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Are Akron's Hoped-For Downtown Dwellers Ready to Leave Their Cars Behind?Are Akron's Hoped-For Downtown Dwellers Ready to Leave Their Cars Behind?

Fri, 26 May 2017 07:01:34 +0000

The city of Akron is looking to boost the number of people living downtown. Could that mean adding thousands of cars -- or adding thousands of people who decide they don’t need a car? WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia has more on how transportation could be changing in the Rubber City. “It will take me seven minutes to get to my house [and] probably five minutes from here to Mustard Seed,” says Suzie Graham . She’s moving downtown, and she’s excited about having a shorter commute. The president of the Downtown Akron Partnership has seen demand for downtown living rise in the past few years, and she says the key is to grow the population in tandem with business. The three pillars “The ideal downtown environment has equal pillars of living, working and playing. We were historically only a ‘work’ pillar. Our ‘play’ pillar has grown significantly. Now the ‘live’ pillar is starting to grow as well. The idea is to keep them in balance and make sure that we grow responsibly. So if there are impacts to any

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Are Fentanyl Dealers Now Targeting African-Americans?Are Fentanyl Dealers Now Targeting African-Americans?

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:52:34 +0000

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson says the mixing of deadly synthetic heroin with cocaine is spreading the opioid crisis to the African American community. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on Gilson’s testimony in Washington today. In testimony to a U.S. Senate subcommittee , Gilson said the epidemic has been largely a problem in the white communities – especially rural areas of Ohio, West Virginia and the mid-Atlantic states. “That used to be largely a Caucasian majority, with upwards of 85 percent of victims. However this is changing now and it seems -- almost with purposeful intent -- cocaine is now being mixed into the fentanyl distribution and the analogs of fentanyl in an effort to introduce these drugs into the African-American community.” Gilson called the crisis “a slow-moving mass fatality event.” He says local communities need more help in treatment, prevention and in finding enough pathologists to adequately measure the death toll to track where the epidemic

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Ohio Republicans Push Congress to End E-Check Pollution RegulationsOhio Republicans Push Congress to End E-Check Pollution Regulations

Thu, 25 May 2017 22:19:48 +0000

The Ohio House has passed a resolution asking the federal government to consider alternatives to Ohio’s E-Check program . The program affects seven counties in Northeast Ohio and requires older vehicles to be checked for emissions with a free test every two years. The resolution would call on Congress to amend the Federal Clean Air Act, which would allow the EPA to end E-check regulations. Republican Rep. Anthony DeVitis of Green backs the resolution. He says his constituents are the reason. “When you live in one of these seven E-check counties, you hear from your constituents on a regular basis, ‘when are you gonna get rid of E-check?’ So I think this is just an effort by one of the members to have the federal government take another look at it.” DeVitis says while he supports good air quality in Ohio, he thinks the program negatively impacts lower-income families. Vehicles that don’t pass the test must be repaired before re-testing.

Lawmakers Try to Make New Rules to Cut Down on Fines Related to Traffic ViolationsLawmakers Try to Make New Rules to Cut Down on Fines Related to Traffic Violations

Thu, 25 May 2017 22:06:43 +0000

Once again, state lawmakers are trying to green light new rules for how communities can use speed and red light cameras, especially smaller communities that get a big percentage of their revenue from tickets. Columbus Democratic Rep. Hearcel Craig is going after communities without mayors’ courts that are running traffic camera programs. He says some violations come with fines in the hundreds to thousands of dollars which he says is “abusive and excessive." “What we’re looking to do is close those loopholes by capping those fees. At this point enough is enough,” Craig says. A trio of bills from Republican Rep. Tom Patton of Strongsville would ban traffic-camera use in communities that get more than 30 percent of their revenue from the cameras or have fewer than 200 residents or no fire or EMS services. But the commission that looks over legislation is warning that all these bills could be a problem under the state’s home-rule provision, which allows communities to set certain rules.

Ohio's Sen. Brown Condemns Alleged Attack by Montana Congressional HopefulOhio's Sen. Brown Condemns Alleged Attack by Montana Congressional Hopeful

Thu, 25 May 2017 22:03:34 +0000

Politicians around the country and here in Ohio are sounding off on the allegations that a Republican congressional candidate body slammed a reporter and has been criminally charged. One top Ohio Democrats says this is part of a larger cultural shift. A reporter is accusing U.S. House hopeful Greg Gianforte of slamming him to the ground during an attempted interview in Montana , and Gianforte is facing an assault charge. The highest ranking Democrat in Ohio, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown , didn’t hold back when it came to his thoughts on the alleged attack. “Put the responsibility wherever, but we’ve created in this country an atmosphere where it seems to be OK for some politicians -- some Republican politicians -- to literally take a swipe at the media. When the president of the United States calls the media the enemy of the people, that’s sort of Soviet talk.” Republican U.S. House Rep. Steve Stivers, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee , called the accusation out of

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Ohio U.S. Senators Oppose Federal Budget Cuts to the Great Lakes FundsOhio U.S. Senators Oppose Federal Budget Cuts to the Great Lakes Funds

Thu, 25 May 2017 21:51:29 +0000

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are sifting through President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, which has gotten a lot of heat from Democrats. There’s one issue that has riled up some of Ohio’s leaders on both sides of the aisle. The White House’s budget proposes eliminating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative , which works to clean the lakes and protect them from long-term threats. Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says Lake Erie will be especially harmed because it’s the most vulnerable to pollution. “It seems the president has turned his back on our state when you consider he won the election with the Great Lakes industrial states, and these are the state that seem to be hardest hit by his budget on opioids, on Appalachian regional commission, on the Great Lakes,” he said. Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman also opposes the plan to eliminate the Great Lakes environmental funding, but adds that President Obama once proposed cutting the initiative’s funding. The Ohio Republican Party

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Shuffle: Akron DIY Venue Showcases A Blend Of Experimental Music And ArtShuffle: Akron DIY Venue Showcases A Blend Of Experimental Music And Art

Thu, 25 May 2017 09:15:00 +0000

A performance tonight at one of Akron’s underground venues blends experimental music and visual art. For this week’s Shuffle, The Devil Strip magazine’s music editor Brittany Nader says the show is organized by Hive Mind , which is one of Akron’s do-it-yourself spaces that showcases independent artists. “The whole point of this show is to blend visual art, performance art, experimental music and noise -- and encourage the audience to participate and create this sensory experience,” Nader says. Boaz Bair, one of the founders of Hive Mind, is bringing in Chicago-based Mako Sica . The band uses guitar, drums and percussion to create to ambient songs that are 10-to-20 minutes long, often meant to be listened to while viewing specific paintings and other artwork. Local experimental artists Youngstown's NRML GRL is also on the bill. She brings her installation “sound machine” to Hive Mind. “She creates custom songs on the spot. You tell the machine how you’re feeling in that moment and she

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Ohio House Passes A Bill to Further Regulate "Fantasy Sports"Ohio House Passes A Bill to Further Regulate "Fantasy Sports"

Wed, 24 May 2017 22:37:08 +0000

A measure that would revise rules on fantasy sports, which haven’t been touched in decades , is on its way to the Ohio Senate after passing the House. Under the proposal, players would have to be 18 or older and the companies running fantasy sports competitions would have to be licensed by the state. House leaders are quick to note that fantasy sports as we know it today is entirely different than the paper-and-pencil version from the 90's. That’s why legislators, such as Republican Rep. Robert McColley of Napoleon say the state needs more regulation of what has become a giant industry around the country. “This does not regulate or even touch the fantasy sports leagues that you and your buddies from college might have. This only touches the for-profit fantasy sports operators that we have in Ohio such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings,” he said. Those sites supported the bill as it passed the House .

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Canton Has Merged Two Economic Development Districts In OneCanton Has Merged Two Economic Development Districts In One

Wed, 24 May 2017 22:31:16 +0000

One part of downtown Canton is now going to hold two economic development district designations. The first involves a bit of history, while the other is all high tech. A state law passed in August lets cities create Downtown Redevelopment Districts where they can offer tax incentives for developing new or rehabbing existing properties. To qualify, an area needs to have at least one historic building in need of renovation. Canton has more than one. And it has something much newer that is making another kind of district designation possible. Greater Canton Chamber of Commerce Vice President Michael Gill says, "Because we do have the ability to have 100-gigabite download speeds in our downtown, right now, we can designate ourselves as an Innovation District.” City Council approved creating the two districts at its meeting this week.

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Third Frontier Looks for High-Tech Solutions To The Opioid CrisisThird Frontier Looks for High-Tech Solutions To The Opioid Crisis

Wed, 24 May 2017 22:25:10 +0000

In his State of the State speech last month , Gov. John Kasich announced he wants the state’s Third Frontier Commission to spend $20 million toward high-tech solutions to the deadly opioid crisis. The panel has taken the first step toward doing that. The commission will spend $12 million on what it determines, through a competitive process, are the best devices, drugs, medical products, tests or other ideas to combat the opioid crisis. These will be ideas that are already in development but need some more funding to get them to market. Norm Chagnon with the Ohio Development Services Agency says it will also spend $8 million on a challenge to bring in new ideas. “As a result of collecting those ideas, we are going to formulate specific challenges from that input, driving towards actual technical solutions to those.” The challenge will be competitive as well, with the best proposals also receiving small financial awards.

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Ohio Lawmakers May Force Local Parks To Allow Oil and Gas DrillingOhio Lawmakers May Force Local Parks To Allow Oil and Gas Drilling

Wed, 24 May 2017 22:19:21 +0000

Local parks in Ohio could be forced into oil and gas “drilling units” if the state Senate adopts the budget bill as passed by the House. Managers and supporters of many local parks, including in northeast Ohio, are joining efforts to keep that from happening. An amendment to H.B. 49 — the state operating budget — says if 65 percent of property owners around a proposed oil and gas “drilling unit” agree to be part of it, the other 35 percent can be forced to join. That can include public entities like park districts -- although state parks are exempted. Local park district leaders like Aaron Young of Mill Creek Metro Parks are concerned. “Essentially what the bill does is take the decision- making on whether or not drilling can be allowed on or under the park land out of the hands of those that have a say in the governance of the metro parks.” The Senate is running H.B 49 through committees to decide what if anything to change. A final vote on the measure is expected by mid-June. The two

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ACLU of Ohio Wants Cleveland To Reaffirm Its Commitment to Police ReformACLU of Ohio Wants Cleveland To Reaffirm Its Commitment to Police Reform

Wed, 24 May 2017 21:59:33 +0000

The ACLU of Ohio is asking Cleveland to recommit to the promises made in a 2015 consent decree to reform the Police Department. This Friday marks two years since the agreement was signed. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the review of every police reform agreement in the country . The ACLU’s senior policy director, Mike Brickner , says that Sessions’ involvement could lead to a problem in Cleveland. “Many of his public comments have been rather skeptical of police reform, and we’re concerned about where that review is going to go considering on some of his public statements.” Brickner says his organization is also concerned about the city’s lack of a plan to answer 800 backlogged civilian complaints , some of which have been unresolved since 2014.

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Ohio's Democratic U.S. Sen. Brown Says Ohio Vets Could Be Deeply Hurt by AFA Repeal and Trump BudgetOhio's Democratic U.S. Sen. Brown Says Ohio Vets Could Be Deeply Hurt by AFA Repeal and Trump Budget

Wed, 24 May 2017 21:45:46 +0000

Even before the Congressional Budget Office reported that the House repeal of the Affordable Care Act would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown was predicting it would raise costs and cut benefits. Brown, a Democrat, mounted an attack on two fronts he said would hurt veterans and millions of others: The House Republican healthcare plan and President Trump’s budget. He said the Republican reductions in Medicaid would cut off 71,000 Ohio veterans, including 25,000 who got coverage through the Medicaid expansion that came with Obamacare. And he accused Republicans of rushing through their plan, contrasting it with the slower pace of the Affordable Care Act. “The Democrats took months and months to do this. We had literally dozens of hearings, and the committee I was on in the Senate – the Health Committee – we accepted over 150 Republican amendments to the bill. They did none of those things that traditionally legislators do and should do.” Brown says he’s

It's Politics: Brown Says Portman's Endorsement of Mandel Won't Hurt Their Working RelationshipIt's Politics: Brown Says Portman's Endorsement of Mandel Won't Hurt Their Working Relationship

Wed, 24 May 2017 21:35:19 +0000

Ohio’s Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is backing Josh Mandel’s second attempt to unseat Portman’s Democratic counterpart, Sherrod Brown. Portman announced his support for the conservative state treasurer in a video released a week after Congressman Pat Tiberi announced he won’t challenge Mandel in a GOP primary. Brown says he’s not bothered by Portman’s endorsement of Mandel and the he and Portman will continue to work on steel and other issues. “We work on … fighting the Trump budget cuts in Lake Erie and the Appalachian Regional Commission. We will continue to find ways to work together. Politics is politics, I understand that. Neither he nor I will let that get in the way of serving the needs of this state.” Brown endorsed Democrat Ted Strickland in his run against Portman last year.

A Long-Running Theater in Huron Announces its Curtain Call for the SummerA Long-Running Theater in Huron Announces its Curtain Call for the Summer

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:33:40 +0000

A long-running theater in Huron is taking an intermission this summer. Huron Playhouse announced this week that it will be closing for the season due to a deficit. The theater plans to reopen next summer when it is more financially stable. Managing Director John Jones says the Playhouse will be looking at new ways to bring in money, such as hiring local performers. (And) "very meaningful fundraisers, something out of the ordinary, something that will bring in a substantial amount of money to help us, as well as look at other grants, even outside the area. Perhaps even some endowments, which is not something we have looked at in the past." A professor from Bowling Green State University launched the Huron Playhouse in 1949. The university had been providing financial support for the theater, but eliminated that when it cut its arts funding in 2010. Since then, the Playhouse has relied on the community for donations.

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The View from Pluto: Cavs' Irving and Love Deliver a Win in Game Four Against BostonThe View from Pluto: Cavs' Irving and Love Deliver a Win in Game Four Against Boston

Wed, 24 May 2017 11:55:53 +0000

The Cavs trailed by 10 points at halftime in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics. Then Terry Pluto says the 'Big Three" came through. "In the third quarter, the whole game just turned around," Terry Pluto says. Pluto says the credit goes to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Irving scored a remarkable 42 points in the game, a career playoff high. Love had 17 rebounds, also unprecedented for him in a playoff game. James finished with 34 points. "When [LeBron] was still in his funk from the game before, it was Kyrie Irving scoring, Kevin Love defending and rebounding," Pluto says. "Then LeBron took them home." Cavs coach Tyronn Lue made a potentially risky move by keeping LeBron in the game after he got four fouls in the first half. "Usually a coach doesn't allow a player to stay in the game after his third [foul]," Pluto says. "I think Tyronn Lue, at that point, was gambling that LeBron would not pick up any more fouls." The gamble paid off. "LeBron

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Cleveland Parks Score in Middle of Pack According to New StudyCleveland Parks Score in Middle of Pack According to New Study

Wed, 24 May 2017 09:53:00 +0000

The Trust for Public Land has released a study of the parks systems in the country’s 100 biggest cities. The report finds Cleveland right in the middle. It ranks the cities by the size of their parks, the percentage of residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and the facilities and investments in them. Cleveland ranked 45 th . According to the study, 80 percent of Cleveland residents have access to a park, and the city’s investment is above average. But research associate Ali Hiple says Cleveland still has work to do. “They have pretty small parks. The median park size is only 3.4 acres. And there’s not a whole lot of park, only about 6 percent of the city is park land, which is pretty low. That’s what’s getting Cleveland that right-in-the-middle ranking.” The study was limited to parks inside of Cleveland’s city limits.

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Group Opposing A Drug Price Initiative Gets Big Support For Battle Against The Ballot IssueGroup Opposing A Drug Price Initiative Gets Big Support For Battle Against The Ballot Issue

Tue, 23 May 2017 22:57:42 +0000

A diverse team is forming to oppose a proposed law that would force the state to buy drugs only at a discounted price. The group fighting the “Drug Price Relief Act” features heavy-hitters from the left and right. The group Ohioans Against The Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue says the ballot initiative only handcuffs the state’s purchasing power and does nothing to force drug companies to cap their prices. The coalition brought together three former Ohio Medicaid directors. That includes Barb Edwards , who served under Republican Govs. Bob Taft and George Voinovich. “If the state cannot achieve that probably unrealistically low- price target for anyone but Medicaid, they can’t buy the drug,” she said. Their campaign will likely get a huge amount of funding from pharmaceutical companies. Supporters of the plan, who will have a lot less money, say it will stop drug companies from gouging patients.

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Akron Public Schools Announces Cuts and Savings in New Five-Year ForecastAkron Public Schools Announces Cuts and Savings in New Five-Year Forecast

Tue, 23 May 2017 22:51:05 +0000

Akron Public Schools has released its five-year forecast, which includes both some big savings and big cuts in the next school year. The school district’s report includes the closing of three buildings: a high school, a middle school and an elementary school. It will also cut 79 jobs, most through attrition. The district says that the cuts will allow Akron schools to reduce spending by more than $6.5 million next school year. Akron Schools Treasurer Ryan Pendleton explains the cuts. “Over the last 15 years, we’ve gone from about 35,000 students in seat to just over 20,000 students in seat. So we have had a reduction in staff, but we’re still operating a footprint that’s a little bit too large.” Pendleton says while total student enrollment has decreased, enrollment for students from kindergarten to fourth grade has increased recently.

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Major Lender to Ohio Businesses Won't Finance Pipeline Projects Major Lender to Ohio Businesses Won't Finance Pipeline Projects

Tue, 23 May 2017 22:27:08 +0000

After a decade of urging by environmentalists, many banks now have social responsibility policies for lending, including US Bank. It just modified its policy to put a prominent industry in northeast Ohio on the restricted list. The bank amended its policy last month to state it "does not provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines. Relationships with clients in the oil and gas pipeline industries are subject to the Bank's enhanced due diligence." Toby Mack of the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance says the change is too inclusive -- and wrong when it goes after all business that do some of their work for pipelines. “You’re targeting a class of enterprise, and workers -- don’t forget the workers -- that literally build all of the physical plant of our country.” He says scores of small local contractors will be adversely affected. US Bank issued a one sentence comment restating that it updates its policy regularly.

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