Trump to GM: Reopen Ohio plant, close one in Mexico or China

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is escalating his pressure on General Motors, as he calls for the company to reopen an Ohio manufacturing plant.
Trump tweeted Monday that GM should: “Close a plant in China or Mexico, where you invested so heavily pre-Trump,” and “Bring jobs home!”
Trump travels to politically important Ohio this week. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that officials should start talks with the United Auto Workers immediately so that the Lordstown plant could be reopened or sold.
General Motors said in a statement Sunday that the future of plants scheduled to be closed “will be resolved between GM and the UAW.” The automaker said that they had “opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees.”

Trump calls GM’s CEO in push to reopen Ohio auto plant

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump stepped up his pressure on General Motors to reopen an Ohio manufacturing plant that recently closed and put 1,700 people out of work.
Trump’s arm-twisting came in a series of separate tweets on Saturday and Sunday . He capped his weekend rant against the GM with a tweet disclosing that he had vented his frustrations during a conversation with the company’s CEO, Mary Barra.
“I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING,” Trump wrote. “I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union — I don’t care, I just want it open!”
The union is the United Automobile Workers, which represents the employees who lost their jobs in the Lordstown closure. Trump had previously told a UAW leader, David Green, to “get his act together and produce” for the Lordstown workers. Green didn’t respond to a request for comment Sunday.
General Motors said in a statement released Sunday evening that the future of plants scheduled to be closed “will be resolved between GM and the UAW.” The automaker also said that it has “opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees” at plants that are to be shuttered.
“We remain open to talking with all the affected stakeholders, but our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities,” the company said.
Even as Trump said he talked to Barra, he was calling on GM to reopen its Lordstown plant or find another owner, while insisting that the Detroit automaker “must act quickly.”
He also blasted GM for letting down the U.S. and asserted “much better” automakers are coming to the country.
Trump praised Toyota for its investments in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to depict GM as being less committed to its home country than the Japan automaker.
The Lordstown closure has become a hot-button issue in an area of Ohio that is expected to be critical for Trump if he seeks re-election as promised in 2020.
Trump prevailed in Ohio in the 2016 election, a win that helped him win enough electoral votes to become president despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
That may be one reason why Trump joined a coalition of Ohio lawmakers in efforts to get the Lordstown plant running again. The tweets marked some of his most pointed criticism of GM so far.
Trump has skewered several other U.S. companies for not doing more to help their country’s economy, but his remarks so far have been more bark than bite.
For instance, he has publicly called upon Apple to shift most of its manufacturing from China to the U.S., but the Silicon Valley company continues to make its iPhones and most other products overseas.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, last week expressed doubts GM will reopen its Lordstown plant, but he said the automaker indicated it’s in talks with another company about using the site.
More than 16 million vehicles were made at the Lordstown plant during its 53-year history until GM closed it earlier this month as part of a massive reorganization. The company also intends to close four other North American plants by early next year.

Police: 2-year-old found unresponsive dies; man arrested

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio say a 2-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a home and a man has been arrested.
Canton police say officers responded around 8 a.m. Saturday to a report of an unresponsive child at a home in the northeast Ohio city. They say they transported the boy to a hospital where he died a short time later.
Investigating detectives executed a search warrant at the home and arrested a 38-year-old man, but did not release information on any charges.
Police say the investigation is continuing. No other information was immediately released.

Agency designed by Kasich to cut red tape now backlogged

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio state agency designed by then-Gov. John Kasich’s administration to cut through state bureaucracy is now itself backlogged.
The Common Sense Initiative was formed in 2011 by Kasich’s administration to help make Ohio business-friendly. The Columbus Dispatch reports the agency’s backlog totaled 1,233 business regulation rules for review — hundreds of which had not been addressed by the agency.
Backlogged rules include rules on alcohol and drug testing, health-product standards, drinking-water standards and water-source protection.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who now runs the agency, notes the irony of a state agency designed to cut through bureaucracy getting caught up in bureaucracy itself. He has instructed his staff to wipe out the remaining backlog by April. As of Friday, 76 percent had been cleared.
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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

Exhibit of Neil Armstrong’s personal papers opens at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — An exhibit of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s personal papers is opening at Purdue University ahead of the 50th anniversary of his famed walk on the moon.
“Apollo 11 in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers” opens Monday at Purdue’s Humanities, Social Science, and Education Library and runs until Aug. 16.
Purdue is home to hundreds of thousands of personal documents, memorabilia and photos from the 1955 Purdue graduate’s life.
That includes about 70,000 pages of fan mail Armstrong received after he became the first human to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.
The Ohio native made his famous walk after he manually landed the Apollo 11 lander to avoid a large lunar crater that could have doomed the mission.
Armstrong died in 2012 at age 82.

Ohio governor wants nearly $1B for Lake Erie, waterways

By JOHN SEEWER Associated Press
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine wants to spend nearly $1 billion on water quality projects to clean up toxic algae in Lake Erie and protect other lakes and rivers throughout the state.
The money would come out of this year’s new state budget, which DeWine will reveal Friday, and all of it would be set aside into a fund for water-related initiatives over the next decade.
How the money would be spent isn’t known yet, but the Republican governor mentioned building wetlands to filter pollutants and paying farmers to use new methods designed to reduce phosphorus-heavy fertilizer runoff, the biggest contributor to the algae in western Lake Erie.
Incentives must be part of the plan “to help farmers so they don’t bear the entire burden of doing this,” DeWine said.
Ohio, Michigan, Ontario and Indiana — which doesn’t border the lake but gives rise to rivers that feed it — have pledged to reach a 40 percent reduction in the amount of phosphorus entering the lake by 2025.
But several environmentalist groups have said Ohio and the other states have not done enough to make a dent in the algae blooms that have become an annual threat to drinking water.
Toxins from a bloom in 2014 contaminated the water supply for more than 400,000 people in the Toledo area.
DeWine’s proposal for what his administration is calling the H2Ohio water quality initiative will need approval from the Legislature as part of the governor’s overall budget.
“Lake Erie is a priority, clean water is a priority,” he said, adding that committing the money now for water projects will allow the state to look at long-term solutions.
The governor said during his campaign last year that he was in favor of a $1 billion bond issue to pay for water-related projects, but he said Thursday that he changed his mind because using that method would force Ohio to pay an additional $475 million in interest.
Much of the money in his proposal will go toward Lake Erie, but some will be spent on improving waterways including the Ohio River, which also been tainted by algae blooms in recent years.
Research will dictate how the money is spent beyond the first year of his budget, DeWine said.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest agriculture organization, praised the governor’s proposal, saying it “shows an understanding of the complexities that come with this issue.”

Ohio teacher resigns for taping students’ mouths shut

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati Public Schools teacher who acknowledged putting duct tape over students’ mouths to discipline them has resigned.
District spokeswoman Lauren Worley says Charles Igwekala-Nweke resigned in January.
Igwekala-Nweke taught math at Clark Montessori High School and Hughes STEM High School and had worked for the district since 2015.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Friday that school records show a student told another teacher Igwekala-Nweke put tape over his mouth in December.
Igwekala-Nweke wrote in an email to Hughes Principal Kathy Wright that he taped students’ mouths shut instead of reprimanding them for talking during an exam.
At least three students told officials their mouths were taped shut.
Igwekala-Nweke later apologized, saying he allowed “gross rationale to justify gross behavior.”
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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

Man charged with killing woman after crash ruled incompetent

CLEVELAND (AP) — A judge in Cleveland has accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity from a man accused of crashing into a woman’s car and fatally shooting her in 2016.
The Record-Courier reports 32-year-old Matthew Desha was ordered committed Thursday to a state-operated psychiatric facility.
Desha faced murder and other charges in the death of 53-year-old Deborah Pearl, a woman police said Desha didn’t know.
Police said Desha ran a red light in August 2016 and struck a car driven by Pearl, who was headed to work. Police said Desha got out of his SUV, which had rolled onto its roof, and shot Pearl with a military-style AR-15 carbine.
Doctors testified in court that Desha, a Marine who served two tours in Iraq, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Information from: Record-Courier, http://www.recordpub.com

Police: 2 men dead, 1 critically injured in Ohio shooting

MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — Police say two men have been killed and a third man critically injured in a shooting outside Cleveland.
The Maple Heights Police Department says the shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. None of the victims have been identified.
Police say a resident called 911 after a man came to his door asking for help. While police and paramedics responded, a second 911 call was made about shots being fired in the area.
Officers found two men dead inside a nearby home. Police say the man who sought help is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
No arrests have been made.

Official wants new ride safety rules for Ohio State Fair

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The failure of Ohio State Fair officials to pass on a manufacturer’s warning that chairs on an overhead ride could fall apart has prompted Ohio’s agriculture director to seek new safety rules, according to a Columbus Dispatch report.
Newly appointed agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda, whose department oversees ride safety, announced Thursday that fair officials will be required to forward all letters from ride manufacturers about potential safety problems to state ride inspectors.
The newspaper found that fair officials last year withheld from inspectors a manufacturer’s letter from December 2017 that warned canopies above chairs on the SkyGlider ride were “starting to fall apart” because of corrosion and should be immediately repaired. The SkyGlider received a clean bill of health from inspectors before the fair opened in 2018.
“We want the public to know that this is on our radar,” said Pelanda, a former state representative appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine in January.
A state fair spokeswoman told the newspaper that nothing was done last year to address potential problems with the ride because the manufacturer’s president died shortly after issuing the warning.
Earlier this year, fair officials asked the State Controlling Board for money to replace all 95 chairs on the half-mile-long ride, a request they said was based on an inspection after the fair ended in 2018 with no mention of the manufacturer’s warning months earlier, the newspaper reported.
An investigation concluded that corrosion was to blame for the fair’s spinning and swinging Fireball ride breaking apart in July 2017, killing an 18-year-old man and injuring six others.
Among the rules changes sought by Pelanda is a requirement that ride operators include on inspection forms all safety and maintenance information from the manufacturer. A second rule would reclassify rides to identify those needing more comprehensive testing.
A third rule would require ride operators to respond within 14 days when an inspector has issued orders to repair or fix something on a ride.
State law says the agriculture director can change or add rules after the industry-controlled Advisory Council on Amusement Ride Safety reviews them and makes recommendations.
Pelanda also is requesting a 26 percent increase in the Ride Safety Division’s budget to $1.8 million.
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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com