Air Quality Test Shows Less Mold in Streetcars Than Outside Air; More News

The streetcar was again the center of controversy earlier this month when a routine inspection found traces of mold in an air intake. But an air quality test found less mold in the vehicles than in the surrounding air.

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click to enlarge Cincinnati streetcars: proudly almost entirely mold-free - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati streetcars: proudly almost entirely mold-free

Hello all. Let’s do a quick news roundup to finish up this crazy week, shall we?

Remember that whole deal with the mold on the streetcar that blew up early this month? Welp, turns out there was more mold in the air outside that vehicle than there was inside, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. A report on an air quality sample by SanAir Technologies Laboratory found far fewer spores in three streetcars than in an ambient air sample taken around the same time. Reports of mold on the streetcar began after a routine inspection Aug. 2 found mold or mildew on an air intake chamber. That triggered the test by SanAir, which found the streetcars’ air quality to be “excellent,” according to the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, with only small amounts of benign mold originating from plants.

• The cat is already out of the bag on this one (sorry) and I’m playing catch up, but it’s worth a link anyway: Kroger has pledged to eliminate plastic bags from its stores by 2025. Kroger will implement the elimination of the bags in phases. Dig out all the free tote bags you’ve been accumulating over the years, my friends. It’s time for them to finally shine. In a few years. But you know, get them out now and practice not forgetting them every time you go to the grocery.

• The Banks is getting a giant, 150-foot-tall observation wheel to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Cincinnati Regional Chamber officials say. The wheel, called SkyStar will have 36 gondolas from which to gawk at the city, the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky. It will also have 1 million LED lights because that is totally not too many LED lights to have at all. You’ll be able to grab a four-rotation, 12-minute ride on the wheel between August 31 and Dec. 2 for $12.50.  

Here’s a pretty cool story from WVXU about how the soon-to-be-completed Union Terminal renovations have become a model for other municipalities with large historic preservation and restoration projects on their hands. Officials in Detroit and other cities have wondered how to replicate the success of the $228 million renovation, which was funded with a county sales tax levy, state historic tax credits and other sources.

• Republican Clermont County Commissioner David Uible Wednesday compared a county deal providing financial incentives for an FC Cincinnati training facility in Milford to the failed federal program following the Civil War that promised, but never delivered, 40 acres and a mule to freed slaves.

“Lincoln offered 40 acres and a mule to former slaves to go south,” Uible said after explaining the unrelated 1862 Homestead Act during the county commissioners’ meeting voting on the incentives package. “Were these healthy economic development plans? Absolutely. Were these giving government assets to a select group of people to advance the country? Absolutely."

Uible failed to mention that none of the ex-slaves were prominent business leaders with major sports franchises and that the acres and the mules never materialized. But, you know, details. The video linked to above, by the way, was posted to Youtube by Chris Hicks, a longtime critic of the way Uible and the county have handled the FC Cincinnati practice field negotiations.

• Following the completed count of provisional and absentee ballots today, Republican State Sen. Troy Balderson has officially won a special election for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, edging out Democrat Danny O’Connor by about 1,600 votes. That’s just over the .5 percent margin of victory that triggers a recount. But there’s a rematch coming. Balderson and O’Connor will face off again in the November general election. In the meantime, Balderson will finish out a term vacated by Republican Pat Tiberi, who resigned earlier this year.

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