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Noon headlines, March 5, 2013: Fracking, council DUI, Oberlin, Strongsville
Ohio drilling disclosure law challenged; Cleveland councilman's DUI, Oberlin back to school; Strongsville teachers picket, JobOhio's cost, gun bans

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:
  • Does Ohio's drilling law violate federal law?
  • Cleveland councilman faces third DUI
  • Oberlin tries to get back to normal
  • Strongsville teachers strike Day 2
  • JobsOhio more costly than expected
  • GOP lawmakers want felony charges against anyone enforcing tougher gun ban 
  • Does Ohio's drilling law violate federal law?
    A veteran Ohio environmental activist has filed a petition with the federal EPA, charging that a 12-year-old Ohio law on oil and gas drilling violates federal law and endangers public health and safety.

    Theresa Mills says federal law requires industries to file detailed reports on the hazardous chemicals they use with cities, local emergency management agencies, and local first responders. But Ohio law says oil and gas drillers need send the information only to the state Department of Natural Resources.

    Mills warns that in a chemical emergency involving drillers, that could mean volunteer firefighters and other first responders would be flying blind.

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    Mills and other environmental advocates predict that, with the current fracking boom, the chances of a chemical emergency are increasing. So they say, full disclosure with easy access, is important.

    Cleveland councilman faces third DUI

    Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed has been arrested for a third time on suspicion of drunken driving. The 51-year-old was first elected to represent Cleveland’s southeast side in 1999. He was convicted in 2005 and 2007 of driving under the influence, and was arrested shortly before 2 this morning after police said he ran a red light and made an improper U-Turn.

    Oberlin tries to get back to normal
    Classes resumed today at Oberlin College, the day after they were called off to allow the college to hold discussions on a series of racial incidents. No arrests have been made in the scrawling of racial graffiti around campus nor stemming from a report that someone dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume had been spotted on campus. Oberlin was the first school to admit blacks and women and was a stop on the underground railroad. A spokesman for the school southwest of Cleveland says the campus is trying to return to normal.

    Strongsville teachers strike Day 2
    The Strongsville teachers’ strike is in its second day with no sign of new talks being scheduled. The Strongsville Education Association says it wants to return to negotiations, but that the administration refuses. The school board says it has made a final/best offer that is all it can afford.

    GOP lawmakers want felony charges against anyone enforcing tougher gun ban
    Two Republican state senators from central Ohio have introduced a bill that would ban Ohio from enforcing new federal gun limits.

    The bill from Kris Jordan and Tim Schaffer would charge any local, state, federal or international agents who enforce new regulations with first-degree felonies.  The law also would prohibit the state from adopting any similar restrictions.

    According to the Plain Dealer, opponents of the bill dismiss it as flat-out unconstitutional.

    JobsOhio more costly than expected
    Ohio has spent more than $6 million to launch Gov. John Kasich’s JobsOhio program even while Democrats are challenging the constitutionality of the privately run, but publicly funded, initiative.

    The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the actual public investment in JobsOhio so far may actually be as much as $9 million. The paper examined public records and a federal tax filing to do its calculations.

    The program counts on JobsOhio getting $100 million a year by leasing the state’s liquor profits, and lawmakers approved $1 million to start it up in 2011. Democrats sued over that formula – saying it doesn’t allow enough oversight over how hundreds of millions of dollars in public money is spent. That stalled funding for the program until last month. Jobs Ohio told the Dispatch the delay forced it to tap the state’s Development Services Agency for money.

    Amish bishop headed to Texas prison
    The Amish bishop convicted of hate crimes is set to be sent to a federal prison in Texas. Authorities had planned to send 67-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr. to Pennsylvania to serve his 15-year sentence, but the Plain Dealer says the Bureau of Prisons changed its mind over the weekend. It also reports that his sons and other followers will be going to prisons in five states, none of them closer than Illinois. They were all convicted in attacks on other Amish, which included breaking into their homes and shaving their beards and cutting their hair.

    Mullet’s attorney is asking Judge Dan Polster to help keep the group closer to home. 

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