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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: Brown Won't Take PAC Donations, Parma Charter School Teachers to Go On Strike

A photo of Sherrod Brown.
Sen. Sherrod Brown

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, Feb. 19:

  • Brown won't take PAC donations if he runs;
  • Parma charter school teachers to go on strike;
  • Officials: Ohio has a hepatitis A outbreak, but it's not new;
  • Case Western Reserve University reaches fundraising milestone;
  • Study: Drilling boom stunts economic growth;
  • Groups protest President Trump's emergency declaration;
  • University of Akron College of Engineering received $11M for research;
  • Ohio State University malfunction issues false 'active attacker' alert;
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park to close section of Towpath trail;

Brown won't take PAC donations if he runs
Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said he won’t take donations from corporate political action committees if he runs for president. It’s a stark change from Brown’s previous campaigns; Cleveland.com reports that over the last five years, Brown has taken nearly $4 million in PAC donations. Other Democrats who are running for president have also said they will not take PAC money. Brown is touring early 2020 primary states this month, and plans to announce his plans in March.

Parma charter school teachers to go on strike
Teachers at a small Parma charter school are going on strike Tuesday morning. They argue Summit Academy is shortchanging students by failing to hire more teachers or aides. Teachers said the administration turned down their offer to forego pay raises in return for limiting class sizes to under 20. Summit Academy serves about 200 students with disabilities.Cleveland.com reports it's believed to be just the third charter school strike in the nation.

Officials: Ohio has a hepatitis A outbreak, but it's not new
The Ohio Department of Health said reports that wrongly imply a newly declared outbreak of hepatitis A are circulating around the state, apparently prompted by a recent case involving a restaurant worker. A statewide outbreak of hepatitis A was declared last summer. The department said Monday that outbreak is ongoing, but no further outbreak has been announced and there's no new cause for concern. The department said more than 1,600 cases have been reported statewide since January 2018. It urges people considered at high risk for the liver disease to consider vaccination. It’s transmitted by oral contact with fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts.

Case Western Reserve University reaches fundraising milestone
Case Western Reserve University has reached a fundraising milestone. The school Monday announced that it has wrapped up its Forward Thinking capital campaign having raised more than $1.82 billion. The campaign was originally launched in 2011 with the goal of raising $1 billion. That was updated to $1.5 billion in 2014. Part of those funds are already spent as part of the new $500 million medical school being built with the Cleveland Clinic that’s scheduled to open this summer.

Study: Drilling boom stunts economic growth
A new study shows that the shale drilling boom might not be helping economic development in Ohio counties. The authors, including Amanda Weinstein from the University of Akron and two others from Ohio State, looked oil and gas extraction earnings in four regions between 2001 and 2013. In the Marcellus Shale region, which includes Ohio, oil and gas development stunted other economic activity in communities. The study states that with every $5 in oil and gas earnings, there was $1 left for communities. In Ohio, the average wage for core shale-related jobs is more than $93,000.

Groups protest President Trump's emergency declaration
Scattered protests were held Monday across Ohio with calls against President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergencyat the U.S. border. The Columbus Dispatch reportsthat around 60 people gathered outside Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s downtown Columbus office. Portman has so far not said whether an emergency declaration is warranted, but has said he prefers a legislative solution to border security. Small groups of protests also gathered in northern Summit County and other parts of the region as part of around 230 gatherings nationwide organized by the group Move On.

University of Akron College of Engineering receives $11M for research
Faculty researchers at The University of Akron’s College of Engineering received about $11 million in research funding last year. The university said the grants were awarded by government agencies and industry partners for projects such as improving cancer treatment and road safety. In all, the grants funded 80 projects and centers in the college.

Ohio State University malfunction issues false 'active attacker' alert
There were some nervous moments on Ohio State University’s campus Monday, as its Buckeye Alert system sent out a false active attacker alert. The university said the problem occurred during an internal test of the emergency alert system. The alert went out to campus desktop computers and the Franklin County alert system. A follow-up message about five minutes later stated there was no threat and that the system had malfunctioned.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park to close section of Towpath trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is closing a section of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail for three weeks beginning Tuesday. Park officials said a culvert needs to be replaced at a half mile north of Boston Mills Road to one mile south of Highland Road. No detour is available.

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