Morning Headlines: Troubled Copley Nursing Home to Close; Counties to Increase Elections Security

Jun 12, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, June 12:

  • Troubled Copley nursing home to close voluntarily;
  • Counties ordered to upgrade elections security;
  • Cuyahoga to refinance bonds to pay for arena upgrades;
  • New veteran complex opens in Cleveland;
  • Senate GOP 2-year Ohio budget proposal includes lower taxes;
  • Cleveland to pay $225K in suit over flag burning;
  • State seeks federal aid for areas impacted by severe storms;
  • State to help workers who lost jobs because of tornadoes;
  • Media dynasty of Wolfes ends with $535M TV, radio sale;

Troubled Copley nursing home to close voluntarily
An Akron-area nursing home on the list of the nation’s worst facilities is closing voluntarily. The Beacon Journal reports that the owners of Fairlawn Rehab & Nursing Home in Copley announced it will close in September. It’s one of five Ohio nursing homes federal regulators recently highlighted as among the worst in the nation. State inspectors found problems from patient neglect to freezing rooms and overflowing toilets. The Beacon reports a team of state and local agency representatives has already been assembled to help Fairlawn Rehab’s approximately 64 residents look for new care.

Counties ordered to upgrade elections security
Ohio's elections chief has ordered county boards of elections to undergo a host of security upgrades that he says will guard against cyberattacks ahead of the 2020 election. Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s order requires all 88 county boards to request the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a risk assessment, remote system testing, a communications review and an in-depth hunt for cyber threats by July 19. Each board must also install special intrusion detection devices and a so-called "black box" tool for system security. The review doesn’t include voting machines, which aren’t connected to the internet. The improvements must be completed by Jan. 31.

Cuyahoga to refinance bonds to pay for arena upgrades
Cuyahoga County will refinance $40 million bonds and sell another $40 million to cover its share of upgrades to the city's sports arenas under a lease agreement. Council approved the move yesterday, saying refinancing will help save about $12 million over the life of the loans. Much of funds will be used to reimburse the Cavs for the ongoing transformation project at the newly-renamed Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Council said revenues from the county's 20-year tax on alcohol and cigarettes will help pay for the new bonds.

New veteran complex opens in Cleveland
After nearly a decade of planning, The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center has opened a new housing complex for veterans. The Fisher House in Glenville is expected to host more than 1,000 families a year. It provides services for military families travelling 50 or more miles to Cleveland's VA center for treatment. It cost nearly $12 million to build with donations from the Maryland-based nonprofit Fisher House Foundation and funds raised by the Greater Cleveland community.

Senate GOP 2-year Ohio budget proposal includes lower taxes
Ohio would lower income taxes for individuals and direct more money toward water quality initiatives, local governments and libraries under a state budget proposal introduced Tuesday in the Republican-controlled state Senate. It eliminates the bottom two tax brackets and decreases personal income tax rates for the others by 8% over two years. The income tax cut in the $69 billion proposal approved by the GOP-led House was 6.6%. The Senate plan includes $550 million that Gov. Mike DeWine sought to boost educational wraparound services , plus $125 million more toward education-related spending, such as private-school scholarships and more money for growing school districts whose funding has been capped. And unlike the House version, the Senate proposal would maintain tax credits for the motion picture industry. Lawmakers face a June 30 deadline to get a budget signed by DeWine.

Cleveland to pay $225K in suit over flag burning
A settlement has been reached with an activist arrested while burning an American flag at the 2016 Republican National Convention. An attorney for Gregory Lee Johnson said the city of Cleveland has agreed to pay $225,000 to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit. The lawsuit claims Cleveland police used fire extinguishers and took Johnson to the ground, preventing him from setting the flag on fire. He also was charged with assault following a scuffle with backers of ultra-right-wing theorist Alex Jones. The charges were dismissed. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Johnson's right to protest by burning the flag after he was arrested at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas.

State seeks federal aid for areas impacted by severe storms
Gov. Mike DeWine has officially requested a disaster declaration from President Trump and federal assistance for 10 Ohio counties impacted by tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and landslides. State officials say 21 tornadoes touched down during the severe storms on Memorial Day. A preliminary assessment by federal and state agencies identified 942 homes and buildings destroyed or significantly damaged and 837 others that suffered minor damage or were slightly affected.

State to help workers who lost jobs because of tornadoes
The state will provide $500,000 to help workers who lost their jobs as a result of tornadoes that hit an Ohio county. Ohio's Department of Jobs and Family Services said the money will fund employment and work support services in Montgomery County. County officials estimate last month's tornadoes affected more than 200 businesses. The number of workers who lost jobs wasn't immediately available. A department statement says the money also will establish a Mobile Career Resource Center, where affected workers can get help writing resumes, searching for jobs and exploring career and training opportunities. Businesses can use it to help with recruiting, interviewing and training. The department also is providing federal and state disaster assistance funds to help low-income people affected by the storms in Montgomery, Greene and Mercer counties.

Media dynasty of Wolfes ends with $535M TV, radio sale
The family company that once owned the Columbus Dispatch newspaper is now selling off its broadcast stations. The Dispatch Broadcast Group, owned by the Wolfe family, is selling its television and radio stations in a $535 million deal with Virgina-based TEGNA. The Wolfe family sold the Dispatch to Gatehouse media in 2015 for $47 million.