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The Wake Up for Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020



a group of people walking on a sidewalk: Some fans stand outside the ballpark, while others with connections to the Indians sit inside on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at the American League Wild Card Series, Game 1, between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees at Progressive Field in Cleveland.


© David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com/David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Some fans stand outside the ballpark, while others with connections to the Indians sit inside on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at the American League Wild Card Series, Game 1, between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

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Today will start off sunny but grow increasingly cloudy. Highs will be in the upper 60s. It will be a bit breezy overnight and lows will be in the mid-50s. Read more.

The headlines

CARES Act: Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday he hopes to put Ohio’s remaining $900 million in federal coronavirus aid toward helping the arts, nonprofits, small businesses, and people behind on their rent or mortgage payments, Jeremy Pelzer reports. The question now is whether Congress will give the state permission to keep spending the money it’s received after the end of the year.

Early voting: Nearly twice as many Cuyahoga County residents cast their ballots during the first week of early voting this year compared to those who voted during the same period in 2016, Robin Goist reports.

Early voting: Nearly twice as many Cuyahoga County residents cast their ballots during the first week of early voting this year compared to those who voted during the same period in 2016, Robin Goist reports. In Ohio, voters are showing up in record numbers during the state’s first week of early voting.

Free coronavirus updates by text: Sign up to receive free text message from cleveland.com with daily updates on COVID-19, including confirmed cases, event cancellations, scientific information and more. You can even text us back with your comments and questions. Text 216-279-7784 or visit https://joinsubtext.com/ohiocoronavirus to get started.

This Week in the CLE: How did a Summit County elections board worker tweet coronavirus nonsense on the official account? We’re talking about what that means on This Week in the CLE, cleveland.com’s daily half-hour podcast.

New numbers: Ohio on Tuesday reported 1,447 new coronavirus cases. Laura Hancock reports that in all, 171,626 people have had COVID-19. The health department figures show 5,017 total deaths, with an increase of 12 on Tuesday.

Execution protocol: The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear whether the state’s execution protocol is invalid because it didn’t go through the proper rule-making procedures. Jeremy Pelzer reports that the court’s decision sets up another potential complication for Ohio’s death penalty, which has been under an effective moratorium since 2018 as state officials have struggled to find execution drugs.

Antigen tests: Inexpensive blood tests that don’t need to be processed at a laboratory have begun to arrive in Ohio and will be sent to colleges and nursing homes, Laura Hancock reports. Ohio colleges and universities are prioritized among the first to receive the tests because they have proactive screening plans. Nursing homes have thorough federal testing requirements, and the new tests can help.

Reinfection: U.S. researchers have confirmed a case of COVID-19 reinfection, suggesting that people who recover from the illness might not develop immunity. Julie Washington reports a 25-year-old Nevada man tested positive for COVID-19 in April and again in June, separated by two negative tests. The man was infected with two different strains of the coronavirus, and the second bout of COVID-19 was worse than the first, requiring hospitalization and assistance in breathing.

Medication trials: Johnson & Johnson has paused all clinical trials of its proposed COVID-19 vaccine after a trial volunteer became ill with an unexplained illness. And pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly said Tuesday it was pausing its trial of a combination antibody treatment for COVID-19 for safety reasons, Julie Washington reports.

Travel restrictions: Hope you got that fall trip to the Finger Lakes in, because Ohioans are back on New York’s not-welcome-here list, Susan Glaser reports. Spiking COVID-19 numbers landed Ohio back on the travel advisory list, which means visiting Ohioans are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (a negative COVID test will get you out of the quarantine requirement in Connecticut).

Opioid trial: Judges in Ohio have postponed two major opioid trials scheduled to begin within weeks. John Caniglia reports a state lawsuit brought by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office against pharmaceutical distributors was set to begin next week in Madison County. Instead, it’s delayed until March. It would have preceded a trial set for Nov. 9 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland in which Cuyahoga and Summit counties sued six pharmacies over the distribution of painkillers, which was postponed because of the pandemic.

Overdose deaths: At least 19 people died of suspected drug overdoses over the past week in Cuyahoga County, on pace to record its highest total of overdose deaths in three years, Evan MacDonald reports. It’s unclear which drugs are primarily responsible for the spike in overdose deaths from Oct. 6 to Oct. 13 because the results of toxicology tests are not yet available. But fentanyl and cocaine have been primary drivers of this year’s fatalities.

Twindemic: Making sure children get to the doctor to catch up on childhood vaccinations and flu shots can help prevent what the American Academy of Pediatrics calls a “twin-demic,” Emily Bamforth reports. The coronavirus pandemic has led to significant drops in childhood vaccinations and wellness visits where children get their eyes and hearing checked.

Obamacare: Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday he believes pre-existing conditions will remain covered in the United States regardless of what may happen in the future to the Affordable Care Act, reports Andrew Tobias. “I think there has emerged in this country clearly, clearly a consensus,” DeWine said.

Jail settlement: The Cuyahoga County Council agreed on Tuesday to pay $950,000 to the estate of a Gregory Fox, who hanged himself with a bedsheet in his County Jail cell more than two years ago. Peter Krouse reports the unanimous vote came after council members discussed the deal during an executive session closed to the public.

Sports taxes: The administration of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish is asking the County Council to create a “Sports Facility Reserve Fund” that would handle bed taxes set aside for improvements to the region’s major league sports venues, Peter Krouse reports. As stated in a proposed ordinance that council referred to committee Tuesday without comment, the fund also would be available for “such other purposes as deemed by Council as necessary and appropriate.”

To-go alcohol: Ohioans can now order up alcoholic beverages for carryout or delivery for good, under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Mike DeWine. House Bill 669, which takes effect immediately, allows bars, restaurants, small breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries to sell up to three drinks per meal in covered cups — or alcoholic beverages such as wine in their original, sealed containers — for customers to drink away from the premises, Jeremy Pelzer reports.

Plastic bags: Cuyahoga County and other local governments are now blocked from banning plastic bags and other containers for one year under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Mike DeWine. Jeremy Pelzer reports the new law, House Bill 242, comes in response to several local governments in Ohio imposing bag bans to reduce pollution and litter, including Cuyahoga County, Orange Village, and the Columbus suburb of Bexley.

Morning Consult: A daily tracking poll of Ohio likely voters released Tuesday showed a close race between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, with Trump slightly leading. Seth Richardson reports the poll from Morning Consult is the latest showing a close race between Trump and Biden in a state that Trump won in 2016 by 8 percentage points.

Voting enthusiasm: The recent Baldwin Wallace poll shows that most Ohio likely voters are enthusiastic about voting in the 2020 presidential election, Cameron Fields reports. Of likely Ohio voters, 54.9% said they are “very enthusiastic” about voting in the upcoming election, while 25.5% said they were “somewhat enthusiastic,” making for a total of 80.4% of voters who are eager.

Women’s March: Cleveland is hosting a Women’s March on Saturday as part of a national day of rallies. Alexis Oatman reports the rally will start at 1 p.m. outside at the Harvard Community Services Center, with more than 500 people expected to protest racial injustice and attacks on women’s rights, including abortion.

Shipathon: Since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, Americans have largely been staying home — and ordering goods online. The U.S. Post Office and shipping companies like FedEx and UPS have been running at full-tilt ever since. Now with holiday season approaching, Alexis Oatman reports delivery services are preparing for perhaps their busiest seasons ever by expanding services and hiring seasonal employees.

Nonprofits: As the holidays near, Northeast Ohio nonprofits say they are optimistic that Clevelanders will continue to show their generosity. Cameron Fields reports that the Salvation Army expects contributions to its historic red kettle campaign could drop by 50%. Charities are channeling their efforts into online fundraising.

Election Truth: President Donald Trump has claimed that voter fraud is widespread and just recently cited an example of what he described as a “rigged election” in Ohio. But the president’s assertions about voter fraud and rigged elections are disputed by many of his fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, and by elections experts and researchers, Courtney Astolfi reports.

Strauss settlement: Ohio State University continues to settle cases with survivors over complaints against former university doctor Richard Strauss, announcing 23 more settlements on Tuesday for $5.8 million. Emily Bamforth reports that’s a total of 185 cases settled for a total settlement of $46.7 million. OSU is still in mediation for four lawsuits in the case.

Flipped off: The Shaker Heights police officer suspended for flipping off Black Lives Matter protesters outside the presidential debate in Cleveland previously received a one-day suspension for his job performance and a mix of unsatisfactory performance reviews, Olivia Mitchell reports. Michael Spuzzillo, 48, remains on paid administrative leave in response to the Sept. 29 incident captured on video by a cleveland.com reporter. His personnel file includes performance reviews, his job history and several commendations. It also says he made no secret his frustrations for recently being passed over for a promotion.

Car crash: A man is in serious condition after a car crashed into a Middleburg Heights building while he was on a Zoom call. Kaylee Remington reports the crash happened shortly before 11 a.m. at Davis & Company CPAs as a dump truck was trying to make a left into a parking lot on Pearl Road when a car was coming from the opposite direction and struck it in the bumper.

Hebrew slang: In this video from cleveland.com’s sister site, Vanity Fair, Gal Gadot schools us in Hebrew slang. From “ma ani, ez?” to “tachles,” Gal will leave you saying “ores.”

Chocolate: Chocolate is a versatile dessert that stretches a chef’s imagination. Marc Bona lists 11 can’t-miss chocolate creations at restaurants outside of Cleveland.

Other headlines

Iconic Cleveland eatery Sokolowski’s calls it quits Read more

Sokolowski’s Inn rumored to close permanently after more than 90 years; owner says not so fast Read more

Former Ohio State football coaches Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel encouraging coronavirus diligence Read more

Prosecutors seek potential death penalty for Canton man accused of killing Akron man, 1-year-old daughter Read more

Akron police arrest woman accused of stabbing of teen Read more

Akron police searching for man who shot at kids playing basketball in street Read more

A Cleveland man shot to death at gas station on the city’s East Side, police say Read more

Cleveland Metropolitan School District presents ‘financial recovery plan’ should levy fail Read more

Shaker High School hockey suspended, Woodbury Elementary closed due to COVID-19 concerns Read more

Willoughby South to play Benedictine in OHSAA football playoffs; Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools clear athletics Read more

Five Cleveland Heights firefighters quarantined with COVID-19; should return to duty soon Read more

4 finalists, 7 months, 8 executive sessions — and still no Cleveland Heights council appointee Read more

Strongsville Schools will return all pupils to in-person classes five days a week despite COVID-19 infections Read more

Parma City School District quarantines students and staff due to COVID-19 exposure Read more

Four Lorain Schools staff have now tested positive for COVID Read more

Akron families surveyed split 60-40 on hybrid vs. remote end of semester Read more

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