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Cleveland suburbs make French list of cities to avoid
Other morning headlines: Federal judge blocks signature collection restrictions; Bill to stiffen penalties for driving on flooded roads

by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Cleveland suburbs make French list of cities to avoid
  • Federal judge blocks signature collection restrictions
  • Lockheed Martin closing Akron site, moving operations to New York, Florida
  • Obama highlights economic recovery during Cleveland visit
  • Sentencing postponed in well waste dumping case
  • Bill to stiffen penalties for driving on flooded roads
  • Guilty on all counts in veterans' charity fraud case
  • Legal scholars to serve as deans of Case Law School
  • EPA says Norton must invest in new sewer system
  • Historic church to be razed, hotel built on property
  • State fair turns profit after record attendance
  • FitzGerald to live on equivalent of food stamps
  • Inner Belt Bridge traffic changes
  • Cleveland suburbs make French list of cities to avoid
    City officials and business leaders in three Cleveland suburbs say they were shocked to see their communities on a list that the French government has warned tourists to avoid. Cleveland Heights, Euclid and Lakewood were specifically mentioned on the French Foreign Ministry website as places to avoid "at day and night" because they are supposedly dangerous. Notified of the concerns, a spokesman for the French Consulate in Chicago told the Plain Dealer that it's looking into how and why the cities got on the lists. City officials say they want an apology.

    Federal judge blocks signature collection restrictionsA federal judge has blocked a new Ohio law that bans out-of-state residents from collecting petition signatures for ballot issues or candidates. Southern District Court Judge Michael Watson sided with the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law that argued the new rules violate the First Amendment. The state argued the law helps prevent fraud and a takeover of the process by out-of-state groups. Plaintiffs have added new claims to the lawsuit, including a challenge to new minor party recognition requirements signed by Gov. John Kasich last week. That lawsuit argues the law retroactively strips Libertarian candidates of their ability to qualify for the 2014 primary election. The court has not yet ruled on the minor-party law challenge.

    Lockheed Martin closing Akron site, moving operations to New York, Florida
    Lockheed Martin is laying off, or transferring 4,000 employees nationwide, including 500 from its facility in Akron. The company says cuts to the defense department due to the federal sequester have prompted the cutbacks. Lockheed Martin is closing the nearly 700,000 square foot complex in Akron that develops flight simulators and lighter-than-air surveillance craft.  The production will either be moved to plants in New York or Florida. The closing comes despite efforts by city officials, Ohio’s two U.S. Senators, and local congressman to keep the facility open in Akron.

    Obama highlights economic recovery during Cleveland visit
    resident Barack Obama touted increased automobile fuel efficiency for helping reduce reliance on foreign oil. The president made the remarks Thursday at Cleveland’s ArcelorMittal plant that makes steel used for higher fuel-efficient cars. For the first time in nearly two decades, the U.S. produced more oil at home in October than it imported from abroad. Obama called the shift "a huge competitive advantage" for the United States. The president was highlighting some of the positive notes in the still sluggish economic recovery, even as problems with the health care law were the focus Thursday in Washington.

    Sentencing postponed in well waste dumping case
    The sentencing of the man who pleaded guilty to dumping gas well waste onto a Youngstown street has been postponed. The Youngstown Vindicator reports that U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent granted a defense request to postpone the sentencing of Michael Guesman to January.   Guesman had pleaded guilty in August to violating the federal Clean Water Act by dumping brine and drilling mud down a storm drain. Guesman’s boss, Ben Lupo, and Lupo’s company, Hardrock Excavating, have pleaded not guilty to the same charge. Guesman says he dumped the waste at Lupo’s direction last December and January. 


    Bill to stiffen penalties for driving on flooded roads
    The Ohio Senate is looking to increase punishments for drivers who ignore warning signs and drive on flooded roads. The bill passed unanimously and heads to the House. It prohibits vehicles on roads that are marked as closed for flooding, and fines drives up to $2,000 if they get stuck in the rising waters. Drivers would also face misdemeanor charges and have to appear before a judge. Back in 2006, a teenager in Lorain County drove onto a flooded bridge and got stuck. Rescuers saved the driver and passenger but one of the first responders died.


    Guilty on all counts in veterans' charity fraud case
    A Cleveland jury has found Bobby Thompson guilty on all charges for running a fake Navy veteran’s charity. The jury’s verdict was announced Thursday after about three-hours of deliberations on Wednesday. Thompson was convicted on all 23 counts that include money laundering, identity fraud, theft, and record tampering. Thompson, a Harvard-trained attorney whose real name is John Cody, was defending himself in the beginning of the trial. But about a month ago, attorney Joseph Patituce took over the defense. After the verdict, Patituce said it was hard to build a defense in that length of time.

    Legal scholars to serve as deans of Case Law School
    Case Western Reserve University has appointed two legal scholars to serve as deans of the law school while its dean is on paid leave in the midst of a lawsuit. Bioethics and public health law professor Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf, director of the school’s center for international law, will share leadership across all areas. Dean Lawrence Mitchell being sued by law professor Raymond Ku. Ku claims he was retaliated against after reporting that Mitchell allegedly sexually harassed women.

    EPA says Norton must invest in new sewer system
    The Ohio EPA says the Summit County city of Norton must invest $8 million to build a new sewer system  in an area of town that’s been plagued with problems. The Beacon Journal reports the EPA has ordered Norton to build a new system by 2017 for the area of town where outdated systems have contributed to high bacteria levels in ditches that carry storm water to streams and a nearby lake. The city will likely ask for more than $2.5 million in loans from the EPA for the project.

    Historic church to be razed, hotel built on property
    An historic church in downtown Cleveland will be razed to make way for a new Cleveland Clinic hotel. The Clinic has a purchase agreement for the Church of the Transfiguration on Euclid Avenue, but the deal could not go through until the Cleveland Landmarks Commission approved it for demolition. After two months of consideration, the commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve the demolition. The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, which owns the vacant church, will save a 33-foot long portion of the church’s entrance. The plan is to rebuild that entrance on another site. The property will keep its landmark designation to allow the commission some control over what is built there.

    State fair turns profit after record attendance
    Nice weather and record attendance helped this year's Ohio State Fair turn a profit of $400,000. Fair records show that higher revenue from ticket sales, entry fees and attractions more than made up for lower revenue from sponsorships and entertainment. Total fair revenue through October was $8 million. It's the sixth straight year the fair has made money.

    FitzGerald to live on equivalent of food stamps
    Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is taking on a new challenge: Living on less than five-dollars worth of food each day next week. FitzGerald says he will spend no more than $4.18 each day, which is the average amount of money food stamp users receive. Food stamp users are on the cusp of several serious cuts to their program beginning this month. More than a fifth of the population in Cuyahoga County receives food stamps.

    Inner Belt Bridge traffic changes
    New projects get underway this weekend on the new Inner Belt Bridge heading into downtown Cleveland, and that means traffic changes. The two westbound lanes that opened on the I-90 bridge last weekend will close again tonight at 8 so workers can put down pavement markings and concrete barricades. Those lanes will reopen Monday morning. ODOT also says traffic on I-90 eastbound will be limited to one lane on some sections of the Inner Belt this weekend.

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