Morning News and Stuff

Cranley to host Clinton fundraiser; fracking in Ohio's only national forest?; medical marijuana legal in Ohio

click to enlarge No weed here, we swear.
No weed here, we swear.

Hello Cincy. Here’s your news today.

Somewhere right now, Mayor John Cranley is singing a modified version of this song, replacing “Daft Punk” with “Hillary” (stretch it a little. It works). That’s right — Clinton, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee, will be in Cincinnati Monday for a fundraiser at Cranley’s place on the East Side. Clinton will also make an as-yet-unspecified public appearance in town as she works Ohio, perhaps the key battleground state in the upcoming election. Clinton will also make her way to Cleveland during her visit to the Buckeye state.

• The family of QuanDavier Hicks — who was shot and killed by police exactly one year ago in Northside — has filed a civil suit against the involved officers and the city of Cincinnati. Police on June 9, 2015 were responding to a call about threats made to a woman in the area, and made their way into Hicks’ apartment building looking for him. The official police account says that Hicks answered the door with a rifle pointed at two officers. One grabbed the barrel of the gun and another shot Hicks, according to police. Hicks’ family contests that story, however, and claims that police “created a dangerous situation” and used excessive force in their confrontation with him.

• Say goodbye to the eastbound I-74 exit ramp onto Central Parkway, because it will soon close forever. The ramp often welcomed me back after long drives from Oxford, Bloomington, Chicago and other points west; its long curve and the occasional illegal left turn off of it onto the Parkway (sorry everyone) were how I knew I was for sure back home. The ramp is closing as crews work on the upcoming Northbound I-75 onramp at the Hopple Street bridge as well as work on a new I-74/I-75 interchange beginning this fall.

• OTR-based startup accelerator The Brandery has announced the next class of startup companies it will host. Ten companies will receive $50,000 in investment, pro-bono branding services from top Cincinnati branding agencies, mentorship and opportunities to work with Cincy’s Fortune 500 companies. Only about 1 percent of applicants to the accelerator program are accepted, according to Brandery leaders. You can read more about the incoming class here.

• The race for U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s seat is focusing on Appalachia. The Republican incumbent scored an important endorsement from the United Mine Workers union — perhaps part of a larger rift between Democrats and those working in the coal industry. That’s provoked his opponent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, to fire back, spending plenty of campaign time in Ohio’s eastern counties and underscoring his own roots in the Appalachian working class areas of the state. Strickland has been contrasting his own upbringing as the son of a steelworker with what he calls Portman’s life of privilege and power. Strickland’s campaign has also launched a website focused on the region. Portman has called the moves “damage control.” Strickland has some deep ties in the area, but some of his stances — including recent statements backing tighter gun control laws and environmental regulations — have strained his relationship with voters in the region.

• Speaking of the environment, energy and Ohio’s eastern half, here’s a question for you: Should energy companies be allowed to frack in Ohio’s only national forest? Environmental groups say no, but the federal Bureau of Land Management has other ideas. Critics are up in arms over the proposed leasing of 40,000 acres in the Wayne National Forest, near Athens, to energy companies for natural gas extraction. The Bureau of Land Management says it has researched possible environmental impacts and found the forest won’t be damaged by the leases it proposes. But big environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Club are outraged and plan to fight the proposal.

• Finally, Gov. John Kasich yesterday signed into law a bill making medical marijuana legal in Ohio. That legislation came from conservative lawmakers looking to do an end-run around ballot initiatives seeking to legalize the drug for medical use. Those initiatives had more liberal provisions than the law signed by Kasich, which very tightly controls who can get the medical marijuana and how it can be taken. Patients won’t be able to smoke the drug but will have to take it in pill or vaporizer form. The state will oversee a small number of dispensaries and growers for the crop, and doctors will have a very specific list of conditions it can be prescribed for.

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