Ohio

James Oram won first place in his division at Ohio's annual oratory contest celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.
ohio.gov

For 15 years, kids around the state have honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by competing in an annual oratory contest with a theme inspired by the civil rights leader. 
 

Last week, an audience came together in a downtown Columbus church to hear the winners perform their entries. The theme was building a loving, nonviolent community. The winner of the youngest division is first grader James Oram of Columbus, whose essay explained why King is his hero.

Ohio won’t be able to execute inmates until at least the spring, because the state is changing its execution drug combination again. The state is running out of the drugs it uses to put inmates to death.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s 40 vials of midazolam will expire April 1 and its 60 vials of hydromorphone will expire June 1. Corrections Director Gary Mohr says the state will no longer use that controversial two-drug mixture. It was used in last January’s lethal injection of Dennis McGuire, who appeared to gasp and choke during his 20-minute execution.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper says the party is not ready to throw its support behind a U.S. Senate candidate yet.
ohiodems.org

Cincinnati City Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld is the latest Democrat to express interest in running against Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman. But other Democrats with more name recognition are also being considered as possible Portman opponents.  

U.S. Representatives Betty Sutton and Tim Ryan as well as former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland are on the short list. David Pepper, the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, says it won’t back anyone right now. 

Ohio driver's licenses and state IDs have a new look in the new year.
Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles

Ohioans will be in for a surprise when they renew their Ohio Driver’s license or state identification card.

Driver's licenses and state-issued IDs have a new look, effective immediately. The salmon colored background on those cards has been replaced with one that’s a blue/green color.  And the laminate on the front of the card is different too.  It now contains the word “OHIO” and the year “1803” near the top of the card. 

The race track at the north Dayton racino under construction in 2014. Racino owner Penn National can't agree with the state of Ohio on a relocation payment to the city of Dayton.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The mayor of Dayton says the state needs to act soon to get the city a $500,000 racino payment it’s owed by law. The money got hung up at the very end of the recent lame-duck session, when Governor John Kasich vetoed a line-item amendment to a bill that resolved a long-standing dispute over the money.

State Pushes For New School Safety Plans

Dec 30, 2014
The Ohio Departmente. of Education is pushing for updated safety plans for schools around the state
Ohio Department of Education

The start of the new year brings a new requirement for schools.

Starting Jan. 1 — Ohio schools must create a new safety plan. Administrators have been making these plans for a few years now but the updated versions must follow new parameters laid out by the state. 

As John Charlton with the Ohio Department of Education explains, this creates a better standard compared to previous plans.

Photo of NAHA display

The factory where the Wright Brothers built their original plane will produce another airplane soon - a new replica of the Wright-B Flyer is scheduled to take flight in 2016.

The announcement came from Jay Jabour—president of Wright “B” Flyer, Inc. standing just outside the Wright Company factory in Dayton.

Jabour told the attending press, “The opportunity to build a look-a-like of the 1911 airplane in the original 1911 factory is really exciting.”

A handful of Ohioans will be front and center for President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Autoworker Kenyetta Jones is one of right "citizen co-chairs" who've been selected to highlight Obama's first-term accomplishments.

Jones spoke at last year's Democratic National Convention about Obama's work to bailout the auto industry.

She'll ride on an inaugural parade float after Obama's swearing-in Monday.

The Miami University Marching Band will be in the parade too.

Both the statewide issues failed. Issue 1 would have convened a constitutional convention, and state lawmakers were hoping it wouldn’t pass so they could continue with an appointed commission which will make recommendations on changes to the constitution. And Issue 2 would have taken the power to draw the maps for state and federal lawmakers out of legislators’ hands and put it with a 12-member citizens’ panel.

Ohio voters have rejected a proposal to change the process for redrawing state legislative and congressional maps.

Issue 2 lost after a fight that pitted voter advocacy groups and unions against business interests and the Ohio Republican Party. Lawyers' groups split on the issue.

The constitutional amendment would have created a 12-member citizen commission to redraw Ohio's political districts every decade. It was prompted by discontent over the maps approved by the state Legislature in 2011.

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