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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ohio's rules on fracking and earthquakes are a first
Ohio may be setting a national precedent with new rules imposed on those drilling near fault lines

National geology and energy experts see Ohio’s new policies on fracking as a significant change. And as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, one believes the state now takes a leading role on the issue.  Andy Chow reports


Friday, April 18, 2014

Bedford judge faces more charges
Harry Jacob is accused of falsifying court documents in a domestic violence case

Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob III faces five more charges, including tampering with evidence. 

The new charges are tied to a domestic violence case involving a man accused of hitting a child. Jacob allegedly allowed the man to plead guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct without hearing any testimony or letting the prosecutor review the case.  He’s then accused of falsifying his paperwork by saying the prosecutor wanted the lesser charge. 

In all, Jacob now faces 21 felonies and misdemeanors, some tied to allegations he was running a brothel and handling cases for women who worked there. Also under indictment is Bedford Law Director Kenneth Schuman. 

Both have pleaded not guilty  M.L. Schultze reports

Eric Fenster (right) has an office near Piedmont Lake, while Swanny and Ted Voneida from Kent have owned a cabin there since 1966 (K. Bhatia)Muskingum Watershed approves drilling lease, cuts property tax assessment
Homeowners in 18 Ohio counties will see a drop from $12 to $6 starting next year

Most landowners in 18 Ohio counties will see a drop next year in their property taxes… of $6. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on the move by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, which is seeing big returns from natural gas royalties.   Kabir Bhatia reports

Heroin seizures have surged, and so have overdose deaths. (flickr)Painkiller deaths down while heroin death climb in Ohio
Some are moving to a more lethal addiction

The Ohio Department of Health says the number of people who died of prescription painkiller overdoses has dropped for the first time in nine years. But 680 people died of heroin overdoses in 2012, and that number is up 60 percent from the previous year.

Orman Hall is the director of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team. He says this jump is a matter of not being able to reach addicts who are moving from prescription painkillers to heroin.  Karen Kasler reports

Live silver and bighead carp have been found in the Ohio River, but only the former has escaped north; DNA from both species, however, is about 100 miles south of Akron (Pat Falkman)Asian Carp DNA moves north from Ohio River
State officials are concerned about two points in Northeast Ohio that could be gateways to Lake Erie

Asian Carp DNA has turned up about 80 miles upstream from where the Muskingum and Ohio rivers meet. Now, state officials are looking at how to secure two points in Northeast Ohio that could be gateways into Lake Erie for the invasive fish. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia has more.  Kabir Bhatia reports

Voting for the new blimp's name is now open. (Mark Urycki)Goodyear announces 10 finalists in blimp-naming contest
Public voting is now open to choose the name for the new blimp

Public voting is now open for the 10 finalists in Goodyear’s blimp-naming contest.

Doug Grassian says the names were chosen by a panel of Goodyear experts. The final ten range from Adventurer to Wingfoot One.  (more)

Landscape architect James Corner's projects include urban parks in New York, Brazil, Toronto and London. (fieldoperations.net)A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
Landscape architect James Corner's design would close two blocks of Ontario to traffic and open the space to more grass and green

Cleveland’s Group Plan Commission has unveiled a $30 million proposal to change the look, feel and flow of downtown’s Public Square. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the first public reaction to the plan to make Public Square Cleveland’s downtown centerpiece again.  M.L. Schultze reports

New look unveiled for Cleveland's Public Square
Other headlines: Search continues for missing boaters; Watershed district cuts tax assessments in half

  • Search continues for missing boaters
  • Watershed district cuts tax assessments in half
  • Organic farmer sentenced to probation for pot plants
  • Ohio fines prison food contractor
  •   Jeff St. Clair reports

    Ohio's unemployment rate is 6.1%, lowest since 2008
    Other morning headlines: Ohio sees record number of heroin overdose deaths; Man on death row asks state for clemency

    The latest morning headlines:  Amanda Rabinowitz reports

     Senator leading a renewwable energy mandate freeze finally speaks up
    Sen. Troy Balderson of Zanesville says the law needs to be put on hold while it's studied and changed 

    There’s been a lot of debate over a new bill that would halt the six-year old law that established alternative energy standards for Ohio’s utility companies. That law requires 25% of Ohio’s electricity come from alternative or renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by 2025. '

    But one person who hasn’t spoken much about the energy standards “freeze” bill is its sponsor, Sen. Troy Balderson. But the Republican of Zanesville did sit down to talk about it with Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler, who started by asking him if it really would “freeze” those standards till after a task force studies them, or if it would do as its critics claim – repeal them.  Karen Kasler reports

    Chef Parker Bosley is helping school cafeteria workers tune up their culinary skills to appeal to notoriously picky eaters. (Vivian Goodman)Farm-to-School: Cafeteria lunch is fresh and local at Tallmadge High School
    Fresh Fork Market in Cleveland and Pisnanick Partners in Broadview Heights teamed up for "Farm-to-School Week."

    Produce from Northeast Ohio’s small farms is starting to show up in school cafeterias. 

    That’s thanks to the efforts of a gourmet chef, a local foods entrepreneur, and a dietician on a mission. For today’s Quick Bite, WKSU’s Vivian Goodman visited as they got cooking on their pilot project at Tallmadge High School.  Vivian Goodman reports


    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Ohio is consistently ranked in the top five in auto-parts industry. Bridgestone exec indictments are latest step in a billion-dollar price-fixing case
    An antitrust analyst says the auto-parts industry was relatively clean of price fixing until the economic pressures of the last decade

    The indictment of three current-and-former Bridgestone executives this week is the latest development in a massive investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.

    WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with John Connor, who has been following the industry for the American Antitrust Institute.  M.L. Schultze reports

     (flickr)A third of Northeast Ohio homes remain "seriously underwater"
    Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac says the recovery here may require more than time

    The good news in the latest RealtyTrac report is that a lot fewer people owe a lot more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. The bad news is that more than a quarter of homeowners in Ohio still fall into that category. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on underwater properties.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Democratic State Rep. John Carney says the objective is to look out for the best interest of the taxpayers.  (The Ohio House of Representatives)Ohio Democrats push for bill to disclose campaign money
    They say disclosure is needed now that candidates can accept more money from donors who live out of state and even out of the country

    Democrats at the Ohio Statehouse want to introduce a bill to make contributions to political campaigns more transparent. They say the bill is needed now that the Legislature has passed a measure to allow candidates to accept more money from donor who live out of state and even out of the country.
    But as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, it’s likely to face a challenge.  Jo Ingles reports

    Cleveland Metroparks has wetlands, meadows and even a forest planned for the former country club. (Cleveland Metropoarks)Acacia continues on its long path back to its natural state
    Former Cuyahoga County golf course will take several decades to revert to the way it was before development reached the area

    The long process of returning a Northeast Ohio golf course to natural woodlands and meadows continues. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier has the latest on work being done at the Cleveland MetroPark’s Acacia Reservation east of Cleveland.

       Kevin Niedermier reports

    Lowe's Home Improvement Centers has agreed to a $500,000 settlement, which includes implementing a new compliance program in more than 1,700 stores nationwide. (Creative Commons: Chris Hyson)A $500,000 settlement with Lowe's addresses lead-paint exposure
    The settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is especially important to cities in Northeast Ohio

    A half-million-dollar settlement between Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is especially important to cities in Northeast Ohio, where most homes at one time contained lead-based paint.

    Mark Adams with the Canton Health Department says as many as a million people in the Northeast Ohio metropolitan areas face the risk of lead exposure.  (more)

    E-school advocates say traditional classrooms are not right for everyone. (Creative commons)E-schoolers make their case to a receptive Ohio Legislature
    The on-line schools are growing though there are concerns about performance and transparency

    Nearly 40,000 Ohio children attend more than two-dozen schools that don’t have daily sessions in actual classrooms, or sports teams or mascots, but get millions in state dollars. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the families of children attending these schools came to Columbus this week to tell their stories and combat perceptions about online schools.  Karen Kasler reports

    Michael Hach says his company complies with the Federal Aviation Administration and doesn’t come within five miles of an airport and flies below 400 feet. (Creative Commons: Don McCullough)Use of drones raises safety and regulatory concerns
    Some states are considering laws that would limit commercial and private uses of drones

    As businesses consider new ways to commercialize drones, individuals also are toying with them more, especially as they become cheaper. That’s raising safety and regulatory concerns. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN’s Brian Bull reports.  (more)

    Search continues for missing boaters in Lake Erie
    Mumps outbreak spreads in Columbus; Poll shows most Ohioans support renewable energy standards

  • Mumps outbreak spreads in Columbus
  • Poll shows most Ohioans support renewable energy standards
  • No pro-football for Akron's Rubber Bowl
  • Cleveland Metroparks review plans for Acacia property
  •   Jeff St. Clair reports

    Bridgestone recently completed work on a new tech and research center in Akron. Ex-Bridgestone exec to plead guilty in price-fixing case
    The company has already agreed to a $425 million fine as part of a massive investigation into the auto-parts industry

    A former Bridgestone executive has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for auto parts, and is cooperating with a massive U.S. Justice Department investigation into the auto parts industry. 

    Yusuke Shimasaki has agreed to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and serve 18 months in prison, according to the U.S. attorneys office. 

    His plea deal came the day after three other current and former Bridgestone execs were indicted in Toledo on antitrust charges related to the sale of anti-vibration parts sold to auto makers. 

    The company itself has agreed to pay a $425 million fine. And in all, the investigation into the auto parts industry has resulted in nearly $2.3 billion in criminal fines.

    Ohio is ranked second in the nation in the number of auto-related jobs. One of Bridgestone’s two research centers is in Akron and employs 600 people.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Questionable files were found on former Cuyhoga Falls Mayor Don Robart's city hall computer. Former Cuyahoga Falls mayor under investigation over computer files
    Other morning headlines: Former state budget director to head PUCO; Richmond Heights Superintendent resigns; Substitute teacher accused of child endangerment wants video reviewed

    The latest WKSU news headlines:   Amanda Rabinowitz reports

    Sinead Vilbar, CMA's curator of Japanese and Korean art, started her new job just as Last chance to see modern Japanese art show at the Cleveland Museum of Art
    The Cleveland museum shared highlights of its traditional Japanese art collection in exchange for a modern show from the Tokyo National Museum

    The next three weeks provide a last chance to see a ground-breaking exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

    It is art from modern Japan, and WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports it is the first time since World War II that so many works of this kind have come to America.  Vivian Goodman reports


    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Muskingum Watershed sees Utica Shale revenue, considers dropping assessment
    Could affect about a half million parcels of land from Akron to the Ohio River

    Landowners in counties stretching from Medina and Summit south to Washington and Noble will find out tomorrow if they’ll see a drop next year in their property tax bills. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports that the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is considering the cuts thanks to big returns from natural gas royalties.   Kabir Bhatia reports

    This season’s ice coverage was the second-highest in the Great Lakes; the highest was in 1979 (K. Bhatia)Great Lakes thawing out later, slower than usual
    Some parts of the lakes are up to 40 percent covered with ice

    This winter’s extreme weather has resulted in more ice cover on the Great Lakes than usual for this time of year.  And that means the shipping season is off to a slow start. All five lakes are still nearly 40 percent covered. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that could be as much as 10 percent above average. Glenn Nekvasil is with the Lake Carriers Association.  He says the Coast Guard started breaking up ice on Lake Superior on Dec. 6th – the earliest date on record, and things have been slow since.  Kevin Niedermier reports

    GM has invested millions in its Lordstown plant since the introduction of the Cobalt's replacement, the Chevy Cruze, which has been a best-selling compact since its introduction in 2009. (Jeff St. Clair)GM revamps parts-ordering for Chevy Cobalt recall
    Affected vehicles will now get priority in the company's replacement part system

    General Motors is trying to expedite delivery of ignition parts linked to a massive recall earlier this month. About 2.6 million small cars made from 2003 to 2011 could have the key removed or jostled while driving, which can lead to a crash and deactivate the airbags. General Motors spokesman Kevin Kelly says there is no timetable yet for the fixes.   Kabir Bhatia reports

    Although federal Judge Tim Black says he believes Ohio should recognize legal gay marriages, he continues to block his ruling from taking effect.   (United States District Court)Federal judge continues to block his own gay marriage ruling in Ohio
    The order that Ohio recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states is heading to the 6th Circuit Cort of Appeals, so only the four couples directly affected will be immediately impacted by the decision

    The federal judge who earlier this week ruled Ohio must recognize gay marriage will continue to block that ruling from taking effect for most Ohioans. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles has more.  Jo Ingles reports

    Richard Trickel, CEO of The City Mission, says the new program is helping homeless families and revitalizing the community.  (The City Mission)New program addresses homelessness, blight in the community
    The New Horizons program is renovating foreclosed homes for some homeless families in Cuyahoga County

    A new program in Cuyahoga County will address homelessness as well as blight in the community.

    The Cuyahoga Land Bank, City Mission and Church on the Rise have partnered to offer permanent housing for families moving out of Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center. The primary goal of this program is to provide a pathway for these homeless families to buy a home. But Richard Trickel, the mission’s CEO, says the project is also beneficial to communities that have been devastated by the housing collapse.  (more)

    The mission's CEO Richard Trickel says the first home was purchased for $5,000 and is expected to be ready for a family in July.  (The City Mission)New program offers homeless people in Cuyahoga County an opportunity to buy a home
    Some families at Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center will become home owners through "New Horizons"

    Some homeless families in Cuyahoga County will soon have a path towards purchasing their own home.

    The Cuyahoga Land Bank, City Mission and Church on the Rise have partnered to offer permanent housing for families moving out of Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center. Requirements for eligibility include completing the program at the women’s center and having a job.

    The mission’s CEO Richard Trickel says the prices of the homes will vary based on income. He and the partners are considering a variety of factors in deciding which houses they buy and renovate.  (more)

    Judge issues stay of gay-marriage ruling
    Other headlines: Ohio death penalty panel releases recommendations; Education regulators debate LGBT teacher protections

  • Ohio death penalty panel releases recommendations
  • Education regulators debate LGBT teacher protections
  • Easter cross display challenged in Ohio village
  • Columbus Blue Jackets advance to NHL playoffs 
  •   Jeff St. Clair reports

    Republican National Convention officials set Cleveland, Cincinnati visits
    Other morning headlines: Bridgestone executive indicted in price-fixing case; Natural gas power plant proposed for Youngstown

    The latest headlines from the WKSU newsroom:  Amanda Rabinowitz reports

     Results are expected soon from Cleveland schools' transformation plan
    There is cautious optimism that the Cleveland School District's improvement plan will show positive results, depending on this year's test results.

    One of Ohio's leading school reform advocates is cautiously optimistic that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's improvement plan approved in the summer of 2012 will show positive results. The Fordham Institute says this year's test results will be telling as to whether the plan is making a mark. StateImpact Ohio's Bill Rice reports.  (more)


    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    The highlighted areas on the map represent the members of the Regional Income Tax Agency.  (The Regional Income Tax Agency)Some Ohioans have a week extension to file local taxes
    The Regional Income Tax Agency was swamped by phone calls and online filings today

    Some tax payers in Ohio will have an extra week to file their local taxes.

    Phone lines at the Regional Income Tax Agency were swamped today by last minute filers. RITA’s website, which provides services for nearly 240 cities in Ohio, was also bogged down. These complications prompted the agency to extend the filing deadline, according to RITA’s Amy Arrighi.  (more)

    Gov. John Kasich's first TV ad was a a reported $350,000 media buy. (Office of the Governor)Kasich ad is first salvo in re-election campaign
    The ad will air for the next two weeks in major TV markets

    The governor’s race is well underway with the launch of the first TV ad Wednesday. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler has more.  Karen Kasler reports

    Attorney General Mike DeWine says the focus of his office is on whether or not the whole ruling is stayed or is not stayed, not on the four individual couples. (The Attorney General's Office)Ohio awaits federal judge's ruling on gay marriage
    The state is urging Federal Judge Tim Black to continue blocking the ruling, but others are urging to lift the stay

    The state has asked a federal judge to continue to block the ruling that would allow recognition of same sex marriages in Ohio. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports state officials fear if he doesn’t, more gay Ohio couples will hurry to other states to get married.  Jo Ingles reports

    Tom Nobbe, executive director of the Gay Games, says the small group of cab drivers opposing advertising the games don't accurately represent Cleveland. He says the overall community is enthusiastic about the games coming this summer.  (Creative Commons: Daniel Lobo)Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
    Some of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport's fleet of cab drivers refuse to advertise the games due to religious reasons

    An agreement has been reached between cab companies at Cleveland Hopkins Airport whose drivers have refused to sport placards advertising the upcoming Gay Games. 

    Cleveland Hopkins says two of the three taxi companies operating there were informed by several drivers that they will no longer participate in the airport’s dedicated cab program because of religious reasons. The airport said plans are in the works to replace the drivers in the 75-cab Hopkins fleet. Metered taxi cabs will be used until permanent drivers are hired. 

    Tom Nobbe is the executive director of the Gay Games. He says the reaction by the small group of cab drivers is not representative of Cleveland as a whole.  (more)

    The carriers say they lose capacity when the silt builds up in the harbor and Cuyahoga River over the winter. (Port of Cleveland)Shippers say they need the Cleveland shipping channels dredged, soon
    Carriers say Ohio EPA's decision should not affect the schedule

    Dumping tons of sediment from Cleveland Harbor and the Cuyahoga River out into Lake Erie is no longer an option – at least for this year. But, as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, the dredged material will still have to go somewhere.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Former head of PUCO joins law firm
    Other headlines: Third fracking dumper pleads guilty; Clean-up continues at oil spill in Ohio nature preserve

  • Third fracking dumper pleads guilty
  • Clean-up continues at oil spill in Ohio nature preserve
  • Early and absentee voting underway
  •   Jeff St. Clair reports

    The ad is a bio, focuses on Kasich's roots in western Pennsylvania. (Kasich campaign)Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
    Challenger FitzGerald says the ad ignores the real John Kasich, who supported S.B. 5

    John Kasich is out with the first TV ad in the 2014 race for governor. The incumbent Republican released an ad this morning titled “Deliver” that focuses on his western Pennsylvania blue-collar roots.  (more)

     Federal judge will likely issue a stay on his gay marriage decision
    Other morning headlines: Ohio EPA vetoes Lake Erie dumply plan; nearly three dozen apply for Youngstown State top job; Kasich airs first TV ad of gubernatorial campaign

  • Federal judge will likely issue a stay on his gay marriage decision
  • Ohio EPA vetoes plan to dump river sediment in Lake Erie
  • Thirty-three apply for Youngstown State presidency
  • Kasich airs first TV ad of gubernatorial campaign
  • Ohio Board of Education to consider sexual orientation discrimination protection
  • Some taxi drivers refuse to operate cabs with Gay Games ads
  • Dave Joyce's campaign fund growing despite having a challenger
  • Ohio man facing charges after flying drone
  • Focus turning to restoration work after oil spill
  •   M.L. Schultze reports

     (FILE PHOTO)Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
    But the problem is that the locations of many faults are unknown

    Geologists say new rules by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that limit drilling near known fault lines are a move in the right direction.

    But professor Won-Young Kim of Columbia’s University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says faults, being underground, are largely unmapped – and therefore unknown.  (more)

    For gay couples in Ohio, for now, it remains "filing separately"
    With court decision in limbo, so are changes in tax filings

    A federal judge has ruled that Ohio will have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. For Ohio Public Radio, WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports taxes are one area that could be affected.  (more)

    Black Run Terminal (Tom Borgerding)Shale drives demand for Ohio short-line railroads
    Some railroad companies have struggled for years with the decline of manufacturing and coal shipments, but now the new oil and gas production is changing that.

    The number of hydraulically fractured wells drilled in Ohio has now topped 800, with about half of those wells producing natural gas and oil.

    While debates over safety and severance taxes continue, production is reaching critical mass. And that has created a need for more railroad capacity to move the oil and natural gas from drill sites to refineries and processing plants.

    For Ohio Public Radio, WOSU’s Tom Borgerding reports on how rail-system improvements have rippled into Ohio towns, large and small.  (more)

    Northwestern University has formally asked a U.S. labor agency to review a decision by one of its regional directors that the school's football players are effectively employees and can therefore vote on whether to unionize. Terry Pluto on college sports, unions, and where it all may be heading

    The big money in big-time college sports has brought calls for paying players, and even for players’ unions. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks with Tim Rudell about where it all may be headed.
      Tim Rudell reports

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    Special Features
    Heroin: Big Trouble in a Small Town

    Heroin abuse is gaining a lot of attention as it spreads through Ohio's suburbs. But it's in rural areas like Tuscarawas County that the drug has been a huge problem for a decade. Some describe it as a first love; others as a lifelong battle. Amanda Rabinowitz examines the issue in a three-part series examining heroin abuse in small-town Ohio with stories of addiction, death -- and hope.

    (more )



    Mean Kids: Bullying in School

    Bullying is a bigger problem in Northeast Ohio than in the nation as a whole. It happens more often and it's reported less frequently. Our region has also been rocked by the suicides of bullying victims who saw no other way out. In this series, Mean Kids, WKSU's Vivian Goodman takes a closer look at the bullies, their targets and their weapons, as well as the tools Northeast Ohio is using to fight the problem.

    (more )



    Kent State 1970: Hear it now

    At the time of the events, WKSU reporters caught many of the key developments leading up to the shooting, the day of the tragedy and of the aftermath. The original audio, as well as photographs, reports and other text, has been gathered on a special web site: kentstate1970.org.

    (more )



    May 4th Remembered

    On May 4th, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on Kent State students protesting the invasion of Cambodia, the escalation of the Vietnam War - and the presence of the guard on campus. Four students died; nine were wounded. The scene became an icon for the Baby Boom generation. And this year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, as a site that contributed significantly to the understanding of the nation's history and culture. But for many, the history is not national. It's personal. And while it's fading out of many textbooks and memories, it's fresh in the lives of many others. WKSU is taking a look at the personal stories and larger lessons that grew from May 4, 1970.

    (more )



    Good Jobs In Bad Times

    The WKSU newsroom dove into the murky waters of the current employment situation in Northeast Ohio with the 8-part series Good Jobs in Bad Times. With their reports, the award-winning news staff covered topics that include high-paying tech jobs, careers that don't need a 4-year degree, the re-growth of agriculture as industry, working part-time full-time, drastically changing career paths, the truth about healthcare, bridge jobs after graduation and the future of the NE Ohio employment outlook.

    (more )


     
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