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Bridgestone agrees to $425 million fine in conspiracy charge
Other morning headlines: GM workers to get up to $7,500 payout; Diebold reports 4th quarter loss

by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Bridgestone agrees to $425 million fine in conspiracy charge
  • GM workers to get up to $7,500 payout
  • Diebold reports 4th quarter loss
  • 200 gallons of fuel spill in Akron
  • AG rejects “Ohio Voter Bill of Rights”
  • Portman plans sex trafficking forum
  • Two National Guard units return to Ohio
  • Two Baldwin Wallace students get jail time for making ecstasy
  • Auditor to investigate charter schools
  • Bridgestone agrees to $425 million fine in conspiracy charge
    The Justice Department says Bridgestone Corp. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $425 million criminal fine in a conspiracy to fix prices of automotive rubber parts. According to a one-count felony charge, Bridgestone participated in allocating sales, rigging bids and raising prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts sold to car manufacturers in the U.S. and elsewhere. The Justice Department says Tokyo-based Bridgestone has agreed to cooperate. Bridgestone’s U.S.-based unit is called Bridgestone Americas and is headquartered in Nashville. The company’s tire division operates a newly opened technical center in Akron with nearly 800 employees in the city. 

    GM workers to get up to $7,500 payout
    General Motors union workers, including those in Lordstown, will get up to $7,500 in profit- sharing payouts later this month. The Youngstown Vindicator reports regular full-time employees who worked 1,850 compensated hours last year will receive the maximum amount, while others will receive a prorated sum. GM has had forms of profit sharing in place for about 30 years. Earlier this month, GM reported nearly $4 billion in net income for 2013, down from around $5 billion the previous year. Meanwhile, sales of the Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze surged last year, with sales up 4.4 over 2012.

    Diebold reports 4th quarter loss
    Green-based ATM and security system manufacturer Diebold Inc., reported a net loss of around $41 million for the fourth quarter of 2013. That’s up from a 2012 fourth quarter net loss of nearly $12 million. Fourth-quarter revenue was around $800 million, down about 3 percent from last year's fourth quarter.  The company attributed about half of that decline to unfavorable currency exchange rates. The latest-quarter result included a non-routine $67 million charge related to the voluntary early retirement program. Diebold is in the midst of a massive global that has included the elimination of 700 jobs and early retirement packages to more than 1,000 employees. 

    200 gallons of fuel spill in Akron
    More than 200 gallons of gasoline reportedly flowed onto the ground at an Akron gas station overnight. WEWS reports Akron firefighters were called to clean up the mess when they found gas pouring onto the ground from a faulty pump hooked into an abandoned car. Firefighters absorbed the gas and put it into containers to be disposed of. 

    AG rejects “Ohio Voter Bill of Rights”
    An effort in Ohio that aims to guarantee certain voter protections in the state constitution has hit a snag. The proposed amendment would expand early voting times on weekends and make other changes to election rules. It is supported by a coalition of black lawmakers, clergy and civil rights leaders. Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition for the proposed "Ohio Voters Bill of Rights" on Thursday, saying its summary was not a fair and truthful statement of the proposal. DeWine must certify the summary's phrasing before supporters can continue with their ballot push and eventually collect signatures to get it before voters. DeWine said he rejected the summary wording because it contained at least two misrepresentations regarding issues where the Ohio Constitution is pre-empted by federal law.

    Portman plans sex trafficking forum
    Ohio's Republican U.S. senator plans a forum in Dayton on sex trafficking and exploitation. Sen. Rob Portman's office says former Gov. Bob Taft, anti-trafficking activists and other community leaders will take part Friday at the University of Dayton. Portman, who is co-chairman of a Senate caucus on the issue, is promoting legislation he says would better protect missing and exploited children who are often the most vulnerable.

    Two National Guard units return to Ohio
    Two Ohio National Guard units are returning home today from deployment in Afghanistan. The Plain Dealer reports 130 soldiers from the 838th Military Police Co. in Warren will be arriving late tonight. The unit processed more than 75,000 vehicles through military installation access points without incident. Another 72 soldiers from the 437th Military Police Battalion will return to an afternoon ceremony in Franklin, Ohio, south of Dayton. 

    Two Baldwin Wallace students get jail time for making ecstasy
    Two Baldwin Wallace University students are going to jail for operating a drug lab. Music conservatory students Benjamin Knight and Lauren Pajerski were sentenced to the minimum nine months in jail Thursday for making and selling Ecstasy. They had pleaded guilty to charges accusing them of stealing chemicals from a chemistry lab at the university and manufacturing the illegal stimulant out of an empty dorm room.

    Auditor to investigate charter schools
    The state auditor is investigating three sponsors of Ohio charter schools following a string of failed schools. Auditor Dave Yost says he also will audit the Ohio Department of Education and review its charter process. Yost is auditing one school in Cincinnati, the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, based in Marion and Tiffin; and the Warren County Educational Service Center. The investigation comes after the Columbus Dispatch reported that 29 percent of Ohio's charter schools have closed dating to 1997. Nine of those that closed in Columbus in 2013 lasted a few months, costing taxpayers at least $1.6 million.
     
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