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AP-US-OPIOID-CRISIS-LAWSUITS

Pharmacies say prescribers bear opioid crisis responsibility

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Pharmacy chains are fighting claims that they're to blame for the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties. Cuyahoga and Summit counties argue that chains such as CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens contributed to the problem by filling an “excessive volume" of opioid prescriptions. A trial focusing on those claims is scheduled for later this year. Lawyers representing the chains say the counties are ignoring the role played by pill mills, Internet pharmacies and independent pharmacies and clinics. They also said in court filings Monday that prescribers who wrote the prescriptions in the first place bear ultimate responsibility.

TRUMP-IMPEACHMENT-LEGAL TEAM

Trump eyes 2 House Republicans for impeachment legal team

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican House members John Ratcliffe and Jim Jordan are being eyed for a role on President Donald Trump's defense team for the upcoming Senate impeachment trial. That's according to a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations. A final decision has not been made. Both are known for their advocacy of the president on Capitol Hill and on television and were aggressive questioners of witnesses in House impeachment proceedings. The defense team already includes White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow is also expected to have a significant role.

MISSING CHILD INVESTIGATION-RINI

Plea agreement reached for man who claimed to be missing kid

CINCINNATI (AP) — A plea agreement has been reached in the case of a 24-year-old man authorities say claimed to be a missing child. A prosecutor's federal court filing Monday in the Brian Michael Rini case didn't make any details public. Rini is scheduled to appear in U.S. district court Wednesday. His federal public defender didn't immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment. Judge Michael Barrett ruled Oct. 31 that Rini was competent to stand trial. Rini was arrested last April after FBI agents said he lied about being Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora, Illinois, boy who disappeared in 2011 at age 6.

DEPUTY SET ON FIRE

Man pleads guilty to setting sheriff's deputy on fire

RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of setting an Ohio sheriff's deputy on fire while authorities were trying to arrest him has pleaded guilty to attempted murder. Investigators say Jay Brannon ignited a container of flammable liquid and threw it at the deputy, leaving him with severe burns nearly a year ago. Two other officers also were injured. Brannon pleaded guilty Tuesday in Portage County. He faces a sentence of 16 years at a hearing next week in Ravenna. His attorney says he decided to plead guilty so that he could accept responsibility for his actions.

ELECTION 2020-PRIMARY-OHIO

Official ballots set for March presidential primary in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Secretary of State Frank LaRose says official ballots for Ohio's March presidential primary have been certified. LaRose on Tuesday announced the certification of 11 Democratic candidates and one Republican, President Donald Trump. The Democrats are Michael Bennet, Joseph Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer. Democrat Andrew Yang was certified to receive write-in votes. The Republican LaRose said Democratic candidate John Delaney failed to include a candidacy declaration on his petitions. Larose said Republican Bill Weld lacked a list of authorized delegates and consent for any delegates to use his name.

GUN LAW CHALLENGE

Judge denies attempt by cities to delay Ohio's new gun law

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A judge has turned down a request by several Ohio cities to delay part of the state's new gun law. The cities are challenging the law because they say it infringes on their ability to regulate firearms. One of the provisions the cities are challenging would allow gun owners who believe their rights have been violated to sue them. The cities that include Akron and Cleveland wanted the judge to issue an injunction blocking the law. She denied the request late last month. The judge says the cities didn't show they would be successful in their legal challenge of the law.

FATAL SHOOTING-TEEN

Teen sentenced in fatal shooting over pregnancy rumor

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A teen who authorities say fatally shot a 14-year-old girl because he believed a false rumor that she was pregnant has been sentenced to seven years in juvenile prison. The teen couldn’t be tried in adult court because he was 13 at the time of the shooting last year. A Stark County Family Court judge in Canton said Tuesday that the teen must stay locked up until he's 21. But the judge adds that the teen could be sent to adult prison for 15 years to life if he violates any youth prison rules or commits another serious offense.

SCHOOL BUS-OFFICERS

Officers to ride school buses in effort to bridge community

WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio school district says police officers will begin riding school buses in an effort to enhance relationships with students and increase safety. The Wooster City School District says in a release Tuesday that the Wooster Police Department will place officers on buses at random times in a partnership to encourage students to build “positive and authentic relationships” with police. The district has not set a schedule for when officers will be riding with students but plans for it happen occasionally as their schedules permit.

UNINSURED CHILDREN

Report: Number of children without health insurance grows

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has asked the state's Medicaid official to look into what can be done in response to the recent increase in the number of children without health insurance. The Columbus Dispatch reports the governor's directive came after a recent report showed Ohio's uninsured rate for infants, toddlers and preschoolers is now the third-highest in the nation. The report released in December by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families shows the number of children without health insurance coverage climbed to 5% in 2018 from 3.6%. That amounts to an increase of nearly 12,000 children.

LION EUTHANIZATION

Lion gifted by Siegfried and Roy euthanized at Ohio zoo

CINCINNATI (AP) — A 22-year-old white lion gifted to the Cincinnati Zoo by the magicians Siegfried and Roy has been euthanized. Officials at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden say in a statement on Facebook that Prosperity had to be euthanized because of age-related issues. The zoo's veterinarians had been monitoring her quality of life for several months and noticed a decrease in her mobility. The lion was gifted to the zoo by famed Siegfried and Roy in 1998. The statement says Veterinarians plan to monitor the lion's 18-year-old daughter at the facility as she adjusts to cope and adapt to life without her mom.