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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: Ohio Senators Prepare for Impeachment Vote; UA, Kent State Stop Travel to China

photo of Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown
Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown prepare for impeachment trial.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Feb. 5:

  • Ohio senators prepare for impeachment vote;
  • UA, Kent State stop travel to China;
  • Bounce to offer course for minority entrepreneurs;
  • Macy's to close 125 stores, shed 2,000 corporate jobs;
  • Householder wants to EdChoice program to be income-based;
  • DeWine has plan to address relatives caring for kids;
  • Ohio Medicaid seeks ideas for improving patient experiences;
  • New program in Ohio accepted oral cancer drug donations;
  • Akron Rubberducks to extend park safety netting;

Ohio senators prepare for impeachment vote
Ohio’s U.S. senators will votealong party lines on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Wednesday. Republican Rob Portman took to the Senate floor on Tuesday and said that he will vote to acquit. Portman said Trump’s behavior was inappropriate and wrong, but didn’t rise to the level of criminal conduct to warrant removing the president from office.Democrat Sherrod Brown said he will vote to convict Trump, calling the president’s conduct worse than that of President Richard Nixon, who faced impeachment in the 1970s.

UA, Kent State stop travel to China
The University of Akron and Kent State are temporarily restricting all university-sponsored trips to China in response to the spread of the coronavirus. UA said it will remain in place until further notice in response to the U.S. Department of State issuing a Level 4: Do Not Travel warning for China. Cleveland.com reportsAkron had planned one trip to China this semester, but has since changed the itinerary. The university’s annual Chinese New Year Gala, scheduled for Jan. 31, was cancelled due to perceived concerns over the coronavirus.

Bounce to offer course for non-tech, minority entrepreneurs
Akron's Bounce Innovation Hub is offering a program to help non-tech and minority entrepreneurs start businesses. Cincinnati-basedMORTAR will offer a 15-week course that helps launch sustainable businesses. The course is a part of Bounce's GROW Program which focuses on women and minority entrepreneurs. It costs nearly $300 and classes begin in April.

Macy's to close 125 stores, shed 2,000 corporate jobs
Macy's said it is closing 125 of its least productive stores and cutting 2,000 corporate jobs as the struggling department store tries to reinvent itself in the age of online shopping. The store closures represent about one-fifth of Macy's current total. The corporate jobs will be shed as Macy's closes its offices cities including Lorain and Cincinnati, leaving New York as its sole corporate headquarters.

Householder wants EdChoice program to be income-based
The leader of the Ohio House is pushing a fix to the state’s private school voucher mess that focuses on family income instead of school performance. Speaker Larry Householder told reporters Tuesday that he would like the EdChoice program to be based exclusively on family income. Lawmakers last week postponed the start of the program that offers vouchers to students at a rapidly expanded list of schools that received a failing mark on their state report card. Currently families at 200% of the poverty level also qualify for private school vouchers. Senate President Larry Obhof said the legislature should fix the report card system that led to a rapid expansion of schools receiving failing marks. School administrators said spending more public money on private school vouchers will devastate their budgets.

DeWine has plan to address relatives caring for kids
Gov. Mike DeWine said he is close to releasing a proposal to help relatives caring for children taken from their parents even when the relatives aren't licensed caregivers. Ohio has been under pressure from child advocates to follow a 2017 federal court ruling ordering equality in payments to non-licensed relatives and to relatives who become licensed. The issue has taken on new significance because the opioid crisishas seen a huge increase in the number of children taken from homes because of parents' or guardians' addictions. 

Ohio Medicaid seeks ideas for improving patient experiences
Ohio's Medicaid departmentis asking for input from companies and organizations familiar with the program on ways to improve the experience of its 3 million patients. The state announced the plan on Tuesday that outlines its vision for reimagining the government health insurance program. The request is directed at providers, associations, advocacy groups, data and information technology vendors and managed care organizations. It's an extension of an initiative by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine aimed at reducing barriers, streamlining access and enhancing the health care delivery.

New program in Ohio accepted oral cancer drug donations
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy and a cancer hospital said patients who no longer need oral cancer therapy drugs can donate them to a new repository for distribution to patients unable to afford such medications. The board and Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center on Tuesday announced formation of the repository programat that hospital's outpatient pharmacy. The program will accept donations of the unneeded that be dispensed to patients at the cancer hospital.

Akron Rubberducks to extend park safety netting
The Akron Rubberducks is following Major League Baseball in extending its safety netting at Canal Park. The Indians made a similar announcement last week for Progressive Field. A proposed bill moving through the Ohio House would mandate Ohio's eight major and minor league teams to have netting that extends to the foul ball poles. There will be retractable portions of the netting that will allow players to sign autographs for fans.

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