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Group pushes for deposits on bottles

Columbus -- A group of Cleveland residents is pursuing a citizen-initiated change to state law to require refundable deposits for recyclable containers.

Naomi Goolsby, Del-Marcus Goolsby, Kevin Goolsby and Precious Anderson are the petitioners on the "Bottle Bill for Ohio," which calls for 5- to 10-cent refunds for "all glass, metal or plastic soft drink, beer and malt beverage" containers sold in the state. "... Other containers would include ... milk, mayonnaise, mustard, jelly, ketchup, shampoo, conditioner and lotions."

The containers would be returned to designated recycling centers, and the initiative petition includes provisions allowing "corporations such as hospitals" to recycle containers and use most of the proceeds "to decrease the health care and care insurance rates in the state."

The proposed law change was submitted to Attorney General Mike DeWine earlier this week. He has until March 27 to certify the language or reject it.

If the petitioners are given the green light and are able to gather enough signatures, they could force the issue before the general assembly and then onto the ballot.

-- Marc kovac, capital bureau

Colleges support state budget plan

Columbus -- State college and universities again worked together to identify building needs as part of the $2.4 billion capital budget unveiled by Gov. John Kasich's administration earlier this week.

Roderick McDavis, president of Ohio University, and Kevin Boys, president of Southern Community College, told members of the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee March 19 that the state's 37 community colleges and four-year universities support the funding proposal.

The lawmaker panel held a second hearing on the capital budget March 19, with plans for final votes in the Ohio House and Senate within the next couple of weeks.

The new capital budget includes more than $450 million for projects at colleges and universities. McDavis said about 85 percent of the total funding will be used for renovations and maintenance of existing buildings.

That includes $800,000 for basic renovations at the University of Akron's Wayne College, $18.5 million for science lab renovations at Kent State University, $1.2 million for heating, ventilation and air conditioning repair and replacements at the Northeast Ohio Medical University and more than $12.6 million for repairs and renovations at Youngstown State University, among other projects.

-- Marc kovac, capital bureau

Ex-governor tapped for think tank

Columbus -- Ohio's former governor was tapped March 19 to promote liberal causes in his home state and across the country as head of an influential Washington think tank's advocacy arm.

Democrat Ted Strickland begins his job as president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund on April 1.

Strickland said in an interview with The Associated Press that he has not entirely ruled out a run against U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in 2016, but he considers heading CAP Action "a dream job" and will devote all his energies to it.

As the fund's president, Strickland will control a budget of about $7 million and oversee two key operations: the closely-followed Think Progress political blog, which sees 6 million unique hits a month, and the CAP Action War Room, which turns Center for American Progress research into action and advocacy.

Strickland said he'll be based in Washington but continue maintaining a residence in Ohio with his wife, Frances.

-- Associated Press

Police target heroin dealers in overdoses

Akron -- Akron's police chief has formed a unit to target heroin dealers for possible murder charges in cases of fatal overdoses.

Chief James Nice says two detectives will be assigned to the unit and will seize cell phones, execute search warrants and try to determine the source of the drug whenever an overdose occurs.

Nice told WEWS-TV March 18 it's despicable that people are selling heroin knowing that addicts are dying left and right.

The chief estimates that Akron experiences at least two heroin overdoses a week. Nice says building murder cases against dealers could be tough, but he believes Ohio law would support such charges.

-- Associated Press

Five more mumps cases at Ohio State

Columbus -- Five more cases of mumps have been confirmed in an outbreak at Ohio State University, raising the total to 28.

Columbus Public Health reports all but five of those infected are students. One is a staff member, and another is a student's relative. Health officials say the other three cases involve people who don't study or work at Ohio State but have links to the university community.

Investigators are mapping cases to find links and determine how people became infected.

The confirmed cases involve 12 women and 16 men. They range in age from 18 to 48. Three of them were hospitalized for at least one day.

-- Associated Press

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