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COVID-19 cases increase in Northeast Ohio as nation marks grim pandemic milestone

A stack of newspapers on a desk.
A stack of newspapers on a desk.

The United States marked the grim milestone of one million COVID-19 deaths this week.  Governor Mike DeWine ordered flags flown at half-staff in memory of the dead.  It was a request made of all the states by President Joe Biden who warned Americans not to “grow numb” to the pandemic and the loss it has created for so many families.

Since the pandemic began, the Ohio Department of Health on its pandemic dashboard says more than 38,000 Ohioans have died of COVID-19.

The milestone arrives as cases of the virus are again pushing higher in Northeast Ohio and statewide.  Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, Lorain, Ashtabula, and Medina counties all rank in the top ten among for the rate of community spread of COVID-19.

The redistricting saga over state legislative maps is on-going in Columbus.  Every week brings the state closer to a federal court stepping in to mandate the maps to be used to decide Ohio’s House and Senate district boundaries.

If Ohio can’t work out and approve maps that meet the constitutional requirements approved by voters by May 28, then the court will implement a previous set of maps already rejected as unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.  Those, known as Map 3, would be used for a primary, likely in August, for statehouse races. In the meantime, the Court is deliberating over the latest set of maps submitted by the commission and considering whether to hold the members in contempt of court.

Timeline of Redistricting from the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau's Andy Chow

The coalition that is seeking to legalize recreational marijuana and regulate it like alcohol in Ohio has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County as part of an effort to get the issue before voters this November.

State officials and their attorney however, argue that lawmakers should not act on the proposed initiated statute until 2023.

Ohio has its new superintendent of public instruction. The state board of education appointed Steve Dackin to the job this week.  He succeeds Paolo DeMaria.

Dackin, the former vice president of the state board of education, has more than 40 years of experience including as superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools and most recently as superintendent of school and community partnerships for Columbus  State University.

He also was tasked with running the superintendent search before quitting and applying himself.

Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer for Health, Ideastream Public Media 
Ken Schneck, Editor, The Buckeye Flame  
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV 

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."