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DeWine schedules Wednesday night coronavirus briefing; cancels today’s session | News, Sports, Jobs

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COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine has scheduled a Wednesday night news conference to discuss the current state of the cornonavirus pandemic and the recent increases in cases and virus spread. The conference is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

DeWine canceled his scheduled briefing today a few hours before it was set to begin. His usual briefings begin at 2 p.m. An evening news conference is unusual.

A spokesman for the governor said that DeWine will deliver a speech, and that no question-and-answer session will follow at the end, as is typical in his afternoon briefings.

The governor is expected to still hold a briefing with media questions and answers on Thursday afternoon.

New COVID-19 cases reported in each of the last seven consecutive days have ranked among the state’s all-time record highest.

While the 1,142 cases reported today represented the second straight drop in the number of new cases, it still remained the 10th-highest number of new cases reported in Ohio in a day.

The state is averaging 1,260.3 new cases per day over the first three days of the week. That’s more than the 1,147.3 daily average last week, when the state set a record for most cases in a week with 8,031.

Statewide, five new COVID-19 deaths were reported Tuesday, down from the daily average of 16 during the previous 21 days. That did not yet include one reported Tuesday by the Trumbull County Combined Health District.

But hospitalizations in Ohio were up Tuesday. That number was 134 compared to the daily average of 80 for the previous 21 days.

Trumbull reported 1,090 total cases as of Tuesday, an increase of seven since Monday. Mahoning County listed 1,996 cases, an increase of 25 since Monday. Columbiana County had 1,406 cases, the same as Monday.

There was one death reported Tuesday in Trumbull County after two were reported Monday. It now has 83 COVID-19 deaths. Mahoning has 239 deaths, with none reported since Thursday. Columbiana has 60 deaths, with none reported since July 1.

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Labor Day Festival canceled | News, Sports, Jobs

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ISHPEMING — Add the Labor Day Festival, put on by the Upper Peninsula Regional Labor Federation, as another event canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, which would have been the 31st consecutive festival, was scheduled to take place on Sept. 7 at Lake Bancroft Park in Ishpeming.

UPRLF President Mike Thibault confirmed the cancellation was related to the pandemic.

“We made a decision pretty early on that it was a year that we’d have to skip because we do get a couple thousand people there and there’s no social distancing,” Thibault said. “I mean, it’d be pretty hard to do.”

He acknowledged it was a hard decision.

“It’s a day that we recognize working families and share the day with working families and employees across the U.P.,” Thibault said.

The Labor Day Festival, he noted, typically entails a parade through Ishpeming, a picnic lunch and guest speakers from various affiliated labor unions. With 2020 being an election year, the event likely would have included elected officials and people running for office.

The UPRLF is the parent organization to the Central Labor Councils in the U.P. Community labor councils in the U.P. provide the grassroots network of the labor movement’s efforts to ensure that economic, education, health care and other policies benefit working families, according to its website at www.uplabor.com.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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US Allows H-1B Visa Holders To Return For Same Jobs They Did Before Ban

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US Allows H-1B Visa Holders To Return For Same Jobs They Did Before Ban

Trump administration has relaxed some rules for H-1B visas.

Washington:

The Trump administration has relaxed some rules for H-1B visas allowing visa holders to enter the US if they return to the same jobs they had before the visa ban.

The US Department of State advisory said dependents, or spouses and children, would also be allowed to travel with the visa holders.

“Travel by applicants seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification,” the state department advisory said.

The US has also allowed travel by technical specialists, senior-level managers and other workers who hold H-1B visas, saying it is necessary to facilitate the “immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States”.

President Donald Trump had signed a proclamation on June 22 banning the entry of certain non-immigrants with H-1B and L1 visas until the end of the year to protect the US labour market following record unemployment rates because of the Covid19 pandemic.

The US tech industry, including Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, had backed a lawsuit against the move.

America has also allowed the travel of visa holders working as public health or healthcare professionals, or researchers as the country battles the raging pandemic.

“Travel supported by a request from a US government agency or entity to meet critical US foreign policy objectives or to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations. This would include individuals, identified by the Department of Defense or another US government agency, performing research, providing IT support/services, or engaging other similar projects essential to a US government agency,” the advisory stated.

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County seeks grant for gravemarkers in township cemeteries | News, Sports, Jobs

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News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Alpena County Veteran Affairs Director George Stevens shows what new gravemarkers and flags would look like if they are installed at cemeteries in county townships. The Veterans Affairs Office applied for a grant to purchase gravemarkers and flags for area veterans’ graves.

ALPENA — The Alpena County Veteran Affairs office is working to place gravemarkers and American flags at the graves of veterans around the county.

The office applied for a $7,600 grant from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for the project, county Veterans Service Officer Dan Perge said. The office also has $2,000 leftover from a prior project that it plans to contribute to the memorials in township cemeteries without their own veteran grave program.

“They will be used as a way to honor the veterans in the township cemeteries, and we should find out if we got the grant this week, I hope,” Perge said.

Alpena already honors veterans at the city-owned cemetery with gravemarkers and flags, but most townships have few memorials outside of what family or friends plant or place near the graves, Perge said.

If the office wins the grant, Perge will begin working with township officials to get an accurate count of how many veterans’ graves need markers.

“We haven’t quite got to that point, but we will be working with the townships to determine what we need to do and go over logistics like who will place them,” Perge said. “Right now, we’re just getting things going.”.

Veteran Affairs Director George Stevens said township graves contain the bodies of soldiers dating back to the Civil War and every war after, buried in cemeteries large and small around the county.

He said people enjoy walking through cemeteries and admiring the gravestones, learning about those who died. Adding the gravemarkers will add to that experience, Stevens said.

Tammy Bates, trustee in Green Township, where there are two cemeteries, Greely Cemetery and Spratt Cemetery, said the township is always looking for ways to improve its parks, cemeteries, and facilities, but it’s hard to do so with so little wiggle room in the budget.

“People take pride in their cemeteries, and this will help to make it look better, while honoring the veterans appropriately,” Bates said. “Right now, we have identified 63 veterans that we know of. We may inject some more help from people, because there could be some that we haven’t identified. We want to include everybody, if possible.”

Stevens said people always show up in large numbers for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, when there are special parades and ceremonies at Little Flander’s Field.

He said the Avenue of Flags set up along Washington Avenue by the Alpena Kiwanis Club and Alpena Booster Club is another example of how the community supports military heroes.

“Sometimes, you can drive or walk by Evergreen Cemetery and there are American flags as far as you can see, and it is just great,” he said. “The people in the area have always had a deep respect and appreciation for veterans, so we’ll see where this goes. We’ll know more about the grant soon.”

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