Will Ohio lawmakers learn anything after their appalling and, at times, indifferent responses to the child rape victim who was forced to seek an abortion in Indiana thanks to laws that Ohio enacted? Probably not. That's just one of the many, many headlines that made us sigh in shame while covering news in Cincinnati and around the Buckeye State this month. Below, catch up on this and other big headlines from July.
Ohio's Six-Week Abortion Law Has Disastrous Implications for Children Who Are Raped
There's not a lot of empathy for Ohio children who are raped and need abortions – at least not from many Republicans in the Buckeye State. The case of the 10-year-old child who was raped and forced to go out of state for a medical procedure because of Ohio's new abortion law became a national headline in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 reversal of Roe v. Wade and Ohio's stringent six-week abortion ban taking effect. Ohio attorney general Dave Yost and other Republicans had cast doubt on the rape — which was extensively researched and reported on by journalists who were local to the case — and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine still hasn't directly acknowledged that he signed off on the legislation that pushed a child to the brink. See all of CityBeat's ongoing abortion coverage.
Ohio's Newest Anti-Abortion Bill Could Lead to a Birth Control Ban
On July 12, State Rep. Gary Click introduced House Bill 704, which packs a lot of questions into three sentences – the length of the entire bill. The bill hinges on a moment of "conception" but does not define it (and medical experts have not weighed in), putting birth control, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments and more into jeopardy. Read CityBeat's story about how Click's bill might affect much more than just abortion.
COVID-19 Community Spread in Greater Cincinnati Keeps Rising
The pandemic isn't over. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most counties in the Greater Cincinnati region have risen once again to a high level of COVID-19 community spread in July. A similar spike is occurring throughout the United States as vaccine and booster immunity wear off, new coronavirus variants keep popping up and the country largely has refused to return to public health protocols. With the rise in community spread, Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval has recommended that city employees mask up and return to virtual meetings. Read CityBeat's story about what the COVID-19 levels mean for local residents.
Health Department: Cincinnati Has Two Likely Cases of Monkeypox
Yeah, we really needed more than one easily transmissible infection. According to the Cincinnati Health Department, two cases of monkeypox were reported as positive by a commercial lab. The department said the patients had sought evaluation from their health care providers after developing a new rash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is evaluating those cases now. Read CityBeat's story about what monkeypox feels like and how it spreads.
National Weather Service Says There Were Actually Three Tornadoes in Greater Cincinnati in July
Locals are still dealing with the aftermath of the tornado that ripped through Goshen Township on July 6, but many people in Greater Cincinnati may not realize that there also were tornadoes in Loveland and Lake Lorelei that day. The damage in Brown and Clermont counties was so extensive that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency. Read CityBeat's story about damages in the area and how DeWine says the state will help.
P.G. Sittenfeld Found Guilty on Two Federal Corruption Charges
After a two-and-a-half week trial, a jury found former Cincinnati City Council member and mayoral hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld guilty of bribery and attempted extortion but acquitted him on two counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of bribery and one count of attempted extortion by a government official. In 2020, Sittenfeld was arrested on a six-count indictment for a scheme in which Sittenfeld allegedly traded cash for votes relating to the development of the former Convention Place Mall. Now Sittenfeld's defense attorneys are trying to obtain one juror's electronic devices after that juror had posted to social media about their general trial experience (but not about trial evidence). Read CityBeat's story about Sittenfeld's trial and the big names who were called as witnesses.
988 Hotline Now Connects Callers with Mental Health Professionals in Cincinnati, Ohio and Kentucky
In Ohio and other states, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now accessible by dialing 988, cutting down on time from the previous 10-digit hotline number. The 988 call center in Cincinnati is available 40 hours per week and will later expand to 60 hours per week. Almost all calls made to the hotline are resolved over the phone with trained counselors. Read CityBeat’s story about how 988 was implemented in Greater Cincinnati and the nation.
Cincinnati Police Department Officer Suspended for Using Racist Slur on Duty
The CPD's recently completed internal investigation of officer Rose Valentino revealed body camera footage from April 5 of the officer saying, “Fucking n******s, I fucking hate them" while in her car on duty outside Western Hills University High School. As written in the report, Valentino claimed she had been “affected by her profession” and was “desensitized to racially offensive language by music and hearing people talk in the street.” She's awaiting a disciplinary hearing. Read CityBeat's story about Valentino's previous racist actions and see why the ACLU of Ohio is getting involved.
Akron Police Release Bodycam Footage of Jayland Walker Shooting
Eight Akron police officers fired over 60 bullets into the body and head of 25-year-old Jayland Walker in a June 27 police murder. According to footage and reports, Walker was unarmed as he exited his vehicle and fled from officers on foot. The incident is the latest incident of many in which police killed a seemingly unthreatening, non-white person. Read CityBeat's story about more details of the case.
Ohio, Kentucky Governors Announce Revised Plans for Brent Spence and Companion Bridge
Plans for relief from the hell that is Brent Spence Bridge traffic is starting to take shape. Ohio and Kentucky leaders revealed updated plans that call for new lane configurations, wider shoulders and ways to silo local and thru highway traffic. The schematics also show that the companion bridge won't be quite as large as expected. Read CityBeat’s story about how the Ohio and Kentucky governors say the project will improve the entire eight-mile corridor and ease the backup blues.
Cincinnati Voters Should Pay Attention to These Races in Ohio's Weird Aug. 2 Primary Election
Ohio's districts where voters are deciding their representatives are based on a set of maps repeatedly rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as unconstitutional for unfairly favoring Republicans. The Buckeye State is now required to pass new maps before the 2024 election. In the meantime, the August primary will shape what final races will look like in the general election on Nov. 8. Read CityBeat's story about notable races in Cincinnati and throughout the state and how to cast your ballot.
Rare Chinese 'Magic Mirror' Artifact Rediscovered at the Cincinnati Art Museum
We all have an item that we'd lost and then found years later, right? The Cincinnati Art Museum has one of those, too, but on a much greater scale. The museum’s curator of East Asian art, Dr. Hou-mei Sung, found that a “plain-looking” bronze mirror from the 16th century under “special lighting” reflects an image of a Buddha “surrounded by numerous emanating rays of light.” It was initially developed during the Han dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE). Read CityBeat's story about how the museum found the mirror and how visitors can view it.
BLINK Cincinnati Founding Partner Brave Berlin Will No Longer Be Involved in Festival
The lights are down for one of BLINK Cincinnati's founders, as Brave Berlin has announced it is pulling out of the popular arts festival. The announcement arrived shortly after the festival revealed plans to expand into Northern Kentucky and just 92 days before its Oct. 13-16 run. In a Facebook post, Brave Berlin cited "creative direction" and "open hostility" as reasons for the split. Read CityBeat's story about Brave Berlin leaving BLINK, plus see BLINK's plans for expanding into Northern Kentucky.
Controversial Yellow Springs Resident Dave Chappelle Gets Emmy Nominations for Netflix Special with Anti-Trans Jokes
Chappelle's Netflix stand-up special The Closer, which was released in October and quickly came under fire for transphobic language, is nominated for two Emmy awards: Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special. Read CityBeat's story about Chappelle's history of "jokes" against marginalized communities.
The Cincinnati Bengals' New White Helmets Have Landed, and They're Awesome
The white tiger finally is here, Cincinnati. In January 2021, the NFL announced that it would lift a long-held rule that prohibited teams to have secondary helmets, and the Bengals quickly made some moves. The new helmet is virtually identical to the Bengals' current helmet of orange with black "tiger" stripes but instead uses white for the background. Players will have a matching jersey, the team later revealed, and fans will get to see the goods during the 2022-2023 season. Read CityBeat's story for a peek at the Bengals' new white helmet. Meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed for Bengals' veterans Ken Anderson and the late Ken Riley to finally make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ohio State Fair Returns After Two-Year Hiatus with New Ride Safety Protocols
Going to the fair? Midway rides will undergo enhanced safety inspections thanks to Tyler's Law, named for 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell, who was killed at the fair in 2017 after being thrown from a ride called the Fire Ball. A new safety advisory council and more intense ride-inspection process also are in place. Read CityBeat's story about what to expect at the Ohio State Fair.
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