Nick Castele

Gov. Mike DeWine at his daily coronavirus press conference on April 7, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday expressed “sorrow and disgust” at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, saying the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck while he cried out for breath violated “every principle of human decency.”

For 30 years, Cleveland screen printing company Nightsweats & T-cells has been turning out merchandise and art to support people living with HIV.

They print t-shirts and other items for events and fundraisers, particularly in the theater industry. Pandemic-driven event cancellations and theater shutdowns have thrown business into uncertainty, Gilbert Kudrin, who runs the operation, told ideastream.

For instance, Nightsweats & T-cells ships goods to New York and around the United States for the nonprofit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, he said.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday asked for public confidence in his plan to ease restrictions on businesses as the state recorded its thousandth probable COVID-19 death Friday.

At times seeming to address opponents of his gradual approach, DeWine said his administration sought to balance public safety with restarting economic activity.

Cuyahoga County plans to postpone its plastic bag ban, citing the uncertainty businesses are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ban was set to go into effect July 1 this year. Now County Executive Armond Budish’s administration is asking council to move the enforcement date to Jan. 1, 2021.

Democratic Councilwoman Sunny Simon, who led the push for the ban, released a statement Monday in support of the postponement.

Updated: 4:10 p.m., Friday, April 24, 2020

Ohio will “substantially” increase its capacity for coronavirus testing as the state’s manufacturers step up the production of test kit components, Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday.

More testing, combined with expanded efforts to trace the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, will help health workers “isolate” and “kill” the virus, the governor said.

“Frankly, what I like about this, and why I’m so excited is it’s going to enable us to really go on the offensive as we attack the virus,” DeWine said.

The national stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplied Ohio with more than 493,000 gloves, 271,000 N95 masks, 675,000 surgical masks and other gear.

But state and local leaders say those shipments weren’t enough to mount a proper defense against the coronavirus pandemic. So local governments have been asking for PPE donations — and in some cases, buying their own gear.

The state of Ohio has reached a $16.5 million partial settlement in its lawsuit against the operators of an illegal East Cleveland dump — but collecting that money will be a difficult task.

Earlier this year, as health officials began tallying coronavirus cases across the United States, Janitorial Services Inc. in Cleveland was stocking up on hospital-grade disinfectant.

“I bought about a year’s worth in a month and a half,” owner Ronald Martinez told ideastream. “And believe it or not, we’re probably down to 20 percent of what I bought, because we’ve been putting it out in the buildings, even though it’s not part of their normal daily disinfecting.”

Dozens of cities and 73 of Ohio’s 88 counties have signed on to a statewide opioid plan for potential settlements with drug companies, Gov. Mike DeWine’s office announced Wednesday.

The OneOhio plan would direct 30 percent of total settlement dollars to local governments. A statewide foundation would handle 55 percent and the remaining 15 would go to the attorney general’s office.

The foundation’s board would include members representing state officials and local jurisdictions.

Updated: 7:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden canceled Tuesday campaign events in Cleveland out of an abundance of coronavirus caution.

The abrupt cancellations from the Democratic presidential hopefuls came after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine advised avoiding large public events as a health precaution.

Northeast Ohio local governments are weighing whether to join Attorney General Dave Yost’s One Ohio plan for dividing state opioid settlement money from drug companies.

The proposal would create a statewide foundation, run by both state and local appointees, to distribute 55 percent of any settlement dollars. Another 30 percent would go directly to local governments. The attorney general’s office would receive 15 percent.

Cuyahoga County Council took a deeper look Monday into the $23 million plan to fund drug treatment, a new drug court, a jail diversion center and other with the first wave of money paid out by drug companies to settle lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

The federal government estimates nearly 1 million children under the age of 5 went uncounted in the 2010 U.S. Census.

Advocates of bail reform protest Cuyahoga County Jail conditions in January 2019.
Nick Castele / Ideastream

Columbus recently moved to stop requesting cash bonds for most people charged with non-violent crimes, instead letting them out of jail as they await trial. It’s the latest in a statewide effort to reform cash bail, which tends to keep poor people behind bars.

Michele Rout is an assistant law director in the city of Chillicothe, one of the places in Ohio hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

But her experience with the human toll of the crisis goes beyond the courtroom.

Rout and her husband are raising two grandchildren who were exposed to opioids before birth and experienced symptoms of withdrawal afterward — a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

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