Jim Letizia

Reporter, News Anchor

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.

Ways to Connect

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has set a new pricing structure for fees competitors must pay Columbus-based American Electric Power as it transitions to a competitive market. The commission's order sets the fee at nearly 189-dollars per megawatt day, but requires AEP to charge suppliers a lower market-based price.  Regulators say AEP can recover the difference, and they expect rule in August on how that would work. The charge is not assessed directly to customers, but businesses could choose to pass along the increase to customers.

Central Ohio Transit Authority bus drivers and mechanics rejected a tentative contract agreement last night, meaning a strike that began on Monday continues. The deal would have provided total wage increases of 7 percent over three years and would have decreased  worker pension benefits. Their union leaders say pay, benefits, and driver safety are among the reasons workers rejected the proposal. The previous contract expired in November, and workers rejected a state fact-finder's recommendation in April. COTA President Curtis Stitt says there is no plan to provide service for

A Franklin County grand jury has indicted a Westerville woman in connection with the heroin-overdose death of a Columbus man. 25-year-old Emily Thacker allegedly injected the drug into the system of 37-year-old Russell Ronske, leading to his death. Westerville police say it happened at the home of a friend last March. 

A Dublin woman who claims she was defrauded by former Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter pleaded guilty Monday to two felony theft charges. A judge sentenced Anita Barney to three years of community control, 100 hours of community service and ordered her to make restitution. Prosecutors say the widow of the former chair of Wendy's restaurants recruited friends to meet with Schlichter, who admitted to ripping them off in a million-dollars sports ticket scheme. Barney says she lost her life savings in the scheme. Schlichter is serving a nearly 11-year prison sentence.  

More than 300-thousand people in central and southwestern Ohio remain without power this morning as crews work to restore service interrupted by two rounds of weekend thunderstorms. All but a few thousand are American Electric Power customers. The company says they may be in the dark through the end of the week.  AEP President Pablo Vegas has pledged crews will work through the weekend to restore service. Ohio is under state and federal emergency declarations. Ohio National Guard members today continue visiting Columbus and Dayton residents to see if they need assistance.

The State Fire Marshal urges Ohioans not to use backyard fireworks because of high fire danger from dry conditions as well as the general risk of personal injury. Larry Flowers says the combination of dry conditions, high temperatures and possible wind gusts the next few days create a greater risk of fires triggered by sparks. Dr. Tom Waters of the Cleveland Clinic says more than half the injuries that occur on the fourth are the result of fireworks. Waters notes even sparklers are dangerous.

The latest campaign to change the way the maps for Congressional and state lawmaker districts are drawn approaches a critical deadline this week. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler explains. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich was in Cleveland today, signing off on a sweeping overhaul of that city's school district. The bill will give Mayor Frank Jackson the authority to set up a committee that will set standards for students and teachers, while overseeing charter schools. It also eliminates seniority as a deciding factor in teacher layoffs, replacing it with evaluations.

Small business owners, farmers and other Ohioans affected by severe weather may be eligible for interest rate reductions on loans to recover or rebuild from the storm damage.  Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel says he's made 25 million dollars available through the state's Renew Ohio & Rebuild Ohio emergency financing programs to help storm victims. The treasurer's office says small business owners and farmers may apply for up to a three percent interest rate reduction on new or existing loans for construction - or to improve cash flow.

Crews continue working to restore electricity for thousands of Central Ohioans and others around the state hit hard by the weekend storms. Columbus-based American Electric Power says crews have restored service to more than 245-thousand of the 680-thousand customers affected by the storms. AEP says 24-thousand of its Central Ohio customers have no service, with the bulk of the outages in Franklin County. The company says Columbus-area customers will not have service until the weekend.

The head of Ohio's most prestigious hospital says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal health care law will mean more people will get the care they need at an affordable cost.

Columbus City Council this week approved legislation authorizing the demolition of the 5th Avenue dam along the Olentangy River. 

A national anti-hunger organization that lobbies on behalf of food stamps and other federal nutrition programs says fewer Ohio children are getting summer meals. 

The FBI is investigating a fatal shooting involving one of its agents in Dayton. It happened while agents were serving an arrest warrant Thursday. FBI officials say 43-year-old Fallacy Meyers started stabbing himself, then lunged at agents with a knife. Meyers was wanted for questioning in a child exploitation and money laundering investigation. 

A small plane crashed into a pond near Chapman Memorial Field in Centerburg this morning. The State Highway Patrol says 75-year-old pilot Thomas Whittaker was the only person on board. He was not injured. Troopers say Whittaker was making a recretational flight when his controls malfunctioned. 

A shuttlecraft that was used in the original "Star Trek" TV series in the late 1960s and acquired by an Ohio collector sold at auction Thursday for just over 70-thousand dollars after a last-minute bidding war. An Akron-area collector had the partially restore Galileo shuttlecraft for several years
before putting it up for auction online. Auctioneer Brooks Ames says the selling price rose as three late bidders fought to claim the shuttlecraft.  Ames believes the buyer plans to restore it and possibly display it in a museum. 

Congress is expected to vote shortly to order federal engineers to speed up a study of how to keep the Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The measure requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to produce a plan for preventing species migrations between the lakes and the Mississippi River watershed within 18 months. The provision was attached to a highway spending bill. The Obama administration has pledged to produce a list of options by the end of 2013. But the measure requires a more detailed plan for blocking invasions at 18 locations.

Franklin County prosecutors are considering whether to file criminal charges against a woman who claims she was victimized by former Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter. Anita Barney met with prosecutors this week to discuss her role in Schlichter's sports-ticket scheme, and the criminal
charges that may follow.  Barney has said she connected friends to Schlichter, who admitted to ripping them off with phony investments. Barney says she lost her life savings in the scheme.



A watering ban is in effect for thousands of Delaware County residents.  The Del-Co Water Company has set the ban countywide until July 6th, saying heavy watering in the hot weather has depleted supplies.  Customers will be on an even-odd watering restriction once the ban has expired.  Even-numbered addresses may water on Sundays and Wednesdays, while odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Columbus police officials say officer shot a man after responding to a domestic violence call last night on the East side. Police say the unidentified man is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound and self-inflicted knife wounds. Police say a woman reported her boyfriend was threatening their two children with a knife at an apartment complex near Brice Road. Police say the man opened the door and displayed a gun. The two children are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The Columbus school board is scheduled to vote next week on whether to place a levy on the November ballot. Superintendent Gene Harris has asked board members to wait until next year, so a levy can be combined with a bond issue for school upgrades. Meanwhile the man who oversaw data collection for the district is being reassigned amid investigations of claims that officials retroactively altered student attendance records to boost ratings on the district's state report card.

A Columbus man and the colleagues who helped integrate the U.S. Marine Corps received Congressional Gold Medals on Wednesday. 

State Agriculture Department officials say the Emerald ash borer beetle been discovered in Madison, Crawford, Knox, and Belmont counties. 

Republican Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding the individual insurance mandate in the federal health care law will make it the predominant issue of the presidential campaign. 

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says four fire hydrants will be opened from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today and Friday to help keep residents cool in the sweltering heat. City workers will supervise the use of the hydrants on North Ohio Avenue, Rhodes Avenue, Briarwood Avenue, and at the corner of Wicklow and South Hampton streets. Coleman notes air-conditioned recreation centers are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and Seven city swimming pools are open. Meterologist Rob Carolan says Columbus will see a high temperature near 101 degrees today.

Somebody is filing restraining orders against Jerry Sandusky in several states as a prank. A federal judge in Dayton says the one he got is "utterly frivolous" and is warning whoever is responsible for it. The judge says he rejected the request filed under the name "Tom N. Jerry", which was the name used in another filing in Georgia. Other names were used in the one-page filings in Oregon, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Indiana. The former Penn State assistant football coach was found guilty last week on 45 counts of sexual abuse. 

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has rejected a request to posthumously restore the American citizenship of a recently deceased Cleveland-area autoworker convicted of Nazi war crimes. John Demjanjuk died in Germany in March at age 91. His attorneys say the government withheld potentially helpful material. They asked the court to either restore the citizenship or to order a hearing on the case. The decision upholds a ruling last year by a Cleveland judge who refused to reopen the citizenship case. 

West Virginia authorities have released the name of the Central Ohio pilot killed when his small plane crashed on June 22nd near a state forest. The state Medical Examiner's Office identifies the pilot as 63-year-old Richard Lambert of Columbus. The cause of the crash has yet to be determined. 

Columbus Police say a 13-year-old girl driving on Interstate 70 on the South Side rear-ended an unmarked police cruiser early this morning. Both drivers were taken to local hospitals as a precaution. Authorities have not release their names but say the girl will be cited. 

Central Ohio Transit Authority officials and the union representing its bus drivers and mechanics have scheduled contract talks for Sunday to resolve the salary issues that are holding up a new deal. The Transport Workers Union rejected a tentative agreement that included raises and higher worker contributions to pensions.  COTA's bus drivers and mechanics could walk off the job Monday without a contract. Columbus safety officials have encouraged those who plan on attending the July 3rd fireworks show downtown to carpool in case of a strike.