Morning Headlines: Smucker Plans Layoffs; Akron Moves Up School Reopening Date
Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, February 23:
- Smucker plans layoffs
- Akron schools moves up reopening plan
- Rocket Mortgage gets job-creating tax credit
- DeWine outlines nursing home visitation requirements
- DeWine: Up to 30% of fans for spring pro teams
- Goodyear acquires Cooper in all-American tire deal
- Smithers calls off move to downtown Akron
- Summit switches to lottery system for vaccines
- Key senators oppose Biden budget pick, confirmation at risk
Smucker plans layoffs
The J.M. Smucker Company is planning layoffs. The Beacon Journal reports the Orrville-based jelly and jam giant is expected to announce details on Thursday’s investor call. A company spokesman says it’s the result of shifts in consumer behavior during the pandemic. The company currently employs more than 7,000 people in Orrville and at 30 manufacturing sites across North America.
Akron schools moves up reopening plan
Akron Public Schools is moving up its reopening schedule by one week. The school board Monday voted for all students to return to in-person learning by March 15, rather than March 22. The move follows a series of warnings from Gov. Mike DeWine, who wants all schools to offer an in-person option beginning March 1 in exchange for vaccinating teachers and staff. The Beacon Journal reports about 69% of Akron parents surveyed said they preferred full-time in-person learning for their child, and 31% preferred all-remote. The district says remote learning will still be available.
Rocket Mortgage gets job-creating tax credit
A state board has approved a 10-year tax credit worth up to nearly $10 million for Rocket Mortgage to bring jobs to Cleveland. The Detroit-based company must create 630 new jobs by the end of 2023 and maintain operations in Cleveland for at least 13 years to receive the full incentive. Cleveland.com reports the new jobs will mostly be mortgage bankers. Rocket Mortgage is owned by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
DeWine outlines nursing home visitation requirements
Gov. Mike DeWine is sending a letter to all Ohio's nursing homes to make sure they're clear on the federal government's guidelines for visitations. Under rules from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, nursing homes must meet three main criteria to allow visits: No new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, that the facility is not conducting outbreak testing, and a county positivity rate below 10%. However, DeWine said compassionate care visits are always allowed. That covers not only end-of-life situations, but also special visits to provide comfort, support or assistance to someone whose wellbeing is suffering or at risk of declining. Ohio’s nursing home facilities are required to report their visitation status to Ohio's Long-Term Care Visitation Dashboard.
DeWine: Up to 30% of fans for spring pro teams
Gov. Mike DeWine says pro sports teams could allow up to 30% of fans in stadiums this spring under a pandemic-related plan for sports. The governor said Monday that the expanded fan capacity would apply to the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds along with minor baseball teams and major league soccer clubs. DeWine cautions the proposal could change if the coronavirus variant spreads rapidly. The governor says the 30% figure is contingent on fans being masked and practicing proper social distancing.
Goodyear acquires Cooper in all-American tire deal
Akron-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber is acquiring Findlay-based Cooper tires in a deal with an equity value of $2.5 billion. Akron will remain the headquarters for the combined company, but a presence in Findlay will be maintained. The entity's global footprint includes 56 factories around the world with more than 70,000 employees. Goodyear expects to realize $165 million in savings over a two-year period by reducing corporate and research & development functions that are duplicative. There are no plans at this point to close factories or reduce manufacturing jobs.
Smithers calls off move to downtown Akron
A long-time Akron research firm says its move to the former Austen BioInnovation Institute is off due to the financial fallout from the pandemic. Smithers was planning a $17 million renovation of the century old building in downtown Akron. Crain’s Cleveland reports the company now say the move is untenable. In 2008 the building became home to a now defunct collaborative between Akron-based health care and research institutions.
Summit switches to lottery system for vaccines
Summit County Public Health will switch from scheduled vaccine appointments to a lottery system starting Monday. The health department says demand for appointments has been so high, it would occasionally overload their phone and internet systems. Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says about 110,000 people are currently on their vaccine list. They’re working out how many they will contact each week. Once selected, a person will get instructions by phone or email on how to schedule an appointment.
Key senators oppose Biden budget pick, confirmation at risk
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has joined fellow Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah in saying he'll vote against confirming President Joe Biden’s nominee for budget director. The opposition of the Republican senators casts further doubt on Neera Tanden's chances of being confirmed to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia also opposes Tanden, who has drawn criticism for her past attacks on Twitter against Republicans and other lawmakers.