Morning Headlines: Up to 4,000 Underreported COVID-19 Deaths to be Added; State Curfew Set to be Lifted
Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, February 11:
- Up to 4,000 underreported COVID-19 deaths to be added
- State curfew set to be lifted
- GOP's Josh Mandel joins race for open Senate seat in Ohio
- Hearing set for Ohio nonprofit's bribery scheme guilty plea
- The University of Akron restores pay cuts
- Spirit Airlines to fly to Myrtle Beach from CAK
- Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and The Go-Go's nominated for Rock Hall
- Rare blue lobster to go on display in Akron
Up to 4,000 underreported COVID-19 deaths to be added
The Ohio Department of Health says as many as 4,000 COVID-19 deaths may have been underreported through the state’s reporting system, and those will now be added to the state’s tally during the coming week. Health officials say “process issues” began in October, with most occurring in November and December. Officials say the department identified the problem during a routine employee training. The announcement will push Ohio’s death total to nearly 16,000.
State curfew set to be lifted
Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to lift the state’s overnight curfew on Thursday. The number of COVID-19 patients in Ohio’s hospitals has remained below 2,500 for seven consecutive days. As a result, the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. order is set to expire at noon. DeWine is expected to address the issue during his regular coronavirus briefing Thursday at 2 p.m. You can watch it live at wksu.org.
GOP's Josh Mandel joins race for open Senate seat in Ohio
Republican Josh Mandel, a Marine veteran and former state treasurer, will make a third run for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, vying for a seat being vacated by the GOP’s Rob Portman with a pro-Trump message. Mandel, 43, planned to launch his campaign Wednesday. He faces likely competition from Jane Timken, who left her position as head of the Ohio Republican Party last week to explore a run. At least two Democrats, veteran U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents the blue-collar Mahoning Valley, and former state health director Amy Acton have also signaled serious interest in the coveted open seat.
Hearing set for Ohio nonprofit's bribery scheme guilty plea
A judge has scheduled a hearing for the guilty plea by a nonprofit accused of funneling payments for an alleged $60 million Ohio bribery scheme. Federal investigators say Generation Now Inc. illegally channeled energy company payments to win legislative approval for the bailout of two aging nuclear power plants. Cincinnati federal Judge Timothy Black has scheduled the plea hearing for Feb. 19. A court filing shows Generation Now Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to a racketeering count, allow the seizure of nearly $1.5 million from two bank accounts and accept a sentence of five years' probation.
The University of Akron restores pay cuts
The University of Akron is restoring employee wages that were cut due to financial trouble caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The salaries of administrators and staff earning more than $50,000 a year were reduced last July. The Board of Trustees Wednesday approved restoring them to previous levels effective January 1. The board had previously approved a budget that required drawing $7.8 million from university reserves, but is now expecting a surplus of about $19.6 million by the end of the fiscal year. Kent State University also said temporary wage reductions implemented last summer will be restored by March.
Spirit Airlines to fly to Myrtle Beach from CAK
Spirit Airlines is starting twice-per-week flights from Akron-Canton to Myrtle Beach beginning in April. Service will begin with flights on Thursday and Sunday. It’s the second recent flight addition for Akron-Canton. United Airlines began daily flights to Washington Dulles in December.
Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and The Go-Go's nominated for Rock Hall
Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Tina Turner and Iron Maiden lead this year’s list of nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also on the list is Akron’s Devo. It's a female-heavy list that includes for the first time The Go-Go’s, Mary J. Blige and Dionne Warwick. Artists are eligible for a nomination 25 years after the release of their first official recording. There are two newly eligible acts in Jay-Z and Foo Fighters while artists nominated for the first time include Blige, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Warwick and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. The class of 2021 will be announced in May.
Rare blue lobster to go on display in Akron
A rare blue lobster will soon go on display at the Akron Zoo. “Clawdia” made headlines in July when she was pulled from the tank at Red Lobster in Cuyahoga Falls and was adopted by zoo. An estimated one in every two million lobsters are blue, the result of a genetic anomaly. Her new exhibit can be found inside the zoo's Komodo Kingdom building.