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Morning Headlines: Ohio Sues $16M in Alleged Drug Overcharge, Cuyahoga River Fish Safe to Eat

Cuyahoga River dredging
Port of Cleveland
Cuyahoga River

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, March 19:

  • Ohio sues over $16M in alleged prescription drug overcharges;
  • Fish in the Cuyahoga River are safe to eat;
  • Remains of Ohio soldier killed in Korean War identified;
  • Developers propose turning UA building into hotel;
  • Doctors raise concerns about addiction treatment rules;
  • Solon Schwebel Bakery facility to close;
  • Summit County among most unhealthy counties in the state;
  • UA to offer buyouts to more than 300 faculty members;
  • Akron officials discount land to $1 for housing development;

Ohio sues over $16M in alleged prescription drug overcharges
Ohio is suing a company that managed prescription benefits for the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation, seeking to recover nearly $16 million in alleged overcharges for the fund for injured workers. Attorney General Dave Yost said OptumRx Administrative Services managed drug prescriptions for BWC clients but didn't provide the contractually arranged discounts on generic drugs between 2015 and 2018. Yost said the company's contract expired in October, and BWC now uses a different pharmacy benefit manager.

Fish in the Cuyahoga River are safe to eat
The fish in the Cuyahoga River is now safe to eat. The Ohio EPA has lifted fish restrictions for the river and has been cleared for public access. In June, the river will celebrate its 50th anniversary since its last fire. Overly polluted waters caused the fire, leading to initiatives to help make the Cuyahoga River clean again.

Remains of Ohio soldier killed in Korean War identified
The remains of an Ohio soldier killed during the Korean War have been identified. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says that Army Cpl. Stephen Nemec, of Cleveland, was accounted for in July 2018. Officials said the 21-year-old soldier was reported killed fighting against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces in North Korea in1950. He was buried at a United Nations cemetery that was soon closed as the situation in North Korea worsened. Remains received in an exchange with Chinese and North Koreans after the war were interred in Honolulu.

Developers propose turning UA building into hotel
Developers are looking to transform an old building on the University of Akron campus into a boutique hotel. Cleveland developers Joe Shafran and Tom Chema have proposed redeveloping the century-old Martin University Center building and turning it into a hotel to cater to the university as well as the community. The building closed in 2013. Akron Planning Director Jason Segedy said officials are pleased to see the project taking shape, and says officials would like to see the building restored and renovated. Chema, who led the development of downtown Cleveland's baseball park and basketball arena, says it is too soon to disclose a projected cost of the project.

Doctors raise concerns about addiction treatment rules
Some doctors in Ohio have raised concerns about rules requiring counseling for people who receive drug addiction treatment. The State Medical Board currently requires patients to have counseling if they receive Suboxone, an addiction treatment drug. The board has proposed rules specifying which types of counseling or therapy qualify. Some doctors and other critics say rules requiring specific counseling could limit the number of doctors treating people with addiction and encourage some patients to avoid treatment. The medical board could vote on the rules as early as April.

Solon Schwebel Bakery facility to close
Solon's Schwebel Baking Company facility has announced it will be closing this spring, affecting more than 200 employees. The company said employees will be able to apply to other facilities, including the ones in Youngstown and Hebron. The facility has yet to comment on why it's shutting down. It's slated to close its doors sometime in May.

Summit County among most unhealthy counties in the state
Summit County has become one of the more unhealthy counties in the state. According to the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report, Summit ranks 53rd out of all 88 counties. It fell seven spots since last year. The study ranks tobacco use, exercise and premature death. Summit did fare better than Cuyahoga, which came in 62nd place. Portage ranked 28th and Stark ranked 49th. Medina is listed as one of the healthiest counties in the state.

UA to offer buyouts to more than 300 faculty members
The University of Akron trustees have approved of offering voluntary buyouts to more than 300 full-time faculty members. The Beacon Journal reports the university hopes the buyouts will help its goal to reduce general fund expenditures by $15 million. Those who are eligible will be contacted before next month, and will have to make a decision by June. Those who aren't eligible include faculty members in the law school, chemistry programs, College of Engineering and more.

Akron officials discount land to $1 for housing development
Akron city officials have decided to discount six acres of land to $1. City Council originally set the land on Diagonal Road to be sold for more than $200,000. Mayor Dan Horrigans office said the discount will help keep the city's first new housing development economically viable. The land will be transformed into four subdivisons consisting of 51 homes.

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.