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Morning news headlines for November 19, 2012
Provisional ballot counting underway; Change coming to The Plain Dealer; Holiday sobriety checkpoints planned 

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • Some counties starting provisional vote count
  • Plain Dealer editors say change is coming
  • More time needed for psychiatric exam on Route 82 Bridge suspect
  • 23 sobriety checkpoints planned for holiday season
  • Gas prices up
  • Some counties starting provisional vote count
    Some Ohio county boards of election have begun counting provisional ballots after a last-minute court battle that threatened to add uncertainty to the process. The state has about 200,000 provisional ballots that were cast November 6th and they’re typically counted 10 days after the election. The stakes are smaller with the presidential race decided. But Ohio has three state House races whose outcomes remain unknown. They could determine whether Republicans will increase their majority. Republicans have a 58-38 edge. If that grows to 60 or more, the GOP could automatically place ballot issues before voters. Court battles over provisional ballots pitted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted against voter advocates. Federal appeals courts backed Husted twice, though not before a local federal judge harshly criticized Husted for actions he took late in the election process.   Election officials must certify results by Nov. 27.

    Plain Dealer editors say change is coming
    The Cleveland Plain Dealer is telling readers to be ready for changes. Editor Terry Egger and editor Debra Adams Summons published a letter to readers Sunday saying the "specific plan, timeline or structure" of the newspaper will be known "very soon." There has been speculation that the paper’s owner, Advance Publications, would cut daily print circulation to 3 days a week. That’s prompted Writers Guild union members to launch a public awareness campaign. The letter goes on to say that any decisions made are not about cutting costs, but rather to keep the newspaper viable in the future. No date has been set for an announcement on changes.  

    More time needed for psychiatric exam on Route 82 Bridge suspect
    A psychiatric exam will take more time for a man charged with an unsuccessful plot to bomb a Northeast Ohio highway bridge.  His attorney says the psychiatric exam for 23-year-old Joshua Stafford of Cleveland hasn't been completed on schedule but could be done by Tuesday. Four co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Three will be sentenced on Tuesday in Akron. The target was the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville. The FBI has said the public was never in danger and the device was a dud provided by an informant.

    23 sobriety checkpoints planned for holiday season
    Law enforcers around Ohio plan nearly 10,000 hours of enforcement during the holidays, including 23 sobriety checkpoints statewide. State crash statistics show 410 people were killed in 379 alcohol-related crashes last year, with 27 of those deaths coming between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

    Gas prices up
    Ohio drivers are seeing another slight increase in gas prices as the week begins. The average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.45 in today’s survey . That's five cents higher than a week ago and is the second week in a row that prices at the pump are up.



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