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Morning Headlines: Air Quality Alert Issued for NE Ohio; Ohio Opioid Lawsuit Scheduled for Next Year

Cleveland downtown
Tim Rudell
Downtown Cleveland

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Nov. 20:

  • Air quality alert issued for NE Ohio;
  • Ohio opioid trial scheduled for next year;
  • Akron man sentenced for eight robberies;
  • Report: Former Akron school official misused $168,000;
  • KSU researcher receives $3M grant to redesign trauma rooms;
  • Nine charged in hazing-related death at Ohio University;

Air quality alert issued for NE Ohio
An air quality advisory has been issued for parts of Northeast Ohio from early Wednesday until Thursday at midnight. Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Geauga, Medina, Portage and Summit counties are all under the advisory. The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency said there are fine particles in the air caused by a weather phenomenon called temperature inversion. It's when elevation increases as temperature increases, trapping air near the earth's surface. It's also caused by construction equipment or diesel trucks. Sensitive groups including children and the elderly are encouraged to limit outdoor activity. To prevent pollution across the region, the National Weather Service suggests driving less, refilling gas tanks after sunset and avoid idling cars.

Ohio opioid trail scheduled for next year
U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland said he would hear a case next October brought by Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio against CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, HBC and Discount Drug Mart. It's one of the 2,500 cases he's overseeing related to the nation's opioid crisis. Polster also recommended that other cases be transferred to Chicago, San Francisco and Oklahoma. He plans to transfer a case soon to West Virginia. Polster was scheduled to hear a case last month, but most parties settled. Talks continue toward a possible national settlement that could end all the lawsuits related to the epidemic, which has killed more than 400,000 in the U.S. since 2000.

Akron man sentenced for eight robberies
An Akron man has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for eight robberies in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. Darrion Powers, 23, pleaded guilty to robberies that took place between December 2018 and February 2019. He stole more than $13,000 from six restaurants and two banks. Police had arrested him in February after returning to his home following a robbery at the PNC Bank in the Ellet neighborhood. Powers has also been ordered to pay more than $4,000 in restitution.

Report: Former Akron school official misused $168,000
A state audit released Tuesday reveals the former head of a now-closed virtual charter school in Akron misused nearly $168,000 in taxpayer dollers. Akron Digital Academy closed last June due to financial problems. The Beacon Journal reports the audit found the school issued the $167,753 worth of payments to a vendor known as Individual Development and Education Achievement Services (IDEAS) from December 2009 to February 2013. IDEAS would then send invoices to the school's former head Lashawn Terrell. After a complaint alleging embezzlement in 2013, an investigation found the money had been deposited into Terrell's bank account along with the owner of IDEAS, Danielle Lumpkin. Ohio Auditor Keith Faber has issued a finding for recovery against Lumpkin and Terrell for the nearly $168,000.

KSU researcher receives $3M grant to redesign trauma rooms
A Kent State researcher has received a nearly $3 million grant to help create efficient trauma rooms to save more lives. Sara Bayramzadeh is the coordinator and Elliot Professor in the Healthcare Design Program at Kent State's College of Architecture and Environmental Design. She will partner with Cleveland Clinic Akron General to create a Patient Safety Learning Lab to produce new guidelines when designing Level 1 trauma rooms. Joint Commission, the national health care accreditation nonprofit, found that up to 9% of all deaths in Level 1 trauma rooms could have been prevented. The four-year project will go through five phases, including giving HealthCare Design graduate students a chance to create innovative design solutions.

Nine charged in hazing-related death at Ohio University
Nine people have been charged in connection with the death of an Ohio University freshman during a hazing incident. Collin Wiant, 18, died last November at the unofficial house of Sigma Pi after ingesting nitrous oxide. Wiant's family filed a lawsuit against the univeristy, claiming it was apart of hazing by Sigma Pi members. The fraternity denied the allegations. The univeristy has since expelled the fraternity due to student conduct violations. Two current Ohio University students and six former students have been charged.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to add a missing word and correct grammatical errors.

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