WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 07.29.2013
Posted In: News, Streetcar, Business, Guns at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

Streetcar gets executive, businesses call for inclusion, gun control group opens Ohio chapter

John Deatrick is taking over as project executive of the Cincinnati streetcar project, moving on from his previous work as project manager of The Banks. Deatrick’s hiring announcement happened in April, but it was delayed while City Council fixed the project’s budget gap. Deatrick and his team previously won an award for their work at The Banks, and he says he will bring the same scrutiny and success to the streetcar project. A new project manager for The Banks is set to be hired in August. Since the streetcar project’s inception, it has been mired in misrepresentations and political controversy, which CityBeat covered in further detail here. Local business leaders are calling on the city government to change its contracting policies to target minority- and women-owned businesses. Advocates argue the city’s inclusion rates have greatly dropped since Cincinnati did away with its inclusion program in the 1990s, but the city administration points out the rates are likely understated because women- and minority-owned businesses are no longer required to report themselves as minorities or women. The business leaders say the figures are too low regardless, which could have big implications since minority-owned businesses are more likely to hire minorities, who have twice the unemployment rate as white residents. As a result of court rulings, Cincinnati needs to first conduct a disparity study before it makes any changes that specifically target minorities or women. Gabrielle Giffords’s anti-gun violence organization is opening an Ohio chapter to promote legislation that intends to protect both the public and the rights of gun owners. Giffords, a former U.S. representative who survived an assassination attempt, has been touring around the country — at one point coming to Cincinnati — to speak out against gun violence. Gun control legislation failed in the U.S. Senate in April after it fell short of getting 60 votes to overcome procedural hurdles, even though polling shows a clear majority of Americans favor such legislation. Local government funding may be further reduced as a result of recent tax cuts because the Local Government Fund traditionally gets a percent of state tax revenue. Specifically, critics are concerned less state tax revenue will slow down “natural growth” in funding to cities and counties. Last week, an analysis from Policy Matters Ohio found the recently passed two-year state budget already reduces local government funding, following even steeper reductions in the previous budget. The cuts since Gov. John Kasich took office have cost Cincinnati more than $22 million. A traffic camera ban would cost Ohio cities and counties millions of dollars in revenue. Ohio gas prices are starting down this week. Home-schooled and private-school students have a right to play on public school teams because of a provision in the recently passed state budget. When Columbus’ parking meters were upgraded to accept credit cards, revenue jumped by 13.2 percent. Cincinnati’s meters will be upgraded as part of the parking privatization plan.Ohio air bases are undergoing review this week as part of Congress’ attempts to gauge whether the nation’s Air Force is prepared for current and future missions and homeland defense. Slow news day, Enquirer? Florida researchers found “fat shaming” actually perpetuates obesity. It would probably take 300 to 500 piranhas five minutes to strip the flesh off a 180-pound human.
 
 
by German Lopez 07.10.2013
Posted In: News, Development, Health care, Infrastructure at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
kasich_2

Morning News and Stuff

Kasich pushes Medicaid expansion, county to repeal sewer hold, riverfront link coming

It’s not even two weeks since Gov. John Kasich signed the two-year state budget, and he’s already pushing for the federally funded Medicaid expansion again. Kasich, a Republican, called on fellow advocates and Democrats to lobby Republican legislators into supporting the expansion. The administration says it would need legislation passed by the end of the summer if it’s to get federal approval for an expansion by Jan. 1. Studies found the expansion would save the state money and insure nearly half a million Ohioans in the next decade. But Republican legislators passed on it, claiming the federal government can’t afford the expansion even though the federal government has long upheld its commitment to Medicaid. CityBeat covered the state budget and Medicaid expansion in greater detail here. Hamilton County commissioners are expected later today to repeal a funding hold on sewer projects, just a couple months after the hold was passed in response to controversial city laws. The city and county originally reached a compromise over the laws, but the deal appeared to have fallen through when City Council failed to approve its end of the bargain. Still, commissioners are moving forward with removing the funding hold, according to WVXU. CityBeat covered the city-county conflict in greater detail here. Designers, engineers and architects will compete over how they’ll cover Fort Washington Way in a few months, and Business Courier has some possibilities for where the project may go. The project is supposed to connect downtown and the riverfront, maximize economic development, encourage recreational activities, preserve openness and more. Although the first phase is just finishing, The Banks has already won awards, making the final connection between the area and downtown all the more important to city and county officials. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) will hold a meeting tonight for its regional strategic plan. Details are sparse, but OKI’s first plan since 2005 will likely put a big emphasis on Cincinnati. A draft of the plan will likely be available in 2014. The meeting will be at Memorial Hall from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow was caught in a “pants on fire” statement by Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer after she claimed Ohio’s budget mandates women seeking an abortion to undergo a vaginal probe. The budget imposes new limits on legal abortions in Ohio and effectively defunds contraceptive care, cancer screenings and other non-abortion medical services at family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood, but it doesn’t require women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. Cincinnati topped Terminix’s annual bed bug list for most calls related to the critters, but it avoided a spot on another list for the highest increase in calls. Warren County’s racino is now hiring. One good thing that came out of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign: swag for needy Kenyan youth. Antimatter particles were detected erupting from solar flares. One major problem in brain training studies: People always realize they’re being tested, particularly if they’re playing Tetris for hours.
 
 
by German Lopez 05.22.2013
Posted In: News, Economy, Development, Budget at 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Local job numbers improve, housing supply lags behind demand, The Banks gets price tag

Local job numbers continued their positive trend in April, with Cincinnati’s unemployment rate dropping to 6.9 percent and the rest of the region following suit. Michael Jones, research director at the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, attributed the job gains to improvements in manufacturing and continued growth in health care jobs. Still, the public sector continued to lag behind the private sector — a trend Jones says could change in the coming months as government budgets are adjusted to match higher tax revenues resulting from the recovering economy. Downtown’s population growth slowed last year as available housing failed to match demand, according to Downtown Cincinnati Inc.’s annual report. In the past few years, the city has pursued multiple actions to meet demand, particularly through public-private partnerships. Most recently, City Council approved leasing the city’s parking assets to raise funds that would help build 300 luxury apartments, but that plan is currently being held up in court. The second phase of The Banks riverfront project will cost $62 million, according to the report from Downtown Cincinnati Inc. That’s smaller than the first phase, which cost $90 million. The second phase of the project is expected to begin this fall, and it should bring 300 apartments and 60,000 square feet of street-level retail space to the area by the end of 2015. The Banks also plans to build a $45 million hotel, which is also expected to be complete in 2015. The funding for the projects is coming through multiple public-private partnerships. After the final public hearing on the city budget Wednesday, Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan plans to introduce her own budget plan that would avoid all city employee layoffs. A statement from Quinlivan did not give much in the way of details: “My plan saves all city jobs and restores all neighborhood programs. It requires common sense and shared sacrifice of all city employees.” Most recently, council members Chris Seelbach and Roxanne Qualls co-sponsored a motion that would eliminate fire layoffs and reduce police layoffs to 25 by making cuts elsewhere. The Ohio Senate plans to vote today on a measure that would effectively close down hundreds of Internet “sweepstakes” cafes around the state in an effort to eliminate illegal gambling activities. The cafes’ operators insist their activities are not gambling but rather a promotional tool that helps sell Internet time and long-distance phone cards. Cincinnati’s zoning hearing examiner says he’s trying to reduce the time it takes to go through the zoning hearing process to less than 60 days. Three major Ohio universities, including the University of Cincinnati, and four hospitals, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital, are teaming up to find out what causes premature birth. Beginning July 1, some Ohio interstates will allow drivers to go 70 miles per hour. Find out which ones here. At congressional hearings yesterday, U.S. senators criticized Apple for legally taking advantage of the complex American corporate tax system, but Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul put the blame on Congress: Russia is building robots to “neutralize” terrorists, and other researchers are working on robots that will attempt to rescue people after disasters. The creator of the GIF says it’s pronounced “jif.”
 
 

Everybody Snacked, Nobody Crashed

Three CityBeat staffers do things on bikes they'd normally do in a car

0 Comments · Thursday, May 2, 2013
A surprising thing happens when you carve out some time in your schedule to travel by bike, even if you’re not an expert — it’s a lot less complicated than it seems, and it’s likely to be a lot more fun than you expect.   
by German Lopez 04.09.2013
Posted In: News, Budget, Streetcar, Health care at 08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Local casino tops revenue, streetcar could get new director, Medicaid expansion to fail

Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino topped state casino revenues last month, translating to $1.4 million in casino tax revenue for the city in March. If the trend holds — a huge if, considering March was opening month for the Horseshoe Casino — the city would get $16.8 million a year, which would be above previous estimates from the state and city but below estimates presented in mayoral candidate John Cranley’s budget plan. Cranley and other city officials say casino revenue could be used to avoid laying off cops and firefighters to balance the budget, but the city manager’s office says it wouldn’t be enough.Two City Council decisions yesterday will allow the current project manager for The Banks to take over the streetcar project. The two 5-4 decisions from City Council came in the middle of a tense budget debate that could end with the layoff of 344 city employees, including 189 cops and 80 firefighters. But John Deatrick, who could be hired as executive director of the streetcar project as a result of the measures, says his salary would come from the capital budget, which is separate from the general fund that needs to be balanced in light of structural deficit problems. House Republicans are poised to reject Gov. John Kasich’s proposed Medicaid expansion. The expansion, which was part of Kasich’s 2014-2015 budget proposal, would have saved the state money and insured 456,000 Ohioans by 2022, according to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio. But it would have done so mostly with federal funds, which state legislators worry will not be there years down the line. The Medicaid expansion was one of the few aspects of Kasich’s budget that state Democrats supported. CityBeat covered Kasich’s budget in further detail here. PolitiFact Ohio gave Kasich a “Pants on Fire” rating for his claim that his transportation budget and Ohio Turnpike plan “would make sure we have lower tolls than we’ve had through the history of the turnpike.” PolitiFact explains: “Yes, the bill aims to keep tolls from rising faster than the pace of inflation -- a practice that would stand in contrast to KPMG’s findings from the past 20 years. And, yes, the bill freezes tolls for 10 years on a small, targeted cross-section of turnpike users. But not only are higher tolls a part of Kasich’s plan, they are integral to the concept. The increased revenue will allow the state to issue bonds to finance other projects. Furthermore, the inflation cap is not written into the law, and the state has an out from the local EZ-Pass freeze.” Melissa Wegman will be the third Republican to enter the City Council race. Wegman is a first-time candidate and businesswoman from East Price Hill. She will be joining fellow Republicans Amy Murray and incumbent Charlie Winburn.The struggling Kenwood Towne Place will be renamed Kenwood Collection as part of a broader redesign. One program in President Barack Obama’s budget plan would task NASA with pulling asteroids to our moon’s orbit, where the asteroids could then be studied and mined. The Obama administration says the program will only involve small asteroids, so big, killer asteroids will not be purposely hurled towards Earth. New evidence suggests some two-legged dinosaurs were strong swimmers, further proving that unless we have extra asteroids to cause an extinction event, we might want to leave them dead.
 
 
by German Lopez 02.27.2013
at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news_chris_seelbach

Morning News and Stuff

Findlay Market ideal for restroom, Kasich cuts local funding, The Banks exceeds goals

A report issued by Director of Public Services Michael Robinson found Findlay Market would be the best place for a freestanding public restroom, which could cost as little as $35,000. The idea has been heavily pushed by Councilman Chris Seelbach, who has argued that the restrooms are necessary to accommodate a growing population and wider activity in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. A new Policy Matters Ohio report found local government funding has been reduced by $1.4 billion since Gov. John Kasich took office, leading to a nearly 50-percent reduction in state funding. Most of the cuts came from the elimination of the estate tax, which would have provided $625.3 million to local governments in the 2014-2015 budget, but it was repealed in 2011 by the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature and Kasich. When presenting his 2013 budget proposal, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. said the state funding reductions cost Cincinnati $22.2 million in revenues for the year. In 2012, the team behind The Banks’ public construction met or exceeded all four major project goals, according to the annual report from The Banks Public Partnership. Contractors installed public safety technologies throughout the intermodal transit center and parking facility, awarded a trade contract for a new Pete Rose Way pedestrian bridge and walkway and prepared design and funding documents for a river walk along the Ohio River. The project has also gone more than 400,000 hours without a lost-time accident. The Banks previously won what John Deatrick, project executive, called the “Oscar” of planning awards, which CityBeat covered here. City Council delayed a vote on opposing the sale of more than 700 Section 8 units in Avondale, Walnut Hills and Millvale because they want meet with the firm buying the units first. City officials have scheduled the meeting for next week. CityBeat previously covered Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls’ opposition to the deal here. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency lifted a requirement that forced any new sewer development that added waste water to the county’s overall system to offset its gains with a fourfold reduction in storm water taken in. BuzzFeed, the popular viral video and pop culture website, listed the Cincinnati Public Library as No. 28 on the list “The 30 Best Places To Be If You Love Books.” Ohio’s imprisonment of fewer youth may be part of a nationwide trend. Three Cincinnati area businesses made Interactive Health’s “Healthiest Companies in America”: Standard Textile Inc., Totes-Isotoner and American Modern Insurance Group. Mercy Health’s Anderson and Fairfield branches made the Truven Health Analytics ranking released this week, putting the two hospitals among the nation’s best. Omya Inc. is receiving a five-year, 40-percent tax credit for completing a consolidation of its regional headquarters to Cincinnati, which should create 25 full-time jobs and generate $1.4 million in annual payroll. Breaking news: Teenagers are horny. Headline from The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Hundreds of Madeira High students involved in sexting?” A Dayton donut shop is apparently one of the best in the nation, according to Saveur magazine. Do video games cause violence? Apparently, the debate is a lot more complicated than most people think. Mouse brain cells can live longer than the mice they came from.
 
 

Worst Week Ever!: Feb. 13-19

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
SUNDAY FEB. 17: Today marks the 50th birthday of basketball star and cultural icon, His Airness, Michael Jordan. As one of the most exciting and dominant athletes ever, Jordan won titles at the collegiate and pro levels, was an All Star like 29 times and notably saved the human race from alien criminals in Space Jam.    

Bank On It

Once-stalled Banks Project wins development award; leaders look ahead to new phases

1 Comment · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
John Deatrick seems genuinely excited and proud to be part of the riverfront project receiving the American Planning Association’s (APA) 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation, announced Jan. 9.   
by Jac Kern 07.26.2012
at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to_do_alex_kava_photo_deborah_groh_carlin

Your Thursday To Do List

Whenever I hear about laser night at planetariums, I immediately think of Freaks and Geeks. Lindsay and the crew would go to Laser Dome and hang out/make out under squiggly beams set to Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. You can pretend it’s 1980, too, as Drake Planetarium presents Laser Beatles, 8-9 p.m. Making out optional. Mystery novelist and New York Times-bestselling author Alex Kava will discuss and sign her latest book, Fireproof, tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Rookwood Commons). Like her past mysteries, Kava’s latest follows FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell, this time as she investigates and tracks down a dangerous arsonist. The event begins at 7 p.m. The Clermont County Fair continues tonight with a petting zoo, carnival rides, deep-fried comfort food and live music. Tonight’s lineup features a pie auction and demolition derby. Yes, please! Chic.lits (“fashionable friends of fine art, fine reading and the Mercantile Library) present a screening of the 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice tonight at the Merc. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. showing and admission is $5 (free for members). Salsa on the Square takes over downtown from 7-10 p.m. tonight. Come for the live tunes from Son del Caribe, stay for the free dance lessons — expert Salsa dancers are always on hand to give tips and show you the basics. Over in Washington Park, it’s Jazz night. Enjoy a free concert by The Chris Comber Quintet, 7-9 p.m.Update: Live After Five at The Banks has been postponed due to heat and possible storms. The event will be rescheduled in August.
 
 

Crave (Review)

New Banks eatery has something for everyone

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Crave offers everything from sushi to steaks and ribs to seafood and even pizza. To do all these things well, you’d think they would need a decked-out kitchen, a fully staffed sushi bar and a dedicated pizza oven — maybe even wood-burning. Check, check and check.   

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