|Investigation: Women's pay gap widening in state offices|
The average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio's five elected statewide officials has grown to almost $10 an hour, as it's shrunk to under a dollar across the rest of state government. A Dayton Daily News investigation found that women working in Republican Gov. John Kasich's office earn $9.81-an-hour less, on average, than men. That's the highest gender pay gap among statewide officeholders. The gender gap compares to $3.99-an-hour under former Gov. Ted Strickland. The governor's office says the gap is smaller — $5.04-an-hour last year — when office staff and policy advisers from other state agencies are considered. Under those same parameters, the gap under Strickland was $1.28-an-hour in 2010.
Asian carp DNA found in Muskingum River
Bighead carp DNA has been discovered in eastern Ohio's Muskingum River, raising concerns the invasive fish might have found a new route to Lake Erie. A report indicates the genetic material was found in 10 of 222 water samples taken from the river last fall. Researchers found the DNA 80 miles upstream of the river's mouth at Marietta, along the Ohio River. No fish have been found. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to conduct additional tests in the Muskingum River in June.
Ohio hog farms battling deadly disease for newborn pigs
Hog farms in Ohio are reporting cases of a relatively new disease that kills newborn pigs. The state's agriculture department says it has recorded a couple hundred confirmed cases of the virus across Ohio. The disease first found a year ago causes baby pigs to become dehydrated and die. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said the die-off has had a hand in shrinking the nation's pig herd by 3 percent to about 63 million pigs. A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture tells The Blade newspaper in Toledo that there is no cure for the disease right now.
Lorain schools to be reviewed following state takeover
A state review team will soon visit a Cleveland-area school district to see how well it's addressed academic performance problems and gotten back on track. The Morning Journal in Lorain reports that an Ohio Department of Education administrator will lead a team into the Lorain City Schools on May 12. The team will help the district's academic distress commission revise its academic recovery plan for next year. The state assumed control of the district last year because of unmet academic standards. The state team will analyze data and records and spend a week observing district activities and interviewing administrators, principals, the president of the teachers' union, students, staff and others.
County jails now under new rules
New rules for Ohio's county jails took effect over the weekend. Several mental health agencies supported revisions they said will improve treatment for mentally ill inmates. Those include new regulations on screening, health appraisals, medications and suicide prevention. The changes are designed, in part, to help sheriffs fend off potential prisoner lawsuits by requiring jails to meet standards. Other new standards allow jails to serve inmates two meals instead of three on weekends. They also can limit hot showers to every other day. Jail staff will be able to review prisoners' emails for security reasons and monitor and record inmate visits. The changes will affect about 20,000 inmates housed in 90 full-service jails.
Legislator wants to increase prosecution for timber theft
An Ohio lawmaker is pushing legislation to boost prosecution of timber theft in a move that has the state forestry association worried about overregulation. The proposal by state Rep. Ross McGregor would require a written agreement between landowners and the timber harvester that specifically shows which trees should be cut down. The bill also requires a written record of timber harvested from the landowner. McGregor says the current law is loose and makes it difficult for prosecutors to go after thieves even when a crime has occurred. He says illegal timber harvesters are likely selling it to timber mills. The Ohio Forestry Association calls the legislation "heavy-handed" and says it would cause difficulties for its 500 members.
Search continues for Lake Erie boaters
A state agency continues to search western Lake Erie for two boaters who disappeared days ago with two others whose bodies have been recovered. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says two boats with the department's watercraft division searched again Sunday for the missing men, who are presumed dead.
Ohio gas prices up
Gas prices in Ohio are up slightly to start the work week. A gallon of regular is averaging $3.70 in today’s survey from AAA and its partners. That's up about 2 cents from a week ago and 16 cents higher than a month ago. Department of Energy forecasters expect the April through September national average to be about $3.57 a gallon, a little lower than the past few summers.
Republican lawmakers facing heated primary battles
Republican state legislators are facing a tougher battle in this year’s primary than in years past. The Columbus Dispatch reports 20 Republican lawmakers will face primary challenges next month, five times the number in 2012. Among those, Senator Frank LaRose who serves Stark, Summit and Wayne Counties… and Scott Oelslager, also serving part of Stark County. Common Core education standards, Medicaid expansion, and stricter abortion limits are encouraging Republican challengers who say they are more conservative.
Construction delayed for serial killer victims' memorial
Construction of a memorial at the Cleveland site where the remains of 11 women were found in a serial killer's home has been delayed because its funding is short by $250,000. The Mount Pleasant Ministerial Alliance has been working to create a memorial garden at Anthony Sowell’s former property and they say construction won’t start as planned on Mother’s Day. Cost estimates for the project had initially ranged from $175,000 to $480,000. Proposed designs included a playground, stone walkways and a reflective pool. Sowell was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to death. Many of his victims were drug addicts who were never reported missing.
Ohio Historical Society changing name in rebranding effort
The 129-year-old Ohio Historical Society is being rebranded as the Ohio History Connection, after many state residents said they saw the organization as "inaccessible and antiquated." The switch will happen on May 24. The society said in a statement that research showed it "is seen as exclusive and not having an image across the state that people find welcoming." The organization last changed its name back in 1954, when it was called the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society. The change will require updates to thousands of signs around the state.
Lorain officials bust sophisticated meth lab in posh home
Lorain County officials say they busted a sophisticated meth lab inside a posh lakefront home. The lab found in the $1 million Sheffield Lake home of Madhu Dutta is believed to be the first of its kind found in Ohio. It uses sophisticated equipment and chemicals that requires some knowledge of chemistry. Dutta faces several drug-related charges.
East Bank project moving forward
Plans are moving forward with the second phase of the Flats East Bank project in Cleveland. The Plain Dealer reports Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties have finalized a $149 million financing package. The 23-acre apartment complex in the waterfront district should see its first units open next year. The second phase of the project also includes a boardwalk and standalone restaurants. The first phase of the project, the Ernst and Young Tower, is already finished.
Lawsuit alleges defamation between Oberlin faculty
A French professor at Oberlin College is suing another professor, in an alleged murder plot. The Lorain Morning Journal reports Ali Yedes claims that Samir Amin Abdellatif made false and defamatory statements about him, causing emotional distress. Abdellatif reportedly published statements alleging that Yedes brought a nephew to the U-S from Tunisia to help kill another Oberlin faculty member, that he tried to bribe a teaching assistant to marry him, and that he forged academic credentials of another professor. Yedes says the false statements have made him fear for his life and exposed him to public hatred.