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Ohio


Settlement forgives loans for more than 7,000 Ohioans
Top headlines: Potential Lake Erie wind farm to receive $3.7 million federal grant; Activists organize rallies, other events to protest fracking
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and CORY YORK


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Morning headlines for Tuesday, November 17, 2015:
  • Settlement forgives loans for more than 7,000 Ohioans
  • Potential Lake Erie wind farm to receive $3.7 million federal grant
  • Anti-fracking group plans demonstrations in Ohio, elsewhere
  • Domestic violence victims could soon have addresses shielded
  • Gov. Kasich says he doesn't want refugees in Ohio
  • Ohio House schedules vote on expanding concealed carry law
  • House to vote on bill  to divert $1 million from Planned Parenthood
  • Questions continue about Ohio school barricade devices rules
  • Ohio House passes bill extending foster care age to 21
  • Jim Tressel donates $1 million to help YSU students find campus jobs
  • Settlement forgives loans for more than 7,000 Ohioans
    State Attorney General Mike DeWine and nearly 40 other attorney generals announced on Monday that nearly $11 million in student loans will be forgiven as part of a nearly $100 million federal settlement with Pennsylvania-based Education Management Corp., which runs for-profit trade schools and colleges, including Brown Mackie College and South University. The settlement applies to former students who enrolled with under 24 hours of transfer credit, withdrew within 45 days of their first term and last attended between 2006 and 2014. The firm also agreed to better inform prospective students about the costs and pledged to reform its recruiting practices.

    Potential Lake Erie wind farm to receive federal grant

    A project to build a pilot wind farm on Lake Erie is expected to get another infusion of cash from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., or LEEDCo, is in line to receive a $3.7 million research and development grant next spring. The funding keeps alive the groups’ dream of building a six-turbine demonstration project about eight to 10 miles off the Cleveland lakeshore. Last spring LEEDCo missed-out on major federal grants that were awarded to three ocean-based offshore wind projects. LEEDCo has been seeking private funding to keep the Lake Erie project alive.

    Anti-fracking group plans demonstrations in Ohio, elsewhere 
    Activists in about a dozen U.S. states are having a day of action to highlight concerns about potential environmental and health effects of the oil and gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Youngstown-based Frackfree America National Coalition has organized events today including rallies in a number of Ohio counties. Elsewhere, planned actions included rallies, press conferences, full-page newspaper ads and film screenings. Environmentalists and others point to seismic activity and potential water contamination from fracking, while the energy industry says the process has been used safely for years.

    Domestic violence victims could soon have addresses shielded
    Victims of domestic violence, stalking and other crimes could have their addresses shielded from use by government agencies under proposed Ohio legislation. The bill would allow victims worried about attackers tracking them down to apply for a confidential address from the Ohio secretary of state. Victims could use the confidential address when registering to vote or for any business with a government agency such as a city water department, school or public university. The secretary of state's office would forward mail to the real address daily. The bill is scheduled for another hearing today. Victims of sexual assault and human trafficking also could apply for a confidential address.

    Gov. Kasich says he doesn't want refugees in Ohio
    John Kasich is among U.S. governors saying they don't want to accept more Syrian refugees. The Republican presidential candidate is writing to ask President Barack Obama to stop resettling Syrian refugees in Ohio because safety and security issues can't adequately be addressed. Kasich also is reviewing steps Ohio might take to stop resettlement. Republican Sen. Rob Portman issued a similar call Monday, saying he's concerned the government can't fully check refugees' backgrounds.

    Ohio House schedules vote on a bill to expand concealed carry law
    The Ohio House is slated to vote today on a bill to expand the state's concealed weapons law to allow guns in places such as colleges and day cares and on private aircraft. The bill still permits those places to ban guns if they want. The proposal keeps a ban on concealed weapons in government buildings unless an agency decides to allow them. The bill was revised earlier this year to remove houses of worship from the list of places where the weapons would be allowed. The proposal is opposed by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. It's supported by the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association.

    House to vote on bill to divert $1 million from Planned Parenthood
    A bill that seeks to divert more than $1 million in government funding away from Planned Parenthood is slated for votes in the Ohio House, as opponents plan to rally against the potential changes at the Statehouse. The proposal targets grants Planned Parenthood receives through the state's health department. The public dollars support initiatives that include HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings and prevention of violence against women. A House committee is slated to vote on the proposal this morning, followed by a full House vote later. The Senate has passed a similar bill.

    Questions continue about Ohio school barricade devices rules
    Fire marshals, architects and building hardware manufacturers continue to ask questions about an Ohio law allowing schools to deploy portable barricade devices in the event of an active shooter. A Columbus-area fire captain told the state Board of Building Standards on Monday that he's concerned about a lack of testing standards for new devices. One architect said Ohio should wait for the results of the International Code Council's work addressing active shooter situations. The board faces an April deadline imposed by lawmakers to create rules governing the devices.

    Ohio House passes extending foster care age to 21
    An Ohio House committee has approved legislation extending the age that younger residents can get foster care services to 21, providing they meet certain education and work requirements. The panel removed an immediate appropriation, giving the state until 2017 to find funding for foster youths between 18 and 21. Advocates estimate over 1,000 people age out of foster care at 18 each year.

    Jim Tressel donates $1 million to help YSU students find campus jobs
    Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel and his wife are donating $1 million to help give students more opportunities to work on campus. The Ellen and Jim Tressel Student Work Opportunity Endowment Fund will be established with the money. Tressel, who is also the former head football coach at Ohio State University, says research shows students with part-time jobs on campus are "more successful in the classroom." He says students who work on campus have better odds of graduating on schedule and have the opportunity to earn some extra money.
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