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Morning Headlines: Ohio Begins Vaccinating Frontline Workers; Summit Co. Extends Stay-at-Home Advisory

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Gov. Mike DeWine/Twitter
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran, watch as the truck carrying the first COVID-19 vaccines arrives at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Front-line medical workers have been designated the first to receive doses.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, December 15:

  • 'Moment of hope': Ohio begins to vaccinate frontline workers
  • Summit Co. extends stay-at-home advisory
  • Akron City Council punts on decision for Merriman Valley development project
  • Former East Cleveland mayor charged with obstruction
  • No timeline for Cleveland Indians name change
  • 5 years and counting: Ex-treasure hunter still stuck in jail

'Moment of hope': Ohio begins to vaccinate frontline workers
The first COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Ohio as part of a national rollout, with front-line medical workers the first to receive doses. Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday was the day everyone had been waiting for. The governor was joined by his wife, Fran DeWine to watch a box of 975 vaccines delivered to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The University of Cincinnati medical center also received a similar supply, with eight more hospitals to receive additional doses Tuesday. Initial vaccinations will start in nursing homes on Friday. Ohio reported more than 7,800 new cases of COVID-19 Monday.

Summit Co. extends stay-at-home advisory
Summit County has extended its stay-at-home health advisory through the end of next month. In a release, Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said the advisory, which was set to expire Wednesday, will remain in effect until January 31. The advisory urges all residents to stay at home to the greatest extent possible, leaving only to go to work, school, or for essential needs. It remains an advisory, not an order, and there are no fines attached to it. Summit County is also under a state stay-at-home advisory as part of its purple status in the state’s color-coded COVID-19 alert system. Northeast Ohio remains a hotspot for coronavirus transmissions with Summit, Medina, Stark, and Portage Counties all at the highest alert level.

Akron City Council punts on decision for Merriman Valley development project
Akron City Council has postponed a decision on whether to approve a developer's plan to build around 200 homes at the former Riverwood Golf Course site in Merriman Valley. Cleveland.com reports council decided to wait until January to vote on the $40 million project. The project has drawn criticism from many in Akron and neighboring Cuyahoga Falls. If approved the development would qualify for a 15-year tax abatement through the City of Akron.

Former East Cleveland mayor charged with obstruction
A former East Cleveland Mayor, Gary Norton, has been charged with impeding a federal bribery and fraud investigation. Cleveland.com reports Norton and his assistant Vanessa Veals were charged with separate counts of obstruction of justice. In 2017, federal prosecutors opened an investigation into bribery and fraud allegations in the city. Cleveland.com reports Norton was interviewed by investigators and instructed not to tell anyone about it. They allege he then informed Veals of the investigation. Norton was recalled by voters in 2016.

No timeline for Cleveland Indians name change
The Cleveland Indians are changing their name. They just don’t know to what or when. After months of discussions with a variety of groups, including Native Americans who have long protested against the team’s use of a moniker and symbols that many deem racist, the American League team is dropping the name it has donned since 1915. Owner Paul Dolan told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that the team will continue to be called the Indians in the 2021 season while new names are considered. He said the team will not adopt an interim name. Cleveland has been phasing out the logos and imagery of the cartoon mascot Chief Wahoo.

5 years and counting: Ex-treasure hunter still stuck in jail
A former deep-sea treasure hunter is about to mark his fifth year in jail for refusing to disclose the whereabouts of 500 missing gold coins. Defendant Tommy Thompson has been held in contempt of court since mid-December 2015. That's when a federal court in Columbus found he'd violated a plea deal by refusing to respond to questions about the coins. The coins were minted from gold recovered from the S.S. Central America, which sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857. Thompson, a former scientist at Columbus-based Battelle, became a celebrity treasure hunter in the 1980s after convincing more than 100 Columbus area investors to back him.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.
Jon Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.