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Morning news headlines for February 21, 2013
Two local newspapers sold; Beard-cutting ringleader appeals sentence; Ohio State president wants tuition freeze

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • News-Herald, Morning Journal sold
  • Amish beard-cutting ring leader appealing conviction
  • Tuition freeze proposed and Obama commencement speech set at Ohio State
  • Sequestation could have big impact on Ohio military operations
  • Long list of candidates for Ohio schools superintendent
  • Oberlin greenhouse goes up in flames
  • News-Herald, Morning Journal sold
    The company that owns the Willoughby News-Herald and the Lorain Morning Journal newspapers has been sold, and more than 200 Northeast Ohioans are now wondering if they’ll still have jobs in the coming months. The Plain Dealer reports an affiliate of Alden Global Capital bought the Journal Register Company out of bankruptcy this week.  When the sale closes in April, Journal Register will lay off all of its employees and the new owner will decide which employees to re-hire. Journal Register owns nearly 50 newspapers across the country and employs more than 2,300 people.

    Amish beard-cutting ring leader appealing conviction
    The ringleader of 16 Amish found guilty in beard- and hair-cutting hate-crime attacks on fellow members of their faith in eastern Ohio is appealing his conviction. The attorney for 67-year-old Sam Mullet Sr. filed the notice of appeal Wednesday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The appeal cited issues including the judge's refusal to delay last year's Cleveland trial or to release Mullet on bond. The appeal also cited testimony about sex involving Mullet and women in his community near Steubenville. Thirteen defendants have appealed their convictions. The judge said defendants have until Friday to appeal. They were convicted in five attacks in Ohio Amish communities in 2011.  

    Tuition freeze proposed and Obama commencement speech set at Ohio State
    Ohio State University made two big announcements on Wednesday. One is that President Barack Obama will speak to graduates at commencement this spring. Obama's May 5 speech at Ohio Stadium in Columbus will make him the third sitting president to deliver its commencement address. The others were Presidents George W. Bush in 2002 and Gerald Ford in 1974. The second announcement is that Gee wants to freeze tuition next year for in-state undergraduates. If the proposal is approved, tuition will remain at about $10,000.

    Sequestation could have big impact on Ohio military operations
    Business owners and officials of cities surrounding Ohio’s largest military installation say they are increasingly uneasy about possible furloughs brought on by sequestration. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton could furlough up to 13,000 civilian employees for 22 days beginning in April if Congress and President Barack Obama fail to avert automatic defense and pending reductions set to begin March 1. The Pentagon says that those civilian employees could be notified by mid-March. In all, The Pentagon says Ohio might see nearly $166 million in Defense Department civilian payroll cuts if automatic government spending cuts kick in.

    Long list of candidates for Ohio schools superintendent
    There are 30 people vying to be Ohio’s next superintendent of K-12 education. The list includes Gov. John Kasich’s top education adviser, Richard Ross, who helped craft Kasich’s school-funding plan that he unveiled recently. Other candidates include acting superintendent Michael Sawyers and a former education adviser to two Massachusetts governors. The Board of Education is searching for a new state superintendent for the second time in as many years. Stan Heffner resigned last August after the state inspector general found he had committed ethics violations.

    Oberlin greenhouse goes up in flames
    An Oberlin greenhouse operation -- one of the Midwest’s biggest – is recovering after a fire that took 10 hours to extinguish overnight Tuesday. Green Circle Growers supplies pansies, orchids and bonsai trees to Home Depot, Walmart and other stores. Five of the company’s 105 acres of greenhouse was damaged, along with a one-acre barn.  The company says that’s only about five percent of the company’s growing space, and alternative production areas are ready to pick up the slack. No injuries were reported and no cause has been determined.  The fire originated in an outdoor storage area.  The greenhouses are heated by a boiler fueled by wood chips.

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