Ohio News Briefs


House names the barn a part of Ohio’s architectural history

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio House has unanimously passed a bill designating the barn as the official historical architectural structure of Ohio.

Republican Rep. Anne Gonzales of suburban Columbus says a school group brought the idea to her.

Students from the Westerville City Schools’ gifted education program wanted to emphasize the importance of preserving the many historic barns dotting Ohio’s countryside.

Gonzales says the bill approved this past week honors Ohio’s agricultural heritage and legacy of farm production.

Students who testified at the Statehouse noted that many barns painted for Ohio’s bicentennial celebration in 2003 continue to be visible around the state.

One barn in each of the state’s 88 counties was selected to be decorated for the occasion.

The bill now goes to the state Senate.

Cleveland Fire Department hasn’t hired a woman in 25 years

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Fire Department hasn’t hired a female recruit in more than 25 years, leading many to question why such a gender gap exists in the Ohio city.

WKYC-TV reports there are more than 750 firefighters currently employed by the department. But just four of them are women, and they are all expected to retire within the next few years.

Firefighter Daphne Tyus, a 29-year veteran, says she’s proof that women in Cleveland can do anything they put their mind to.

Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo says he’s noticed the gender gap after working with female chiefs across the nation.

The Cleveland Division of Fire says they are not opposed to considering different forms of testing procedures in an attempt to help close the gender gap.

Campaign to reach out to immigrants who may be crime victims

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Buses and billboards in northeast Ohio will reach out to immigrants and refugees in four languages as part of an effort to help potential crime victims.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has launched a new campaign, titled “We Can Help,” to assist victims of crime.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports more than 300 ads in English, Spanish, Arabic and Nepali will appear inside and outside Akron Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority buses. Ten billboards will also have ads.

They’ll feature contact information for agencies, including the Rape Crisis Center, Battered Women’s Shelter, Victim Assistance Program and the prosecutor’s office.

The prosecutor’s website will summarize victim rights and provide links for individuals who don’t understand the law or don’t know where to find help.

The campaign runs through April.

Agency increases walleye, yellow perch catch for Lake Erie

CLEVELAND (AP) — The commission that oversees fishing on Lake Erie is allowing a big increase in the number of walleye and yellow perch that can be caught this year.

The Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission agreed Friday to a 20 percent increase in the total allowable catch for walleye.

The group also increased the total allowable catch for yellow perch by 13 percent.

The limits are for both sport anglers in Ohio, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania along with anglers and commercial operations in Canada.

Cleveland.com reports that excellent spring hatches in 2014 and 2015 are behind the increases.

Garden company sponsors $10M prize in fight against algae

MARYSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio-based lawn and garden company will be the presenting sponsor of a $10 million prize that will be awarded to the team that finds the best way to remove an algae-feeding nutrient from water.

Phosphorus discharge feeds toxic algae.

The Everglades Foundation’s George Barley Water Prize seeks ways to remove phosphorus from fresh water using technology. It must work in warm and cold environments and on large and small scales.

The winner will be named by 2020 and receive $10 million to commercialize the idea.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Marysville-based Scotts Miracle-Gro will sponsor of the prize. The company has also donated more than $1 million through its foundation to the Everglades Foundation.

Scotts has removed phosphorus from its lawn fertilizers.

2 Ohio colleges may cut, combine course offerings

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Two public universities in Ohio are considering cutting or combining programs following a request from Republican Gov. John Kasich to find ways to save money.

The University of Toledo is reviewing 11 programs, including American studies, Asian studies, German and French, The Blade reported.

Other programs under review are digital arts, art history, global studies, general business and commerce, athletic training, geology, and clinical laboratory science.

“These 11 programs are not only duplicative, but they are low enrollment,” said university Provost Andrew Hsu. “Many of the programs have been looking at themselves and reviewing and discussing for collaboration.”

The programs could be left intact, eliminated or offered in coordination with nearby Bowling Green State University.

The state Department of Higher Education and a governor’s college-affordability task force instructed public universities to review programs offered by other public universities in the same area.

Toledo’s board of trustees unanimously approved the list on Monday.

Program quality, contribution to the university’s mission, cost-effectiveness and demand will be evaluated.

Faculty members said program cuts wouldn’t save money for years because tenured faculty wouldn’t be fired.

Some courses must be available, professors said, because students in other majors take them or they’re needed to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Bowling Green hasn’t finalized the list of programs it plans to review, Provost Rodney Rogers said. He expects the list will overlap with Toledo’s.

That list must be submitted to the state by April 30. Final decisions are expected by Dec. 31.

“We are all aware of the need to make sure we can be as efficient as possible. I think we are certainly taking this very seriously,” Rogers said.