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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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Cleveland is Building a State-of-the Art Dirt Bike Park as an Alternative to the StreetsCleveland is Building a State-of-the Art Dirt Bike Park as an Alternative to the Streets

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:00:00 +0000

The nation’s first publicly funded inner-city dirt bike park is being built in Cleveland with hopes of redirecting the swarms of dirt bike riders illegally using city streets. Backers say the park will reduce a dangerous nuisance, and generate revenue and create jobs. Others say the money could be better spent. Youtube video captures some Cleveland dirt bike riders, mostly young men and teens, taking to city streets on their small, fast and agile machines. Cleveland police no longer try to catch them despite the dangers they create by speeding and doing stunts. 40-year-old Johnnie Burton says as a teenager he and friends would take their bikes to city parks and vacant lots to ride, only to be run off by police. So, they started riding on the streets to parks in other neighborhoods, and that ride became an activity of its own. Illegal street riding started as a way to avoid the police “After a while, people would have fun riding from one side of town to the next, a 30-minute ride on


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Akron Has its First Health Equity AmbassadorAkron Has its First Health Equity Ambassador

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 01:02:23 +0000

The City of Akron has appointed its first Health Equity Ambassador to help decrease racial and ethnic health disparities. Mayor Dan Horrigan has appointed Tamiyka Rose to the position. The mayor’s chief of staff, James Hardy says Rose will first focus on lowering the high infant mortality rate in the city’s African-American community. Hardy says her job will be coordinating the many existing programs now working on the issue. “So Tamiyka’s role is going to be, not necessarily in the creation of new programs, but rather, through her, bring some leadership and coordination across sectors and across the community to develop those metrics and goals everyone can agree upon and get everyone rowing in the same director so we can measure change.” Hardy says once Rose has tackled the infant mortality issue, she will focus other health issue in Akron’s minority community, such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. Rose is a former Vice President of Government Relations for the MetroHealth


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Cavs Sweeten the Pot in a Bid for More Support for City Financing for Q RenovationCavs Sweeten the Pot in a Bid for More Support for City Financing for Q Renovation

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:38:49 +0000

Ahead of tonight’s scheduled Cleveland City Council vote, city officials and the Cavaliers have announced enhancements to the financing deal to upgrade Quicken Loans Arena . Some groups have opposed spending tax dollars on Q renovations unless the same amount is spent on neighborhood projects. The Cavs will refurbish the city’s 22 rec center basketball courts in exchange for the city’s commitment of $88 million. And City Council President Kevin Kelley says the team now guarantees that the same amount of admissions tax dollars used for upgrades will be returned to the city. “And by the way, we’ve heard people loud and clear about concerns of how public dollars are spent, and that’s why that guarantee was so important to me. To make sure that the public knows that if there’s a dollar spent on this project, one dollar goes into our general fund which pays police officers, it pays firefighters, it pays EMS, it maintains our parks.” The Cavaliers will also contribute all proceeds from the


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Ohio Attorney General Seeks Longer-Term Services for Victims of Human TraffickingOhio Attorney General Seeks Longer-Term Services for Victims of Human Trafficking

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:49:34 +0000

The state has been trying to fight modern-day slavery on several different fronts, from revising the laws to raising awareness about human trafficking. A coalition of community groups is learning more about what can be done for the victims once they’re out of the system. The Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission , which is a gathering of many groups fighting the crisis around the state, is working to strengthen victim services. The commission’s Veronica Scherbauer says saving a victim from being trafficked is the first step, but that starts the long process of rebuilding their lives. “Many of them have never had a real job. Many of them have never had stable housing. They may have children that are in custody of the state," Scherbauer says. "So they need continuing services to support them getting back on their feet." Advocates are touting the need for round-the-clock support for victims who encounter emergency situations, such as threats or housing problems, at all


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Kucinich Threatens to Sue Over Charter School CorruptionKucinich Threatens to Sue Over Charter School Corruption

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:45:50 +0000

The fight over school funding in Ohio has been going on for nearly three decades. One former Ohio congressman and former state lawmaker says he is exploring the possibility of launching another lawsuit against the state for the way it funds for-profit charter schools. Dennis Kucinich says his legal team is looking into the way the state funds for-profit charter schools with public money. And based on what they find, Kucinich says he might bring a lawsuit over it. But lawsuit or not, Kucinich says the system for funding those schools is corrupt. “It’s pay to play. I mean I served in this legislature. I’m not a stranger to Columbus. I know how this town works," Kucinich says. "Lobbyists come in. They help people with their campaigns and people turn around and help the lobbyists get what they want." Charter school advocate Mark Weaver takes issue with that statement. “What’s interesting is Dennis Kucinich didn’t talk about the teacher unions that take taxpayers dollars into their accounts


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Kasich Goes on Book Tour in Advance of House Budget ReleaseKasich Goes on Book Tour in Advance of House Budget Release

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:43:56 +0000

Gov. John Kasich begins his book tour this week, just as the House version of his budget is being released. And while his fellow Republicans are expected to make big changes in that budget, Kasich is talking about unity. Kasich said his book, “Two Paths” is about how the country got to the divided place it’s in, and how to get out of it. And he notes the expectation that it’s the start of his next presidential campaign. “Some people are going to say, 'Why did you write this book? Is this politics? Are you running in the primary?' It has nothing to do with that,” Kasich says. While not saying whether he will or won’t run again, Kasich said he supports President Trump's missile strike in Syria, but is worried about increased deportations of undocumented immigrants. He also says Ohio is more united because he's “not playing that stupid political game.”


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Ohio House Budget Expected This WeekOhio House Budget Expected This Week

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:30:25 +0000

The House version of Gov. John Kasich’s budget comes out tomorrow, and it’s expected to include a lot of changes. Kasich has already said the budget must be pulled back by $800 million because of a $615 million shortfall in tax revenue for the current fiscal year. That’s likely to put in danger his tax proposals, which include a 17 percent income tax cut paid for with a half-percent increase in the state sales tax, which would be broadened to more items and services, as well as hikes in taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and oil and gas drilling. House lawmakers have already said that fracking tax won’t happen. It's also expected the House will dramatically change Kasich’s controversial proposal for businesses file their municipal net profits taxes with the state, which would then send out checks to communities. Loading...


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Cuyahoga Valley Park Asks For Public Input On Plans For a New Visitors CenterCuyahoga Valley Park Asks For Public Input On Plans For a New Visitors Center

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:04:08 +0000

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is showing off plans for its $5.9 million visitor center tonight, and they’re looking for citizen input. The new visitors’ center will be at the corner of Riverview and Boston Mills Roads in Boston Village. The Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is leading the fundraising for the project, and has also coordinated the design process. CVNP spokeswoman Jennie Vasarhelyi says the new center will include a 24-hour exhibit about the parks and their history. “The building that we are looking at was historically a combination of commercial space and residential space that was associated with a paper mill. It was built in 1905.” The parks service completed purchase of the buildings earlier this month, and they will all be rehabilitated for use as the visitors’ center. “2017 is our planning and design year, 2018 is our construction year and we hope to be open by spring, 2019. So we wanted to get out plans out to the public before they were too far


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Brunswick Priest Asking Religious Leaders To Address Opioid AbuseBrunswick Priest Asking Religious Leaders To Address Opioid Abuse

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:58:50 +0000

Congregations throughout the state heard about the state’s opioid problem over the weekend as part of a push from a church in Northeast Ohio. Last year, Fr. Bob Stec of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick presided over six funerals for opioid victims in less than a month, and early yesterday morning, he learned of another victim – a 30-year-old – among his parishioners at St. Ambrose in Brunswick. "My heart breaks, especially, for our senior members. Because at one point you think you should be able to be done parenting. But if there was an admonition, every parent who is 65-plus also needs to understand this because it's not a teen problem, it's not an urban core problem, it's a 20-, 30-, 40-year-old problem." He believes that many people may be feeling unfulfilled in their lives, and so they turn to prescription medications to fill the void. And when those run out, they might turn to something stronger. That’s why he called on religious leaders to address the issue yesterday,


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