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Morning Headlines: State Law Makes Ticketing Distracted Drivers Easier; Browns Fire Coach Jackson

Hue Jackson
Wikimedia Commons
Former Browns coach Hue Jackson

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, October 30:

  • New state law makes ticketing for distracted driving easier;
  • Browns fire head coach Jackson;
  • More men join sexual misconduct suit against Ohio State doc;
  • Deveny to stay as head of Summa Health System;
  • Bowling Green to create new center for algae bloom research;

New state law makes ticketing for distracted driving easier
A new state law now makes it easier for police to ticket drivers in Ohio for distracted driving. The law that went into effect Monday makes distracted driving a secondary offense. That means police who pull over motorists for a traffic violation could give them an additional ticket if any distracted driving contributed to the offense. The punishment for a distracted-driving offense is either $100 or a distracted-driving safety course. The fine would be dropped if the driver proves completion of the online safety course. Texting while driving was already a secondary offense in Ohio, but the new law broadens "distracted" to include any activity that's not necessary for driving. It can include actions like eating or adjusting the radio. Proponents said the law will help make Ohio roads safer.

Browns fire head coach Jackson
Browns coach Hue Jackson was fired on Monday. He won just three of 40 games over two-plus seasons. The tipping point was a feud with offensive coordinator Todd Haley that went public. Owner Jimmy Haslam fired Jackson and Haley within hours of each other, a day after the Browns lost their 25th consecutive road game — one shy of the NFL record. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is Cleveland's interim coach, and running backs coach Freddie Kitchens will take over for Haley.

More men join sexual misconduct suit against Ohio State doc
About three dozen former students have joined a federal lawsuit alleging Ohio State University officials knew about and didn't stop a team doctor accused of conducting unnecessary genital exams on athletes and other young men decades ago. The amended complaint includes allegations about Richard Strauss from ex-athletes from various sports, including a former hockey player who said he told a trainer about Strauss' behavior, as well as from Brian Garrett, a student who said he witnessed and experienced sexual misconduct while briefly working for the doctor. Strauss took his own life in 2005. His relatives have said they were shocked by the allegations raised this year. The lawsuit is one of three against Ohio State over its handling of Strauss.

Deveny to stay as head of Summa Health System
Dr. Cliff Deveny is staying on as head of Summa Health System. The Summa board of directors said Deveny has been officially named president and CEO. Deveny rejoined Summa in 2017 after former CEO Dr. Thomas Malone resigned over fallout from severing the long-term contract with emergency physicians.  Deveny is credited with turning around Summa’s troubled finances, cutting last year’s expected $60 million loss in half. He announced last month that the Akron-based health system is seeking a parter in a proposed merger.

Bowling Green to create new center for algae bloom research
A national research effort aimed at protecting freshwater lakes from toxic algal blooms will be led by a new center in Ohio. Bowling Green State University today announced that it's been awarded a $5.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to establish the Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health. Algal blooms plague parts of the Great Lakes and impact freshwater sources around the world. An outbreak in western Lake Erie in 2014 contaminated tap water for two days for more than 400,000 people around Toledo. The collaborative effort among Bowling Green State and other universities and research institutions will research causes of algal blooms and possible solutions.

Baldwin Wallace poll shows narrow lead in governor race

With a week until midterms, a new poll from Baldwin Wallace University shows Ohio’s governor candidates are virtually tied. Republican Mike DeWine holds a narrow lead of less than one percent over Democrat Richard Cordray. Nearly 16 percent of survey respondents are undecided and six percent plan to vote for other party candidates like the Libertarian Travis Irvine. The poll also shows Democrat Incumbent Sherrod Brown has a comfortable lead over Republican Jim Renacci in the Senate race. Issue 1, which will reduce penalties for drug offenses, is also supported by more than 40 percent of the respondents, but nearly 20 percent are undecided on the issue.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.