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Loose Change

Ohio boosted its minimum wage by 15 cents on Jan. 1, but advocates say it's not enough

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Workers making low wages in Ohio got a small raise Jan. 1, as the state automatically raised the minimum companies here must pay workers by 15 cents.  
by Nick Swartsell 12.23.2014
Posted In: News at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
brent spence bridge

Morning News and Stuff

Delay in Brent Spence replacement could cost $7 million a month, Ky. Gov. says; Beavercreek protesters charged; Economy grows at fastest rate in 11 years

Hello all! I’m here to give you one more news roundup before the holidays start in earnest. It’s pretty much the only reason I’m working today. Well, that and our holiday party. But that’s later. News is now.It’s always rough when the authority figures in your life fight during the holidays. So it’s good news that the city and the county won’t be in court just yet over ongoing disagreements about how to tackle the region’s looming $3 billion sewer upgrade. Hamilton County owns the sewer system, but the City of Cincinnati runs it. And in the midst of a massive court-ordered upgrade after lawsuits from the EPA, environmental groups and homeowners, the two haven’t exactly seen eye to eye on how to get out of the mess. But in a meeting yesterday, the two governments agreed, at least in principle, to stop all the fussin’ and the feudin’ and work together to get things figured out. Early next year, the city and county will go through an independent mediation process to work through some of the issues around the revamp that have in the past landed them in court. That’s the holiday spirit!• Meanwhile, just across the river, there’s another fight over billions of dollars still raging. Delays to a Brent Spence Bridge repair or replacement will cost taxpayers $7 million a month, Kentucky Governor Bill Beshear said yesterday at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce meeting in Covington. Beshear arrived at that number by considering the total cost of the project and government projections for inflation of construction costs. The obsolete though structurally sound bridge will cost $2.6 billion to replace and Beshear wants to talk about public-private partnerships as a way to get to that dollar amount. But those partnerships would probably mean tolls on the bridge — something many in Northern Kentucky are dead-set against. Opponents say tolls will adversely impact commuters who must cross the bridge every day. Anti-toll group Northern Kentucky United would like to see tolls off the table before any plan for the bridge goes forward. Beshear, on the other hand, wants to keep the option to use tolls open. He will meet with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in January to hammer out a plan for funding the bridge.• An appeals court has denied former Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter’s request for a suspension of her six-month sentence, meaning she will more than likely have to report to jail Dec. 29. Hunter was convicted on one of eight felony counts this fall for having unlawful interest in a public contract. Prosecutors charge she improperly interceded on behalf of her brother, a juvenile jail employee charged with hitting an underage inmate. Judge Norbert Nadel sentenced her to the six months in Hamilton County jail last month. Hunter has appealed her conviction, and hoped to delay punishment until after that appeal was heard. Hunter's attorney also objected to a strongly-worded, one might even say snarky, letter from the Hamilton County Prosecutor's office calling for jail time for Hunter. The letter noted that Hunter had once promised to do anything for the children that came through her court, including go to jail. The letter suggested it was time for her to keep her promise.• Four protesters arrested Saturday at a demonstration in the Beavercreek Walmart where police shot unarmed 22-year-old John Crawford III have been charged with trespassing and obstructing official business. The four, who are from Fairborn, Springfield and Wilberforce, pleaded not guilty and have been released on bond. The demonstration was a “die-in” where protesters laid on the ground in the Walmart. Management at the store decided to close in response to the protests over what they called safety concerns. Police officer Sean Williams shot Crawford Aug. 5 as Crawford walked around the store with a pellet gun sold at the Walmart.• The U.S. economy saw the fastest growth its had in 11 years after a 5 percent boost in the third quarter of this year, according to the federal government. The U.S. Department of Commerce released the figures yesterday, which surprised many with their robustness and may indicate a deeper, more dynamic economic recovery is occurring. The growth came from an increase in consumer spending. The economy hasn’t grown so fast since this time in 2003, according to the report.• Finally, a little year-end close-out question I'll be asking again next week: what were the biggest and most important stories this year? What did we miss? What did we get right? What do you think needs more coverage? We'll be hitting the ground running in 2015. Give us some juicy news tips.Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, or tweet at your boy at @nswartsell. Or you can e-mail me: nswartsell@citybeat.com
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 12.15.2014
Posted In: News at 05:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
walmart-john-crawford-mug

Crawford Family to File Lawsuit Over Police Shooting

Suit names officers, Beavercreek police chief and Walmart

The family of John Crawford III, the 22-year-old Fairfield man a Beavercreek police officer shot Aug. 5 in a Walmart, is filing a lawsuit against Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers, officers Sean Williams and David Darkow and the Walmart corporation, the family’s lawyers announced today via a news release. Officer Williams shot Crawford, a Fairfield resident who grew up in Cincinnati, in the Walmart after another customer, Ronald Ritchie, called 911 to report a man loading a gun and pointing it at customers in the store. Ritchie later contradicted that statement in interviews with the media, stating Crawford wasn’t actually pointing the gun at anyone. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun sold by Walmart. Video footage of the event released by Attorney General Mike DeWine weeks later does not conclusively show Crawford threatening anyone with the weapon.A grand jury on Sept. 24 declined to indict Williams for the shooting. Many have drawn parallels between Crawford’s death and the Aug. 9 police shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Brown was unarmed when officer Darren Wilson shot and killed him. The incident has sparked months of protests and civil unrest in Ferguson and across the country. Those protests intensified when a St. Louis County grand jury announced Nov. 24 that it would not indict Wilson.The Crawford family’s lawyers, as well as Crawford’s father John Crawford, Jr., will hold a press conference in Dayton tomorrow at 11 a.m. to discuss the details of the lawsuit.
 
 

A Tale of Two Suburbs

The checkered past of two racially tense Midwestern suburbs

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Many have made parallels between the shooting of Mike Brown by a Ferguson police officer and the killing of John Crawford III in a Beavercreek Walmart — but the racial tensions and local reactions surrounding the tragedies differ.  

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Beavercreek Officers in Crawford Shooting

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 1, 2014
An Ohio grand jury on Sept. 24 declined to issue an indictment in the killing of John Crawford III, who was shot in a Beavercreek Walmart by police Aug. 5.   
by Rachel Podnar 06.04.2014
Posted In: Labor Unions at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Local Walmart Workers to Strike Wednesday

Employees to walk out of Ferguson Road store during rally at 4:30 p.m.

Protesting illegal firings, low wages and erratic scheduling, Walmart workers are taking a stand this afternoon in Cincinnati by walking off their jobs. Workers will protest outside the Walmart on Ferguson Road at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon with Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, according to a press release sent out this morning. Today’s strike is part of a larger strike movement happening in 20 cities across the country this week, leading up to the annual shareholder meeting. The meeting is this Friday and hundreds of worker shareholders are making the trip to Arkansas as part of a union-backed workers group called OUR Walmart. They plan to request a living wage and family-sustaining jobs, calling for the new CEO Doug McMillion to “take the company in a new direction,” the press release said. A typical Walmart worker is paid less than $25,000 a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average retail worker makes only $21,000 per year and cashiers even less. Walmart employees say they have to rely on food stamps while their company received $7.8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies in 2013. OUR Walmart advocates for a $25,000 base salary for all employees. “A minimum $25,000 salary at Walmart would not only help families, it would boost job creation, consumer spending, and the company’s bottom-line,” the press release said. The major employer is currently on trial for worker rights violations involving firing workers who went on strike last year at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.   The country’s largest and most profitable corporation is also tightening its belt; Walmart took $740 million out of its cost structure in the past year because its operating income grew faster than sales. Walmart has had to make some changes lately in response to worker’s claims. In March, the pregnancy policy was updated after an OUR Walmart campaign, allowing for more accommodations for pregnant women.   In April, the retailer changed its internal scheduling system, making it easier for part-time workers to pick up extra shifts online.
 
 

Worst Week Ever!: Nov. 13-19

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Department Store with DJs Proves Too Futuristic for Cincinnatians; Plans Move Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fifth Street location downtown will relocate to Sycamore Township after years of Cincinnati res  

Cincinnati vs. The World 03.13.2013

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Forests in China are suffering from huge surges in disposable wooden chopstick demand; the country produces 80 billion chopsticks per year — equivalent to the destruction of 20 million 20-year-old trees. WORLD -2   

Low Prices, Low Wages

National organization leads employee protests and strikes against Walmart

1 Comment · Tuesday, November 20, 2012
If you’re planning on buying a flat-screen at Walmart this Black Friday, you might just witness a flash mob by fed-up Walmart employees who are calling for higher wages and greater respect for the 1.3 million associates that work in the U.S.   

May 9-15: Worst Week Ever!

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Germany’s Der Spiegel reported today that during 2011 German police shot only 85 bullets, and most weren’t even aimed at humans. Out of 85 bullets fired, 49 were warning shots. These numbers make it seem like it might be possible to greatly reduce the number of times per year in this country a person gets shot to death by the police in a situation where it seems like other resolutions could have been reached.  

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