Oil reprocessing plant fire causes $12 million in damage
A fire at an oil reprocessing plant in Canton on Sunday caused more than $12 million in damages. The Canton Repository reports that the Hydrodec North America plant in the Stein Industrial Park caught fire after an explosion about 4 p.m.Two employees were inside the transformer at the time and heard the explosion. They launched an emergency shutdown and made it out safely. The building houses oil, ammonia and liquid hydrogen—but there were no neighborhood evacuations. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Canton council member considers minimum wage law
A Canton city council member wants to raise the minimum wage. Democrat John Mariol wants the city to join others across the nation in setting its own minimum wage law. The Canton Repository reports Mariol has not yet released the specifics of his plan, but says he will propose the idea in January. He does say it would exempt small businesses if possible. Ohio's minimum wage is $7.85 an hour, 60 cents higher than the federal minimum wage.
Willard evacuees return home after train derailment
Hundreds of people forced to evacuate after a railcar damaged in a train derailment in northern Ohio leaked flammable liquid have returned home. CSX Corp. spokesman Gary Sease says he believes all affected residents in Willard had returned home by Sunday. He says more than 600 people came through an outreach center set up Saturday to help with compensation claims. Crews have removed the soil impacted by the derailment, but expect to be at the site a few more days for final checks. The railcar damaged in the derailment leaked about half of its 26,000 gallons of styrene monomer, which is used to make plastic and rubber products. Sease says the investigation to determine what caused the derailment is continuing.
ODNR monitoring deer
Employees of Ohio's Division of Wildlife are monitoring deer around the state as deer-gun season opens this week. The state says studying a sampling of deer can help them make assumptions about the health and age of the deer population. Officials say that translates into better management of the herd through proper setting of hunting limits. The Columbus Dispatch reports that division officials also say too many deer mean more vehicle crashes. Deer also can damage crops, leading to higher prices at the grocery store. But the state also monitors deer for disease to protect the herd and Ohio's captive deer farms and other livestock. The gun season beginning today runs through Sunday. Hunters are expected to kill as many as 90,000 deer.
Medicare open enrollment deadline approaching
State officials are reminding Ohioans that they have until Saturday to find Medicare coverage or switch plans under the government's program for seniors and the disabled. The open-enrollment period gives beneficiaries a chance to review their health and prescription drug coverage. Any changes they make to their Medicare coverage will take effect Jan. 1. The state's insurance director Mary Taylor says benefits and costs in plans can change from one year to the next, and consumers should check how those factors impact coverage. The department's Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program offers help to Medicare recipients on any changes.
Grants aim to improve school safety
Applications covering more than 1,200 Ohio schools have been submitted for grants to pay for emergency radios and entrance security features. There is $12 million available to help schools buy security measures such as special radios that educators can use to silently call for help by pushing a button. Ohio officials worked with a manufacturer and law enforcement representatives to develop the specialized radio system after the school shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, last December. A spokesman says the commission will ask lawmakers for more money if the $12 million allotment is exhausted.
Cleveland schools resume community meetings
Cleveland City schools will resume its community meetings this week on its sweeping transformation plan. The meetings allow residents to weigh in on the $1 billion school construction project that has been underway since 2001, and to make suggestions on how they want the schools to change. An outside company will compile the feedback and report back to the district by the end of the month.This week’s meetings will be in Kamm’s Corners, Lee-Miles and University Circle neighborhoods.
Gas prices down in Ohio
Ohioans whose wallets are lighter after a weekend of holiday shopping will at least pay a little less for gas to start the week. The state average is $3.14 for a gallon of regular gas in today’s survey from auto club AAA and its partners. That's down 11 cents from last week, and it's the first drop in the average price in two weeks. The Ohio price is 13 cents lower than the national average of $3.27, which is down a penny from a week ago.
Termination hearing today for suspended Akron teacher
The Akron high school music teacher suspended over a racist rant on his Facebook page has told the district he will not be present at his termination hearing later today.The hearing for David Spondike is set for 9 a-m. Spondike recently took responsibility for the postings, saying they were "done in a moment of anger and with unnecessary haste.” Spondike posted his original comments after people urinated near his yard during trick-or-treat events in his neighborhood.
Program aimed at curbing runoff pollution scrapped
A program that was meant to keep pollution from running off of rain-soaked roads directly into storm ditches is being disbanded in Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch reports that that researchers found that the trenches don’t work. They’ve been installed since 2005, and are supposed to filter rainwater instead of dumping runoff straight into storm drains. But Ohio University researchers found they were prone to clogs that made them ineffective. ODOT now plans to test a system that puts filters inside storm drains. Rainwater often picks up oil, grease, soot, fertilizers, pesticides, metals and rubber from the road.