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Ohio Sen. Brown Says He'll Vote For Trump's First Two Nominees, But Will Challenge Him On OthersOhio Sen. Brown Says He'll Vote For Trump's First Two Nominees, But Will Challenge Him On Others

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 01:44:37 +0000

Editor's note: The original story predated the confirmation hearing for Trump's nominee for Treasury SecretarySteve Mnuchin. Brown, who is ranking member of the Senate Banking committee, announced late today that he'll oppose Mnuchin, who Brown said " failed to answer critical questions about the fortune he made while military service members, seniors, and working families got kicked out of their homes." Ohio’s Democratic senator will be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration tomorrow and Sherrod Brown says he’s willing to work with the administration on trade. But, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he’s also announced the issues – including cabinet picks – where he’ll part with the president. Brown says he contacted Trump after the election to push for renegotiation of NAFTA and to encourage the U.S. pull out of the Trans-Pacific Trade deal. Both are positions the president-elect has espoused, and Brown says they’re good positions for Ohio. “But if he tries to raise the eligibility age

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Two New Studies Will Gauge the Health of Summit Lake and the Surrounding Neighborhood In AkronTwo New Studies Will Gauge the Health of Summit Lake and the Surrounding Neighborhood In Akron

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:33:15 +0000

Two new studies have been approved to assess the health of Akron’s Summit Lake. A century ago, Summit Lake -- about 2 miles south of downtown Akron -- was a recreation area that included an amusement park and hosted boaters, swimmers and fishermen. Since then, pollution from industry and stormwater runoff have strongly discouraged recreation. Dan Rice, CEO of the Ohio & Erie Canalway, says the new studies funded by the EPA and the Knight Foundation will help officials decide how to restore the lake. But first, hard data needs to replace rumors. “We hear everything from, 'There’s alligators in the lake.' So there’s a lot of unknown questions out there – a lot of misinformation. The purpose of these studies is to basically clarify: What really is the environmental health of Summit Lake? “We know, currently, that people do boat there. There are people who kayak and canoe and fish. But in order to really enhance and activate this space, we need to have a better understanding [of the]

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DeWine Sues the Obama Administration Over Changes to Stream Protection RulesDeWine Sues the Obama Administration Over Changes to Stream Protection Rules

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:26:36 +0000

Ohio’s top attorney is taking on the Obama Administration one last time just as the president prepares to leave office. President Barack Obama authorized a rule change to be implemented on his second to last day in the Oval Office. The change to the Stream Protection Rule requires mining companies to restore the quality of waterways once their work is done. But Attorney General Mike DeWine is joining 12 other states in suing the administration . DeWine calls this rule change a last-minute, drastic overreach by Obama. Kristy Meyer with the Ohio Environmental Council counters that the rule change is sensible especially given that 90 percent of Ohioans get their drinking water from rivers and streams. The Ohio attorney general is also asking the Republican-controlled Congress to stop the rule change on their end.

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State Parole Board Holds Clemency Hearing For Ohio Killer Scheduled to Die in AprilState Parole Board Holds Clemency Hearing For Ohio Killer Scheduled to Die in April

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:10:55 +0000

A 59-year-old Cincinnati man is facing execution in April for stabbing the man who allowed Raymond Tibbetts and his wife to share his home. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that the Ohio Parole Board heard hours of testimony on whether Tibbetts deserves mercy or should die. In 1997, Raymond Tibbetts fatally stabbed 67-year-old Fred Hicks , described as sick, defenseless and hearing impaired. Tibbetts was also sentenced to life in prison for stabbing Hicks' caretaker, Judith Sue Crawford. But Tibbetts’ attorney Erin Barnhart said his abusive upbringing and drug addiction set him up to fail. “The fact that he did fail doesn’t make him evil. He wasn’t born evil. And he’s not deserving of the worst punishment for that reason.” But Hamilton County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Ronald Springman said Tibbetts’ brutal crimes speak for themselves. “We don’t know what it was that caused him to do this. It could be pure evil. We don’t know. It very well could be pure evil.” The Parole

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With 1,200 Losing Their Jobs, Lordstown Hopes the Cycle Turns and Plans for a New EconomyWith 1,200 Losing Their Jobs, Lordstown Hopes the Cycle Turns and Plans for a New Economy

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:30:00 +0000

GM's announcement this week that it's investing a billion dollars in its U.S. operations will have no direct effect on 1,200 people in Lordstown. They're the third shift at the GM plant and this week, they lose their jobs. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports on the layoffs and what’s next for Lordstown. The Chevy Cruze was the brightest light for GM coming out of the great recession. Designed and built under new labor rules in a transformed plant, annual sales skyrocketed to more than 270,000 in just four years. But they tailed off to less than 190,000 last year. GM, its unions and Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill all agree on the reason: The cost of cheap gas “Everybody says this is great to have low gas prices. But the flip side is, you don’t sell small cars.” Hill says the law of supply and demand makes cutting production the only realistic choice for GM. "You hate to see the third shift go. There’s a lot of other associated suppliers and businesses around, which also lose. But GM is trying to

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Pro-Charter Group Says New Oversight Laws are Making a DifferencePro-Charter Group Says New Oversight Laws are Making a Difference

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:43:58 +0000

A pro-school choice group says Ohio’s new laws to create oversight and transparency of charter schools are working. Its study claims that the law is weeding out the bad schools. The law that overhauled the charter-school accountability in Ohio played a role in closing more than 20 schools. That’s according to a report from the Fordham Institute , a group that advocates for efficient charter schools. Spotlighted in Fordham’s report was the sponsor evaluation system, which found that 90 percent of the state’s charter schools rank either ineffective or poor. The group’s Chad Aldis expects those rankings to get better. “Then it’ll take a while for people to sort of believe it; seeing is believing and it’s going to take some time to change the reputation of Ohio’s charters.” Aldis adds that the new law was effective in stopping what’s known as sponsor hopping, when a poor performing school loses one sponsor and goes to another.

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Portman Addresses Concerns Over DeVos' Campaign Finance FinesPortman Addresses Concerns Over DeVos' Campaign Finance Fines

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:41:43 +0000

The U.S. Senate is holding hearings on President Trump’s cabinet picks. And his nominee for Secretary of Education is raising eyebrows because of a court case in Ohio. During a recent teleconference, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said he couldn’t answer questions about fines owed to Ohio by a political action committee created by Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. “I don’t know the details of it. I haven’t heard about this yet.” Portman later issued a statement saying he was told DeVos was not a party to this lawsuit. The PAC she and her husband created was ordered to pay fines for campaign finance violations in Ohio in 2008 which to date total more than $5.3 million. Democratic senators are pressing her to pay that fine. But her supporters say the lawsuit was politically motivated and contend she has no responsibility to pay the money to the state.

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Which Ohioans Are Heading to Donald Trump's Inauguration?Which Ohioans Are Heading to Donald Trump's Inauguration?

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:39:57 +0000

Six state senators and seven state representatives from Ohio will go to the inauguration, along with many state officeholders. But Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler says there will be many attending who aren’t elected officials, and aren’t even Republicans. Three of Ohio’s four Democratic members of Congress will attend, along with Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who says he has to work with Trump on trade and infrastructure. “I’m going to remind him that I’ll work with him on these things and against him if he tries to accomplish a billionaire agenda, which is surely what seems to be what he wants,” Brown said. Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis, who’s also a Republican strategist, says he’ll be there too: “It’ll be a great opportunity to start the unification process for Ohio Republicans.” The Ohio Republican Party, which recently ousted Chairman Matt Borges and replaced him with Jane Timken, of Stark County, won’t be sponsoring a state inaugural ball, though there

University of Akron's Matt Wilson Sees a Turnaround Coming in Finances, Enrollment and CommunicationUniversity of Akron's Matt Wilson Sees a Turnaround Coming in Finances, Enrollment and Communication

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:15:12 +0000

The president of the University of Akron says the school he took over six months ago is starting to see a recovery in finances, enrollment and graduation rates. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with Matt Wilson after he outlined to the Akron Press Club today what the university is doing to recover from a tumultuous two years. Wilson came to Akron in 2014 to head the university’s law school. But when the two-year tenure of President Scott Scarborough imploded last summer, Wilson was picked to take over. He says his early months have been focused on stabilizing the university’s relationships with faculty, students and the community, and on helping it recover from steep drops in enrollment and contributions. Akron’s operating with an $18 million deficit this year, and faces another, smaller deficit next year. “But with the planning we have in place in terms of a new scholarship system, revamping our graduate assistantship, looking at doing a whole host of conservation measures without harming

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The Flu is now Widespread in OhioThe Flu is now Widespread in Ohio

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:46:42 +0000

The Ohio Department of Health reports the flu is now widespread throughout the state. The state says there were 287 new cases of confirmed flu associated hospitalizations across Ohio during the first week of January. That makes the flu widespread, as it is in most states at this point. There were 157 hospitalizations the last week of December, mostly in eastern Ohio. And the state health department says there are many cases of flu that are not reported because they don’t require hospitalization. There have been no flu-related deaths so far this year. There are antiviral medications that can reduce the severity of the flu, which work best when started within two days of getting sick. But the health department says the best line of defense is still getting an annual flu shot. The flu is peaking a bit earlier in Ohio this year than last, when it didn’t hit its high point till March.

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The View From Pluto: Death Of David Modell Brings Back Painful Memories Of 'The Move'The View From Pluto: Death Of David Modell Brings Back Painful Memories Of 'The Move'

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:10:59 +0000

For Browns fans, memories of 'The Move' came rushing back this past week following the death of David Modell. He’s remembered in Cleveland for his part in his father’s decision to relocate the Browns to Baltimore in 1996. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says this remains a very painful chapter of Browns history:

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Portman Expresses Lake Erie Concerns to Trump's Nominee for EPA DirectorPortman Expresses Lake Erie Concerns to Trump's Nominee for EPA Director

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:37:16 +0000

The Republican U.S. senator from Ohio says he’s already talked to President-elect Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency -- a choice who's controversial to many activists. Rob Portman says he’s talked with Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick for EPA Director , about the health of Lake Erie. “His responses were positive." Portman says the two men talked about algae blooms , invasive species and micro beads . The sSenator says he doesn't want to see the progress made on Lake Erie slowed or reversed.

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Youngstown Passes Housing and Employment Protections for People in the LGBT CommunityYoungstown Passes Housing and Employment Protections for People in the LGBT Community

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:35:00 +0000

Youngstown has a new law to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity . The nonprofit group Equality Ohio helped the city create the laws. Grant Stancliff is the communications director at Equality Ohio and says that Youngstown now has the gold standard of LGBT protection. “I’m heartened to see that cities in Ohio are taking the step to say, as a community ‘we’re welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ people.’ Right now in most parts of Ohio, and we’re talking about 80% of Ohio, it’s legal generally to fire somebody or kick somebody out of their apartment just because they’re LGBTQ.” Youngstown is now the 16 th city in Ohio to protect its LGBT citizens from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit access.

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Ohio's Sen. Portman Says Those who Depend on Obamacare Needn't WorryOhio's Sen. Portman Says Those who Depend on Obamacare Needn't Worry

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:33:21 +0000

Though Republicans are working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Ohio's Republican U.S. Senator says there’s no reason for those who depend on it to worry. Rob Portman was among some moderate Senate Republicans who backed an amendment to slow down a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He now says repeal and replacement of key components can happen simultaneously. “People should not be worried who are on the exchanges or have Medicaid expansion coverage in Ohio because that will not be eliminated. It will be transitioned into something new.” President-elect Donald Trump has said he has his own repeal and replace plan . He says he’ll make his plan public as soon as Tom Price, his nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is confirmed.

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Ohio Progressives Voice Concerns of Upcoming Trump Presidency at State DemonstrationsOhio Progressives Voice Concerns of Upcoming Trump Presidency at State Demonstrations

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:29:49 +0000

The looming presidential inauguration of Donald Trump has sparked rallies and demonstrations around the country . In Ohio, progressive groups are starting their advocacy to save government programs such as Obamacare and Social Security. “The message that the Republicans are trying to tell us is that Obamacare is a failure . I am proof that it’s not; 20 million Americans are proof that it is working.” Bill Wood of Westerville is self-employed. He says only one company would offer him insurance before the Affordable Care Act, which meant he was handcuffed to high premiums and deductibles. But with Obamacare, he’s able to shop around and get a more reasonable plan. “It’s very hard for people who are self-employed, particularly people who are over the age of 50 to get insurance and to get insurance that will cover them for everything. And since the Affordable Care Act, it’s made an enormous difference to us,” Wood said. A first stand, not a last Wood was just one of hundreds of people to

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Akron's Preliminary Budget Shows a Tighter General Fund But More Hiring of Safety ForcesAkron's Preliminary Budget Shows a Tighter General Fund But More Hiring of Safety Forces

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 02:23:59 +0000

An advance copy of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan’s budget plan for 2017 has been sent to City Council members. Copies of what could be described as "the next-to-the-last draft" of Mayor Dan Horrigan's spending strategy for the year went to City Council members this week. His press secretary, Ellen Landers Nischt, says that the general fund is projected to be less for this year than last, the city plans to bolster its safety forces by hiring 35 firefighters, seven police offices, and six more 911 dispatchers. council will be able to study the budget and suggest revisions before a final version is introduced to council on the 30th.

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Cleveland Rep. Fudge Will Pass on Trump's Inauguration; Her Columbus Counterpart Beatty Will AttendCleveland Rep. Fudge Will Pass on Trump's Inauguration; Her Columbus Counterpart Beatty Will Attend

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:25:39 +0000

Ohio’s two members of the Congressional Black Caucus – both Democrats – are split over whether they’ll attend Friday’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Central Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty says she and Georgia Congressman John Lewis are close. So she says she’s upset about Trump’s comments on Twitter slamming the civil rights icon, Lewis, as “all talk and no action," after Lewis said he doesn’t see Trump as a legitimate president. “He can disagree with John Lewis, but for him to tout and be proud this is about a counterpunch? We’re not in a boxing match. We should be united. Stop boxing, Trump.” Still, Beatty will be at Trump’s inauguration – and she says she’ll also be at the protest Women’s March on Washington the day after. Meanwhile, Rep. Marcia Fudge of the Cleveland area has said she’ll skip Trump’s inauguration in solidarity with Lewis.

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Layoffs Loom for Lordstown -- a Product of Gas Prices, Not Trade PoliciesLayoffs Loom for Lordstown -- a Product of Gas Prices, Not Trade Policies

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:41:51 +0000

Editor's note: We'll have more coming on the Lordstown layoffs Thursday morning on WKSU. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The day of Donald Trump's inauguration is also the last day for the midnight shift at the General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown , Ohio. About 1,200 people will lose their jobs. Trump blames GM production in Mexico. As M.L. Schultze of member station WKSU reports , the reality and reaction in Lordstown is more complicated.

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Port of Cleveland Expects Energy Shipments to Rebound in 2017Port of Cleveland Expects Energy Shipments to Rebound in 2017

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:49:44 +0000

The Port of Cleveland is looking toward continued growth in 2017, after seeing a slight dip in cargo last year. The Port says last year’s numbers are on-par with growth over the past several years, but showed a 1 percent drop due to a spike in tonnage in 2015. With the strong dollar cooling demand for goods from the U.S., shipments were down throughout the St. Lawrence Seaway. Port spokesman Jade Davis says this year should see continued growth, with the Lake Erie wind farm utilizing the port as a staging area for construction. Davis says the timeline for that is still being worked out. “Probably 2018 would be a more adequate date when we’ll start seeing significant traffic that will concern us, even though they may start working out there in the water in 2017. “We expect again to continue to have more and more energy project cargo. And to continue to gain market share in that market. Especially as more and more natural gas plants and things like that are going to be built throughout

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Women's March in Columbus Draws Thousands of PeopleWomen's March in Columbus Draws Thousands of People

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:39:10 +0000

An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people marched through downtown Columbus in a preview of the Women’s March on Washington after President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration this coming Friday. Columbus-area residents Delta Steck, Tarek Akkari and Sarah Hall Philips came for some of the same reasons. “I am here to advocate for women’s rights, women’s health care and equality for all.” “I’m here to support my fellow women with their equal rights.” “Oh my gosh, there’s so many reasons. Why don’t we march, really? I mean, we’re here for women’s rights, we’re for equality, we’re here for gun control.” Most marchers said they were there for unity, too, though some doubted that will be possible. Some also joined with faith groups that held hands and formed a human chain around the Statehouse. There was a little conflict, such as when a police officer had to separate two protestors, but the demonstration was peaceful. That’s what Barbara Marshall of Hilliard had hoped for. She came with other faith

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