by Kevin Osborne
Many people in Greater Cincinnati still are reeling from the revelation over the weekend that the U.S. soldier who allegedly killed 16 people in Afghanistan grew up in Norwood. Military officials identified U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert “Bobby” Bales as the suspect in the case, which has inflamed tensions between Afghanistan and the United States and led to a renewed push to withdraw troops before the planned 2014 departure. Bales, 38, is a 1991 graduate of Norwood High School who joined the Army in November 2001, and was serving his fourth tour of duty when the incident occurred. Bales has been flown to a military jail at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to await trial.The Cincinnati Fire Department is seeking a $6 million federal grant so it can increase staffing levels. If the department wins the grant, it will hold a recruit class to add up to 40 firefighters. The federal funding would cover two years' worth of salary and benefits for the recruits, but the city would have to pay training and equipment costs.Basketball fans are celebrating now that Ohio has four teams in the NCAA Tournament's “Sweet 16.” Ohio University scored an upset victory Friday against Michigan, winning 65-60, and winning 62-56 against South Florida on Sunday night. The Bobcats join the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and Ohio State University in advancing in the tournament.The Buckeye State didn't fare so well in an analysis of government transparency and integrity. Ohio ranked 34th out of 50 states and got an overall grade of “D” in a study by the the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity.In news elsewhere, if Mitt Romney gets the Republican Party's presidential nomination and somehow beats President Obama in the fall, he had better reward Puerto Rico in some fashion, possibly by bestowing statehood on the U.S. territory. Romney handily won the GOP's primary there Sunday, getting 83 percent of the votes. Because he won more than 50 percent, Romney will receive all 20 delegates at stake — giving him a much needed boost in his race against Rick Santorum. The next primaries are Tuesday in Illinois and Louisiana.Rick Santorum is turning to a secretive group of rich conservatives to pump cash into his campaign. The ex-Pennsylvania senator is relying on the Council for National Policy to fill his coffers and urge right-wing Republicans to unite behind his presidential bid. The council helped Santorum raise $1.8 million last week in Houston. Formed in 1981, the group brings together some of the Right's biggest donors, and helped George W. Bush in 2000 when his campaign was floundering.Four people are dead after a gunman burst into a Jewish school in France and opened fire. The victims include a teacher, his two sons and another child. Officials said a man arrived in front of the school on a motorcycle or scooter. This is the third attack involving a gunman escaping on a motorcycle to take place in southwestern France during the past week, although police say it's unclear whether the attacks are terrorism-related.Heavy fighting broke out today between Syrian security forces and anti-government activists in a wealthy neighborhood of Damascus. At least 18 members of the security forces were killed in the battle, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, but the official SANA news agency put the death toll much lower.An upsurge in fracking means North Dakota will overtake Alaska as the second-largest U.S. producer of oil within a few months, behind Texas. State data released this month showed energy companies in January fracked more wells than they drilled for the first time in five months, suggesting oil output could grow even faster than last year's 35 percent increase.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 14, 2012
If Cincinnati Board of Education members
harbor any doubts about the validity of graduation test scores at Robert
A. Taft Information Technology High School, they’re not sharing them
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 7, 2012
The first of four public hearings on proposals to extend the terms of Cincinnati City Council members will be held March 21. City Council has drafted two proposals
for consideration. Under one proposal, all nine council members would
run at the same time, while in the other, terms would be staggered so
some members would run every two years.
Local municipal court judge vies for Democratic nomination in Ohio Supreme Court race
1 Comment · Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Fanon Rucker could be history in the making. Rucker is seeking a seat on the Ohio
State Supreme Court. If he wins the Democratic primary and the general
election, he then joins his father in being the first father and son to
sit on a Supreme Court bench at the same time in U.S. history.
Three Democrats battle for the new 31st Ohio House District
4 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Fascinating, diverse, progressive — those
are just a handful of words that are being used to describe the new 31st
Ohio House District. Consisting of Amberley Village, Clifton,
Clifton Heights, Evanston, Madisonville, Hyde Park, Northside, Oakley,
Silverton, St. Bernard and Walnut Hills, the district contains many
walks of life, including a healthy liberal population.
by Hannah McCartney
Supreme Court upholds lower court ruling that state has failed to follow proper protocol
A ruling that resulted in a temporary halt in Ohio executions last week means there are 148 inmates on Ohio's death row with uncertain futures. Ohio's death penalty is currently under scrutiny, largely due to opposition that's been raised from documented failures to follow protocol in state executions. In January, Federal District Court Judge Gregory Frost of Newark, Ohio halted condemned murderer Charles Lorraine's Ohio execution because Ohio has allegedly demonstrated problems over the last several months upholding the execution protocol the state put in place itself in 1981. On Feb. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Frost's decision, saying that because Ohio had been proven to stray from its own execution policies, it couldn't be trusted to carry out Lorraine's execution or any other death sentences. The next execution in Ohio is scheduled for April. Frost is one of several advocating for the abandonment on Ohio's death penalty. "For close to eight years, the Court has dealt with inmate challenges to the constitutionality of Ohio’s execution protocol. During that time, the litigation has morphed from focusing primarily on allegations of cruel and unusual punishment to allegations of equal protection violations. Ohio has been in a dubious cycle of defending often indefensible conduct, subsequently reforming its protocol when called on that conduct, and then failing to follow through on its own reforms," said Frost in his written opinion. He goes on to describe instances in which state agents lied to the Court concerning state executions, expressing frustration about the state's lack of commitment to constitutional execution. "No judge is a micro-manager of executions and no judge wants to find himself mired in the ongoing litigation in which he must continually babysit the parties," said Frost. That's just a piece of it; there are other judicial bigwigs hoping to have Ohio's death penalty overturned, including Senior Associate Justice for the Ohio Supreme Court Paul Pfiefer, who helped write Ohio's death penalty law when he was a state senator more than 30 years ago. According to Pfeifer, he's changed his mind because he sees the option of life without the possibility of parole more moral and socially beneficial. Evidently, most of the deviations from the execution regulations were minor paperwork technicalities. Huffington Post reports the errors included switching the official whose job it was to announce the start and finish times of the lethal injection and not properly documenting that the inmate's medical records were reviewed. Those in support of the hold, however, make another point. Controlling life and death is the most important power the state of Ohio holds; if it can't follow minor rules that it set for itself, who's to say there won't be larger, more detrimental errors in the future? It's difficult to tell whether or not Ohio will just get a slap on the wrist for its slip-ups or if reform will be seriously considered. The death penalty has almost always been a part of Ohio's history, since it became a state in 1803. Ohio ranked third in the U.S. for executions among the 34 states that have the death penalty in 2011. Listen to Paul Pfeifer and hear more about the controversy on The Sound of Ideas radio program below.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Education
at 02:31 PM | Permalink
You've heard of prodigies who are offered full rides and stipends to attend universities, offered big money in hopes they'll become a golden poster child for the success of the school; a face of intelligentsia, promise and scholarship. That's not the case for the the 170-some students at Dohn Community High School, who, as of Monday, are getting paid just for showing up to class. A new incentive program rewards seniors who arrive on time every day, stay productive and out of trouble with $25 Visa cards every week, while underclassmen can earn $10. When a student receives a gift card, $5 will be put into a savings account to be paid out upon graduation. Dohn, which is a charter school in Walnut Hills, is comprised of mostly drop-out recovery students from other schools and other at-risk students from nearby communities.
Lack of dog auction regulation draws out-of-state dealers
3 Comments · Tuesday, February 7, 2012
A citizen-initiated statute has
reached the Ohio General Assembly after eight years of protests and a
two-year signature drive by an Ohio volunteer group called the Coalition
to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions (CBODA). The statute would ban the sale of
dogs through auctions or raffles, as well as all trafficking in dogs
from out-of-state auctions.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Enquirer’s Cliff Radel
informed readers today that not all of the historical lore out there
about the devastating Ohio River flood of 1937 is true. Apparently, it’s
not really true that houses floated down the river and came to rest
elsewhere completely intact, despite many tales told by locals over the
After tremors, lawmakers try to slow down ‘fracking’
1 Comment · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
of 12 unusual earthquakes in northern Ohio reached a 4.0 magnitude on
New Year’s Eve, shaking homes in Youngstown and intensifying nationwide
opposition to fracking, a controversial natural gas extraction process.