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Morning news headlines for January 31, 2013
West Side Market closed indefinitely for post-fire repairs; Kasich ready to unveil school funding proposal; Armed robbery leads to cancelled classes at Ohio U.

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • West Side Market will stay closed for fire repairs
  • Kasich set to unveil new school funding plan
  • Classes cancelled at Ohio University after armed robbery
  • First bills introduced in Ohio legisature
  • Legislature OKs State of the State move to Lima
  • FitzGerald says he has enough money for gubernatorial run
  • Steubenville trials will be open to the public
  • Judge asks lawyers in workers comp lawsuit to lower damages
  • Natural gas prices falling for Dominion, Columbia Gas customers
  • Inmates transferred after Ashtabula County prison fight
  • West Side Market will stay closed for fire repairs
    Cleveland's historic West Side Market will remain closed until further notice after fire damaged some inside stalls. Firefighters were called to the market about 2 a.m. Wednesday. There was no structural damage but extensive smoke damage to the market. Food throughout the market must be inspected for health and quality assurance before it can reopen. No one was hurt and the cause is not immediately known but believed to be accidental.

    Kasich set to unveil new school funding plan
    Gov. John Kasich's long-awaited education funding overhaul is nearly here. Kasich has scheduled a series of events today to showcase the proposal. The announcement is anticipated to kick off months of debate over the best direction for Ohio's public school system. Kasich's plan is expected to contain a host of policy reforms including his attempt at resolving constitutional issues with the existing school-funding formula that assigns district-by-district subsidies. Kasich has hinted at a variety of broad ideas including enhanced parental control, funding that follows the poorest children when they choose a different education option and monetary rewards for teachers whose students show measurable improvement. Statehouse Democrats on Wednesday asked for a voice in the process that the governor has kept unusually quiet.

    Classes cancelled at Ohio University after armed robbery
    Ohio University in Athens cancelled classes and an evening men's basketball game after a man sought in an armed robbery of five dollars was seen near the campus. Extra police were called in and students were told to return to their dorms and apartments as a precaution. The school says the suspect allegedly had a handgun and fled on foot in the direction of the university. The school will be open today.

    First bills introduced in Ohio legisature
    School safety, Internet cafes and municipal income taxes are among the issues the Ohio House hopes to tackle this legislative session. The topics were included in the first bills that representatives introduced on Wednesday. Other proposals would streamline the state's job-matching services and create grants for local governments. One bill would set training and certification requirements for a new group of professionals who will help guide consumers through the new health insurance exchange. House Speaker William Batchelder says the bills reflect some of the bigger issues lawmakers will face in the first half of the year, but don't encompass all of his Republican caucus' priorities.

    Legislature OKs State of the State move to Lima
    The Ohio Legislature has given its blessing to allow the governor to move the State of the State speech out of the capital for the second year in a row. The House and Senate both approved the move Wednesday. Kasich sought to give this year's address in Lima on February 19. Opponents of the relocation said it skirts a longstanding tradition of Statehouse addresses. Last year, Kasich became the first governor in modern memory to take the speech outside the Ohio Capitol in Columbus. He chose the Ohio River city of Steubenville.

    FitzGerald says he has enough money for gubernatorial run
    Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald tells the Plain Dealer he has more than enough money to launch a campaign for governor. The newspaper reports FitzGerald raised nearly 250-thousand dollars during the second half of 2012. Finance reports filed Wednesday show some of his biggest contributors include Forest City Enterprises executives and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. FitzGerald, a Democrat, has not officially said he’s running against Republican Governor John Kasich in 2014, but says he will announce his plans soon.

    Steubenville trials will be open to the public
    The trial of two 16-year-old Steubenville High School football players will be open to the press and the public. The judge’s ruling Wednesday went against Attorney General Mike DeWine’s recommendation and against the request of the defense and prosecution. Visiting judge Thomas Lipps said an open trial will curb rumors and mischaracterizations that have already been occurring on social media. Lipps also moved the trial date back a month, to March 13.  He also denied defense requests to move the trial to another county. Two boys have been charged with raping a girl at a series of parties in August. The case has garnered national attention and divided the community because of allegations that local authorities covered up or mishandled the case and others should have been charged.

    Judge asks lawyers in workers comp lawsuit to lower damages
    Attorneys for employers who won a ruling against the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation are asking the state to pay $860 million. The lawyers say there are 270,000 Ohio employers who are due restitution after a judge said in December they were overcharged by the state. A group of businesses had sued Ohio for $1.3 billion, saying that they paid too much for their workers' compensation premiums. A Cuyahoga County judge agreed with their claim but asked the group to lower their request for damages. The workers' compensation bureau is appealing the decision.

    Natural gas prices falling for Dominion, Columbia Gas customers
    Customers who buy natural gas from two Ohio providers will pay less in February thanks to high production from shale gas wells and other factors. The Plain Dealer reports that rates will be lower for customers who buy natural gas through Dominion East Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio's standard choice offer. Columbia's price falls 2.5 percent through February 27.  On Feb. 13, Dominion's price will fall three percent. The monthly variable rates are linked to the price of natural gas contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

    Inmates transferred after Ashtabula County prison fight
    More than three dozen inmates at Ohio’s privately-owned prison in Ashtabula County have been transferred after fights broke out over the weekend. The Columbus Dispatch reports 39 Lake Erie Correctional Institution inmates are now being held at the state-owned prison in Mansfield. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and the patrol are investigating. The Lake Erie facility was sold by the state last year to a private business headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. It recently came under sharp criticism from The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and the prison employees’ labor union after several incidents of drugs thrown over the prison walls into the facility.

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