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Sheriff's captain indicted on grand theft charges
  • Other morning headlines: FirstEnergy cutting dividends; Democrats reveal statewide ticket; Union tries to save Ford jobs

  • by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
    and LAUREN SCHMOLL


    Morning Edition Host
    Amanda Rabinowitz
     

    Sheriff's captain indicted on grand theft charges
    FirstEnergy cutting dividends
    Democrats reveal statewide ticket
    Tow truck law tossed out
    Taxpayers urged to visit website
    FirstEnergy says no threat in radioactive water
    Union tries to save Ford jobs
    McDonald's construction blocked
    Applicants reviewed for PUCO board seat
    Cincinnati abortion clinic shut down
    Northeast Ohio businesses awarded loans
    Good economic projections for Ohio cities
    Another flu death

    Sheriff's captain indicted on grand theft charges
    A Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s captain has been indicted on 12 charges, including grand theft. Captain Michael Jackson, 44, of Parma is accused of taking more than $50,000 from the sheriff’s office evidence room, and then changing records to cover the crime.  The theft allegedly occurred between December 2011 and November 2012. The investigation began following an audit of each of the department’s divisions. Jackson will be arraigned February 4th.

    FirstEnergy cutting dividends

    Akron-based First Energy Corp is cutting its dividends. Yesterday afternoon, the company announced quarterly dividends would be reduced from 55 cents per share to 36 cents per share. That’s a 34 percent drop. The company says the change will preserve a solid and sustainable payment for shareholders and gives the company more flexibility for growth. FirstEnergy announced last year that it planned to spend billions of dollars to upgrade its high voltage transmission system.

    Democrats reveal statewide ticket
    Ohio Democrats are rolling out their full statewide ticket at an endorsement event hosted by abortion and women's health care provider Planned Parenthood. Today’s event in Columbus signals the party's intention to make women's health issues a campaign theme as they seek to unseat Gov. John Kasich and the state's other Republican elected officials this fall. Their slate includes gubernatorial contender Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, and running mate Sharen Neuhardt; David Pepper for attorney general and state Sen. Nina Turner for secretary of state.  

    Tow truck law tossed out
    Ohio's high court has tossed out part of a state law regulating tow trucks in a dispute that involved Cleveland's home-rule authority and its ability to adopt and enforce laws on the operators. The unanimous ruling Tuesday from the Ohio Supreme Court upheld part of the 2003 law that gives the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio the power to regulate towing companies. But the court found unconstitutional a provision that says towing companies are not subject to local laws or rules. Cleveland challenged Ohio's tow-truck law in 2009.

    Taxpayers urged to visit website
    The state tax commissioner is reminding Ohio small-business owners that they may be eligible for a recently enacted tax deduction. In an alert issued Tuesday, Commissioner Joe Testa urged taxpayers to visit the Ohio Department of Taxation website to learn whether they're eligible and how to file for a 50-percent write-off on their first $250,000 in business income from 2013. The deduction was enacted last year as part of a package of state tax changes included in Ohio's two-year state budget.

    FirstEnergy says no threat in radioactive water
    Akron-based FirstEnergy says radioactive material detected in water from a steam pipe leak at the Perry nuclear power plant doesn't pose a threat. Crews at the plant alongside Lake Erie northeast of Cleveland detected the leak Monday afternoon and reported it the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state. The plant notification to the NRC says tritium was detected in a groundwater monitoring station near the auxiliary building where the leak occurred. Tritium can be found in self-luminescent items like wristwatches. FirstEnergy says there's no evidence tritium made it off plant grounds, the leak is being repaired and there is no threat to the public.

    Union tries to save Ford jobs
    A last ditch effort is underway to save hundreds of jobs at Avon Lake’s Ford plant. The Plain Dealer reports Ford plans to lay off 900 people at the plant this summer when it retools from making vans to chassis. The union says that goes against a 2011 agreement that calls for Ford to receive tax credits in exchange for maintaining a workforce of 17-hundred, limiting layoffs to 100 people. Now, the newspaper reports that union reps are talking to the company about possibly bringing other product lines to the plant to keep jobs. The Avon Lake facility is expected to close down in July for a 100 million dollar retooling, and will reopen without about half its current workforce.

    McDonald's construction blocked
    After a long fight, a Cleveland neighborhood has blocked construction of a new McDonald’s restaurant. The Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday supported the decision of the city’s Planning Commission to turn down plans for a McDonalds in Ohio City. In November, the Commission said a drive through and parking lot would violate zoning restrictions that are meant to keep the neighborhood pedestrian friendly. Neighbors, business owners and city leaders had been protesting the proposal.

    Applicants reviewed for PUCO board seat
    A nominating panel is reviewing 27 applicants for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on the Ohio board that regulates public utilities. The Columbus Dispatch reports the applicants for the seat on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio include the commission's utility-rate administrator, Patrick Donlon, and Columbus Republican Tom Johnson, who was budget director under Gov. Bob Taft. The commission will have an open seat because Chairman Todd Snitchler decided not to seek reappointment when his term expires in April. The nominating commission will recommend four finalists to Gov. John Kasich.

    Cincinnati abortion clinic shut down
    The Ohio Health Department has closed down another abortion clinic. Health Director Ted Wymslo ordered the closure of the Lebanon Road Surgery Center in Cincinnati. It’s the fourth shutdown ordered by the state over the last year. The clinic lacks a transfer agreement with a local hospital that GOP lawmakers included in a new state law. The law also forbids public hospitals from signing such agreements, and many private hospitals are Catholic institutions that will not sign them. But the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the state accuses the clinic of a “history of problems." Last year, the state shut down clinics in Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls and Toledo. The clinic in Cuyahoga Falls has applied for a new license.  The Cincinnati clinic has 15 days to appeal the closure. 

    Northeast Ohio businesses awarded loans
    A state program that helps boost high-tech industry is awarding loans to three Northeast Ohio companies. The Third Frontier Commission is giving Intellirod Spine in Akron $1.6 million loan to develop a wireless implant to track progress following a spine fusion surgery. Synapse Biomedical in Oberlin will use its $2.3 million loan to improve its electrical stimulation device for muscles and nerves of the diaphragm. And Cleveland’s CleveMed gets a $1 million loan for a home sleep apnea testing system.

    Good economic projections for Ohio cities
    2013 was a rough economic year for many Ohio cities, but 2014 is looking up. All 13 of Ohio’s metro areas are expected to grow this year, accoarding to a report released by the US Conference of Mayors. It shows Columbus will likely have the strongest economic growth at 2.3 percent. Steubenville, Sandusky and Toledo round out the top four. In 2013, Canton-Massillon had the best performing economy in the state. That area grew 1.7 percent.

    Another flu death
    Another flu-related death in the Toledo area has made this flu season the deadliest in Lucas county in the last five years. Tuesday, 29-year-old Eric Sherman, Jr. died from the flu after getting sick Sunday. The Toledo Blade reports that doctors decided not to admit him to the hospital Sunday after a trip to urgent care. Sherman also had pneumonia. Nine people have died from the flu this season in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

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