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Morning Headlines: Murray Energy Files Bankruptcy; Dayton Abortion Clinic Tries to Avoid Closure

Murray Energy Corporation

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Oct. 30:

  • Murray Energy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy;
  • Dayton abortion clinic tries to avoid closure with new state license;
  • Former Catholic Diocese of Cleveland bishop dies;
  • Trumbull County school faces civil rights lawsuit;
  • Ohio bill would raise minimum age to acquire a driver's license;
  • Study: 20 Cleveland areas reasonable for solar panel arrays;
  • University Hospitals CEO announces retirement after nearly 2 decades;
  • DeWine renews program to advance production of driverless cars;

Murray Energy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
A major U.S. coal mining company based in Ohio is seeking bankruptcy protection. Murray Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and replaced CEO Robert Murray. In a statement Tuesday the company said the move was necessary to access cash and position itself for long-term success. Second in command, Robert Moore, has been named as the new CEO. Murray Energy is among several coal companies that have recently filed for bankruptcy, including Blackjewel Mining in West Virginia, and Wyoming’s Cloud Peak Energy. Robert Murray is a major backer of President Donald Trump, who has made saving coal jobs a key part of his campaign. But coal companies are struggling as communities switch from the fossil fuel to less-polluting renewable energy or natural gas.

Dayton abortion clinic tries to avoid closure with new state license
The Dayton area's last abortion clinic is trying to avoid closure by pursuing a new state license and intervention by a federal court after the Ohio Supreme Court again refused to hear its appeal. That court decision Tuesday meant Women's Med Center faced losing its license for not meeting certain state requirements regarding backup doctors and hospital transfers. It immediately asked a federal court to temporarily block the state from enforcing those requirements. The clinic argues they're unconstitutional, medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access. The Ohio Department of Health said it won't comment on the pending litigation.

Former Catholic Diocese of Cleveland bishop dies
A bishop who formerly led the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has died. Rev. Richard Lennon died Tuesday at the age of 72. The diocese did not give a cause of death. Lennon retired in 2016 citing health reasons. Current Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez said Lennon had a "tremendous love of the Church and the people he shepherded." Eight northeast Ohio counties are included in the diocese.

Trumbull County school faces civil rights lawsuit
A federal civil rights lawsuit says a 10-year-old Muslim boy was questioned about his patriotism and religious beliefs by a student teacher at a Trumbull County school. The lawsuit states the boy's teacher, the student teacher and a nurse for the Lakeview Local School District in Cortland, held him against his will last November and coerced him into saying he'd been disciplined by his mother with a belt. The family’s attorney said a county children's services investigation quickly determined there was no wrongdoing by his parents. The lawsuit states the boy is being treated for trauma. Lakeview schools Superintendent declined to comment Tuesday.

Ohio bill would raise minimum age to acquire a driver's license
Ohio teenagers hoping to get behind the wheel will have to wait a bit longer under a bill that will undergo a full House vote. The Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee voted Tuesday to advance a bill that would raise the minimum age to get a probationary driver's license from 16 to 16 1/2 years old. The current eligibility age for a learner's permit will remain at 15 1/2 but the new bill will require the individual to hold that permit for one year before they can get their license instead of six months. Under the new law, a new driver will be able to bypass the probationary license process when they turn 18. A similar bill was introduced in November 2017 but failed.

Study: 20 Cleveland areas reasonable for solar panel arrays
A new study commissioned by the City of Cleveland has identified 20 properties that would be good sites for installing solar panel arrays. Cleveland.com reports the study, conducted by Cleveland-based YellowLite, considered 200 city-owned properties. The study was commissioned in May by City Council President Kevin Kelley, who said he wants to reduce electric costs in city buildings. YellowLite said more than half the array sites could pay for themselves in less than 20 years. The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

University Hospitals CEO announces retirement after nearly 2 decades
The CEO of University Hospitals, Thomas F. Zenty III, said he'll retire in January of 2021. Zenty has headed the hospital system for nearly 18 years. Crain’s Cleveland reportsZenty is the longest-tenured CEO of the area’s biggest health systems, including Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth. University Hospitals board of directors is expected to announce the next CEO by the end of the year. In a statement, Zenty said he expects a seamless leadership transition.

DeWine renews program to advance production of driverless cars
Ohio is hoping to move into the fast lane of driverless cars. Cleveland.com reports that Gov. Mike DeWine renewed DriveOhio, a program to promote self-driving technology. DeWine's order directs the Ohio Department of Transportation to develop plans over the next four years to install smart communications technology in the state’s vehicle fleet. DeWine said the smart car technology will make Ohio roads safer and attract talent to Ohio. The DriveOhio initiative last month received a nearly $18 million federal grant to boost self-driving research. Ohio’s $45 million self-driving car test track in Logan County is one of the largest in the country.

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.