|General Motors to invest $50 million in Lordstown for next Cruze model|
General Motors plans to invest $50 million dollars into its Lordstown plant, as it prepares for production of the next-generation Chevy Cruze. The Vindicator newspaper reports that GM will make the announcement today, though it’s been quiet about details of the new model. The company has already invested more than $600 million in the plant, including a $351 million retooling in 2008 to get ready to make the Cruze, then another $200 million in 2012 for the car’s remodel. The Cruze is GM’s second-best-selling vehicle, with nearly a quarter million of the cars delivered last year. The millionth Cruze rolled off the assembly line April 10th.
Secretary of State's office says ACLU is targeting wrong state
A spokesman for Ohio's elections chief says groups including the American Civil Liberties Union are targeting the wrong state with their federal lawsuit over early voting limits. The lawsuit filed Thursday against Secretary of State Jon Husted claims that cuts to early voting disproportionally affect black voters, who they say are more likely to use weekend and evening hours. The ACLU and others are challenging a Husted directive that sets uniform voting hours statewide and are also challenging a law that eliminated days when residents can both register to vote and cast ballot. Husted spokesman Matt McClellan says opponents should sue states with no early voting hours. He says Husted is being sued for treating all voters equally and for supporting a schedule that gives Ohioans a month to vote.
New health insurance marketplace numbers out
Federal officials say roughly 155,000 Ohioans picked health plans in the new insurance marketplace created by President Barack Obama's health care law. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the final enrollment figures on Thursday. While the number of enrollees in Ohio nearly doubled in the final month of open enrollment, the figure fell short of the 190,000 residents the government originally projected would be enrolled by March 31. Almost 286,000 Ohioans were found eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan.
Cleveland kidnapping victims to be honored
Two of the women who survived more than a decade of captivity in Cleveland will be among those recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at an event next week. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were freed last year from the home in Cleveland where they were held captive by Ariel Castro. Berry and DeJesus, who were teens when they were kidnapped, will attend the Hope Awards Dinner in Washington on Tuesday, the first anniversary of their escape. The 53-year-old Castro pleaded guilty in August to hundreds of charges and committed suicide in prison.
Libertarian Party appeals to U.S. Supreme Court
The Libertarian Party of Ohio has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court after a lower court denied its attempt to get a gubernatorial candidate on Tuesday's primary ballot. Secretary of State Jon Husted disqualified Charlie Earl after his nominating petitions were challenged. Husted agreed with a hearing officer who found two Earl petitioners failed to properly disclose their employers. Libertarians sued Husted, arguing Earl's disqualification was unconstitutional and conflicted with prior rulings. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said Thursday the party was too unlikely to succeed in a First Amendment challenge to Husted's ruling to proceed.
Global Cleveland partners with JobsOhio to attract newcomers
A group that works to bring newcomers to Cleveland is launching a new initiative. Global Cleveland on Thursday launched the effort with the state’s private job creation agency, JobsOhio, which is kicking in $750,000. The goal is to attract immigrants to the city by creating a website in more than 50 languages that acts as a one-stop-shop for information on schools, neighborhoods and local ethnic groups. There will also be job fairs in an attempt to bring skilled newcomers who can fill thousands of jobs left empty because of a lack of trained workers. Global Cleveland will be promoting the city with outreach efforts in Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York.
Hearing continues for transgender inmate
A hearing is continuing into a second day over a lawsuit by a transgender prison inmate who wants a judge to order Ohio authorities to allow her hormone treatments to continue permanently. Whitney Lee says she suffered a medical setback including facial hair growth and depression when the treatments stopped. Lee had undergone continuous hormone therapy since 1999 until the correction department abruptly halted the treatments in February 2012. Her legal name is still Antione Lee. The state resumed the treatments last month after a federal judge temporarily ordered the state to provide them. The correction department says a psychiatrist has determined Lee lacks the criteria for gender identity disorder and the therapy can't be justified.
Top judge drops proposal to strip party labels from judicial primaries
Ohio's top judge is dropping her proposal to strip party labels from the state's judicial primaries after a year's worth of feedback on the proposal was mixed. In a white paper that accompanied her address Thursday to the Ohio State Bar Association, Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor named the proposal as one of four "left on the cutting-room floor" after her review. Three proposals emerged from her review that can significantly strengthen Ohio's judicial elections: moving judicial elections to odd-numbered years; enhancing voter education on candidates running for judge; and increasing the basic qualifications to serve as judge.
Ohio mining company sues Obama administration
An eastern Ohio-based mining company is suing the Obama administration over new federal regulations that will cut the amount of coal dust in mines. In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Cincinnati, Murray Energy in St. Clairsville that the new standard of 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air is virtually unachievable with current technology and will cost the industry billions of dollars in unnecessary work stoppages. The Labor Department says it believes cutting the amount of coal dust -- rather than just requiring protective gear -- is vital to reducing cases of black lung disease. The new rules are the biggest change to coal dust regulation since 1969 and will phase in over two years beginning in August.
New name for Summit County's park system
Summit County’s park system has shortened its name. A county probate judge approved the name change from Metro Parks, Serving Summit County to Summit Metro Parks. The change that comes after more than 20 years will also eventually come with a new logo.
Columbus drops restraining order request against Lyft
The city of Columbus has dropped its lawsuit to try to temporarily shut down mobile-app based rideshare company Lyft. The Columbus Dispatch reports the city withdrew its request for an injunction after a similar suit against Lyft competitor UberX was denied earlier this week. Lawsuits seeking permanent injunctions against the companies will continue. The city says the services constitute a public safety hazard because drivers are not licensed by the city and their vehicles are not inspected. The companies say they shouldn’t fall under existing codes for for-hire transportation services, and are instead technology companies.
Ohio sheriffs, troopers settle feud over money, warrants
The State Highway Patrol and Ohio’s county sheriffs have settled a feud about casino tax money and serving arrest warrants. Sheriff’s departments said the highway patrol was using casino tax money for training that was meant for them. Beginning in July, sheriff’s departments will get $800 thousand in casino tax money that will be used exclusively for their training. They also worked out a rift over arrest warrnts. The patrol now must notify sheriff’s department and local police about suspects wanted by troopers. Sheriff’s deputies and police have a week to serve the warrants, otherwise troopers can make the arrests.