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Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:19:51 +0000


Statehouse Republicans Block a Key Appointment by GOP Gov. John Kasich

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:05:18 +0000

The Ohio Senate has rejected a major appointment by Gov. John Kasich. As statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, this could be a sign of friction among Ohio’s top Republicans. Months of tension between the Senate and Gov. Kasich over his nomination of Columbus lawyer Howard Petricoff to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio culminated this week when a committee voted to reject Petricoff. The Senate is called to advise and consent on gubernatorial nominations. Usually these committee votes are just a formality. But Republican Senate President Keith Faber of Celina has said Petricoff would have too many conflicts of interest as a commissioner because of his time advocating for different energy groups. Fellow Republican Senator Bill Seitz of Cincinnati echoed that sentiment during the committee meeting. “There were concerns about the process by which this has come to us, and there were concerns about the number of recusals that he would have to be engaged in by the important

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Program Pushes Ohio Women to Get Ready to Run

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:49:29 +0000

The Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers shows women, who make up more than half of the U.S. population, hold only about 20 percent of the seats in Congress and the U.S. Senate, and only slightly more than that in state legislatures. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles took a look at a program designed to encourage women to take the first step toward running for office. Women from around the state came to Ohio State University for a campaign training seminar called Ready to Run. Program Manager Shadia Jallaq says it encourages women to run for political office. “We provide training resources on campaigning, on fundraising, on marketing. And we have these women talk to women who are elected and in office to give them some advice on how to run for office.” Two years ago, the non-partisan group Political Parity produced a report after talking to lawmakers and candidates. It found fundraising demands, a lack of party support, unequal scrutiny with male candidates and problems

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In Cincinnati, Donald Trump Pledges a Government Answerable Only to "The People, Our People"

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:38:50 +0000

President-elect Donald Trump was in Cincinnati last night at the first stop of what's billed as a thank you tour. He drew heavily from his campaign, promising to drain the swamp of influence and power in Washington, to destroy ISIS in the Middle East, and to build a wall to stop illegal immigration. But he also promised to unite the nation.

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NEXUS Pipeline Would Not Have a Significant Environmental Impact According to Report

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:43:51 +0000

The NEXUS gas pipeline is not a done deal, but a federal environmental impact statement issued on Wednesday helps clear the way for the project’s construction. The NEXUS gas pipeline could have some negative environmental effects, but mitigation measures could reduce the impact to “less than significant levels.” That’s according to the final environmental impact statement issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The proposed natural gas pipeline stretches across more than 255 miles from eastern Ohio through Stark, Medina and Lorain counties and into Michigan. Part of the pipeline would pass on or near residential areas, wetlands and a day care in the city of Green in southern Summit County. The city proposed re-routing the line to a less populous area to the south. But FERC determined the alternate route didn’t provide “a significant environmental advantage.” Green spokesperson Valerie Wolford says they’re disappointed. "We’re going to continue to fight for property rights

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Akron Fire Department Gets a New Leader

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:38:31 +0000

Akron has a new fire chief, the 19th in the 180-year history of the fire department. It was a hire from within that Mayor Dan Horrigan says will help maintain continuity, stability and a commitment to community for one of the city’s most important services. In 1988, Clarence Tucker walked into Akron Fire Station No. 7 for his first day as a firefighter medic. This week he walked into the same station to become chief of Akron’s 350 person Fire Department. Mayor Dan Horrigan administered the oath of office to Tucker who will become the city’s second African American fire chief. And he will be the first chief hired after the decade-long legal dispute between the city and firefighters over promotion policy was settled last year. Tucker emerged as the top candidate after a two-month search and is an inside hire. The mayor says that, along with the settlement, can help the fire department move on. “I think they were doing a lot of provisional appointments and things like that, temporary

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Ohio Turnout for 2016 Presidential Election Was Up Slightly from Four Years Ago

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:29:15 +0000

More than 1.87 million Ohioans voted early absentee, more than in any other election in state history. Secretary of State Jon Husted has certified the results of the 2016 election, and even though polls showed the major party candidates were unpopular, turnout was topped 71 percent, more than a half a point higher than in 2012. “We had a record voter turnout in terms of percentage of the overall vote. We had a record early vote turnout. We had a low number of provisional ballots, which is good, and a high number of provisional ballots counted.” Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just over 8percentage points, or 447,000 votes. Nearly 5 percent of Ohioans, or more than 261,000 voters, picked someone other than Trump or Clinton for president.

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Ohio Lawmakers Pass Bill to Include Biliteracy Seal on High School Diplomas

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:25:12 +0000

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would acknowledge students with high second- language skills. Lawmakers hope the move will better advertise valuable job skills. Hudson High School graduate, Kathleen Greer’s offered multi-lingual testimony in favor of the State Seal of Biliteracy. The seal would be an add-on to Ohio high-school diplomas showing high proficiency in a foreign language. House Bill 487 tasks the state Department of Education to come up with an assessment to gauge students’ language abilities. Martha Esperanza Castaneda, associate professor of foreign language education at Miami University, testified to the House Education Committee earlier this year encouraging the adoption of the seal. “It would recognize and validate the skills that students have a second language, whether it be French, Spanish, Chinese, German" as well as sign language and Native-American languages. Advocates of the seal say it would demonstrate language achievement to both colleges and prospective

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Kasich Predicts a Tight Ohio Budget

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:03:16 +0000

Gov. John Kasich is following up on the cautionary statements his budget director has made about challenges coming in the next budget. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports. Tax revenue coming in the first quarter of the fiscal year has been down. Last month tax receipts were nearly 5 percent lower than expectations, and total state revenue was more than 2 percent below projections. Gov. John Kasich says that means a tough state budget is ahead. “There’ll be no tax increases. But it’s going to be tight. It’s not going to be an ability to give significant percentage increases.” Kasich and Republican lawmakers have said they want to continue tax cuts, but several times Kasich has also asked for increases in taxes on oil and gas drilling, which have been rejected.

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Schiavoni Says He's Ready to Run for Governor

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:55:16 +0000

Even before November's election, speculation began about who will be running in 2018 for the top five statewide offices -- all now held by Republicans and all of which will be term-limited. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler talked with a Democrat who says he’s ready to run for governor. Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni says he’s reached out to all 88 county chairs, to union members and other Democratic leaders. He says he’ll be focused on schools, crime and the opioid epidemic – what he calls working class issues that voters in his Youngstown area district were so concerned about, they voted for the Republican candidate for president. “Those folks that crossed over for Trump are hard-working people that felt that they were neglected by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party for years, and I think that I’ll be able to bring them back.” Schiavoni says he texted Youngstown area Congressman Tim Ryan about his unsuccessful bid to unseat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but

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Central Ohio Is Building a Tech Superhighway

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:27:45 +0000

A stretch of state highway in Central Ohio could become a technology superhighway. The Ohio Department of Transportation announced it’s working with Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, Honda and Union County to create a “smart corridor" on Route 33 from Dublin west to East Liberty. ODOT director Jerry Wray says it’ll being launched with $15 million from the state along with local and federal funds. A high-capacity fiber-optic cable will be laid.

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Congressman Ryan's Plans to Contribute to the New Democratic Message His Leadership Bid Sparked

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:00:00 +0000

Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan has lost his long-shot campaign to unseat Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But, he says his challenge of the long-time leader has opened up conversations among Democrats about finding ways to bring back blue-collar voters who helped elect Donald Trump president. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on how Ryan plans to contribute to that effort. Ryan calls President-elect Trump’s vows to reopen steel mills and coal mines unrealistic. But he says focusing on issues like alternative energy has more job growth potential, and he’s working on legislation to increase the use of natural gas. “If you look at what’s happening in Lordstown with the natural gas power plants where there are hundreds and hundreds of building and construction trades workers who are going to work to build these natural gas power plants. They’re good for the environment, they’re a great transition fuel into a more renewal-based economy, energy economy.” Ryan says creating

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Ohio State University Students Testify on Proposal to Lift Concealed Carry Ban

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:49:16 +0000

Lawmakers could vote next week on a proposal to lift the automatic ban on concealed weapons on college campuses. Many Ohio State University students visited the Statehouse to call on Senators to reject the bill. Right now concealed weapons are automatically banned from a list of places including college campuses, day cares and airport terminals. After Monday’s attack at OSU, several students say allowing people to be armed is not the answer. That includes second-year student Spencer Dirrig of Powell. “The problem is that, when we were huddled up, and we were hiding from an attacker that we didn’t know the location of and we didn’t know what weapons they had at no point in time did any of us think that having a gun would make us more safe.” But a pro-concealed carry OSU student testified she felt helpless during the attack without her firearm.

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Congressman Ryan Sees Some Good in His Democratic Leadership Loss

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:46:24 +0000

Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan today lost his bid to unseat long-time Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But he believes his effort will help Democrats win back the many blue-collar voters who voted for Donald Trump for president. The Democratic Caucus voted 134 to 63 to retain Pelosi. But Ryan says his two week campaign challenge has sparked a conversation among Democrats on the economic issues they missed during the presidential race. “Wages, not just raising the minimum wage, which of course we’re for, but also, middle class wages have been stagent and no one has been talking about that and we hammered that home in the last two weeks. Nobody has been talking about secure pensions and we know in Ohio that’s a huge issue that just missed the mark. People are talking more and more about that.” For his part, Ryan says, among other things, he’s focusing on legislation to boost infrastructure to generate energy from natural gas to create jobs. As far as running again for

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Ohio House Moves to Change Renewable Energy Policy Again

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:44:17 +0000

The Ohio House is moving forward with a bill that once again changes the state’s green energy policy landscape – with a freeze on state green energy standards is set to expire at the end of the year. The bill requires utilities to provide an increased amount of renewable energy by the year 2020, instead of smaller benchmarks each year for the next three years. Ray Fakhoury with the Advanced Energy Economy, an advocate for the green energy industry, says this plan discourages companies from moving to Ohio because the state’s alternative energy policy is constantly changing. “They can’t just have you come in and have the rug pulled out from underneath them once they’ve set up and they’re expected to operate under certain rules.” Supporters of the bill say this gives more flexibility for utilities to meet the higher benchmark instead of finding low hanging fruit each year.

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Ohio Senate Approves Ban on Executions of Mentally Ill Inmates

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:41:17 +0000

A state Senate committee has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill banning execution of people who were known to be severely mentally ill at the time they committed a capital crime. Republican former senator Bob Spada of North Royalton in northeast Ohio has long been an advocate for the mentally ill, and told the Senate Criminal Justice Committee people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other severe illnesses shouldn’t be sentenced to die. “It’s unfair to put people with a serious mental illness to death. It’s quite often beyond their capability to understand what they’re doing.” Prosecutors have said they’re concerned that the bill puts a burden on their colleagues to prove that the diagnosis of severe mental illness was unfounded or that the mental illness didn’t affect the crime.

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Akron's Landmark Building Will Be The Centerpiece of Downtown Mixed-Use Development

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:35:41 +0000

In announcing a $33 million plan to revitalize a historic block of south Main Street, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan called it a foundation for development. The 158-foot-tall Landmark Building at the corner of Main and Bowery opened in 1923 as the Akron Savings & Loan. It’s empty; it has been for years along with the buildings between it and the Akron Civic Theatre next to Lock 3. The city holds title to the blighted block and has tried to for years to find a workable way to bring it back to life. Mayor Dan Horrigan says the city was "just stuck in a deal that didn’t have the potential to finish." The plan began to take shape this summer when Akron moved to regain title to the property on South Main Street, and it's now moving ahead with a project that promises "performance instead of potential.” The mayor has sent a proposal to City Council for a deal with a pair of northeast Ohio developers to renovate the Landmark's block. He says the area is a key starting point. “That was always

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Ohio Lawmakers Proposes Further Loosening Concealed Carry Restrictions

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:17:38 +0000

As Ohio lawmakers consider passing a bill to downgrade the penalty for illegally carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses, one Ohio lawmaker is hoping to go even further. Republican Rep. John Becker says reducing the penalties for carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus is a step in the right direction. But Becker is sponsoring a bill that wouldn’t just reduce penalties for licensed concealed carry holders who take their guns into gun free zones like daycares, bars or college campuses – it would give them the opportunity to escape them entirely. “If someone is discovered on the premises with a gun, they can ask them to leave and they must leave or they get charged with a crime. They just can’t get charged with a crime immediately. They have to be given the opportunity to leave.” Becker says he’s talked to legislative leaders about including this provision in the gun bills being considered by lawmakers right now.

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Ohio Education Department Looks for More Public Input on Common Core

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:09:22 +0000

The Ohio Department of Education is asking the public to weigh in on state standards for school pupils. The heart of the state criteria was adopted five years ago as part of the Common Core standards used by many states. But now that teachers have had a few years to work through them, the Department is open to some revisions. First of all, the Common Core isn’t something handed down by the federal government. The Common Core standards took hundreds of people in Ohio and other states working years to nail down what students need to know and at what grade level to teach it. In the Spring, Ohio asked the public to look over its English and Math standards. Now the state Department of Ed wants input on Science, Financial Literacy, and Social Studies. It’s not simple. Ohio standards for K-12 science alone runs 344 pages. They even made a How-To video. Any suggested changes go to committees of teachers and education professionals. They’ll work on them for over a year before final revisions

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The View From Pluto: Indians Biggest Opponent: MLB’s Payroll Problem

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 10:00:23 +0000

The Cleveland Indians did more than just win games to make it to the World Series. They beat the money game. The team’s $98 million payroll is ranked 23 among baseball’s 30 teams. And they were the only team ranked in the bottom 15 of payroll to even make the playoffs. Owners and the players’ association face a deadline today on a new contract deal, but WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says one of the things they’re NOT talking about -- but should be -- is payrolls that give an edge to big market teams. "They’re missing the biggest problem," Pluto says. There's a big disparity in payrolls in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers have the highest payroll in the league, at $253 million. The Indians are 23, at $98 million. "It's like, we've got a cake here and it doesn’t taste right. And they’re talking about the frosting. The frosting could look really nice but if you taste the cake and it’s sour and bitter, you’ve still got problem. You have a problem when your bottom 15 teams, only two of them

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University of Akron Course Will Focus on Donald Trump

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 03:01:31 +0000

The University of Akron will be offering a class this spring about the new president of the United States, Donald Trump. The class will focus on Trump’s policies on trade and immigration, and the concerns of the white working class who voted for him. Matthew Akers is assistant director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron. He’ll be teaching the Trump class, which, he says, will address the new president’s strengths and weaknesses. “This election has to be studied. It was the most remarkable election in my lifetime. So whatever you think about Donald Trump, it is remarkable what he’s done. And I think that that deserves an academic look.” Akers says the class will also discuss current events during Trump’s first few months in office.

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