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Ohio's unemployment rate falls below 6 percent
Other morning headlines: Appeals court judge blasts Ohio's Workers' Comp.; Poll shows half Ohio voters support same-sex marriage
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
The latest WKSU news headlines: 

Ohio's unemployment rate falls below 6 percent
Ohio's unemployment rate dropped in April. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the 5.7 percent rate is slightly down from March’s 6.1 percent rate, which was the lowest in six years. It’s also below the 6.3 percent national rate. The state added 12,600 jobs, the biggest gains were in trade, transportation, and utilities. The largest losses were about 3,000 in educational and health services. The numbers come as Republican incumbent John Kasich and Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald face off in a gubernatorial race that is sure to focus on the state's economic position.

Poll shows half Ohio voters support same-sex marriage
A new poll still shows a narrow majority of Ohio voters support gay marriage, unchanged from a similar poll this winter. The poll released today by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut found Ohio voters support allowing same-sex couples to wed by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin. A Quinnipiac poll in February showed nearly the same margins. The poll also found that women, young people and Democrats all support gay marriage in higher numbers than men, older Ohioans and Republicans. The poll also asked voters about college athletics. 55 percent of voters say they opposed the unionization of college athletes, while 62 percent of voters are opposed to paying them in excess of their scholarships. This is after the National Labor Relation Board’s March decision that college athletes have the right to unionize.

Appeals court judge blasts Ohio's Workers' Comp.
An appeals court says Ohio's state insurance fund for injured workers set up an illegal rating system that resulted in employers being overcharged nearly $860 million over several years. The unanimous ruling by the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals affects about 270,000 mostly small-business owners who were allegedly charged unfair premiums from 2001 to 2009. The ruling late Thursday said the agency set up a system of winners and losers by giving discounted premiums to companies that joined group insurance plans and charging companies not in the groups excessive rates to pay for the discounts. The court returned the case to a Cleveland judge to recalculate the exact amount owed employers.

Ohio court justice to review disclosure statements
An Ohio Supreme Court justice says he's considering amending his financial disclosure statements to address some unreported debts. Justice William O'Neill says he's guilty of being a poor record keeper but didn't intend to deceive anyone. The Columbus Dispatch reports that O'Neill hasn't always reported debts over $1,000 on his annual financial-disclosure statements as required by law. The paper reports that O'Neill also didn't file a financial-disclosure form in 2007 as he prepared to leave the 11th Ohio District Court of Appeals. O'Neill says it didn't occur to him he needed to file because he was leaving the bench.

River flooding remains a concern
Flood warnings and watches remain up along several Ohio rivers, including the Black, Grand, Muskingum and Scioto rivers after several days of heavy rains. The flooding threat could remain into the weekend in some areas. The National Weather Service has confirmed that it was a tornado that struck the Cedarville area in western Ohio Wednesday.

Ohio election officials facing ouster get hearing
Top election officials in one northern Ohio county have had a chance to make a case for keeping their jobs. Three members of the Lucas County board of elections in Toledo along with its director are facing being ousted by Ohio's elections chief. Secretary of State Jon Husted wants to remove them because he says the board has been plagued by dysfunction. The board has experienced several years of infighting and accusations of wrongdoing. A series of missteps and squabbling earlier this month delayed voting results for hours in the primary election.

Chemical leak at Republic Steel injures one
A chemical leak at a Lorain County plant led to injuries yesterday. One person was treated on the scene after the Republic Steel plant was evacuated. Employees reported strange fumes in a section of the plant that was being prepped for expansion, causing an evacuation. The Chronicle-Telegram reports the accident occurred when workers were pumping chemicals out of a tank.

Canton breaks ground on $80 million sewer plant
Work is underway on an $80 million upgrade to Canton’s regional water treatment plant. The Canton Water Reclamation Facility upgrade is the most expensive project in Stark County’s history. The project will allow the plant to comply with an unfunded EPA mandate to reduce the phosphorus water treatment plants release into waterways. The project is funded jointly by the city of Canton and Stark County.

Indians fans to face tighter security
The Indians’ Progressive Field will have some new security measures beginning tonight. A new metal detector is in place at Gate D and anyone entering through that gate will be screened. Fans can also choose to be screened with a hand-held wand. Gates A and C will get detectors later this summer. Progressive Field expects all new security measures to be in effect by Opening Day next year.

Conneaut residents could be jailed for tall grass
Residents in one Ashtabula County city could face fines and jail time if they let their lawns grow too long. The city of Conneaut has decided to strengthen its ordinance that requires grass and weeds to stay under 6 inches. The first violation would be a minor misdemeanor and a second violation in two years could result in 30-days’ in jail and a $250 fine. 

P&G distribution center planned for southwest Ohio
Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble plans to locate a major distribution center in southwest Ohio to serve the Midwest. The $89 million, 1 million-square-foot facility will open next winter in Union, northwest of Dayton. It's one of six vast new complexes that P&G is locating near major U.S. population centers with efficient road and rail networks.

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