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Ohio launches new push for child support collection
Other morning headlines: Attorney General discusses plan to make meth cleanup easier; Medicaid expansion opponents targeting Republican supporter

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Push for child support collection
  • Greater Cleveland RTA holding expanded service meetings
  • Medicaid expansion opponents targeting Republican supporter
  • First exotic animal escape since new regulations enacted
  • Attorney General discusses plan to make meth cleanup easier
  • Support growing for southwest Ohio river corridor
  • Gas prices down this week
  • Casino revenue growing
  • Utica Shale Conference begins Wednesday
  • Oho launches push for child support collection
    There’s a new push to get deadbeat parents to pay up, all across the state of Ohio.
    The Beacon Journal report a new initiative called the “I-70” project is trying to get every county to hit at least 70 percent on child support collections within the next two years. Right now, only half the counties in Ohio are hitting that mark. The federal government is offering the state more money if it can up its numbers. Right now, it gets 29 million dollars for child support efforts. It’s not clear how much more money will be made available if the state hits its targets. The average collection rate in Ohio is about 67 percent. Locally, Medina County had a nearly 75 percent rate. Cuyahoga County had just 60-percent.

    Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority holding expanded service meetings

    Cleveland's mass transit agency is holding public presentations on proposals to extend bus or commuter rail service to the city's eastern suburbs. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is holding the sessions today in East Cleveland, Tuesday in Cleveland and Thursday in Euclid. The expanded service proposals include extending a commuter train line, more dedicated lanes for stretch buses or a combination. The East Cleveland and Euclid mayors are backing the proposal as a way to spur economic development and improve transportation to the big University Circle-Cleveland Clinic job centers. According to The Plain Dealer, the consultant analyzing the ideas is looking to see if there would be enough riders to warrant the cost of expanding service.

    Medicaid expansion opponents targeting Republican supporter
    Conservative groups against expanding Medicaid in Ohio are setting their sights on the only Republican legislator who has spoken out in favor of the idea. Tea party leaders in the state's northwest corner are looking for a primary opponent to challenge Toledo-area state Rep. Barbara Sears next year. Sears has been out front in her support of GOP Gov. John Kasich's proposal to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income people.
    Many Republican lawmakers and conservatives are against expansion, a key part of Democratic President Barack Obama's health care law. Sears says she's against much of the health care law, too. But she thinks expanding health care coverage for the working poor is the right thing to do and will allow Ohio to better spend taxpayer money.

    First exotic animal escape since new regulations enacted
    A 400-pound lion wandering a central Ohio neighborhood apparently was the first documented escape since the state's new law regulating exotic-animal ownership took effect last year. The Ohio Department of Agriculture says the agency has not documented any other cases of exotic animals loose since the law took effect. The Columbus Dispatch reports the Fairfield Beach lion that was loose is among about 360 exotic animals owned by nearly 150 people statewide that have been registered since the law took effect.
    Officials are investigating last week's escape in Fairfield County. Someone apparently broke the cage locks and left cooked ribs and chicken giblets to lure the animal out. The owner helped leash the lion and get her back in a cage.

    Attorney General discusses plan to make meth cleanup easier
    Attorney General Mike Dewine is heading to North Canton today, to talk about meth.
    He says new hazardous material containers at five sites around the state will help make meth lab cleanups quicker and cut costs.
    Dewine says the state is seeing a huge increase in meth labs this year. There have been 770 statewide.
    Summit County has reported the most meth labs… hitting 191 by the end of last month.
    Dewine says that may suggest two things: That meth production may be high in Summit County, but also that police are effectively busting the facilities.

    Support growing for southwest Ohio river corridor
    More than a dozen local governments in western and southwest Ohio are backing a study for a 99-mile river corridor intended to spur tourism in the region.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to begin developing a master plan for the stretch of the Great Miami River from Sidney in western Ohio to Dayton and Hamilton north of Cincinnati.
    The Dayton Daily News reports that the plan's estimated cost is $250,000. The proposal has been dubbed Ohio's Great Corridor. The Miami Conservancy District and Montgomery County obtained commitments from 15 local governments for the 50 percent local funding share.

    Gas prices down this week
    Gas prices around Ohio have inched closer to the national average over the past month but remain slightly below it. The state average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.52 today, according to today’s survey from AAA and its partners.  That's a dime less than a week ago and a nickel cheaper than the national average of $3.57.  The price of oil reached a two-year high last week amid fear of escalating tension in the Middle East and hope for continued economic stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

    Casino revenue growing
    Ohio is wrapping up its first summer with all four voter-approved casinos in operation, and the latest monthly revenue data will show how those facilities fared.
    The Ohio Casino Control Commission will release the August revenue report today.
    Revenue grew slightly at each of the four casinos in July compared with the previous month. But revenue came in below the totals from a year earlier for the two casinos that were open then, in Cleveland and Toledo. Statewide, casino revenues totaled $72 million in July.

    Utica Shale Conference begins Wednesday
    The third annual Utica Conference in Youngstown is going on this week. Natural gas companies will meet with industry leaders and developing businesses. The Mahoning Valley is the supply chain hub for both Utica and Marcellus shale drilling.  The conference and expo starts Wednesday evening.



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