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Headline News for Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Batchelder unveils constitution commission bill; Akron announces new parking system; Hospital first in state to offer new therapy

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • House Speaker William Batchelder unveils a bill to form a commission to review the Ohio constitution
  • Akron launches new parking system that allows drivers to pay by cell phone
  • University Hospitals in Northeast Ohio will be the first to offer less damaging radiation therapy to cancer patients


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Headline News 05/18/11...

The leader of the Ohio Senate says he's aiming for the Republican-controlled chamber to pass the state
budget by the first full week of June. Senate President Tom Niehaus says that proposed changes to the $55.6 billion proposal are due by next week. The spending plan affects everything from funding for schools and hospitals to health care for the poor to money for state parks. Niehaus said Republicans were reviewing the bill's charter school provisions and Gov. John Kasich's proposal to shift 2 percent of pension contributions from employers to employees. The budget passed by the GOP-led House stripped Kasich's pension idea from the legislation. 
Activists on Ohio’s political right and left usually fight each other on basic issues like taxes. But three think tanks that span the political spectrum are now agreeing on a proposal to wipe out several tax breaks. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports. 
Another department facing steep cuts is proposing a way to raise more money: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources wants to more than double the logging of new growth in state forests over the next two years. The division of forestry’s Bob Boyles says that the increase will help state and local school finances and benefit in other ways. The state maintains that ecosystems need more open space to regenerate and diversify. But Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council says that the forestry industry has created more than enough space since it began cutting trees on state lands in the 1930s.   
The state plan would allow logging companies to cut down nearly 30 percent of new growth in beginning in July, and 36 percent the following year. It estimates the increase will raise an extra $700,000.
The state appears to be heading off plans by the Warren sewage treatment plant to handle millions of gallons of chemical-laced water that’s a byproduct of the drilling process known as fracking. WKSU’s ML Schultze has more on another dispute involving the emerging technology. 
A bill that targets the widespread abuse of prescription painkillers in Ohio has cleared the state Senate.
The Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that aims to address the problem - requiring licenses for clinics as distributors of dangerous drugs and requiring criminal background checks for clinic employees.
A Northeast Ohio hospital will be the first in the state to offer cancer patients an evolving form of radiation treatment that does less damage to healthy tissue. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports that University Hospitals is adding proton therapy to its new Seidman Cancer Center.
Akron is launching a new way for motorists to pay for parking at meters and lots across the city. Using their cell phones, drivers can register their cars and credit card information. After that, when they park, they can call the Ring-Go service and enter their location and length of stay.  The transaction should take only 30 seconds. But the service includes an extra 25-cent charge per use. Akron is the first city in Ohio to use the system. Mayor Don Plusquellic says the city did not start the program to make a profit.
Akron has created two other parking programs this year to simplify parking and boost downtown tourism. In March, the city started offering 65 minutes of free parking in city-owned parking decks. Akron has also added pay-by-credit card options to meters.
About a thousand protesters showed up at the JP Morgan Chase Bank shareholders meeting in Columbus Tuesday. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles filed this report. 
A civil rights and religious force in Northeast Ohio for decades is leaving the region. The Rev. Marvin McMickle told the Cleveland State University board of trustees Tuesday morning that he’s taking over as president of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in New York on July 1. McMickle has been senior pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church since 1987, and was president of the boards of both the local NAACP and Urban League. Cleveland civil rights lawyer Avery Friedman says McMickle left a big mark. McMickle founded one of the first ministries in the country for people with HIV/AIDS, and Antioch’s Baptist’s ministries include job training, a food pantry and a credit union.
A new poll finds most Ohio voters would dump the state's new law that limits bargaining by public employees and bars them from striking. In the Quinnipiac University survey released today, 54 percent say the law should be repealed, 36 percent say it should be kept. Also, 58 percent oppose banning all strikes by public workers. The poll also finds that 53 percent of Ohio voters say the Republican governor's budget proposals are unfair to people like them.
An inmate who said he didn't remember fatally shooting two people 27 years ago was put to death yesterday. An appeals court overturned a stay of execution for Daniel Lee Beford. He was the third inmate in the country to be put to death using the surgical sedative pentobarbital.
A report says a prison DNA sample from a Cleveland man accused of killing 11 women disappeared and was never entered into national law enforcement databases. Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says the sample taken from Anthony Sowell in the 1990s was sent to a lab in Virginia but was never returned. He’s set for trial on June 6.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won the draft lottery and earned the Number 1 pick in the draft, one year after losing LeBron James. The Cavs had only about a 25 percent chance of getting the top pick. They also have the number 4 pick. Owner Dan Gilbert says it was a big night. The Cavs will likely select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving in June's draft.
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