CITY ONLINE HELP: The city of Cincinnati has started a Web site with a simple online form so residents can report problems and request services. Among its various uses are letting the city know about street lights needing new bulbs, pot holes, illegal trash dumping, bed bug infestations and more.
Mount Auburn residents recently learned municipal workers really do pay attention to it. They reported a burned-out street light July 30, and it was fixed the next day. On Aug. 17, they reported a damaged street sign, which was repaired two days later. It’s nice to know City Hall isn’t always a bureaucratic maze.
OVER-THE-RHINE HOTLINE: On the other hand, the “Gun and Drug Elimination Hotline,” operated by the OTR Chamber of Commerce and Mercy Health Partners, went inactive between May and mid-August due to a lack of funds.
The telephone number (513-588-6909) provides an anonymous method for people to report crime hotspots and illegal drug activity to help clean up the neighborhood.
A specific police officer is assigned to check the tips. Unfortunately, initial funding ran out last spring and the service was offline most of the summer, until city officials awarded some federal stimulus money to get it running again.
JOHN BATEMAN: The always-amiable John Bateman was the longest-serving weatherperson at WLWT-TV (Channel 5) but he often seems to get the short end of the stick. When WLWT lured former WXIX meteorologist Valerie Abati back to town from Pittsburgh to do its nighttime newscasts, it shifted former top dog Derek Beasley to mornings and left Bateman out in the cold.
Now, with Beasley bolting for Mobile, Ala., Bateman is back just three months after he left. His friendly, understated and professional style was missed, and is a refreshing change from some other weather maniacs.
ANTHONY PLUMMER: Here’s why some people are leery of Cincinnati police officers. Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. suspended the police powers of Officer Plummer Aug. 23, after Plummer fired a Taser at the daughter of City Councilman Cecil Thomas during a traffic stop a day earlier. Celeste Thomas was on her knees with her hands in the air when she was shot.
Plummer was fired in 2006 for unnecessarily escalating a domestic violence incident, but an arbitrator ordered that he be rehired a year later. He also was suspended previously for using excessive force when hitting a man with his nightstick.