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Morning Headlines: Cordray and Springer Flirt With Gubernatorial Bids

photo of Richard Cordray and Jerry Springer

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, August 31:

  • Cordray draws criticism, faces pressure to announce plans;
  • Painesville holds closed immigration meetings, residents sue;
  • Head of Native American nonprofit charged with stealing from Native Americans;
  • Investigation of Akron Police Chief James Nice will be turned over to neighboring county;
  • Opioid deaths set new record in Ohio;
  • Rumors of Jerry Springer gubernatorial bid are revived;
  • No charges for Strongsville Officer Jason Miller in shooting death of unarmed driver;
  • A banner initiative hopes to get Akron residents to recycle;
  • Irving-Thomas trade is final;

Cordray draws criticism, faces pressure to announce plans
A fierce Republican critic of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pressing the agency's Democratic chief to announce his intentions in next year's race for Ohio governor. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, wrote to Richard Cordray on Monday urging him to reveal by Wednesday whether he planned to resign as head of the agency. Hensarling also sought Cordray's "categorical denial" that political considerations are influencing his federal work. Cordray responded in writing Wednesday, saying he hasn't been influenced by politics and telling Hensarling that he has "no further insights to provide" on the timetable for his departure. There’s speculation that Cordray could announce a gubernatorial bid over Labor Day weekend. He is scheduled to headline an Ohio AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati on Monday.

Painesville holds closed immigration meetings, residents sue
Two Painesville residents are suing the city, claiming the public was shut out of meetings to review a citywide immigration policy. Earlier this year, Painesville police announced they would alert federal authorities of immigrants suspected of affiliation with violent groups, regardless of their immigration status. Cleveland.com reports City Manager Monica Irelan says she wants members of the city’s immigration task force to feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of retaliation. But the Ohio Revised Code says meetings of “any public body” should be “open to the public at all times.” Irelan declined to comment on whether closing the meetings is legal. Painesville is considered a popular haven for people coming from Mexico in search of jobs and safety.

Anti-Chief Wahoo activist charged with stealing from Native Americans
An activist known for opposing the Cleveland Indians’ controversial Chief Wahoo mascot is facing charges of stealing grant money meant to benefit Native Americans. 70-year-old Robert Roche was indicted in federal court yesterday and charged with conspiracy and two counts of theft of government funds. Roche heads the American Indian Education Center. The nonprofit obtained a grant in 2011 that was meant to support mental health and wellness programs for Native Americans in northeast Ohio. Roche was charged with stealing more than $77,000. He faces eight to 14 months in prison if convicted.

Investigation of Akron Police Chief James Nice will be turned over to neighboring county
Summit County is turning its investigation of former Akron Police Chief James Nice over to its northern neighbor. Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has asked Cuyahoga County to provide a special prosecutor to oversee the potential criminal case against Nice.  Meanwhile, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has asked special investigators from Cuyahoga County to supply the special prosecutor with information. Nice was forced to retire Sunday night after what Horrigan called a pattern of conduct unbecoming of an officer.  The allegations include that Nice made derogatory – including racial -- comments about fellow officers, had a relationship with a subordinate and that he tried to intervene in a criminal case involving his nephew. Ex-Chief Nice has said he regrets any inappropriate behavior or comments, but "categorically" denies any criminal behavior.

Opioid deaths set new record in Ohio
An average of 11 people died each day of drug overdoses last year in Ohio, officials said Wednesday as they reported yet another grim milestone in the state's addictions epidemic. A record 4,050 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, with fatalities driven in large part by the emergence of stronger drugs like the synthetic painkiller fentanyl, the Health Department said. Overdose deaths rose 33 percent over the 3,050 deaths in 2015. Compounding the problem was the appearance of drugs like carfentanil, an opioid so powerful it's used to sedate elephants, and the lacing of drugs like cocaine with fentanyl. The state says heroin-related deaths are leveling off, and deaths from prescription painkillers fell for the fifth straight year. Despite numerous state efforts to address the epidemic, it shows little signs of slowing. Cuyahoga saw 547 deaths this year, but officials there already are predicting the state will see more than 700 deaths once 2017 figures are tallied. Gov. John Kasich announced new rules to limit opioid prescriptions to one week’s worth of medication that go into effect today.

Rumors of Jerry Springer gubernatorial bid are revived
Talk show host and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer is still considering a run for Ohio governor. Springer was seen and heard discussing his prospects for the governorship at a recent fundraiser. State Senator Sandra Williams spoke with Springer at the fundraiser and told Cleveland.com he could enter the race in the next month. Springer would join former U.S. Representative Betty Suton, former state Senator Connie Pillich, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and former state Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni on the Democratic side of the governor’s race so far.

No charges for Strongsville Officer Jason Miller in shooting death of unarmed driver
A Strongsville officer who shot an unarmed driver after a high-speed chase earlier this year will not be charged. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Jason Miller in the shooting of 37-year-old Roy Evans Jr. after hearing evidence from a county prosecutor. Police dispatch logs show the 14 minute high chase in March ended after Evans' van went across spike stripes laid across a highway. Dashcam video shows Miller shooting Evans within seconds after opening his door. Officers said Evans wouldn't follow orders and appeared to reach for something. Miller still could face discipline from Strongsville police. The grand jury's decision came on the same day as a separate grand jury's decision to clear Euclid Officer Mathtew Rhodes in a shooting that killed Luke Stewart in March.

A banner initiative hopes to get Akron residents to recycle
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan think the reason many of the city’s residents do not recycle is because it’s not always clear what’s allowed in the bins. So the city has put up a massive banner to clear up the confusion. A donation from Waste Management of Ohio to the City of Akron paid for a 66-by-23-foot banner that now overlooks downtown’s Lock 3. The banner reminds residents to recycle empty bottles, plastic and paper, but not plastic bags or food waste. Horrigan says less than three-fourths of Akron residents participate in the city’s recycling program.

Irving-Thomas trade is final
The blockbuster trade, delayed and in jeopardy of dying, is done: Kyrie Irving is headed to the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas is coming to the Cav.  Concerned with medical findings after looking at Thomas' injured hip, the Cavs have negotiated another draft pick from Boston to compete the mega-deal that stalled. Cleveland will also get a second-round pick in 2020 from the Celtics. It’s possible Thomas might not be ready for the start of the season, but tells ESPN he is "not damaged" and believes he will return to All-Star form. The Cavs open the season October 17th against Kyrie Irving and the Celtics at the Q.