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Fracking may cut watershed costs for property owners
Other noon headlines: NEOMED and schizophrenia, home sales, historic preservation and Hurricane Sandy

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M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:
  • Fracking could cut costs for conservancy
  • Schizophrenia grant for NEOMED early treatment
  • Ohio housing sales climb
  • Special help for historic buildings in Ohio
  • Fracking could cut costs for conservancy
    The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is considering a plan to reduce the assessments it began levying on nearly 500,000 parcels of land in 18 counties last decade.

    How much the assessments are lowered will depend on how much the district collects in oil and gas royalties from Utica shale drilling. The Conservancy Court will review the plan at a session Saturday at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse, but the district is cautioning that no reductions will likely occur before 2015.

    Since 2011, the conservancy district has approved three leases in the Utica Shale region. It cleared $77 million in signing bonus payments, and has just received its first royalty payment of $750,000. The district collects about $11 million in assessments on land owners. Themoney goes toward operation of dams and reservoirs.

    Schizophrenia grant for NEOMED early treatment
    The Northeast Ohio Medical University is getting another $5.5 million grant to further its schizophrenia treatment program.

    The money from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation is going toward the BeST Center at the medical school, which is funding early intervention and treatment in four counties.

    Congressman Patrick Kennedy II – the youngest son of Ted Kennedy, a former drug and alcohol abuser and author of the mental health parity act – celebrated the announcement, referring to Northeast Ohio’s long history of substance abuse and mental health treatment beginning with the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    “You live in a holy land for those of us whose lives have been transformed because of a miracle that occurred here in Akron Ohio. So I am honored to be here today and know that you are beginning to set the standard again in how we treat these illnesses that get dismissed in our society.”

    But Kennedy said the government needs to participate as well as private foundations, and insisted early treatment will save money in the long run.

    The NEOMED program has been tracking nearly 70 patients diagnosed early with schizophrenia. Just  5 percent of them have been readmitted to hospitals within a year of their first treatment, compared to national statistics that range from 13 to 50 percent.


    Ohio housing sales climb
    The latest report from the Ohio Association of Realtors says single-family house and condo sales have risen for  the 22nd consecutive month when compared to the previous year. The Realtors group measures the sales by an index based on homes put under contract. It says that April contracts were up more than 19 percent over April of 2012.

    Special help for historic buildings in Ohio
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has designated Cuyahoga and Ashtabula counties among nine counties where historic properties can get special federal funding to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy.

    The Ohio Historic Preservation Office says it is preparing an application to FEMA detailing the extent of the damage.


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