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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: Sixth Ohioan is Negative for Coronavirus; Youngstown Native DeBartolo Pardoned

illustration of coronavirus
An illustration of coronavirus concerns

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Feb. 19:

  • Sixth Ohioan tests negative for coronavirus;
  • Children in foster care increase;
  • Trump pardons Youngstown native Edward DeBartolo Jr.;
  • Cleveland to pay $600,000 to settle lawsuit;
  • Cuyahoga County halts $14M grant for new Sherwin-Williams HQ;
  • Slow start for medical board's review of old, closed cases;
  • Voting begins Wednesday in Ohio in 2020 presidential primary;
  • Energy company agrees to pay $2.6M for refinery violations;
  • Strongsville to get rid of city paper recycling bins;
  • Pier 1 to close some Northeast Ohio locations;

Sixth Ohioan tests negative for coronavirus
A sixth person in Ohio has tested negative for the coronavirus in the latest update from the Ohio Department of Health. No other tests are being performed at this time in the state. There are 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. and nearly 400 people have been tested. Symptoms of the virus, now known as COVID-19, is shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges anyone with symptoms to go straight to the doctor, and warn them ahead of time.

Children in foster care increase
Summit County is seeing a increase in foster children, largely due to the opioid crisis. Fox 8 Cleveland reports more than 800 children in the county are waiting to find homes. There are fewer than 200 licensed foster families in the area. Summit County Children Services will host an open house Feb. 27 for those interested in fostering children.

Trump pardons Youngstown native Edward DeBartolo Jr.
President Donald Trump pardoned real-estate tycoon and sports team owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who in the late 1990’s admitted to taking part in a gambling scandal. DeBartolo, former owner of the San Francisco 49’s, grew up in Youngstown and together with his father, formed one the country’s largest real estate firms. DeBartolo in 1998 was fined $1 million and received two years’ probation for failing to report a felony in a gambling scheme involving then-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards. DeBartolo Jr. was a featured guest at a Trump inauguration party. He’s among 11 people recently pardoned by the President.

Cleveland to pay $600,000 to settle lawsuit
Cleveland is paying about $600,000 to settle a lawsuit that involves thousands of underpaid employees. Cleveland.com reports city workers filed the lawsuit in 2018 claiming payroll officials miscalculated overtime rates and longevity pay between 2015 and 2019. The error affects more than 4,000 current and former hourly city employees. Unless workers decline to participate, they'll each receive nearly $100 from the settlement.

Cuyahoga County halts $14M grant for new Sherwin-Williams HQ
Cuyahoga County Council said it won't approve a $14 million construction grant for global paint maker Sherwin-Williams until it knows more about the deal that made the company stay in Cleveland. Cleveland.com reports the city and the state of Ohio haven't released the incentives they offered the company during its search for a new headquarters. The state is expected to disclose more about the deal within three weeks. Sherwin-Williams announced earlier this month that it plans to build a new headquarters at Public Square and a research development center in Brecksville.

Slow start for medical board's review of old, closed cases
A review of whether the State Medical Board of Ohio properly closed about 2,000 complaints alleging sexual misconduct or impropriety by doctors is moving more slowly than anticipated. Board officials said they've had trouble lining up qualified reviewers willing to commit substantial time. They may miss their self-imposed June deadline. But the director is optimistic the pace will pick up as reviewers are added and get familiar with the work. The review was launched after the board learned evidence of misconduct was ignored in a 1996 investigation involving Richard Strauss, the late Ohio State team doctor now accused of abusing young men for two decades.

Voting begins Wednesday in Ohio in 2020 presidential primary
Early voting in Ohio's March 17 presidential primary begins Wednesday. The state's Democrats will have their first chance to indicate who they want to enter an almost certain face-off with Republican President Donald Trump this fall. Voter registration closed Tuesday night. Eight Democrats who made Ohio ballots remain in the race. They include the early front-runners: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg;  former Vice President Joe Biden; former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; investor/activist Tom Steyer; and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

Energy company agrees to pay $2.6M for refinery violations
An oil and gas company has agreed to pay $2.6 million in fines for air pollution violations at a refinery in Ohio. Federal agencies found longstanding pollution and record-keeping violations at the BP-Husky refinery in Oregon. The Toledo Blade reported Tuesday that about $1.42 million of the $2.6 million penalty will be paid to the U.S. government, and that $200,000 will go to Ohio as a civil penalty for violating the federal Clean Air Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. A BP spokesperson said the company is pleased to resolve the claims.

Strongsville to get rid of city paper recycling bins
Strongsville is expected to get rid of the green recycling bins placed throughout the city. The city said River Valley Paper can no longer pick up paper and cardboard for free. While residents can still place recyclables at the curbside, the green recycling bins at fire stations, parks and other areas will disappear. River Valley Paper currently pays the city for pick up, but because of a changing market, the company can no longer afford to do it for free. The service would cost the city around $30,000 annually.

Pier 1 to close some Northeast Ohio locations
Pier 1 Imports is closing 10 stores in Ohio, including its Strongsville and Cuyahoga Falls locations. The company filed for bankruptcy Monday and has closed nearly 400 stores nationwide. Owners plan to sell the company but must first transition into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It's unknown when the Northeast Ohio locations will shut down.