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Morning Headlines: Injunction Could Delay Affinity Closure; Kucinich to Announce Bid for Governor

8th St. entrance, Affinity Medical Center
Affinity Medical Center website

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Jan. 17:

  • Lima Republican introduces congressional redistricting legislation;
  • Massillon seeks injunction to delay Affinity closure;
  • Kucinich to formally announce bid for governor;
  • Cleveland RTA announces route cuts amid budget shortfall;
  • Police identify man shot outside Cleveland bowling alley;
  • Investigators seek information on Firestone mansion blaze;
  • Resolution aims to remove O'Neill from the bench;
  • Ford plant in Avon Lake brings back night shift;
  • Ohio adopts wildlife K-9 program;
  • Ohio National Guard base names its first female commander;

Lima Republican introduces congressional redistricting legislation
State lawmakers have taken a step toward changing how congressional districts in Ohio are drawn. Republican Sen. Matt Huffman of Lima introduced a joint resolution Tuesday. The proposed constitutional amendment would give lawmakers a chance to draw a new congressional map. The map would then be sent to a redistricting commission to draw the state’s legislative districts. The new lines would need a three-fifths vote and at least a third of the minority party vote in each chamber to pass. Democrats say the plan still lets lawmakers draw lines to benefit their own party. The plan has just three weeks to pass to be included in the May primary ballot.

Massillon seeks injunction to delay Affinity closure
City officials in Massillon are hoping to delay the closure of Affinity Medical Center. The city plans to file a lawsuit today that would push the close date back by four months. The city’s attorney tells the Repository the injunction would give the hospital time to find a potential buyer. City Council approved an ordinance yesterday that requires hospitals like Affinity to give the city 120-days' notice before closing. The hospital is set to close Feb. 4.

Kucinich to formally announce bid for governor
Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich is preparing to make the Democratic primary for Ohio governor a five-way race. Kucinich is set to make his announcement today at a community center in Middleburg Heights. He will then depart for campaign stops in Columbus and Dayton. The 71-year-old was elected mayor of Cleveland 40 years ago and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and 2008. 

Cleveland RTA announces route cuts amid budget shortfall
Cleveland’s public transit agency has announced changes to 15 routes in order to help fill a projected $20 million budget deficit. Starting March 11, the Greater Cleveland RTA will extend the time between stops, but no routes will be dropped. The budget crunch comes after a state sales tax earmarked for transit authorities was dropped. The move will save around $4 million per year.

Police identify man shot outside Cleveland bowling alley
Authorities have released the name of a man who police say was fatally shot by an off-duty, veteran officer working security at a bowling alley in Cleveland’s University Circle. Police say Thomas Yatsko, 21, was involved in a fight in the bar area at Corner Alley on Saturday night. Sgt. Dean Graziolli escorted several men outside. Police say Yatsko returned and assaulted Graziolli, who shot and killed him. Cleveland FOP President Brian Betley says Graziolli was bruised and cut and needed stitches.

Investigators seek information on Firestone mansion blaze
Investigators have ruled arson is the cause of a fire that destroyed a portion of the historic Cornus Hill Firestone Mansion. Firefighters spent about 12 hours battling the fire in Fairlawn Saturday night. The home was built in 1935 by Russell Firestone, a son of company founder Harvey Firestone.  Fairlawn’s fire chief tells the Beacon Journal the home has been boarded up and vacant for several years and no utilities were hooked up. A reward is being offered for information.

Resolution aims to remove O'Neill from the bench
A legislative effort to remove Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill from the bench over his decision to run for governor has reached the next stage. A resolution was formally introduced Tuesday. Republican Rep. Niraj Antani says O'Neill, a Democrat, has committed a "clear violation" of the judicial code of conduct by politicking while serving on the court.  His measure demands that O'Neill appear before the legislature to explain why he shouldn't be removed. O'Neill says he's still on track to resign Jan. 26.

Ford plant in Avon Lake brings back night shift
Ford’s Avon Lake assembly plant is bringing back about 130 laid off workers. The Morning Journal reports the night shift will return next month. They employees were laid off last May due to market conditions. Employees were laid off at 75 percent salary based on seniority.

Ohio adopts wildlife K-9 program
State officials say Ohio's Division of Wildlife is joining more than 20 states in adopting a wildlife K-9 program. One wildlife officer from each of Ohio's five wildlife districts will become handlers of K-9s in the program. The dogs are trained to detect hidden wild game and other non-game scents like ginseng and gun powder. They will also have the ability to track people and can be used to find lost hunters and people hunting without permission.

Ohio National Guard base names its first female commander
The Ohio National Guard has named a veteran pilot the first female commander of a Guard air base in the state. The Guard says Col. Allison Miller has supported numerous overseas deployments and has more than 400 combat hours flying over Iraq and Afghanistan. Miller is scheduled to take command of the 179th Airlift Wing at Mansfield's Lahm Air National Guard Base on Sunday during a change of command ceremony.