Morning Headlines: Ohio Governments Get $12B in COVID-19 Relief; State to Use Just 20% of Vaccine Shipment
Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, May 11:
- Ohio governments get $12B in COVID-19 relief
- State to use just 20% of vaccine shipment
- COVID cases trend down
- Unemployment job-search requirement reinstated
- Cleveland council supports reopening Tamir Rice investigation
- Longtime Dover mayor under scrutiny
- Cleveland council set to implement public comment period
- State gambling revenue sets record
- Great Lakes water surge eases after 2 record-setting years
- School board official resigns after denying systemic racism
Ohio governments get $12B in COVID-19 relief
Ohio will receive nearly $5.4 billion in aid as part of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package, with another $6.6 billion going directly to counties, cities, and townships. Governments can use the money for relief from the public health crisis, as well as to offset harm to workers, small businesses, and affected industries from the crisis, among other purposes. Cleveland is getting more than $540 million while Akron is getting about $145 million.
State to use just 20% of vaccine shipment
Ohio is distributing just 20% of this week’s COVID-19 vaccine supply as demand drops. Clevleand.com reports the state will use around 60,000 doses this week. Nearly 140,000 will be stockpiled and around 120,000 doses will be sent to other states. Currently, 4.8 million Ohioans, or nearly 42% of the population, have received at least one shot. While more than 75% of people 65 or older have been vaccinated, only one-third of residents in their 20’s have gotten a shot. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine says the state is working to make Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine available to Ohio children ages 12-15 years old this week, after the FDA gave authorization on Monday.
COVID cases trend down
Coronavirus cases in Ohio continue to trend in the right direction. The state reported 713 cases on Monday, the lowest single-day total in nine months. There were 794 cases on Sunday, still well below the three-week average. The 1,002 coronavirus patients reported hospitalized Monday was the lowest count in more than a month.
Unemployment job-search requirement reinstated
The state is requiring that unemployed Ohioans resume job searching if they want to continue to collect benefits. Last year the federal government authorized states to waive work-search requirements because of the pandemic. In December, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services resumed the work-search requirement for new unemployment claims, while exempting existing claims. That will change the week of May 23, when everyone receiving benefits must apply for a job, attend a resume-writing course, or take another approved action. There are some exemptions, including for those on a temporary layoff of 45 days or less.
Cleveland council supports reopening Tamir Rice investigation
Cleveland City Council has approved a resolution asking the Justice Department to reopen the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Tamir Rice. The resolution strongly supports a request by four Democratic Ohio lawmakers to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to reopen the investigation. It was closed in December after the department said it could not charge the officers. Rice was 12 when he was shot by a Cleveland officer while playing with what turned out to be a toy gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center in 2014. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and House members Tim Ryan, Joyce Beatty, and Marcy Kaptur are calling for the probe.
Longtime Dover mayor under scrutiny
The longtime mayor of Dover in Tuscarawas County has gone AWOL, according to city officials. The Times Reporter reports that officials are calling for the resignation of Mayor Richard Homrighausen, who hasn’t been active in more than a year. The city is investigating whether the eight-term mayor is suffering from health issues. Dover’s auditor, safety and service directors, and the mayor's secretary have been managing day-to-day operations of the 13,000 resident city.
Cleveland council set to implement public comment period
Cleveland City Council members on Monday said they welcomed the idea of hearing public comment at regular meetings, although they stopped short of voting on a specific proposal. Ideastream reports that at a committee hearing, council staff presented a draft summary of a rule change allowing for 30 minutes of comment at weekly meetings, with residents and others getting two to three minutes each. A resident-led campaign drafted legislation after learning that there is no formal public comment period at meetings in the city’s law books. Council will vote on an ordinance once it’s drafted.
State gambling revenue sets record
The state’s gambling industry has fully rebounded from the pandemic, which forced all 11 casinos and racinos in the state to close for several months last year. Revenue was a record $217 million in April. The previous record for any month was $184.2 million in March 2019. The state’s racinos saw revenue jump nearly 40% from the same month in 2019, and revenue at casinos is up about 30%.
Great Lakes water surge eases after 2 record-setting years
After two years of record high water, the Great Lakes are getting a break. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the lakes have dropped steadily since last fall and should remain below 2020 levels for at least the next six months. That's because of unusually dry weather. Winter's snowfall was well below normal and the lakes had relatively little ice cover. Low humidity and sunny skies have boosted evaporation. But John Allis of the Army Corps says it's too early to declare an end to the high-water period that has done heavy damage to homes and infrastructure along shorelines.
School board official resigns after denying systemic racism
A Dayton-area school board member has resigned as president of the Ohio School Boards Association. Dayton Daily News reports Scott Huddle’s resignation comes after he told parents at a school board meeting in his district that there is no evidence that systemic racism exists and that society has improved since the time of slavery. Huddle will be replaced by the current president-elect, Robert M. Heard Sr., a member of the Cleveland board of education.