Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, June 10:
- Ohio to review police response to protests, set new standards
- Former Akron Art Museum leader facing discrimination lawsuits
- Cedar Point, Kings Island theme parks opening in early July
- Court Order blocks federal inmates transfer out-of-state
- Hand sanitizer maker opening two more plants in Northeast Ohio
- Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles resumes driving tests this week
- Trial of Akron man accused of murders in arson case delayed
- Cuyahoga County lays off workers in attempt to close pandemic-caused shortfall
- Movie theaters set to reopen but questions remain
- Cuyahoga County approves measures to safeguard buildings during pandemic
- Akron reopens playgrounds; pools and splash pads by July 1
Ohio to review police response to protests, set new standard
Ohio is undertaking a systematic effort to get hundreds of non-compliant law enforcement agencies up to statewide performance standards and will add guidelines for responding to mass protests. Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that he is using his executive power to take immediate actions to address protesters’ concerns and would also work to pass legislative reforms that have previously met resistance.
Former Akron Art Museum Leader facing discrimination lawsuits
The former head of the Akron Art Museum is now facing two lawsuits from former employees. This week, former security guard Janelle Alverson filed a suit claiming discrimination, joining former education coordinator Amanda Crowe who last month filed a lawsuit alleging slander, defamation and unlawful workplace retaliation against former director Mark Masuoka. Masuoka stepped down last month after an article published in ArtNews detailed accusations from current and former employees. Interim Executive Director Jon Fiume has announced the museum will form a diversity council and a community advisory board to help move forward.
Cedar Point, Kings Island theme parks opening in early July
Ohio’s two big amusement parks will be opening in early July following an extended shutdown because of the coronavirus. Kings Island near Cincinnati says its first day will be on July 2 while Cedar Point in Sandusky will open on July 9. Both parks announced Tuesday that they’ll require all visitors to wear masks and complete health screenings and temperature checks. The two parks also will be open only to season pass holders initially. Reservations also will be required for park visitors, and social distancing will be in place throughout the parks that are both owned by Cedar Fair.
Court Order blocks Federal inmates transfer out-of-state
An order to transfer hundreds high-risk inmates out of the state’s only federal prison has been blocked by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The decision says steps taken by Elkton prison officials to protect inmates from the coronavirus were enough to overturn a Cleveland judge’s April order that was appealed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is considering taking the case to the US Supreme Court, which has previously blocked the transfer of inmates until the circuit court made its ruling. Nine inmates have died of COVID-19, and there are hundreds of cases in the prison.
Hand sanitizer maker opening two more plants in Northeast Ohio
GOJO is opening two new facilities in Northeast Ohio to keep up with demand of its Purell hand sanitizer amid the pandemic. GOJO has purchased a new facility in Maple Heights and leased a facility in Navarre that will add 100 new jobs each. The Maple Heights plant will be used to manufacture Purell Surface Spray, while the Navarre location will be used for distribution and storage.
Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles resumes driving tests this week.
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is resuming driving tests on Friday. Tests will be available at six BMV locations to start, the rest will open Tuesday. Tests that were canceled during the pandemic will get first priority. Driver’s license examiners will use a modified process that allows them to administer the test from outside the vehicle because of the ongoing pandemic.
Trial of Akron man accused of murders in arson case delayed
The trial of an Akron man accused of setting fires that killed nine people has been delayed again. Stanley Ford's trial, set to start Tuesday, is now scheduled for Monday following filings made by Ford's attorneys in the Ohio Supreme Court. Ford is charged with murder for arsons that killed two of his neighbors and seven others in a second fire. The trial is set to begin with safety precautions and modifications in the Summit County courtroom.
Cuyahoga County lays off workers in attempt to close pandemic-caused budget shortfall
Eight Cuyahoga County employees were laid off on Tuesday after their unions declined to take furloughs. Cleveland.com reports the employees include members of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, United Auto Workers and Communications Workers of America. County Executive Armond Budish's administration asked each union to consider 80-hour furloughs to help close what it projects to be a $76 million shortfall in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Movie theaters set to reopen but questions remain
Indoor movie theaters can reopen today in Ohio, but many are waiting a bit longer. Cleveland.com reports Cinemark will open next Friday at the earliest, while Regal Cinemas will reopen locations in July. AMC Theaters has signaled it isn't sure it will survive the pandemic. Cleveland Cinemas, which owns theaters including the Cedar Lee and Capitol Theatre, said it’s still finalizing plans. Akron's Highland Theater remains closed indefinitely and The Nightlight in Akron continues offering films online.
Cuyahoga County approves measures to safeguard buildings admist pandemic
Cuyahoga County Council has approved spending $15 million in federal funding to outfit buildings with safety standards amid the pandemic. Cleveland.com reports the county selected eight contractors in an expedited process without bids. The no-bid process was done to ensure the county could spend the money by the Dec. 31 deadline. Council members had expressed concerns about a lack of minority-owned contractors getting the work. To fix that, County Executive Armond Budish added two contractors and reduced the amount of money each could receive.
Akron reopens playgrounds; pools and splash pads will follow by July 1st
Today the city of Akron will reopen playgrounds that have been closed since March due to the pandemic. The city says playground equipment will not be regularly disinfected, so visitors should use it at their own risk. Akron’s basketball courts will remain closed. Akron’s outdoor public pools and splash pads are set to open July 1.