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Morning Headlines: COVID continues to strain hospitals; CAIR-Ohio director fired for allegedly spying for an anti-Muslim hate group

A doctor with a stethoscope.
FERNANDOZHIMINAICELA
/
PIXABAY
Hospitalizations continue to rise from COVID-19 cases with nearly 4,800 people currently admitted. Akron General has the highest number of COVID-19 patients it's had since the pandemic started, with 127 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, December 15:

  • COVID continues to strain hospitals
  • CAIR-Ohio director fired for allegedly spying for an anti-Muslim hate group
  • Remains found in 1982 are those of former O'Jays guitarist
  • Cleveland-based Transdigm accused of overcharging for government work
  • Meeting set for Wednesday on Merriman Valley development
  • Legislation proposed to streamline Ohio state laws, rules
  • Kroger ending some COVID-19 benefits for unvaccinated staff
  • 2nd Ohio city that voted to criminalize abortion repeals ban

COVID continues to strain hospitals
(WKSU) – Tuesday’s tally of more than 9,900 new COVID cases includes a backlog of positive tests dating back to September. Without the reporting delay, nearly 8,200 new cases were reported. Hospitalizations continue to rise with nearly 4,800 people currently admitted. Akron General has the highest number of COVID-19 patients it's had since the pandemic started, with 127 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday. Officials say more than 80% of those patients are unvaccinated.

CAIR-Ohio director fired for allegedly spying for an anti-Muslim hate group
(WVXU) -- The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it has fired its executive and legal director citing what it says is evidence he'd been spying on the organization for years. The Columbus-Cincinnati Board of Directors for CAIR-Ohio says it fired Roman Iqbal for allegedly passing confidential information about the organization's national work to an anti-Muslim hate group. The board says an investigation by its national organization discovered he'd been secretly recording meetings for years. It also reportedly found suspicious purchases from weapons retailers on his work-issued credit card. CAIR-Ohio staff also found a suspicious package mailed to its Columbus office this week containing parts for an AR-15 rifle. CAIR-Ohio is not naming the hate group.

Remains found in 1982 are those of former O'Jays guitarist
(AP) — Investigators say skeletal remains found nearly 40 years ago in Twinsburg have been identified as those of a guitarist who once played with the R&B group The O’Jays. Authorities used DNA and genealogical research to identify the remains of Frank “Frankie” Little Jr. Little played with The O’Jays in the mid-1960s and also co-wrote a couple of their songs. His remains were found in a garbage bag behind a business in Twinsburg in 1982. His death has now been ruled a homicide, but it remains unknown who killed him.

Cleveland-based Transdigm accused of overcharging for government work
(Cleveland.com) -- A Pentagon audit has found that a Cleveland-based defense contractor overcharged the government by $21 million. The report from the inspector general’s office found that between 2017 through 2019, Transdigm Group overcharged by nearly 4000% on some department of defense contracts. Transdigm owns several companies that make spare parts for aircraft. The company did nearly $570 million worth of business with the U.S. Department of Defense during that period. Cleveland.com reports it’s not clear whether Transdigm will repay the $21 million. The audit was requested by Congress after its hearings alleged a pattern of price-gouging by the company.

Meeting set for Wednesday on Merriman Valley development
(WKSU) -- Akron and Cuyahoga Falls will present a master plan for the Merriman Valley at a virtual meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. Urban planning consultants Farr Associates will present the plan that looks at proposed land use and zoning for a swath of land along Portage Trail and Akron-Peninsula roads that is part of both Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. The two cities launched the planning process in March, garnering input from residents through three listening sessions. Activists had pushed for environmental conservation and access to the Cuyahoga River after developers proposed building hundreds of townhomes on part of the property.

Legislation proposed to streamline Ohio state laws, rules
(AP) — Backers of legislation to reduce Ohio state government regulations and eliminate outdated provisions say the proposal could save millions of dollars and thousands of labor hours a year. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Tuesday that a common complaint he receives traveling around the state is why people must come to Columbus to carry out tasks such as challenging driver's license suspensions. Husted said such suspensions could be done online under the bill, one of several examples of incorporating current technology into state law and regulations. Husted says the coronavirus pandemic further validated the need for the changes.

Kroger ending some COVID-19 benefits for unvaccinated staff
(AP) -- Cincinnati-based Kroger, the country’s biggest traditional grocery chain, is ending some benefits for unvaccinated workers with COVID cases again rising. Unvaccinated workers will no longer be eligible to receive up to two-weeks paid emergency leave if they become infected, a policy that was put into place last year when vaccines were unavailable. The company also confirmed that salaried employees or management that are unvaccinated would be asked to pay a monthly $50 surcharge for their company health plan to defray costs incurred by Kroger.

2nd Ohio city that voted to criminalize abortion repeals ban
(AP) — One of the Ohio cities that voted recently to criminalize abortion within its limits has reversed its decision. The city of Mason’s council repealed its ordinance in a 6-1 vote Monday. The decision came after two council members who supported the ban were expelled by voters in November and after over 2,000 residents signed a petition aimed at taking the issue to the ballot. The measure made it illegal to procure or perform an abortion within city limits or to “aid and abet” the procedure by providing money, transportation, or medical instructions. Abortion rights supporters decried it as unconstitutional.