Morning Headlines: More Vaping Illnesses Confirmed; Oberlin College Appeals $31M Jury Award

Oct 9, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Oct. 9:

  • Vaping illnesses confirmed in NE Ohio;
  • Early voting begins for November election;
  • Akron schools settles 1 of 5 lawsuits involving fake officer;
  • Oberlin College appeals $31M jury award;
  • Budish unveils Cuyahoga County budget proposal;
  • Democratic candidate Biden plans Ohio return this month;
  • More men allege sexual misconduct by Ohio State team doctor;
  • Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum pushes against calls to split;
  • Survey: Summit County teens increase texting and driving, decrease taking drugs;
  • Akron prepares new plan for handling severe winter weather;
  • KSU offers free course on May 4 history;

Vaping illnesses confirmed in NE Ohio
Four vaping-related illnesses have been confirmed in Northeast Ohio — three in Cuyahoga County and one in Medina County. No one has died from the illnesses in Ohio, but 28 cases have been confirmed statewide and 30 additional cases are under investigation. Symptoms include chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the illnesses are being caused by chemical exposure and not a lung infection. There've been more than 1,000 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S.

Early voting begins for November election
Early voting for the Nov. 5 ballot is under way. Voters can also now request absentee ballots and send those in to local boards of elections. Being an odd-year, the election will focus on local issues and candidates. Voters in Summit County will decide dozens of  issues, school levies and candidates for office. In Cuyahoga County, more than 530 candidates and 71 issues are on the ballot.

Akron schools settles 1 of 5 lawsuits involving fake officer
Akron Public Schools has settled one of five lawsuits filed by families after the district allegedly allowed a man to impersonate a police officer last year. Christopher Hendon carried a gun and claimed he was part of a "scared straight" effort. He handcuffed students and took them into custody at the Summit County jail or detention center. The Beacon Journal reports the district agreed to pay the family of a minor, who has a learning disability, $90,000 but didn't admit any wrongdoing. The family originally sought $25 million. Hendon was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in March. District leaders have declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Oberlin College appeals $31M jury award
Oberlin College has officially appealed a $31 million jury award in a lawsuit filed by a bakery. Gibson's Bakery accused the school of libel and hurting its business in 2016. Three black students were arrested for shoplifting that led to a scuffle with a bakery employee. The students later pleaded guilty. The bakery said at least one Oberlin official and professors participated in protests and handed out fliers calling the business racist. Oberlin also temporarily had stopped ordering food from the business. The college said it had nothing to do with the protests and that they were independently and peacefully organized by students.

Budish unveils Cuyahoga County budget proposal;
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has unveiled his next budget proposal. General fund expenditures in 2020 are expected to be $474 million and will increase slightly the following year. The budget earmarks around $1 million for bail reform services, including pretrial services to help suspects who remain in jail because they can't afford a small bond. Around $2.5 million would be spent on a diversion center for criminal suspects with severe mental illnesses. There's also additional money for the nearly 3,000 children in county custody — the most in at least a decade, including an additional $8 million to the prosecutor’s office over the next two years to add staff to handle custody cases. County Council will hold hearings before voting on the proposal.

Democratic candidate Biden plans Ohio return this month
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden plans to make a return visit to Ohio two weeks after he's in the state for a debate. Biden will be in Columbus on Oct. 31. No other details are available. Biden and rivals for the Democratic nomination will be at Otterbein University near Columbus for an Oct. 15 debate.

More men allege sexual misconduct by Ohio State team doctor
More men are stepping forward with allegations about sexual misconduct by a former Ohio State sports doctor now accused of abusing students from 1979 to 1997. The addition of two lawsuits means a total of about 200 men are suing the university over its failure to stop the late Dr. Richard Strauss, despite employees knowing about concerns. Lawyers said they represent even more men who aren't listed plaintiffs, taking the number of accusers above 300. The latest accusers to identify themselves publicly include former lacrosse player Mike Avery, a news anchor in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum pushes against calls to split
Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum is resisting calls to split into three different units: A Speedway gas-station chain, a pipeline company and a refining business. New York hedge fund Elliot Management is calling for the change and for Marathon CEO Gary Heminger to step down due to underperformance. Marathon stock has plunged more than 34% in the past year. Elliott said the company can unlock more than $22 billion in value for shareholders with the split-up. Heminger reassured employees last week that the company will stay the way it is. It operates a Canton refinery with nearly 350 employees.

Survey: Summit County teens increase texting and driving, decrease taking drugs
A new survey shows many youth in Summit County text while driving, and have tried vaping, but fewer are drinking or taking drugs. The study done every five years by the Prevention Research Center at Case Western Reserve University surveyed around 18,000 middle and high school students. The study show more than a third of Summit County kids admitted to texting while driving and around a quarter used e-cigarettes. But alcohol and drug use has dropped compared to five years ago, and suicide rates have also declined. Health officials said those are signs that anti-drug campaigns and messages about mental health needs are having an effect.

Akron prepares new plan for handling severe winter weather
The city of Akron said it’s ready to lay out its new strategy for dealing with ice and snow. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday to reveal new aggressive additions to a policy that came under severe criticism last winter. Complaints from residents whose streets went unplowed for days following a January storm prompted an apology from the city which promised to do better. A task force in March listed 10 recommendations to improve service, including a new fleet of snow plows.

KSU offers free course on May 4 history
Kent State University is offering a free course on the history of the May 4 shootings. Making Meaning of May 4th is a three-session course open to the public this month at the May 4th Visitors Center. It’s part of the ongoing events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the shootings. The university hopes to offer the course again in the spring.