A crowd of hundreds gathered at Cincinnati City Hall today to show support for Democratic presidential primary candidate Bernie Sanders.
The rally, organized by local supporters, featured speeches from several labor leaders, activists and political candidates followed by a brief march through downtown.
"The political revolution is coming to Cincinnati now,” said Jordan Angelo Opst, a University of Cincinnati student and organizer with the group Cincinnati for Bernie Sanders, which helped set up the rally. “We're ready to stand up in unity against injustice, unfairness and corruption. You'll notice that we've got white people. We've got black people. We have brown people. We have Christians. We have atheists. We have Muslims.”
Sadie Hughes, registered nurse and local director of National Nurses United, told the crowd the group was endorsing Sanders “because he cares for the same things we care about."
"He is leading the fight for Medicare for all,” she said. “Too many Americans, even with the Affordable Care Act, remain priced out of access to necessary health care. Too many of our seniors are still working at McDonalds and Wendy's and places like that. Bernie believes that everyone should be able to earn a living wage."
Sanders, currently a U.S. Senator for Vermont, identifies as a democratic socialist and was, until his primary campaign, an independent who caucused with Democrats. His candidacy began as a long shot against Democratic favorite and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, mostly due to the perceived baggage of his self-professed socialism and his low name recognition outside his home state.
Over the past few months, however, Sanders’ growing national popularity has many political pundits taking him more seriously as primary voters expressing fatigue over an increasingly divided political system line up to support him. He came in a close second behind Clinton in the Iowa caucus earlier this month and outright beat her in the New Hampshire primary by a large margin.
As he's run, Sanders has shifted policy debates with Clinton to the left. In recent debates, the two largely agree on broad-based policy ideas, instead debating on the feasibility of their respective progressive plans. Clinton has hit Sanders on statements from liberal (often Democratic Party-affiliated) economists saying that his proposals for a single-payer health care system don't add up, and by bringing up his past record voting against certain gun control measures, a big issue for many Democrats. Other progressives, though, have leaped to Sanders' defense. The Vermont Senator, meanwhile, has hit Clinton for the large financial institutions that have given her campaign and PACs millions, and from which she has taken large, six-figure speaking fees.
Now, his supporters are looking to South Carolina and Nevada, the next two states to weigh in on the primary race. Democrats caucus today in Nevada, where Sanders has been chipping away at a large Clinton lead. The most recent polls out of South Carolina, where Democrats will have primary voting next week, show Clinton with a commanding 18-point lead, however.
Here in Cincinnati, things are heating up ahead of Ohio’s March 15 primary. Last week, former president Bill Clinton spoke at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center to a capacity crowd of 200. There, he touted his wife’s ability to be “a change maker.”
But some Cincinnatians see Sanders as a better fit for that role.
Some attendees at today’s rally expressed frustration with the current political system and say they see Sanders, with his calls for campaign finance and financial industry reform, as a catalyst for bigger changes.
“It’s not just Democrats, it’s not just Republicans. It’s institutional politics on both sides,” said rally-goer Jim Applebee, who lives in the Cincinnati area. But electing Sanders could be a tipping point, he says. “I don’t think he can change things, but we can. We need a leader for that movement. It can’t be one person. But it can happen. And if it doesn’t, we see the trend that we’re on.”
Some cited Sanders’ populist proposals around cost-free college education, expanding Medicare to the entire U.S. population, and other issues as the way to systemic change, and as signs of his principles.
“He has a concise platform about what he believes in, and he comes across as the most honest and ethical candidate,” Lou Ebstein of Cincinnati said. “My kids both have college loans, and they’re paying them back, and it’s an increasing burden. We’re not going to get anywhere if that continues to be the case for people.
Ebstein didn’t have negative words about Sanders’ primary opponent Hillary Clinton, but said he saw Sanders as a candidate more likely to proactively push progress beyond the Obama era.
“There are so many things that need to get done, and we need to go about them in a different way. Sanders really put a big challenge out there. He came out of nowhere, and now we’re going to see what Nevada does.”
British playwright George Bernard Shaw was one of the great writers for the stage a century ago, and his most popular play, Saint Joan, is a choice available for theatergoers this weekend, thanks to the Diogenes Theatre Company. It’s the story of the rise and fall of one of history’s most fascinating characters, a young country girl in the early 15th century who claimed that God told her to drive the invading English army out of France. Of course, her fate turns and she’s burned at the stake before her 20th birthday. Cincinnati Shakespeare veteran Sara Clark is taking on the title role, and Lindsey August Mercer, who has assisted with many Cincy Shakes productions, is the director. She says, “The beautiful effect of Shaw’s account is the way his language encapsulates Joan’s strength, conviction and unshakable positivity.” Three actors — Billy Chace and Geoffrey Barnes from the Shakespeare company and Patrick Phillips, a regular with Ensemble Theatre —portray a large cast of additional characters. Diogenes is presenting Saint Joan at the Aronoff’s Fifth Third Bank Theater through March 5. Tickets: cincinnatiarts.org
The smart-alecky Avenue Q just opened at Cincinnati Landmark Productions’ Incline Theater in Price Hill. A Tony winner in 2004, the show is a darkly funny knock-off from Sesame Street, Muppet-like puppets and all, with a strong off-color dose of contemporary sarcasm. Kids who watched the educational PBS show were told they could do anything if they tried hard; Avenue Q turns that notion inside out, working from the premise that life sucks. (The song “It Sucks to Be Me” takes most of the air out of any optimist’s balloon.) The production, staged by local state veteran Elizabeth Harris, has a cast of able singers and actors who have learned they way around making puppets laugh-out-loud funny, especially Allyson Snyder as nice girl Kate Monster and neighborhood bad girl Lucy the Slut. A fine and varied singer, Snyder ably flips the switch between Kate’s naïve innocence and Lucy’s lascivious come-hither ways, often in the same scene. It’s an evening of giggles and guffaws, but not for the kids. Through March 6.
Some good things happening starting this weekend on campus at Xavier and Northern Kentucky universities. At XU’s Gallagher Student Center Theater you’ll find three shows in repertory — a classic by August Strindberg, Miss Julie; a heady drama by Harold Pinter, Betrayal; and Begotten, a world premiere by senior theater major Tatum Hunter. They’ll be in a rotating schedule through Feb. 28. Tickets: 513-745-3939 … At NKU, it’s a classic comedy, Kaufman and Hart’s Once in a Lifetime, a wickedly funny script from 1929 about some vaudeville troupers trying to make a comeback in Hollywood. Tickets: 859-572-5464 … Want to know a bit more about local university theater programs? Read my Curtain Call column from Feb. 17.
Once you make it past the weekend it will be time for the second installment of Serials! at Know Theatre, the “episodic theater party” offering 15-minutes from five works in progress — three that began on Feb. 8, and two new works starting this week. Audience members get to vote for their favorites to keep them alive for the next session on March 7. Watch theater being made on the fly. Tickets: 513-300-5669
Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
will take home a bubbling jar of probiotics. Includes seven hours of instructions, tasting samples, hands-on practice, printed resources, access to live phone support and a healthy lunch. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. $299. Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, University of Cincinnati, 151 Goodman Drive, Clifton, 907-694-2284, store.probioticjar.com.
Hey all. Here’s the news today.
A deal to equip Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies with body cameras will be delayed, Sheriff Jim Neil announced yesterday. Hamilton County commissioners approved a deal between the Sheriff’s office and Taser, International for $1.3 million over five years, which would have provided body cameras as well as new Tasers for the department. However, contracts that big must be opened up to public bidding, so the county’s deal with Taser is on hold until other bids are solicited. The department has been looking into body cameras at a time when many law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Cincinnati Police Department, have taken steps to adopt the technology following controversial police shootings of civilians.
• In case you missed our update yesterday, Cincinnati police released the name of the man shot by officers in Cheviot. Officers Eric Kohler, Zachary Sterbling and Scott McManis of the Cincinnati Police Department shot Paul Gaston, 37, Wednesday, after they say he pulled a gun. Those officers fired a total of nine shots at Gaston, who they say was pulling what turned out to be a realistic-looking Airsoft bb gun from his waistband.
Video of the incident taken by bystanders shows Gaston initially complying with orders to get on his knees. The video, taken from behind, shows Gaston make a motion toward his mid-section with his right arm, but does not show a gun. He was originally reported waiving a gun in Westwood in a 911 call by his girlfriend, who was not at the scene, but who says she was receiving texts from her sister, who was. Police followed several other calls to find Gaston after he wrecked his truck and walked to neighboring Cheviot. Gatson was the second person shot by CPD this year. The first, Robert Tenbrick, was also shot while he had a toy gun.
City officials, including Mayor John Cranley, said they’re standing behind the officers, who have been placed on procedural administrative leave as the shooting is investigated. Sterbling and Kohler have been flagged for receiving multiple complaints through the Citizen’s Complaint Authority in the past, but officials say they acted appropriately Wednesday.
• This is kind of lame. MadTree will be temporarily pulling production of my favorite of theirs, Gnarly Brown, due to conflicts with a California wine maker over the use of the word “gnarly.” Delicato Vineyard has filed a complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over MadTree’s use of the word, which the vineyard uses in its Gnarly Head wine. While this seems a little ridiculous on it face — it’s beer vs. wine, after all, and it’s not even the same exact phrase — far be it from me to contest California’s ownership of the word “gnarly.” MadTree will retool the beer’s branding slightly and begin production again.
• Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has signaled he’ll sign a controversial bill passed by the state’s legislature outlawing tolls as a way to fund the looming $2.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge project. Tolls have been forwarded as one possible way to fund the prohibitively high cost of replacing the bridge, which is functionally obsolete but structurally sound for now. The span, which carries I-75 across the Ohio River, is on one of the busiest shipping routes in the country. The bill stipulates that tolling cannot be part of any project connecting Kentucky to Ohio without the approval of the state’s legislature, which will not approve the funding method as a way to pay for the bridge.
• Will the fight over a replacement for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia affect Ohio’s U.S. Senate race? It could. Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, has sided with other conservative senators who have signaled they will refuse to have confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s replacement nominations. They argue that Obama should wait until after the next election to let voters have a say on the pivotal placement. Currently, the court is divided evenly between four liberal and four conservative judges. Scalia was ultra-conservative, and Republicans would like nothing more than to replace him with someone ideologically similar. Portman has sided with most, but not all, Republicans in the chamber signaling they won’t give any confirmation hearings.
The question is, will that help or hurt him in a close race with Democrats, who look somewhat likely to nominate former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in the March 15 primary? Ohio is a purple state, but Portman could rally his staunchly conservative base with the highly partisan move. On the other hand, it may not endear him to moderates and fence-sitters, who Strickland looks able to scoop up in November.
Portman’s taken some heat for the move from the Toledo Blade, among other editorial boards. While Democrats in the Senate, including Obama during his term, have opposed Republican presidents’ judicial nominees, they have done so through more traditional means — by voting no, by filibustering to avoid procedural votes on cloture, or closing debate on a nominee so a final vote can be taken during a confirmation hearing. Republicans are proposing something different and unprecedented: refusing to hold a hearing at all.
sour beers and live music with state-of-the-art audio quality, Urban Artifact
brings people together for “wild culture” — its tagline — all housed within a
historic Northside church.
“We like to combine the activity of getting together with great beer,” Hand says.
Urban Artifact beer is complemented with live music nearly every night of the
week. With a different band playing each night, Urban Artifact’s crowd also changes
nightly. The venue invites all different types of artists to play there, but
the strongest emphasis is on local and regional acts.
The brewery’s taproom and listening lounge are located in the old church basement,
unique for its high quality acoustics. Artists who play there are left
remarking on how great the sound is. This excellent sound comes thanks to Hand,
who used his expertise in designing theater spaces to craft the music venue.
Urban Artifact plans to move into the sanctuary part of the church after
renovations are complete. Converting this space into the ideal music venue will
be the most difficult part of the process, but Hand says he is ready and
excited for the challenge. He is currently in the planning phase for this project.
The idea for Urban Artifact sprung from Hand’s interest in music. In fact, he
started an independent music label while in college at the University of
Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. His label,
Grayscale Records, was meant to represent all music in the indie spectrum.
After writing a plan about the future of the music business, Hand decided to
focus on connecting an audience directly to musicians instead. Beer was added
to the mix in order to create the Urban Artifact brand.
While Hand moved to Chicago after graduating from UC, he returned to Cincinnati
almost five years ago for his family. Here, he met the right business partners
to bring his vision to life. He remarks on how Cincinnati is the ideal city for
a project to sprout.
“You can do everything here,” he says. “You can come here with a dream and good
business plan and make it happen.”
Urban Artifact’s location within the city is also ideal. The old church was
chosen because it was in the middle of a neighborhood, which Hand says has been
fantastically receptive to the new venue.
“While I would love to be a tourist attraction, it’s great to be appreciated by
the locals,” he says.
At first, Hand was apprehensive about housing Urban Artifact in an old church.
“I thought the church thing was going to be a deal breaker, but almost everyone
who comes here thinks it’s hilarious,” he says. This includes a group of 18
priests who came into Urban Artifact dressed in their full traditional garbs to
drink one day.
Since its formation in Feb. 2013, Siegelord has been biding its time and waiting for the right moment to strike. After several sound, image and name shifts, the Cincinnati-based Metal band finally found its footing and began building a legion of fans. The quartet (vocalist Ulfr, guitarist Therod, drummer Sieven and bassist Warg) may have taken its sweet time releasing its first full-length, Ascent of the Fallen, but spinning the 12-track debut is enough to get any listener prepped to strap on some armor and go to war, even if it is just in the mosh pit.
Fans of Ulfr, Sieven and Warg’s previous band, local Folk Metal crew Winterhymn, can definitely hear some stylistic similarities. But where Winterhymn focuses its efforts on the Folk aspects of its formula, Siegelord leans more heavily upon Black and Death Metal to craft its battle anthems. Both bands weave orchestration into their songs, but Siegelord trade in the violins and keys for powerful blasts of horn and sprawling synths to give their tracks a more tribal and feral edge. These are not odes to honorable warriors but to conquerors and bloodthirsty warlords. and the musicianship reinforces that distinction.
Each members’ individual inspirations permeate every track. Ulfr’s love of Behemoth and Gwar fills every growled and shrieked line, Sieven’s Hardcore background can be heard in his bombastic cymbal crashes and heavy-handed pounding. Therod’s thrashy riffs, reminiscent of Amon Amarth and similar acts, along with Warg’s classically constructed bass rumbles fill the rest of the bloody picture. Throughout, the synth and horns add a flourish to each song and enhance each track’s intended mood. The driving, violent call to arms of “Gatebreaker” just wouldn’t be the same without a bellow from the horn, calling the fighters to one singular purpose — in this case, a massive, track-ending breakdown.
While the music itself is suitably brutal, Ulfr’s lyrics are what sets Ascent apart. The album is autobiographical in many ways, as Ulfr weaves a tale of the four characters banished from their realm and exiled to an inhospitable desert, ultimately finding a way to make their new homeland truly theirs. Sprinkled throughout are several interludes where Ulfr expands on the story he weaves. These tracks avoid feeling like filler due to Ulfr’s savage, spoken delivery, which elicits a shiver or two from the listener. Furthermore, “Siegelord” and “Warchief of Fallen Spirits” take time to develop Ulfr, Sieven, Warg and Therod’s individual backstories.
Buried within the fantastical saga that Ulfr shares are some true-to-life revelations regarding deception, lies, love lost and overcoming exceptional odds at all costs. In many ways, Ascent of the Fallen is a literal title and the band’s material benefits from not relying simply on classical fantasy tropes or focusing too heavily on creating a concept album to construct its tale.
Siegelord’s inception was a tumultuous one, coming out of very real, personal schisms. While most of these divisions have healed with time, their memory helped fuel the creation of an album that ties together many familiar influences and mechanics, but ultimately is able to rise above them. The intelligent use of Ulfr’s commanding vocals, riffs that cut like a broadsword, drumming and bass that crashes across your chest and driving orchestration has led to an album that may have taken several years to finally complete, but was worth the wait. Local Metal fans need only to listen to the album before exclaiming, “Praise the fuckin’ Lord.”
Siegelord's new album can be purchased (digitally or on CD) here.
Hey hey Cincy. Here’s what’s happening today.
Cincinnati Police officers shot and killed a man in Cheviot yesterday after they say he pulled a gun from his waistband. Officers say they were responding to calls about a man intoxicated and waiving a gun in neighboring Westwood when an accident happened a few blocks away. They determined the driver in that accident was the same person from the initial call and followed him, ordering him to stop. He initially complied, according to officers, but then pulled a gun, at which time officers opened fire. Police have not released the person’s name, but say he is a 36-year-old black male. No dash cam or other footage of the incident, if it exists, has been released yet, but police officials say they will release more information about the shooting today. A witness named Clites Holloway saw the shooting from a nearby van and told reporters, “I barely seen him move his body, and as soon as I seen that, first cop took the shot.” All involved officers are on a seven-day paid leave of absence as the shooting is investigated.
UPDATE: Police say 37-year-old Paul Gaston pulled an Air Soft toy pistol from his waistband while he was on his knees in the street complying with officers. A video of the incident taken by a member of the public doesn't show Gaston with a gun, though he does reach briefly for his waist area.
• Improper prescriptions, dirty surgical implements and receiving extra money as a head surgeon without actually performing surgeries are accusations being leveled at the head of Cincinnati’s Veterans Administration Hospital Dr. Barbara Temeck, who is caught up in a federal investigation of the VA branch. A WCPO investigation alleges Temeck takes in more than $100,000 extra a year for a surgical role she doesn’t perform, that she prescribed prescription pain medicine to her boss’ wife, seemingly without the necessary licenses, and that she has looked the other way at dirty instruments, staffing shortages and other problems at Cincinnati’s VA hospital.
Detractors interviewed by the news organization say Temeck’s tenure has resulted in a quantifiable drop in the quality of care at the hospital. The investigation features interviews with doctors and patients, as well as public records supporting some of its findings. Supporters within the VA point out the hospital routinely gets four- and five-star reviews from the administration and that Temeck has done a good job at her post. They also say that the report doesn’t include information about whether or not the hospital has seen budget cuts from the federal government and what role those cuts may have played in quality of care.
• Cincinnati streetcar riders won’t be able to buy a specific, month-long unlimited use pass like the kind you can get for METRO buses, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority says. Such a pass would be very similar to the $70 METRO passes, SORTA says, and could run afoul of federal regulations about segregating ridership. Some council members have said that potential riders may not want to ride the bus, but will want to ride the streetcar, and that SORTA should look into a separate pass for them. Riders will be able to buy unlimited-use daily passes for the streetcar at $2, however, and can also use their monthly METRO passes on the cars.
• Cincinnati officials, including Mayor John Cranley and
representatives from 3CDC yesterday held a groundbreaking event for
upcoming renovations to Ziegler Park, which sits on Sycamore Street at
the border of Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton. Those renovations will
include a new pool and a 400-car underground parking lot. The renovation
plan calls for at least $20 million in public money from state New
Markets Tax Credits and city parks and recreation bonds. 3CDC says it
still needs $12 million to finish the project and will continue
fundraising from public and private sources to fill in that gap. The
project comes even as the Cincinnati Parks Board has said it is running
low on funds to complete needed maintenance on parks across the city,
though much of the money for Ziegler is coming from other sources.
Cincinnati City Council recently approved giving the parks and
recreation bonds to 3CDC.
Neighborhood residents this summer took part in a three-session planning effort to garner feedback about the park. Among concerns expressed by residents, including advocates for low-income tenants in the neighborhood worried about the area’s ongoing gentrification, were preserving the park’s basketball courts and the possibility that Ziegler could become a busy “destination” park like Washington Park. Planners assured community members that those wishes would be honored. Cranley suggested hosting “a mini-LumenoCity here sometime soon” in his remarks, though park planners say the park will remain passive, or without major programming. Let's see what happens there.
• Finally, the question continues: Who owns the Western Hills Viaduct, and who will pay to repair or replace it? Right now, Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials are basically doing this about the question: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
The mile-long bridge, built by the city in 1932, needs to be replaced or seriously repaired in the next decade or so, and officials are finally getting serious about figuring that whole thing out. Sort of. The county and city are still fighting over who has ownership over the bridge and will foot the expected $80 million share of the $280 million replacement project. That conversation would be a lot easier if we as a country, you know, prioritized public infrastructure funding at the state and federal levels, but, ya know, times were different in the 1930s and we were just swimming in cash back then… oh wait. Anyway, now I’m editorializing. Maybe we can just build a giant zipline when the thing finally collapses?
Matthew 25: Ministries is a nonprofit organization based in Blue Ash dedicated to international humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Since its inception in 1991, the nonprofit has been able to go from carrying suitcases of medical supplies to small villages in Nicaragua to now distribution 15 million pounds of product each year that reaches 20 million people worldwide.
“Give items, give financially, or give time. It’s not right for me to tell someone how they should serve, it’s up to them to decide how they should serve.” says CEO Tim Mettey. Basically anything someone has to offer is accepted here. Mettey stresses that there is no effort too little to make a difference to someone in need.
Matthew 25: Ministries is looking for volunteers of all ages with any range of abilities to help with sorting and repackaging the tons of donated items. Walking through the 168,000-square-foot facility between shifts, it’s obvioushow huge the place actually is. The warehouse organization is so efficient with pallets of donations stacked to the ceiling, it’s like walking through an altruistic Costco.
Matthew 25: Ministries could be considered low-maintenance volunteering — they just ask people to drop in when they have time; there are no commitments or an extensive training before you start. “Every thing we have we can teach anyone to do in 5 minutes.” Mettey says.
Volunteers can help by sorting through cans of latex paint for their Rainbow Paint Reblending Program. The program takes paint that would normally go to waste, opens it all up, combines like colors and repackages the paint which is then donated to housing projects around the world.
Or help build personal care kits that are sent to people in need, either living in an area without access or having lost everything in a disaster. This station is designed for younger volunteers. Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash and other hygiene products are separated into bins and arranged in a circle. This makes it a simple task to grab a plastic bag and pick one product from each bin to fill it.
If you don’t have a ton of extra time in the day, think about cleaning out a closet or the pantry to find items for donation. Any consumable item you can donate is a gift to someone facing the aftermath of a disaster or living in a developing country. Medical supplies, clothing, hygiene products, non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies and toys are just some of the items that Matthew 25: Ministries is always accepting.
The organization collects empty pill bottles as part of the Recycling Program. Donated pill bottles, clean with the labels removed and the lids on, can be reused. If a lid is lost or you don't feel like cleaning the bottles, they can be shredded and turned in for cash that is put back into the organization. About a dozen giant bins of donated pill bottles, that would most likely be in a landfill otherwise, are processed every day for recycling.
Monetary donations are appreciated. “If someone writes us a check for disaster relief, 100-percent of that will go to the disaster relief.” Mettey says. Because there is only one facility, Matthew 25: Ministries is able to keep its overhead cost very low, allowing 99 percent of the cash donations to go directly into service programs.
Just by stepping foot in the facility it was evident that Matthew 25: Ministries is dedicated to what it is doing. The organization began with one man’s compassionate idea to deliver medical supplies to a small village in Central America. Today, it celebrates 25 years of providing humanitarian aid to more than 60 countries.
• Early voting is now open for Ohio's primary on March 15. Voters can now head down to Hamilton County Board of Elections to vote, which mght be a good idea to avoid long lines or obnoxious political junkies at the polls. The Board of Elections website also lets you look up whether you're actually registered to vote and where you can go to vote, if you feel like doing so on the actual day.
• The University of Cincinnati is thinking about expanding its campus into downtown. UC President Santa Ono said the university is considering moving its law, business and music programs to a new downtown campus in order to connect better with the city. The university has long discussed moving its law school in particular. Ono says the current building on the corner of Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street that houses the school is in need of renovations. UC officials are still considering possibilities, so there's no solid word yet on whether any programs will actually move.
• The recent spike in heroin use reported in the greater Cincinnati area has caused another outbreak: Hepatitis C. The number of infections jumped in 2015 with more than 1,000 new reported cases, The Enquirer reports, which public health officials say goes hand-in-hand with injection drugs like heroin. About 75 percent of Hepatitis C cases result in severe liver problems. Public health officials are pushing needle exchange programs to help curb the rate of infection, and on Monday the Northern Kentucky Health Department got approval to develop its own exchange program.
• Ohio has created a $20 million program to help aid the clean up of abandoned gas stations. The Ohio Development Services Agency is in charge of handing out the grant money over the next two years to city land banks. The state is currently working on a website for applicants to apply online set to launch in March. Ohio Development Services Agency Director David Goodman said the idea for the program struck him when he noticed the number of small Ohio towns with an abandoned gas station in the middle. These properties can also have issues with oil and gas leaks from leftover underground tanks.