News

Holiday Shoppers walk in the Easton Town Center, Columbus Ohio.
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s more than 7,000 retailers are expecting a slight increase in sales this holiday season over last year, though where those spending increases are projected may be a surprise.

The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants is predicting $25.3 billion will be spent this holiday season, a .8 percent increase over last year and lower than the national spending forecast. Megan Heare is with the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, which did the research.

a photo of Duramax plant announcement
JASON REYNOLDS / WYSO

A new Duramax factory is coming to Brookville. The DMAX plant is part of General Motors’ stated plan to invest in $700 million in Ohio.

 

DMAX is a joint venture, with 60 percent owned by GM and 40 percent owned by Isuzu Diesel Services of America, Inc.

Representatives from GM and Isuzu say the new $175 million diesel engine components plant will create 100 new union jobs and should be fully operational by the end of 2020. 

a photo of Ohio auditor Keith Faber
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The official elected as the state’s accountability watchdog is creating a new program to encourage better open records policies among local governments.

Auditor Keith Faber is announcing a new rating system that evaluates how each local government complies with Ohio's public records laws, known as Sunshine Laws.

The four-star rating program known as StaRS offers one star if the government is meeting the bare minimum on Sunshine Law requirements and offers a star for each additional best practice implemented.

Democrats speaking at a podium.
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Leaders of the Republican dominated Ohio Legislature have expressed frustration in recent weeks that more of the bills they consider “priorities” have not been passed by lawmakers. But Democrats in the House say they think lawmakers are spending too much time debating the wrong issues.

Democrats say there are bills, many with bipartisan support, that deal with kinship care, family leave and healthcare. But Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says the legislature is spending too much time on divisive bills that don’t benefit Ohio’s families.

a photo of Frank Stanek.
CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

At Ashland University, the marching band has proven that age is no barrier to performance. At 70, the oldest member of the band gave his final performance during the last football game of the season.

Frank Stanek celebrated his 70th birthday this year. He's also a member of the Ashland Marching Band.

“Okay, we’re going to do a flashback," Stanek said. "I retired and was playing in community bands and got introduced to Tuba Christmases.”

 

A member of United Auto Workers Local 1005 stands on the picket line outside of the General Motors Metal Fabrication Division in Parma, Ohio Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2019.
CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Nov. 21:

Photo of Phoenix Brewing Company
CARMONE MACFARLANE / PHOENIX BREWING COMPANY

Craft breweries have been on a steady rise throughout the country becoming hot spots for people and providing benefits to local economies. Ohio now has over 300 craft brewers and is one of the top five craft brewers in the country.  

We've been checking in with Ohio author David Giffels as he travels around the state for his new book, "Barnstorming Ohio". Each month he discusses what he’s finding in a series of conversations we’re calling “To Understand Ohio.” This month Giffels visited a small brewery in Mansfield.

photo of the Ohio Statehouse
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

State lawmakers have touted their support of a new law that eliminates the so-called “pink tax” on feminine hygiene products and gives a tax credit to teachers buying supplies. It also restores a $250,000 income tax break for lawyers and lobbyists. It can seem to be a mixed message Republican leaders are sending on tax policy.

Eastwood Field - Close Overview
JACK W. PEARCE / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are one of 42 teams Major League Baseball may cut in a move to upgrade facilities and improve pay for minor leaguers.

The Scrappers are a short-season Class A team affiliated with the Cleveland Indians.

General Manager Jordan Taylor said attendance is strong and cutting any team on the list would devastate local communities.

Testimony for the bill in a courtroom.
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would remove what's known as the "duty to retreat" in public before shooting someone in self-defense. This law is commonly referred to as the "Stand Your Ground" bill. At the heart of the debate is whether the law would increase or decrease safety. 

State Sen. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) told a Senate committee during the first hearing of his bill that it keeps the main prongs of self-defense: that an aggressor must display "means, intent, and opportunity" to do harm before someone takes action to protect themselves.

a photo of Ohio Hous Speaker Larry Householder
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The head of the Ohio House says the state may need to come up with a new way of funding schools to reach a level of fairness. And Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) is suggesting that could involve redistribution of wealth to districts around the state.

Householder says wealthier districts have high family incomes and business properties, like Olentangy Local Schools in Delaware County, while poorer districts, like Trimble in Athens County, cannot generate the same money with the same effort. So he’s suggesting the state could pool all of those funds.

a photo of Mitch Landrieu
CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

The former mayor of New Orleans drew parallels between the troubled times of 1970 that led to tragedy at Kent State and the troubled times right now that have led to an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Mitch Landrieu spoke to Kent State University students and faculty Tuesday night. He said the four students killed on May 4th, 1970 died in a moment of patriotism, something he considered as Congress questioned witnesses this week during the impeachment hearings.

 

 

photo of panhandling
ANNA STAVER / WKSU

A Civil Rights group is pleased with a new panhandling law passed this week by Summit County Council. The American Civil Liberties Union had been fighting the county’s previous law that banned panhandling in townships.

ACLU attorney Joseph Mead says the law violated First Amendment free speech rights.

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus members, state and business leaders
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s Legislative Black Caucus, some state leaders and some business owners say they are working hard to continue to encourage more minority owned businesses in Ohio. 

There are 125,000 minority owned businesses in Ohio. State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) says there are two pilot projects underway that involve collaboration between state and local governments, businesses and local communities of color to help more entrepreneurs get started.

“We can win collectively together if we pull all of our resources.”

Cleveland downtown
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Nov. 20:

ERIK DROST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Cleveland Browns player Myles Garrett will learn his fate with the NFL Wednesday. Garrett is appealing his indefinite suspension after an ugly brawl at the end of last week’s game against the Steelers. He ripped the helmet off of quarterback Mason Rudolph and used it to hit Rudolph over the head. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said Garrett will be asking the league to reduce the suspension.

a photo of State Senator Kristina Roegner of Hudson
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Finding a job can be a major factor for someone looking to move to a new state. In Ohio, lawmakers believe recognizing occupational licenses from other states could make Ohio seem more appealing. 

There are hundreds of professions in Ohio that require a license. Critics in the Statehouse say these can sometimes become a governmental permission slip.

State Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) says professionals already had to go through the training to get those licenses in other states.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
LYDIA TAYLOR / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, Nov. 19:

photo of goats at Ferrum Moraine Farm
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Raw, unpasteurized goat milk can be bought in Ohio for use as pet food. But between the teat and the street, farmers have to do a lot of work to make the milk safe for human consumption.

In this installment of WKSU’s “OH Really?,” we try to help a listener who wants to “drink local” and buy fresh, raw goat milk right from the farm.

Ohio Supreme Court
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The fate of Ohio's new energy law could be up to the state's Supreme Court with parties arguing over two potential cases. One group is asking for more time to hold a referendum on the nuclear bailout law, and another case argues that the bill cannot be subject to a referendum in the first place. 

a bring your own bags image
CUYAHOGA COUNTY

An informal survey shows a majority of Cuyahoga County residents support a plastic bag ban that takes effect in a little over a month. The survey was sent out to 500 residents by the county’s department of sustainability and councilwoman Sunny Simon, who sponsored the legislation to ban plastic bags.

It shows more than 70% of residents are in favor of the ban. Simon says they’ve had local retailers sit in on their recent discussions surrounding the ban.

COURTESY OF OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Nov. 18:

photo of a hemp plant
JARED MURPHY / WESA

At AgraPharm LLC’s warehouse in Beaver County, the scent of cannabis is potent.

“What you're smelling today is about only a third of what it really smells like when we first harvest the crop,” said AgraPharm’s CEO Ed Santillan.

The hemp drying inside was harvested about two weeks ago. There are rows and rows of it, stalks as much as 8 feet long, hanging from orange plastic netting secured to the ceiling.

photo of floodplain between 14th street and Wolf Creek
GOOGLE EARTH

Some Barberton residents who live in a flood-prone area of 14th street will have the opportunity to relocate thanks to a $595,000 federal grant.

The grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be used to acquire and demolish 15 homes in the low-lying area next to Wolf Creek. Mayor William Judge said that area will be turned into greenspace.

a photo of protestors
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A new bill that would ban abortion in Ohio has been introduced by Statehouse Republicans.  A similar bill calling for a total ban was introduced last year but didn’t pass. So why is this bill being introduced now?

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