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Morning news headlines for January 28, 2013
Kasich ready to reveal budget and school funding plan; Bankruptcy filings fall; Tips to avoid tax refund theft
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
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  • Busy week for Kasich as he returns from Switzerland
  • Kasich expected to decide on Medicaid expansion
  • Health insurance program helped save seniors millions
  • Bankruptcy filings fall to lowest levels since 2006
  • Akron students looking to form pro-concealed carry group
  • Below-average fish hatches shouldn’t impact fishing
  • Honda installing wind turbines at new Western Ohio plant
  • Busy week for Kasich as he returns from Switzerland
    Governor John Kasich returned Sunday from his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland with a lot on his plate for the next several weeks. He will unveil his K-through-12 school funding formula this week, as well as a plan to allow schools more flexibility to pay teachers based on performance. Kasich will lay-out his plans for the two-year state budget by next Monday, and deliver his State of the State address on February 19. The Columbus Dispatch reports Kasich is expected to propose cutting income taxes paid for by a tax hike on oil and gas drillers. Bliss Institute director John Green says Kasich’s proposals “could cause him political headaches.”

    Kasich expected to decide on Medicaid expansion
    Many Ohioans will find out next week if they’ll benefit from an extension of Medicaid. The decision to expand is in the hands of Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to address it in his state budget proposal.  The Toledo Blade reports the decision will most affect parents, childless adults, and the disabled. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 required states to expand Medicaid, but the Supreme Court gave states the option NOT to expand the program and still receive federal funding.  It’s unknown how the Medicaid program will work if Kasich chooses to expand it. The independent Health Policy Institute of Ohio says an expansion could help the state bring in over a billion dollars more than expected over the next few years. 

    Health insurance program helped save seniors millions
    Officials say a state assistance program helped Ohioans with Medicare coverage save a record $5.5 million during the fall open-enrollment period. The state Department of Insurance says more than 38,000 beneficiaries were helped by the agency's Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program. The open-enrollment window is the only chance most beneficiaries have each year to find coverage or switch plans the government's program for seniors and the disabled. The department says the program helped 159,000 Ohioans through nearly 2,000 statewide public events, its toll-free hotline and face-to-face counseling in 2012.

    Bankruptcy filings fall to lowest levels since 2006
    The number of bankruptcy filings in Ohio last year fell to the lowest total since 2006. Experts point to several reasons for the drop, including mortgage lenders holding off foreclosure proceedings and people having so much financial trouble that they have no assets left to protect. Increased awareness about the struggling economy also may make people more cautious financially. The more than 50,000 personal and business bankruptcies in 2012 mark a drop of 14 percent from 2011. That's according to data from Ohio's two U.S. Bankruptcy Court districts. The Columbus region had the most, with more than 11,000 bankruptcies.

    Akron students looking to form pro-concealed carry group
    A student at the University of Akron is looking to start Ohio’s seventh chapter of Students for Concealed Carry. Matthew Mansell tells the Beacon Journal he’d like to see the end of a university rule outlawing handguns on campus.  He says he has about 25 students interested in joining the group, which hasn’t been formally registered on the Akron campus. But they may run into opposition from their professors.  A University of Toledo survey last year found 94 percent of faculty members at Ohio public universities don’t want concealed carry on campus. Kent State political science associate professor Chris Banks is among them. He says it would be hard to change the state law to outlawing concealed weapons on college campus.

    Below-average fish hatches shouldn’t impact fishing
    Ohio wildlife officials say Lake Erie's walleye and perch hatches were below average last year, but that shouldn't impact fishing this year. Tests run last August in the lake helped the Division of Wildlife figure out that the hatches were below average. Strong walleye and perch hatches from earlier years should help make up for the down year. Wildlife officials say they are continuing to study what creates a good hatch, and that there's not one single factor.

    Honda installing wind turbines at new Western Ohio plant
    The Honda transmission plant in western Ohio will be among the first U.S. automotive manufacturing facilities to get a substantial amount of electricity from wind turbines on the property. The Bellefontaine Examiner reports that the industrial wind turbines at its Russells Point plant will be up and running sometime this year. Company spokesman Ron Lietzke says it will be the first Honda plant in the world to introduce a wind turbine project of this size. The turbines, built by Juhl Wind Inc. of Pipestone, Minn., will sit atop two 260-foot towers. Each will have blades 160 feet long that will drive generators capable of producing about 10,000-megawatt hours annually. That's about 10 percent of the plant's electrical needs. It also will help reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.

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