Morning Headlines: Municipal Races, Tax Issues to be Voted on Today; DeWine Modifies Testing Mandate to Encourage Vaccination
Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, May 4:
- Municipal races, tax issues to be voted on today
- DeWine modifies testing mandate to encourage vaccination
- Bill addresses phone use while driving
- State Senator announces bid for Cleveland Mayor
- Cordray to serve in U.S. Dept. of Education
- Stark County man among Ohioans charged with Capitol insurrection
- OSU pursues new settlement program for abuse victims
- Twinsburg principal chosen to lead Ravenna Schools
Municipal races, tax issues to be voted on today
It's primary election day. In most Ohio counties, tax issues and municipal races are on the ballot. In Youngstown, first-term Mayor Tito Brown is facing a primary challenge from two Democratic opponents, Ryan Kelly and Julius Oliver. Whoever wins will face Republican Tracy Winbush in the fall. Three independent candidates are also seeking to be on the fall ballot as well as one write-in candidate. In Vermilion, Mayor Jim Forthofer is facing two challengers in the nonpartisan mayoral primary. The Elyria Chronicle reports they include longtime Vermilion businessmen Jerry Kyle and Dan Roth, who is also a former city councilman. The top two vote-getters advance to the general election. Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters has no primary opponent as he seeks a third term, but he will face Republican Meri Stemple in November. Polls will be open today from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
DeWine modifies testing mandate to encourage vaccination
For the second day in a row, new covid-19 cases were below 1,000 Monday at 995 and well below the three-week average of 1,648. But getting people vaccinated remains a concern. Rates are lowest in people under 30. Health officials encourage all citizens over 16 to get vaccinated. A report in the Washington Post says that police departments across the country have among the lowest vaccination rates of any public service group. In Ohio’s capital, only 28% of Columbus police have received the shot.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that fully vaccinated employees at nursing homes and assisted living facilities can now skip twice-weekly coronavirus testing. The new order is another incentive to boost the number of workers in long-term care facilities willing to receive the vaccine. DeWine said Monday the change is consistent with federal guidelines. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final shot. DeWine said he hopes the change will encourage unvaccinated nursing home employees to take advantage of the opportunity. State health department records show the number of people starting the vaccine has decreased steadily in recent weeks.
Bill addresses phone use while driving
A new legislative effort to crack down on distracted driving would make it illegal to drive in Ohio while holding a phone or any other electronic device. The bill introduced Monday by House members Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek) would also make distracted driving a primary driving offense. That would mean police wouldn't need another reason to pull drivers over before enforcing the ban on holding devices. The measure incorporates many elements of a proposal Gov. Mike DeWine unsuccessfully pushed earlier this year. The bill allows exceptions for emergency responders. It also includes a “one-swipe” exception for people to answer incoming calls and then disconnect them.
State Senator announces bid for Cleveland Mayor
An Ohio state senator has announced she is running to become the first Black woman elected mayor of Cleveland. Sandra Williams, a Democrat, announced her candidacy on Monday. She joins Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley and former Councilman Zack Reed and nonprofit executive Justin Bibb as the most prominent candidates hoping to succeed Frank Jackson. Jackson hasn't announced his intentions, but it's widely believed he won't be running for an unprecedented fifth, four-year term. Williams says she has a vision for Cleveland's future. She drew scrutiny last year for her support of a corruption-tainted nuclear plant bailout that has since been repealed.
Cordray to serve in U.S. Dept. of Education
A former federal consumer watchdog and Democratic nominee for Ohio governor has landed his next job. The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that Richard Cordray has been selected as its chief operating officer of federal student aid. The 62-year-old Cordray previously served as Ohio treasurer and attorney general and as the first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He lost the 2018 governor's race to Mike DeWine. Cordray's new role will involve managing certain student financial assistance programs, including grants, work-study, and loans for students attending college or career schools.
Stark County man among Ohioans charged with Capitol insurrection
Another Ohioan has been arrested for taking part in the January 6th attack on Congress. The Canton Repository reports that the FBI Monday arrested Stark County resident John Douglas Wright for his role in the Trump-inspired insurrection. Wright, of Plain Township, faces charges of engaging in physical violence in a restricted building; disorderly conduct; obstruction of justice and Congress; along with other offenses. Wright had posted a photo on social media showing him shoving a police barrier during the riot. He’s one of 18 Ohioans, and one of 400 nationwide, currently facing charges in the attack. Federal prosecutors allege at least four Ohioans charged with the breach had links to the anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers. Some defendants remain behind bars, while others are free pending upcoming hearings.
OSU pursues new settlement program for abuse victims
Ohio State University says in new court filings that it's planning an individual settlement program that could help resolve more of the remaining claims over alleged sexual misconduct by team doctor Richard Strauss. The now-deceased doctor is accused of abusing hundreds of young men during his two decades there. The university already reached nearly $47 million in settlements for 185 plaintiffs, or an average of about $252,000. OSU says it's committed to providing up to that same average settlement amount under the new program. That could allow some remaining accusers to resolve their cases even as others continue litigation.
Twinsburg principal chosen to lead Ravenna Schools
The principal at Twinsburg High School has been tapped to be the next superintendent of the Ravenna City Schools. The Record-Courier reports Laura Hebert will take over August first, leaving Twinsburg after three years. Hebert previously served as a high school principal in Virginia. She’s an Ohio State and Ashland University grad. She succeeds Dennis Honkala, who is retiring from the Ravenna schools at the end of the school year after 10 years.