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Morning news headlines for January 3, 2013
Ameritrust complex plan draws challenge from developer; Lane's attorneys try again for trial venue change; East Cleveland debates police cuts
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
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  • Controversy brewing over Ameritrust complex plan
  • T.J. Lane’s attorneys ask again for change of venue
  • Teachers showing interest in gun training
  • Gun sales up sharply after Sandy Hook
  • East Cleveland council, mayor square off over police cuts
  • 2012 among hottest years on record
  • Cuyahoga County judge charged with OVI
  • Judge orders state to provide speech therapy for autistic child
  • Controversy brewing over Ameritrust complex plan
    Not everyone is happy with the proposed sale of the county owned Ameritrust complex in Cleveland. County Executive Ed Fitzgerald recommended the county sell the complex to Streetsboro-based Geis Companies and lease a newly-built headquarters at the site. But Chaim Schochet of Optima Ventures told County Council last night that his company’s proposal to purchase the Ameritrust complex and move county headquarters to the former Huntington Building would save the county $34 million over 26 years. The Plain Dealer reports Shochet also believes the scoring process used to evaluate bids unfairly scored his bid in some areas. Optima upped its bid to buy the Ameritrust complex by $15 million yesterday. Both proposals would put apartments and retail into the other Ameritrust buildings and would use the historic rotunda for public purposes. Council will hold several public hearings this month before making its final decision.

    T.J. Lane’s attorneys ask again for change of venue
    Attorneys for accused Chardon high school shooter T.J. Lane are trying again to have his trial moved out of Geauga County. They filed a sealed supplement to their change of venue request yesterday. The defense first tried to have the trial moved in August, but Geauga County Common Pleas Court judge David Fuhry said the court has to try to seat a jury before the request will be granted. The News Herald reports Lane’s lawyers are also asking permission to challenge the constitutionality of Ohio’s insanity plea requirements. Lane is scheduled to go to trial January 14.

    Teachers showing interest in gun training
    A gun rights group says more than 650 educators from at least 14 states have expressed interest in a firearms training program that was announced after 20 children and six educators were killed at a Connecticut school. The Buckeye Firearms Association has been accepting applications for 24 spots in a free, three-day class to train teachers to use firearms.

    Gun sales up sharply after Sandy Hook
    Gun sales spiked last month following a deadly shooting rampage at a Connecticut school. The FBI said it recorded 2.8 million background checks during December, 40% more than the previous month, and nearly 50% more than December 2011.  Records show gun sales normally rise during December. FBI figures show Ohio gun dealers conducted more than 629,000 criminal background checks in 2012, and more than 102,000 last month. The bureau stays interest in guns tends to increase after a mass shooting, perhaps due to fear for personal safety, or worries that lawmakers might ban certain firearms.

    East Cleveland council, mayor square off over police cuts
    Council members in the city of East Cleveland blame mayor Gary Norton for blowing a hole in the city’s budget. WEWS-TV reports that at a contentious meeting last night Norton warned council members that proposed cuts to police would devastate the force. East Cleveland council say the city is facing an $8 million shortfall and poor management by the mayor is partly to blame. Ohio Auditor David Yost last October placed East Cleveland in a state of fiscal emergency. Last week the mayor estimated about a dozen officers will be lost due to budget cuts. That’s on top of 38 officers laid off in 2011. 

    2012 among hottest years on record
    It turns out 2012 was one of the hottest years on record in several Ohio cities. Thanks to an unusually warm spring followed by a hot summer, Cleveland and Columbus both had their highest average annual temperatures this past year. Both cities broke records set in 1998. Columbus had an average temperature of 56 degrees in 2012.

    Cuyahoga County judge charged with OVI
    A Northeast Ohio judge has been charged with drunken driving. Cleveland Metroparks rangers found Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Peter J. Corrigan stopped at an intersection earlier this month, apparently driving under the influence. Corrigan was charged with OVI and impeding traffic.

    Judge orders state to provide speech therapy for autistic child
    A federal judge has ordered the state to provide speech therapy and other services to an autistic Ohio boy pending a ruling on a lawsuit by his parents seeking more extensive treatment. The lawsuit filed last month accused the state of denying federally mandated treatment to a Cincinnati couple’s 2-year-old son. A U.S. District Judge ordered the state Wednesday to restore some services that had been terminated. The couple accused the state of discriminating against children with autism and their parents by failing to provide them with a type of intensive treatment. Attorneys for the state say federal guidelines don't specifically require states to provide the treatment.

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