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Morning Headlines: Portman wants further sanctions on Russia; Cleveland hospitals to keep mask mandates

A photograph of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
PHOTOWALKING
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SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is calling for tougher sanctions on Russia as its war on Ukraine continues. He says he'd like to see all Russian banks blocked from the SWIFT international payment system and wants the country to be stripped of its Permanent Normal Trade Relations status.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 2:

  • Sen. Portman wants further sanctions on Russia
  • Cleveland hospitals to keep mask mandates
  • Akron’s $10M Lock 3 project is fully funded
  • Akron police release bodycam footage from shooting
  • Cleveland bomb squad members resign
  • Ex-campaign chief for Ohio US rep sentenced in $1.4M theft

Sen. Portman wants further sanctions on Russia
(AP) —Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is calling for tougher sanctions on Russia as its war on Ukraine continues. Portman is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He says he'd like to see all Russian banks blocked from the SWIFT international payment system. Portman said he also wants Russia stripped of its Permanent Normal Trade Relations status and the U.S. should seize assets tied to Russian oligarchs and President Putin. Portman also wants the U.S. to close airspace to Russian flights and to stop buying Russian oil and gas.

Cleveland hospitals to keep mask mandates
(WKSU) -- Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and University Hospitals are all keeping their mask requirements for both employees and patients. The CDC now recommends masks only in areas of the country where hospitals are stretched thin due to high numbers of COVID-19 admissions. Northeast Ohio counties have been designated as medium or low risk, which means people can forgo masks indoors at most places. The number of people hospitalized with COVID in Ohio has dropped to the lowest level since early August. There were 1,053 patients currently being treated as of Tuesday. That’s down from January’s high of nearly 7,000 patients. There are fewer than 200 COVID patients in ICUs. New cases have slowed to a rate not seen since last summer.

Akron’s $10M Lock 3 project is fully funded
(WKSU) -- Akron will use $3.5 million of its federal COVID-19 relief funding to reimagine its Lock 3 Park downtown. That brings the total to $5 million from the city. The $10 million plan is now fully funded, after The Knight Foundation more than doubled its contribution to $5.5 million. The plan allows for more concert space, two ice rinks, and views of the Ohio and Erie Canalway. Groundbreaking is expected this fall.

Akron police release bodycam footage from shooting
(WKSU) -- Akron police have released body camera footage from an incident last Tuesday that left two men dead. In the video, police can be heard issuing warnings and then firing at 21-year-old Lawrence LeJames Rodgers as he appears at the top of a staircase holding a gun. He was later found dead inside the West Akron home along with 38-year-old Raymond Jones. It’s not known whether any of the shots that police fired struck the victims. The officers’ names have not been released. The shooting is under investigation.

Cleveland bomb squad members resign
(Cleveland.com) -- Nearly all the members of the Cleveland police department’s bomb squad have resigned after the unit’s supervisor brought live explosives to a training session. Cleveland.com reports the sergeant in charge brought what was believed to be a live pipe bomb to a January training exercise at Cleveland Hopkins airport. Six of the unit’s eight members say they’re leaving the bomb squad over concern for their safety.

Ex-campaign chief for Ohio US rep sentenced in $1.4M theft
(AP) — A former campaign manager for a veteran member of Congress has been sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $1.4 million from the campaign. Jamie Schwartz apologized in a Cincinnati federal courtroom before his sentencing Tuesday, saying his life became a lie. Schwartz admitted embezzling the money while working for the campaigns of Republican Steve Chabot of Ohio. He worked with Chabot from 2011 to 2019. Prosecutors say Schwartz was upfront about what he had done.