by German Lopez
Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner announced Saturday that he will be resigning. An Inspector General report released Thursday found Heffner abused his position when he testified in front of the Ohio legislature in favor of legislation that benefited his employer. Heffner also allegedly misused state resources by using his state-issued cell phone and office email to get in contact with his employer. Heffner will officially step down on Aug. 10, and Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers will take Heffner’s position until the Board names a new state superintendent.Greg Landsman is running for City Council. Landsman has previously worked for former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi. He promises to focus on “jobs and growth.”A report from The Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio revealed some Ohio schools — including some local schools in the Greater Cincinnati area — use seclusion rooms to punish children with disabilities. Most research has shown seclusion rooms do not benefit children and, in fact, hurt them. The report claims the rooms are often used as a “convenience for frustrated employees.” Critics are calling the practice “primitive and traumatic.” However, some educators say seclusion rooms can be good for dealing with violent tantrums.Ohio gas prices are up sharply this week. Apparently, problems at Great Lakes refineries have increased prices for the region.Cincinnati officials are looking into a plan to make trains quieter. The plan could help residents in neighborhoods with a lot of train traffic get better sleep.Gov. John Kasich will be speaking at the Republican convention this month. He’s expected to talk about Ohio’s relatively low unemployment rate and stronger economic growth.Mitt Romney has been caught lying again. On Friday and Saturday, Romney and aides said President Barack Obama’s lawsuit to restore all early voting in Ohio is trying to take away in-person early voting from military personnel. The lawsuit is actually trying to make it possible for everyone, including military personnel, to vote early.Obama’s team released a tax calculator that calculates a person’s taxes under Obama’s plan and under Romney’s plan. Obviously, the calculator might be biased in Obama’s favor, but the important takeaway is that Romney’s plan would cut taxes for the wealthy, while Obama’s plan would cut taxes for the middle class. Romney’s tax plan has been criticized by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center for being “mathematically impossible.”U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was attacked by bees Monday.Charlie Sheen gave $50,000 to a Cincinnati Reds charity fund after seeing Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman shave his head on Friday as part of a fundraising campaign that also raised $50,000.The Curiosity rover has touched down on Mars. The Curiosity’s mission is NASA’s most ambitious Mars mission yet.Soon, we could all be like Wolverine. Scientists have come up with experimental spray-on skin that could promote wound healing.
by German Lopez
The audio for the 911 call Councilmember Chris Seelbach made to report being assaulted has been released to the public. During the call, Seelbach admits to drinking alcohol that night. Apparently, people are shocked that Seelbach is a human being that drinks alcohol.City Council voted yesterday to put a ballot initiative before voters that, if approved, would let councilmembers remain in power for four years, up from two years under current law. The initiative would let local policymakers worry more about passing good policy and less about getting reelected every other year. City Council also approved an ordinance that bans wastewater injection wells, which are used to dispose of wastewater produced during fracking, within city limits. But the ordinance is little more than politics at this point, considering the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has received no permit requests for injection wells in southwestern Ohio, and ODNR spokesperson Heidi Hetzel-Evans says southwestern Ohio’s geology makes injection wells unfeasible.There are more benefits to legalizing same-sex marriage than just giving a bunch of people basic rights without hurting anyone. A new study found that Ohio could gain $100-126 million in economic growth from same-sex marriage legalization. The study is being used by Freedom to Marry Ohio to promote the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment, which the organization hopes will be on the November 2013 ballot.Comair Inc. disclosed that 1,194 employees will be losing their jobs when the airline halts operations on Sept. 29. The airline, which is owned by Delta, is headquartered at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.Mayor Mark Mallory and local attorney Stan Chesley announced yesterday that 10 Cincinnati pools will remain open for one whole extra week — keeping them open until the beginning of the school year. Since the city can’t pay for the entire extra week, Chesley raised $25,000, which the Cincinnati Recreation Foundation matched with another $25,000, to keep the pools open. All pools but one will also have free admission for the rest of the year. The one exception is Otto Armleader Pool at Dunham, which will have $2 admission, down from $5.In a surprising show of bipartisanship, the Ohio legislature and Gov. John Kasich passed the “second chance” law. The law will make it easier for convicted criminals to continue on with their lives after their time is served.More good news for Ohio Democrats: A new poll says Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is leading challenger Josh Mandel, Ohio’s state treasurer, by 12 points. Mandel is known for excessively lying in campaign attacks.President Barack Obama was in Akron yesterday.Glenn Beck says he is planning a big event in Ohio for the week of Sept. 12. Beck is known for literally crying on national television and disapproving of most of what Obama does.In completely unsurprising news, temperatures in July broke heat records.But worries about excessive heat may be a thing of the past. Scientists have invented a shirt that can lower a person's body temperature.
by Andy Brownfield
City Council approves ballot measure for non-staggered option
Cincinnati voters will decide in November whether to double
the length of their council members' terms.
City Council voted 6-3 on Wednesday to put the ballot
initiative before voters. The measure would have all nine members run at the
same time, instead of a competing ballot initiative that would have staggered
“We are the only major city in Ohio that still has two-year
terms for its leaders, and the cities that we compete with are also moving to
four-year terms, including Louisville and as far as St. Louis, Minneapolis,
Denver and Atlanta,” said Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan, who spearheaded the
If approved by voters, the change wouldn’t affect
council members serving currently and would go into effect in 2013.
Not every council member was thrilled with the idea.
“I think accountability is paramount, and I don’t see going
from two-year terms to four-year terms as increasing the accountability
citizens want,” said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who was one of three new
faces to join council in last year's election, which saw four Republican incumbents booted from
“I’m sure it’s not lost on my colleagues that last November
the electorate was craving change and wanted change, and if we had been in the
middle of a four-year cycle they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make that
change and a substantial portion of this council … wouldn’t be sitting up here
Sittenfeld equated an election to a job evaluation. He,
along with councilmembers Chris Smitherman and Charles Winburn, voted against the
Quinlivan has said her rationale for pushing four-year
terms would be to eliminate the cycle that currently has sitting council members
spending half of their terms campaigning.
Councilman Cecil Thomas said four-year terms would allow council members
to focus on longer-term projects as well.
“Four years gives us plenty of time to gel together, to work
together,” Thomas said.
Councilman Chris Seelbach attended all four public hearings
council held throughout the city and called the number of people who support
four-year terms “unbelievable.” Seelbach said he himself was “semi-conflicted”
over the proposed changes, but was not conflicted over whether voters should
have that choice: He voted in favor.
Mayor Mark Mallory was sure to remind councilmembers before
their vote that they are forbidden from using city resources to campaign for a
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: News
at 01:00 PM | Permalink
Health professionals organizing city-wide effort to reduce rates
Cincinnati babies don't get the same chance at seeing their first birthday as do infants in other states across the country, and area health professionals believe it's time to become more proactive about it. On Wednesday, Noble Maseru, Cincinnati health commissioner, and Dr. Elizabeth Kelly, a maternal-infant health specialist at University Hospital, presented statistics to City Council in support of expanding city-wide efforts to reduce infant mortality rates (IMRs) and reconsider infant care and public health strategies. Infant mortality rates are typically measured by the number of deaths of babies under
one year of age per 1,000 live births. Statistics show that the overall
IMR rate in counties across Cincinnati from 2006-2010 was 13.3. In 2010, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.8 — just a little more than half of Cincinnati's alarming statistic. According to the City of Cincinnati Health Department, infant mortality rates are currently the highest in the 45202 zip code; the rate between 2007-2009 was 24.2. Other Hamilton County zip codes with high IMRs include 45203 (20.1), 45229 (17.5), 45214 (19.2) and others. Zip codes with the lowest rates included 45218 (0), 45226 (0), 45248 (3.7) and others. Click here to access a complete map with data for all Cincinnati zip codes. Pinpointing causes for discrepancies in IMRs is difficult, but the following are common causes of death in infants under one year old, according to the Ohio Department of Health: • Prematurity/low birth weight (prematurity is the No. 1 cause of infant death) • Congenital anomalies• Sudden infant death syndromeThese abnormalities are distributed differently across demographics, especially varying across race brackets. According to Maseru, the key to reducing rates locally is uniting area hospitals in an effort to provide a comprehensive continuum of care, beginning with monitoring prenatal development and spanning across the delivery experience into post-partum care. That continuum should encompass post-partum home visits, psycho-social counseling and education on nutritional support, domestic violence, etc., especially focusing on families in "high-risk" zip codes. For the past several years, the Cincinnati Health Department has teamed up with University Hospital for the Maternal/Infant Health Improvement Project, a partnership uses that continuum of care to meld public health strategies and medical expertise to reduce IMR rates in University Hospital, and according to the data presented to the Rules and Governance Committee on Wednesday, the system is working. Maseru says that over the five-year span from 2006-2010, the Health Department/University Hospital partnership yielded a 10.6 IMR rate, which marks about a 20 percent difference from Cincinnati's overall rate. The next effort, Maseru says, will be expanding that partnership into a network that applies the strategies the Improvement Project has been using to other local area hospitals, such as Good Samaritan and Christ Hospital, who account for 85 percent of Cincinnati deliveries annually. "It's all about achieving health equity," says Maseru. He hopes a successful parternship could bring IMR rates across every Cincinnati zip code down to single digits by 2014.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Pit bulls can legally put their paws on
Cincinnati ground for the first time in nine years. After a long,
arduous battle for dog lovers and Cincinnati animal welfare advocates,
Cincinnati City Council on May 16 voted 8-1 to officially repeal the
breed-specific language in Cincinnati’s vicious dog ordinance, which
previously made ownership of pit bulls within city limits illegal.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: City Council
at 02:33 PM | Permalink
Breed-specific legislation repealed after nine years
Pit bulls can legally put their paws on Cincinnati ground today for the first time in nine years. After a long, arduous battle for dog lovers and Cincinnati animal welfare advocates, success has arrived. Today, Cincinnati City Council voted 8-1 to officially repeal the breed-specific language in Cincinnati's vicious dog ordinance, which previously made ownership of pit bulls within city limits illegal. Read CityBeat's coverage about the old ban here. "It's fantastic. It's been a long effort, but we've had some great supporters from all across the country ... that's had an overwhelming affect on Council. Dog owners, of pit bulls or not, have flooded Council with requests to change the law," said Jim Tomaszewski, SPCA Cincinnati trustee and one of the main forces lobbying for the removal of the breed-specific language. The amendments to Section 701-1-V of the Cincinnati Municipal code completely remove breed-specific terminology, meaning today marks the first day since 2003 in which ownership of pit bulls within Cincinnati city limits is officially legal. Today, City Council also assigned the following members to the Task Force for the Humane Treatment of Animals, which will recommend future amendments and strategies to further promote responsible animal care and humane animal treatment in city limits: • Veterinarian - Dr. Tamara Goforth, Veterinarian for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)• Representative from SPCA Cincinnati - Jim Tomaszewski, SPCA Cincinnati Trustee• Representative from the animal rescue community - Elizabeth Johnson, Executive Director, Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic• Representative fro the City Prosecutor's Office - to be chosen by John Curp, City Solicitor• Representative from the Cincinnati Police Department - to be chosen by Chief James Craig
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Cincinnati City Council last week
approved a motion brought forth by the Cincinnati Taxicab Advisory
Commission that will implement changes to the design of the city’s
taxicab industry, some of which will be seen as soon as July 1.
0 Comments · Tuesday, May 15, 2012
An entrepreneur profited off of Trayvon Martin’s death by
selling gun range targets featuring a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at
the chest, Skittles and a can resembling iced tea — all items Martin had
in his possession when he was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla. in
February. World -2
by Danny Cross
City Council is
considering increasing cab fares prior to the World Choir Games in
July as part of an overhaul of the city’s taxi industry. During a
Rules and Government Operations Committee meeting Monday, Councilman
Wendell Young described the industry as having little regulation and
often undesirable experiences, The Enquirer reports. Council last
spring removed a city rule that made it illegal to hail a cab. Among
the recommendations expected to be made are the standardization of
rates, an increase in the number of permanent taxi stands and the
visible display of a Customer Bill of Rights.
The two men hired to
beat a Columbia Tusculum man over a property dispute admitted in
court yesterday to having been paid by Robert Fritzsch to whoop on
Tom Nies Jr. The beaters will avoid jail time in exchange for
testifying against Fritzsch. The beating was allegedly a retaliation after a court ordered the removal of Fritzsch's addition to his home that blocked the river view of Nies' house.
Robert Chase is a
member of Ohio’s oil and gas commission, in addition to operating a
private consulting firm that deals with many of the private companies
interested in making mass money off the state’s drilling leases.
The Ohio Ethics Commission this week warned Chase that such consulting
work could present a conflict of interest, though Chase says he’s
not surprised and that he knows what his ethical responsibilities
NBC has picked up a
sitcom set in Cincinnati starring Anne Heche, who reportedly plays an
Indian Hill housewife who believes she can channel God after
surviving an accident involving nearly choking on a sandwich (with
humorous results?). The show, which will have a 13-episode first season, is titled Save Me.
administration might be hinting at considering same-sex marriage
rights during a second term, but the folks down in North Carolina are
having none of it: A state constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage and civil unions is on today’s ballot, despite the
existence of a state statute that already outlaws it.
Meanwhile, the Obama
administration is busting Mitt Romney up for choosing not to address
a woman’s suggestion that Obama should be tried for treason.
During an event near
Cleveland yesterday, a woman asked Romney if he thinks President
Obama is "operating outside the structure of our Constitution,"
and "should be tried for treason."
Romney did not
respond to the treason comment, but instead criticized Obama's recent
comments on the Supreme Court -- drawing a rebuke from the Obama
Romney says he doesn’t
correct all the questions that are asked of him and that he obviously
doesn’t believe Obama should be tried for treason. USA Today
pointed out that the incident is similar to one that occurred during
the 2008 election, which John McCain handled quite differently:
It was one of the
defining moments of the 2008 presidential campaign: A woman at a
rally for Republican John McCain, while asking McCain a question,
called Democratic contender Barack Obama "an Arab" who
couldn't be trusted.
McCain took the
microphone and said, "No ma'am. He's a decent family man ... who
I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."
McCain's response symbolized his discomfort with the volatile crowds
he was seeing as his campaign faded during the final days of the 2008
A study suggests that
fighting obesity will necessitate a broader approach than blaming the
individual, likely involving schools, workplaces, health care
providers and fast-food restaurants.
Yahoo CEO Scott
Thompson has apologized for pretending to have a degree in computer
science. Thompson says he’ll update his resume but has no plans to
The U.S. could make a
$1.5 billion profit on its bailout of insurance company American
International Group, Inc. At least that’s what the Government
Accountability Office says.
cars have received their permits in Nevada. What's next? Drive down every single street in America and photographing it?
by German Lopez
Trend follows other cities, states, countries and a majority of Fortune 500 companies
Cincinnati inched closer to
equality after moving forward Monday with a measure that would allow city
employees in same-sex and other partnerships to receive health insurance
With a push by Chris Seelbach,
the first openly gay councilman in Cincinnati, the measure passed the finance
committee with the support of all council members except Charlie Winburn, who
The approval came after a city
report found that same-sex benefits could cost as much as $543,000 a year if 77
partners took advantage of the benefits.
The report suggested City Council
mimic a system already in place in Columbus, which requires partners to prove
financial interdependency and that they have been together for six months.
If the measure passes City
Council, Cincinnati would be more caught up with other cities, states,
countries and companies that already grant health benefits to same-sex
couples. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign estimated that 60 percent
of Fortune 500 companies offer health benefits to same-sex couples, including
Procter and Gamble and Fifth Third Bank.
Altogether, it seems like a small
step toward equality. What’s unfortunate is none of it would be required if
same-sex marriage was legal in Ohio. If it was,
same-sex couples could get marriage benefits, including health-care coverage.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday approved
the petition language for an amendment that would overturn Ohio’s 2004 ban on
gay marriage. The new amendment would define marriage as “a union of two
consenting adults, regardless of gender.”
The amendment now moves forward
to the Ohio Ballot Board. If approved, it will then require 385,253 signatures
from registered voters and, finally, voter approval.Ohio banned same-sex marriage in
2004 with a majority vote of 62 percent. But Ian James, co-founder of the
Freedom to Marry Coalition, told the Huffington Post that he is optimistic
things will be different this time, citing recent polls that show the nation is
moving toward support of gay marriage.