Avon Lake's Mayor: More layoffs than expected likely at Ford plant
Northeast Ohio’s auto industry is bracing for layoffs this summer, and more than expected. In late 2011, Ford announced it would invest $128 million to retool its Avon Lake plant to switch from making vans to manufacturing chassis for trucks and RVs. Those plans included the elimination of about 100 jobs. Avon Lake mayor Greg Zilka tells the Plain Dealer he’s now been told to brace for a greater number of layoffs after the plant temporarily shuts down this summer.
The plant currently employs 1,800 people.
Voters may decide public works program renewal
Governor John Kasich and state legislative leaders are set to discuss an effort to renew a public works program that funds improvements to roads, bridges and other local infrastructure needs. A resolution pending in the General Assembly would ask voters to approve a 10-year renewal of the State Capital Improvement Program. Senators passed the resolution on Tuesday, sending it to the House. The plan would increase the bond funding levels to $175 million annually for the first five years and then $200 million each year for the remaining five years. Supporters want the measure to clear the Legislature by the end of this month, so it can appear on May ballots
20 indicted in heroin ring
Twenty people have been indicted in northeast Ohio in an alleged heroin ring, including a man charged with supplying a person who died of an overdose.
The federal indictment in the alleged heroin ring in Akron was announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. The alleged conspiracy lasted from 2011 into 2014 and involved heroin shipped to Akron from Atlanta, Chicago and elsewhere. The defendants include 36-year-old Garland "Felix" Phelps Jr. He is facing an enhanced charge that could lead to the death penalty for an overdose death on Christmas Day 2012.
Condemned killer to be moved to death house
Ohio plans to move a condemned killer facing a never-tried lethal injection method to the state death house a day ahead of his scheduled execution. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will use a combination of a sedative and a painkiller to put Dennis McGuire to death for a 1989 murder in western Ohio. The agency will move McGuire from death row in Chillicothe to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville today. The state announced its plan to use the two-drug process after supplies of its previous drug dried up when its manufacturer put it off limits for capital punishment.
Five dead in Toledo area from flu
A fifth person has now died from the flu in the Toledo area. The Toledo Blade reports 41-year old Chris Wright is the youngest among the recent deaths, who was typically so healthy, his wife said he didn’t think getting a flu shot was necessary. He was originally diagnosed with pneumonia after feeling ill two weeks ago. He died Sunday. Health officials say it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
PUCO leader won't seek reappointment
Ohio's top public utility regulator says he won't seek reappointment when his term expires April 10.Todd Snitchler was appointed chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in 2011 by Gov. John Kasich. In a Tuesday statement, Snitchler says he decided it's time to move to a different role. A statement from Kasich says the governor wanted Snitchler to seek reappointment but respects his decision. Snitchler's work with the PUCO included encouraging competitive market development and educating consumers about their choices for electricity and natural gas services. He drew criticism last year for using his Twitter page to blast renewable energy and question global warming.
FitzGerald pulls printing contract
Cuyahoga County has cut ties with a printing company blamed for the late delivery of more than 100 thousand property tax bills. The Plain Dealer reports that the county had planned to sign a $132 thousand contract for services with Midwest Direct. County Executive Ed FitzGerald pulled the contract this week, after Councilman Dave Greenspan questioned why the county planned to continue doing business with the company after the mistake. Last month, Midwest Direct failed to deliver a quarter of the county’s tax bills in time for taxpayers to deduct their payments from their 2013 income tax returns without involving their mortgage company. The contract will now go to a committee for review.
Memorial services planned for political strategist
Memorial services will be this weekend for nationally-known political strategist Arnold Pinkney. Pinkney died Monday at the age of 83 after a long illness. The Youngstown native was active in politics through last year’s successful run by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson for a third term. He designed the campaign of Carl Stokes to become the first black mayor of a major American city and of Lou Stokes, his brother, to Congress. Pinkney’s public viewing is from 8 until 9:30 Saturday morning at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on Cleveland’s East Side.
Cuyahoga County Council considers sin tax
Cuyahoga County Council has taken its first, very quick, look at whether to extend the county’s sin tax for another 20 years to pay for upkeep of FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena. Two more meetings will be held over the next two weeks before council votes on whether to put the extension on the May ballot. Voters first passed the 15-year tax on alcohol and cigarettes in 1990. The money built the ballpark for the Indians and an arena for the Cavs, as well as two parking garages. In 1995, voters extended the tax for 10 more years to renovate the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Instead, the money went toward building the new football stadium for the returning Browns. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is pushing for the extension, as are the Browns, who are looking for $120 million in renovations at FirstEnergy Stadium. Cleveland.com is reporting that the extension may also pay for a new roof at Quicken Loans.
Ravenna military site to receive federal money for infrastructure
A Portage County military training site is getting a big investment from the federal government. More than $5 million in federal funds will help extend utilities to Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center. The money comes from a bipartisan Senate-House appropriations deal that is expected to pass this week. Lawmakers say the developing infrastructure around Camp Ravenna is critical to expansion of the base into a major Ohio National Guard training site. Last year, it was announced that Camp Ravenna was under consideration to be a missile defense system facility that would house rockets
Air Force One subject of debate
A battle is brewing over a very well-known airplane. The Lyndon B. Johnson foundation wants to display the plane on which the president took the oath of office at Johnson’s presidential library in Austin, Texas. The plane—which flew presidents from 1962 until 1990—is currently on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Michael Turner of Dayton wrote letters to the air force secretary last week, requesting the plane stay at Wright-Patt. They say fewer visitors would get to experience the aircraft if it were moved.
Jeep says sales of Toledo-built Cherokee are strong
Jeep says 2014 sales are expected to be strong for the Toledo-built Jeep Cherokee. The Toledo Blade reports the company is beginning to ship the 2014 version to international markets and Chrysler’s CEO says Jeep expects to sell 1 million vehicles globally this year, about 300,000 thought more than last year.
Last year, Chrysler announced plans to invest nearly $20 million into the plant to increase production capacity. More than $72 million was invested in 2011 to modernize the plant.