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Morning news headlines for November 20, 2012
Three Route 82 Bridge suspects to be sentenced; Home sales up sharply, Cleveland looking to stiffen school bus passing penalties

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • Sentencing today for three Route 82 Bridge suspects
  • Home sales way up
  • Brighter Ohio holiday sales estimate
  • Thirteen apply for Supreme Court opening
  • Cleveland looks to stiffen penalties for passing school buses
  • Somali man involved in mall shooting plot deported
  • Fire at Elyria Foundry leads to layoffs
  • Cleveland tries to crack down on unlicensed precious metals dealers
  • Sentencing today for three Route 82 Bridge suspects
    It's decision day in the sentencing of three men who pleaded guilty in the unsuccessful plot to bomb  the Route 82 bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Federal Judge David Dowd in Akron will handle the sentence this morning. The three are Douglas Wright of Indianapolis, Brandon Baxter of Lakewood and Connor Stevens of Berea. Wright, the alleged ring leader, could face more than 30 years in prison. Guidelines call for shorter sentences for the other two men. A fourth defendant will be sentenced on Wednesday and a fifth is undergoing a psychiatric exam.

    Home sales way up
    Home sales in Northeast Ohio are rebounding in a big way so far this year. Sales increased more than 17 percent from January through October compared to the same period last year. The total amount of money that changed hands also increased, by more than 22 percent. The figures cover 17 counties from Cuyahoga to Coshocton and from Mahoning to Medina.

    Brighter Ohio holiday sales estimate
    Economic forecasters say Ohio's rebounding economy and jobs picture mean a brighter holiday sales outlook for the state's retailers. A University of Cincinnati Economics Center forecast projects a roughly 4-percent increase in sales for November and December this year, over last year. Forecasters say consumer confidence is up while consumer debt is down, and note that Ohio's unemployment rate has also fallen from double digits during the Great Recession to below 7 percent.

    Thirteen apply for Supreme Court opening
    Thirteen judges and lawyers have applied to Gov. John Kasich for the upcoming vacancy on the Ohio Supreme Court. Kasich's appointee will replace retiring Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. Absent from the list released by Kasich Monday were two incumbents who lost their high-court seats in November: Robert Cupp and Yvette McGee Brown. Cupp cited the impact on rulings coming yet this year as a reason for not applying. Applicants include three Common Pleas judges and five appellate judges, including Ohio State Bar Association president Patrick Fischer.

    Cleveland looks to stiffen penalties for passing school buses
    After a Cleveland judge ordered a woman to stand in public with a sign labeling herself an "idiot" for driving on the sidewalk to pass a school bus, city officials want to stiffen the penalties for such stunts. A city councilman on Monday introduced an ordinance that would upgrade failure to stop for school buses to a first-degree misdemeanor — punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and a license suspension. It's currently a minor misdemeanor. A municipal judge made national headlines when he ordered a woman to stand at an intersection for two days holding the idiot sign. 

    Somali man involved in mall shooting plot deported
    A Somali immigrant who federal prosecutors say plotted to attack a Columbus shopping mall has been deported to Somalia. Nuradin Abdi completed his prison sentence in August and was in federal custody in Louisiana. The Justice Department accused Abdi of suggesting a plan to shoot up an unidentified Columbus shopping mall during an August 2002 meeting at a coffee shop with two friends, both of whom were later convicted of terrorism charges.

    Fire at Elyria Foundry leads to layoffs
    A fire at Lorain County manufacturing facility is resulting in layoffs. Elyria Foundry says it will have to let go a number of employees while the iron castings business remains shut down following Friday night’s fire. The Elyria Fire Department estimates damage is as much as $10 million. Elyria Foundry employs about 80 and has been operating for more than a century. It has had three fires in the last 6 years and in February agreed to pay $155,000 for Ohio EPA air pollution violations. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

    Cleveland tries to crack down on unlicensed precious metals dealers
    Officials in Cleveland want to crack down on unlicensed precious metals dealers. City Council on Monday passed an ordinance that allows police and building and housing inspectors to cite businesses that purchase gold, silver and other metals without a required state license. Until now, the city only regulated pawnbrokers, who are required to obtain licenses from both the state and the city. But council members say many businesses like delis are advertising that they buy scrap gold or silver coins.







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