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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.

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More than a dozen Franklin County communities are being asked to upgrade their outdoor tornado warning sirens. 

Ohio Triple-A projects a record number of Ohioans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the July 4th holiday. Spokesperson Kimberly Schwind attributes the increase to the holiday being in the middle of the week as well as the economy. And she says budget-conscious vacations remain popular.
 

The city of Columbus is extending from 2 to 3 years the term to final maturity for investors on municipal bonds.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is defending his decision to appoint former Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson to the state Board of Education, despite his apparent lack of an educational background. The State Education Department says the charter school for African-American males Jackson claims to have founded does not exist, and Ohio State says Jackson never graduated. The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate must still confirm Jackson's appointment to succeed board member Dennis Reardon. 

84 of Ohio's 88 Counties posted lower unemployment rates last month as compared with April. The Ohio Department of Job and Family services says Franklin County's rate is 6.1 percent, down three tenths of a percent from April. Delaware County's rate of 4.9 percent was the third-lowest in the

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it agree with Akron-based FirstEngery's assessment that cracks found in the concrete shell of the Davis Besse nuclear power plant along Lake Erie can be traced to the blizzard of 1978. FirstEnergy says a lack of exterior weatherproofing coating at the plant caused the crackS. The company has won approval to apply a new coating and perform additional testing.  The plant reopened in December after a shutdown following the cracks' discovery last fall. Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he doesn't believe weather caused the
cracks.

Ohio utilities say they expect greater electricity demand today because of the heat. Jim Letizia reports.

The U.S. Senate Wednesday rejected a measure ending plans by the EPA to
 impose tighter restrictions on coal-fired power plant emissions. Jim Letizia reports. 

Vehicle thefts decline

Jun 21, 2012

An insurance industry group says vehicle thefts are down in central Ohio.  The Ohio Insurance Institute says 42-hundred vehicles were stolen in the Columbus area last year, down by more than 200 from 2010. Most were reported in the city of Columbus. The city ranks 104th on the group's list of 360 metropolitan areas for rates of theft, up from 99th a year ago. Statewide, Columbus ranks third for vehicle thefts, behind Cleveland and Toledo. The group says one reason for the decline may be new technology, which makes vehicles more difficult to steal.  

Cleanup is underway in several north-central Ohio counties from Monday's storms that swept the region. 

Greyhound is investigating the claims of a man who says he was left on the side of a road near Dayton after missing his connecting bus to Michigan.  

One of the nation's most politically active labor unions plans to focus its resources on fewer states this year in an effort to re-elect President Obama. 

The Ohio Supreme Court has denied a request by ESPN to order Ohio State University to release records related to the football memorabilia scandal and NCAA investigation. The cable television network wanted records related to the forced resignation of football coach Jim Tressel and star quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The justices say Ohio State properly shielded records as either protected by federal privacy laws or attorney-client privilege. Several national education groups had sided with Ohio State.

Ohio State released the following statement this afternoon:

A New Jersey man will serve three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a pair of financial scams that totaled 2 million dollars. Federal prosecutors say former day trader Victor Cilli defrauded Cleveland-based KeyBank of more than $1.5 million in student loans by falsely claiming some co-conspirators planned to use the money to attend flight training school in Florida. He also defrauded four investors out of more than $500 thousand in a Ponzi scheme that involved trading in commodity futures.  

A man claims Cincinnati Police violated his free speech rights when he was charged with disorderly conduct in May after using the word "crippled" to promote a disabled comedian with muscular dystrophy. Forest Thomer and comedian Ally Bruener say he asked people at a public park if they wanted to "laugh at the crippled girl."  Bruener says she would tell a joke after Thomer asked the question. Both say it was intended not to demean Bruener but to promote her next comedy performance and her website.

Two people are in custody for their alleged roles in the death of a Middletown mother. Police say 23-year-old driver Dustin Watkins and 31-year-old passenger Maria Misquez were in the SUV that dragged 31-year-old Christina Purdin for 40 feet before her arm became entangled in a seat belt. She was subsequently thrown under the vehicle. The incident happened after a weekend argument over some painting work for which Watkins was paid but never performed. 

A study by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States shows pension systems sank deeper into the red as the Great Recession took its toll and states spent their dollars elsewhere. The study shows Ohio is one of 34 states that failed to reach the commonly accepted level for pension funding in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available. The overall gap between assets and future pension costs rose to $757 billion. The study authors say some states are trying to address the problem by cutting benefits or increasing contributions for future employees.

A Columbus swimming pool remains still closed due to a lifeguard shortage.  Columbus Recreation and Parks department officials say they had to delay opening Lincoln Pool Monday because they have only half the lifeguards needed. There are enough guards trained, but they're still in the city's hiring pipeline. Lincoln Pool could open for the first time in three years as early as tomorrow. 

Ohio State University is paying football coach Urban Meyer 4 million dollars per year, and his contract includes specific requirements for reporting violations of NCAA rules. The university has completed a seven-year contract with Meyer the board of trustees is expected to approve later this week. Details of the deal were released on Monday. Meyer's contract guarantees him a chance to make significantly more money through bonuses and youth camps.

Athens County sheriff's deputies have arrested a 52-year-old Guysville man following a three-hour standoff at his home on Monday. Deputies say the unnamed man called a crisis center, said he had a weapon, and threatened to force authorities to kill him if they responded. Deputies say no firearms were found but the man was using a screw driver and railroad spikes as weapons. He is being evaluated. 

Columbus Police have taken four men into custody for questioning in connection with a fatal shooting last night on the South Side. Police say 57-year-old Jesse Ratcliff was shot and killed on West Castle Road following a fight between family members. Police say Ratcliff went to a relative's home, and returned to his house to get a shotgun following the fight. 

A man has been arrested in connection with Monday's on-campus stabbing of a part-time Columbus State Community College professor. 45-year-old Isaac Rotich was arrested for stabbing statistics professor Kip Mengich, who is hospitalized in stable condition. School officials say they lack a motive in the case, but believe Rotich knew Mengich, who was stabbed in the lobby of Davidson Hall. 

 

Columbus City Council is expected to vote later this month on proposed legislation addressing the code and safety issues that forced the Pearl Market to scale back last summer. Jim Letizia reports. 

June is National Gay Pride month, and Columbus' gay pride parade is scheduled for Saturday at noon. The parade will run on High Street from Broad to Buttles. Karla Rothan of Stonewall Columbus says more than 200-thousand people are expected to participate in the parade and other pride events. Those events culminate with the pride brunch on Sunday in downtown Columbus.

Nancy Pelosi and Eric Cantor are tops among the U.S. House leadership in personal wealth. Federal financial disclosure forms reveal Democratic Minority Leader Pelosi is worth 40 to 187-million dollars. Republican Majority Leader Cantor is worth four to nine-point-six-million dollars. Most of Pelosi's assets are based on real estate holdings, while Cantor lists real estate and stocks on his form. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reports assets worth as much as five-point-four million dollars. The Republican cited investments in stocks and bonds in his disclosure form.  

Penn National Gaming says it hopes to get the necessary permits and state approval by September in order to move thoroughbred racing from Beulah Park to a new track near Youngstown. The facility would open in early 2014. Construction on the 125 million dollar project is expected to begin this fall. Officials plan to coordinate race dates to avoid direct competition with Thistledown in the Cleveland area, A racetrack that may move to the Akron area. 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell from 7.4 percent in April to 7.3 percent in May. Non-farm payrolls rose by nearly 20-thousand from April. The department says 426-thousand Ohioans were out of work in May, down by 5-thousand from April. The state added 64-hundred jobs in manufacturing, 45-hundred jobs in professional and business services and 43-hundred jobs in educational and health services. 

A Cuayhoga County judge has ruled a death row inmate is not mentally competent to be executed for killing his wife and brother-in-law. Today's ruling comes a week after Governor John Kasich ordered a last-minute reprieve for Abdul Awkal. During several days of testimony, his attorneys argued he is so mentally ill he believes the CIA is orchestrating his execution. Awkal is convicted of killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law in a county courthouse in 1992 as the couple prepared to divorce. 

State law gives Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson control of that city's school district. Jackson says he will place a levy before voters in November, now that state lawmakers have approved his plan to reform the district. A provision of the reform plan allows local tax money to be shared with charter schools sponsored by the Cleveland district or partner schools. The plan also changes the way teachers are evaluated. 

Columbus city officials say more than 22-thousand-dollars in tipping fees to the local landfill were saved when the city's curbside recycling program was launched earlier this month. The city says four hundred tons of recyclables were collected on the first day of the program. 

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