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News Headlines 2/8/12
The latest WKSU Morning Edition headlines from Amanda Rabinowitz

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
WKSU News Headlines

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Wednesday's headlines:

Gov. John Kasich says Ohio doesn't need to choose between a developing shale energy industry and a clean environment. In his State of the State address in Steubenville on Tuesday, Kasich told legislators he's committed to environmentally safe oil and natural gas development. The governor called on lawmakers to help make sure colleges and universities are preparing the skilled workers needed by the shale industry. Several members of the public in the balcony jeered the governor's energy comments and were escorted out.


Kasich also said Ohio could benefit from leasing or selling the turnpike, but said he isn’t going to rush into it. The state controlling board will decide Monday whether to approve a nearly $3 million contract for a Texas consulting firm to study privatizing the turnpike. The new contract is twice the original proposal, but the Ohio Department of Transportation says the additional cost will allow a more thorough study. Gov. Kasich says he is open to other options. And in his speech, he maintained that the state would not give up complete control of the 241 miles of the toll road. A group of Northeast Ohio leaders says the consulting firm will support Kasich’s plan to privatize and is planning to launch its own study.


Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is pushing for a new levy to support the city schools – and a reform plan he says will justify it. Jackson’s plan includes giving successful district schools more flexibility to set schedules, curriculum, and spending. Under-performing schools would be closed. The plan also calls for an end to seniority as the sole factor that determines teacher layoffs, and for more power to fire ineffective teachers. Changing union rules will require approval by state lawmakers. State Senator Nina Turner was at the plan’s unveiling. She supports the district partnering with successful charter schools. But she is not ready to embrace a change in state laws to weaken the teachers union. Mayor Jackson’s plan also includes universal pre-school. Jackson hopes to see a levy increase make it to November’s ballot to help close a projected deficit of 65-millon dollars next year. The plan got the support of Governor Kasich during his state of the state speech Tuesday.


Newt Gingrich will be in Cleveland today as he continues his campaign swing through Ohio. Gingrich will tour Jergens, a machine part manufacturing plant in the city’s Collinwood neighborhood at 10:30 this morning. His visit is closed to the public. Gingrich spent Tuesday in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.


A chemical company in rural Northeast Ohio has agreed to pay $1.4 million in civil penalties for the unauthorized manufacturing cancer-causing substances. Dover Chemical Corp. entered a proposed settlement Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Akron. The company has agreed to stop making short-chain chlorinated paraffins, which can cause cancer and genetic and nervous system problems in humans.


A fire chief says most of the gasoline-soaked soil has been removed from a pipeline leak last month that displaced dozens of residents in a Lorain County mobile home park. Sunoco Logistics has replaced the pipe that leaked an estimated 115,000 gallons of gas last month.


Ohio's two U.S. senators plan to meet with the state's National Guard leader to discuss how Air Force downsizing plans would affect several Ohio locations. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman say they'll fight cuts to a program that includes four multipurpose cargo planes from the Mansfield base. Under the cuts, those planes and six tanker aircraft from a Columbus-area base would be retired. The moves were part of plans detailed Friday to cut the service by nearly 10,000 active, National Guard and Reserve airmen next year and shift capabilities.


Canton-based Timken says it has reached a new tentative five-year agreement with the union representing workers at three Ohio plants. Workers in January voted to reject a previous agreement reached by union leaders that would have secured a $225 million expansion at its Faircrest plant. At the time, a Timken executive said the company would evaluate other investment opportunities. The current contract expires in 2013.


The bankruptcy trustee for Akron’s Fair Finance is going after two companies for more than $1 billion. In a new lawsuit, Brian Bash says that Rhode island-based Textron Financial and New York-based Fortress Credit Corporation helped Tim Durham run Fair Finance as a Ponzi scheme. Durham is accused of bilking hundreds of millions of dollars out of people who invested in the small company. Bash has filed dozens of other lawsuits.

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