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PA high court rules against oil and gas industry
Other headlines: Ohio unemployment rate down slightly in Nov.; Imperial Ave. memorial unveiled
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
  • Ohio unemployment rate down slightly in Nov. 
  • Imperial Ave. memorial unveiled
  • Judge orders DNA evidence tested in Portage death penalty case
  • Toledo survivalist sentenced to six years on weapons charges
  • FirstEnergy vows to fight $43 mill refund
  • Toledo teen pleads guilty of bringing fake gun to school
  • Adoptee rights bill signed into law
  • Judge stops Ohio AG from enforcing raffle machine ban
  • Rain, flooding in weekend forecast
  • PA high court rules against oil and gas industry
    In what’s seen as a major blow to the natural gas drilling industry, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court yesterday ruled that major parts of the state’s sweeping Marcellus Shale law known as Act 13 are unconstitutional.

    In the ruling, the court struck down a provision that new state regulations on oil and gas shale drilling preempt local zoning regulations.

    A similar rule in Ohio giving the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources authority over local ordinances has been upheld by lower courts

    But the Pennsylvania case is widely viewed as a bellwether for other states where oil and gas drilling is a relatively new phenomenon.


    Ohio unemployment rate down slightly in Nov.
    Ohio's unemployment rate dropped slightly in November to 7.4 percent, down just 0.1 percent from the October rate of 7.5 percent.

    The rate was still well above the jobless rate of 6.8 percent in November of last year.

    The figures released this morning by the Department of Job and Family Services are still higher than the U.S. rate of 7.3 percent.


    Imperial Ave. memorial unveiled
    The number 11 figures prominently in the design of a memorial to commemorate the 11 women whose bodies were found in the home of Anthony Sowell on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland.

    The design was unveiled last night by the Imperial Coalition, which includes local ministers and business owners, residents, and community leaders.

    The Plain Dealer reports that family members of the 11 victims approved of the design that draws elements from three proposed memorials.

    An arch will open onto a curved pathway where the names of the 11 victims will be etched. A pool will be fed from 11 small fountains.  The project is expected to cost around $400,000.  The city of Cleveland has donated $135,000.

    The Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects donated the design work, a landscaping company said it will provide free labor and material.

    Sowell received the death penalty in 2011. He is appealing the sentence. 


    Judge orders DNA evidence tested in Portage death penalty case
    A Portage County judge has ordered a DNA test of evidence that lawyers say could prove the innocence of a man convicted in a double murder.

    Lawyers with the Innocence Project requested the test of a cigarette butt found at the scene of the 1990 murders of Bearnhardt and Cora Hartig. 

    Tyrone Noling has been on death row for the crime since 1996, but claims he did not do it.

    Earlier this year Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci argued before the Ohio Supreme Court against allowing the DNA test, but the high court sent the case back to the county.  

    This week Judge John Enlow ordered the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to determine whether the DNA on the cigarette points to Noling or another person at the crime scene.

    Results will be compared to the genetic profiles of known criminals in the FBI’s computerized DNA database.


    Toledo survivalist sentenced to six years on weapons charges
    A man who stockpiled weapons and ammunition at a northern Ohio shopping mall has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison.

    Prosecutors alleged Richard Schmidt of Toledo was planning to carry out a race war, but the federal judge who sentenced Schmidt on Thursday said there wasn't enough evidence to support that claim.

    Schmidt's attorney said his client had the guns and other survival gear because he was preparing for a potential doomsday scenario.

    Federal agents discovered the weapons at the mall where Schmidt operated a store. They also found a list that included the names of black and Jewish leaders in Ohio and Michigan.

    Schmidt told the judge he never should have written the list, but added that he never intended to harm anyone.


    FirstEnergy vows to fight $43 mill refund
    A local utility is vowing to fight an order to refund customers $43 million in overcharged payments.

    The Plain Dealer reports that FirstEnergy is appealing the Public Utilities Commision’s ruling that the company overcharged customers for green energy credits between 2009 and 2011.

    Utilites are required to earn or purchase energy efficiency credits according to Ohio law.  But regulators ruled that FirstEnergy paid too much for these credits and passed the costs onto consumers. 


    Toledo teen pleads guilty of bringing fake gun to school
    A 14-year-old Ohio student accused of triggering a lockdown and police standoff at a high school has pleaded guilty to three charges in juvenile court.

    Police in Toledo and other students say the boy set off the lockdown earlier this month at Scott High School by pulling out a pellet gun that looked like a real handgun after he was sent to a room for disruptive students.

    The boy pleaded guilty Wednesday to inducing panic, having an object indistinguishable from a gun and illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon for having a knife in his bookbag.

    The teen's mother told reporters her son had been bullied.

    The school was on lockdown for more than an hour on Dec. 2 after police and witnesses said a confrontation led to the standoff.


    Adoptee rights bill signed into law
    Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a bill making it easier for many adopted Ohioans to get their original birth certificates.

    The law allows individuals adopted between January 1964 and September 1996 to request their adoption files from the Ohio Department of Health's Bureau of Vital Statistics.

    The new law gives about 400,000 people access to original Ohio birth certificates that was largely blocked without a court order.


    Judge stops Ohio AG from enforcing raffle machine ban
    An Ohio judge is allowing veterans and fraternal posts to keep using electronic raffle machines while their lawsuit against the state attorney general proceeds.

    While a portion of the raffles' proceeds go to charity, Attorney General Mike DeWine has declared the devices illegal, and ordered them shut down in October.

    A Franklin County Judge’s ruling on Thursday prevents the state from taking enforcement action against the electronic raffle machines.

    Lawyers for the groups argue that the devices are legal and VFW posts and lodges shouldn't be subject to criminal or civil penalties.  


    Rain, flooding in weekend forecast
    It's beginning to look a little less like Christmas, at least for the weekend.

    Forecasters say warmer temperatures throughout much of Ohio will be accompanied by possibly heavy rain and the chance of flooding.

    The National Weather Service issued a flood watch from late Friday through Sunday morning for much of southwest and central Ohio.

    The weather service says rainfall totals could be as high as four inches in some areas with the heaviest amounts on Saturday.

    Temperatures are expected to drop again next week with the possibility of light flurries. 

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