Good morning all. Here’s your news today.
Does the Metropolitan Sewer District need more vehicles? The answer to that is… confusing, at least at first glance. In January, an internal review found that 40 percent of MSD vehicles weren’t being driven enough miles or used enough hours to justify having them. But now, the district is asking for more vehicles. A budget request for next year asks for five vans, four pickup trucks and two dump trucks, among other things. That’s caused consternation among some county officials, who say MSD should do a better job utilizing the vehicles it already has before asking for more. MSD says that it has a number of aging trucks and vans that need costly repairs and which can’t be swapped out for the under-used vehicles. MSD Director Gerald Checco says the district is also working to make sure vehicle usage is better spread among its motor pool.
• Uh oh. Here they come. The ironically bespectacled. The wearers of asymmetrical hair. The dreaded young professional hordes. Young go-getters in fashion-statement suspenders. OK, sorry, I got carried away and what I’m about to tell you is probably actually a really good thing: A recent ranking by relocation website Move.org put Cincinnati number four on the list of top cities for people in their twenties. The site considered housing affordability, cultural amenities like museums and music venues, bars and the number of other single twenty-somethings in the area, while whipping up its list of perfect places to live out some vaguely nostalgic Friends-themed lifestyle in the twilight of your youth. Nah, for real though having Millenials in town definitely increases diversity, adds to the city’s tax base and gives everyone more cool people to hang out with, so that’s great. I just always liked that Cincinnati’s awesomeness was our own weird secret, you know? Just uh, don’t gentrify my neighborhood and stay off my lawn, K kids?
• Here’s a brief story about a little kerfuffle between neighbors and how sometimes you shouldn’t share things, especially handguns: Covington Police want their guns back from the Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney’s office, but it’s complicated. The city gave the prosecutor five handguns a few years back and now is saying like, “hey, remember those 9 mms we let you borrow? Are you done with those?” Covington says the prosecutor hasn’t responded to a July request to account for the guns. At least one seems to have been stolen from Kenton County Attorney Rob Sanders’ garage, according to this news report. Meanwhile, Sanders, who heads the office, isn’t allowed in Covington’s Police Department headquarters without police escort. The city said that issue doesn’t have anything to do with the loaned guns, but is about “a trust issue.” I bet it involves a grill one borrowed from the other, or maybe some power tools.
• Want to help regulate marijuana in the state of Ohio? The Ohio Pharmacy Board is staffing up in anticipation of medical marijuana becoming legal here. The board is asking for almost $900,000 to staff and equip the Medical Marijuana Control Board, which will oversee a law passed in June allowing patients with certain illnesses to use tightly controlled medical marijuana. Get your resume ready. Just, uh, be thoughtful when you write that cover letter, and maybe don’t start it with, “So, dudes, I know, like, a ton about weed.”
• Major health insurance provider Aetna will pull out of health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act in 15 states, including Ohio, starting in 2017. That will leave at least six Ohio counties with just one insurance provider in the exchanges. Aetna has cited financial losses as the reason for the departure. The company and other industry experts say the problem, which stems from a number of high-cost customers who have enrolled with companies like Aetna among other dynamics, could be fixed with tweaks to the law. The company says it will continue to keep an eye on Ohio and can foresee rejoining the exchanges if changes are made.
• Finally, Donald Trump has hired one of the top brass at conservative website Breitbart news as his campaign chief executive, a move that has surprised many. Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon will help the Trump campaign with high-level strategy stuff and cooking up crazy new ways to get mass retweets from angry tea partiers. Just a few months from election day, the hiring represents a big shake-up for the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign, and some say it’s a demotion for campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has helmed Trump’s presidential bid through its choppiest waters yet. Breitbart has been among the most vocal of conservative sites in backing Trump.