State made $1.2 billion in accidental payments, which could be forgiven
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. When Matthew Bishop started getting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance a year ago, it pulled him out of a tight spot. Bishop, who runs a small company called Gutenberg Author Services, lost all his customers when the economy imploded in March, and had moved out of his group house and in with his parents because he couldn’t make rent. PUA was a lifeline.
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Amid a raging pandemic, Ohio’s agency responsible for looking out for workers’ welfare has started posting full-time temporary jobs with no benefits for its own workforce.
For example, this week the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) sought to hire an “electronic design specialist,” a job that requires a bachelor’s degree, years of experience, or some combination of both. The hours listed are full time, with a schedule that is “not negotiable” and the position is “not eligible” for benefits.
As total COVID-19 cases in the state soared to nearly 600,000 and deaths rose to almost 8,000, Eye on Ohio asked why the positions are listed without medical benefits when large employers have to give most of their workforce— even temporary workers— medical insurance eventually under the Affordable Care Act, or pay a penalty.
A spokesman for ODJFS said “Benefit eligibility under the ACA for temporary or part-time positions is determined based on the length of time employed and hours worked during that period of time.”
Eye on Ohio further inquired if the positions have a set end date and why officials listed positions with no health care as the chances of getting a debilitating disease have risen. Officials did not respond to multiple requests to comment.
Each job posting begins with, “The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ mission is to improve the well-being of Ohio's workforce and families by promoting economic self-sufficiency and ensuring the safety of Ohio's most vulnerable citizens.”
But it’s not clear if ODJFS’ own workers could be self-sufficient with its own positions: according to Heatlhcare.gov, a monthly premium for a nonsmoking family of four in Columbus is approximately $810. That’s about 24% of what an ODJFS electronic design would make after taxes.
Ohio juvenile court Judge Timothy Grendell thought coronavirus precautions were overblown, and made sure people knew it. In one case he forbade a mother from getting her children tested for COVID-19. Then, one of them had to go to the emergency room. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
As moratoriums end Dec. 1, need grows for utility assistance; Guide to avoiding shutoffs
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. CLEVELAND, Ohio – The needs of Greater Clevelanders have come in waves during the pandemic, much like the virus itself: first food, then rent, then internet so students could learn from home.
Now, as moratoriums that staved off utility disconnections cascade to an end, some families face a long winter unsure how they will keep the lights, heat and water on. Moratoriums on shut-offs with Cleveland Public Power and the Cleveland Water Department, for example, ends tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec.
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Updated: Additional data from Nov. 21-24 released on Nov. 27.
ByBoniface Womber, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp and Kathiann M. Kowalski |
33 hospitals report they have no critical care bed and/or medical/surgery bed for adult patients on October 30
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Despite an October 20 court order issued by the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Department of Health still had not released complete records as of late Wednesday night, claiming they needed several days to release information from a database that is updated daily. During Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s November 17 press conference, Governor DeWine said that the information with the current number of beds, ventilators, and other medical equipment available for each Ohio hospital will be released on a daily basis. “There is no reason why we can’t release that that I am aware of,” DeWine said.
Court of Claims Rules that the Ohio Department of Health must disclose the number of beds and other equipment available
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. As the ongoing pandemic continues to surge, the Ohio Court of Claims ruled last week that the Department of Health must share public records with Eye on Ohio, showing the number of beds and ventilators available for COVID-19 patients at individual hospitals throughout the state.
The ruling comes seven months after Eye on Ohio initially sought the records.
“In times of crisis transparency is paramount,” said Rebekah Crawford, who has her Ph.D. in Health Communication, Relating & Organizing from Ohio University. People want credibility and clear lines around what is known and what is uncertain. “When risk communicators are at their best,” Crawford said, “they remain credible by showing what is known and what is not known and by being clear about why we don’t know, and what we’re going to do to find out.”
When Eye on Ohio first requested records, at the end of March, the state had only about 2,200 confirmed cases and 55 deaths, according to the online Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
When Tyler, a sophomore at Cleveland State University, started hormone replacement therapy two months before spring break, the last thing he expected was to spend the rest of the semester with his parents in Westbrook, New York. Tyler had been living with three other trans students he befriended through CSU’s LGBTQ+ Student Services before campus housing closed in mid-March. When Tyler moved in with his parents, they were still uncomfortable with his trans identity and were not using his preferred pronouns (he/his).
“I wasn’t out in high school and college was the first place I felt like I was actually able to be myself,” Tyler said. “I felt like my sense of community was ripped away all at once.”
Those first few months of quarantine, when Tyler didn’t have a laptop and couldn’t access CSU’s online counseling or the LGBTQ+ center’s virtual drop-ins, were emotionally rough. “The conversations I had with my parents were conversations I was not prepared for, especially being on hormones.
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism . Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Tenants facing eviction in Cleveland Housing Court can access a temporary measure of relief through the current federal moratorium on evictions, and through the city and county’s rental aid programs. But, they’re no silver bullet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, started on Sept. 1, was meant to pause pandemic-related eviction cases against tenants, to provide a measure of relief during these challenging times.
Haley Belisle, a recent graduate of Ohio Northern University, was baffled this spring when the Hardin County Board of elections rejected her application to vote absentee in the state’s presidential primary.
The problem was her signature on the application: It didn’t match her voter registration signature. “When I originally registered, I was just out of high school and I apparently signed my name in a very curly cursive, which I don’t do any more,” she said. The 24-year-old got a new application and replicated the original style, she said, effectively “forging my own signature.”
Belisle was able to cast her ballot.
That wasn’t the case for all potential voters in Ohio’s presidential primary.
This summer, Eye on Ohio set out to examine how many absentee ballot applications were rejected, why, and how voters could avoid those mistakes. The analysis of millions of Ohio applications from the state’s 88 counties revealed a patchwork and unreliable system for tracking the requests that makes it near-impossible to accurately know how many voters, if any, were disenfranchised. It also called into question the accuracy of information collected by state election officials on rejected applications.
With only weeks until the 2020 presidential election, and lingering concerns about the novel coronavirus, voters are applying for absentee ballots at a record pace.
That, along with President Donald Trump’s attacks on the use of mail-in ballots, though not supported by research, could bring magnified attention to the process, especially in a swing state like Ohio where Trump and Sen. Joe Biden are swapping narrow leads in the polls.
Applications for mail-in ballots received relatively little attention in the past, as most fair election advocates concentrated efforts on whether absentee and provisional ballots were counted.
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit newsroom, The Fuller Project. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or the mailing list for the Fuller Project as this helps us provide more public service reporting. CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — The children at Stephanie Geneseo’s home-based child care center dart around in astronaut helmets while they battle green googly-eyed COVID alien germs, using play to learn about hand washing in a pandemic that shows no signs of letting up. “I want to make it fun so that it didn’t seem like something bad or weird to them,” Geneseo says. “We’ve done everything we can to make it as normal to their day as it could be,” she said in July after she reopened All Nestled Inn, her center in Chesapeake, Ohio.
The return to caring for children after a 10-week coronavirus shutdown was anything but normal for the 51-year-old, known as Mrs. Steffy to the families she serves.
Keeping her young charges healthy weighs on Geneseo as she works 18-hour days, watching children from early morning to midnight, to keep the business she spent 22 years building afloat.
Ohio, like many places across the country, didn’t have enough child care options before coronavirus struck.