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Morning Headlines: FirstEnergy sells 20% stake in transmission business; COVID cases spike on Sunday

A FirstEnergy transmission station.
SARAH TAYLOR
/
WKSU
Akron-based FirstEnergy is selling a nearly 20% stake in its transmission business to Brookfield Asset Management. The utility's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of lines in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, November 8:

  • FirstEnergy sells 20% stake in transmission business
  • COVID cases spike on Sunday
  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium files appeal of accreditation loss
  • University of Dayton student killed in Houston concert chaos
  • County scrutinized after 3 people vote twice due to glitch
  • Memorial garden unveiled in memory of Anthony Sowell’s victims
  • Ohio ranked among top 10 safest states

FirstEnergy sells 20% stake in transmission business
(WKSU) -- Akron-based FirstEnergy is selling a nearly 20% stake in its transmission business to Brookfield Asset Management for $2.4 billion. The utility's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of lines in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. FirstEnergy will also raise another $1 billion by issuing common stock to Blackstone Infrastructure Partners at about $39/share. Blackstone will get a seat on FirstEnergy's board as part of the deal. FirstEnergy President and CEO Steve Strah said in a statement the moves will help the utility implement smart grid and clean energy initiatives.

COVID cases spike on Sunday
(WKSU) -- COVID-19 cases in Ohio spiked to above average on Sunday to more than 4,300. That was much higher than the roughly 2,700 cases reported on Saturday, but the state says on its COVID-19 dashboard a technical issue may be to blame. The three-week average stands at just over 3,500 cases. Just under 56% of Ohioans have started a COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium files appeal of accreditation loss
(AP) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium says it has filed its formal appeal of the loss of its most important accreditation and will retain the accreditation during the process. The executive committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums must decide within 45 days to grant the zoo’s request to appeal. If granted, the appeal would be heard by the association’s board of directors at its January meeting. The association cited an ongoing investigation into the misuse of funds at the zoo as well as reports of international animal transfers for entertainment purposes. A recent documentary raised questions about how celebrity conservationists, including the famous Jack Hanna, acquired exotic animals. The zoo has since cut ties with animal vendors who don’t meet certain standards of animal care.

University of Dayton student killed in Houston concert chaos
(WKSU) -- A University of Dayton student is among the eight who died in a crowd surge at rapper Travis Scott’s music festival in Houston on Friday. The university says Franco Patino, 21, was a senior from Illinois. He was a mechanical engineering technology major working in a co-op program in Mason, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people were in attendance at the concert that broke out into chaos as the crowd compressed to the front minutes before Scott's performance began.

County scrutinized after 3 people vote twice due to glitch
(AP) — The election board for Ohio’s most populous county is being put under administrative oversight by the secretary of state. According to the state elections chief, a problem with Franklin County's electronic poll books led to three improperly cast votes in last week’s election. His office says not all of Franklin County’s electronic poll books were properly updated with data about who had already voted early or requested an absentee ballot. It says three people voted twice, but that didn't affect any election outcomes. The county board now will have to report weekly to the secretary of state as an extra step of oversight.

Memorial garden unveiled in memory of Anthony Sowell’s victims
(Cleveland.com) -- A memorial honoring victims of Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell was unveiled over the weekend. The memorial garden stands at the site of Sowell’s home on the city’s east side. It’s called Garden of Eleven Angels, in memory of the 11 women he killed. Their bodies were discovered buried in his yard in 2009. The victims’ families, along with community leaders, organizers, activists, and artists spoke during the ceremony and ribbon cutting. Sowell, who was sentenced to the death penalty, died from a terminal illness in prison this year.

Ohio ranked among top 10 safest states
(WKSU) -- Ohio is ranked among the 10 safest states in the country according to a new study from ConsumerAffairs. Ohio ranked seventh based on FBI and U.S. Census Bureau data. Researchers looked at violent and property crime rates, the number of law enforcement officers per capita, and law enforcement budgets. Hunting Valley, an affluent village east of Cleveland, was named the safest small town in Ohio, while Perrysburg, near Toledo, was ranked as the safest midsize town. The capital city of Columbus is the safest large city in the state.