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Noon headlines, April 19, 2013: Ohio gay marriage, jobless, teachers strike
Gay marriage poll, unemployment numbers, Strongsville teacher strike, juvenile prisons

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:
  • Gay marriage support up in Ohio
  • Unemployment holds in Ohio
  • Strongsville strike's next step
  • Force up in Ohio's juvenile prisons
  • BHATIA: Strongsville strike update

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    Gay marriage support in Ohio
    A new Quinnipiac Poll shows Ohioans are more accepting of gay marriage by a slim margin. But U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s approval rating has dropped since he announced last month he now supports allowing gay people to marry.

    The poll shows 48 percent of respondents support same-sex marriage; 44 percent disapprove. A Columbus Dispatch poll last month shows 54 percent of respondents want to repeal Ohio’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

    But Portman’s approval numbers have dropped from 44 percent to 40 percent.

    Unemployment holds in Ohio
    Ohio’s new official unemployment rate for March shows no change from February. The jobless rate is currently 7.1 percent.

    Ben Johnson helps track the numbers at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. He notes that Ohio’s unemployment trend the past few months hasn’t been as bright as the one Ohioans have seen the past few years.

    JOHNSON on the new jobless numbers
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    “Ohio’s unemployment rate has been coming down fairly consistently for more than two years” Johnson said. “In the last three months, the rate has gone up slightly or held steady. What we don’t know, after only three months, is whether that’s indicative of something larger or whether the rate will return to a steady decrease in future months.”

    Ohio’s current unemployment rate of 7.1 percent is a half point below the national average. Still, 406-thousand Ohioans remain out of a job.

    Strongsville strike's next step
    A federal mediator has called together both sides in the Strongsville teachers’ strike Sunday afternoon, and the teachers have called off picketing until then. 

    The Strongsville teachers’ strike could enter its eighth week on Monday, but teachers’ union President Tracy Linscott hopes it doesn’t have to. 

    “We suspended picketing today in hopes that today will be our last day.  And Monday we’d be back in the classroom.”

    The teachers opted for a blood drive instead of picket signs today.

    Nearly 400 teachers went on strike March 4 over contract issues such as pay freezes, medical benefits and the structuring of pension payments.  The school district had cited a looming $6 million budget hole.  But last Sunday, the board made a new offer, citing a previously unknown surplus of $3.2 million.

    The teachers countered on Monday, and Linscott says they haven’t heard back.

    Force up in Ohio's juvenile prisons
    A new report says use of force in Ohio’s juvenile prisons has increased significantly since 2009.

    The report from the state’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee says force at Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities increased from 3. 74 incidents per teen to 4.69.

    The juvenile prison population has dropped from 2,000 to about 500 following a class action lawsuit. The state says, as a result, it is dealing with some of the most incorrigible of youths.

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