CityBeat Blogs - Youth http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-34-174.html <![CDATA[Ex-Mayor's Nephew Nabs TV, Film Jobs]]>

The scion of a Cincinnati political dynasty is starting to make it big in Hollywood.

 

Jesse Luken, the grandson of ex-Congressman Tom Luken and the nephew of former Mayor Charlie Luken, has recently landed notable roles on TV and film.

 

Luken recently had a recurring role on the third season of Justified on the FX cable network. He played Jimmy, a Mohawk-wearing young thug in the gang led by Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).

 

Now Luken has been cast in 42, the big-screen biopic about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. Luken will portray Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Eddie Stanky in the film, which is due to be released on April 12, 2013. The release is timed to coincide with MLB's Jackie Robinson Day, held every April 15 to commemorate the date in 1947 when Robinson played his first game with the Dodgers.

 

The film, named after the number worn by Robinson, also features Chadwick Boseman in the title role; Harrison Ford as Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson; and Christopher Meloni as Dodgers manager Leo Durocher.

 

Luken is a Colorado Springs, Colo., native who previously had guest roles on the TV series NCIS, Law and Order: L.A. and Greek.

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<![CDATA[Morning News and Stuff]]> In the works since December, Hamilton County commissioners completed the sale of the county-owned Drake Center rehabilitative hospital in Hartwell on Wednesday. Commissioners voted 2-1 to sell the facility for $15 million to the University of Cincinnati, with Greg Hartmann casting the sole “no” vote. Commissioners Chris Monzel and Todd Portune want to use the proceeds to fund a one-year extension of a property tax rebate promised to voters as part of the 1996 campaign to raise the sales tax by a half-cent to pay for new sports stadiums. Hartmann called the deal fiscally irresponsible, noting Drake is worth at least $45 million and possibly more.

A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would ban new ownership of exotic pets like gorillas and lions. State Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) hopes the bill would prevent incidents like the one in eastern Ohio last year that led to 48 animals being shot to death after their suicidal owner let them loose.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday released its list of priorities for 2012 and it didn't contain any surprises. Once again, the business advocacy organization wants Cincinnati City Council to repeal its Environmental Justice Ordinance, despite offering no evidence that it has adversely affected any of its members' businesses. Also, the chamber opposes the taxation of stock options and supports a permanent extension of George W. Bush's 2001 and 2003 federal tax cuts.

Speaking of City Council, it will vote soon on a proposal to create a Youth Commission that would serve as an advisory group to the mayor and council members. Councilwoman Yvette Simpson introduced the proposal, and said the commission would make recommendations to address issues involving crime, poverty, education, employment, health and development. How this will differ from Mayor Mark Mallory's “Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet” or similar groups formed by council over the years is anybody's guess.

In honor of Cincinnati's storied history as “porkopolis,” two local companies are jointly creating a new sausage to commemorate St. Patrick's Day. Queen City Sausage Co. and Christian Moerlein Brewery created a new beer-flavored sausage, which contains Hudepohl Amber Lager.

In news elsewhere, today marks the one-year anniversary of the ongoing anti-government uprising in Syria. The conflict against President Bashar al-Assad's regime has resulted in at least 8,000 deaths so far, according to the United Nations.

Syrian activists gave a cache of more than 3,000 confidential emails allegedly hacked from Assad's private account to London's Guardian newspaper. The emails indicate the president took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, and leads an opulent lifestyle while violence plagues the nation's cities.

The Pentagon is investigating more than 1,700 recruiters and hundreds of recruiting assistants for allegedly making $92 million in fraudulent transactions involving “bounties” paid to get people to enlist in the Army National Guard and Reserve. The alleged fraud involves programs that paid $2,000 bounties to soldiers or civilians who signed up as “recruiting assistants” and brought in new enlistees. Investigators have found evidence that recruiters for the Guard and Reserve who weren't eligible for the bounties worked with some assistants to secretly secure and split up the money.

Supposedly secret negotiations between the Taliban and the U.S. government to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan have been suspended, the Taliban announced in a statement issued today. The statement said U.S. officials kept changing the terms of the negotiations, and had presented a "list of conditions" in their latest meeting that contradicted earlier arrangements. The announcement comes as Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded foreign troops pull out of villages, a few days after a U.S. soldier’s shooting spree in southern Kandahar province left 16 civilians dead.

Closer to home, Senate Democrats are pushing to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives. Some lawmakers want to expand financing for and broaden the scope of domestic violence programs, but conservatives dislike it because it would allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.
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<![CDATA[Fewer Republicans, Youth are Voting]]>

Voter turnout for Tuesday’s Ohio primary was a disappointing 13.9 percent but the turnout among young people — those aged 30 and under — was even lower.

Although the Republican primary in Ohio was highly contested, youth turnout was far below the amount that voted in the 2008 primary. Just 7 percent of Ohio youth turned out Tuesday to vote in the Republican primary, compared to 25 percent four years ago when there was both a contested Democratic and Republican primary.

An analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) found that about 131,000 young people voted Tuesday, with 37 percent choosing Rick Santorum, 28 percent choosing Mitt Romney and 25 percent choosing Ron Paul.

Despite the dismal number, Ohio still was above the overall youth turnout for the 10 contests on Super Tuesday. CIRCLE found that youth turnout was 5 percent in the seven primaries and three caucuses.

Combining the five Super Tuesday states in which exit polls were conducted with adequate youth samples, CIRCLE estimates that 88,000 total youth voted for Paul, with nearly 88,000 who voted for Santorum, about 86,000 for Romney, and about 43,000 for Newt Gingrich.

The candidates performed differently in each state: Paul came in first among youth voters in Virginia; Santorum, in Ohio and Tennessee; Romney, in Massachusetts; and Gingrich, in Georgia.

In all of the primaries and caucuses so far — excluding states where there were no exit or entrance polls about youth vote choice — youth vote tallies stand at approximately 201,000 for Romney, 200,000 for Paul, 162,000 for Santorum, and 87,000 for Gingrich.

By this point in the 2008 primary campaign, Democrat Barack Obama had drawn more than six times as many youth votes as any of the Republican 2012 candidates, with about 1.36 million youth votes, although more primaries were contested on or before Super Tuesday in 2008.

Political observers have theorized there is an “enthusiasm gap” among Republican voters based on lower overall voter turnout in most of the states that have held presidential primaries so far. Turnout has been lower in eight of the 13 states when compared to the 2008 primaries — although Ohio isn’t among them.

Ohio’s overall voter turnout this year was 13.9 percent, higher than the 12.8 percent who voted in 2008, but lower than the 16.8 percent who voted in 2000, according to a review by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.

Based on final and official results from the six states whose primaries preceded Super Tuesday and near final and unofficial results from the seven Super Tuesday primaries, 7.85 million people voted out of 68.13 million eligible citizens, or 11.5 percent.

Turnout was 13.2 percent of eligible citizens in 2008, and it was 12.2 percent in 2000.

Founded in 2001, CIRCLE conducts research on young Americans’ voting and political participation, along with other forms of civic engagement. It is based at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, the Bipartisan Policy Center is a think tank that seeks to create policy solutions through “reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue.” It is based in Washington, D.C.

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<![CDATA[Survey: Gen Y Benefits, Suffers From Tech]]>

A survey of more than 1,000 technology experts, critics and students has revealed a split about how the Internet and other technological advances are affecting “Generation Y.”

The Pew Research Center’s survey, released today, found a majority of respondents believed the technology would create a generation of nimble decision-makers, while almost as many feared it would cause young people to become easily distracted and lack deep thinking skills.

Wait. What were we talking about?

The survey found 55 percent of respondents agreed with a statement that “in 2020 the brains of young people would be ‘wired’ differently from those over 35, with good results for finding answers quickly and without shortcomings in their mental processes."

But it also found 45 percent who agreed with a second statement “in 2020 young technology users would be easily distracted, would lack deep thinking skills and would thirst only for instant gratification.”

“A number of the survey respondents argued that it is vital to reform education and emphasize digital literacy,” a Pew summary stated. “A notable number expressed concerns that trends are leading to a future in which most people are shallow consumers of information, and some mentioned George Orwell’s 1984 or expressed their fears of control by powerful interests in an age of entertaining distractions.”

Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, are generally considered to be composed of people born between the late 1970s and the early '90s.

Pew’s online survey questioned 1,021 people involved with technology and was conducted from Aug. 28 to Oct. 31, 2011, as part of Pew's ongoing project on the Internet and American life.

Respondents included industry insiders like Bruce Nordman, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Hal Varian, Google's top economist, along with university and high school students.

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<![CDATA[Library Gets a Top National Honor]]>

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has been selected as one of the Top 10 Children’s Libraries in the United States by a national website.

Livability.com chose the main library as No. 10 on its list partially because of its Children's Learning Center, which features child-sized tables and chairs, a saltwater aquarium and multiple rooms for programs, along with a 9,200-square-foot children's garden.---

“Reading to dogs and reading outdoors are encouraged at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Cincinnati, Ohio,”
the website states. “Those are just some of the ways librarians here get children to engage with literacy programs.”

Also, the main library gets kudos for hosting “hundreds of programs including story times, art classes, theater, dance and fitness activities.”

Placing in the list’s No. 1 spot is
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center in Charlotte, N.C. The center is a partnership between the Children's Theatre of Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Livability.com editors looked at 500 communities across the nation to find the best libraries for children. The libraries selected “not only look amazing, they also offer great programs and get kids excited about reading, learning and exploring,” editors said.

The website consulted several nationally recognized authorities on the subject of libraries and children's literature, including the American Library Association, to determine criteria for the ranking.

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<![CDATA[Simpson Wants Youth Job Improvements]]>

Cincinnati City Council is set to approve $960,000 to fund this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program, but the councilwoman overseeing the process wants to begin collecting data to track outcomes and increase efficiency.

Council’s Budget and Finance Committee this afternoon heard a presentation from city staffers about plans for the 2012 program, which is designed to provide employment and training for low-income youth.---

Generally, the program provides jobs for people between the ages of 14-21. The jobs last for 8-10 weeks and participants are paid at Ohio’s minimum wage, which is $7.70 per hour. They typically work about 15 hours each week.

Of the program’s $960,000 cost, $855,000 is paid using federal Community Development Block Grants. The money must be used for local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, infrastructure development and eliminating urban blight.

Jobs for youth are available from four employers, three of which receive direct funding from the city. Those are the Green Leaf Program, through the Parks Department, which receives $106,000; the Cincinnati Recreation Department, which receives $189,000; and the ArtWorks program, which receives $120,000.

Additionally, the city will issue a request for proposals from contractors to provide a fourth employment opportunity. The request will be issued Feb. 3, and interested contractors must submit their applications to the city’s Purchasing Department by Feb. 24.

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson is helping develop this year’s program, in conjunction with the city’s Community Development Department.

During the past month, Simpson has worked with previous program administrators to identify potential improvements for the 2012 Summer Youth Employment Program.  The changes include implementing standardized pre- and post-program assessments and outcome measures across all programs, and requiring that each program administrator provide a curriculum and data-tracking measures for the job readiness and financial literacy training portions of its program.

The Summer Youth Employment Program is of particular interest to Simpson, 33, because as a teenager, she spent two summers in the program.

“My first job was through this program, at a travel agency, and it taught me the value of hard work.” Simpson said, in a prepared statement.  “It gave me confidence in my ability to succeed, and helped lay the foundation for my future.”

The program is important, she added, because it “empowers our young people, keeps them off the streets, and provides them employment and job training skills for the future.”

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