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Morning Headlines: FirstEnergy to Close Nuclear Plants; Trump Talks Infrastructure in Richfield

photo of entrance to FirstEnergy Solutions' Perry Nuclear plant

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, March 29:

  • FirstEnergy confirms it will close nuclear plants;
  • President Trump will tout infrastructure plan in Richfield today;
  • Canton steelmakers divided on potential impact of Trump tariffs;
  • Congressman Renacci did not disclose political contributions during lobbying stint;
  • Youngstown Schools CEO withdraws from consideration for Minnesota superintendent job;
  • Cuyahoga County to approve $2 million loan for Ohio City development;
  • Youngstown to approve conversion of grocery store into health clinic;
  • Couch House Theatre artistic director leaves amid financial dispute;
  • Cleveland Indians face Seattle Mariners in season opener;

FirstEnergy confirms it will close nuclear plants
FirstEnergy has officially announced it is closing its nuclear power plants within the next three years. Crain’s reports the company's power plant subsidiaries have informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the decision. The companies will close Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo in 2020. They plan to close both the Perry and Lake County plants, as well as the Beaver Valley plant near Pittsburgh the following year. The company has made no mention of bankruptcy, but subsidiary First Energy Solutions has a $100 million debt payment due the first week of April.

President Trump will tout infrastructure plan in Richfield today
President Donald Trump will be in Richfield Thursday to sell Americans on his plan to use $200 billion in federal money to spur at least $1.5 trillion in spending over a decade to repair or replace highways, bridges, ports, airports and other infrastructure. Trump will speak around 2 this afternoon at the International Union of Operating Engineers site which helps train heavy equipment operators. The plan has received a lukewarm response so far from Capitol Hill. After the speech, Trump is expected to fly to his Florida home.

Canton steelmakers divided on potential impact of Trump tariffs
The tariffs on steel imports imposed by the Trump administration are producing different responses from local steel makers. Bloomberg reports that the tariffs are pitting the Timken Company in Canton against its sister company TimkenSteel. Bearings maker Timken, which uses imported steel, is against the tariffs. But TimkenSteel, which makes steel bars and tubes, is backing the tariffs. The two companies split in 2014 due to pressure from investors. Republic Steel in Canton has applauded the move and announced plans to reopen its idled plant in Lorain.

Congressman Renacci did not disclose political contributions during lobbying stint
Congressman Jim Renacci failed to disclose nearly $50,000 in political contributions while he was registered as a Washington lobbyist, according to a review by the Associated Press. The AP identified five periods from 2008 to 2010 while the Wadsworth Republican was registered as a lobbyist when he either failed to file the required disclosure form or reported giving no political contributions when he had given. Renacci is currently running for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race. Federal Election Commission reports show Renacci gave nearly $27,000 in donations to other candidates and GOP organizations that he didn't disclose on lobbyist forms and more than $17,000 to his own campaign. All federal contributions over $200, including to one's own campaign, are required to be disclosed on the lobbyist disclosure form. Renacci's campaign said that he was registered as a lobbyist with the consulting firm he helped launch in 2008, called Smokerise International Group, but "never performed any lobbying activities." Renacci's lobbyist registration was terminated in May 2011, four months after he entered Congress.

Youngstown Schools CEO withdraws from consideration for Minnesota superintendent job
The CEO of Youngstown City Schools is no longer in the running to lead Osseo Area Schools in Minnesota. The Vindicator reports Krish Mohip withdrew his candidacy to become the district’s next superintendent Wednesday morning. Mohip was also in the running to lead school districts in North Dakota and Colorado, but did not get either of those jobs. Gov. John Kasich appointed Mohip to lead the embattled Youngstown schools in 2015. Mohip is on contract with the district until July 2019.

Cuyahoga County to approve $2 million loan for Ohio City development
Cuyahoga County Council has announced it is loaning $2 million to the Church and State project in Ohio City. Cleveland.com reports developers said the more than 150 apartments and large retail space would be in jeopardy without county support. After some reservation, council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the 15-year loan with 2 percent annual interest.

Youngstown to approve conversion of grocery store into health clinic
The city of Youngstown is expected to finalize a deal today that would convert a former grocery store into a health clinic. WFMJ reports the city plans to purchase a shuttered 18,000 square foot grocery store on Glenwood Avenue. The city is working with One Health Ohio to offer medical, dental, behavioral and preventative health services. The clinic would mainly serve the city’s South Side, where nearly half of all residents are considered low-income. An estimated 20 jobs will be filled and nearly 4,000 patients are expected to visit in the first year. The facility is expected to open after about a year of renovations.

Couch House Theatre artistic director leaves amid financial dispute
The Akron Woman’s City Club is once again cutting ties with the Coach House Theatre. The club’s board of trustees voted to cancel the contract of artistic director JT Buck. The vote came after the club declined to pay nearly $4,000 for the the rights to two plays remaining this season. Buck was hired less than a year ago after previous artistic directors Nancy Cates and Terry Burgler resigned. The club has not yet disclosed the exact reason for canceling Buck’s contract.

Cleveland Indians face Seattle Mariners in season opener
The Cleveland Indians open the season Thursday against the Mariners in Seattle. After playoff appearances each of the last two seasons, including a trip to the World Series in 2016, fans are hoping for another deep playoff run. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto estimates that after winning 94 games in 2016 and posting 104 wins last season, Cleveland should win at least 90 games this year. The Indians home opener is April 6th against the Kansas City Royals.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.