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Westlake water fight will cost residents
Other morning headlines: Charity fraud trial to resume; Parking deal approved for Cleveland Hopkins

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Westlake water fight will cost residents
  • Charity fraud trial to resume
  • Multimedia campaign launched to reopen Ormet
  • Parking deal approved for Cleveland Hopkins
  • Salute to slain firefighter
  • Convention center separation to cost $3 million
  • Marijuana seizures down in Ohio
  • Hiram College buys former Garfield house
  • Westlake water fight will cost residents
    Cleveland City Council has approved legislation that will allow the water department to collect millions of dollars in fees from customers in Westlake, as part of a separation agreement between the city’s water system and the suburb. 

    The dispute has been heating up since the spring, when Westlake’s mayor sent a letter to Cleveland utilities, saying it would not continue purchasing water from Cleveland after a 25-year contract was up. He has since retracted that letter, but the city is moving forward with the separation, citing a Lorain Morning Journal article published Friday that Westlake reportedly has a pending deal with the Avon Lake Water System. 

    Cleveland’s legislation passes along a $300 per resident, per quarter fee for the separation.

    Charity fraud trial to resume

    A Cleveland trial is set to resume in an alleged $100 million veterans charity fraud after a one-week break. The defense is ready to detail its case today on behalf of the defendant who identifies himself as 67-year-old Bobby Thompson. Authorities identify him as John Cody.

    The defendant is charged with looting the United States Navy Veterans Association charity that he created in Tampa, Fla. An attorney for the defendant has suggested he was on a super-secret mission, possibly with the CIA, and expects him to testify.

    The prosecution wrapped up its case November 6. 

    Multimedia campaign launched to reopen Ormet
    A labor union seeking the reopening of Ormet Corp.'s aluminum smelter in eastern Ohio is launching a multimedia campaign aimed at Governor John Kasich.

    The United Steelworkers' will gather signatures urging Kasich to act on behalf of about 1,000 laid off workers. Ormet filed for bankruptcy protection in February and closed its plant along the Ohio River near Wheeling, West Virginia, last month after state utility regulators rejected portions of its proposed deal for reducing electricity costs.

    Kasich's spokesman says Ormet received nearly $350 million in power discounts from American Electric Power customers but that wasn't enough to overcome industry conditions.

    Parking deal approved for Cleveland Hopkins
    Parking is about to get better at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

    The city has agreed to a deal that will give the airport two additional parking lots with some 6,000 spaces. City council on Monday approved the $67 million deal that it says generates revenue and puts Hopkins more in line with other U.S. airports of its size.

    Two weeks ago, council endorsed the sale of up to $100 million in revenue bonds that will cover all but $10 million of the purchase price. The rest will be paid through a revenue-sharing agreement between Hopkins and the current owners.

    The airport will pay the two companies 20 percent of the revenue from the lots for 10 years. City officials say the deal saves the city $15 million it would have spent building a new lot.

    Salute to slain firefighter
    Firefighters from across northeast Ohio gathered at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium Monday to honor a slain Cleveland firefighter. 

    Lieutenant William Walker was shot to death in his own driveway earlier this month.

    Police vehicles and fire trucks led a procession through downtown to the auditorium. His casket was draped with a Cleveland Division of Fire Flag, and a fellow firefighter placed his boots and fire helmet alongside his casket.

    Walker was shot in the chest on November 3rd as he was walking from his car to his house. Police have no suspects.

    Convention center separation to cost $3 million
    It is going to cost Cuyahoga County $3 million to part ways with the company that has operated its new convention center. 

    The Plain Dealer reports that the Cuyahoga County Council expects to take up the issue tonight: Looking at a resolution that will formally sever the county’s ties with Chicago-based MMPI. The county will also spend $200,000 for software that manages events at the convention center, and an undetermined amount for other expenses.

    The county wants out of the deal with MMPI so it can find a more experienced operator and negotiate a new contract with more benefits to the county. SMG is expected to become the new operator.

    Marijuana seizures down in Ohio
    Seizures of marijuana plants during summer eradication efforts in Ohio were down this year.

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that authorities found more than 20,470 plants during the summer growing season in Ohio. That's a 76-percent decline from 2010, when authorities seized a record 84,660 plants in the annual effort.

    Authorities tell The Dayton Daily News that outdoor seizures have declined as pot growers increasingly use sophisticated indoor grow operations, which are less easily detected by helicopters.

     Opening arguments are expected in the retrial of a man charged in a 2005 Cleveland fire that killed a woman and eight children at a birthday sleepover.

    The case against 29-year-old Antun Lewis begins again today following a break due to a health issue involving a trial attorney.

    Lewis won a new trial based on unreliable prosecution testimony from jailhouse informants. Some of the informants will be called again to testify.

    Lewis could face life in prison if convicted.

    Authorities say Lewis was upset over a drug debt and dumped gasoline to set what became Cleveland's deadliest house fire.

    Hiram College buys former Garfield house
    Hiram College is now the owner of a home that once belonged to U.S. President James A. Garfield.

    The Portage County school has paid $200 thousand for the house and plans to raise another $300,000 for renovations. It will eventually become a museum and venue for discussions and guest speakers.

    The Beacon Journal reports that the current resident will be allowed to continue living in the home as long as she wishes. Garfield taught Greek and Latin at Hiram and later became the principal—which is equivalent to today’s position of president. He bought the home in 1863, and it served as his base while he was a member of Congress.

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