Trump to Visit Greater Cincinnati Friday; More News

President Donald Trump will hold a rally at the Warren County Fairgrounds Friday in an effort to boost fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot's reelection bid against Democrat challenger and Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval.

click to enlarge Now-President Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign rally in West Chester - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Now-President Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign rally in West Chester

Hello all. I’ve returned unscathed (and slightly sunburned) from my two-week vacation out into the wilds of far-west Texas. It was a blast hiking hills even bigger than Cincinnati’s unencumbered by the wet blanket of humidity that haunts the Miami Valley. But now I’m back — a little reluctantly — to bring you this news rundown.

Today is Cincinnati’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day after Cincinnati City Council voted last Wednesday to replace Columbus Day with the holiday commemorating the first inhabitants of our region.  Proponents of the change have planned celebrations at noon outside Cincinnati City Hall and at a 6 p.m. potluck in Northside. You can read more about the switch — and how some people are observing it — in our story here.

• FC Cincinnati, Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses, The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority and other groups will hold a news conference tomorrow to announce a new agreement around equitable development in the West End ahead of FCC's coming soccer stadium there. Though it's not clear exactly what measures will be announced, a media advisory issued today says that there are "advancements" on several items in the community benefits agreement signed earlier this year by the team and some West End representatives. The news conference comes as at least one business in the footprint of the stadium is asking for additional help relocating. You can read more about that in our story here.

• The City of Cincinnati could soon launch one of the largest municipal solar projects in the country. The city’s plans would create a solar array on city property that would generate 25 megawatts, or about 25 percent of the city’s municipal energy needs, when it is completed next year. The city will put out requests for proposals next month and is said to be mulling about a dozen sites where the arrays could go, including a former city landfill in Elmwood Place. The city’s Office of Environment and Sustainability estimates that the solar panels that could be put on that site would generate enough power to offset emissions from 800 homes using natural gas power. Mayor John Cranley says he believes that the renewable energy will be cheaper than the energy sources currently used by the city that it would replace.

• How might Hamilton County close its $28 million budget gap after commissioners withdrew a .2 percent sales tax increase? With funding cuts and fee increases, of course. Under a proposed budget by Hamilton County Administrator Jeff Aluotto, the county would remove itself from a regional heroin task force, cut funding to the Port of Greater Cincinnati, the county’s redevelopment corporation and business group REDI Cincinnati. Elected officers like the Hamilton County Sheriff would also see budget cuts, which would likely necessitate eliminating patrols in places like Harrison and Whitewater Townships. The county would also raise property transfer fees, 911 rates and development fees. The county’s budget hole comes from a decrease in sales tax revenues in part caused by new federal rules prohibiting the taxation of Medicaid-managed care plans. County commissioners must vote to approve the budget by Dec. 31. Hamilton County Commissioners Todd Portune and Denise Driehaus initially voted to boost sales taxes slightly to cover the shortfall, but circled back on that plan after a ballot initiative by conservative activists challenged the increase.

• The City of Cincinnati has picked a designer to begin work drawing up a replacement for the Western Hills Viaduct. San Francisco-based T.Y. Lin International will begin the process of drafting the $330 million project by evaluating different types of bridges — including single-level and double deck — and hold community input sessions to gather feedback. The contract is worth roughly $3 million, most of it paid through federal and state grants. A note to designers: the current WHV looks pretty rad, even if it is falling apart. Maybe go for something retro?

• President Donald Trump will visit Greater Cincinnati Friday in an attempt to boost the reelection efforts of U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. Trump will appear in Warren County, long seen as a conservative stronghold and part of Chabot’s district since 2012. The 22-year Republican congressman is facing a tough challenge from Democrat Aftab Pureval, a rising star in the party currently serving as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts. Trump will visit the Warren County Fairgrounds as he tours the country providing support to vulnerable Republican members of Congress as the party seeks to maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

• The former Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 has taken another job in law enforcement.  The Village of Bellaire in eastern Ohio has hired Timothy Loehmann, who shot Rice about two seconds after jumping out of a police cruiser at a park in Cleveland. Loehmann was responding to a 911 call reporting Rice for being outside playing with a gun that was “probably fake.” A dispatcher did not relay that information to Loehmann and the driver of the cruiser, Frank Garmback. A grand jury declined to indict Loehmann and Garmback after the shooting, but the Cleveland Police Department fired him in 2017 for inaccuracies about his job history on his application. The City of Cleveland settled a lawsuit with the Rice family for $6 million. Bellaire Police Chief Richard Flanagan has told local media that someone has to give Loehmann a second chance. However, Rice’s family says he shouldn’t be a police officer again.

• Finally, you can tune into the final gubernatorial debate between Democrat Richard Cordray, formerly head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine tonight. That debate is taking place in Cleveland but you can catch it live streaming if you don’t feel like making the trip up north for the full live experience. DeWine and Cordray are neck and neck in polls and have debated twice already — last month at the University of Dayton and earlier this month at Marietta College. Two candidates on the ballot you didn’t hear from in those debates — and won’t hear from again tonight — are Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine and Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton. They haven’t been invited to the debates, something that has sparked complaints from both parties and even a lawsuit. As a reminder: tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the November election.

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