Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 29:
PRELIMARY PRIMARY RESULTS:
- Stark Parks levy approved;
- School levies for Stark, Summit and Cuyahoga counties;
- Cuyahoga County health and human services levy passes;
- Summit County Metro Parks levy gains support;
- Biden is the winner in Ohio's primary;
- Notable Congressional seat races;
- DeWine changes stance on masks for customers;
- Cleveland projects $12M shortfall;
- Cuyahoga County receives $215M from CARES Act;
- Federal judge orders release of 3 ICE detainees;
- Rite Aid expands coronavirus testing criteria;
- Catholic bishops extend suspension on masses;
- DeWine isn't opposed to in-person graduations;
PRELIMARY PRIMARY RESULTS
Note: Official results are expected May 8.
Stark Parks levy approved
A critical tax renewal for Stark Parks appears to have passed with more than 60% of voters approving the 1-mill levy, with no increase, for eight years. It would cost owners of a $100,000 home about $34 a year. The results aren't final because thousands of ballots are expected to arrive in the next few days. If it fails, Stark Parks would have to stop some operations by the end of the year.
School levies for Stark, Summit and Cuyahoga counties
In Stark County, voters appear to have approved bond issues for North Canton and Perry schools. A levy for Louisville schools appears to have failed, which would result in layoffs.
In Summit County, levies for Coventry and Manchester schools likely have passed.
Voters approved additional tax money for three Cleveland-area school districts: Lakewood, Olmsted Falls and South Euclid-Lyndhurst. Levy requests for Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Brunswick and Euclid appear to have failed.
Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services levy passes
Nearly 70% of Cuyahoga County voters supported a 4.7-mill tax to raise funding for Health and Human Services programs. It will replace a 3.9 mill tax, which will raise an additional $35 million a year to go toward programs for children and seniors and those suffering from mental illness, among other things.
Summit County Metro Parks levy gains support
About 70% of Summit County voters supported a levy increase for the Metro parks. The 2-mill, nine-year request is about $5 a month. Collection will begin in 2022. Summit Metro Parks oversees 16 parks and attracts about 5 million visitors each year.
Biden is the winner in Ohio's primary
Former Vice President Joe Biden has won Ohio’s presidential primary. Tuesday’s contest was less about the Democratic nomination and more about how states can conduct elections in the era of the coronavirus. The primary was originally scheduled for March 17 but shifting to mostly absentee-voting through Tuesday. The result was never in doubt after Biden’s last rival, Bernie Sanders, dropped out of the race earlier this month.
Notable Congressional seat races
All 16 of Ohio’s Congressional seats were up for reelection. Notable Northeast Ohio races include former Stark County state lawmaker Christina Hagan winning the Republican race to challenge incumbent Democrat Tim Ryan in the 13th District this November. In the 11th District, Democrat incumbent Marcia Fudge will face Republican Jonah Schultz in November, and Democrat incumbent Marcy Kaptur will face Republican Rob Weber in the 9th District.
For more election results, click here.
DeWine changes stance on masks for customers
Gov. Mike DeWine has clarified his updated mask order to say they're recommended for customers and clients but still required for employees. The governor made the change late Tuesday after first saying facial coverings are recommended strongly for both employees and customers. The change regarding customers was a reversal of a decision Monday that made masks mandatory for everyone interacting in a business. DeWine said he changed his order on customers after getting public input on the requirement. He said it became clear to him that a mandatory mask requirement is offensive to some Ohioans.
Cleveland projects $12M shortfall
Cleveland is short $12 million on key revenue projections this month because of the coronavirus. Mayor Frank Jackson said income tax is protected to be down $7 million and entertainment taxes including admissions and casinos are down $5 million. Cleveland has been collecting tax from city workers' paychecks even though they may not be working currently. Advocates are contemplating lawsuits to force refunds, which could cost Cleveland even more money.
Cuyahoga County receives $215M from CARES Act
Cuyahoga County has received $215 million from the federal CARES Act. So far, $2 million has been spent on protective equipment and another $2.5 million will go toward small businesses. The money can only be used for expenses related to the pandemic, and can't be used to cover declining sales or income tax revenues. The county projects a $76 million shortfall this year.
Federal judge orders release of 3 ICE detainees
A federal judge has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release three detainees at jails in Morrow and Butler counties. U.S. District Judge Sarah Morrison said the jails failed to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. The inmates, who suffer from various health conditions, have been released temporarily with a hearing scheduled for next month. Morrison's ruling followed a lawsuit from American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
Rite Aid expands coronavirus testing criteria at drive-thrus
Rite Aid's coronavirus drive-thru testing sites will expand criteria to include all adults exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, not just high-risk groups and health care workers. The company said people must exhibit symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and chills. They expect to test nearly 400 people a day. Testing locations are in Akron and Parma.
Catholic bishops extend suspension on masses
The Catholic Bishops of Ohio has extended its temporary suspension of public masses to May 29 with the goal celebrating Pentecost that weekend. Churches are being asked to work on plans that will include social distancing and other precautions once public masses resume.
DeWine isn't opposed to in-person graduations
Gov. Mike DeWine said he's not opposed to schools holding in-person graduations as long as social distancing measures are taken. DeWine said it depends on the number of students and family members, and the size of the facility. He advised larger class sizes should hold virtual ceremonies instead. The Ohio Department of Education sent a statement to schools last week urging them to hold graduations remotely instead of in-person to stop the spread of COVID-19.