by German Lopez
10 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.
Local efforts join state battle against sex trafficking, prostitution
1 Comment · Wednesday, May 8, 2013
In our present-day American society, the
term “modern-day slavery” sounds almost like an oxymoron. Slavery, we
think, is a dark stamp in a long American history; at worst, it’s
something we think is isolated to poorly developed countries.
by German Lopez
125 days ago
More laws to curb human trafficking, feds stop fracking waste, Mallory tours with feds
Gov. John Kasich is ready to support further action on human trafficking.
Members of the Ohio legislature have already committed to further action.
The next few measures will address the statute of limitations for
trafficking, parents who traffic their children and laws affecting
children services and child welfare. Last session, the legislature
passed a “safe harbor” law that changed the classification of children
caught in prostitution from criminals to victims. A 2010 bill also
increased penalties for human trafficking and related crimes.A Texas-based company wants to ship
thousands of barrels of fracking waste through river barges to Ohio. But the
U.S. Coast Guard is halting the plan while it investigates whether the
waste can be transported through water routes and the plan’s potential
environmental impact. Critics are worried Ohio is becoming a dumping ground for fracking waste.Mayor Mark Mallory took a tour
with federal officials to show off developments going on in the city
and the potential route for the streetcar. The tour was meant to show
off projects that have gotten help from the federal government. After
the bus tour, Mallory acknowledged the city has “a lot of work to do,”
but he added, “There really is a buzz about Cincinnati around this
country. It is true.”
A Cincinnati Children’s Hospital survey found one-third of teen girls report meeting with someone they’ve met online.
Psychologist Jennie Noll says abused or neglected girls are more likely
to present themselves in sexually provocative ways on the Internet and
meet more people in real life. Noll warned the meetings can be dangerous for young girls. Apparently, the meetings seem to
happen regardless of Internet filtering software, but high-quality
parenting and monitoring can help.
Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority is planning housing development for Mount Healthy. The development is coming after a study found the need for more housing in the area.
A controversial luxury apartment complex has been approved in Blue Ash. The approval came despite neighbors complaining that the complex will be an eyesore for the community.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Cincinnati will hire 200 positions.
A recent rise in smuggling led a Conneaut, Ohio, councilman to send a letter to Gov. John Kasich asking for the state to intervene at Corrections Corporation of America’s Lake Erie Correctional Institution.
But Col. John Born, superintendent at the Ohio State Highway Patrol,
wrote in a response that criminal incidents have gone down at the CCA
facility, even though drug smuggling has gone up. He also writes the
state has deployed more cruisers, but he claims local law enforcement
have better means and legal authority to deal with cases at the prison.
In other prison news, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Director Gary Mohr wants to keep misbehaving inmates in prison longer. In the last legislative session, Mohr helped push laws that reduced sentences for low-crime offenders.
Looks like State Treasurer Josh Mandel is firing 10 percent of his staff. The press release
for the announcement has great wording for the bad news: “Treasurer
Mandel announces further payroll reductions and personnel
Ohio gas prices ticked up in response to hopes of a larger economic recovery.
The Cincinnati Zoo has another adorable animal: the Brazilian ocelot kitten.
Science says global warming won’t suck for everyone.
Canadian killer whales tend to make gains, for example. Should humanity
really risk making killer whales even stronger? They can already take down animals that are on solid surface.
by German Lopez
128 days ago
State gets C in human trafficking, Kasich funds mental health, mall businesses evicted
An annual human trafficking report released by Attorney General Mike DeWine gave Ohio a C.
The grade, which comes from Shared Hope International, was a step up
from D's in the previous two years. But DeWine says it’s not enough, and
further action will be taken. Ohio has made some
strides on the human trafficking issue, including passage of a new “Safe Harbor” law for sex-trafficking victims, new details for minor
trafficking victims and the training of 24,000 law-enforcement officers to
better detect and help trafficking victims.
Gov. John Kasich is giving $5 million
to mental health services to help curb and prevent violence. The news
comes in the wake of school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary
School on Dec. 14 and a California high school yesterday. Mental health
services are important, but so is gun control, as CityBeat pointed out here. Vice President Joe Biden is currently heading an investigation to make suggestions on gun control to President Barack Obama.
The remaining businesses in Tower Place Mall were told to get out.
Cassidy Turley, the court-appointed receiver of the mall, apparently
filed eviction notices telling businesses to leave by March. The mall
has been struggling for some time now, and the city of Cincinnati is
currently in the process of trying to buy it. City Manager Milton
Dohoney says the city had no part in the evictions.
The city of Mason is apparently becoming a technology corridor.
Since 2011, the city has brought in $110 million in investments and
created 1,400 jobs. The new jobs are related to technology, robotics,
automation, innovation and health care.
Warren and Butler counties are apparently seeing a surge in sales tax revenue. The budgetary boost is being seen by some as a sign of further economic expansion.
Surrounded by dogs, Gov. Kasich signed legislation effectively banning puppy mills.
Previously, animal advocates claimed lax rules and regulations had made
Ohio a breeding ground for abusive practices. The lack of oversight
also helped enable Ohio’s dog auctions, which CityBeat covered here. The new law will go into effect within 30 days.
An Ohio school is apparently arming janitors. Previously, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters made a suggestion to arm school staff, but research shows it doesn’t help deter or stop acts of violence.
Natural gas is being slightly deregulated in Ohio.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is allowing two
companies — Columbia Gas of Ohio and Dominion East Ohio Gas — to
eliminate regulated pricing for businesses, with some conditions.
Supporters say the move will create more competition and lower prices,
but the deregulation gives a substantial advantage to two big energy
Congress is apparently less popular than head lice,
but it’s more popular than Lindsay Lohan. Damn. Does that mean people
prefer head lice to Lindsay Lohan? Even Nickelback and Ghengis Khan beat
Congress. Poor Lindsay.
Science has now found that animal grunts can act similarly to Morse code. Is this yet another warning of the impending animal takeover?
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Women spend less than half as much time cleaning today as
they did 50 years ago, according to a study on the cleaning habits of
adult women living in the UK. WORLD +2
Report offers latest data on Ohio's human trafficking problem
1 Comment · Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Since 2010, Ohio has woken up to the
realities of its human trafficking problem. Back then, the state was
considered to be among “the worst states” — or tier 4 — by the Polaris
Project, an organization focused on the nationwide issue of human
by German Lopez
The Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners yesterday voted
to keep senior and mental health levies flat. As a result, senior
and mental health services will lose funding. Commissioner Todd Portune,
the Board’s sole Democrat,
offered an alternative measure that would have raised funding to levels
providers requested, before voting with the two Republicans. Portune’s measure would have increased property
taxes by $5 for every $100,000 of property worth.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a new report
detailing human trafficking in Ohio. The report found one-third of
trafficking victims got involved in trafficking as minors. In all of
Ohio, law enforcement officials topped the list of buyers for human
trafficking. In Cincinnati, the most common buyers were drug dealers,
factory workers and truckers. Forty percent of trafficking victims in
Cincinnati reported being raped.At the commissioners meeting Wednesday, a Jehova’s
Witnesses group clashed with Harrison Township over land. The religious
group wants to build a hall that they say will attract Jehova’s
Witnesses to the area and bring in tax revenue, but Harrison Township is
worried the building will cause too much disruption. The board will
reach a decision in a few weeks, Commissioner Greg Hartmann said.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius praised Cincinnati Children’s accomplishments during a
visit to a local medical center Wednesday. She also said the medical
progress in Cincinnati “can now be mirrored across the country.”The Ohio State Bar Association has declared opposition to
the Voters First redistricting amendment. The association says it has
“deep concerns” over getting the judicial system involved in the
redrawing process.Local political group COAST has been misinforming its
followers about the Blue Ash Airport deal. The misinformation continues
COAST’s campaign to stop anything streetcar-related.U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio is among the top choices for
presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential list, but a new
analysis from the New York Times shows Portman might not benefit Romney
much. Apparently, Ohio voters either don’t know Portman well enough or
feel completely apathetic about him.Ohio’s mortgage delinquency rates are falling. The rate
fell from 4.73 percent to 4.54 percent. However, the average mortgage
debt for individual borrowers went up in the second largest jump in the
country. The average Ohio mortgage debt holder now owes $131,701, up
from $126,503.The number of swine flu cases in Butler County is still going up.Ohio school levies apparently struggled in the special Aug. 7 election.The U.S. trade deficit is at its lowest in 18 months.Apparently, the Olympic Village is a giant orgy.A new study is linking eyes to sexual orientation.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
, Human Rights
at 03:29 PM | Permalink
Most common buyers of trafficking victims were law enforcement
The Ohio Attorney General’s office today released a report on
human trafficking in Ohio which found that out of 328
self-identified human trafficking victims, more than one-third were
trafficked while they were minors.
The victims were taken from all around Ohio, including
Cincinnati. The report found that 63 percent of the victims had run
away from home at least once, 59 percent reported having friends
involved in selling, 47 percent were raped more than a year
before being trafficked and 44 percent reported to be victims of child abuse.
In Cincinnati, the most common risk factors reported were
dropping out of school and having an older boyfriend. Rape was third
with 40 percent of Cincinnati victims reporting being raped.
In all of Ohio, the most common buyers for victims were
law enforcement. Businessmen and drug dealers were second and third,
respectively. In Cincinnati, the most common buyers were drug dealers,
followed by factory workers, then truckers.
The report highlights the severity of human trafficking in
Ohio. A 2010 report by the same commission found that 1,000
American-born youth had been trafficked in Ohio over the course of the
year, and as many as 3,000 American-born youth in Ohio were at risk for
trafficking.Since the 2010 report, Gov. John Kasich has signed H.B.
262 into law, which outlaws human trafficking and enforces tougher
However, the commission does not believe current law is
enough, and it’s pushing for more rules against human trafficking. The
new rules would identify trafficking as child abuse, place a focus on
arresting and convicting buyers and invest in responding to adult sex
trafficking. The commission also wants a better response to youth
runaways, and it wants to establish better protocols for dealing with
at-risk youth, especially in correspondence with school officials.When contacted by CityBeat, the Ohio Attorney General’s office said
they have no suggestions to specifically deal with law enforcement officials, which topped the list of buyers, who are involved in human trafficking.The report was issued by the Attorney General’s Human
Trafficking Commission. It was authored by commission member Celia
Williamson, who is also a professor at the University of Toledo. The full report can be found here.
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Gov. John Kasich on June 27 signed into law Ohio’s Safe Harbor Act, what is being touted as one of the country’s toughest human trafficking bills. The law’s passage comes shortly after Kasich re
by Kevin Osborne
Some allege candidate almost made racial slur at campaign event
Some critics of Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum
said video footage of a speech at a campaign event shows him starting to utter
a racial slur while referring to President Obama, then cutting himself off
While speaking to a group of supporters in Wisconsin on Tuesday,
Santorum said, “We know what the candidate, Barack Obama, was like. The
anti-war, government nig--, uh…” before stopping abruptly, then adding, “America
was, uh, a source for division around the world. And that what we were doing
was wrong. We needed to pull out and we needed to pull back.”
Although the uncompleted word sure sounds like it began with “nig”
and what Santorum said next in the sentence didn’t flow naturally with the
other words, a campaign spokesman today denied that the uncompleted word was “nigger.”
In January Santorum told a crowd of supporters in Iowa that he didn’t “want to make black people’s lives
better by giving them other people’s money.”
Here is the clip of Tuesday’s
speech. The remark causing controversy is spoken around the 34:30 mark. You can
decide for yourself.