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Morning news headlines for March 4, 2013
Strongsville teachers strike; Last Ohio casino opens tonight; State budget could cut educational service center funding
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Strongsville teachers strike
  • Investigation reveals spotty histories of some Internet café owners
  • Cincinnati casino opens tonight
  • State budget could slash funding for educational service centers
  • Prison chief recommends early release for five inmates
  • Police break up Cleveland cockfighting ring
  • Walmart to use solar power in some Ohio stores
  • Strongsville teachers strike
    Teachers in Strongsville are on the picket lines this morning, as talks broke down over the weekend and the union rejected the board’s last best offer.  Schools remain open today as officials interviewed about 130 potential replacement teachers. Striking teachers have said they won’t recognize grades given during the work stoppage and yelled quote “you’re not qualified” as applicants arrived for interviews over the weekend. There have been fewer than a dozen teacher strikes in Ohio since state approved collective bargaining for public employees nearly 30 years ago.

    Investigation reveals spotty histories of some Internet café owners
    A newspaper investigation of Ohio Internet cafes and their owners has found most of the businesses provided incomplete information to the state and most of the operators identified had spotty financial backgrounds or criminal histories. The Columbus Dispatch report comes as state lawmakers debate how to regulate the operations. The newspaper found more than half of the roughly 800 businesses registered with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine provided only a street address. Almost 100 aren't on file with the Ohio Secretary of State. Six in 10 of those identified had spotty financial histories including tax liens and bankruptcies. A dozen had criminal backgrounds.

    Cincinnati casino opens tonight
    Ohio’s fourth and final casino opens tonight in downtown Cincinnati. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati opens after more than two years of construction and follows those in Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus. They have brought in nearly $404 million combined. About $133 million in taxes from that revenue has gone to Ohio schools, counties.

    State budget could slash funding for educational service centers
    Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget could mean tens of millions of dollars in combined funding cuts for 55 centers that support school districts around the state. The Dayton Daily News reports that the potential funding cuts for Educational Service Centers, or ESCs, could total nearly $100 million and lead to higher charges to districts. The ESCs provide districts with shared services such as speech and physical therapists and school nurses. A governor's official says the plan would cut state funding for each center by 22 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 27 percent the following year.

    Prison chief recommends early release for five inmates
    Ohio's prison chief is recommending the release of five inmates who have served 80 percent of their time. The recommendation, if approved, would be the first use of a 2011 law intended to reduce the inmate population. Director Gary Mohr of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has sent letters to judges asking them to release two female prisoners and three male inmates for good behavior and other factors. The inmates are serving time mostly for low-level felonies. Judges have the final say on whether to release prisoners.

    Police break up Cleveland cockfighting ring
    Cleveland police say they broke up a suspected cockfighting ring on the city’s West Side over the weekend. The Plain Dealer reports one man was arrested, 40 were detained and 43 live roosters were removed from a home’s attic. The newspaper reports the 52-year-old homeowner was arrested on suspicion of cruelty to animals and gambling. Eight roosters were euthanized due to injuries.

    Walmart to use solar power in some Ohio stores
    Walmart is rolling out solar power at a dozen Ohio stores, in a move that the Dayton Daily News reports will increase the state’s total solar power generation by 10 percent. The giant retailer has installed solar power arrays atop the stores in a process that's been in the works during the past year. They'll start producing power today. 

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