Ohio News Briefs

State lawmakers set panel to study Lake Erie’s harmful algae

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A group of Ohio lawmakers who will look into Lake Erie’s health will be led by two legislators who have criticized the governor’s move to create tougher regulations on thousands of farmers.

The legislature’s Republican leaders appointed the panel in the wake of Gov. John Kasich’s executive order calling for new rules to combat the lake’s harmful algae blooms.

Kasich directive calls for issuing “distressed watershed” designations in northwestern Ohio that would potentially force thousands of farmers to change how they manage fertilizer and manure.

The state’s Soil and Water Conservation Commission has delayed signing off on the order while it looks deeper into the issue.

The state panel says its first meeting will be next week and that it plans more meetings this fall.

Ohio regulators weighing end to AT&T’s low-income phone plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio utility regulators are accepting comments on AT&T’s proposal to drop federal Lifeline phone service.

A number of advocacy groups for more than 10,000 low-income Ohioans customers helped by the program are urging the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to reject AT&T’s plan . Those include the NAACP, AARP and the Ohio Poverty Law Center.

Lifeline offers a credit that covers a quarter of the $36 average monthly cost of a landline telephone.

Advocates argue the program keeps people connected who can’t afford phone and internet services, and that landlines bring them safety in emergencies.

AT&T says Lifeline subscribers have decreased due to increased competition. The company’s received permission to drop the program in 10 states.

If the PUCO allows that, customers would have to find another provider that offers it.

Officials: 13-year-old boy drowns in Stillwater River

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in western Ohio say a 13-year-old boy has drowned in a river.

WHIO-TV reports DeAngelo Casey was pulled from the Stillwater River in Dayton Sunday evening. Dayton Fire Department District Chief Brad Baldwin says the Dayton teen walked into the river, went under and drowned.

Authorities say the victim was with two friends at a pedestrian bridge near the river before the drowning.

No further information was immediately available.

Mural dedicated to famous baby hippo on display

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials in Ohio have unveiled a mural dedicated to Fiona, the baby hippo at Cincinnati Zoo that beat the odds and survived, despite being born nearly two months early.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the mural featuring a smiling Fiona and her mother Bibi was revealed recently in the city’s Central Business District.

The mural was designed by Lucie Rice, who competed with more than 60 artists to win the Fiona Mural Contest.

Rice says she wanted the design to capture the joy surrounding Fiona.

Fiona fans had the opportunity to paint the piece along with youth apprentices and teaching artists as part of a fundraiser for the nonprofit ArtWorks.

Fiona celebrated her first birthday in January.