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Morning Headlines: Cuyahoga County Flu Deaths Rise, Laced Candy Sickens Elementary Students

photo of hospital hallway
Hospital hallway

Here are your morning headlines:

  • Cuyahoga County flu deaths rise;
  • Laced candy sickens elementary students;
  • Akron to reopen police training academy to attract recruits;
  • 15-year sentence for man accused of Islamic State recruiting;
  • Former Cuyahoga County jail director faces allegations of racism;
  • Parma voters to decide fate of pitbull ban in May;
  • Construction begins on I-76, lanes to be reduced;
  • Cleveland to transform old school property into senior housing;

Cuyahoga County flu deaths rise
There’s been another flu-related death in Cuyahoga County, bringing the total to five this season. Cuyahoga County reported the death happened in late January, around the same time the county reported 24 flu-associated hospitalizations. So far, there’s been nearly 370 hospitalizations. Summit County has reported two flu deaths. Flu cases are expected to rise this month. 

Laced candy sickens elementary students
Police say more than a dozen students at a Cleveland elementary school were sickened by marijuana-laced candy. Cleveland.com reports the kids Anton Grdina School, ages five to nine, were taken to a nearby hospital Monday. Police do not know how the students got the pot gummies.

Akron to reopen police training academy to attract recruits
Akron officials said they will reopen the police training academy to attract more recruits and help build a more diverse police department. The city will re-establish a basic training academy that closed in 2008. It will also raise the age limit of applicants from 35 to 40 years old. Recruits will make over $26 an hour during police training. They previously trained unpaid for 24 weeks at academies hosted by other communities.

15-year sentence for man accused of Islamic State recruiting
A North Carolina man accused of trying to recruit people to conduct terrorist attacks in the name of the Islamic State group has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Ohio. A jury in Akron found 38-year-old Erick Jamal Hendricks guilty last year on charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Authorities said he contacted people over social media trying to recruit them.

Former Cuyahoga County jail director faces allegations of racism, chauvinism
Allegations of racist and chauvinistic behavior have been added to the indictments for corruption filed against the former director of the Cuyahoga County jail. The county’s inspector general’s office said former jail director Ken Mills made repeated homophobic and racist comments to employees before resigning last year. Mills was indicted last month for allegedly lying about his role in blocking the hiring of necessary nursing staff at the jail, where seven inmates have died in recent months. Mills pleaded not guilty to charges including records tampering and obstructing official business.

Parma voters to decide future of pitbull ban in May
The Cleveland suburb of Parma will ask voters whether to repeal the city’s pitbull ban. City council on Monday passed a resolution to put the issue on the May 7th ballot. Other cities have repealed similar bans in the past year, including Lakewood, Garfield Heights, and Rocky River.

Construction begins on I-76, lanes to be reduced
Drivers are likely to be met with delays in Akron starting this morning, as the Ohio Department of Transportation has begun repairs on the East Avenue Bridge at I-76 East. I-76 E will be reduced to one lane at the Kenmore Leg for the next 45 days. ODOT suggests detouring at 277/Route 224. I-76 East ramps at Kenmore and Vernon Odom Boulevard will also be closed.

Cleveland to transform old school property into senior housing
Cleveland City Council is moving ahead with plans to convert a long-idled school into housing for elderly residents. The nearly $22 million project will transform the Longfellow Elementary School in Collinwood into 93 senior apartments. A new building will be built behind the school, for 30 additional apartments. The elementary school has been closed since 2010 and the district traded the building site to the city.

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