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Ohio


Facing a midnight Sunday deadline, Ohio's budget is the priority in Columbus this week
Other noon headlines: JobsOhio spending, nuke-plant testing, dam removal
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Cuyahoga Falls is restoring the flow of the river by tearing down two dams this summer.
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
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In The Region:
  • Ohio's budget moves to the fast-track
  • Dispatch's look at JobsOhio spending is likely to be the last
  • Nearby nuclear plant tested for earthquake prep
  • Cuyahoga Falls dams start coming down
  • Ohio's budget moves to the fast-track
    A six-member conference committee meets tonight to consider how to blend Ohio Senate and House versions of the two-year budget.

    The committee is made up of four Republicans and two Democrats – four of whom are from Northeast Ohio.

    They’re looking at differing versions of a nearly $62 billion spending package that includes income and small-business tax cuts. They may pay for those cuts by increasing the state sales tax.

    The committee also is considering changes in real-estate taxes that would eliminate some built-in reductions in what people pay on future local tax levies.

    The budget also includes measures less directly tied to spending, including moves to severely curtail legal options for abortions in Ohio. The budget must be in place – with the governor’s signature – by midnight Sunday.

    Dispatch's look at JobsOhio spending is likely to be the last
    An analysis by the Dispatch of how JobsOhio spent its more than $8 million in public start-up money includes sponsorship of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the Toledo Mud Hens, as well as some $1.35 million for a “Thrive in Ohio” ad campaign. The public-private agency has since repaid the public funds.

    It’s ongoing operation will be paid for by leasing the state’s liquor profits and a new law exempts all of that from public disclosure and state audits, so such a detailed examination of spending is unlikely in the future.

    Nearby nuclear plant tested for earthquake preps
    Federal inspectors are reviewing how well-equipped a nuclear power plant in western Pennsylvania is to withstand an earthquake.

    The Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport is owned by Akron-based First Energy, which also owns the only two commercial reactors in Ohio -- Perry and Davis-Besse.

    Inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are auditing the Pennsylvania plant today and tomorrow. Plant operators have been required to do seismic inspections ever since the earthquake in Japan two years ago. 

    Cuyahoga Falls dams start coming down
    Crews are expected to begin removing the first of two dams in Cuyahoga Falls as early as Wednesday.

    The city is taking out two dams referred to as the Sheraton Mill and LeFever Powerhouse to restore the river to its original flow, improving the water quality and boosting recreational uses. Weather has stalled the project for weeks.

    The Sheraton Mill is coming down first, with demolition of LeFever scheduled for next month. Both dams were built nearly a century ago to serve a paper and a machinery company. Cuyahoga Falls got $1 million grant from the EPA to remove them. 

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