OH-MI-IN News
Ohio Supreme Court rejects request for AEP refunds
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:20

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected an appeal seeking $368 million in refunds for American Electric Power customers.

In a 5-2 decision Thursday, the high court said the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, which represents utility ratepayers, and Industrial Energy Users-Ohio failed to show state utility regulators erred in denying the refunds.

AEP and its operating companies collected the money from April 2009 to May 2011 to help compensate for certain risks associated with being a "provider of last resort."

Regulators at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ordered AEP in October 2011 to remove such charges from future bills and to refund the charges it had collected between June and October of that year.

Justices said Ohio case law doesn't require AEP to refund the $368 million it had collected earlier.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Ohio AG rejects voter access proposal petition
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:18

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An effort in Ohio that aims to guarantee certain voter protections in the state constitution has hit a snag.

The proposed amendment would expand early voting times on weekends and make other changes to election rules. It is supported by a coalition of black lawmakers, clergy and civil rights leaders.

Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition for the proposed "Ohio Voters Bill of Rights" on Thursday, saying its summary was not a fair and truthful statement of the proposal.

DeWine must certify the summary's phrasing before supporters can continue with their ballot push and eventually collect signatures to get it before voters.

DeWine said he rejected the summary wording because it contained at least two misrepresentations regarding issues where the Ohio Constitution is pre-empted by federal law.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Ohio man accused of being Facebook predator
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:15

MENTOR, Ohio (AP) — Police in northeast Ohio are looking for other possible victims of a man accused of trying to get a young girl to send him inappropriate photos on Facebook.

It started when a 12-year-old girl in Mentor contacted police saying another Facebook user had asked for inappropriate pictures. An investigator contacted the user, posing as a 14-year-old girl. During their conversation, the user solicited sex.

The (Willoughby) News-Herald (http://bit.ly/NJfIOA ) reports the user's profile led them to 30-year-old Troy P. Slapnicker of Mentor. He was arrested earlier this week and his computer equipment seized.

Slapnicker is facing a felony count of importuning. He's being held with a $100,000 bond. Online records had no attorney information.

Police say more charges are possible.

___

Information from: The News-Herald, http://www.news-herald.com/jrc-html/index/index_p33.html


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Ohio lawmaker facing new counts yields chairmanship
Written by DAN SEWELL, Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:17

CINCINNATI (AP) — The speaker of the state House said Thursday a southwest Ohio lawmaker has agreed to give up his powerful committee chairmanship after a new indictment that alleges he engaged in a pattern of corruption.

Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, said Republican Rep. Pete Beck would relinquish chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, "effective immediately."

A grand jury in Cincinnati on Thursday brought 53 new counts against Beck, including one alleging a pattern of corruption. Beck already faced trial in April after an indictment last year on 16 felony counts.

The Ways and Means Committee helps review and set tax policy; it recently has been weighing a proposed tax hike on oil and gas drillers.

"There are several important initiatives currently being considered by this committee that must continue uninterrupted," Batchelder said in a statement. "These are proposals that will have a long-standing impact on the state of Ohio, and all Ohioans can rest assured that the House will continue the hardworking effort on these initiatives."

Read more...
 
Great Lakes become nearly covered with ice
Written by JOHN FLESHER, AP Environmental Writer   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:09

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — From the bridge of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, northern Lake Huron looks like a vast, snow-covered field dotted with ice slabs as big as boulders — a battleground for the icebreaker's 58-member crew during one of the roughest winters in memory.

It's been so bitterly cold for so long in the Upper Midwest that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was frozen.

As of Thursday, ice cover extended across 88 percent, according to the federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Sections of the lakes, which hold nearly one-fifth of the freshwater on the world's surface, harden almost every winter. That freezing keeps the Coast Guard's fleet of nine icebreakers busy clearing paths for vessels hauling essential cargo such as heating oil, salt and coal. But over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 percent, scientists say, probably in part because of climate change.

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