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Ford issues four recalls affecting 1.4 million vehicles PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Thursday, 29 May 2014 18:00
DETROIT — Ford is recalling 1.4 million SUVs and cars in North America to fix steering, rust and floor mat problems.
The recalls come as automobile safety is being watched closely by Congress, the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All are investigating General Motors’ delayed recall of small cars for ignition switch problems. Also, Justice recently made Toyota pay a $1.2 billion penalty for hiding information from government safety regulators.
In the largest of the Ford recalls Thursday, the company is calling back 915,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small SUVs to fix a problem with a torque sensor within the steering column. The problem could cause loss of power-assisted steering, making the SUVs more difficult to control and increasing the risk of a crash, Ford says.
The company recommends one of three fixes: replacing the sensor, updating software or replacing the steering column. The recall affects model year 2008 through 2011 vehicles built between Aug. 18, 2006 and Sept. 11, 2010.
Another recall covers 196,000 Ford Explorer SUVs from the 2011 through 2013 model years. An electrical problem in a steering gear can knock out power steering. Dealers will either update software or replace the steering gear.
Ford also issued two additional recalls Thursday:
— More than 196,600 Taurus sedans from the 2010 through 2014 model years. They can rust around the license plate light, which can cause a short circuit and fire. The cars were sold in 20 states and Washington, D.C., where salt is used to clear roads of snow and ice.
— About 82,500 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln MKZ cars from the 2006 through 2011 model years. Floor mats in some cars could come in contact with the gas pedal if improperly installed. Dealers will replace the mats.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said the recalls could be caused by heightened concern by automakers because of the GM and Toyota cases.
“I do think manufacturers are more willing to issue a recall at this point because their sheer number in recent months has become a sort of background white noise for consumers,” he said in a statement.
But Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said Thursday’s recalls are just part of the company’s normal recall process.
 
AEP proposes rate cut for residential customers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:45
COLUMBUS, Ohio — American Electric Power is planning to cut rates for most residential customers by more than 12 percent.
A typical household bill would be 12.6 percent less than under current rates under a plan submitted by the utility. That’s based on forecasts of market conditions next year, when the plan would take effect.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that a trial-like regulatory hearing process to implement the cut begins next week. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio will issue a ruling later this year, and the plan would take effect in June 2015.
The rate would fall because AEP will be buying power through an auction process in which power-plant operators compete to offer the lowest price.
AEP has about 1.5 million customers in Ohio.
 
Ohio gas prices higher to start work week PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:19
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gas prices in Ohio are higher to start the post-holiday work week.
The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $3.81 in Tuesday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That’s up 11 cents from a week ago.
Tuesday’s Ohio price is about 4 cents higher than a month ago, and it’s 11 cents higher last year at this time.
The national average Tuesday was $3.65 per gallon. That’s about the same as a week ago, and a nickel less than a month ago.
Analysts still expect prices to drop at a moderate rate into the summer, due to ample U.S. crude oil stocks and other factors.
 
First lady set to respond to school meal critics PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:17
WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama is answering Republicans in Congress who want to roll back healthier school meal standards, holding an event at the White House to highlight the success of the health guidelines.
The Tuesday event is an unusual move for the first lady, who has largely stayed away from policy fights since she lobbied for congressional passage of a child nutrition law in 2010.
Sam Kass, director of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to combat childhood obesity, said a Republican bill that would allow schools to opt out of the standards is “a real assault” on administration efforts to make foods healthier for kids.
Kass, who is a White House chef, said the event is an attempt to point out the successes of some schools that have implemented the standards, which were set by the Obama administration and Congress over the past several years. School nutrition officials from across the country will speak about how well the standards are working in their schools.
“She wants to have a conversation about what is really happening out in the country,” as opposed to Washington, Kass said. “These standards are working.”
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Tornado hits North Dakota oil workers camp, 9 hurt PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:13
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — A tornado struck a workers camp in North Dakota’s oil patch on Monday, injuring nine people — one critically — and destroying at least eight trailers where workers had been living, an emergency management official said.
The twister touched down at around 7:50 p.m. at a camp about 5 miles south of Watford City, which is in the west of the state and about 30 miles southeast of Williston, the city at the heart of the state’s oil boom.
McKenzie County Emergency Management Director Jerry Samuelson said crews sifted through a large amount of debris at the camp, but that he was confident that nobody was missing. He said there were a lot more trailers at the camp just a few days ago, so the situation could have been a lot worse had it happened earlier.
“Obviously, we’re very fortunate there are no deaths, to our knowledge.”
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