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Headline News for Monday, 4/11/11
Thousands rally to kick off SB 5 repeal effort; Cleveland schools eliminate some perks for administrators; Gas prices soar
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 

Thousands of people seeking to repeal Ohio's new collective bargaining law rallied at the Statehouse over the weekend. 

Interim Cleveland schools CEO Peter Raskind is ending car allowances and payments for managers’ employees’ pension contributions as part of budget cuts. 
 
Gasoline prices in the state have jumped 12 cents for the second week in a row thanks to soaring oil prices. 
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Thousands of people seeking to repeal Ohio's new collective bargaining law rallied at the Statehouse over the weekend.   The gathering was organized by the We Are Ohio campaign, which bills itself as a grass-roots, bipartisan group. It's signing up people to circulate petitions in pursuit of a referendum on the measure that was signed recently by Governor. John Kasich.  The law applies to more than 350,000 public workers. It bans them from striking, restricts bargaining and eliminates binding arbitration.

The Cleveland school district is eliminating some perks for administrators in an effort to help stave off a nearly $50 million budget deficit. Interim Schools’ CEO Peter Raskind is ending car allowances and payments for managers’ employees’ pension contributions. Car allowances of up to $500 per month have been paid to 54 administrators whether or not they drive for work.   The Plain Dealer reports that the changes will save the district about $550,000. The change is part of Raskind’s budget reductions announcement last week that include laying off 700 teachers and other staff.     
  
Northeast Ohio residents can ask questions and give their thoughts on major road projects throughout the region this afternoon (Monday). The Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency wants public comment on dozens of projects in the Transportation Improvement Program. The program uses federal dollars to improve bike paths, roads and bridges.
Gayle Godek, a spokeswoman for NOACA, says people should seriously consider coming by the open house at the downtown Cleveland office from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, find a link on wksu.org.
 
Casino developers across the state are worried their projects could be delayed for months.  Governor John Kasich has yet to decide whether to seek additional fees and taxes from the state’s casino developers, which determine the cost of the casino and the revenue it can generate. The Plain Dealer reports that’s preventing Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his partners from getting financing for the casino being built in downtown Cleveland. The first phase of Cleveland’s downtown casino is being built in the old Higbee department store with plans to open next year.
 
Whether drilling to tap shale gas deposits in Ohio will be an economic boon or an environmental blight continues to sir debate statewide. WKSU’s Tim Rudell has been attending meetings ranging from the front-porch gatherings of a few neighbors, to public forums in college auditoriums.
 
A bill in the Ohio House would ban teenagers younger than 18 from tanning salons. Children are already restricted from commercial tanning beds unless they have written permission from a parent, but this bill goes beyond that, declaring the tanning beds totally off-limits until the teens reach adulthood. The Ohio State Medical Association is endorsing the bill. Dr. Mark Bechtel is director of dermatology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. He’s testifying to lawmakers about an explosion in the number of young women with deadly skin cancer, many of whom went to tanning salons.
A lobbyist for the medical association notes that state law bans voting and smoking for those under age 18, so he doesn’t see a ban on commercial tanning as unreasonable.
 
Gasoline prices in the state have jumped 12 cents for the second week in a row thanks to soaring oil prices. The latest survey puts the statewide average price for regular-grade gasoline at $3.79 a gallon, compared to $3.67 last Monday.
 
The Cleveland Indians are first in the American League Central and hold a seven game winning streak. The Tribe beat the Seattle Mariners 6-4 on Sunday to complete the weekend sweep.   The Indians are off to a 7-2 start for the first time since beginning the 2002 season 8-1.
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