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Morning Headlines: Lordstown Plant Rolls Out Last Chevy Cruze, Conservatives Push for Bail Reform

photo of Lordstown GM assembly line
Workers put final touches on cars at the Lordstown GM plant.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, March 7: 

  • Lordstown plant rolls out last Chevy Cruze;
  • Cuyahoga County jail authorities deny misleading inspectors
  • Federal judge to review status of lethal injection lawsuit;
  • Ohio conservatives push for bail reform;
  • Ohio lawmakers fix mistake in firearm-related state bill;
  • LeBron James tops Michael Jordan, moves into 4th place for all-time scoring;

Lordstown plant rolls out last Chevy Cruze
It was a gut-wrenching day Wednesday for auto workers at the Lordstown General Motors (GM) plant, where production of the Chevy Cruze ceased. The plant was ahead of schedule because the last Cruze was expected to roll off the line Friday. GM plans to shut down the plant as well as four others in North America by early next year. The closings still need to be negotiated with the union, and the 1,700 hourly workers still at the plant are hoping they'll get a new vehicle to build. Around 400 workers have found jobs at other GM plants.

Cuyahoga County jail authorities deny misleading inspectors
Cuyahoga County jail authorities deny allegations they misled inspectors over appalling conditions at the jail. Cleveland.com reports that local representative of the U.S. Marshalls service gave positive reviews of the jail for a decade before an outside group of inspectors last November called conditions inhumane. The U.S. Marshal for northern Ohio said the previous inspections were cursory and did not involve extensive interviews. Another official said local inspectors' reports are based on information provided by jail personnel and that information may not have been accurate. A county spokesperson denied that claim.

Federal judge to review status of lethal injection lawsuit
A federal judge, who is critical of Ohio's current lethal injection system, has scheduled a hearing Thursday in Dayton to review the status of a long-running lawsuit challenging the state's execution method. In January, Judge Michael Merz issued a scathing critique of the first drug used in the process, the sedative midazolam. He said inmates risk severe pain because the drug doesn't render them unconscious enough. In response, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine delayed a February execution and ordered the prison system to come up with a new lethal injection process.

Ohio conservatives push for bail reform
A number of Ohio conservatives are renewing a push for bail reform. Members of the newly-formed Ohio Conservatives for Bail Reform held a news conference Wednesday. Cleveland.com reports the group argued the state court system unfairly benefits the wealthy, breaks apart families, infringes on personal liberty and wastes taxpayer money. The group has a goal of securing 11 changes to the bail system, including setting bail levels at affordable prices and holding bail hearings within 48 hours of an arrest. In Ohio, certain cities like Cleveland and Toledo are already using a different scoring system that helps determine whether a defendant should be freed before trial.

Lawmakers fix mistake in firearm-related state bill
Ohio lawmakers have fixed a mistake in a state bill that gun rights advocates said could inadvertently ban several types of legal guns. At issue is legislation approved by lawmakers last year that allows off-duty police officers to carry firearms and limits local governments' ability to pass gun laws. Gun advocates said a misplaced paragraph in the bill unintentionally lumped a variety of long guns into a prohibited category and asked lawmakers to fix the problem before the law takes effect in late March. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that lawmakers sent the fix to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday and voted for it to be implemented immediately when signed by the governor.

LeBron James tops Michael Jordan, moves into 4th place for all-time scoring
LeBron James moved past Michael Jordan into fourth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list last night. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar scored his 32,293 point in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets. This achievement was particularly special to James, who grew up in Akron idolizing Jordan. James began the night needing 13 points to reach the mark. He now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (33,643) in NBA scoring history.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.