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Study: Early voting hasn't led to more votes cast
Other morning headlines: Chillicothe orthopedic surgeon highest paid among public hospitals; Trumbull gas well among those with high pollution risk 
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Study: Early voting hasn't led to more votes cast
A newspaper analysis has found that early voting in Ohio hasn't led to more votes being cast. The Columbus Dispatch analyzed the vote totals for the past three presidential elections. Numbers showed that turnout in the 2012 race — when Ohioans arguably had the most opportunities in state history to vote early — was lower than the 2004 election when there was no early voting. Turnout in 2008 — the first election for early voting — was about 1 percent higher than in 2004. Ohio State University political science professor Paul Beck says people who vote early typically are going to vote anyway, so it hasn't boosted the total number. Being able to vote before election day has become a hot topic in the state since the 2004 race.

Summit County council to vote on sales tax hike for November ballot 
Summit County Council is expected to decide at tonight’s meeting whether to put a proposed hike in the sales tax on the November ballot. Council is considering the .25% sales tax increase for the ballot,  generating about $20 million a year for a unique combination of causes: to build a new, $80 million dollar basketball arena for the University of Akron downtown and to upgrade the county jail and safety services. The concern among a few people who attended two public hearings is that they don’t think an arena is necessary.

Chillicothe orthopedic surgeon highest paid among public hospitals
An analysis has found that an orthopedic surgeon at a hospital in Chillicothe is the highest-paid doctor employed by a nonprofit or public hospital in Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch crunched the numbers and found that Dr. Brian Cohen was paid $2.83 million in 2012. His pay was even higher than the $2.55 million paid that year to Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the chief executive officer of the Cleveland Clinic. The newspaper checked the compensation of the highest-paid doctors employed at Ohio's public hospitals and reviewed more than 100 public documents that disclose pay for physicians and other officials at the state's nonprofit hospitals and affiliated nonprofit physician groups. The analysis excluded doctors who have their own practices, and for-profit corporations that employ doctors.

More political heavyweights descend on Ohio
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is next up among political heavyweights visiting Ohio. Bush is scheduled to headline a Republican National Committee fundraiser tonight in Cincinnati. GOP chairman Reince Priebus and Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman are also in the lineup of speakers. Former President Bill Clinton spoke to Ohio Democrats on Friday in Columbus, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky spoke last month at a Hamilton County Republican Party's dinner in Cincinnati. RNC invitations say tickets start at $1,000 each to attend a reception and can be as much as $65,000 for couples with photo opportunities and a roundtable discussion.

Judge allows lawsuit over electronic raffle machines to proceed
An Ohio judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit in a long-running feud over the legality of electronic raffle machines operated by veterans and fraternal organizations. A Franklin County Common Pleas Judge concluded the devices classify as bingo games operated for charity, which state law allows. The fight over the games started last year, when Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine threatened to shut down devices operating at hundreds of Ohio posts and lodges. The veterans' coalition sued. DeWine had asked the court to drop the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition's legal challenge. The state argued the raffle machines are a type of slot machine disallowed under Ohio law.

Trumbull gas well among those with high pollution risk 
An Associated Press review has found that Ohio is among 19 states with an oil or gas well recently drilled on public lands that the federal government has identified as a higher pollution risk. Ohio's single higher risk gas well is in Bazetta Township in Trumbull County. It’s been in production since 2010, and the owner is M&M Royalty. Data on state drilling inspections for fiscal years 2009 to 2012 showed the well was inspected by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as required. In all, inspection data show four in 10 new oil-and-gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds, or otherwise with higher pollution risks, escape federal inspection.

Ohio's A.G. warns of puppy scams
The state's attorney general is warning Ohioans to be on the alert for scams involving too-good-to-be-true offers for puppies or other pets for sale online. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office has received more than 25 complaints in the last two years from consumers who said they paid for a dog or other pet they found online but never received. DeWine says the average loss of such scams is more than $1,000. The attorney general says warning signs include a low cost for a dog of a popular or expensive breed and sellers who seek additional fees beyond the agreed-upon price. Consumers also should be wary of breeders communicating only online or via text message and of pets offered "free" to a good home.

Unrest in Iraq leads to higher gas prices
Ohioans are paying about a nickel more per gallon for gas compared with a week ago. The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio is averaging $3.87 in today’s survey from auto club AAA and its partners. That’s about 16 cents higher than a month ago, and it's about 8 cents higher than last year at this time. Analysts say unrest in Iraq has driven up the price in crude oil.

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