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Ohio's Senators Unanimously Support Super-Speed Links to Chicago and PittsburghOhio's Senators Unanimously Support Super-Speed Links to Chicago and Pittsburgh

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:33:10 +0000

Ohio senators have passed a resolution unanimously supporting the effort to bring a super-high speed transportation system to connect Columbus with Pittsburgh on the east and Chicago on the west. The route connecting the three cities is one of 10 finalists in a world-wide competition . Ir would allow Ohioans to go from Columbus to Chicago in a half hour or to Pittsburgh in less than 20 minutes. But Republican Sen. Kevin Bacon, one of the bill’s sponsors, says the legislation doesn’t come with a promise of money if the project is selected. “We’re not allocating state dollars to the project. Whether or not they seek public funding for the project in the future, I don’t know.” There are a lot of questions about how much the hyperloop would cost, the design and safety features of it and whether it would actually deliver on the fast speeds promoted. The resolution has no force of law, and sponsors say was meant to send a message that Ohio is willing to work to get it developed. A few years


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Lawmakers Argue Over Property Rights and Wind FarmsLawmakers Argue Over Property Rights and Wind Farms

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:25:22 +0000

The wind-energy industry says Ohio has essentially placed a moratorium on new wind farm projects because of trestrictions on where turbines can be placed. But some lawmakers maintain those tougher parameters protect the rights of landowners. So-called wind setbacks decide how far a turbine must be placed from a property owner who wants nothing to do with a project. Republican Rep. Craig Riedel represents a portion of northwest Ohio, home to the state’s biggest wind farms. He says he’s all for wind energy but believes new setbacks are needed, hoping to strike a balance between the current constraints and the much smaller setbacks proposed in the Senate. "Then set that as the minimum and then allow each individual township to decide for themselves whether or not they want to leave that as their setback for their township or extend it further.” The debate could be rolled into the larger issue of renewable-energy mandates. A bill to eliminate those mandates sits in the Senate.


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Hundreds Are Expected To Discuss Algae Blooms, Microplastics and Other Challenges to the Great LakesHundreds Are Expected To Discuss Algae Blooms, Microplastics and Other Challenges to the Great Lakes

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:15:15 +0000

Next month, environmentalists from across the region will meet to discuss their biggest challenges in cleaning up and protecting the Great Lakes. Restoring wetlands, fish success stories, and the relationship between wildlife and microplastics will all be discussed at the conference hosted by the National Wildlife Federation’s Healing Our Waters Coalition . The coalition consists of more than 145 groups. And more than 200 people involved in Great Lakes work are expected to gather in Buffalo for the three-day conference. A hot topic sis sure to be the algae blooms in western Lake Erie. The National Wildlife Federation’s Gail Hesse says more can be done to reduce phosphorus, which triggers the toxic blooms. “We have the targets for Lake Erie, and we have the individual tributary targets, such as for the mouth of the Maumee,” says Hesse. “We will be looking for how those targets could be incorporated into state water quality standards, which essentially govern how clean we manage our


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Ohio EPA Hikes Penalties Against Rover Pipeline to $2.3 Million and Turns the Case Over to the AGOhio EPA Hikes Penalties Against Rover Pipeline to $2.3 Million and Turns the Case Over to the AG

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:08:57 +0000

The Ohio EPA on Wednesday turned over of $2.3 million in civil penalties against the owners of the Rover pipeline enforcement to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports on the latest in ongoing disputes with the pipeline operators.


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Morning Headlines: Radio Legend Webster Dead at 74; U of Akron Considers Bringing Back BaseballMorning Headlines: Radio Legend Webster Dead at 74; U of Akron Considers Bringing Back Baseball

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:00:10 +0000

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, September 20th: Majority of undergraduate college students graduated with debt last year, report says; Radio legend John Webster dies at 74; Akron Police Captain Brian Simcox placed on administrative leave; Domestic dispute ends in death of Youngstown man; University of Akron considers bringing back baseball and adding women's lacrosse; Majority of undergraduate college students graduated with debt last year, report says A report from the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success shows well over half of graduates from Ohio public and private colleges graduated with debt in 2016. The average graduate owed $30,351. Roughly three out of four undergraduates from Kent State University finished their programs owing money. The typical Kent State bachelor’s degree recipient owed $33,234. The University of Toledo was on the lowest end of the public university spectrum, with the average undergraduate owing $24,437. On average,


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Brown Says GOP's Latest Obamacare Replacement Strips Away Addiction Treatment, Other Crucial FundingBrown Says GOP's Latest Obamacare Replacement Strips Away Addiction Treatment, Other Crucial Funding

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:29:50 +0000

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is criticizing the latest Republican effort to replace Obamacare, saying this new bill is worse than the others before it. The measure, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, would put Medicaid money into block grants and turn over control to the states. In a conference call, Brown questioned the proposal for its lack of attention to the opioid crisis. “Two hundred thousand Ohioans are getting opioid treatment because they have insurance through the Affordable Care Act. So (the bill) is worse in the sense there’s no opioid dollars in it, which causes concern in states like Ohio and New Hampshire and West Virginia.” Brown also rejects the phasing out of funding for states like Ohio that chose to expand Medicaid. Republican Sen.Rob Portman has hinted he supports elements of the bill, saying he believes Ohio would be able to distribute resources better than the government. Portman voted for the early GOP repeal effort


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Ohio House Again Considers Freezing Medicaid Expansion Via a Veto OverrideOhio House Again Considers Freezing Medicaid Expansion Via a Veto Override

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:23:25 +0000

Republican leaders in the Legislature are still looking at the possibility of freezing Medicaid expansion, a move the governor’s office says could result in a loss of health coverage for half a million people. Republican lawmakers have argued that freezing enrollment for the Medicaid expansion population is one way to prepare for the possible repeal of the federal health care law. They put it in the state budget, a provision Gov. John Kasich vetoed. Now Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring says members are once again weighing a veto override vote. “We’re still working with our members regarding how that might play out and it’s too early to say whether or not we have the votes.” Supporters of Medicaid expansion say that money, which mostly comes from federal funds, goes a long way in helping Ohio provide opioid addiction treatment, among other things.


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Akron Tries to Figure Out How to Make Main Street Residential, Retail and GreenAkron Tries to Figure Out How to Make Main Street Residential, Retail and Green

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:00:07 +0000

Consultants helping Akron figure out what to do with its downtown met with about a hundred people last night to consider how to make Main Street more residential, green and vibrant. About a hundred people attended the session in one of downtown ’s destinations – the Akron Civic Theatre -- to talk about ways to fill in the gaps between “set” pieces like the Civic, ballpark and art institute with housing, retail, recreation and business. It was the second meeting of urban landscape consultants MKSK about the Downtown Akron Vision and Redevelopment Plan, and it was designed to start filling in the framework to draw people downtown. Andrew Overbeck said it all must focus on the aptly named Main Street “from stem to stern, from Canal Place all the way to North Side. It’s the thing that’s going to hold downtown together. From there, we can spill out into these other streets, but we have to get Main Street right first.” Overbeck says some of the redevelopment is already underway with a new


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The ACLU Says Ohio is Violating Voters' RightsThe ACLU Says Ohio is Violating Voters' Rights

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:51:13 +0000

The Ohio ACLU has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing Ohio's removal of registered voters from the rolls because they choose not to vote is a "powerful tool of voter suppression." Ohio's system first raises questions when people have failed to vote for two years. It terminates their registration if they don't respond or vote over the next four years. Ohio ACLU Legal Director Freda Levenson says the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act. She adds that when voters are purged, they aren’t notified until they are turned away at the polls. “To purge voters like this doesn’t do anything to make elections better or fairer, or to keep voting rolls accurate. In fact, to purge voters for merely not having voted disenfranchises perfectly eligible people and makes the voting rolls less accurate and takes away integrity from elections.” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, has said the federal case is about “maintaining the integrity of our elections.” He says the


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The View From Pluto: Indians' Success Is Vindication For Owner Paul DolanThe View From Pluto: Indians' Success Is Vindication For Owner Paul Dolan

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:40:00 +0000

The Indians are riding a high heading into the postseason. They’ve won their second consecutive American League Central Division title, fueled by a historic 22-game winning streak. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says it’s vindication for Indians owner, Paul Dolan. "Dolans are cheap; that's all you hear," Pluto says. After last year's World Series run, the team raised its payroll from $97 million to $130 million, which is around the league average. Still, Pluto says, he gets emails from fans complaining that the team's payroll is average. Pluto says that while the Indians have spent more money, it's not the only factor that drives a winning team. The Indians were the only team outside the top 10 payrolls in the Major League Baseball to make the playoffs last year. "But there are a lot of teams that spend a lot of money and lose anyway," he says. Consistency The Indians have their fifth winning season in a row and this will be their third trip to the playoffs in that span. "You have to go


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Ohio Plans to Clear Pines From Mohican to Make Way for Native SpeciesOhio Plans to Clear Pines From Mohican to Make Way for Native Species

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:11:03 +0000

The Ohio Division of Forestry has come up with a plan to cut down some trees in Mohican-Memorial State Forest in order to allow others to grow. Before it was a state forest, farmers had planted pine trees in rows. Forest Manager Chad Sanders that prevents several native species from growing. “Every year, and by thinning, you are increasing the sunlight that comes down into the forest and native hardwood trees come up. We’re trying to promote this idea of restoration, that you’re restoring these farm fields that were planted in pine to more of a natural native hardwood band.” Sanders says they plan work on 20 to 48 acres every year. He says the whole project could take decades.


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Cleveland Forms a New Homicide Task Force with Cuyahoga County and the FBICleveland Forms a New Homicide Task Force with Cuyahoga County and the FBI

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:41:47 +0000

Law enforcement in Cleveland have organized a new task force to pursue open murder cases. The task force will include investigators from Cleveland police, the FBI and Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams says it’ll look into cases that go beyond Cleveland’s borders. “Their task is to review all the homicides that happened here in this part of Northeast Ohio to make sure we’re using every resource possible to get those solved.” In August, Mayor Frank Jackson said just under half (47 percent) of the homicides in Cleveland this year were solved. The new unit is called the Cleveland Homicide Review Task Force. It will start by pooling investigators already working in the homicide division, on the gang unit and in the newly formed Neighborhood Impact Community Engagement squad. Williams says the department is considering adding homicide detectives.


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Ohio Graduation Rates Could Dip This YearOhio Graduation Rates Could Dip This Year

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:37:45 +0000

Overall, the high school graduation rate in Ohio has been climbing since 2010. But changes to federal education policies could cause a decrease this school year. State report cards show the four-year high-xschool graduation rate reached more than 83 percent in the 2016-2017 academic year. But the federal Every Student Succeeds Act—or ESSA -- could impact that rate negatively, particularly for one group of students. “With the changes to the ESSA calculation, we would only be counting students with disabilities as graduates if they meet the same requirements as their non-disabled peers.” Kim Monachino with the Department of Education says there are 250,000 Ohio students with disabilities who were previously allowed to take different tracks to graduation based on their needs. But starting this year, alternative routes will no longer count toward the federally recognized graduation rate. That means in 2018, Ohio’s overall graduation rate could drop based on one group of students. The


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Dreamers Make Their Plea to CongressDreamers Make Their Plea to Congress

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:33:27 +0000

Elvis Saldias, in the Ohio Statehouse, asks Congress to support extended protections for children who were brought to the United States while young and no longer have legal status. Credit Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau Edit | Remove Young professionals in Ohio are sharing their stories, hoping that Congress will pass a law that will save them from deportation. These so-called Dreamers were brought to the U.S. as children, then lost their legal status. And they say America is the only home they know. Elvis Saldias was 9-years-old when his mother brought him to America from Bolivia. He grew up undocumented after their visas expired. With the Trump Administration winding down the DACA program, Saldias says he’s living under the possible threat of deportation. “If those protections end, then something as small as driving to the grocery story, getting pulled over, that could be what deports somebody. So there’s always that fear," Salidas says. Saldias and fellow Dreamers commended



Portman Indicates Support for Another GOP Obamacare ReplacementPortman Indicates Support for Another GOP Obamacare Replacement

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:49:07 +0000

Ohio’s U.S. senators appear to be split on the latest attempt to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has been against it, and Republican Sen. Rob Portman appears to be heading toward a "yes" vote. In a conference call with reporters, Rob Portman seemed to be leaning toward supporting what’s been called the Cassidy-Graham bill , which would cap Medicaid, reduce federal funding and distribute it to states as block grants to use as they see fit. “I think Ohio will do a good job – better than the federal government, probably because we know what the needs are, closer to what those needs are, like the opioid addiction,” he said. Ohio and the other 31 states that expanded Medicaid would see that funding phased out. Gov. John Kasich tweeted out that the bill “eliminates the guardrails that protect some of the most vulnerable among us.” And it also won’t include $45 billion in additional funding for the opioid crisis, which the GOP’s previous


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Morning Headlines: Censure Vote on Akron Councilman Fails; Feds Sue Columbus PoliceMorning Headlines: Censure Vote on Akron Councilman Fails; Feds Sue Columbus Police

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:10:18 +0000

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, September 19th: Coroner finds Kent State football player died of heat stroke; Akron man accidentally shoots daughter; Ballot proposal regulating dog breeders moves ahead; Ohio House will hear resolution to award Medal of Honor to John and Annie Glenn; Feds sue Columbus police, citing excessive force against black residents; Civil rights groups continue challenge to voter purges; State judges cite public safety concerns in program to reduce prison overcrowding; Vote to censure Akron councilman ends in tie; Cleveland Metropolitan School District gets $1m grant for recruitment and development; Akron landlord and estates of four tenants who died in house fire reach settlement; Coroner finds Kent State football player died of heat stroke A coroner has ruled exertional heat stroke caused the death of a Kent State University football player after an offseason morning workout. The Portage County coroner's office released the findings of an autopsy


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Lt. Gov. Taylor Further Seperates Herself from Kasich, Saying She'd Eliminate Medicaid ExpansionLt. Gov. Taylor Further Seperates Herself from Kasich, Saying She'd Eliminate Medicaid Expansion

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:58:45 +0000

The Republican candidate for governor, Mary Taylor, unveiled a set of proposals for health care in Ohio on Monday that includes shrinking Medicaid in her first budget if she gets elected next year. That puts the current lieutenant governor in opposition to a key issue for Gov. John Kasich -- Medicaid expansion. “Medicaid expansion is not sustainable. It cannot be continued into the future," Taylor said. "My plan anticipates that we would eliminate the Medicaid expansion and provide legitimate, sustainable, long-term solutions for some of the most important issues that we face.” Taylor would limit the Medicaid program in Ohio to those unable to work. She also supports a direct primary-care model where access to physicians would be through a monthly membership payment, instead of insurance. And Taylor is proposing optional contributions by small businesses to employees’ health savings accounts.


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Ohio Department of Education Digs Into District GradesOhio Department of Education Digs Into District Grades

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:53:05 +0000

Days after the state report cards that grade school districts were released, parents, educators and even state Board of Education members are still trying to figure out just what those grades mean. Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and employees of the Ohio Department of Education drilled down into what each of the 11 graded measures stands for and how the department came up with each letter grade during the state Board of Education meeting Monday. Several members pushed back against the A through F grades themselves, which were created in a joint effort between the board and the Ohio Legislature. At one point, House Education Committee Chair Andrew Brenner walked out of the meeting, saying some House members want to get rid of the grades altogether. But Brenner’s Senate counterpart Peggy Lehner doesn’t agree. “I think that there’s a lot of value in the report card, but that doesn’t mean that every component of it is done the best it can be or we should continue to do one or another feature


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How Is the Cleveland Orchestra Attracting a New Generation of Music Lovers?How Is the Cleveland Orchestra Attracting a New Generation of Music Lovers?

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:06:00 +0000

For the seventh year in a row, the Cleveland Orchestra this fall will welcome kids under 18 to Severance Hall for free on some nights. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on how that’s changed the makeup of the orchestra’s audience – and how it could change the audience in the future. This past summer, the 49 th season of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Festival drew its biggest audiences ever, with about 7,000 people at each performance. That’s up almost 80 percent from just a decade ago. And a big part of that change is due to young people coming with their parents and sitting on the lawn, for free. “It was my wife’s idea,” says Ross Binnie, chief brand officer for the orchestra. “We went to the lawn at Blossom and we have four kids. And I thought to myself, and she said, ‘This is great value to sit and have a picnic. It’s great family time. You should make this free for the kids.’ "We spend $100 on a movie now – when you add up all the stuff with it. For $50-odd, it’s great to see the


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Advocates Push for a Constitutional Amendment to Clamp Down on Puppy MillsAdvocates Push for a Constitutional Amendment to Clamp Down on Puppy Mills

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 02:34:10 +0000

Opponents of commercial dog-breeding facilities known as puppy mills say the state’s current laws don’t protect animals enough. So they are trying to put an issue before Ohio voters to let them decide. The group Stop Puppy Mills Ohio has received approval for language for a proposed constitutional amendment they say would make commercial dog breeding more humane. It would limit the number of litters a female dog could produce in her lifetime, and it would also spell out care standards for puppies and breeder dogs. The movement to put the issue on the ballot is backed by the Humane Society of the United States as well as other statewide and local animal-welfare groups. They will have until July 4th to collect about 306,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November 2018 election. The measure is likely to be opposed by Amish breeders and some pet stores, including Petland. Those are the same forces that were instrumental in passing a state law last year that made it illegal for local


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