Morning Headlines: Cleveland Plain Dealer Announces Layoffs, OH GOP Picks Next House Speaker

Dec 28, 2018

Here are the morning headlines for Friday, December 28, 2018:

  • Plain-Dealer announces layoffs
  • OH House Republicans pick next speaker
  • Abortion measure falls one vote short of veto override
  • Solon attorney named to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
  • Fiona the hippo passes symbolic milestone
  • Ravens must get past Browns this weekend to get to playoffs
  • James named AP Male Athlete of the Year, again

Plain-Dealer announces layoffs
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer has announced it’s going to be laying off a third of its unionized staff as part of a cost-saving move.  Plain-Dealer president George Rodrigue says the company is going to centralize its production system, resulting in the loss of 29 jobs in the newsroom. Rodrigue says they’ll be contracting with Advance Local, a subsidiary of the paper’s owner to handle editing, design and layout of the paper on national and international news.  He says local news will still be assigned, covered and edited by local journalists. In a tweet, the News Guild which represents unionized employees at the paper, called the decision a “union-busting move.”

OH House Republicans pick next speaker
Ohio House Republicans have picked Speaker Ryan Smith to continue leading the chamber in the next session, in a vote questioned by backers of his main rival. Smith won 34 votes in a closed-door caucus meeting yesterday. He'll need 50 to prevail in a formal vote to be taken Jan. 7, the first day of the new session. Some votes could come from Democrats. Smith prevailed over rival candidate Larry Householder. Some Householder supporters opposed yesterday's vote on a technicality and boycotted it.

Abortion measure falls one vote short of veto override
Statehouse Republicans came up a single vote shy yesterday of reversing Governor John Kasich’s veto and imposing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. The outcome marked a victory for Kasich who has vetoed the so-called heartbeat bill twice in the last two years. Kasich argued in a veto message last week that the law would be declared unconstitutional but only after saddling the state with a costly court battle.

Solon attorney named to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
A Solon attorney who made an unsuccessful bid this fall for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court has been appointed as a judge to the court. Gov. Kasich has picked Republican Wanda Jones to fill the seat being vacated by Democrat Michael Donnelly. Donnelly won a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court in November. Jones' term begins Jan. 7. She will need to win an election in November 2020 to hold onto the seat for the remainder of the term through 2022. Jones is a graduate of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Fiona the hippo passes symbolic milestone
The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating another milestone for its famous premature baby hippo. The zoo sayas Fiona has hit 1,000 pounds. The zoo acknowledges reaching that weight mark is more of a sentimental milestone since full-grown female hippos weigh about three times that. Senior zookeeper Jenna Wingate tells WVXU it’s "a big deal" because the zoo didn't know whether she would survive at birth.

Ravens must get past Browns this weekend to get to playoffs
The Baltimore Ravens can capture the AFC North title and end a three-year playoff hiatus, but first they’re going to have to get by the Browns this weekend. Cleveland has rattled off five victories in its past six games, including  the last three.  Meanwhile, the Steelers enter their regular-season finale against Cincinnati needing a win over the Bengals and a victory by the Browns to reach the playoffs. 

James named AP Male Athlete of the Year, again
LeBron James has been selected as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the third time.  James received 78 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors. Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts was second followed by Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Triple Crown winner Justify.