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Local unemployment rises, FitzGerald to run for governor, tea party protests Medicaid

Making cash, spending cash
Making cash, spending cash

The region’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate shot up in January, with the City of Cincinnati at 8.6 percent, up from 6.7 percent in December; Hamilton County at 7.9 percent, up from 6.2 percent; and Greater Cincinnati at 8 percent, up from 6.4 percent. The rates were still lower than January 2012, when Cincinnati was at 8.8 percent, Hamilton County was at 8.3 percent and Greater Cincinnati was at 8.5 percent. But the civilian labor force, which measures the amount of people working and looking for jobs, was larger across-the-board in January 2012 than it was in January 2013. Federal and state employment rates are normally adjusted for seasonal factors, but local rates are not. The full data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services can be seen

here

.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald launched an “exploratory committee” for a gubernatorial election campaign that intends to unseat Gov. John Kasich. In

his announcement video

, FitzGerald says state leaders have let down Ohioans and he can provide a better alternative.

The Cincinnati Tea Party is protesting Kasich’s plan to

expand Medicaid

to include anyone up to or at 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The tea party says the expansion, which is financially supported by Obamacare, is financed by the federal government’s debt and creates more long-term problems by failing to address current issues with the U.S. health care system. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio says the Medicaid expansion will save the state money in the next decade and provide health insurance to 456,000 Ohioans by 2022. CityBeat covered Kasich’s budget proposal, which includes the Medicaid expansion, in further detail

here

.

Yesterday, Kasich’s administration

tried to explain

why it did not seek legislative approval before transferring about $6.5 million in taxpayer money to JobsOhio, but it did not provide any evidence for its claim that the grants used do not require legislative approval. State Democrats are getting increasingly critical of the lack of transparency behind JobsOhio, a publicly funded nonprofit agency that Kasich established to eventually replace the Ohio Department of Development. Recently, State Auditor Dave Yost has been pushing to fully audit JobsOhio’s finances, even its private funds, but Kasich and General Assembly Republicans argue the state auditor can only check on public funds.

Bipartisan efforts to

get rid of traffic cameras are underway

, largely because the policy is seen as a money grab, may be unconstitutional and likely to be put to referendum, anyway.

A nun, poll worker and widower

have been indicted

in the Hamilton County Board of Election’s voter fraud case. The board says the charges are only the beginning, and other investigations are ongoing.

In order to meet new state standards, Cincinnati

will implement safety improvements for pedestrians

, including changes to lines separating pedestrian crosswalks and countdowns on more pedestrian signals.

The University of Cincinnati is

investing $1.6 million

in its doctoral programs and accepting proposals to support others to show how it would result in better faculty, student research productivity, recruitment, retention of top students and ability to leverage extended funding.

With yesterday’s approved changes to the state’s transportation budget, Ohio could be

moving to a 70 mile-per-hour speed limit

soon.

A dad hacked the game Donkey Kong to allow his daughter to

play a heroine instead of Mario

.

With a new artificial intelligence app that tweets even after a person dies, mortality is

no longer a concern

for retaining Twitter followers.
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