Ohio News Briefs

Cincinnati sees estimated 78 overdoses in 2 days

CINCINNATI (AP) — Police in Cincinnati are asking for the public’s help in finding the source of the suspected heroin behind an estimated 78 overdoses in just two days this week.

Authorities believe the same batch is linked to three recent deaths.

They say there were an estimated 78 overdoses on Tuesday and Wednesday and a total of 174 overdoses in emergency rooms within the past week.

Local officials are calling it a public health emergency.

They suspect a drug used to sedate elephants that is 100 times as potent as the fentanyl could be behind the surge in overdoses.

County leaders on Thursday said they’ll seek funding for treatment that would come with expanded response teams.

The teams would offer treatment to people who’ve overdosed.

Weather Service confirms 4 tornadoes in western Ohio county

The National Weather Service says four tornadoes touched down in one western Ohio county during a storm that moved across Indiana and Ohio.

Emergency officials in Van Wert County near the Indiana state line say they’re fortunate that the tornadoes rolled across mostly rural farmland during the storms Wednesday night. They say six properties had just minor damage.

The weather service also confirms that it was a tornado that damaged eight homes in Putnam County.

A county official says the homes lost siding, shingles and have a few broken windows.

Crews are still assessing the damage in Paulding and Defiance counties where suspected tornadoes blew the roofs off homes and tore through a mobile home park.

Officials in Ohio say there haven’t been any reports of injuries from the storm.

Man, 29, gets prison for dragging officer in traffic stop

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A 29-year-old northeast Ohio man has been sentenced to seven years behind bars after he admitted to dragging an officer for two blocks while fleeing a traffic stop.

Demardre Johnson pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges including felonious assault, resisting arrest and obstructing justice. Johnson apologized for his actions in court.

Authorities say Akron police officers pulled Johnson over in February and asked him for his driver’s license. The man told police he didn’t have one and refused an officer’s request to step out of his vehicle.

Police say when they tried to open his door, Johnson shifted into drive and took off with an officer hanging on the vehicle’s door. The SUV eventually crashed and Johnson was taken into custody.

The officer was treated for minor injuries.

Ohio city moves forward with medical marijuana moratorium

AVON LAKE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio city is pushing forward with a medical marijuana moratorium ahead of the state’s forthcoming medical marijuana program.

WEWS-TV reports Avon Lake’s safety committee voted Wednesday to move forward with a moratorium that allows it to hold off on granting building permits or certificates permitting the cultivation, processing or sale of the drug for six months.

The move wouldn’t ban the use of prescribed medical marijuana.

Committee Chair David Kos says they don’t want to issue any permits they could regret and the move gives them some breathing room. He says the state law was put through without a lot of input from individual municipalities.

Brooklyn and Lakewood have also adopted similar moratoriums. Those cities say they need more time to plan. North Olmsted and Sheffield Village are also considering moratoriums.

Judge upholds Cleveland law requiring gun offender registry

CLEVELAND (AP) — A judge has upheld a law that requires Cleveland residents newly convicted of gun offenses to register with the police department, though a few provisions were knocked down in the ruling issued this week.

The gun registry law took effect late last year. It says residents charged with gun offenses must register within five days of being convicted or released from prison.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and city council members pushed through the new gun laws in the hope of curbing gun violence in the city.

Members of Ohioans for Concealed Carry challenged the changes.

Cleveland.com reports the Cuyahoga County judge’s ruling did strike down a provision allowing police officers to confiscate guns in some cases, along with new, stricter definitions of automatic weapons.

Ohio troopers OK new contract, will get 1st raises since ‘08

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio troopers would get raises for the first time since 2008 under a new contract that has been approved by their union and awaits review by a panel that oversees state spending.

The Ohio State Troopers Association this week overwhelmingly approved a three-year contract. It would give state troopers and other represented employees raises totaling 12.5 percent over that span, plus a one-time $750 ratification payment.

The contract comes a month after union members rejected a contract offering a 13.5 percent raise over three years. Cleveland.com reports troopers will get more in raises than other state union employees over the next three years in exchange for concessions in a health program and other changes.

Ohio’s Controlling Board considers the agreement Monday. If it’s approved, it takes effect Sept. 29.