Goodyear reaches milestone, fully funds hourly pension plans
Akron-based Goodyear reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, even as revenue slumped 5 percent and fell short of expectations. Goodyear says it will be able to fully fund its hourly U.S. pension plans with $1.1 billion of available cash, a milestone for the company. The company posted net income available to common shareholders of $228 million, or 84 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2013, up from breakeven a year ago. Revenue fell 5 percent from a year ago to $4.8 billion and missed expectations of almost $5 billion, hurt by lower third-party chemical sales in North America and a $102 million hit in unfavorable foreign currency translation.
Ohio House delays vote on calamity days
The Ohio House has held off taking a formal vote on a plan to let schools take up to four additional days off this year because of the season's extreme weather. A House spokesman said Wednesday that members plan to take an additional week to continue to work on the number of days in the proposal and review its costs. Snow and frigid temperatures have led many districts across Ohio to exhaust their five allowable calamity days, some cancelling for 10 or more.
Ohio Senate passes bill banning e-cigarettes for youth
The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that aims to keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of those under age 18. The measure which prohibits minors from obtaining, possessing and using the products was approved unanimously Wednesday. Groups such as the Ohio State Medical Association have questioned the legislation because it defines the items as "alternative nicotine products," which could exempt the products from taxation laws that govern tobacco. The Ohio House passed an earlier version of the bill.
Ohio joins fight against New Jersey concealed weapons law
Ohio is joining 18 states in a fight against New Jersey’s concealed weapons law. Wyoming’s attorney general is leading the push, asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that upheld New Jersey’s law. It requires people to prove to police they have a justifiable need to carry a gun before they can get a concealed carry permit. Wyoming, Ohio, and other states are concerned that New Jersey’s provision could threaten their less-restrictive laws. Wyoming is one of the only states in the nation to allow concealed carry without a permit.
High school wrestlers suspended after alleged hazing incident
Nearly a dozen Summit County high school wrestlers have been suspended, and a criminal investigation is underway after an alleged hazing incident. The Beacon Journal reports that 11 Coventry High School athletes are accused of punching, kicking, and using a broomstick to haze eight freshman wrestlers in the locker room. The newspaper says the coaching staff was not present during the alleged attack but reported it quickly. Two wrestlers face possible expulsion, while some could face criminal charges.
Cleveland restarts red-light camera ticket appeals process
Despite a court ruling against it, the City of Cleveland has restarted its appeal process for drivers contesting red-light camera tickets. In January, an appeals court ruled in favor of a driver ticketed by a Cleveland red-light camera who said the appeal process was flawed. The court agreed that under state law red light camera tickets must be contested in a municipal court, not by a city clerk as it’s done in Cleveland. The city then shut-down its appeal process while its law department considered the matter. Now, Cleveland officials say the ruling doesn’t bar the city from using the appeal process, so it’s reopened the clerk’s office for people wanting to fight the tickets. But the city is also continuing to reevaluate the process to see if it should be changed.
Proposal would allow side walk parking for scooters, some motorcycles
Ohioans could park certain motor scooters and motorized cycles on sidewalks under a proposal approved by state lawmakers. Current state law bans vehicles from parking on sidewalks, while allowing bicycles. State Senator Bill Seitz of Cincinnati sponsored the measure after hearing about the parking struggles of his law partner. He has said the change could encourage people to commute in more energy-efficient ways. The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill and would have to sign off on House changes.
Ohio health plan signups top 60,000
Federal officials say more than 60,000 Ohioans have picked health plans in the first four months of the new online marketplace created by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. Ohio is among the 36 states relying on the federal website, HealthCare.gov. The data shows that most Ohioans who are obtaining coverage are older. Fifty-eight percent are between ages 45 and 64. A report said close to 160,000 residents were found eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan. And about eighty-three percent of those who have signed up are getting financial help to pay their monthly premiums.
FitzGerald to speak about local government funding
Democratic governor candidate Ed FitzGerald plans to speak to government officials who represent about a third of Ohioans. The Cuyahoga County Executive's campaign says he will address the Ohio Township Association meeting in Columbus today. FitzGerald plans to focus on local government funding during his talk to the group of township trustees and other officials. Ohio has more than 1,300 townships.
NFL player loses Cleveland "jock tax" appeal
A former NFL player won’t be getting back the money he paid to the city of Cleveland for its so-called “jock tax.” Ex-Colts linebacker Jeff Saturday sued the city, saying it improperly collected income tax from him for a game he missed at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals has agreed with the city’s argument that it would be an administrative burden to try and determine when a visiting player missed scheduled work in the city. Saturday also challenged the “jock tax” itself, saying athletes shouldn’t have to pay the city’s 2 percent income tax for games they miss. The case is expected to wind up before the state Supreme Court.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor to unveil heroin awareness campaign
Last year, more people in Cuyahoga County died from heroin overdoses than from homicide or traffic accidents. The latest effort to combat what’s being called an epidemic includes an awareness campaign. County Prosecutor Tim McGinty will announce the effort today that includes TV spots beginning next week. Hundreds of officials participated in a heroin summit late last year to form an action plan that includes awareness and education.
Child rape case heading back to Ohio Supreme Court
A child rape case in Medina County is heading to the Ohio Supreme Court for a second time. Carl Morris, Jr. was convicted of rape in 2009. It was later overturned because the court allowed improper testimony during trial, including sexual remarks Morris made to others that weren’t directly related to the case. An appeals court ruled the trial court’s mistake caused harm to Morris. Prosecutors say a less strict standard should have been used, because other evidence supported the conviction that they say should have stood.
New leadership at Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is under new leadership. Later this spring, Craig Kenkel will take over as superintendent of the 33,000-acre park system. A native of Iowa, Kenekl has more than 30 years service in the National Park system, most recently at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. He says he first visited Cuyahoga Valley in 1992, and the park has remained on his personal top 10 list since then. Kenkel replaces Superintendent Stan Austin who left last May to become the head of the National Park Service’s southeast region in Atlanta.
Columbine principal to speak in Chardon about shooting
The principal who oversaw Colorado's Columbine High School during and since the deadly 1999 shootings there will discuss the recovery process in the northeast Ohio community where three students died in a 2012 school shooting. The News-Herald reports Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis will speak in Chardon next Wednesday. The event sponsored by Chardon Schools and the Chardon Healing Fund occurs about a week before the two-year anniversary of the rampage at Chardon High School that killed three students and injured others. Nineteen-year-old T.J. Lane pleaded guilty and is serving life sentences for the shooting at the school east of Cleveland. He has appealed his sentence.
Fifth Third mistake sends bankruptcy letters to credit ratings companies
A mistake at Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank sent thousands of letters to credit reporting agencies, saying that credit card customers had filed for bankruptcy. 21,000 accounts are reported to be affected in a mistake that happened during a systems change. The problem was fixed back in December, and credit reporting agencies were told what happened. The issue should not affect any customer’s credit score, but the bank says it is working with customers individually to make sure there are no issues.
Gas Buddy reveals cheapest, most expensive days to buy gas
If you’re looking for cheap gas, GasBuddy.com says it’s all about when you fill up. The site just released a new analysis of the best and worst days to get gasoline in each state. In Ohio, your best bet is to buy on Saturday. Last year, Saturday’s price was below the week’s average 32 times. The worst day to fill up is Tuesday. Tuesday prices were higher than average 36 times. The site says a good rule of thumb is to fill up before 9 on Monday morning for the best deals.
Northeast Ohio Olympian to compete today
One of northeast Ohio’s native Olympians competes this morning in Sochi. Lorain native Kelly Gunther competes in the 1,000 meter speed skating event a 9 a.m. The event won’t be broadcast live on television but will be streaming online. Six other athletes with connections to Ohio will compete today on the ice and in the skeleton.