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Castro back in court today with trial date looming
Other morning headlines: All three East Cleveland bodies identified; Penn National blames Ohio casinos for 2Q tumble

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Castro back in court today with trial date looming
  • All three East Cleveland bodies identified
  • Penn National blames Ohio casinos for 2Q tumble
  • First Merit posts 57th straight quarter of profit
  • Summa gets biggest gift ever
  • Obama administration has new Asian carp strategy
  • Ohio works to lower infant mortality rate

    Castro back in court today with trial date looming
    With a trial date approaching next month, the man accused of holding three women captive for a decade faces another pretrial hearing in Cleveland. The hearing is scheduled this morning for 53-year-old Ariel Castro. While appearing in court last week, the arraignment judge scolded him repeatedly to open his eyes and keep his head up. Castro has pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other charges. The defense says it will go to trial Aug. 5 if the prosecutor doesn't take the death penalty off the table to clear the way for a plea deal. Castro is charged with aggravated murder in the miscarriage suffered by one woman who was beaten and starved. The prosecutor hasn't decided on the death penalty issue.

    All three East Cleveland bodies identified
    All three women whose bodies were found wrapped in trash bags in East Cleveland last weekend have been identified. Family and authorities said Tuesday the last two victims are 18-year-old Shirellda Helen Terry and 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley. The first known victim was identified by police on Monday as 38-year-old Angela Deskins. Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson says tips about tattoos on Sheely’s body helped in the identification. Thirty-five-year-old suspect Michael Madison is in custody facing preliminary charges of aggravated murder and kidnapping in the slayings. He is a registered sex offender who served four years in prison beginning in 2002.

    Penn National blames Ohio casinos for 2Q tumble
    One of the key players in Ohio’s gambling industry has reported a more than $12 million quarterly loss, and blaming that on its new Hollywood casinos in Columbus and Toledo. On a conference call Tuesday, Penn National Gaming said that while June was a rough month for casinos nationwide, "Ohio has not ramped up as quickly as we had hoped.” Next year, Penn is relocating two horse tracks and adding video lottery terminals near Youngstown and Dayton…The company says it will be a little more cautious, starting with about 1,000 slots and expanding with demand. 

    First Merit posts 57th straight quarter of profit
    Akron-based First Merit bank says second quarter profits jumped nearly 60 percent following its recent acquisition of Citizens. Profits were nearly $50 million for the quarter, up from about $30 million the same quarter last year. In April, First Merit bought Citizens for $1.3 billion, making it the 26th largest bank in the nation. It is the Akron bank's 57th consecutive quarterly profit.

    Summa gets biggest gift ever
    Akron’s Summa health system will use the largest gift in its history toward heart care. The $4 million dollar donation from Akron couple Richard and Yvonne Hamlin will be used to build a hybrid cardiovascular operating room at Akron City Hospital. The technology will allow Summa to start using a less-invasive procedure that uses catheters rather than a large incision to replace aortic valves. 

    Obama administration has new Asian carp strategy
    Federal officials are promising to reinforce barriers designed to prevent hungry Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, where scientists fear the invaders could damage the fishing and tourism industries by starving out native species. The Obama administration is releasing an updated plan today for protecting the lakes from bighead and silver carp, which have infested the Mississippi River and many of its tributaries. The Associated Press obtained an outline of the administration's $50 million strategy ahead of its official release. It calls for building a new electric barrier in a Chicago-area shipping canal to replace a decade-old demonstration model. Additionally, Illinois officials will oversee design and construction of a mobile electric device that can be dragged like a curtain to herd fish or serve as a temporary barrier.

    Ohio works to lower infant-mortality rate
    A new effort will focus on trying to improve Ohio's infant mortality rate, which is one of the worst in the nation. The national rate dropped by 11 percent from 2000 to 2010, but in Ohio it increased 3 percent. The state's infant-mortality rate of 7.7 per 1,000 births ranks 48th in the nation. The rate for black babies is 49th. The top causes of infant deaths in Ohio include low birth weight, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome. The health department is partnering with a national organization for a three-year project designed to reduce the disparities between white and black infant-mortality rates.

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