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Morning Headlines: Officials urge vigilance as COVID cases drop; FirstEnergy board members to step down in shareholder settlement

Pictured is the Ohio dashboard of COVID.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The number of COVID-19 infections across Ohio is dropping. Some hospitals have begun to schedule non-essential surgeries and about half of the Ohio National Guard members who had been working in hospitals have been sent home. The state is averaging 481 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, down nearly half from last week.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, February 11:

  • Officials urge vigilance as COVID cases drop
  • FirstEnergy board members to step down in shareholder settlement
  • Senate committee approves Darden’s nomination for U.S. Attorney
  • 35 pounds of fentanyl seized during Akron drug raid
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame names 2022 class

Officials urge vigilance as COVID cases drop
(WKSU) -- The number of COVID-19 infections across Ohio is dropping — particularly in Cuyahoga County where cases have fallen off after peaking shortly after Christmas. On Dec. 27, about 3,000 new infections were reported in the county; on Tuesday, that number had dropped to just 45. Some hospitals have begun to schedule non-essential surgeries and about half of the Ohio National Guard members who had been working in hospitals have been sent home. However, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff tells Ohioans to keep their guard up. The state is still high, averaging 481 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents. Ohio will launch a new dashboard next week connecting Ohioans and Ohio health care providers to non-vaccine treatments for COVID-19. It will be updated weekly and will be searchable by county, ZIP code, and location.

FirstEnergy board members to step down in shareholder settlement
(Cleveland.com) -- FirstEnergy shareholders have agreed to a $180 million settlement with top officials who ran the company during Ohio’s nuclear bailout scandal. Cleveland.com reports shareholders sued on behalf of the company, accusing the directors and officers of failing to oversee the utility’s political activities prior to the passage of House Bill 6. The agreement calls for six board members to step down, and calls for the company to make changes to its political spending and lobbying practices. The company also will provide greater disclosures of its political activities to shareholders. FirstEnergy last year admitted it conspired with public officials and others to pay millions of dollars in bribes to pass the nuclear bailout law. It agreed to a $230 million settlement.

Senate committee approves Darden’s nomination for U.S. Attorney
(WKSU) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Cleveland attorney Marisa Darden to become the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Ohio. Darden currently serves as a principal in the Cleveland office of the law firm Squire Patton Boggs. She previously worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Cleveland. If her nomination clears the full Senate, she will become the first Black woman in Ohio history to serve as prosecutor in either of its two federal judicial districts.

35 pounds of fentanyl seized during Akron drug raid
(WKSU) -- Authorities have detailed a drug raid in Akron last September that netted more than 35 pounds of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl. The federal indictment unsealed Thursday says the fentanyl, along with nearly 22 pounds of methamphetamine and nearly a pound of cocaine, had an estimated value of more than $1 million. The indictment names Damian Stafford, 41, of Akron as the alleged leader of the drug ring. More than a dozen others have been charged.

Pro Football Hall of Fame names 2022 class
(WKSU) -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton has named this year’s inductees. The class of eight inductees include Tony Boselli and Leroy Butler, who were both elected in their 16th year of eligibility. Linebacker Sam Mills, who died in 2005, was on the ballot for the 20th and final year before going into the seniors pool. The other inductees are Richard Seymour, Bryant Young, Cliff Branch (senior nominee), official Art McNally (contributor), and coach Dick Vermeil.

Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. After serving as WKSU's Morning Edition host for a dozen years, she moved to afternoons in March of 2022 to become the local host of All Things Considered. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio's sports scene called The View From Pluto. She also hosts and produces Shuffle, a podcast focusing on Northeast Ohio’s music scene.
Jon joined the station in September 2012 as a producer. He loves all the things he gets to do at the station; from assisting the news department with stories to meeting the interesting guests on Elevations, every day is a new adventure.