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Ohio Gov. Kasich talks politics, policies on national TV
Other morning headlines: Ohio residents can expect winter fish kills; several dozen turn out to demolish animal gas chamber in Medina County
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Ohio Gov. Kasich talks politics, policies on national TV
  • Change of plea anticipated in wastewater dumping case 
  • Flood insurance premiums to rise 
  • Fire levels Garresttsville buildings
  • Ohio residents can expect winter fish kills
  • Several dozen turn out to demolish animal gas chamber in Medina County
  • Gas prices down to start the week
  • Ohio Gov. Kasich talks politics, policies on national TV
    Ohio Governor John Kasich didn't flatly rule out running for president in 2016 when questioned on national television. Kasich told an interviewer on "Fox News Sunday" that he was "flattered" that people talk about him as a potential presidential candidate. But he says his focus now is on being re-elected and on Ohio. The Republican governor spent much of the interview Sunday talking about his administration's policies that he says have spurred job growth. Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald's campaign said in a release Sunday that Kasich's jobs creation agency has created no measurable growth. Kasich also was questioned about failed efforts to limit public employees' collective bargaining rights. Voters rejected that proposal at the polls in 2011. The governor said he won't renew that fight, adding "the voters spoke."

    Change of plea anticipated in wastewater dumping case 
    A former senior official at a Youngstown wastewater company who's been charged with violating the federal Clean Water Act is preparing to attend a change of plea hearing. Ben Lupo's appearance before Judge Donald Nugent is scheduled today in federal court in Cleveland. Such hearings are typically scheduled for defendants about to enter a guilty plea. His defense attorney has declined comment on the meeting. Authorities allege that Lupo ordered an employee at Hardrock Excavating LLC to repeatedly dump gas-drilling wastewater intended for an injection well into a storm sewer. Lupo has pleaded not guilty. The employee in the case, 34-year-old Michael Guesman, of Cortland, was sentenced last week to 300 hours of community service and three years of probation.

    Flood insurance premiums to rise 
    Many home and business owners across Ohio with federally subsidized flood insurance are likely to be hit with rate increases this year. Around 20,000 property owners in Ohio are among the 1.1 million policyholders nationwide facing higher rates to rescue the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program Records analyzed by The Associated Press show some of those who will see their rates live in places where flooding is a constant worry. But many others will pay more despite living in cities where there have been very few damaging floods since the program began in the late 1970s. Homeowners could pay up to 18 percent more while business owners and those with vacation homes will see their rates rise 25 percent annually.

    Fire levels Garresttsville buildings
    The age of several buildings leveled by a fire in the downtown area of a Portage County village may have contributed to the blaze spreading so quickly. The Plain Dealer reports that two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation and 13 businesses in four buildings were affected by the fire that swept through a historic downtown block in Garrettsville on Saturday afternoon. The chief of the village's fire department says neither firefighter suffered serious injuries. Three of the four buildings were made of wood and were built in the 1800s. The Portage county fire investigation unit and state fire marshal's office are investigating. Authorities say 34 fire departments helped fight the fire.

    Several dozen turn out to demolish animal gas chamber in Medina County
    About 30 people helped demolish Medina County’s animal shelter gas chamber that was used to kill hundreds of stray cats annually before it was phased out amid public pressure. The society had invited people to take a sledge hammer to the gas chamber in exchange for a donation to the society. The debate over the fate of the carbon-monoxide chamber began after county commissioners voted unanimously in November to stop accepting cats at the county kennel, effectively ending the chamber's use. The county stopped killing dogs in the chamber several years ago because of public opposition.

    Ohio residents can expect winter fish kills
    State officials say Ohioans may see some dead fish along Ohio's ponds and small lakes as ice and snow from this past winter melt. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says winterkills occur when persistent ice forms a surface barrier between the water and air that prevents circulation of oxygen and blocks sunlight. Depleted oxygen can result in fish suffocating, and plants cut off from sunlight stop making more oxygen. Winterkills are most common in shallow ponds, with the dead fish typically found along the shore. Ohio's northern counties are usually affected the most because of colder temperatures and more frequent snows, but the kills are possible throughout the state this year. Some fish die-offs also are expected in some of Ohio's larger lakes this year.

    Gas prices down to start the week
    Ohio gas prices are down to start the work week, following weeks of increases. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $3.51 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's about 14 cents lower than last Monday. Monday's price is 14 cents higher than a month ago, but is considerably lower than the $3.72 per gallon that Ohioans were paying a year ago. The national average Monday was about $3.53 per gallon, which is up a penny from last week, and 14 cents higher than a month ago. Analysts say ongoing seasonal maintenance at refineries and concerns over simmering tensions in the Ukraine have been keeping prices up.

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