The Hamilton County Board of Elections on Monday split along party lines over whether the board should move its offices and early voting from downtown, Cincinnati’s urban core, to Mount Airy, where only one bus line runs.
The two Democrats on the board dispute the move. They claim the move would make voting less accessible to voters who rely on public transportation to make it to the ballot box.
Republicans on the board argue the move would make voting more accessible to suburban voters and provide free parking that’s scarcely available at the current downtown offices. They call the move “good government” because it would consolidate some county services at Mount Airy, where county officials plan to build a crime lab as long as the Board of Elections moves with the coroner’s office and provides the critical mass necessary to financially justify renovations at a former hospital.
Republicans cautioned their proposed motion would keep early voting downtown through the 2016 presidential elections. After that, the board’s offices would move, along with early voting.
Ohio’s secretary of state — Republican Jon Husted — normally breaks tie votes on county boards of elections. The secretary of state’s office claims Husted will remain undecided on the issue until he reviews documents from the Board of Elections explaining both sides of the tie vote. But spokesperson Matt McClellan says Husted would like to see the Board of Elections reach a compromise before he is forced to intervene.
The board’s vote followed a contentious back-and-forth between public speakers and board members regarding the looming decision. Most speakers spoke against the move and labeled it “voter suppression.” Some dissenters supported the move for its fiscal prudence.
Alex Triantafilou, a Republican on the Board of Elections, accused Democrats of “playing politics” with the move. He claims Democrats just want to keep early voting in a Democratic stronghold like downtown.
Democrats Tim Burke and Caleb Faux countered that, along the same lines, the Mount Airy facility would benefit Republicans by making early voting more accessible to Republican-leaning suburban voters and less accessible to Democrat-leaning urban voters.
State Rep. Alicia Reece, a local Democrat who spoke at the meeting, rebuked accusations of partisan politics and reiterated an argument she made to reporters on Thursday.
“The reality is the Board of Elections at its current location has declared both Democrat and Republican winners of elections,” Reece previously said. “I think the focus is to just make sure that we have a facility that everyone can have access to, whether you’re driving or whether you’re on the bus.”
Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, on Thursday offered free space at the Shillito’s building in an attempt to keep early voting downtown.
But Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, a Republican, told CityBeat the offer is not enough to satisfy the county’s occupancy needs at Mount Airy, even if the city moves some police services, such as SWAT operations, to the Mount Airy facility to help fill out the 500,000 square foot building.
“Without the Board of Elections coming with the crime lab, that’s not enough occupancy,” Hartmann said. “There would be some good potential co-location opportunities with the city (at the Mount Airy facility), but not enough to take up 400,000 square feet.”
County officials expect the crime lab to take up 100,000 square feet at the Mount Airy facility, and the Board of Elections would occupy another 100,000 square feet. So the county needs to fill 300,000 square feet to fully utilize the Mount Airy facility, even if the Board of Elections moves.
This story was updated with comments from the secretary of state’s office.
The Hamilton County Board of Elections plans to decide today whether it will move its offices and early voting from downtown to Mount Airy. The two Democrats on the board argue moving the offices would push early voting away from public transportation options and the city’s core, while the two Republicans claim it’s “good government” because the Mount Airy site consolidates county services with the coroner’s office and includes free parking. In the event of a tie between Democrats and Republicans, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, will break the tie. Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, proposed an alternative site downtown on Thursday, but at least one Republican county official said it wasn’t enough to meet the county’s needs.
One of the Republicans on the board resigned as the city’s lobbyist to avoid a conflict of interest prior to today’s vote.
The Republican-controlled Ohio House last week approved a bill that would allow school boards to designate school employees to carry concealed firearms and prohibit school boards from releasing the names of those employees. Republicans argue the proposal will help make schools safer against would-be shooters. But several studies indicate more guns lead to more gun-related violence. A 2009 ABC News special also found even trained gun-wielders fail to properly react in the event of a shooting.
Fracking waste could soon move through barges on the Ohio River, depending on an incoming decision from the U.S. Coast Guard. During the fracking process, drillers pump millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to unlock oil and gas reserves. But some of that water returns to the surface, and that wastewater needs to be dumped somewhere. Oil and gas companies support the allowance of river barges as a potentially cheaper transportation option for the wastewater. But environmentalists, emergency response experts and other critics argue a spill on the Ohio River could cause widespread damage as toxic wastewater flows down a river many communities tap into for drinking water.
Citing research from Pennsylvania fracking sites, some advocates argue Ohio officials should take another look at whether radiation from Ohio’s fracking operations is affecting surrounding landfills and aquifers.
Work at The Banks continues despite a debate over buildings’ heights.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center significantly improved outcomes for teens with asthma, according to a Pediatrics study.
Warning: Some Ohioans have been targeted by utility bill scams.
Ohio gas prices remained relatively steady at the start of the week.
Popular physicist Stephen Hawking argues there are no black holes, but other physicists appear skeptical of Hawking’s claims.
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards 2014 Winners
Rock: Electric Citizen
Indie/Alternative: DAAP Girls
Metal/Hard Rock: Moonbow
Punk: The Dopamines
Folk/Americana: The Tillers
Bluegrass: Rumpke Mountain Boys
Country: Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s
Singer/Songwriter: Molly Sullivan
World Music/Reggae: The Cliftones
Hip Hop: Buggs Tha Rocka
Electronic: Black Signal
Blues: Ricky Nye
Jazz: The Faux Frenchmen
R&B/Funk/Soul: The Cincy Brass
Best Live Act: Foxy Shazam
Best Artist Not Nominated: Young Heirlooms
Best Music Video: “8 Ball” by Valley High
Album of the Year: Fists of Love - I Sang My Heart Out to a Snake Once
New Artist of the Year: Tweens
Artist of the Year: Walk the Moon
1. There is a $10 entry fee for each chili and/or cornbread entrant. You may participate in one or both at $10 per entry.
2. All types of chili and cornbread will be accepted.
3. Rabbit Hash will supply tables, spoons, bowls and electric. You must supply any extras (cheese, crackers, etc.) yourself. Be sure to bring a jar for your votes!
4. Tasting starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. At 3 p.m., money will be counted and winners announced.
5. Stovetop space is extremely limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Bringing your chili in a Crock Pot will be the only way to keep it warm.
6. Winners are determined by the highest dollar amount in your jar, so bring friends to vote for you!
The Republican-controlled Ohio House on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow school boards to designate some school employees to carry concealed firearms and prohibit school boards from releasing the names of those employees.
As part of the designation, school employees would have to participate in “active shooter training” established by the state attorney general. School boards and employees could also consult with local law enforcement to establish stronger standards and training.
If a gun-toting teacher injures or kills someone, the rules exempt the school board and employees from liability “unless the injury, death or loss resulted from the employee’s reckless or wanton conduct.”
The bill would also allow off-duty officers to carry firearms in schools.
There are some restrictions: A school board could not force an employee to carry a gun, and gun-carrying rights could not be part of a collective bargaining agreement.
While a Republican majority supports the rules to increase safety in schools, some research indicates the plan could backfire.
A review from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found states and countries with more guns tend to have more homicides. Specifically, men and women in places with more firearms are exposed to a larger risk of gun-related homicide.
University of Pennsylvania researchers found similar results in a 2009 study.
“On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault,” the study concluded. “Although successful defensive gun uses occur each year, the probability of success may be low for civilian gun users in urban areas. Such users should reconsider their possession of guns or, at least, understand that regular possession necessitates careful safety countermeasures.”
A 2009 ABC News special found even trained gun-wielders fail to properly react in the event of a shooting. In multiple simulations that placed trained and armed students in a classroom, none of the participants succeeded in stopping an unexpected shooter from landing fake rounds that would have been deadly in a real shooting.
Local state representatives split along party lines on the bill. Democrats Denise Driehaus, Connie Pillich and Alicia Reece voted against it, while Republicans Peter Stautberg and Louis Blessing voted for it.
The bill now needs to move through the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate and Republican Gov. John Kasich to become law.
I caught the opening night of the Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Clybourne Park
last night. The play won the theater triple crown: Tony for best play
on Broadway, Olivier for best play in London, and the 2011 Pulitzer
Prize for drama. It's being staged by a lot of big theaters this season,
but you need go no farther than Mount Adams to see what all the fuss is
about. And there is a ton of fussing in Bruce Norris's script. He took
his inspiration from the events of Lorraine Hansberry's historic 1959
play A Raisin in the Sun, the story of a black family seeking to improve its lot by buying a home — in a previously all-white neighborhood. Clybourne Park's
first act looks at the same events from the neighborhood's perspective;
Act II jumps ahead 50 years to the same neighborhood, deteriorated but
coming back. Curiously enough — or is it predictably? — many of the
stresses and strains have only moved from one set of people to another.
Norris's clever script subtly presents parallels and contrasts, with
some humor and some pathos, and a sardonic sense that human nature is
what it is. The Playhouse does a great job with a cast that plays
different roles (some slightly connected from past to present) and a
revolving set that recreates the house at 406 Clybourne in Chicago in
1959 and 2009. This production will spur lots of thoughtful and spirited
conversation. Onstage through Feb. 16. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
Pluto at Know Theatre is being staged by former artistic director Jason Bruffy. Steve Yockey's unusual script blurs the line between real life and mythology, as weird events materialize in a suburban kitchen, what with a talking three-headed dog and other unusual phenomena getting in the way of necessary dialogue between a mom and her sullen son. It opens tonight and runs through Feb. 22. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
It has been much too long since Patrick Hennessy and any viable version of The Tigerlilies have committed to a studio regimen and the clear goal of emerging with something/anything approaching the scorching delight of their first three discs, 1992's Deeper, 1997's Space Age Love Songs and 2003's Ceci N'Est Pas Pop. Hennessy's involvement with The Fairmount Girls began in 2004, a span of time that nearly equals the gap between the Tigerlilies' third release and its latest and perhaps greatest recorded document, In the Dark.
Vocalist/guitarist Hennessy, his drumming/singing brother Steve and bassist Brian Driscoll were joined by guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bogosian about midway through The Tigerlilies' long studio drought; Bogosian even did a little moonlighting of his own with Kry Kids. Somehow, the quartet managed to motivate themselves to pen a dozen new Tigerlilies classics and set to work with Culture Queer's Jeremy Lesniak at the console to create In the Dark. In fact, when I interviewed Culture Queer a little over a year ago, Lesniak was in the process of digitally tweaking In the Dark and promised that it would be their best album to date. That has turned out to be a promise well kept.
While The Tigerlilies are enamored with Rock's Glam period and Punk traditions, the band tends to filter it all through a greater love of Brit Pop in general, not to mention a proclivity toward a more defined Power Pop direction, resulting in a sound that suggests Cheap Trick and Husker Du teaming up for a Clash tribute. That position is made perfectly clear on In the Dark, from full throttle disc opener "Hold on Tight" to the melancholy joy of "Don't Let It Get You Down" to the Husker/Trick jittery jangle of "Sweetheart" and the anthemic Velvet Crush-like barnstorm of "Some Things Are Meant to Be."
In the Dark isn't all bash-and-crash, with more than a few relatively quiet moments (the Beatlesque "Pull You In," "Five Will Get You Ten," the title track) offered as a bit of a breather, but even at their most sedate, The Tigerlilies bristle with an undeniable love of chiming Pop spiked with a bracing dose of melodic Punk.
Mayor John Cranley yesterday offered free space to the Hamilton County Board of Elections at the city-owned Shillito’s building to keep the board’s offices and early voting downtown. The idea comes in the middle of a debate between Democrats and Republicans on the Board of Elections over whether they should move their offices — and early voting — to a Mount Airy facility, where only one bus line runs, to consolidate county services and avoid the cost of rent. Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann said there won’t be enough occupancy at the Mount Airy location if the Board of Elections decides not to move there. For the county, a certain amount of occupancy must be filled at Mount Airy to financially justify the move and the renovations it would require. Without the move, the county will need to find another location or means to build a new county crime lab.
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune yesterday refused to announce whether he will actually run against gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald in a Democratic primary, even though he told The Cincinnati Enquirer the day before that he already made a decision. At this point, Portune’s lack of organization and name recognition means his chances of beating FitzGerald are slim to none.
Ohio’s December unemployment rate dropped to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent the month before. The amount of employed and unemployed both increased compared to the previous year. The state of the economy could decide this year’s statewide elections, even if state officials aren’t to credit or blame for economic conditions, as CityBeat covered here.
It is perfectly legal to forgive back taxes in Hamilton County. Supporters argue the practice removes a tax burden that likely wasn’t going to get paid anyway, but opponents worry it could be misused and take away revenue from schools and other public services that rely on property taxes.
A Hamilton County court ruled against the legality of automated traffic cameras in Elmwood Place. Officials plan to appeal the ruling.
More than 10,000 Ohioans lost food stamps this month after Gov. John Kasich declined to request a federal waiver for work requirements. Hamilton County officials estimate Kasich’s decision could affect 18,000 food stamp recipients across the county.
A new Ohio House bill delays the transition from the Ohio Graduation Test to new end-of-course exams. The delay aims to provide more time to vet the tests and allow schools to better prepare for the changes.
Local home sales improved by nearly 21 percent during 2013, according to the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport reported 3 percent more passengers and 9 percent more cargo traffic in 2013.
Ohioans spent 5.8 percent more on liquor in 2013 compared to the year before, reaching a new record in yearly purchases of liquor across the state.
The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards return this Sunday.
Telling people they slept better than they did improves their performance on math and word association tests.
The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party returns for its 17th annual celebration of the Greater Cincinnati music scene this Sunday at Madison Theater (730 Madison Ave., Covington, madisontheateronline.com). The show is open to music fans of all ages and kicks off at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)
This marks the first year the CEAs have gone up against that OTHER music awards show, The Grammys (made possible by the CEA ceremony’s move from November to January last year). Don’t worry — you can DVR The Grammys or check out the best bits later online.
Along with the presentation of awards in 19 categories and lots of fun planned by first-time host (and CityBeat Arts & Culture Editor) Jac Kern, this year’s CEAs will feature more live performances than ever. The show will open with a secret — an all-star crew going by the name Saint Ain’t Mangled Angels. There will also be a special appearance by Folk trio The Tillers, who will pay tribute to their former bassist, Jason Soudrette, who passed away last year. Rounding out the great performance lineup are 2014 CEA nominees DAAP Girls, The Almighty Get Down, Moonbow, Valley High, Honey & Houston, The Yugos and The Upset Victory. (Check out all of this year's nominees here.)
Immediately after the CEA show, ticket holders are invited to attend the famous/infamous after party at BLDG (30 W Pike St., Covington, 513-491-4228). Indie/Electronic band Dark Colour will perform and Melissa Fairmount and Dana Hamblen of The Fairmount Girls will once again be doling out the “Fashion Trashies,” special handmade awards given to the best/worst/weirdest dressed CEA attendees (so be sure to look your best/worst/weirdest on the red carpet!).
Tickets to the CEA show are available at cincyticket.com for $20 (they’ll be $25 at the door). Proceeds benefit the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation. Also available at cincyticket.com are special VIP tickets. For $40, VIPs get some goodies from the Heritage Foundation (including a membership), food and drinks, private seating, performances by DJ squad Selectas Choice and more.
For those who can’t make it Sunday, follow @CityBeatMusic on Twitter to find out who wins what live as the awards are handed out.
Click below to check out this year’s nominees in first time category, Best Music Video. The videos will be shown on the big screen at the Madison a half hour before the 7 p.m. start time.
One of the nation's premier bourbon events is returning within driving distance of Cincinnati (... not that anyone should necessarily be driving after partaking in a bourbon event). The second annual Bourbon Classic comes to Louisville next weekend — Jan. 31-Feb. 1 — offering world-class culinary and bartending talent.
The event is open to bourbon enthusiasts from across the country and will feature forums addressing all aspects of bourbon ranging from its distillation to how to pair it with food and more, with information from leading bourbon distillers, writers, chefs, bartenders, experts and connoisseurs.
“This event is a natural progression in what we do to promote the bourbon lifestyle," says Seth Thompson, publisher of The Bourbon Review and co-founder of the Bourbon Classic, in a press release. "The craftsmanship, the authenticity, the traditions and marry that with the eclectic epicurean culture of Central Kentucky."
The weekend program is split into two parts: Friday night's Cocktail Challenge and Saturday's Bourbon Classic University and Ultimate Bourbon Experience.
The Cocktail Challenge will feature contemporary and classic cocktails plus small plates prepared by teams of chefs and master bartenders representing different distilleries. Cocktails and pairings will be judged by an expert panel including Jennifer Cole from Southern Living, Joy Perrine from Jack’s Lounge and chef Albert Schmid, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook. Participating teams include the following:
Bradley Hammond, Decca
Chef Terry French, winner of Food Network’s Extreme Chef 2012, Philadelphia
Chris Wilkins, Proof on Main
Chef Levon Wallace, Proof on Main
Colin Shearn, El Camino
Chef Jonathan Lundy, Jonathan's at Gratz Park, Lexington
Isaac Fox, Volare
Chef Josh Moore, Volare
JR Schiavi, Jack Fry's
Chef Shawn Ward, Jack Fry's
Susie Hoyt, Silver Dollar
Chef Tyler Powell, Silver Dollar
Jacquelyn Zykan, La Coop
Chef Bobby Benjamin, La Coop
The Saturday learning portion will focus on education, entertainment and tastings.
The welcome session will feature master distillers and brand legends including Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy, Fred Noe of Jim Beam, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace, Tom Bulleit of Bulleit Bourbon and more, discussing the rising popularity of bourbon and the effect it has on distilleries.
Following the welcome, the Bourbon Classic University will offer a variety of classes split into two learning sessions for ticket-holders to explore. The first session includes classes like "Entertaining with Bourbon Tastings" and the second offers "Bourbon & the Bean: What do Chocolate & American Whiskey Have in Common." (A full list of classes and a schedule is available online.)
After the university, participate in "the ultimate bourbon experience." Enjoy bourbon tastings from Bourbon Classic distillers, many of which will have representatives on hand to discuss what makes their product unique. As you imbibe, you'll also enjoy dishes that have been specially prepared to complement the bourbon as well as a unique marketplace full of bourbon-related products.
7-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31; 2:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. Standard weekend packages for the Cocktail Challenge and University/Ultimate Bourbon Experience start at $249. Tickets available here. All events take place at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, 501 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky. For more information on the Bourbon Classic, visit bourbonclassic.com.