OH-MI-IN News
Columbus police probe underground explosions
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 28 February 2014 07:05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in Columbus were trying to determine the source of several explosions downtown overnight that blew off manhole covers, set off fire alarms and flooded emergency responders with calls.

At least three blasts, apparently underground, occurred in the early hours of Friday morning.

Police cordoned off streets, and the electric company cut power to several surrounding buildings. Some traffic lights were knocked out. Smoke was seen coming from one of the manholes.

The investigation was continuing. No injuries were reported.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Plan seeks phosphorus cuts to stop Lake Erie algae
Written by JOHN FLESHER, AP Environmental Writer   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:51

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A U.S.-Canadian agency is calling for sharp cutbacks in phosphorus runoff into Lake Erie to counter a worsening problem of algae blooms that degrade water quality, harm fish and chase away tourists.

In a report Thursday, the International Joint Commission identifies farm fertilizer as a primary culprit in feeding runaway algae blooms. It recommends placing Lake Erie on a federal impaired waters list, which would activate a plan to limit phosphorus levels.

It particularly targets the Maumee Bay watershed in Ohio and Indiana on the lake's western side, proposing a 39 percent annual reduction in phosphorus runoff from its tributaries through a combination of regulations and voluntary actions.

Lake Erie's algae problem has worsened in recent years. The largest bloom ever recorded extended more than 100 miles in 2011.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Ohio bill on religion, gay rights is withdrawn
Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 07:15

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State lawmakers in Ohio withdrew legislation Wednesday that mirrors an Arizona bill that's come under fire for protecting those who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays.

Republican state Rep. Tim Derickson and Democratic state Rep. Bill Patmon issued a joint statement citing concern over the bill's unintended consequences.

"The intent of (our bill) was to ensure Ohioans' religious freedom by protecting their ability to freely worship and preventing any laws from burdening the free exercise of religion," their statement said. "However, with the controversy that is occurring in Arizona, we feel that it is in the best interest of Ohioans that there be no further consideration of this legislation."

Debate on the bill has been indefinitely postponed, House Speaker William Batchelder's office said.

Similar legislation was passed in Arizona. At issue is a provision protecting any individual, association or corporation from discrimination lawsuits if their actions are based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Detractors say the provision amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination, while supporters say it's a relatively minor change to existing law.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill Wednesday night.

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Three Ohio cities make RNC convention cut
Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:50

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's three flagship cities — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — have been named finalists in the competition to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus named all three among the party's eight finalists in a Twitter post Thursday. The others are Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

It's the first time in modern memory that all three have bid to host the convention in the same year.

Party and city officials are counting on the state's pivotal role in electing presidents to boost the chances that the party will pick one of their cities for its biggest event. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying the state, and few Democrats have.

Backers see the convention as a potential boon for tourism.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Ohio lawmakers pass new provisional ballot rules
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 07:14

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill setting forth when provisional ballots are counted in the political swing state and what it takes to cast one.

Provisional ballots include those cast when voters don't bring proper ID to the polls or cast them in the wrong precinct.

The bill passed by the House and Senate Wednesday would put into law recent federal court action that requires provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct, but right polling location, to be counted. The goal of the legislation was to reduce the number of ballots rejected for voting in the wrong precinct but correct polling place.

Some polling places contain voting machines for several precincts.

The measure, which Gov. John Kasich likely will sign, would cut the number of days provisional voters would have to prove their identity and eligibility to seven from 10. The bill keeps in place current rules that election officials not count the ballots for at least 10 days.

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