by German Lopez
36 days ago
Posted In: Museum
at 08:57 AM | Permalink
Mallory touts city's turnaround, museum could get off taxes, county gets break on legal bill
During his final state of the city address yesterday, Mayor Mark Mallory touted Cincinnati’s nationally recognized economic turnaround, which began during his eight years as mayor. He also fought back
against the neighborhoods-versus-downtown rhetoric that has permeated on
the campaign trail in the past year; he pointed out that throughout his past
two terms the city government both invested $529 million in
neighborhoods and oversaw the revitalization of downtown and
Over-the-Rhine. Looking to the future, Mallory said the city should use
its federally mandated overhaul of the sewer system as an opportunity to
bring in private investment that could revitalize the West Side and
help build a bridge from the West Side to Kentucky, near the airport.
A new report found the Museum Center could wean itself off taxes,
but the report says it should first more than triple its endowment and,
perhaps by applying for historic tax credits, rebuild its crumbling
Union Terminal home. The report comes at the request of county
commissioners, who are discussing whether they should allow a property tax levy
on the May ballot to help the museum. It finds that if Union
Terminal is repaired and restored, the museum could afford to operate
without taxpayer help.
If county commissioners agree to make the payment today, Hamilton County could get a 4-percent break
on its $920,501 legal bill to Democratic Juvenile Court Judge Tracie
Hunter and her legal team. The Hamilton County Board of Elections racked
up the bill for the county after the board decided to contest Hunter’s
legal challenge to count more than one-third of previously discarded
provisional ballots, which were enough to turn the juvenile court
election in Hunter’s favor. Hunter’s opponent at the time, Republican
John Williams, eventually won a seat on the juvenile court through a
City Council candidates have raised $2 million in the ongoing election cycle.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says that his office, with the help of county boards of election, has virtually eliminated duplicate voters from the rolls.
Traffic deaths in Ohio could hit a record low in 2013.
Graeter’s plans to open an ice cream parlor in Over-the-Rhine.
Here are seven gorgeous images of space from NASA.
Early voting is now underway. Find your voting location here.
Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are
extended. If you don’t vote early, you can still vote on Election Day
(Nov. 5). Check out CityBeat’s coverage and endorsements for the 2013 election here.
Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy• News: @CityBeat_News• Music: @CityBeatMusic• German Lopez: @germanrlopez
by German Lopez
44 days ago
Medicaid expansion approved, local LGBT rights champion dies, judge's victory costs county
A seven-member legislative board yesterday accepted federal funding
made available through Obamacare to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program to
cover more low-income Ohioans for the next two years. Gov. John Kasich
went through the Controlling Board, an obscure panel that typically
handles less contentious budget issues, to get the federally funded
Medicaid expansion after months of failing to convince his fellow
Republicans to back the policy in the Ohio House and Senate. Most
Republican state representatives, including local Reps. Lou Terhar,
Louis Blessing and Peter Stautberg, signed a letter in protest of the tactic, and some groups are already discussing lawsuits. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio previously found
the expansion would insure between 300,000 and 400,000 Ohioans through
fiscal year 2015. If legislators approve the expansion beyond that, the
institute says it would generate $1.8 billion for Ohio and insure nearly
half a million Ohioans over the next decade.
John Arthur, the Cincinnati man who helped lead a legal battle for same-sex marriage in Ohio, died today at the age of 48.
Arthur was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2011, and
the fatal neurodegenerative disease pushed Arthur and his partner Jim
Obergefell to hasten their battle for LGBT equality and recognition in the eyes of the law. After the couple married in
Maryland, they sued the state to recognize their marriage on Arthur’s
death certificate — a request granted in July by U.S. District Court
Judge Timothy Black, less than one month after the U.S. Supreme Court
struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which previously barred
same-sex marriages at the federal level.The 18-month legal battle over the 2010 juvenile court election between Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter and the Hamilton County Board of Elections will cost the county more than $920,000.
Hunter, a Democrat, ultimately won the lawsuit and recount. Her 2010
opponent, Republican John Williams, eventually got another seat in the
juvenile court through an appointment and subsequent election.
Teen drivers remain one of Ohio’s most at-risk groups for traffic accidents, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP).
Between 2010 and 2012, teen drivers were at fault for nearly 101,000
accidents resulting in more than 44,000 injuries and 299 deaths. In
total, teens were responsible for roughly 10 percent of fatal crashes.
To address the issue, OSHP is advising teen drivers and their parents on
safety basics, such as following the speed limit and wearing a
seatbelt, and promising to encourage better behavior through
Speaking to investors on Friday, Caesar’s Entertainment, the operator of Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino, disclosed the details of a federal money-laundering investigation
and said it previously withdrew a request for a gaming license in
Massachusetts after investigators there questioned past business
practices. Ohio officials reportedly told WCPO they’re reviewing the
In September, Cincinnati year-over-year home sales increased for the 27th consecutive month.
Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery removed a SpongeBob SquarePants headstone for an Iraq War veteran because officials deemed it inappropriate.
The Cincinnati Reds will replace former manager Dusty Baker with pitching coach Bryan Price, reports The Cincinnati Enquirer.
A new study found no known species matches the expected profile of a shared ancestor for humans and Neanderthals.Early voting for the 2013 City Council and mayoral elections is now underway. Find your voting location here. Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are extended.
On Oct. 29, local residents will be able to give feedback
to Cincinnati officials about the city budget — and also nab some free
pizza. The open budgeting event is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 29
at 1115 Bates Ave., Cincinnati.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy• News: @CityBeat_News• Music: @CityBeatMusic• German Lopez: @germanrlopez
by German Lopez
100 days ago
Former governor dies, facial recognition program criticized, county prosecutor mocks court
Former Gov. John Gilligan, a Cincinnati Democrat best known for winning the creation of the state income tax, died at 92
yesterday. Gilligan’s most lasting accomplishment was also what doomed
his career; the state income tax was unpopular when it passed, even
though it allowed Gilligan to boost funding for education, mental health
and law enforcement programs. Gilligan’s political career began in
Cincinnati Council. From there, he rose to U.S. representative and then
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio yesterday asked Attorney General Mike DeWine to shut down a facial recognition program
used by law enforcement until state officials verify and develop safety
protocols that protect Ohioans’ rights to privacy. DeWine formally
unveiled the program in a press conference yesterday. It allows police
officers and civilian employees to use a photo to search databases for
names and contact information. Previously, law enforcement officials
needed a name or address to search such databases. The program has been
live for more than two months and so far used for 2,677 searches, but until now it was kept hidden from the public and hasn’t
been checked by outside groups for proper safety protocols.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters stepped down as Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter’s attorney and
called her handling of the court a “judicial circus.” Hunter has been
mired in controversy ever since she took the bench: She was found in
contempt by a higher court, and she’s been sued multiple times by media,
including four times by The Cincinnati Enquirer. Deters, who
under state law had to legally represent Hunter, said the legal troubles
were too much, but his stepping down also complies with Hunter’s wishes
to find her own hand-picked attorney.
The University of Cincinnati is one of the top colleges where students can get the most out of their money, according to PolicyMic.
UC performs better than average in the graduation rate, debt at time of
graduation, percentage of undergraduate students receiving Pell grants
and starting salary after graduation, yet the school manages to stay
only slightly above the national average for tuition and board and room
Mayor Mark Mallory previously approved eliminating city parking requirements,
which should allow residential development projects to greatly reduce
or completely toss out parking space mandates downtown. “The goal of the
ordinance is to encourage development in the urban core by permitting
developers to determine their own parking needs for downtown
developments,” said Councilwoman Yvette Simpson. “I firmly believe that
the market will work to meet parking demands better than government
minimum parking requirements.”
The tax changes passed in the state budget earlier this year, including an income tax cut and sales tax hike, will go into effect on Sept. 1. The changes have been criticized for favoring the wealthiest Ohioans, as CityBeat covered in further detail here.
Gov. John Kasich approved tax credits
that are expected to create more than 591 jobs statewide, with at least
40 of the jobs being created at the Benjamin Steel Company in
Nearly one in five workers at Ohio casinos has quit or been fired. High turnover isn’t unusual in the casino business, but the numbers give a clearer glimpse at the volatility.
Piloting a military drone can apparently take quite the psychological toll.
by Danny Cross
After 18 months in the courts, Democrat
Tracie Hunter has won a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judgeship, but
a GOP challenge to the court's acceptance of Hunter's challenge is
likely to follow. Republican John Williams led hunter by 23 votes on
election night 2010, but Hunter filed a lawsuit over provisional
ballots cast at incorrect polling stations that weren't counted. After a
recount of 286 provisional ballots, Hunter moved ahead by 74 votes.
Republican board of election members reportedly plan to argue that
the 286 should not have been recounted.
The Enquirer's Mark Curnutte today
offered an analysis of recently released census data that shows a
steady growth of the regional Hispanic population and a growth of
minority population in areas outside the city that were once largely
white. Cincinnati's data suggests that the city and region are
slightly different than the nation's overall trend, which in 2011 for
the first time found a majority of the country's under 1-year-old
population minority (50.4 percent), up from 49.5 percent in 2010.
Included in The Enquirer's story, which
included a profile of a Mexican-American Florence family that moved
to Northern Kentucky eight years ago from Los Angeles:
A decrease of 1.3 percentage points in Hamilton County’s
black population under 5 was countered by increases in the black
population under 5 in each of the region’s six other core counties:
Butler, Clermont and Warren in Ohio and Boone, Campbell and Kenton in
Overall, the regional population of Hispanic children under 5
years rose from 7,583 in 2010 to 8,032 in 2011, a proportional
increase of 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent.
The family of a teenager fatally shot
by a Cincinnati police officer on Fountain Square last summer has
filed a federal lawsuit alleging police used excessive force and
violated 16-year-old Davon Mullins' constitutional rights. Police
say Mullins pulled a handgun, but the lawsuit says he had been
disarmed before officer Oscar Cyranek shot him multiple times.
Cincinnati's Bike Month revelers and
Over-the-Rhine residents received some good news this week when Reser
Bicycle Outfitters announced the opening of an OTR location. The
store could open by June 1 in the 1400 block of Vine Street.
Legislation regulating ownership and
breeding of exotic animals has been approved by the Ohio House Agriculture
and Natural Resources Committee, 17-4. Senate Bill 310 could get
through the full House and Senate next week and be signed by Gov.
John Kasich soon afterward. The ban on the acquisition, sale and
breeding of certain species would take affect 90 days later.
Europe is preparing for Greece to
completely duck out of the Eurozone. The world markets are feeling
Mitt Romney has released his first
general election TV ad. And he's giving cookies to the media.Former Senator John Edwards will learn
his fate today, as a jury was set to deliberate this morning on charges that Edwards used campaign funds to
conceal an affair during his run for president.
More than 200 pages of documents,
photos and audio recordings were released yesterday
offering further details about what happened the night George
Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
The documents include an FBI audio
analysis of the 911 call placed by a resident that captured yells and
screams. Two FBI examiners said they could not determine whether it
was Martin or Zimmerman yelling because of the poor quality of the
recording and the "extreme emotional state" of screamer.
The AP is live-blogging Facebook's
stock market debut. Why does Bono have so much Facebook?
Cell phone maker Nokia has accused
Apple of programming bias into its interactive Siri voice search by
making it answer the question “What is the best smartphone ever?”
by stating “"Wait... there are other phones?" The answer
had apparently previously been “Nokia's Lumia 900.” Apple won't
say whether or not it changed Siri's answer after finding the glitch.
A new study suggests that nighttime
fasting can go a long way toward keeping you slim even if you eat bad
stuff during the day.
Scientists have found a car-sized
The private space launch is scheduled for
4:55 a.m. Saturday, and there will be alcohol involved.
by Kevin Osborne
Final results from a disputed 2010 judicial race will be announced later today. Workers at the Hamilton County Board of Elections are expected to finish the tallying of provisional ballots sometime this afternoon. A total of 286 ballots are being counted in a Juvenile Court judge race, in compliance with a recent order from a federal judge. Democrat Tracie Hunter seemingly lost to Republican John Williams by just 23 votes out of nearly 230,000 ballots cast by county voters, but 286 ballots weren't counted because they were cast by people who showed up to vote at the correct polling place but were misdirected by poll workers and voted at the wrong precinct table. Hunter then filed a lawsuit, which she won.After completing their prison terms, many ex-convicts have difficulty finding jobs due to their criminal records. As a result, some return to a life of crime to make money. The HELP program, which is operated by St. Francis De Sales Church in Walnut Hills, assists the ex-felons — or “returning citizens,” as they like to be known — to find employment. Now the church is lobbying state lawmakers to help them get some professional licenses restored.Profits fell for one of Greater Cincinnati's largest companies in the January-March quarter, but the firm still beat Wall Street’s expectations. Procter & Gamble today reported profits of $2.5 billion for the quarter, down 15 percent from the same period last year. That translates to earnings per share of 94 cents, beating analysts' forecast of 93 cents. Sales were $20.2 billion, up 2 percent from a year ago.Speaking of P&G, a group alleges that one of the firm's most popular products might pose a cancer risk for users. Tests run by an environmental group, Women's Voices for the Earth, found small amounts of a cancer-causing chemical called dioxane in Tide Free and Gentle and Tide Original Scent. P&G representatives, however, say the amounts of dioxane in the detergent aren't harmful.An investigation by WXIX-TV (Channel 19) into the safety of semi-tractor trailer trucks on Cincinnati area roads has revealed hundreds of them aren't being maintained properly and one company in particular is under scrutiny by state and federal investigators. T&T Enterprises, a U.S. mail hauler based in West Chester, has been cited multiple times for not maintaining its fleet up to federal safety standards and not monitoring whether its drivers have had enough rest on long-haul trips throughout the Midwest and up the East Coast. The company didn't respond to the report.In news elsewhere, the U.S. government said Thursday that it will move about 9,000 Marines off Okinawa in Japan to other bases in the Western Pacific, in an effort to remove a persistent irritant in the relationship between the two allies. The Futenma air base on Okinawa has been viewed as essential to deterring Chinese military aggression in the region, but the noisy air base’s location in a crowded urban area has long angered Okinawa residents and some viewed the Marines as rowdy and potentially violent.The United States' economic growth slowed to 2.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, down from the prior quarter’s growth rate of 3 percent, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve. The economy has been growing slowly since the second half of 2009, and the recovery quickened throughout all of 2011. Early this year, though, economists forecast a weaker showing for the first quarter, mostly due to a decline in aircraft orders.An Afghan soldier shot and killed an American mentor and his translator at a U.S. base, Afghan officials said today. The soldier opened fire at an American military base on Wednesday in the volatile Kandahar province. At least 18 foreign soldiers have died this year in 11 incidents of so-called “green on blue” shootings.A federal judge has refused to order the Obama administration to release photographs and video of the U.S. military operation that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan almost a year ago. The government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, had requested the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) release any pictures or video footage of the May 1, 2011, operation. The CIA admitted it had 52 such records, but U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg said he wouldn't order their release. "A picture may be worth a thousand words," wrote Boasberg. "Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more."A suicide bomber has killed at least five people in the Syrian capital of Damascus, a state TV news service reported today. It's the latest in a wave of explosions in Syrian cities in recent months, despite a diplomatic push to end the year-old uprising against the Syrian government. Thousands of people protested elsewhere to denounce persistent violence by President Bashar Assad's regime.
by Kevin Osborne
Public is invited to observe the process
Anyone who wants to observe
the processing of provisional ballots in a disputed 2010 election is being
invited to attend as the work is completed this week.
Officials with the Hamilton
County Board of Elections have announced the processing will occur today,
Thursday and Friday. A total of 286 provisional ballots are being tallied in a
Juvenile Court judge race, in compliance with a recent order from a federal
The ballots are being counted
today until 4 p.m., as well as from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, and from 10:30
a.m. until the work is completed on Friday. The board’s offices are located on
the third floor at 824 Broadway Ave., downtown.
Also, the Board of Elections
will hold special meetings this week. Both will occur Friday; one at 10 a.m.,
the other at 4:30 p.m. Board members will discuss “pending litigation” related
to the Hunter-Williams race.
Earlier this month a federal
appeals court upheld a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott that 286
provisional ballots should be tallied in the 2010 race between Democrat Tracie
Hunter and Republican John Williams.
Hunter seemingly lost by just
23 votes out of nearly 230,000 ballots cast by county voters, but 286 ballots
weren't counted because they were cast by people who showed up to vote at the
correct polling place but were misdirected by poll workers and voted at the
wrong precinct table.
Hunter filed a lawsuit in
federal court alleging the ballots should be counted. Dlott had ordered the
local Board of Elections to precisely determine how many ballots weren’t
counted due to poll worker error, before she decided. That’s when local
Republicans appealed the order.
Williams alleged poll workers correctly followed Ohio law and excluded the
ballots, and that they shouldn’t be tallied. The GOP tried to get the U.S.
Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter, but it declined to hear the case in
April 2011. That put the matter back in Dlott’s court.
Since the dispute began, Williams was appointed to another vacant Juvenile
Court judgeship in November 2011.
by Kevin Osborne
Here's some good news to help CityBeat readers start their week: Not only have city officials reached a settlement with Occupy Cincinnati protestors to drop all trespassing charges against them, but the deal also designates a portion of Piatt Park as a public space that's open 24 hours a day for one year. The settlement, which will be filed in court today, is believed to be one of the first in the nation resolving both a federal civil rights lawsuit against a city and local criminal charges against people connected to the international Occupy Wall Street movement. Protestors were arrested in November after camping overnight in Piatt Park for about 10 days.Former Reds player Aaron Boone has been selected to be the grand marshal of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. The parade, which will begin at 1 p.m. April 5, will wind through Over-the-Rhine and downtown before the Reds' season opener against the Miami Marlins. Boone played for the Reds from 1997-2003, mostly as a third baseman, before ending his Major League career with the Houston Astros in 2009. He is now an announcer for ESPN.Staffers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are trying to explain why Ohio's request to be declared a federal disaster area was rejected last week. "We look at the total amount of impact versus the state. How much of what was insured? What other programs are available? It doesn’t talk about loss of life of homes destroyed. It refers to the impact to the state," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told WLWT-TV (Channel 5).One man is dead and another is injured after what sheriff's deputies call a "domestic dispute" occurred at a Green Township condominium complex early Sunday morning. David Franks, 45, allegedly shot and killed his elderly father-in-law around 3:30 a.m. James Schobert, 76, died from his gunshot injuries before the Green Township Life Squad arrived on the scene.The ongoing legal battle over a contested 2010 election for a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judgeship could cost taxpayers $1.4 million, or almost as much as the $1.57 million cost for the county’s entire November 2010 general election. The dispute hinges on whether 286 provisional ballots should be counted in the race between Democrat Tracie Hunter and Republican John Williams.In news elsewhere, a U.S. staff sergeant has been arrested in Afghanistan after allegedly going on a shooting rampage and killing 16 civilians. Some Afghanis say more than one soldier was involved, and military officials are investigating. The deaths have prompted Taliban fighters to declare they will seek revenge.The rampage is likely to increase the push to withdraw troops from Afghanistan ahead of the 2014 target date. About 60 percent of Americans now see the war as not worth it and 54 percent favor a U.S. withdrawal even if the Afghan army has not been adequately trained, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday.Alabama and Mississippi will hold primary elections on Tuesday, but national polling companies have found a near toss-up among the GOP's three leading presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Political analysts said the results show the Republican Party's Deep South base isn't as predictable as it once was and might be fracturing.A “right to die” case filed by a 58-year-old British man can proceed to a court hearing, a U.K. judge has ruled. Tony Nicklinson has "locked-in syndrome" following a stroke in 2005 and is unable to carry out his own suicide, the BBC reports. The syndrome leaves people with paralyzed bodies but fully-functioning minds.Many people in Appalachia, which includes southeastern Ohio, are counting on new investments from energy companies seeking to extract natural gas from underground pockets as the way to offset job losses suffered in the Great Recession. During the recession, Appalachia lost all the jobs it gained from 2000-08, and personal and small business income is roughly 25 percent lower than the rest of the United States. With such a bleak outlook, many in the region are willing to overlook potential hazards involved with some extraction processes like fracking.