Morning Headlines: North Royalton Passes Marijuana Ban; UltimateAir Sold to OneJet

May 2, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, May 2:

  • Massillon to spend more than $620,000 to run Affinity for three months;
  • Kasich to announce new painkiller prescription standards;
  • Sale of UltimateAir could bring new flights to Burke Lakefront airport;
  • North Royalton passes permanent marijuana ban;
  • Great Lakes lawmakers push for restoration funding;
  • ECOT audit release is delayed, state auditor says;
  • Ohio submits Medicaid work requirements for federal approval;
  • Hudson physician faces drug trafficking charges;
  • Green Board of Education approves levy to fund school safety and security;
  • Summa now offering overdose reversal drug without a prescription;
  • Akron Children's Hospital to diversity nursing staff with $1 million grant;
  • Cavs defeat Toronto Raptors 113-112 in overtime;

Massillon to spend more than $620,000 to run Affinity for three months
The city of Massillon could spend more than $620,000 over three months if it takes over Affinity Medical Center. City council is considering legislation to acquire the shuttered hospital until it finds a permanent owner. The money would be paid out of the city’s general fund for hospital utilities, salaries and maintenance. The quoted figure does not include about $15,000 the city would earn each month on existing leases.

Kasich to announce new painkiller prescription standards
Gov. John Kasich is preparing to announce new standards to help people suffering from chronic pain get proper treatment from prescribers to avoid addiction. Kasich has been pushing prescribing limits in recent years to battle Ohio's addictions epidemic, which led to a record 4,050 overdose deaths in 2016. Restrictions enacted last year for acute pain patients bar doctors from prescribing more than seven days of narcotic pain pills for adults and more than five days for minors. The governor and state medical leaders announced guidelines in 2016 meant to reduce the prescribing of painkillers for short-term pain.

Sale of UltimateAir could bring new flights to Burke Lakefront airport
The parent of the company that operates flights from Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport to Cincinnati is being sold. Pittsburgh-based OneJet is buying Ultimate Air Shuttle for an undisclosed amount. Cleveland.com reports the acquisition is expected to bring in more flights, including routes previously served by United Airlines until it closed its Cleveland hub in 2014. The company is expected to hire new employees as a result of the deal, though an Ultimate Air executive declined to say how many. The terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

North Royalton passes permanent marijuana ban
The city of North Royalton has passed a permanent moratorium on medical marijuana. City council passed the ban in a 5-2 vote on Monday. The measure forbids the growing, processing and selling of medical marijuana. Cleveland.com reports council members cited residents’ concerns about cultivating marijuana within city limits. One council member called Ohio’s medical marijuana program a “disaster,” pointing to mistakes in how the state awarded grower permits.

Great Lakes lawmakers push for restoration funding
U.S. senators from states in the Great Lakes region are pushing for continued federal funding of a program designed to make progress on the lakes' most pressing ecological challenges. A dozen senators from both parties signed a letter of support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It was sent Tuesday to leaders of a subcommittee that recommends spending on environmental programs. The senators requested $300 million for the initiative in 2019. That's roughly the amount it has received annually since 2010. President Donald Trump proposed eliminating the program's funding last year. His 2019 budget would cut it by 90 percent. The senators say in their letter the funding cut would reverse progress that's been made on problems such as toxic pollution, invasive species and runoff that causes toxic algae.

ECOT audit release is delayed, state auditor says
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost's office says release of an audit of the state's then-largest online charter school has been delayed. The office had announced that the review of the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow would be released on Tuesday. A spokesman says attention brought on by an Associated Press report of whistleblower claims of intentional attendance inflation at the school are not the reason for the delay. The office says it has received additional information about money used in an ECOT advertising campaign attacking Ohio's effort to have the school repay $60 million for overstated attendance and that data had to be incorporated. A new release date wasn't set. ECOT, once among the largest e-schools in the nation, closed in January amid financial difficulties.

Ohio submits Medicaid work requirements for federal approval
State officials say most Ohioans covered under Medicaid expansion will remain insured without changes under new work requirements submitted to the federal government for approval. A Medicaid waiver submitted Monday details Ohio's plan for imposing a work and community engagement requirement lawmakers passed last summer. It requires Medicaid expansion enrollees to work unless they're over age 55, a student, seeking substance abuse treatment or have serious physical or mental health issues. Greg Moody leads Gov. John Kasich's Office of Health Transformation. He said only about 36,000 Ohioans — or 5 percent of expansion enrollees — will need to find work to keep insurance under the proposal. Most of the 700,000 Ohioans covered under the expansion already are employed. The waiver approval process could take two to three years.

Hudson physician faces drug trafficking charges
A doctor in Hudson is facing two dozen drug trafficking charges. A Summit County grand jury on Tuesday indicted 52-year-old Mahmud Kara. He’s an internist who served as medical director of Affinity Whole Health, a Beachwood-based hormone replacement therapy company. Prosecutors say he did not follow Ohio code when prescribing weight loss medications to patients over five years.

Green Board of Education approves levy to fund school safety and security
A Summit County school district is the latest to ask voters to approve more money for safety and security. The Green Board of Education has approved a 1-mill property tax levy for the August 7 special election ballot. If approved, it would raise nearly $780,000 a year for five years to upgrade safety and security at the district’s five schools. It also includes a mental health program.

Summa now offering overdose reversal drug without a prescription
Summa Health System says it has started offering the overdose reversal antidote naloxone without a prescription at its retail pharmacies in Akron and Barberton. Summa says anyone can have access to two doses of naloxone and will get instructions from the pharmacy staff on using the product, known under the brand name Narcan.

Akron Children's Hospital to diversity nursing staff with $1 million grant
Akron Children’s Hospital says it will use grant money to continue efforts to diversify its nursing workforce. The hospital is getting $1 million from KeyBank Foundation over five years. It will go towards the hospital’s summer internship program that provides stipends to 25 nursing students each year and provides support during the students’ senior year of college. The hope is that the students return to work at Children’s after they graduate. Since 2015, 60 nursing students have completed the program and Children’s has hired more male, African American and Hispanic nurses.

Cavs defeat Toronto Raptors 113-112 in overtime.
The Cavs had a stunning come-from-behind win over the Toronto Raptors in the opening game of their Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was 113-112 in overtime. LeBron James had 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his 21st career playoff triple-double. This time, James got some help from his teammates --- J.R. Smith scored 20 points, while Kyle Korver had 19 and Tristan Thompson had 14. Game 2 of the series is tomorrow in Toronto.