Morning Headlines: KSU Gets $2M Grant; Cuyahoga County Jail Faces Another Lawsuit

Dec 13, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Dec. 13:

  • KSU gets $2M grant;
  • Cuyahoga County jail faces another lawsuit;
  • Ohio juvenile prison population has most reports of sexual abuse;
  • Birding groups sue to stop Lake Erie wind farm project;
  • Cuyahoga County pays $140,000 to settle lawsuit;
  • Cleveland JACK casino takes revenue lead over Columbus;
  • Nativity scene displayed on groups of Ohio Statehouse;
  • Court won't halt lawsuits against doctor in murder case;

KSU gets $2M grant
Kent State University (KSU) has been awarded a $2 million grant to help strengthen computer science-related fields. KSU received the second-highest award from Choose Ohio First. It's a state program that began in 2008 that helps increase the number of people in science, technology or engineering. The university will use the money as scholarship funds to recruit and graduate students, specifically those who are underrepresented, economically disadvantaged and are first generation. The students who receive the scholarships will also participate in a research conference in partnership with other Northeast Ohio schools, including Case Western Reserve University

Cuyahoga County jail faces another lawsuit
A new lawsuit against the Cuyahoga County jail claims staff ignored an inmate's plea for help before he died by suicide. The family of Gregory Fox, one of nine inmates who has died in the jail since last year, alleges Fox showed obivous signs of distress. The lawsuit claims jail officials didn't place Fox on suicide watch despite telling staff had mental illness and suicidal thoughts. Notes from the medical examiner show Fox had suffered from bipolar disorder, anxiety and had previously attempted suicide last January. The deaths have sparked an FBI civil rights investigation, which has so far resulted in indictments against several jail officials. A Cuyahoga County official didn't not respond to a request for comment by Cleveland.com on Thursday.

Ohio juvenile prison population has most reports of sexual abuse
Ohio's juvenile prison population has the highest reports of being sexually victimized in the nation. A new report from the U.S. Department of Justice shows 15% of the more than 6,000 juvenile prisoners have reported being forced into sexual activity with other prisoners or staff last year. It's more than twice the national rate of sexual victimization. Gov. Mike DeWine called the report concerning, and the Ohio Department of Youth Services said it has upgraded detention centers in an effort to reduce sexual abuse. Ten cases involved staff members. The Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility south of Columbus was ranked the second-worst in the U.S.

Birding groups sue to stop Lake Erie wind farm project
Two birding groups have filed a federal lawsuit trying to block a proposed wind farm in Lake Erie. They said the six-turbine wind farm planned for just off the Cleveland shore poses substantial collision risks to the large numbers of birds that fly through the area. The birding groups said the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have failed to evaluate the environmental impacts of the project. The energy department and the Army Corps are declining to comment.

Cuyahoga County pays $140,000 to settle lawsuit
Cuyahoga County has agreed to pay $140,000 to settle a lawsuit from a man who claimed a corrections officer beat him and then intimidated him during an investigation. Cleveland.com reports Corrionne Lawrence, 25, said he had been beaten for no reason, punished for speaking Spanish and then was told not to say anything during a U.S. Marshals investigation into the jail last year. The county has denied the allegations. The settlement comes amid criticism surrounding the jail after the U.S. Marshals released a report detailing an inhumane environment and poor treatment of inmates. State inspectors released a report this month saying conditions inside the jail have improved.

Cleveland JACK casino takes revenue lead over Columbus
Cleveland's JACK Casino overtook Hollywood Columbus as the busiest casino in a month for the first time in more than three years. JACK took in nearly $19 million in November. MGM Northfield Park continues to lead the state. Statewide,gambling revenue increased nearly 9% from $148 million November 2018 to $161 million last month.

Nativity scene displayed on groups of Ohio Statehouse
A small nativity scene is on display on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse. A private group that's sponsoring the manger scene says it's committed to “keeping the Christ in Christmas” and defending its legal rights. The conservative Christian Thomas More Society represents the sponsors, American Nativity Scene, against any legal challenges. Laura Battocletti, executive director of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, said the crèche doesn't broach the constitutional separation between church and state because it's not state-sponsored. The hosts paid $50 for a permit. She said a menorah has also been displayed on Statehouse grounds in recent years.

Court won't halt lawsuits against doctor in murder case
A Columbus hospital doctor who pleaded not guilty to murder charges in 25 patients' deaths has been unsuccessful in his latest bid to pause more than a dozen related lawsuits. William Husel and Mount Carmel Health System that employed him argued the civil cases should be put on hold during his criminal case so it doesn't hamper their ability to defend themselves in the lawsuits. A county judge wouldn't halt the cases, and they challenged that decision. Now a state court has dismissed their appeals for procedural reasons. It concluded the judge's order wasn't a final one that could be appealed.