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Morning Headlines: Cuyahoga County Issues Mask Advisory; Ohio Redistricting Panel OKs 4-year Plan Along Party Lines

A gloved individual with a face mask in their hand.
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Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has issued a county-wide mask advisory for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. This comes as hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, with more than 3,500 being treated for the coronavirus statewide.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, September 16:

  • Cuyahoga County issues mask advisory
  • Ohio redistricting panel OKs 4-year plan along party lines
  • WKSU, Ideastream Public Media enter into merger agreement
  • Former Cleveland police union head suspended for Facebook posts
  • Plans released for revitalization of Cleveland's Cuyahoga River waterfront
  • Ohio to allow medical marijuana growers to expand after legal battle
  • Names of 5 dead in Akron fire released; cause, manner probed

Cuyahoga County issues mask advisory
(WKSU) -- Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has issued a county-wide mask advisory for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. Cleveland.com reports no fines, penalties, or enforcement are attached to the advisory, which comes as Ohio on Wednesday reported another roughly 7,700 COVID-19 cases. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, with more than 3,500 being treated for the virus statewide.

Ohio redistricting panel OKs 4-year plan along party lines
(AP) — The powerful new redistricting panel in Ohio has failed to reach the bipartisan consensus necessary to pass a 10-year map of state legislative districts based on 2020 census totals. After hours of negotiations ahead of a deadline at midnight Wednesday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new district boundaries purely along party lines, which means the map will last for only four years. The final map would give Republicans a veto-proof majority, with Republicans a 62-37 advantage in the House and a 23-10 advantage in the Ohio Senate. The two Democrats on the panel maligned the GOP-drawn map as an unfair and arrogant thwarting of Ohio voters’ wishes. Legal challenges are expected.

WKSU, Ideastream Public Media enter into merger agreement
(Ohio Public Radio) -- The Kent State University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve a merger between WKSU and Ideastream Public Media. Cleveland-based Ideastream will take over management of the Kent State-based public radio station and its six repeater stations on October first. WKSU employees are being offered jobs at Ideastream as part of the deal. Under the agreement, by April of next year, Ideastream’s WCPN 90.3 will become a classical music station, and WCLV 104.9 will become a repeater news station. WKSU will become Northeast Ohio's primary public radio news outlet.

Former Cleveland police union head suspended for Facebook posts
(WCPN) -- The former head of Cleveland’s police union and current homicide detective Steve Loomis has been suspended for one day for material he posted on Facebook last year. WCPN reports the suspension is the result of an anonymous civilian complaint filed with the Office of Professional Standards, saying that Loomis’ since-deleted Facebook posts were offensive to the African American community. Investigators say Loomis called former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick “Martin Luther Kaepernick” and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield “Baker Sharpton,” in a post about players kneeling during the national anthem. Loomis was voted out of the union position in 2017 after a controversial union endorsement of Donald Trump for president.

Plans released for revitalization of Cleveland's Cuyahoga River waterfront
(WKSU) -- Real estate firm Bedrock Cleveland has unveiled plans to revitalize 130 acres of land near the Cuyahoga River with public and private money. Bedrock CEO Kofi Bonner and outgoing Mayor Frank Jackson announced the 30-year vision Wednesday, with an emphasis on remaking that waterfront with offices, homes, retail, and parks. Bonner, along with outgoing Mayor Frank Jackson, described it as a public-private-philanthropic partnership. Bedrock owns Tower City and much of the riverfront behind it. The initial idea will soon go before Cleveland City Council, but so far there are no cost or timeline estimates.

Ohio to allow medical marijuana growers to expand after legal battle
(Columbus Dispatch) -- Medical marijuana cultivators in Ohio can now request permission to expand their grow space. The Ohio Department of Commerce announcement follows more than a year of legal wrangling. Last year, Akron-based cultivator Fire Rock Ltd. sued the state for failing to act on its request to expand, saying it was struggling to meet demand while the state expanded the number of operating licenses. The Columbus Dispatch reports state rules allow licensees to expand but didn't outline a process for requesting one.

Names of 5 dead in Akron fire released; cause, manner probed
(AP) — Authorities have released the names of five people killed in an early morning house fire in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood earlier this week. The Summit County medical examiner’s office said the victims were 60-year-old Dal Subba, 48-year-old Phip Subba, and their children ranging in age from 5 to 16. The cause and manner of the deaths remain under investigation.