Youngstown-area earthquake may be linked to drilling wells
State regulators and scientists in Ohio are working to determine whether an earthquake in northeast Ohio on Sunday has any connection to nearby oil and gas drilling injection wells. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Columbia University scientists say they should determine by week’s end what caused the 2.1-magnitude quake centered in Weathersfield, near Youngstown. The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports two injection wells for fracking wastewater had received permission to operate nearby in March and one recently received permission to increase its pressures. Earlier this year, ODNR shut down operations at a six-well pad near Youngstown after a 3.0-magnitude earthquake was recorded in the area.
Another $12 million coming to states to combat toxic algae
The U.S. EPA says federal and state agencies will be getting another $12 million to deal with the harmful algae in Lake Erie. Ohio, Michigan and Indiana will be able to get a share of the money along with federal regulators. The funding will go toward monitoring drinking water and tracking pollutants….and encouraging farmers to cut down on fertilizer and manure runoff.
Person of interest identified in Bucyrus slayings
Authorities have identified a person of interest in the slayings of four men that shocked the small town of Bucyrus this week. The Crawford County Prosecutor's Office says 41-year-old Donald Hoffman is currently in custody. He was arrested on Tuesday after he walked into the city police station and offered information about two suspicious deaths. Mansfield News Journal reports the four homicide victims were all over the age of 55 and were likely beaten in their separate homes. They also had been close friends for years.
Ohio Dems sue Mandel over records
The Ohio Democratic Party says it’s suing State Treasurer Josh Mandel asking to see documents relating to a series of telephone town-halls and correspondence between Mandel and Canton businessman Benjamin Suarez. The suit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court follows a public records request placed in July for copies of the contracts related to tele town halls Mandel held this year with constituents. Suarez was tried in federal court for illegally channeling $100,000 each to the federal campaigns of then-U.S. Senate candidate Mandel and Republican Congressman Jim Renacci in the 2012 election. He was acquitted on those charges, but convicted of one felony count of obstruction for tampering with a witness. Democrats have also filed suit against Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, requesting records relating to two staffers who resigned in June.
Cleveland council officially puts red light camera issue on fall ballot
Cleveland City Council has cleared the way for residents to vote this fall on the fate of the city’s 56 red-light traffic cameras. Councilman Zack Reed says the special council session was held Wednesday to beat Friday’s filing deadline. Without the council vote, a taxpayer-funded special election costing an estimated $760,000 would have been scheduled. The citizen-led ballot measure would ban the devices unless a police officer is sitting along-side to personally issue a ticket if the camera catches an infraction. Reed and others say this defeats the purpose of giving police more time to work on more serious crimes. Some Ohio lawmakers are trying to ban the cameras statewide. And the Ohio Supreme Court is considering a challenge to Toledo’s red light cameras.
High court sides with utility regulators over AEP's coal charges
The Ohio Supreme Court has sided with state utility regulators in a dispute with American Electric Power over how much the company can charge customers for coal. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the court, in a unanimous ruling Wednesday, rejected Columbus-based AEP's contention that it should have been able to keep the nearly $72 million that it received related to a coal contract in 2009. AEP disagreed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio about how much of the money should be credited to consumers. The commission allowed AEP to keep some, but not all, of the $72 million.
Former Navy Seal allegedly lied about shooting
Police in Bath have filed charges against a former Navy Seal who claimed he was shot in a west Akron shopping plaza. Christopher Heben is being charged with falsification and obstructing official business - both misdemeanors. Heben claims that he was shot in March by three youth he confronted in West Market Plaza. A Bath detective determined that the shooting could not have taken place there. Police do not know where the shooting occurred or why Heben may have fabricated the story.