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Morning Headlines: UA, Barberton Form Cybersecurity Partnership, Heartbeat Bill Introduced in Senate

A photo of the University of Akron.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Feb. 13:

  • University of Akron, Barberton forme cybersecurity partnership;
  • Heartbeat bill is now in both Ohio legislative chambers;
  • Akron City Council passes Horrigan's $337M budget;
  • Cuyahoga Jail to hire 60 corrections officers;
  • Loud booms reported near injection well site, not earthquakes;
  • Police: Student and her abductor killed in Kentucky chase;
  • Hospital tightens drug access, rules after excessive dosages;
  • Man debilitated by police shooting sues officers;
  • Sherrod Brown defends decision to not endorse Green New Deal;
  • Senate approves funding for conservation programs;
  • FBI picks next leader for Cleveland office;

University of Akron announces cybersecurity partnership
The University of Akron (UA) said it is partnering with Barberton schools to allow students to take classes in cybersecurity. An international cybersecurity nonprofit said there is a worldwide shortage in cybersecurity professionals. Barberton students will now be able to earn up to 15 hours of college credits in UA's cybersecurity program before high school graduation or earn certifications to allow them to find a job immediately after high school. UA's cybersecurity program launched in fall 2017 and about 68 students declared cybersecurity as their major in spring 2018, with about 74 students declaring last fall.

Heartbeat now in both Ohio legislative chambers
Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the Ohio Legislature are now pushing measures to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. A version of the so-called heartbeat bill was introduced by Sen. Kristina Roegner on Tuesday, a day after fellow Republicans in the House submitted theirs. Similar measures approved by lawmakers were twice vetoed by former Gov. John Kasich. But new Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he'd sign it. It would be among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Akron City Council passes Horrigan's $337M budget
Akron City Council has passed Mayor Dan Horrigan's $337 million capital budget, which provides a plan for investments in things like streets, sidewalks, parks, police and fire services and water and sewer infrastructure over the next year. More than $100 million will go to water and sewer upgrades. $60 million will be spent on transportation projects, including the Main Street Corridor Project and repairing deteriorated streets. About $15 million generated from a quarter-percent income tax increase voters passed in 2017 will be spent on safety projects.

Cuyahoga Jail to hire 60 corrections officers
Cuyahoga County jail is getting funding to hire 60 correction officers. County Council approved $3.5 million to hire them to help end the practice of locking inmates in their cells, otherwise known as “red-zoning.” The U.S. Marshals found red-zoning to be one of several problems at the jail, where nine inmates have died in recent months. Inmates were being locked down for several days in a row. The jail will have 675 officers after the hiring.

Loud booms reported near injection well site, not earthquakes
The state of Ohio has found no evidence of earthquake activity connected with loud booms residents reported hearing in the Youngstown area near deep-injection wells used for fracking wastewater. Ohio's Department of Natural Resources began monitoring for seismic activity after Brookfield Township residents reported hearing loud, explosion-like noises coming from injection-well drilling sites around New Year's Eve. The department said a month of 24/7 monitoring didn't detect any seismic activity.

Police: Student and her abductor killed in Kentucky chase
A female student from Ohio State University’s Manfield campus and a man suspected of abducting her both died after a police chase and shooting. The chase began Monday afternoon in northern Kentucky as police responded to a call about a person in distress. Police said a trooper heard gunfire from the vehicle and returned fire. Authorities said the trooper killed the suspect, 24-year-old Ty'rell Pounds. It is unclear who shot the woman, 20-year-old Skylar Williams. She and Pounds were both from Mansfield.

Hospital tightens drug access, rules after excessive dosages
The Ohio hospital system that found a doctor ordered possibly fatal doses of powerful painkillers for dozens of patients has tightened policies and drug access to address problems. The changes outlined for Mount Carmel’s two Columbus-area hospitals include further limiting when and how such medication can be accessed from an automated dispensing system using emergency orders outside of the usual protocols. They were instituted in the wake of Mount Carmel's finding that intensive care doctor William Husel ordered excessive doses for 34 patients over several years.

Man debilitated by police shooting sues officers
The father of an unarmed man shot by two police officers has sued the officers in federal court. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 31-year-old Matthew Burghardt in connection with a 2018 police shooting outside Akron. Lakemore officer Ezekiel Ryan and Springfield Township officer Kristofer London are the defendants. The supervisor's body camera recorded him telling officers not to shoot when a van with Burghardt in the passenger seat began backing up. Summit County's prosecutor's office ruled the shooting justified. The lawsuit Burghardt is blind and permanently cognitively incapacitated.

Sherrod Brown defends decision to not endorse Green New Deal
Potential 2020 presidential candidate Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown shrugged off arguments from liberals on Tuesday that signing onto the climate change plan known as the Green New Deal is essential to winning over the party's base. Of the declared and potential Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, Brown is the only one who hasn't signed onto the Green New Deal, which was released last week. He told reporters that he supports "aggressively addressing climate change," though he has yet to settle on the specifics of his own agenda. He also said he views expanding Medicare to Americans age 50 and older as a more workable step than moving directly to single-payer health care.

Senate approves funding for conservation programs
The U.S. Senate has approved a funding package that includes provisions for the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area and local bird conservation programs. The measure sponsored by both Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown lifts a federal funding cap mistakenly left in place for the canalway. The bill also provides $6.5 million each year for conservation of the bird migratory routes over Lake Erie and its shoreway. The bill now heads to the House.

FBI picks next leader for Cleveland office
The FBI has tapped Ohio native Eric Smith to direct the Cleveland office. Cleveland.com reports that Smith previously worked in the Cleveland office’s counterterrorism squad and Joint Terrorism Task Force. Smith, a native of the Columbus area, most recently worked in Washington DC as special assistant to FBI director Christopher Wray.

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.