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Morning Headlines: COVID cases, hospitalizations jump above average; Nonprofit newsroom launching in Cleveland

Ohio dashboard of COVID-19 cases.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
New coronavirus cases shot up Tuesday to nearly 5,000, 35% over the three-week average. Ohio hasn’t reported more than 5,000 cases in a day since Oct. 14.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 10:

  • COVID cases, hospitalizations jump above average
  • Nonprofit newsroom launching in Cleveland
  • High court to weigh end of $300 weekly unemployment payment
  • GOP lawmakers want less teacher gun training
  • Legislative panel begins final push on Ohio's new congressional map
  • Priest gets life term in child porn, exploitation case
  • Columbus mayor proposes $5 million alternative 911 program

COVID cases, hospitalizations jump above average
(WKSU) -- New coronavirus cases shot up Tuesday to nearly 5,000 -- 35% over the three-week average. Ohio hasn’t reported more than 5,000 cases in a day since Oct. 14. There were 321 COVID-19 hospital admissions across the state Tuesday, which is also above average. The state also reported an additional 215 deaths, a number that is updated twice weekly. More than 16,000 kids ages 5 to 11 have started the pediatric vaccine nearly a week after the state started distributing it.

Nonprofit newsroom launching in Cleveland
(AP) -- A coalition of philanthropies have announced plans to launch a nonprofit newsroom that will provide coverage of Cleveland, kicking off an effort to help fill a void left by the shrinking of news organizations in Ohio. The donors say theirs will be one of the largest local nonprofit news startups in the country. The American Journalism Project, one of the funders, has launched three other nonprofit newsroom startups and supported 26 others across the country. A broader effort, called the Ohio Local News Initiative, is set to establish a network of nonprofit newsrooms across the state.

High court to weigh end of $300 weekly unemployment payment
(AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Gov. Mike DeWine had the legal ability to end the state's participation in a federal pandemic unemployment aid program ahead of a government deadline for stopping the payments. The program provided $300 in weekly coronavirus unemployment funds. DeWine followed the position of business groups that said the weekly payment was making it difficult to recruit employees. The state stopped the payments on June 26, 10 weeks before the federal government ended the program.

GOP lawmakers want less teacher gun training
(AP) — School districts could set their own training requirements for armed employees under Republican legislation arising from a court battle over one southwest Ohio district’s reaction to a school shooting. GOP Rep. Thomas Hall has introduced legislation. He lives in Madison Township, where that district set a policy allowing teachers and other staff members to carry weapons with just 24 hours of training following a shooting there in 2016. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that that school districts must provide police-level training to armed employees, which involves hundreds of hours.

Legislative panel begins final push on Ohio's new congressional map
(AP) -- A bipartisan panel of Ohio senators and representatives is ready to begin its final push to approve the state’s new congressional map. The Joint Committee on Congressional Redistricting meets today and Friday to hash out a compromise on new U.S. House boundaries. States are required to redraw congressional maps every 10 years to reflect updated U.S. Census figures. Due to lagging population, Ohio is losing one seat in the U.S. House, taking it from 16 to 15. Lawmakers' deadline is Nov. 30. If Democrats and Republicans can’t agree by the deadline, majority Republicans could put a four-year map in place.

Priest gets life term in child porn, exploitation case
(AP) — A Cleveland-area Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to life in prison on convictions of child pornography and exploitation. The Rev. Robert McWilliams was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Akron in front of an overflow gallery filled with the family of three victims. U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi said the public needed to be protected from the 41-year-old McWilliams, who was arrested in 2019 at his church in Strongsville. He apologized in court.

Columbus mayor proposes $5 million alternative 911 program
(AP) — The mayor of Columbus has proposed spending more than $5 million on a program offering an alternative to calling police for people in crisis. The move follows a six-week pilot program earlier this year that teamed together paramedics, social workers, and police dispatchers to review the best response to non-emergency 911 calls. The plan announced Tuesday by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is aimed at people suffering from mental health and addiction issues for whom a police response isn't always appropriate. The alternative response program also aims to free up officers for true public safety emergencies.