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Morning Headlines: Legionella Confirmed in Parma; ODH Asks for Syringe Program Help

photo of heroin and syringe

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, July 23:

  • Six cases of legionella confirmed in Parma;
  • Ohio Department of Health asks help to fund syringe programs;
  • Medina police search for runaway inmate;
  • Hocking college plans to offer cannabis research courses;
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol cracking down on Move Over law;
  • President Trump endorses Troy Balderson for 12th district;
  • Ohio pushes past deadline to implement medical marijuana program;
  • Ohio among top 10 states most affected by tariffs;

Six cases of legionella confirmed in Parma

Six cases of legionella have been confirmed among parishioners in Parma. Legionella is the bacteria that causes legionnaire’s disease and is found in air conditioning and central heating systems. WKYC reports the Cuyahoga County Board of Health is conducting tests at the St. Columbkille Church, and the results could take up to 10 days. It's unclear how those affected contracted the disease. 

Ohio Department of Health asks for help to fund syringe programs

The Ohio Department of Health is asking the federal government to help fund syringe programs for drug users. The department wants authorization to use grant money designated for HIV prevention, saying many of the 13 programs in the state are running out of the money. The programs give drug users free, sterile syringes. The state says HIV cases have nearly doubled since 2015, most attributed to injection-drug use. There's also been a sharp increase in hepatitis C cases. Summit, Stark and Cuyahoga Counties have needle exchange programs.

Medina police search for runaway inmate

Medina police are searching for a jail inmate who jumped out of the back of an ambulance. The Medina County Sheriff's Department says 22-year-old Joshua Bragg was at Cleveland Clinic-Medina Hospital Sunday evening when he unbuckled himself from an ambulance and ran away. Authorities say Bragg was on medical furlough at the time, but they have not released what he was being treated for. Bragg was previously indicted for possession of cocaine. State Highway Patrol has joined Medina police in the search.

Hocking college plans to offer cannabis research courses

Hocking College in southwest Ohio plans to offer courses in cannabis research as it prepares to start testing medical marijuana at its new laboratory. The college recently received a provisional license and it plans to spend $2 million from its budget reserve fund to start the lab. It also plans to offer an associate of applied science in laboratory sciences with majors in chemical, medical and cannabis laboratory. Students pursuing laboratory science degrees will be able to use the lab for hands-on experience.

Ohio State Highway Patrol cracking down on Move Over law

Ohio's State Highway Patrol and state police in five other states are focusing on enforcement of the Move Over law.

The law requires drivers approaching any vehicles with flashing or rotating lights that are parked on the roadside to move over to an adjacent lane. The safety effort began Sunday will this Saturday. From 2013-2017, Ohio patrol cruisers were involved in 58 crashes that appear to be related to the Move Over law. The crashes resulted in the deaths of two civilians and injured 34 civilians and 24 officers.

President Trump endorses Troy Balderson for 12th district

President Donald Trump has endorsed state Sen. Troy Balderson for the 12th Congressional District, saying on Twitter that the Zanesville Republican "loves our Military, Vets & 2nd Amendment." Balderson faces off against Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Conner in an August 7 special election election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who retired in January.  The district represents all or part of Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum and Richland counties. It has been held by a Republican for 35 years, but Democrats see it as an opportunity.

Ohio pushes past deadline to implement medical marijuana program

Ohio's delays in selecting processors and giving cultivators the green light to grow plants appear to have pushed the availability of medical marijuana further past the Legislature's Sept. 8 deadline. The Columbus Dispatch reports a meeting between the Medical Marijuana Council and an advisory board Thursday provided no answer about when the state's program will finally become operational. Cultivators have been selected, yet only two have permission to grow plants. Testing labs are ready and physicians are in place to recommend medical marijuana, but no processors to turn plants into edibles, oils, creams and tinctures have been selected. A Commerce Department official says those licenses will be issued in the coming weeks. A pharmacy board official says the patient registration portal will be activated closer to when marijuana becomes available.

Ohio ranks among top 10 states most affected by tariffs

Ohio is among the top 10 states affected by recent tariffs imposed by the U.S. and other countries. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report ranks Ohio in seventh in the nation. Tariffs threaten $830 million in exports from Ohio to China, including $620 million in soybeans. Ohio ranks first when it comes to tariffs on trade with Canada. Canada has aimed tariffs at an estimated $2.1 billion worth of Ohio goods, from iron and steel products, to soap made by Procter & Gamble to washing machines built by Whirlpool.