FLASH BRIEFING WEDNESDAY

Supporters of HomeGoods' proposed distribution center are planning a rally for 1 p.m. Sunday to let the company know it is wanted in Lordstown. HomeGoods planned to invest $160 million to develop a 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse center on 290 acres of residential land in the village, but pushback from some residents there led the company to reconsider its options for the development. Leaders from other areas in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys are now pushing their properties for consideration.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland sent a letter to General Motors Tuesday asking the company to consider a state layoff aversion program at its Lordstown complex. Ryan urged the company to consider SharedWork Ohio offered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for the up to 1,500 employees to be laid off in mid-June. In the letter sent to GM Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra, Ryan discusses SharedWork Ohio’s “outside-the-box” approach to retaining employees until demand can return to the industry market. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity.

Special Prosecutor Dan Kasaris said 30 to 35 people will testify in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court against ex-Niles Mayor Ralph Infante during his public corruption trial. Many of them are Niles employees or Niles officials; some are witnesses to events leading to the 41 criminal charges in Infante’s indictment, and some are the people alleged to have bribed Infante to get jobs or a promotion, Kasaris said.

Infante could get about 90 years in prison if convicted of all counts, including 16 of tampering with records, eight of bribery, one of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two of theft in office, one of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, one of possessing criminal tools, seven of soliciting improper compensation, one of falsification and four of gambling.

Two Youngstown school board members called for the resignation of CEO Krish Mohip Tuesday night. Board member Corrine Sanderson wrote to Mohip that recent accusations about inappropriate relationships made against him have stained his reputation and caused her concern about the integrity and liability of the school district. And board member Dario Hunter, who made the accusations public last week, did not attend but later added his resignation request in comments to The Vindicator. Mohip was not at the meeting but a district spokeswoman said there would be no comment at this time about the request.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the Mahoning County Board of Elections exceeded its authority by rejecting an anti-fracking ballot initiative in Youngstown and must place the proposal back on the ballot. The proposal, if approved, would ban fracking and anything related to the extraction of fossil fuels in the city. City voters have rejected similar ballot measures six times. The latest decision comes about six months after the court ruled that the board made the right decision not to put that initiative on the November 2017 ballot, but said this initiative excludes an offending provision that would have authorized “private citizens to enforce their rights through nonviolent direct action or by filing suit as a private attorney general.”

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of 46-year-old Willie Wilks of Youngstown, who was found guilty of the 2013 murder of Ororo Wilkins. The high court issued a unanimous opinion Tuesday denying his appeal. Witnesses testified that Wilks shot Wilkins with a semi-automatic rifle May 23, 2013, as she sat on a Park Avenue porch with another man who was holding a 5-month-old child. The other man survived, and the baby was not harmed.

Blaming the “aggressive practices” of the Girard City Schools, Liberty schools are blocking white students from taking part in open enrollment. Whether that plan will be successful – or potentially face a court challenge – remains to be seen. “You put a price on the head of this child and you are denying them the opportunity, and denying parents the right to make the decision on where they want their child educated, said Jimma McWilson, NAACP Youngstown Chapter vice president. Liberty Board of Education unanimously approved the resolution Monday that will prohibit white students from open enrolling in Girard City Schools. “I’m concerned about the direction this is going. It’s going to create a segregated school system,” said Liberty Superintendent Joseph Nohra.

Attorneys for former Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Martin Desmond are asking visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied to appoint an independent prosecutor to handle a petition to release five grand jury transcrips. Desmond, who was fired in April 2017 by county Prosecutor Paul Gains, contends the transcripts will show a pattern of misconduct in Gains' office. Desmond filed a civil lawsuit filed last month that accuses Gains and chief Assistant Prosecutor Linette Stratford of defamation, intimidation and falsification for public statements and actions related to Desmond’s firing.

Jury selection will begin Friday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in the death penalty case against Lance Hundley of Warren, who is accused in the beating death of Erika Huff and the beating of her mothr before Erika's Youngstown home was set on fire. Hundley faces charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of aggravated arson and one count of felonious assault. The case has been has been mired in drama at times – all instigated by Hundley, who has fired two sets of lawyers, including once firing a pair of lawyers twice in the same month, and changing his mind twice on the same day about representing himself.

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