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Morning news headlines for February 19, 2013
Dueling "state of" speeches; Ford workers at Brook Park approve job-creating pact; Bridgestone posts big 2013 forecast

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Dueling "state of" speeches
  • Ford workers at Brook Park approve job-creating pact
  • Bridgestone posts big 2013 forecast
  • Lake Erie ice rescue
  • Casinos vs. sweepstakes cafes 
  • Obama campaign staffer in Ohio joins gay marriage movement
  • Duke Energy sues Cincinnati
  • Statehouse honors Lima-based marine company

    Dueling "state of" speeches
    The northwest Ohio city of Lima is preparing to host Gov. John Kasich as he delivers his third annual State of the State address, the second in a row outside the Statehouse. The speech's location outside Columbus on Tuesday isn't the only thing that's unconventional. So is its hour of 6:45 p.m., a departure from previous noontime addresses. Kasich will use the address to tout his $63 billion, two-year budget. The spending blueprint includes a new school-funding formula and expansion of the Medicaid government health-insurance program. It also overhauls the tax code to lower rates on income, sales and small-business taxes while imposing sales taxes on many new services and increasing the rate on high-volume oil and gas extraction. A protest including Democrats, autoworkers and others is expected.

    Kasich’s speech is also on the same day as Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald gives his state of the county speech….FirtzGerald is considered a likely Democratic challenger to Kasich in 2014. The Plain Dealer says that FitzGerald had been planning to announce his decision about a gubernatorial run by March 31. He now tells the newspaper that announcement could wait until April. 

    Ford workers at Brook Park approve job-creating pact
    An upwards of 800 jobs will be coming to suburban Cleveland’s Ford engine plant over the next several years. Brook Park Ford workers on Monday approved a new contract that guaranteed the plant a new small engine. The vote was close though, separated by just three votes. Ford officials won't say yet what the company's plans are for Brook Park, other than to say a major announcement should take place Thursday.

    Bridgestone posts big 2013 forecast
    The world’s biggest tire maker, Bridgestone says it expects to top an annual profit record set eight years ago amid a weaker yen. The Japanese company that has operations in Akron said Monday that 2013 projections jumped 37 percent to $2.5 billion. That tops its $1.9 billion profit in 2005. The tire maker also expects to increase output about 10 percent this year to meet demand. Last April, Bridgestone opened its $100 million technical center in Akron that employs more than 400. 

    Casinos vs. sweepstakes cafes 
    Some state officials in Ohio think that storefront gambling-style operations known as Internet cafes might be one reason why casinos in Ohio aren't generating as much tax-revenue as predicted. The Columbus Dispatch reports gross casino-tax revenue is likely to be $900 million short over two years. That means less money than expected for cities, counties and schools. Ohio's attorney general wants state lawmakers to crack down on Internet cafes where customers pay for Internet time or phone cards and use them to bet points on computers loaded with games such as poker. A lobbyist who represents a company that provides phone cards and computer software for the businesses says the sweepstakes operators are being used a scapegoat for the casinos' lower-than-expected revenue.

    Obama campaign staffer in Ohio joins gay marriage movement
    A key player in President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in Ohio has joined the effort to overturn the state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage. The Plain Dealer reports that Greg Schulz has joined the executive committee of FreedomOhio, a group seeking a reversal of the ban. Schulz previously served as state director of Obama for America in Ohio. He told the newspaper a petition drive that began last year could place a constitutional amendment on the ballot later this year or in 2014. The FreedomOhio amendment would not require churches and other religious institutions to perform or recognize a marriage.

    Duke Energy sues Cincinnati
    Duke Energy Corporation is suing the city of Cincinnati over streetcar plans. The power company says it should not have to pay to relocate utility lines for the streetcar project. The company says a city ordinance requiring Duke to pay is unconstitutional. Duke wants the estimated $15 million cost shifted to the city.

    Statehouse honors marine company 
    A display that now can be seen at the Ohio Statehouse pays tribute to a Marine reserve unit based in Columbus that that lost 22 Marines and a Navy Corpsman in Iraq back in 2005. The exhibit on the Lima Company includes boots and dog tags of the fallen Marines and paintings by a Columbus artist. Fifteen of the 23 who died were from Ohio.




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