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Morning Headlines: Ohio State Fair Takes Precautions; Akron Superintendent Gets Raise, Extension


Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, July 24:

  • State fair takes precautions following last year's deadly ride accident;
  • New York sewage spill could affect Ohio beaches;
  • Drug treatment issue makes November ballot;
  • Pilot fatigue caused 2016 plane crash that killed six;
  • Akron Superintendent David James receives raise, contract extension;
  • Three former Summit County sheriff deputies plead not guilty to falsification;
  • Runaway inmate in Medina back in custody;
  • Cleveland Police Commission loses two more employees;
  • One dead, 11 ill from Legionnaires' disease in Parma;
  • Megabus to bring back Cleveland to New York trip;

State fair takes precautions following last year's deadly ride accident

State officials are workingto reassure visitors the 2018 Ohio State Fair starting this week will be safe after a catastrophic ride failure left an 18-year-old dead and seven others injured last year. Yet The Columbus Dispatch reports little has changed since last year. Amusements of America is still the ride vendor and Ohio still employs eight inspectors for 3,700 rides statewide. A spokesman says Gov. John Kasich has urged the Ohio Department of Agriculture to improve safety, but a tougher inspection law requiring changes has languished. "Tyler's Law" is named for Tyler Jarrell, who died last July when the Fire Ball ride broke apart. The Agriculture Department says inspectors will do more this year, including daily spot-checks and supplemental inspections.

New York sewage spill could affect Ohio beaches

A massive sewage spill near Buffalo could taint water quality at Ohio beaches. Nearly one million gallons of raw sewage spilled into Lake Erie from Dunkirk, New York Sunday after a heavy rain. WEWS-TV reports that Ohio officials believe the sewage should drift east. Testing at the nearest beaches in Ashtabula County have not been completed following the spill. Cuyahoga County beaches have tested safe.

Drug treatment issue makes November ballot

A proposal that would lower the penalties for drug possession in an effort to keep low-level offenders out of prison has gathered enough signatures to be on the November ballot.  The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation amendment will appear as State Issue 1. It would require all fourth- and fifth-degree felony drug offenses to be reclassified as no worse than first-degree misdemeanors. The maximum punishment would be 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The reclassifications would be retroactive, so people currently in prison for possession-only offenses could be released.

Another group hoping to add an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution that would increase regulations and cap profits for kidney dialysis clinics did not collect enough valid signatures to make the November ballot.

Pilot fatigue caused 2016 plane crash that killed six

The National Transportation Safety Boardhas concluded that pilot fatigue led to a 2016 plane crash that killed six people in Lake Erie. Investigators say John Fleming had been awake for 17 hours before attempting to fly back to Columbus after a Cavs game. The plane veered into the lake, killing Fleming, his wife and sons, and two family friends. Poor visibility was also deemed a factor.

Akron Superintendent David James receives raise, contract extension

The Akron Board of Education has approved a three-year contract extension and $26,000 raise for Superintendent David James. Starting next week, James will receive a base pay of just over $225,000. James has led the district since 2008. The board says the decision was made after an annual evaluation based on all aspects of his performance, including continuous improvement, collaboration, special projects and leadership.

Three former Summit County sheriff deputies plead not guilty to falsification

Three former Summit County sheriff deputies have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the attempted suicide of a female inmate in April. The three are charged with falsification and obstruction of justice for allegedly providing false information to medical staff and investigators about the incident at the Summit County jail. The sheriff’s office isn’t releasing any more details. Alycia Hawkins was fired, while Teresa Stark and Debra Weiland resigned.

Runaway inmate in Medina back in custody

Police say an inmate who jumped out of the back of an ambulance in Northeast Ohio is back in custody. The Medina County Sheriff's Department says 22-year-old Joshua Bragg was at Cleveland Clinic-Medina Hospital on Sunday evening when he unbuckled himself and ran away. Sheriff's officials today confirmed that Bragg was back in custody. Authorities say the Medina man was on medical furlough when he escaped.

Cleveland Police Commission loses two more employees 

A troubled commission mandated as part of a federal deal with the city of Cleveland to improve community and police relations has lost two more members. Cleveland.com reports that the two members of the Cleveland Community Police Commission resigned in recent weeks over frustration with the group’s progress. Amanda King says she did not feel the commission was serving the community. Dylan Sellers says he intends to focus his energies elsewhere. The resignations come after four out of the five staff members stepped down citing a hostile work environment. The 13-member commission was established as part of a 2015 consent decree between Cleveland and the Department of Justice following accusations of police brutality in the city and poor community relations.

One dead, 11 ill from Legionnaires' disease in Parma

There are now 11 cases of Legionnaires' disease confirmed in Parma, with one death reported. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health says 10 patients were hospitalized. A 93 year-old Parma woman died July 5. The illnesses all occurred between early June and July among parishioners of the Saint Columbkille Parish in Parma. It hasn’t been proven the illness was contracted there. The health board is working with officials of the Catholic parish and conducting environmental sampling. The disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by people breathing in water droplets containing Legionella bacteria.

Megabus to bring back Cleveland to New York trip

Discount bus companyis bringing back its Cleveland to New York City route starting at $1. The company discontinued its original route early last year, which ran daily. The new route will be an overnight trip offered Thursday through Sunday.

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Amanda Rabinowitz
Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. Her days begin before the sun comes up as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition, which airs on WKSU each weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio’s sports scene.
Lydia Taylor is a news intern for WKSU. She is a junior multimedia journalism major at Kent State University with experience in print and visual journalism. She is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Journalism. During the school year, Taylor works for Kent State Student Media in The Kent Stater and KentWired. She is currently an assigning editor and a reporter in the Kent State University Student Media Newsroom for the spring semester.