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Scene & Heard

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Ohio's Stay Home Order Extended to May 1, Coronavirus Deaths Increase 25%

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 4:13 PM

THE OHIO CHANNEL
  • The Ohio Channel

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the state's Stay Home order — Ohio's version of "Shelter in Place" — will be extended to May 1. It's an action, the Governor said, that is necessary to save lives.

Authorized by executive order, the extension will go into effect the moment the previous order expires on April 6. DeWine said that the Coronavirus surge is likely to strike Ohio somewhere between mid-April and mid-May, and he felt he had no other choice but to continue along an aggressive mitigation strategy as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

The state is now reporting 2,902 confirms cases of COVID-19, with 802 hospitalizations and 81 fatalities. Cuyahoga County now has the highest numbers statewide in all of the above categories, including 12 deaths. 

The Stay Home order includes the closure of non-essential businesses and has been modified and clarified in response to questions and suggestions from local governments and citizens. Businesses that remain open, for example, will now be required to identify and post the total number of customers who are allowed inside the premises at any given time.

Weddings and funerals will not be canceled, per DeWine, but receptions must be limited to 10 people or fewer.

In terms of outdoor recreation, DeWine stressed the importance of social distancing, especially as the weather begins to warm and more people are eager to spend time outside. Fishing will be permitted, he said, but all campgrounds will be closed, except those at which recreational vehicles function as permanent residences. 

Additionally, anyone traveling into Ohio (from anywhere other neighboring states) will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

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Cuyahoga County Jail Warden Resigns After Inspector General Report Finds He Retaliated Against Employees Who Complained About His Management

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 2:47 PM

The Cuyahoga County Jail. - FLICKRCC
  • FlickrCC
  • The Cuyahoga County Jail.

So much has changed in nearly every facet of life in the past month that it's hard to find solid mooring no matter how hard we look. There are, these days, so very few things in whose consistency and reliability we can take solace amid the otherwise suffocating influx of hellish news.

It'd be nice if one of those constants wasn't the generally awful operation of the Cuyahoga County jail, but here we are.

The jail's warden, Gregory Croucher, resigned this week.

He had been on the job all of eight months.

He had recently been the subject of three internal investigations. One alleged that he had an on-duty jail officer drive him to the airport. A second alleged that he used excessive force on a female inmate. A third alleged that he retaliated against officers who voiced complaints about Croucher's management.

In a report finalized Tuesday (see PDF below), the county's Inspector General found that Croucher did have a subordinate employee ferry him to Hopkins while on duty. While the IG didn't find sufficient evidence of the use-of-force allegation, it is waiting on a report from the U.S. Marshals, whose custody the female inmate was under and who might have more information. Oh, and the IG found that Croucher retaliated against his employees, because this is the Cuyahoga County jail and of course he did.

Croucher submitted his resignation yesterday, the day after the report from the IG's office.
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Is that all?

Of course not.

Gregory Croucher recently went on vacation to Costa Rica. He left on March 12, according to a county spokesperson. That was two days after Gov. Mike DeWine had one of his first press conferences with announcements that the state had positive COVID-19 cases and that Ohio was asking colleges and sports leagues to cancel classes and games. While there were no orders yet, DeWine was quite clear this was a growing problem.

"Every act each one of us takes now has very significant consequences. Each decision not only impacts us, not just our families, but people we don't even know. We're at a critical time," DeWine said.

Croucher then went to Costa Rica.

He returned on March 25, to a whole different world where precautions are taken, and was told to self isolate but went into the jail anyway.

Sigh.

The end.

Do better next time, Cuyahoga County.

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Cleveland Ticket Holders Entitled to Refunds From Stubhub For Cancelled or Postponed Events

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 2:18 PM

PHOTO BY JOE KLEON
  • Photo by Joe Kleon

Missing out on concerts or sporting events because of the coronavirus shutdowns may have been the first cut, but possibly being out the cost of the tickets on the secondary market may be a deeper wound.

As of last week, Stubhub, which cut its staff by two thirds, reversed its refund policy. Normally, a canceled event equaled a full and automatic refund. As of two weeks ago, however, Stubhub began offering buyers the option of receiving a full refund for a canceled event or a voucher, which is valued at 120% of their order to be applied for a future purchase on the site. This is no longer the case unless buyers and/or canceled events are located in one of 14 states that enforce consumer/refund laws, in which case the buyer may be entitled to a refund. Ohio is one of them. “We have a situation right now where we had over 20,000 events canceled, basically at the same time. In addition to our buyers, we also have a million sellers on our platform, all of whom are trying to figure out how they're going to get recouped from the original seller — the venue, the team, the artist — and the timing delays are going to be significant,” StubHub president Sukhinder Singh Cassidy told Axios.

"In normal times, we would take the risk of giving refunds to buyers before recouping the same refund from the seller," Sukinder said. "At regular volume, we can afford to take that risk. But these are unprecedented times."

With most sporting events in the air as well, postponed games pose their own set of frustrations for ticket buyers, who under this new policy are unable to redeem the coupon option from Stubhub — meaning they have to either wait until the event is canceled, at which point the voucher kicks in, re-sell the ticket, or apply the ticket to the event's new date.

In February, Stubhub was acquired by ticketing rival Viagogo after leveraging a $4 million buyout. Gary Alder, executive director of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, told Billboard that he has garnered support to try and get Congress to include ticketing companies in the same bailout package for airlines and hotel hospitality, describing the services they provide as “valuable” and “essential.”

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Samuel Adams 'Restaurant Strong' Fund Will Give $1,000 Grants to Ohio Service Industry Workers Affected by Shutdowns

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 1:44 PM

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Samuel Adams, the Boston-based brewery, is expanding its Restaurant Strong fund to 19 states across the country, including Ohio, to help restaurant workers impacted by closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic with $1,000 grants.

The fund, which started in Massachusetts in March, has already given away over $500,000 to service workers in that state and has now raised $2 million dollars to start the out-of-state fund.

"We stand with and want to extend a toast to the restaurant workers who have had our backs for so many years, from serving our favorite beers to celebrating life’s precious moments with us," the company said in a statement.

To qualify for grant assistance, the fund states that individuals must satisfy all of the following requirements:
- Completed Application Form in employed state
- Full-time restaurant employee (Min. 30 hours/week, can be multiple restaurants)
- Employed for 3 months or longer at the same location
- Worked in a restaurant, bar, cafe or nightclub
- Submit the last two pay stubs received

You can submit an application here from Friday, April 3 through April 24. If you wish to donate, you can do so here.

In addition to expanding to Ohio, the fund is also coming to Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont.

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Elkton Federal Prison, Where Jimmy DiMora is Serving Time, Overrun with COVID-19

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 1:17 PM

Elkton Federal Correctional Institution - FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Elkton Federal Correctional Institution
The Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County appears to be overrun with the Coronavirus.

3News' Rachel Polansky has reported that three inmates tested positive for the virus but as many as 80 are exhibiting symptoms. While prison staff have worked to place those who are ill in isolation, almost none of them will be tested for COVID-19 because the Federal Bureau of Prisons only provided the facility with five testing kits.

Both correctional officers and inmates are on edge.

Among the nearly 2,500 prisoners at Elkton is 64-year-old former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, currently serving a 28-year sentence for assorted corruption-related crimes. Dimora has a history of medical issues and has asked for early release in the past due to his health. A 2012 Plain Dealer article described him as "riddled with infirmities."

Dimora's attorney told cleveland.com's Eric Heisig that Dimora himself has not contracted the virus. He echoed comments from medical experts and human rights organizations who have said that the prisons are particularly dangerous environments for the spread of viral infections.

Dimora is currently scheduled for release in 2036, but his attorney is exploring the possibility of requesting an early release. Oral arguments for his ongoing appeal, which were scheduled for March, have been postponed to April 16 and will proceed via videoconference. 

Like Marion Correctional Institution, the Ohio state prison where three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, Elkton is a low-security facility where social distancing and isolation are difficult for inmates.

Elkton is located in Columbiana County, directly south of Youngstown's Mahoning County, which is home to highest number of cases and hospitalizations per capita — and the most total deaths — in the state. According to the most recent available numbers, Columbiana County has confirmed 19 cases of COVID-19 and recorded two deaths. 

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Cleveland Metroparks Closes Busy Roads to Cars to Allow More Room for Pedestrians and Bicyclists to Practice Social Distancing

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 12:47 PM

GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps

In order to keep up with social distancing mandates and recommendations made by the state of Ohio, the Cleveland Metroparks announced closures of some of their most popular destinations and assorted road restrictions to allow more room for pedestrians and bicyclists.

DeWine had recently been asked at one of his daily press conferences about people crowding park areas and said he hoped everyone would engage in proper distancing practices so he didn't have to issue an order to close state parks.

“Frankly, our state parks are pretty big. If people want to walk in our state parks, they have ample opportunity to do that social distancing," he said, though further orders or order clarifications arrive daily.

This decision by the Metroparks will ideally force people who have otherwise been ignoring social distancing rules to do so, and to give wider berth in the parkways for everyone to enjoy the fresh air as the weather warms up.

 “Cleveland Metroparks has experienced a surge of park visitors over the past several weeks,” Brian M. Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO, said in a statement. “We want to keep our parks open and be of service to the community during this difficult time but we need everyone to follow proper social distancing. These additional steps will effectively turn some of our roads into 20-foot-wide trails to encourage people to spread out and provide proper distance between other park users.”

The following roads will be closed to motorists but open for pedestrians and bicyclists:

Brecksville Reservation:
Meadows Drive between Chippewa Creek Drive and Valley Parkway

Rocky River Reservation:
Valley Parkway from Spafford Road to Berea Falls
Hogsback Lane
Rockcliffe Drive

South Chagrin Reservation:
Hawthorn Parkway between Route 91 and Arbor Lane

In addition, several outdoor areas and amenities where space is limited will be closed for the immediate future including:

Edgewater Pier
Euclid Beach Pier
Fort Hill Stairs
Squire’s Castle

Please visit clevelandmetroparks.com for all the latest closures.

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The Classic George Forbes vs. Carl Monday Showdown is Now a Meme About Paying Rent During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 11:37 AM

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One of the most important and treasured bits of Cleveland history ever caught on video has become a meme about paying rent during the coronavirus shutdowns.

If you've never seen the classic 1984 confrontation, which pitted an intrepid and young Carl Monday against then-city council president George Forbes in a feisty discussion about an unpaid water bill — "One of these days you're going to corner me and I'm going to kick your ass. Keep fucking with me" — the full video is below the clipped memed version.

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