Columbus trucking company to sue Pilot Flying J
A Columbus-based trucking company is now suing Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s truck stop business. The Plain Dealer reports that FST Express claims to have lost more than 75 thousand dollars in Pilot Flying J’s alleged fuel rebate scheme that’s been the center of an FBI investigation since April. FST Express says it bought fuel from Pilot for more than 10 years, dealing primarily with two sales executives who have already pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. By filing its own lawsuit, FST Express is opting out of a class-action settlement that has already been approved by a federal judge. In that settlement, some two dozen companies that lost money would be paid back everything owed plus six-percent interest.
Court hearing planned for Steubenville school employee
A court hearing is planned for a Steubenville school employee charged in connection with a teen rape case that has gained national attention. Technology Director William Rhinaman has been charged with tampering with evidence by a grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped last year. A judge convicted two Steubenville football players of raping the West Virginia girl after a party on Aug. 11, 2012. The indictment announced Monday alleges Rhinaman tried to alter or conceal evidence from that date through August 25. Rhinaman is being held without bond and is expected to ask for a public defender.
Mayor celebrates new downtown project
Cleveland's mayor led civic leaders at a celebration of a major new downtown project. The medical trade exposition hall is part of a nearly half billion dollar project that includes a newly opened convention center next door. Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and leaders of the city's medical research industry were on hand for Tuesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony. The expo center has been named the Global Center for Health Innovation and was financed with a tax increase. Next week the center will host its first major event, the Cleveland Clinic's three-day Medical Innovation Summit.
Man indicted on murder charges
A northeast Ohio grand jury has indicted a man on several charges including aggravated murder in the slayings of his ex-girlfriend and their 5-year-old son. Summit County’s prosecutor on Tuesday announced the eight-count indictment against 39-year-old Daniel Tighe of Akron carries a possible death sentence. Wendy Ralston, 31, and her son were reported missing in August. Their bodies were found in a wooded area behind their Tallmadge home.
Fraud trail entering third day
The Cleveland trial of a onetime fugitive charged in a $100 million cross-country fraud under the guise of assisting Navy veterans enters its third day. Witness testimony in the trial for the man known as Bobby Thompson will resume today, a day after the former legal adviser to the charity at the center of the investigation told jurors how Thompson resisted efforts to identify anyone else involved with the United States Navy Veterans Association organization based in Florida. Thompson, whose real name in John Cody, is charged with defrauding donors, including many in Ohio.
Baldwin Wallace nursing program fails to meet requirements
Baldwin Wallace University’s nursing program has failed to meet six state requirements. The Plain Dealer reports the program has admitted students with GPAs below the university requirement, has allowed a nurse with a restricted license to oversee students has has failed to implement changes it agreed to during previous reviews. The program has been operating under a conditional approval since it began last year. The state board says it will not grant full approval until next September at the earliest.
Cleveland Clinic police force receives grant
Cleveland Clinic’s police force is getting more than $50 thousand to help improve its Victim Advocate Program. Attorney General Mike Dewine awarded the money as part of a larger distribution of state funds—all going to victim services agencies throughout Ohio. In all, $17 million will be awarded to 270 groups. The Cleveland Clinic police department will use the money to hire additional program staff.
National Guard recalls technicians
The Ohio National Guard says officials have recalled most of the 1,800 technicians who were put on furlough because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. The Columbus Dispatch reports the employees returned because of a decision by the Pentagon. A few workers who do auditing and internal reviews for the Ohio National Guard remain on furlough. A union official says about half of the 40 furloughed Department of Defense employees at the Defense Supply Center Columbus also were called back.
Secretary of State wants absentee applications mailed to registered voters
Ohio’s Secretary of State wants all Ohio voters to get an absentee ballot for next year’s gubernatorial election. The Plain Dealer reports Jon Husted’s office plans to mail the applications to every registered voter, as it did during last year’s presidential election. Husted’s office says the practice encourages absentee voting and help make lines shorter on Election Day. Nearly a third of all votes in 2012 were cast absentee, the first time absentee applications were mailed to all voters. The mailings cost the state more than $1.5 million dollars, which was paid for with federal funds and likely will pay for next fall’s mailing.
Chesapeake Energy downsizing by 10 percent
The biggest company behind Ohio’s fracking boom has cut its workforce by more than a thousand employees this year. The new CEO of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy, Doug Lawler, has cut the company’s size by 10 percent. At the same time, stock prices rose 20 percent. Besides cutting jobs, Chesapeake also sold $4 billion of its assets. Lawler said the company had—quote—“too much land and too many people.” The company has been selling or leasing the rights to hundreds of thousands of acres it owns in nearly 20 eastern Ohio counties. The company’s downsizing is expected to be complete by November.
NFL approves funding for changes to FirstEnergy Stadium
The NFL has approved more than $62 million in funding for renovations at the Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium. The Beacon Journal reports that all the changes planned for the stadium are expected to cost about $120 million. They’ll take place in two phases over the course of two years, including new scoreboards and sound systems. The funding was approved at yesterday’s owners meetings in Washington where the Browns also learned they could be one of the teams to play in three games at London’s Wembly Stadium next year. That announcement will be made when the schedule is released for next year.
Medina County Park District adds marsh
The Medina County Park District is growing. The Beacon Journal reports that the park district has purchased the 87 acre Medina Marsh for $1.3 million. The Western Reserve Land Conservancy helped fund the purchase. The marsh adds to a green corridor connecting the city of Medina and Medina Township. The corridor covers 600 acres and spans two miles. The property is located next to the West Branch of Rocky River on the city’s northeast side, and has a variety of important habitats. Eventually, the wetland will serve as a nature preserve that is open to the public for passive recreational use, research, and educational programs. No word yet on when it will open.