by German Lopez
Local unemployment unchanged, schools could open enrollment, 2013 challenges schools
Facing tight budgets, Ohio schools, including Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), are considering open enrollment.
The move would open school doors to neighboring communities. It was
previously considered by CPS a decade ago, but the plan didn’t have
enough support from the district’s board. It might now.Next year could be challenging for Ohio schools.
Butler County schools will begin the year by implementing a transition
to the Common Core Curriculum, new evaluations for teachers and a new
method of rating and grading schools. The state is also expected to
change the school funding formula.Cincinnati’s
seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate remained relatively flat at 6.9
percent in November, according to data from the Ohio Department of Jobs
and Family Services. The city’s unemployment did not tick up or down
from the 6.9 percent rate in October, but about 1,300 dropped out from
the civilian labor force as it shrank from 145,600 in October to 144,300
in November. Hamilton County also remained flat at 6.3 percent as 3,500
left the labor force. Greater Cincinnati ticked up to 6.2 percent from
6.1 percent, with about 6,900 leaving the labor force between October
and November. In comparison, the state had a seasonally unadjusted rate
of 6.5 percent and nation had a seasonally unadjusted rate of 7.4
percent in November. Unemployment numbers are calculated through a
household survey. The unemployment rate gauges the amount of unemployed
people looking for work in contrast to the total civilian labor force.
Since the numbers are derived from surveys, they are often revised in
later months. Federal and state numbers are typically adjusted for
seasonal factors.Police in Kentucky are now using playing cards to catch suspects.
Trooper Michael Webb says the effort has helped crack three out of 52
cases so far. That may not seem like a lot, but Webb puts it in
perspective: “Two of the cases were double homicides so that's four
families that have gotten closure and have had some kind of ability to
deal with the situation. The third one was a single murder and obviously
that family has been able to have closure. So we've got five families
that have been able to have closure as a result of this initiative.”Another casualty of the fiscal cliff: milk. It turns out milk prices could soar to $7 a gallon as Congress fails to adopt a farm bill. President Barack Obama and legislators are expected to discuss a fiscal cliff deal today.As some companies shift to social media, Facebook may topple CareerBuilder for job opportunities.On Christmas Day, 17.4 million smart devices turned on for the first time. In the first 20 days of December, only 4 million Android and iOS devices were turned on.What does 2013 hold for science and technology? Popular Science takes a look. Expect more supercomputers and less solar activity!Here is the dorkiest, cutest marriage proposal ever.
by German Lopez
End of world today, state unemployment dips, fiscal cliff plan abandoned
Today is the end of the world. Whatever. Life sucks anyway.
Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent in November.
Gains were concentrated in trade, transportation, and
utilities, financial activities and educational and health services,
with losses in construction, leisure and hospitality, government,
professional and business services and information services. Overall,
the state’s non-agricultural wage and salary employment increased by
But could the recovery last? U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is now ditching efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff,
a series of spending cuts and tax hikes set to kick in at the end of
the year. Boehner could not get Republicans to vote on a tax hike for
people making more than $1 million a year, which isn’t even enough to
make President Barack Obama’s demand of increased taxes on anyone making
more than $400,000. If the United States goes over the fiscal cliff, the
spending cuts and tax hikes will likely devastate the economy. CityBeat wrote about U.S. Congress’ inability to focus on jobs here.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished the lame-duck session by signing 42 bills into law.
The laws include loosened restrictions on gun control, an update to
Ohio’s education rating system and $4.4 million in appropriations. The
loosened gun control law in particular is getting criticized from
Democrats in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre. The law allows
guns in the Ohio Statehouse garage, loosens concealed carry rules and
changes the definition of an unloaded gun so gun owners can have loaded
clips in cars as long as they are stored separately from guns. CityBeat wrote about the need for more gun control in this week’s commentary.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters suggested arming
teachers to avoid school shootings, but a considerable amount of
research shows that doesn’t work. Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig says arming teachers is a bad idea:
“Certainly we can look at other options, but when you talk about arming
school teachers or a school administrator without the appropriate
training, and training is not just going to a target range and being
able to hit center mass. How do you deal with a crisis? We're talking
about a place with children.” Craig is now pushing crisis training as a
Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman says school shootings need a holistic approach. The Ohio Republican says he will consider further restrictions on guns and armed school officials.
It seems a housing recovery is well underway. Cincinnati home sales are showing no signs of a slowdown.
Cincinnati is getting six historic preservation tax credits
from the state government. As part of the ninth round of the program,
the Ohio Development Services Agency is giving the city credits for
parts of Main Street, parts of East 12th Street, parts of East McMillan
Street, Abington Flats, Eden Park Pump Station and Pendleton Apartments.
The U.S. Department of Education is looking into whether Ohio charter schools discriminate against students with disabilities.
Overall, charter schools in the state enroll as many students with
disabilities as traditional public schools, but students with
disabilities are concentrated in a few charter schools.
A federal judge upheld Ohio’s exotic animal law, which restricts who can own the animals in the state.
Judith French, a Republican, will replace retiring Justice Evelyn Stratton
on the Ohio Supreme Court. Gov. Kasich’s appointment of
French keeps the court’s makeup of six Republicans and one Democrat.
Genetics is perfecting the Christmas tree. From the Twilight Zone archives comes Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Christmas special.
by German Lopez
Posted In: Economy
at 10:49 AM | Permalink
City remains ahead of nation, behind state, county
The City of Cincinnati’s unemployment rate moved down a
notch between September and October, from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent,
according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County followed suit; Greater
Cincinnati dropped from 6.4 to 6.3 percent, and the county dropped from
6.4 to 6.2 percent.
The numbers, which were unadjusted for seasonal factors,
seemed positive overall. Unlike last month, the unemployment rate did
not move down due to people leaving the civilian labor force, which measures the amount of people looking for work in addition to the amount of people who have jobs. Instead, labor forces in Cincinnati, Hamilton County and Greater Cincinnati
The city is now better across the board than it was in
October 2011. The civilian labor force and amount of employed are
larger, and the amount of unemployed is lower. The city’s current 6.8
percent unemployment rate is also a vast improvement from the 9.1
percent unemployment rate in October 2011.
Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County made similar
improvements in all numbers. Back in October 2011, Greater Cincinnati
was at 8.1 percent unemployment, and Hamilton County was at 8.3 percent.
However, Cincinnati remains below the state’s seasonally
unadjusted unemployment rate of 6.3 percent. It does beat the nation’s
seasonally unadjusted 7.5 percent rate, however.
Part of the recovery is likely fueled by improvements in the housing market. Cincinnati’s housing numbers from October showed a
16.5 percent year-over-year improvement, according to the Cincinnati
Area Board of Realtors.
Unemployment numbers are calculated through a household
survey. The unemployment rate gauges the amount of unemployed people
looking for work in contrast to the total civilian labor force. Since
the numbers are derived from surveys, they are often revised in later
months. State and federal numbers are typically adjusted to fit seasonal
employment patterns to give a more consistent rate, while local numbers
by German Lopez
City manager gets raise despite deficit, GE food regulations, Ohio unemployment drops
Cincinnati may have a deficit estimated to be between $34
million and $40 million, but that didn't stop City Council from voting 6-2 Thursday to approve a $23,000 raise and one-time $35,000 bonus for City Manager Milton Dohoney,
the highest-paid city employee. The raise brings his salary up from
$232,000 to $255,000. Council members Chris Seelbach and Chris
Smitherman voted against the raise. P.G. Sittenfeld also opposed the
raise and bonus, but he missed the vote because he was out of town for
personal reasons. If City Council balances the budget for the next year
and fires someone making $58,000 or less to help do so, the raise and
one-time bonus could have meant one person’s job.
City Council also voted 8-0 to encourage the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to enforce mandatory labeling of all
genetically engineered (GE) food. Alison Auciello, Ohio-based organizer
for Food & Water Watch, praised the move in a statement: “Genetically
engineered foods are potentially unsafe, and consumers should have the
right to decide for themselves if they want to eat GE foods. It took
regulation to get food processors to label ingredients and nutrition
facts on labels, and now we’re calling for federal lawmakers to require
the labeling of GE food.”
Ohio’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in October,
down from 7.1 percent in September, according to the Ohio Department of
Jobs and Family Services. The numbers were mostly positive with the
amount of unemployed dropping by 10,000 and the amount of employed
rising by 13,900. The civilian labor force also grew, although it was
still below Oct. 2011 levels. Most gains were seen in service-providing
industries, professional and business services and government. In
comparison, the federal unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in
October, up from 7.8 percent in September.
The Anna Louise Inn won another zoning appeal yesterday.
The victory upheld a conditional use permit for the Inn, which will
allow Cincinnati Union Bethel, which owns the Inn, to carry on with $13
million renovations. Western & Southern has vowed to appeal the
Income inequality in Ohio is wide and growing.
A new study found the gap between the rich and poor is widening, with
the lower and middle classes actually losing real income since the
After Thanksgiving, the Cincinnati Zoo team will be studying penguins off the coast of Chile.
Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble is having no part in the good unemployment news. The company announced another round of job cuts as part of a large restructuring program. It’s unclear how the cuts will impact Cincinnati.
Hostess, maker of Twinkies, is going out of business.
The company blamed a workers’ strike for the move, but Hostess has been having
problems for a long time. The company has already filed for bankruptcy
twice this decade.
The Ohio Board of Regents launched OhioMeansSuccess.org, a website meant to place students on a path to college and a successful career.
Russia can get pretty hardcore. While herding sheep, one grandmother fended off and killed a wolf with an axe.
The U.S. Navy is retiring its mine-sweeping dolphins and replacing them with robots.
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.
by German Lopez
Homeless to Homes plan approved, unemployment benefits could expire, fiscal cliff looms
With a push from Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and City Council approval, the Homeless to Homes plan is moving forward.
The shelter-moving plan, which was originally put together by
Strategies to End Homelessness, will use $37 million in loans to build
new shelters for the Drop Inn Center, City Gospel Mission and the YWCA.
But some homeless advocates have criticized the plan because it forces
them to move homeless shelters they don’t want to move. Josh Spring,
executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, says
the money could be spent better developing affordable housing and
creating jobs to help eliminate homelessness.
Just one day after President Barack Obama’s re-election, one left-leaning Ohio group was already making demands.
They want federal unemployment benefits renewed. The group’s research
director, supported by economic data, says the expiration of those
benefits could have bad repercussions for the unemployed and the federal
and state economies.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati investment professionals are beginning to renew worries about the federal fiscal cliff.
The fiscal cliff, which includes emergency unemployment benefits, is a
mix of tax hikes and budget cuts set to automatically occur at the end
of the year. The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency
that measures the impact of federal budgets and policy, has warned about the fiscal cliff’s potential economic damage. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has also warned lawmakers about the fiscal cliff.
A state appeals court ruled today that the city of Cincinnati is allowed to reduce retirees’ health benefits.
The cuts in benefits are meant to shore up the city’s pension plan, but
retirees, including former City Clerk Sandy Sherman, filed a lawsuit arguing
the benefits can only be increased, not decreased. The case could still
move to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Hamilton County’s new Democratic sheriff, Jim Neil, is already making plans.
He says he favors alternative sentencing to deal with jail
overcrowding, and he wants to audit and restructure the sheriff
department’s budget to cut waste.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will be in Cincinnati Thursday to unveil Cincinnati’s first prescription drug drop box. The drop boxes are meant to reduce prescription drug abuse and improper ingestion.
A sign of what could come to Cincinnati next spring: Columbus’s casino reported $18.3 million in revenue for its first month. Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino is currently being constructed and is expected to open in spring 2013.
Blue Ash-based Empire Marketing Strategies is buying a plant site in Mason for about $820,000, and it could create 200 jobs.
In case you missed it, CityBeat posted comprehensive election results for Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio and the U.S.
State Democrats and Republicans have an explanation for two incumbents losing in the Ohio Supreme Court: names.
On Democrat William O’Neill defeating Republican incumbent Robert Cupp,
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett said O’Neill won because
he has an Irish-American name. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris
Redfern said, “Sharon Kennedy is a great ballot name. That’s why she
won.” Redfern says he will introduce legislation that will require party
affiliation to appear on the Ohio Supreme Court ballots.
The election didn’t change much in the Ohio Board of Education. It remains five Democrats and six Republicans.
Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan said the approval of Issue 4, which extends City Council terms to four years, will be good for local business. She argues “there’s a great business case to be made for having a more stable and reliable local government.”
While marijuana was legalized in some states, Butler County led what it believes is its biggest marijuana bust in history. More than 900 lbs of marijuana were seized.
Bill Cunningham, local conservative radio talk show host, may retire due to Obama’s re-election. Oh well.
In the story of another conservative meltdown, CityBeat has a special letter for the Lebanon tea party: We’re sorry.
Perhaps the national media’s most under-reported story of election night was that Puerto Ricans favored statehood in the polls for the first time. If Congress and Obama act, the island could become the 51st state.Popular Science has an open letter to President Barack Obama. While they like how Obama generally supports science funding more than a President Mitt Romney would, they want Obama to do more.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 12:55 PM | Permalink
Expiration of unemployment benefits could hurt state's economy
It’s only one day after President Barack Obama’s
re-election, and some groups are already demanding action. In a new
report by left-leaning Policy Matters Ohio, the group says the
expiration of federal unemployment benefits could leave Ohio’s jobless
stranded.“If Congress doesn’t renew federal benefits, the impact in Ohio will be immediate and negative,” said Zach Schiller, research director for Policy Matters, in a statement. “Not only will the unemployed suffer, but the state economy will take a hit as well.”
If Congress and the president do not act by Dec. 29,
funding for emergency unemployment benefits approved in mid-2008 will be
cut off. Nearly 50,000 Ohioans have been getting federally supported
benefits every week, and “the bulk” will be cut off if funding expires,
according to the report.
Even without expiration, Ohio is already in a bad spot
when it comes to insuring the jobless. Altogether, the number of
unemployed receiving benefits is lower than the national average,
according to the report. Since 2001, Ohio’s unemployed have received
fewer benefits than the national average. In 2011, 63 percent of Ohioans
who filed claims received payments, while 71 percent of claimants all
around the country got benefits.The state program seems to be particularly weak.
In 2012, the amount of unemployed Ohioans getting state benefits was 22
percent, while the national share was about 26 percent. The report
shows getting fewer benefits in Ohio has been the majority trend for at
least 29 years.
One statistic that drives the report’s point home is the
fact the state only provides up to 26 weeks of benefits, yet the average
unemployed Ohioan is jobless for 33.5 weeks, according to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means the average unemployed Ohioan
would be left without unemployment benefits for 7.5 weeks if the federal
program did not exist.
And it’s not like the benefits offer an easy ride. The
benefits “are hardly magnificent,” says Schiller. “Three-hundred dollars
a week, you’re not going to take a jet to Tahiti and spend time on the
beach with that kind of money. So, in fact, what people do with their
$300 a week is spend it on necessities and in their communities.”
Schiller says the trend is poor economics, and the
federal and state government should make sure Ohio’s unemployed continue
getting benefits they need.
“When I was in high school, we heard of unemployment
insurance as what was called an ‘automatic stabilizer,'" he says. “When
the economy went into a dive, you would see increases in unemployment
insurance that would automatically help stabilize the economy. This was
seen by economists as a very useful and important thing that would
reduce the depth of recessions.”
Schiller’s claim is backed by economic data. In a May 2012
report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the nonpartisan agency
that measures the effect of federal budgets and policy, said the repeal
of extended emergency unemployment benefits would lower spending by $26
billion in the 2013 fiscal year. It would also increase the deficit,
according to the CBO report: “The weakening of the economy that will
result from that fiscal restraint will lower taxable incomes and,
therefore, revenues, and it will increase spending in some categories —
for unemployment insurance, for instance.”
Unemployment compensation also kept 2.3 million people from falling into poverty in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
A City Council committee approved $13.5 million that will
be going to Over-the-Rhine development. Of that money, $6 million will
go to the second phase of the Mercer Commons project, which is being
developed by Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC). The
rest will help 3CDC redevelop 18 different buildings that are mostly
around Washington Park. City Council will vote on the funding
Cincinnati’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent, but
the drop was mostly attributed to people leaving the labor force.
Between September 2011 and September 2012, Cincinnati’s labor force has
actually shrunk. Still, more people were employed in September 2012 than
were employed in September 2011.
The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority is
asking Cincinnati for $8.5 million to secure a Jordan Crossing shopping
center project at Bond Hill. The funds would pay for the demolition,
site preparation, marketing and redevelopment of the project.
In the second wave of interim results from an ongoing
investigation into Ohio schools’ attendance data reporting, State
Auditor Dave Yost found no evidence of attendance scrubbing in schools
with levies on the 2012 ballot. The investigation included Cincinnati
Public Schools, which means CPS was found to be clean. In a statement,
Yost said, “I’m surprised and pleased. To have zero incidents of
‘scrubbing’ is encouraging news.” The full findings for both interim
reports can be found here.
Clifton is set to get a neighborhood grocery store soon.
The neighborhood has been without one since January 2011. City Council’s
Budget and Finance Committee helped spur the new project with a tax
The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners held a budget
hearing yesterday, but not much new information came out. Board
President Greg Hartmann insists public safety is a priority, but he says
the sheriff’s office will have to deal with some across-the-board cuts.
The cuts won’t include closing the jail, decreasing courtroom security
or eliminating contracts with townships for patrols. The board has two more public meetings on Oct. 29 and 30.
The controversial billboards accused of attempting to
suppress voters are being taken down by Norton Outdoor Advertising, the
Cincinnati company that hosted the billboards. Meanwhile, P.G.
Sittenfeld and Lamar Advertising Company, a different billboard company,
are putting up 10 billboards that read, “Hey Cincinnati, voting is a
right not a crime!” The new billboards are supposed to encourage voting.
The University of Cincinnati has a new president: Santa
Ono. The official promotion was unanimously approved by the UC Board of
Trustees. Ono has been serving as interim president since Aug. 21, when
former President Greg Williams suddenly resigned due to “personal
The Cincinnati Enquirer is being accused of age
discrimination in a recently amended lawsuit. In the lawsuit, eight
former employees claim they were fired and replaced with younger, less
A new rumor is going around that says it’s possible to
tamper with voting results, but fact checkers and election officials are
saying it’s not possible. The rumors started due to the Romneys’
investments in an electronic voting company.The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating
its 40th anniversary. Here is a list of some of the department’s
accomplishments: The amount of rivers meeting aquatic life standards
went from 21 to 89 percent between the 1980s and today, carbon monoxide
in the air is down 80 percent since the 1970s, sulfur dioxide is down 71 percent, lead
is down 95 percent and 99 percent of community public water systems now
meet health standards, up from 85 percent in 1993.
Miami University says it will discipline two students
responsible for putting up an offensive flyer about getting away with
rape in a coed dorm bathroom.
Metro revealed its plans for an Uptown Transit District.
The district, which will cost Metro $6.9 million, is meant to better
suit the needs and growth of Uptown.
Two Democratic state lawmakers are planning legislation to
slow down the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. Gov. John Kasich’s
administration is currently paying $3.4 million to KPMG, a private
consulting and accounting firm, to study whether leasing the turnpike to
the highest private bidder would benefit the state. Kasich says he
could use the money saved for transportation projects all around the
state. But northern Ohio residents do not seem happy with giving up a
valuable asset they helped invest in, especially if the revenue from the
Ohio Turnpike goes to regions outside of northern Ohio.There's more evidence sushi sucks. Popular Science has an article and graph showing how raw food kept primates stupid.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 01:45 PM | Permalink
Greater Cincinnati jobless rate remains below rest of state and nation
Cincinnati and Hamilton County are making a comeback. In August,
the city dropped to 7.5 percent unemployment, down from 8.2 percent in
July, according to new data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The county dropped to 6.8 percent, down from 7.3 percent in July.
Ohio’s seasonally unadjusted rate saw a similarly large
drop from 7.4 percent in July to 6.8 percent in August. The U.S. unadjusted rate dropped
from 8.6 to 8.2 percent.
From a year-to-year basis, Cincinnati and Hamilton County
saw even larger drops in unemployment. On August 2011, unemployment in
Cincinnati was at 10 percent, 2.5 points higher than August 2012.
Hamilton County was at 8.8 percent, 2 points higher than August 2012.
Greater Cincinnati’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment
rate also saw large drops, remaining below the state and nation. The
15-county area dropped from 7.2 percent unemployment in July down to 6.7
percent in August. That is a 1.9-point drop from August 2011, which saw
an 8.6 percent unemployment rate.The federal and state unemployment rates are typically
adjusted for seasonal factors, but the local rates are not. The adjusted
unemployment rates for August were 7.2 percent for Ohio and 8.1 percent for the
United States.The unemployment rate only considers people who are unemployed and looking for work. People not looking for work are deemed to be outside of the labor force.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 8, 2012
A recent Enquirer story leaves out the fact that the Mormon church
outlawed polygamy all the way back in 1890, prohibited black people from
priesthood until 1978 and reportedly only overturned it once senior
church members found out that the New Orleans Jazz would be moving to
Salt Lake City.