Good morning all. Things are a little hazy after our super-fun Best of Cincinnati 2017 party last night, but I’m going to give you a brief rundown of the news this morning anyway because that’s what I’m here for.
Mayoral candidate Councilwoman Yvette Simpson and Mayor John Cranley are both holding news conferences today addressing violence prevention in Cincinnati, according to statements from their campaigns. Simpson plans to roll out her policy proposals for Cincinnati’s neighborhood violence problems, which will likely revolve around treating gun violence as a health issue, launching treatment programs and introducing trauma specialists to first responder teams. That news conference will take place at 11 a.m. at William Howard Taft Elementary School in Mount Auburn. Simpson has introduced legislation around those ideas during her time on Cincinnati City Council. Cranley’s news conference will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the law offices of Manley Burke and will be aimed at addressing “Councilmember Simpson’s history of deprioritizing safety,” according to a news release from Cranley’s campaign. As mayor, Cranley has made a push for increases to the city's police force a signature issue.
• An unknown vandal scrawled sexual slurs on the sign in front of Clifton United Methodist Church, Pastor David Meredith said in a news release yesterday, continuing a trend of faith organizations and other institutions targeted by hateful graffiti. The church has been the target of similar vandalism in the past and isn’t the only faith institution in Clifton to see vandalism in recent months. In January, someone spray painted a swastika on the main sign at Hebrew Union College just down the street. The church is active in social justice causes, participating in Cincinnati’s yearly pride parade and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
• Streetcar riders will soon have the option of purchasing monthly passes — at least for the summer. The price of that pass will be $50, according to the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. The passes will be available beginning in June and will run through August. A more permanent pass offering would need to be approved by the Federal Transit Administration, since the streetcar was built using millions of dollars in federal money. Shorter promotional campaigns don’t require FTA’s go-ahead, however. The June passes will go on sale sometime in May, SORTA says.
• Hamilton County Commissioners will try to step in against Duke Energy’s plans to build a natural gas pipeline through some of Cincinnati’s East Side neighborhoods and suburbs. Commissioners have indicated they’d like to sit in and argue against Duke when it makes its pitch for the pipeline later this year at an Ohio Power Siting Board hearing. The pipeline plan has drawn criticism from many residents in neighborhoods like Pleasant Ridge, Madisonville and Bond Hill, as well as suburbs like Madeira, Blue Ash, Deer Park and others. Residents of those and other areas have formed a group called Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Expansion (get it? NOPE) and have pushed Duke to alter its plans somewhat. However, they’re still worried Duke’s newest proposal routes the pipeline too close to schools, homes and other inhabited areas.
• Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones has asked President Donald Trump to send federal agents to Southwest Ohio and to pay him a personal visit to help devise a plan to crack down on undocumented immigrants. Jones wrote Trump a letter, dated today, which praises the president and asks him to send ICE agents to Butler County.
“The American people who are forced to survive on welfare is (sic) disturbing,” Jones writes. “If we stop businesses from hiring illegal aliens, more Americans can get and maintain work.”
Jones, a vocal opponent of immigration on a national level, stumped for Trump at campaign rallies throughout the region and has continued to be a staunch supporter of the president.
• A new study suggests that the proportion of opiate overdoses happening in suburbs is outpacing the rates seen in other areas across the country.
“Large suburban metro counties went from having the lowest to the highest rate of premature death due to drug overdose within the past decade,” according to research by County Health Rankings, which is part of the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.
The report shows that premature deaths due to drug addictions, violence and other causes are going up across the U.S. and that various factors have a role in that rise. Among the biggest, especially for addiction deaths, is how disconnected young people are from jobs and other opportunities, the report claims.