Cincinnati's Big News Stories from 2018

           
Scroll down to view images
September 6, 2018 is a day Cincinnati won't likely forget. At around 9 that morning, Omar Santa-Perez  began shooting in the lobby of Fifth-Third Bank's downtown headquarters just off Fountain Square. Minutes later, police shot through plate glass windows, killing the gunman — but not before Santa-Perez killed three people and wounded two others. Photo: Nick Swartsell
September 6, 2018 is a day Cincinnati won't likely forget. At around 9 that morning, Omar Santa-Perez began shooting in the lobby of Fifth-Third Bank's downtown headquarters just off Fountain Square. Minutes later, police shot through plate glass windows, killing the gunman — but not before Santa-Perez killed three people and wounded two others. Photo: Nick Swartsell
1 of 17
It's official — Cincinnati now has a third major-league sports franchise. After months of waiting, rumors and trepidation, FC Cincinnati ascended into the ranks of Major League Soccer with a frenzied, jubilant announcement ceremony at Rhinegeist in May. FCC will host its first MLS game in the spring of 2019. Photo: Nick Swartsell
It's official — Cincinnati now has a third major-league sports franchise. After months of waiting, rumors and trepidation, FC Cincinnati ascended into the ranks of Major League Soccer with a frenzied, jubilant announcement ceremony at Rhinegeist in May. FCC will host its first MLS game in the spring of 2019. Photo: Nick Swartsell
2 of 17
Not everything about the coming FC Cincinnati stadium has been joyful. While the team floated three locations, including Newport and Oakley, there was wrenching, often contentious debate about the facility's eventual location in the West End, including a vote by the neighborhood's community council against putting it there. Some residents and their advocates are worried that the stadium could bring tough changes to the historically African American community, which has a median household income of just $16,000 a year. 
For at least a few businesses and one resident located in the neighborhood's historic State Theater, those changes are already happening. Soon, the building will come down to make way for the stadium, displacing those tenants. Photo: Nick Swartsell
Not everything about the coming FC Cincinnati stadium has been joyful. While the team floated three locations, including Newport and Oakley, there was wrenching, often contentious debate about the facility's eventual location in the West End, including a vote by the neighborhood's community council against putting it there. Some residents and their advocates are worried that the stadium could bring tough changes to the historically African American community, which has a median household income of just $16,000 a year. For at least a few businesses and one resident located in the neighborhood's historic State Theater, those changes are already happening. Soon, the building will come down to make way for the stadium, displacing those tenants. Photo: Nick Swartsell
3 of 17
This spring, a protracted fight between then-Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley over the dismissal by Black of a top Cincinnati police official spiraled into weeks of stalemate between Black, Cranley and Cincinnati City Council. Black eventually resigned moments before council voted to fire him. The battle in turn spawned  a lawsuit against five Democratic Cincinnati City Council members by conservative activists alleging they broke Ohio open meetings laws because they engaged in group texting about the matter. As if all of that weren't chaotic enough, the entire ordeal seems to have started with allegations that some high-ranking Cincinnati Police officers are misusing the department's overtime system — the subject of yet another ongoing lawsuit. Photo: Nick Swartsell
This spring, a protracted fight between then-Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley over the dismissal by Black of a top Cincinnati police official spiraled into weeks of stalemate between Black, Cranley and Cincinnati City Council. Black eventually resigned moments before council voted to fire him. The battle in turn spawned a lawsuit against five Democratic Cincinnati City Council members by conservative activists alleging they broke Ohio open meetings laws because they engaged in group texting about the matter. As if all of that weren't chaotic enough, the entire ordeal seems to have started with allegations that some high-ranking Cincinnati Police officers are misusing the department's overtime system — the subject of yet another ongoing lawsuit. Photo: Nick Swartsell
4 of 17
Immigration continued to be a massive national issue in 2018, with inflammatory rhetoric from President Donald Trump and new "no tolerance" immigration policies dominating headlines. It also hit home, with deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents  hitting local suburbs and sometimes separating families. Photo: Nick Swartsell
Immigration continued to be a massive national issue in 2018, with inflammatory rhetoric from President Donald Trump and new "no tolerance" immigration policies dominating headlines. It also hit home, with deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents hitting local suburbs and sometimes separating families. Photo: Nick Swartsell
5 of 17
The 2018 midterm elections were among the most expensive and hotly contested non-presidential contests in recent memory. Hamilton County saw record, if patchy, turnout for a nationally-watched congressional campaign as well as a number of other contentious, hard-fought races. On the city level, voters opted to return Cincinnati City Council to two years terms and to limit campaign finance contributions to candidates from corporations. CityBeat  covered all the local races with real-time results and analysis. Photo: Aftab Pureval campaign
The 2018 midterm elections were among the most expensive and hotly contested non-presidential contests in recent memory. Hamilton County saw record, if patchy, turnout for a nationally-watched congressional campaign as well as a number of other contentious, hard-fought races. On the city level, voters opted to return Cincinnati City Council to two years terms and to limit campaign finance contributions to candidates from corporations. CityBeat covered all the local races with real-time results and analysis. Photo: Aftab Pureval campaign
6 of 17
Among all the excitement of this year's midterm elections, local Democrats extended their newfound strength in Hamilton County. They took a number of judgeships and  Democrat Stephanie Summerow Dumas won a surprise victory over Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel. Dumas' win means the commission is all-Democrat for the first time in years. Photo: Provided
Among all the excitement of this year's midterm elections, local Democrats extended their newfound strength in Hamilton County. They took a number of judgeships and Democrat Stephanie Summerow Dumas won a surprise victory over Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel. Dumas' win means the commission is all-Democrat for the first time in years. Photo: Provided
7 of 17
The August 6 tasing of 11-year-old Donesha Gowdy by off-duty Cincinnati Police officer Kevin Brown, who was working a security detail at the Spring Grove Village Kroger, led to a change in the department's Taser policy and a $240,000 settlement with the girl's family. It wasn't the first time in 2018 an incident in which CPD officers tased a minor caused controversy, however.  Photo: CPD body camera footage
The August 6 tasing of 11-year-old Donesha Gowdy by off-duty Cincinnati Police officer Kevin Brown, who was working a security detail at the Spring Grove Village Kroger, led to a change in the department's Taser policy and a $240,000 settlement with the girl's family. It wasn't the first time in 2018 an incident in which CPD officers tased a minor caused controversy, however. Photo: CPD body camera footage
8 of 17
Cincinnati officials’ efforts to remove a tent city under Fort Washington Way in July escalated into a drawn-out game of cat and mouse between city and Hamilton County officials and residents of various camps that popped up in Pendleton and Over-the-Rhine. 
In the midst of that fight, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman issued a restraining order at the request of the city and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that made it illegal to camp outside anywhere in the county. That action triggered a legal battle that is still ongoing.  Photo: Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati officials’ efforts to remove a tent city under Fort Washington Way in July escalated into a drawn-out game of cat and mouse between city and Hamilton County officials and residents of various camps that popped up in Pendleton and Over-the-Rhine. In the midst of that fight, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman issued a restraining order at the request of the city and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that made it illegal to camp outside anywhere in the county. That action triggered a legal battle that is still ongoing. Photo: Nick Swartsell
9 of 17
One of Cincinnati's best-loved parks saw a big new proposal this year when the equally-beloved Clifton Cultural Arts Center pitched building its new home in the 90-acre urban woods. That drew mixed reactions from park fans. Some loved the idea, while others were adamantly opposed on the grounds it would disrupt the park's wildlife. The proposal came as Cincinnati Parks looks for ways to shore up millions of dollars in deferred maintenance. In what could be a precedent-setting move, however, the park's board of trustees voted 3-2 to reject the arts facility in the woods.  Photo: Nick Swartsell
One of Cincinnati's best-loved parks saw a big new proposal this year when the equally-beloved Clifton Cultural Arts Center pitched building its new home in the 90-acre urban woods. That drew mixed reactions from park fans. Some loved the idea, while others were adamantly opposed on the grounds it would disrupt the park's wildlife. The proposal came as Cincinnati Parks looks for ways to shore up millions of dollars in deferred maintenance. In what could be a precedent-setting move, however, the park's board of trustees voted 3-2 to reject the arts facility in the woods. Photo: Nick Swartsell
10 of 17
The tragic April death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush in his minivan after he called 911 two times unleashed a torrent of scrutiny around Cincinnati's 911 emergency response system. Months later, the city's Emergency Call Center has more staff and more funding — but the Plush family has continued to push for answers about their son's death. Photo: Nick Swartsell
The tragic April death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush in his minivan after he called 911 two times unleashed a torrent of scrutiny around Cincinnati's 911 emergency response system. Months later, the city's Emergency Call Center has more staff and more funding — but the Plush family has continued to push for answers about their son's death. Photo: Nick Swartsell
11 of 17
People migrating from Appalachia have made a huge impact on Cincinnati politics, art and culture. But in 2018, many Urban Appalachians and their descendants in some of the city's low-income enclaves often feel ignored. Photo: Nick Swartsell
People migrating from Appalachia have made a huge impact on Cincinnati politics, art and culture. But in 2018, many Urban Appalachians and their descendants in some of the city's low-income enclaves often feel ignored. Photo: Nick Swartsell
12 of 17
Cincinnati's Womens March drew thousands downtown at the start of the year. But some activists, disenchanted with the march's focus on voting over other forms of activism, held their own well-attended event. Photo: Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati's Womens March drew thousands downtown at the start of the year. But some activists, disenchanted with the march's focus on voting over other forms of activism, held their own well-attended event. Photo: Nick Swartsell
13 of 17
Cincinnati's affordable housing gap — roughly 30,000 units, according to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency — got a lot of media attention in 2018. Less covered were the effects of white-hot real estate markets in some quickly-redeveloping neighborhoods like Walnut Hills, where some residents are finding themselves priced out.Photo: Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati's affordable housing gap — roughly 30,000 units, according to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency — got a lot of media attention in 2018. Less covered were the effects of white-hot real estate markets in some quickly-redeveloping neighborhoods like Walnut Hills, where some residents are finding themselves priced out.Photo: Nick Swartsell
14 of 17
Residents of subsidized housing in Cincinnati often struggle with maintenance issues, infestations and other problems — partially due to drastic cuts to funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  New proposals by the Trump administration could make things worse, raising the rent residents pay and further cutting funding for public housing.Photo: Nick Swartsell
Residents of subsidized housing in Cincinnati often struggle with maintenance issues, infestations and other problems — partially due to drastic cuts to funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. New proposals by the Trump administration could make things worse, raising the rent residents pay and further cutting funding for public housing.Photo: Nick Swartsell
15 of 17
It's no secret — the region's Metro bus system needs help. The system faces a roughly $180 million deficit over the next decade and doesn't adequately connect to jobs or many low-income areas outside the urban core. About 40 percent of jobs in the city — some 75,000 — aren’t reachable by transit at all, according to a 2015 report commissioned by the Chamber, and many others require long, daunting commutes. 
A potential Hamilton County sales tax levy that would have changed Metro's unusual funding model drew plenty of attention this year, but the board of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority opted  not to put it on the ballot this year. That means we'll likely be having this same conversation in 2019, when the board will take another look at asking the county to fund the region's transit service. Photo: Nick Swartsell
It's no secret — the region's Metro bus system needs help. The system faces a roughly $180 million deficit over the next decade and doesn't adequately connect to jobs or many low-income areas outside the urban core. About 40 percent of jobs in the city — some 75,000 — aren’t reachable by transit at all, according to a 2015 report commissioned by the Chamber, and many others require long, daunting commutes. A potential Hamilton County sales tax levy that would have changed Metro's unusual funding model drew plenty of attention this year, but the board of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority opted not to put it on the ballot this year. That means we'll likely be having this same conversation in 2019, when the board will take another look at asking the county to fund the region's transit service. Photo: Nick Swartsell