Morning Headlines: Richland is the State’s Lone Purple Alert County; Ohio Reports Record Number of Nursing Home Deaths
Here are your morning headlines for Friday, December 18:
- Richland is the state’s lone purple alert county
- Ohio reports record number of nursing home deaths
- Hudson lawmaker quarantines, misses lame duck session
- Death sentence rejected for teen who killed Kent State student
- Ohio unemployment claims rise again as pandemic impact felt
- Dozens of states file anti-trust lawsuit against Google
- Ohio lawmakers approve a number of bills during marathon lame duck session
- Northeast Ohio projects get historic preservation tax credits
- Northeast Ohio nonprofits get millions from billionaire philanthropist
- COVID-19 sidelines KSU’s men’s basketball
Richland is the state’s lone purple alert county
Four northeast Ohio counties have been taken off purple alert, the highest level in the states color-coded coronavirus risk system. Summit, Medina, Stark and Portage counties are now on red alert after seeing slight improvements in the rate of new cases, the number of new cases per capita, and the number of patients in intensive care. Only one Ohio county, Richland, remains at purple alert. Technical issues delayed Wednesday’s cases which were lumped into Thursday’s number of 11,412.
Ohio reports record number of nursing home deaths
COVID-19 continues to surge in Ohio's nursing homes as some facilities begin administering the vaccine. A record of 287 nursing home residents with the coronavirus died during the week ending Tuesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The prior weekly record of 223 deaths was in May. Nursing home residents account for more than half of the total COVID-19 deaths statewide since the start of the pandemic.
Hudson lawmaker quarantines, misses lame duck session
A northeast Ohio lawmaker is among the growing number in quarantine or sick with COVID-19. Democrat Casey Weinstein of Hudson in a tweet he had to miss Thursday’s legislative session after a family member tested positive. Weinstein said he is quarantining “After seeing colleagues hospitalized due to another legislator's recent reckless behavior.” Four House members tested positive recently after meeting in committee with Republican Steve Hambley of Brunswick who had tested positive four days earlier. Democrats John Patterson of Ashtabula and John Rogers of Mentor-on-the-Lake remain hospitalized. Southwest Ohio Republican Jon Cross also stayed home Thursday after coming down with COVID-like symptoms.
Death sentence rejected for teen who killed Kent State student
The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected the death sentence for a man convicted of fatally shooting a Kent State University student during an off-campus home invasion. Death row inmate Damantae Graham, of Akron, was sentenced to die in 2016 for the killing of 18-year-old Nick Massa. Police say Graham, then 19, and two 17-year-old co-defendants broke into an apartment near Kent State’s campus and demanded money. Graham shot and killed Massa before the three fled. The state Supreme Court ruled that Graham's youth, mental-health and substance-abuse issues and unstable home life outweighed factors calling for a death sentence.
Ohio unemployment claims rise again as pandemic impact felt
The state says unemployment claims have risen again as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weaken Ohio's economy. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services oversees unemployment issues in the state. The agency said Thursday that 38,327 Ohioans filed initial claims for unemployment for the week ending Dec. 12. That's a 6% increase from the previous week, which also saw an increase. The state also says continuing claims for unemployment, considered a more reliable indicator of economic health, rose to 274,658, a slight increase from the previous week. Ohio's 7-day rolling average of daily new coronavirus cases rose to 9,236 on Dec. 16.
Dozens of states file anti-trust lawsuit against Google
Ohio has joined dozens of states filing an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the search giant has an illegal monopoly over the online search market that hurts consumers and advertisers. The lawsuit was announced by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. by states represented by bipartisan attorneys general, including Ohio's Dave Yost. The case is the third antitrust salvo to slam Google during the past two months as the Department of Justice and attorneys general from across the U.S. weigh in with their different variations on how they believe the company is abusing its immense power
Ohio lawmakers approve a number of bills during marathon lame duck session
Lawmakers passed a variety of bills including provisions that allow a person to carry a concealed knife, permits people to set off fireworks in July, and creates more opportunities for people who commit a non-violent crime to get treatment for substance abuse. The late night House session saw a heated debate over the so-called "Stand Your Ground" bill which removes the duty to retreat before using lethal force in self-defense. And Republicans voted to close debate on a bill that bans telemedicine for the use of abortion medications, denying opponents and opportunity to speak. Lawmakers are still discussing what to do with the nuclear power plant bailout which linked to a racketeering investigation.
Northeast Ohio projects get historic preservation tax credits
Northeast Ohio projects have been awarded historic preservation tax credits from the state. Among them is the CitiCenter building in downtown Akron. The building, once home to the city's YWCA, will be converted into 95 apartments with office space. The state awarded credits of more than $3 million toward the $28 million project. Brecksville-based CrossCountry Mortgage is receiving $4.5 million in credits to preserve two historic buildings in Cleveland’s Superior Arts District. The company will move its headquarters downtown along with 500 jobs.
Northeast Ohio nonprofits get millions from billionaire philanthropist
Northeast Ohio nonprofits are getting millions of dollars from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, which is based in Stark County, announced Thursday it has received a $10 million donation. The Akron-based Goodwill received $5 million. Scott also made donations to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the YWCA of Greater Cleveland as part of more than $4 billion in contributions to roughly 400 organizations.
COVID-19 sidelines KSU’s men’s basketball
The Kent State men's basketball team is sidelined due to COVID-19. The team's Saturday afternoon game against rival Akron has been postponed following positive COVID-19 cases and contract tracing among players. The team is currently 3-1. KSU's women's team was paused for two weeks just before its season's scheduled start in November. The Flashes football team's final two games of the regular season were canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the program.