Morning Headlines: Plain Dealer Union is Dissolved; Cuyahoga County Library Sets Reopening Plan

May 13, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, May 13:

  • Plain Dealer union is dissolved;
  • Cuyahoga County Public Library sets reopening plan;
  • Akron proposes outdoor drinking area;
  • Elkton Correctional to test 150 inmates, staffers a day;
  • Cleveland Art Museum, Rock Hall aim for June opening;
  • Akron fund to distribute nearly $100,000 to nonprofits;
  • Independent Ohio gyms sue state to reopen;
  • Students who relied on school meals to get $300;
  • Ohio's Medicaid rolls are growing during the pandemic;
  • Court accepts drunk driving case with broad implications;
  • Ohio says 318 ballots received too late;

Plain Dealer union is dissolved
The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s union is officially dissolved. The Ohio Newspaper Guild on Tuesday announced that the final four Plain Dealer reporters will be laid off on Friday. They’ll be rehired at Cleveland.com beginning Monday. Its parent company, Advance, said The Plain Dealer newspaper will continue to publish with content from Cleveland.com and other partners. Twenty years ago, The Plain Dealer union had more than 340 journalists.

Cuyahoga County Public Library sets reopening plan
The Cuyahoga County Public Library plans to reopen half of its branches next month with strict social distancing guidelines and disinfecting. People won't be allowed inside the 13 locations, but can pick up or drop off books. Those reopening include Parma, Beachwood and North Royalton. Fairview Park and Solon locations will have curbside service. About half the staff will be working and are required to wear protective equipment. The library aims to reopen all locations by September. The Akron-Summit County Library will keep all locations closed until June and said late fees will be waived.

Akron proposes outdoor drinking area
Akron may have its first outdoor drinking sector come this summer. Mayor Dan Horrigan is proposing a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area for downtown. The district would allow people to stroll with alcoholic beverages from Canal Park to Lock 3. City council is expected to take up the proposal on Monday. Downtown businesses are struggling due to the massive Main Street construction project and the coronavirus lockdown.

 

Elkton Correctional to test 150 inmates, staffers a day
The Federal Bureau of Prisons plans to ramp up coronavirus testing for inmates and staff at the state's only federal prison. Sen. Rob Portman led the push. He said Elkton Correctional Facility in Columbiana County will test 150 inmates and staff a day, up from 100 a month. Nine inmates at the facility have died from COVID-19 and more than 100 inmates and staff have tested positive. A judge has ordered Elkton to transfer or release more than 800 at-risk inmates.

Cleveland Art Museum, Rock Hall aim for June opening
The Cleveland Art Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plan to reopen next month as the state eases lockdown restrictions. Rock Hall guests are expected to wear masks and will have their temperature taken. Cleveland Art Museum customers will be required to wear masks and capacity will be limited to 500. Both museums may establish one-way routes through the exhibits to maintain social distancing.

Akron fund to distribute nearly $100,000 to nonprofits
The Akron Community Foundation is distributing nearly $100,000 to nonprofits affected by the pandemic. It's the latest round of funding from the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits. Among those receiving money include $5,000 for The Crown Point Ecology Center to provide organic produce to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and other agencies. The foundation has awarded nearly $250,000 since March.

Independent Ohio gyms sue state to reopen
More than 30 independent gyms are suing the state to be able to reopen. The Columbus Dispatch reports the gyms claim the state's reopening plans violate separation of powers by leaving them out, and argue they would be able to follow social distancing guidelines. Among those suing include the Kent Barbell Club, Lucas Training in North Canton and Wooster Total Fitness Center. They've been closed since the end of March.

Students who relied on school meals to get $300
Nearly 850,000 Ohio students who received free or reduced-price meals at school will each receive up to $300 for food. Federal regulators have approved emergency funding for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. Families with food stamps will have the money added to their debit cards. Those not on food stamps will receive a card with the one-time benefit added.

Ohio's Medicaid rolls are growing during the pandemic
Ohio's Medicaid rolls are growing during the pandemic. The Ohio Department of Medicaid added 140,000 Ohioans last month, which means 1 in 4 residents is now in the program. The department expects 100,000 more added each this month and next, with enrollment nearing 3 million. This comes as Medicaid plans $210 million in budget cuts ordered by Gov. Mike DeWine. The department says the cuts shouldn't affect services while officials work to reduce the rates paid to private managed-care companies.

Court accepts drunk driving case with broad implications
The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on whether a passerby's warning justified a drunken driving stop. Court documents show a state trooper was at a gas station in 2017 when a customer pointed out a perceived drunken driver backing out of a space. The trooper testified she displayed signs of driving while impaired. Two lower courts ruled that the trooper did not have reasonable suspicion to make the stop and that he acted on an anonymous tip of uncertain credibility.

Ohio says 318 ballots received too late
Ohio elections officials said 318 voters in Butler County won’t have their ballots counted for the April 28 primary because of a U.S. Postal Service delivery delay. Although the ballots were postmarked by the April 27 deadline, they didn’t get to the Butler County elections board until this week, days after the May 8 deadline to be counted. Secretary of State Frank LaRose has written to Postal Service headquarters calling for an investigation and steps to make sure the issue doesn’t happen this fall.