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Morning news headlines for November 9. 2012
FirstEnergy plans new turbines at Eastlake plant while announcing job cuts; Rafferty sentencing today; First casino cheating cases wrapping up
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • FirstEnergy plans more job cuts, retrofitted Eastlake plant
  • Rafferty sentencing scheduled for today
  • Former Flats Oxbow leader charged with embezzlement
  • Program cancellation costs 115 jobs at Wright-Patterson
  • Portage County hospital going non-profit
  • Ohio figuring out how to deal with Obamacare
  • First casino cheating cases coming to a close
  • Condemned inmate says he’s too obese to be executed
  • FirstEnergy plans more job cuts, retrofitted Eastlake plant
    Akron-based First Energy says it will cut up to 400 jobs over the next three years following a dismal earnings report. The utility reported Thursday that its third quarter profits dropped nearly 20 percent compared with the same period in 2011. CEO Anthony Alexander blames lower market prices for power and a weak sales environment.  Alexander said during a conference call Thursday that the job cuts would be made through “normal attrition” beginning next year. First Energy eliminated more than 150 positions last week. The company employs about 17,000 people in 10 companies.

    Meanwhile…FirstEnergy says it will team up with American Municipal Power to build natural gas-fired turbines at its existing coal-fired plant in Eastlake. AMP will fund the project, then sell a 25 percent stake back to FirstEnergy. The utility will continue to operate the plant, which will only be used during peak times. First Energy wanted to shut down the plant to avoid making expensive EPA mandated upgrades, but was told it had to keep it online at least through 2015 to keep the power grid stable. The companies couldn’t give a cost estimate of the project, but said work will be complete in 2016. 

    Rafferty sentencing scheduled for today
    A Summit County teenager hoping for leniency faces sentencing in a deadly plot to lure men with phony Craigslist job offers. The sentencing scheduled for this afternoon in Akron was delayed this week amid talks that could mean 17-year-old Brogan Rafferty would testify against the alleged triggerman. Without a last-minute deal, Rafferty faces a possible life prison term without hope of parole. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office investigated the killings, said Thursday there was no deal.

    Former Flats Oxbow leader charged with embezzlement
    The former executive director of a nonprofit community development organization in Cleveland has been charged with stealing more than about 600-thousand dollars from the group. Thomas Newman of Cleveland was charged Thursday in a federal court filing with money laundering and theft and embezzlement involving federal programs. The criminal information, which usually signals a pending plea deal, said the 65-year-old Newman made personal use of Flats Oxbow Association funds. The association obtained federal funds to promote development in the riverfront Flats district at Cleveland's downtown edge. The association closed last year.

    Program cancellation costs 115 jobs at Wright-Patterson
    The Air Force says the cancellation of a computer modernization program will cost 115 contract employees their jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force base near Dayton. An additional 55 civilian and military employees will be reassigned from that program.  The Air Force says the program is no longer viable and it will move forward with other options to meet those requirements.

    Portage County hospital going non-profit
    Portage County’s only hospital is becoming a non-profit. County commissioners on Thursday voted to lease Robinson Memorial Hospital to the newly formed nonprofit Robinson Health System. The plan has been in the works for more than a year.  The 150-bed hospital in Ravenna will keep its local board of directors. Officials say the nonprofit status will make it more competitive and open doors to investment opportunities.

    Ohio figuring out how to deal with Obamacare
    Ohio officials are grappling with how to approach the federal health care law now that the presidential election is behind them. State health officials said Thursday they are preparing to notify Washington if they'll be setting up a new health insurance market, called an exchange. States face a next Friday deadline to submit their plans.  State Health Transformation director Greg Moody says Ohio is leaning toward a federally-facilitated exchange, with the state keeping its authority to oversee health plans. The state must also decide whether to expand Medicaid, which serves the poor and disabled. About 2.2 million Ohioans are enrolled in the nearly $19 billion program.

    First casino cheating cases coming to a close
    Authorities are wrapping up their first cases of cheating at Cleveland’s downtown casino that’s been operating for 6 months. The Plain Dealer reports that among the seven people charged  --- six have pleaded guilty with three going to jail and prison and three receiving probation.  One more sentencing is set for today. The Ohio Casino Control Commission says another 32 gamblers have been charged.

    Condemned inmate says he’s too obese to be executed
    A doctor says the veins of an obese Ohio inmate condemned to die are inaccessible and questions whether he could be injected with lethal drugs. The Ohio State medical center anesthesiologist says veins on inmate Ronald Post's forearms are inaccessible from scarring from a suicide attempt. The doctor also said in a Thursday court filing he could not find veins in Post's hands, and says it's unlikely Post could be injected in his legs because of his weight. Post, who the doctor says weighs more than 400 pounds, wants a judge to stop his January execution on the grounds his weight could cause him to suffer severe pain during the procedure.

     

     

     

     

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