Morning Headlines: DeWine Pivots, Calls For Repeal of Nuclear Bailout Law; COVID-19 Cases Top 80K

Jul 24, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, July 24:

  • DeWine pivots, calls for nuclear bailout repeal
  • Statewide mask mandate takes effect as virus cases hit 80K
  • Cleveland among 10 cities urged to take aggressive action to combat COVID-19
  • University of Akron forms athletics task force
  • Cleveland mayor to address White House decision to send federal agents to the city
  • Unemployment claims down in Ohio
  • Cleveland to begin school year online
  • Missing red panda found at Columbus Zoo
  • Indians to meet with Native Americans on potential new name

DeWine pivots, calls for nuclear bailout repeal
Gov. Mike DeWine has reversed course and called for a nuclear bailout energy law to be repealed in the wake of the state's $60 million bribery scandal. DeWine said he continues to support the policy in the bill, including preserving Ohio's two nuclear power plants as part of power generation in the state. But DeWine says the process that created the law “stinks” and is unacceptable. DeWine called on lawmakers to revisit the energy debate in a process the public can have confidence in. Federal prosecutors allege House Speaker Larry Householder and others accepted bribes to shepherd the energy bill into law.

Statewide mask mandate takes effect as virus cases hit 80K
Hours before a statewide mask mandate went into effect Thursday, Ohio reported 1,444 daily cases, a number higher than the state’s 21-day average. Gov. Mike DeWine designated 23 counties on red alert on the state’s color-coded alert system. In Northeast Ohio, those include Cuyahoga and Medina, which was upgraded. DeWine said Medina officials traced the surge in cases to graduation parties, weddings and out-of-state travel. Summit and Lorain Counties were downgraded to Level 2. Ohio has topped 80,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 3,250 deaths.

Cleveland among 10 cities urged to take aggressive action to combat COVID-19
Cleveland and Columbus are among 10 cities named by Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force urged to take “aggressive” action to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Cleveland.com reports Birx named the cities in a private call with hundreds of emergency managers, along with other state and local leaders. However, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials say they were not part of the call. Birx recommended that contact tracing be conducted in places where the test positivity rate is climbing.

University of Akron forms athletics task force
The University of Akron is forming a task force to review athletics spending in light of a $65 million budget shortfall. This comes just a week after eliminating 178 positions, including 96 faculty union members as part of cost cutting measures. More layoffs could be coming as the union threatens to reject contract concessions by an August 3 deadline. The athletics task force will begin work this fall looking into the University’s athletics budget and its Division I status. The university has eliminated three sports programs and cut its athletics budget by $4.4 million.

Cleveland mayor to address White House decision to send federal agents to the city
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will hold a press conference today to address a move by President Trump to send federal law enforcement agents to the city to curb crime. Trump named Cleveland along with several other cities as part of an expansion of “Operation LeGend.” Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday called the operation “healthy,” saying there’s a long history of crime-fighting partnerships between local law enforcement and the federal government.

Unemployment claims down in Ohio

Unemployment claims dropped this week in Ohio, after a slight uptick last week. The state reported nearly 424,000 continued jobless claims for the week ending July 18. That’s down nearly 6,000. The state also reported a drop in new unemployment claims, of just around 30,000 last week. That’s down more than 5,000 from the prior week.

Cleveland to begin school year online
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will begin the first nine weeks of the school year entirely online. CEO Eric Gordon made that announcement Thursday during a COVID-19 roundtable event at University Hospitals. The district has planned for an eventual combination of in-person and remote classes. The full reopening plan for Cleveland schools is set to be released today.

Missing red panda found at Columbus Zoo
The missing red panda at the Columbus Zoo has been found. Kora, who's nursing two cubs, was missing from her habitat early Wednesday. Two zoo visitors noticed her in the foliage on the zoo grounds Thursday afternoon. Officials had to tranquilize her to get her out of a tree she climbed, and will reunite her with her cubs today.

Indians to meet with Native Americans on potential new name
The Cleveland Indians will consult with Native American leaders as they consider changing the name of their franchise. Owner Paul Dolan on Thursday gave more details on the steps the team is taking, saying the team will meet with Native American groups in “the coming weeks.” Earlier this week, Dolan met with Cleveland’s players and manager Terry Francona to discuss their views on a potential name change as well as other issues such as social justice and race relations.