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Noon news headlines for December 13, 2012
Kasich won't lease Turnpike; Cleveland, Akron among dirtiest cities

  • Kasich won't lease Turnpike
  • Cleveland, Akron among dirtiest cities
  • Kasich won't lease Turnpike
    Governor John Kasich won't lease the Ohio Turnpike and instead proposes raising $1.5 billion in bonds to fund local road projects.

    Up to an additional $1.5 billion could be generated by matching local and federal funds.Kasich's plan puts toll increases on trucks in line with inflation, and freezes rates for 10 years on local trips paid for with an E-Z Pass.

    Turnpike toll hikes have been about 7 percent a year over the past 20 years, but Kasich says his plan would cap future increases at no more than 2.7 percent.

    Ninety percent of the proceeds from bond sales, backed by future toll revenues, would go to northern Ohio projects, including the turnpike. Diverting toll revenue off the roadway will require lawmaker approval.

    The plan retains the Ohio Turnpike Commission as a public entity and turns operations over to ODOT. The governor originally touted benefits of a lease. But counties hosting the 241-mile toll road strenuously objected.

    Cleveland, Akron among dirtiest cities
    Forbes magazine has released a list of America's dirtiest cities.  Akron is #15 while Cleveland is #19.  The rankings are based on EPA air and water quality indexes, plus the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report and the number of Superfund sites in a metro area.  Fresno, California tops the list.

    In northeast Ohio, the study cites air pollution from coal and steel plants plus groundwater contamination from decades of heavy manufacturing.

    Cleveland also clocks in at #9 on Forbes' list of America's most dangerous cities.  Detroit is #1.

    Kennel bill stalls
    Legislation that would increase criminal penalties against kennel operators who abuse pets in their care probably isn't going anywhere during the current session in Columbus.

    The bill was proposed after more than a dozen dogs died from starvation or neglect at a Mahoning County kennel. But lawmakers say the measure isn't expected to move out of the Ohio Senate this time because it lacks support.

    The law would make it illegal for kennel owners, managers or employees to abuse or neglect pets in their care. Violations would be bumped from misdemeanors to felonies.

    The bill passed the Ohio House in February. It was nicknamed Nitro's Law after one of the dogs that died at the kennel.

    Shaker Heights student wins spelling bee and scores perfect SAT
    A Shaker Heights teen who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2010 is celebrating another impressive achievement — a perfect SAT score. The Plain Dealer reports Anamika Veeramani scored a perfect 2400. She hopes to someday become a cardiovascular surgeon.
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