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Morning news headlines for February 18, 2013
Chardon shooting plea deal expected next week; West Side Market reopens; Kasich expected to strike different tone in State of the State
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Plea deal expected next week in Chardon shooting case
  • West Side Market reopens today
  • Different tone expected for State of the State speech
  • Jury selection set to begin in second Craigslist Killer case
  • ArcelorMittal worker dies after fall from train car
  • Report: State rep backed legislation that benefitted his nonprofit
  • Untested rape kits sent to lab for testing
  • Cuyahoga County Libraries getting facelifts
  • Plea deal expected next week in Chardon shooting case
    A plea deal is expected next week in the case of the 18-year old accused in the Chardon High School shooting that killed three students nearly one year ago. TJ Lane’s attorney has told media outlets that the defense will sign a plea agreement on February 26th, the day before the one-year anniversary of the shootings. Lane’s trial was set to start in January, but has been on hold so prosecutors and defense could prepare in light of new evidence. Lane has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He faces life in prison.

    West Side Market reopens today
    Cleveland's historic West Side Market is set to reopen today. It's been nearly three weeks after a fire covered the inside with soot. The 100-year-old landmark building near downtown has been closed since a fire broke out in one of the stalls on January 30th.

    Different tone expected for State of the State speech
    Gov. John Kasich's annual State of the State speech Tuesday will feel more like a stump speech for 2014 than the typical litany of big policy initiatives. That's because the Republican governor has timed it to follow, rather than announce, his major budget, tax reform and school funding proposals. It's the second consecutive year Kasich has taken the speech outside Columbus. Kasich made history last year when he spoke in Steubenville. By choosing Lima, he's moved to Ohio's farm belt, and a manufacturing hub with significantly improved employment.

    Jury selection set to begin in second Craigslist Killer case
    Jury selection begins this week in Akron for the second trial in a deadly Craigslist robbery scheme. Richard Beasley of Akron is accused of luring four men to rural southeast Ohio with phony job postings on Craigslist, then shooting and robbing them. Three of the men’s bodies were found in shallow graves after the fourth escaped. Jury selection begins Tuesday at the Akron Civic Theatre. The Beacon Journal reports selection is expected to take at least five days and begin with initial questioning of 230 potential jurors. Beasley pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted. A Stow teen, Brogan Rafferty, was sentenced to life in prison in November after being found guilty of assisting in the plot.

    ArcelorMittal worker dies after fall from train car
    A steelworker at Cleveland’s ArcelorMittal plant died over the weekend after falling from a railroad train car. The Plain Dealer reports 50-year old Randolph Vayda of Elyria was standing on the platform of the rear train car when he fell and was struck by a different rail car. The company and the United Steelworkers are investigating the death.  Arcelor Mittal employs about 1,700 at its Cleveland site.  

    Report: State rep backed legislation that benefitted his nonprofit
    A newspaper reports a state senator backed Ohio legislative actions that eventually benefited a nonprofit he co-founded by more than $800,000. The Dayton Daily News reports that Republican Sen. Chris Widener of Springfield was in the Ohio House when he backed Senate changes to the bill that helped the Ohio Equine and Agricultural Association get out from under more than $400,000 in taxes and penalties. The newspaper reports Widener inserted an amendment into the 2009 state budget bill that allowed Clark County to levy a bed tax generating $400,000 in revenue for Ohio Equine. Widener served on the Ohio Equine board during that time and was among those who backed a loan for a new equine center. Widener said in an email Sunday that he has maintained the highest standards of ethical conduct and those principles and the legislative inspector general's interpretation of ethics laws have guided his legislative actions.

    Untested rape kits sent to lab for testing
    Police agencies across Ohio have sent more than 2,300 untested rape kits to a state crime lab for testing that could potentially help solve hundreds of sexual assault cases, some dating back decades. The Plain Dealer reports its analysis of data from the Ohio attorney general's office indicates police departments statewide could face about 850 potential cases resulting from DNA matches when all currently submitted kits are tested. Attorney General Mike DeWine encouraged Ohio's nearly 800 law enforcement agencies to clear their testable sexual assault evidence off shelves in December 2011 after media reports said many kits remained in storage. Officials say some reasons older kits were not tested include costs, protocols limiting what was tested and a lack of understanding about the value of DNA evidence.

    Cuyahoga County Libraries getting facelifts
    The Cuyahoga County Public Library is in the midst of replacing and renovating 18 of its 28 branches as part of a $110 million project to make the atmosphere at its branches similar to bookstores. The Plain Dealer reports library officials want the new and renovated branches to become community gathering places. Library officials say the changes won't mean any new taxes. The library system serving 47 communities sold $75 million in bonds to finance most of the project. Another $25 million came from the library's capital funds and $10 million will come from private donors.

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