Morning Headlines: Carfentanil On The Rise in Cuyahoga, Former Rehab Owner Faces Medicaid Fraud

Feb 8, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Feb. 8:

  • Carfentanil on the rise in Cuyahoga;
  • Former rehab owner faces Medicaid fraud charges;
  • Transportation officials say cold snap worsened potholes;
  • Cuyahoga County is part of federal HIV eradication plan;
  • Cleveland Indians remember baseball great Frank Robinson;
  • County needs help paying for trials in Ohio family massacre;
  • Hospital's active shooter drill mistekn for real emergency;
  • Plans call for building pig iron plant in Ashtabula;
  • Four deadly shootings in less than 48 hours in Cleveland;

Carfentanil on the rise in Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga County’s medical examiner says he's seeing more instances of a deadly synthetic opioid in his lab. Thomas Gilson has issued a public health warning, saying the region is seeing a significant increase in carfentanil powder and tablets seized, often mixed in with other drugs or disguised as prescription pills. There is no safe amount of carfentanil exposure for humans, even a few grains can be deadly.

Former rehab owner faces Medicaid fraud charges
The former owner of a Mahoning Valley drug rehab center and five employees have been indicted, accused of $48 million in Medicaid fraud. Ryan Sheridan formerly of Braking Point Recovery Center, faces health care fraud, money laundering and other charges. Braking Point allegedly submitted more than 130,000 fraudulent Medicaid claims, and Sheridan and others bought famous cars like the Batmobile with the money.

Transportation officials say cold snap worsened potholes
Transportation officials in Ohio say dramatic swings in temperatures have exacerbated a pothole problem on Ohio's roads. The Columbus Dispatch reports ODOT crews have used more than 2,500 tons of asphalt to repair potholes this winter as of Tuesday, compared with 2,180 tons this time last year. Heavy rain Thursday filled some potholes, obscuring them from unsuspecting drivers.

Cuyahoga County is part of federal HIV eradication plan
President Trump’s plan to eradicate HIV in the U.S. by 2030 is targeting 48 counties nationwide, including Cuyahoga County. Cleveland.com reports the initiative focuses on areas with stark increases in HIV cases. It would make HIV testing apart of regular hospital visits and create a workforce to help eliminate HIV. The goal is to reduce infections by 90 percent in the next decade. In Ohio, more than 23,000 are living with the virus.

Cleveland Indians remember baseball great Frank Robinson
The Cleveland Indians are remembering baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who died Thursday at age 83. In 1975, Robinson became the first African-American manager in the big leagues when he was hired by the Indians. He served two years as player-manager and was exclusively manager in 1977. The Indians unveiled a statue in his honor at Progressive Field, and retired his uniform #20 in 2017.

County needs help paying for trials in Ohio family massacre
Ohio's attorney general thinks the state should cover the majority of the costs for prosecuting four suspects charged in the slayings of eight people. While the trials are at least a year away, officials in rural Pike County estimate they'll spend well over $1 million on the cases involving the 2016 killings of the Rhoden family. The county has an annual budget of $10 million. The Legislature at the end of last year did agree to provide an initial $100,000 to help the county. State Attorney General Dave Yost called the money a "down-payment". A Pike County commissioner says the county has spent more than $600,000 so far on overtime transporting the suspects to hearings and securing evidence.

Hospital's active shooter drill mistaken for real emergency
Alliance police responded to a report of an active shooter at Aultman Alliance Community Hospital yesterday, except it was only a drill. The Repository reports the staff had been conducting their annual drill and failed to alert the police department that the situation wasn’t real. The hospital staffer who called the police was unaware it was a drill.

Plans call for building pig iron plant in Ashtabula
A company planning to build a nearly half-billion-dollar plant to produce high-grade pig iron for the metal casting industry has received its final air emissions permit from the Ohio EPA. Petmin USA announced Thursday that the project in Ashtabula now depends on final approval of state and local tax incentives. Petmin said the plant would be the first in the U.S. to produce high-purity pig iron, a component in an iron alloy that's used for the manufacturing of vehicles, appliances and other products. The company says the project will employ 110 workers when the plant is operational, expected as early as 2021.

Four deadly shootings in less than 48 hours in Cleveland
There have been four deadly shootings in Cleveland in less than two days. Cleveland.com reports a 17-year-old boy was shot to death on Thursday. It follows two other fatal shootings in separate homes on Wednesday and a deadly robbery at the In & Out Beverage & Deli in Glenville on Tuesday.