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Morning Headlines: Ohio Drops Vaccination Age to 50; Cleveland Schools, Teachers Agree to Return to Classroom

A picture of Gov. Mike DeWine.
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Gov. Mike DeWine has again dropped the minimum age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations, this time to those 50 years or older.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, March 9:

  • Ohio drops vaccination age to 50
  • Cleveland schools, teachers agree to return to classroom
  • Ohio turns a corner on the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case
  • State partners with LexisNexis, IBM for unemployment system overhaul
  • Akron airdock gets new life
  • Strah named FirstEnergy CEO

Ohio drops vaccination age to 50
Gov. Mike DeWine has again dropped the minimum age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations, this time to those 50 years or older. With the state continuing to show progress in battling the deadly virus, DeWine said the minimum age will be lowered from 60 years as of Thursday. That is one week since the last age reductions. Meanwhile, the state’s long-awaited state vaccine website is now up and running. The site is meant to provide one-stop searches for available vaccination appointments around the state, relieving people from having to search or call multiple providers seeking appointments.

Cleveland schools, teachers agree to return to classroom
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District and its teachers union have reached an agreement to return to the classroom on Wednesday. The 500-plus person membership voted last week to continue remote learning on Monday, the first day they were expected back in buildings. The union said it wanted better safety protocols in place. The first group of students will return this week, while a hybrid format will begin for the next groups over the next two weeks.

Ohio turns a corner on the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case
Tuesday marks one year since Ohio confirmed its first three coronavirus cases. The state is now just few thousand away from one million. Deaths have topped 17,000. However, the state is turning a corner in slowing the spread. The state over the weekend reported fewer than 1,000 new cases on a day for the first time since early October. Hospitalizations also dropped below 1,000. The number of people starting a coronavirus vaccine jumped to over 2 million on Monday.

State partners with LexisNexis, IBM for unemployment system overhaul
The state is partnering with IBM and LexisNexis to help combat unemployment fraud. The state has seen hundreds of thousands of bogus claims filed in recent months. Gov. Mike DeWine says LexisNexis will help to set up a secure system to stop scammers, while IBM will help to better coordinate call-center activities.

Akron airdock gets new life
Akron’s former blimp hangar on the east side is closer to having a new owner. The Development Finance Authority of Summit County authorized selling the airdock to defense contractor Lockheed Martin on Monday, which has been leasing it to develop airship and laser technologies. The authority also approved an agreement that would allow Lockheed Martin to sublease the airdock to California-based LTA Research, the airship-building company started by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google. LTA has been working with the University of Akron to develop electric-powered airships. Both the sale and sublease still need to be approved by the EPA.

Strah named FirstEnergy CEO
Akron-based FirstEnergy has named Steven Strah as the new CEO. Strah had served as the interim leader since former CEO Chuck Jones and two top executives were fired in the wake of a scandal that led to federal indictments against five Ohio politicians and industry lobbyists. Strah began his career with FirstEnergy in 1984 as a meter reader. FirstEnergy is facing multiple investigations and lawsuits over its role in the now-tainted $1 billion bailout of its former subsidiary’s two nuclear plants.