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Z. Daniel Barnett
Z. Daniel Barnett joined the AVC News team in 2011, since which time he has strived to bring timely, impartial coverage to AVC's six stations each and every weekday morning.
Daniel delivered news of the infamous Zanesville exotic animal escape in October 2011 to listeners at home and "across the Pond" as a featured reporter on BBC's PM with Eddie Mair; covered the arrest and trials of "The Craigslist Killers," Brogan Rafferty and Richard Beasley; braved the elements to broadcast up-to-the-minute information during the severe summer storms of 2012; and followed the court proceedings of six suspects connected to the Coventry Estates double homicide of June 2012.
On a day-to-day basis, Daniel's reporting focus is on local crime, civic government, oil and gas news, and state politics.
When not in the newsroom, Daniel hosts the weekly jazz program, Miles to Go Before I Sleep, on Sunday nights on WILE-FM. He's also an active member of Guernsey Lodge No. 66 F&AM and Cambridge Valley AASR.
Connect Appalachia supports program to deliver high-speed internet
A collaborative effort between a local village and one of its businesses will mean first-time high-speed internet access for village residents.
The Connect Appalachia Broadband Task Force has teamed up with locally-owned Rowe Networks to help make broadband internet access available for hundreds of previously-unserved Guernsey County residents. Working hand-in-hand with the Village of Byesville, Rowe Networks will work towards bridging the digital divide that separates local residents from business, education, and even public health opportunities. Rowe Networks CEO Josh Rowe spoke about what this project means for residents of Guernsey County:
<a href="/http://www.yourradioplace.com/multimedia/newspod/Comment - Josh Rowe on Byesville broadband expansion.mp3">Comment - Josh Rowe on Byesville broadband expansion</a>
Officials from the Village of Byesville were also in attendance to celebrate the new opportunities for village residents. Village Administrator Brennan Dudley explained why Byesville was eager to partner with Rowe Networks on this venture:
<a href="/http://www.yourradioplace.com/multimedia/newspod/Comment - Brennan Dudley on Connect Appalachia initiative.mp3">Comment - Brennan Dudley on Connect Appalachia initiative</a>
Before the collaboration, more than 1,900 residents in and around Byesville had no options for high-speed internet access.
Education funding, Medicaid expansion, tax reduction see big changes
Republicans in the Ohio House have proposed boosting the amount of state aid districts get for each student while cutting back Gov. John Kasich's "Straight A" fund for innovation by half.
Kasich's education budget proposed spending $15.1 billion on K-12 education over the next two years, boosting funds to districts that are lagging behind in property values and household incomes. The proposal prompted an outcry by superintendents who said it delivered big increases to some wealthy districts and no new dollars to some poor ones.
The House plan rolled out Tuesday caps district funding increases to 6 percent a year and adds new money to meet a state mandate that students must know how to read before leaving 3rd grade.
Republican House leaders are dropping Gov. John Kasich's plan to expand Medicaid under the federal health overhaul to cover thousands more low-income Ohioans.
House lawmakers jettisoned the idea from their version of the two-year, state spending blueprint, which they released Tuesday. Rejecting expansion means the state would forgo $13 billion from the federal government over the next seven years to cover those newly eligible for Medicaid.
Many GOP lawmakers are averse to Democratic President Barack Obama's law and resistant to expanding government programs.
Kasich frames his support for expanding Medicaid a way to recapture Ohio taxpayers' federal money and help the state's most vulnerable get health care. House Speaker William Batchelder said there was a lack of clarity from Washington around the regulations under the law.
The Ohio House has preserved a portion of the statewide income-tax cut proposed by Gov. John Kasich in its version of the state operating budget, marking a partial victory for the Republican governor.
House budget changes released Tuesday included a 7-percent income tax reduction over two years. That compares to a 20-percent reduction over three years that had been proposed by Kasich. The governor accompanied his cut with a 50 percent tax cut for small businesses.
Kasich wants to reduce Ohio's income tax, which he views as economically burdensome. The governor's $63.2 billion, two-year budget paid for the cut with a tax increase on oil and gas extraction. The House has pulled that proposal, along with Kasich's proposed expansion of the sales tax to professional services.
Politicos, hospitals voice very different opinions on Tuesday
A decision by Republican House leaders to omit Gov. John Kasich's Medicaid expansion plan is garnering mixed reactions from around the Buckeye State.
On Tuesday, Portage County's Tom Zawistowski - a Tea Party leader and candidate for chairman of the Ohio Republican Party - wrote a letter to Speaker Bill Batchelder and other House leaders to thank them for their decision. Zawistowski cited 14 reasons not to vote for the Medicaid expansion, paramount of which was the threat it posed to the GOP itself. Zawistowski wrote that including Kasich's plan in the budget "could be devastating to [the GOP's] chances as a party in the 2014 elections."
On the other hand, many hospital officials across Ohio lamented the decision to remove the expansion of Medicaid from the state budget proposal. Mike Abrams, President of the Ohio Hospitals Association, said his organization and others will work to ensure the state doesn’t miss the chance to provide health coverage to an estimated 275,000 Ohioans.
Rejecting the expansion means the state would forgo $13 billion from the federal government over the next seven years to cover those newly eligible for Medicaid.
Kasich framed his support for expanding Medicaid as a way to recapture Ohio taxpayers' federal money and help the state's most vulnerable get health care. House Speaker William Batchelder said there was a lack of clarity from Washington around the regulations under the law.
Beasley to pay for murders in Noble & Summit Co. with his life
The mastermind of the "Craigslist Killings," previously convicted in the deaths of three men and the wounding of a fourth, will pay for his crimes with his life.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Lynn Callahan handed down the death sentence to 53-year-old Richard Beasley in an Akron courtroom on Thursday morning. The jurors which convicted Beasley in March recommended the death penalty. Judge Callahan did not opt for a sentence of life imprisonment, which was on the table.
Beasley and a teenaged co-conspirator lured their down-on-their-luck victims to Noble and Summit Counties in late 2011 with fake ads for a farm job in rural southeast Ohio, then robbed them. The lone survivor of the attacks, Scott Davis, played a key role in prosecutors' case when he testified against both Beasley and his accomplice.
Brogan Rafferty, who was 16 years old at the time of the plot, was too young to face the death penalty. Judge Callahan sentenced Rafferty to life behind bars on his conviction last year.
A group of Meadowbrook High School students are banding together to fight Polio in third-world countries.
Members of the Meadowbrook Interact Club - the youth arm of the Byesville Rotary Club - held a "Purple Pinkie" Fundraiser on Friday afternoon to help wipe out the crippling disease in the few remaining countries where Polio is endemic. Interact Club President Alex Eckelson answered the question "Why Purple Pinkies?":
<a href="/http://www.yourradioplace.com/multimedia/newspod/Comment - Alex Eckelson on Purple Pinkie fundraiser.mp3">Comment - Alex Eckelson on Purple Pinkie fundraiser</a>
Club Advisor Sharon Miller said that, last year, the Interact Club donated more than $300 to Rotary International, which will provide around 300 vaccines for children in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, where Polio remains endemic.
Since 1985, Rotary Club International has contributed to the effort that has eliminated Polio in 99 percent of the world's children.
To donate to the Purple Pinkie campaign, contact any member of the Byesville Rotary Club or Meadowbrook Interact Club.
Community leaders and residents joined Congressman Bill Johnson for the grand opening of his new district office in Cambridge on Friday.
Congressman Johnson and his staff welcomed constituents for conversation and a tour of the Cambridge Sixth Congressional District Office on Friday morning. Anthony Adornetto, who serves as Field Representative for the new office, explains the benefit of establishing an office in Cambridge:
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The new office is located at 116 Southgate Parkway, near the intersection with Wheeling Avenue, and marks a central location to which Johnson's constituents can travel to ask questions or voice concerns. The Sixth Congressional District contains much of eastern Ohio, and extends from the Buckeye State's southern-most point in Lawrence County to Mahoning County in northeast Ohio.
The new Cambridge office can be reached by phone at 740.432.2366.
<b>Photo:</b> Anthony Adornetto (far left) and Congressman Bill Johnson (foreground, far right) welcome two Guernsey County residents to the new district office in Cambridge.