Morning Headlines: DeWine Tests Negative for Coronavirus; Brecksville Dam Removed

Aug 7, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, August 7:

  • DeWine tests negative for the coronavirus
  • Trump blasts Biden’s faith during Ohio visit
  • Former United Way employees call out 'toxic' work culture
  • At least 50 gathering places linked to COVID-19 outbreaks
  • Four charged in $60 million bribery probe plead not guilty
  • U.S. Postal Service ready for mail-in voting
  • Brecksville Dam officially removed

DeWine tests negative for the coronavirus
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has tested negative for COVID-19 after testing positive earlier in the day before he was to meet with President Donald Trump. The governor's office said he took the test Thursday as part of standard protocol before meeting Trump at an airport in Cleveland. He had planned to join the president on a visit to the Whirlpool plant in Clyde, Ohio. DeWine reportedly has no symptoms. He and his wife, Fran, returned to their home in Cedarville to quarantine for 14 days. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted tested negative.

Trump blasts Biden’s faith during Ohio visit
During his trip through northern Ohio yesterday, President Donald Trump engaged in a deeply personal attack on Joe Biden, even questioning without foundation the former vice president's faith in God. Even for a president known for his blunt criticism, the remarks signal how contentious the campaign may get over the coming months. Trump said of Biden: "He's against God. He’s against guns. He's against energy, our kind of energy." Biden has responded calling remarks beneath the office he holds and "shameful." Trump also used his trip Thursday to Ohio to talk trade, telling workers at a Whirlpool plant in Clyde that he "will stand up to the foreign trade cheaters."

Former United Way employees call out ‘toxic’ work culture
Former employees of United Way of Summit and Medina have come forward alleging a "toxic, harmful and hostile work environment." The Beacon Journal reports the allegations were made by 15 former workers in an anonymous letter sent to the board of directors. CEO Jim Mullen is named in the allegations. The letter alleges senior officials made racially insensitive comments, berated staffers and made sexually explicit jokes or comments. The Beacon Journal reports the letter calls for management to fill vacant leadership roles with minority candidates, elect board members from economically and racially diverse backgrounds, bring in racial justice training and address diversity, equity and inclusion. The United Way’s board has hired a law firm to conduct an investigation. But the authors of the letter tell the Beacon Journal that they do not believe the investigator to be independent.

At least 50 gathering places linked to COVID-19 outbreaks
The Ohio Department of Health says there have been dozens of coronavirus outbreaks across the state linked back to bars, restaurants, churches and daycare centers, among other gathering places. The Columbus Dispatch reports at least 50 locations have had outbreaks across Ohio since July 1. The outbreaks are reportedly based on anecdotal contact tracing data from local health departments. An ODH health official tells the Dispatch the data doesn't include details on a number of other likely outbreaks throughout the state.

Four charged in $60 million bribery probe plead not guilty
Four people charged with former Ohio Speaker Larry Householder in a $60 million bribery scheme have pleaded not guilty on a racketeering charge. Federal prosecutors accuse Householder and four others of illegally shepherding millions in energy company money through a dark money group for personal and political gains. An indictment alleges the scheme was orchestrated to ensure a legislative bailout of two aging Ohio nuclear power plants. A judge allowed Householder to delay his court appearance as he seeks a new attorney.

U.S. Postal Service ready for mail-in voting
A senior postal elections official says the U.S. Postal Service is prepared to handle an unprecedented influx of absentee ballots this November and any reports of the agency being overwhelmed or incapable are false. Justin Glass, director of the postal service's election mail operations, spoke with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and other state election officials about how the agency is preparing for the upcoming election. The virtual meeting comes days after President Trump said that he doesn't believe the postal service is equipped to deal with the volume of mail that will come as a result of mail-in voting.

Brecksville Dam officially removed
The Cuyahoga River now officially has one less dam on it. Cuyahoga Valley National Park announced it’s completed the removal of the Brecksville Dam. The removal of the dam and the pre-existing Pinery Dam, marks the first time in 190 years this section of river has flowed freely. In a statement, CVNP said paddlers can now make their way through the park and all the way to Cleveland. With the completion of the project, the focus now shifts to the Gorge Dam further up the river, representing one of the last remaining dams on the Cuyahoga. Planning for its removal at an estimated cost of $65-70 million is underway. It could be taken down as soon as 2023, depending on funding.