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Morning Headlines: Akron mayor unveils 2022 budget; Report shows Ohio gun violence is skyrocketing

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Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has submitted his 2022 budget which includes new classes of Akron police cadets and firefighters, along with plans for spending the second round of federal COVID relief funding, which totals $65 million this year.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 16:

  • Akron mayor unveils 2022 budget
  • New report shows Ohio gun violence is skyrocketing
  • Ohio nursing homes meet vaccine mandate
  • Russia business deals muddy GOP US Senate primary in Ohio
  • Authorities bust large Mexico-to-Cleveland drug operation
  • Summit County again offers sober rides on St. Patrick’s Day
  • AP source: Browns make pitch to QB Watson, Mayfield reacts

Akron mayor unveils 2022 budget
(WKSU) -- Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has submitted his 2022 budget. Highlights include new classes of Akron police cadets and firefighters, along with plans for spending the second round of federal COVID relief funding, which totals $65 million this year. Horrigan’s budget also includes funds for eight new service department employees, who would cover issues such as nuisance complaints and housing compliance. The city council will hold budget hearings this week. A vote is expected later this month.

New report shows Ohio gun violence is skyrocketing
(Ideastream Public Media) -- While Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill that removes training requirements for concealed carry, a new study shows that gun violence in Ohio has skyrocketed in the past two decades. The analysis by the nonpartisan Health Policy Institute of Ohio says in 1999, a firearm was used in 57% of homicides in Ohio. That percentage jumped to 82% by 2020. The new gun law comes after Columbus saw two straight years of record homicides. Akron saw a record number of killings in 2020.

Ohio nursing homes meet vaccine mandate
(Canton Repository) -- Tuesday was the deadline set by the Biden administration for all nursing home staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID. The Canton Repository reports that the head of the industry’s main trade organization says most of Ohio nursing home workers are vaccinated but many have claimed exemptions. Ohio Health Care Association Executive Director Pete Van Runkle called it "a tragedy averted.” Ohio had ranked near the bottom of the list of state vaccination rates. Van Runkle estimates that around three-fourths of the state's 100,000 nursing home staffers are vaccinated, while nearly one-quarter have claimed religious exemptions.

Russia business deals muddy GOP US Senate primary in Ohio
(AP, Canton Repository) — Several Republicans competing for the party’s nomination to run for U.S. Senate in Ohio are facing scrutiny for their ties to Russia as the country intensifies its war against Ukraine. Much of the attention has focused on former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, whose husband’s family runs a company that does business in Russia. The Canton Repository reports The Timken Company has closed sales offices in Russia and suspended operations with its joint venture partner United Wagon Co. But other candidates in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman, including J.D. Vance and Mike Gibbons, also have links to business deals in Russia that could become vulnerabilities in the May 3 primary.

Authorities bust large Mexico-to-Cleveland drug operation
(Ideastream Public Media) -- Three men have been arrested in what federal authorities say was a multimillion-dollar drug operation bringing in more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine to Cleveland from Mexico. Christopher Ficklen of Cleveland Heights and Robert Atkinson of Cleveland were arrested on a 30-count indictment. David Gomez Orrontia was arrested over the weekend at the U.S.-Mexican border. Authorities say more suspects are likely to be arrested and the multi-year investigation is ongoing.

Summit County again offers sober rides on St. Patrick’s Day
(WKSU) -- Summit County officials are getting the word out about how residents can get a sober ride home during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The county’s Arrive Alive program offers 400 one-time use LYFT codes for up to $20. It’s in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday with the code SUMMITGREEN22. The county prosecutor’s office started the local Arrive Alive program in 2018, with 3,000 people taking advantage of free rides during holiday weekends.

AP source: Browns make pitch to QB Watson, Mayfield reacts
(AP) — The Cleveland Browns reportedly have met with quarterback Deshaun Watson in Houston about a possible trade. Watson didn’t play last season, as he faces 22 lawsuits from women who allege sexual assault and harassment. The Browns and several other teams began pursuing the three-time Pro Bowler after a grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges last week. And it likely signals the Browns are moving on from Baker Mayfield. Mayfield said on social media Tuesday that he'll always be thankful for the impact Cleveland has had on his family's life.

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.