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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Morning Headlines: FBI Searches Cuyahoga County Offices, Babcock & Wilcox Announces More Layoffs

photo of FBI plaque

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, Feb. 15:

  • FBI searches Cuyahoga County offices;
  • Babcock & Wilcox announces another round of layoffs;
  • Ohio senators, 12 others approve of spending packages to avoid shutdown;
  • Rep. Tim Ryan considering run for White House;
  • Poll: Ohio conservatives support renewable energy;
  • Summa Health launches $75M fundraising campaign;
  • Put-in-Bay mayor resigns following indictment;
  • DNA links man charged with rape to 90s murder;

FBI searches Cuyahoga County offices
The FBI and state investigators conducted searches Thursday of Cuyahoga County administration offices. Agents spent several hours gathering evidence in Executive Armond Budish’s office, including his cell phone and computer, as part of an ongoing investigation in county corruption. In a statement Budish said he has done nothing wrong and called the raid part of a "politcal circus." Though he insisted he is cooperating with the investigation. Investigators have served 17 subpoenas on Budish’s administration over the past year. Three current and former county employees were indicted last month for a range of corruption charges.

Babcock & Wilcox announces another round of layoffs
Babcock & Wilcox has announced another round of layoffs. The Beacon Journal reports that on Wednesday the environmental technology company laid off 37 workers in Barberton and two Copley employees. The company said the job cuts do not affect plans to move its corporate headquarters to Akron later this year. A spokesperson said the cuts are needed to reduce costs, improve cash flow and stabilize finances. B&W plans to move around 650 employees from Barberton and Copley to Akron’s east end development by the end of September.

Ohio senators, 12 others approve of spending packages to avoid shutdown
Ohio’s two senators and 12 of 16 of the state’s congressional representatives voted in favor of spending packages that would keep the government from another shutdown. The House passed its spending plan just hours after Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown voted in favor of the deal. The Dispatch reports Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Anthony Gonzalez, and Tim Ryan were among the Northeast Ohio delegation that voted in favor of the spending bill, while Jim Jordan was one of four Ohio congressman who opposed it. President Trump is expected to sign the spending package Friday.

Rep. Tim Ryan considering run for White House
Another Ohio politician could join the race for the White House. Youngstown Congressman Tim Ryantold CNN this week that he is seriously considering running for president. Ryan could be one of three Ohioans challenging Donald Trump, which include fellow Democrat, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Republican former Gov. John Kasich. None of whom are officially campaigning, yet. Ryan said he’s concerned about the country’s wage gap. He told CNN, “the country is divided,” and his constituents are suffering.

Poll: Ohio conservatives support renewable energy
A new poll shows that conservatives in Ohio strongly support renewable energy.Cleveland.com reportsthe Ohio Conservative Forum survey found that 70 percent of conservative voters would like to see 50 percent or more of energy come from green sources like wind or solar. GOP lawmakers have rolled back requirements that utilities produce an increasing percentage of power from renewable sources, a move conservative voters oppose according to pollsters. The poll also found that conservatives do not back proposed bailouts for aging coal and nuclear plants being considered by lawmakers.

Summa Health launches $75M fundraising campaign
Summa Health System has launched a $75 million fundraising campaign. The Akron-based system said the effort will help fund the new patient tower at Akron City Hospital, renovations at its Barberton campus, and fund clinical staff. The campaign has been quietly underway since 2013, raising $60 million so far. Summa was recently named among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationally according to a Healthgrades’ ranking.

Put-in-Bay mayor resigns following indictment
The village mayor on the popular Lake Erie resort island Put-in-Bay has resigned four months after he was indicted on public corruption charges. Mayor Bernard McCann officially stepped down Wednesday. McCann was indicted in October on two felony counts and four misdemeanor conflict of interest counts. He released a statement denying any wrongdoing. The Ohio Attorney General's office said the 82-year-old McCann used his position as mayor to secure a waterline project for a business associate. Put-in-Bay's former fiscal officer also was indicted, as were the mayor's two children who had positions with the village. The charges came following a yearlong corruption investigation on the island.

DNA links man charged with rape to 90s murder
Ohio authorities have charged a man recently extradited from Arizona on rape charges with aggravated murder in the 1992 slaying of a woman at a truck stop. Officials said it’s one of four such killings 49-year-old Samuel Legg III is linked with through DNA evidence. Legg was extradited in January from Arizona to face sexual assault charges. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape at an arraignment in that case on Thursday in Medina County. Hours later, Legg was indicted in Mahoning County on aggravated murder charges in the April 1992 slaying of 43-year-old Sharon Kedzierski at a truck stop near Youngstown. He is suspected in a series of truck stop slayings in Ohio and Illinois in the ’90s.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.