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Highs will get to the upper 60s today but skies will grow increasingly cloudy, with showers likely later in the afternoon. Expect showers overnight and thunderstorms are possible. The wind will pick up, with gusts over 30 mph, and temps will drop to the mid-40s. Read more.
Local scores: Cavs 103, Chicago Bulls 94
Veto override: The Republican-led Ohio General Assembly on Wednesday voted to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of legislation to rein in his administration’s coronavirus powers. Jeremy Pelzer reports Senate Bill 22 gives lawmakers the authority to cancel any gubernatorial health orders that last longer than 30 days, require the governor’s office to renew such orders every 60 days, and create a legislative oversight panel. The bill also limits local health officials’ power to require people to quarantine or self-isolate without a specific medical diagnosis. It’s the first time that lawmakers have passed a law over a DeWine veto since he took office in 2019.
Lordstown Motors: A parade of officials has lauded Lordstown Motors and its promise for the economically beleaguered Youngstown area. But as it gears up to produce its first vehicles by September, the politicized company has faced mounting questions about its viability. Its stock plunged on March 12 after a prominent investment firm betting against the company’s success released a scathing research report that said the company had “misled investors both on its demand and production capabilities.” Andrew Tobias looks at the viability of the start-up.
This Week in the CLE: New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are flat in Ohio for a second straight week after sharp reductions during January and February. Why? We’re talking about the reason behind the worrisome plateau on This Week in the CLE, cleveland.com’s daily half-hour news podcast.
New numbers: Ohio reported 1,848 new coronavirus cases today, bringing the total case count during the pandemic to 1,004,670. Laura Hancock reports that about 25% of the state has received a second dose of vaccine, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, still far from herd immunity but 65,246 more than on Tuesday.
COVID rate: Progress appears to have stalled, or even taken a small step backward, this week in working toward meeting the coronavirus case-rate goal Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has set before he will lift his state health orders. The official rate from the state will not be released until this afternoon, but Rich Exner estimates it will be close to 146.8 new cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks, up from 143.8 cases per 100,000 reported last Thursday.
HB6: The Ohio legislature is now one step away from repealing key portions of the scandal-tainted House Bill 6, including the $1 billion in nuclear subsidies that make up the core of the law. Andrew Tobias reports HB128 leaves intact other parts of HB6, including subsidies for coal plants owned by a consortium of Ohio utilities and provisions that gut renewable energy standards and eliminate energy efficiency charges. The bill passed the Senate and now heads back to the House.
Census lawsuit: A federal judge has dismissed Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s lawsuit that sought to force the U.S. Census Bureau to provide its results by a March 31 legal deadline, six months earlier than Census officials said was possible. Andrew Tobias reports that Judge Thomas M. Rose cited legal precedent he said barred him from ordering someone to “jump higher, run faster, or lift more than she is physically capable.” He also wrote that Yost failed to demonstrate Ohio had been harmed by the delay in the release of the Census information.
Air travel: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport reported its busiest weekend in more than a year – and it’s likely to get busier as spring break traffic picks up, reports Susan Glaser. But the 56,500 passengers who traveled through the airport last weekend is still 30% lower than the 81,000 passengers who traveled the weekend of March 6-8, 2020 – just before global travel came to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic. The rapid distribution of vaccinations against the coronavirus has fostered a sense of cautious optimism at airports and for the airline industry, Robert Higgs reports.
In-person classes: Cleveland schools began their final phase into hybrid instruction on Monday and the district is past its deadline for opting out of in-person learning. Emily Bamforth reports the situation remains flexible. Though the phases are nearly complete, the district is still adjusting plans, including assigning teachers, to respond to families’ needs.
Juvenile charges: A Cuyahoga County juvenile court judge scrapped a plea deal on Wednesday for a 15-year-old boy charged in the fatal shooting of Cleveland police Det. James Skernivitz and a police informant. Adam Ferrise reports both prosecutors and defense attorneys started the day intending to present the plea agreement to Judge Alison Floyd, but Floyd brought up several procedural issues, including that the deal called for specifications that would allow her to impose an adult sentence if the teen had disciplinary issues while serving time in the state’s juvenile prison system.
Police presence: At a recent City Council hearing, Councilman Joe Jones hammered lack of police presence in the city’s Southeast neighborhoods, saying it has left residents to patrol their own streets and chase criminals like vigilantes. Columnist Leila Atassi writes about how Jones himself pursued two men after they robbed multiple Dollar General stores.
Cash boost: Mayor Frank Jackson gave his first indication Wednesday on how the city of Cleveland will spend $541 million in federal stimulus and coronavirus relief money. Using federal aid to reimburse city expenses, and expenses at city-owned Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, could go a long way toward stabilizing Cleveland’s budget for 2021 and ensuring that it carries enough into 2022 to keep that budget stabilized, Robert Higgs reports.
Transportation bill: The Ohio Senate has approved a two-year $8.3 billion transportation budget bill, putting the measure one step closer to becoming law. Andrew Tobias reports the bill includes $6.1 billion for highway construction, maintenance, and financing costs, and also funds the state Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol and Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Doctors visit: Now that adults are getting vaccinated, are people rushing to their doctors’ offices? Alexis Oatman reports that children are visiting the doctor more as restrictions loosen and schools start to reopen, and public outreach created a significant uptick in patients coming in from deferred care.
Lung transplants: Surgeons at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Comprehensive Transplant Center have performed four lung transplants in patients who recovered from COVID-19, Julie Washington reports. In severe cases of COVID-19, lung tissue can be permanently damaged, making a transplant the only option for saving the patient’s life.
Vaccine protection: If you don’t have any side effects from the vaccine, are you “less immune” than someone who has strong side effects? The short answer is no. Evan MacDonald reports the severity or number of side effects are not indicative of someone’s level of protection against COVID-19.
Hazing deaths: Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown says legislation he’s introduced to address hazing on college campuses could help prevent future deaths. Sabrina Eaton reports his bill would require that hazing incidents be included in colleges’ yearly crime reports, establish a definition of hazing to clarify what constitutes a reportable offense, and require institutions to establish programs to educate students about the dangers of hazing.
Summit mass vaccination: Delays in coronavirus vaccine shipments have pushed back the start of the mass vaccination clinic at the Summit County Fairgrounds by at least a few days, Robin Goist reports. The state-sponsored site at the fairgrounds in Tallmadge was tentatively scheduled to open Monday, but will now open on an unspecified date in early April.
KSU vaccines: More than 2,000 vaccines were distributed at a weekly mass vaccination site at the Kent State Field House on Tuesday. The Portage County Combined General Health District is running the clinic each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those eligible for the vaccine and who live in Portage County can sign up to get the vaccinated, but future times could vary, Emily Bamforth reports.
Unemployment: Pandemic-enhanced unemployment benefits in Ohio provided under the latest coronavirus stimulus package will continue through September without any interruption, Jeremy Pelzer reports.
Filing deadline: The Ohio Department of Taxation announced Wednesday that it was delaying the 2021 tax filing deadline from April 15 until May 17 to match the earlier announced change by the Internal Revenue Service for federal income taxes, Rich Exner reports.
That’s Rich: Should you drive or fly to Florida on vacation? It’s not as simple as air fare vs. gasoline. Among the other factors: meals on the road, hotel stays and the cost of getting around once there. Rich Exner breaks it down.
Train travel: Amtrak is planning to restore daily long-distance train service through Cleveland this spring, reduced last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Susan Glaser reports, a group of passenger rail advocates continues to push for a much more significant expansion of train service through Ohio.
Diner shooting: One of two men charged in connection with a shootout inside a diner in the city’s Cudell neighborhood spent three years in prison for his role in a deadly 2014 shooting outside a Cleveland Heights bar. Adam Ferrise reports Anthony Hunt, 29, is charged with aggravated murder in connection with the early Monday shootout at My Friends Restaurant on Detroit Avenue and West 117th Street.
NFL Draft tips: Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration on Wednesday night released a list of restrictions in and around the downtown site of the 2021 NFL Draft next month, Robert Higgs reports.
Lookalikes: Cleveland.com’s sister site, Glamour, asked 70 men from 5 to 75 years old which celebrities they look like. Find out who their talented dopplegangers are.
Music Fest: In the span of one year, Cleveland’s 48 Hour Virtual Music Fest has put on more than 700 hours of programming, raised more than $20,000 for fundraisers and created an online community for an entertainment scene that was transformed during the pandemic. Anne Nickoloff reports the festival will celebrate its one-year anniversary this weekend, from 8:45 p.m. Friday until 11:45 p.m. Sunday.
Federal officer shot, wounded during arrest of suspect in Canton Read more
Feds arrest suspect in shooting death of woman found on I-77 in Cleveland Read more
Armed men pistol-whipped, carjacked Lyft driver in Maple Heights, police say Read more
Prosecutors dismiss charges involving the seizure of a machine gun from a Northeast Ohio home Read more
Cuyahoga County approves proposed settlement in lawsuit over unclaimed money Read more
Parma City Schools returns to all-in instruction, announces commencement and prom dates Read more
Lakewood to extend temporary outdoor dining options for local restaurants Read more
Olmsted Falls superintendent discusses pros and cons of House Bill 67 Read more
Brooklyn schedules outdoor spring and summer family movies and senior center events Read more