Here are your morning headlines for September 15, 2020:
- LaRose halts plan to add ballot sites in Cuyahoga County
- KSU reports 12 new COVID-19 cases
- DeWine signs COVID-19 lawsuit immunity legislation
- Akron bar loses liquor license for violating state orders
- CWRU, Ohio State among best universities in Ohio
- Ohio Senate president quarantines after COVID-19 exposure
- Panel rejects funding for paid postage of absentee ballots
- Amazon ready to begin hiring in Akron
- UH launches the state’s first mobile COVID-19 testing unit
LaRose halts plan to add ballot sites in Cuyahoga County
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose halted a move by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to add absentee ballot collection boxes at six libraries. The County Board of Elections unanimously approved the plan Monday morning set to start Oct. 13. Voters would also be able to pick up and drop off absentee ballot requests. LaRose is allowing each county to have one drop box located at the board of elections. Some counties have been making a case that more are needed for better access.
KSU reports 12 new COVID-19 cases
Kent State University reported 12 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, bringing the total to 69 since July. Kent's COVID-19 dashboard shows all reported cases have occurred at the Kent Campus, and are from tests conducted at the health center as well as self-reported information from those in the university community who have been tested elsewhere.
DeWine signs COVID-19 lawsuit immunity legislation
Ohio now has legislation in place that temporarily gives businesses, healthcare workers and schools immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits. Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation Monday, which takes effect in 90 days and lasts through September 2021. Republicans who sponsored the legislation say it will allow schools to reopen and employees to return to work without fear of being sued for unintentionally spreading the virus. Democratic critics say existing Ohio law already protects against reckless lawsuits and that the new law could lead to some businesses, like nursing homes, to let down their guard.
Akron bar loses liquor license for violating state orders
An Akron bar is the first in the state to have its liquor permit revoked for violating the state’s coronavirus health orders. The Ohio Liquor Control Commission took the action against Highland Tavern in connection with three violations, including serving alcohol past the 10 p.m. cutoff last month. The permit is set to be revoked Oct. 2. The bar is also awaiting a hearing on a fourth citation it recently received.
CWRU, Ohio State among best universities in Ohio
Northeast Ohio colleges and universities are among the best in new rankings from U.S. News & World Report. Ohio State is the best public university in Ohio, while Case Western Reserve University is the top private university in the state. Kent State University dropped a few spots to 217. The University of Akron moved up, ranking 272 out of 400 schools. The College of Wooster ranked 69 in national liberal arts colleges. In the Midwest regional college category, The University of Mount Union tied for 10 and Hiram College ranked 15.
Ohio Senate president quarantines after COVID-19 exposure
The Ohio Senate president is quarantining after fellow Republican Sen. Bob Peterson tested positive for COVID-19. Larry Obhof of Medina said he had a brief indoor interaction with Peterson last week. He says he’ll be tested and will work from home as a precaution. Peterson lives about an hour southwest of Columbus in Washington Court House and is reportedly doing well.
Panel rejects funding for paid postage of absentee ballots
A panel of state lawmakers has blocked a request from Ohio’s Secretary of State to cover the postage for voters returning absentee ballots by mail. The vote by the state Controlling Board was split along party lines with Republicans opposing the $3 million spending. They argued the allocation should be addressed by the full legislature. Following Monday’s vote, Democrats urged Secretary of State Frank LaRose to use his authority to authorize CARES Act funding for paid postage. But LaRose says those funds have already been earmarked. Early voting begins Oct. 6.
Amazon ready to begin hiring in Akron
Amazon says it plans to hire around 100,000 workers nationwide – that includes 1,500 at its new Akron facility. The Beacon Journal reports that the retail giant’s Akron fulfillment center is slated to open later this year and hiring should begin later this month. Amazon recently gave local officials a tour of the former Rolling Acres mall site where the high-tech distribution center has been constructed. Amazon has promised to maintain $30 million in annual payroll for 10 years, with Akron agreeing to a 30-year tax rebate. It’s one of seven Amazon fulfillment facilities in Ohio.
UH launches the state’s first mobile COVID-19 testing unit
University Hospitals is unveiling the state’s first fully mobile testing center for the coronavirus. The unit will deliver free COVID-19 tests to underserved areas of Northeast Ohio. It’s equipped with Plexiglas to protect employees along with sanitation methods after each patient. One patient will be allowed inside at a time.