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Last Build Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2018 20:22:13 +0000


Critics Say Ohio's Crash Demonstrates the Problem with Centralized Testing

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:51:18 +0000

School districts around the state were forced to change their standardized testing schedules because of a system malfunction. Ohio’s testing vendor, AIR, told the state that students were not able to log-in and access their tests. One lawmaker says this is an example of a bigger issue he’s concerned about. Republican Sen. Matt Huffman has a bill that would reduce the state’s involvement in education, giving more power to the local level. He says scaling back statewide testing is part of that. “If the local school districts had their local tests -- I understand that we have to have accountability and some standardized testing -- but if their local computer vendor messed up it wouldn’t have effected all these other school districts.” Because of the malfunction, the state has extended the testing window by two days. The way student achievement and school performance are assessed is coming under fire from lawmakers. Concerns range from over testing to the way the information is presented

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Decision on Fire-Damaged St. Paul's Church Could Be Made By University of Akron Within Weeks

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:45:20 +0000

Damage from the fire that engulfed the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron is still being evaluated. Officials say a decision on the historic building’s future won’t be made until that process is complete. The church has been owned by the University of Akron since the 1950s, but has been empty for nearly a decade. The school’s CFO, Nathan Mortimer , says the building was actually constructed as two halves, connected by a walkway, and the main fire was only in one of the structures. “We know the fire made it through the walkway, and we know the fire began to enter that other building. What we do know is that Akron Fire (Department) did excellent work keeping the fire from entering that building and knocked it down pretty quickly. Our assessment will tell us, but I have to believe – based on what I know -- that there’s probably some smoke damage in the adjoining building.” Mortimer says the school briefly considered razing the church several years ago, but in recent years has

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Ohio Realtors Expect the Sellers' Market To Continue

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:41:51 +0000

March home sale figures for Ohio will be released Monday and regardless of whether the number is higher than the month before, realtors are expecting the current sellers' market to continue. When it comes to real estate, the market typically goes in cycles. Just ask Karen O'Donnell, president of the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors . “It goes down, it comes up, it goes down, it comes up.” And yet, for the past year, home prices have pretty much only gone up. What gives? O'Donnell figures some sellers may have been waiting to see how the new GOP tax law would play out. Others may be holding off selling to see just how high the market will go. Her advice to homeowners? “If you have a house and you're on the fence about selling it, this is the time.” According to the Ohio Realtors Association , homes are selling at a near-record clip. And O'Donnell says prices could see a dip as the weather warms up and more properties hit the market.

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In Rocky River, Ivanka Trump Promotes the Republician Tax Plan

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:20:25 +0000

In front of an invitation-only audience largely of small-business owners in Rocky River yesterday, Ivanka Trump promoted the Republican tax reform law ahead of the midterm primary election. Trump said simplifying the tax code was “critically important” to her father’s administration. “Because simplicity ultimately democratizes the tax code. It’s the people who can afford the lawyers and the teams of accountants who get the benefits of the loopholes in an overly complex and burdensome system. So simplifying it, knowing the vast majority of people will opt for the standard deduction is very important and was a priority for the administration.” Trump was joined by U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza , Republican Sen. Rob Portman , and Congressman Jim Renacci who’s seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown this fall. Trump ended the event with an anecdote about her inquisitive son when he learned her travel plans early this morning. He said, “Rocky River? He’s like,

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Ohio's Jobless Rate Dips Slightly in March

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:14:02 +0000

The state’s jobless rate edged down a bit last month to its lowest level since October 2015. The unemployment rate for March came in at 4.4 percent, which is still higher than the national average but is down a tenth of a point from February and more than a half a point from the same time last year. Big gains were made in manufacturing, government, transportation and utilities and construction. But Cleveland economist George Zeller says there’s good and bad news in these numbers. Ohio has gained more jobs in the last three months than all of last year. But Zeller says the state’s job growth is still below the national average – and has been for more than five years. And he’s already warning about next month’s numbers because of mass layoffs announced at the General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown.

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Ohio Lawmakers Consider a Do-Over on Ohio's Medical Marijuana Licenses

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 14:09:54 +0000

Ohio’s medical marijuana program is supposed to be fully operational on Sept. 8. But there are court battles over problems with the process of choosing cultivators. Some fear it might delay the start of the program. Republican Sen. Bill Coley says patients need Ohio’s medical marijuana program to be ready to go on day one. So he’s come up with legislation that would allow a do-over in the scoring process. “You’d rescore with independent people who don’t have conflicts doing the scoring. And you’d look at all of the scores and anybody that scored above the lowest the current provisional license holders, if they scored above the current provisional license holders, they’d be granted an additional license.” But some lawmakers, like Democratic Sen. Kenny Yuko , are not on board. “It would be challenging, time-wise, to get anything passed.” Yuko says the focus now needs to be moving to get the program in place by Sept. 8 th .

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Canton Craft Brewery Is Named One of the Fastest Growing in the U.S.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:55:30 +0000

In a list released last week, a national trade group named a local craft brewery as one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. Production at Royal Docks Brewery of Canton jumped about 10-fold between 2016 and 2017 to more than 3,000 barrels per year. Owner John Bikis says Royal Docks’ unique business model early in its launch helped the brewery get the funding it needed to grow. ­­­­ "FWe decided to do things a little bit different. We decided to go grab shelf space, where other breweries don’t really have it yet. We did it, and you have to sort of explain to the bank, ‘Hey, I’m doing this at a loss right now, but give me the funding to continue to grow.'" Another Northeast Ohio craft brewer, Platform Beer Company in Cleveland, made the list at 35 th fastest-growing.

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Stow Mayor Says Her Resignation Has Nothing to Do With Dispute With Councilmember

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:53:21 +0000

Stow Mayor Sara Kline is stepping down from her position after six years. She had filed a police report last month in a dispute with a councilman, but says that has nothing to do with her resignation. Kline has accepted a position in Cuyahoga Falls as the superintendent of Parks and Recreation. “I think that the parks system is one of the ways that people directly interact with their local governments, whether it’s a walk through a nature trail, or playing tennis on the tennis court, or through one of the programs or someone attending something at the senior center. It’s really a tangible way that local government touches people’s lives and can improve people’s lives.” The move is effective May 13. Stow City Council will work on finding a replacement.

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Northeast Ohio Vinyl -- And Cassette -- Lovers Have Plenty To Look Forward to On Record Store Day

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:50:03 +0000

Record stores around the country will be participating in the 11 th annual Record Store Day today. A boxed set of a 1969 Grateful Dead concert is expected to be one of the most sought-after releases for Record Store Day. The list of more than 400 new or limited edition titles includes everything from a 1956 performance by Ella Fitzgerald to the soundtrack for the “Spongebob Squarepants” musical. David Wolfe owns The Vinyl Groove in Bedford and says he serves vinyl fans ranging from teens to senior citizens. This year, he says many will be seeking the four albums by David Bowie . “Bowie passed away so everyone’s looking for any kind of Bowie rarities or anything from the vaults. You’re always going to have one in every crowd that’s looking for something that nobody and their mother would buy. I get like one person who wants the Duran Duran live set from the late ‘90s, when they weren’t even in their prime.” Tape as well as vinyl Although Record Store Day began as a way to promote sales

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Morning Headlines: UH Accused of Stalling Settlement; Big Fun Stays Open With Candy Shop Merger

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:07:10 +0000

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, April 20: Students mark 19 years since Columbine with walkouts supporting gun control University Hospitals accused of stalling settlement after fertility center disaster; After blaze, the fate of an Akron church remains unclear; Ivanka Trump and U.S. treasurer to promote tax plan in Rocky River; Case and Cleveland Museum of Art plan new development in University Circle; Greyhound investigating how a bus en route to New York ended up in Toledo; Texas Sen. Cruz endorses Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor for Ohio governor; Mahoning County sells former health clinic for $37,000; Vintage fun will continue after all with Sweeties Big Fun; Students mark 19 years since Columbine with walkouts supporting gun control Ohio students are once again preparing to walkout of their classrooms in support of stricter gun laws. The Friday walkouts, protests and marches will mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, where 13 people were killed. Students at

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State of the Arts: Framing Akron Neighborhood by Neighborhood

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:15:00 +0000

The City of Akron has two dozen neighborhoods. Each is captured in a new photography exhibit called "24." On this week’s State of the Arts, we talk with the people behind the camera about what it means to see Akron through a lens.

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Against the Backdrop of a Scandal, Ohio Lawmakers Finally Move on Payday Lending

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:12:28 +0000

A bill to crack down on payday lending passed an Ohio House committee without any changes – a week after the House speaker resigned and a vote on it was halted. The committee hearing room was packed – with consumer advocates, payday lending representatives and interested onlookers -- and with questions and tension. Ted Saunders is the CEO of suburban Columbus based CheckSmart and heads the Ohio Consumer Lenders Association . He addressed the tension right away. “(Neither) my company nor the trade association funded, attended, coordinated or endorsed any of the trips surrounding the scandal that resulted in the resignation of the speaker and has tangentially touched our industry,” says Saunders. Rosenberger's Resignation Just a week ago, a vote on a compromise on the bill had been stopped by some members of this same committee, which met just hours after Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger of Clarksville resigned. Sources say the FBI is asking about his international travel

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Lakewood Students Plan a Vigil to Mark Columbine and Ongoing School Gun Violence

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:50:05 +0000

More than half of high school students across the country say they’re concerned a mass shooting will happen at their school, which is why one Lakewood High School student says she’s taking a stand. A survey from the national Pew Research Center found 57 percent of high school students are either worried or very worried there will be a mass shooting at their school. Sixteen-year-old Isabella Bryson is a junior at Lakewood High School and says she’s never felt unsafe there. But “it is scary because we’re not really sure if it’s going to happen. However, it kind of inspired me to act," Bryson said. Bryson and her friends have organized a candlelight vigil and rally at Lakewood Park Friday night to mark the 19 th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. But she says student speakers will also call for changes to gun laws. “Student around our area and around the country, they don’t want to be scared every single time somebody slams a locker or the fire alarm goes off. So, that’s why we

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Change in Medicaid Billing for Behavioral Health Services is Causing Confusion

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:45:24 +0000

The state is moving mental health and addiction services for low-income Ohioans into Medicaid-managed care by July 1. It’s the biggest and most complicated change the behavioral health system in Ohio has ever seen. A survey of more than a hundred of those providers shows the redesign is straining their finances and could shut them down. More than 60 percent of the behavioral health and family services providers who responded to the survey said they were getting less money than they budgeted for from Medicaid, and just over half have less than two months’ worth of the cash they need to operate. Lori Criss speaks for those providers. “The cash-flow problems, the resource challenges, the claims-rejection volume – all of those kind of bureaucratic business things are putting providers in a position where they might run out of gas before they cross the finish line," Criss said. Criss says most providers have had problems with their own systems or the state in submitting claims, and many

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Ohio AG Rejects Petition to Legalize Marijuana

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:41:55 +0000

A petition submitted by backers of a ballot issue to legalize marijuana in Ohio has been rejected. The Ohio attorney general’s office has rejected the language submitted by a group calling itself Ohio Families for Change. Its “Marijuana Rights and Regulations Amendment” would leave the state’s medical marijuana program intact, and would allow the drug to be regulated for recreational use much like alcohol. The AG says the amendment's wording doesn’t match the language on the petitions that would need to be signed to get the amendment to the ballot. Now it’s up to the group to submit new language if it wants to try again. But it would be a challenge for this group to get the more than 300,000 valid signatures needed by July in order to put the measure on the ballot this fall.

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Democrats Say Republican Lawmakers Are Heading Home without Addressing Gun Violence

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:33:43 +0000

The Republican leader of Ohio’s Senate says the short-term goals of his caucus have been accomplished. But some lawmakers disagree. Senate President Larry Obhof says senators have passed the items that are important to them and are ready to go on break for the summer. “On the priorities that we set out, we’ve tried as much as possible that we could get those done.” But Democratic Minority Leader Kenny Yuko says there are priorities Republicans haven’t addressed, such as school safety. “We can’t sit back and let people die and do nothing and say we have done our job so we have got to keep working.” Yuko wants to pass Democratic gun-reform bills, as well as a Republican bill of several reforms backed by Gov. John Kasich. Obhof says that bill is not going to pass and he says he’s not going to set an arbitrary deadline for possibly passing some others.

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A New National Report Ranks Ohio's Pre-K System Low

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:30:05 +0000

A national report says Ohio’s pre-K system is lagging, which a researcher largely blames on a lack of resources for the system. The National Institute for Early Education Research has been ranking pre-K systems in its annual State of Pre-K report since 2002. This year, Ohio ranked 32nd out of 43 states when it comes to access to quality pre-K for 4-year-olds, and 36 th for spending. Those rankings largely remained unchanged from the previous year. The institute's co-director, Steve Barnett, says the state only met 5 out of 10 quality indicators as well, which he links to state funding. “There are some key elements of program quality that Ohio hasn’t put into place and that’s mostly about whether the resources are going to be committed," Barnett said. Ohio does not require pre-K teachers to have bachelor’s degrees and has an average class size of 28, which Barnett says indicates state leaders have not committed the necessary resources to create a quality system. Ohio spends $4,000 on

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Republican Senators Introduce Bill to Reduce Regulations in Ohio

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:24:47 +0000

Republican senators want to crack down on what they consider overly burdensome regulation coming from state agencies. They’re introducing a new bill after a study from George Mason University said Ohio has nearly 250,000 regulatory restrictions in its code. The new bill would require state agencies to compile their regulatory requirements to be reviewed by a panel of legislators - and then reduce those rules by 30 percent over the next four years. Republican Senate President Larry Obhof says regulations hinder industries and business development. “We have a process here that has been designed to allow new regulations instead of maybe as strenuously as possible requiring regulators maybe to explain why they need something and why we should enact it," Obhof said. If agencies don’t achieve 30 percent reduction, then they have to cut two regulations for every new one they want. Democratic lawmakers counter that it’s not overregulation but underfunding of programs that can be blamed for a

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Ohio Legislative Caucus Works to Raise Awareness On Ohio's Trails

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:20:16 +0000

Ohio has a legislative caucus working to raise awareness of the state’s trails. The caucus, formed last year, is the only one in the U.S. dedicated to trails. The group of lawmakers has been working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to create a website with an interactive guide to the thousands of miles of state trails. Rep. Emilia Sykes , an Akron Democrat, is a member of the caucus. She says the group is working to preserve and market what Ohio has to offer well as to highlight urban trails people may not know about. “So fortunately you will see from the membership, you see all of that. You see rural/urban, Democrat/Republican legislators because trails have an impact on all of our districts, and we would like to encourage use and let people know and highlight how wonderful they are,” Sykes said. The caucus wants to use events to highlight Ohio’s trails. It also wants to use them as a way of promoting better public health. Note: This story has been updated to correct a

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Ohio Students Prepare For More Walkouts Friday

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:15:54 +0000

Ohio students are once again preparing to walk out of their classrooms in support of stricter gun laws. The Friday walkouts, protests and marches will mark the 19 th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, where 13 people were killed. Sixteen-year-old Fintan Bracken is a junior at Mentor High School. Students there plan to march after school to Republican Congressman David Joyce’s office to ask for what Bracken calls common-sense gun laws—like universal background checks and restrictions on the size of magazines. “We go to school every day and we don’t know if we’re going to have to evacuate the building when the announcements come on and I think that he should listen to our voices and understand why we need these reforms.” Bracken also helped organize walkouts in Mentor following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting where 17 teachers and students were killed in February.

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