Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines.
Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing is expected to testify at his trial, which has been set for Oct. 24. Tensing is charged with the murder of motorist Samuel Dubose during a traffic stop in Mount Auburn last July. Tensing's attorney indicated in a pre-trial motion that Tensing would be on the list of more than 20 witnesses scheduled to testify. Other listed witnesses include Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and UC President Santa Ono.
• Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Clifton today. Clinton will speak at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center at 3 p.m. at a Get Out the Vote event. The event could mark the beginning of the aggressive campaigning from presidential candidates in Ohio in the coming months. Not surprisingly, Clinton is expected to urge people to vote for his wife and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president as well as discuss the current election. Doors open at 2 p.m., and you can RSVP here.
• Grocery giant Kroger announced today that it will start selling Narcan, the heroin overdose antidote, without a prescription at its pharmacies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The drug, which is often carried by emergency personnel, is currently only available in 27 state pharmacies without a prescription. Kroger's announcement follows the one made earlier this month by drug store CVS, which said it would begin selling Narcan in its Ohio stores next month. The corporations' decisions come as more attention has been brought to a recent spike in the number of heroin-related deaths sweeping the region.
• Weed and redistricting are several issues on the minds of legislators. At the Associated Press Legislative Preview Session on Thursday, House and Senate leaders said they were each holding their own separate hearings on medical marijuana. Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said while thinks there's support for it in the legislature, if marijuana is legalized it will probably be not be available in smoking form in order to keep from creating a loophole for those who just want to get high legally. Leaders also said they were kind of, sort of working on redistricting reform, which was approved by voters last November. Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) said the proposals received so far are going to a seven-member commission, which includes four lawmakers.
FILM: LOVE ME TONIGHT
EVENT: ANATOMY OF A VALENTINE DINNER & DISSECTION
EVENT: LOVE MOER ON CAROL ANN'S CAROUSELFollow up dinner at the Moerlein Lager House with a romantic carousel ride. Moerlein is teaming up with Carol Ann’s Carousel and the Cincinnati Parks Department to provide everyone who dines at the restaurant this weekend with a pass for a complimentary ride. Carousel operates 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5-8 p.m. Sunday. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, moerleinlagerhouse.com.
EVENT: VALENTINE'S DAY AT ORCHIDSFive-diamond restaurant Orchids at Palm Court serves up Valentine’s Day eats all weekend with two different seatings, including four and six courses respectively. Reservations required. Friday-Sunday. First seating $85; second seating $105. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com.
EVENT: VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER AT WASHINGTON PLATFORMMeal includes fresh oysters, two entrées, salads, a bottle of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries. But that’s not the best part — guests will also enjoy a half-hour horse-drawn carriage ride through the city. Friday-Sunday. $125; $90 without carriage ride. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.
ONSTAGE: CCO PRESENTS LA SERVA PADRONA AND STABAT MATERThe Cincinnati Chamber Opera performs a double bill of works by Giovanni Battista. The night kicks off with La Serva Padrona, a comedic one-act intermezzo often credited with bridging the gap between the Baroque and Classical eras. The second half of the program is a staging of Stabat Mater, which tells the biblical story of Jesus’ crucifixion from Mary’s point of view. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $25 adults; $20 students and seniors. St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park, cincinnatichamberopera.com.
EVENT: KROHN BY CANDLELIGHTThe Krohn keeps its doors open a little later for an adults-only date night. Stroll through the conservatory’s current spring show, Hatching Spring Blooms, and stop by the education room to learn about chocolate. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday. $12; reservations required. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, 513-421-4086, cincinnatiparks.com.
EVENT: MY FURRY VALENTINECincinnati’s largest pet adoption event returns to the Sharonville Convention Center for its fifth year of connecting animals in need with forever families. Meet a variety of pets, including cats, dogs, rodents, reptiles and birds. More than 500 adoptable animals from 40 local rescue groups, like Adore-A-Bull Rescue, League for Animal Welfare and SPCA Cincinnati, will be in attendance. Vendors will also sell a variety of products for your current furry family members. Last year, the event was attended by more than 10,000 people, resulting in 729 adoptions; organizers hope to see even bigger numbers in 2016. To ensure the safety of all animals involved, attendees are asked to leave their own pets at home. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $3 entry; adoption fees vary per rescue. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, myfurryvalentine.com.
EVENT: JUNGLE JIM'S BIG CHEESE FESTIVAL
Looking for a cheesy way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Jungle Jim’s has you covered. This year’s Big Cheese Festival promises to be the biggest one yet, featuring 40 booths from more than 80 different companies. Choose from 1,400 types of cheeses and pair your selections with meats, olives, breads, condiments and various liquors offered at stations throughout the building. Wine and beer can be purchased by the glass, and VIP and drinking wristbands are also available. Cheese carver Sarah Kaufmann, who holds a Guinness World Record for her talent, will be creating designs onsite; guests can even sample shavings from the cheese blocks Kaufmann carves. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $12 general admission; $2 children 16 and under; $16 advance two-day pass; $25 wristband. Oscar Event Center, Jungle Jim’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield,
EVENT: VALENTINE'S DINNER AT THE ZOOThis wild date night includes special close-up animal encounters in addition to dinner, dessert, a cash bar, wine-and-dine options and complimentary champagne. Guests will learn about the extreme measures some animals take to find a compatible mate in the wild. Saturday-Sunday. $150 per couple. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, cincinnatizoo.org.
MUSIC: TIGERLILLIES AND THE SUNDRESSESAcclaimed local Rock band Tigerlilies is taking over Cincinnati all month long, performing a free show every week in February. On Saturday, the band plays Northside’s The Comet with The Sundresses, honoring Valentine’s Day by taking “prom photos” with attendees — come dressed in your tackiest school-dance attire. 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Free. The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, facebook.com/thetigerliliesusa.
EVENT: SPEED-DATING UNPLUGGED AT NEONS
EVENT: REVOLUTION ROTISSERIE & BAR'S SINGLE'S BRUNCHV-Day is not just for couples (although couples are also welcome). Celebrate and treat yourself to a boozy brunch. Includes bottomless mimosas, Cards Against Humanity and hourly gift card giveaways. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. 1106 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0009, revolutionrotisserie.com.
ONSTAGE: CATACOUSTIC CONSORT: THE HEROIC BAROQUE VIOLINSpend Valentine’s Day with modern and Baroque violinist Krista Bennion Beeney. Accompanied by harpsichord and bass viola da gamba, Beeney takes on pieces by Leclair, Biber and Bach. 3 p.m. Sunday. $25 general; $10 students; free children 12 and under. Church of the Advent, 2366 Kemper Lane, E. Walnut Hills, 513-772-3242, catacoustic.com.
EVENT: SONIC VALENTINE FOR THE EARTHThis local concert is part of a worldwide event called World Sound Healing Day, which combines sounds to generate peace and harmony. Featured musicians include Audrey Causilla, chant and piano; Vivian Hurley, gongs; Baoku Moses, Nigerian drumming and chant; and Janice T. Sunflower, Native American flutes. 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $15. Grace Episcopal Church, 5501 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-541-2415, gracecollegehill.org.
Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines.
A trial date has been set for former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who fatally shot unarmed motorist Sam DuBose in Mount Auburn in July. Tensing will face murder and manslaughter charges brought against him by Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters on Oct. 24, a year and three months after he shot DuBose during a traffic stop. Tensing pulled DuBose over for a missing license plate. DuBose refused to exit his car, and after a brief struggle where Tensing reached into the ca and DuBose started his vehicle, the officer shot him. Tensing's next pre-trial hearing will be in April.
• Forty people marched downtown yesterday stopping in front of the John Weld Peck Federal Building on Main Street to protest the U.S. immigration policy. The protest, which was coordinated with the Christian holiday of Ash Wednesday, was specifically calling on the feds' recent decision to start deporting women with young children and unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The march also comes a week after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided an East Price Hill apartment complex with a large number of Central Americans for unknown reasons.
• Park Chili in Northside has new owners. The Cincinnati chili staple, which has been in operation since 1937, was bought by Steven and Susan Thompson to be operated by their daughter and son-in-law Allie Thompson and Kevin Pogo Curtis as The Park. Curtis previously operated Tacocracy on Hamilton Avenue. Curtis says they plan to keep it a cozy diner, and they even have the chili recipe from former owner Norm Bazoff, which they bought along with the restaurant.
• U.S. Senate candidate and city councilman P.G. Sittenfeld may have gotten his biggest endorsement yet. Former Democratic Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste has come out in support of Sittenfeld. Sittenfeld is currently running against another former Ohio Gov., Ted Strickland, for the Democratic nomination. The winner of the March primary will face the Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman.
• A bill that would defund Planned Parenthood of Ohio is on its way to Gov. John Kasich's desk. Yesterday, while Kasich was celebrating his second place victory in the New Hampshire GOP primary, the House voted to approve the bill with the amendments added by the Senate. Some political analysts are asking if these two things were strategically planned. The House happened to vote on the legislation the day after the New Hampshire primary where the state's moderate Republicans are likely to be less supportive of defunding Planned Parenthood. But it could help Kasich at his next stop in South Carolina where the state's republicans are more stoked on the idea. Republican Senate President Keith Faber denied on Wednesday the vote was timed to boost Kasich's shot at the presidential nomination, but said he does think the bill will please South Carolina Republicans.
The Ohio House of Representatives today passed HB-294 with amendments added by the state Senate that would ban the Ohio Department of Health from distributing state and federal funds to centers that perform non-therapeutic abortions.
Health organizations are already prohibited from using state and federal funds toward abortion services. The bill will take this a step further by prohibiting federal funding for non-therapeautic abortions, meaning organizations that perform abortions as a result of rape or incest or those that are not medically necessary are banned as well. Along with non-therapeautic abortions, organizations like Planned Parenthood also use such funding for things like services that help prevent infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer, infertility, minority AIDS and HIV infection and teen STDs and pregnancy. The bill also bars the state from contracting or affiliating with any such organization.
It would redirect the funding into other community health organizations like Women, Infant and Children (WIC) clinics.
If Kasich signs the bill into law, it will strip Planned Parenthood of Ohio, the largest abortion provider in the state, of the nearly $1.4 million it receives in government funds.
The added amendments would direct $250,000 toward infant mortality prevention efforts and allow pregnant women to go to government-sponsored medical programs while they are applying for Medicaid, instead of waiting until after they are approved.
Ohio ranks 45th highest in the U.S. for infant mortality, with 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, according the 2013 Centers for Disease Control's National Vital Statistics Reports.
On the House floor, Democrats argued that even though the bill's amendments were directing more resources toward an issue like infant mortality prevention, the bill overall is causing greater harm by stripping an organization like Planned Parenthood of funding it already uses for that purpose.
Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) said the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics in the state tackle educational issues like this and do not perform abortions.
"You are not defunding abortions with this bill," she said.
Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Akron) said she believes the two items are mutually exclusive.
"The rate of infant mortality rate for aborted babies is 100 percent," said Roegner.
The legislation is the latest move in a long string of new requirements lawmakers have passed for abortion providers.
Proponents of the requirements say the laws are intended to improve safety standards at abortion providers. Opponents say they are bureaucratic red tape aimed at reducing the number of clinics performing abortions.
A 2009 law requires that abortion clinics have a patient-transfer agreement with a public hospital but can request a variance, or exception, if they are unable to do so.
Planned Parenthood in Mount Auburn and the Women's Med Clinic, the last two abortion providers in southwest Ohio, nearly lost their licenses to perform the procedure earlier this year when the Department of Health denied the clinics' request for a variance.
Planned Parenthood sued the state, and a judge ruled in October that the clinics are allowed to operate during the lawsuit.
If the clinics lose their licenses, Cincinnati would be the largest metropolitan area in the country without access to abortion services.
Stephanie Kight, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, told the Enquirer that its health education programs will see the most funding cuts under HB-294.
Erin Smiley, a health educator at Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, told CityBeat last October the organization stands to lose a $300,000 federal grant for a sex education class for adjudicated and foster care youth it teaches across 18 Ohio counties.
"I would welcome anyone, the legislature, Senators, whomever, if anyone ever wanted to come and see what our messages are really like and see the impacts that we have and how these young people are empowered by this information," Smiley said. "I really believe it would be hard for those folks to think that what they're doing right now is the best for young people."
Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton in his neighboring state of New Hampshire last night, and the early dominant performance could send shockwaves through Clinton’s operations.
Once seen as an afterthought in the Democratic primary, Sanders took the Granite State in an impressive 60-percent victory over the former secretary of state’s 38.3 percent.
"Nine months ago, if you told somebody that we would win the New Hampshire primary, they would not have believed you," the Sanders campaign wrote to supporters. With 11 percent of the votes counted, Clinton conceded defeat early in the evening.
“I know what it’s like to be knocked down — and I’ve learned from long experience that it’s not whether you get knocked down that matters. It’s about whether you get back up,” Clinton’s campaign said.
Shortly before Clinton conceded defeat, Sanders’ supporters gathered for a victory speech. Cheers erupted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” and chants of “We don’t need no Super PAC” were blared when TV cameras went live as the 74-year-old took the stage with his wife.
"The people of New Hampshire have sent a profound message to the political establishment, the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment," Sanders said in his victory speech.
"What the people here have said is that given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and establishment economics — the people want real change."
Sanders’ senior strategist Tad Devine said in an MSNBC interview that they believe this was the biggest margin of victory in a contested Democratic primary in history.
Going through the election results, there is virtually nothing for Clinton to claim as a morale victory. Her margin of losing was too great with most voters.
New Hampshire exit polls show 85 percent of women under 30 voted for Sanders. He won 53 percent of the women’s vote overall.
Clinton fell short with every age group except those 65 and older among both genders.
"We are a better organized campaign,” Devine said. We have more people on the ground. And as of today I believe we have more resources, campaign to campaign, to expand. We are demonstrating that resource superiority by going on television all across this country, and it is our ability to organize people — which I think we showed in Iowa, and showed again tonight in New Hampshire.”
One of Clinton’s talking points has been her historic candidacy — the prospect of the first female president has been a major selling point.
However, the gender-politics element of the fight for the Democratic nomination has gotten ugly over the past few days with the recent comment by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”
One Friday’s episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, feminist icon Gloria Steinem suggested that Clinton’s lack of support with young women is because they’re meeting boys at Sanders rallies.
“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” Steinem said.
These comments were largely seen as dismissive and sexist, suggesting young women are not politically savvy enough to make their own choices. This rhetoric of shaming women — or any American — into voting for a specific candidate is ugly.
It is a safe bet that these troubling comments did not come from a campaign script, however, this brand of entitlement is exactly what is hurting Clinton with young voters.
We can easily sum up why Bernie Sanders wants to be president — his stump speech is simple: The top one-tenth of the one percent control too much wealth; we have gross injustice in campaign finance, and that it is a moral outrage that Americans might have to go into severe debt for healthcare and education.
Why is Clinton running for president? I’m not entirely sure, and I do not think there is that simple elevator pitch she can give to a voter.
I do not doubt Clinton’s ability to hold the Oval Office. However, I cannot easily identify what her key issues are and where her passions lie.
To the naked eye, there are not very many stars visible in the Cincinnati night sky. However, a look through one of Cincinnati Observatory’s telescopes on a clear day makes it possible to catch a glimpse of the galaxy. It’s no wonder that the observatory’s assistant director and outreach astronomer Dean Regas says the most common reaction from visitors is "Wow."
Watching folks look through a telescope for the first time is his favorite part of the job. “They put their eye up to the telescope, and their eyes literally light up,” Regas says. “The light comes from millions to trillions of miles away through the telescope, down the tube, into their eye, and you can see their eyes light up.” He says visitors’ entire faces will then relax into a smile.
Most people do not know what to expect when they walk into Cincinnati Observatory. In fact, Regas himself didn’t know what to expect when he first visited the observatory in 1998 when he attended an event to view a comet passing by.
“It’s a very intimate moment with the universe. I think we really excite people’s imaginations a lot,” he says. “They see a bigger picture of things, in some ways.” Sparking this interest in the universe is at the core of the observatory’s mission. Since it opened to the public in 2000, the observatory has been dedicated to educating all generations and preserving the history of the site.
While it is the first major observatory in the Western Hemisphere, it is also home to the oldest public telescope in the U.S. Built in Germany in 1843, the telescope was first located in Mount Adams on the highest point in Cincinnati. (Just picture 173 years’ worth of eyeballs peering out into space as you look through the telescope).
However, coal smoke and other pollution flooding the valley made it impossible to look at the sky. The telescope was moved to a more remote, rural area for optimal viewing in 1873.
It’s because of the telescope that two of Cincinnati’s seven hills go their names. The telescope’s former home got its name when John Quincy Adams dedicated the observatory, and the land surrounding the telescope’s new home was dubbed Mount Lookout.
The telescope is now house in a smaller building on the observatory’s property, while a telescope purchased in 1904 is housed in the main building. Both are still in use.
Before opening to the public in 2000, the observatory had long been neglected and was seldom in use. “It was hard to notice the creepy building at the end of the street,” Regas says. “It looked like it was abandoned — trees were all over the place, ivy was growing on the buildings — it was black because of the pollution, and they used the telescopes maybe a dozen times a year.”
The old building came back to life when neighborhood residents and a group of amateur astronomers teamed up to reinvigorate the observatory. Yet with its old-fashioned wood floors and furnishings, stepping into the observatory is like taking a leap back in time. Since its rebirth, attendance at the observatory has gone from 1,000 visitors per year to 26,000.
“To think that there are institutions like this in our city makes it a richer city,” Regas says.
In addition to being open to the public every Thursday and Friday, there are many different classes offered at the observatory, including programs for beginners and continuing education classes for adults. It is a destination for many school field trips and special events such as Moon-day Monday and Late Night Date Night. Regas says many events become sold out within seconds of the signup being uploaded to the observatory’s website.
Visitors can look forward to special events each time planets move to their optimal viewing positions, with Jupiter Night on March 12, Marsapalooza on June 11 and Saturnday on July 9. You can also take classes at the observatory to learn how to map out the plants’ movements yourself. Whether you’d like to take classes, catch a glimpse of space or just take a tour of the historic building, that building at the end of a cul-de-sac in Mount Lookout that you never noticed has something for everyone.
Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines.
Recently-released federal airfare data says that flying out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport is no longer cheaper than flying out of Dayton. The average ticket price is $427 for both. As someone who frequently flies out of every Tri-State area airport but CVG, I'm skeptical, but hopeful. But if CVG can strike a deal with Southwest Airlines, then I'm there.• Rhinegeist's Cidergeist is all grown up and is heading out east. The company announced its taking its hard cider to Boston by the end of this month followed by New York at some point. Co-founder Bryant Goulding said the Cincinnati-based microbrewery chose to debut its cider over its beer because market for craft cider market is currently stronger than one for the craft brewing.
• The Ohio House is expected to vote on today on the bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of $1.3 million it receives in state funding. HB 294 would bar health organizations who perform non-therapeutic abortions from receiving state and federal funding. The Senate, which passed the bill on Jan. 27, added minor amendments to the legislation requiring the House's approval before it can go to Gov. Kasich's desk.
• Public health officials have reported the first two cases of the Zika virus in Ohio and one in Indiana. The Ohio Department of Health confirmed yesterday that a Cleveland woman who had recently returned from Haiti and a Stark County man who also just been to Haiti tested positive for the virus. The virus, which is transmitted through mosquitoes, is most concerning for pregnant women as it has been linked to birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has taken the unusual precaution of recommending U.S. travelers avoid 22 countries in South and Central America.
On the other side, Democratic candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders crushed opponent Hillary Clinton even more than expected. Sanders
grabbed 60 percent of the vote as compared to 34 percent for
Clinton--the largest gap in New Hampshire's history. Political analysis, however, are predicting a rockier road ahead for Sanders as the candidates head to South Carolina and Nevada. The two states have higher Hispanic and African-American populations, which have shown stronger support for Clinton.
The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, which includes State Sen. Cecil Thomas and president State Rep. Alicia Reece from Cincinnati, has pushed for grand jury reform in the state in the aftermath of police shooting deaths of unarmed black citizens, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and 21-year-old John Crawford III in Beavercreek. Grand juries declined to indict officers involved in either of those shootings.
State Sens. Sandra Williams of Cleveland and Edna Brown of Toledo also attended the meeting with O’Connor.
“Many of our constituents around the state are calling for action after the year-long grand jury process that culminated in the decision to bring zero charges against the officers that shot and killed 12 year-old Tamir Rice, and the lack of charges in the police shooting of John Crawford,” Reece said in a statement. “We look forward to working with both the Supreme Court chief justice and our colleagues in the legislature to enact meaningful justice reforms that keep us safe, treat citizens fairly and restore faith and transparency in our justice system.”
Late last month, O’Connor announced she would convene an 18-member panel to review the state’s grand jury process, which has been in Ohio’s constitution since it was written in 1802. Currently, grand juries meet in secret to consider evidence presented by law enforcement authorities and prosecutors, then decide whether or not to indict a suspect. That has led many to question whether the proceedings, and the decisions grand juries reach, are just and impartial.
The panel will consider changes to the system but will not look at a full removal of the grand jury system as some activists have called for. Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh will chair the group, which has its first meeting Feb. 17. O’Connor has asked for a report on suggested changes from the group by June.
Rice was on a playground playing with a toy pistol in November 2014 when a neighbor called police to say someone was pointing a gun at passersby. That caller stipulated the gun was “probably fake” and that the person was a minor. That information wasn’t relayed to officers, however, who pulled a police cruiser within feet of Rice. Officer Timothy Loehmann exited the cruiser and shot Rice within seconds, video footage of the incident shows. A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to press charges against him.
Crawford was in a Beavercreek Walmart with a toy rifle over his shoulder when another shopper called police, reporting he was pointing it at customers. Security footage of the incident doesn’t show Crawford pointing the toy at others, and when police arrived, he had it slung over his shoulder. Crawford was shot by officers and died shortly afterward. A Greene County grand jury did not indict officers in that case.
The Flint debate came after presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns agreed to additional debates which were motivated by a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses.
Clinton’s campaign challenged Sanders to an unsanctioned debate on MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire, following their photo-finish race in the Hawkeye State. The DNC officialized the debate, propelling the first time the former secretary of state and the Vermont senator went one-on-one.
Flint’s debate is one of two more debates the Clinton campaign agreed to in exchange for the University of New Hampshire debate.
In the midst of Flint’s water crisis, the town has been at the top of both of the Democratic candidates’ talking points — highlighting what is at stake in this election and what the Democratic party can offer in terms of economic power and regulation.
Sanders went as far to call for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s resignation.
“And I think the governor has got to take the responsibility and say, ‘You know what, my administration was absolutely negligent and a result of that negligence, many children may suffer for the rest of their lives and the right thing to do is to resign,” Sanders said in an interview with The Detroit News.
Sanders further blasted the governor's response to the water crisis during the University of New Hampshire debate, saying, “A man who acts that irresponsibly should not stay in power.” The Vermont senator added that this is the first time he has ever called for the resignation of another politician.Flint was a stop on Clinton’s campaign trail Sunday as she urged Congress to pass a $200 million effort to fix the ailing city’s water infrastructure.
"This has to be a national priority," Clinton said at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church. "What happened in Flint is immoral. The children of Flint are just as precious as the children of any part of America."Clinton praised Flint Mayor Karen Weaver as "someone who is working every way she knows how to provide the help and support that all the people of Flint deserve to have." The Flint Water Crisis started in April 2014 after the city changed its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River — the new water source is contaminated with lead, prompting President Obama to declare a state of emergency.
The Flint River’s corrosion is caused by aged pipes that leach lead into the water supply. The EPA estimates thousands of residents are at risk of lead poisoning, and has recommended testing 12,000 children. The water is also possible responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, killing 10 people.The Michigan Army National Guard was deployed to Flint to assist in the crisis and President Obama has allocated $80 million in government aid.
Good morning all. Here’s the news today.
Will Cincinnati and Hamilton County opt to stop working together on the Metropolitan Sewer District? Recent statements by Mayor John Cranley and Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel suggest that the two governments are more CeeLo Green than Al Green right now and that the idea is at least on the table. Since 2014, the two governments have cooperated on MSD, which is owned by the county but run by the city. But things between the city and county haven’t been all that cozy lately, and recent revelations that MSD may have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on contracts without competitive bids haven’t helped matters.
Now officials are at least floating the idea of splitting up — perhaps even dividing MSD’s assets and letting the two governments run separate systems. There are, of course, complications, not the least of which would be the enormous complexity of divvying up one of the county’s largest infrastructure systems serving 800,000 residents. The city says it should be the one solely in charge of MSD, while the county makes a similar claim. Meanwhile, the two governments will have to continue to cooperate on a federal court-ordered $3 billion renovation of the sewer district, no matter what they decide.
• While the above-mentioned $680 million sketchy procurement process was taking place at MSD under former director Tony Parrott, an oversight board that could have put checks on the potential improper spending was fading into the background, The Enquirer reports. That independent oversight board hasn’t operated since 2008, and no records exist of any audits of MSD’s activity from that group. Cincinnati City Councilman Kevin Flynn has been calling for funds and support to beef up that board over the past few months and has renewed his calls for increased oversight ahead of an audit of MSD by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost. The city’s administrative code calls for such an oversight board, though cities aren’t required by law to maintain them. It’s unclear why Cincinnati abandoned its board in 2008 under Mayor Mark Mallory. City officials, including City Manager Harry Black, have said they’re in the process of reviving the board, but that it currently has five vacancies and can’t operate until they’re filled.
• Two neighborhood councils are pushing the city to keep, and expand, the controversial Central Parkway Bikeway, memos to the city reveal. Both Clifton Town Meeting and the Over-the-Rhine Community Council passed resolutions late last month and sent letters to the city administration and City Council asking that the lane be expanded for safety and economic development purposes. You can read more about that in our blog post here.
• Ohio has 10 times the number of failing charter schools as it has previously reported, according to a letter from the state to the federal government. The Department of Education says 57 Ohio charter schools are failing, not six, as the state originally stated. The state also has about half the number of high-performing charters it has recently touted, according to the letter, which was sent as Ohio works to regain access to a $71 million federal school choice grant that the DOE awarded last year and subsequently suspended last November following a charter school data rigging scandal here.
• It’s the big day for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. New Hampshire primary voters head out to the polls today for the country’s first primary (yes, candidates were vying for voter attention in Iowa last week, but that state has a caucus, which is a different system). Kasich has indicated he will drop out of the GOP presidential primary if he doesn’t do well in the state, so we could be talking about the last day of morning news updates on the big queso’s campaign. Heartbreaking.
Kasich is polling well in the state, however, and might finish as high as second place, especially after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, his main rival there, did pretty poorly in this weekend’s GOP debate. Kasich has spent a lot of time focusing on the Granite State, holding more than 100 town hall appearances there. He even beat Trump 3 votes to 2 in tiny Dixville, N.H. Side note: If you want to know how New Hampshire became the first voters in the primary process, this article has all the interesting political history you need.
• Finally, how much has all of Kasich’s traveling around the country with a security entourage cost Ohio taxpayers? Probably a lot. The Associated Press reports that non-highway security expenditures for the Ohio Highway Patrol have gone from $17,000 a year during Kasich’s first year in office to more than $350,000 in 2015. While that segment of highway patrol funding is primarily used for the governor’s security detail, officials with the patrol say other out of state costs are also involved in that number. They also point out that spending categories changed in 2011, so the two numbers might not be an apples to apples comparison. Still, it’s clear that expenditures have gone up during Kasich’s time in office and that taxpayers have footed some of the bill for the extensive traveling he’s done as he runs for the nation’s highest office.
I’m out. Tweet. Email. You know what’s up.