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Morning Headlines: Cleveland Council Member Accused of Stealing $127K From City; COVID-19 Cases Tick

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, February 24:

  • Cleveland council member accused of stealing $127K from city
  • COVID-19 cases tick up
  • TimkenSteel shares soar Tuesday
  • Lawmakers revive bills to fight racism, honor Juneteenth
  • Ohio governor, first lady receive 2nd COVID-19 vaccine shot
  • Fracking study shows little benefit to Eastern Ohio
  • Akron celebrates first Dick Goddard Day

Cleveland council member accused of stealing $127K from city

A longtime Cleveland City Council member accused stealing $127,000 of city and federal money has been indicted on multiple federal charges. Kenneth Johnson, 74, is accused of requesting and receiving from council the maximum amount of monthly expenses reimbursement, $1,200, for services that were never performed dating back 10 years. Johnson’s executive assistant, Garnell Jamison, was indicted on the same charges. Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley on Tuesday stripped Johnson of his chairmanship of council’s Municipal Services and Properties Committee and removed him from his committees. The council has no authority to remove indicted members.

COVID-19 cases tick up

New coronavirus cases ticked up Tuesday to more than 2,700. That’s the first time in 10 days cases have been above the three-week average. There were also 94 deaths reported. The Ohio Department of Health noted that it’s still adding deaths from months ago that were previously unreported. Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff on public buildings and grounds until sunset Friday, in remembrance of the more than 500,000 Americans who have died with COVID-19.

TimkenSteel shares soar Tuesday

Shares of Canton-based TimkenSteel soared on Tuesday following a “buy” recommendation from a stock analyst. Philip Gibbs of Keybank Capital Markets cited market conditions and cost-cutting by the company among reasons to buy. As a result, more than 48 million shares were traded Tuesday, compared with the full-day average of about 400,000. The stock closed Tuesday up nearly 27% at $7.99 a share. The company will announce its fourth-quarter and full- year financial results on Thursday.

Lawmakers revive bills to fight racism, honor Juneteenth

Racism would be declared a public health crisis in Ohio and Juneteenth, the day celebrating the official end of slavery, would become a paid state holiday under racial justice measures reintroduced in the state legislature. The measures were originally introduced in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, but were unsuccessful. Ohio has observed June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” since 2009.

Ohio governor, first lady receive 2nd COVID-19 vaccine shot

Gov. Mike DeWine and first lady Fran DeWine have received the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The DeWines are eligible because they’re both older than 70 and DeWine has said he would wait his turn. The state Department of Health says nearly 1.5 million people have received at least the first coronavirus vaccine as of Tuesday. That is about 13% of the population.

Fracking study shows little benefit to Eastern Ohio

A new study shows that the economic prosperity promised by the fracking boom did not pan out in communities that hosted oil and gas development. The study by the Ohio River Valley Institute shows that the areas of eastern Ohio that saw the highest amount of fracking saw an overall decline in population and personal income. The study shows that over the past decade seven counties — Belmont, Carroll, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble saw a net job loss of more than 8% and a population loss of more than 3%. The study’s lead author tells the Columbus Dispatch that only 10 to 12 cents on the industry dollar remained in the local economy. He says much of the wealth left the region. Part of the bust was the result of plummeting prices for natural gas and fracking liquids. But the study authors also blame policies that subsidized oil and gas production that were not offset by jobs and cash in the local economies.

Akron celebrates first Dick Goddard Day

Today is the first annual Dick Goddard Day in the city of Akron. The legendary Cleveland TV weather and animal rights advocate was born in Green in Summit County. He died last year at age 89. Akron City Councilwoman Tara Samples, who introduced the resolution declaring the day last year, is encouraging people to share photos of themselves with their pets along with the hashtag #DickGoddardDay.

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Jon joined the station in September 2012 and is the producer for Folk Alley. He loves all the things he gets to do at the station; from meeting up-and-coming bands to recording concerts for the stream, every day is a new adventure.