Tim Rudell

15-point-eight-billion-dollars: that’s what the Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency says is needed for the next twenty years of transportation infrastructure work in and around Cleveland.

Hundreds of kids 9-to-13 will be going to work in area factories, mills and machine shops in coming weeks.  The sixth year of Summer Manufacturing Camps in Ohio has begun.

The day-camps are collaborations of schools, community groups and businesses. They take students to manufacturing operations to see if manufacturing careers could be for them.

President Donald Trump wants to move the national air traffic control system from the FAA to a private non-profit corporation. He says that will save money, get technology upgraded faster and cut travel delays. But such a change would include complications.

Rick McQueen is president of the Akron Canton Airport, site of one of three full-time control towers in northeast Ohio. He says air traffic control is only one of a host of aviation oversight duties of the FAA.  And separating it out will have to be done thoughtfully.

Consolidating and privatizing services is something local governments have been looking hard at doing. But the Solid Waste Disposal Board for three Eastern Ohio counties just went the other way. 

The scene at an Rover Pipeline spill in Stark County, Ohio.
Ohio EPA

Builders of the Rover pipeline are going to have to do more testing and may have to pay a bigger penalty linked to the leaking of millions of gallons of drilling mud into a Stark County wetland in April.

Builders of the Rover pipeline are going to have to do more testing and may have to pay a bigger penalty linked to the leaking of millions of gallons of drilling mud into a Stark County wetland in April. 

Kent State University is expanding the buyout it originally offered to staff members. Trustees voted Wednesday to make the retirement incentive program available to the faculty, too.

The university's master plan, “The Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State," calls for an emphasis on research. That means recruiting research-oriented faculty. To help fund the shift, the school is hoping to use about $18 million in expected savings from employee retirements.

Akron’s billion-dollar sewer project includes cutting a 30-foot high, mile-long tunnel under downtown. A special boring machine is being put together for that. It’s called Rosie -- for Rosie the Riveter -- and Rosie is really big. 

Imagine a 747, its wings folded back, pushing along 160 feet below ground. Rosie is bigger-around, longer, and --  at 1,100 tons -- a good bit heavier.

One part of downtown Canton is now going to hold two economic development district designations.  The first involves a bit of history, while the other is all high tech.

A state law passed in August lets cities create Downtown Redevelopment Districts where they can offer tax incentives for developing new or rehabbing existing properties.

To qualify, an area needs to have at least one historic building in need of renovation. Canton has more than one.  And it has something much newer that is making another kind of district designation possible.

Local parks in Ohio could be forced into oil and gas “drilling units” if the state Senate adopts the budget bill as passed by the House. Managers and supporters of many local parks, including in northeast Ohio, are joining efforts to keep that from happening.

An amendment to H.B. 49 — the state operating budget — says if 65 percent of property owners around a proposed oil and  gas “drilling unit” agree to be part of it, the other 35 percent can be forced to join. That can include public entities like park districts -- although state parks are exempted.

After a decade of urging by environmentalists, many banks now have social responsibility  policies for lending, including US Bank. It just modified its policy to put a prominent industry in northeast Ohio on the restricted list.

The bank amended its policy last month to state it "does not provide project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines. Relationships with clients in the oil and gas pipeline industries are subject to the Bank's enhanced due diligence."

A new way to help control sediment build up in Cleveland’s shipping channel is saving and making money for the port.

Sediment flowing to the channel can mingle with pollutants near the port. If it is then dredged, it must go to a confined disposal facility.

There's one such facility now, and it's filling up. Building another could cost $200million. So, the port and its partners are heading off the problem by capturing sediment upriver.

MetroHealth Builds Small

May 23, 2017

MetroHealth is opening two new hospitals in Cleveland. They're small, just a dozen or so beds, and they’re add-ons to what have been urgent care centers. But, they may be a preview of things to come. 

MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros says the point is to deliver more patient-oriented health care through things like neighborhood hospitalization for people who need a few days recovery from minor surgery or an illness.

The human behavior behind high tech hostility and cyber rage.

Tamara Daily is a psychology professor at the University of Mount Union. She's reviewing current research on how people interact on social media.  

Alliance Historical Society

Quite a few of the buildings in the heart of Alliance, in eastern Stark County, haven’t been in use for a long time.  So they still look a lot like they did a century ago.  And that may be one of the reasons why the city is seeking a historical district designation for its downtown.

Quite a few of the buildings in the heart of Alliance, in eastern Stark County, haven’t been in use for a long time.  So they still look a lot like they did a century ago.  And that may be one of the reasons why the city is seeking a historical district designation for its downtown.

The philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Co. is designating Akron Public Schools as a ‘Next Generation Learning Community’ and will financially help with the college and career academies in the districts' high schools. At the same time Kent State University announced a new partnership with the academies. 

A week ago, there were widespread reports that Ohio EPA fined the owners of the Rover pipeline for environmental violations during ongoing construction of the natural gas transmission system across northern Ohio.  But the fine was more a matter of definition.

OEPA did tell Rover’s parent corporation Energy Transfer that it will have to pay a penalty, in addition to cleaning up recent spills in Ohio, and change a number of its practices.

Northeast Ohio is in line for more than a million dollars in Ohio EPA grants for recycling and litter-prevention programs. And a greater Akron organization is getting funding to do work statewide. 

Thirteen programs in nine northeast Ohio counties are getting from $2,500 to $250,000.  That includes a $100,000 new type of grant for a local  Keep Ohio Beautiful chapter. 

Lindey Amer is a spokeswoman for Ohio EPA.

Reconstruction of the 14,400-foot-long c in the Portage Lakes is about to get underway.  So, the designers and contractors for the project held another round of briefings Thursday to update the public.  

About a hundred people came to each of three, hour-long sessions at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources District office on Portage Lakes Drive. 

This exchange between Ice Cream shop owner Mike Bordner and project designer Pete Nix about construction noise near the store characterized much of the tone of the meetings.

There will be three local public briefings Thursday for the Portage Lakes East Reservoir Dam project. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is doing the work and expects to start this summer. The meetings will be at the ODNR District 3 headquarters on Portage Lake Drive starting at 3  p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. 

The meetings are to update information on plans for the 1,400-foot East Reservoir earthen dam and get public comment.

It’s been two months since Dr. Cliff Deveny returned to Akron from running Locus Health IT medical software company in Virginia. He was brought in as the interim CEO of Summa Heath System following the turmoil that led to the ouster of Dr. Thomas Malone as the nonprofit’s CEO. Deveny sat down with WKSU’s Tim Rudell to talk about where Summit County’s biggest employer has been, is now and where it could be heading.

Tim Rudell / WKSU

Ohio’s first industry, farming, is still its biggest industry.  But with technology-driven lifestyles, urbanization and a global economy, will that continue for the next generation that is now looking to make its way in the world?

There's reason to believe so.

Ohio’s first industry, farming, is still its biggest industry.  But with technology-driven life styles, urbanization and a global economy, will that continue for the next generation that is now looking to make its way in the world? 


Dr. Cliff Deveny took over as interim CEO of Summa Health System in March. This week he started reorganizing.  Among other moves, he eliminated the jobs of two of Summa’s highest-ranking managers: Chief Operating Officer Valerie Gibson and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vivian von Gruenigen

Both were involved in the controversial change of the health system’s contractor for emergency room physicians. That led to former CEO Dr. Thomas Malone’s resignation and Deveny’s appointment.  But he says their positions were dropped for other reasons.

A California company has dropped its plan to buy the old Packard Electric plant in Warren.  However Autoparkit, which builds robotic parking garage systems, is still planning to set up operations in the city. 

West  Coost entrepreneur Christopher Alan grew up in Warren. When he decided the old Packard plant back home would be a good place to make his automation he tried to buy it. Last month the deal fell through.

An amendment to the budget bill just passed by the Ohio House says racinos in the state can now offer video poker. It’s an idea that’s drawing criticism from within the gambling industry itself.

Backers say video poker will boost state revenue because the Ohio Lottery Commission shares in the profits of racinos.

Update May 2, 2017 9:30 a.m.: The amendment is being stripped out of the budget bill.

Ohio’s budget is a step closer to a vote.  It came out of the House Finance Committee today. But it still contains an amendment that is stirring opposition.  

The amendment says probate judges, who have authority over local park districts, can “impose duties or restrictions on a person or party who interferes with the park district's purposes, and tax the cost of proceedings as court costs to be assessed by the court in its discretion.” 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is usually an issuer of regulatory permits, but for parts of its $75-million Portage Lakes dam project, it is the applicant.

The Lake Erie Charter Boat Association is among a half dozen environmental and business groups that have joined a lawsuit this week against the U.S. EPA.

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