Tim Rudell

One of the longest-serving Ohioans in Congress is being remembered as a proud Republican, yet nonpartisan public servant. Ralph Regula, who represented Northeast Ohio for 36 years, died Wednesday in his home. He was 92.

'A good man'

People remembering Ralph Regula quickly get to two points.

“He was an exceptional person;” and “he got things done.” 

A year ago, northeast Ohio’s Diebold took over Germany’s Wincor Nixdorf. It created the world’s second largest ATM/banking technologies maker.  The new company has lost money since then, including $30 million last quarter.

Diebold-Nixdorf CEO Andy Mattes say the merger process itself was a factor. Legal expenses, regulatory delays and reconciling operations cost more than expected.

Stark County is offering Narcan over-dose revival kits to opiate-addicted inmates who are released from the county jail.   

Sheriff George Maier says Stark County’s health department is trying to get the potentially life-saving kits into the hands of high-risk individuals, and the jail is one place where they can be found.

The U.S. oil and gas industry may be rebounding after nearly four years of decline. The International Energy Agency is now forecasting a nearly 3 percent per year output for the next five years. And, the agency predicts that shale gas will lead the way with the Marcellus and Utica plays of the Appalachian basin ramping up as much as 45 percent by 2022. 

Metro Parks are among northeast Ohio’s most popular places. But in recent years, conflicts have emerged over who runs them--and how much power they have in running them. WKSU's Tim Rudell takes a closer look at the role probate judges are playing in this.

In Ohio there is such a thing as a 1545 park district. That refers to the 1917 statute that established it. These are local parks, governed by boards appointed by the probate judge of the county they’re in.   

The public's place in operating the parks

Another surgical abortion clinic in Ohio is closed.  As of late Thursday, the doors were locked and phones shut off at Akron Women’s Medical Group on East Market Street. 

There's no word on why the surgical abortion facility closed.  The state Health Department says its license is in good standing.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is giving the Downtown Akron Partnership $1.5 million to help make the city’s center more vibrant by making it a more inviting place for pedestrians.

Diocese of Rockville Centre

The next leader of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is a Miami-born son of Cuban immigrants now serving as auxiliary bishop of a diocese on Long Island, N.Y

Akron Public Schools will have Narcan on hand this fall.  Monday, the school board approved equipping the district’s 18 high schools and middle schools with the opioid overdose antidote.

Although there has never been a reported overdose case in an Akron school, in the face of the opioid crisis the school board decided to take preemptive action. 

School spokesman Mark Williamson says having Narcan available is a first step.

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

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is turning to Ohio’s Attorney General to settle its issues with the parent company of the Rover Pipeline project.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is turning to Ohio’s Attorney General to settle its issues with the parent company of the Rover Pipeline project.

State EPA Director Craig Butler says his agency can’t come to terms with Energy Transfer Partners on clean-up costs and fines for environmentally damaging accidents its crews have had while building its Rover pipeline across Ohio.

No homes, places of business or local tax dollars will be involved in improving the I-77/U.S. 62 interchange near the expanding Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

At a public meeting last night, the Ohio Department of Transportation said the plan involves only an addition of lanes to some already in place. So, there will be no new property acquisition., according to project finance planner Steve Rebillot.

Chipping Lead Paint
Tim Rudell / WKSU

The Erie County Health Department says results from a spring testing program are showing elevated lead levels in the blood of far more local children than expected.

The Erie County Health Department says results from a spring testing program are showing elevated lead levels in the blood of far more local children than expected. 

Three years in the making, and with a million dollar price tag, Akron’s new police body camera system is about to go into service. 

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is looking at the finances of Youngstown Thermal.  The privately owned steam plant supplies heat and cooling to about 50 buildings in Youngstown’s business district. 

Ohio’s state lawmakers want to push U.S. lawmakers to put the three-and-a-half billion dollar Eastern U.S. Missile Defense Base at Camp Ravenna.  The location in Portage and Trumbull counties is one of three sites being considered

State Senator Sean O’Brien of Bazzeta is co-sponsor of a resolution that the Ohio legislature is voting on Wednesday asking for help from Congress in getting the big base for Ohio.  And he says, its impact would extend beyond Camp Ravenna and the immediate area.

Mayor Dan Horrigan’s nominees to the new Akron Civil Rights Commission were approved this week by City Council. Now the group, with the authority to investigate and mediate complaints and enforce the city’s new anti-discrimination ordinance, has to organize itself. 

All five sets of investors who applied to cultivate medical marijuana in Akron won approval Monday from City Council.  

Council passed an ordinance in April to allow medical marijuana cultivators with state licenses in town. Since then, it collected data and held hearings.

FirstEnergy wants out of the competitive power generation business. That’s been known since CEO Chuck Jones said so last fall. But, as the Akron-based utility tries to sell its power plants, or get the nuclear ones re-regulated, it’s also trying to lower the taxes it has to pay on them. 

Declaring what’s called an “impairment”’ is one way to do that.  It’s like asking the city to lower your property tax if the value of your house drops.  In FirstEnergy’s case they’re saying the drop is $9-Billion.

Immigrants from around the world brought ethnic and religious diversity to northeast Ohio.  They helped build what for a time were some of the most vibrant towns and cities in America. But, that has been changing, as is happening with Canton and the evolving Jewish community here.

The vacant and often overgrown field used to be a busy playground and tennis courts. They, the  pool and the rest of the Canton Jewish Community Center have been closed now for five years. But, like the Jewish community itself, it once had an outsized effect.

An income-tax increase is expected to be on the November ballot in Akron.

Mayor Dan Horrigan said today that a quarter-percent hike is needed to ensure adequate support for the city’s safety forces and critical infrastructure.

Fire Station 2 in east Akron is in rough shape. The mayor held a news conference there to make his case, joined by Fire Chief Clarence Tucker and Police Chief James Nice. They gave examples of layers-deep problems people don’t usually think about.

Akron will be going to the voters in November to try to increase the city’s income tax from 2.25 to 2.5 percent.

In an announcement in one of the city's dilapidated fire stations, Mayor Dan Horrigan said the extra $16 million a year will go toward police and fire services and street repairs. Horrigan says state budget cuts have devastated his and other cities.

More healthcare industry consolidation is in the offing for northeast Ohio. Wednesday Canton-based Aultman Health Foundation signed a letter of intent to buy Alliance Community Hospital.

The two Stark county institutions operated separately for 116 years. But, Case-Western Reserve University professor J.B. Silvers says the current economic and political environment in healthcare is drawing them together.

President Donald Trump wants to privatize air traffic control.  He says the current system run by the Federal Aviation Administration is out of date and the private sector can get things squared away faster and cheaper.  But a leading economist says, “Perhaps not 

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.