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Rocky River on high alert for flooding
Other morning headlines: Treasurer gets permission to host telephone town halls; Ohio's pension plans see strong investment returns 

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Rocky River on high alert for flooding
  • Treasurer gets permission to host telephone town halls
  • Ohio's pension plans see strong investment returns 
  • State Rep. plans to put his wife on the ballot in his place
  • Census data shows market value of ag products sold by Ohio farmers soars
  • Ohio air base to lease some property to cut costs 
    Rocky River on high alert for flooding
    Flooding is a concern across Northeast Ohio this morning, as the National Weather Service says we’ve received about an inch of rain since yesterday on top of melting snow. A Flash Flood Warning for in effect for Cuyahoga County until 1:00 a.m. Saturday. The concern is the Rocky River where an ice jam is developing near the Detroit Avenue Bridge. Waters are rising in the Black River in Elyria, the Cuyahoga River in Independence, and the Chagrin River in Willoughby. The Vermilion River in Lorain County is nearing flood stage. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Towpath Trail is closed until further notice in anticipation of flooding. The trail closure includes parking lots along the trail from Independence to Akron. 

    Treasurer gets permission to host telephone town halls
    Ohio's state treasurer has received permission to conduct telephone town halls with public money. Republican Josh Mandel requested an opinion on the citizen teleconferences in December from Attorney General Mike DeWine, as his re-election in November nears. An opinion DeWine issued Wednesday cleared Mandel to use taxpayer dollars to contract with a private firm specializing in organizing and conducting such calls as long as their content sticks to state treasurer's office business and not politics. The opinion says Mandel is free to target his audience for such conference calls as long as people not invited to participate are given the chance to be part of the call. Mandel's office says he has no immediate plans to hold a town hall and is simply exploring communications options.

    Ohio's pension plans see strong investment returns
    Strong investment returns last year have boosted the long-term financial stability of Ohio's public pension funds serving roughly 1.7 million people. The Dayton Daily News reports the largest of the five funds had a return of nearly 14 percent. That gave the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System a record $88 billion in assets. Its director says state pension law changes in 2012 also bolstered the system's financial position. The Ohio Police & Fire Fund's portfolio was worth $14 billion after a 16 percent return. The State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio made 17percent, hitting $72 billion in assets. 

    State Rep. plans to put his wife on the ballot in his place
    A longtime Republican in the Ohio House says his wife will run as a write-in candidate for his seat after a paperwork error forced him off the primary ballot. State Rep. Rex Damschroder of Fremont in northwestern Ohio said in a Thursday statement his wife, Rhonda, will act as a placeholder for him and seek the Republican nomination on May 6. Damschroder says that should his wife win, she would leave the contest and party officials in the district could place his name on the November ballot as the GOP candidate.

    Census data shows market value of Ohio farmers' products soars

    Newly released Census data shows the market value of agricultural products sold by Ohio farmers soared between 2007 and 2012. The data says the value of crops including

    nursery and greenhouse crops rose from $7 billion in 2007 to $10 billion in 2012. The same data shows the value of livestock rose about a half billion dollars to $3.5 billion in 2012. 

    The data showed the number of farms in Ohio dropped by about 1,000 during the years measured by the Census, to around 75,000 in 2012. The number of very small and very large farms both dropped, while the number of farms between 50 and 500 acres grew.

    Ohio air base to lease some property to cut costs 
    A southwest Ohio Air Force base plans to lease property on and off the base to cut costs amid shrinking defense budgets and to bolster public and private partnerships. The Dayton Daily News reports the possibilities could include sharing services and creating buildings along the edges of the military installation with dual military and civilian use. At least 130 people got together this week to brainstorm how the land might be used and how the base could partner with outside organizations and develop partnerships in fields such as research and supply chain management. A Dayton Development Coalition official says it's a break from the tradition of self-containment for military bases. Military figures show the Air Force has brokered $1 billion in enhanced use leases at other bases.

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