Ohio Unemployment Tops 1.1 Million in Seven Weeks Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

The state of Ohio has more than 1.1 million people who have filed unemployment claims in the past seven weeks as Ohio’s stay-at-home led to widespread layoffs – which has more than the combined total for the last three years – the US Department of Labor reported Thursday.

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Great Lakes Water Levels Rise to Record Highs and Will Stay High Through Summer, Experts Say

After a record-breaking 2019, the US Army Corps of Engineers reported in their April summary that all five Great Lakes will again see a higher-than-average water levels. Lake Erie leads the way in 2020 with levels topping nine inches over last year.

Records show that the Great Lakes are experiencing the highest water levels since 1986. Water levels on the Great Lakes – which are connected by above- and below-ground waterways – are cyclical with periods of low and high water. Each period may last for several years depending on the amount of precipitation, runoff, and evaporation that occurs. 

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State House Speaker Householder Expresses ‘Tremendous Frustration’ with Gov. DeWine’s ‘Restart Ohio’ Plan

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) expressed sharp criticism on Monday for Governor Mike DeWine’s plans to reopen the economy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic over what he called an “unwillingness to recognize” the needs of small business.

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Ohio Couple Sentenced for Conspiring to Import, Distribute Chinese Fentanyl

An Akron couple was sentenced Thursday for their roles in what prosecutors described as an operation that brought large amounts of fentanyl and carfentanil from China for sale in Northeast Ohio.

Donte Gibson, 41, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. His wife Audrey Gibson, 36, was sentenced to 10 years, 10 months in prison. Chief U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan sentenced the pair by video. The Akron couple were arrested in February 2018 and pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering conspiracy charges.

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Ohio Governor Eases Restrictions on Elective Surgery Ban

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine during his daily news briefing Wednesday, announced an easing up on the prohibition of elective surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic.

DeWine said that doctors can now review postponed procedures and surgeries with patients in terms of their current health situation and quality of life, after which doctors and patients can make a joint decision about whether to proceed. New or other chronic conditions that may have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life should also be evaluated.

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Ohio’s Urbana University Closing Its Doors for Good

Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, say they will close their campus at the end of the semester in May due to the combination of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and years of low enrollment.

The school’s CEO Dr. Christopher Washington took to Facebook Monday to discuss the closure personally.

“I don’t think anyone seen this coming as fast as it did . The calamity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is affecting our entire nation and in fact our whole world has caused tremendous disruption and uncertainty in higher education,” he said in a video he made in his home.

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Ohio State Controlling Board Splits $90 Million in Federal Funds: 10 Percent to Ohio Department of Health and 90 Percent to ‘Rural Transportation’

The state Controlling Board voted to split $90 million of federal taxpayer money aimed to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic between the Ohio Health Department – which will receive $8.5 million – and rural transportation departments across the state, which will receive the balance of $81.5 million to “aid for rural transportation systems,” according to a statement released by Democrats Monday.

“We need to ensure health care workers and officials on the ground have the tools they need to detect, track and contain this virus before we begin to reopen our state. This funding is a step in the right direction to get us where we need to be, but we’re not there yet,” said Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron).

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Trial Delayed for Accused Murderer Dr. William Husel

  The Ohio doctor accused of ordering excessive painkiller doses for dozens of patients who died won’t face trial on murder charges until next year. Dr. William Husel was scheduled for trial in Columbus this June, but it was delayed by a ban on mass gatherings because of the coronavirus…

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DeWine Delays Three Executions Until 2022 Citing Drug Shortage

The execution of three death row inmates was delayed Monday by Governor Mike DeWine, who said the reprieve was due to “ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), pursuant to DRC protocol, without endangering other Ohioans.”

The move follows a decision in January, 2019 to delay the execution of Warren Henness, after a federal judge suggested that Ohio’s current three-drug execution cocktail was unconstitutional, which lead DeWine to postpone execution dates for other men and order a review of the state’s death-penalty method.

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State Rep Nino Vitale Calls On Gov DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton to Ease Restrictions on Elective Surgery in Ohio

State Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) issued a call to action in the form of an open letter Friday to ease restrictions and reopen hospitals and medical centers to elective surgeries in Ohio.

“My request is we allow the doctors and nurses in these fields to immediately open back up and treat Ohioans that need medical care, which is getting more and more critical by the day because of these restrictions,” Vitale wrote.

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Ohio Plain Dealer Lays Off More Staff Due to Ongoing Financial Challenges

Cleveland’s Plain Dealer announced the layoff of 22 more journalists Friday, and said more could be gone in the weeks to come due to the “ongoing financial challenges in the newspaper business.”

Additionally, the paper said it will no longer be covering Cleveland or the state of Ohio generally, but instead it will become a bureau of Cleveland.com covering five counties: Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina and Portage.

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Governor DeWine Urges ‘Courageous’ Ohioans to Wear Cloth Masks in Public to Combat Coronavirus

  Governor Mike DeWine encouraged Ohio residents during Saturday’s coronavirus press briefing to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation (CDC) to wear a non-medical mask while in public, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. “In many cultures around the world, wearing a mask is…

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House Lawmaker Calls on Ohio State Senate to Pass Bipartisan Opioid Measure

Ohio State Representative Richard D. Brown (D-Canal Winchester) called on the State Senate Thursday to pass House Bill 10 (HB 10). The legislation was passed unanimously in June, 2019 with the help of the bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.).

“The all-encompassing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies exactly why we need a dedicated office to focus on drug addiction in our state. We cannot afford to take our eye off the ball even in the face of another crisis,” said Rep. Brown in a statement.

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Governor DeWine’s Office Insists Ohio Is Complying with CDC Reporting Requirements Despite Failing to Report Negative Coronavirus Test Results

Governor Mike DeWine’s press secretary Daniel Tierney said that Ohio “is in and has been in full compliance” with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) reporting standards, even though the state altered it’s reporting of COVID-19 test result on March 15 to exclude negative test results.

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Ohio Governor DeWine Orders State Hiring Freeze, Dodges Abortion Questions

In his daily press briefing Monday, Governor Mike DeWine declared a hiring freeze for State of Ohio employees to, in part, deal with the revenues shortfall caused by the statewide “Stay at Home” shutdown due to the Chinese Virus outbreak.

“State revenue will continue to go down dramatically and it’s important as governor that we take action now and not wait,” DeWine said.

In addition to new hires, the governor halted pay increases and promotions for state of Ohio unclassified and exempt staff and a freeze on new contract services for the state of Ohio – with the exception for those services that are necessary for the emergency response.

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Governor DeWine Issues Statewide ‘Stay At Home’ Order to Combat COVID-19

Governor Mike DeWine – through Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton – announced Sunday that a two-week, statewide ‘Stay at Home’ order will be in effect beginning 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23 and will last through April 6 at 11:59pm:

On Sunday, March 22th, under the direction of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH issued a director’s order to require all Ohioans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 beginning at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 23, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020. This order prohibits holding gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses. It does NOT prohibit essential activities like going to the grocery store, receiving medical care, or taking your pet for a walk. Residents can return home from out of state and can leave the state.

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