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Morning Headlines: DeWine turns down Republican primary debate invite; Cleveland nursing home to close

A photo of Gov. Mike DeWine.
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Organizers of this month’s Republican primary debate in Ohio say Gov. Mike DeWine plans to skip what will be the only debate between the GOP candidates this year. The nonpartisan Ohio Debate Commission says DeWine didn’t give a reason for declining to participate in the March 29 debate.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 11:

  • DeWine turns down Republican primary debate invite
  • Cleveland nursing home to close
  • Judge demands answer on bribe payments in corruption scandal
  • State to switch to weekly COVID data reporting
  • Court weighs penalties for multiple open meeting violations
  • Teenage girl stabbed, seriously injured during school fight
  • 84-year-old Cleveland man declared wrongfully imprisoned
  • Guardians era to officially begin April 8

DeWine turns down Republican primary debate invite
(AP) — Organizers of this month’s Republican primary debate in Ohio say Gov. Mike DeWine plans to skip what will be the only debate between the GOP candidates this year. The nonpartisan Ohio Debate Commission says DeWine didn’t give a reason for declining to participate in the March 29 debate. DeWine’s decision is being blasted by his Republican primary opponents. Former Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci says it shows DeWine won't take questions about the way he has handled his term in office so far, while Ohio farmer Joe Blystone says he thinks DeWine is out of touch with ordinary Ohioans. DeWine’s campaign manager says the governor has always been publicly accessible and regularly meets with constituents and takes questions from the media. The two Democratic candidates for governor, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and ex-Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, have agreed to debate each other.

Cleveland nursing home to close
(Ideastream Public Media) -- Longstanding Cleveland nursing home Eliza Bryant Village will close on June 8. The senior services organization provides care for Black Clevelanders. It cited pandemic challenges, unsustainable operating costs, and inadequate Medicaid reimbursement. Eliza Bryant Village will continue operating its senior housing, home care, senior outreach, and other services. Staff members will help relocate residents. The facility will also try to assist the roughly 100 staff members in finding other jobs.

Judge demands answer on bribe payments in corruption scandal
(AP) — A federal judge abruptly ended a hearing when an attorney for FirstEnergy refused to say which company executives were responsible for paying $60 million in bribes to a dark money group as part of an Ohio corruption scandal. The hearing concerned a proposed settlement of shareholder lawsuits pending before a judge in Columbus. The settlement calls for insurers to pay FirstEnergy $180 million. The derivative lawsuits were filed against FirstEnergy board members and top executives on behalf of the company. FirstEnergy’s lead attorney told the judge he could not specify who paid the bribes while the settlement is pending.

State to switch to weekly COVID data reporting
(WKSU) -- The Ohio Department of Health is changing the way it reports data on its COVID website. Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says daily reporting of case counts, vaccinations, and hospitalizations will cease this Sunday and then will be reported once a week beginning March 17. Vanderhoff says relaxing the standards and data are called for because Ohio is shifting into an endemic. He says seven million Ohioans have been vaccinated and that the recent strains of COVID are not as dangerous for vaccinated people. Plus, he says there is a supply of effective treatments available to Ohioans who catch COVID.

Court weighs penalties for multiple open meeting violations
(AP) — The state Supreme Court is weighing whether violations of Ohio's open meetings law should be punished by single or multiple $500 fines. At issue before the court is the Rootstown Township Board of Trustees that illegally went into executive session eight times in 2016. Resident Brian Ames sued in 2017, and an appellate court ultimately determined the township was in violation of Ohio’s open-meetings law 14 times. A judge issued an injunction ordering the township to discontinue the action and levied a $500 fine. Ames and his attorney argue that each violation, not the overall injunction, should incur a $500 fine.

Teenage girl stabbed, seriously injured during school fight
(AP) — A fight between two students at a Catholic school in Cleveland ended with a 13-year-old girl being seriously injured. Cleveland Diocese officials didn't say what sparked the fight at Holy Name Elementary School but said a fifth-grade student stabbed the eighth-grader in the neck. The younger child is in custody. Authorities say a knife was recovered at the scene.

84-year-old Cleveland man declared wrongfully imprisoned
(Ideastream Public Media) -- A Cuyahoga County judge on Thursday officially declared an 84-year-old Cleveland man wrongfully imprisoned in the murder of his wife in 1974. Isaiah Andrews spent 46 years in prison and was awarded a new trial based on evidence and investigative irregularities uncovered by the Ohio Innocence Project. His conviction was overturned in 2019 and Andrews filed a civil suit against the city of Cleveland last month.

Guardians era to officially begin April 8
(WKSU) -- The Major League Baseball lockout is over, as players and owners have agreed to a deal. That means the Cleveland Guardians era officially begins in Kansas City on April 8. Meanwhile, work on a script 'Guardians' sign is underway above the scoreboard at Progressive Field. It should be completed by next week.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.
Jon Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.