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Morning Headlines: Strasburg Superintendent Accused of “Data Rigging” Gets Extension

Top headlines: Cleveland Clinic to pay $1.6 million settlement to the federal government for implanting cardiac devices too soon after surgeries; Ohio Attorney General’s office to serve as special prosecutor in Tanisha Anderson case; Ikea drops land study in suburban Cleveland that could have brought a store to the area

  • Strasburg superintendent accused of “data rigging” gets three-year contract extension
  • Police find missing Lorain toddler crawling in snow 
  • Cleveland Clinic to pay $1.6 million settlement for implanting cardiac devices too soon 
  • Ohio Attorney General’s office to serve as special prosecutor in Tanisha Anderson case
  • Ikea drops land study in suburban Cleveland that could have brought a store to the area
  • Cleveland Browns to honor Hall of Famer Jim Brown with statue
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame receives $2.5 million grant from former Bills owner
  • Ohio EPA: 15 water samples show safe water in Mahoning County village
  • Ohio EPA fires two employees, demotes one in Sebring lead contamination case
  • Ohio senators call for quick, thorough investigation of Cincinnati Veterans Affairs hospital

Strasburg superintendent accused of “data rigging” gets contract extension
A superintendent accused of “data rigging” at a Tuscarawas County school district will get to keep her job. The Strasburg school board voted unanimously last night to give Cindy Brown a three-year contract extension. The district’s teachers union asked the board to place Brown on administrative leave pending an investigation that she had altered the grades of some students. The Times Reporter newspaper reports Brown announced a change to the district’s grading system in December which forced teachers to adjust student grades. The teachers union says one teacher didn’t comply, so Brown manually changed the grades herself.

Police find missing Lorain toddler crawling in snow
A toddler who went missing in Lorain was found about five hours later crawling in the snow. Lana Lowther was last seen wearing pink footed pajamas when she disappeared around 8:45 p.m. last night. A neighbor called 911 after finding the 2-year-old about half a mile from her home. Police say she has been hospitalized. Police had to turn away volunteers after hundreds showed up to help with the search.

Cleveland Clinic to pay $1.6 million settlement for implanting cardiac devices too soon
The Cleveland Clinic will pay the U.S. Justice Department $1.6 million to settle accusations that it implanted cardiac devices into patients too soon after a heart attack or surgery. Federal guidelines state that a patient can only have a device implanted 40 days after a heart attack and 90 days after surgery. The Clinic said in a statement that doctors knew of the imposed waiting periods, but insist the treatments were “life-saving and life extending” and that it “would provide the same treatment again if presented with the same illness.” The Cleveland Clinic is one of 11 hospital systems across the nation that’s reached an agreement with the federal government over the procedures.

Ohio Attorney General’s office to serve as special prosecutor in Tanisha Anderson case
The Ohio Attorney General's office will serve as special prosecutor to examine circumstances surrounding the death of a woman who collapsed after struggling with Cleveland police officers during a mental health crisis. A judge approved the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office request on Wednesday. County prosecutors cited a conflict of interest that involved protected statements made by officers that couldn't be used in a criminal prosecution. Tanisha Anderson, 37, died in 2014 after officers were called to her Cleveland home. The medical examiner said that Anderson stopped breathing after being placed on the ground on her stomach and that heart problems and mental illness contributed to her death.

Ikea drops land study in suburban Cleveland that could have brought a store to the area
Ikea has walked away from land in suburban Cleveland after spending more than a year studying the site for a potential store. The Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture chain previously had signed a purchase agreement on 16 acres in Brooklyn that are owned by the Plain Dealer newspaper's parent company. The company's study window ended Feb. 15, and Ikea opted to end negotiations after facing many environmental obstacles. The property sits on wetlands that are controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Plain Dealer reports the Corps hasn't offered any public updates on the project since July, when it asked for public comments on Ikea's plan.

Cleveland Browns to honor Hall of Famer Jim Brown with statue
The Browns are honoring Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown with a statue outside their stadium. Considered one of the greatest players in NFL history, Brown said he's humbled by the honor which was announced on his 80th birthday. The sculpture of Brown will be unveiled outside FirstEnergy Stadium later this year. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. He's has worked as a special adviser to owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam for the past few years.

Pro Football Hall of Fame receives $2.5 million grant from former Bills owner
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton has a received a $2.5 million grant from the foundation established by late Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson. The money will go toward funding a holographic theater experience. Also, $1 million will be set aside to create an endowment fund. Wilson was inducted into the hall in 2009 and died in 2014. In 2012, he provided the hall a $2.5 million gift to fund what is now called Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.

Ohio EPA: 15 water samples show safe water in Mahoning County village
The Ohio EPA says all 15 of the most recent water samples in a northeast Ohio village are below the federal standard for lead. Homeowners in the village of Sebring in Mahoning County submitted nearly 900 samples for testing over the past three weeks. A total of 55 homes have shown lead levels above the federal standard since the middle of January. Sebring has come under scrutiny after state environmental officials said the village water plant waited months to notify people about the high lead levels.

Ohio EPA fires two employees, demotes one in Sebring lead contamination case
Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency has fired two employees and demoted a third over their handling of lead contamination in a Mahoning County village's drinking water. The state EPA says the firings are the result of an internal investigation into why it took months for the agency's top administrators to find out about high lead levels in Sebring. The EPA says it fired an employee at its central office who failed to make sure lab results were sent to those reviewing the lead testing. It says that's an important step in figuring out whether lead levels are above federal guidelines. The employee's supervisor also has been let go.

Ohio senators call for quick, thorough investigation of Cincinnati Veterans Affairs hospital
Ohio's U.S. senators are calling for quick, thorough investigation of the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs hospital after whistleblowers raised concerns the quality of care for veterans has been hurt by management issues there. The allegations surfaced in a report by WCPO-TV and the Scripps News Washington Bureau that said nearly three dozen current and former medical center employees have expressed urgent concerns. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is on the Senate veterans' affairs committee and says there should be action to hold people accountable for failures that have negatively affected veterans' care. Republican Sen. Rob Portman is also calling for quick action by federal authorities to "get to the bottom" of the allegations.