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Morning Headlines: COVID Case Numbers Drop to Average, Hospitalizations Up; Summit Sheriff Fires First Diversity Director

A picture of the coronavirus and woman wearing a face mask.
PIXABAY
New coronavirus cases in Ohio dropped Monday after spiking late last week. Friday saw a steep spike to more than 2,700 new cases, which could cause concern as new, more contagious variants spread in Ohio.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, March 30:

  • COVID case numbers drop back to average, hospitalizations up
  • Summit Sheriff fires first diversity director
  • Akron fire department apologizes for spraying bystander
  • Akron council approves $3M in improvements to Canal Park
  • Ohio Congress members propose creating a manufacturing czar
  • Former governor, 2 ex-mayors to lead new policy foundation
  • Ohio Senate race well underway

COVID case numbers drop back to average, hospitalizations up
New coronavirus cases in Ohio dropped Monday after spiking on Friday. The nearly 1,500 new cases reported Monday are in line with the average for March. Friday saw a steep spike to more than 2,700 new cases, which could cause concern as new, more contagious variants spread in Ohio. There was also a spike in hospitalizations, with 103 people admitted on Monday and 22 ICU admissions, both higher than their 21-day averages. Vaccinations, meanwhile, have sharply increased with 35% of Ohioans 16 and older have now received at least one shot.

Summit sheriff fires first diversity director
Summit County Sheriff Kandy Fatheree has fired the department’s first diversity and inclusion director after just one month on the job. The Beacon Journal reports that Fatheree said E.J. Brinson “was not the right fit for the new, challenging position.” Fatheree did not cite specifics, but said that she and Brinson “had a difference of opinion.” The newly created position identifies racial disparities, and develops guidelines and directives to foster diversity and inclusion. Brinson says he ran into “institutional resistance” during his month on the job. The sheriff’s department says it will review previous applicants for the position.

Akron fire department apologizes for spraying bystander
The Akron Fire department has apologized after a firefighter turned a hose on a bystander. The Beacon Journal reports a man identified only as Ryan was filming Saturday night outside the Haven of Rest Ministries downtown where a fire crew was cleaning the sidewalk after a stabbing. Ryan said he was standing 30 to 40 feet away from the crew when one of the firefighters asked him to move and briefly drenched him, saying it was a crime scene. Ryan, who says he’s an activist, uploaded the video to YouTube. Fire Chief Clarence Tucker on Monday issued an apology and condemned the behavior. The firefighter was not named, but the department says it’s investigating the incident.

Akron council approves $3M in improvements to Canal Park
Nearly $3 million in improvements will be made to Akron’s Canal Park, the home of baseball’s RubberDucks. City Council approved the spending on Monday, clearing the way for water damage repairs to be complete before the season opens. Other renovations, like new seats, will take place after this season. The city owns Canal Park and is responsible for its upkeep. The minor league team didn’t play at all last season due to the pandemic. Opening day is set for May 4.

Ohio Congress members propose creating a manufacturing czar
Several Ohio Congress members want the Biden administration to have a “Chief Manufacturing Officer.” Representatives Tim Ryan, Marcy Kaptur and Rob Portman are among a bipartisan group of lawmakers introducing legislation to create the new job. Portman compared it to a National Security Adviser, who would “create a strategic plan to ensure our nation’s manufacturing and industrial sector remains world-class.” Ryan noted that the nation has lost nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000. The legislation would also create a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy initially funded with $20 million.

Former governor, 2 ex-mayors to lead new policy foundation
Republican Gov. Bob Taft and former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, both Democrats, have come together to lead a new foundation that will provide policy and research help to a group of Ohio’s largest cities and suburbs. The nonprofit Ohio Mayors Alliance Foundation was announced Monday. The foundation’s executive director will be Keary McCarthy, who serves the same role at the Ohio Mayors Alliance. The bipartisan advocacy group was founded in 2016 to elevate the needs and interests of cities and metropolitan areas in the eyes of state and federal policymakers.

Ohio Senate race well underway
Ohio’s U.S. Senate race is well underway, with both announced Republican candidates on the air with TV ads. Josh Mandel’s first ad is an introduction running through this Sunday. In her second ad, launched last week on the Fox News Channel, Jane Timken is direct in her opposition to President Biden. Longtime Dayton-area Congressman Mike Turner released a video introduction on Monday and is embarking on a listening tour around the state as he eyes entering the race for the seat being vacated next year by Sen. Rob Portman. On the Democratic side, the 314 Action Fund, working to elect candidates from the science, engineering and math industries, said it will spend up to $5 million to support former state health director Dr. Amy Acton. Its poll showed Acton leading over Youngstown-area Congressman Tim Ryan. Neither have announced they’re running.