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The View From Pluto: The Future Browns Hall of Famer You Rarely Notice On The FieldThe View From Pluto: The Future Browns Hall of Famer You Rarely Notice On The Field

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:21:57 +0000

The best player in Cleveland Browns recent history is one you rarely notice on the field. Joe Thomas is heading into his 11 th season with the Browns, and much like the team during that span, he’s been battered. Still, Thomas remains loyal to Cleveland. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about how future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas sees the game. [audio] The position Pluto says Joe Thomas is perhaps the best left tackle in NFL history. Left tackles don’t get much attention during the game, because they aren’t doing anything flashy -- except protecting the quarterback. “He basically plays the game and never sees the ball,” Pluto says. “Most quarterbacks are right handed. So when a quarterback goes to throw, he doesn’t see anything coming from the left. The left tackle is the most valuable member of the offensive line.” Nearly 9,000 plays The Browns drafted Thomas with the 3 third overall pick in 007. He’s been to 10 Pro Bowls, a first for any offensive lineman. And, perhaps most remarkable


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Ohio Lawmakers May Waive Health Department Prohibitions of Dogs at Outdoor Dining SpotsOhio Lawmakers May Waive Health Department Prohibitions of Dogs at Outdoor Dining Spots

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:15:26 +0000

Two bills that would permit dogs on restaurant patios statewide are being introduced in the House and Senate. The measures are as much about business as it is about dogs. Earlier this year, a few health departments sent letters to businesses telling them it’s illegal to allow dogs on their patios. Many restaurants who were doing that were upset. Natalie Walston with the Ohio Restaurant Association says some businesses think it’s a good way to compete with delivery services. “It’s so easy to order your favorite food from delivery so you are competing with that. You want to get people in the door so if you can do that by allowing people to bring their pets then more power to you,” she said. The new bills will leave it up to businesses to determine whether to allow dogs on patios. The legislation would not allow dogs inside the restaurants.


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GOP Lawmakers and Kasich Disagree on Whether FirstEnergy Should Get a BailoutGOP Lawmakers and Kasich Disagree on Whether FirstEnergy Should Get a Bailout

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:01:42 +0000

Another clash may be coming between Republican state lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich . It’s over a bill on nuclear power plants, but the issue may be more about money. At the opening of a new natural gas plant this week in Toledo, Kasich said he can’t support a bill that would allow FirstEnergy to charge its customers more to subsidize its two aging nuclear plants. “Economic decisions have to be made, and I just think they’re going to have to work their way through this themselves,” he said. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. John Eklund of the Chardon area, says nuclear is needed in a diverse energy portfolio, which he says Kasich has supported. And he says lawmakers make many decisions to preserve important things, and they’re not called bailouts. “This just happens to be another one. It’s no more of a bailout than so many of the other things that we do.” Eklund says he hasn’t spoken to Kasich about the bill but wants to move it forward, though the bill stalled before summer recess.


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Akron Warns Residents of a Disease Killing Oak TreesAkron Warns Residents of a Disease Killing Oak Trees

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:53:41 +0000

Akron officials are warning residents to look out for a fungal disease killing oak trees in the city’s north and west sides. Oak wilt can kill red and white oak trees within days or weeks by cutting off supplies of water and nutrients. The disease is transmitted by insects through open wounds or broken limbs. City arborist John Malish says residents can take some precautions. “It can also be transmitted by unsanitary conditions, such as when (residents) go to do pruning cuts, they don’t sanitize the saw blades; a 10 percent bleach solution will kill pretty much any bacteria or fungi.” He recommends homeowners wait until October to prune oak trees to prevent the spread of the disease. Currently, the city is banning the pruning of street oak trees.


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Bloomberg Analysis Finds Rover Pipeline Is Among the Worst for Environmental ViolationsBloomberg Analysis Finds Rover Pipeline Is Among the Worst for Environmental Violations

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:46:55 +0000

An analysis from Bloomberg finds that the Rover Pipeline has received more environmental violations than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline built in the past two years. That includes damage in Ohio. Rover’s impact on Ohio includes the destruction of a historic house, damage to state wetlands and spilling drilling fluid near Canton's main water field. Ohio EPA spokesman James Lee says the pipeline has met most of the state’s orders, except for one that requires them to submit a storm water management permit. “Ohio EPA’s priority continues to be making sure that Rover complies with the state’s environmental laws. Whether that’s related to protecting ground water or surface water, the agency is committed to taking all necessary precautions.” Though Lee declined to comment on the Bloomberg report, Ohio EPA officials have been openly critical of Rover’s noncompliance and have recently requested civil action against the pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners.


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For the First Time in 40 Years, Ohio Lawmakers Override Budget VetoesFor the First Time in 40 Years, Ohio Lawmakers Override Budget Vetoes

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:40:56 +0000

For the first time in four decades, the Ohio Legislature has gone over the governor’s head to implement policy without his approval. The votes in the Republican-controlled Senate mostly dealt with Medicaid spending and control of those dollars. Two veto overrides ultimately restrict the power of the Controlling Board , a small legislative panel led by a member of the governor’s administration that Kasich used to expand Medicaid in Ohio. The override means spending approval must now go through the full Legislature. Republican Senate President Larry Obhof said overriding these vetoes helps restore legislative oversight. "The administrative state has taken on what were traditionally, or what should be, responsibilities of the Legislature and we are starting to take some of those back," he said.


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Ohio's Senate Decides Which Kasich Vetoes to OverrideOhio's Senate Decides Which Kasich Vetoes to Override

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 16:28:40 +0000

State legislative eaders are ready to deliver another blow to fellow Republican, Gov. John Kasich. The Senate is likely to give final approval to at least some veto overrides that started in the House. The vote would be more than just a symbolic loss of power for the Kasich Administration. The Republican-controlled Senate has the option to confirm 11 veto overrides , which were approved by the House. Most would reinstate provisions on Medicaid that take decision-making power away from the Kasich Administration and put it in the hands of the Legislature. Senate President Larry Obhof said one item he especially wants to bring back is the requirement for a panel of lawmakers, known at the controlling board, to approve Medicaid expansion money twice a year. Another provision that was vetoed and overridden was a plan to increase a tax on Medicaid managed care providers. Local transit authorities use piggyback taxes on that revenue to raise millions of dollars. Something the Senate cannot


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Cleveland Clinic Unveils an App to Gauge Student Athlete ConcussionsCleveland Clinic Unveils an App to Gauge Student Athlete Concussions

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:51:51 +0000

The Cleveland Clinic has unveiled a new app to help coaches determine whether student athletes are ready to return to the field after taking a hit. The app has been in development for seven years and is being rolled out to nearly four-dozen participating school districts and colleges in Ohio. Each player takes a series of diagnostic tests at the beginning of the season to gauge reaction time and coordination. Those results are then stored. If an athlete takes a hit, they must re-take the tests to see if their cognitive abilities have suffered. Jason Cruickshank, a senior athletic trainer with the clinic, says there are a number of tests in the app. “We measure simple things like connecting the dots. A simple using of manipulating a pen to connect the dots in sequence, and knowing that sequence. And then we make that a little bit harder with a different sequence.” Cruickshank says some of the tests use the iPad’s on-board accelerometers and gyroscopes. “And it measures their balance and


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Booted out of the Capitol, Statue of Ex-Ohio Governor with Pro-Slavery Views Stays in ChillicotheBooted out of the Capitol, Statue of Ex-Ohio Governor with Pro-Slavery Views Stays in Chillicothe

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:35:37 +0000

One of the two statues representing Ohio in Congress’ Statuary Hall was removed last year because of its subject’s views on slavery. With the current focus on the removal of Confederate statues, there are some questions about what happens to it now. The statue of Democratic Gov. William Allen , who served from 1874 to 1876, represented Ohio in Statuary Hall starting in 1887. But Allen’s pro-slavery views led lawmakers to vote to replace the statue in 2012. Last year it was moved to Chillicothe, where Allen died in 1879. Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney is also a Democrat, and he says the statue will stay at the Ross County Historical Society. “From being on display in the Capitol to a museum where it’s not as prominently displayed, it’s not as much of an honoring of the man as it is a reflection of our history.” Allen’s statue was replaced with one of inventor Thomas Edison , who was chosen in a statewide contest.


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Akron Municipal Court Judge Trains In Therapeutic Handling of Domestic Violence OffendersAkron Municipal Court Judge Trains In Therapeutic Handling of Domestic Violence Offenders

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:02:00 +0000

The Akron Municipal Court’s Family Intervention Court program took part in a training seminar last week examining therapeutic alternatives for handling domestic violence cases. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia recently spoke with Judge Kathryn Michael about the training, and she says the issue has been a passion of hers since she was an attorney. “It’s very important that the cycle of domestic violence be broken, so that children don’t grow up thinking that this type of interaction between adults is normal.” Having been a judge for more than a decade, Michael says the new measures for handling domestic violence offenders rely on interviews with the victims and police officers in each case. And that’s much more useful than simply relying on a “gut feeling.” “We didn’t have any kind of matrix except for a person’s prior record. The new screening tool that we learned about [with New York-based Center for Court Innovation ] is better because it includes more risk factors. The whole idea is to give us a


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Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Great Lakes Science Center Among NE Ohio Watch-Party HostsCuyahoga Valley National Park, Great Lakes Science Center Among NE Ohio Watch-Party Hosts

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:47:37 +0000

Northeast Ohio will be filled with watch parties this afternoon for the solar eclipse, including one in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., sky gazers can gather in Howe Meadow in Peninsula to view the eclipse, the first total solar eclipse over the continental U.S. in 99 years. CVNP Ranger Ryan Ainger says eye protection is essential when looking at the eclipse, and the park has a very limited quantity on-hand for this afternoon. “We’ll be giving out one pair of glasses per family until we run out. But we’ll also have the pinhole projection cards available for people as well as a couple crafts where you can make your own pinhole viewer as well.” The first 1,000 people who purchase admission to the Great Lakes Science Center can also get a free pair of eclipse glasses. And the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village will have two telescopes available for viewing. More details about watch parties, eye protection and a link to the live feed from NASA


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Akron Establishes Scholarships for Bhutanese StudentsAkron Establishes Scholarships for Bhutanese Students

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 00:40:38 +0000

The University of Akron has created eight new scholarships for members of the Bhutanese-refugee community. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more from the announcement at this weekend’s annual Bhutanese festival. Thousands of Bhutanese have come to Akron by way of refugee camps in Nepal over the last decade, and more have arrived via “secondary migration” from other U.S. cities. University of Akron President Matthew Wilson says the scholarships will help enrich education for non-refugee students as well. “They will be able to have a greater understanding, be able to build bridges, to be able to learn more and then conversely for the Bhutanese community, they’ll be able to become more integrated into our society, they’ll be able to go out and get the tools they need to succeed as well. The scholarships -- ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be available beginning next fall. They’re in addition to the tuition aid offered to Akron public school students and can be applied to transportation, books


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Yellow Creek Watershed Fundraiser Turns Pest Garlic Mustard Into PestoYellow Creek Watershed Fundraiser Turns Pest Garlic Mustard Into Pesto

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 00:16:53 +0000

An invasive plant is at the center of a fundraiser this week for a group pushing to create a new watershed in Northeast Ohio. Vaccaro’s Trattoria in Bath will be serving three dishes this week that feature garlic mustard, a slightly bitter plant with the consistency of spinach. Brenda McShaffrey is part of the group trying to create a Yellow Creek watershed conservancy district in Bath. She says the idea for the fundraiser came about after she picked a carload of the invasive plant. “It’s different but it’s good; for the foodies and the adventurous diners, that’s for sure. And people who go there this week don’t have to order the garlic mustard. The tables will have information on garlic mustard.” McShaffrey says Chef Raphael Vaccaro has enjoyed experimenting with the new dishes. “It is a little on the bitter side. So it’s important to get the leaves or the plant when it’s young. When it’s more like a rosette. He added some Swiss chard to the pesto to tone down the bitterness. He added


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Data Shows Correlation Between Education and PovertyData Shows Correlation Between Education and Poverty

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:59:44 +0000

Sixty percent of Ohio public school students living in poverty scored below proficient on required statewide tests, and the districts that have the lowest test scores have the highest percentages of poor students. That’s based on data from the Ohio Department of Education, and lawmakers are now studying the connection between education and poverty. Last month, the House Speaker's Task Force on Education and Poverty heard about the data on the achievement gap between students at different income levels. This month, they heard that kids in poverty are more likely to have health problems like asthma and obesity, and less likely to be able to get health care. Amy Rush Stevens with the non-partisan Health Policy Institute of Ohio told the task force that some schools are now partnering with health-care providers. “There’s really good research showing that school-based health centers can improve health outcomes for kids and can also help to improve educational outcomes.” The panel will meet


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Lawmakers Push to Toughen Ohio's Child Enticement LawLawmakers Push to Toughen Ohio's Child Enticement Law

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:56:17 +0000

Child enticement charges against a convicted sex offender in central Ohio were recently dropped because an Ohio Supreme Court ruling had invalidated part of the statute. Lawmakers are now trying to fix that part of the law. After the convicted sex offender allegedly tried to entice at least two, possibly more, children into his car, police arrested him on enticement charges, only to find out later that part of that law had been deemed unconstitutional in 2014. The Ohio Supreme Court had ruled the state’s soliciting law was overly broad. But lawmakers haven’t fixed it since that ruling. The man is still in jail, under arrest, pending parole review. Republican state Rep. Mike Duffey has proposed a clarification that applies to strangers without any legitimate relationship to a child and also to those with prior sexual offender status. Duffey says lawmakers need to make sure to fix that law so this doesn’t happen in the future.


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Hard to Breathe: How Northeast Ohio's Climate Leads to Increased Risk for Respiratory ProblemsHard to Breathe: How Northeast Ohio's Climate Leads to Increased Risk for Respiratory Problems

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:38:59 +0000

State lawmakers are gearing up for another round in the fight over renewable energy mandates. Opponents say they’re a financial burden; supporters say they help cut down on air pollution, which then improves respiratory health. There is one part of Ohio where the risk for experiencing breathing problems is one of the highest in the country. The clickety-clack of an XBOX controller can be heard in Dalton Aufdenkamp’s living room as the 15-year-old chats with other gamers in his headset. It’s a sunny day and not too hot for August. But Dalton makes sure all the windows are shut, the doors are closed, and the air conditioner is running. It’s a hazy, humid day as cars and trucks pass by the neighborhood, which sits along I-77 just south of Akron. This is the kind of day that can be dangerous for kids like Dalton, who have asthma. His mother, Clara Aufdenkamp, can relate. She’s lived with the same respiratory illness for 54 years, making sure to teach Dalton all the tips he needs to know to


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Algae Blooms Cost Ohio Homeowners More Than $150 MillionAlgae Blooms Cost Ohio Homeowners More Than $150 Million

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:23:57 +0000

Ohio State University researchers have found that the state’s algae blooms not only seriously harm lakes, but property values of houses surrounding them. The study finds those combined values for houses near four algae-infested lakes fell by more than $150 million from 2009 to 2015. Additionally, sales prices for houses adjacent to algae-affected Grand Lake St. Mary's and Buckeye Lake regions saw sale prices drop by more than 22 percent. Lead author David Wolf says, aside from monitoring runoff, homeowners in those regions can take precautions to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse. “Another important factor that causes poor water quality conditions is leaking septic systems. As a homeowner, it’s important that they make sure that not only their septic systems, but also their neighbor’s septic systems are not leaking this material into the lake.” The study did not look at property values for the western Lake Erie region. A related study did find that algae blooms in Lake Erie


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Many Details of the Incentives Bringing Facebook's Data Center to Ohio Are Not Yet Clear Many Details of the Incentives Bringing Facebook's Data Center to Ohio Are Not Yet Clear

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:17:11 +0000

Social networking giant Facebook has announced it will build a new 970,000 square foot data center in Central Ohio. And the company is doing it with the help of local and state tax incentives. But the terms of those agreements weren’t easy to come by. The proposed data center in New Albany, near the line that divides Franklin and Licking Counties, will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Rachel Peterson, director of Data Center Strategy and Development at Facebook, says this is the tenth of its kind for Facebook. “It’s going to be delivering hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to the local community and the state as well as thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of full time operational jobs,” she said. The official statement put out by the public relations firm working with Facebook on the project says the project will create 100 permanent jobs. Peterson says those will be high tech jobs and that employees will operate data servicing at the center. But when


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Akron Project Partners Need Community Feedback for Proposed TrailAkron Project Partners Need Community Feedback for Proposed Trail

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:58:35 +0000

Akron groups want community members to voice their opinions on a proposed trail that would stretch 6 miles throughout the city. The Rubber City Heritage Trail follows old railroad tracks through downtown. Dan Rice of the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition says meetings this week will discuss options for the trail. The opportunity that the Rubber City Heritage Trail has is that is has the opportunity to connect neighborhoods within Akron. Rather than a commuter trail to connect cities, the Rubber City Heritage Trail has the opportunity to really connect neighborhoods, schools, libraries and the University of Akron with downtown. Rice says project partners hope to have a design plan by 2020. Meeting times: Tuesday, August 22 at the Old Sanctuary from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, August 23 at the Front Porch from 6:30-8 p.m.


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Proponents and Oppponents Argue Over Drug Price Relief Act LanguageProponents and Oppponents Argue Over Drug Price Relief Act Language

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:56:46 +0000

The ballot language for issues voters will see during this November’s election has been finalized. One side is making sure to highlight a certain section of the language. Opponents of the so-called Drug Price Relief Act , which forces the state to pay for drugs at a discount, argue that taxpayers would be on the hook for large legal bills. That includes paying the court fees for the California-based sponsors of the initiative. But Dennis Willard, a spokesman for advocates of the issue, says that scenario is bogus. “Let me say this clearly, that is a lie. An L-I-E, lie. Remember it’s the drug companies that will be suing and they’re the ones who will be bringing the Ohio attorney general and our side into court,” he said. Opponents, who’re funded by big drug companies , say the proposal won’t work and would artificially raises drug prices for Ohioans not on public assistance.


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