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Noon headlines, Dec. 31, 2012: Browns, wet gas, bribes, autism, defamation
Browns fire, look to hire; Ohio River plant and fracking; lawyers face bribe charges; autism lawsuit; defamation case settled; Lake Erie and plastic

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:
  • Browns are shopping for a new GM and coach
  • Ohio River plant gets new life to store 'wet gases'
  • Lawyers accused of attempted bribes due in court
  • Cincinnati family sues Ohio over autistic care
  • On-line defamation case settled
  • Plastic in Lake Erie abounds
  • Browns are shopping for a new GM and coach
    The Browns have officially ended the tenure of Pat Shurmur as head coach and Tom Heckert as general manager.

    New owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner announced the changes in a press release followed by a press conference late this morning.

    Shurmur had been hired by Heckert and former team President Mike Holmgren two years ago. His record with the Browns was 9-23, and his firing was widely predicted. Among those considered as his potential successors are Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.

    The Browns will have to wait until after Kelly coaches Oregon in Thursday’s Fiesta Bowl to interview him.

    Haslam said thanked Shurmer and Herkert in his statement but said “ultimately, our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do.”

    COMMENTATOR TERRY PLUTO: Firing vs. hiring
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     Ohio River plant gets new life to store 'wet gases'
    Akron-based FirstEnergy has sold more than 40 acres down near the Ohio River to a Texas company involved in the shale-drilling process.

    Paperwork filed Friday with the Jefferson County recorder's office says Houston-based Plains Marketing paid $2.5 million for the property

    According to the East Liverpool Review, Plains Marketing is planning to transport wet gases from Utica shale wells to the site for storage. After that, it will be taken by barge to refineries on the Gulf Coast.  

    The land has been vacant for about 25 years.

    Lawyers accused of attempted bribes due in court
    Two of the three defense attorneys charged with trying to get a witness in a rape case to change her story are to be arraigned Wednesday morning.

    Marc Doumbas and Timothy Marshall are expected to plead not guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. They’re accused of trying twice, between April 19 and Nov. 6, of trying to pay off the witness with $150,000 cash. Also tied to the case is attorney Anthony Calabrese III, who is expected to plead guilty in a separate federal case to corruption charges, including steering the former Cuyahoga County commissioners to buy the vacant Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland.

    Cincinnati family sues Ohio over autistic care
    A Cincinnati-area family is suing the state, saying it is failing to pay for intensive therapy for their 2-year-old autistic son that will help him become self-sufficient.

    Holly and Robert Young have gone to U.S. District Court for an order forcing the Ohio Department of Health to provide the services their son, Roman, needs. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer their lawyer, Richard Ganulin, says federal law requires the state's early intervention programs to evaluate kids and provide care, and Ohio is failing in that duty.

    On-line defamation case settled
    A settlement has been announced between an online journalist, anonymous commenters and a family who sued them for defamation

    In a post announcing the settlement, blogger Alexandria Goddard wrote that no restrictions were placed on future commentary, no statements were retracted, and no money changed hands as part of the agreement. But According to the ACLU, a statement from one of the plaintiffs will be published by Goddard’s blog,

    The case began after two teenage football players at Steubenville High School were accused of raping a female from a near-by town. Goddard, a former resident of the area, blogged about the incident, and anonymous posters opined that others should be charged in the case.

    The parents of a student at Steubenville High School sued, demanding the identity of the commenters. Goddard responded that the lawsuit was an unconstitutional attempt to pressure commenters into silence.

    Plastic in Lake Erie abounds
    The Plain Dealer is reporting that water samples taken this summer from Lake Erie included more plastic pollution than samples taken from any  lakes and oceans.

    Sherri Mason is  a professor at the State University of New York who led the survey this summer. She found bottle caps, paint chips and – most of all -- plastic bits less than a millimeter in diameter. One sample alone hauled up 600,000 bits of plastic per square kilometer.

    Lake Erie also has the most polluted shoreline.

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