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Noon headlines, April 22, 2013: Haslam class action, West Nile, Canton fire
Pilot Flying J, Haslam face class-action suit; Ohio halts West Nile teting, fracking's new deals, Canton auto shop burns

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
In The Region:
  • Haslam faces class-action suit in Pilot Flying J scandal
  • Fracking deals net 200 million gallons from reservoirs in southeast Ohio 
  • Ohio halts testing for West Nile virus
  • Case Western honors architect Frank Gehry
  • Canton auto shop burns in early morning fire
  • Haslam faces class action suit in Pilot Flying J scandal
    More distractions have popped up for Browns owner Jimmy Haslam whose Pilot Flying J truck stop chain is at the center of a federal investigation. The Plain Dealer reports today that a Georgia trucking company has filed a class-action lawsuit against Haslam’s family business saying it was overcharged for fuel. The FBI alleges that Haslam was aware of a purported rebate scheme carried on by salespeople. USA Today reports that the NFL is sticking with Haslam but, "The league is very, very concerned," that some action might be necessary if Haslam is proven to be part of the alleged scam. Haslam was to be in Cleveland this week ahead of the NFL draft Thursday.

    Fracking deals net 200 million gallons from reservoirs in southeast Ohio 
    Two oil and gas drillers in southeast Ohio have reached an agreement to withdraw water for fracking operations from two Ohio reservoirs. The Beacon Journal reports that Colorado-based Antero Resources and Oklahoma-based Gulfport Energy struck the deals last Friday with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The deals allow the withdrawal of more than 180 million gallons of water this summer from Seneca Lake in Nobel County, and 25 million gallons from Clendening Reservoir in Harrison County. The move is condemned by the Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water.  

    The water could be used in the hydraulic fracturing of up to two dozen wells near the lakes. A fracking well uses between one and 4 million gallons of water, which is then treated as waste. Both agreements include provisions to halt water removal if lake levels drop below a certain threshold.

    Ohio halts testing for West Nile virus
    The Ohio Department of Health will no longer test mosquitoes for West Nile virus. The testing program had a yearly budget of about $265,000, but Ohio is stopping that work because of a federal funding cut. Ohio had 121 confirmed cases of the disease last year with seven deaths. Some local health departments will conduct their own testing, while many counties have said they will rely on guesswork to direct mosquito spraying.

    Case Western honors architect Frank Gehry
    Famed architect Frank Gehry will receive an honorary degree from Case Western Reserve University, marking the 10th anniversary of a swirling Gehry-designed building on the Cleveland campus. The university announced the commencement honor on Monday. Case says the commencement speaker May 19 will be Progressive insurance magnate Peter B. Lewis. He donated more than half the $62 million cost of the curvy metallic Gehry building bearing Lewis' name. Gehry's other credits include the titanium-covered Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

    Canton auto shop burns in early morning fire
    Heavy black smoke billowed out over Canton this morning after a used-car business caught fire. Just before 6 a.m., firefighters responded to a call to Auto Specialties on Cleveland Avenue NW. The brick building is in a commercial corridor that abuts residential neighborhoods about a mile from downtown. Shortly after firefighters arrived, the roof collapsed and flames shot out.  People reported seeing the smoke miles away. The fire was reported under control by about 9 this morning.

    Listener Comments:

    I am interested in how the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District can sell off citizen-owned water at a fraction of the price that citizens pay. Why is there preferential pricing for drillers? If citizens could buy their own water back for $8 per 1,000 gallons they could save a lot of money on their water bills. This turns the free market pricing system on its head, giving priority to water sales that will be permanently lost to the district, over water that citizens purchase and return to the district for treatment.

    Posted by: Fred Pierre (Kent OH) on May 20, 2013 12:05PM
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