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Layoffs at American Greetings headquarters
Other morning headlines: UA's Proenza gives final state of the university address; More corruption charges against former VA director
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Layoffs at American Greetings headquarters
  • Fire at First Energy nuclear power plant shuts down unit
  • New law sets rules for minor political parties in Ohio
  • More corruption charges against former VA director
  • Search for new OSU president to exceed $300,000
  • Former Stark County sheriff reappointed
  • Biden visits Ohio for transportation talk, fundraiser
  • Chesapeake Energy's Utica shale production up
  • Proenza gives final state of the university address
  • JobsOhio opponents say lawsuit must move forward
  • Ohio senators join fight to prevent Asian carp
  • Southeast Ohio to receive new area code
  • Vigil planned for slain firefighter
  • Cleveland Clinic spinoff to develop cancer screening tests 
  • Layoffs at American Greetings headquarters
    Nearly two dozen jobs are being cut at American Greetings headquarters in the Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn. 

    The Plain Dealer reports that the company is making a major overhaul of its interactive division that oversees electronic greeting cards. In addition to the 22 jobs in Brooklyn, others are being cut in North Hollywood, California. Revenue for the interactive division dropped more than $4 million last fiscal year. 

    American Greetings has annual revenue of nearly $1.9 billion. The Plain Dealer reported in May that the company had cut 1,500 full-time and 600 part-time jobs worldwide last year.


    Fire at western P.A. First Energy nuclear power plant shuts down unit
    A small fire at the Beaver Valley Nuclear station shut down the plant’s Unit 1 yesterday.

    Operators of the plant in western Pennsylvania told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the fire was electrical, and that there was no danger to the public.

    The fire was discovered after operators noticed signs of a problem in a breaker. That problem turned out to be an electrical short and a small fire which was quickly extinguished.

    There’s no word on how much damage was caused or when the unit will reopen.

    The plant is owned by Akron-based First Energy.


    New law sets rules for minor political parties in Ohio
    Governor John Kasich has signed a bill setting rules for minor political parties in the swing state.

    The measure was poised to clear the Legislature last week, but senators rejected it after House-made changes inadvertently cut a piece of the bill. A committee restored that piece Wednesday and made other changes. Groups wanting to form parties next year would need petition signatures equal to a half-percent of the total votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial or presidential election. Thereafter, they must gather 1 percent.

    To remain qualified, organizations must get 2 percent of total votes cast in the governor's race next year, and 3 percent in 2015 for the following gubernatorial or presidential elections.

    Several third parties say the rules are unfair and they will sue.


    More corruption charges against former VA director
    Additional corruption charges have been filed against a former director of the Veterans Affairs medical centers in Cleveland and Dayton. Sixty-one-year-old William Montague of Brecksville was indicted Wednesday in Cleveland on an expanded 65-count indictment. He's charged with taking bribes in exchange for influencing VA decisions on more than $1 billion in contracts.

    Montague pleaded not guilty in June to 36 counts.

    The additional charges in the superseding indictment include conspiracy and mail and wire fraud.

    Montague led the Cleveland VA Medical Center from 1995 to 2010.


    Search for new OSU president to exceed $300,000
    The search for the next president of Ohio State University is on track to cost more than $300 thousand. About a third of that comes from expenses for a one-day forum on the state of the college presidency.

    The university has paid its executive head-hunting firm about $151 thousand to date with a final payment of at least $67 thousand due when the search is completed.

    The bill for the university's August 30 "Symposium on the University Presidency" was $117 thousand, including hotel and travel costs for participants, appearance fees and $96,000 in advertising.


    Former Stark County sheriff reappointed
    Stark County’s old sheriff is the new sheriff, thanks to a 5-2 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday. The county’s Democratic executive committee appointed George Maier sheriff in February. The vote was hotly contested amid claims that Maier didn’t have the education and experience to meet the qualifications of the job. Former Sheriff Tim Swanson was among those challenging the appointment, and took the case to court. Now Swanson will be reappointed.

    The job opened up when Sheriff-elect Michael McDonald died. The party vote was a close one between Maier and Sheriff’s Lt. Louis Darrow. Republican Lawrence Dordea got one vote.


    Biden visits Ohio for transportation talk, fundraiser
    Vice President Joe Biden has visited Ohio to make a case that investing in the nation's railways, ports, and highways will keep and create manufacturing jobs. Biden toured a rail cargo hub Wednesday in northwest Ohio, just outside the village of North Baltimore. The rail facility about 30 miles south of Toledo connects freight moving between the Midwest and East Coast.

    He says the nation needs to maintain and fix its infrastructure to keep up with the rest of world.

    The Plain Dealer reports he was in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights last night at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.


    Chesapeake Energy's Utica shale production up
    Natural gas production in the Utica shale has almost doubled over the last two quarters. The largest investor in eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale play, Chesapeake energy, says it saw 91 percent growth in production—averaging 164 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent from its wells every day.

    It has 377 wells in eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    The company says it expects next year’s growth will be centered on further increases in production from the Utica and Marcellus shale. Chesapeake also cut costs and employees in the third quarter, finishing with a quarterly revenue of nearly 5-billion dollars.


    UA's Proenza gives final state of the university address
    University of Akron president Luis Proenza says he still has some goals before he steps down next June. Proenza delivered his final state of the university address Wednesday.

    At 15 years, Proenza is the longest continually serving president at a public university in Ohio.

    During his speech Proenza says he wants to spend the next six months improving student recruitment, retention and graduation along with completing a review and reorganization of all programs, schools and colleges. He also wants to cut the number of credit hours needed for a bachelor’s degree from 128 to 120.

    The 68-year-old will take a one-year sabbatical in June and then return as a faculty member earning a half million dollars a year.


    JobsOhio opponents say lawsuit must move forward
    Opponents of Ohio's privatized jobs agency say the state's Constitution will be left defenseless if their coalition is not granted standing to proceed with its constitutional challenge.

    In oral arguments Wednesday before the Ohio Supreme Court, a lawyer representing the liberal policy group ProgressOhio and other plaintiffs said the law creating JobsOhio contained almost insurmountable legal hurdles.

    Gov. John Kasich's attorney argued that plenty of parties could have legitimately sued JobsOhio but chose not to. So far in the 2011 lawsuit, lower courts have found that opponents lack standing to bring their constitutional challenge. It centers on the public-private arrangement enjoyed by JobsOhio.


    Ohio senators join fight to prevent Asian carp
    Ohio U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown are among a group of 16 senators who have sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week—asking for a quick response to the detection of Asian carp DNA in Lake Michigan. The group of senators is asking the Army Corps to move quickly to keep two invasive species from swimming up the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and into the lakes.

    The Corps has been studying the problem for a while now, and plans to release a strategy for blocking the fish in January.


    Southeast Ohio to receive new area code
    A part of Southeast Ohio could soon get a new telephone area code. The state Public Utilities Commission says numbers for the 740 code will run out by early 2105.

    The commission is considering either splitting the current area in half or assigning a new code to new customers. It will be taking public comment through November 27.

    Vigil planned for slain firefighter
    The Cleveland firefighter who was gunned down outside his home on the east side earlier this week will be remembered at a candlelight vigil tonight. 

    The Plain Dealer reports the vigil will be held at 6 this evening on Lampson Road, where Lt. William Walker lived. 

    He was a 15 year veteran of the Cleveland Fire Department. He was shot in the chest multiple times Sunday night, as he was walking from his car to his house. 

    Cleveland police are investigating, but no arrests have been made in the case.


    Cleveland Clinic spinoff to develop cancer screening tests
    A new spinoff company from Cleveland Clinic Innovations will help develop and commercialize cancer diagnostics and screening tests. Cleveland Diagnostics, Inc. is a partnership between Cleveland Clinic Innovations and biotech company AnalizaDX. AnalizaDx will cease its operations, but employees will stay on at the new company. The new company hopes to move forward with the PSA/SIA prostate cancer screening text and get it closer to market.
    Cleveland Diagnostics is also working on tests for protein biomarkers that indicate the presence of diseases like breast and ovarian cancer.
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