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Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 14:02:15 +0000


Northeast Ohio Congressman Ryan Calls Substance Abuse Care Cut the Biggest GOP Health Plan Problem

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:11:57 +0000

Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan says as of this morning, neither Democrats nor Republicans know which way the vote on the GOP health care bill will go. But he says if it passes, it will hurt Ohioans who depend on Obamacare for pre-natal and mental health services, and those caught up in the opioid epidemic. “What I think is most significant for people who are on the fence, it repeals care for substance abuse. We all know the tragedies we see everyday in Ohio with regard to the heroin epidemic. There will be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people who will not be able to access treatment for substance abuse.” Ryan says the added health care costs from the GOP bill are also expected to cause 25 percent of Ohio’s hospitals to close, something he says will hit rural areas especially hard.

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'State of Poverty' Report Is Cited to Defend Ohio's Low-Income Programs

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:09:47 +0000

A coalition of advocates for the poor have a new report on poverty in Ohio. They're using it to call on Congress to save multiple programs that would help low-income Ohioans. The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies says a single parent with a minimum wage job has to work more than 100 hours a week to be self-sufficient. The group’s Philip Cole says President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would cut a lot of the programs and grants that would help support and lift people out of poverty . “You talk about pulling the rug out from under hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people and talk about Medicaid and the changes that want to do to Medicaid in addition to the things we just mentioned you’re talking about leaving people out in the streets,” Cole said. The "State of Poverty" report also found 40,000 households where grandparents are the primary caregivers, which Cole says is rising because of the drug epidemic.

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Ohio Lawmakers Consider Requiring Warrants for Police Drones

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:08:01 +0000

A new bill being considered at the Statehouse would restrict the way police agencies could use drones . The legislation has bipartisan support for different reasons. This bill is sponsored by unusual bedfellows. Democratic Sen. Mike Skindell says he’s sponsoring the bill because he wants to make sure police agencies don’t use drones to unfairly gather evidence against suspects. Republican Sen. Kris Jordan , who doesn’t agree with Skindell on much, agrees this legislation is needed. “We still deserve the right to privacy that our founders intended for us to have when they wrote out the bill of rights protecting our civil liberties,” he said. Basically, the bill would say law enforcement agencies would need to get warrants from the court in order to be able to use drones to gather evidence. Jordan says there need to be some safeguards to protect Ohioans from being unreasonably targeted by law enforcement. “There aren’t enough guardrails up there to limits, I guess, the potential for

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Ohio Lawmaker Introduces Anti-Discrimination Bill for Housing and Employment

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:04:12 +0000

A bill that would ban discrimination in housing or employment based on sexual gender or identity has been introduced in the legislature. Democratic Rep. Nickie Antonio says this legislation is not new. “A version of this bill has been introduced in the general assembly in the state of Ohio, since 2009.” Antonio, the state's first openly lesbian lawmaker, says gays, lesbians and transgender people are discriminated against because current state law does not prevent it . She notes many major companies have already adopted this policy on their own. Antonio says, even if this bill were passed, it would still include exemptions for religious organizations. No majority Republicans have signed on to the legislation yet.

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The Cleveland Zoo is Rebranding to Promote its Conservation Work

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:57:49 +0000

The Cleveland Metroparks Zo o wants the public to know the role it plays in worldwide animal conservation . So next month it will roll-out a new branding campaign. The campaign includes a new logo and the catch phrase, “Securing a future for wildlife.” Dr. Chris Kuhar is the zoo’s executive director. He says there is a lot for the public to know about the zoo’s world-wide conservation efforts. “We work with gorillas in Rwanda, we work with giraffes in Uganda, cheetah and lions in Tanzania and Kenya. So we have programs with turtles in Southeast Asia. Those core programs involve our staff and involve us growing projects all over the world.” Kuhar says most people don’t even know the zoo does this kind of work. “But they expect it. So I think there’s a little bit of a disconnect in public opinion at least in terms of understanding what we do. So, by putting that out there and talking about conservation a little bit more and making “securing a future for wildlife” the tagline that goes

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State Police Union Pushes to Change PTSD Coverage for First Responders

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:55:21 +0000

The state’s largest police union wants the Bureau of Workers Compensation to cover more claims for post-traumatic stress disorder in first responders. Right now, the Bureau will cover PTSD if a first responder has an injury that causes it . But Mike Weinman with the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio says that’s not necessarily how PTSD works. “It’s an accumulation of traumatic events, and then there’s a trigger. So seeing my partner getting shot and killed would be a trigger to the 20 years of things I’ve seen over the course of a career.” As he’s done for the last few years, Weinman is asking lawmakers to change the rules to allow first responders to get workers comp benefits for PTSD even if they don’t have physical injuries. Weinman says officers are self-medicating and even committing suicide and need help.

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Summit County Employers and Educators are Working Together to Close Skills Gap

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:53:53 +0000

Representatives from education, manufacturing and economic development in Summit County gathered in Akron yesterday to discuss efforts to better train workers to fill local jobs. The “ Align ” conference was an opportunity for the approximately 50 groups to strengthen the links between themselves. The event was sponsored by “ Conxus NEO ,” Summit County’s recently established organization for determining employer needs and the educational opportunities required to close the so-called “skills gap.” David Sattler runs a small parts manufacturing company and works with Conxus. He says all manufacturers have difficulty finding people with the necessary skills, and he believes big city school systems are one answer. “That’s going to be the area of growth for employment opportunities for our industry really. Those that wouldn’t have normally had the opportunity to see it, feel it, touch it or do any of that stuff, but they have the right skills, or can be given the right skills to be good

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New Summit County Program Aims To Help Immigrants Who Are Victims Of Crime

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:46:11 +0000

The Summit County prosecutor’s office is launching a campaign to help immigrants and refugees who are victims of crime. The new “We Can Help” campaign will feature brochures, signs and information in English, Spanish, Arabic and Nepali. The languages were chosen with help from the International Institute of Akron. The city has seen rapid growth in the Nepali population and other refugees in North Hill . Margaret Scott, chief assistant prosecutor, says the goal is to connect people with the prosecutor’s office, Rape Crisis Center, Battered Women’s Shelter and other agencies, as well as to further explain U.S. law. “We understand that it can be overwhelming to be from another culture. And you may not be sure what the laws are, or that there’s help available. So this is a campaign to put ads on billboards and buses to let people know where they can go for help.” Scott says one reason for the new program is that many immigrants may not even realize they’re being victimized. “What might be

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Ohio'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 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

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

The Cleveland Orchestra 's 100th season will be busy and challenging. In this week's Shuffle, 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 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 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 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 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?

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 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 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 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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2017 Ohio SPJ - Best Newsroom

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:43:49 +0000

2016 was a very busy year in Northeast Ohio, and WKSU news team was on top of the events that mattered to our audience: from the swearing in of Dan Horrigan as Akron's first new mayor in nearly 30 years, to the highs and lows of a national presidential campaign, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the end of "The Curse" in Cleveland with the NBA championship for LeBron James and the Cavaliers, not to mention a near miss in the World Series for the Cleveland Indians. WKSU's reporters were on these stories and so much more, running the gamut from hard news to arts and culture reporting, providing thorough and in-depth coverage for our listeners.

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