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Morning Headlines: Opioid Crisis Worsens; Kasich Pushes for DACA Replacement

Cincinnati Police say the new cocktail, labeled "Gray Death", is seven times more potent than morphine and is gray in appearance.
Cincinnati Police say the new cocktail, labeled "Gray Death", is seven times more potent than morphine and is gray in appearance.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, December 21:

  • Opioid deaths continue to rise, federal report says;
  • State grants help find homes for children displaced by the opioid crisis;
  • Brook Park sues Cleveland over scrapped runway project;
  • Man killed in meat waste grinder was targeted for deportation;
  • Adult prison population reaches four-year low;
  • Kasich joins governors pushing for DACA replacement;
  • Canton traces foul smell to chicken manure;
  • University of Toledo enacts tuition guarantee;

Opioid deaths continue to rise, federal report says

A new federal report shows the opioid crisis in Ohio is getting worse. The reportfrom the National Centers for Health Statistics shows in 2016, Ohio had the second highest rate of opioid-related deaths in the nation, behind West Virginia. Drug overdoses led to 1,000 more deaths last year than they did in 20-15. The report also says the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl is mostly to blame for the rise in deaths. The Dispatch reports health officials are expressing frustration with the rising death toll, which continues to rise in spite of increased spending on prevention and education programs.

State grants help find homes for children displaced by the opioid crisis

Three counties in Northeast Ohio will get financial help to find homes for children displaced by the opioid epidemic. The Ohio Attorney General’s office chose Cuyahoga, Summit and Stark counties for a pilot program that recruits foster families. Five other counties were also selected to share the $1 million dollar grant.  The program funds a full-time staff member who will focus on recruiting families for displaced children. Cleveland.com reports child custody cases in Summit County related to opioids rose nearly 50 percent last year. Cuyahoga County this year had its highest number of children in foster care since 2011.

Brook Park sues Cleveland over scrapped runway project

The city of Brook Park is suing Cleveland for breach of contract. The suit alleges Cleveland went back on its agreement to buy suburban homes to make way for an airport expansion. The expansion of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport never happened. Cleveland was supposed to purchase three hundred homes to make room for a third runway. According to the lawsuit, Cleveland only bought about three fourths of the agreed-upon 300 properties. Brook Park is asking Cleveland to buy the rest of the homes and pay the city’s attorney fees.

Man killed in meat waste grinder was targeted for deportation

Investigators have more details about a man killed at a Canton food processing plant. Domingo Ramos, 49, was caught in a piece of machinery at FreshMark’s Canton facility. The Repository reports employees were able to stop the machine, but Ramos bled to death after his leg was torn off. A preliminary police investigation suggests Ramos’ death was an accident. Ramos was a native of Guatemala working under a false name. He was reportedly targeted for deportation.

Adult prison population reaches four-yearlow

Ohio's adult prison population has fallen below 50,000 for the first time in four years. Ohio is eager to reduce the number of inmates to save money and prevent crime by keeping low-level offenders close to home, where they can receive support family and social services.  The record-high inmate total in Ohio was just above 51,000 in 2008. 

Kasich joins governors pushing for DACA replacement

Eleven governors are urging Congress to save an imperiled program that protects young immigrants from deportation. Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and nine others wrote congressional leaders Wednesday that their cities and towns are seeing more than 100 young people lose protected status every day while the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in limbo. President Donald Trump phased out the DACA program earlier this year, leaving Congress to negotiate a permanent replacement. DACA has protected about 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children or who came with families who overstayed visas. Hundreds of thousands are now college-aged.

Canton traces foul smell to chicken manure

Canton health officials believe they have uncovered the source of a foul smell lingering in parts of the city. The Repository reports that officials are pointing the finger at a Perry Township farm where chicken manure has been spread. Around 70 people have complained about the smell since Friday. A Canton official says other farms spreading fertilizer could also be to blame.

University of Toledo enacts tuition guarantee

The is promising students the same tuition rate all four years of college. The university's tuition guarantee begins next fall for first-year or transfer students. It sets a fixed amount for tuition and mandatory fees for four years, as well as on-campus housing and meal plans. Lawmakers have frozen tuition in the state, but allow one-time increases as part of such four-year guarantees. Eight universities have implemented the plan, including Kent State, University of Akron, Youngstown and Cleveland State.

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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.
Phil DeOliveira
Philip de Oliveira is a master’s student in Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC). Prior to pursuing journalism, he took a bachelor’s degree in music composition and piano. He also spent some time traveling Northern Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Phil currently lives in Cleveland Heights.