Good morning Cincinnati! Here’s your news today.
The board of the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority yesterday voted to purchase two large Hamilton County sites for industrial redevelopment, including the 67-year-old Cincinnati Gardens arena. Pending financing and further research into feasibility, the Gardens would be demolished so the Port can attract an advanced manufacturing company. The other site, the former location of the Gibson Greeting Cards Company, would be redeveloped to similar ends. The purchases are part of an attempt by the Port to attract more high-paying, but not necessarily college-level, jobs to the region.
• President Barack Obama and other high-profile Democrats could be coming to Cincinnati next month for the NAACP national convention, which is in Cincinnati this year. The event, from July 16-20, is expected to draw 10,000 people to Cincinnati. Then-Senator Obama also appeared at the 2008 national convention here. In addition to Obama, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump have been invited to speak as well.
• Opiate overdoses continue to rise around the region, especially in Northern Kentucky. There, overdose deaths are up almost 17 percent in the past year, partially due to an additive called Fentanyl, which CityBeat wrote about earlier this year. Fentanyl was responsible for 420 overdose deaths last year, a huge increase over the 121 deaths it caused the previous year. Authorities are working on better treatment options to address the crisis, including in-jail detox facilities.
• There’s a big battle over when law enforcement agencies in Ohio should release video of police shootings and other policing incidents, and the Ohio Supreme Court is set to weigh in. The Associated Press and other news agencies argue that the videos are public record and should be released immediately, while justice system officials including Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters argue the tapes are part of sensitive investigations and need to be held as those inquiries progress. The battle could define how quickly the public is able to see police body camera videos in the coming years, a vital concern given the ongoing national controversy around police use of force that has risen in the past two years.
• The state of Ohio now has more concealed carry permit holders than ever before, according to records from the state’s attorney general. More than 500,000 Ohioans, or four percent of the state’s population, could legally be packing at any given time. Ohio issued more than 35,000 such permits in the first three months of this year. In addition to the half-a-million Ohioans with guns possibly stuffed in their waistbands, the state recognizes about 12 million concealed carry licenses from other states as well.
• Speaking of guns, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a staunch Republican, has indicated he’s open to some stricter limitations on guns for individuals on suspected terrorist watch lists. But what that looks like is pretty fuzzy. Last year, Portman voted against the so-called Feinstein bill, which would have blocked suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. Instead, Portman blocked a less restrictive measure advanced by Republicans. Both failed to pass. Now, Portman has made statements reflecting a willingness to revisit the issue — but he is mum on whether he’ll OK the Feinstein bill as Democrats bring it up for a vote again following the devastating mass shooting in Orlando.
• Finally, following a week of eyebrow-raising statements about banning Muslims, implying President Obama may be tied to the Orlando shootings and other ill-advised remarks, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump is seeing his unfavorability ratings rising to new highs. A new poll suggests seven in 10 Americans view the Donald unfavorably. His negative ratings are up 10 percent in the past month, no doubt in part due to his controversial statements. His opponent Hillary Clinton is also viewed somewhat negatively, but her 43 percent favorable/55 percent unfavorable ratings aren’t quite as severe.