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Morning Headlines: Ohio Infant Deaths Decrease Overall, GM Considering Adding Shift at Lordstown

A photo of Lordstown GM.
Lordstown GM Plant

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, December 7:

  • Ohio infant deaths decrease overall;
  • GM considers adding shift to Lordstown before plant closes;
  • TSA: Cleveland postponed reporting security breach at airport;
  • Green, Libertarian party complaints shut down;
  • Drilling brine approved to be used on icy roads;
  • Browns owners propose plan to buy Columbus Crew;

Ohio infant deaths decrease overall
Health officials said the number of infant deaths in Ohio decreased overall from 2016-17, but racial disparity continued as deaths among black infants increased. The state recorded 982 infant deaths last year, down from 1,024 the previous year. But the Ohio Department of Health said the number of black infants who died increased by 15, and they died at nearly three times the rate of white infants. Last year marked the second time that Ohio had fewer than 1,000 infant deaths in a year since the state began recording infant mortality in 1939.

GM considers adding shift to Lordstown before plant closes
General Motors may be considering adding a weekend shift to theLordstown plant even as it plans to end production of the Chevy Cruze in March. WKYC reports a spokesperson for GM’s North American Manufacturing and Labor division confirmed Friday that the Lordstown plant “is exploring adding some weekend shifts in January.” The spokesperson said dealers are asking to boost inventory of the compact car ahead of its cancellation. GM last month announced plans to stop selling sedans across all brands.

TSA: Cleveland postponed reporting security breach at airport
The Transportation Security Administration said the City of Cleveland waited too long to report an October security breach at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which led to the suspension of two city officials. On Oct. 25, Assistant Airport Director Fred Szabo helped Darnell Brown, the mayor's chief of operations, bypass TSA screening to board a plane. The two were suspended. Cleveland.com reportsTSA said the incident should have been reported immediately, which would have allowed Brown to be properly screened. Instead, the city waited 20 hours to report the breach. TSA officials have disputed a claim from the city that TSA advised the incident be kept secret to safeguard information about airport security. TSA officials said they cannot close their investigation, or decide to implement fines, until the city responds to an inquiry request.

Green, Libertarian party complaints shut down
State election regulators delivered a blow to two minor parties, dismissing complaints that this year’s debates excluded their candidates because of illegal corporate contributions. In a unanimous vote without discussion, theOhio Election Commission tossed out complaints brought by the Libertarian and Green parties. They alleged thatThe City Club of Clevelandand the Ohio Debate Commission violated state election law by giving Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray exposure that was unavailable to third-party candidates. The governor's race, which DeWine won, also included Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine and Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton. The debate Commission said its decision to feature the major party candidates follows Ohio law.

Drilling brine approved to be used on icy roads
The Ohio House approved a bill Friday that allows drilling brine to be used for de-icing roads. Cleveland.com reports that the legislation applies to the salt solution drawn from conventional oil and gas wells, not horizontal fracking wells. Sponsors of the bill said reuse of the brine is an economic boost to drillers. Environmentalists oppose the use of brine on roads. Tests by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources show high levels of radioactive elements in brine waste. The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate.

Browns owners propose plan to buy Columbus Crew
Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam are proposing a plan to buy the Columbus Crew soccer club. The Haslams and a prominent Columbus area doctor have put together the financing to keep the Crew in Columbus.The Columbus Dispatch reports that the group announced plans Friday to build a new $230 million downtown stadium for the major league soccer franchise. The new Crew owners would invest a total of $645 million to buy the team for an estimated $150 million, plus build the new stadium and remodel the team’s current Stadium, The city of Columbus and Franklin County are pledging $50 million to the project. 

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.