Morning Headlines: State to Retire System After 4K Uncounted Deaths; Attendance Rules Relaxed at Sports Venues, Banquet Halls
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 3:
- State to retire system after 4K uncounted deaths
- Attendance rules relaxed at sports venues, banquet halls
- Akron call center with 150 jobs to close
- Defunct online charter school fights to appeal refund order
- CVNP Krejci Dump cleanup complete
- Akron police create “Safe Exchange Zone”
- Rock 'n' roll's big night comes to Cleveland — in fall
- Indians' Francona says team didn't cover up for Callaway
State to retire system after 4K uncounted deaths
An outdated reporting system that led to the undercount of more than 4,200 COVID-19 deaths in Ohio will now be retired. Last month, a breakdown in the system led to a massive adjustment in the death count. The Ohio Department of Health has now switched to exclusively relying on a slower but more reliable and accurate system to count virus-related deaths. It had used this slower process as a quality check to reconcile the data from the manual system that failed.
Attendance rules relaxed at sports venues, banquet halls
Two new health orders are now in effect that relax rules for Ohio professional and youth sports as well as wedding and entertainment venues. Banquet halls no longer have a 300-person limit as long as those attending weddings, proms, funeral wakes and parties wear face coverings and the facilities adhere to other previous health orders. Youth, collegiate, club and professional sports can have spectators again. Twenty-five percent of the seating capacity can be used indoors. Outdoors, it’s up to 30% seating capacity. And those same rules apply to entertainment venues.
Akron call center with 150 jobs to close
An Akron-based call center is closing, eliminating 150 jobs. The Beacon Journal reports Plus One Communications will close as of May 1. The company tells the newspaper it’s been unable to keep up with larger call companies during the pandemic, along with his clients downsizing. The owner says his workforce also took a hit as a lot of young mothers who worked at the company had to stay home due to lack of child care.
Defunct online charter school fights to appeal refund order
A now-defunct online charter school that was among the country’s largest is continuing its years long fight against repaying Ohio tens of millions of dollars. The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday over the process for appealing that refund order. The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT, argued state law allows it to appeal the State Board of Education decision in county court. The state’s lawyer disagreed, arguing the only permitted appeal route was one ECOT already tried, unsuccessfully. Ohio officials had concluded ECOT should repay about $80 million in public funding that wasn't justified by student participation data. The cash-strapped school closed in 2018.
CVNP Krejci Dump cleanup complete
A decades-long cleanup project in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is officially complete. The National Park Service says the 47-acre site of former The Krejci Dump near Boston Heights in Summit County is now open to park visitors for the first time since it was closed to the public in 1986. The site was a dump and salvage yard that received solid and hazardous industrial sludge. Ford Motor Co., which dumped waste at the site in the 1950s and ’60s, agreed in federal court to pay for a $50 million cleanup.
Akron police create “Safe Exchange Zone”
The city of Akron now has what it’s calling a “Safe Exchange Zone” where residents can feel safe delivering or picking up items they have sold or bought online or when meeting for a child custody exchange. It’s located in the Akron Police Department lobby downtown and is staffed round the clock with a uniformed police officer and equipped with surveillance cameras. No appointment is required.
Rock 'n' roll's big night comes to Cleveland — in fall
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has entered a multi-year partnership to hold its annual induction ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in downtown Cleveland. The ceremonies have been held four times in the past decade at Public Hall, as part of a rotation with venues in New York and Los Angeles. As part of the new deal, the Cleveland Cavaliers will wear special “City Edition” uniforms ahead of the ceremony. Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris says they’re “optimistic” that an in-person ceremony will happen this year. The arena is currently approved by state health officials to hold events with 25% capacity, which is about 5,000 people. Ticket details will be announced in July. This year’s class of inductees will be announced in May, and the ceremony is October 30.
Indians' Francona says team didn't cover up for Callaway
Indians manager Terry Francona says no one in the Cleveland organization “covered up” for former pitching coach Mickey Callaway, who is under investigation by Major League Baseball following allegations of sexual harassment. In a story posted Tuesday, The Athletic reported that 12 current and former Indians employees have come forward to say the team was aware of Callaway’s inappropriate behavior while he was their pitching coach. Callaway is currently suspended as the Los Angeles Angels pitching coach. In a statement, the Indians say they're actively cooperating with MLB's investigation.