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Morning Headlines: Ohio Supreme Court Says First Energy Subsidiary Was Improperly Approved to Operate; Akron, Cleveland District Scores Decline in Ohio School Report Cards Report

A picture of utility lines.
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio violated its duty in allowing FirstEnergy to create a subsidiary last year without a deeper investigation into the matter. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled PUCO didn't determine that FirstEnergy Advisors could comply with the corporate separation requirements with parent company FirstEnergy to avoid any conflicts.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, October 15:

  • Ohio Supreme Court: First Energy Subsidiary Was Improperly Approved to Operate
  • Akron, Cleveland District Scores Decline in Ohio School Report Cards Report
  • COVID-19 Cases Slowly Decline, Still Remain High in Ohio
  • APS Having Trouble Finding Subs, Bumps Pay
  • Man Sentenced to Prison in Embezzlement Scheme Linked to Former Cleveland Councilman Kenneth Johnson
  • Heating Prices Expected to Rise This Winter
  • Shaker Heights Hires Contractors for Horseshoe Lake Dam Repairs, Controlled Breach
  • Browns' Mayfield Cardinals' Murray Renew Friendly Rivalry

Ohio Supreme Court: First Energy Subsidiary Was Improperly Approved to Operate
(Statehouse News Bureau) — The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's utility regulator violated its duty in allowing FirstEnergy to create a subsidiary without a deeper investigation into the matter. In 2020, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio allowed FirstEnergy to operate a subsidiary known as FirstEnergy Advisors, which would help consumers shopping for the best deal with an electric company. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled PUCO didn't determine that FirstEnergy Advisors could comply with the corporate separation requirements with parent company FirstEnergy to avoid any conflicts. The company has admitted it paid former PUCO head Sam Randazzo $4 million in bribes for favorable treatment.

Akron, Cleveland District Scores Decline in Ohio School Report Cards Report
(Ideastream Public Media) — The state released the Ohio School Report Cards Thursday. The Ohio Education Association reports scores were down statewide. Akron Public Schools saw a decline in its scores this past year due to the pandemic. Akron scored a 33% in the performance index category, which measures test results for all its students. The statewide average is 72.5%. Cleveland Metropolitan School District scored 32% in the index. CMSD scores also showed students struggled when it came to test performance and attendance. 55% of CMSD students were chronically absent last year, which means they missed more than 18 days of class.

COVID-19 Cases Slowly Decline, Still Remain High in Ohio
(WKSU) — New coronavirus cases in Ohio remain high, but have declined compared to the peak seen a few weeks ago. Thursday saw just over 5,100 new cases, slightly below the three-week average. Hospitalizations remain above the average with 301 COVID patients admitted Thursday.

APS Having Trouble Finding Subs, Bumps Pay
(Beacon Journal) — Akron Public Schools is increasing pay for substitute teachers by around 30% amid an ongoing labor shortage. The school board approved the move this week in a bid to quickly fill much-needed positions. The Beacon Journal reports the district is upping the daily rate to more than $165. So-called "super subs" who agree to work every day will see their pay go up even more to nearly $250 per day. The increased pay deal runs through at least the calendar year, with the option to extend it for the entire school year.

Man Sentenced to Prison in Embezzlement Scheme Linked to Former Cleveland Councilman Kenneth Johnson
(Cleveland.com) — The former director of the Buckeye-Shaker Square Development Corp. has been sentenced to three months in prison for mismanaging funds related to former Cleveland Councilman Kenneth Johnson and his family. Cleveland.com reports John Hopkins is ordered to pay $475,000 in restitution. That amount is to be shared by Johnson, who was sentenced last week to six years in prison for siphoning tens of thousands of dollars from Council. Hopkins ran the development corporation until it closed in 2019. He allowed federal funds to keep Johnson's adopted sons employed by a lawn-service company run by the corporation. In addition to prison time, Hopkins will also serve three months of house arrest.

Heating Prices Expected to Rise This Winter
(Columbus Dispatch) — The cost of heating a home could go up this winter, according to federal forecasters. The Energy Information Administration is alerting consumers that natural gas prices are expected to increase by around 30% this winter compared to last year. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the economic rebound and increased global demand are pushing up prices. Propane and heating oil are expected to rise by up to 54%. Natural gas suppliers in Ohio say while the rate hikes are unpleasant, current gas prices are well below where they were a decade ago, and the predicted increase is part of prices stabilizing.

Shaker Heights Hires Contractors for Horseshoe Lake Dam Repairs, Controlled Breach
(WEWS) — The City of Shaker Heights has hired a contractor to begin repairs of the Horseshoe Lake dam on Doan Brook. WEWS reports that The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is overseeing the project which includes an emergency controlled breach of the 170-year-old dam. The agency says it’s necessary to prevent catastrophic property damage and loss of life downstream if the dam were to fail. It’s not clear whether the dam will be removed altogether and the lake permanently drained.

Browns' Mayfield Cardinals' Murray Renew Friendly Rivalry
(AP) — Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray were once college teammates and remain friendly, fierce rivals. They meet for the second time as pros Sunday as the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals visit Cleveland to take on the Browns. Murray has the Cards at 5-0 for their best start since 1974. The dynamic quarterback became close to Mayfield when they were both at Oklahoma, where they won consecutive Heisman Trophies. Mayfield is coming off a solid performance in a 47-42 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Both the Cardinals and Browns are dealing with numerous injury issues heading into the game. The kickoff is at 4:05 P.M. Sunday.