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Morning news headlines for June 18, 2012
Akron radio host dies; Romney stumps in  Medina Co.; Medical Mart expenses cost taxpayers
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Akron radio host dies
  • Romney stumps in  Medina Co.
  • Medical Mart expenses cost taxpayers
  • I-277 westbound closes
  • Bass Island landmark reopens
  • Gas prices climb
  • Cancer cluster investigations defined
  • ODOT wants agencies to spend carryovers
  • Kent State faces elimination game
  • Medical Mart expenses cost taxpayers
    Expenses for Cleveland’s half-billion dollar Medical Mart and Convention Center project are costing Cuyahoga County taxpayers about $25,000 a month. The Plain Dealer examined hundreds of bills for the project. Chicago-based MMPI has billed the county for executive’s cell phone bills and meals. The newspaper also finds the county pays thousands of dollars a month in rent for offices and an apartment - including cable TV and a cleaning service - for an executive to use three days a week. The county has budgeted about $3 million for reimbursable expenses during the 2 1/2 year project.  The Plain Dealer also reports thousands of dollars in expenses rejected by the county each month – including apartment snacks.

    Romney stumps in Medina Co. 
    Mitt Romney greeted about 3,000 supporters in Medina County on Sunday. The stop at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick is among a six-stop bus tour. The presidential candidate served up pancakes, touted his energy and economic ideas while attacking President Obama’s healthcare plan. It was Romney’s second stop in Ohio in the past week. He was in Cincinnati on Thursday. 

    Akron radio host dies
    Longtime Akron talk radio host Howie Chesik has died unexpectedly at age 65. He worked at radio station WNIR for 38 years, on the air six days a week. He also was the Cleveland Cavaliers public address announcer for 17 years between the 1970’s and 1990’s. Chizek’s talk program was instrumental in WNIR’s decision to become the first FM station in the nation to go all-talk, in 1979, according to station president Bob Klaus. Chizek apparently suffered a heart attack on the first day of Walt Disney World vacation with 10 children as part of his annual charity program.

    I-277 westbound closes
    A heavily traveled four-mile stretch of highway in the Akron area closes for one month starting this morning. The westbound lanes of I-277 and US 224 will shut down entirely for resurfacing. The entrance ramps from I-77 also will be closed.

    Bass Island landmark reopens
    A Lake Erie landmark will re-open this July after a three-year renovation. The 350-foot tall Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island is almost ready for visitors again after repairs were made to its observation deck and elevator. The monument built nearly 100 years ago commemorates a key victory in the War of 1812.

    Gas prices climb
    Gas prices in Ohio are above the week-ago and year-ago averages, while the national average is down from last week. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio is $3.65 in today’s survey. That's up seven cents from last week. It also tops the price from a year ago, when the average dropped to $3.54 after hitting record highs in spring.

    Policy developed for cancer cluster investigations
    The state of Ohio is proposing a universal policy for responding to concerns about potential cancer clusters in communities. The Columbus Dispatch reports the policy is in response to a comment made by Robert Indian, the Ohio Department of Health’s top cancer-control expert. He pointed to the northern Ohio city of Clyde where 35 children were found to have cancer in a 15-year period. He says the years of work have produced no answers and he wants to avoid such investigations whenever possible. The proposal would require specific time frames both for responding to investigation requests and completing work.

    ODOT wants agencies to spend carryovers
    The cash-strapped Ohio Department of Transportation wants regional planning agencies to start spending leftover money. ODOT says 17 regional planning agencies in Ohio left about $170 million in federal transportation dollars unspent during the state’s last fiscal year. Director Jerry Wray says Ohio has too many aging highways to let those funds go unused. ODOT wants to require agencies to spend 75 percent of their federal allocations by 2016 or risk losing the money to the state. 

    Kent State faces elimination game
    It’s loser-go-home for Kent State’s baseball team in the College World Series today. After losing to Arkansas in its opener The Golden Flashes will play the Florida Gators, who were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Florida was upset by defending National Champion South Carolina on Saturday to fall into the elimination game vs. Kent at 5pm Eastern. 

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