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Kent State trustees set to elect university's next president
Other morning headlines: Cleveland RTA says service is up and running after deep freeze; Revenue at Ohio's four casinos down for December
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Kent State trustees set to elect university's next president
  • Cleveland RTA says service is up and running after deep freeze
  • Gas companies alert residents of possible disruptions
  • Revenue at Ohio's four casinos down for December
  • Lawmakers set hear testimony on oil and gas tax proposal 
  • Judge blocks new law limiting minor party ballot access
  • Kasich to tout drug awareness program in schools  
  • Kent State trustees set to elect university's next president
    Kent State University is set to announce its next president. The Board of Trustees has confirmed it will meet this morning to elect Lester Lefton’s successor. Last April, Lefton announced he would retire in July 2014 after eight years on the job. Trustees say following their vote, the president-elect will hold a meet and greet at the Kent State Student Center today from 3-5pm. 

    Cleveland RTA says service is up and running after deep freeze
    Cleveland’s public transit agency is thawing out from the cold weather that essentially shut down all trains and buses. The Greater Cleveland RTA this morning says all Rapids served by trains are up and running. Its Red Line was completely disabled by ice and snow, as huge icicles blocked the rapid tracks under Tower City in downtown Cleveland on Tuesday. Most of the bus problems stem from freezing of the air systems that operate brakes, doors and heating on the vehicles.

    Gas companies alert residents of possible disruptions
    Dominion East Ohio gas is alerting customers that there could be interruptions in the gas supply due to low pressure in the pipelines. The cold weather has created pockets in the gas flow causing sporadic outages - meaning you may have to relight your water heater. Dominion is asking customers to call to report problems with service. Columbia Gas of Ohio had crews working into Tuesday night in Lorain County, going house-to-house to get furnaces and appliances reconnected to some 2,000 homes. 

    Revenue at Ohio's four casinos down for December
    Revenues at each of Ohio's four casinos declined in December, leading to the worst statewide showing in the nine months that all four were open. Figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission show casino revenue statewide declined nearly 10 percent to $63 million. Revenues tumbled 9.6 percent in Cleveland. Cincinnati had the biggest drop of 19 percent. Gambling options in Ohio expanded in December with two new horse racing tracks with slots-style video lottery terminals, including one in Northfield in Northeast Ohio. 

    Lawmakers set hear testimony on oil and gas tax proposal
    Lawmakers will hear from backers of a proposal to increase taxes on horizontally drilled shale wells in Ohio. The measure to be discussed at a hearing Wednesday is supported by Ohio's oil and gas industry as a compromise to an earlier plan pushed by Gov. John Kasich. The industry had balked at Kasich's proposal to raise severance taxes on drillers and use proceeds to deliver modest income tax relief to Ohioans. The Ohio Oil and Gas Association supports an alternative proposal from House Speaker William Batchelder and other Republicans. Batchelder said the bill is constructed to encourage gas exploration, environmental protection and regulatory reform. It would raise the severance tax rate on horizontally drilled wells by 1 percent, then 2 percent, while rolling back similar taxes on traditional wells.

    Judge blocks new law limiting minor party ballot access
    A federal judge has blocked newly imposed Ohio limits to ballot access for minor parties. A preliminary injunction issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Michael Watson increases the chances that Republican Gov. John Kasich will face a third-party challenger as he seeks re-election this fall. Watson's ruling comes in a constitutional challenge filed by the Libertarian Party of Ohio to a law that opponents call "The John Kasich Re-election Protection Act." The law signed in November established what qualifies as a political party and what percentage of the vote must be won to maintain that status. No minor party operating in the state gained the percentage of votes in the last election that the law would have required to remain a qualified party for the May primary.

    Kasich to tout drug awareness program in schools  
    Ohio's governor is calling on parents and other adults to start talking to children about the dangers of drug and substance abuse. The  Ohio's governor is calling on parents and other adults to start talking to children about the dangers of drug and substance abuse. The new state initiative is focused on getting the drug-free message to middle school and high school students. Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik), his wife and state leaders including the attorney general are scheduled to discuss the effort Wednesday at two schools in southwest Ohio. The drug prevention push comes as the state seeks to crack down on prescription drug abuse. Ohio also faces an increasing problem of heroin in communities. Drug overdoses have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Attorney General Mike DeWine calls heroin abuse an epidemic killing at least 11 Ohioans a week.
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