Morning News: Poll shows many OK with Brent Spence tolls; Portman calls Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting 'not appropriate'; no charges from DOJ in Crawford shooting

Recent reports show President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian attorney who promised dirt on Trump’s then-presidential election opponent Hillary Clinton. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says the meeting shouldn’t have happened.

click to enlarge U.S. Sen. Rob Portman - Photo: Gage Skidmore
Photo: Gage Skidmore
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman

Hey hey Cincinnati. Here’s what’s going on in the news today.

Yesterday we told you about the Cincinnati USA Chamber’s poll around transit issues. We highlighted results showing a slight majority of voters leaning toward a “yes” on a potential 2018 SORTA bus levy, but barely mentioned another very significant finding in that survey: overwhelming support for a replacement for the Brent Spence Bridge — even one involving tolls. Tolling could entice private companies to pitch in on the $2.6 billion it would cost to build a new bridge but the option has been a political no-go with many Kentucky political officials up to Gov. Matt Bevin. Many of the 800 respondents to the Chamber’s poll in eight area counties around Cincinnati, however, don’t seem to mind.

• File this bit of news away for the weekend: Cincinnati has the best brunch spot in Ohio, according to Yelp, and it’s about a block from where I work. I haven’t been there yet because I’m a brunch neophyte, but Buzzfeed found Maplewood Kitchen got the most Yelp love in the Buckeye State. Neat. 

• Protesters angry at Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones and his refusal to equip deputies with Narcan, an anti-overdose drug, had planned to rally yesterday in Hamilton. But a bout of bad weather forced them to postpone the protest until Saturday. Jones promptly mocked them for that, tweeting a meme involving the movie “Singing in the Rain.” This is the amazing, mostly online world we live in these days.

• JobsOhio lured more businesses and investment to the state in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time frame in 2016, but those businesses haven’t created nearly as many jobs. The job-creation group created by the state reports a 39 percent decline in job creation for the three months ending March 31. The non-profit is a private entity, but is funded by running the state’s liquor sales businesses. Officials with JobsOhio say a rebound in job creation is on the way, however.

• You’ve probably already heard about this, but there’s a big storm blowing up around President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his meeting with a Russian attorney who promised dirt on Trump’s then-presidential election opponent Hillary Clinton. Phew. Anyway, some of Trump’s fellow Republicans have come to the first family’s defense, but U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says the meeting shouldn’t have happened. Portman dodged questions about whether the meeting — and emails about it the New York Times recently unearthed — are evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia during his campaign. But he did say the meeting was “not appropriate.” So there’s that.

• Finally, the U.S. Department of Justice yesterday declined to pursue charges against Beavercreek Police officer Sean Williams in the shooting death of John Crawford III in a Walmart nearly three years ago. Crawford, who was black, was carrying a toy pellet gun sold in the store over his shoulder when Williams fatally shot him. A Greene County grand jury declined to indict Williams in the shooting in September 2014. You can read background on the shooting here, the Crawford family’s statement here and the DOJ’s full statement here. The Crawfords are pursuing a civil suit around their son’s death.

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