Morning Headlines: Court Rules Ohio Lethal Injection Constitutional; NASA Glenn Director Steps Down

Sep 12, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Sept. 12:

  • Court rules Ohio lethal injection constitutional;
  • NASA Glenn director steps down;
  • Board votes against anxiety, autism as medical pot condition;
  • Appeals court: Ohio lethal injection method constitutional;
  • US nuclear lab partners with utilities to produce hydrogren;
  • Cleveland Indians request tax dollars to replace aging lights;
  • Opponent of nuclear bailout plan alleges assault;
  • Cuyahoga County awards nearly $1M to help restore tree canopy;
  • Ohio State denied request to trademark 'The' for merchandise;
  • Attorneys general are split on opioid settlement;
  • 2 Texas men die in Toledo-area cargo plan crash;

Court rules Ohio lethal injection constitutional
A federal appeals court said Ohio's current lethal injection system does not pose an unconstitutional risk of suffering to condemned inmates. The court said the potential for suffocation posed by the three-drug method does not qualify as the type of "severe pain and needless suffering" prohibited by the Constitution. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in the case of Warren Henness, who was sentenced to die for the 1992 fatal shooting of a volunteer addiction counselor. Despite the ruling, an unofficial moratorium on executions is likely to continue. Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine has said Ohio is struggling to find lethal injection supplies amid fears it could be cut off from drugs needed for medicinal purposes if their makers learn they're also being used for executions.

NASA Glenn director steps down
The director of the NASA Glenn Research Center is stepping down. Janet Kavandi, the first woman to lead the center, announced her retirement for NASA at the end of this month. She was named director of the Cleveland-based research center in 2016. Kavandi is a former astronaut who flew three missions aboard the space shuttle. During her tenure, NASA Glenn’s budget grew by nearly 50%. No successor has been named. 

Board votes against anxiety, autism as medical pot condition
The state Medical Board has voted to reject petitions seeking to add anxiety and autism spectrum disorders as qualifying conditions for physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients. The vote Wednesday comes after a Medical Board committee last month recommended against approving the petitions. The panel said marijuana can provide temporary relief for anxiety but could cause panic attacks. It also expressed concerns about autism patients and marijuana's effects on children's developing brains. Board spokeswoman Tessie Pollock said the board could reconsider adding anxiety and autism to the list of 21 qualifying medical conditions if new studies or petitions are submitted. The Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivators Association said 10 states allow medical marijuana for anxiety and 22 for autism.

US nuclear lab partners with utilities to produce hydrogren
The U.S. government's primary nuclear lab is partnering with three energy utilities to find a way to use nuclear energy to produce hydrogen that can be stored and used to power everything from industry to personal vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday that the Idaho National Laboratory will work with Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, plus operators in Minnesota and Arizona. Under the $9 million proposal, FirstEnergy Solutions will develop a light water reactor hybrid energy system at the Davis-Besse near Toledo. Federal officials said the projects are intended to improve the long-term competitiveness of the nuclear power industry by giving it another product to sell. Vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells produce only water vapor and warm air as exhaust.

Cleveland Indians request tax dollars to replace aging lights
The Cleveland Indians are asking taxpayers for help to replace a malfunctioning system that controls lights, heating and cooling at Progressive Field. Cleveland.com reports the current system built in 1994 fails multiple times a week, turning ballpark lights on in the middle of the night and driving up energy costs. The new system costs $1.6 million. Most repairs comes from the county's sin tax revenue on beer, wine and cigarettes. The team made the request to Gateway Development Corporation Wednesday, the nonprofit that covers large repairs and owns the team's lease. Gateway said it'll review the plan before voting.

Opponent of nuclear bailout plan alleges assault
A worker collecting signatures for a petition to block Ohio’s nuclear bailout law says he was assaulted by an opponent of the effort. The petitioner said a woman slapped his cell phone out of his hand and shoved him as he was collecting signatures near Columbus. The group Ohioans for Energy Security has been falsely claiming that backers of the ballot initiative are Chinese operatives and has hired people to monitor the petition drive. The proposed ballot issue would block a law that adds a fee to utility bills that will generate around $1.5 billion in subsidies for Ohio’s two nuclear plants.

Cuyahoga County awards nearly $1M to help restore tree canopy
Cuyahoga County has awarded nearly $1 million to cities and organizations to help restore the county's tree canopy. First-year award receivers like Lakewood and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy will use up to $50,000 each to plant more than 1,000 trees. The awards are a part of County Executive Armond Budish's five-year Climate Change Action Plan which he rolled out in his State of the County speech this year.

Ohio State denied request to trademark 'The' for merchandise
Ohio State University has lost its fight to trademark the word "The." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office turned down the university's request to trademark "The" when used as part of the school's name on university merchandise. The patent office cited the trademark appears to be used for "merely decorative manner" and as an "ornamental feature" that doesn't appear to function as a trademark that would differentiate the items from others. The school requested for it to be put on various items including T-shirts, baseball caps and hats

Attorneys general are split on opioid settlement
State attorneys general are offering mixed opinions on a tentative opioid-crisis settlement reached between governments and OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's office is backing the tentative $12-billion deal, saying it "provides the greatest certainty for all Ohioans to receive relief as quickly as possible in light of rumored bankruptcy." Arizona’s Attorney General is also in favor of the settlement. But Attorneys General in Connecticut and Pennsylvania said the deal falls short of making up for the death and destruction caused by the opioid crisis. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also supports the deal, saying his attention will shift to how to spend the settlement dollars.

2 Texas men die in Toledo-area cargo plan crash
Two people died after a cargo plane approaching a Toledo airport crashed just a few hundred feet from a highway and burst into flames on Wednesday. The victims were both from Laredo, Texas. No other injuries were reported from the early morning crash just east of the Toledo Express Airport. The plane went down at a business property filled with truck cabs and trailers and narrowly missed the nearby Ohio Turnpike. The plane was owned by Barker Aeromotive Inc., which operates out of Laredo.

This article has been updated to correct a typo in the opioid story