Flood insurance rates rising for thousands in Ohio
Written by JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press   
Monday, 24 March 2014 06:22

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — The slow-rising waters of the Blanchard River have flooded this northwestern Ohio city so often over the last decade that its residents are rarely caught off-guard.

Alongside Kelley McClurkin's bakery and deli, a dozen sandbags are stacked and ready. What she wasn't prepared for this year was a huge jump in her flood insurance payments.

"I about choked at my new figure," she said.

About 20,000 property owners in Ohio are among the 1.1 million policyholders nationwide likely to see their federally subsidized flood insurance premiums rise to help rescue the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program, according to a review of federal data by The Associated Press.

President Barack Obama signed a law Friday putting the brakes on a 2012 overhaul that aimed to shore-up the program by requiring policyholders to begin paying risk-based rates, but for many the measure merely delays the premium increases.

Tractor collection extension of Ohio man's family
Written by GARY BROWN, The (Canton) Repository   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:44

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — The tractors in the collection of Dave Huggins of Canton Township aren't just pieces of lawn and farm equipment. They're like parts of his family.

Using his collection as a gauge, Huggins has a massive family — more than 100 small yard and larger agricultural models, which he purchased so he and his sons could work on them together.

"I wanted something, a hobby, so they could learn mechanics," said Huggins, with a smile. "It's worked out."

Both of his sons, Greg and Mike, as well as six grandchildren — Jakob, John, Brandon, Walker, Kylie and Hannah — have enthusiastically become involved in the hobby. Huggins' wife, Karen, also goes to shows with the family.

Large fire sweeps through NE Ohio village downtown
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:39

GARRETSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A firefighter was injured and 13 businesses were destroyed by a fire that swept through a historic downtown block in the northeastern Ohio village of Garrettsville.

The Garrettsville Police Department says that a firefighter was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after battling the blaze Saturday. Officials say 34 local fire departments responded to the scene.

Police say that dispatchers received a call around 1:15 p.m. Saturday that "Main Street is on fire."

Fire officials told WKYC-TV that the fire started at the corner of Center and Main streets and spread to four buildings.

The fire is under investigation by the Portage county fire investigation unit and state fire marshal's office.

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

Ohio law grants adoptees access to birth certificates
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:42

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio law now in effect lets biological parents of adoptees decide whether to redact their names or include contact preferences in records that will soon be made available to certain adoptees.

Birth parents can also update medical information on forms for the adoptees.

Starting next year, individuals adopted between January 1, 1964, and September 18, 1996, can request their adoption files and birth certificates from the Ohio Department of Health. Records on file at the department's Office of Vital Statistics will become available to adoptees beginning March 20, 2015.

The law is expected to give about 400,000 people access to records, which had been largely blocked without a court order.

Birth certificates before 1964 and after 1996 were already a public record. But when the law was changed again in 1996, it was not made retroactive to those caught between the two laws.

Gay marriages in Michigan halted by appeals court
Written by EMMA FIDEL, Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:27

MASON, Mich. (AP) — An appeals court reinstituted Michigan's constitutional ban on gay marriage, but not before several hundred same-sex couples rushed to the state's county clerk's offices to get hitched.

The order on Saturday by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati to at least temporarily restore the ban that Michigan voters approved in 2004 came after Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, of Lansing, were the first on Saturday to arrive at the Ingham County Courthouse in the central Michigan city of Mason. DeJong and Caspar, who have been together for 27 years, received their license and were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.

"I figured in my lifetime it would happen," Caspar said. "But now, when it happens now, it's just overwhelming. I still can't believe it. I don't think it's hit me yet."

Similar nuptials followed one after another, at times en masse, in at least four of Michigan's 83 counties. Those four — Oakland, Muskegon, Ingham and Washtenaw counties — issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday.

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