Evolution of public-carry laws expands gun rights

Number of states that prohibited concealed carry in 1981: 19
States that prohibit it today: 0
Number of states that do not require a concealed carry permit: 5
An open-carry permit : 25 
WICKENBURG, Ariz. -- More Americans can carry guns in more places than ever before. In a majority of states, law-abiding gun owners can walk into bars, restaurants and churches with their guns without fear of legal ramifications, a News 21 review of all 50 states found. “It’s a situation just like getting up in the morning and putting your shoes on or your boots on. For me it’s putting (my gun) onto my side,” said Lee Bird, owner of Twin Birds Saddlery in Wickenburg, Arizona, 60 miles northwest of Phoenix. Continue Reading →

Children and gun violence: worse than war

Editor’s note: Eye on Ohio is presenting a series of reports on gun violence in the United States produced by News21, which brings together outstanding journalism students from across the country to work with professional journalists on investigative projects. It is based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Arizona. Today’s story focuses on the number of children and youth who are killed by guns. Ohio has experienced such tragedy – not just in the well-known school shooting in Chardon in February 2012 – but in every-day street violence, teen suicides and accidental deaths, such as incidents in which a child gets hold of a gun and thinks it’s a toy. In 2009, the Ohio Department of Health, Violence and Injury Prevention received funding to become part of the National Violent Death Reporting System of the National Centers for Disease Control. Continue Reading →

Wilberforce University faces loss of accreditation

Wilberforce University, one of the nation’s oldest historically black universities, will lose its accreditation if it is unable to demonstrate within six months its fiscal and administrative fitness to the regional accrediting agency for Midwestern and Southwestern schools. The university, near Xenia, Ohio, has received a “show cause” decision from the Higher Learning Commission which accredits more than 1,000 colleges and universities in 19 states from West Virginia to Arizona. Losing accreditation would make Wilberforce ineligible to receive Pell Grants, Perkins loans and other federal loans and grants that its students use to finance their education. That loss could be devastating to the struggling institution that depends on tuition to make ends meet. In 2011, for example, tuition and fees totaled $9.3 million – about 64 percent of the school’s $14.5 million in revenues. Continue Reading →

VA hasn’t followed own rules on narcotic prescriptions, audit says

Editor’s note: In December, Eye on Ohio reporter Anna Duee told the story of Scott McDonald, a Columbus area veteran who died from an overdose of prescription painkillers.  His story echoed that of many others chronicled by the Center for Investigative Reporting. CIR investigated the sharp rise in opiate prescriptions by the United States Veterans Administration nationally from 2001 to 2012. CIR recently followed up its investigation with a story about a VA audit that shows the agency failed to follow its own rules for the prescribing of addictive narcotic painkillers. Continue Reading →

A dubious honor: Ohio ranks high in haz-mat spills

Near the CSX rail company's local offices and rail yard in Willard, a major hazardous waste spill occurred in late November, 2013. No injuries were reported, but hundreds of residents were evacuated from their homes during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

In late November 2013, a CSX railroad car carrying the highly flammable chemical styrene monomer derailed near the Main Street overpass in Willard, Ohio, forcing hundreds of residents to be evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night. More than 30,000 gallons of styrene monomer leaked into nearby soil from the tank of a DOT-111 rail car, an older, so-called “legacy” car that has come under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Transportation because of its safety record. Officials in Willard, about 65 miles southwest of Cleveland, said the town was lucky. Because the temperature was well below the combustible level for styrene monomer,  there was no explosion and no one was injured. According to Brian Humphress, Willard’s city manager, CSX, state and federal agencies and local first responders all reacted quickly to clean up the spill and get residents safely back in their homes. Continue Reading →