Morning Headlines: Canton Officer Resigns After Social Media Post; Thieves Break Into Canal Park

Jun 5, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, June 5:

  • Canton officer resigns after social media post;
  • Thieves break into Canal Park;
  • Zoos, other attractions can open next week;
  • U.S. Supreme Court justice halts Elkton inmate transfers;
  • Akron Mayor aims to give more contracts to minority businesses;
  • Cleveland police launch website for protest photos, videos;
  • Ohio House clears way to legalize setting off fireworks;
  • Nearly 1.3M Ohioans have filed for unemployment since pandemic began;
  • Youngstown State trustees approve budget with cuts;
  • Cleveland State to cut $700,000 from athletics budget;
  • Summit Metro Parks public buildings to remain closed until September;
  • Activist, Akron native to opens new bookstore in hometown;
  • J.C. Penney names locations to perrmanently close;

Canton officer resigns after social media post
A Canton police officer has resigned after a social media post. Andrew Russ, who worked for the department for six years, posted a now-deleted video on Instagram of himself in tactical gear rapping along to a song by 50 Cent that included a racial slur and referred to shooting people written across the photo. Canton Police Chief Jack Angelo called Russ's behavior unacceptable and says the department condemns racism. 

Thieves break into Canal Park
Akron police say Canal Park was broken into Tuesday night and thieves stole more than $1,000 worth of Akron RubberDucks merchandise and field equipment. Cleveland.com reports surveillance footage caught two people breaching one of the gates and going through unlocked doors to access the stadium downtown. No arrests have been made. The RubberDucks have yet to begin their season because of the coronavirus.

Zoos, other attractions can open next week
Ohio's zoos, museums and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen Wednesday. This includes aquariums, playgrounds and recreation centers. Gov. Mike DeWine says entertainment venues can also reopen on the same day if they can follow safety guidelines. Cleveland.com reports Kalahari Resort in Sandusky and Kings Island near Cincinnati filed lawsuits late Thursday to force the state to allow them to reopen. Cedar Point plans to join the suit Friday. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced it plans to reopen on June 10. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced it plans to reopen June 17.

U.S. Supreme Court justice halts Elkton inmate transfers
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an order Thursday that puts a hold on the transfer of 120 inmates out of Elkton Correctional, the state’s federal prison where nine inmates have died from COVID-19. The high-risk inmates were supposed to be moved Friday following a federal judge’s order. Cleveland.com reports Sotomayor’s order seeks to have the issue put on hold as the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati hears additional arguments at a hearing scheduled for Friday. 

Akron Mayor aims to give more city contracts to minority businesses
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has released the results of a report that will aim to award more city contracts minority and women-owned businesses. The minority-owned construction management firm G. Stephens Inc. worked with the city in developing the 18-month report. Recommendations include asking voters to change the city’s charter to eliminate barriers for smaller contracts that would allow more small and minority-owned businesses to compete. It also recommends hiring a diversity and inclusion director and joining the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). 

Cleveland police launch website to submit protest videos, photos
Cleveland police have set up a website for people to upload photos and videos from last Saturday's protest that turned violent. More than a dozen buildings were vandalized and some businesses were looted. Cleveland.com reports videos, photos and other information can be sent anonymously, although the website asks for names to help with prosecution. More than 100 people were arrested. 

Ohio House clears way to legialize setting off fireworks
The Ohio House has passed legislation that would allow Ohioans to set off fireworks in the state. Ohio currently allows fireworks to be purchased here, but must be taken out of state within two days. The bill, which next heads to the Senate, would allow local governments to ban fireworks or limit when people can set them off.

Nearly 1.3M Ohioans have filed for unemployment since pandemic began
The state said more than 34,000 Ohioans filed unemployment claims during the last week of May. That is the lowest figure since Ohio’s stay-at-home orders depressed the economy and led to widespread layoffs. The claims are still among the highest on record in the state over the past few decades. The figure released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is down from about 46,000 claims filed the previous week. Job and Family Services said the 1,292,413 people who filed since the pandemic began is more than the total of the past three years.

Youngstown State trustees approve budget with cuts
Youngstown State University is estimating a 15% drop in enrollment and a 20% decrease in state funding. The Board of Trustees this week approved its operating budget for the next fiscal year that is roughly $26 million less than the current year. Incoming students will see a 4% tuition hike, returning students a 2% increase. The board also approved salary cuts and furloughs, along with laying off as many as 60 employees. It’s also cutting 22 jobs and $2 million from its athletic budget.

Cleveland State plans to cut $700,000 from athletics budget
Cleveland State University (CSU) will cut at least $700,000, or 5% of its roughly $13 million athletics budget for the next fiscal year. CSU is anticipating a $37 million budget shortfall because of the pandemic. Crain's Cleveland reports the cuts include each team trimming 15% of their budgets and eliminating five positions in athletics, along with furloughs. 

Summit Metro Parks public buildings to remain closed until September
Summit Metro Parks will keep public buildings closed until September because of the pandemic. This includes nature centers, some restrooms and rentable lodges. All in-person programs have also been canceled. All trails will remain open with social distancing in place. The parks plan to reopen rentable outdoor shelters early July.

Activist, Akron native opens new bookstore to benefit Loveland Foundation
Activist Rachel Cargle has announced that she's opening a new bookstore and writing center in her hometown of Akron. Elizabeth's Bookshop & Writing Centre has launched online and will open a physical store once it's deemed safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Proceeds from the store will benefit The Loveland Foundation, which provides therapy and mental health resources to Black women and girls.

J.C. Penney to permanently close some Northeast Ohio locations
Department store chain J.C. Penney has announced the first stores to permanently close under its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The first 154 locations to close include its previously announced Akron Chapel Hill Mall location, as well as stores in the Tri County Plaza in Lakemore and Carnation Mall in Alliance.