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Shuffle: The Cleveland Orchestra's New Opera Blends a Hypnotic Score with High-Tech ImageryShuffle: The Cleveland Orchestra's New Opera Blends a Hypnotic Score with High-Tech Imagery

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:12:32 +0000

Opera has been going more high tech in recent years to create an immersive experience and bring in new audiences. The Cleveland Orchestra next week stages an intricate production of " Pelléas and Mélisande ." For this week’s Shuffle, Plain Dealer classical music critic Zach Lewis says the orchestra is taking a much different approach to opera:


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New Jobs Program Aims to Fill the Unique Needs of Gordon SquareNew Jobs Program Aims to Fill the Unique Needs of Gordon Square

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:28:32 +0000

A new hiring program in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood is aiming to encourage local businesses to hire local residents. The neighborhood on Cleveland’s west side encompasses the Gordon Square Arts District. And businesses there are expected to soon have the equivalent of about 50 full-time jobs available. That spurred officials there to create a job training program that will also ask local businesses to pledge to give candidates from the neighborhood a first-look at open positions. Jenny Spencer, managing director of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization , says their program will be uniquely attuned to the job needs in Gordon Square. “I could name so many different groups training in manufacturing and training in technology or training in software development. But for our purposes, a lot of the jobs being created are service-based or a lot of them are restaurant-based.” Spencer adds that the new “Hire Local” initiative is being co-organized with The Centers’ El


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Ohio House Considering New Requirements For Expanded Medicaid CoverageOhio House Considering New Requirements For Expanded Medicaid Coverage

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:22:46 +0000

The Ohio House is looking over a new budget proposal that has a fair share of controversial recommendations. One that’s catching the eye of many advocates is a new requirement for the 700,000 people getting Medicaid through the expansion pushed by Gov. John Kasich in 2013. The House version of the state budget says those who want to qualify for Medicaid under the expanded coverage would have to be 55 or older, have “intensive health care needs,” be in school, be participating in an alcohol or drug addiction treatment program, or have a job. Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network is adamantly opposed to these provisions and says the job requirement is especially counterintuitive. “If they have an illness, if something happens that makes it that much more likely that they’re not going to find work.” He adds that the language about intensive health care needs is ambiguous. On the other side is Greg Lawson with the conservative think tank the Buckeye Institute . He’s


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Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown Says Spending Bill Will Include Protection For Coal Miners' PensionsOhio Sen. Sherrod Brown Says Spending Bill Will Include Protection For Coal Miners' Pensions

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:18:17 +0000

About 22,000 coal miners around the country will lose their retirement benefits if Congress does not pass a spending package by this Friday. Ohio's senators are working on a more permanent solution. The Continuing Resolution that runs out this Friday includes an extension of miners' health insurance and pensions that was passed last December by Congress. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was co-sponsoring the Miners Protection Act back then, and he reintroduced it in January with support from fellow Ohio Senator, Republican Rob Portman, as well as both of West Virginia's senators. Brown says a lack of insurance would be detrimental to both patients and hospitals. “They’re going to wait to go until they’re really, really sick. The hospital will provide an emergency room treatment – which will cost a whole lot more money and be a lot harder on that patient – and they won’t get the revenues from the insurance. So it’s the same as why we don’t want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.” Brown has


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What Could Happen if Voters Reject Cleveland's Q Renovation FundingWhat Could Happen if Voters Reject Cleveland's Q Renovation Funding

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 21:14:02 +0000

A petition drive is underway to stop the city of Cleveland from spending $88 million to help renovate Quicken Loans Arena . The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus , Greater Cleveland Congregations , and two service unions want voters to decide if the city should help fund the upgrades. What happens if they’re successful is uncertain. The groups want the city to spend the money on neighborhood issues instead of Q renovations. They have about 30 days to collect 6,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot. Cleveland State University law professor Allen Weinstein says if they’re successful and voters reject the city’s expenditure, other parties involved in the project, the Cavaliers , Cuyahoga County and Destination Cleveland , could sue. But he says it’s more likely the city will be given a chance to start from scratch. “To try to put together another deal that might start to reduce the opposition that people have to spending this money on the Q. You know, some kind of different package.


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Cuyahoga Falls Receives Grant to Preserve Forty Acres of Open Space Cuyahoga Falls Receives Grant to Preserve Forty Acres of Open Space

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:45:49 +0000

The Ohio Public Works Commission has awarded Cuyahoga Falls a million dollar grant to preserve 40 acres of land adjacent to Cuyahoga Valley National Park . Deputy Law Director Janet Ciotola says she hopes students could utilize the land to learn more about the environment in the future. Not only will they be able to preserve the area in its natural state, but it will also help protect the water quality. “It’ll allow us to preserve it in its natural state. It will help storm water issues in the city. We hope to, in the future, make trail heads. We hope the Woodbridge School district will be able to utilize property to help their students learn about nature, provide some outdoor educational opportunities.” Ciotola says developers have been interested in the property recently. She’s excited the city has the opportunity to acquire it.


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Ohio Organizations Ban Together on Congressional Resdistricting ReformsOhio Organizations Ban Together on Congressional Resdistricting Reforms

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:00:58 +0000

Two years after winning a reform of the way Statehouse lawmakers’ districts are drawn, advocates for congressional redistricting in Ohio have taken the first step to putting that issue before voters. The League of Women Voters , Common Cause Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Council have collected 1,000 petition signatures to ask voters to change the way Congressional district maps are drawn. The proposed amendment would closely follow a Statehouse redistricting plan that voters overwhelmingly supported in 2015. The goal is to lessen political gerrymandering that allows the party in control to draw districts to its benefit itself and leads to a lack of compromise in governing. Republicans drew the Congressional map in 2011, and now hold 12 of Ohio’s 16 seats in the US House. If the groups get the go-ahead, they’ll have to gather more than 300,000 valid signatures of Ohio registered voters. But it’s unlikely it would happen this year, since the deadline is in July.


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House of Representatives Excludes Externship from Budget House of Representatives Excludes Externship from Budget

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:52:41 +0000

The part of Gov. John Kasich’s budget that would have required teachers to spend time shadowing business leaders in order to renew their licenses has been scrapped. Kasich has been adamant about his plan, pushing it in his State of the State speech earlier this month. “I want to make sure that our teachers, when they go for their re-license, that they spend a few days working in a business, learning about the work force needs of a community.” It isn’t a surprise that the teacher externship, as it was often called, is not in the House version of the budget, given the comments House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate president Larry Obhof made about it, including at the State of the State speech. “I’ve been pretty clear where I stand on this,” Rosenberger says. “I’ve been pretty clear where I stand on it, too,” Obhof says. Teachers unions had opposed the idea as well.


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The View From Pluto: Grab Your Popcorn and Scouting Reports, It's Browns Draft TimeThe View From Pluto: Grab Your Popcorn and Scouting Reports, It's Browns Draft Time

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:01:31 +0000

The NFL draft begins Thursday night. For Browns fans, it's the equivalent of the Super Bowl. The team has the No. 1 pick after going 1-15 this past season. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the Browns have 11 total picks, and five of the top 65 selections. Pluto says fans will be glued to ESPN watching the draft experts analyze the players. “I’ve talked to several Browns fans. Here’s what they’re doing for the draft parties: Hotdogs. Beer. Soft drinks. Popcorn. Scouting reports.” Doom and gloom Pluto says Browns fans are “not handling this well.” “One fan said to me, ‘They’ll just mess it up anyway.’ Then [fans] go through the Book of Lamentations for football fans: Courtney Brown from 2000, Brady Quin from 2007 and, poor Tim Couch, he was good but then he got hurt. Trent Richardson. Every failed draft pick. I have to admit by now, we are so drafted out. Our brains just feel like this empty wind tunnel.” Garrett or Trubisky? Pluto says the best player in the draft is Texas A&M


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Heroin Is A National Priority and Personal Tragedy, And Sometimes Those Two Stories Become OneHeroin Is A National Priority and Personal Tragedy, And Sometimes Those Two Stories Become One

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:01:19 +0000

For some, the fight against the opioid epidemic is a national priority. For others, it’s a personal struggle. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze takes us to a basement room in Massillon, where, for about an hour last week, the story of broad policy and personal battles intertwined.


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Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Takes More Steps ForwardPro Football Hall of Fame Village Takes More Steps Forward

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:03:46 +0000

Construction continues around the clock in Canton to turn the Pro Football Hall of Fame into what is being dubbed the Disneyland of Football. Tuesday two project milestones, a completion and a kick off, were celebrated at once. The wind made it a little bit hard to hear, but the choice of the hill above the Hall of Fame for the dual ceremony had to do with seeing: the last beam dropped into place for the new Tom Benson Stadium; and the first shovel turned for the four-star hotel to be on this high ground of the Hall of Fame Village. Developer Stu Lichter says seeing how the work has progressed, and what is coming next puts a reality to the project. “We are going to do this. And whereas you start out and say I hope we did this right, we now know we did it right.” And he says...all the research continues to show, that it’s going to succeed. “When people talk about destinations in the United States, they’ll be talking about Disneyland, Disney World, Branson, and Canton, Ohio.” About two


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Cuyahoga Valley National Park Report Finds $87 Million Economic Impact in 2016Cuyahoga Valley National Park Report Finds $87 Million Economic Impact in 2016

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:55:57 +0000

A new report finds that the Cuyahoga Valley National Park had an economic impact of $87 million dollars and supported nearly a thousand local jobs in Northeast Ohio last year. The report by the National Park Service shows that two and a half million visitors spent money in areas like dining and lodging. That’s up 200,000 visitors from the year before . The park’s community engagement supervisor Pamela Barnes says the increase is likely due to more millennials visiting national parks around the country. “We had the ‘Find Your Park’ campaign for the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. We estimate that we reached 1 in 3 millennials and people of that age group are representing park visitation more and more.” Barnes also says that out-of-town visitors are on the rise.


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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA Team Up for Sediment Samples Amidst Ongoing DisagreementsU.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA Team Up for Sediment Samples Amidst Ongoing Disagreements

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:48:12 +0000

In a surprising turn in the Cuyahoga River dredging saga, the US Army Corps of Engineers collaborated with the Ohio EPA last week to sample sediment on the Cuyahoga River. The two sides have been arguing over the dredged material for years. Together, the Army Corps and the Ohio EPA decided on the location and methods of sampling sediment. The Ohio EPA’s Heidi Griesmer says the decision was made out of a time restriction. "Their contractor was getting ready to begin the spring dredging. If the sampling didn’t take place before that dredging began, there wouldn’t have been accurate results," Griesmer said. Both the Corps and the EPA rely on the same test results, but Griesmer says each agency interprets the data differently. It’s that difference that’s at the heart of an ongoing lawsuit – the Army Corps says dredged material is suitable for open lake disposal. The Ohio EPA disagrees and says the sediment contains an excess of toxic chemicals that could harm Lake Erie. It wants dredged


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Ohio Groups Accuse EPA of Violating Clean Water Act on Lake ErieOhio Groups Accuse EPA of Violating Clean Water Act on Lake Erie

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:39:42 +0000

Environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit, accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit involves a dispute over whether Lake Erie should be classified as an impaired waterway . In the suit, groups including the National Wildlife Federation and the Ohio Environmental Council claim the EPA is violating federal law because it has not yet acted on Ohio’s list of impaired waters. An impaired designation would put the lake on a “pollution diet”. Currently, several streams and tributaries in Ohio’s Western Lake Erie watershed are impaired. But that’s not enough for Molly Flanagan of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "What we would like to see happen is for US EPA to deny Ohio’s impaired waters list because the state of Ohio did not list the open waters of Western Lake Erie as impaired," she said. Flanagan says that by addressing the issue directly, the state will have additional tools and funding to make sure pollution is reduced. Western


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Appeals Court Will Reconsider Use of Three-Drug Combination for ExecutionsAppeals Court Will Reconsider Use of Three-Drug Combination for Executions

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:27:20 +0000

A three-judge panel put executions in Ohio on hold almost three weeks ago. Now the full Sixth Circuit of Appeals will decide whether Ohio can use the three-drug method of execution it has proposed. The state announced last fall it was moving to a three drug combination after having trouble getting other drugs it wanted to use. Prisons director Gary Mohr has said the state needs to a decision to proceed with 32 scheduled executions over the next four years. “It’s a state law. This is not something that I want to do, or look forward to doing. But it is a state law and it’s part of my responsibility.” Earlier this month, three appellate judges agreed with lawyers for death row inmates in ruling that using the drug midazolam in the three drug mixture is unconstitutional . But the state says use of that drug was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2015. Arguments are scheduled before the full appeals court in June.


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Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Gets Extra Funding to Help Deal with the Opioid Crisis Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Gets Extra Funding to Help Deal with the Opioid Crisis

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:52:28 +0000

Cuyahoga County Council has approved an additional $200,000 for this year’s medical examiners budget to deal with the rising number of fatal opioid overdoses. Last year a record 610 people died of drug overdoses in Cuyahoga County, and so far this year, the number is on pace to be 27 percent higher. Medical examiner’s office administrator Hugh Shannon says there are seven pathologists available to do autopsies now. One pathology fellow will earn certification in June with two more fellows coming on this summer, but he says that is still too few to do the growing job. “The need at the moment is that doctors can only do so many cases in a single year. And we will use that additional funding to bring in some contract doctors to ease the caseload burden on our staff.” Shannon says they plan to hire two or three additional pathologists through the end of the year, and if that’s not enough they may go back to the county for additional funding. The medical examiner’s office could lose


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Ohio House Budget Version Scraps Kasich Tax Proposals and Adds More Opioid SpendingOhio House Budget Version Scraps Kasich Tax Proposals and Adds More Opioid Spending

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:38:31 +0000

House Republicans have offered their own budget plan after seeing tax revenues come up short month after month. The changes include taking out nearly all of Gov. John Kasich’s tax reform proposals. In his last two budgets Gov. John Kasich has proposed a plan that makes reductions to the income tax , saying he wants to shift the state away from relying on income taxes. The administration says Ohio has seen a net income tax reduction of $5 billion in the last five years. But sales and other taxes have gone up. In this budget, which will be his last, Kasich introduced a plan that would cut the income tax by 17% while raising the sales tax by 9%. But Republican House leaders have taken out nearly all of Kasich’s tax proposals this time. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger joined Kasich and Republican Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina earlier this month for an announcement that $800 million would have to be cut from the budget. Though Rosenberger has helped lead the way for income tax cuts


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Another Democrat Resigns from Ohio HouseAnother Democrat Resigns from Ohio House

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:26:18 +0000

Another Democratic member of the Ohio House has left her seat – the second since the two-year term began in January. Rep. Heather Bishoff abruptly resigned her seat representing Blacklick just east of Columbus on Sunday. She said in a statement that she wants to focus on her family and work on growing her financial planning business. She also plans to move across the country to San Diego. Bishoff was just elected to her third term last fall. It’s the second departure for the House Democrats. Rep. Greta Johnson of Akron announced last month she was leaving for a position in the Summit County Executive’s office. Johnson expressed frustration about being deep in the minority in the House, and not seeing action on bills she proposed.


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Gov. Kasich Proposes Merging of Mobile Homes Commision and Commerce DepartmentGov. Kasich Proposes Merging of Mobile Homes Commision and Commerce Department

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:20:54 +0000

900,000 Ohioans live in mobile or trailer homes – manufactured homes, as they’re known. Gov. John Kasich wants to merge the 9-member commission that oversees those homes with the Department of Commerce , which has more than 800 employees. State fire marshal Larry Flowers says a four-year study of state data shows there are more fatal fires in manufactured homes in Ohio than in any other surrounding state. “We found that you are 4.2 times more likely to die in a manufactured home residence than you are in a standard one- and two-family,” he said. The Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission does inspections and issues licenses with a $1.2 million annual budget. Kasich has proposed streamlining inspections by folding the commission into the Department of Commerce, which includes the fire marshal’s office. But the commission says it disputes the state’s fire deaths data and says it has the support of manufactured home residents, and that resident complaints have dropped since the commission was


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Could Financial Success of Local Artists Affect the Argument over Arts Funding?Could Financial Success of Local Artists Affect the Argument over Arts Funding?

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:31:12 +0000

With federal funding for the arts in question, the founder of a volunteer organization of northeast Ohio lawyers who give free advice to artists is seeing the group’s mission in a new light. Youngstown attorney Denise Bayer says The Legal Creative was launched in 2013 to help artists earn a living . Now she says, their ability to do that, and contribute to the financial success of the community, may help convince the voting public that the arts are not a drain on taxpayers, but a boost for the local economy. “It’s going to be more important to artists than ever to underline their importance to the economic viability of our area. And to strengthen their relationship between themselves as artists and the community so that they are valued for the economic contributions that they make.” The Legal Creative offers seminars and one-on-one legal advice free to area artists.


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