Morning Headlines: Coroners Warn Public of Overdose Spikes, Scientists Predict Harmful Algal Bloom

Jul 11, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, July 11:

  • Coroners warn public of overdose spike;
  • Scientists predict harm algal bloom in Lake Erie;
  • Resolution would attempt to keep Asain carp out of waterways;
  • State slot machine revenue tops $1B;
  • Pike County sheriff suspended for tampering with evidence;
  • Radio tower comes down on Huntington Bank building;

Coroners warn public of overdose spike
Ohio coroners are raising new warnings following a spike in drug overdose deaths. Ten overdose deaths were reported through Wednesday in Montgomery County. That number compares with a total of 18 deaths in all of June. County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said there's a strong likelihood that street drugs, including cocaine, may be laced with fentanyl or other fatal chemicals. The Franklin County coroner reported nine overdose deaths in 48 hours between Saturday and Monday.

Scientists predict harm algal bloom in Lake Erie
Scientists are expected to warn that another massive harmful algal bloom will blanket western Lake Erie this summer when they release their forecast today. Researchers believe record-setting rains in Ohio and neighboring states in recent months will fuel a large mass of algae on the lake. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issue a forecast for the lake each year. Algal blooms have become a recurring problem on the shallowest of the Great Lakes, and it was nearly five years ago when a bloom contaminated drinking water in Toledo. Some areas along the Ohio shoreline already have been seeing algae starting to form and drift into the lake.

Resolution would attempt to keep Asain carp out of waterways
Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces have endorsed a plan to build up defenses on an Illinois waterway in hopes of keeping invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. A resolution issued Wednesday by the region's eight governors and two premiers supports a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blueprint for blocking the carps' path at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The plan would use technology such as underwater loudspeakers, electric cables and air bubble curtains to deter the fish from migrating between the Illinois River and Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways. The resolution urges Congress to appropriate funds for the project, which is expected to cost at least $778 million. 

State slot machine revenue top $1B
State lottery officials said annual gambling revenue from slot machines at Ohio's seven racinos has topped $1 billion for the first time. The statewide revenue from racinos, or horse tracks outfitted with video slot machines, has grown steadily since the first racino launched in 2012. Revenue from video lottery terminals at racinos came in at more than $987 million statewide in fiscal year 2018. Meanwhile, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, which operates on the calendar year, reported it totaled more than $427 million for the first half of 2019.

Pike County sheriff suspended for tampering with evidence
An Ohio sheriff has accepted suspension in the aftermath of his indictment and a judge's restrictions. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader was charged last month with counts including theft in office and evidence-tampering after authorities looked into a complaint accusing him of stealing money that had been seized in drug cases. He pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. Ohio Auditor Keith Faber asked the state Supreme Court to suspend the sheriff. Faber said Reader's decision on the suspension allows the community to maintain confidence in the sheriff's office while the legal process continues.

Radio tower comes down on Huntington Bank building
Akron’s skyline is quite as high today. The Akron Beacon Journal reports crews have removed the unused radio tower from the top of the Huntington Bank Building. Western Reserve Public Media is the owner of the tower which was no longer being used and costing the non-profit 40-thousand dollars a year in rent. The Beacon Journal reports the tower which had been on top of the building since the 1950’s was removed without incident and safely lowered by a crane.