Regulators investigating cause of spill
Environmental regulators are investigating the cause of a significant spill of the clay lubricant bentonite during construction of an underground pipeline in eastern Ohio. The Ohio EPA says the material was released Tuesday in Harrison County, northeast of Cadiz. An unknown amount of the material ran into Conotton Creek and directly impacted two private homeowners. The EPA is assessing enforcement options against the contractors, Southeast Directional Drilling Co. The ATEX pipeline will extend across 265 miles in Ohio and parts of three other states.
Beford cancer drug manufacturer to close
A northeast Ohio company that manufactured cancer drugs is closing, and more than 1,000 jobs will be lost. Bedford-based Ben Venue Laboratories Inc. said Thursday it will stop production by the end of this year, with all 1,100 jobs will be phased out starting this month and continuing into next year. It voluntarily shut down two years ago due to quality problems at its factory. It said last October it had resumed limited drug manufacturing and was upgrading its facilities. Ben Venue says the investment needed to sustain production isn't viable. It projected operating losses of about $700 million over the next five years.
Enforcement of Internet cafe law to begin immediately
Enforcement of the new state law that will put most Internet cafes out of business will begin immediately. That announcement by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Thursday followed acknowledgement by those trying to stall the law that they have not collected enough signatures to get the issue on the November 2014 ballot. Thursday was the deadline to get the more than 200,000 valid voters’ signatures. DeWine and other critics maintain the internet cafes, also known as sweepstakes parlors, are illegal gambling, never authorized under Ohio’s constitution. The new law gives DeWine authority over the terminals used by the storefront operations, and caps prizes that they award to values of no more than $10. DeWine says the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation also now has the explicit authority to investigate violations.
WIC able to operate into November during government shutdown
Tallmadge police charge man in deaths of girlfriend, son
Ohio health officials say a special nutrition program for mothers and young children has sufficient funding to continue into November, despite the partial federal government shutdown. The Health Department says the supplemental program for Women, Infants, and Children called WIC is assured of operating into the second week of November with existing resources, and likely could extend beyond that. There has been concern nationally about looming impacts on the federal program that provides support services and healthy foods to pregnant women and mothers of children up to age 5. The state should be able to extend the program if necessary with rebates from makers of baby formula and other program items for the more than 260-thousand WIC participants in Ohio.
Tallmadge police says they have charged a man in the slayings of his ex-girlfriend and their 5-year-old son. 39-year-old Daniel Tighe is charged in the death of 31-year-old Wendy Ralston and their son. Police say the victims apparently were dead 18 days before the bodies were found in a wooded area behind Ralston’s home. They say decomposition, a cleanup in the house and lack of a confession slowed the case.
State advisory panel to continue information-sharing review
A state advisory panel today will continue its review of security and protocols for Ohio's law enforcement information-sharing system. At issue is a searchable system that gives police and other investigators near-instant access to records including driver's license and vehicle registrations. Since June, police have also been able to use facial recognition software to match images of possible suspects or victims with Ohio driver's license photos. Today is the group’s third meeting. The Ohio Secretary of State's office is launching a new initiative to let businesses file more required state paperwork online. All entities doing business in Ohio are required to register with Secretary of State Jon Husted's office if they operate under a title other than a person's name. Husted says it's part of the continuing effort to cut through red tape.
Cincinnati's drinking water to undergo new process
Cincinnati's drinking water will now go through an additional decontamination process following the launch of a $30 million ultraviolet disinfection treatment facility. Water will go through the processes of sand filtration and granular activated carbon absorption. The technology allows the water department to address the changing conditions of the Ohio River and be in compliance with new U.S. EPA regulations.
Death penalty protocol announcement expected
An announcement is expected today about Ohio’s new death penalty protocol and the state may not have to find a new lethal drug, as was expected. When the state executed Harry Mitts last month, it used the last of its execution drug, pentobarbital, because the company that makes it restricted sales to prisons for executions. But the Columbus Dispatch reports other states that perform executions are simply getting the drug from another source: Compounding pharmacies instead of the manufacturer, which provide a customized preparation of a medicine that wouldn’t otherwise be available. The compounding pharmacies have been controversial, though, after an outbreak last year of fungal meningitis.
Bureau of Workers' Compensation rebates nearly complete
Most Ohio employers receiving a share of $1 billion in rebates from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation should have received their money. The agency is in the process of sending out its final $82 million in rebates to more than 2,000 employers. The rebate program is part of a nearly $2 billion plan that directs more money toward safety programs. The plan will eventually change payment times for employers: Billing them for premiums upfront instead of at the end of the coverage period. Rates will also drop 2% for private employers and 4% for public employers.
School safety plans to be submitted online
Submitting school safety plans to the state just got a little easier for Ohio’s school districts. Attorney General Mike Dewine says schools can now submit the plans online. Since 2007, every Ohio school has been required to turn in a written safety plan accompanied by a floor plan every three years. The plans are submitted to the A-G’s office, then provided law enforcement and first responders in the event of an emergency. Only 16 out of Ohio’s 3,500 schools have not turned in a complete safety plan. 11 of those are in Northeast Ohio.
Secretary of State to launch new online paperwork initiative
The Ohio Secretary of State's office is launching a new initiative to let businesses file more required state paperwork online. All entities doing business in Ohio are required to register with Secretary of State Jon Husted's office if they operate under a title other than a person's name. Husted says it's part of the continuing effort to cut through red tape.