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Three tornadoes confirmed during storms Wednesday
Other headlines: Ohio House will hear from IRS scrutiny victims; Search continues for missing boy in Akron; Ohio's rainy day fund is overflowing
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
  • Search continues for missing boy in Akron
  • Ohio House will hear from IRS scrutiny victims
  • Ed FitzGerald calls for changes to Ohio abortion policies
  • Ohio's rainy day fund is overflowing
  • New law will help prevent recession layoffs
  • Ohio voting rules set to expire  
  • Three tornadoes confirmed during storms Wednesday
    The National Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes touched down during severe storms this week. One toppled a barn in Rowsburg, in Ashland County.  A tornado was confirmed in Tuscarawas County where strong winds destroyed a fire station in Mineral City.

    More than a third of Tusc. County customers lost power during the storm and more than 5,000 remain without power this morning.

    Utilities report that more than 51,000 customers in Ohio were without electricity Thursday, a day after violent storms swept through the state, about half them are still in the dark across the state.

    Flood warnings are still in effect today for some counties, and the Ohio Department of Insurance had posted on its website tips for filing claims for damaged homes.


    Search continues for missing boy in Akron 
    Rescue crews this morning resume the search for a 12-year-old autistic boy who was swept away in a rain-swollen creek behind an apartment complex in Akron.

    Summit County divers searched Thursday night for Nicholas Shaffer. Witnesses said he was swept away in Mud Brook, which is usually a small creek but was turned into a rushing waterway by the rain.

    Police said the boy was sitting on a retaining wall with his mother when he jumped in.

    Three people jumped in the creek to try to help but climbed out before the waterway merged with the Cuyahoga River.

    Authorities from a dozen agencies postponed the search after nightfall Thursday. 


    Ohio House will hear from IRS scrutiny victims

    A state House committee wants to hear from Ohioans who believe they were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service because of their political leanings.

    The House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee scheduled a July 25 hearing at the University of Cincinnati. The committee Thursday stated that comments from those testifying will be submitted to Ohio's congressional delegation.

    An IRS Cincinnati office played a key role in what agency officials have said was improper scrutiny of tea party and other groups when they sought tax-exempt status.

    Several Ohio-based tea party groups and leaders have charged they were unfairly singled out. IRS employees have denied partisan motives.

    Committee chairman Mike Dovilla says it is unacceptable that government personnel would "harass ordinary citizens" and their groups. He is a Berea Republican.


    Ed FitzGerald calls for changes to Ohio abortion policies 
    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald says opponents of abortion-related limits inserted into Ohio's state budget are exploring legal challenges and the possibility of forcing a new legislative vote on the provisions.

    The Cuyahoga County Executive said Thursday that funding cuts to Planned Parenthood and abortion-related restrictions placed on publicly funded hospitals and counselors at taxpayer-funded rape crisis centers are out of step with mainstream Ohio voters.

    He said challenging the entire two-year, $62 billion state budget isn't an option — but these elements of the bill can be forced before the Republican-dominated Legislature in January through what's called an initiated statute.

    If legislators fail to act, opponents could bring the question to voters in November 2014. That's when FitzGerald will face off against Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

    Ohio's rainy day fund is overflowing
    Ohio’s rainy day fund is growing.  Gov. John Kasich on Thursday added the maximum amount allowed to the fund known as the Budget Stabilization Fund. 

    Kasich deposited nearly $996 million dollars to the fund bringing the total to $1.48 billion to the account set aside for tough economic times.  It was empty when Kasich took office in January 2011. 

    Kasich credits controlling Medicaid costs and budget cuts for the surplus.

    Lawmakers established the fund in 1981.


    New law will help prevent recession layoffs
    Ohio joins about 25 other states that allow shared-work programs for companies seeking to avoid layoffs. 

    The new law signed Thursday by Gov. John Kasich allows companies to reduce workers’ hours rather than layoff workers. 

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio could have avoided more than 23,000 layoffs had the program been in effect in 2009.

    Policy Matters Ohio, a labor-backed research group, says the change gives employers the ability to keep their workforce intact and avoid retraining costs, and lets workers keep their benefits during a downturn.


    Ohio voting rules set to expire
    A federal judge in Ohio is scheduled to hear arguments Friday in a dispute over the state's voter identification and provisional ballot rules.

    At issue is an expiring court order from 2010 that governs provisional ballots and forms of voter ID in the perennial presidential battleground.

    Voter advocates want to see the order extended indefinitely. They contend the agreement's broad definitions of acceptable IDs must stay in place to prevent what they call "unequal and restrictive interpretations" among local elections boards. They argue the order eliminates confusion created by the law.

    The attorneys for the state say there's been no evidence to demonstrate that ending the agreement would result in Ohioans being denied the right to cast their vote. They say the court should allow the decree to expire.

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