Earthquake monitoring network weighs in on Mahoning quakes
12 earthquakes have now been reported near an active fracking well in Mahoning County. All the quakes came in the last two weeks, and have similar wavelengths, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The largest was a 3.0 magnitude quake near Lowellville. That is close to dozens of earthquakes in 2011 that were later linked to a fracking-waste injection well. An earthquake monitoring network at Columbia University says the quakes are likely related but will be difficult to link. Earlier this week, ODNR officials said injections wells were not responsible for the recent earthquakes.
Kent man charged in crash incompetent to stand trial
A man from Kent who was charged with killing a couple while driving more than 125 miles per hour is incompetent to stand trial. Andrew Gans pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to vehicular homicide charges. Back in November, Gans crashed into a minivan on the Ohio Turnpike. The impact killed an elderly couple from Toledo. Gans will now be sent to a psychiatric hospital in Toledo.
Stream restoration provides healthier habitat
More religious leaders speak out against voting changes
A once unhealthy ditch in northern Summit County is being transformed into a living stream for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. The new Pond Brook is a nearly half a million dollar project that’s nearly complete. The Beacon Journal reports that the final curve was dug out last month in Liberty Park. For years, the ditch had been shallow, straight, degraded and unshaded. It didn’t offer wildlife a good habitat. The project has added twists and turns, pools, root wads in banks and made the stream narrower. It has also improved water quality. The project was funded by the Ohio EPA and the park district, and it’s thought to be the largest stream restoration project ever in Ohio.
Religious leaders are coming out against early voting changes by Secretary of State Jon Husted. Cleveland’s Reverand Jawanza Karriem Colvin is one of the ministers, priests and rabbis say the new rules will limit minority access to the polls. Colvin told the Plain Dealer that Ohio’s diversity means there needs to be flexibility at the polls. Husted’s new, universal early voting hours would eliminate Sunday voting, which is popular among black congregations.
Cleveland firefighters reject contract
Cleveland firefighters have rejected the city’s first contract that would integrate fire and emergency medical services. The firefighters’ union did not say whether the vote on the contract was close. President Frank Szabo told the Plain Dealer he wanted to talk with city officials before speaking to the media. The city called the rejection of the contract “a barrier to improving fire, medical and rescue response.” Mayor Frank Jackson wants to integrate the services to save money, decrease response time and make rescue services more efficient. Some integration is already in place, such as ambulances being housed at fire stations.
Ohio manufacturing jobs on the rebound
Ohio manufacturing is on the rebound. Manufacturing has added 54,000 jobs over the past four years, according to the Columbus Dispatch. That’s the best gain in the past two decades. Ohio’s not the only one seeing improvement. Employment figures show the U.S. added about 600,000 manufacturing jobs during the same time period. Although the numbers are encouraging, experts say even at this rate, it will take Ohio 17 years to recover the manufacturing jobs lost since 2007. 17 percent of Ohio’s economy is powered by manufacturing.
Constitutional commission names director
It’s taken months, but the commission that was formed to examine Ohio’s constitution has named a director. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Steven Hollon will head the Constitutional Modernization Commission. The group was formed in late 2011, and includes 20 lawmakers and 12 citizens. Its goal is to make recommendations on issues like judicial elections, term limits, and legislative redistricting. Hollon spent 15 years as the administrative director of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Doctors praise Kasich's cigarette tax plan
Race, disabilities affect student discipline
Doctors and healthcare advocates are praising the governor’s plan to raise taxes on tobacco products. Kasich wants to increase the cigarette tax by 11 percent or about 60 cents over two years, and the tax on other tobacco products from 17 percent of the wholesale price to 49 percent. E-cigarettes would also be included under that tax for the first time. The Columbus Dispatch reports that a group of doctors held a news conference yesterday throwing their support behind the initiative. They also spoke in favor of Kasich’s proposal to spend nearly $27 million on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The state cut funding for all such programs in 2009.
A new study finds that disabilities and race affect student discipline. Black male students are more likely to be suspended or expelled, according to the report from the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative. The Columbus Dispatch reports that nearly one out of every five black male students was suspended from school at least once during the 2009-2010 school year. That’s 3.5 times more than the number for all students. Students with disabilities were suspended nearly twice as often as nondisabled students. Students who are gay, bisexual or transgender were three times more likely to be punished at school than straight students.
Summit wrestling team members facing charges
Three members of a high school wrestling team have been charged with hazing after an incident at a school in February. The Summit County Sheriff's Office says members of the Coventry High School wrestling team allegedly hazed and assaulted other team members. One teen faces additional charges of assault and abduction, and another faces assault charges. The third faces a single charge of hazing. The district says the wrestling coach was suspended and his one-year contract is now over. Coventry says hazing is not tolerated.
Cuyahoga County sees record heroin overdose deaths
The Cuyahoga County medical examiner says heroin killed nearly 200 people in the county last year. 195 people died from overdoses, which is more than the number of homicides. The previous record was set in 2012 at 161. Officials believe the pain pill epidemic set the stage for heroin, which is cheaper and easier to get. The medical examiner says 31 possible overdoses were reversed by the push to expand the distribution of the overdose antidote naloxone.
Whirlpool to make announcement about plant
Whirlpool is expected to make an announcement about its plant in Greenville, Ohio later today. Governor John Kasich will be there, along with other local and state leaders. The plant already employs about 1,000 people and is expected to expand. It makes KitchenAid brand mixers, blenders and attachments.
Study seeks genetic predisposition to cancer
A new statewide study is looking to identify patients with cancers that are inherited, including colon cancer. It’s called the Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative. The Beacon Journal reports that The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center is attempting to recruit at least 2,000 patients with colorectal cancer from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014 for the study. Participants will have their tumor tested to screen for a gene mutation called Lynch syndrome. Patients with the mutation have up to an 80 percent chance of developing colorectal cancer. Women also have an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Ohio State researchers previously found that one in 35 colon cancer patients had Lynch syndrome. Those who learn they have the mutation can receive earlier and more frequent cancer screenings to help detect any cancers sooner.
Men from Zimbabwe accused in tax return scheme
Two men from Zimbabwe were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and engaging in illegal monetary transactions. Tawanda Marimbire and Robert Bungu were accused of stealing the identities of more than 650 Americans to file false tax returns. The scheme was based out of a tax preparation business the men ran in Cincinnati. The pair will have to pay $5 million in restitution. A third man is awaiting sentencing. Four others fled to Zimbabwe after the indictment.