Akron reaches air pollution settlement; agrees to shut down coal boiler
The city of Akron has agreed to stop using one of its coal-burning boilers at the Recycle Energy System Plant as part of a settlement over air pollution violations. The agreement with the US Justice Department was reached yesterday in U.S. District Court, according to the Beacon Journal. The city was accused of violating the federal Clean Air Act since 1995, after modifications were made to the plant without a permit. The suit says the boiler could have emitted 250 tons per year or more of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. The city has until the end of September 2015 to shut down the boiler that generates steam for the downtown business district. The other four boilers at the city-owned Recycle Energy System Plant must be switched over to natural gas. The city to has also agreed to pay a $75,000 fine and spend nearly $400,000 to help the Cuyahoga Valley National Park acquire additional land that has been deemed “ecologically sensitive.”
Prosecutors ask parole board to spare condemned killer
Prosecutors have told the Ohio Parole Board that a condemned inmate scheduled to die next week should be spared. Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Allan Regas says the case of death row inmate Arthur Tyler wouldn't be pursued as a capital punishment case today given the evidence. Regas also told the board that prosecutors continue to believe Tyler is the person who killed Cleveland produce vendor Sander Leach in 1983 and should spend the rest of his life in prison. Defense attorneys say that Tyler is innocent based on statements by a co-defendant and that he should receive mercy and be released.
Measles cases up, cluster of suspected cases in Ohio
Health officials say measles is up again in the United States, and they're investigating a new cluster of suspected cases in Ohio. State health officials on Thursday announced a new cluster of 13 suspected cases in rural Knox County in North Central Ohio. At least three recently traveled to the Philippines, where a recent measles epidemic has caused 20,000 illnesses. The U.S. has seen more cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease so far this year
Bernie Kosar wants job back as color commentator
Former beloved Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar wants his job back as color commentator for preseason Browns broadcasts. This week, WKYC announced Kosar would not be returning to the broadcast booth. Kosar believes the decision was based on slurred speech he suffers as a result of concussions during his playing days. He’s asked the television station to reconsider its decision. WKYC’s president and general manager tells the Beacon Journal it has no plans to reconsider the move and that Kosar has been offered different roles without a pay cut.
Tressel finalist for presidency at Youngstown State
Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is now a finalist for the presidency of two Ohio universities just 50 miles apart. Youngstown State University announced Thursday it has narrowed its search for a president to Tressel and five others. The five include some other nontraditional candidates like a NASA official and the director of a school for the blind. They’re all to be interviewed by Skype today and Saturday. Tressel is also one of three finalists for the presidency at the University of Akron and is to be interviewed in person next week. He’s been a vice president at Akron since shortly after Ohio State fired him in the midst of a scandal revolving around players selling memorabilia. He coached at Youngstown State before moving onto Ohio State.
Campaign for sin tax renewal receives big donations from sports teams
The campaign to renew Cuyahoga County’s sin tax for another 20 years has raised more than $1.2 million in the latest fundraising filings. Almost all of the money came from the Browns, Cavs and Indians, who benefit from the tax on alcohol and cigarettes. It expires next year, and voters in the May 6th primary are deciding whether to extend it to continue to fund upgrades and maintained at Cleveland’s publically owned pro sports venues. The sin tax campaign also received more than a half million dollars in free marketing from the teams. Medical Mutual and the Greater Cleveland Partnership also kicked in $50,000 each.
Ashland woman convicted of holding woman, daughter captive sentenced
A federal judge sentenced an Ashland woman Thursday to nearly four years in prison for her role in holding a mentally disabled woman and her daughter captive for more than two years. Twenty-two-year-old Dezerah Silsby pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and acquiring prescription drugs by deception. She also testified against her co-defendants, Jordie Callahan and Jessica Hunt, who are to be sentenced in July. Callahan and Hunt were convicted of luring the woman and her daughter to their Ashland home, and then beating her, depriving her of food and threatening her with pit bulls, snakes and with the safety of her daughter.
East Akron Community House on brink of foreclosure
A struggling Akron community services agency in on the brink of losing its building. The Beacon Journal reports that Fifth Third Bank has won the right in court to foreclose on the East Akron Community House building. The group, called EACH, was founded more than 100 years ago, as Akron’s only settlement house. It offers counseling, drug and alcohol prevention services, vocational services and adult daycare to East Akron residents. The group has defaulted on a $500,000 loan. Fifth Third can now move forward with selling the property and apply the proceeds to a roughly $300,000 principal balance.
Timken posts earnings, revenue increase
Canton-based Timken plans to complete its steel division spinoff by the end of June, after a first quarter report showing that earnings and revenue were up from a year ago. The company says the spinoff, which will be called TimkenSteel, is expected to cost $10 million less than originally projected. Timken had net income of $83 million, on revenue of $1.1 billion for the first quarter. The company says the increases are due to stronger demand in the steel and process industries segment, higher raw materials surcharges, and acquisitions.
Major oil and gas industry supplier to disclose chemicals in fracking fluid
A major supplier to the oil and gas industry says it will begin disclosing 100 percent of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid, with no exemptions for trade secrets. The move by Baker Hughes of Houston is a major shift; it's unclear if other firms will follow suit. Environmental and health groups have criticized the industry for not disclosing all of the chemicals used in drilling. Baker Hughes recently built a $10 million Utica shale gas operations hub on 100 acres in Stark County.
Ag dept. halts sales of Columbus company's mulch bags
Ohio's Agriculture Department has stopped sales of bags of mulch produced before April 6 by a Columbus mulch company, after random testing found the bags weren't full. Following up on a complaint, state inspectors tested 18 bags of Ohio Mulch products and found none contained the stated amount of mulch or came within the 5-percent variance that is allowed. The company’s president says faulty machine was removed and customers are getting future discounts and rebates.
Search for bodies of missing Lake Erie boaters resumes
Authorities say they are still looking for the bodies of two boaters missing in western Lake Erie for more than a week. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says officers still hope to find the bodies of 32-year-old Bryan Huff and 34-year-old Andrew Rose. Their capsized boat was found on the morning of April 17. The bodies of two people who were with them were recovered later that day. So far, crews have covered about 900 square miles of Lake Erie.