40,000 gallons of contaminated water recovered after D&L dump
The U.S. EPA says it has now recovered 40,000 gallons of water contaminated by fracking waste from a storm sewer and creek near a Youngstown industrial site with a history of environmental trouble. The property less than a mile from the Mahoning River is shared by D&L Energy and other companies run by Ben Lupo. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said last week it caught employees of one of those companies, Hardrock Excavating, rinsing out tanks of mud, brine and other residual oil-field waste into a storm sewer on the property. The state says the employees told them they were following Lupo’s instruction, and last week it permanently revoked D&L Energy’s permits to operate injection wells and Hardrock Excavating’s permits to transport fracking wastewater. A D&L spokesman says Lupo may appeal the permit revocations. The Youngstown Vindicator says the cleanup had cost $20,000 as of Friday, and that the EPA’s criminal investigation team remained on the scene.
Ohio set to release attendance-rigging findings today
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost is preparing to release findings of his statewide probe of school attendance tampering. Yost has scheduled a news conference today to discuss the records review of a sampling of school districts and buildings. Yost launched the review in response to unusual practices discovered in districts in Columbus, Toledo and suburban Cincinnati. He set out to determine whether Ohio schools have been removing poor-performing students from their rolls in attempts to improve performance ratings that can impact federal funding and employee bonuses. Yost earlier separated the Columbus district from the statewide probe when federal authorities became involved. Release of Ohio's district report cards were temporarily delayed last year amid the investigation.
State review reveals treatment of disabled students in Columbus
A state review shows that in one year in the Columbus school district, 371 disabled children were held down, physically removed from a class or put in closet-like rooms to calm them down. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the review offers insight into the children's behavioral problems and how workers try to manage them. The numbers are the result of a state review in response to a complaint from a group called Disability Rights Ohio, filed with the Ohio Department of Education in November. The district previously refused to release those figures, saying they were private. Investigators cleared the district because no child spent what amounted to ten school days in seclusion.
Ohio Board of Education set for first meeting since controversial tweet from President
Ohio's education board is meeting for the first time since its president posted a controversial anti-gun-control comment to Facebook that included a photo of Adolf Hitler. The first order of business for the state Board of Education today is a social media discussion. It comes as Democrats plan to hold a rally and demand board president Debe Terhar resign. Terhar has acknowledged she made a mistake by sharing a photo of Hitler on Facebook while criticizing President Barack Obama's new gun-control efforts. She maintains she wasn't trying to compare Obama to the Nazi leader.
Repairs to Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center approaching $1 million
Repairs to the relatively new juvenile justice center in Cleveland have cost taxpayers nearly $1 million. The Plain Dealer reports that judges and others at the 14-month-old Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center requested maintenance more than 3,000 times last year. That's an average of more than eight requests a day, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The work included 126 sink repairs, 56 adjustments to the heating and cooling system, 19 calls for leaking pipes, 14 inspections of roof drains and 13 refrigerator fixes. And on 59 occasions, crews were summoned to hang pictures, clocks and other items on walls. Records show 91 hours spent on wall hangings, but do not assign a cost. Juvenile court officials did not respond to questions about maintenance costs for their complex.
Probation for Central Ohio men who falsified concealed carry certificates
Three central Ohio men have been given three years of probation after admitting they falsified concealed-carry weapons training certificates, leading to the invalidation of hundreds of licenses. Franklin County sheriff's deputies arrested the men last summer after determining that they had issued falsified training certificates to concealed-carry license applicants. The Columbus Dispatch reports about 300 recipients turned in their licenses after they were notified of the problems. About 200 were issued new licenses after receiving the proper training, and others didn't seek new licenses or haven't finished the training. All three pleaded guilty to five counts of falsification to obtain a concealed handgun license. Prosecutors alleged that one of the men, a certified firearms instructor, sold signed training certificates to the other two.
Gas prices continue to rise
Ohio gas prices are still rising. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio is $3.57 in today’s survey. That's a nickel higher than a week ago. Prices have gone up 18 cents in the past two weeks in the Buckeye State. Experts say prices are continuing to rise because of solid economic recovery in China and the U.S. and other factors.
Pomeroy mayor resigns after accusations of inappropriate comments
The mayor of the Ohio River village of Pomeroy has resigned over accusations that she made derogatory comments about a gay police officer. 78-year old Mayor Mary McAngus’ resignation follows the police chief warning village council that her alleged comments could open the village to a civil-rights lawsuit. McAngus had been accused of calling the officer names and pressuring the police chief to fire him.