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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: I-X Center to Close; UA Expands COVID-19 Testing

an exterior photo of Cleveland's I-X Center
I-X CENTER CLEVELAND
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Cleveland's I-X center will close permanently by the end of the year. The last event held was back in February.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, September 17:

  • Cleveland’s I-X center to close
  • UA expanding COVID-19 testing
  • 20-year-old charged following deadly Rt. 8 crash in August
  • Judge issues preliminary injunction in ballot box case, LaRose to appeal
  • Ohio nears 3,000 COVID-19 nursing home deaths
  • Kent State trustees report enrollment drop, pass budget
  • Racism at the center of football coach’s resignation in Rootstown
  • Coal giant Murray Energy out of bankruptcy under new name
  • Reverse: Big Ten will try to play fall football after all

Cleveland’s I-X center to close
Cleveland’s I-X center has fallen victim to the pandemic. The massive events center on the city’s west side will close permanently. The last event there was in February. This spring, the company furloughed 76 full- or part-time employees and 100 seasonal workers. Since 1999, the city of Cleveland has owned the building and leased it to the I-X Center. It’s not clear what will happen to the 2.2 million square foot complex.

UA expanding COVID-19 testing
The University of Akron is expanding COVID-19 testing on campus. The university will make testing available for students living in the Exchange Street Residence Hall beginning today. Beginning the week of Sept. 28 and every other week after, the university will implement a random sampling of those on campus. The university to this point has offered testing only to symptomatic students. Last week, Akron's dashboard, which is updated every Thursday, showed 15 new cases on campus in the previous two weeks. 

20-year-old charged following deadly Rt. 8 crash in August
A 20-year-old driver has been charged in connection to the fiery crash last month on Rt. 8 that killed a teen driver. The Beacon Journal reports that Christopher Lonkart of Akron faces misdemeanor vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges. Lonkart is accused of swerving to avoid debris, forcing Jared Marcum, 18, into the path of a tanker truck hauling gasoline which exploded.

Judge issues preliminary injunction in ballot box case, LaRose to appeal
The Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge who ruled Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose should and could allow more ballot drop boxes has issued yet another ruling. Late last night, the judge granted a preliminary injunction to allow county boards of elections to install drop boxes. But Judge Richard Frye immediately stayed his order to allow Secretary of State Frank LaRose to file an appeal. The Ohio Democratic Party late last month filed a lawsuit arguing that multiple drop boxes are permissible under state law. In a written statement, a spokeswoman for LaRose says he believes state law is clear on the limited ways paper ballots can be returned.

Ohio nears 3,000 COVID-19 nursing home deaths
Ohio is nearing 3,000 nursing home patients who have died with coronavirus. The latest figures from the state show 2,917 deaths, up 120 from a week ago. Sixty-four percent of the 4,555 reported coronavirus-related deaths in Ohio have involved long-term care facility patients.

Kent State trustees report enrollment drop, pass budget
Kent State University has announced enrollment is down just over 3% this year, much less than the anticipated 20% due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trustees approved a $595 million budget for the next fiscal year that's reduced 10% from the previous year. It also includes a predicted 6.5% drop in enrollment and other sharp losses.

Racism at the center of football coach’s resignation in Rootstown
The resignation of a football coach has led a rural Portage County community to examine how it deals with racism. The Record Courier reports that officials at Rootstown schools are calling for a third-party investigation into the events surrounding the resignation of high school coach Troy Spiker. Spiker has kicked a white player off the team for repeatedly using a racial slur against a Black teammate. Rootstown Superintendent Andrew Hawkins reinstated the player, prompting Spiker and his assistant coach to resign. On Monday the school board authorized an investigation into the football program and form a committee to work with the local NAACP on diversity awareness in Rootstown.

Coal giant Murray Energy out of bankruptcy under new name
A major U.S. coal mining company has emerged from federal bankruptcy protection under a new name and ownership group. Murray Energy Holdings says its Chapter 11 plan approved in federal bankruptcy court in Ohio became effective Wednesday. The company says it has completed the sale of its assets to an entity formed by former creditors. The new company, Ohio-based American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc., is the largest privately owned U.S. coal operator. It has active mines in Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Utah.

Reverse: Big Ten will try to play fall football after all
The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after postponing fall sports to spring because of the pandemic, the conference changed course. The Big Ten says its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to restart sports. The Big Ten plans to begin its season on Oct. 23 with an eight-game schedule for each team. The development of rapid daily