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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: 1,600 COVID-19 Nursing Home Deaths; Canton Reviews Police Response to Protests

A bicycle mounted Cleveland police officer rides along the street during an inaguration day protest in downtown Cleveland. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.
CARTER ADAMS
/
WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, June 4: 

  • 1,600 COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes;
  • Canton reviews police response to protests;
  • 100 march through Akron to protest police brutality;
  • Kent State trustees approve freshman tuition hike;
  • Cleveland City Council approves expanded space for restaurant seating;
  • Council members criticize Budish for selecting mostly-white contractors;
  • Cleveland City Council votes to declare racism a public heatlh crisis;
  • Chapel Hill Mall set to reopen after theft;
  • Senate rejects push for contact tracing written consent;
  • NY university system chancellor is Ohio State's next president;
  • Ohio State plans for in-person classes;

1,600 COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes
More than 1,600 nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus. Ohio Department of Health data shows that accounts for nearly 71% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. The number could be higher because it can take days or weeks for a death to be confirmed. There have been nearly 6,000 positive cases among residents and 2,700 among staff.

Canton reviews police response to protests
The Canton Repository reports that Mayor Thomas Bernabei has asked Director of Public Safety Andrea Perry to look into police use of force and chemical agents in breaking up a peaceful protest last Friday that resulted in at least 13 arrests. They include several people who were not involved in the protests but were tackled by police. It was the first in a string of nonviolent protests in Canton. All of those Friday who have appeared in court have pleaded not guilty. 

100 march through Akron to protest police brutality
Protests against police brutality continued in cities throughout Northeast Ohio on Thursday. In Akron, more than 100 people marched from Grace Park to downtown Wednesday night. The Beacon Journal reports the march was peaceful, at times blocking several downtown intersections, often taking a knee or laying on the ground in memory of George Floyd.

Kent State trustees approve freshman tuition hike
Kent State University is preparing for a 20% drop in revenue in the coming fiscal year. During Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting President Todd Daicon said the university still has a $13 million hole in the current budget. To help fill that, the rustees approved a 4.1% tuition increase for freshman this fall – that’s around $225. University officials are predicting a $109 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year. Department heads agreed to 20% budget reductions for next year and across the board pay cuts for non-union staff. About 300 employees accepted a university buy-out.

Cleveland City Council approves expanded restaurant seating
Cleveland City Council has approved legislation allowing restaurants and other businesses to use parking lots and some streets as additional seating to maintain social distancing. Restaurants and bars must limit indoor capacity as well as keeping tables at least 6-feet apart. Mayor Frank Jackson is expected to sign the legislation. 

Council members criticize Budish for selecting mostly-white contractors
Black Cuyahoga County Council members are criticizing Executive Armond Budish's administration for proposing to award up nearly $30 million no-bid contracts for rehab work at public buildings to white-owned companies. The plan includes spending federal relief dollars to upgrade infrastructure to allow for social distancing and safety amid the pandemic. Cleveland.com reports during the meeting, Public Works Director Michael Dever told council the administration is proposing to expand the pool of contractors from six to eight, including a company owned by an African American. The county asked each firm to meet a 30% diversity goal.

Cleveland City Council votes to declare racism a public heatlh crisis
Cleveland City Council has voted to declare racism a public health crisis. The city will have to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to eliminate disparities, including lead paint in homes and the city’s high infant mortality rate. Akron, Summit County and the state legislature are considering similar legislation.

Chapel Hill Mall set to reopen after theft
Akron's beleaguered Chapel Hill Mall is set to reopen Thursday after it was closed this week following a jewelry store theft. About 10 people are seen on surveillance video smashing cases at the Gold N Diamonds store and made off with jewelry and watches. According to the Beacon Journal, the mall’s owner called it looting. Police called it theft. No arrests have been made.

Senate rejects push for contact tracing written consent
The Ohio Senate has rejected proposals by Republicans in the House to require written consent for the state to track the spread of the coronavirus. The House would have required in-writing permission before the Health Department could undertake what is known as contact tracing. This technique allows investigators to contact people who've been in close and recent proximity to someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Senate Republicans joined by Democrats on Wednesday said the proposal went too far and could rule out people willing to allow the tracing but unable to sign a form.

NY university system chancellor is Ohio State's next president
The chancellor of New York’s public university system will become Ohio State University’s next president as both institutions confront logistical and financial uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic. Kristina Johnson starts her new role Sept. 1. Johnson is an engineer and former undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. She succeeds President Michael Drake, who has led Ohio State since 2014. Johnson has led the State University of New York for nearly three years. 

Ohio State plans for in-person classes
Ohio State University plans to have students back on campus for in-person classes in the fall, joining Kent State, Akron and others. Officials said they plan to reduce the number of students in residence halls and cut class sizes for social distancing. Students will also work remotely from home the final two weeks of the semester after Thanksgiving break.