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Morning news headlines for December 12, 2012
Plain Dealer union approves contract with layoffs, raises; Judge allows statements in Chardon High School shooting suspect's trial; Cuyahoga County bans corrupt companies


by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Plain Dealer union approves contract with layoffs, raises
Judge allows statements in Chardon High School shooting suspect's trial
Cuyahoga County bans corrupt companies
Ohio 35th in nation in new health study
Columbus publishes names of owners with blighted properties 
Kasich signs puppy mill law
New drug clinic worries some in southern Ohi

Plain Dealer union approves contract with layoffs, raises
The union representing the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s newsroom has approved a new six-year contract that includes layoffs and raises. The pact calls for 58 layoffs beginning in May, but limits owner Advance Publications to just five more in 2014. That's about a third of the paper's current newsroom staff. Union leaders have said some of those let go will likely be offered posts at Cleveland.com, the paper’s website. The contract restores a 2009 pay cut, and adds some health care benefits for those laid-off. The negotiations did not address rumors of cutting back to a three-day printing schedule, as has happened at sister papers in New Orleans and Alabama. 

Cuyahoga County bans corrupt companies
Companies with a history of corruption will no longer be allowed to do business in Cuyahoga County. County Council on Tuesday voted to ban contractors who have been convicted of a crime or have been the target of a civil judgment within the past five years. They would be banned for up to five years. County Executive Ed Fitzgerald announced the plan in July as a response to years of public corruption that’s led to the convictions of dozens of former county workers and contractors.

Ohio 35th in nation in new health study
Ohio ranks in the middle of the pack in overall health in an annual study. The United Health Foundation lists Ohio as being 35th in the nation in its annual review, released Tuesday. The study lists Ohio's strengths as its immunization coverage and low workplace deaths. Its weaknesses include a high level of smoking, high air pollution and a high rate of preventable hospitalization. The study found that Vermont and Hawaii are the healthiest states, while Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last.

Judge allows statements in Chardon High School shooting suspect's trial
A Geauga County judge will allow jurors to hear incriminating statements made by the 18-year-old charged in the Chardon High School shooting that killed three students earlier this year. T.J. Lane’s attorneys argued their client wasn’t told of his rights prior to being questioned a second time. But a judge said Tuesday Lane voluntarily waived his right to remain silent and wasn't subjected to police intimidation or coercion. Lane’s trial starts next month, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. He’s being tried as an adult and has filed an insanity plea.

Columbus publishes names of owners with blighted properties
The city of Columbus hopes to pressure owners to clean up blighted properties by publicly identifying them online and in the newspaper. The Columbus Dispatch is publishing the names and addresses of owners who ignored city notices and didn't clean up more than 100 blighted properties. Mayor Michael Coleman says it’s part of his plan to demolish hundreds of hazardous properties and rehabilitate others. 

Kasich signs puppy mill law
Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a measure to crack down on high-volume dog breeding operations that critics call puppy mills. The measure bolsters regulations on the care and treatment of animals housed in large-scale establishments and distinguishes the facilities from traditional dog kennels. Those considered "dog retailers" will have to be licensed. The bill creates an advisory board to provide guidance on care standards for the facilities. It also allows the director of the state's agriculture department to contract with local veterinarians to conduct inspections. Animal rescues would have to register with the state. That raised concerns from one nonprofit rescue in Cleveland that the regulations would be onerous.

New drug clinic worries some in southern Ohio
A new for-profit, cash-only drug clinic that uses medicine to treat painkiller addicts is raising concerns in a county known as an epicenter of Ohio's prescription painkiller epidemic. Kentucky-based SelfRefind (self ree-FINED') opened the clinic this fall in Portsmouth in southern Ohio. The clinic provides prescriptions to Suboxone, which treats withdrawal symptoms. Critics say those clinics keep people on the drug too long without extensive counseling.

 

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