Cuyahoga County

Updated: 9:32 a.m., Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cuyahoga County will hire a corrections expert to examine county jail conditions in what could be a step toward settling a lawsuit brought by inmates.

County council on Tuesday approved the hiring of Martin Horn, a professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Horn also served as commissioner of New York City’s jail system and probation department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Eighteen Northeast Ohio church congregations are joining forces to offer free, on-site COVID-19 testing.

In addition to getting more people tested, the effort also aims to address racial disparities in coronavirus response.

Greater Cleveland Congregations is launching the Color of Health Initiative, with an emphasis on the African American community and other higher-risk groups. The initiative is a partnership with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and MetroHealth.

Updated: 8:20 a.m., Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Wearing masks and speaking to jailed defendants by videoconference, judges on Monday began hearing the cases of the dozens of people arrested during the weekend’s demonstrations in Downtown Cleveland.

Defendants face charges including aggravated riot, breaking and entering and failure to comply with a police officer’s orders. Most of those arraigned Monday received personal bonds, allowing them to leave jail without putting down any money.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

A Republican-backed bill to prohibit communities from banning plastic bags and other disposable containers passed the Senate on a mostly party-line vote, following a significant change related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For 30 years, Cleveland screen printing company Nightsweats & T-cells has been turning out merchandise and art to support people living with HIV.

They print t-shirts and other items for events and fundraisers, particularly in the theater industry. Pandemic-driven event cancellations and theater shutdowns have thrown business into uncertainty, Gilbert Kudrin, who runs the operation, told ideastream.

For instance, Nightsweats & T-cells ships goods to New York and around the United States for the nonprofit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, he said.

Cuyahoga County plans to postpone its plastic bag ban, citing the uncertainty businesses are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ban was set to go into effect July 1 this year. Now County Executive Armond Budish’s administration is asking council to move the enforcement date to Jan. 1, 2021.

Democratic Councilwoman Sunny Simon, who led the push for the ban, released a statement Monday in support of the postponement.

The national stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplied Ohio with more than 493,000 gloves, 271,000 N95 masks, 675,000 surgical masks and other gear.

But state and local leaders say those shipments weren’t enough to mount a proper defense against the coronavirus pandemic. So local governments have been asking for PPE donations — and in some cases, buying their own gear.

Cuyahoga County Council took a deeper look Monday into the $23 million plan to fund drug treatment, a new drug court, a jail diversion center and other with the first wave of money paid out by drug companies to settle lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

A Cuyahoga County corrections officer accused of assaulting and unlawfully restraining an inmate pleaded guilty Friday to his role in the incident, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Idris-Farid Clark pleaded guilty to attempted assault and extortion, both third-degree felonies, as well as unlawful restraint. Clark was accused of pepper spraying Cuyahoga County Jail inmate Chantelle Glass in the face while she was restrained in a chair in 2018.

Cuyahoga County is taking steps to protect adults with disabilities from abuse or neglect. The Guardian Partner Program aims to assess the care being provided to nearly 7,000 wards of the county.

Guardians currently provide a report every two years on any changes in diagnosis, care plan or living arrangements for adult wards, said Probate Court Magistrate and Deputy Court Administrator Jennifer Alexander. But the court doesn’t usually interact with the adults themselves outside of an initial hearing or service, she said.

Cuyahoga County may make it easier for employees to report whistleblower complaints within county government.

County council gave a first reading to revised reporting safeguards Monday evening.

Councilman Dale Miller, a Democrat who introduced the measure, said it grew out of talks with county Inspector General Mark Griffin. The changes are intended to give potential whistleblowers more comfort in coming forward with complaints, Miller said.

One free book, every month, until a child's fifth birthday — that's what Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is promising Cuyahoga County children with the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library Program, announced Monday morning at the Warrensville Heights library. 

Every child under the age of 5 in Cuyahoga County can be enrolled in the program. There are about 75,000 eligible children in Cuyahoga County.

"It brings me a lot of joy to think that these kids are going to really have the gift of books and all of the things that that means for them," DeWine said. 

Zoning practices around Cuyahoga County are contributing to housing inequality and racial segregation, according to a study by the nonprofit advocacy group Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research.

The analysis of zoning ordinances in all but one of the county’s municipalities and townships found cities with a larger white population and higher average income often had more single-family homes.

The number of people housed in the Cuyahoga County Jail continues to go down as improvements to the bail system across the county are implemented, according to members of the Criminal Justice Council.

But advocates for bail reform and improved jail conditions say there’s still work to be done.

Shoppers in Cuyahoga County will need to find an alternative to single-use plastic bags, as some stores have already removed the option.

The county’s bag ban goes into effect this week.

Though businesses won’t be fined for providing plastic bags for the first six months, many stores have already started pushing their customers toward alternatives.

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