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Morning Headlines: Ohio Debate Commission cancels debates ... and more

Ohio Debate Generic
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The debates for the Ohio governor and U.S. Senate races have been canceled due to the refusal of the Republican candidates to participate. The Ohio Republican Party has accused the Debate Commission for failing to agree to terms acceptable to all candidates and for favoring Democrats.

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Sept. 22:

  • Ohio Debate Commission cancels debates for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate
  • Portman confirms there will be no vote on same-sex marriage bill until after November
  • Cleveland Clinic to host free community health fairs across Northeast Ohio
  • Spotted lanternfly spreading in Ohio: What to look out for
  • Kent State University says freshman class is largest since before the pandemic
  • Battle Motors celebrates job growth, completion of $40M expansion in New Philadelphia
  • Guardians take 8-2 victory over White Sox
  • Your weather forecast: Partly sunny, cooler.

Ohio Debate Commission cancels debates for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate
The Ohio Debate Commission has confirmed that their organization will not host U.S. Senate or gubernatorial debates this fall. There are no statewide debates scheduled where both candidates will appear together on stage. The ODC said the Republicans running for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate have refused to participate in its proposed debates. Liz Walters, chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan were ready and willing to participate. [Statehouse News Bureau]

Portman confirms there will be  no vote on same-sex marriage bill until after November
A bill on federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages won’t be voted on in the U.S. Senate until after the November election, though nearly a quarter of all House Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for the bill in July. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is among the Republicans trying to get it passed in the Senate. The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal provisions that define marriage in federal law as only between one man and one woman, and would require all states to recognize same-sex marriage at the federal level. [Statehouse News Bureau]

Cleveland Clinic to host free community health fairs across Northeast Ohio
The Cleveland Clinic will host a series of free community health fairs today for adults, 18 and older, of all genders. The fairs seek to address health disparities in underserved and minority communities. The fairs, to be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m., will offer free health screenings for prostate cancer, diabetes, hepatitis C and other conditions, the Clinic announced in a media release. Health officials at the Clinic say residents in underserved communities are not getting the care they need due to a lack of trust in health care providers that contributes to racial health disparities. This fair aims to help bridge these gaps, they said. [Ideastream Public Media]

Spotted lanternfly spreading in Ohio: What to look out for
An invasive insect that's been found on the East Coast and can threaten agriculture has been detected in Ohio, prompting experts to ask residents to keep an eye out for it. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect from Asia. It was first seen in 2014 in Pennsylvania. It’s since been detected throughout the East Coast and is moving west. An adult spotted lanternfly has light brown forewings with black spots and a yellow and black body. Its hind wings are red with black spots. The insect likes to feed on the tree of heaven, which is another invasive species. It also likes grape vines, cucumber plants, hops, roses, ornamental trees and other plants. [WYSO]

Kent State University says freshman class is largest since before the pandemic
Kent State University’s Class of 2026 has arrived on campus in strong numbers – 4,251 to be exact, an increase of nearly 7% over last year. KSU said this is the largest class since before the pandemic and the eighth-largest incoming class in the university’s 112-year history. The newest Golden Flashes boast an average high school GPA of 3.5 and hail from 39 states, Washington, D.C. and 31 countries. First-generation students make up 34% of the freshman class, and a record 19% are from underrepresented groups, including African American, Hispanic, Native American and multiracial students. [The Record Courier]

Battle Motors celebrates job growth, completion of $40M expansion in New Philadelphia
On Wednesday, employees and customers of Battle Motors, as well as local officials, gathered at the New Philadelphia plant for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark completion of an addition that expanded the plant from 125,000 square feet to 325,000 square feet. With a nearly $40 million investment, the plant went from one major diesel and CNG (compressed natural gas) production line to a much larger CNG and diesel production line, plus a line for electric vehicles. Thanks to the expansion, Battle Motors has added 220 employees over the past 14 months. [Times Reporter]

Guardians take 8-2 victory over White Sox
Triston McKenzie struck out 13 in eight strong innings as the Cleveland Guardians beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2 Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. Steven Kwan had three hits, including a home run. The victory moves the Guardians closer to their first American League Central title since 2018. Their magic number for winning the division is seven.[The Associated Press]

Your weather forecast: Partly sunny, cooler. Breezy near the lakefront.
A slight chance of showers later this afternoon and evening. There’s a high risk of rip currents at Lake Erie beaches in Erie, Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties. The National Weather Service has a beach hazards statement in effect through Friday morning. The temperature will hold steady at around 65. Tonight, mostly cloudy, breezy. Low 48. Tomorrow, Friday, mostly sunny. High 62.

Amy Eddings is Host/Producer of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Ideastream Public Media.
Jay Shah is a broadcast journalist finishing her Master of Arts degree at Kent State University. She joined WKSU as a news intern in 2020 and now works as a freelance producer for Ideastream Public Media’s daily local news headlines.