Morning News and Stuff

First streetcar tracks set, homeless to sue county, Medicaid expansion expected to pass

Early voting for the 2013 City Council and mayoral elections is now underway. Find your voting location

here

. Normal voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days will be extended.

Cincinnati yesterday

laid down the first two streetcar tracks

, putting the project on a clear path to completion after years of financial and political hurdles. The $133 million project is now expected to continue its construction phase over the next three years, with a goal of opening to the public on Sept. 15, 2016. City officials, including Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney, celebrated the milestone and thanked supporters for remaining committed to the project. Meanwhile, former Councilman John Cranley, a streetcar opponent who’s running for mayor against streetcar supporter Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, criticized the city for laying down the tracks instead of delaying the project until a new mayor takes office in December. Cranley insists that he’ll cancel the project if he takes office, even though roughly half a mile of track will be laid out by then and, because of contractual obligations and federal money tied to the project,

canceling the project at this point could cost millions more than completing it

.

The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition yesterday

announced it’s suing the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department

over a new policy that attempts to remove homeless people from courthouse steps with the threat of arrest. The sheriff’s office says it still intends to redirect homeless people to housing and other services, but it told WVXU that clearing out the courthouse is necessary to invoke a “type of immediacy” to encourage homeless residents “to seek housing and a better situation.” Advocates call the policy dangerous and unfair. A press conference will be held later today to discuss the lawsuit.

State Senate President Keith Faber says he expects Gov. John Kasich’s proposal for a two-year, federally funded Medicaid expansion to

gain approval from a seven-member legislative oversight panel

known as the Controlling Board. Faber, a Republican who opposes the expansion, says it’s now time for the legislature to consider broader reforms for Medicaid, which provides health insurance to low-income and disabled Ohioans. After months of wrangling with legislators in his own political party to approve the expansion, Kasich, a Republican, on Friday

announced he would bypass the legislature

and instead ask the Controlling Board to approve federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to more low-income Ohioans for two years. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio

previously found

the expansion would generate $1.8 billion for Ohio and insure nearly half a million Ohioans over the next decade.

Mayor Mallory says the Millenium Hotel’s owners

agreed to conduct a feasibility study

to see what kind of renovations the market will support for the hotel. Mallory told The Cincinnati Enquirer that the agreement is the first sign of progress since discussions about overhauling the shabby hotel began.

To tackle concerns about second-hand smoking, one state senator

proposed a bill

that would ban smoking in a car when a young child is present. It’s the second time in two years State Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) introduced the bill.

Allegiant Air will

offer low fares

to fly to Florida from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), ending months of speculation over whether the airline would pick CVG or Lunken Airport.

A state audit

released on Tuesday

found a local water worker was paid $437 in 2001 for work that wasn’t done.

Cincinnati’s 21c Museum Hotel was named the No. 1 hotel in the country and tied for No. 11 in the world in

Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards

.

Scientists

found a way

to block the dopamine rush associated with THC and make marijuana un-fun to help people with a psychological dependence on the drug.
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