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Morning Headlines: Judge Briefly Blocks Ban of Abortion Method, Ohio Shares $350M to Fight Opioids

Photo of abortion rights protestors
Protestors hold pro-choice signs during a demostration.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, April 19:

  • Judge briefly blocks ban of abortion method;
  • Ohio shares $350M to fight opioids;
  • Budish talks climate change initiatives in State of the County speech;
  • Union accuses Cuyahoga County of unfair labor practices for jail nurses;
  • Cuyahoga County jail associate warden, 2 guards indicted;
  • Cleveland maintains presence in Mueller report;
  • Early release for mother of child who died from exposure;
  • More charges for Medina man accused of claiming to be missing child;
  • Cleveland rapper Q-Money turns himself in, charged with murder;

Judge briefly blocks ban of abortion method
A federal judge has temporarily blocked an Ohio law that bans the common second-trimester abortion method called dilation and evacuation, or D&E. U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett ruled the legislation can't be fully enforced amid an ongoing lawsuit from Planned Parenthood. Former Gov. John Kasich signed the bill in December banning the procedure and making it a fourth-degree felony to perform. Planned Parenthood says D&E is the safest and most common method of abortion after about 15 weeks of pregnancy. Barrett did not say whether banning the procedure was unconstitutional. His order will last 14 days.

Ohio shares $350M to fight opioids
U.S. health officials are giving $350 million to researchers in Ohio and three other stateshit hardest by the deadly opioid epidemic. The study announced Thursday aims to cut overdose deaths by 40% over three years in local communities grappling with misuse of the addictive drugs. Researchers will study evidence-based techniques for fighting addiction and overdose, such as medication-based treatments like methadone and criminal justice reforms. Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati are leading a coalition of universities — including Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo, and Wright State University, along with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Budish talks climate change initiatives in State of the County speech
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish outlined his initiatives for this year in his State of the County Address yesterday. Plans include planting thousands of trees to increase the county's tree canopy, creating a power grid for downtown businesses and synchronizing traffic lights to lower carbon emissions from idling vehicles. His speech didn't include an update of what's happening with the county's jails, where eight inmates died last year.

Union accuses Cuyahoga County of unfair labor practices for jail nurses
A union representing some Cuyahoga County jail nurses is accusing county leaders of unfair labor practices and for firing unionized medical staff in the jails without due process. The union alleges the county council failed include them on negotiating contracts. The council and County Executive Armond Budish have approved a contract that would replace the jail's unionized medical staff with a mix of unionized and non-unionized members from MetroHealth System. County leaders say while the jails transition to an all-MetroHealth staff, current jail nurses will either be offered jobs at MetroHealth or will be offered other jobs within the county. Leaders are also working on a severance package to go with the contract, but the union has yet to approve it.

Cuyahoga County jail associate warden, 2 guards indicted
An associate warden and two corrections officers at a the troubled Cuyahoga County jail have been indicted less than two weeks after five other guards were charged with various offenses. Associate warden Eric Ivey is accused of ordering a guard to turn off his body camera during an August 2018 emergency where an inmate died. He's also charged with lying to investigators. Another guard is accused of repeatedly striking a prisoner in the head last year and causing injuries requiring surgery. The other guard is accused of stopping a nurse from caring for the prisoner.

Cleveland maintains presence in Mueller report
Cleveland and Ohio are part of the Mueller report issued Thursday. Cleveland.com reportsthe word “Cleveland” shows up eight times in the more than 400-page report as host of the 2016 Republican National Convention. The report tracks a meeting that then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had in Cleveland with Trump campaign officials. An article written by The Plain Dealer’s Laura DeMarco about a reception for the Global Partners in Diplomacy conference was cited in the report.

Early release for mother of child who died from exposure
The mother of a 2-year-old girl found unresponsive outside an Akron home on a frigid February day has been released from prison after three months. Tierra Williams had been sentenced to 18 months earlier this year, a sentence that sparked a community outcry given the loss Williams and her former boyfriend, Dariaun Parker, had already suffered. Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty on Wednesday placed the 23-year-old Williams on probation for 18 months, required her to attend parenting classes and suggested she undergo counseling. Parker was sentenced to two years in prison following the child's death in 2018.

More charges for Medina man accused of claiming to be missing child
A Medina man accused of claiming to be a missing child from Illinois is facing new charges. A federal grand jury has indicted 23-year-old Brian Rini on two counts of lying to federal agents and one count of aggravated identity theft. He had been arrested earlier on a single false statement count after DNA testing proved he wasn't Timmothy Pitzen, who disappeared in 2011 at age 6. Rini is being held without bond. Police said that Rini told them he was Timmothy and that he had escaped two kidnappers after years of sexual abuse.

Cleveland rapper Q-Money turns himself in, charged with murder
A Cleveland rapper has turned himself in for allegedly shooting and killing another Cleveland-based rapper. Qamar Williams, who goes by Q-Money, faces a murder charge for allegedly shooting Calvin Chappell Monday morning in Georgia. Williams has not only been charged with murder, but he's also been charged with a first-degree misdemeanor gaming violation and was convicted of drug trafficking in 2014. Williams failed to show up for an arraignment on April 11 in Cleveland and a warrent was issued. He is currently being held at a jail in Georgia.

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