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Sunshine returns today to the Cleveland area, but not the warm temperatures. Highs will stay in the upper 30s. The sunshine will continue through the weekend and it will get warmer, with highs in the 50s Saturday and Sunday. Read more.
NFL Draft: The NFL plans to host the 2021 Draft in person in Cleveland April 29-May 1. Eric Heisig reports that beyond that, organizers have made little public about what precisely the massive event will entail. With the event just six weeks away, the league and various Cleveland civic groups involved with the planning have yet to announce anything concrete about their plans. Nothing about crowd size, spectator requirements or entertainment.
Householder: Nearly eight months after then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested on a federal corruption charge, his fellow Republicans still haven’t decided whether to kick him out of the Ohio General Assembly. Jeremy Pelzer reports several lawmakers say there are enough House votes to expel Householder, who authorities say oversaw the largest bribery scheme in Ohio history to secure the passage of House Bill 6, but a small group is holding up the expulsion.
Lordstown Motors: An investor in the Lordstown Motors Corp. filed a federal lawsuit against the electric truck-maker Thursday, alleging that it offered false and misleading information about the vehicle and the time needed to get its production started. John Caniglia reports the suit argues the company’s orders “are largely fictitious and used as a prop to raise capital and confer legitimacy.” Amid the report, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation into the business.
This Week in the CLE: Former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo met repeatedly with Gov. Mike DeWine, his staff and FirstEnergy while House Bill 6 was under debate. We’re talking about what that means on This Week in the CLE, cleveland.com’s daily half-hour news podcast.
New numbers: The state reported 2,104 more coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the first day the state has been over 2,000 cases since the start of March, Emily Bamforth reports. And new hospitalizations almost doubled from Wednesday to Thursday, from 81 reported on Wednesday to 156 on Thursday.
Progress: Ohio’s progress toward meeting Gov. Mike DeWine’s goal for lifting health orders slowed this week but continued in the right direction, as the state on Thursday reported 143.8 new cases per 100,000 residents with an onset of symptoms in the last two weeks. Rich Exner reports this is down from rates of 155 cases per 100,000 reported a week ago, and 179.6 cases per 100,000 reported two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the latest version of Ohio’s coronavirus alert map showed more improvement this week, with 60 counties now on red alert. This is down from 66 last week, and 76, 80 and 84 the previous weeks. Cuyahoga County and each of the six surrounding counties in Greater Cleveland remain on red alert.
More vaccine: Ohio will get 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine per week by March 29, a number Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that state officials expect will hold steady. Andrew Tobias reports the date coincides with the state expanding its vaccine eligibility to all Ohioans 16 and older.
New trial: An appeals court granted a new trial for two men who spent the last 14 years in prison for the shooting of two people and the attempted shooting of a Cleveland police officer. Cory Shaffer reports the unanimous decision issued Thursday by the 8th District Court of Appeals found that Cleveland police and Cuyahoga County prosecutors denied Kenny Phillips and Michael Sutton a fair trial by failing to tell the men’s defense attorneys that officers gave conflicting statements about the shootings, and not calling them testify at trial.
Officers suspended: Cleveland’s safety director on Thursday suspended three officers saying they failed to intervene in or report an incident in which a fellow officer stepped on a man’s throat during an arrest. Safety Director Karrie Howard issued 21-day suspensions for officers Michael Cozart II and Richard Delvecchio and a 14-day suspension for officer Patrick Valencic, Adam Ferrise reports.
Presidential welcome: Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that he’d like to greet President Joe Biden at the airport for his planned visit to Ohio next week, saying he thinks it’s important to maintain a good relationship with any president. Andrew Tobias reports that during Republican President Donald Trump’s tenure, DeWine fielded questions about greeting him at the airport, especially when Trump held large political rallies where mask wearing wasn’t required.
May 30 police: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s office declined to bring felony charges against a Cleveland police officer suspected of using excessive force in three separate incidents during the May 30 protests and riots outside the Justice Center, Cory Shaffer reports. Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor James Gutierrez wrote in an October letter to the Cleveland police department’s internal affairs unit that he determined that officer John Kazimer committed no felony offenses in three incidents where he hit one peaceful protester in the back of the legs with a baton, pepper-sprayed another in the face and used his baton to hit a third person who later needed stitches on his head.
Census: Why does the U.S. Census say it’s impossible to release redistricting information to the states by March 31? It’s already been a year since the Census Bureau mailed out questionnaires. What’s the holdup? Rich Exner reports that accurately tabulating the nation’s population block by block is not as simple as collecting numbers in a spreadsheet and spitting out results.
Special election: The primary for the special election to succeed former Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat, will be Aug. 3, Seth Richardson reports. The announcement will set off a frenzy for the already-crowded primary in the heavily Democratic district that includes the eastern portion of Cuyahoga County stretching down to include some of Akron.
Keystone pipeline: Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has joined a multistate lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s cancellation of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of Republican attorneys general, argues President Joe Biden doesn’t have the authority to revoke a crucial permit needed for the pipeline, among other arguments, reports Jeremy Pelzer.
Hispanic vaccine equity: Hispanic leaders last month pushed for more COVID-19 vaccines. Cameron Fields reports that six weeks later, there’s been a turnaround.
Healthcare Heroes: It’s the perfect time to honor the caregivers who have helped us through the coronavirus pandemic. And, whether you were a patient or a healthcare worker, we need your help. Evan MacDonald reports how you can share your story.
Lessons learned: The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked our society, forcing us to reckon with longstanding inequities and problems in the systems we rely on. As the pandemic wanes and we prepare for a post-pandemic world, Cameron Fields asks what lessons should we take away from this past year? In healthcare and childcare, education, unemployment and public health, what can we do better?
Nursing homes: The number of coronavirus cases at Ohio nursing homes dropped again this week, to 570 patients and 423 staff, Rich Exner reports. This is down from 614 patient cases and 438 for staff at the long-term care facilities a week ago.
K-12 cases: Ohio reported a tick down again in weekly increase numbers in K-12 school students and staff, Emily Bamforth reports. The state reported an increase of 804 coronavirus cases in K-12 students and 181 in staff for the week of March 8. The increase for the week of March 1 was 949 new coronavirus cases for students and 240 for staff in schools.
Brain surgery: It may look like a video game. But virtual reality technology developed by the Chicago company ImmersiveTouch is making it possible for MetroHealth neurosurgeons to view and work on a virtual model of a patient’s brain prior to the actual procedure. Evan MacDonald reports the technology is particularly helpful in preparing for some of the most complicated brain surgeries.
Unemployment: Scammers continue to target Ohio’s unemployment system, as nearly 20,000 claims were flagged for potential fraud in the past week alone, Jeremy Pelzer reports. The deluge of bogus claims for traditional unemployment benefits indicates that scammers still see Ohio as vulnerable, even though state officials recently signed contracts worth more than $10 million to help better detect and prevent fraud.
Tax deadline: The IRS pushed back the federal tax filing deadline for 2021 from April 15 to May 17, Rich Exner reports. You can expect Ohio likely will push back its date.
Stimulus: A week after being sworn in as President Joe Biden’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary, former Ohio Congress member Marcia Fudge made her first appearance at a White House news conference to boost efforts to fight homelessness with money from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, Sabrina Eaton reports.
Indians name: Indians owner Paul Dolan said Thursday he should know by the middle of the 2021 season if it’s possible to change the team’s name for the 2022 season, Paul Hoynes reports. He said there was a possibility that the team name might not be changed until 2023.
Harlan Sands: Cleveland State University trustees extended President Harlan Sands’ contract until June 2026, though the university still has to negotiate any new terms. Emily Bamforth reports that when Sands began as president in 2018, his initial salary was $455,000 a year.
2.0: Cleveland State University leaders are scheduling a release of final recommendations for “CSU 2.0,” the comprehensive review of university operations, on March 26. Emily Bamforth reports that the findings will shape how the university operates moving forward.
Summit elections: The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office has requested a protective order to prevent Secretary Frank LaRose and Elections Director Amanda Grandjean from being deposed by lawyers for the Summit County Republican Party’s Executive Committee. Robin Goist reports the state sought a protection order Thursday in response to deposition notices sent by Attorney Stephen Funk, who is representing the Summit GOP’s Executive Committee in the suit filed Friday challenging LaRose’s rejection of Bryan Williams’ reappointment to the Summit County Board of Elections.
Mass vax: The Summit County Public Health Department has moved its eight-week mass COVID-19 vaccination site from the Chapel Hill Mall on Akron’s North Side to the Summit County Fairgrounds in Tallmadge. Robin Goist reports the mall is slated for redevelopment.
Vaccine scams: The Cuyahoga County Board of Health and Department of Consumer Affairs are warning people not to fall victim to two COVID-19-related scams that have been reported by county residents, Courtney Astolfi reports.
COVID violations: Ohio Investigative Unit agents cited three Cleveland bars and an Akron bar for violating coronavirus health orders on St. Patrick’s Day. Agents cited Rays Pub in Akron; Public House in Cleveland; and Smedley’s Bar in Cleveland, Kaylee Remington reports. Frenchy’s Irish Bar and Anthony V. Spano in Austintown and Sports on Tap in Hillard also were cited, the release says.
Suicide: Police believe that a longtime Columbus lobbyist charged in connection with the House Bill 6 probe who died earlier this week took his own life, Andrew Tobias reports. The Collier County Medical Examiner’s Office will make the final determination on the cause of death. But investigators are treating Clark’s death as an apparent suicide and don’t suspect foul play was involved.
Pandemic travel: During the pandemic year, Susan Glaser saw more of Ohio than she had in years, including state parks, an overnight safari and a bike trail through Amish country. She aimed to prove travel could be safe, within a three-hour drive of Cleveland, highlighting primarily outdoor destinations.
Restaurant optimism: COVID-19 restrictions almost immediately caused economic instability in the restaurant business. Then the closures started. But not everyone is down for the count. Marc Bona reports on restaurants that revamped or expanded in the past year.
Museum honors: Out of the 35,000 museums in the United States, the Great Lakes Scienter Center was one of the 15 museums selected as a finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, Alexis Oatman reports.
Cheap wine: Sommelier André Mack is back to do what he does best: taste wine. Cleveland.com’s sister site, Bon Appetit, asked him to try 20 bottles of white wine under $15 and let us know his honest thoughts on them.
Things to do: Spring arrives this weekend. How will you spend it? Joey Morona has a dozen ideas, from an independent restaurant week to Ukrainian Easter bazaar.
Suspect in New Philadelphia fatal shooting arrested in Warrensville Heights Read more
Man fatally shot in West Akron Read more
Man stabbed with box cutter outside Lakewood bar St. Patrick’s Day night Read more
Shooting in Akron’s Kenmore neighborhood wounds 1 person Read more
Cleveland man attacks, punches woman at Tower in the Park apartments in Berea Read more
‘Summer is back,’ University Heights Mayor Brennan proclaims in state-of-city address; also talks of tough year brought on by pandemic, protests Read more
See 20-foot inflatable flowers on display: Hope Blooms at Beachwood High (photos) Read more
Registration open for Parma’s youth baseball/softball spring and summer season Read more
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