Morning Headlines: Soldier from Stow Arrested in Terrorist Plot; DeWine Warns of Vaccine Delays
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, January 20:
- Soldier from Stow arrested in terrorist plot
- DeWine warns of vaccine delays
- Most Ohio schools plan return to some in-person learning
- Security at Ohio Statehouse remains high
- 18K Ohio voters inactive no more after high 2020 engagement
- 3 militia members charged with plotting Capitol breach
- Fourth candidate emerges in 11th Congressional District race
Soldier from Stow arrested in terrorist plot
A U.S. Army soldier from Stow has been arrested in Georgia on terrorism charges. Cole Bridges, 20, is accused of plotting to blow up the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and attack U.S. soldiers in the Middle East. Bridges was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, and was acting in support of the Islamic State group. The Beacon Journal reports a spokesperson for Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools said there is no record of Bridges attending any schools in the district.
DeWine warns of vaccine delays
The state is vaccinating people over 80 as part of the next phase of the immunization rollout. But a scarcity of the vaccine and distribution errors are causing challenges in Ohio. The Group 1B rollout will be delayed for more than 150 providers whose shipments will not arrive as scheduled. And Gov. Mike DeWine says the state is not expecting to see an increase in vaccines it gets until March, when Johnson and Johnson vaccine may be available. DeWine says the state will be evaluating accessibility issues for people over 80 who are running into problems, such as signing up for the shot or getting to the vaccination site.
Most Ohio schools plan return to some in-person learning
Gov. Mike DeWine says nearly all schools have told the state they plan to return to in-person learning in some form March 1. DeWine said Tuesday that 96% of districts responded to a survey about their plans, which could be hybrid programs with some days in school and some at home, along with full-time in-person learning. DeWine said districts that commit to some form of in-person learning by March 1 can begin vaccinating employees Feb. 1.
Security at Ohio Statehouse remains high
On this Inauguration Day, security remains high at the Ohio Statehouse after preparations for a weekend armed march that never fully materialized. They included a stepped-up increase of law enforcement and limited access to the building. Gov. Mike DeWine says there were “credible threats” of violence directed at Ohio, which led him to authorize 580 National Guard personnel for Ohio security needs and a thousand to go to Washington. And he says “We’re not through this yet.” State offices in downtown Columbus are closed until Thursday. DeWine says he’ll be watching the inauguration of President Joe Biden, which he hopes will help bring the country together.
18K Ohio voters inactive no more after high 2020 engagement
Ohio's election chief says over 18,000 inactive voter registrations are back in the state's good graces after record-high participation in the 2020 election. Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Tuesday that some 10,000 of them cast votes in the Nov. 3 election. He said roughly 98,000 inactive voter files were removed in scheduled post-election voter roll maintenance, compared to the over 115,000 initially flagged. To drop off the purge list, a voter needed to take some qualifying action. That could include election-related activity, such as updating a registration, requesting an absentee ballot or voting, as well as visiting the BMV.
3 militia members charged with plotting Capitol breach
Federal agents have arrested two self-described militia members from southern Ohio who took part in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Donovan Crowl, 50, and Jessica Watkins, 38, of Champaign County, belong to the Ohio State Regular Militia, a branch of the Oath Keepers. They face charges of obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building, and "violent entry." Watkins in a web post bragged about storming the Capital January 6 and pushing her way into the Senate Chambers. She’s linked to a Virginia man who is the first to be charged with planning the attack.
Fourth candidate emerges in 11th Congressional District race
A former Cleveland-area state senator is the fourth Democrat to announce a bid for the soon-to-be vacant 11th Congressional District seat. Shirley Smith, 70, of South Euclid, served as an Ohio lawmaker from 1998 to 2014. She then served on the Ohio Parole Board until 2018. She joins former state Sen. Nina Turner, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman and Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shontel Brown and former Cleveland City Councilman Jeff Johnson who’ve announced their plans to run. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will leave office will leave office pending U.S. Senate confirmation of her appointment as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.