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Morning Headlines: FirstEnergy lawyers ordered to name executives behind bribes; Mapmakers meet on 4th set of statehouse districts

A picture of a FirstEnergy transmission site.
SARAH TAYLOR
/
WKSU
U.S. District Court Judge John Adams told the lawyers he wants attorneys for investors in utility giant FirstEnergy Corp. to reveal who from the company paid bribes in an alleged $60 million scheme to win a legislative bailout for two nuclear plants. The judge said he wants the names by noon on Wednesday.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 23:

  • FirstEnergy lawyers ordered to name executives behind bribes
  • Ohio mapmakers to meet on 4th set of statehouse districts
  • Local Habitat for Humanity gets $4.5M from Mackenzie Scott
  • Wrong-way driver detection system to be installed in Cleveland
  • Gov. DeWine to deliver State of the State speech
  • Tornado drill cancelled

FirstEnergy lawyers ordered to name executives behind bribes
(AP) — A federal judge in Ohio says he wants attorneys for investors in utility giant FirstEnergy Corp. to reveal who from the company paid bribes in an alleged $60 million scheme to win a legislative bailout for two nuclear plants. U.S District Court Judge John Adams told the lawyers he wants the names by noon on Wednesday. He says that the public has a right to know how the political process was so easily corrupted. The order stems from a proposed settlement of lawsuits filed by shareholders on behalf of FirstEnergy against board members and top executives.

Ohio mapmakers to meet on 4th set of statehouse districts
(AP) — Ohio’s political mapmaking body has set a series of meetings for hammering out a constitutional compromise on boundaries for state legislative districts. The 7-member Ohio Redistricting Commission has scheduled daily hearings starting today and continuing through its next deadline Monday. Mediators from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will help this time along with a pair of independent mapmakers hired in a unanimous vote Monday. The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected three sets of Ohio House and Ohio Senate maps drawn by the panel. Justices ruled each time that the plans were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to unduly favor Republicans.

Local Habitat for Humanity gets $4.5M from Mackenzie Scott
(WKSU) -- Canton-based Habitat for Humanity of East Central Ohio is the latest organization to benefit from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is donating a total of $435 million to Habitat for Humanity, including $4.5 million to the chapter that serves Stark, Carroll, Tuscarawas, Harrison, and Jefferson counties. The group says the money will help to cover the rising costs for home construction and serve more families seeking affordable housing.

Wrong-way driver detection system to be installed in Cleveland
(Ideastream Public Media) -- A nearly $2 million wrong-way driver detection system will be installed along a 22-mile stretch in Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Transportation says 50 devices will be installed at 25 locations on Interstates 71 and 90 between West 150th and East 140th streets in 2023. Signs on each side of the ramps will use flashing lights to tell drivers they're going the wrong way, and an alert will be sent to ODOT, who will notify local law enforcement. The state used crash data from 2016 to 2019 and also considered the number of bars and restaurants serving alcohol near the highway ramps. ODOT says while wrong-way crashes account for a very small percentage of crashes, they are 40 times deadlier.

Gov. DeWine to deliver State of the State speech
(AP) -- The world has turned upside down since Gov. Mike DeWine last delivered a State of the State address in 2019. The veteran politician lost that annual bully pulpit to the coronavirus pandemic, but ironically became the most viewed governor in state history by giving dozens of daily and later weekly online news conferences documenting Ohio’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. DeWine returns to the Statehouse Wednesday for the last address of his first term at a time when he faces a four-way GOP primary.

Tornado drill canceled
(WKSU) -- A statewide tornado drill planned for Wednesday has been canceled. The National Weather Service and Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness say they will no longer do the drill to avoid confusion, as showers and thunderstorms are expected in the state Wednesday and they may need to use the sirens for real warnings. The drill was previously planned for 9:50 a.m.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.
Jon Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.