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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: Counties to Get One Ballot Drop Box; United to Add Cleveland to Florida Flights

a photo of Frank LaRose
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Secretary of State Frank LaRose sent health guidelines to county election boards Wednesday that recommend but do not mandate mask-wearing and other preventive measures for those voting in person this fall.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, August 13:

  • Elections chief urges but won't require masks for Ohio vote
  • University of Akron budget calls for $44M in cuts
  • Cleveland signs off on $5M for landlords to remove lead paint
  • COVID-19 cases spike in Ohio
  • May 30 riot in Cleveland leads to 10 indictments
  • OSU students face last-minute increased testing, COVID-19 protocols
  • Cleveland Orchestra scraps Miami residency
  • United Airlines adding Cleveland flights to Florida
  • OSU football coach wants January season

Elections chief urges but won't require masks for Ohio vote
Health safety guidelines that Ohio’s elections chief sent to county boards Wednesday recommend but do not mandate mask-wearing and other preventive measures for those voting in person this fall. Secretary of State Frank LaRose said those voters who choose not to wear a mask will be given options, including voting outside using the curbside option and a secure drop box at every board of elections. He urged those voting by mail to request a ballot no later than Oct. 27, a week ahead of Election Day. He also said poll workers are desperately needed. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. Early voting begins Oct. 6.

University of Akron budget calls for $44M in cuts
The University of Akron has set its next fiscal year budget that calls for $44 million in cuts. The board of trustees approved the $225 million budget Wednesday that anticipates a reduction in revenue of nearly $30 million compared to last year. President Gary Miller said the budget will likely need to be revised based on factors including enrollment and arbitration with faculty union. The university expects a 15% drop in enrollment – a loss of about $20 million – and an 8.8% drop in state funding. Miller also warned that the school might have to dip into reserves by as much as $32 million.

Cleveland signs off on $5M for landlords to remove lead paint
Landlords in Cleveland will share $5 million to address lead paint. Cleveland City Council on Wednesday approved the spending that will be administered by CHN Housing Capital likely beginning this fall. Grants and low-interest and forgivable loans will be awarded to property owners to remove or cover lead-based paint. Statistics show nearly half of Ohio children with lead poisoning live in Cuyahoga County.

COVID-19 cases spike in Ohio
The number of daily coronavirus cases in Ohio spiked on Wednesday after falling below the 21-day average this week. The state reported 1,422 cases, pushing the total to over 104,000. The number of newly reported deaths is up 26 to a total of 3,734 in Ohio.

May 30 riot in Cleveland leads to 10 indictments
Rioting that occurred in downtown Cleveland following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led to 10 indictments. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley's office announced the indictments Wednesday on charges that include aggravated rioting. All of those accused of looting and destroying businesses reside in Northeast Ohio. Prosecutors also released 146 photographs of people who investigators are still trying to identify.

OSU students face last-minute increased testing, COVID-19 protocols
Wednesday was move-in day for Ohio State students, and they were greeted by new COVID-19 protocols. The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio State’s new president has announced that the university intends to implement regular, mandatory testing of all students living on campus and a mask requirement outdoors. Changes also include reducing maximum class size from 100 to 50, opportunities for faculty and staff to be tested weekly, limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer, and recruiting more students and staff to assist with contact tracing. The changes came two weeks before Johnson will officially take over as president on Aug. 24. Classes begin the next day.

Cleveland Orchestra scraps Miami residency
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the Cleveland Orchestra to cancel its 2021 Miami residency. Cleveland.com reports all four Miami concerts scheduled for January have been called off and that the orchestra is now looking to return to Miami in 2022. Meanwhile, orchestra president and chief executive Andre Gremillet said the orchestra is looking into streaming live concerts from Severance Hall this fall.

United Airlines adding Cleveland flights to Florida
United Airlines will expand service to Florida from Cleveland Hopkins temporarily this fall. Cleveland.com reports starting Nov. 6, United will fly once-daily from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Tampa, adding to an existing daily flight to Orlando. Second daily flights will begin in December. The routes are on the schedule only through Jan. 10. United says it can pull back the service depending on the severity of the pandemic.

OSU football coach wants January season
Ohio State University football coach Ryan Day isn't ready to give up on the season. On a call with the media on Wednesday, Day said he wants the Big Ten Conference to draw up plans for an eight-week season in January and February, rather than trying to play in the spring. Day's plan would allow NFL prospects such as Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields, to play the season in college. He also wants incoming recruits who enroll midyear to be eligible for a spring 2021 season.