The City's Going to Court, and 8 Other Greater Cincinnati News Stories You May Have Missed This Week

Catch up on lawsuits, abortion news, weed issues and more.

click to enlarge Cincinnati's lawsuits against negligent landlords are only beginning. - Photo: Ekaterina Bolovtsova, Pexels
Photo: Ekaterina Bolovtsova, Pexels
Cincinnati's lawsuits against negligent landlords are only beginning.

Lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits! It's been a hell of a week for the courts, and the lawyers at the ACLU are just getting started. It's a theme even found in CityBeat's latest print issue, where we explore the top ten underreported stories from 2022 in a report compiled by Project Censored, including U.S. businesses stealing millions from workers and the growing number of U.S. Congress members investing in the fossil fuel industry. Beyond the bubbling social change, Joe Burrow stayed top of mind this week, setting new records as the Bengals head into the postseason after retaining the AFC North crown.

Cincinnati Sues Williamsburg Apartments Owners for Repeated Violations, 'Substandard Living Conditions'
Has the Williamsburg apartment complex burst its final pipe? In a lawsuit that will be heard in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, the city of Cincinnati is suing the Williamsburg of Cincinnati Apartments & Townhomes for a variety of alleged infractions, including lack of heat or water, flooding, mold, rodent infestations and more. The city says that the Williamsburg's owners haven't performed basic upkeep or responded to tenant complaints. Read CityBeat's story about what else is in Cincinnati's lawsuit against the Williamsburg.

Teresa Theetge Sworn in as Cincinnati's First Female Police Chief
The city of Cincinnati made a historic move in choosing Teresa Theetge as the police department's next chief. She officially took the oath as the first woman to ever hold the job on Jan. 9 at Union Terminal before an audience of colleagues, city leaders and more than 60 family members. Theetge has been with the department for more than 30 years, most recently serving as the interim chief during a handful of difficult moments, including the Main Street shooting that left nine injured and prompted a slew of controversial changes to Main Street. Read CityBeat's story about what she said will be her top priority as the department's chief.

Lebanon Removes 'Aid and Abet' Provision from Abortion Ordinance after ACLU Lawsuit
Abortion rights advocates just won a battle in Lebanon, Ohio. On Jan. 12, in response to a lawsuit jointly filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Democracy Forward, the National Association of Social Workers and Abortion Fund of Ohio, the city of Lebanon agreed to remove the “aiding and abetting” language from its anti-abortion ordinance. The concession from the city narrows the scope of the abortion ban to only barring health care providers from performing abortions or prescribing abortion medication within city limits, no longer criminalizing those who help others seek abortion care. The change comes as the landscape for accessing abortion pills changes state-by-state thanks to a new policy from the FDA allowing mifepristone to be bought over the counter with a prescription. Read CityBeat's story to hear from a lawyer involved in the case against the city of Lebanon.

Emery Theatre to Reopen as Home of The Cincinnati Children's Theatre After City Council Approves TIF
The historic Emery Theatre in Over-the-Rhine will reopen as the new home of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT), thanks to a vote from Cincinnati City Council to appropriate $1 million in TIF funds to renovate the long-neglected theatre. Over its 111-year history, the iconic and "acoustically perfect" theatre has played host to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, George Gershwin, The Boone County Jamboree, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., The National and more. TCT could not be reached by press time, but media reports suggest the restoration project could be completed as early as October 2024. Read CityBeat's story for pictures of the reportedly haunted, beautiful venue.

Ohio's Maligned Voter ID Law Already Being Challenged in Court
Ohio’s new photo voter ID law saw its first court challenge the same day Governor Mike DeWine signed it into law. The Elias Law Group (which first rose to national prominence by opposing the Trump campaign’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election) filed suit on Jan. 6 on a behalf of a handful of Ohio interest groups. Although requiring voters to present a photo ID when voting is the most recognizable change in the bill, the law also shortens the timeline to “cure” deficiencies for provisional ballots. The deadline for absentee ballots to arrive after an election is tighter as well. Elias attorney Abha Khanna called Ohio’s new law “a sweeping attack on Ohioans’ fundamental right to vote.” Read CityBeat's story to learn more about the Elias Law group.

‘Palm Cards’ Guiding Law Enforcement On Kentucky Medical Marijuana Are Vague
Days after Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order granting preemptive pardons for medical marijuana obtained out of state went into place on Jan. 1, confusion about how the order functionally operates continues, raising fears that Kentuckians legitimately seeking medical marijuana could still face criminal consequences. One element potentially contributing to that confusion are the “palm cards” Beshear said would be distributed to law enforcement officers across the state to provide guidance on the executive order and what to do if they encountered someone with medical marijuana in their possession. Read CityBeat's story about what "palm cards" actually say.

ACLU Joins Lawsuit Seeking to Allow Ohio Trans Students Restroom Access, Safety
An Ohio school district that allows transgender students to use restrooms based on their gender identity is being sued by a group of parents with children who attend the school. The federal lawsuit involves a 14-year-old girl who is a freshman at Bethel High School in Tipp City. The student has used a girls' restroom since January 2022 with no “incidents or issues” reported, but parents are pushing back, saying a school rule allowing the student to use the restroom befitting their gender identity is in violation of “the civil rights of religious families." The lawsuit also comes after the Ohio State Board of Education passed a resolution condemning potential federal rule changes to include gender identity and sexual orientation as part of anti-discrimination language. Read CityBeat's story about what the ACLU is doing to defend the student.

Joe Burrow Sets New Records as Cincinnati Bengals Head to the Postseason Again
Do you smell that? It's the NFL postseason. With their Jan. 8 win over the Baltimore Ravens (and eight straight wins to close the regular season), the Bengals earned the AFC North crown in back-to-back years for the first time. Now No. 3 seed Cincinnati will battle No. 6 seed Baltimore again during the Wild Card playoff game at home, with Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase and company hoping for another eventual run at the Super Bowl. Read CityBeat's story about Burrow's latest milestones and how the team is preparing for the Wild Card.

Experts: Former Cincinnati Reds Third Baseman Scott Rolen Is a Hall of Famer
Could a former Cincinnati Reds player become the next inductee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum? Scott Rolen is in his sixth year of Cooperstown eligibility, and some baseball insiders are saying 2023 will finally be the year he gets his due. Read CityBeat's story about Rolen's chances for making the Hall of Fame as well as what might hold him back.

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Madeline Fening

Madeline Fening is CityBeat’s investigative news reporter. Proudly born and raised in Middletown, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Austin, Texas where she dabbled in documentary filmmaking, digital news and bartending. Madeline then moved to Cincinnati to work for WCPO 9 News as an...
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