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Morning news headlines for April 12, 2012
Dems give chairman another term; ODNR releases drilling documents; Kasich denies clemency

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
Download (WKSU Only)
  • Dems give chairman another term
  • Portman stumps for Romney
  • Drilling documents released
  • Kasich denies clemency
  • Taxing hookah in Ohio
  • Bridgestone opens Akron tech center
  • Former Cleveland firefighter sentenced
  • Ohio top "Tree City"
  • Axl Rose declines Rock Hall induction

    Dems give chairman another term
    Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern keeps that position for another two years, after beating back a challenge from a Lorain County attorney. Redfern won re-election handily, 51-10. Challenger Anthony Giardini, who claimed the backing of several unions, says he’ll support the party, though he admits he still has concerns about the Redfern’s strategy. Redfern had support from high profile Democrats such as US Sen. Sherrod Brown He says while he didn’t solicit anyone in elected office or in labor unions for support, his door is open to anyone. 

    Portman stumps for Romney
    Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman is hitting the campaign trail for Mitt Romney today. Portman will address a crowd in Pennsylvania. Last month, Portman campaigned with Romney throughout Ohio. He’s among names floated as potential running mates for Romney. Portman told WKSU recently that he is committed to his role as Ohio Senator.

    Drilling documents released
    Proposed rules for allowing drilling in Ohio's state parks would require natural gas and oil companies to stay at least 300 feet - the length of a football field – from campgrounds, certain waterways and sites deemed historically valuable. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the proposals for drilling leases also include an 89-page list of "best management practices." The Ohio Department of Natural Resources shared the records after the Sierra Club’s Ohio chapter sued the agency on Monday, demanding their release. Interest in tapping into the Utica shale has drilling companies offering many eastern Ohio landowners more than $5,000 an acre to sign mineral-rights leases. The state in September opened its parks and other lands to drilling.

    Kasich denies clemency
    Ohio’s first execution in six months likely will go forward next week. Gov. John Kasich has refused to spare condemned inmate Mark Wiles, convicted in the 1985 stabbing of a teen in Portage County. Last week, a federal judge approved changes to the state's lethal injection policies, clearing the way for the execution to proceed. More than 200 religious leaders called on Kasich this week to commute Wiles sentence to life in prison.

    Taxing hookah in Ohio
    The American Lung Association wants Ohioans to hike taxes on all tobacco products – not just cigarettes – to cut back on tobacco use. Ohio now tacks a $1.25 onto each pack of cigarettes and a nearly 20 percent tax on tobacco products like cigars. The American Lung Association of Ohio’s Shelly Kiser, says raises taxes on things like hookah and roll-your-own tobacco makes sense because those products are becoming more popular with young people. Kiser says raising taxes could help Ohio create new tobacco prevention programs. 

    Bridgestone opens Akron tech center
    Bridgestone has officially opened its $100 million technical center in east Akron. Some 450 people are now working in the center, whose footprint extends over the equivalent of more than four football fields. Japanese Consul General Kuninora Matsuda came to Akron from the consulate in Detroit to celebrate the opening. He says Japan is now the No. 1 foreign investor in Ohio, and praised the nearly $70 million tax incentive package that helped Akron land the center. The new center was built to what’s called the LEADS gold standard for its environmental and energy efficiency, and Firestone Building Products were included in the construction. Bridgestone is the world’s largest tire maker, and its American subsidiary is based in Nashville.

    Former Cleveland firefighter sentenced
    A retired Cleveland firefighter who paid coworkers cash to cover more than 4,000 hours of shifts while still collecting his salary will spent two months in jail. Timothy Debar pleaded guilty Wednesday and sentenced to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. But he will not owe restitution to the city of Cleveland and may still be able to collect his pension. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy Russo says the Cleveland Fire Department shoulders some of the blame for a lack of oversight. The shift-trading scandal in Cleveland is reported to have cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

    Ohio top "Tree City"
    Ohio is once again the leading state in the nation — at least when it comes to one measure of what you might call “green action.” Wendy Van Buren of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says Ohio has the most local communities that have earned the honor of being declared a “Tree City." To earn the honor of a "tree city USA community," cities and townships must have a special program to plant and prune trees on public property. And each year, those communities must spend at least 2 dollars per resident on the program.

    Axl Rose declines Rock Hall induction
    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can remove one place setting from this Saturday’s induction. Axl Rose, controversial lead singer of the 1980's heavy metal group Guns 'n Roses, posted a letter on Facebook that says he will not attend the ceremony in Cleveland, and declines his induction. The band has been estranged for the past two decades and Rose has continued to tour the band with new members. But the Rock Hall is inducting only the original lineup. Past inductees such as Paul McCartney have declined to attend the ceremony over band politics, but to date only the Sex Pistols have refused the actual induction.

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