Morning Headlines: Canton Considers Cable Cars; EPA Monitors Water Quality Months After Rover Spill
Here are your morning headlines for Monday, December 11th:
- Lawmakers push back on excessive license suspensions;
- Wind farm developer seeks to relax setback rules;
- State health officials report higher flu hospitalizations;
- Supporters of Great Lakes conservation seek stronger defense against invasive Asian carp;
- Woman who shot and dismembered husband is arrested;
- CWRU's Barbara Snyder ranked as Ohio's highest paid private university president;
- Monitoring of water wells continues after Rover Pipeline spill;
- Canton considers cable cars to link Hall of Fame Village with downtown;
Lawmakers push back on excessive license suspensions
Ohio lawmakers have accused the state of using driver's license suspensions as an arbitrary punishment for offenses unrelated to driving while burying people under a pile of fees and fines. The state Legislature is considering multiple bills that could reinstate limited privileges for some suspended drivers and help people avoid steep license reinstatement fees. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles says 1.1 million people had their licenses suspended last year — or almost 12 percent of the state's driving-age population. Reasons for licenses suspensions include skipping a court date, failing to pay child support and dropping out of high school. State Representatives Jim Butler and Emilia Sykes have introduced a bill that would allow drivers suspended for non-driving violations to drive to work, school and appointments such as doctor's visits. Democratic state Sen. Sandra Williams has introduced a bill that would allow judges to assign community service in lieu of reinstatement fees.
Wind farm developer seeks to relax setback rules
A company planning to develop a wind farm in two rural Ohio counties says it won't build the $92 million project unless the state Legislature eases setback rules. The Blade reports Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy says plans to develop a 66-turbine wind farm across Seneca and Sandusky counties are contingent on the relaxation of rules designed to protect nearby property owners from noise and vibration. Current setback rules went into effect in 2014 after the Republican-led Legislature placed a two-year freeze on renewable energy mandates for power companies. The freeze expired last year, but legislation to ease setback rules remain in place. An effort to ease the rules has stalled in the Legislature. Apex wants to build five wind farms across northern Ohio at a cost of $2.6 billion.
State health officials report higher flu hospitalizations
The state says Ohio flu hospitalizations are higher than usual and much worse than a year ago. The Ohio Department of Health says the state saw 92 flu-related hospitalizations during the week that ended Dec. 2 and has seen 257 hospitalizations overall since the flu season began. The agency says those numbers are above the five-year average for December and higher than last year, which saw 19 flu-related hospitalizations during the same week. The state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot.
Environmentalists seek stronger defense against invasive Asian carp in Great Lakes
Members of Congress and Great Lakes advocacy groups are pressing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen defenses against Asian carp at a crucial choke point. The Corps is considering a $275 million plan to bolster the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, with devices such as water jets and noisemakers to prevent the invasive fish from migrating from the Illinois River to Lake Michigan. Environmental groups submitted 10,000 citizen letters supporting the plan Friday, the deadline for a public comment period. About 50 sporting and conservation organizations also endorsed it. More than two dozen U.S. House members signed a letter urging the Corps to install the protections faster than the eight-year timeframe currently proposed.
Woman accused of shooting and dismembering husband's body
A Summit County woman has been arrested after her husband’s remains were discovered in their Coventry Township home. Marcia Eubank, 49, is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Howard Eubank, 54. Channel 5 reports Marcia shot Howard in June and lived with his dismembered body at their home. The remains were found after someone called the Summit County Sheriff's Office on Saturday.
CWRU's Barbara Snyder ranked as Ohio's highest paid private university president
The president of Case Western Reserve University ranks as the highest paid leader of a private college in Ohio. The latest compensation report from the Chronicle of Higher Education shows in 2015 President Barbara Snyder’s base pay plus bonuses totaled more than $1 million. Snyder ranked 41st out of more than 500 presidents of private colleges included in the report. She’s among 58 presidents who earn $1 million or more. The report used the latest available federal tax documents for its analysis.
Monitoring of water wells continues after Rover Pipeline spill
The Ohio EPA says it’s continuing to monitor water wells nearly eight months after the Rover Pipeline dumped diesel-contaminated waste into nearby quarries. Rover has been cited for 19 violations since the project began in early March. The wells are used by Aqua Ohio, the Canton Water Department and private residents. EPA officials say none of the slurry has seeped into the wells. The last water sample from October shows the water is not contaminated. Rover is required to check water quality every 90 days for one year.
Canton considers cable cars to link Hall of Fame Village with downtown
The city of Canton is considering adding cable cars to its planned Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. The Repository reports a Cleveland-based company called SkyLift is partnering with Canton’s planning office to develop the concept. The cable cars would use augmented reality to add virtual elements to the surrounding scenery. The cars would run on a 3-mile route suspended up to 80 feet off the ground. The city is hoping to get a $25,000 grant to study whether or not the project would be possible in Canton. The city’s planning director says sponsorship or naming rights could be used to pay for the cable cars.