Morning Headlines: Ohio COVID-19 Cases Stand at 1,100; Cleveland to Host First Presidential Debate

Jul 28, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, July 28:

  • COVID-19 cases in Ohio at 1,100, below 21-day daily average
  • Akron schools to hold all fall classes online
  • Ohio GOP lawmakers to meet, decide on replacement for speaker
  • Ohio House introduces bill for campaign funding transparency
  • Cleveland to host first presidential debate on Sept. 29
  • Ohio prison director tests positive for coronavirus
  • Medina County Fair reverses course, all events cancelled except Junior Fair
  • Bowling alley, off-duty police officer settle wrongful death suit
  • Ohio Supreme Court upholds death sentence for man convicted in 2013 homicides
  • Cleveland Clinic named second best hospital in U.S.

COVID-19 cases in Ohio at 1,100, below 21-day daily average
Ohio has reported more than 1,100 new cases of COVID-19. That's just under the 21-day average daily count of nearly 1,300. 37 new deaths were reported Monday, that's up 17 from the average. In all, Ohio has seen more than 85-thousand cases with more than 33-hundred deaths. Ohio Department of Health will update its COVID-19 data this afternoon at 2 p.m. when Gov. Mike DeWine holds his latest coronavirus briefing. You can listen live on 89.7 WKSU or WKSU.org.

Akron schools to hold all fall classes online
Akron Public Schools will hold classes completely online for the fall semester due to the pandemic. The Akron Public School Board made the decision last night to begin the year with remote learning. In a release, the district said several options had been on the table including having all of the district’s 21-thousand students physically in classrooms for the fall or a blended model with staggered days of online and in-person learning. The board says it will reevaluate the plan in nine weeks. Superintendent David James said the district will be monitoring the pandemic closely and seeing how other districts with in-person learning fare during the fall. The Beacon Journal reports the board has not decided if it will delay the first day of school. Depending on grade, students are scheduled to start as soon as August 27.

Ohio GOP lawmakers to meet, decide on replacement for speaker
Ohio Republican state representatives plan to meet today for the first time since their chamber's leader was arrested in connection with a $60 million federal bribery probe. They plan to move forward on deciding how to replace disgraced speaker Larry Householder. The meeting follows the release of a federal affidavit last week identifying Householder and four associates as part of an alleged pay-to-play scheme in exchange for passing a nuclear bailout law last year. House Republicans plan to discuss whether Householder should be removed, what the mechanics are for his removal, and any legal consequences they may face.

Ohio House introduces bill for campaign funding transparency
The Ohio House may take steps to stem the flow of dark money following what federal investigators call the state’s largest bribery scheme. Republican Gayle Manning of North Ridgeville and Democrat Jessica Miranda of Cincinnati have introduced a bill to increase transparency in campaign funding. The bill has the backing of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Dark money, which is not subject to public disclosure, is at the center of a $60 million racketeering and corruption investigation that led to the arrest last week of Republican House Speaker Larry Householder and four others. Householder is accused of steering money from a corporate donor, widely recognized as FirstEnergy to achieve passage of last year’s $1 billion nuclear bailout bill.

Cleveland to host first presidential debate on Sept. 29
Cleveland will be front and center in the upcoming presidential race. The Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University announced that the first presidential debate will be held at their new shared medical campus, which opened last year. Cleveland was selected to host the Sept. 29 debate between Donald Trump and presumptive nominee Joe Biden after the University of Notre Dame in Indiana withdrew due to pandemic concerns. The Cleveland Clinic will set the safety parameters for the debate – including whether there will be an audience - depending on the COVID-19 risks. Cleveland hosted the Republican National Convention in 2016 and the Vice Presidential debate in 2004.

Ohio prison director tests positive for coronavirus
The director of Ohio's prison system has announced she has tested positive for the coronavirus. Annette Chambers-Smith is head of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which oversees Ohio's 46,000 inmates. She told staff that she received the results Monday after being tested Friday because she wasn’t feeling well. The agency says the director is working from home and has mild symptoms. Chambers-Smith has not been inside a prison since June 26 and hasn't been in the office since July 21. More than 5,000 inmates have tested positive to date, with nearly 90 inmate deaths.

Medina County Fair reverses course, all events cancelled except Junior Fair
The Medina County Fair board has done an about-face on this year’s event. Fair planners had intended to keep it completely open despite the coronavirus pandemic. Now the fair board says all grandstand and entertainment events have been cancelled and will be limited to the Junior Fair only. Last week, Medina County was upgraded to a level three warning, or code red under Gov. Mike DeWine’s COVID-19 alert system. Many county fairs have been paired back this year due to the pandemic and DeWine had recommended fair boards limit events just to the junior competitions. Cuyahoga County has cancelled its fair for this year. The Summit County fair is going forward with some limitations.

Bowling alley, off-duty police officer settle wrongful death suit
The parents of a man shot by an off-duty police officer in Cleveland in 2018 have reached a partial settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit. The company that owned the bowling alley where Thomas Yatsko was shot will pay his parents more than $1 million. Yatsko got into a fight with a friend at the bowling alley, and then fought with an off-duty police officer working security there. The officer shot Yatsko twice, and he died shortly afterward. A grand jury declined to indict the officer on criminal charges. Yatsko's parents also sued the Cleveland police department and the officer. Those claims are ongoing.

Ohio Supreme Court upholds death sentence for man convicted in 2013 homicides
The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of killing three women. East Cleveland resident Michael Madison was arrested within days of the discovery of the bodies in 2013. He was indicted and eventually convicted at trial in 2016. Justice Pat DeWine, son of Gov. Mike DeWine wrote the court's unanimous opinion. The court rejected claims by Madison's attorney that the defendant should have received life in prison. DeWine said there was overwhelming evidence to support a death sentence for the killings carried out over nine months.

Cleveland Clinic named second best hospital in U.S.
Cleveland Clinic has been named the second best hospital in the country by U-S News & World Report. 13 Clinic specialties were in the top 10, including a number one ranking in cardiology and heart surgery. The publication has named the Clinic as the best hospital for heart care 26 years in a row. The Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota was once again named the country's top hospital. Johns Hopkins in Baltimore is ranked third. In the report’s state rankings, Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center ranked 2nd in the state, with Cleveland's University Hospitals coming in 3rd.