Morning News and Stuff

Cincy to face many transportation issues in the new year; State hits six month mark for new prison drug treatment program; Kasich takes aim at Christie and Rubio

Happy New Year, Cincinnati! Hope everyone had a fun and safe kickoff to 2016. Here is your first round up of headlines this year. 

• So, 2016 will probably be the year of some exciting elections as we inch closer to November, but locally, Cincinnati faces many upcoming issues dealing with planes, trains, and automobiles. According to this Enquirer list, some major transportation issues to look out for include keeping an eye on the streetcar's operating deficit, figuring out who's going to spearhead the major task of repairing the western hills viaduct, watching CVG slowly and painfully turn into a multi-carrier airport and seeing if SORTA will push a transit tax proposal on this year's ballot. One issue absent from the list is a local non-profit's ambitious push to get more bike lanes in the city, and only time will tell how far that project will get by the end of this year. 

• The new year marks the six-month anniversary of a state program launched last summer to offer more drug addiction treatment options in Ohio's prisons. Last June, the state allocated $27.4 million in the budget to help pay for drug counselors to treat inmates with addiction issues three months before they are released. After they are released, they are eligible to sign up for Medicaid to help fund further treatment. The program is authorized to run through June of this year and is an attempt to reduce crime by taking away drugs as the motive for offenders with known addiction issues. Before the program launched last July, Ohio had released approximately 4,000 untreated inmates back out into the community who were either ineligible for treatment because they were serving less than six months or the programs were already full. Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has hopes to extend the program pending the legislature's approval of its funding in this upcoming year. 

• Gov. John Kasich started out this new year extending his attacks from Donald Trump to fellow GOP presidential candidates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. During an interview with NBC News, Kasich claimed he has proven able to handle issues like taxes and jobs better than Christie, and said Rubio lacks experience. He even compared the one-term Senator to President Barack Obama, who was also a one-term Illinois Senator when he became president. Kasich, who is still hanging out at the bottom of polls, has stated throughout his campaign that he feels his years of experience have been overlooked. 

• Maybe 2016 will finally be the year of a total revolution in the United States. Or so the Bundy militia in Oregon hopes. The group is in its second day of occupying the federal buildings on the Malheur National Wildlife refuge in Harney County, Oregon, claiming that the feds took the land unconstitutionally in the early 1900s. The militia apparently came out to help two ranchers who are headed to prison for arson, but they were rejected by those they came to aid so they turned to reclaim the refuge instead. According to the Guardian, Harney County Sheriff David Ward isn't buying their claim that they came to support the two convicted arsonists. He believes they're trying to spark a revolution across the country.

Send me any story tips or last minute New Years resolutions to add to my growing list to [email protected]

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