Morning News: Clinton, Trump to appear in Cincy; Mount Healthy PD faces federal suit; can Ohio solve legal weed banking conundrum?

Both presidential nominees will appear at the American Legion's 98th-annual convention here at the end of the month.

click to enlarge Hillary Clinton at a June 27 campaign appearance in Cincinnati. Clinton will speak at the American Legion convention here Aug. 31, one day before GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. - NICK SWARTSELL
Nick Swartsell
Hillary Clinton at a June 27 campaign appearance in Cincinnati. Clinton will speak at the American Legion convention here Aug. 31, one day before GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Hey Cincy. Wanna talk news? If you don’t, I’m not sure why you’re reading this. But forge on! You’ll probably find something interesting anyway.

Maybe you thought the wildest days of the 2016 presidential election were over, or at least that the contest would slink away into the distant blathering of national news that can be safely ignored most days. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you live in perhaps the nation’s most prominent swing state, where elections are never really over. And Hamilton County is one of the most contested spots in that state. Thus, we get the pure joy of hosting both GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton just a day apart. Both will appear at the American Legion’s 98th-annual convention here in Cincinnati at the end of the month. The gathering of the nation’s largest veterans group runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. Clinton will appear August 31, while Trump is slated to speak Sept. 1. Perhaps they’ll meet up in between to have a drink at The Comet or something and hash out their differences. Wait. Why are you laughing?

• Good thing Trump and Clinton aren’t meeting at The Comet today, though, because it’s closed — maybe only the tenth time it’s done so in the past two decades. The iconic bar is hosting John Travolta and crew, who are filming a movie about mobster John Gotti here.

• Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld will hold a news conference today at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed city action against Duke Energy. The company is working to remove a requirement that it contact people in person before it shuts off their power. Sittenfeld and others say that the move puts the city’s most vulnerable at risk. Council and Mayor John Cranley support efforts to block that move, and an intervention will be filed today on behalf of the city with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

• A federal lawsuit filed against the Mount Healthy Police Department claims it is “infested with hatred” and engages in racial discrimination. That lawsuit in U.S. District Court by former police officer Antwan Sparks comes after Sparks claims he was unfairly discriminated against by department chief Vince Demasi because he is black. Sparks claims he was disciplined harshly for minor or non-existent offenses that white officers were not punished for and eventually fired unjustly. Sparks also claims those discipline discrepancies began when Demasi came on board. Now, the former officer is seeking his job back and asking for monetary damages. Demasi denies the department discriminated against Sparks or other black officers.

• A Blue Ash-based medical company faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit from the state of Kentucky around marketing it engaged in. That lawsuit, brought by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, alleges that 15,000 women in the state received medical mesh implants made by the company without being given adequate warning about known health hazards for the products. Ethicon, which makes the mesh, and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, say the suit is unjustified and that they plan to fight it in court. Beshear has filed the suit, which seeks $2,000 in damages per case or $10,000 per case for those over 60 years old, under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

• Finally, as Ohio moves toward legalized medicinal marijuana, will it be the first state to tackle a big problem for marijuana-based enterprises? Many companies in the business in states where marijuana is legal have a hard time securing banking services because it’s still against federal law to sell the drug. Most banks won't touch weed money for fear of being slapped with federal money-laundering charges. But Ohio's state lawmakers want to set up a so-called “closed loop” payment system that would keep those in the medicinal marijuana industry here from having to deal in cash, as those in the other 25 states where pot is legal have often had to do. Strictly controlled medical marijuana will become legally available for patients suffering from certain specific illnesses starting in September.

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