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Flash Briefing FRIDAY

Originally Published: 01:00 a.m., November 16, 2017 and  Updated 11:14 p.m., November 12, 2017

Australian technology startup Ai-Media has selected Youngstown to house its first North American operation center. Established in 2003, Ai-Media employs more than 200 to provide captioning services for broadcast clients. On Monday, Ai will celebrate the launch of its Center of Excellence at the Youngstown Business Incubator.

With Black Friday sales still a week away, stores such as Toys “R” Us already are prepping for the rush of shoppers. The National Retail Federation says 69 percent of Americans, 164 million people, plan to shop or will consider shopping during Thanksgiving weekend – which includes Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday and Cyber Monday. Some make it a fun family affair and a kick-start to the season of holiday spirit.

Thousands of dollars have been donated to a memorial fund for Girard police officer Justin Leo, who was killed last month in the line of duty. Police Chief John Norman said after Leo’s death, people poured into the police department to donate money forthe young officer's family. The department streamlined the process by creating a memorial fund at Farmers National Bank in Girard, which contained about $7,000 as of this week, not including donations made by local business fundraisers.

A conciliator has award pay raises to 62 corrections officers at the Trumbull County jail. The officers will get 35 cents more per hour for 2017, 30 cents more in 2018 and 30 cents more in 2019. That amounts to increases of 1.5 percent and 2.2 percent the first year, depending on length of service, and between 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent in the second and third years. The jail administrator said the hikes would cost the county about $45,000 this year and about $39,000 in 2018 and 2019.

A new sign welcoming visitors to Struthers' Nebo neighborhood on Wetmore Drive was stolen just two weeks after it was installed. The sign was one of three posted at the neighborhood entrances t that were paid for by the Rotary Club of Struthers Community Corps. Catherine Miller, president of the Rotary Club of Struthers Community Corps, said while Rotary members and other local supporters have offered to pay for a new sign, the group is going to hold off on replacing it in hopes that the stolen property will either be returned or located.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene told the county commissioners he’s losing deputies to counties that pay better. “I am very concerned and bothered by the starting wage of our deputies and how long it takes for them to get to what I would consider a livable wage,” Greene said. County deputy sheriffs begin at a wage of $14.32 an hour, while

Summit County starts deputies at $21 an hour and moves them to $27 an hour after one year, Greene said. Six deputies recently have left the county office for better-paying jobs, Maj. William Cappabianca said. He also suspects it affects the field of potential deputies who apply for positions.

Seniors in the public safety program at Mahoning County Career & Technical Center spent their school day Thursday training with equipment used to open up vehicles to save people trapped inside. The tools for vehicle extrication, also known as the “jaws of life,” are used to remove, cut or pry external parts of vehicles open to extract people as quickly and safely as possible. Students enrolled in the public safety program at MCCTC are required to fill 260 hours of training, which is usually broken up into two-hour slots during the school day.

Property owners on a proposed site for a new Lidl grocery store location in the township were notified earlier this month the company is terminating its contract for property purchase. Atty. Brian Ridder, who represents a property owner in the purchase contract, said the parties were near an approval date at the time of termination, which was Nov. 7, and representatives from Lidl made a business decision to back out. Howland Township officials say, as far as they know, Lidl still wants to build in their township, and plans for a Lidl location along Pa. Route 18 across from the Walmart in Hermitage, Pa., are also going ahead.

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