Ohio headlines

COLUMBUS

Winter heating reconnect program ordered

Ohio’s utilities regulator has ordered a winter reconnect program this winter that allows gas and electric customers to regain or maintain their heating service.

The order issued this week by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio allows electric and gas customers who have been disconnected or face disconnection to have service restored or maintained under the program. They must pay the amount owed or $175, whichever is less, plus a service reconnection fee of no more than $36.

Customers may use the program once during the winter heating season between Oct. 14, 2013 and April 15, 2014.

More than 276,000 Ohio utility customers used the program last year.

It is only available to customers of the PUCO-regulated electric and natural gas utilities serving about seven million residential customers in Ohio.

YOUNGSTOWN

President nominates ex- mayor for commerce job

President Barack Obama has nominated a former Youngstown, Ohio, mayor to a top post in the Commerce Department.

The nomination of Jay Williams to be assistant secretary for Economic Development in the Commerce Department requires Senate confirmation.

Williams resigned as Youngstown mayor in 2011 to direct administration programs helping communities affected by auto industry layoffs.

He joined the White House staff in 2012 as deputy director of Intergovernmental Affairs working with elected officials across the country.

TOLEDO

Final race set for horse track

A half-century of harness racing will fade away this weekend at a northern Ohio horse track.

Toledo’s Raceway Park will post its final race today.

Track owner Penn National Gaming is closing Raceway Park and opening a new track in Dayton

Penn National is making the move to reduce the competition for drawing gamblers to its casino in Toledo.

The company also is moving Beulah Park’s thoroughbred racing from suburban Columbus to just outside Youngstown where it’s building a new track.

Both of the news tracks in Dayton and near Youngstown are expected to open next year. They’ll have racing and slots-like video terminals.

COLUMBUS

Suspect arrested in death of man found in trash

Authorities say they have arrested a suspect in the death of a man whose body was found in trash dumped from a garbage truck in Columbus.

Franklin County authorities say 21-year old DeWhite Riley was arrested on a murder charge in the death of 45-year-old Dean Reinhard. Reinhard’s body was discovered Jan. 25, 2012, at a disposal company’s transfer station. The county coroner has said the cause of death was strangulation.

Riley was being held at the county jail. It wasn’t known if he had an attorney.

WBNS-TV reported that detectives have said Reinhard was assaulted and robbed near a home on the city’s near east side, two days after he was asked to leave a university district apartment where he had been living.

COLUMBUS

Woman found pretending to be hospital worker

Security officials at a central Ohio hospital are on alert after they twice found a woman wearing scrubs and a stethoscope pretending to be an employee.

Officials at Grant Medical Center in Columbus on Friday said they located the woman wandering near the infant floor on Wednesday and on a different floor the following day.

OhioHealth Vice President of Security Operations Harry Trombitas says the woman was escorted out of the building in both instances and the hospital has filed a criminal complaint against her. Trombitas says the woman was unable access the secure areas housing infants and mothers.

Employees have been instructed to contact police should they see her again. Area hospitals have been alerted about the woman.

Her identity was not immediately available.

CLEVELAND

Man pleads guilty to aggravated burglary

A northeast Ohio man accused of badly beating an elderly couple during a home invasion has pleaded guilty to nine charges including attempted murder.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports the 21-year-old Ronald Ellis Jr. entered his plea Friday. Kidnapping, felonious assault and aggravated burglary are also among his charges.

Prosecutors contend that in July Ellis bounded the couple and hit them with a gun. They say the 80-year-old wife was shoved into the trunk of her husband’s car and held hostage while Ellis and an accomplice tried to use her credit cards. Police eventually located the vehicle after it had been abandoned with the woman still in the trunk.

Ellis’ attorney didn’t return a request for comment.

Prosecutors say Ellis is cooperating against his accomplice, who’s a minor.

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