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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rolling Acres opened with great fanfare in 1975. It was shuttered in 2010 after years of decline, one of several dead or dying malls in Northeast Ohio (K. Bhatia)What to do with the dead and dying malls dotting Northeast Ohio
As Chapel Hill Mall enters receivership, Rolling Acres and Randall Park sit abandoned, awaiting a new life, likely as non-retail entities

Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall went into receivership last week, the latest Northeast Ohio mall to hit hard times. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on the possible fates of the region’s shuttered shopping centers.  Kabir Bhatia reports

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cuyahoga County is considering a 20-year extension of the hotel bed tax to help pay for the rock hall inductions held in Cleveland.  (Matt @ Pek, CC, Flickr)Bed tax extension would fund rock hall inductions
Supporters of a 20-year extension of the bed tax say it would fund rock hall inductions held every three years in Cleveland and help market the city

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland will be paid off next month, but the tax that funded its construction may live on.

Cuyahoga County Council is considering a 20 year extension of the so-called ‘bed tax’, a 4.5 percent tax on hotel rooms in Cleveland.

David Gilbert, CEO of Positively Cleveland, a non-profit that markets the city, is among advocates who say the bed tax should be extended.

Gilbert says the city has added $2 billion in new infrastructure in recent years, including museum expansions, a casino, new convention space, and 10 new downtown hotels that require visitors.

   Jeff St. Clair reports

The newly named Goodyear airship 'Wingfoot One' is wheeled out of its hanger. It's the first of three planned blimps to be built with German manufacturer Zeppelin. (Mark Urycki)'Wingfoot One' is winning entry in contest to name new Goodyear blimp
The new semi-rigid airship is the first of three to be built with German partner Zeppelin

The newest Goodyear blimp now has a name.

The Akron-based company today selected ‘Wingfoot One’ as the winning moniker for the airship.

Goodyear began a contest four months ago to name the new blimp.

A panel of judges narrowed 15,000 names down to ten finalists with the winning name selected through online voting.

Spokesman Doug Grassian says next month the ship be christened according to tradition.  Jeff St. Clair reports

Quicken Loans Arena will be the home of the 2014 Gay Games opening ceremony on August 9th.  (Wikipedia)Registration for the 2014 Gay Games ends Monday at midnight
Gay Games 9 will be help in the northeast Ohio region for the first time

Registration for the 2014 Gay Games ends tonight at midnight. More than 50 different countries are expected to be represented in the games, which begin on August 9th.

Rob Smitherman, director of events and operations for the 2014 games, says northeast Ohioans have been very welcoming thus far.  (more)

The beaches at Euclid State Park along with Villa Angela State Park have been at the contamination advisory level for almost two months. (WKSU)High bacteria levels still a concern at Lake Erie beaches
Damaged pipe spills raw sewage into the lake while state officials seek short-term solutions to problems with aging sewer system

Bacteria levels in beaches at Euclid State Park and Villa Angela are an ongoing issue for northeast Ohioans.

After months of investigating, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District discovered a major problem with an underground sewer line at a Euclid Beach trailer park. It found a hole in a pipe that carried raw sewage and storm water into Lake Erie. That elevated bacteria levels and led to swimming cautions.

Frank Greenland, director of watershed programs, says local communities need to address such problems.  (more)

Case Western promises to boost security following robbery
Fracking fire reveals lack of communication among agencies; P&G protesters reject plea deal

  • Fracking fire reveals lack of communication among agencies
  • P&G protesters reject plea deal
  • U of Akron updates presidential home
  •   Jeff St. Clair reports

    Brennan's Colony to reopen three weeks after owner was murdered
    Other morning headlines: Ohio's online sales tax collections hit all-time high; Armed robbery reported at CWRU

    The latest WKSU morning news headlines:  Amanda Rabinowitz reports

    Aggression is a normal part of human behavior, but its roots are poorly understood. Scientists have traced aggression to a complex interplay between the neural hormones vasopressin and oxytocin. (Aislinn Ritchie, CC Flickr)Exploradio: The roots of aggression
    A Kent State University researcher says the hormones vasopressin and oxytocin play major roles in regulating aggression and attraction

    Love and anger have long been the subjects of songs and poems. But scientists are now unlocking the biological secrets of what brings us together and drives us apart.  

    In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair meets a Kent State University researcher who’s studying the role a pair of hormones play in aggression and attraction.  Jeff St. Clair reports

    Here's a chart from the Centers for Disease Control on the national outbreak. (CDC)Ohio may be nearing the end of the measles outbreak
    Last new case was reported July 9

    The state Department of Health is inching toward declaring the outbreak of measles in Ohio is over. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has the latest on an outbreak that has totaled hundreds of cases among Ohio’s Amish.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Cpl. Pete Prybal pulls out the sliding weights and measures equipment from the rear of his newly customized F-350. (Tana Weingartner, WVXU)Ohio counties look for different ways to keep roads safe
    A full-time weights and inspections unit will allow police officers to bring department scales and measuring equipment

    With federal highway funding stalled, states are looking for different ways to keep roadways safe and in good repair.

    For Ohio Public Radio, WVXU’s Tana Weingartner reports that Hamilton County is adding a full-time Weights & Inspections Unit, one of fewer than 30 counties statewide to do so.  (more)

    Portman expects to introduce the VA nominee, Bob McDonald, at his confirmation hearing Tuesday. (File photo, Proctor & Gamble)Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
    Ohio's Republican senator expects to introduce President Obama's choice to run the VA

    The Senate begins its confirmation hearings tomorrow (Tuesday) for the retired Cincinnati business executive who’s been nominated to be the next secretary of Veterans Affairs. Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman expects to be introducing Bob McDonald on the Senate floor – and expects he will be confirmed. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he does not expect the hearings will be easy.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

    Revenues are increasing for the Fortunagracht's direct delivery to Belgium. (WCPN, Brian Bull)European cargo ship out of Cleveland seeing rising revenues
    Boosts in shipments buck current downward trend in ports along the St. Lawrence Seaway

    Three months into a new, direct, trans-Atlantic export route between the Port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, operators say it is a success so far.  (more)

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    Ohio still owes the feds $1.4 billion that was used to cover unemployment during the recession.  ( it time to use Ohio's $800 million budget surplus to pay off the feds?
    Ohio was among 14 states that borrowed money to pay jobless benefits when its unemployment compensation fund went broke during the recession

    The recession may be over, but the state of Ohio still owes the federal government $1.4 billion for the money it borrowed to pay jobless benefits to unemployed Ohioans.

    Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that debt is looming large over Ohio employers and could affect people who might get jobless benefits in the future.  Karen Kasler reports

    Gov. Kasich touting a preschool collaboration. (JO INGLES)State and local funding will boost preschoolers in Columbus
    Nearly $3 million in state and local money will add 160 kids to the all-day program

    Some low-income children in Columbus are the first to take advantage of a full-day preschool program that pairs community investment with state dollars. As Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, the hope is that the same can be done in other cities throughout the Buckeye State.


       Jo Ingles reports

    The 101-year-old office building is the latest to be converted into downtown Cleveland living space. (K&D)Cleveland's downtown Leader Building is about to become 200-plus apartments
    Downtown occupancy rates are nearing 100 percent

    A local developer is finalizing plans to convert one of Cleveland’s historic downtown office buildings into upscale apartments.

    K&D Group C.E.O. Douglas Price says his firm has plans to purchase the 101-year-old Leader Building for an undisclosed amount. He says with high occupancy rates in downtown, converting old office buildings to residences can pay off.

    The Leader Building includes ornate Tiffany-designed lobbies and elevators.  Lyndsey Schley reports

    Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the largest and most visited parks in the country.  (Kabir Bhatia, WKSU)Report: National Parks continue to contribute big to Ohio's economy
    Visitor spending supports 2,300 jobs and creates $149 million in economic benefits

    National parks are worth nearly $150 million to Ohio. That’s according to a new report by the National Park Service. 

    It says that last year, the parks in Ohio hosted 2.4 million visitors who, in turn, supported 2,300 jobs. Of those parks, the largest by far is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

    Park service spokesman Jeffrey Olson says parks have a major influence on communities nationwide.  (more)

    Republican Senator Rob Portman lauded the staff at GM Lordstown, which was nearly idled before a 2010 makeover (K. Bhatia)Portman visits Lordstown amidst GM recall
    Ohio's Republican says there must be accountability and consequences in the recall of millions of Chevy Cobalts and other vehicles made by 'the old GM'

    Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s tour of the state’s auto plants continued today at the GM facility in Lordstown. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on the Republican’s visit in the middle of GM’s massive recall.   Kabir Bhatia reports

    Within hours of LeBron James' announcment that he's coming back to NE Ohio, the welcome signs were out. (Living at 9, Cleveland)LeBron's formal welcome home will be Aug. 8th
    Stadium-sized crowd in Akron is expected to greet the favorite son and returning NBA star

    Akron plans to formally welcome LeBron James home with a rally at the University of Akron’s football stadium on Aug. 8. 

    A week ago, the Akron native and NBA’s four-time MVP announced in an essay on Sports Illustrated-dot-com that he’s returning from Miami to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He left Cleveland in 2010, but never gave up his home in Bath Township. 

    He’s maintained a strong relationship with his alma mater, St. Vincent St. Mary High School in downtown Akron, and his LeBron James Family Foundation has continued to focus on drop-out prevention in Akron schools.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Jimmy Dimora, when he was still a  Cuyahoga County commissioner and one of the most powerful Democratic politicians in Ohio. (KEVIN NIEDERMIER)Dimora tries to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court
    Other noon headlines: Unemployment; addiction, and All Children Matter

  • Dimora appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Fudge and Ryan introduce addiction-treatment bill
  • Ohio unemployment holds steady
  • New $100 fine is as unlikely to be collected as the other $5.2 million
  •   M.L. Schultze reports

    Ohio's jobless rate holds steady at 5.5 percent
    Other morning headlines: Ohio Lottery reaches record sales and profits; Akron welcomes complex for homeless veterans

  • Ohio's jobless rate holds steady at 5.5%
  • Brennan's Colony shooting suspects plead not guilty
  • Akron welcomes complex for homeless veterans
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission cites Pennsylvania power plant for shutdown
  • Contractor lays off workers decontaminating Uranium plant
  • KeyCorp profits up 8 percent from last year
  • Ohio Lottery reaches record sales and profits
  • Sherwin-Williams sales reach record high of $3 billion
  •   Amanda Rabinowitz reports

    A local farm will be growing raising for human consumption. (Anne Glausser)First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
    Owner says crickets are healthy and resource efficient

    When you are hungry, do you reach for potato chips or peanuts? What about a handful of crickets? One daring entrepreneur in Youngstown is bucking the “yuck” factor and opening the first U.S. farm to grow insects exclusively for human consumption.  (more)

    Jacob Schwendemann is only 4, but already learning about healthy eating. Jacob, his mom, April, and baby sister Sara shop often at Local Roots, both in Ashland and Wooster. (Vivian Goodman)Grown out roots in Ashland are a good thing
    Local Roots of Wooster's idea for a hybrid farmers' market/grocery store is catching on not only in Ashland, but in other parts of the country

    A new approach to the community farmers’ market reached a milestone this month when Ashland Local Roots started opening six days a week. 

    Business has been brisk for the hybrid grocery store and farmers’ market, the first offshoot of a grass-roots, local foods project initiated by farmers and community leaders in nearby Wooster. Ashland’s market is the Wooster Local Roots Cooperative’s first official franchisee. But as WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports in today’s Quick Bite, the concept also has taken root in other parts of the country.  Vivian Goodman reports

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    College graduates may have more debt, but they can expect to earn more in the long run. (John Walker)College graduates have more debt, but it pays off in the long run
    Cleveland Federal Reserve says college graduates still make more over their lifetimes

    Chances are that if you have nailed a college degree to your wall recently, you are also nailed with debt. But some new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says degree earners are still better off in the long-term than those without a diploma.  (more)

    A Washington think tanks is pushing against attempts to add a federal internet tax. (Bjørn Bulthuis)Survey says most Ohioans oppose a federal internet sales tax
    Some say the proposed tax in unfair, others say it is necessary to allow brick-and-mortar stores to compete

    A national conservative-leaning think tank says a majority of Ohioans are against a proposed federal internet sales tax laws. But business groups say something has to change.  Andy Chow reports

    DJI Phantom 2 Vision -- one model of a drone equipped with cameras. Ohio studies use of drones over prisons
    Unmanned aerials could monitor prison yards

    The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections is considering using drones to enhance security at some of its prisons.

    Ed Voorhies is managing director of operations for the agency. He says the drones would aid, not replace, corrections officers.  (more)

    Concept Schools is facing more scrutiny, this time from Ohio's auditor. (Concept Schools)Ohio's auditor is investigating Concept charter schools
    Dave Yost joins the Ohio Department of Education and federal agencies in investigating the schools

    A handful of charter schools managed by the Chicago-based Concept Schools are already under examination by both the Ohio Department of Education and federal authorities. And now, all of the charter chain’s Ohio schools will be facing scrutiny from another state-level office. StateImpact Ohio's Amy Hansen has more.  (more)

     (File photo)Ohio Sen. Portman on Hobby Lobby vote and presidential hopes
    Ohio's Republican senator talks about selling his party's message nationally

    Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman went further today outlining what it would take for him to run for president. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.  M.L. Schultze reports

    Chapel Hill's logo is familiar to Northeast Ohio shoppers, but retail's rapid changes may have led to a decline; the mall entered receivership this month. (Wikipedia)Chapel Hill Mall joins list of troubled NEO retail properties
    The Akron mall is in foreclosure, while Rolling Acres and Randall Park have been shuttered for years

    Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall has entered receivership, joining the list of Northeast Ohio’s troubled malls. Tennessee-based CBL & Associates has owned the mall for a decade, and is on the hook for nearly $80 million in loans to U.S. Bankcorp.  Kabir Bhatia reports

    Plans to demolish and replace the north stands at Fawcett Stadium won't begin August 11 as originally planned.  (WKSU)Renovations at the Hall of Fame game stadium are being delayed
    The minor setback will allow the Hall of Fame trustees to work with local community groups and governments to raise more money

    After months of speculation and fundraising, plans to renovate Fawcett Stadium are being delayed.

    Hall of Fame President David Baker says the extensive renovations will not begin until after the end of the high-school football season, though some safety issues will be addressed before the Hall of Fame festival begins in two weeks.  (more)

    Ohio is still lagging behind the nation in foreclosure recovery. (Taber Andrew Bain)As the nation recovers from housing bust, Ohio still lags behind
    While there are some positive signs, Ohio's recovery has been slow

    Nationally, foreclosure rates are at their lowest since 2006 but Ohio is still lagging behind the nation in the recovery.

    RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist says that Ohio has the sixth highest foreclosure rate in the nation for the first half of 2014. He says one of the reasons for that lag is that Ohio requires judges to sign off on foreclosures.  Lyndsey Schley reports

    Fewer cities are fighting the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District over its stormwater management plan. (NEORSD)More cities drop out of the fight against the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
    Cleveland Heights is the latest to abandon the legal battle over a stormwater management program, but the case will continue before the Ohio Supreme Court

    The number of Northeast Ohio cities fighting a multi-million-dollar storm-water project has gotten smaller.

    Cleveland Heights is the latest city to abandon the suit against the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District that’s going before Ohio Supreme Court. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier says that leaves eight of the original 12 cities still in the fight over the sewer district’s jurisdiction.  Kevin Niedermier reports

    Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
    Other headlines:  Supreme Court suspends former judge's law license; Ohio women injured by overpass prank remains in critical condition

  • Supreme Court suspends former judge's law license
  • Ohio women injured by overpass prank remains in critical condition
  • Lucas County Sheriff to treat overdoses as homicides
  •   Jeff St. Clair reports

    Cleveland fast-tracks $2.5 million for 2016 GOP convention

    The latest WKSU morning news headlines:   Amanda Rabinowitz reports

    Conventioneers at the 2012 RNC in Tampa spent millions of dollars in that city, but the big event hurt some businesses. (WKSU, File photo)Many will profit from Cleveland's GOP convention, but others may not
    Advice from former convention host cities on who won, who lost and why

    Cleveland officials are already touting the dollars and prestige they expect will come with the 2016 Republican National Convention.

    But, there are warnings from former host cities that the events are not a windfall for everyone. They’re notorious for tying up local commuters and strangling some businesses. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, the difference between the winners and losers can be a matter of planning and location.  Kevin Niedermier reports

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    Special Features
    Heroin: Big Trouble in a Small Town

    Heroin abuse is gaining a lot of attention as it spreads through Ohio's suburbs. But it's in rural areas like Tuscarawas County that the drug has been a huge problem for a decade. Some describe it as a first love; others as a lifelong battle. Amanda Rabinowitz examines the issue in a three-part series examining heroin abuse in small-town Ohio with stories of addiction, death -- and hope.

    (more )

    Mean Kids: Bullying in School

    Bullying is a bigger problem in Northeast Ohio than in the nation as a whole. It happens more often and it's reported less frequently. Our region has also been rocked by the suicides of bullying victims who saw no other way out. In this series, Mean Kids, WKSU's Vivian Goodman takes a closer look at the bullies, their targets and their weapons, as well as the tools Northeast Ohio is using to fight the problem.

    (more )

    Kent State 1970: Hear it now

    At the time of the events, WKSU reporters caught many of the key developments leading up to the shooting, the day of the tragedy and of the aftermath. The original audio, as well as photographs, reports and other text, has been gathered on a special web site:

    (more )

    May 4th Remembered

    On May 4th, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on Kent State students protesting the invasion of Cambodia, the escalation of the Vietnam War - and the presence of the guard on campus. Four students died; nine were wounded. The scene became an icon for the Baby Boom generation. And this year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, as a site that contributed significantly to the understanding of the nation's history and culture. But for many, the history is not national. It's personal. And while it's fading out of many textbooks and memories, it's fresh in the lives of many others. WKSU is taking a look at the personal stories and larger lessons that grew from May 4, 1970.

    (more )

    Good Jobs In Bad Times

    The WKSU newsroom dove into the murky waters of the current employment situation in Northeast Ohio with the 8-part series Good Jobs in Bad Times. With their reports, the award-winning news staff covered topics that include high-paying tech jobs, careers that don't need a 4-year degree, the re-growth of agriculture as industry, working part-time full-time, drastically changing career paths, the truth about healthcare, bridge jobs after graduation and the future of the NE Ohio employment outlook.

    (more )

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