Officials seek cleanup funding for Ohio uranium plant
PIKETON, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s U.S. senators are again pushing for continued federal funding for the cleanup of a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio where workers periodically have been warned about the threat of layoffs for several years.
Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman have asked top members on the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to include funding for work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon in any short-term continuing resolution that may pass through the committee or subcommittee.
A continuing resolution is a temporary spending measure that can be used by legislators to continue funding programs until both the House and Senate reach an agreement on a final budget for the next fiscal year that also has the president’s approval.
Funding for the cleanup has been included in an appropriations bill that passed by the Senate earlier this year, but awaits House action.
The plant produced enriched uranium for defense and commercial uses until 2001, and its shutdown left behind chemicals, radioactive areas and old buildings. The cleanup is expected to take decades and offers some of the best-paying jobs in a pocket of high unemployment.
Warnings of the potential for large-scale layoffs have loomed over the plant’s workers in recent years. But a bill signed last year by President Barack Obama that included more than $200 million for cleanup operations brought some relief.
Jeff Wagner, a spokesman for main contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth, said the senators’ letter shows the state’s Congressional delegation is staying on top of the situation. He said Fluor remains active in the funding discussions.
Authorities in Ohio city probe series of bomb threats
CINCINNATI (AP) — Authorities in the Cincinnati area are investigating a series of bomb threats at high-profile local venues.
City spokesman Rocky Merz says an anonymous caller Saturday claimed an explosive device had been planted on one of Cincinnati’s streetcars, which officially began operation Friday. All five were temporarily taken out of service so a bomb-sniffing dog could check them out.
Merz says the threat is being investigated in conjunction with other recent threats and he urges public help for identifying those behind the hoaxes.
Threats Friday night caused cancellation of the Cincinnati Moeller-Mason high school football game and an evacuation of fans immediately after the Cincinnati La Salle-Colerain football game. Both were big games for the region’s many prep football fans.
The Cincinnati Zoo was evacuated Thursday afternoon after a threat.
Lake Erie island lighthouse restored, offered for events
PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (AP) — A nineteenth-century lighthouse on a Lake Erie island has been restored and is being offered for events like weddings.
The 2 ½-story brick South Bass Island Lighthouse guided ships from July 1897 until October 1962.
The Blade reports that Ohio State University, which acquired the building from the federal government in 1867, is making the restored lighthouse available for special events starting next year.
The lighthouse with a 60-foot tower is unusual because of the amount of living space in an attached Queen Anne-style home.
The grounds, which include a butterfly garden, are a popular spot for viewing Lake Erie.