Morning News: Zoo deletes its Twitter account; health department to name new director amid controversy; will Ohio get a second try at botched execution?

The Cincinnati Zoo has deleted its Twitter account after an ongoing barrage of memes and criticism regarding Harambe.

Aug 23, 2016 at 10:46 am
click to enlarge Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich

Hey hey all. It’s news time.

First off, here’s a story that should probably give all those trolls out there pause, but almost certainly won’t. The Cincinnati Zoo has deleted its Twitter account after an ongoing barrage of memes and criticism regarding Harambe, the gorilla the Zoo shot and killed after a child fell in its pen back in May. Some Harambe supporters have been heavily critical of the Zoo’s decision, while others have turned the situation into a dark joke. The Zoo’s Twitter account has taken the brunt of that aftermath. That’s hard for personnel there, Director Thayne Maynard says, citing an attempt to heal from the difficult incident as a reason for the Zoo leaving Twitter. Maynard’s own account was hacked by Harambe obsessives over the weekend.

• Today’s the day the Cincinnati Health Department names its new permanent health commissioner, but that could be a difficult choice. The department must choose between Interim Director Dr. O’dell Owens, former Hamilton County coroner and president of Cincinnati State, and Swannie Jett, most recently the head of Seminole County, Florida’s public health agency. The two are vying to replace Dr. Noble Maseru, who had been in the post for a decade. But there’s drama. One of the board’s nine members, Richard Schwen, resigned recently, leaving eight members to choose between Owens and Jett. That’s a problem because the board seems very split on the choice. Some members even wanted to bring Maseru in for the final interviews yesterday, though a vote on that idea split 4-4 and he wasn’t allowed into the private meetings. Will a similar tie at today’s vote keep the board from naming a new leader? We’ll find out. In the past, Maseru has said he’s felt forced out of his role as director. It’s not the first time the health board has seen controversy, as we discussed in this CityBeat story on board appointments a few months ago.

• If you watched the most recent episode of news satire show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you got a double-dose of home state shoutouts. Oliver zeroed in on Ohio’s charter schools in a segment about the publicly funded, privately run education institutions. Ours aren’t doing so hot, with big questions about accountability and performance. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is a big booster of charters, having been involved in the original legislation that brought them about in the 1990s. Oliver made some jokes about the guv’s equating charters with pizza parlors (well deserved) and also managed to get in a Harambe reference, which, you know, seems kinda cheap. Turns out there was a charter school in Philadelphia named like the fallen gorilla, only spelled differently. Seems like a stretch. That school eventually got busted for running an illicit nightclub on its property on the weekends, though, so maybe it’s relevant after all.

• Speaking of Kasich, let’s talk about how he’s still bucking the Republican Party and refusing to endorse, or even stop talking shit about, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. That actually seems to be going OK for the guv, with many conservatives in Ohio pretty happy with his stand against The Donald. Only 17 percent of poll respondents in the state said Kasich’s opposition to Trump made them think less highly of Kasich. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they viewed Kasich more positively because of his stand. That could be a big sign of trouble for Trump, who trails Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by four points in polls heading into the general election.

• Lawyers for an Ohio man who survived a botched execution are opposing a second attempt by the state to put him to death, saying it would be unconstitutional. Romell Broom underwent the state’s lethal injection procedure in 2009, but the process failed after his executioners could not locate a suitable vein for the injection after 18 tries. Broom’s lawyers are now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to keep Ohio from trying again after Ohio’s Supreme Court denied their request in a split decision. Broom was convicted in the 1984 rape and murder of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton in Cleveland. He’s the only person to ever survive an attempted lethal injection execution and only the second person in U.S. history to survive an attempted execution of any kind.