program that will give out a total of $2 million in prizes. The program, that Gov. DeWine announced on September 23rd, would give away 150 scholarships of $10,000 and five scholarships of $100,000.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, October 4:

  • Cuyahoga Judge Russo dies
  • Vaccine lottery program opens
  • Pharmacies face 1st trial over role in opioid crisis
  • UH shuffles staff, reduces beds
  • Abortions increase in Ohio
  • First People’s Day events held in Summit County
  • In Stefanski's return, Browns defense dominates Vikings 14-7
  • Medina natives makes more history on Jeopardy!

Cuyahoga Judge Russo dies
(WKSU, Cleveland.com) -- Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joseph D. Russo died over the weekend at the age of 59. A press release said he died unexpectedly. It’s unknown whether he had an illness or health issue. Russo, who attended law school at Case Western Reserve University, joined the Common Pleas Court in 2001. He also served on the court’s specialty commercial docket that began in 2013 to handle complex business disputes. Cleveland.com reports The Ohio Supreme Court will appoint a visiting Judge to preside over Judge Russo’s docket until Gov. Mike DeWine appoints a replacement.

Vaccine lottery program opens
(AP) — Ohioans can begin signing up today for the state’s new Vax-to-College program that will give out a total of $2 million in prizes. The state on Friday doubled the amount of money and expanded the age range to include children 5 years and older once the vaccine is authorized for them at the end of the month. The state is giving away 150 scholarships of $10,000 and five scholarships of $100,000. State officials have been sounding the alarm on the rate of younger patients becoming sick and hospitalized with COVID-19. The overwhelming number of those patients are unvaccinated. Those who sign up must have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pharmacies face 1st trial over role in opioid crisis
(AP) — A bellwether trial is set to start today in federal court in Cleveland to determine whether retail pharmacy chains are liable for costs related to the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties. Lake and Trumbull counties have sued CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Giant Eagle, claiming the companies created an expensive “public nuisance” by dispensing millions of painkillers into their communities. The companies say they are blameless and that pharmacists merely filled prescriptions written by physicians for legitimate medical needs. The trial could set the tone for similar lawsuits against retail pharmacy chains by government entities across the U.S.

UH shuffles staff, reduces beds
(WKSU) -- University Hospitals is the latest system in Ohio to reduce inpatient beds and make other changes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exhaust hospitals and staff. UH’s Bedford and Richmond hospitals will now have 14 inpatient beds each, and Bedford will no longer have operating rooms as some staff will be moved to other higher-volume hospitals. Last week, Summa Health reduced inpatient beds to deal with staff shortages.

Abortions increase in Ohio
(WKSU) -- Ohio saw a 2.5% increase in the number of abortions performed in the state between 2019 and 2020. An Ohio Department of Health report shows about 20,600 abortions were performed in Ohio last year. The report shows just over 62% of those were performed on women whose pregnancies were under 9 weeks of gestation. Black women accounted for about half of all abortions. The report comes as the Ohio legislature considers legislation that would ban abortion in the state should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade in a case from Mississippi.

First People’s Day events held in Summit County
(WKSU) -- Today is First People’s Day in Summit County. A program tonight at Akron-Summit County Public Library will address contemporary issues of the Native American community. A second panel discussion will address the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. The Portage Path Collaborative also has a number of events planned at area schools.

Browns defense dominates Vikings 14-7
(AP) —The Browns beat the Minnesota Vikings 14-7 to improve to 3-1 on the season. Myles Garrett and the Cleveland defense produced another dominant performance. The Browns are in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC North. Next up is a game against the Los Angeles Chargers (2-1) on Oct. 10.

Medina natives makes more history on Jeopardy!
(WKSU) -- Medina County native and Ohio State graduate Matt Amodio is inching toward history on the game show Jeopardy! He’s moved into second place on the list for most wins with 33. Amodio, who is a Ph.D. student at Yale, has amassed $1.2 million in total winnings, ranking third behind Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.