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Morning Headlines: Ohioans Urged to be Vigilant During the Holidays; KSU Named in Suspected Russian

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, December 22:

  • Ohioans urged to be vigilant during the holidays
  • KSU named in suspected Russian hacking
  • Ohio National Guard to help with vaccines
  • Judge blocks fees set by tainted Ohio nuclear bailout law
  • Congress OKs 5-year extension of Great Lakes cleanup program
  • I-X Center sued over trade show contracts
  • COVID-19 testing is coming to Cleveland Hopkins airport
  • ‘Toni Morrison Day’ becomes law


Ohioans urged to be vigilant during the holidays

Gov. Mike DeWine is calling on Ohioans to slow the spread of the coronavirus as Christmas approaches. DeWine says data shows Ohioans reduced their contact with other people during what's usually a busy Thanksgiving weekend which helped stem a potential surge in COVID-19 cases. DeWine says the same message applies for this week leading up to Christmas. However, the governor says the health orders do not apply to religious events. DeWine asks people to exercise caution at activities such as Christmas services such as wearing a mask and observing distance. The state on Monday reported the lowest daily total of COVID-19 cases since Nov. 10 at 6,548. The 75 additional deaths reported Monday brought December’s death toll to 1,677, the highest monthly total of the pandemic.

KSU named in suspected Russian hacking

Kent State University has been named as a target in a massive data breach linked to Russia. The university is among 24 organizations identified by the Wall Street Journal that has computers infected with a tainted network monitoring software called SolarWinds Orion. The Texas-based company sells software that lets an organization see what's happening on its computer networks. Hackers inserted malicious code into an updated version of the software that 18,000 of SolarWinds customers installed. The university responded Monday saying that it’s aware of the situation and “evaluating this serious matter.” The university declined further comment and would not confirm whether an internal investigation is under way.

Ohio National Guard to help with vaccines

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Ohio National Guard received a waiver that will allow them to help administer the vaccine. The Ohio National Guard has around 600 members who are medical personnel, including physicians, nurses and medics. Gov. DeWine on Monday didn't announce any immediate plans.

Judge blocks fees set by tainted Ohio nuclear bailout law

A central Ohio judge on Monday blocked the subsidies from a $1 billion nuclear bailout law at the center of a $60 million bribery probe. Franklin County Judge Chris Brown sided with Republican Attorney General Dave Yost and the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus in granting a preliminary injunction that would block the subsidies that were set to be added to every electric bill in the state starting Jan. 1. His decision came as state lawmakers scrambled to decide the fate of the bailout law and nominees were chosen to succeed a utility regulator who resigned amid the investigation.

Congress OKs 5-year extension of Great Lakes cleanup program

Congress has approved a five-year extension of a program designed to deal with long-term environmental injuries to the Great Lakes. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Sunday to continue the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as the House did earlier this year. The bill requires President Donald Trump’s signature to take effect. It calls for gradually boosting the program’s annual funding from $300 million to $475 million by 2026. The program focuses on long-term problems such as toxic pollution, invasive species, loss of wildlife habitat and runoff that feeds harmful algae.

I-X Center sued over trade show contracts

Cleveland’s I-X Center is being sued. Crain’s Cleveland reports the groups behind the Cleveland Auto Show and Ohio’s RV Supershow want the shuttered exhibition center to honor contracts that run through 2024. The suits come three months after I-X Center Corp., the private operator of the city-owned building near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, announced that it was closing. Operators did not respond to requests for comment. The groups also take issue with Akron-based GOJO Industries leasing part of the massive complex for storage, which they say occupies space they have exclusive rights to use.

COVID-19 testing is coming to Cleveland Hopkins airport

A company is setting up a COVID-19 testing site at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Cleveland.com reports Georgia-based TACKL Health will offer both $95 rapid antigen tests that provide results in 15 minutes, and for $135, more-accurate PCR tests, which provide results in 24 to 48 hours. The testing site be set up in the main ticketing concourse this week.

‘Toni Morrison Day’ becomes law

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed legislation designating Feb. 18 Toni Morrison Day in Ohio. The legislation passed both legislative chambers. It honors the late writer on her birthday each year. Morrison was born and raised in Lorain. She won both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for her groundbreaking novels that chronicled the Black experience. She died last year at the age of 88.

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