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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's Soap Box Derby Canceled; Ohio to Test Nursing Home Staff for COVID-19

Rubber Bowl beside Derby Downs
Derby Downs and the now torn down Rubber Bowl

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, May 27:

  • Akron's Soap Box Derby canceled;
  • Ohio to test staff in nursing homes for COVID-19;
  • E-signature rule for ballot campaigns stayed as Ohio appeals;
  • Salary of new FirstEnergy president is $800,000;
  • U.S. Supreme Court upholds order at Elkton Correctional;
  • Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Youngstown to step down;
  • Columbiana County COVID-19 cases escalate;
  • 9 Northeast Ohio Boys and Girls clubs set to reopen;
  • Cleveland Mayor extends emergency proclamation

Akron's Soap Box Derby canceled
The annual All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron has been canceled due to the pandemic. The event scheduled for late July includes a week of events leading up to 400 kids from all over the world competing for the championship. The race’s signature sponsor, Akron-based FirstEnergy, announced it will honor its five-year commitment to support the event financially. The only other time the Soap Box Derby competition was canceled was during World War II.Meanwhile the 63rd Classic car show at Stan Hywet has also been canceled.

Ohio to test staff in nursing homes for COVID-19
Gov. Mike DeWine said all staff members in the state's hard-hitnursing homes will be tested for the coronavirus. DeWine said testing will also be done on residents who have been most likely exposed. The testing by 14 teams of National Guard members will begin this week. DeWine said this kind of widespread testing wasn't possible because the testing capacity hadn't been available. Ohio Department of Health data shows that seven of every 10 coronavirus deaths in Ohio are among nursing home residents.

E-signature rule for ballot campaigns stayed as Ohio appeals
A federal court panel has temporarily stopped Ohio ballot campaigns from proceeding under less restrictive signature-gathering rules they’d been granted amid the coronavirus pandemic. The three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the more flexible rules while the state appeals. A lower court allowed e-signatures and extended the deadline for turning them in. The government argues that “wet ink” signature requirements laid out in Ohio’s Constitution cannot be changed without a vote of the people.

Salary of new FirstEnergy president is $800,000
Akron-based FirstEnergy's new president is set to make a base salary of $800,000. . Cleveland.com reportsSteven Strah had been senior vice president since 2015. He succeeds Charles Jones, who will remain on the board and maintain his salary of $1.1 million. FirstEnergy also elected K. Jon Taylor as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Taylor will make a base salary of $600,000.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds order at Elkton Correctional
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld an order that high-risk inmates be released or transferred from the state’s only federal prison. The Federal Bureau of Prisons asked the high court to delay the order from federal Judge James Gwin for Elkton Correctional. Nine inmates have died from COVID-19 and hundreds have tested positive. More than 800 inmates are eligible for transfer or release.

Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Youngstown to step down
The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown is stepping down, citing health reasons. Bishop George Murry is being treated for leukemia. Murry will stay until Pope Francis accepts his resignation, which could take several weeks. In 2007, he became the first African American to hold the position. An administrator will likely oversee the diocese until a new bishop is chosen. 

Columbiana County COVID-19 cases escalate
COVID-19 cases in Columbiana County are skyrocketing, accounting for 25% of confirmed cases in Ohio between Sunday and Monday. The Vindicator reports the spike is attributed to Elkton Correctional, the state’s only federal prison that reported 174 cases on Friday. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a federal judge’s order  to release or transfer hundreds of high-risk inmates. 

9 Northeast Ohio Boys and Girls clubs set reopening date
Nine Northeast Ohio Boys and Girls clubs are reopening June 15 as the state eases restrictions. Those include two in Akron, three in Cleveland and four in Lorain. They’re included in Gov. Mike DeWine’s order to allow child care facilities to reopen June 1.

Cleveland's mayor extends emergency proclamation
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has extended his civil emergency proclamation for the coronavirus crisis through June 30. It was set to expire on Sunday. The designation cleared the way for city departments to better work together, issue directives and spend money to combat the pandemic. Cleveland has nearly 1,500 COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths as of Tuesday.

Long lines form at reopened BMVs
Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) locations were swamped Tuesday after reopening for the first time in two months. Gov. Mike DeWine has encouraged Ohioans to use the website and a virtual check-in system before showing up at a location. The bureaus are limited to 50% capacity and have social distance requirements. 


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