Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Jan. 9:
- Flu deaths rise to 21 in Cuyahoga County;
- Ohio attorney general sues chemical conglomerate DuPont;
- House Speaker proposes program to help students affected by drug abuse go to college;
- Former Cuyahoga County prosecutors claim they were scapegoats in mishandled sex abuse cases;
- Hall of Fame Village developers seek loan to cover outstanding costs;
- Obama-backed group plans to invest heavily in Ohio elections;
- Congress members call for completion of Asian carp study in Great Lakes;
- Cincinnati killer's execution gets delayed;
- Tri-C to offer tuition aid to Puerto Rican students displaced by Hurricane Maria;
- Cavs trade six players, hope to improve championship prospects;
Flu deaths rise to 21 in Cuyahoga County
Cuyahoga County is reporting another four deaths related to the flu, bringing the total for this season to 21. The county’s Public Health Collaborative reports last week marked an uptick in flu activity. The elderly, very young people and pregnant women are considered high-risk during the flu season, as well as those with weakened immune systems.
Ohio attorney general sues chemical conglomerate DuPont
Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine is suing DuPont over the company's decades-long release of a Teflon-like chemical from a plant in West Virginia. At issue is the dumping of the chemical C8 into the Ohio River from DuPont’s Washington Works plant, near Parkersburg. The lawsuit says DuPont released the chemical for decades beginning in the 1950s despite knowing risks it posed to Ohio's citizens and environment. The lawsuit is one of thousands filed against DuPont over C8 in recent years. The company has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits.
House Speaker proposes program to help students affected by drug abuse go to college
A new state program is aiming to help high school students with parents addicted to drugs get to college. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger on Thursday introduced OhioCorps, a program that would let at-risk students volunteer in their communities to earn money for college. The program would also let college students earn credit by mentoring younger students affected by drug addiction. Fourteen public universities have signed on to the pilot program. It’s not yet clear how much the program would cost. It’s expected to be introduced in the coming weeks and will need to pass the General Assembly.
Former Cuyahoga County prosecutors claim they were scapegoats in mishandled sex abuse cases
Cuyahoga County’s top lawyer is facing a lawsuit from two former county prosecutors. Laura Hoffman and Linda Herman claim Prosecutor Michael O’Malley used them as scapegoats after his staff uncovered more than 70 uncharged sexual assault cases shortly after he took office. Hoffman and Herman were forced to resign a year ago after the problematic cases were discovered. But the lawsuit says they only worked on six of those cases. The suit also claims other prosecutors involved in the problematic cases were not let go. Hoffman and Herman are accusing county officials of defamation and age discrimination. The suit does not specify the amount in damages being sought.
Hall of Fame Village developers seek loan to cover outstanding costs
Developers of the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village are finalizing a loan to cover remaining construction costs. Local sub-contractors filed millions of dollars in liens against the project after the completion of Tom Benson Stadium in Canton. The loan agreement would cover the liens and provide millions more toward additional construction. The Repository reports the loan could reach up to $100 million, substantially more than the money owed to local contractors. The Stark County Port Authority is acting as a pass-through in the negotiations. The village developers would be responsible for paying back the loan.
Obama-backed group plans to invest heavily in Ohio elections
A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama said this week it plans to invest millions of dollars in state-level elections in 11 states this year, with its heaviest focus on Ohio. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, said this year's election cycle is critical to affecting the congressional redistricting process. It is the first cycle whose winners will participate in drawing congressional maps for the decade starting in 2021. In Ohio, a perennial political battleground, the committee plans to support Democrats for five offices — governor, auditor, secretary of state, Ohio Senate and Ohio House — as well as pushing a redistricting ballot measure.
Congress members call for completion of Asian carp study in Great Lakes
Some members of Congress want a one-year deadline for completing a federal study on keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses on a crucial Illinois waterway. In a letter Thursday to heads of House spending committees, 26 lawmakers from Great Lakes states said the next federal budget should order the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finish its Brandon Road Lock and Dam study by February 2019. A draft released last year recommended a $275 million upgrade of the lock and dam near a choke point between the Illinois River and Lake Michigan. The river is infested with Asian carp, which could damage native fish if they become established in the lakes.
Cincinnati killer's execution gets delayed
Gov. John Kasich has delayed the execution of a killer set to die next week, citing a letter he received from a juror who recommended death for the inmate at his trial 20 years ago but now believes he should be spared. Kasich issued a reprieve for Raymond Tibbetts that pushed his Feb. 13 execution forward to mid-October. Kasich wants the Ohio Parole Board to consider a letter written by ex-juror Ross Geiger, who has said jurors weren't given enough information about Tibbetts' tough childhood. The parole board voted 11-1 last year against mercy for Tibbetts. In the letter, Geiger said he believes he and other jurors were misled about the "truly terrible conditions" of Tibbetts' upbringing.
Tri-C to offer tuition aid to Puerto Rican students displaced by Hurricane Maria
Cuyahoga Community College says it will offer tuition aid to students displaced by Hurricane Maria. Students from Puerto Rico who relocated to Northeast Ohio will get financial aid for the summer session. The college is also working with the state’s higher education agency to create a partial tuition waiver for displaced students. The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College estimates up to 11,000 Puerto Ricans could relocate to Ohio over the next two years.
Cavs trade six players, hope to improve championship prospects
The Cavs completely changed their look — and perhaps their chances of winning a championship this season — on Thursday with a stunning sequence of deals. The team traded six players, including Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, and two future draft picks in moves designed to not only help them in the short term but could potentially help keep LeBron James beyond this season. The Cavs began by sending Thomas along with forward Channing Frye to the Lakers for point guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr. Then, the Cavs sent Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Jazz for forward Rodney Hood. Cleveland is also getting steady veteran guard George Hill from the Kings in exchange for guard Iman Shumpert. Lastly, the Cavs then dealt Wade to Miami for a future draft pick.