by German Lopez
Cincinnati unemployment drops, Ohio standardized test to be replaced, gas prices rise
Public service announcement: There will be no Morning News
and Stuff Thursday and Friday due to Thanksgiving break. Happy
Thanksgiving, and CityBeat will see you again on Monday!
With gains in the civilian labor force, Cincinnati’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent.
The city’s unadjusted unemployment rate is below the nation’s rate of
7.5 percent, but it’s above Hamilton County’s 6.2 percent rate and
Ohio’s 6.3 percent rate.The Ohio Graduation Tests will soon be no more. As part of
broader reform, state education leaders have agreed to establish new
standardized tests with a focus on college and career readiness.
But the reform faces some concerns from Democrats, who worry the new
standards, particularly the school report cards that evaluate schools and
districts, may be unreasonably tough. An early simulation of the new
school report cards in May showed Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS)
dropping from the second-best rating of “Effective” under the current
system to a D- under the new system, with 23 CPS schools flunking.
Gas prices in southwest Ohio appear to be on the rise. Since Monday, they have moved up 10 to 20 cents.
The Horseshoe Casino is hiring again.
This time, the casino is looking for people experienced in restaurant
management, hosting, banquet, finance, marketing and guest services.
One problem Ohio must consider in its decision to expand Medicaid or not: a doctor shortage. Still, one study
found states that expanded Medicaid had notable health gains. Contrary
to the fiscal reasons normally cited by Republican Gov. John Kasich’s
office, another report from the Arkansas Department of Human Services
found expanding Medicaid would actually save the state money by lowering
the amount of uncompensated care.
Thirteen people are going for the Ohio Supreme Court.
The vacant slot needs to be filled after Justice Evelyn Stratton
announced she was stepping down earlier in the year. Her replacement,
who will be picked by Gov. Kasich, will finish the two years of her
six-year term. Some of the candidates are from the Cincinnati area,
including Pat Fischer and Pat DeWine, the newly elected First District
appellate judge. Surprisingly, Republican Justice Robert Cupp did not
submit an application despite recently losing re-election.
A ban on internet sweepstakes cafes is on its way. The cafes are allegedly susceptible to illegal activities such as money laundering, racketeering and sex trafficking.
Marc Dann, the Democrat formerly in charge of the Ohio attorney general’s office, lost his law license for six months. Dann resigned from the role of attorney general in 2008 after 17 months of scandal-ridden service.
Three staffers at Gov. Kasich’s office were cleared by the Ohio inspector general’s office of engaging in political activity during work hours.
The mediation between Hostess and a striking union failed. The company is blaming the union for shutting down, but the free market is a likelier culprit.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, here is some science on weight gain.
A new way to give drugs to patients: injectable sponges that expand inside the body.
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.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 02:41 PM | Permalink
State follows nationwide trend between wealthiest and poorest
Occupy Wall Street may have been onto something. A new report
from left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found
Ohio’s income gap — the income difference between the rich and poor — is
wide and growing.
Since the 1970s, the poorest 20 percent saw no change in real
income, the middle 20 percent gained 21.1 percent, the top 20 percent
gained 50.6 percent and the top 5 percent gained 85.1 percent.
In terms of real dollars, low-income and middle-income
Ohioans have actually seen their income drop since the 1990s. The drop caused a “lost
decade” for Ohio’s lower and middle classes, according to the report.
The bottom 20 percent saw a 6.9 percent drop in real income from the
late 1990s to the mid-2000s, while the middle 20 percent saw a 2.9
percent drop. Real incomes for the top 20 percent and top 5 percent
remained the same.
The shifts have caused a startling difference in real
income, which the report calculated by looking at real dollars after federal taxes and including the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit, housing subsidies and food stamps. The poorest 20 percent make on average about $20,500, and the
middle 20 percent make on average about $58,100. Meanwhile, the top 5
percent make about $221,800 — 10.8 times as much as the bottom 20
percent and 3.8 times as much as the middle 20 percent.
Real dollars are a measurement used to gauge the value of
money and income after inflation. If a family sees its income in real
dollars drop, it means income increases, if they exist, are not keeping up with
The widening income gap is part of a nationwide trend. In
comparison to other states, Ohio mostly did better than the national
average. Ohio was not included in any of the six top 10 ranks for
inequality, which ranked states for rises in inequality during different time periods. During the late
2000s, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Georgia and New York had the
greatest gaps between the wealthiest and poorest. In the same time
period, New Mexico, California, Georgia, Mississippi and Arizona had the
biggest gaps between the wealthiest and middle.
Part of the cause for the widening gap is the recent
recession, but the CBPP report found that the wealthiest have seen their
incomes rise again in the recession’s aftermath, while middle and lower
incomes have not. The report also blamed government policies —
deregulation, trade liberalization, the weakening safety net, the lack
of effective laws regarding collective bargaining and the declining real
value of the minimum wage — and the expansion of investment incomes,
which the CBPP says “primarily accrue to those at the top of the income
The report finished with some suggestions for states:
raise minimum wage and index it for inflation, improve unemployment
insurance systems, make state tax systems more progressive and
strengthen safety nets.
Policy Matters Ohio, which pointed to the findings in a
statement, says the report warrants action. “Poor and middle-income
families are seeing their income fall in real dollars and relative to
higher earners,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters
Ohio, in the statement. “When households already subsisting on less than
$23,000 a year see their incomes drop, that means hunger, instability,
poor school performance and worse. Ohio needs to do more to improve the
lives of families in this state.”
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
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
New water infrastructure seeks to be cheaper, more sustainable
As cities rush to solve major problems with water
infrastructure, newer technologies are being touted by city agencies as
cheaper, cleaner solutions. In two different local projects, the
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) and a City
Council task force are looking into green ways to solve the city’s water
On Wednesday, CityBeat covered some of the benefits and downsides
of green water infrastructure. According to the report reviewed
Wednesday, green water infrastructure is cheaper and does create a boon
of jobs, but it faces some funding and education problems. However, it
was unclear how the green ideas would translate into Cincinnati.Tony Parrott, executive director of MSD, says despite the
challenges, green infrastructure is clearly the cheaper option. The
organization is partnering with local organizations to adopt a series of
new projects — among them, green roofs, rain gardens, wetlands — to meet a new
federal mandate that requires MSD to reduce the amount of sewer overflow
that makes it into local rivers and streams.
“That is a very costly mandate,” he says. “Our belief is
that green infrastructure and sustainable infrastructure will allow us
to achieve a lot of those objectives a lot cheaper than your
conventional deep tunnel systems or other gray type of infrastructure.”
Of course, conventional — or “gray” — infrastructure still
has its place, but adopting a hybrid of green and gray infrastructure
or just green infrastructure in some areas was found to be cheaper in
MSD analyses, according to Parrott.
Plans are already being executed. On top of the smaller
projects that slow the flow of storm water into sewer systems, MSD is
also taking what Parrott calls a “large-scale approach to resurrect or
daylight former streams and creeks that were buried over 150 years ago.”
This approach will rely on the new waterways to redirect storm water so
it doesn’t threaten to flood sewers and cause sewer overflow, Parrott
The programs are being approached in a “holistic way,”
according to Parrott. MSD intends to refine and reiterate on what works
as the programs develop. However, that comes with challenges when
setting goals and asking for funding.
“We think that if you’re going to use a more integrated
approach, it may require us to ask for more time to get some of these
projects done and in the ground and then see how effective they are,”
If it all plays out, the ongoing maintenance required by
the green approach could be good for the local economy, according to
Parrott: “With the green and sustainable infrastructure, you’re creating
a new class of what we call green jobs for maintenance. The majority of
those jobs are something local folks can do as opposed to the
conventional process.” Additionally, the green jobs also tend to benefit
“disadvantaged communities” more than conventional jobs, according to
The argument is essentially what Jeremy Hays, chief strategist for state and local initiatives at Green For All, told CityBeat
on Wednesday. Since the green jobs require less education and training,
they’re more accessible to “disadvantaged workers,” according to Hays:
“They require some training and some skills, but not four years’ worth
because it’s skills that you can get at a community college or even on
While MSD fully encourages the use of rain barrels,
recycling will not be a top priority for MSD’s programs. Instead, that
priority goes to the Rainwater Harvesting Task Force, a City Council
task force intended to find ways to reform the city’s plumbing code to
make harvesting and recycling rainwater a possibility.
Bob Knight, a member of the task force, says there is
already a model in place the city can use. The task force is looking
into adopting the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) in
Cincinnati. The code will “prescriptively tell” architects and engineers
how to design a rainwater harvesting system. In other words, IGCC would
set a standard for the city.Deciding on this code was not without challenges. At
first, the task force wasn’t even sure if it could dictate how rainwater
is harvested and recycled. The first question Knight had to ask was,
“Who has that authority?” What it found is a mix of local agencies —
Greater Cincinnati Water Works, MSD and Cincinnati Department of
Planning — will all have to work together to implement the city’s new
The task force hopes to give its findings to Quality of
Life Committee, which is led by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, by the end of
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
Annual conference promotes sustainable urban water programs
Ohioans might not
give it much thought outside of paying the water bill, but better water
infrastructure can make cities more efficient, healthier and cleaner.
That’s why Green For All, a group that promotes clean energy
initiatives, is now focusing on cleaner, greener water infrastructure.
A little-known green conference took place in
Cincinnati Oct. 15-17. The Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference was in
town on those three days, and it brought together leaders from around
the U.S. to discuss sustainable water programs for cities. The
conference mostly focused on policy ideas, success stories and
challenges faced by modern water infrastructure.
For Green For All, attending the conference was about
establishing one key element that isn’t often associated with water and
sewer systems: jobs. Jeremy Hays, chief strategist for state and local
initiatives at Green For All, says this was the focus for his
Hays says it’s important for groups promoting better water
infrastructure to include the jobs aspect of the equation. To Hays,
while it’s certainly important for cities to establish cleaner and more
efficient initiatives, it’s also important to get people back to work.
He worries this side of water infrastructure policies are “often left
He points to a report released by Green For All during
last year’s conference. The report looked at how investing the $188.4
billion suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to manage
rainwater and preserve water quality in the U.S. would translate into
economic development and jobs: “We find that an investment of $188.4
billion spread equally over the next five years would generate $265.6
billion in economic activity and create close to 1.9 million jobs.”To accomplish that robust growth and job development, the
report claims infrastructure would have to mimic “natural solutions.” It
would focus on green roofs, which are rooftop areas with planted
vegetation; urban tree planting; rain gardens, which are areas that use
vegetation to reduce storm water runoff; bioswales, which are shallow,
vegetated depressions that catch rainwater and redirect it; constructed
wetlands; permeable pavements, which are special pavements that allow
water to pass through more easily; rainwater harvesting, which uses rain
barrels and other storage devices to collect and recycle rainwater; and
green alleys, which reduce paved or impervious surfaces with vegetation
that reduces storm water runoff.
The report says constructing and maintaining these sorts
of programs would produce massive growth, especially in comparison to
other programs already supported by presidential candidates and the
federal government: “Infrastructure investments create over 16 percent
more jobs dollar-for-dollar than a payroll tax holiday, nearly 40
percent more jobs than an across-the-board tax cut, and over five times
as many jobs as temporary business tax cuts.”
Hays says the jobs created also don’t have barriers that
keep them inaccessible to what he calls “disadvantaged workers”: “A lot
of these jobs that we’re focused on in infrastructure, especially green
infrastructure, are much more accessible. They require some training and
some skills, but not four years’ worth because it’s skills that you can
get at a community college or even on the job.”
Beyond jobs, Green For All supports greener infrastructure
due to its health benefits. Hays cited heat waves as one example. He
says the extra plants and vegetation planted to support green
infrastructure can help absorb heat that’s typically contained by
Hays’ example has a lot of science to stand on. The extra
heating effect in cities, known as the urban heat island effect, is
caused because cities have more buildings and pavements that absorb and
contain heat, more pollution that warms the air and fewer plants that
enable evaporation and transpiration through a process called
evapotranspiration. The EPA promotes green roofs in order to help combat
the urban heat island effect.Hays says green infrastructure also creates cleaner air
because trees capture carbon dioxide and break it down to oxygen. The
work of the extra trees can also help reduce global warming, although
Hays cautions that the ultimate effect is probably “relatively small.”
But those are only some of the advantages Hays sees in
green infrastructure. He says green infrastructure is more resilient
against volatile weather events caused by global warming. With green
infrastructure, storm water can be managed by systems that collect and
actually utilize rainwater to harvest clean water. Even in a world
without climate change, that storm water management also reduces water
contamination by reducing sewer overflow caused by storm water floods,
according to Hays.
However, green infrastructure is not without its problems.
Hays acknowledges there are some problems with infrastructure systems
that require more year-over-year maintenance: “The green and
conventional approach is more cost effective over time, but the way you
have to spend money is different. So we need to look at the way we
finance infrastructure, and make sure we keep up with innovative
Specifically, green infrastructure relies less on big
capital investments and more on ongoing maintenance costs. Hays insists
the green infrastructure saves money in the long term with efficiency
and by making more use out of natural resources, and the Green For All
report supports his claim. But it is more difficult to get a city or
state legislator to support long-term funding than it is to get them to
support big capital expenditures, Hays says.
Education is also a problem. To a lot of people, the green
infrastructure on rooftops and other city areas might seem like “pocket
parks,” says Hays. But these areas are nothing
like parks; they are meant to absorb and collect rainwater. If the
public isn’t educated properly, there could be some confusion as to why
the supposed “pocket parks” are flooded so often. Providing that
education is going to be another big challenge for public officials
adopting green infrastructure, according to Hays.
So what, if anything, is Cincinnati doing to adopt these
technologies? In the past, city legislators have looked into rainwater
harvesting systems, but not much information is out there. On Thursday, CityBeat will talk to city officials to see how Cincinnati is moving forward.
by German Lopez
Posted In: Economy
at 02:25 PM | Permalink
Unemployment falls as workers leave labor force
With 1,500 people leaving the labor force in one month,
Cincinnati had a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 6.9
percent in September, according to new data released today by the Ohio Department of
Jobs and Family Services. The city’s unemployment is still above the
unadjusted rate of 6.4 percent for Hamilton County and Greater
For Cincinnati, that’s a 0.7 percent drop from August’s
unemployment rate, which was revised upward to 7.6 percent. However,
most of that drop comes from the 1,500 people who left the labor force,
which combines the number of unemployed people looking for work with the
amount of employed people. About 400 less Cincinnatians were employed
in September than they were in August.
The new numbers show Cincinnati’s labor force was actually
smaller in September than it was in September 2011. Back in September
2011, the labor force was made up of 144,800 people. In September 2012, it was 144,500.
Still, more people are working in September 2012 than they were in September 2011; in
that time frame, the employment number went up from 131,200 to 134,500.
Both Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County also had mixed
numbers. They both saw their seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates
drop from 6.8 to 6.4 percent between August and September, but both saw
their labor forces and employment numbers shrink as more people quit
looking for work and left the work force.
However, Hamilton County and Greater Cincinnati had their
labor forces and employment numbers grow between September 2011 and
September 2012, effectively making the gains throughout the year
One bright spot for Cincinnati is its seasonally
unadjusted unemployment rate remains below the U.S. rate of 7.6 percent.
It remains above Ohio’s unadjusted rate of 6.5 percent, however.
The unemployment numbers are calculated through a
household survey. The unemployment rate measures the amount of
unemployed people looking for work in contrast to the total labor force.
Since the numbers are derived from surveys, they are often revised in
later months. The state and federal numbers are typically adjusted
to fit seasonal employment patterns to give a more consistent rate.