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Noon news headlines for Feb. 25, 2013
AEP agrees to close three coal-fired plants and pay $8.5 million; House Dems seek guarantees Turnpike money will stay put; Virginia Tech students mentor Chardon teens as shooting anniversary arrives

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • AEP agrees to close three coal-fired plants and pay $8.5 million
  • House Dems seek guarantees Turnpike money will stay put 
  • Jury selection wraps up in Craigslist murder plot case
  • Virginia Tech students mentor Chardon teens 
  • Business starts hit record levels in Ohio
  • AEP agrees to close three coal-fired plants and pay $8.5 million
    An Ohio-based utility has agreed to shut down three coal burning power plants in three states as part of a settlement with environmental groups and the U.S. EPA. Columbus-based American Electric Power will also pay an $8.5 million dollar fine as part of the agreement. The case ends more than a decade of litigation over emissions at three facilities, the Muskingum Power plant in Southeast Ohio, and plants in Indiana and Kentucky.  The utility will stop burning coal at the plants by 2015. AEP is also agreeing to develop 50 megawatts of solar power this year plus 150 megawatts of wind or solar power in Indiana or Michigan by 2015.

    House Dems seek guarantees Turnpike money will stay put 
    Ohio House Democrats say key public promises made by Gov. John Kasich are absent from a bill authorizing the sale of $1.5 billion in Ohio Turnpike bonds to fund highway projects. The lawmakers said legislative language out last week excluded a guarantee to keep 90 percent of the bond deal's proceeds in northern Ohio, and made no mention of Kasich's pledge to freeze toll rates for a decade for those making short trips on the 241-mile toll road that cuts across northern Ohio. State Rep. Alicia Reece of Cincinnati, the budget-writing committee's ranking Democrat, said her party has submitted amendments that would insert those provisions and others into the bill. Messages were left seeking responses from Kasich's office and the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

    Jury selection wraps up in Craigslist murder plot case
    A judge hopes to complete jury selection early this week in the Ohio triple murder trial in a plot to lure robbery victims with phony Craigslist job offers. Three men were killed and a fourth man was wounded. He escaped and alerted authorities in 2011. A fourth day of jury selection got under way this morning in Akron in the trial of 53-year-old Richard Beasley. The judge hopes to begin testimony by Tuesday in a trial that could last six weeks. Beasley could face the death penalty if convicted. His teenage co-defendant was convicted and sentenced last fall to life in prison without chance of parole. Prosecutors say the victims were lured with phony offers of southeast Ohio farmhand jobs on Craigslist. 

    Virginia Tech students mentor Chardon teens as shooting anniversary arrives
    A group from Virginia Tech is returning to northeast Ohio this week to help Chardon High School students cope with the first anniversary of a cafeteria shooting that left three classmates dead. Some Chardon High students have already formed a bond with leaders of the movement at Virginia Tech — site of a 2007 mass shooting — designed to help students move beyond tragedy by changing the way they treat each other. The Plain Dealer reports that about a dozen of the college students have already made trips to Ohio in advance of Wednesday's anniversary. The college group is working with Chardon teens to mentor students in elementary and middle schools. They want helping others to be an outlet for the students to heal.

    Business starts hit record levels in Ohio 
    A record number of companies and organizations filed to do business in the state of Ohio last year, Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office said. In all, just over 88,000 new entities filed to do business last year. The number of new businesses that filed with the state rose 16.5 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

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