Morning News: City officials announce new efforts to fight overdoses; lead in CPS water?; who's spending big on Ohio's Senate race?

While the Strickland/Portman race has focused on winning the hearts of the state’s working class, most who have poured more than $54 million into it aren't Ohioans and certainly aren't making $15 an hour working 12-hour shifts at a steel mill somewhere.

Sep 2, 2016 at 10:42 am

Well, good morning. I didn’t see you there. I was just finishing up today’s morning news update. Let’s talk about it, shall we?

Mayor John Cranley and Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld will announce new city initiatives to fight the ongoing rise in heroin addiction and overdoses today at 10 a.m. in Westwood, per a news release from the mayor’s office. Those efforts will go before Council next week. In addition, Cranley and Sittenfeld are expected to detail coordination with state officials to ensure that supplies of anti-overdose drug Narcan are readily available for first responders here. Heroin overdoses have spiked sharply in the past two weeks in Cincinnati, possibly because of additives like fentanyl and other powerful opiates. Their call comes as fellow Democrats in the statehouse today press Ohio Gov. John Kasich to declare a state of emergency in the state and push for more action on opiate addiction and overdoses.

• “Lead Detected in Water at Several CPS Schools” is a headline you never, ever want to read, but according to the story underneath it, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Officials recently found higher-than-expected levels of lead in the water at several Cincinnati Public Schools, a letter to CPS Superintendent Mary Rowan from Greater Cincinnati Water Works says. But all the schools in the system still test below federal cutoffs for lead, and 14 of the district’s 55 schools had very little to zero lead in the water. The federal government sets standards for what it considers to be unhealthy levels of exposure to the element. Despite CPS schools meeting those standards, GCWW has requested a full review of the data and testing for Hyde Park School, which had not been tested before. Lead exposure can cause cancer as well as cognitive disabilities, especially in children.

• Is one of the Greater Cincinnati area’s last remaining college rock station on its way to that great radio tower in the sky? It appears likely. Northern Kentucky University’s WNKU has operated there since the heyday of the Cure and Sonic Youth’s formative era (that’s 1985 to you youngins), but budget cuts at the university mean that it might not have the cash to operate it any longer, and NKU is looking for a buyer for the station. Kentucky’s university system recently received an across-the-board 4.5 percent budget cut by new Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, leaving NKU $8 million in the hole. That could spell doom for the last holdout of the 1980s and 1990s alternative radio revolution. Sad.

• Here’s a quick one: Who’s giving to Ohio’s knock-down, drag-out Senate race between incumbent Republican Rob Portman and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat? While that race has mostly focused on winning the hearts and minds of the state’s working class, the folks who have poured more than $54 million into the two campaigns and into third-party efforts to elect their favorite guy aren’t Ohioans and certainly aren’t making $15 an hour working 12-hour shifts in a steel mill somewhere. Instead, it’s folks like George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor, and the Koch Brothers, who have spent more than the GDP of some small countries (probably) influencing elections for their favorite far-right, hyper-free-market candidates. Check out the full list of big spenders in this story.

• Finally, the pitched battle for early voting access via so-called Golden Week might not be over. Ohio Democrats are pushing back against a recent federal court decision that upholds Republican lawmakers’ elimination of the period before election day when Ohio voters could register and vote all at once. The state party has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a previous federal court ruling made here in Cincinnati that declared Golden Week unnecessary and ruling that Republicans were within their rights to eliminate it. Democrats and voting rights groups argue that the early voting period is most often used by minorities and that eliminating it could dampen turnout for those groups. A U.S. District Court judge in May agreed with that argument, but the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling last month.