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Noon headlines, April 18, 2012: Teachers, gut bacteria, Amish and movies
Five hundred Cleveland teachers to get pink slips; Cleveland clinic study top ranked, hate crimes and the Amish; freight yard expands;call for hike in Ohio movie tax credit

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M.L. Schultze
The movie, "The Avengers," was shot in Cleveland. It was drawn there, supporters say, in part by the Ohio movie tax credit.
Courtesy of BOB BURFORD
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  • Cleveland schools preparing to lay off 500 teachers, cut school day
  • Cleveland Clinic study linking gut and heart disease is named one of top 10
  • Government defends hate-crimes charges against renegade Amish
  • Demand for freight rail leads to expansion of Ohio rail yard
  • Patton wants to expand Ohio's movie credit 
  • Cleveland schools preparing to lay off 500 teachers, cut school day
    The Cleveland school board voted last night to lay off more than 500 kindergarten-through-eighth grade teachers. But it could have been worse. Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon says he spared as many teachers as possible.

    “This year we actually went very carefully through the staffing numbers and strategies," he said. "You saw us reduce the list from 600 to 508 specifically because we're looking at what do we absolutely have to have to open the district in the fall so that we avoid the turmoil of putting people through this multiple times." 

    The district will reduce the number of music, art, library, and gym classes and shorten the kindergarten through eighth-grade school day by 50 minutes. The cuts are expected to save the district $40 million.

    Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke thinks the district should have explored tax levies or lobbied for more state funding before laying off teachers. 

    As many as 200 teachers could be recalled to replace teachers who retire.

    Cleveland Clinic study linking gut and heart disease is named one of top 10
    A Cleveland Clinic study that links a common food additive, gut bacteria, and heart disease was named today as one of the top 10 research studies of the year by the Clinical Research Forum.

    The study is the first to link metabolites created by what are called intestinal flora with heart disease.

    Cleveland Clinic researcher Stanley Hazen says this research helps explain why traditional risk factors such as diet and genes tell only part of the story.

    “One reason why a person may go on and develop heart disease may not be just their genes, but that their intestinal flora makes them generate compounds that actually accelerate the development of heart disease.”

    Hazen’s study shows excessive amounts of the common food additive lecithin is the major source of the compound linked to heart disease.

    The Cleveland Clinic is partnering with North Carolina-based Liposcienceto develop a diagnostic test for the metabolite.

    Government defends hate-crimes charges against renegade Amish
     A half-dozen members of a renegade Amish sect are to be arraigned tomorrow on federal hate-crimes charges. The charges against Samuel Mullet and his followers are tied to a series of assaults last year on Old Order Amish including cutting off their hair and beards.

    Lawyers for Mullet and the others are challenging the application of the hate-crimes law to this case, saying it’s an unconstitutional intrusion. The Justice Department filed its response this week, saying the law was designed to protect freedom of speech and religion, but definitely includes religiously motivated violent assaults.

    It says these assaults were, quote, “designed to destroy the very essence of the victims’ Old Order Amish religious faith.”

    The hate crimes act was named for Matthew Shepard, a student perceived to be gay who was tortured and murdered, and James Byrd, a black teenager who was beheaded by white supremacists.

    Demand for freight rail leads to expansion of Ohio rail yard
    Norfolk Southern is spending 160 million dollars to upgrade a rail yard in Bellevue, sosuth of Sandusky, making it one of the largest in the country. The project is expected to add 275 jobs, and the company says the expansion will allow the yard to handle twice as many cars – up to 3,600. Norfolk Southern says it’s responding to growing demand for freight rail nationally, and the project is to be finished in 2015.

    Patton wants to expand Ohio's movie credit 
    Strongsville State Sen. Tom Patton wants to expand the state’s motion picture tax credit. He says the credit has led to $73 million in investment over three years. He wants to double the tax credit cap from $20 million to $40 million dollars every two years.  The rules require projects to have a production budget of at least $300,000 or more to qualify for a reimbursement of up to a maximum of $5 million per picture.  

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