by Hannah McCartney
41 days ago
Four Ohio energy providers earn spot on Pear Energy's "Dirty Dozen"
Cincinnati's main gas and electricity provider, Duke Energy, has scored a No. 1 ranking, but it's not exactly one you'll be wanting to clap your hands about. Remember when we blogged a couple of weeks ago about how Greater Cincinnati has some of the worst air pollution in the nation? Yep, the American Lung Association's report, "State of the Air," gave us an "F" for ozone pollution, a "D" for 24-hour particle pollution and a "fail" for year-round particle pollution. That put us at the 10th worst spot in the country for year-round particle pollution and 14th worst for ozone pollution. Solar and wind energy provider Pear Energy, which currently operates in all 50 states, released yesterday its "Dirty Dozen" compilation, a list of the 12 utility providers emitting the greatest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a type of greenhouse gas. CO2 emissions, of course, are the gunk released into our atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels like gas, coal or oil. Excess CO2 in our atmosphere is directly linked to global warming. Coming from a company that wants to sell you energy itself, it's good to approach the list with a little skepticism, but the methodology seems transparent; according to the website, all rankings were determined by total CO2 emissions in 2010 of power producers with retail operations that have carbon intensities above the national average emissions rate (stats were sourced from Environmental Protection Agency data). While Duke Energy was pinpointed as the nation's worst offender, several other Ohio energy providers also earned accolades, including American Electric Power (No. 2), NRG (No. 8) and First Energy (No. 11). First Energy is the utility provider that in 2012 partnered with Duke Energy locally to bring Cincinnati an electric aggregation program, allegedly useful for both lowering electricity rates and increasing use of renewable energy sources with group buying power. Last month, CityBeat covered allegations that First Energy was focused on weakening energy efficiency standards under Ohio's Clean Energy Law, supposedly to protect prices from shooting up for its customers.
by German Lopez
40 days ago
Council combats human trafficking, Medicare reveals price data, Duke tops 'Dirty Dozen'
With a set of initiatives unanimously approved last week, City Council is looking to join the state in combating Cincinnati’s human trafficking problem.
The initiatives would evaluate local courts’ practices in human
trafficking and prostitution cases and study the need for more
surveillance cameras and streetlights at West McMicken Avenue, a
notorious prostitution hotspot. Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, who
spearheaded the initiatives, says the West McMicken Avenue study will
serve as a pilot program that could eventually branch out to other
prostitution hotspots in Cincinnati, including Lower Price Hill and Camp
Medicare data released yesterday revealed charges and payments can vary by thousands of dollars
depending on the hospital, including in Cincinnati. Health care
advocates and experts attribute the price disparity to the lack of
transparency in the health care system, which allows hospitals to set
prices without worrying about typical market checks. CityBeat previously covered the lack of health care price transparency in Ohio here.
Duke Energy is the No. 1 utility company polluter
in the nation, according to new rankings from Pear Energy. The rankings
looked at carbon dioxide emissions, which directly contribute to global
warming. Pear Energy is a solar and wind energy company that competes
with utility companies like Duke Energy, but the methodology behind the
rankings was fairly transparent and based on U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency data.
Commentary: “Republicans Continue Voter Suppression Tactics.”
City Council approved form-based code yesterday, which
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls has been working on for years. In a statement,
Qualls’ office called form-based code an “innovative alternative to conventional
zoning” that will spur development. “Cincinnati now joins hundreds of
cities that are using form-based code to build and reinforce walkable
places that create value, preserve character and are the bedrock of
Cincinnati neighborhoods’ competitive advantage,” Qualls said in the statement.
State Sen. Peggy Lehner is looking to amend the Ohio budget bill to add a $100 million voucher program
that would cover preschool for three- and four-year-olds. The details
of the program are so far unclear, but Lehner said she might put most of
the funding on the second year of the biennium budget to give the state
time to prepare proper preschool programs. If the amendment proceeded,
it would join recent efforts in Cincinnati to open up early education
programs to low- and middle-income families. CityBeat covered the local efforts and many benefits of quality preschool here.
Gov. John Kasich says he would back a ballot initiative for a mostly federally funded Medicaid expansion,
which the Health Policy Institute of Ohio says would insure nearly half
a million Ohioans and save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars
in the next decade. CityBeat covered the Medicaid expansion in further detail here.
Policy Matters Ohio released a lengthy report
yesterday detailing how the state could move towards clean energy and
electric cars and calling for more state incentives for clean energy.
The report praises Cincinnati in particular for using municipal policies
to build local clean energy and keep energy jobs in the city.
The last tenant at Tower Place Mall is moving out.
Scientists are working on a microchip that could be implanted into the brain to restore memories.
They also found proof that seafloor bacteria ate radioactive supernova dust.
by German Lopez
82 days ago
Youth Jobs Fair today, groups clash over energy law, GOP considering election reform
Cincinnati’s Youth Jobs Fair will be held today at the
Duke Energy Convention Center between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The fair
provides an opportunity for young people, typically aged between 16 and
24, to look for work from a variety of participating employers. Mayor
Mark Mallory says attendees should “dress for success,” as if they were
going to their first day on the job.
State environmental groups and an Akron-based energy company are at odds over a 2008 law
that tasks the state and utility companies with meeting stringent
requirements for renewable energy and energy efficiency. State Sen. Bill
Seitz, the Cincinnati Republican who heads the Senate Public Utilities
Committee, has agreed to review Ohio’s Clean Energy Law, while
FirstEnergy, an Akron-based energy company, protests the requirements as
too expensive for the company and consumers around the state. But
Seitz’s decision has alarmed environmental groups who largely see the
law as effective three years later.
Republicans in the General Assembly are considering an incremental approach to elections reform
after their comprehensive efforts in 2011 and 2012 were received with widespread
accusations of voter suppression. The details aren’t worked out yet, but Seitz is planning on
introducing bills that he says will cut down on provisional ballot
voting and provide clearer rules for poll workers collecting provisional
ballots, and other Republicans are looking to set uniform statewide
early voting hours. Democratic State Sen. Nina Turner says she wants to
see a more comprehensive approach to elections reform, including a more
relaxed approach to provisional ballots.
The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners are considering raises for county employees,
but they first have to find a way to pay for the increases. Board
President Chris Monzel, a Republican, says he would like to wait to see
how Gov. John Kasich’s budget turns out to institute a merit-based raise
system. Commissioner Todd Portune, a Democrat, says he wants to
guarantee all employees a 1-percent increase.
City Council held a special meeting last night to discuss the city’s pension system,
which many are worried is costing the city too much in the long term.
City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. says the city needs to take more steps
to stabilize the system: “More money in, figuring out where that more
money will come from, looking at the current picture of the benefits
themselves, and some way of financing it short of putting lump sums of
The U.S. Supreme Court showed doubts
over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which
effectively banned same-sex marriage at a federal level, at hearings
President Barack Obama’s administration released a proposal that will help deal with the effects of global warming on wildlife, including arctic foxes.
Watch a nine-year-old discuss the meaning of life and the universe:
Ohio considers relaxing energy efficiency standards; environmental groups take exception
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 27, 2013
State environmental groups and an
Akron-based energy company are at odds over a 2008 law that tasks the
state and utility companies with meeting stringent requirements for
renewable energy and energy efficiency.
by German Lopez
State unemployment drops, GOP embraces redistricting, Cincinnati climate-friendly
Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in December, down from 6.8 percent in November, according to new numbers
from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. In comparison, the
U.S. unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent in December. The amount of
unemployed dropped from 391,000 to 388,000. Unfortunately, the amount of
employed also dropped, indicating that some people are leaving the
The Republican State Leadership Committee admitted the only reason Republicans kept a House majority was politicized redistricting.
The admission from a memo titled “How a Strategy of Targeting State
Legislative Races in 2010 Led to a Republican U.S. House Majority in
2013.” The report even singled out Ohio as a state that benefited
Republicans due to redistricting. CityBeat previously covered the issue in-depth here.
Cincinnati is among three finalists in the World Wildlife
Fund’s (WWF) Earth Hour City Challenge. The contest judges efforts to
combat global warming. Cincinnati, Chicago and San Francisco were chosen
by WWF and global management consultancy Accenture for
preparing their cities for a “climate-friendly future,” according to a
statement from WWF.
At this point, it’s looking like Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposals will take months for legislators to sort through. The proposals include major changes to taxes, the Ohio Turnpike, education and Medicaid.
Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky signed a landmark water agreement to leverage Greater Cincinnati’s water technologies. The agreement seeks to spur legislation, according to the Business Courier.
The Cincinnati Zoo may need a levy to stay afloat.
Ohio hospitals spent $3.1 billion in free health care in 2010, up from $2.9 billion in 2009, according to an Ohio Hospital Association report.
On the bright side, overall crime is down in Cincinnati.
Bad news, everyone. Chipotle is likely to raise prices this year.
To avoid Obamacare’s health care requirements for businesses, some businesses may begin cutting jobs.
Some in the scientific community want to establish national parks on Mars.
by German Lopez
New restrooms stalled, Medicaid expansion saves money, there is no “climate debate”
City Council wants to do more research
before it proceeds with freestanding public restrooms in downtown
and Over-the-Rhine. The vote has been delayed. Critics say
the restrooms are too expensive at $130,000, but supporters, particularly Councilman Chris Seelbach, insist the
restrooms will not be that expensive. A majority of City Council argues
the restrooms are necessary because increasing populations and growth in
downtown have made 24-hour facilities necessary.
A new report found Ohio’s budget would benefit from a Medicaid expansion.
The expansion would mostly save money by letting the federal government
pick up a much larger share of the cost for Ohio’s population, particularly prison
inmates. A previous study
found Medicaid expansions were correlated with better health results,
including decreased mortality rates, in some states. Another study from
the Arkansas Department of Human Services found the state would save
$378 million by 2025 with the Medicaid expansion. Most of the savings from the Arkansas study
would come from uncompensated care — costs that are placed on health
institutions and state and local governments when uninsured patients
that can’t and don’t pay use medical services.
The Dayton Daily News has a wonderful example of how not to do journalism. In an article on the supposed “climate debate,”
the newspaper ignored the near-unanimous scientific consensus on global warming and decided to give credence to people who deny all
scientific reasoning. To be clear, there is no climate debate. There’s the overwhelming majority of scientists, climatologists and data on one side, and there’s the
pro-oil, pro-coal lobby and stubborn, irrational conservatives who will
deny anything that hurts their interests on the other side.
The Ohio Board of Education approved policies for seclusion rooms.
The non-binding policy requires parents to be notified if their
children are placed in a seclusion room, and the Ohio Department of
Education can also request data, even though it won’t be made public. More
stringent policies may come in the spring. Seclusion rooms are supposed
to be used to hold out-of-control kids, but an investigation from The Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio found the rooms were being abused by teachers and school staff for their convenience.
If the city wants to buy Tower Place, the mall will have to be cleared out, according to City Manager Milton Dohoney.
Last week, the remaining businesses at Tower Place were evicted, and
Dohoney said the city did not sign off on the eviction orders. Apparently, the
city really didn’t agree to or enforce eviction orders, but the city’s buyout requires
evictions. Dohoney said the eviction notices should signify the
deal to buy Tower Place is moving forward.
Dohoney appointed Captain Paul Humphries to the assistant chief position
for the Cincinnati Police Department. Humphries has been on the force
for 26 years, and he currently serves as the chief of staff to Chief
Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) is targeting Mt. Airy and Carthage.
Starting March 1, police, businesses and civic groups will begin
putting together accelerated revitalization and reinvestment plans for
the communities. NEP emphasizes building code enforcement, crime,
neighborhood cleanup and beautification.
Good news, everyone. Cincinnati is no longer the bedbug capital.
Bob Castellini, owner of the Reds, was named the region’s master entrepreneur by Northern Kentucky University.
The Ohio Department of Transportation released a website that has real-time traffic information.
Some people really suck at political slogans.
Oh, science. Apparently, particle physics could improve Netflix’s suggestions.
The expanding police state tops the annual list of stories underreported by the mainstream media
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Project Censored has been documenting inadequate
media coverage of crucial stories since it began in 1967.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: baseball
at 12:13 PM | Permalink
Former ballplayer says no icebergs = no shipwreck
When Jose Canseco last
month offered his sincere concern over the world’s energy
consumption and various global warming issues that have resulted, we at
CityBeat were quick to report such thoughtful commentary. In a story
titled “Ranking Jose Canseco’s Global Warming Tweets” we
provided some background on the former Major League Baseball
player/steroid user/author and recapped his series of
Most of us believed
that our immense enjoyment of Canseco’s socio-political commentary
would be short-lived — after following him on Twitter for a few
days we were offered only recaps of him winning long drive
competitions and pleading with Major League clubs to sign
him even though he’s 47.
Then on Sunday
something awesome happened. Apparently inspired by the recent release of
Titanic 3D, Canseco in fewer than 144 characters again blew everyone’s
minds: “Titanic 100 years wOw. Global warming couldve saved
titanic. Sad to say.”
Canseco was prompted by skeptics to elaborate: “Because we don't recycle and consume
like crazy icicles are non existent. Titanic wouldve still existed
today," he wrote.
He then showed frustration with the people who didn’t understand the irony he was describing: “You
clowns it's very simple. With global warning the weather is hotter so
the icebergs would be melted and titanic saved.”
Canseco went back to blasting our wasteful lifestyles: “100 years
ago people actually cared about planet and respected nature. Now we
can care less and consume energy like it's free.”
And then, for good
measure, he offered a couple slices of personality that prove follow Jose Canseco on Twitter will continue to be a worthwhile endeavor, political activism or not: “Titanic
reminds me of the days I had two yachts in Miami but no icicles" and “I had a bat I named Titanic .It was biggest rawlings ever made
and beautiful and unbreakable dont know where Titanic is now.”
It’s good to know
that influential people like Jose Canseco are taking on such causes,
even after learning that Al Gore is not dead. Hug 4 u, Jose.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: baseball
at 02:28 PM | Permalink
Former MLB meathead goes ROFL on Twitter
Former Major League
Baseball player Jose Canseco doesn’t have the best image. After
breaking into the majors as a super fast, freaky power hitter with
the Oakland A’s and winning a World Series with his fellow Bash
Brother/performance-enhancing-drug-user Mark McGwire, Canseco’s career and reputation were marred by injuries and a series of embarrassing
moments on and off the field.
In 1992, Canseco was
traded to another team while he was in the on-deck circle waiting to
bat. In 1993, a fly ball bounced off his head and over the fence for
a home run — This Week In Baseball in 1998 named the incident the
greatest blooper of the show’s first 20-plus years. Canseco then
asked his manager to pitch in a game even though he was an
outfielder, which resulted in an elbow injury that required surgery.
During the PED witch
hunt of the early 2000s, Canseco apparently took exception to MLB’s
— and the media’s — obsession with how huge Barry Bonds’ body
and head had gotten and released a tell-all book called Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in which he claimed that the majority of MLB players were on steroids. Since then, Canseco has
generally been seen as a doofus who does silly things to maintain his
celebrity and make relatively small amounts of money, such as
participating in reality shows, claiming Madonna liked him more than
he liked her and training for a mixed martial arts fight and then losing in 77 seconds.
Canseco in the
past few days has apparently attempted to rectify all his wrongs with a series
of tweets aimed at schooling all the “morons” who don’t believe
in global warming. It reads as a passionate, if grammatically flawed, cry for reason in the wake of the mass consumption and
laziness that has led to the death of thousands of polar bears and,
apparently, Al Gore.
The following is a
collection of the tweets, which have made quite an impression on the
Twitter community, ranked in order of hilariousness. Be the first to receive future advice on world-changing lifestyle tips from Jose Canseco by following him @JoseCanseco.8. The tweet that got
it all started — Canseco alerts the public that he is going to drop some serious
knowledge about global warming the following day, likely using an
7. While this tweet was
certainly informative, the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto has
been known even by the laziest non-recyclers for a long time. The
Playboy celebrity golf tournament reference is funny, though — classic Canseco.
6. “How do we stop
global warming?” A relevant question, completely reasonable coming
from someone like Canseco who probably doesn’t actually know the
5. Here’s where
Canseco starts really lashing into the skeptics, his frustration with
mass consumption demonstrating a larger level of understanding of the
issue, which likely surprised many readers. Canseco also introduces
the concept of polar bears in this tweet, which is essential to later
4. Ridiculously bad
grammar aside, Canseco again makes a good point — in some countries
families indeed share much less space than we use in America. The
second reference to polar bears is really funny and for some reason unexpected.
3. Canseco in this
tweet proves that he’s not going to let the issue of lazy,
over-consuming humans fizzle out after a couple of liberal-esque polar bear
references. Jose is now provoking the sacrifices of the pioneers, who
didn’t use any electricity and just slept in flannel pajamas even
when it was snowing. A pretty good point.
2. Jose Canseco thinks
Al Gore is dead.
1. If Canseco is
correct that lowering your body temperature at night will make you
live 20-percent longer, then he’s probably well on his way to
solving global warming. Energy savings aside, Canseco’s hope that
he’ll live into his seventies rather than dying in some stupid way
during the next 10 years is likely what led to this outburst of
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 2, 2011
For most people, a visit to a Taco Bell restaurant is an infrequent occurrence, normally undertaken late at night after several hours of bad decisions (were you wasted or do you really believe there’s supposed to be a “fourth meal?”). As such, there’s generally little backlash when a menu item is accompanied by a surprise ingredient: “Dude, my burrito has Fritos in it … and it’s fucking delicious.”