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Travel ban issued on Ohio Turnpike through noon
Other morning headlines: Red Cross to open warming stations; Spike in ice fishing cancels ice-breaking mission
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Travel ban in effect on Ohio Turnpike through noon
  • Red Cross to open warming stations
  • Heating customers asked to conserve 
  • Spike in ice fishing cancels ice-breaking mission
  • OSP trying to reduce backlog
  • Heating customers asked to conserve
  • Cuy. Co. HQ Demolition expected to begin today
  • Federal judge rules against Massillon hospital
  • Homeless count begins today in Stark
  • Vote expected on mental illness treatment bill
  • Website shows nonprofit funding
  • Heroin epidemic to be discussed at Cleveland council
  •  

    Travel ban in effect on Ohio Turnpike through noon
    A travel ban is now in effect by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.

    The ban means certain types of vehicles will not be permitted on the Ohio Turnpike until noon today.

    Those vehicles include:

    • All triple-trailer combination commercial vehicles
    • Box-type double-trailer combination commercial vehicles in excess of ninety (90) feet in length.
    • Mobile home / Office trailers.
    • Boat and horse trailers towed by passenger vehicles or pickup trucks.
    • High-profile campers and enclosed trailers, which are defined as trailers designed for a person of average height to stand in.
    The engineering department says it is closely monitoring the situation.

    Heating customers asked to conserve
    With the subzero temperatures, The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Columbia Gas, and Dominion East are asking customers to turn down the thermostat. The PUCO says conserving gas and making sure windows and doors are insulated, helps ensure there is enough heating energy to go around, as the power grid and pipeline system will be strained.  

    Red Cross to open warming stations
    The American Red Cross is opening warming centers throughout Northeast Ohio. Anyone can come in out of the cold from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Wednesday in cities including Akron, Cleveland, Canton, Wooster and New Philadelphia. Details here.

    Spike in ice fishing cancels ice-breaking mission
    The frigid weather across northern Ohio has been good for ice fishing on Lake Erie. But it's also been bad for a big dock reconstruction project on South Bass Island. Plans to break up the ice between the island and the mainland so that a barge could bring supplies for the project had to be put on hold last week. The reason was that there were too many people out ice fishing on the lake. Officials decided that it would be too risky to break up the ice. The company in charge of the docks project at Put-in-Bay docks says they're now looking at other ways to get the construction supplies to the island. The nearly $6 million project will replace many of the public docks at Put-in-Bay.

    OSP trying to reduce backlog
    The State Highway Patrol has expanded its crime lab and added analysts to reduce a backlog of thousands of cases awaiting drug testing at the central Ohio facility. The backlog grew in recent years as the patrol increased its focus on drug trafficking and other crimes in addition to traffic safety. That meant prosecutors and other authorities were waiting longer for results to confirm what types of drugs were involved in the backlogged cases.A supervisor at the Columbus lab says the backlog peaked at around 4,600 cases in August 2012, and the average processing time was less than five months. The patrol says the backlog is down to about 1,500 cases, with a turnaround time of roughly three months. The agency hopes to shrink that to one month.

    Cuy. Co. HQ Demolition expected to begin today
    Demolition is expected to begin this morning on the old Cuyahoga County Administration building. The building on Ontario Street is being torn down to make way for a 600-room convention center hotel operated by Hilton Worldwide. The hotel could open in 2016. The new County Administration headquarters will open at East Ninth Street and Prospect Avenue in July.

    Federal judge rules against Massillon hospital
    A federal judge says Affinity Medical Center in Massillon must bargain with its registered nurses. U.S. District Court Judge John Adams ruled the hospital was in violation of federal labor law by not recognizing the nurse’s union. The hospital must also reinstate a nurse who was fired shortly after the vote to join a union in 2012. This is the third injunction in a year against affiliates of Community Health Systems. Tennessee-based CHS is the largest hospital chain in America.

    Homeless count begins today in Stark 
    Stark County will be doing a point-in-time count of its homeless population this week. Several agencies will be out asking people where they spent the night of Sunday, January 26th. The count helps the county respond to the needs of the homeless and measure progress toward ending it all together. Over the last four years, however, the numbers have increased every year—and last year was about 500 more than it was in 2009.

    Vote expected on mental illness treatment bill
    A Senate bill that would allow Ohio judges to order people with mental illness to get outpatient treatment is expected to be voted on this week at the Statehouse. The bill has given rise to debate about whether it will save lives or infringe upon rights, because it would empower judges to hand down treatment whether the patient agrees or not. The National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio supports the legislation. But the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers tells the Columbus Dispatch it is nothing more than a feel good bill that. A companion House bill has already passed.

    Website shows nonprofit funding
    A website compiled by the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives shows that more than $1.6 billion in state and federal dollars went to nonprofits like hospitals, food banks and youth centers during 2011 and 2012. The office conducted a study called “Mapping Ohio’s Compassion” and the website is the product of that study. It allows folks to go online and see a list of individual nonprofits getting government funding in a county-by-county format. There are also county by county totals. Portage County, for example, got just over $14 million in funding. Summit got about $74 million. It’s not yet clear what other long term impacts the study will have.

    Heroin epidemic to be discussed at Cleveland council
    The heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic in Cuyahoga County will be center stage this morning at the Cleveland City Council Health and Human Services Committee hearing. The Plain Dealer reports a presentation is planned on the dangers and warning signs of heroin use. Presenters will also take a look at treatment options, public health resources and law enforcement strategies. The meeting starts at 9 a.m.

     

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