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Ohio


Headline News for Friday, April 8, 2011
Hotel may be included with Cleveland's downtown casino, Park system would be impacted by the government shutdown, Ohio's attorney general wants legislation to protect wistleblowers
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ohio Caesars has obtained the rights to buy the Ritz Carlton from Forest City Enterprises
  • The Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be closed to the public starting Saturday
  • Mike Dewine unveiled a proposal Thursday that would help investigators identify fraud while its happening
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Ohio’s elections chief is speaking out against legislation proposed by some fellow Republicans.  A bill approved by the Ohio House would require voters to show the photo ID before casting an in-person ballot.  Secretary of State John Husted says he would not change current policy that allows voters to prove their identities with photo IDs OR other documents like utility bills. Husted says he would rather see a change that people casting early or provisional ballots be required to give their full Social Security numbers instead of the currently required last four digits.

 

Ohio Governor John Kasich and his fellow Republicans who dominate the Legislature say their proposed two-year state budget is what they call a “jobs budget.”  But a left-leaning think-tank has just released a study portraying the spending blueprint as a jobs killer. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports.

 

 

Cleveland’s downtown casino could include a hotel.  Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ohio Caesars has obtained the rights to buy the Ritz Carlton from Forest City Enterprises. Ritz Carlton is within walking distance of the planned casino near the Tower City Center complex set to open next year. The Plain Dealer reports Gilbert promised in 2009 that he would not build a hotel, an aspect that helped gain voter support for the measure.

 

 

The direct impact of the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan already has been felt in central Ohio, where Honda ratcheted back plant production last week and expects to  be dealing with supply problems for the next two or three months. Now Edmunds.com is predicting that consumers will start feeling the impact.  July is typically the strongest month for dealer incentives and discounts. But parts shortages and the plant slowdowns will likely cut into supply – and dictate fewer price breaks for new-car buyers. According to Automotive news, Honda ended March with an inventory of nearly 210,000 cars and trucks in the U.S. That’s a 47-day supply. Ten days before the earthquake, it had a 64-day supply.

 

 

Ohio's biggest egg producer has agreed to pay a more than a $500,000 fine to settle dozens of pollution and permit complaints dating back to 2003. Ohio Fresh Eggs will pay $635,000 and will make environmental improvements at its farms in central Ohio.  The company was hit with 71 violations at its farms in Licking, Hardin and Wyandot counties.

 

 

Ohio’s attorney general wants legislation to protect whistleblowers. Mike DeWine and three state lawmakers unveiled the proposal Thursday that would help investigators identify fraud while it’s happening, that they say would be especially important in Medicaid fraud cases. DeWine says when fraud is caught early enough, the state saves the most money.

 

 

The federal program that allows nonviolent fugitives to surrender at churches is getting more political support to keep operating. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is pushing legislation that would place the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program under the U.S. Attorney General and give it funding of five million dollars a year for five years.  The U.S. Marshal Service last month cancelled the program that began in Cleveland in 2005 and spread to 20 U.S. cities. 

 

 

Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora says he’s innocent of racketeering. The latest charges filed against him in the sweeping county corruption probe. Dimora told the U.S. District Judge he’s not guilty of 34 criminal charges, including the federal prosecutor’s claim that he ran a criminal enterprise out of his county offices. Dimora has already pleaded not guilty to 26 counts of corruption and faces trial in September. 

 

 

Northeast Ohio’s park system would be impacted by the government shutdown. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be closed to the public starting Saturday. The Beacon Journal reports parking lots and trails would be closed and programs cancelled. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also would be idled.

  

Calves raised for veal will have room to turn around in their pens for the almost 20 weeks they live before slaughter. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board voted unanimously for that this week. Wayne Pacelle, president of the United States Humane Society, says the decision reverses a decision by the board last month. The Humane Society had collected enough signatures last year to get an issue on the ballot to force more humane treatment of farm and other animals. It agreed to table that move after former governor Ted Strickland struck a deal with the Humane Society, the Ohio Farm Bureau and other organizations.

  

Insurers say so far they've received about $69 million in claims related to violent storms and flooding that hit Ohio in late February. The Ohio Insurance Institute says the tally of losses is expected to rise in the coming months as more property damage is detected. The storms were accompanied by a tornado in central Ohio's Fairfield County and wind gusts of 60 mph or higher in several places. Insurers participating in a survey say almost 15,900 claims have been filed statewide because of damage from the storms.

 

A glitch in a bag screening machine has led to an evacuation and delays at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The entire airport was cleared for about 45 minutes at 5:30 this morning when screeners at a checkpoint realized they weren’t getting an accurate look at what was in passengers' carry-on bags. The evacuation was a precaution, but airport officials say flight delays can be expected throughout the morning. 

 

 

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