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Morning Headlines: Second Lawsuit Filed Against UH; Environmentalists Oppose Ethane Cracker Facility

photo of University Hospitals Lerner Tower

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, March 13:

  • Cleveland officers involved in Tanisha Anderson's death given suspension, written warning;
  • Massillon asks groups to consider taking over shuttered hospital;
  • Another lawsuit filed in UH fertility center incident;
  • Youngstown schools CEO reaffirms commitment to district amid job search;
  • Environmentalists oppose proposed ethane cracker facility;
  • East Liverpool man pleads guilty to exposing police officer to fentanyl;
  • New Miami takes dispute over $3 million in traffic fines to Ohio Supreme Court;
  • Ohio considers raising age to get a driver's license;
  • New York City developer plans to restore historic Akron hotel;
  • Deer culling helped prevent vehicle collisions, state reports;

Cleveland officers involved in Tanisha Anderson's death given suspension, written warning
Two Cleveland police officers have been disciplined for their roles in the death of a mentally ill woman who stopped breathing while she was handcuffed and struggling with police. The city said on Monday that Officer Scott Aldridge will be suspended for 10 days. Officer Bryan Myers received a written warning. Both were cleared of any criminal liability in the 2014 death of 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson. The city last year settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Anderson's family for $2.25 million. A medical examiner found Anderson stopped breathing after being placed on her stomach and that heart problems and mental illness contributed to her death. Another medical expert found her collapse "more consistent with a cardiac event." The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association maintains neither officer did anything wrong and will contest Aldridge's suspension.

Massillon asks groups to consider taking over shuttered hospital
Massillon’s mayor’s office has mailed out more than three-dozen letters to groups to find out if they’re interested in taking over what was the city’s only hospital. The letters went to medical groups and other organizations that could reopen and run Affinity Medical Center, which closed in February.  The Repository reports a group led by the former interim CEO of the hospital has contacted the mayor’s office.  It would need investors to back its plan. The for-profit group that ran Affinity agreed to give Massillon the more than $25 million in property and equipment in exchange for the city dropping a lawsuit to try to block the closing. The city estimates it will take $6 million to $8 million to restart the hospital.

Another lawsuit filed in UH fertility center incident
A second lawsuit has been filed by a family that says their frozen embryos were destroyed by a malfunction at a University Hospitals fertility center in suburban Cleveland. The Pennsylvania couple's lawsuit says they were beginning the process last week of transferring the frozen embryo when they were told something went wrong. The hospital estimates about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged or destroyed by a storage tank malfunction. UH has issued an apology after the unexplained malfunction caused temperatures inside the storage tank to rise. Hospital officials say the lawsuits will not affect an ongoing investigation. Attorneys for the Pennsylvania couple say they spent eight years trying to have a baby and are devastated by the loss.

Youngstown schools CEO reaffirms commitment to district amid job search
The man the state appointed to take over Youngstown schools says he remains committed to the district though he’s applied to become superintendent of a district in Colorado. The Vindicator reports CEO Krish Mohip also said he says he stands by statements critical of the community and school district that he made during his interviews in Boulder. In a YouTube video posted by Boulder, Mohip told the community that staying in Youngstown was never his long-term plan, but he took the job because he felt “like it was the only way to save public education for that district.” Mohip has been criticized by Youngstown school board members for excessive spending; the district is $8 million over budget. Critics also say his plan is to turn the district into private charter schools.

Environmentalists oppose proposed ethane cracker facility
An environmental group is challenging Ohio Gov. John Kasich's promotion of a multi-million dollar petrochemical plant in eastern Ohio's Belmont County. Kasich announced a new business partnership yesterday between Seoul-based Daelim Industrial and Thailand's PTT Global Chemical. He called it a  "game-changer" for the proposed ethane cracker. But the Sierra Club’s Jen Miller says the project would have "disastrous consequences for our health and safety." Miller said the proposed plant would increase air pollution and the threat of fires, explosions and other "large-scale disasters."

East Liverpool man pleads guilty to exposing police officer to fentanyl
An East Liverpool man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with fentanyl and to 22 other charges. Justin Buckel, 25, was sentenced to 6-and-a-half years. His case was one of the first in which a police officer making a search was exposed to the potent opioid. The officer, Chris Green, was revived with four doses of naloxone.

New Miami takes dispute over $3 million in traffic fines to Ohio Supreme Court
An Ohio village ordered to pay back $3 million in citations stemming from automated traffic cameras is taking its case to the state's highest court. New Miami has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to hear its appeal. Lower courts have ruled that New Miami is not immune from legal action because it collected fines under a program declared unconstitutional in 2014. The village argues sovereign immunity is guaranteed to all Ohio municipalities and necessary for preserving "fiscal integrity." The village cited nearly 45,000 motorists in 15 months. An attorney for the motorists says the village is stalling.

Ohio considers raising age to get a driver's license
Ohio lawmakers are considering raising the minimum age to get a driver’s license. The bipartisan proposal would require teens to wait a year after getting their learner’s permits to get their licenses, meaning the earliest a teen could get a license would be 16-and-a-half years old. Ohio would become one of the most restrictive states in the nation if the proposal passes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says only 12 states require teens to wait until after their 16th birthday to get their licenses.

New York City developer plans to restore historic Akron hotel
A private developer near New York City is planning to restore the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Akron. The Beacon Journal reportsthe city will pay a nominal amount for the building, which houses 230 low-income and disabled people, so it can pass on assigned tax breaks over to Capital Realty Group, which is negotiating with the current owner. Capital Realty’s Sam Horowitz says he’s ready to spend more than $10 million on the project and will seek historic tax credits and other incentives. The 16-story building is expected to continue to house lower-income people.

Deer culling helped prevent vehicle collisions, state reports
State data indicate more deer hunting between 2015 and 2017 helped decrease collisions between vehicles and deer around Ohio. Cleveland.com reports the Ohio Division of Wildlife says hunters have harvested about 186,000 deer statewide. Accidents involving vehicles and deer peaked in Ohio in 2015 at more than 21,000 collisions. That number had dropped by more than 2,600 by last year. Some northeastern Ohio communities where the deer population had gotten out of control allowed or expanded bow hunting to thin the herds. Strongsville's public safety director, Charles Goss, says allowing bow hunting had a nearly immediate effect in helping to reduce deer-vehicle collisions. Strongsville is considering potential hunting on public lands and industrial properties.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.