Fudge to attend Mandela memorial
Cleveland Congresswoman Marcia Fudge is heading to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. She will be part of the official U.S. Congressional delegation, attending services tomorrow at FNB stadium in Johannesburg. Fudge currently chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, which organized anti-apartheid rallies and protests in the United States and sponsored more than 15 anti-apartheid bills to pressure the South African government to end its former policies of racial segregation.
Casino revenue figures expected today
Ohio regulators are ready to release the latest revenue figures for the state's four voter-approved casinos. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is scheduled to release the revenue figures from November today. Regulators said the casinos in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo saw revenue increases for October. The Cincinnati casino's revenues declined by 8 percent to $18.2 million. Statewide, casino revenues totaled $70 million in October, up nearly $2 million from September. The casinos have drawn nearly $700 million so far this year.
Troubled bats spark debate
Ohio environmentalists and utility commissions are butting heads over the future of a rare species of bat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants the northern long-eared bat added to the endangered species list, but those with interests in oil and gas, electricity, coal mining and road work are fighting the recommendation. If the bats are declared an endangered species, mining companies might face stricter regulations of abandoned mines where bats often hibernate. Because the bats live in tree bark, electricity, oil and gas companies might be required to survey before cutting down trees to accommodate power lines. Road crews would also be expected to take extra precautions when planning routes in wooded areas. Northeastern bat populations are already in decline because of the so-called “white nose syndrome,” a fatal disease specific to bats.The Fish and Wildlife Service extended the deadline for public comment on the issue to January 2.
Cable customers urged to examine bills
The state's Department of Commerce says the end of the year is a good time for Ohioans to closely examine their cable television bills for any upcoming rate increases. ommerce officials say many cable companies raise rates at the beginning of a year. Ohio law requires cable providers to give consumers written notice of any rate increase 30 days in advance. Those notifications could appear on November or December bills.
Online Medicaid sign-ups beginning
Low-income Ohioans can start signing up for Medicaid coverage online, along with those who are newly eligible under an expansion of the health program. The online enrollment option being launched today is part of a new state system. Residents also can learn about what type of health coverage could be available to them through the new website,www.benefits.ohio.gov. Ohioans who are newly eligible for Medicaid under an expansion of the program can apply for coverage that begins on Jan. 1. Gov. John Kasich's administration got approval in October to extend Medicaid eligibility to those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — or $15,856 for an individual. Roughly 366,000 Ohioans would be newly eligible under the extension beginning next year.
Ohio Supreme Court to take up traffic camera challenge
Ohio's Supreme Court will take up a challenge to how a northern Ohio city fines drivers caught on camera. A state appeals court earlier this year ruled that Toledo had wrongly taken away jurisdiction with its administrative review process for drivers who run red lights or speed. The attorney who brought the lawsuit says the city is denying drivers their day in court. The Blade newspaper in Toledo reports that the decision may impact other cities around Ohio that have the red-light and speed cameras. Attorneys for the city of Toledo say in court filings that the appeals court decision took away cities' rights spelled out in the Ohio Constitution that allow them to create review processes for noncriminal issues.
Gas prices climbing in Ohio
After dropping to around the $3 mark, prices at the pump in Ohio are back up to start the week. The average this morning is $3.24 for a gallon of regular gas in the survey from auto club AAA and its partners. That's a dime higher than at this time last week. Thanks to healthy production, lower demand and other factors, some stations around the state had dropped below $3 briefly during the middle of last week. The Ohio average is 13 cents higher than a month ago, but 13 cents lower than a year ago.
Nancy Drew author's items auctioned in Toledo
Items from the original author of the Nancy Drew mystery books have been auctioned off in Toledo. Mildred Wirt Benson wrote 23 of the 30 original Nancy Drew stories using the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. A book detailing how the series was created was auctioned off for $2,150. A typewriter went for $825 and a desk for $525.
Charity bingo profits down
Profits generated by Ohio charities on bingo games have dropped steadily in recent years. State numbers show charities playing bingo generated profits of more than $100 million last year, more than other state. But revenue has dropped annually since peaking in 2005, when state bingo operations logged revenues of $1.4 billion and took $196 million in profits. The Dayton Daily News reports that around 1,700 nonprofits use bingo to raise money. Most remain profitable, but some operations have closed in recent years or are scrambling to pay bills.
Local business leaders to participate in White House forum
Several local business leaders will take part in a White House forum on job creation, immigration and the federal budget. The forum is put on by a group called Business Forward—that brought more than 2,000 leaders to the White House last year for meetings with the president’s economic advisors. Northeast Ohio companies taking part include BioEnterprise in Cleveland, Pika Software in Shaker Heights and Treemen Industries in Boardman.
Akron school board to decide future of embattled music teacher
The Akron School board will meet tonight to decide the future of a Firestone High School music teacher accused of posting a racist rant on Facebook.
David Spondike posted the rant back in October, after he said a black teen urinated in his yard on trick-or-treat night. He first blamed the post on a friend’s teenage son, then later took responsibility for the post himself, saying it was written in a moment of anger. Spondike was placed on paid leave. The board will decide tonight if Spondike’s actions violated the district’s free-speech policies, and whether he will be fired.
OSU trails Big Ten schools in research revenue
Ohio State University falls short of the other Big Ten schools in making money from research. The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1gjhiSP ) reports that the university in Columbus spent $934 million on research in fiscal 2012 — the fourth-largest amount among the dozen Big Ten universities. But Ohio State again came in last place for licensing income with $2.2 million. That's according to an annual listing by the Association of Technology Managers. For a fifth year, Northwestern University tops the Big Ten and all other colleges with more than $122 million from inventions. Among Ohio schools, Ohio University in Athens earned $9.4 million — more than four times as much as Ohio State. Ohio State officials said they're working hard at turning research into commercial products, but it takes time.
Last second loss to Patriots
A stunning loss for Cleveland on Sunday, as Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final minute, rallying New England to a 27-26 win over the Browns. The Patriots scored the go-ahead touchdown when Leon McFadden was called for defensive pass interference in the end zone. That put the ball at the 1 where Brady connected. The Browns (4-9) then moved the ball to the Patriots 40 with 1 second left, but Billy Cundiff missed a 58-yard field goal.
Ohio State heads to Orange Bowl
Ohio State fell one win short of getting an opportunity to face Florida State for the national title. Clemson had its chance against the Seminoles and got blown out. So instead, the 7th ranked Buckeyes and the 12th-ranked Tigers are headed to the Orange Bowl. Ohio State and Clemson are the Orange Bowl's selections to play in Miami, Fla. on Jan. 3. The Buckeyes' 24-game winning streak and BCS title hopes ended Saturday with a loss to Michigan State. Clemson gets its second Orange Bowl trip in three years.
MAC bowl invitations accepted
Invitations were issued Sunday and five Mid-American Conference teams are going to bowl games. League champion Bowling Green will make a return trip to Detroit in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl while No. 24 Northern Illinois will play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. Ohio University is headed to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl to face East Carolina of Conference USA. Buffalo and Ball State also got invites.