0 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
If a win isn’t televised, does it make a sound? Perhaps not, but coupled with a breather
of a stretch, a couple of wins for the Bengals could at least return the
team to TV in Cincinnati soon.
City applies for federal loan to move homeless shelters as dispute over relocation continues
1 Comment · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Cincinnati City Council on Nov. 7 took a
step toward moving two homeless shelters out of the Washington Park
area, but not all council members or homeless advocates are sure that is
the right move.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
It was only one day after President
Barack Obama’s re-election, and some groups were already demanding
action. In a Nov. 7 report by left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio, the
group said the expiration of federal unemployment benefits could leave
Ohio’s jobless stranded.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
A state appeals court Nov. 7 rejected a lawsuit filed by city of Cincinnati retirees
who claimed promised healthcare benefits were illegally reduced in
2010. Before the cuts, retirees did not have to pay-out-of-pocket
expenses and deductions for prescriptions and medical care. The city
shifted some costs of the pension health package to the ex-workers under
an ordinance enacted to shore up its pension plan,
which is still under financial stress. The appeals court said it saw no
records guaranteeing ex-city employees set benefits at the time they
by German Lopez
Planned Parenthood could lose funds, Husted loses again, puppy mills regulations
Abortion-rights supporters pushed against
a bill that will kill some funds for Planned Parenthood in Ohio yesterday. The bill would shift $2 million
in federal funds, which legally can’t be used for abortions, from
Planned Parenthood to other family services. An Ohio House committee will hold hearings and
possibly vote on the bill later today. Planned Parenthood has been
a target for anti-abortion activists all around the nation in recent
years, even though abortions only make up 3 percent of its services.
The election is over for us, but it’s not quite over for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. A court ruled yesterday that Husted was in the wrong
when he directed a last-minute change to Ohio's provisional ballot rules. U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley wrote that the rules,
which shifted the burden of identification for provisional ballots from
poll workers to voters, were “a flagrant violation of a state elections
law.” Husted will appeal the ruling. For many voter activists, the
ruling comes as no surprise. Husted and Republicans have
been heavily criticized for how they handled the lead-up to the election.
The Ohio House will vote on legislation
to regulate puppy mills. Ohio is currently known as one of the worst
states for puppy mills and regulations surrounding them. The Humane
Society of the United States supports extra limits on Ohio’s puppy
mills. CityBeat previously covered the issue and how it enables Ohio dog auctions.
John Cranley is running for mayor.
Cranley, who served on City Council between 2001 and 2007, promises to
bring “bring fresh energy and new ideas to the mayor's office.” One of
those ideas could be opposition to the streetcar, which Cranley has been
against in the past. Former mayor Charlie Luken will be the honorary
chairman of Cranley’s campaign, which will officially launch at an event in January.
The Ohio Department of Development and Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority will meet on Dec. 14 to discuss how to finance the Brent Spence Bridge. The Port Authority suggested tolls
to help pay for the bridge project, which has been labeled the region’s
top transportation priority; but critics say an unelected agency should
not directly impose costs on the public without some recourse.
The city of Cincinnati might buy Tower Place Mall and its neighboring garage.
An emergency ordinance was submitted to buy the mall and garage, which
are currently in foreclosure, for $8.6 million using the surplus from
the Parking Facilities Fund 102.
The third RootScore report for Cincinnati’s cell phone market found Verizon to be far and away the best. AT&T, T-Mobile and Cricket followed. Sprint did the worst.
Ohio will let the federal government run the state’s health care exchange.
Under the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — states must
decide by Friday to self-manage or let the federal government manage
exchanges, which are subsidized markets that pits different insurance
plans in direct competition within a state. The move comes as no
surprise from Gov. John Kasich and his administration, which have
opposed Obamacare since it passed in 2010. But support for repealing Obamacare is plummeting, a new poll found.
A state legislator introduced a long-expected plan to reform Ohio’s school report card system.
The bill will shift school grading from the current
system, which grades schools with labels ranging from “excellent with
distinction” to “academic emergency,” to a stricter A-to-F system. A simulation of the new system back in May showed Cincinnati Public School dropping in grades and 23 of its schools flunking.
After a strange bout of Ohio Supreme Court races that
continued a trend of candidates with Irish-sounding names winning, some
policymakers are considering reforming campaigning rules for the Ohio Supreme Court. The proposed reforms would allow candidates to speak more freely and show political party affiliation on the ballot.
A true American hero: A Hamilton man took personal injuries from a car accident to avoid hitting a cat.
Ever wish political pundits were held accountable for their completely inane, incorrect predictions? A new Tumblr account does just that.
Canadian doctors claim they managed to communicate with a man in a vegetative state to see if he’s in pain. Thankfully, he’s not.
by German Lopez
State budget cuts hit counties, food deserts in Cincinnati, area's nuclear weapons legacy
A new report
from left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio shows the impact of state budget
cuts on individual counties. Statewide, more than $1 billion in tax
reimbursements and the Local Government Fund was cut between the
2010-2011 budget, which was passed by Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland,
and the 2012-2013 budget, which was passed by Republican Gov. John
Kasich. Additionally, Ohio’s estate tax — a tax that affected only 8
percent of Ohioans, largely those at top income levels — was eliminated,
killing off a crucial source of funding. Hamilton County, its
jurisdiction, schools, services and levies lost $222.1 million.
Health and human services lost $23.2 million. Children’s services lost
$4.6 million, and the county children’s agency services “was sent into
financial crisis.” In total, more than 5,000 local government jobs were lost in the
The Center for Closing the Health Gap is launching a campaign to raise awareness about food deserts in Cincinnati.
Food deserts are areas, particularly neighborhoods, where full-service
grocery stores aren’t readily available to residents. The campaign hopes
to raise awareness and funding to combat the food deserts in the
Cincinnati area. With a funding target of $15 million, the organization
plans to help build smaller stores with close ties to the local
A new study from
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital resurfaced Greater Cincinnati’s nuclear
weapons legacy. Between the 1950s and 1980s, residents of nearby farm
communities were unaware they were being exposed to radioactive
materials in the air, water and soil from a Cold War era nuclear weapons
plant, located 18 miles northwest of Cincinnati. Apparently, the
exposure has led to higher rates of systemic lupus in the area.
Greater Cincinnati’s economic recovery could be slowed or boosted by policy, but it will outpace the nation’s economic recovery,
according to local economists. Still, the economists caution that there
is a lot of uncertainty due to oil prices, the fiscal cliff — a series
of tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled to be made at the start of 2013
if U.S. Congress doesn’t act — and the fiscal crisis in Europe.Cincinnati’s small businesses are more upbeat about the economy.
Eleven percent of local family firms expect the economy to improve, but
whether that translates to business expansions remains to be seen.
CityLink Center is scheduled to open today.
The initial plans for the facility sought to help the homeless with
health services, overnight shelter, food, temporary housing and child
care. At one point, the center’s opening was threatened due to legal
challenges regarding zoning.
Hostess, maker of Twinkies, says it will close down three bakeries,
including one in Cincinnati, due to a national strike. According to
reports, union workers walked off the job after a new contract cut their
wages and benefits. Hostess insists the factory shutdowns will not
Top Cincinnati mortgage lenders saw double-digit increases between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug. 30, 2012.
The rise is yet another positive sign for the housing market, which
collapsed during the latest financial crisis and recession.
The state agency in charge of higher education released a report
highlighting 20 recommendations to improve degree completion in Ohio.
Some of the recommendations from the Board of Regents: Adopt more
uniform statewide rules regarding college completion and career
readiness, push stronger collaboration and alignment in education from preschool through senior year in college, establish a new system
of high school assessment to improve readiness for college, and improve
flexibility. The board will attempt to turn the report into reality in
cooperation with university and state officials.
Too much school choice may be a bad thing. A new study
found Ohio’s varied education system, which offers vouchers for private
schools and charter schools as alternatives to a traditional public
school, may have passed “a point where choice actually becomes
detrimental to overall academic performance.”
The Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB) issued an action alert
on Saturday telling members to oppose privatizing the Ohio Turnpike.
The Ohio state government, led by Kasich, is currently
studying possible plans to privatize the turnpike. In a video, an OFB
member argues the current turnpike management is fine.
There are still some undecided seats in the Ohio legislature from the Nov. 6 election.
Once again, a reminder not to drive on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus.
Former George W. Bush adviser Karen Hughes says she will “cut out” the tongue of Republican men making “Neanderthal comments” about rape.A new way to fight bacteria: coat it with a thin layer of mucus.
by German Lopez
OTR more popular, E.W. Scripps' record revenues and tax break, GOP against abortion
People are feeling better about downtown and Over-the-Rhine, according to a new survey. Out of respondents who said they visited downtown, about 83 percent said their opinion of Over-the-Rhine was more favorable now than it was in the last year. Bars and parks topped activities, while dining and events on Fountain Square topped attractions.The E.W. Scripps Company posted its best TV revenues ever
thanks to the presidential election. The company’s consolidated
revenues rose 31 percent to $220 million. The company recently netted a $750,000 tax break from Cincinnati City Council to hire for 125 new local jobs and retain 184 current employees.
The University of Cincinnati’s Women's Health Center will open a branch in West Chester in spring 2013. The new offices will have 47 exam rooms, large and small conference rooms, a retail store and a café.Ohio Republicans are renewing their anti-abortion agenda.
Much to the dismay of pro-choice groups, Gov. John Kasich appointed two
people from Ohio Right to Life to important positions, and the Ohio
Senate is now looking into a new version of the heartbeat bill. Starting
with a hearing Wednesday, Ohio Republicans will also move to defund Planned Parenthood.
In his post-election presser, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted suggested basing Ohio’s electoral vote on congressional districts.
Due to how Republicans redrew district boundaries, that would have
given Mitt Romney most of Ohio’s electoral votes even though Romney lost
the popular vote. Districts were redrawn by the Republican-controlled
process to give Republicans an advantage in congressional races. The
First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, was redrawn to
include Republican-leaning Warren County, which shifted the district in
favor of Republicans and diluted Cincinnati’s Democratic-leaning
urbanites. The proposal seems like another attempt at voter suppression
from a secretary of state that has been heavily criticized for how he and his party handled the run-up to the election.
Redistricting also helped Ohio Republicans take Congress.
Last-minute negotiations may push Ohio’s puppy mills bill to the finish line.
The state currently has a reputation as one of the worst for abusive
puppy mills, and the bill would try to place some additional regulations on the
mills. CityBeat previously covered the puppy mill and dog auction problem in Ohio.
A new study found Ohio may be one of the worst states to retire in.
The state did poorly in terms of property crime and life expectancy of
seniors, but it was found to have good economic conditions, a
relatively low tax burden and lower-than-average cost of living.
Ohioans’ food stamp benefits will drop by $50 a month next year. The change is coming due to a shift in how the federal government calculates utility expenditures for food stamp recipients.
Ohio’s Third Grade Guarantee, which requires holding back
third-graders who do not meet state reading standards, now has some research
supporting it. A new study
found girls who struggle to read early on are more likely to become
teen mothers. However, other research shows holding kids back hurts more
than helps. After reviewing decades of research, the National
Association of School Psychologists found grade retention has “deleterious long-term effects,” both academically and socially.
In response to President Barack Obama’s re-election, the
infamous boss of Ohio-based Murray Energy fired more than 150 workers
around the country. One of those workers decided to leak a letter from the boss. The letter blames the firings on Obama’s supposed “war on coal,” but it’s likely the coal industry would be facing trouble even if Obama wasn’t in office.
Climate change just got a lot worse. It might make some coffee beans go extinct.
Two gay penguins became dads at the Odense Zoo in Denmark.Ever wanted a microscopic glimpse at a Pop Tart? Well, you're getting it anyway.
by German Lopez
President says staff will go on to do “amazing things”
Just a day after securing his next four-year term, President Barack Obama had a heartfelt moment with campaign volunteers in Chicago. While thanking his staff, Obama said they were better than he was when he compared their experiences and accomplishments to what he did as a community organizer in the 1980s. He said he had no doubt his staff would go on to do “amazing things.”The Obama team has gained fame for its highly advanced campaign. It used a team of data crunchers for almost every decision, which TIME covered in a post-election look.Watch the video:
by German Lopez
Governor, legislature criticized by pro-choice group
Here they go again. Republicans are renewing their
anti-abortion agenda in Ohio. Two of the governor’s October appointments
have been criticized by a pro-choice group, and the state legislature
is now considering a new version of the heartbeat bill.
Yesterday, Senate President Tom Niehaus told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the Ohio legislature, in cooperation with anti-abortion groups, is giving another look at the heartbeat bill.
When the heartbeat bill was first suggested, many on the left labeled
it the most radical anti-abortion bill in the country. If it became law,
the bill would have banned abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is
detected, which is typically visible in ultrasounds by the sixth week of
pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the
Legislators and anti-abortion groups aren’t offering
specifics on the new bill. Ohio Right to Life opposed the heartbeat bill
when it was first suggested because the group believed it was too likely to fail in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld
abortion rights in Roe v. Wade in 1973. The new version of the heartbeat bill will likely be retooled to sustain any court challenges.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice
Ohio, says Republicans haven’t taken the right lessons from the Nov. 6
election: “It’s clear that they didn’t get the memo. Pro-choice Ohioans
overwhelmingly voted to re-elect President Obama and reject this war on
women. Here we are, we haven’t even made it to the weekend, and our
senate president is resuming attacks on women’s reproductive health
care.” She added, “I think they didn’t care what Ohio women thought
before the election, and it’s clear they don’t care now either.”
In response to questions about whether the governor will
support a new heartbeat bill, Rob Nichols, spokesperson for Republican
Gov. John Kasich, said in an email, “We are watching the Senate’s
A few appointments from Kasich have also come under
scrutiny. On Oct. 12, Kasich appointed Marshall Pitchford, a board
member at Ohio Right to Life, to a committee in charge of filling a
vacancy in the Ohio Supreme Court. On Oct. 29, Kasich appointed Mike
Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life president, to serve a five-year term on
the State Medical Board of Ohio, which is in charge of the state’s
In a statement, Copeland criticized the appointment to the
Supreme Court committee: “Because legislation promoted by Ohio Right to
Life is likely to come before the Ohio Supreme Court, it is
inappropriate for Pitchford to be placed in a position where he can
cherry-pick a justice to serve on that court.”
She also criticized the appointment of Gonidakis to the
State Medical Board. Copeland says she’s “concerned” that he’s on the
board to regulate and restrict access to abortions. “No group in the
state of Ohio has done more to interfere with the private medical
decisions of Ohio women,” she says. “For their leader to now be on the
State Medical Board is completely inappropriate and disturbing.”
She added that the two appointments show Kasich is “playing a more active role in the war on women than Ohioans realize.”
According to Gonidakis’ biography on the Ohio Right to Life website, Gonidakis went to school for law at the University of Akron. No professional medical experience is noted.
Nichols said in an email the appointments should come as
no surprise: “The governor believes strongly in the sanctity of human
life, so it's a surprise that someone would be surprised that he
practices what he preaches.”
by German Lopez
Ohio may get anti-abortion law, city budget proposal soon, state ponders health exchange
If Tuesday's election was supposed to be a strong message from social progressives, women and younger voters, Ohio Republicans are not getting it. Instead, they are continuing their pursuit of the heartbeat bill. That’s what Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus told The Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday. At the time the heartbeat bill was originally suggested, it was called the most radical anti-abortion bill in the country.
Yet Republicans, in cooperation with anti-abortion organizations, are
pushing a version of the bill once again. Ohio Republicans have also
shown interest in continuing their crusade against Planned Parenthood,
according to Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice
Cincinnati’s budget proposal is coming later this month.
Specifically, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls says it will arrive Nov. 26.
City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. and his budget team are currently
working on a budget to close a $40 million general fund deficit. One idea that
was suggested recently in a memo was privatizing parking services,
but it faces skepticism from Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.
The budget will first go through Dohoney, then the mayor and then City
Council. However, this calendar year’s budget will only cover six months, and then the city will transition into
filing budgets based on fiscal years on July 1.To match some of Obamacare’s requirements, Ohio officials are considering a hybrid approach to health care exchanges.
The exchanges are federally regulated insurance markets. As part of
Obamacare, states have the option of creating their own exchange
programs, which have to be approved by the federal government; setting
up a hybrid approach, which is what Ohio is looking into doing; or
putting the responsibility on the federal government.
During the lame duck session, the Ohio legislature will
take up legislation to regulate puppy mills and election reform. Regulations on puppy mills were previously covered by CityBeat
when a group tried to get dog auctions banned in the state.
Election reform could mean a lot of things. The current
Republican-controlled legislature previously tried to restrict and limit
in-person early voting before repealing its own rules. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has also suggested “more strict” voter ID laws.
In other election news, an upset federal judge demanded
Husted’s attorneys explain a last-minute directive that changed rules
on provisional ballots. U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley told
the lawyers, “You have a lot of explaining to do.” The directive, which
Husted sent out Nov. 2, shifted the burden of providing identification for provisional ballots
from poll workers to voters. Voter advocates argued the directive was
against Ohio law and would lead to more provisional ballots, which are
ballots filed when a voter’s eligibility to vote is uncertain, being
wrongly rejected. Husted and Republicans were heavily criticized for alleged attempts at voter suppression in the run-up to the election.
City Council approved a $750,000 tax break for the E.W. Scripps Company. As part of the deal, Scripps will hire for 125 new local jobs and retain 184 current employees.
The Wall Street Journal covered
Cincinnati’s “pie war” between Frisch’s and Busken Bakery.
CincyTech, a nonprofit venture organization, has invested $14.3 million since it began five years ago.
Its investments, which focus on information technology and life
sciences, have helped create more than 360 jobs, according to company
As part of a national movement, Cincinnati-based Kroger will be making an effort to hire more military veterans. Republican Gov. John Kasich is focused on his re-election bid for 2014.
When asked about whether he will run for president in 2016, Kasich said
he has not made any announcements. The news came shortly after the
Ohio Democratic Party began printing signs that say “Kasich... you’re
next” on one side and “2014 can’t come soon enough” on the other.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel won’t be leaving state politics any time soon. He says he’ll be running for re-election in 2014.
Mandel is the Republican who led a failed bid for U.S. Senate
against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown. His campaign was notorious for its dishonesty.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, may take up running the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2014. That would put him in charge of managing the Republican Party’s senate campaigns for the year. Republicans are expected to make gains in the U.S. Senate in 2014
because 20 Democratic seats will be up for grabs, in comparison to 13
Republican seats, and 12 of the Democratic seats are in swing or red
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives won the
popular vote, but they ultimately lost the House. The culprit for
the discrepancy seems to be politicized redistricting.
In Ohio, the Republican-led committee redrew congressional district
boundaries to give Republicans an advantage. The First Congressional
District, which includes Cincinnati, was redrawn to include
Republican-leaning Warren County, which slanted the district in favor of
Republicans and diluted the say of Cincinnati’s Democratic-leaning
urbanites. On this year’s ballot, Issue 2 attempted to tackle the redistricting issue, but Ohio voters overwhelmingly voted it down.
Some scientists are really excited by the discovery of “Super Earth.”
What doomed the Mayans? Climate change.