New data from energy industry analysts and the federal government show the Marcellus Shale formation running under Ohio and several other states is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the US. But Jay Apt, a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University, questions whether the volume of production will fuel the growth of local industry, or whether the gas will be shipped to Canada, the Gulf Coast or overseas, where the price is much higher.
The City of Canton is planning to hire a consultant to look into leasing city-owned property for gas and oil drilling. The city law director says the mayor may hire a consultant for up to 15-thousand dollars without city council approval, but cannot lease mineral rights without council approval. Consultants will be hired to research deeds and compile information on city properties, including how close they are to underground water sources. Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about water contamination and health problems from the drilling technique called fracking.
The Ohio State Fair closed its run on Sunday with a record-setting Sale of Champions livestock auction. The auction brought in nearly 250-thousand dollars. Some of the money will go to the Junior Fair participants, with the rest going toward scholarships and youth programs. The weekend's activities included warnings to fairgoers to wash their hands after visiting livestock exhibit areas. Two pigs were sent home Thursday because the tested positive for a strain of the swine flu virus.
A woman severely injured when she went to the aid of a horse owner in danger of being trampled is challenging the state's definition of being a spectator at an equine event as she seeks damages for her injuries. Roshel Smith says her presence at the horse barn where the accident happened is not covered by the state law meant to limit lawsuits against the horse industry. Defendant Donald Landfair argues Smith voluntarily went to the horse barn and watched activities involving horses, just the type of situation the law covers. A lower court has sided with Smith.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority says it will offer late-night bus service to the Columbus Casino starting four days after the casino is scheduled to open in October. The buses will run from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. COTA also plans to extend two existing bus lines to the casino during the day.
State Schools Superintendent Stan Heffner will officially resign this Friday amid ethical questions about his work for an educational testing contractor. Heffner's two-sentence resignation letter was released Saturday by the state Education Department. No reason for his departure was given in the letter that came days after Inspector General Randall Meyer found Heffner was on the payroll of a Texas-based testing firm when he lobbied Ohio lawmakers last year on a bill that benefited the company. Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers will become acting superintendent.
It's likely that Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren will leave once the sale of the team to Tennessee truck stop magnate Jimmy Haslam is approved by the league. Haslam plans to bring in another man to run the club. But Holmgren says he wants to stay in Cleveland. Haslam made his first appearance at Browns training camp today.
The Burr Oak State Park Lodge could reopen by the fall. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will spend two-million dollars to renovate the lodge and place it under the management of a private company. The lodge closed in January because of high vacancies and the building's poor condition.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of urban farmers markets has increased thanks to a greater demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables. There are now more than 78-hundred farmers markets registered with the USDA, up from 17-hundred in 1994. The department has worked to make farmers markets more accessible by outfitting some with equipment that accepts payments from government-subsidized food programs. Columbus Public Health officials yesterday launched a farmers market that will operate on Thursdays this month at their offices on Parsons Avenue.
The Ohio Republican congressman who's retiring in frustration over political gridlock says he hopes the institution doesn't have to hit "rock bottom" before members learn to work in a bi-partisan fashion. Steve LaTourette told MSNBC today voters haven't demanded enough change. But U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio says it is the public and not politicians who are polarized. Congress has departed for five weeks of vacation and prospects of a fall fraught with decisions on America's political and economic future.
A tea-party-linked group whose backers have not been publicly disclosed is circulating an anti-tax pledge at the Statehouse against Republican Governor John Kasich's proposed severance tax increase on oil and gas drillers. The revenue would be used to fund an income tax cut. Founder Chris Littleton tells The Associated Press the nonprofit group "Ohio Rising" is an independent grassroots organization, and signers of the pledge will not be disclosed until there's critical mass.
The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio says methane gas produced by decomposing trash in the Franklin County landfill will soon be used to create electricity and fuel for vehicles. SWACO has signed a 20-year contract with a renewable energy company to clean and process the methane currently burned at the landfill to keep it from building up in underground pockets or leaking into the air. The processed methane will then be sold, with SWACO sharing in the profits. Director Ron Mills says those profits will help pay for upkeep of the landfill.
Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner has reached a deal to sell the team to Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam for more than 1-billion dollars. The price nearly double what Lerner's late father Al paid for the team in 1998. Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Terry Pluto says that is due to a number of factors. A majority of NFL owners still must approve the sale. The Browns have had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance in 13 seasons of Lerner family ownership.
A 17-year-old Columbus boy will serve 15 years in adult prison after pleading guilty Thursday to his role in the slaying of his accomplice during a robbery attempt. Prosecutors say Devon Jackson is one of three people who robbed a Lilley Avenue apartment last September. Prosecutors say the apartment's occupant wrestled a gun away from Jackson and 21-year-old Talia West was shot and killed. 23-year-old Anthony Jones is scheduled for trial later this month.
Four people have been indicted in Frankin County's first human trafficking case. Prosecutors say the Chillicothe residents face rape, kidnapping, and other charges for luring a 24-year-old woman to Columbus and forcing her to work as a prostitute at several area hotels.
The state agriculture department sent two pigs home from the Ohio State Fair yesterday after they tested positive for the H3N2 strain of the swine flu virus. It's the same strain that sickened more than 40 people last week at the Butler County Fair.
A peitition drive is underway that eventually will ask voters to allow the state to borrow 13 billion dollars over a decade to fund green energy projects and businesses. Environmentalists oppose the move. Information about the group behind the drive was sketchy. Now Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen has learned one labor union is backing the drive, but the large federation it is part of is not getting involved.
Experts interviewed by The Associated Press say Ohio Governor John Kasich's claim that a single energy company could recover 1 trillion dollars worth of oil and gas from the state's shale formation is an exorbitant overestimate. At current oil prices, that figure represents more than four times the worth of all U.S. production last year. Arthur Berman, a Texas-based petroleum geologist and independent energy consultant, say Kasich is "probably wrong by a couple of zeroes." Kasich traces the trillion-dollar figure to a conversation with an energy company CEO.
Licking County sheriff's deputies say a 71-year-old Pickerington man died Thursday when his car collided with a utility truck in Etna Township. Lawrence Balanti was killed. His wife and granddaughter were treated for minor injuries, as was the truck driver, 36-year-old Sherman Muncy of Pataskala. Deputies say Balanti pulled into the path of Muncy's truck.