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Noon headlines, Jan. 2, 2013: Wind, Ameritrust, wells, guns and Chardon
Wind power boost, Ameritrust sale, drilling, gun training, trial change request renewed

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:
  • Wind credits boost NW Ohio
  • Ameritrust deal gets a first look
  • Some wells are sealed in Ohio 
  • Gun group says it has 600 teacher applicants
  • Another attempt to move Chardon teen's trial
  • Wind credits boost NW Ohio
    The bill to avert the fiscal cliff includes a one-year extension of a tax credit for wind  energy, something supporters say is crucial for development of Ohio’s alternative energy industry.

    Julian Boggs is a spokesman for Environment Ohio. He acknowledges wind and other alternative energies cannot compete with cheap natural gas. But he says wind energy prices are likely to be a lot more stable bet for consumers and the environment.

    “We hope that we’ll be able stop or at least slow down some of the most reckless extraction that’s actually poisoning people’s water supplies and creating so much of this toxic waste that’s being dumped in our state right now. And all of those things are going to cause the cost of gas to rise and so I think its penny wise and pound foolish to put all our eggs in natural gas right now.”

    Natural gas prices are so low largely because of the expansion of new drilling processes in states like Ohio.

    The wind tax credit amounts to 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for energy produced at wind projects that start construction this year.

    Critics, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney argue that the wind industry should be standing on its own.

    Ameritrust deal gets a first look
    Cuyahoga County’s council will take its first formal look tonight at a recommendation to sell the Ameritrust complex to a private developer. The deal with Geis Companies includes a swap of sorts, in which Geis will pay $27 million and will build new county administration offices as part of the complex.

    Geis plans to turn the Ameritrust tower largely into downtown housing.

    The county bought the complex back in 2005 and has spent about $45 million on it, though it has never occupied the building. The county is considering suing the consultant who recommended the purchase, and one corruption case that is still pending involves a lawyer, Anthony Calabrese III, who pushed the sale.

    Some wells are sealed in Ohio 
    More than 200 wells are being drilled into Ohio’s shale, most in eastern Ohio. But while the boom continues, the Beacon Journal is reporting that drilling companies have plugged nine wells, including ones in  Medina, Stark, Portage, Carroll and Ashland counties. The wells were drilled by Devon and Chesapeake energy, and can cost as much as $10 million each to drill.

    According to the Beacon, Devon reported this summer that preliminary results from wells further west were disappointing and it was shifting its attention east. Chesapeake is saying it has not permanently plugged any wells.

    Gun group says it has 600 teacher applicants
    The Buckeye Firearms Association is claiming more than 600 people have applied for tis armed teacher training program. Those include people from Ohio and at least 14 other states. The gun-rights group announced it was offering the training after a gunman killed 20 6- and 7-year olds and six teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Dec. 14. Ohio law allows teachers and staff to carry firearms if a school board approves it.

    Another attempt to move Chardon teen's trial
    Attorneys for an Ohio teenager charged in the Chardon school are renewing their effort to move the trial out of the grief-stricken community.

    Attorneys for 18-year-old T.J. Lane asked the judge in Geauga County for permission to make their case in a sealed document.

    The defense didn't elaborate in the motion filed late Monday.

    Prosecutors have opposed moving the trial. And the judge has indicated he wants to wait and see if an unbiased jury can be selected in Chardon.

    Lane's trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 14. He faces up to life in prison without chance of parole if convicted of killing three students and wounding three others when he opened fire Feb. 27 in the Chardon High School cafeteria.


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