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Portman preps for trip to Ukraine
Other noon headlines: Toxic algae; Madison flooding; cost of college; income taxes

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says the trip reaffirms U.S. commitment to Ukraine and democracy.
Courtesy of File photo
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In The Region:
  • Portman will observe Ukrainian elections
  • Toxic algae is blooming again
  • Madison deals with a deluge
  • Bill to study costs of college awaits Kasich's signature
  • State may force cities to break down income taxes
  • Portman will observe Ukrainian elections
    U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is heading to Ukraine this weekend, part of a congressional delegation that will be monitoring Sunday’s election and visiting undisclosed polling places. Portman says his goals are simple.

    LISTEN: Portman on the purpose of the trip

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    “Basically, I’m there to show our support from the United States of America for self-determination for the Ukrainian people, to be sure the voting is fair, that the ability of every individual in that country is at the ballot box and not by the barrel of a gun.”

    Portman says he’ll also be meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, whom he’s known since Portman’s days as the U.S. trade representative in 2005. He also plans to visit U.S. troops in neighboring Poland on Monday.

    Toxic algae is blooming again 
    Toxic algae blooms are starting to break out again in Ohio’s lakes and reservoirs.

    The state is posting signs warning the water is unsafe for swimming at Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio. The algae is associated with a liver toxin, and early readings by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources show levels four times higher than state safety limits.

    The algae blooms stem from phosphorus from farm and sewer runoff and two dozen lakes and reservoirs have reported outbreaks and posted warnings in recent years. Grand Lake St. Marys has been consistently the worst, and the state is limiting how much manure famers can spread on their fields near there. But the blooms have also been severe in Lake Erie.

    Madison deals with a deluge
    The village of Madison in Lake County experienced flash flooding during last night’s (Wednesday’s) storms.

    Madison Administrator Dwayne Bailey says rapid rainfall flooded roads, damaged at least a dozen houses and turned one driveway into a three-foot trench. He says there were reports that two and a half inches of rain fell in 30 minutes, along with hail and heavy winds, and there wasn’t much the village could do.

    LISTEN: Madison assesses damage
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    “If there are any opportunities we can improve on our storm water to handle situations like this, but that intensity, it’s almost impossible to design a system that will handle that amount of rain in that short period of time.”

    Bailey says so far, there have been no reported rescues or injuries. The floodwater has receded, but the village is still cleaning up debris.

    Bill to study costs of college awaits Kasich's signature
    Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a bill the House passed this week that requires a study of college financial aid and student debt, with recommendations submitted to the governor by the end of the year.

    The bill also expands Ohio’s decades-old precollege program by requiring every school and college to allow high school students to enroll in college classes.

    State may force cities to break down income taxes
    State senators want each of the nearly 600 cities and villages in Ohio with an income tax to break down exactly how much comes from residents and how much from nonresidents.

    The requirement is part of the budget bill passed this week.

    According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio Municipal League says meeting the requirement would require all residents to file income tax forms, whether or not they owe any taxes. Many cities requirement that now, but Columbus is one big exception.

    The league says it would also add other complications, such as tracking down all members of a real-estate partnership and figuring out how to count college students.

    But GOP Senate president Keith Faber says the cities just don’t want to reveal how much of their taxes come from people who live outside the cities and, therefore, don’t get to vote on them.

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