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Morning news headlines for January 17, 2013
Mayfield Heights mayor resigns; Ohio training educators to respond to shootings; Court to hear video slots appeal

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • Mayfield Heights mayor resigns amid ethics probe
  • Cleveland lawmaker calling on PUCO chairman to explain tweets
  • Ohio starting school shooting response training
  • Appeals court ready to hear video slots challenge
  • Horseshoe casino fined for using illegal software
  • Cleveland casino owner buying Detroit’s Greektown Casino
  • Husted wants county boards to set up voter fraud review process
  • Court awards $500,000 in age discrimination suit
  • Foreclosures up in Ohio
  • Animal rights group calls for fine against University of Akron
  • USDA proposing pesticide injections for trees
  • Kucinich entering the “No Spin Zone”
  • Mayfield Heights mayor resigns amid ethics probe
    The mayor of a Cleveland suburb has resigned amid a state ethics investigation. Mayfield Heights Mayor Greg Costabile has been under investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office for allegedly failing to disclose money received from two companies doing business in the city. The Plain Dealer reports Seagull Development gave Costabile $15,000 for gas drilling rights to land he owned --- an amount that was three times what Seagull paid Costabile’s neighbors for their land. Costible said in a press release said that his resignation is simply because he wants to spend more time with family and maintains he followed proper ethics procedures.

    Cleveland lawmaker calling on PUCO chairman to explain tweets
    A Democratic state lawmaker is asking Ohio's top utility regulator to explain posts on Twitter criticizing solar, wind and renewable energy and questioning global warming. State Rep. Mike Foley of Cleveland says Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Todd Snitchler's posts represent views that are "radical" and Ohioans need to hear from the former Republican lawmaker about his positions. The social networking posts came to light after the PUCO disregarded a staff recommendation last week and rejected a major American Electric Power solar project. PUCO spokesman Jason Gilham said Wednesday that Snitchler endorses healthy debate.

    Ohio starting school shooting response training
    The state is kicking off the first of five regional sessions to train Ohio educators to respond to school shooting situations. The attorney general and the Ohio Department of Education are partnering on the free training for teachers and administrators. Police officers also were invited. More than 200 people registered for the first sessions, scheduled today in Columbus where Attorney General Mike DeWine will be on hand.

    Appeals court ready to hear video slots challenge
    A court is about to hear an anti-gambling group's appeal in a case challenging Ohio Gov. John Kasich's authority to allow slots-like video lottery terminals at the state's seven horse tracks. The Ohio Roundtable was denied legal standing in May to bring its suit, which alleges Kasich and others violated the Constitution by expanding the lottery without asking voters. The Roundtable on is asking the 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus to reverse the lower court and allow the case to go forward. After Ohio voters approved construction of four casinos in 2009, Kasich cut a deal worth $150 million to the state that added VLTs to the state lottery and allowed so-called racinos.

    Horseshoe casino fined for using illegal software
    Cleveland’s Horseshoe casino has been fined $15,000 for using unapproved software --- a violation it self-reported.  The Ohio Casino Control Commission approved the fine Wednesday. The casino used the software that tracks gambler program points for four months. It has since been approved by the commission. Officials say the state did not lose any money and there is no indication that gamblers were short-changed.

    Cleveland casino owner buying Detroit’s Greektown Casino
    Meanwhile, the owner of Cleveland’s casino, Dan Gilbert, is expanding his casino portfolio in his hometown Detroit. Gilbert, who also owns the Cleveland Cavs, is buying a majority stake in Detroit's Greektown Casino Hotel, which is near his Quicken Loans headquarters. The Plain Dealer reports Gilbert and his companies have invested more than 1-billion dollars in Detroit development in the last few years.

    Husted wants county boards to set up voter fraud review process
    Ohio's elections chief has directed county boards of elections to set up a process to review allegations of voter fraud and suppression in the past election. Secretary of State Jon Husted ordered boards Wednesday to hold public hearings whenever a complaint of voter fraud or suppression that's supported by evidence is filed in a particular county. Husted says providing a forum for those with legitimate concerns and a process to review them will help reassure the public about the integrity of elections. Husted's order says any testimony provided to the boards must be given under oath and all sworn statements must be limited to first-hand knowledge of the allegation. Board members also must vote whether to forward an allegation to the county's prosecutor.

    Court awards $500,000 in age discrimination suit
    An Ohio court has awarded a former state employee more than $500,000 to settle his claim that the state Natural Resources agency discriminated against him by hiring someone 15 years younger. The award to retired engineer Richard Warden included back pay, potential future earnings, court costs and attorneys' fees. The Tuesday ruling by the Ohio Court of Claims says Warden scored the highest of any applicant when applying for a full-time job estimating the cost of reclaiming forfeited coal mines.

    Foreclosures up in Ohio
    Foreclosures in 2012 rose in Ohio. Realty Trac’s numbers show there were nearly 90-thousand foreclosures in the state last year, which is a 13-percent increase over 2011. Ohio was one of 25 states in which foreclosure activity rose last year. Nationally, they were down 3-percent. Realty Trac says the increase was driven by a sharp rise in bank repossessions. Still, foreclosures in Ohio remain well below their 2010 peak.

    Animal rights group calls for fine against University of Akron
    An animal rights group wants the University of Akron fined for the death of two mouse-like voles in a research lab. Stop Animal Exploitation Now has written a letter to the US Department of Agriculture, saying the university should be fined the maximum $10,000 for allowing the voles to die of dehydration.  The university says it reported the incident to the USDA in November after learning the two voles died in cages with empty water. It says the person responsible for the care of the mice is no longer with the University and it takes its animals’ care seriously.

    USDA proposing pesticide injections for trees
    The government is proposing to inject healthy trees with pesticides to help battle the tree-killing Asian longhorned beetle in southwest Ohio. The beetle was discovered in a Clermont County area east of Cincinnati in June 2011. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials on Wednesday proposed pesticide injections for some healthy trees in areas near infested trees. The plan had been to destroy every tree as far as a half-mile from infested trees to starve the invasive bug. So far, about 9,000 infested trees have been destroyed. The injections are still a proposal, which is open to public comment until Feb. 16.

    Kucinich entering the “No Spin Zone”
    Former longtime Cleveland Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich has landed a new gig. He’s signed on as a regular contributor to Fox News Channel. Fox said Wednesday that Kucinich will make his debut in his new role on "The O'Reilly Factor" tonight. Kucinich last year lost a primary election to Marcy Kaptur, in a redrawn district that pitted the two incumbents against each other.

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