WORKPLACE SAFETY

FirstEnergy, contractor fined

FirstEnergy Corp. and another Ohio company were fined more than $200,000 by federal officials for an August gas leak that killed two workers and injured four others at the utility’s Bruce Mansfield plant in Shippingport, Pa.

Akron-based FirstEnergy was fined $77,605 by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Cincinnati contractor EnerFab was fined $206,945. The facility along the Ohio River is FirstEnergy’s largest coal-fired power plant.

An EnerFab crew was performing maintenance at the time of the accident. OSHA found that FirstEnergy failed to properly communicate to Enerfab the dangers that the workers faced in the vault. It found that Enerfab failed to provide the proper respiratory protection for the workers.

The companies have until March 20 to appeal In a prepared statement, FirstEnergy said it is reviewing the citations.

HEALTH

Pediatrics practice moving

The Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics practice in Barberton will be moving to a new location and expanding later this year.

The practice at 62 Conservatory Drive, Suite A, will be moving to 566 Robinson Ave. in Barberton in the third quarter of this year, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The new location, in an existing building, will grow from 8 exam rooms to 12. An additional pediatrician will also be added this summer, as well as support staff.

The new space will accommodate about five to six providers, officials said.

JOBS

Greeting card plant to close

Westlake-based American Greetings will close its plant in Bardstown, Ky., by year’s end, laying off at least 450 employees, the company announced in a news release citing “an evaluation of the company’s future production needs.”

E-COMMERCE

New Amazon Prime discount

Amazon has taken another step to woo low-income shoppers to its site and away from rival Walmart.

The online retailer opened its discounted $5.99-a-month Prime membership on Wednesday to people on Medicaid, giving it an even bigger pool of potential shoppers who may otherwise have been unable to pay the standard fee.

Since June, Amazon has offered the same Prime discount to people using food stamps or other government assistance through an Electronic Benefit Transfer card. Adding Medicaid recipients makes Prime, and its expedited shipping for no extra cost, accessible to more people, Amazon said.

Industry analysts believe Amazon is maneuvering both to expand its Prime membership numbers, and to go after people whose first shopping destination may be Walmart.

Nearly 70 million people are enrolled in Medicaid, which provides health coverage to low-income people and those with disabilities. More than 42 million participate in the food stamps program, through what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

MEDIA

Discovery completes merger

Discovery Communications on Tuesday completed its merger with Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. and assumed control of the Scripps television channels HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel.

The nearly $12 billion purchase was designed to give Silver Spring, Md.-based Discovery more leverage with pay-TV operators such as DirecTV and Charter Communications’ Spectrum. It also should boost Discovery’s appeal among women who consider HGTV and Food Network must-have channels. Discovery’s channels primarily draw men.

“We are adding brands that people love and are passionate about,” said David Zaslav, Discovery’s chief executive.

The merger, which was first unveiled last July, comes amid increasing consolidation and competition.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.