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Music Hall renovations get Historical Preservation Board approval; city one step closer to banning travel to North Carolina and Mississippi; Husted wants to overturn decision to keep primary polls open longer

Music Hall
Music Hall

Music Hall has gotten one big step closer to its $135 million facelift. The city's Historical Preservation Board voted unanimously on Monday to approve developer Music Hall Revitalization Co.'s plans. The 140-year-old landmark structure is set to close in June for a year to undergo major remodeling, and the board's decision means the developer can now apply for building permits from the city. The only details still pending city approval are small things like paint color, lighting and acoustic treatment, which must be checked off by city's historical conservation staff by July 1. Music Hall is technically owned by the city of Cincinnati, but is currently on lease to the Music Hall Revitalization Co. The city is planning to kick in $16 million for the renovations. 

• City Council's Budget and Finance Committee has approved a ban on all non-essential city-funded or city-sponsored travel to North Carolina and Mississippi. The committee approved the motion at Monday's meeting put forth by council members Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young, Christopher Smitherman and Vice Mayor David Mann in a vote of 6-2. The ban is a way for Cincinnati to put pressure on North Carolina and Mississippi to reconsider newly created law laws that discriminate against LGBT people. North Carolina's law requires people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate. Mississippi's law allows businesses to refused to serve LGBT people if they object on religious grounds. Council is expected vote on the motion Wednesday. 

• Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted wants to overturn a judge's March 15 order that kept polls open an additional hour in Hamilton, Clermont, Warren and Butler counties after a traffic accident tied up greater Cincinnati roads. U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott issued the order after a major accident on I-275 on the day of Ohio's presidential primary left many voters claiming they would be unable to reach polls by closing time. The decision was unusual because it was made quickly with no plaintiff and no hearing for evidence. Husted has called Dlott's intervention into the electoral process "unreasonable" and says he's appealing the order because he says he doesn't want to set a precedent with the presidential election on the horizon.

• Warren County transgender teen Leelah Alcorn's Tumblr post five days after her 2014 suicide made national headlines and sparked a national outcry about the controversial practice of conversion therapy, including a promise from President Barack Obama to support a ban. But at a Monday presidential campaign event in Troy, New York, Gov. John Kasich said he's never heard of her. Kasich's response reportedly was from a question about conversion therapy, and his spokesman Joe Andrews later explained Kasich's lapse in memory, saying that the GOP presidential hopeful couldn't recall every tragic death in the state. Last December, conversion therapy in Ohio made headlines again when Cincinnati became the second city in the country after Washington, D.C. to pass a law banning the practice.                                

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