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Ohio's Sen. Brown Says Gorsuch Embraces Corporations as People, and That's a Problem for DemsOhio's Sen. Brown Says Gorsuch Embraces Corporations as People, and That's a Problem for Dems

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:10:07 +0000

Democratic senators, including Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, are threatening to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brown says his objections to Gorsuch are over a series of decisions supported by the Colorado judge that Brown maintains put corporate rights ahead of human rights. “The last four justices have all been able to get more than 60 votes because they’ve not been so objectionable. They’ve not been considered so much to be in abeyance to the corporate interests in this country. That’s troubling to a lot of us.” Gorsuch was an appeals court judge in the Hobby Lobby case that gave private corporations the religious right to block employees from using company health insurance to pay for contraception. He said then he thought the decision should have gone even further.


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New Ohio Bill Puts $8 Million Into Training Truck DriversNew Ohio Bill Puts $8 Million Into Training Truck Drivers

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:15:02 +0000

The trucking industry says there’s been a driver shortage for two decades – and that there could be 175,000 unfilled trucker jobs in the next seven years. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed a package of bills that seeks to put the brakes on that. One bill would create a $5 million scholarship fund for students to attend trucking schools. Another would streamline the conversion from military to commercial driver’s licenses. A third would change insurance rules to allow more 18- to 24-year-olds to become drivers. And the fourth would start a $3 million tax credit program for job training at trucking companies. Republican Sen. Cliff Hite of Findlay is among the sponsors. “This is a huge opportunity for the state of Ohio. We have the job openings, 8,000 to 9,000 job openings.” The Republican and Democratic sponsors say in spite of the advances in self-driving and other delivery technology, there is still a need for drivers to move


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Shuffle: The Highlights, The Lowlights And The Challenges Of The Cleveland Orchestra’s 100th Season Shuffle: The Highlights, The Lowlights And The Challenges Of The Cleveland Orchestra’s 100th Season

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:21:00 +0000

The Cleveland Orchestra 's 100th season will be busy and challenging. In this week's Shuffle, Cleveland.com classical music critic Zach Lewis says there's a lot to like, but there are also many uncertainties:


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Ohio’s New START Program Is Aimed At Families Affected By Parental Opioid AbuseOhio’s New START Program Is Aimed At Families Affected By Parental Opioid Abuse

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:37:09 +0000

With thousands of kids ending up in foster care because of the opioid crisis, the state is trying a pilot program to help children of addicted parents. Attorney General Mike DeWine says what’s being called the START program will begin in 12 southern Ohio counties with some of the highest levels of abuse in the state. “Ohio START is an intervention program ... that will provide specialized victim services such as intensive trauma counseling to children that have suffered victimization due to intensive drug use. The program will also provide drug treatment to parents referred to the program. The goal is to help programs fight their addiction in an effort to reduce the number of kids in foster care and decrease the reoccurrence of child maltreatment.” The two-year pilot program, which begins on April 1 , will be funded through a $3.5 million grant from the state’s crime victim fund.


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Ohio Schools Look To Expand Anti-Drug Messages, Not Repeat the Errors of Past EffortsOhio Schools Look To Expand Anti-Drug Messages, Not Repeat the Errors of Past Efforts

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:29:53 +0000

Ohio schools may expand their anti-drug message to students. Attorney General Mike DeWine says eight Ohioans die each day from drug overdoses and he wants schools to help reduce the problem. But members of the state Board of Education remember past failures. Anti-drug classes in the 1970’s unintentionally taught kids how to take drugs, not prevent them. It happened again in the 90’s. That’s why school board member Sarah Fowler wondered about ramping up these classes again. “I’ve talked to some former instructors from D.A.R.E . who even discouraged that as the means of communication for the drug problem-- feeling like, retrospectively, it may have contributed to the problem.” But programs like D.A.R.E. have a new way of doing things, according to Amy O'Grady from the state attorney general's office. “They’ve actually changed the curriculum to allow a lot more social- and emotional-learning curriculum, particularly in the lower grade levels.” Social emotional learning is meant to teach


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Under Trump's Budget, It May Be Harder To Get Legal Help When You Can't Afford A LawyerUnder Trump's Budget, It May Be Harder To Get Legal Help When You Can't Afford A Lawyer

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:14:35 +0000

President Donald Trump’s first budget outline calls for cutting all funding for legal aid services. What could that mean for individuals and communities in northeast Ohio? The president's proposed cuts would affect only legal aid to handle civil cases, not public defenders. Court-appointed lawyers for defendants who can’t afford them in criminal cases is constitutionally guaranteed. But, for civil issues--foreclosures, domestic cases, landlord disputes--people who can’t pay for legal assistance themselves may not be able get it. Angie Lloyd of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation explains what a total cut at the national level would do. “Last year, its budget nationally was $385 million, of which Ohio received 12.4 million.. Now, statewide in Ohio, the legal services budget is just under $40 million. So that $12 million is just over a third of the state budget.” Lloyd says that the federal legal aid program was started in the 1970s to help the civil court system be more efficient,


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CommQuest Expands Women's Residential Treatment, One of the Biggest Needs of the Opioid CrisisCommQuest Expands Women's Residential Treatment, One of the Biggest Needs of the Opioid Crisis

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:38:44 +0000

One of the state’s most active addiction-treatment programs is expanding its services for women’s and outreach. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with the head of the Stark County nonprofit CommQuest about the half-million-dollar effort. CommQuest provided detox, residential treatment and outpatient services to close to 6,000 people last year. That includes housing, counseling and treatment at Deliverance House, a 90-day women’s residential program in Canton. It often has a waiting list of more than a month. Women in addiction with few resources CommQuest CEO Keith Hochadel says women’s centers are among the biggest unmet need in the state, which is why his agency is going to convert a former motel in Massillon into 16-bed residential center. “Typically ... there might be one women’s residential bed, maybe two (available statewide) and most of the time they’re not in high- population density areas. And because women often don’t have a safe, drug-free place to go when they leave treatment or


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The View From Pluto: Two Weeks Until Opening Day, So Where'd All The Indians Go?The View From Pluto: Two Weeks Until Opening Day, So Where'd All The Indians Go?

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:16:00 +0000

The defending American League Champion Cleveland Indians have a lot of unanswered questions heading into opening day. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says with less than two weeks until opening day, Manager Terry Francona is thinking, “Where’s my team?” Many of Francona's starting players are either struggling with injuries or playing in the World Baseball Classic .


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Ohio Lawmaker Proposes Quadrupling Car Registration Costs and a Gas-Tax OffsetOhio Lawmaker Proposes Quadrupling Car Registration Costs and a Gas-Tax Offset

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 03:27:20 +0000

E ditor's note: The original headline on this story underestimated the increase in the registration fee. Lawmakers have been struggling with a way to pay for road construction without raising the gas tax, and that revenue has been falling as more fuel efficient cars are manufactured. One of the tax's sponsors suggests he has a creative approach, but a critic says it is excessive. The gas tax brings in $1.9 billion a year. Republican Sen. Bill Coley of Cincinnati is pushing a two-pronged approach: raising the annual passenger car registration from $34.50 to $140 and refunding registered owners what they pay in gas taxes each time they fill up. Coley says a person driving an older, less-efficient car will like the long-term savings. “I’s going to cost him a little bit, but saving 28 cents a gallon? That’s going to be a nice thing for him.” Phil Cole with the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies says that’ll be difficult for the low-income Ohioans he works to help. “That’s over a


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Ohio's New Concealed Carry Law Takes Effect TodayOhio's New Concealed Carry Law Takes Effect Today

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:45:54 +0000

Starting today, conceal-carry permit holders may for the first time be able to legally bring their weapons into daycares and airport terminals, and onto college campuses . The law allows those previously gun-free zones to decide if they want to allow conceal-carry permit holders to bring in their weapons, and allows workers to keep their guns in their cars by prohibiting employers from banning weapons on company property. Republican Sen. Bill Coley is a supporter of the changes. “We recognize that it’s a big state, and there’s wide and diverse interests and local concerns. So that’s the great thing about this legislation: It lets the locality decide what’s best for them.” Opponents had called this the “guns everywhere” bill and would lead to more gun violence. But Coley says it gets rid of what he calls “victim zones” unless they want to remain that way.


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Audit: Ohio Halfway House Officials Spent $20,000 in State Money on Alcohol and Strip ClubsAudit: Ohio Halfway House Officials Spent $20,000 in State Money on Alcohol and Strip Clubs

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:43:16 +0000

An audit of a Southern Ohio correctional facility has found 11 directors and employees used conferences as a way to cover self-indulgent expenditures. Auditor Dave Yost says the employees of the STAR Community Justice Center in Scioto County forged some transactions and spent more than $20,000 on out-of-state trips and bar tabs in 2013. “It’s like frat boys with somebody else’s credit cards. There’s no instance in which you use tax money to buy beers, much less 44 beers. There’s no instance in which it is OK to use a public credit card to charge the taxpayers for a trip to a strip club. This is just egregious.” The director of the facility at the time was fired in 2015.


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The View From Pluto: All-Ohio, Low-Budget Ashland Women's Basketball Eyes A National TitleThe View From Pluto: All-Ohio, Low-Budget Ashland Women's Basketball Eyes A National Title

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:22:00 +0000

Update (3/24/17): The Ashland University women's basketball team will play for the Division II national title tonight. Ashland (36-0) will take on Virginia Union in the championship game in Columbus. Update (3/22/17): The Ashland University women's basketball moved to 35-0 and on to the Final Four with an 82-67 win over West Texas A&M Tuesday night. The Ashland University women’s basketball team is eyeing a national title. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about how the Ashland women's team became so dominant.


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Ohio's Sen. Brown Has Plan for President Trump's Promised Infrastructure FundingOhio's Sen. Brown Has Plan for President Trump's Promised Infrastructure Funding

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:29:15 +0000

Ohio Sen.Sherrod Brown has rolled out an infrastructure rebuilding blueprint he and other senators call a guide for President Donald Trump. On the bank of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Brown talked about the 10-year infrastructure plan which includes billions for roads, bridges, sewer and water systems and public housing and transportation. “Several things will be part of that. The products, whenever possible, iron, steel, concrete, other things, should be made in the United States of America by American workers. We should pay prevailing wage, good union wages for these projects. ... We need real money invested in these projects, not Goldman Sachs kind of private financial incentives, but really working with real dollars to build these perojects.” In the background was the crumbling Irishtown Bend hillside which would halt shipping if it collapses into the river. With Brown was Port of Cleveland President Will Friedman, who is requesting federal help for a $48 million plan to


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Ohio Supreme Court Justice Speaks at a Pro-Life Fundraiser, Eliciting Calls for RecusalOhio Supreme Court Justice Speaks at a Pro-Life Fundraiser, Eliciting Calls for Recusal

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:24:32 +0000

The state’s leading abortion rights group is asking an Ohio Supreme Court justice to remove herself from two cases involving abortion providers. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy spoke last week at a fundraiser for Greater Toledo Right to Life . The state high court will hear cases later this year involving a Toledo abortion clinic’s fight with the state over transfer agreements and abortion restrictions in the 2013 state budget. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio spokesman Gabriel Mann says Kennedy needs to recuse herself from hearing those cases. “If she’s participating in fundraisers for right-to- life organizations, she’s lost the ability to be impartial in a case that might come before her about Ohio abortion clinics,” Mann says. In an op-ed, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor defended Kennedy, saying she spoke only about the workings of the court system and that the criticism of her is unfair.


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Congressman Renacci's Bid to be Ohio Governor is OfficialCongressman Renacci's Bid to be Ohio Governor is Official

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:19:28 +0000

A Republican congressman from northeast Ohio is the second GOP candidate to officially file paperwork to run for governor in 2018. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports he seems to be channeling a Trump-like approach. Congressman Jim Renacci from Wadsworth, a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, says his working class roots and business acumen make him qualified to be Ohio’s next governor. “I’ve started my own business at age 24, created over 1,500 jobs, employed 3,000 people, had 60 different businesses throughout the state of Ohio," Though he’s a four-term congressman, Renacci has been positioning himself as an outsider, and his campaign slogan “Ohio First” has a Trump-like tone. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor filed paperwork to run for the office last month. Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted, also Republicans, are also expected to seek their party’s nomination. On the Democratic side, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, former state Rep. Connie


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The Head of Ohio's Department of Health Steps DownThe Head of Ohio's Department of Health Steps Down

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:16:31 +0000

The director of the Ohio Department of Health is resigning. Rick Hodges has led the state health Department since 2014, when he replaced Dr. Ted Wymyslo. Hodges was seen as a controversial choice, since his most recent position was director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission , but Gov. John Kasich noted his experience in heading up health-related groups. And then, a year into the job, Hodges was named a defendant in a case that went on to the U.S. Supreme Court and legalized same-sex marriage. Kasich said in a statement that Hodges is leaving for opportunities outside the administration, and that he appreciates his service and wishes him and his family well. Legal Counsel Lance Himes, who was interim director before Hodges was appointed, will fill that role again.


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Ohio Lawmakers Debate the Future of the State Prisons WatchdogOhio Lawmakers Debate the Future of the State Prisons Watchdog

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:14:14 +0000

A bipartisan committee created to be the top state prisons watchdog is coming under fire, as lawmakers from different parties have different ideas on what should be its fate. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee conducts reviews of the state’s prisons and juvenile correctional facilities, and its director agreed to resign last year after a series of critical reports. Republican Rep. Keith Faber of Celina wants to shift control of the committee to the state Inspector General’s office , which reports to the governor. But Democratic Rep. Greta Johnson of Akron says the state puts a lot of money into the prison system. “For folks who loathe to pay taxes and loathe to invest, it seems to me that transparency on this particular investment would be of the utmost importance.” Johnson says moving the committee in to the IG’s office would cause it to lose accountability.


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Akron City Council Considers an Anti-Discrimination Law and Civil Rights CommissionAkron City Council Considers an Anti-Discrimination Law and Civil Rights Commission

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:08:23 +0000

Akron could soon have an anti-discrimination law and civil rights commission. Mayor Dan Horrican and City Councilman Rick Swirsky introduced an ordinance, which would ban discrimination and establish the commission. Assistant Law Director Ellen Lander-Nischt says the legislation augments federal and state anti-discrimination protections. It specifies coverage for gender -identity, national origin and other non-traditional discrimination cases. And it makes it easier to seek a hearing of grievances. “The goal in enacting this was to provide a local for forum for basically for hearing those complaints. We expect it will be faster than going to the Ohio Civil Rights Commissioner or the EEO.” Lander-Nischt says the Akron civil rights commission will be truly “of the city.” “It’ll have five regular members and up to two alternates. They’ll be appointed by the mayor and approved by City Council. They have to be Akron residents. That is something the mayor felt strongly about. They represent


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'Home Front to Battlefront' Recounts the War Fought by the Kids, Not the Generals'Home Front to Battlefront' Recounts the War Fought by the Kids, Not the Generals

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 03:58:29 +0000

The former U.S. ambassador to Singapore, Frank Lavin, has published a new book about a Canton G.I. coming to grips with the violence and vagaries of World War II. It’s his dad’s story, crafted from old letters, memories and research – but Lavin says it’s actually a story shared by millions of kids who came of age during war. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with Lavin about the book, “Home Front to Battlefront, An Ohio Teenager in World War II.”


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The Cleveland Orchestra Prepares to Celebrate its 100th SeasonThe Cleveland Orchestra Prepares to Celebrate its 100th Season

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:51:00 +0000

The Cleveland Orchestra is turning 100 years old, and it’s planning concerts, tours, and educational programs to celebrate. One of the season’s highlights will be a series of educational concerts and a two-week Beethoven festival, which will include all nine Beethoven symphonies. It’s being called The Prometheus Project. According to Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from heaven to bring enlightenment to humanity. The myth inspired Beethoven’s only ballet, “The Creatures of Prometheus.” Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst hears that creative fire, as well as themes of justice and liberty, in all of Beethoven’s music. “Beethoven’s music is really philosophy put into music,” he says. Orchestra audiences will get see two operas next year. Leoš Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” will be back to open the season after earning rave reviews last year. And in the spring, Richard Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde” will bring one of the world’s most acclaimed Isoldes to


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