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Tick-Borne Diseases Are on the Rise in Ohio, But Who's Minding the Store?Tick-Borne Diseases Are on the Rise in Ohio, But Who's Minding the Store?

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:00:00 +0000

Ohio has been lucky. A disease that’s common on the East Coast hadn’t made its way to the Buckeye State…until now. Health experts say the ticks that carry Lyme disease have arrived. In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair explores what to watch for when walking in tick country.


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Ohio Lawmakers Work on Final Budget DealOhio Lawmakers Work on Final Budget Deal

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 02:50:27 +0000

State lawmakers are trying to hash out a final budget deal that they can send to the governor’s desk. This includes how they’ll spend money to fight the opioid epidemic while closing a more than $1 billion budget hole. There’s a big issue that looms over the discussion. The largest chunk of state spending is Medicaid. But the Congressional health care debate includes talks of dramatically cutting federal funding for Medicaid and Medicaid expansion, the latter has enrolled more than 700,000 Ohioans. Keary McCarthy with the liberal-leaning Innovation Ohio says there’s not much state leaders can do, but the secretive process hasn’t helped. “It makes it very difficult for stakeholders like policymakers and governors in states like Ohio to weigh-in and have an impact," McCarthy says. Republican State House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger says his members are focusing on the state’s budget and will be prepared for what Congress decides.


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Canton's Fireworks Show Will Go OnCanton's Fireworks Show Will Go On

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 02:38:50 +0000

Despite worries about funding, Canton’s annual 4 th of July fireworks show will go on, according to one of its sponsors. This marks the second year in a row the display lacked funds. Organizer Bob Harper, president of United Steelworkers Local 1123, says they needed $15,000 dollars to pay for the fireworks, along with police and fire department personnel. Harper says even though big sponsors fell through, the community has come through. We’re getting money. We get a lot of veteran’s groups that donate, you know, $100 to $500 and then we have unions that are donating heavily to this and community groups. Our problem right now is the big donations went out of the way, but we’ve gotten some medium-sized ones, but yeah, we’re planning on it going on. In order to avoid another deficit, Harper says organizers will implement a funding system for next year’s show. The fireworks display held at the McKinley Monument costs around $30,000.


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DeWine Asks for Public's Help on the Piketon MurdersDeWine Asks for Public's Help on the Piketon Murders

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:41:05 +0000

Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office says his office is doing something it doesn’t normally do: It's asking the public for specific information in connection to the murders of eight Piketon residents a year ago. DeWine admits it's unusual, but he's asking people for information about the Wagner family - George “Billy” Wagner III, Angela Wagner, George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 24. DeWine says they used to live in Pike County but are now in Alaska. “We’ve specifically asked, ‘Have you had dealings with them?’ ‘Have you had sale or exchange of a firearm with them?’ ‘Ammunition?’ ‘Vehicles?’ ‘Anything that you about them that might be of assistance to us?’” DeWine says. DeWine says the Wagners are not suspects but he would like to get more information about them. DeWine says he fully intends to solve the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in their homes last June.


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Lawmakers Find High-Wage Taxpayers Receive Majority of Tax Break Savings Lawmakers Find High-Wage Taxpayers Receive Majority of Tax Break Savings

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 12:39:51 +0000

Some state lawmakers have been questioning how much revenue is lost as a result of a recent tax break for small businesses. One Democratic representative says an analysis of that tax cut shows it's only helping a select few Ohioans. Representative David Leland says he asked the Legislative Service Commission to determine who is taking advantage of Ohio’s personal income tax exemption for small businesses. Leland says he was shocked to find the tax savings were primarily going to the top one half of one percent of high wage taxpayers. “This portion of this income deduction, this business income deduction that only applies to one half of one percent of all Ohio taxpayers but costs the state almost a billion dollars needs to be looked at," Leland says. Leland says he plans to introduce legislation soon that will revise that tax break to make sure the savings only apply to middle class Ohioans. Majority Republicans and Gov. John Kasich have said they are not interested in changing this tax


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Cleveland Art Museum Acquires German Expressionist Painting 'War'Cleveland Art Museum Acquires German Expressionist Painting 'War'

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:56:20 +0000

The Cleveland Museum of Art has acquired a rare German expressionist painting from an artist later condemned by the Nazis. The painting by Heinrich Davringhausen was acquired in a Munich auction earlier this month and had a price-tag of more than $300,000. The 1914 painting shows a violent scene of World War I with burning buildings and people running for their lives. Chief curator Heather Lemonedes says it is a powerful depiction of conflict. “…the number of deaths, the destruction…really a kind of entry into a whole different world after the war, that nothing had been witnessed that had that kind of impact on the whole of Europe.” She says while the museum has not received its new painting, it should be on display later this summer.


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Budget Office Confirms Ohio's Billion-Dollar HoleBudget Office Confirms Ohio's Billion-Dollar Hole

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:50:05 +0000

New numbers from the state budget office show Senate Republicans were correct in saying they needed to close a billion dollar hole in the upcoming budget. The trend of the state having less money to spend is expected to continue. A conference committee of lawmakers is working out the difference between budgets passed by the House and Senate. State budget director Tim Keen told them he’s estimated state tax revenues are down $949 million from his office’s initial forecasts – with most of that shortfall in income tax collections . And he’s also revising down growth for the next two years by 1%. “As a rough rule of thumb, this reduces the combined income and sales tax revenues by about $170 million per year from what they otherwise would be,” he said. Keen says the sluggish economy and what he called “tax revenue weakness” led his estimates to be off. The shortfall right now is $841 million dollars, with new numbers coming after the fiscal year ends next week.


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Changing Times Mean Changes for Northeast Ohio Ethinic and Religious CommunitiesChanging Times Mean Changes for Northeast Ohio Ethinic and Religious Communities

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:37:09 +0000

Iimmigrants from around the world brought ethnic and religious diversity to northeast Ohio. They helped build what for a time were some of the most vibrant towns and cities in America. But, that has been changing, as is happening with Canton and the evolving Jewish community here. The vacant and often overgrown field used to be a busy playground and tennis courts. They, the pool and the rest of the Canton Jewish Community Center have been closed now for five years. But, like the Jewish community itself, it once had an outsized effect. “It was really the center where the athletic leagues took place for so many people. I still hear that wherever I go: ‘I learned to play softball three, or basketball, or swim.” Rabbi Jon Adland is in his office at Canton’s Temple Israel a block north. He says the Jewish community, though never more than 5,000, built the businesses that comprised much of city’s downtown in its heyday. Frank Fleischer and his family owned one of the most successful of those


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Akron's Mayor Is Asking City Council to Put a Tax Hike on the November BallotAkron's Mayor Is Asking City Council to Put a Tax Hike on the November Ballot

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:28:36 +0000

An income-tax increase is expected to be on the November ballot in Akron. Mayor Dan Horrigan said today that a quarter-percent hike is needed to ensure adequate support for the city’s safety forces and critical infrastructure. Fire Station 2 in east Akron is in rough shape. The mayor held a news conference there to make his case, joined by Fire Chief Clarence Tucker and Police Chief James Nice. They gave examples of layers-deep problems people don’t usually think about. Tucker noted the lack of extractor-washers to get cancer-causing chemicals off firefighter clothing. “We also don’t want them bringing those same carcinogens into your house when they go to the next emergency call.” Nice spoke of rusted-out cruisers. “I kid you not when I say the officers have snow coming up through the floorboards onto their pant legs.” Horrigan says he will ask City Council next week to approve putting an issue on the November ballot to raise the city income tax from 2.25 to 2.5 percent. That would


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"Marsy's Law" Backers Submit Petitions to Put the Victims' Rights Bill on the Fall Ballot"Marsy's Law" Backers Submit Petitions to Put the Victims' Rights Bill on the Fall Ballot

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:59:23 +0000

A group that wants Ohio to adopt a bill of victim rights has submitted signatures to put the issue on the ballot this fall. Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to establish a bill of rights for crime victims have filed 560,000 petitions for this fall’s ballot. That's nearly twice the number of signatures the group needs. The group's Cathy Harper Lee says if voters approve it, Ohio will have its own version of what's called "Marsy’s Law," named for a California woman killed by her ex-boyfriend 33 years ago. “It will ensure that all crime victims receive notification of hearings, that they can participate in hearings, that they have the right to restitution and most importantly, that when their rights are violated, they will have a mechanism to enforce those rights,” she said. But critics say they're worried the law could be unconstitutional.


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Ohio Senate Democrats See Big Problems in the GOP Budget BillOhio Senate Democrats See Big Problems in the GOP Budget Bill

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:53:44 +0000

Democratic leaders in the state are making one last push to change some provisions they’re most concerned about in the state budget bill. House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn of Dayton says the Senate budget makes too many cuts at a time when more money needs to be invested in schools, infrastructure and fighting the opioid epidemic. Strahorn argues that giving schools less money will have a domino effect. “They are going to be back at the ballot asking local taxpayers to go in their pocket again, which is going to make them weaker consumers. That’s going to lead to derailing the economy,” he said. Republican leaders have said they have found ways to cut government spending and put about $176 million toward the drug crisis . The budget is now in conference committee where Senate and House leaders must come up with a final plan. The budget must be passed and signed by the governor by next Friday.


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Ohio's New Bill to Target 'Speed Traps' Could Hurt the State's Tiny CommunitiesOhio's New Bill to Target 'Speed Traps' Could Hurt the State's Tiny Communities

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:47:18 +0000

Advocates for Ohio’s smallest communities say state lawmakers should slow down before passing a bill that limits how much they can collect in traffic fines. H.B. 125 , which passed the House unanimously, would cap fines collected by villages of fewer than 200 people. They can be no more than municipal courts would charge for similar violations. Kent Scarrett of the Ohio Municipal League says many villages like Linndale in Northeast Ohio and Brice in Central Ohio have few financial options because of state budget cuts. “It’s a difficult ebb and flow that the Legislature has been providing our members on what they can do and what they can’t do while they continue to take resources away from us. They tell us to do more, and you just can’t.” Scarrett says lost revenue includes ending the estate tax and significant cuts to the Local Government Fund.


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The Great Lakes Economy May Rest with Investments in Immigrants and Millennials who Choose to StayThe Great Lakes Economy May Rest with Investments in Immigrants and Millennials who Choose to Stay

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:23:57 +0000

The industrial heartland continues to struggle with the legacy of lost jobs and population. But whether it continues to be known as a rustbelt or for its renewal depends on whether Ohio invests in immigrants and young people. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more from the national Federal Reserve summit that got underway in Cleveland today. Rolf Pendall of the Urban Institute acknowledges birth rates are expected to fall behind death rates in the Great Lakes region by 2030. But he notes that 600,000 babies are born each year in the six states including Ohio. And their parents are the millennials and immigrants their communities often disparage or ignore. “Welcoming, nurturing and encouraging and accommodating the people who are born here and who decide to come here has to be part of the recipe instead of just longing for those who have gone. Longing for the factories that are gone, longing for the millennials who have moved from Columbus to Washington, D.C.” Pendall says that means investing


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Citing State Budget Cuts, Akron Is Asking Voters to Boost Their Income TaxCiting State Budget Cuts, Akron Is Asking Voters to Boost Their Income Tax

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:25:23 +0000

Akron will be going to the voters in November to try to increase the city’s income tax from 2.25 to 2.5 percent. In an announcement in one of the city's dilapidated fire stations, Mayor Dan Horrigan said the extra $16 million a year will go toward police and fire services and street repairs. Horrigan says state budget cuts have devastated his and other cities. “The city of Akron continues to lose about $15 million every year from the elimination of fair tax sharing by the state of Ohio. And as a result of the recession the city has lost an estimated $80 million in unrealized income tax revenue since 2008.” Thirty-one municipalities in Ohio – including Cleveland -- now have tax rates of 2.5 percent. Five – Parma Heights, Euclid, North Randall, Youngstown and Warrensville Heights -- have higher rates. Here's the Ohio Department of Taxation's list of municipal income-tax rates.


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Ohio's Budget Proposal Could Make It Easier for People Wrongly Convicted to Get CompensationOhio's Budget Proposal Could Make It Easier for People Wrongly Convicted to Get Compensation

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:13:46 +0000

It would be easier for people wrongly convicted in Ohio to get compensation for the time they spent in prison, according to a provision in the budget that’s passed both the House and Senate. But critics say that could cost the state a lot of money. The provision would grant $50,000 for each year served by a someone who was wrongfully imprisoned because of sentencing errors. Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brian Gutkoski argued such a case before the Ohio Supreme Court, and he joins with the Ohio Prosecutors Association in saying, because it’s retroactive, this provision could cost the state tens of millions of dollars. “I don’t think a judge should have to consider, 'Gee, if I get overturned, is this going to be a payday for the defendant?'” Gutkoski said. Gutkosi said he’d like see the issue considered in a stand-alone bill, and that it shouldn’t be part of a huge, must-pass measure such as the budget. But Republican supporters say fair compensation is justice for people whose


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ECOT Will Lay Off More Than 300 Employees to Pay Off What It Owes the StateECOT Will Lay Off More Than 300 Employees to Pay Off What It Owes the State

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:05:29 +0000

Ohio's largest online charter school is making drastic job cuts to help pay the $60 million it owes the state. Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow spokesman Neil Clark says the cuts are needed to pay back 60 percent of the $100 million the school got from the state last year. “They have proposed laying off up to 350 people in the next 30 to 60 days,” Clark says. Teachers, administrators and staff positions will be eliminated. And Clark says if the state doesn’t allow the school enough time to pay back the money, ECOT will have to close its doors for good. The state has said ECOT was paid for 9,000 more full-time students than were actually enrolled.


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Aultman Is Buying Alliance Community Hospital as Northeast Ohio's Consolidation ContinuesAultman Is Buying Alliance Community Hospital as Northeast Ohio's Consolidation Continues

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:54:59 +0000

More healthcare industry consolidation is in the offing for northeast Ohio. Wednesday Canton-based Aultman Health Foundation signed a letter of intent to buy Alliance Community Hospital . The two Stark county institutions operated separately for 116 years. But, Case-Western Reserve University professor J.B. Silvers says the current economic and political environment in healthcare is drawing them together. “A small hospital like Alliance is really stressed financially. So, they’re feeling the heat and worrying about survival. And being part of a larger entity is one way to do it. "From Aultman’s point of view it gives them some leverage and market power. And of course they’ve got their own health (insurance) plan—AultCare—so it gives them more coverage on that.” In a joint statement Aultman and Alliance Community said details of the deal are being worked out. An agreement should be ready in the fall, and the sale is expected to be completed by early next year. Professor Silvers says


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Shuffle: Teen Band 'Montage' Is Having A Break Out SummerShuffle: Teen Band 'Montage' Is Having A Break Out Summer

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:15:00 +0000

One of the local bands playing at this weekend’s Tri-C Jazz Fest is having a big year -- all while finishing their sophomore year of high school. For this week’s Shuffle, we meet Cleveland School of The Arts students Alana Amore, Jasmine Sims and Kevin Pace of the band Montage . Bass player Jasmine Sims' family dining room in East Cleveland has been transformed into a practice space. There's a drum set, amps and a microphone facing the living room for a small audience. These 16-year-olds who formed a band in middle school practice in front of their parents, who are their managers. It's helped vault them on to some of Cleveland's biggest stages this summer. An eclectic sound The band says the name Montage comes from “our different styles and backgrounds -- rock, pop, blues and funk.” In January, the trio of high school students entered the Tri-C High School Rock Off , which included 41 bands that competed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Montage finished second. “We were so hyped. It


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National League of Cities Meeting Draws City Leaders to ClevelandNational League of Cities Meeting Draws City Leaders to Cleveland

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 22:14:34 +0000

Some 250 city officials from around the country are gathered in Cleveland this week for a meeting of the National League of Cities . They are concerned about President Trump's proposed budget cuts. The president's proposed budget hikes military spending 10 percent or $54 billion. The money would come from programs that used to go to cities and states. Meals on Wheels, homeless vets, code enforcement, COPS, drug treatment, agriculture programs: they’re all taking hits, if not being eliminated. Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone is the new president of the league. He says the cuts will be a disaster and people in Washington don’t get it. “Nobody knows better than my colleagues in cities. They are the chief CEO’s of cities. They are the front line, first responders of helping our most vulnerable citizens," he said. The Democratic mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, Mark Stodola , says Republican and Democrat city officials alike are upset. He argues the cuts to Medicaid expansion would have far


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New Government Report Says Lake Erie's Health is DeterioriatingNew Government Report Says Lake Erie's Health is Deterioriating

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 22:11:57 +0000

A new report on the health of the Great Lakes shows a grim outlook for Lake Erie. The Canada-United States Collaboration for Great Lakes Water Quality says Lake Erie’s general health is in poor and deteriorating -- due to problems like harmful algae blooms. The Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has been working for more than a decade to restore the watershed. Executive Director Jill Jedlicka says that even though progress has been made, Lake Erie seems to be going in the wrong direction. "Dredging up contaminated sediment is great," said Jedlicka. "We’ve got great progress on that. There are several localized projects where we’re improving things here and there. But, when you look at the collective of this entire lake, it’s sometimes feels like it’s one step forward and two steps back." The report doesn’t mention a related issue -- President Trump’s 2018 budget plan. It would make drastic cuts at the EPA , and eliminate $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative . Another issue


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