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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: Akron Wants Protections for Workers' Hairstyles; Weather Delays Rt. 8 Work

a photo of route 8 with sign
Route 8

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Feb. 26:

  • Akron wants protections for workers' hairstyles;
  • Weather delays Rt. 8 work;
  • Progressive to hire 1,500 in Greater Cleveland;
  • One Stark County inmate remains at large;
  • Another Ohio resident is being tested for the coronavirus; 
  • Ohio infant deaths decrease, but racial disparity continues;
  • Ohio Elections chief: nearly 150K absentee ballots requested;
  • Ohio troopers' 100-mph pursuit, crash is under review;
  • Authorities: Man stole more than $700,000 from VFW post;

Akron wants protections for workers' hairstyles
Akron City Council is asking state lawmakers to make it illegal for employers to punish or fire workers based on hair style. New York, New Jersey and California have passed the legislation known as the CROWN Act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair.The Beacon Journal reports although the Civil Rights Act bans racial discrimination in the workplace, denying an applicant because of their dreadlocks or natural hair may not be prohibited depending on how the law is interpreted. Democrats in the Ohio House said they’re considering introducing a CROWN bill. 

Weather delays Rt. 8 work
The ramp closures and traffic diversion project on Route 8 in northern Summit County set to begin Wednesday have been delayed due to weather. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) said a mix of rain and snow in the forecast has delayed the start of the project "until further notice." An ODOT spokesperson said the work could be rescheduled for the weekend if weather improves. The complicated redirection of traffic on a six mile stretch of Route 8 involves splitting northbound traffic into two separate lanes. Entrance and exit ramps from Graham Road, Route 303, and Steels Corners Road will temporarily close. It’s the second year of a three-year, nearly $60 million project which will continue through the fall.

Progressive to hire 1,500 in Greater Cleveland
Mayfield-based Progressive Insurance is hiring 1,500 employees in the Greater Cleveland area this year. Positions include customer sales, marketing, legal and business analysis. The jobs are among 8,000 Progressive plans to fill nationwide. The company said it has grown 50% over the last three years, with total revenues at nearly $40 billion.

One Stark County inmate remains at large
One inmate at the Stark County Regional Community Corrections Center remains at-large after five escaped last week. Four inmates got out by breaking a window, another didn’t return from leave. Authorities are still looking for Canton native Vincent Blanc, 24. The correctional facility holds adults convicted with low-level felonies.

Another Ohio resident is being tested for the coronavirus
Another Ohio resident is being tested for the coronavirus, now known asCOVID-19. Six others have been tested in recent weeks but all results were negative. More than 200 people are under public health supervision in the state. These individuals have either showed symptoms like coughing and breathing issues, went to China or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases in the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday warned Americans to start preparing for an outbreak, saying to go to the doctor if flu-like symptoms appear and wash your hands regularly.

Ohio infant deaths decrease, but racial disparity continues
Ohio Health officials said the number of infant deaths decreased overall from 2017 to 2018, including a drop in deaths among black infants. But the Ohio Department of Health said deaths of black babies continue to disproportionately outpace those of white babies. The state recorded 938 infant deaths in 2018, down around 5% from the previous year. Still, the infant mortality rate for black infants remains more than twice the overall rate in Ohio.

Ohio Elections chief: nearly 150K absentee ballots requested
The Ohio elections chief said nearly 150,000 absentee ballots have been requested with about three weeks to go before the state's March 17 presidential primary. Frank LaRose said around 18,000 votes have been cast statewide. That’s up from the same period four years ago, when about 10,000 votes had been cast.

Ohio troopers' 100-mph pursuit, crash is under review
A 100-mph chase that ended with Ohio troopers crashing into the suspect's vehicle is under review. Dashboard camera footage of the high-speed chase on Feb. 9 between Ohio Highway Patrol troopers and two men will be reviewed to ensure troopers followed pursuit policies. Officials said the chase began through two of Cuyahoga County's highways after the men sped away from a trooper who said he “smelled weed” in their SUV at a rest stop. The two men now face several felony charges including counterfeiting. But neither of them have been accused of using or possessing drugs.

Authorities: Man stole more than $700,000 from VFW post
State authorities said a man who allegedly stole more than $700,000 from the Aurora Veterans of Foreign Wars post has been charged with aggravated theft. Authorities said Dan Molnar, 74, had “complete control” of the post’s bank accounts and used that access to tamper with a lottery machine and write improper checks.

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