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Kasich presents medals of honor to Cleveland kidnap victims
Other morning headlines: Former Supreme Court Justice dies; Youngstown-area lawmakers want Tressel for YSU president
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Gov. Kasich presents the Courage awards to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
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  • Kasich presents medals of honor to Cleveland kidnap victims
  • Governor outlines goals in State of the State address
  • Batchelder to get highway patrol post named in his honor
  • Former Supreme Court Justice dies
  • Youngstown-area lawmakers want Tressel for YSU president
  • FitzGerald announces Lake Erie initiative
  • Snowplows involved in 80 crashes

  • Kasich presents medals of honor to Cleveland kidnap victims
    Ohio Gov. John Kasich has presented his annual courage awards to three women who survived their decade-long imprisonment in a Cleveland house. Kasich said the women's story is one of inner strength and a courage that brought them through and sustained them during the ordeal. Kasich presented the award Monday during his State of the State speech to Amanda Berry, Gina de Jesus and Michelle Knight. The three were rescued in May after being kidnapped from the streets of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004 at the ages of 14, 16 and 20. Convicted kidnapper Ariel Castro hanged himself in prison in September at the beginning of a life sentence plus 1,000 years after he pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges the previous month.

    Governor outlines goals in State of the State address
    Ohio's governor is pledging a new round of tax cuts. John Kasich says he wants to cut Ohioans' personal income taxes and the taxes paid by small businesses. Kasich announced the proposal Monday during his annual State of the State speech held this year in Medina. The $62 billion, two-year state budget Kasich signed in June cut Ohio's income tax rates by 8.5 percent in 2013, another half percent in 2014 and another 1 percent in 2015. These were Ohio's first downward revisions since 2009. Kasich says tax cuts are key to fueling the state's economic recovery and to keep people from leaving Ohio.

    Kasich also centered his speech on education, announcing a plan to tie higher education funding to course completion and graduation rates at the state's publicly funded colleges and universities. Under details of the plan first announced last year, universities won't receive a portion of their per-pupil funding until the student has graduated. It moves incentives away from enrollment and toward finishing a degree. He also wants to mandate that school districts offer vocational classes beginning with the seventh grade. Some school districts do so already, but he proposes expanding it to statewide. 

    Kasich proposed using $10 million in state casino revenue to pay for an effort to bring together parents, communities, religious groups, businesses and others to support children's education. Kasich says the state will give communities $3 for every $1 they pitch in for what he’s calling the "Community Connectors" initiative.

    Kasich has announced a new plan to fight smoking in the state. Kasich says Ohio was once a national leader in reducing the number of people who smoke and needs to take the cause up again. Kasich announced in his State of the State speech Monday he is dedicating new tobacco settlement dollars in the fight against the addiction of smoking. He says the fight will help drive down medical costs and improve Ohioans' health. Kasich's proposal didn't include dollar amounts or details on the plan.

    Batchelder to get highway patrol post named in his honor

    A State Highway Patrol post will be renamed in honor of a longtime state lawmaker and judge. Gov. Kasich said Monday during his State of the State speech that the Medina post would bear the name of Republican House Speaker William Batchelder. Medina is home to Batchelder, who's winding up a 46-year career in public service this year.

    Kasich said the Speaker has been a strong and constant booster of the State Highway Patrol and the post would be renamed in honor of his support.

     


    Former Supreme Court Justice dies

    A former Ohio Supreme Court Justice has died. Thomas Herbert was 86. Herbert succeeded his father on the state high court in 1969, and they are one of only two father-son successions in the Ohio court’s history. 

    His father, Paul, administered his oath of office.  Thomas Herbert ran for chief justice in 1978, but lost to Frank Celebrezze, and he resigned from the Supreme Court altogether in 1980 to go into private practice. He later returned to the bench as a U.S. Bankruptcy judge.  

     


    Youngstown-area lawmakers want Tressel for YSU president

    Several Youngstown-area state lawmakers are joining the push for Youngstown State University to hire Jim Tressel as its next president. Last week, Congressman Tim Ryan penned a letter to the board of trustees asking it to consider the former YSU and Ohio State football coach and current University of Akron vice president for its soon-to-be vacant post. Now, State Representatives Bob Hagan, Ron Gerberry, Tom Letson and Nick Barborak are offering their support. Tressel hasn’t said publicly if he’s interested in the YSU job.

    FitzGerald announces Lake Erie initiative
    Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has laid out the framework for a new program to measure Lake Erie’s health. FitzGerald says the lake is key to the environment and the economy. The program is called LakeStat. It’s a collaboration of Cuyahoga County and other local, state, regional and federal stakeholders. The measurements – focused primarily on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River -- will include how many tons of debris are collected each year, the number of invasive species, fish diversity, tons of cargo shipped, water quality and fishing licenses sold. 

    Snowplows involved in 80 crashes
    Officials say state of Ohio snowplows have been involved in 80 crashes so far this winter, with other drivers causing most of them. The Ohio Department of Transportation says plow crashes are up from the past two winters, but there have been fewer than in the 2010-2011 season when plows drove fewer miles but were involved in 108 wrecks. The transportation department tells The Columbus Dispatch that of the 80 crashes this winter, 58 were the fault of the other driver. The agency started using green flashing lights in addition to yellow beacons two years ago to make its plows more visible. A public-awareness campaign is aimed at alerting drivers to the dangers of driving too close to the trucks.
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