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Ohio Students Are Recognized for Speeches and Work Honoring Martin Luther KingOhio Students Are Recognized for Speeches and Work Honoring Martin Luther King

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:14:25 +0000

The state’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. featured four students who won recognition for speeches they wrote praising King’s work. The students shared their essays from the pulpit of Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square in Columbus. Here are Columbus third grader Elena Earley, Columbus fifth grader Mackenzie Lewis, Columbus freshman Playon Patrick and sophomore Ivy Holley of Lima. Lewis was also honored for a service project she organized last year for people she didn’t even know. She saw news coverage of the water crisis in Flint, Mich. and launched a challenge among Columbus churches to donate water. And then at a festival called Kids Helping Kids, she collected more water, paper products and cleaning supplies. “We took all that stuff to Flint, Mich. And I felt so bad for this one man because he didn’t want cases. He wanted gallons just so he could take a little bath.” Three-hundred-and twenty gallons and more than 1,300 cases of water were delivered to Flint


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Environmental Group Cites the Link Between Health and Environment As a Reason to Keep ObamacareEnvironmental Group Cites the Link Between Health and Environment As a Reason to Keep Obamacare

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:09:30 +0000

In an effort to save the Affordable Care Act, a prominent environmental group is saying healthcare is related to climate change. As Congress moves forward on repealing the Affordable Care Act , several groups are trying to save the health care law. The Sierra Club ’s Cathy Cowan Becker says climate change poses a major health threat to certain groups of people. “The very poor, the very young and the very old. Those with mental and physical handicaps. And those with chronic health conditions. So in other words the exact same people who depend on Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act," Becker said. Cowan Becker says turning away from policies that protect the environment while doing away with Obamacare is a dangerous combination.


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Ohio Secretary of State Worries Feds' National Security Concerns Could Encroach on State ElectionsOhio Secretary of State Worries Feds' National Security Concerns Could Encroach on State Elections

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:01:24 +0000

The federal Department of Homeland Security is calling voting machines “critical infrastructure” because of the threat of hacking. But Ohio’s Secretary of State wonders whether that designation will bring changes. Jon Husted said he’s not sure what this designation from Homeland Security means and whether it's an expansion of the federal government's authority. So he wants information in writing. “I don’t want to underreact or overreact to something, but until they give us the facts, I think that it’s wise to be skeptical about what this really means." Husted said he and his colleagues in other states would oppose any federal takeover of state elections. He's also not sure why the Obama administration would do this now, with no federal election until 2018. But Husted notes that President-elect Trump’s Homeland Security department could overrule the new designation.


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Medical Providers Warn of Big Costs in Ohio if Obamacare is RepealedMedical Providers Warn of Big Costs in Ohio if Obamacare is Repealed

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:33:54 +0000

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown hosted a roundtable discussion Sunday on the future of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Brown opened the meeting at MetroHealth in Cleveland by saying he is more optimistic about Obamacare’s survival now than he would have been a week ago, citing “intense public opposition” to the GOP plans to repeal and replace. He says the opposiiton is “cutting across lines of gender and race and income and political party and geography. So, they’re seeing that. They’re also beginning to feel the politics of this: what it might mean to their future. And they’re also beginning to see the difficulty – if not impossibility -- of actually ‘replace.’” Brown also pointed out that close to one million Ohioans would lose coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Jean Polster, CEO of Neighborhood Family Practice community health centers, said killing Obamacare would be costly on many levels. “If folks are forced to rely on emergency rooms, don’t know where to turn, afraid of


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Summit County Faces Unique Challenges in Fighting Human TraffickingSummit County Faces Unique Challenges in Fighting Human Trafficking

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:25:29 +0000

Several Northeast Ohio groups held a forum over the weekend on human trafficking, and as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, Summit County faces unique challenges when it comes to stopping the issue. The event at the Akron-Summit County Public Library was designed to help people spot victims of human trafficking and included a documentary on the subject . Jan Apisa is with the Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking , and says Northeast Ohio -- and much of the rest of the state -- is both a source and destination for trafficking. “We have people that come here that are trafficked, as well as people who are born and raised here that are being trafficked. We are a state where you can get in and out rapidly. We have an extensive highway system, off-ramps and on-ramps.” Apisa also says the website Backpage – which has been targeted by Sen. Rob Portman and other lawmakers for advertising trafficked victims -- is still very active despite recent attempts to shut it down. “We did an


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Evaluation of Cracker Project Nears an EndEvaluation of Cracker Project Nears an End

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 21:21:54 +0000

The decision on whether to build a multi-billion-dollar cracker plant in eastern Ohio is expected by the end of March and key environmental permits may already be in place. The Ohio EPA issued wastewater discharge permits and a water quality certification for the Belmont County comple xlast week. Deputy Director Heidi Griesmer says that leaves just a few regulatory issues to resolve. “We are still evaluating the air-pollution permit. Once we’re ready to move forward on that we’ll release a draft and have another public hearing. "Part of the property used to be a coal-burning power plant. That has been dismantled and they’re taking it through our voluntary cleanup program., so that is something else we’re looking at.” That was FirstEnergy’s Burger generating plant. The cracker which PTT Global of Thailand may build would process Utica shale ethane into ethylene for the plastics industry. The company has said it wants to make a decision on the plant this quarter.


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The Akron Urban League Honors Longtime Community Activist, the Rev. Ronald Fowler The Akron Urban League Honors Longtime Community Activist, the Rev. Ronald Fowler

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 03:42:23 +0000

Monday, the Akron Urban League is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by honoring long-time community activist Ronald Fowler, pastor laureate of the Arlington Church of God. Fowler will receive the Urban League’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement award for his spiritual guidance and personal mentorship over the past five decades. I talked with Akron Urban League president and CEO Sadie Winlock about her views of today’s civil rights movement, and asked Rev. Fowler to reflect on his accomplishments in Akron. The Akron Urban League is celebrating this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by honoring the Rev. Ronald Fowler for his service to the community with the organization's first Lifetime Achievement award. Fowler is pastor laureate of the Arlington Church of God in Akron and has been active in building community relations in the city for 50 years. He was named pastor in 1969 and retired in 2009. Fowler is best known for co-founding the Love Akron Network in 1995 with Knute Larson,


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Cleveland Officials Say There Will Be Administrative Charges In the Tamir Rice ShootingCleveland Officials Say There Will Be Administrative Charges In the Tamir Rice Shooting

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 14:45:28 +0000

Officials in Cleveland have announced there will be administrative charges for three officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice . Police Chief Calvin Williams says he has reviewed reports on the shooting involving Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. He says he’s made recommendations regarding violations of the department’s rules, regulations, tactics and procedures. The next phase is hearings about those violations. “We're not at the end of this process. Once the hearings are conducted, and once the officers are given their due process -- their chance to defend themselves against the charges -- then there will be a determination made, if they are found guilty of the charges that are levied against them, what happens with that officer after that time." Chief Williams said the specific charges will be announced later; they range from administrative violations to use-of-force violations. Along with Officers Loehmann and Garmback, a third officer faces


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Summit County Will Open Its Addiction Help Line to Callers on TuesdaySummit County Will Open Its Addiction Help Line to Callers on Tuesday

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 22:21:24 +0000

Summit County residents struggling with addiction now have a help line to assist them with finding treatment. The Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board is launching its help line on Tuesday morning. Callers will be asked questions regarding their age, location and other factors to determine which agencies might best help them. Executive Director Jerry Craig says data will be collected on the success rate and wait times for treatment to better gauge the capacity of local service providers. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback in the community that when families are looking for treatment – and individuals are looking for treatment – it’s often difficult to navigate our system. So, we wanted to make it as simple as possible: We’ll direct you to the appropriate agency. We’ll actually set up an appointment with you. And then we’re going to follow up with you and make sure that appointment was kept and was a success. “When people present that they’re ready for


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Criminal Justice Reform Proposals Could Save Millions In State MoneyCriminal Justice Reform Proposals Could Save Millions In State Money

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 22:15:23 +0000

Last year, many issues divided Ohio fiercely along party lines. But one topic that brought Republicans and Democrats together was criminal justice reform. Now there’s a push to continue that effort in 2017. This year, advocates say there’s still strong interest in cutting down the number of people sent to prison and to reform sentencing laws. Stephen Johnson Grove with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center says one step is to loosen the penalties for minor probation infractions, such missing a meeting or not getting a job in time. “And so a petty probation violation does not mean that we, the taxpayers of Ohio, should be paying $25,000 to keep a person in a cage.” Criminal justice reform is enticing to liberals and conservatives because they say it would reform harsh sentencing for non-violent drug crimes and to ease the fiscal burden on Ohio’s prison system.


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Ohio Republicans and Democrats Say Obamacare's End Could Jeopardize Drug TreatmentOhio Republicans and Democrats Say Obamacare's End Could Jeopardize Drug Treatment

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 22:07:50 +0000

As the fight over the Affordable Care Act takes place in Washington D.C., the consequences are being weighed here in Ohio. Gov. John Kasich says 700,000 Ohioans have health care now because of Medicaid expansion. It’s unclear whether a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would automatically end that expansion or whether Congress will try to preserve that. But Kasich credits the expansion, which he had to bypass fellow Republicans inthe General Assembly to implement, for helping the state fight what Kasich considers one of its top problems: drug addiction. “That is the single biggest help to fighting the problem of drugs in this state because the resources are there now to help the local the treatment of mental illness which often times can lead to drug abuse.” “My colleagues in Congress should listen to John Kasich," says U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, who is urging lawmakers in Washington to proceed slowly to solve problems with the Affordable Care Act. Brown says many people,


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Judge Denies a Claim for a New Trial Based on Questions About The State's Investigator Judge Denies a Claim for a New Trial Based on Questions About The State's Investigator

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 22:03:59 +0000

A judge has denied a new trial for a Canton man who narrowly escaped execution but remains in prison for life. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on developments in one of dozens of cases linked to questions about the work of a state forensics investigator. Kevin Keith was convicted in 1994 of killing three people and wounding three others in Bucyrus, and sentenced to death. He has always maintained his innocence and former Gov. Ted Strickland commuted his sentence to life in prison after questions arose about eye-witness accounts and other evidence. Last month, Keith asked for a new trial, pointing to questions about G. Michele Yezzo, a now-retired state expert who linked Keith to the killings based on snow prints and tire treads. Yezzo’s personnel file at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation included claims that she had a history of bias, made errors and acted out against coworkers. A defendant in another case has been freed because of the questions. But in denying Keith a new trial,


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Ohio's Budget Director Says The New State Budget Will Be 'Restrained'Ohio's Budget Director Says The New State Budget Will Be 'Restrained'

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:30:51 +0000

Last month, Gov. John Kasich has warned that a tough budget process is ahead. But other state officials have questioned his use of the word “recession” and have said they think the state’s economic situation is strong. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler sat down with the state budget director to talk about what’s coming in the budget. Gov. John Kasich seemed pretty clear when he spoke to the Ohio House during the lame duck session last month – saying the state has gone through big changes and more are coming. “It is going to be tough. We are on the verge of recession in our state.” Kasich says that the tax money the state is bringing in is falling behind projections; income tax revenue in particular is down nearly 4.5 percent over the last six months. But that word “recession” carries a lot of weight, especially after the great recession of 2008 cost Ohio hundreds of thousands of jobs -- more jobs than every other state except Michigan. Ohio’s gross domestic product has been growing


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Gov. John Kasich Says It's Up to Citizens, Not Government to Solve Social and Budget WoesGov. John Kasich Says It's Up to Citizens, Not Government to Solve Social and Budget Woes

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 12:11:19 +0000

Gov. John Kasich has been warning for months now that tax revenues coming into the state are below expectations and that the upcoming two-year state budget will be tight. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, his recent speeches have taken on a new theme. In a room filled with economic development leaders from around the state, Kasich explained the budget will be tight. He said it’s not because Ohio is doing anything wrong. “About half the states are experiencing revenue shortfalls right now. This is not unique to us. And by the way, I saw that the Cavs even lost a couple of games. And then I watched us in the bowl game. Nothing goes like this. Nothing I can think of goes like that. Things in life go up, they kind of come down and they go up.” Kasich told the Bible story about Joseph, who stored grain for seven good years and how that kept the Egyptians from starving during the following seven bad years. He likened the grain to Ohio’s rainy day fund. “So we have $2 billion in


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More Remains and Debris Found From Missing Plane as The Search in Lake Erie ContinuesMore Remains and Debris Found From Missing Plane as The Search in Lake Erie Continues

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 22:21:55 +0000

The search for a missing plane in Lake Erie concluded its 14th day today. Six people were on board when it left Burke Lakefront Airport on its way back to Columbus Dec. 29. So far officials have confirmed that they found the remains of one male and are doing DNA testing on additional remains found Wednesday. Airport commissioner Khalid Bahhur says the primary focus of the search is finding human remains. “Debris was secondary. If it’s a big piece, we’re recovering it. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to recover all of the debris because some of it is so small. But our primary focus [is] human remains and large parts of the aircraft.” Those missing are John and Suzanne Fleming and their sons John and Andrew, and Brian Casey and his daughter Megan. About 250 pieces have been found, including a wing, seats, engine, voice recorder and a mechanical data recorder. The federal government is investigating the plane’s disappearance.


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Will Oil and Gas Drilling Increase In the Cuyahoga Valley National Park?Will Oil and Gas Drilling Increase In the Cuyahoga Valley National Park?

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 22:13:42 +0000

President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to open up federal lands for more oil and gas drilling. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on how that might affect the Cuyahoga Valley National Park . Right now, there are 91 wells within Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s 33,000 acres. Last fall, the rules governing those wells were overhauled to give the parks more control. Lisa Petit, head of resource management for the park, says she doesn’t foresee new wells being added in the next several years; instead the focus will be bringing the existing wells in-line with the new rules. “That means that they will have to obtain permits, they will have to develop plans of operations. We will have the ability to charge fees for their operation. “It doesn’t immediately stop any new oil and gas; it just means that they will have to come under these regulations. And it gives us, as a park, more control over how it happens, where it happens, and then it holds the operators far more responsible for the impacts


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Anti-Death Penalty Advocates Push Against a Resumption of Executions in OhioAnti-Death Penalty Advocates Push Against a Resumption of Executions in Ohio

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 21:02:59 +0000

A coalition of anti-death penalty advocates are hoping Gov. John Kasich will once again delay the execution of a death row inmate next month. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, religious leaders tried to appeal to Kasich’s faith. Activists with Ohioans to Stop Executions spread out through the Statehouse to hand out letters to the governor’s office and lawmakers. During a rally, Misha Zinkow, a rabbi at Temple Israel, explained why he believed capital punishment goes against Jewish values. “For at least three reasons: Uncertainty in judicial conclusions, it’s cruel and administered inconsistently, and because we believe in repentance over retribution.” During the three-year halt in executions, Ohio did not see a drop in the murder rate. The group says that’s proof executions don’t deter crime.


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Another round of lease deals in the Utica Shale Are in the WorksAnother round of lease deals in the Utica Shale Are in the Works

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:16:15 +0000

Since development of the Utica Shale play began in 2010, Ohio property owners have be paid an estimated $2 billion in bonuses for signing drilling leases. After seven years, with many leases expiring, some -- but not all -- of those owners may get paid again. “The leases generally give the drilling company an option to renew by paying the same amount they paid when they first entered the lease," explains Alan Winger, an energy attorney in northeast Ohio. "Since conditions have changed and much of the attention has moved from northeast Ohio to the southeastern cCounties, companies come around when they do want to renew and try to negotiate down.” State and industry estimates of the overall worth of Ohio’s Utica Shale play are in the t$20-$39 billion range. While a downturn in world energy markets stalled drilling for the past year, natural gas and oil prices are now slowly rising.


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Kent State's May 4 Shooting Site Gets National Historic Landmark DesignationKent State's May 4 Shooting Site Gets National Historic Landmark Designation

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:11:55 +0000

The site of the May 4 th Kent State University shootings is now a national historic landmark. The 1970 shooting of 13 students—four of whom died—by the Ohio National Guard is considered a turning point in public perception of the Vietnam War. Laura Davis was a freshman at Kent State when the shooting took place. In 2012, she was part of a group that applied to make the site an historic landmark. She says the landmark designation reinforces the national impact of the shooting, including the withdrawal of ground troops from Cambodia and changes in how the government handles protests. “It no longer was going to be a matter of course that guardsmen would come onto a campus with loaded weapons," Davis said. Davis hopes the site’s new status will help visitors place the shooting in a broader historical context. “By knowing these particular stories, we can react better, think things through better, connect things better in our minds, so that we can be better citizens today,” she said. The


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Report on Cleveland's Consent Decree Shows Progress on Use of Force, Issues with InvestigationsReport on Cleveland's Consent Decree Shows Progress on Use of Force, Issues with Investigations

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:09:47 +0000

The second semi-annual report on Cleveland’s police reform effort shows both progress and difficult challenges ahead. Consent Decree Monitor Matthew Barge briefed City Council today on the latest findings. On the positive side, Barge says strong improvements have been made in police policies regarding use of force and how officers respond to residents with mental health issues. But he says much more needs to be done to fix the city’s Office of Professional Standards , which resolves citizen complaints against officers. He says there are no written procedures, and there is a backlog of more than 400 cases, some dating back to 2014. “In the short-term, a successful OPS is one that starts to more timely address new complaints and starts to work its way through the backlog, where there are guidelines about, 'How do we treat this 3-year-old case and do we communicate to officers and constituents about what the resolution has been?'” Barge says in the long-term, the office will need more


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