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Ohio


Headline News for Thursday, April 7, 2011
Senate approves abortion bill; Snow days expected to increase for Ohio schools; Agency says family assistance should withstand shutdown
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Ohio Senate approves bill banning abortions if doctors prove the baby would survive outside the womb
  • Legislature compromise pushes forward bill that would give Ohio Schools two more snow days 
  • Department of Jobs and Family Services says Medicaid, welfare, foodstamps and unemployment would be unaffected by April shutdown
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 04/07/11 HEADLINE NEWS…

 

The state agency in Ohio that administers Medicaid, welfare and food stamps says it doesn't expect any immediate disruptions to the federally supported programs if there is a government shutdown. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says unemployment benefits wouldn't be affected either because the state has received its allotment for April. Food stamp benefits and welfare assistance are also funded through the end of the month.  Officials say a shutdown could become an issue if it extends into May.

 

The Ohio Senate has approved a bill that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus would be able to survive outside the womb.      The bill now goes to the Ohio House. The measure has the support of Ohio Right to Life, unlike the so-called "heartbeat" bill that would ban abortions after the first detectable heartbeat.  

 

The state legislature has worked out a compromise the bill that would give Ohio schools a two-day increase in snow days. The state Senate on Wednesday voted to strip changes they had made to the legislation that caused it to stall.  One change that was dropped is a requirement that school districts provide bussing to charter schools during make-up days. Governor Kasich is expected to sign the bill that will give schools five snow days this year, up from three. 

 

Accusations of excessive force by Cleveland police will get a federal probe. A federal grand jury will investigate four Cleveland police officers accused of severely beating a 40-year-old Cleveland Heights man after a chase through the city on New Years’ Day.  All of the officers have been charged and their cases were bound over to the county last month.

 

A copper and brass theft spree at churches in and around Cleveland has landed a man in prison for 2 ½ years. James Dina of Cleveland could have gotten more than 31 years in prison. He stole from eight churches, four hotels, a high school, a convent and a monastery from July through December of last year.

 

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is committing 10 percent of the county sales tax to focus on extra college scholarships, early childhood education, community policing and economic development. FitzGerald announced the initiatives in his first state-of-the-county address today. By setting aside an estimated $16 million a year, Fitzgerald plans to seed a $100 million economic development fund, set up the education projects and commit for sheriff’s cooperation with local police. FitzGerald acknowledges implementation will not be easy. FitzGerald was elected county executive last year, after the county corruption scandal led voters to reject the old commissioner style of government and replace it with a charter system.

 

Cleveland’s West Side Market will celebrate its centennial in 2012, and a local non-profit is working with the city to try to ensure another one hundred years for the landmark. The Ohio City Near West Development Corporation submitted a report last week on the sustainability of the market. The results suggest improvements in parking, hours, maintenance, funding and vendor leases. While the city has designated $400,000 for renovations for the centennial, the report recommends that Mayor Frank Jackson invest another $3 million in 2013. A complete assessment of the building on West 25th Street could require another $7 million in outside funding. Councilman Joe Cimperman says the market is worth it. Cimperman’s ward includes the West Side Market. He says that a few issues may be addressed this year, but most changes will occur after the centennial celebrations have ended.

 

Two Northeast Ohio Democratic lawmakers are pushing an effort that would allow a recall effort of Governor Kasich and other elected officials. Youngstown state senator Bob Hagan and Cleveland State Representative Mike Foley say Ohioans should have an opportunity to react to the curtailing of union rights, just as voters can in Wisconsin. Sixteen state senators there face recall efforts. Hagan and Foley acknowledge it has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled Legislature.

 

A Republican state lawmaker who voted against the controversial bill limiting collective bargaining rights has been removed as chairman of a Senate committee holding hearings on the bill.  State Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati was stripped of his position on the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee for failing to communicate with a fellow senator. A spokesman for Senate President Tom Niehaus said Seitz was "giving consideration" to a substitute version of the without consulting the bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Keith Faber, of Celina.  Faber will replace Seitz as chairman.

 

Pink slips and school closings are just the beginning of the Cleveland Municipal School District’s plan to balance its books for the next two school years.  Interim school CEO Peter is staring at a $74 million hole and WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports that state law demands that he do something to fill it.

 

The co-owner of the bankrupt Akron-based Fair Finance has been ordered to live in a halfway house in Indianapolis. Indiana businessman Timothy Durham is among three accused of defrauding more than 5,000 Ohio investors out of more than $200 million.  Durham had been released on a $1 million bond and a magistrate in Indianapolis on Wednesday ordered him to live at a shelter on lockdown status until further court proceedings.

 

Ohio is trying to increase the number of people who are checked for HIV with a new set of rules on how the tests are offered and how counseling is done in private practices. Meanwhile, public health clinics around the state are offering rapid tests that they say will reduce patient waits – and anxiety.

The Cuyahoga County health board’s family planning clinic offers the HIV rapid tests free to everyone coming in. Spokeswoman Kate Burnett says they require just a mouth swab or finger prick and take twenty minutes. Burnett says the public is generally unaware that there is a difference between the rapid test and a traditional HIV test.

Meanwhile, the state is alerting doctors that Ohio law now allows them to offer HIV tests as a part of a routine battery of other tests, instead of patients having to specifically ask to be tested for HIV. And private physicians are no longer required to counsel patients after testing if the results are negative.

 

Ohio lawmakers concerned about the state's growing bedbug problem are calling on federal regulators to allow expanded use of an industrial-strength pesticide. The Ohio House Health Committee on Wednesday gave its unanimous approval to a resolution urging the U.S. EPA to let the state use propoxur to battle bedbugs in homes.

The panel's vote came at a hearing where an Ohio State University bedbug expert testified that the bloodsucking pests have become "a virtual epidemic" in Ohio.

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