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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Morning Headlines: Amazon to Open a Second, Smaller Akron Center; Public Square Monument Vandalized

Akron Skyline
City of Akron

Here are your morning headlines for Friday July 26:

  • Amazon to open second, smaller Akron center;
  • Public Square monument vandalized;
  • Inspection finds persistent problems at jail;
  • Ohio owes $380,000 to Planned Parenthood, others;
  • Head of Cuyahoga detention center resigns after 5 hours;
  • MGM to remove six-pointed star from security uniforms;
  • State disqualifies 1 fair ride, continues checks on 4 others;
  • Trump, Pence to visit Ohio next week;
  • Playhouse Square raises $110M in five-year campaign;
  • Cleveland mulls over decriminalizing marijuana possession;
  • Body of Huron beach swimmer recovered;
  • Cleveland to pay $300,000 to 2 victims of Anthony Sowell;
  • Poll: Biden leads Trump in Ohio;

Amazon to open second, smaller Akron center
Amazon will open a second fulfillment center in Akron with a much smaller footprint than that at the former Rolling Acres Mall location. The Beacon Journal reports Amazong will hire 200 people to staff a "delivery station" near Mogadore. The company announced this week that it’s bringing around 1,500 jobs to a new fulfillment center at the former mall site.

Public Square monument vandalized
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Cleveland's Public Square was vandalized yesterday, shortly after it closed to the public. Surveillance video caught one person climbing the monument and breaking a piece of the cannon. The broken piece has been recovered and police are still looking for the suspect.

Inspection finds persistent problems at jail
A memo obtained by The Associated Press shows a recent state inspection of the troubled Cuyahoga County Jail has found problems with medical care and other issues persist months after they were cited during previous inspections. Unsanitary conditions and prolonged inmate lockdowns at the jail also were outlined in the memo written last week by an official with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Gov. Mike DeWine in early June said he'd ordered improvements in the state's jail inspection system along with monthly inspections of the jail, which a U.S. Marshals Service report in November said was plagued by "inhumane" conditions and unsafe for inmates and staff. A Cuyahoga County spokesman said the memo shows the county is "working hard" to make improvements.

Ohio owes $380,000 to Planned Parenthood, others
Ohio has been ordered to pay more than $380,000 in attorney fees to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Ohio and others from a 2004 lawsuit. Cleveland.com reports the lawsuit challenged a state law that unsuccessfully attempted to limit the use of the morning-after pill for inducing abortions. Planned Parenthood prevented the law from being enforced after a decade of litigation. At the time, doctors went against prescribing standards. The state then tried passing a law to ban the pill, which promoted a lawsuit from abortion-rights advocates and successfully stopped the ban. The parties dropped the lawsuit in 2016.

Head of Cuyahoga juvenile detention center resigns after 5 hours
The new director of the Cuyahoga County juvenile detention center resigned after just five hours on the job Monday. Cleveland.com reports that Donald Shewalter said his heart "just wasn't in it," according to a memo distributed to staff on Tuesday. Cleveland.com also reports Shewalter was hired to replace Delbert Montgomery, who was fired after less than a year in the position. After a riot at the center last year, a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Children's Law and Policy found routine inmate mistreatment and dysfunction in leadership.

MGM to remove six-pointed star from security uniforms
Casino operator MGM Resorts International said that an inquiry by a weekly Cleveland newspaper has prompted the company to begin removing a six-pointed star logo from the yellow shirts of security guards that a casino guest said "screams" the star Nazi Germany forced Jews to wear. The Cleveland Jewish News pursued the story after a woman noticed the logo, which includes a circle and the MGM lion, at MGM Northfield Park.

State disqualifies 1 fair ride, continues checks on 4 others
The state has disqualified one ride at the Ohio State Fair after inspectors found some damage and is reviewing four others. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which oversees the fair, permanently shut down a Ferris wheel-type ride known as "Military Base" because it showed "visible corrosion." Four other rides could be re-opened after minor repairs. The state earlier this year replaced about 100 chairs on the fair's overhead SkyGlider and added a braking system. A fair ride broke apart in July 2017, killing an 18-year-old man and injuring seven people.

Trump, Pence to visit Ohio next week
Ohio will be the site of a presidential and two vice presidential visits next week. Vice President Mike Pence will be in Columbus on Tuesday and will be joined by President Donald Trump in Cincinnati Thursday. A recent Quinnipiac University poll of Ohio voters gives former Vice President Joe Biden an 8-point lead against Trump in a hypothetical matchup.

Playhouse Square raises $110M in five-year campaign
Cleveland's Playhouse Square has completed a five-year fundraising campaign — exceeding its goal by $10 million. The $110 million in donations have so far been spent to create lighted gateways and signs in the downtown theater district, as well as install the giant chandelier over Euclid Ave. The funds are also spent on maintaining the theaters, which costs nearly $2 million a year.

Cleveland mulls over decriminalizing marijuana possession
Cleveland is weighing whether to follow in the footsteps of Columbus, Cincinnati and two other Ohio cities in decriminalizing pot possession. Cleveland.com reports city council is considering legislation that would remove fines and possible jail time for possession of less than 200 grams of pot — that’s around 7 ounces — and eliminate fines and penalties for growing small amounts of the plant. Councilman Blaine Griffin, who introduced the legislation, says it’s needed to end over-incarceration for minor offenses, which he says disproportionately affect people of color and can follow a person for life.

Body of Huran beach swimmer recovered 
Authorities have recovered the body of a Vermillion woman who went missing in Lake Erie on Sunday. Huron Police said the body of Brittany Young, 29, was found Thursday morning. Young went missing Sunday while swimming at Nickel Plate Beach.  An 18-year-old man drowned there earlier this month while trying to help a group that was struggling in the water. The beach in Huron has been shut down until further notice. Four people died there in 2002 due to strong currents.

Cleveland to pay $300,000 to 2 victims of Anthony Sowell
The city of Cleveland has agreed to pay a combined $300,000 to two victims who were attacked by now-convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell. Latundra Billups-Henderson and Gladys Wade-Thomas sued the city after a now-retired police detective failed to disclose Sowell's previous criminal history after Thomas told police he was trying to kill her. Last September, the city paid six families of the victims $1 million. Sowell is on death row for raping and killing 11 women.

Akron man arrested for detonating bomb
An Akron man faces charges for allegedly detonating a bomb outside of homes in Springfield Township. Brian Capien, 39, is accused of threatening two victims through phone calls, leaving messages saying he was going to kill them. No one was hurt and there was no property damage. 

Poll: Biden leads Trump in Ohio
A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows Democratic Former Vice President Joe Biden is the only Democrat in the race who would beat Republican President Donald Trump if the election were held today. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports. The poll shows 52% of the Ohio voters surveyed prefer Biden, 42% Trump. Biden is more moderate than many Democratic presidential candidates. But pollster Peter Brown says this isn’t an indication that Ohio is a red state. The poll shows voters who consider themselves Independents prefer Biden 55% to 32%.

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.