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GOP to Annouce a "Buckeye Pathway"GOP to Annouce a "Buckeye Pathway"

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:49:31 +0000

The Republicans who run the House will soon release their version of Gov. John Kasich’s budget. But before that, they’ll put out a list of their priority agenda items for this two-year session. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger of Clarksville says what’s called the Buckeye Pathway will outline the top issues for the Republican caucus better than the previous system has done. “We are gone with the days of naming House Bill 1 through 10 and saying those are our priorities, because as we continue we want to ensure that, whether it’s House Bill 1 or whether it’s House Bill 452, the priorities that we focus are in these initiatives.” He says those initiatives range from energy to education to health care to taxes.

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Ohio Think Tank Presents Census Data to LawmakersOhio Think Tank Presents Census Data to Lawmakers

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:39:51 +0000

A statewide think tank that studies health, education and economic issues is presenting data on Ohioans in a new way – taking it directly to state lawmakers. The Center for Community Solutions has been using US Census data for its statewide, regional and city and county reports. But researcher Kate Warren says for the first time, the data is broken down by Ohio House and Senate district, so lawmakers can see what’s happening in the areas they represent. “In order to create sound public policy and develop sustainable solutions to problems in our communities, it’s important to have reliable data that show us what the problems are.” Each report has details on the district’s demographics such as age, ethnicity and disability. It also includes job and income numbers, poverty rates, education levels, and housing and health statuses, including percentages covered by insurance and teen birth rates.

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The Legacy of Segregation Lives On in Today's Generation of African-AmericansThe Legacy of Segregation Lives On in Today's Generation of African-Americans

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 01:36:47 +0000

The generation of African-Americans who lived under Jim Crow is dying off, but the impact of segregation lives on according to sociologist Ruth Thompson-Miller. She teaches at the University of Dayton and spoke this week at Kent State University. Her work focuses on what she calls segregation stress syndrome, a collective legacy of living in a two-tiered society. Ruth Thompson-Miller began her research career collecting the stories of elderly black Americans who grew up in the Jim Crow era of segregation. She soon discovered that their personal histories also carried a physical legacy of trauma. Thompson-Miller recalls one woman who, while sharing her day-to-day experiences, "started shaking and sweating and crying, and I realized that this woman is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome." Thompson-Miller says she saw similar reactions from black South Africans living under apartheid, "the syndrome of not being past something." She says, "with PTSD there is no cure, there’s only

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How Changes to the Affordable Care Act Could Affect OhioHow Changes to the Affordable Care Act Could Affect Ohio

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 01:28:20 +0000

Gov. John Kasich is spending the weekend in Washington – meeting with President Trump today , and then participating in meetings with governors about changes to the Affordable Care Act. Whatever happens with the ACA has major implications to the state and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.

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Legislative Leaders Oppose Kasich's Teacher Extension ProposalLegislative Leaders Oppose Kasich's Teacher Extension Proposal

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:34:42 +0000

A proposal in Gov. John Kasich's budget that requires teachers to get on-site workplace experience at a company in order to renew their licenses is getting pushback from several groups. There are signs it might not go too far. The House Speaker and Senate President, both Republicans, are speaking out against Kasich’s teacher externship proposal. Speaker Cliff Rosenberger of Clarksville, who tends to shy away from speaking definitively on proposals says this one might go too far. “I don’t think we need to be putting more obstacles in teachers’ paths so I think that can be something that we’ll continue to deliberate but it’s not my favorite part of the budget.” Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina agrees with the idea of connecting education with the needs of workforce development. “I don’t know if doing a specific internship at a business or working at a local chamber really accomplishes that,” says Obhof. The House will release its version of the budget soon.

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Erie Hack Competition to Compile Ideas for Fixing Lake Erie ProblemsErie Hack Competition to Compile Ideas for Fixing Lake Erie Problems

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:47:27 +0000

Kent State University is teaming up with the Cleveland Water Alliance to inspire solutions to Lake Erie’s biggest problems. The university helped launch Erie Hack today, a competition which will feature teams of coders, developers, engineers and water experts who will participate in a series of hack-a-thons. The teams will come up with ideas or “hacks” to solve Lake Erie problems like algae blooms and harmful runoff . Sandra Morgan is the communications director at Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences. “It is identifying the next generation of engineers, scientists and creative thought leaders that are really interested in water and the role that water plays in every aspect of our lives.” The winners of the event will be announced during a two-day Cleveland summit in May and will receive $100,000 in prizes and startup assistance for their ideas.

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Portman Declines to Attend Public Forums, Calls for CivilityPortman Declines to Attend Public Forums, Calls for Civility

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:45:21 +0000

Republican lawmakers are defending their choice not to attend public forums with their constituents. Noting the hostility, he’s seen at these so-called “town halls” around the country, U.S. Senator Rob Portman is calling for civility. Ohio’s Republican congressional members were invited to public meetings around the state this week. These forums were organized by liberal groups and mostly all of the federal lawmakers did not attend. Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman didn't, and says these events, which have featured loud, disruptive protesting, are not productive. “Let’s be more respectful to one another, let’s listen to each other not just insist on each other getting into a fight. I think this is about how to we find common ground and solve problems.” Portman referred to other public events that he’s attended this week. However, local organizers argue that a public appearance and a forum with constituents are two different things.

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Ohio and Wisconsin Lawmakers Want to Send a Message to WashingtonOhio and Wisconsin Lawmakers Want to Send a Message to Washington

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:13:24 +0000

Ohio House leaders are teaming up with their counterparts in Wisconsin to find solutions to issues they have in common. They want to send those ideas to federal lawmakers. Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos say they’ll send a joint letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan about issues the federal government might be turning back to states, such as Medicaid. Vos notes governors have been active in speaking out. “But I also want to make sure, as a Speaker, that the voices of state legislators who, I think, in many ways are closer to their districts and closer to some of the issues than a governor might be, are at the table and have that same opportunity," Vos said. Rosenberger says lawmakers from Ohio and Wisconsin are also sharing ideas – for instance, on how to deal with aging and long-term care issues and with their states’ drug and opioid problems.

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Renacci Considers Run for GovernorRenacci Considers Run for Governor

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:01:30 +0000

The field of Republicans eyeing a possible run for governor is continuing to grow. Three statewide officials have already started raising money for their campaigns. A lesser-known candidate who might appeal to the far-right is also considering a run. Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci says he believes there are too many career politicians around the country. The former management company owner says that’s why he joined Congress and why he’s weighing his options on a possible run for governor. Renacci says there’s something enticing about taking up a role in another branch of government. “Any time you’re an executive it’s different than being in the legislative position especially with 435 people that’s why I’m exploring all options to really be able to decide what’s best for me to be able to move forward and get something done for the people I represent.” A number statewide elected Republicans including Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor have announced they're

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Northeast Ohio Congressman Suggests Phone Calls and Social Media Instead of Town Hall MeetingsNortheast Ohio Congressman Suggests Phone Calls and Social Media Instead of Town Hall Meetings

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:49:54 +0000

Town hall meetings across the country are being de-railed or cancelled as protesters voice their frustration with the federal government. One conservative member of Congress says he’ll take another approach. Republican U.S. Representative Jim Renacci of northeast Ohio says organizers behind a public meeting scheduled for this week never consulted his office to find out if he was available. And he says he won’t hold or attend any in-person town hall meetings soon. Instead, Renacci has a suggestion for people in his district: call him up. “There’s not a time where I don’t take a phone call, if somebody wants to talk to me as a constituent I’ll talk to them.” Renacci says contacting him on social media works too. Of Ohio’s 12 Republican U.S. House members, most have dodged these town halls. U.S. Representative Jim Jordan of western Ohio has notably addressed these public forums and talked to protestors.

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Akron Public Schools Says it Will Accommodate Transgender Students, Even Without a Federal DirectiveAkron Public Schools Says it Will Accommodate Transgender Students, Even Without a Federal Directive

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:46:08 +0000

Akron Public Schools officials are saying the district will continue to accommodate transgender students, even after President Donald Trump removed federal guidelines with incentives to do so. The guidelines were given in a joint letter from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama. The document argues that a student’s gender identity and biological sex are equally protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 . The letter also ties a school’s federal funding to compliance with non-discrimination laws. Akron Public School officials say the district has worked with parents on a case-by-case basis, even before the guidelines were issued. In some instances, transgender children would use staff restrooms. A district spokesman says only a handful of parents complained about the Obama administration’s directive. The district says it will continue to accommodate transgender students, because the Trump order “simply takes the

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Hopkins Airport Whistleblower Sues City of Cleveland Over Job DemotionHopkins Airport Whistleblower Sues City of Cleveland Over Job Demotion

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:39:16 +0000

The city of Cleveland is being sued by a former Hopkins International Airport employee who federal officials believe was demoted for whistle-blowing. Abdul-Malik Ali filed the suit earlier this week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court calling for unspecified damages and his old job back as a field maintenance supervisor. The suit also names some current and former airport officials. In a recent preliminary finding, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Ali’s demotion appears to be retaliation for alerting the FAA in 2015 to runway snow removal problems. The FAA agreed that there were problems and fined Hopkins $735,000. Cleveland officials say Ali was demoted because of a history of complaints about his work as a manager. Cleveland officials will not comment on Ali’s suit because it is pending litigation.

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High Poverty Blamed for Suicidal Behavior Among Cleveland Public School StudentsHigh Poverty Blamed for Suicidal Behavior Among Cleveland Public School Students

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:18:43 +0000

According to a new federal survey, a larger portion of Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school students attempt suicide than in many other major city school systems. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voluntary survey of students in 19 urban school districts, more than 20 percent of Cleveland students attempted suicide in 2015. Another 20 percent said they seriously considered taking their own life. Bill Denihan is CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County . He says the numbers are not surprising considering Cleveland’s poverty rate. “On any one day Cleveland, Ohio could be number one, two or three in America with the poverty level. And in housing there are more children who are homeless than adults in this area. And I think those two factors are major factors that we have to be mindful of when we’re talking about this.” Cleveland school officials say the district has many effective programs that help

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First Energy Posts Loss to Restart FutureFirst Energy Posts Loss to Restart Future

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:12:54 +0000

Akron-based First Energy lost $6-point-2-billion last year as it began taking steps to get out of the competitive energy business and back into being a regulated utility. Big financial hits came from the “writing-down”—recognizing on the books the lost value—of its failing power generation elements. CEO Chuck Jones told an investor conference call that the nuclear plants may even have to be scrapped. “Absent something to raise the value of these units and make them attractive to a buyer, there’s only one way for us to exit this business.” He read a prepared statement about the company’s failing unregulated subsidiaries: First Energy Solutions, and First Energy Operating. “There remains the possibility that FES and potentially FENOC may seek bankruptcy protection, though no such decision has been made.” But, Jones called 2016 a success in many ways. Results in core, regulated businesses were good. And much of the one-time heavy-lifting to refocus the company is done.

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Kasich Is Expected to Discuss the Future of Medicaid With President TrumpKasich Is Expected to Discuss the Future of Medicaid With President Trump

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:27:09 +0000

Gov. John Kasich heads to Washington, D.C., later this week to meet with President Trump. One of the things they are likely to talk about is what will become of the Medicaid expansion part of the Affordable Care Act. Office of Health Transformation Director Greg Moody says Kasich wants Trump to make sure states like Ohio that have expanded Medicaid will get the federal money to continue that expansion. But Moody acknowledges there are no guarantees at this point. “So far, everything we have seen is an abrupt stop of the enhanced match, which for Ohio would mean coming up with $1.5 billion.” Kasich has said if federal support falls low enough to make Medicaid expansion a net loss to Ohio, the state would opt out of it. Moody told the Columbus Metropolitan Club that Kasich has been working with governors in other Medicaid expansion states to come up with workable solutions if federal funding changes.

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Bipartisan Ohio Lawmakers Push for Reform in the Criminal Justice SystemBipartisan Ohio Lawmakers Push for Reform in the Criminal Justice System

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:57:59 +0000

Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling for a plan that they think will help reduce the population in Ohio’s overcrowded prisons. The bill would give judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing people who have committed fourth- and fifth-degree felonies. The plan would allow judges more flexibility on choosing community control over time behind bars. Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, says steering people away from prison will have better long-term results. "The community providers do a better job than we do in prison. Unfortunately, we allow many people to become acclimated to others that are going to be criminally engaged for the rest of their lives.” Community control can range from a treatment facility to monitoring an offender in their home. That decision would be up to the judge.

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Cleveland Congresswoman Says American Muslims Need to be More Vocal in Opposing Trump's Travel BanCleveland Congresswoman Says American Muslims Need to be More Vocal in Opposing Trump's Travel Ban

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:53:27 +0000

With President Donald Trump preparing to unveil a revised travel ban on residents from seven mostly Muslim countries, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge visited a Cleveland mosque to voice her continued opposition. The Congresswoman told the members of the Muslim community at the First Cleveland Mosque that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Silence is betrayal,” and that she will not be silent on the travel ban. She says many of her Republican colleagues also oppose the measure, but they fear publicly voicing their opinions. “They have a president they want to support, and for those who don’t support him, they are afraid to go against him, So, they lack right now the moral courage to stand against what they know is wrong.” Fudge urged more members of the Muslim community to attend forums and events and publicly voice their opposition to the travel ban. She says she rarely sees them at any of the many events she attends. She added that getting out more would help dispel some of the

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Akron Officials Say the City Center Project Will Spur Renovation Where It's NeededAkron Officials Say the City Center Project Will Spur Renovation Where It's Needed

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:48:17 +0000

The plan to renovate Akron's City Center Hotel could lead to greater development in an area that’s slowly seeing people move downtown. Cuyahoga Falls-based Testa Companies plans to invest $25 million in the building. The hotel had struggled for the past decade before closing last year. The proposed redevelopment would set aside six floors for a new hotel, and the rest for apartments. Akron City Planner Jason Segedy says it’s one of several much-needed projects downtown, along with the Landmark Building and the United Building. “Not only are they great residential re-uses, but they're kind of in the place where we really need them right now downtown." Segedy says the specifics of the plan are still being worked out, and he’s glad the building won’t sit dormant while that part of town is redeveloped. “We kind of have had this resurgence in the north end of downtown with Northside; with the area near Crave. Kind of a similar thing going on in the south end of downtown with the student

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High-Level Radioactive Waste May Be Transported on I-77High-Level Radioactive Waste May Be Transported on I-77

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:05:21 +0000

Trucks carrying highly radioactive nuclear waste from Canada may soon be rolling through northeast Ohio. They’ll be bound for a disposal site at an old cold-war atomic bomb plant in South Carolina. A decision was made at the 2007 Washington DC Nuclear Summit to “re-patriate” weapons-grade Canadian anti-nuclear activist Gordon Edwards say that’s now to go to the Carolina site. “They have a particular facility where they actually used to separate plutonium. And that’s where the high level radioactive liquid from Chalk River is going.” Half a dozen U.S. and Canadian environmental groups tried to block the shipments but lost in federal court. Trucks are expected to roll in the next few weeks. The U.S. Department of Energy has not commented on routes of the waste trucks. However, the Peace Bridge at Buffalo, NY has been a point of entry in the past for nuclear material transfers from Chalk River to Savannah River, with the highway link to South Carolina then involving I-79 and/or I-77 --as

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Stark County’s Board of Developmental Disabilities Sets New CourseStark County’s Board of Developmental Disabilities Sets New Course

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:57:00 +0000

Stark County’s Board of Developmental Disabilities approved a new strategic plan Monday. It fundamentally changes the role the agency plays in helping the disabled. Instead of running workshops and busses for the developmentally disabled, Stark DD will arrange, monitor and fund services by private providers. That’s to comply with Medicare rules phasing in over the next three years. But, communications director Lisa Parramore says Stark’s new plan isn’t just a list of operational changes. “Families, of course, want to make sure that their loved one is safe, and healthy and getting the services that they need. This plan is saying very strongly to families, Stark DD has been there to keep your loved ones safe. And we’re going to continue to do that. And we’re setting up more systems that will help monitor programs and services for your loved one.” Parramore says the agency expects the new plan to help it reach more people, and to take advantage of something in the new biennial state

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