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Hope Amidst the Opioid Crisis: Grassroots Passion and a Continuum of CareHope Amidst the Opioid Crisis: Grassroots Passion and a Continuum of Care

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0000

There are many stories of hope woven through the tragedies of Ohio’s opioid epidemic. In this installment of our series, Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis , WKSU's Amanda Rabinowitz looks at the range of recovery methods, from addicts simply helping each other out to structured treatment programs.

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Ohio Lawmakers Consider Ending the Sales Tax on Feminine Hygiene ProductsOhio Lawmakers Consider Ending the Sales Tax on Feminine Hygiene Products

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:38:01 +0000

Some Ohio lawmakers are pushing a bill they say would save consumers about $4 million a year. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports the bill would benefit women in particular. It’s called the “pink tax.” Those are taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products. House Democrats are pushing a bill that would make those items exempt from the state’s sales tax. It’s not a new idea. It was proposed in the last General Assembly but failed to advance. But this time around, three Republican lawmakers have signed on to it as co-sponsors. Backers of the bill say this tax on women's medically necessary itemsis unfair and undermines the economic stability of working families. But the idea has failed in a few states, with opponents saying it’s a tax break the state can’t afford.

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Authorities Identify the Man Killed in the Kent StandoffAuthorities Identify the Man Killed in the Kent Standoff

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:27:12 +0000

The man allegedly involved in a hostage situation in Kent has been identified as 27-year-old Kent resident Christopher Carter. Kent police arrived at the Villages at Franklin Crossings apartment complex around 12:30 Sunday afternoon following reports of drug activity. Carter fled to a basement laundry room where he allegedly held a woman at knife-point. reports state investigators recovered a knife from the scene. Following day-long negotiations with Carter, members of a local SWAT team burst into the room around 9 p.m. Ohio Attorney General spokeswoman Jill Del Greco says Carter was shot by a Metro SWAT officer during the operation. Kent police have turned the investigation over to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Del Greco says BCI will look into the circumstances of the shooting itself, as well as the relationship between Carter and the woman. Kent police are still investigating the events that led to the standoff. Carter was found guilty of heroin possession in

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Kasich Proposal Would Shift Flow of Business Taxes From Cities to the StateKasich Proposal Would Shift Flow of Business Taxes From Cities to the State

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:25:08 +0000

Gov. John Kasich's budget includes a plan that would have businesses file a specific tax through the state instead of through the municipality where they're located. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the state says it will save money, but communities say it'll do just the opposite. State tax commissioner Joe Testa says the proposal streamlines the process by which thousands of businesses would file their net profits taxes, by having them use the state’s Ohio Business Gateway. “It handles large volumes now. We have 400,000 CAT tax filers, sales tax filers; all come in through the Business Gateway to the tax department now. We can do this.” Testa says the Ohio Business Gateway is being upgraded now to prepare for the volume. He says the plan could save cities $9 million a year, but the Ohio Municipal League says the state’s fees could be more than what some communities are paying now and that cash flow could be stalled as cities wait for the state’s quarterly checks.

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NE Ohio's Biomedical Industry Outpaces Other Sectors With 60 Percent Growth Since 2000NE Ohio's Biomedical Industry Outpaces Other Sectors With 60 Percent Growth Since 2000

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 22:51:57 +0000

The biomedical industry’s growth in Northeast Ohio continues to outpace other sectors in the region. The latest economic review by Team NEO shows bio-medical companies have grown by nearly 60 percent since 2000. The regional economic development organization’s Jacob Duritsky says total growth across all regional sectors during that period has only been about 10 percent. He says Northeast Ohio now has 700 biomedical companies. “Back in 2000, it was about 1.8 percent of total output in the region, today it’s about 2.8 percent." Duritsky says the strength in the biomedical sector ties together "coupled with our health-care expertise to create products and services ... that are really fueling technologies around biomedical.” Duritsky says there are about 30,000 biomedical jobs in Northeast Ohio among the total of nearly 1.9 million jobs in the region.

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Stow and Akron Sign On To New Opioid Outreach ProgramStow and Akron Sign On To New Opioid Outreach Program

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:20:07 +0000

Summit County says its new program to reach out to people within days of an overdose is getting increasing support from cities within the county. Since December, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board has seen several cities create quick response teams consisting of a police officer, paramedic and counselor who will reach out to people within three to five days of an overdose. Along with working with families, ADM Board Executive Director Jerry Craig says the response teams will try to get victims into treatment, and follow-up to ensure they get to their counseling appointments. “The teams that are going out to people’s homes are being accepted warmly by the community. Sometimes the people that we’re reaching out to will say, ‘we waited for you because we knew you’d be here.’ In many ways, it’s been a really positive thing in many of our communities.” Craig adds that the response team idea comes from Colerain Township in southern Ohio, which saw a 30 percent

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New Report Shows Which Akron Neighborhoods Are Ready -- Or Nearly Ready -- For New HousingNew Report Shows Which Akron Neighborhoods Are Ready -- Or Nearly Ready -- For New Housing

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:11:34 +0000

A new report says parts of Akron are ripe for new housing, while other neighborhoods could be hot spots if they get some new investment. The study from the Greater Ohio Policy Center is titled “ Build In Akron ,” and it looks at all 24 of the city’s neighborhoods with regard to boosting population and housing values. Highland Square and Downtown Akron are among the areas that are already seeing an influx of housing activity. North Hill and West Hill, however, are not as far along, and would benefit from a single mixed-use project to re-energize the market, according to Torey Hollingsworth of the policy center. “Those are places where there’s enough energy and vitality -- and they’re close to some other important corridors or places that already have a lot of traffic or activity -- where some sort of big investment or mixed-use development might be enough to re-boost the market and get things going again.” Hollingsworth says one of the recommendations in the report is to make it easier

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Greater Cleveland Congregations Request Meeting with Dan Gilbert Over Quicken Loans RenovationsGreater Cleveland Congregations Request Meeting with Dan Gilbert Over Quicken Loans Renovations

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:07:57 +0000

A coalition of Cleveland faith groups is requesting a meeting with the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers about the proposed $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers are putting up half the money for renovations at The Q. Greater Cleveland Congregations has been vocal in its opposition to the plan to use public money for the other half. Now, they're requesting a meeting with Dan Gilbert to see if some funds can be sent back into Cleveland's neighborhoods. Donna Weinberger, organizer with Greater Cleveland Congregations, says the group is asking Gilbert for $35 million toward building mental health centers to help people who might otherwise be incarcerated. “Everybody agrees this is a good idea, but when we start talking about where the money is going to come from, they kind of shrug their shoulders. We’re calling for one on the east side and one on the west side of Cleveland.” Weinberger adds that Greater Cleveland Congregations is not anti-Cavs nor anti-Quicken

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Beer Drinkers Are Now On The Summit Brew PathBeer Drinkers Are Now On The Summit Brew Path

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:05:25 +0000

Northeast Ohio beer connoisseurs can now follow a brew path to more than a dozen breweries in and around Summit County. The Summit Brew Path officially opened over the weekend. Participants get a small passport with information on 14 participating breweries. Anyone sampling all of them by year’s end gets a T-shirt and is entered into a drawing for a vacation getaway in Akron. The Summit Brew Path is the second in the state, following one started in Columbus in 2015. At Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron, bartender Tim Conrad hopes the two regions can connect in the future. “Maybe swapping some of our passports for their passports and taking some up into Cleveland and bringing people into Akron to sample the beers.” Lawrence Woodward from Cuyahoga Falls was there on day one, and estimates he’ll probably complete the passport in a month. He says Northeast Ohio’s craft beer industry is growing for a very simple reason. “People like beer! They like to make beer; it’s a nice process. It’s

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Northeast Ohio Superintendents Respond to Ohio's Draft Plan for Student SuccessNortheast Ohio Superintendents Respond to Ohio's Draft Plan for Student Success

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:08:00 +0000

Northeast Ohio superintendents are reacting to a draft of the state’s new education plan released earlier this month. Local educators will hold a community forum on Wednesday night. Thirty school administrators contributed to a white paper released last week as a response to the Ohio Department of Education’s Draft Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. The educators report they wanted more flexibility included in Ohio’s approach to the new federal education law. Dr. Jim Lloyd is the superintendent of the Olmsted Falls City School District. He says it comes down to testing. "We over-test. And when you do that, you shrink the curriculum down to only those things [that are tested]. You may not necessarily do it purposefully,but that's the reality of what happens," LLoyd says. The group wanted Ohio to reduce the number of standardized tests, but under the state’s draft plan, students will continue to take the same number of tests.

The Salvation Army of Summit County Looks to Replenish Communities with Hot Meals The Salvation Army of Summit County Looks to Replenish Communities with Hot Meals

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:12:00 +0000

The Salvation Army in Summit County is expanding the Community Tables program for areas geographically isolated from fresh food. Most recently, the Salvation Army partnered with the City of Akron in January to bring hot meals to the Summit Lake Community Center. The director of the Salvation Army, Marian Calvin, says the program looks for areas identified as food deserts, which lack grocery stores within a 4-mile radius. Calvin says the program has fed at least 50 to 60 people a day since it started at Summit Lake. It’s a great way of reaching out the community with a smile, a handshake and a hot meal, and asking if there is anything else that we can do to help them out with our many services that we provide. Calvin says the Community Tables program has been in Akron for at least a decade.

Cleveland Groups Are Developing a Program to Give Immigrant Entrepeneurs AnEasier Path to VisasCleveland Groups Are Developing a Program to Give Immigrant Entrepeneurs AnEasier Path to Visas

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 01:14:00 +0000

Two Cleveland groups are creating a program to encourage immigrants to launch startup businesses in Northeast Ohio. The partnership between Flashstarts and Global Cleveland is planning to work with local universities to obtain visas for immigrant entrepreneurs. Global Cleveland’s Jessica Whale says employing immigrants at the universities will make it easier for them to get the special visas set aside for high-tech and other specialized skills. She says that the groups want to encourage the economic benefits that come from immigration. “The anti-immigrant sentiments that we are seeing are sometimes a little misinformed when we’re talking about immigrants coming to our community, and we really want to educate on the fact that immigrants, when they come here are creating jobs, opening businesses, and contributing to our economic growth.” Whale says the partners are in talks with three local universities to collaborate.Much of this work is dependent on the Trump administration’s next move

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RTA Awaits Another Extension to Work Out What Happens With Buses on Public SquareRTA Awaits Another Extension to Work Out What Happens With Buses on Public Square

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:56:24 +0000

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is hoping the Federal Transit Administration will provide more time to find a solution to the Cleveland Public Square bus issue. The FTA has set a deadline Tuesday for RTA to reopen the square to bus traffic or face a $12 million fine. That date is an extension from the original Jan. 19 th deadline. The federal agency contends that the closure violates a funding agreement for a Cleveland transit project . The city closed the square to buses last summer citing safety concerns, particularly possible terrorist attacks with vehicles. RTA spokeswoman Linda Krecic. “If that extension is granted we will be working with the city jointly to implement some safety and traffic measures in order to see if the square can be opened to bus traffic.” The measures are aimed at increasing pedestrian safety with more signs, additional efforts to deter jaywalking, and more bus driver training. RTA says the closure costs the transit system extra money for

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Warmer Winter in Ohio Leads to Early Allergy Symptoms This YearWarmer Winter in Ohio Leads to Early Allergy Symptoms This Year

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:52:55 +0000

With increasing temperatures in Northeast Ohio this week, doctors are saying that allergy patients should start taking their medication earlier. Temperatures are expected to reach into the 50’s and 60’s this week end. Dr. Grace Ryu is an allergist working at Midwest Allergy . She says her two biggest concerns with the warmer temperatures are mold caused by biological decay and tree pollen. “I was telling my spring allergy patients, 'By mid-March, you should probably start your meds.’ Well, now I’m re-thinking that, that they should probably start now instead of waiting. So if they usually take anti-histamines they should probably start that.” Ryu says that while tree pollen is starting earlier, the mild winter has been creating mold for weeks.

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Immigration Agencies Face Cuts and Layoffs in Light of Trump's Executive OrderImmigration Agencies Face Cuts and Layoffs in Light of Trump's Executive Order

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:48:45 +0000

Refugee resettlement agencies around the nation are scrambling for money in the wake of President Trump's executive order halting all refugee resettlement for four months. The order is affecting resettlement in Cleveland. Two workers have been laid off from the local office of Catholic Charities, as the agency shifts to manage cuts to its government funding. More than 100,000 refugees were going to be allowed into the United States, until Trump's executive order cut that to 50,000. The charity’s local office had planned to help 450 people, but now expects to serve far fewer, says Tom Mrosko, director of Catholic Charities’ Migration and Refugee Services. “We’re reimbursed from the State Department on a per capita. For every refugee, we get X number of dollars. If we’re not going to resettle 450, and we’re staffed to handle 450, we had to make some changes along the way, along with other resettlement agencies," Mrosko says. Nationally, Catholic Charities is trying raise $8 million to

Ohio Cities Could Lose Millions of Dollars Again Under Kasich's New Budget FormulaOhio Cities Could Lose Millions of Dollars Again Under Kasich's New Budget Formula

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:43:12 +0000

Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget includes a change in the way a portion of the state’s local government fund is distributed to communities. But leaders of some of Ohio’s biggest cities and a group that represents communities across the state are fuming over that formula. Click here to connect to's calculator to show what would happen in your communty. This local government funding formula in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget is similar to Kasich’s school funding plan: It awards money from part of the fund based on capacity, a community’s ability to raise revenue from its residents. Budget Director Tim Keen says the current formula depends on property values, which benefits wealthier communities. So this change, Keen told the House Finance Committee, is a good proposal that will help communities that need it the most. “It’s the state trying to focus resources to help those local entities deliver the basic services that their citizens expect rather than send these

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Critics Say Kasich's Plan for Teachers and Business Could Be a 'Logistical Nightmare'Critics Say Kasich's Plan for Teachers and Business Could Be a 'Logistical Nightmare'

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:26:31 +0000

Teachers unions are raising questions about a controversial proposal in Gov. John Kasich’s budget that would require educators to shadow workers at local businesses in order to renew their license. The idea is to give teachers an inside look at how companies operate and what students would need to know as future employees. Melissa Cropper is president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, one of the state’s two teachers’ unions. She says she’s absolutely against requiring this in order for teachers to renew their licenses, but might be interested if it’s an option. “So instead of taking a college course you could choose to do an externship that might relate to your teaching field. I think that we might have some teachers who would be interested," Cropper says. Teachers have to renew their license every five years and there are about 120,000 teachers in the state. Cropper says it would be a logistical nightmare to find the time and placement for all those teachers.

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Ohio Agency Head Joins in Mass Resignation from Trump's Asian-American Advisory CommissionOhio Agency Head Joins in Mass Resignation from Trump's Asian-American Advisory Commission

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:40:50 +0000

The head of Akron’s Asia Services in Action is among the 10 members of a presidential advisory committee who abruptly quit this week to protest President Trump’s immigration and other executive orders. The mass resignations left only four members on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – a commission that’s existed since 1999. Michael Byun says he signed the letter of protest and resignation because he and the others see an atmosphere of exclusion and division in the Trump Administration. “When the Trump administration continues to go down this path where they are alienating groups and dividing groups, ... I think that becomes problematic and very dangerous. And our hope is that they will reconsider and move in a direction that is going to help all Americans.” The commission was set up by President Clinton to provide advice on health, education and social issues in the Asian-American community. Here's an extended Q&A with Michael Byun:

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Ohio Revisits 'Right to Work' With More Support From a More Republican Legistlature Ohio Revisits 'Right to Work' With More Support From a More Republican Legistlature

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 05:34:41 +0000

In each of the last two legislative sessions, at least one Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would change the rules for union dues and membership for public employees. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on the latest so-called “right to work” effort, and on its chances of passing this time. The first Republican to drop a right-to-work bill this session is Rep. John Becker, a Cincinnati-area Republican whose proposal would allow public sector employees to opt out of union membership. State law doesn’t require them to join unions now., though they pay a "fair-share" fee for the benefits they get from a unionized workplace. Becker says his bill answers the argument about “freeloaders” by allowing unions to decline to represent workers who don’t join. Becker is hoping this third round for a so-called “right-to-work” bill in Ohio goes further than the other two – since things have changed in and around Ohio in the last few years. “With the exception of Pennsylvania,

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Two American Muslim Sisters Must Decide if Wearing a Hijab Risks Too Much in Donald Trump's AmericaTwo American Muslim Sisters Must Decide if Wearing a Hijab Risks Too Much in Donald Trump's America

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 04:54:21 +0000

The sharp spike in hate-crimes against America's Muslims has led some women to abandon a spiritual and cultural symbol -- the hijab . WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke about that with two sisters who have chosen different paths, not with their faith, but with their scarves. As Hanadeh Darayyad and Amal Abulatifa arrange the fat, chocolate-covered strawberries in Valentine’s boxes, it’s clear they’re sisters. It’s not the looks. It’s the way they finish each other’s sentences – like when they talk about Mom. “She didn’t pray five times a day and she wasn’t as ... religious, ... she wasn’t as ... I mean she was practicing ... but she wasn’t as strict about it.” The sisters are four years apart. Amal, the older, is mother of three small girls; Hanadeh’s son is 7. Like their six brothers and sisters, the women live close to where they were born and raised and where their parents have lived since they emigrated from Palestine in 1978 -- Akron’s Firestone Park. It’s a neighborhood they remember as

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