Hamilton County is Hamilton County is truly a “tale of 2 cities” as addressed in the Urban League’s “State of Black Cincinnati – A Tale of Two Cities,’’ United Way’s Bold Goals, or the Regional Chamber’s Connected Region Reports,’’ said Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune in his recent State of the County 2017 presentation.

In addressing some of these issues, Portune said there will be a focus on economic inclusion in the County spending similar to what is being accomplished by the City of Cincinnati. 

To this end the County Commission has adopted a budget and funding of $250,000 for an Office of Inclusion, and has begun work on policies to be enforced by that office, he said “We will take action to show that we believe that diversity and inclusion are important, and this new department will ensure there is diversity in County employment, contracting and construction projects. Our inclusion at the County level has never been monitored, and that will change as we move toward an unlimited potential in this area.

The inclusion push includes the appointment of a new, diverse TLTC of five men and four women that have five White, three Black, and one Asian American. The Board of Revision will be 40 percent African American.

Portune, a Democrat, is now back in charge of the three-member County Commission along with former State Representative Denise Driehaus, also a Democrat who was elected to the Commission in November. Chris Monzel, a Republican, is the third commissioner.

Portune says that on the negative side:

- Our economy is losing jobs at a higher rate than Franklin and Cuyahoga counties; our share of jobs in the local economy is down to 50 percent from 63 percent in the 1980s, and 65 new development sites were lost for lack of site access.

- Poverty is rampant among African American families. Of the almost 14,000 families living in poverty in the city of Cincinnati from 2005-2009, 76 percent of them were Black.

- While the overall child poverty rate for children under 6 in Cincinnati is an abhorrent 52 percent — one of the highest rates for major American cities — it is an unconscionable 74 percent for its youngest African American citizens.

- Home ownership rate in the 15-county Greater Cincinnati is 74.5 percent for Whites, but 33.1 percent for Blacks.

- Mass incarceration data shows that though only 12.5 percent of Ohio’s population, African Americans make up more than 45 percent of the state’s incarcerated people.

- The overall unemployment rate in Cincinnati has fallen to 4.3 percent, yet it remains in double-digits for African Americans and overall gainful employment stands at about 84 percent, meaning 16 percent of eligible adults do not have a job.

- Hamilton County ranks last or near bottom of 12 peer communities in jobs accessible by transit; jobs accessible by walking and biking; public support for transit; state support for transit

         On top of this, Portune said the new County Commission “was incapable of declaring the true state of the county when the new commission formed following the November election because of so many issues that lacked direction. These issues include the Metropolitan Sewer Department and sewer odor issues; an unbalanced county budget; questionable funding for transportation; safety issues that have been on hold; development opportunities that are in doubt, and children’s welfare recommendations that are lacking support.

“Quite frankly, we were unable to declare Hamilton County’s opportunities are equally available to all,’’ Portune said.

Initial months are positive

“However, by some measures, our initial months of performance were good if measured by the prior year’s accomplishments,’’ he added,    

On, the positive side, a new county administrator – Jeff Aluotto – was hired and is gaining well-earned reputation for being a great administrator, he said. County operational issues are positive in that budgets balanced, reserves at 15 percent; required services are being provided, state mandates are met; revenues are growing; property values increasing, unemployment is fairly non-existent; crime in the county is down; and, generally, the state of the county is healthy, wealthy, safe and secure, he said.

Portune also pointed out that Hamilton County is ranked as a top SBA 504 loan servicer; is nationally recognized through an Economic Development Award by NADCO, has great new partnerships in Colerain, Mt. healthy, Forest Park, and Deer park; and has generated over $60 million in new investments and through retention and creation, and has added 1,147 jobs.

Areas of focus

“As we hit the ground running, we are going to be more inclusive with our policies focused on cleaning up MSD; arresting the budget anarchy; bringing our transit system into the 21st century; growing the county; and finding the right prescription of public health, wealth, safety and wellbeing. We will be using the strengths of each commissioner and calling for a collaborative effort to reach these goals,’’ he said.

With the focus on public safety, Portune said the commission will act on items that had been on hold for some time, moving ahead on providing sheriff’s deputies with body cameras, sheriff’s patrols in Lincoln heights; coroner equipment purchases and adding a forensic lab assistant to perform forensics tests of drugs and rape kit tests, as well as making criminals accountable and ensuring victims obtain justice.

He noted the completion of modern and expanded Board of Election offices in Norwood that make voting easier.

Also, there are going to be more opportunities for public budget hearings and community involvement through hearings, posts, live computer streaming, blogging and Facebook. 

“We have adopted a moral document,’’ said fellow Democrat Denise Driehaus, that has us poised like never before.’’

   “We are a great county, and the agenda I have outlined will guarantee that we will stay a great county, a place of full employment and opportunity for all, and create a healthy, vibrant and attractive place to be,’’ he said. “We will be the kind of place that people and business will want to be a part of; we will contribute to the ongoing development; we want to help establish a legacy of achievement that becomes a great American story about how we decided to reclaim our past history as one of the premier outpost in a growing nation to once again become the bell-weather of change, and progress; of hope and ideals; of opportunity and success, for us today; for our future generations; and for those, who because of what we are, come here to become a part of where we are going.’’

Indictment announced in Cameo Nightclub shootings

Steve Stephens. Photo provided

Jamall Killings. Photo provided

From left are Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Southwestern Ohio Vice President Mario Cannon; Honorees Sedrick Denson, Matt Tomamichel, Morgan Owens, Asha Daniels, Tamaya Dennard, Marcus Bethay, and ULYPGSO President Ashlee Young. In back, from left, are ULYPGSO Fundraising Chair Alex Morton-Green, and ULYPGSO Membership Chair Don Jason. Photo provided

Jamie Urton. Photo provided

Verna Williams named assistant to UC Law College provost

Herald Staff


Nine Cincinnati Jazz performers: Mike Andres, Frank Brown, Emedio "Dee" Defelice, Phil Degreg, Marc Fields, Art Gore, Frank Payne, Frank Vincent and Ann Chamberlain, will be inducted into the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 30, at Mt. St. Joseph University auditorium, 5701 Delhi Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45233. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7.
     In the lobby, there will be photos and biographies of the nine inductees for everyone to enjoy. Also, there will be jazz-related items for sale in the lobby before, during and after the performance. Information will be available regarding Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame membership and a community table with handouts from other local jazz organizations activities.
      For the third year, Nick Clooney will be the emcee with performances by Hank Mautner's Swing Heritage Orchestra with Steve Schmidt, Jim Leslie, Bill Jackson, Bill Gemmer and Steve Hoskins. Mandy Gaines and Trio, including Steve Schmidt, Bill Jackson and Jim Leslie will be featured in the first half. Phil Degreg's Quartet, including John Taylor, Paul Keller, Andy Brown and Petra Van Nuis, vocals, will entertain in the second half.

     Don Steins, Paul Hawthorne and Lou Lausche will perform at the CJHOF members-only reception for the Inductees. The scholarship winner, Tyler Marsh, is a fantastic, young pianist from Clark Montessori High School, who will also entertain you.  
    This is a once-a-year fundraiser to support not only the induction celebration of the seasoned performers, but also to offer a jazz studies scholarship to a local high school student and master jazz classes in the local high schools.  

        Donations are greatly appreciated. 

Are founders of Angel Baby Network

Indictments announced in Kenton Street murder

By Carla Walker

Several thousand people are expected on Fountain Square to attend the April 29 People’s Climate Rally, a sister event in solidarity with the national march in Washington DC. The event is the chance for Greater Cincinnatians to stand, raise their voices and take action to support climate justice, green jobs and clean energy.

National and local groups, including the NAACP, are calling for action to address climate justice issues.  The group lists climate justice as one of its top eight issues and calls it a “human and civil rights” issue. 

Locally, Communities United For Action (CUFA) is the “front line” organization in Cincinnati fighting for climate and environmental justice. They have been fighting for nearly 40 years.

“When we started the organization, I didn’t know anything about organizing,” said Marilyn Evans, a founding member of CUFA and immediate past President of the Board of Directors. “We knew that our communities and our kids were suffering and so we decided we would do something about it.”

Evans has a long history of advocacy and activism in Cincinnati. While she developed sharp community organizing skills as a CUFA leader she had already made a name for herself during a stint as President of the Millvale community Council. She now serves as President of the South Cumminsville Community Council.

CUFA works with residents and communities across Hamilton County. In addition to the focus on environmental justice, the group battles vacant housing and blight issues with the purpose of improving community and quality of life.

“People are power,” said Roy Davis, a resident of South Cumminsville and CUFA Board member. Davis is an Army veteran living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a condition exacerbated by poor air quality.  He has been an active member of CUFA for 10 years fighting for clean air in his neighborhood.  In 2015, Davis and his CUFA colleagues attended US EPA hearings in both Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA to provide testimony supporting a strong Clean Power Plan. His comments about the power of people ring true.   

CUFA has a long list of victories in Cincinnati including closing the ELDA landfill and stopping the development of a mass burn incinerator. The group has also been at the heart of creating the city’s curbside recycling program and getting the landmark 2009 Environmental Justice Ordinance passed which was the first in the nation to be adopted at the local level.

“We’ve been around for 36 years,” said Evans. “We are not done and we will continue to fight these battles for clean air and water not just for us but for our future.”

Evans and Davis are speaking at the People’s Climate Rally-Cincinnati on April 29 on Fountain Square. The event is being organized by a collection of non-profits and volunteers.  The event begins at 11:30 am. The Rally is open and free to the public. Organizers are asking for people to register at the Miami Group Sierra Club website.

           Contact CUFA at 853-3947 or visit their website at www.cufacincy.org for more information. 

Herald Staff

Cradle Cincinnati reports that over the past five years, far fewer babies died in Hamilton County than ever before. From 2012-2016 Hamilton County saw a historically low infant mortality rate with 8.96 deaths for every 1,000 births. That means that 123 fewer babies died during the past 5 years compared to the previous 5. This 20 percent drop was nearly twice the rate of improvement at the national level and the fastest improvement in the state of Ohio.  However, our rate of infant death is still much higher than the national average of 5.82 deaths per 1,000 live births. 97 babies died in 2016, down slightly from 100 deaths in 2015.

The three leading causes of infant death in Hamilton County from 2012-2016 were preterm birth, birth defects, and sleep-related deaths. While preterm birth and sleep-related deaths are both steadily improving, 2016 saw an increase in babies who died from birth defects.

Hamilton County is among the top ten counties in the nation having the highest infant mortality rates.

TREND 1: Extreme Preterm birth is steadily improving.

About half of all local babies born before the end of their mom’s 2nd trimester do not survive. This extreme prematurity is the leading cause of infant death in Hamilton County. Hamilton County saw an average of 18 fewer extremely preterm babies born each year from 2012-2016 compared to 2007-2011, a 14 percent drop. Relatedly, we know that two leading causes of preterm birth are also on the decline. Short pregnancy spacing decreased by 12 percent during this time and maternal smoking decreased by 19 percent.  In 2016, fewer babies died from preterm birth related causes than in any previous year.

“Preterm birth continues to be a significant problem we need to solve if we want healthier babies in Hamilton County,” said Tim Ingram, Hamilton County Health Commissioner. “This recent improvement is encouraging, but we still have too many babies born far too small and far too early in our community. It will continue to take the effort of a broad group of partners to change that.”                        

TREND 2: Sleep-related infant deaths are now consistently below historic levels, but are still a key concern. 

Babies sleep safest Alone, on their Back and in a Crib (ABC). When babies sleep on their stomach, have a crib crowded with large blankets or share a bed with an adult, they are at increased risk of dying in their sleep. For the fifth year in a row, Hamilton County has had fewer than average sleep-related deaths. From 2007-2011, our community averaged 17 of these types of deaths each year. Every year since we have had fewer, including 13 deaths in 2016. If our community were at the national average, we would expect 9 sleep-related deaths each year. The leading cause of sleep-related deaths in Hamilton County is suffocation due to babies sharing a bed with an adult and the adult rolling onto the child. Though, in recent years, deaths caused by large blankets, pillows and other items in the crib with babies are on the rise.

“Our progress in this area is significant, but we are still confident our community can do much better” said Dr. Elizabeth Kelly, women’s health lead for Cradle Cincinnati. “If you know anyone with a new baby, you can help keep that baby safe by making sure they are put to sleep alone, on their back and in an empty crib for every single sleep - no exceptions.”

TREND 3: Hamilton County is experiencing an increase in babies born with fatal birth defects.

In 2016, we lost 25 babies to fatal birth defects. This represents the highest number of local deaths from this cause in recent years. Further, if we were at the national average, we would have lost only 13 babies to birth defects last year. Fatal heart defects are the leading type of defect that contributes to infant death in Hamilton County.

“There are many unknowns when it comes to birth defects,” said Dr. Jim Greenberg, Division Director of Neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s and infant health lead for Cradle Cincinnati. “In many of these cases, science does not yet fully understand the cause of these types of deaths. We will be monitoring this trend to see if it continues while we seek to better understand what is going wrong and what might be done to prevent these tragedies in the future.”

To reduce the risk of birth defects, the Ohio Department of Health recommends that pregnant women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, get a Rubella vaccination, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid alcohol. Women with gestational diabetes can also reduce their risk by working closely with their prenatal care provider to carefully control their diabetes throughout their pregnancy.

TREND 4: Fewer African American babies died in 2016, but racial disparity is still very high.

Nationally and locally, African American babies are 2.5 times as likely to die before their first birthday. In Hamilton County, the number of African American infant deaths fell by 24 percent in the past 5 years.  And, in 2016, with 48 deaths, Hamilton County had its fewest number of African American infant deaths on record.

         “Improving equity in birth outcomes needs to be our top priority as we work to reduce infant deaths,” said Cincinnati Health Commissioner Dr. Marilyn Crumpton. “This disparity with our youngest neighbors reveals inequality that impacts us all.”

“These new numbers strengthen our resolve,” said Hamilton County Commission President and Cradle Cincinnati Chair Todd Portune. “Clearly, we are headed in the right direction. But, we have a long way to go before we celebrate. This marks just the beginning of a long road of improvement for our families and our babies.”   

New collaborative projects in 2017 include:

In partnership with Ohio Medicaid, Cradle Cincinnati partners are hiring 13 new community health workers to serve 1,000 new moms over the next two years with evidence-based social support.

In 2017, Cradle Cincinnati’s partners will launch their second strategic planning process in hopes of reducing these numbers even further over the next 5 years.

A new safe sleep campaign was launched in March to continue to promote the message that babies sleep safest alone, on their back and in a crib.Cradle Cincinnati’s full report is available at www.cradlecincinnati.org 

      Cornell Beckley, 27, was arraigned April 10 in Judge Steve Martin’s Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas courtroom for the death of O’Bryan Spikes and Deondre Davis during the March 26 early morning shooting at Cameo Nightclub at 4601 Kellogg Avenue.    

     In the worst mass shooting in the history of Cincinnati, Beckley is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, 30 counts of felonious assault, one count of possessing a weapon under disability, one count of illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises, one count of carrying concealed weapons, and one count of inducing panic. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said if Beckley is convicted of all charges, he faces the possibility of life in prison. He could receive sentences amounting to 250 years, Deters added.

         Sixteen other people were wounded during the shooting at the club that occurred after a feud between two groups following a funeral of a member of Beckley’s group in Madisonville earlier that was carried inside the Club. Beckley reportedly took to the stage at Cameo and began firing at Davis and into the crowd, with Davis reportedly firing back.

Davis was also charged with the murder of O’Bryan Spikes but Davis died on April 4 from injuries suffered in the nightclub shooting.  All charges against him will now be dismissed.

Deters said multiple witnesses reported seeing both men firing guns. They also reported a third person was firing, but police have not found shell casing from that gun.

He added that police hunted down hundreds of people in the room, but many of them are not willing to talk about the incident.

Deters said on March 26, the gunmen opened fire inside the club at approximately 1:30 a.m.  Information obtained during the police investigation, revealed that there was a feud between club patrons from Madisonville and club patrons from Price Hill.  Beckley is charged with getting up on the club stage and shooting at club patrons with a .25 caliber revolver.  He fired at least four shots.  Davis was charged with firing a .40 caliber Glock at least eight times after Beckley began shooting.  

There was a total of 17 victims who were struck and two of the 17 victims are now deceased.

Deters called the incident a shootout rather than describing it as a mass shooting. He said a majority of the people in the club have criminal records, largely involving drugs.  

Cincinnati Police and Fire Departments responded to the scene immediately. Victims were transported to area hospitals where they were treated for their injuries.  Some victims arrived at area hospitals by their own transportation. Some victims were treated and released and some remained hospitalized for a period.  Only one victim remains in critical condition.

Cincinnati Police said they recovered 16 casings in the club from the .25 caliber revolver used by Beckley, the .40 caliber Glock used by Davis and a 9mm weapon.  Police said there may be a third arrest, and they are still investigating who fired the 9-mm weapon.  

Herald Staff

Fifth Third Bancorp is pleased to report the year-one results of its $30 billion, five-year Community Commitment, developed in collaboration with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). The Commitment positively impacted the communities served by Fifth Third through mortgage lending, small business lending, community development loans and investments, and Fifth Third Impact Initiatives, including philanthropy, housing and small business-related investments, financial empowerment programming, branches and staffing, and inclusion and diversity. 

In year one, 2016, Fifth Third invested $7.88 billion, or 26.3 percent, of the total lending and investment commitment. The results put the Company on pace to exceed the goals of its Community Commitment by its conclusion in 2020.

Economic inclusion emphasized in County’s new Democratic budget

Who is voting in the May 2 special/primary election

$447 million in investments; 2,347 jobs created

Nick Clooney hosts Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame 2017 Induction April 30

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Tickets: $20/person or

       $200/table of 10

Local environmental justice leaders speak at climate rally

In solidarity with the National People's Climate March in Washington, DC, the People’s Climate Rally will take place in Cincinnati on Fountain Square on April 29 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The Rally is being held to express concerns about the current climate change policies and approach taken by the current Presidential Administration. This is a chance for Greater Cincinnati to stand up for clean air, clean water, climate justice and jobs in the hopes that the President will reevaluate his stance on the protection and future of our environment.

A mass mobilization of diverse people from across the country will demonstrate the level of support for our policy makers and Presidential Administration to halt the rollback of policies that protect our environment, our communities, and our future. It will also highlight support for creating a new economy that works for people and planet. On the 100th day of President Trump’s Administration, April 29, people from across the region in Greater Cincinnati will participate in that mass mobilization as a sister event to the national People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.

The event is being organized by representatives of various local groups including the Sierra Club, Miami Group Chapter

Website: http://miamigroup.org/peoplesclimatecincy/

Rally Registration:  tinyurl.com/CincyClimateRallyReg

Each month, there are more than 16,000 children in the Greater Cincinnati area experiencing diaper need - the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to remain clean, dry and healthy. To assist Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank, a local Cincinnati organization, in providing diapers to low-income families while raising awareness of the basic health need for clean diapers, Rainbow Child Care Center locations throughout Cincinnati and northern Kentucky will be hosting a diaper drive.

            From now through Mother’s Day, Rainbow Child Care families will be collecting diapers for all ages at their respective 20 area centers for families struggling to afford the six to 10 diapers a baby needs per day. The average cost of diapers for a baby per month is $70.

            Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank provides diapers to social service organizations and government agencies that are helping families in crisis through comprehensive programs and services – ensuring the families that need diapers the most are the first ones receiving them.  

            To find out more about how you can help, visit sweetcheeksdiaperbanks.org.

 

VENDOR TABLES:

$25 for BRIGHT -5/12

$25 for Nefertiti - 7/1

$40 for both events!


Cornell Beckley. Provided

Marilyn Evans, a founding member of CUFA and immediate past President of the Board of Directors. Photo provided

An artist’s rendering of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s planned expansion. Provided 

By Fifth Third Bank

Where does your business end and your personal life begin? For many entrepreneurs, the lines are more blurred today than ever, as technology keeps us connected to the Internet and “on the job” even when we’re on vacation. But while you may find yourself working 24-7, it’s still important to keep your business and personal financial lives separate.

Limit your liability. The primary reason most entrepreneurs take the time and expense to form corporations or LLCs is to shield their personal assets from liability if their company is sued and a monetary judgment results. While your creditors can come after the assets of your corporation or LLC in that circumstance, your personal assets — such as your home and household bank accounts — are legally off-limits. In contrast, sole proprietors have no limit on their personal liability in the event their companies are successfully sued — or if they have creditors lined up after a bankruptcy. This is why entrepreneurs are usually advised to operate as LLCs or incorporate.

Take separation seriously. Even if you’ve formed a limited liability entity, such as an LLC or S-Corp, there is a way for your creditors — including the IRS — to come after you personally. They can try to prove in court that your corporation does not actually operate as a separate financial entity. In legal lingo, this strategy is called “piercing the corporate veil,” and if it’s successful it can be disastrous for small business owners, many of whom wind up losing their homes or paying out large judgments from personal accounts.

Segregating your company’s assets and financial dealings from your own is the primary weapon against a creditor trying to pierce the corporate veil of your business. For instance, you should open a separate bank account under your company’s name, rather than using your personal checking or savings account to pay for company expenses and take company deposits. While it is more expensive and time-consuming to operate this way, it’s also much easier and cheaper for tax purposes.

Resist the commingling temptation. It is common for entrepreneurs to use their personal credit cards to pay for business expenses. Being aware of this tendency can help you avoid it. Almost half of small business owners did this occasionally, according to a 2012 survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Establishing credit under your company name is smart, and using a separate credit card for all your business expenses provides an easy way to tally up totals at tax time. Look for a small business credit card that offers perks such as frequent travel discounts, higher credit limits, longer billing cycles, business rewards and cash-back options.

Record everything. If you do commingle charges on your credit cards, be sure to pay the balance on the business card from your business account and then write a check reimbursing the company for the personal expenses you racked up, and vice versa. Keep meticulous records showing those repayments, and do so in consultation with your accountant. And remember, there are definite risks that go along with this practice that should be taken into account. In the long run, it may be easier — and cheaper — to sign up for a personal credit card with generous reward points and use those for the family vacation.

Save the Date:

Fifth Third Bank, The Cincinnati Herald, and the African American Chamber presents Growing It, a seminar on acquiring capital for small business.

When:  Saturday, May 6, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Cincinnati Hamilton County Community Action Agency, 1740 Langdon Farm Road, Cincinnati 45237, 513.751-9000

Best practices for separating business and personal finances

Byna Elliott. Photo provided

The Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Southwestern Ohio (ULYPGSO) Affirmed YP Honors Brunch and Awards Ceremony celebrated top-tier young professionals who are contributing to their community, while making strides in their profession. The sold-out event was Saturday, April 2,2 at the University Club in downtown Cincinnati.

The honorees were chosen for their work in the following areas: Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment, Philanthropy and Professional Development. The seven honorees included fashion designers, entrepreneurs, a political consultant, marketing strategist, and city council candidate.

The honorees included Marcus Bethay, Regional Marketing Director at Team Velocity Marketing, Asha Daniels, Fashion Designer, Tamaya Dennard, Innovation Specialist at Design Impact and Cincinnati City Council candidate, Sedrick Denson, Partner 4CI Consulting, LLC, Means Cameron, owner of Black Owned, Morgan Owens, owner of Curvy Cardio, and Matt Tomamichel, owner of Corporate.

 “These young professionals exemplified the qualities we were looking for in our honorees for the Affirmed YP Honors Brunch and Awards Ceremony,” said ULYPGSO President Ashlee Young. “They are business owners, fashion designers, political candidates, and just overall highly driven people who are working to make Cincinnati a better place to live, work, and play. It’s easy to see why they were selected as the honorees for the inaugural awards ceremony.”

The owner of Curvy Cardio, Morgan Owens, says it was an honor to be chosen as one of the recipients. Owens says it is confirmation that she is on the right path. “My community affirms me as a young professional by just all the support I get,” Owens said. “A defining moment in my career would be when I had clients reach out to me and tell me how appreciative they are of my transparency, whether it’s through my fitness journey or my business journey.”Black Owned founder Means Cameron also contributed his success to support from people in the community. “Everything that we do, we get great support in this city,” Cameron said.

Verna Williams. Photo provided

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the indictment of Jamall Killings (DOB 2-29-92) and Deonte Baber (DOB 5/1/92) in the March 24th murder of Jamie Urton.  Killings is now indicted on 2 counts of Murder with gun specifications (Special Felony) and 1 count of Felonious Assault (Felony 2).  If convicted of all charges, Killings faces the possibility of life in prison. Baber is now indicted on 2 counts of Murder with gun specifications (Special Felony).   If convicted of all counts, Baber faces the possibility of life in prison.

At approximately noon on March 24th Urton and a passenger were driving on Kenton Street in Urton’s silver Chevy Malibu.  Killings and his two sons were walking on Kenton Street.  Surveillance video shows the 4-year-old running out into the street and getting struck by Urton’s vehicle.  Killings is some distance away when the 4-year-old runs into the street.

Surveillance video recorded the entire incident and shows a large work van southbound on Kenton Street at the same time as Urton was driving northbound on Kenton Street.  The van would have obstructed Urton’s view of the 4-year-old as he ran eastbound across the street.

After his child is struck, Killings is seen on video running over to the car and heading straight for the driver’s side of the car.  His son, who is lying near the curb, is several feet behind the rear of the car.  Killings is shown opening the car door and beating Urton while he is still inside the car.  Deonte Baber is seen running up to the driver’s side of Urton’s vehicle.  Baber is seen firing 5 shots at Urton and then fleeing from the scene.  After Urton is beaten and shot, Killings walks to the rear of the car to his son.

In Killings’ 911call he admits to killing the person who struck his son.

The 4-year-old was treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Hamilton County Coroner ruled Urton’s death a homicide due to exsanguination as a result of bleeding to death after a single gunshot wound to the left thigh.

Killings is currently in custody at the Hamilton County Justice Center.  Baber has not been arrested.  The Crime Stoppers $2,500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest of Baber has now been increased to $7,500.00 after a $5,000.00 donation from the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters commented, “Absolutely disgusting that a man is dead after accidentally striking a young child who ran out into the street.  On the surveillance video that we have, Killings is not close to his young son when he runs into the street.   The driver’s view of the child would have been blocked by a large van heading in the opposite direction. 

Even more disturbing to me as a father, is the fact that Killings first response is to beat the driver of the vehicle before checking on the condition of his child.  As Killings is beating Urton, Baber appears out of nowhere and starts shooting Urton.

This is total insanity all the way around.”

Rainbow Child Care Centers collect diapers for families in crisis

Danielle and Christopher Jones share their story of loss and love

Cincinnati mayoral candidates, from left, are Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, Robert Richardson Jr., and Mayor Jon Cranley, who is seeking a second term. They are shown at a debate hosted Tuesday evening by Cincinnati NAACP and Prince Hall Masons. Photo by Dan Yount

Jennifer Archibald named resident choreographer for Cincinnati Ballet

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has invited Avondale residents to a Community Information Session to learn more about its planned patient care building on the east side of Burnet across the street from the Ronald McDonald House. The event is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 at Rockdale Elementary, with parking in front and back of the school.

            Known as the Preferred North hospital expansion option, hospital officials say a new patient care building is needed due to significant growth in patients and services over the past decade. The building would expand services to the hospital’s sickest children, including children who need cardiac care, intensive cares, and transplant services. The new building will be 7 stories tall and will add 110 – 150 new patient beds.

“Hospital officials say expanding North is by far the best option for delivery of care to patients as it provides the right connections between areas like the emergency department, the operating rooms and the ICU units where it provides care for its most fragile patients. To position the new building where needed, hospital officials said they are working with City and community partners to reroute Erkenbrecher Avenue.

            Objections have already been raised by Avondale residents. City Councilman Wendell Young said at a recent press conference he supported the Avondale Community Council when on Match 15 it hosted a press conference titled as Stop the Destruction of Avondale to express opposition to any zone changes or variances which will allow Cincinnati Children’s to build their Preferred North hospital expansion option, which closes Erkenbrecher and Hearne Avenues.

At the event held at Southern Baptist Church, 3556 Reading Road, Avondale Community Council officials said they have participated in many discussions with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital officials in the last two years to inform them of their concerns. 

“ACC has consistently told Cincinnati Children’s Hospital there would be a contentious reaction from the community to close any portion of Erkenbrecher Avenue. Yet hospital officials continue to ‘sell and lobby’ as if this is a done deal with the community of Avondale as the ‘beneficiary,’ ” said Young.

            In her letter to residents, Monica Mitchell, Ph.D., director of community relations at the hospital, said, “As a neighbor, we want to communicate with you directly about our project plans. We invite you to the session to learn more about our plans and our partnerships in Avondale, and to ask any questions you might have.’’

Mitchell added that if residents have any questions prior to or after the session to call her at 513 636-9327 or contact her at communityrelations@cchmc.org.

Detailed information about the expansion and maps and pictures can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org/expansion. 

Jennifer Archibald. Provided 

Cradle Cincinnati partners who spoke at Tuesday’s event to release new data about their work were, from left, Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus; Ryan Adcock, executive director of Cradle Cincinnati, Lisa Hyde-Miller, service coordinator for Villages of Roll Hill; Dr. Jim Greenberg, division director of Neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; and Cincinnati Health Commissioner Dr. Marilyn Crumpton

Roy Davis, a resident of South Cumminsville and CUFA Board member. Photo provided

There will be a Special/Primary Election on Tuesday, May 2 in Hamilton County.  Who is voting and what is on your ballot?

            City of Cincinnati – Mayoral Non-partisan Primary & Local Liquor Option in Cincinnati 26-E

·         Northwest – Oak Hills -- & Wyoming School Districts – Levies

·         Columbia Township, Amberley, Mariemont, Silverton, Milford – Levies

·         Madeira – Charter amendments

·         Republican primaries only – Cities of Harrison and Ward 4 Norwood

            The Hamilton County Board of Elections relocated to 4700 Smith Road in Norwood, Ohio.  Information about where, when and how to vote this May is available by contacting the Board at 632-7000 or checking online at www.votehamiltoncounty.org.  There are three ways to cast a ballot; voters can request an absentee ballot by mail; vote in person at the Board office; or vote on Election Day at their polling location.

Voting at your precinct on Election Day:  Know where your polling place is located & bring acceptable ID. 

            Voting Absentee by mail:  Download a request form from our website and mail or drop off the application.  Ballots are mailed daily.  If you have already submitted your absentee application or ballot, you may track the status on our website by clicking the Track My Absentee Ballot button or by calling 632-7000.

            Voting Early/In Person at the Board:  Our new office is easy to locate and there is plenty of free parking available.  Hours for Early voting in the May election -- 

            Weeks One, Two and Three of Voting beginning with the day after the close of registration, except any holiday established by state law (April 4 - April 21)

o    8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday)

·         Week Four of Voting (April 24 - April 30)

o    8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday)

o    8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the Saturday before Election Day

o    1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Sunday before Election Day

·         Week of Election Day (May 1)

o    8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day

Follow all the latest Board of Elections news and information on Facebook, Twitter and visit our website: www.votehamiltoncounty.org.  Voters are reminded that the Board has a secure, 24-hour drop box available at our new location for submitting registration forms, absentee ballot requests and returned absentee ballots. 

 

City Aggregation Program to save residents, small businesses on electricity

Verna L. Williams, a Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law and co-director of the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, will take an interim leadership role as the special assistant to the provost for the College of Law, according to an announcement made by Peter E. Landgren, interim senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost.

Professor Williams, who has a distinguished record of teaching, research, administration and practice, joined the University of Cincinnati College of Law more than 15 years ago, in 2001. She co-directs the university’s joint-degree program in Law and Women’s Studies, a signature program within the College of Law. Other college service has included membership on the college Academic Policy Committee and Dean’s Advisory Committee; chair of both the Appointments Committee and the Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee; and faculty advisor to the Black Law Students Association.

            Teaching in the areas of family law, gender discrimination and constitutional law, she has twice been named a recipient of the college’s Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The award is student driven, since only College of Law students can nominate and select recipients based on superior teaching as well as research and public service.

            Williams’ research examines the intersection of race, gender and class in education law and policy. She has presented papers at numerous conferences, including meetings at the American Association of Law Schools, the Association of Law, Culture and Humanities, and the Latina/o Critical Race Theory Conference.

            With her experience and proven track record, Williams will enable the college to maintain its momentum within the evolving long-term model for legal education, Landgren said. UC College of Law faculty, staff and students have much to be proud of, including a recent bar passage rate for UC grads of 86 percent, 15 percent above Ohio’s average; recognition as one of the top 20 law schools in the country for producing prosecutors/public defenders, according to “National Jurist” magazine; as well as a U.S. News and World Report ranking of 72 among law schools, he said.

            Prior to coming to UC, Williams practiced law in the private and public sectors. She was vice president and director of educational opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on issues of gender equity in education. During her time at the center, she was lead counsel and successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court a case establishing that educational institutions have a duty to respond to and address complaints regarding student-to-student sexual harassment. She also practiced at the Department of Justice and at Sidley Austin LLP, a highly regarded international business law firm.

            She holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and a baccalaureate in Spanish from Georgetown University.

Portune presents State of Hamilton County

“Our Community Commitment is designed to improve lives in the communities we serve,” said Brian Lamb, executive vice president and chief corporate social responsibility and reputation officer, Fifth Third Bank. “Our year-one results demonstrate significant progress against our five-year plan, but more than that, the numbers demonstrate the impact we can make when we work with communities to accomplish great things. I am especially grateful to the NCRC and all of the community organizations who share in our excitement about a solid first year, and join us in having enthusiasm for even more profound progress in the months and years ahead.”

“As the year-one results show, Fifth Third is off to a good start on its community development plan,” said John Taylor, president and CEO of NCRC. "NCRC and the community groups who worked with Fifth Third to reach the agreement look forward to further helping with its implementation, and we’re excited for the elements of the plan yet to come. We still have work to do together to ensure that low- and moderate-income communities have access to the financial resources and opportunities needed to thrive.”

Fifth Third’s $3.26 billion in mortgage loans included nearly 17,000 home purchase loans worth $1.9 billion last year, helping to finance the dream of homeownership for those households. It also made more than 12,500 refinance loans worth $1.3 billion, as well as home improvement loans. Fifth Third funded 23,791 low- and moderate-income (LMI) loans in 2016. The year also was notable for Fifth Third’s creation of a down payment assistance program for LMI homebuyers or those who purchase in an LMI area. The program provides participants with up to 3 percent of the purchase price, up to $3,600 in assistance. Fifth Third also reported $1.96 billion in small business lending, including $138.7 million in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed loans, as it strives to become a Top 15 SBA lender.

Community development loans and investments in 2016 totaled $2.64 billion, which included $1.5 billion for community revitalization and stabilization; $588 million for economic development; $223 million for affordable housing and $182.7 million in services to LMI communities.

Fifth Third’s Community Commitment also included a five-year, $154.8 million commitment to fund Fifth Third Impact Programming. Fifth Third reported $19.1 million in philanthropic donations to hundreds of organizations throughout its footprint during the first year. This support included $3.6 million in grants from the Fifth Third Foundation in the areas of community development, health and human services, the arts and education, including financial support for relief agencies after Hurricane Matthew. Fifth Third and the Foundation also made $7 million in donations to United Way agencies.

Fifth Third increased its use of diverse suppliers by 73 percent over 2015.

Fifth Third also delivered on its commitment to deliver financial empowerment programming to its communities by signing a multi-year contract with EverFi Inc. to deliver a new financial education and entrepreneurship program to high school students through its footprint. The Company expanded its Fifth Third Bank Empower U® program into the communities it serves and reached more than 3,700 people, including military veterans and their families.

Fifth Third also did the foundational work to create a national Community Advisory Forum in 2016, which officially will launch later this year. The company also will create five statewide forums. Over the course of 2016, Fifth Third leadership held 154 community engagement sessions, with the majority of those conducted with organizations that are affiliated with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.        

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati.

Save the Date:

Fifth Third Bank, The Cincinnati Herald, and the African American Chamber presents Growing It, a seminar on acquiring capital for small business.

When:  Saturday, May 6, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Cincinnati Hamilton County Community Action Agency, 1740 Langdon Farm Road, Cincinnati 45237, 513.751-9000

Two to advance to November Election

Fifth Third reports impact of first year of $30 billion community commitment

Robert Godwin. Photo provided

County infant mortality improving faster than state, nation; still very high

Danielle and Chris Jones. Photo provided 

Artistic Director and CEO Victoria Morgan announced choreographer Jennifer Archibald has been named the company’s new Resident Choreographer, effective immediately. In this capacity, Archibald will choreograph an annual world premiere specifically for Cincinnati Ballet. Preceding resident choreographers were Adam Hougland, from 2009-2017, and Kirk Peterson from 2001-2009.

                  In the upcoming 2017-2018 Season Archibald will create a world premiere piece during the April 2018 Bold Moves series, a production that includes music performed by Eighth Blackbird. She has choreographed two works for Cincinnati Ballet in the past three years, including Sit (2014), Redeem (2016), and presents a world premiere in the upcoming Kaplan New Works Series April 20-30, 2017. 

                  Archibald is the founder and artistic director of the Arch Dance Company, Program Director of ArchCore40 dance intensives, and is at the forefront of today’s dance generation of choreographers and dance educators. A graduate of the Alvin Ailey School and the Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory where she specialized in the Meisner technique, she brings a variety of experience and styles to Cincinnati Ballet. In addition to choreographic work for Cincinnati Ballet, she has also been commissioned by Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Ailey II, Kansas City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and has worked commercially for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and MAC Cosmetics, as well as chart-listed singers and actors.

Congruent with Morgan’s mission to celebrate and encourage women taking leadership roles in ballet, Archibald will be the first female resident choreographer in Cincinnati Ballet history. “After our first collaboration with Jennifer Archibald, I was blown away by her tremendous talent, innovative ideas, and her unique ability to seamlessly blend contemporary dance and nuances of hip hop with ballet technique,” says Morgan. “This diverse skill set she brings to our artists has deepened their relationship to movement, in defining what is possible for them. I am thrilled and honored to welcome her to this new role with Cincinnati Ballet.”

                  Cincinnati Ballet’s upcoming performances include a two-week run of The Kaplan new Works Series at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater, where Archibald presents her world premiere collaboration with visual artist Caledonia Curry (“Swoon”), April 20-30. 

Urban League Young Professionals celebrate young professionals contributing to their community

The Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati (BLAC) is hosting three Community Forums discussing the retrial of the former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, which begins Thursday, May 25, 2017.

            This is the second time BLAC is hosting three community forums to educate the public on the trial process and government policy affecting our legal system as it pertains to the Tensing trial. Also returning are all four panel members who participated in the first three community forums. Returning panel members are: Council Member Yvette Simpson, Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Fanon A. Rucker, Rodney Harris, Esq., director, Felony Division, Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office and BLAC President Doneytta Bailey.

            “It is Important that the community learn from respected lawyers and judges on what to expect at each stage of the trial, so there is no confusion and no surprises. We can’t advocate what we don’t understand. Knowledge is power,” Council Member Yvette Simpson said.

            The BLAC Community Forums will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. once a week prior to the beginning of Mr. Tensing’s retrial. The community forums will occur on: 

● Wednesday, May 3

New Prospect Baptist Church

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

● Wednesday, May 10

Allen Temple AME Church

7030 Reading Road

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

 ● Tuesday, May 16

First Unitarian Church

536 Linton Street

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

            The panel members will discuss with the public the jury selection process, legal standards for manslaughter and murder charges and self-defense in a police shooting, and the role of a judge and jury. The public will also learn about the effects of voting and voter registration on the judicial process, and turning advocacy into action when appealing to lawmakers for meaningful change in government policy.

            For more information, contact the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati at cincyblack@gmail.com . 

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Cincinnati Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, and Cincinnati Board of Trustees Chair lawyer Robert Richardson Jr., all Democrats, are heading for the May 2 mayoral primary, with the top two finishers then facing each other in the Nov. 7 General Election.

The positions of each of the candidates and their plans for Cincinnati follow in alphabetical order in their own words:

John Cranley:

In the City of Cincinnati our economy is growing and we are experiencing a renaissance that has lifted the spirits of our City. As we experience this progression, we are working hard to extend that success to everyone in Cincinnati and close disparities within our City.  We can only be a great city if our revitalization and prosperity is shared throughout our community. We cannot be a tale of two cities.

In 2013, when I took office the City spent roughly $4 million with African American-owned businesses, representing less than three percent of total spending. As a candidate, I vowed to change that promising an increase to 15 percent in four years, and as your mayor, I have worked hard to close those gaps.

We have made great progress by surpassing this goal a year early, achieving 17 percent—or $19.6 million—of City contract awards going to African American-owned businesses in 2016.  This does not account for an additional $24.8 million in commitments we also secured through negotiating economic inclusion requirements for African American and women-owned businesses from private sector partners through City economic development deals.

This process to increase inclusion started when I commissioned a Croson Disparity Study that had long been resisted by previous administrations and members of Council. The study was necessary to establish a concrete plan to improve contracting with African American owned-businesses.

I also established an Economic Inclusion Advisory council (EIAC) and made good on my campaign promise of creating an Office of Economic Inclusion. The EIAC, a team of business and community leaders, provided a set of recommendations on how the City can promote Economic Inclusion and continues to actively work to implement those recommendations and create new ideas to increase equity.

I ran for mayor because I believe that every family in Cincinnati deserves a shot at the American dream and a chance to fully participate in our city’s renaissance.

I promised to refocus our city’s efforts on delivering for neighborhoods and families. I promised to reduce inequality and fight to bring down poverty. I promised to get our fiscal house in order. And, I promised to get back to the basics.

As mayor, I have worked hard to keep my word. I have made the tough calls when necessary to do what’s right, even when it has been unpopular. Whether it’s negotiating concessions from retirees on the pension, calling out wasteful spending, or vetoing popular but unaffordable projects, I will always do – always do - what I believe is right for the city. And I will work with anyone who wants to help move our city forward.

We’ve added over 100 officers to the police force and ended fire station brownouts. We’ve implemented an innovative plan to increase road paving and repair. We’ve structurally balanced the budget for the first time in over a decade. We’ve eliminated the $800 million unfunded pension liability. We’ve gotten our credit rating upgraded. We invested heavily in job training to give those who want to work a hand up, making City contracting more inclusive, welcoming immigrants to our community, and funding neighborhood projects throughout the city.

The proof is in the pudding. We’ve brought over 6,000 new jobs to Cincinnati, increased road paving and repair by 50 percent, orchestrated a fivefold increase in City contracting with minority and women owned businesses, and helped lower our poverty rate by five percent.

While I am proud that I have governed in a bipartisan manner, I am a proud Democrat—the only endorsed Democrat in this race—and have a social justice record of accomplishment that is unmatched by any recent City administration.

We are building the middle class and leading by example by passing a $15 living wage for all city workers, passing a wage theft law, passing the first ever local prevailing wage law, establishing a paid parental leave law, and making sure that our city workers who deliver the basic services are paid the wages that they have earned.

For three years in a row we have earned the highest possible score from the Human Rights Campaign, which demonstrates our commitment to the LGBT community and ensuring equal rights for all.

We will continue our work to make the city safer and more inclusive, to bring jobs to Cincinnati, to reduce poverty, to repair our dilapidated infrastructure, and to build even better neighborhoods.

We will see historic collaboration between the city and the county by establishing the first ever fully dedicated Housing Court, which will help neighborhoods by cracking down on slumlords.  We will also make new efforts to clean up the blight and litter in our city.  There is far too much trash on our streets. We will hold people accountable for their behavior but also invest more resources in keeping our city clean and beautiful.

We will set a new course for MSD that stops the bickering and puts ratepayers first.

We will lead by example in combatting climate change by pursuing conservation strategies to help homeowners retrofit their homes, which will reduce the need for burning greenhouse gases, and save them on their energy bills to boot.

And, we will help build a truly progressive and better public transportation system.  Our region is far behind our peers in making bus transit a real option for most people who are trying to get to and from their jobs. 

Reducing the city’s earnings tax will separate Cincinnati from many other cities in recent years that have raised their earnings tax and will likely help us attract new businesses.

As part of this plan; however, if the county sales tax passes, I will also be proposing that the City adopt a Charter amendment to reduce its earning tax not from 2.1 percent to 1.8 percent, but to 1.9 percent keeping the extra .1 percent of the old transit tax as a needed increase to the money dedicated in the City Charter to our infrastructure.

Robert Richardson Jr:

In the City of Cincinnati our economy is growing and we are experiencing a renaissance that has lifted the spirits of our City. As we experience this progression, we are working hard to extend that success to everyone in Cincinnati and close disparities within our City.  We can only be a great city if our revitalization and prosperity is shared throughout our community. We cannot be a tale of two cities.

In 2013, when I took office the City spent roughly $4 million with African American-owned businesses, representing less than three percent of total spending. As a candidate, I vowed to change that promising an increase to 15 percent in four years, and as your mayor, I have worked hard to close those gaps.

We have made great progress by surpassing this goal a year early, achieving 17 percent—or $19.6 million—of City contract awards going to African American-owned businesses in 2016.  This does not account for an additional $24.8 million in commitments we also secured through negotiating economic inclusion requirements for African American and women-owned businesses from private sector partners through City economic development deals.

This process to increase inclusion started when I commissioned a Croson Disparity Study that had long been resisted by previous administrations and members of Council. The study was necessary to establish a concrete plan to improve contracting with African American owned-businesses.

I also established an Economic Inclusion Advisory council (EIAC) and made good on my campaign promise of creating an Office of Economic Inclusion. The EIAC, a team of business and community leaders, provided a set of recommendations on how the City can promote Economic Inclusion and continues to actively work to implement those recommendations and create new ideas to increase equity.

I ran for mayor because I believe that every family in Cincinnati deserves a shot at the American dream and a chance to fully participate in our city’s renaissance.

I promised to refocus our city’s efforts on delivering for neighborhoods and families. I promised to reduce inequality and fight to bring down poverty. I promised to get our fiscal house in order. And, I promised to get back to the basics.

As mayor, I have worked hard to keep my word. I have made the tough calls when necessary to do what’s right, even when it has been unpopular. Whether it’s negotiating concessions from retirees on the pension, calling out wasteful spending, or vetoing popular but unaffordable projects, I will always do – always do - what I believe is right for the city. And I will work with anyone who wants to help move our city forward.

We’ve added over 100 officers to the police force and ended fire station brownouts. We’ve implemented an innovative plan to increase road paving and repair. We’ve structurally balanced the budget for the first time in over a decade. We’ve eliminated the $800 million unfunded pension liability. We’ve gotten our credit rating upgraded. We invested heavily in job training to give those who want to work a hand up, making City contracting more inclusive, welcoming immigrants to our community, and funding neighborhood projects throughout the city.

The proof is in the pudding. We’ve brought over 6,000 new jobs to Cincinnati, increased road paving and repair by 50 percent, orchestrated a fivefold increase in City contracting with minority and women owned businesses, and helped lower our poverty rate by five percent.

While I am proud that I have governed in a bipartisan manner, I am a proud Democrat—the only endorsed Democrat in this race—and have a social justice record of accomplishment that is unmatched by any recent City administration.

We are building the middle class and leading by example by passing a $15 living wage for all city workers, passing a wage theft law, passing the first ever local prevailing wage law, establishing a paid parental leave law, and making sure that our city workers who deliver the basic services are paid the wages that they have earned.

For three years in a row we have earned the highest possible score from the Human Rights Campaign, which demonstrates our commitment to the LGBT community and ensuring equal rights for all.

We will continue our work to make the city safer and more inclusive, to bring jobs to Cincinnati, to reduce poverty, to repair our dilapidated infrastructure, and to build even better neighborhoods.

We will see historic collaboration between the city and the county by establishing the first ever fully dedicated Housing Court, which will help neighborhoods by cracking down on slumlords.  We will also make new efforts to clean up the blight and litter in our city.  There is far too much trash on our streets. We will hold people accountable for their behavior but also invest more resources in keeping our city clean and beautiful.

We will set a new course for MSD that stops the bickering and puts ratepayers first.

We will lead by example in combatting climate change by pursuing conservation strategies to help homeowners retrofit their homes, which will reduce the need for burning greenhouse gases, and save them on their energy bills to boot.

And, we will help build a truly progressive and better public transportation system.  Our region is far behind our peers in making bus transit a real option for most people who are trying to get to and from their jobs. 

Reducing the city’s earnings tax will separate Cincinnati from many other cities in recent years that have raised their earnings tax and will likely help us attract new businesses.

As part of this plan; however, if the county sales tax passes, I will also be proposing that the City adopt a Charter amendment to reduce its earning tax not from 2.1 percent to 1.8 percent, but to 1.9 percent keeping the extra .1 percent of the old transit tax as a needed increase to the money dedicated in the City Charter to our infrastructure.

Yvette Simpson:

I was raised by my grandmother in a low-income family, so I overcame significant childhood obstacles through hard work, dedication, and persistence. I was the first in my family to graduate from college and achieve my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.

I am serving my second term on Cincinnati City Council, where I chair the Human Services, Youth, & Arts committees, and I serve on several others, including the Budget & Finance committee. I also chair the Hamilton County Planning Partnership and serve on the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

As mayor, I will ensure all neighborhoods rise together, by implementing a Ready, Set, Go plan so each neighborhood is set up for success. Each Cincinnati community demands attention and investment, but has unique needs. Our neighborhoods can’t wait; the time is now. Here is how the plan works:

• Ready: Our first priority is to ensure all neighborhoods are safe and clean. I will ensure these communities receive targeted resources to improve the quality of life for all residents, such as those in, say, Lower Price Hill.

• Set: For these communities, we must invest and activate, so they will be prepped for success with foundational development and activation of community groups, such as those in Bond Hill.

• Go: We must maintain and grow our flourishing communities. We can’t ignore their success; these neighborhoods require maintenance for continued growth, such as in occurring in Oakley.  My neighborhood focus will also create opportunities in engagement, small business, and housing. 

I would establish a civic engagement office at City Hall, giving everyone the opportunity to engage directly with City leaders. All citizens deserve to be heard, and, as mayor, I will listen. 

The corner store is the cornerstone of our communities. I would work to strengthen small businesses, by seeking to incentivize and incubate small businesses everywhere, especially in underserved neighborhoods, and make small business services more efficient at the City 

In regard to housing, we must increase housing options for all. I will review affordable housing programs, and ensure long-time community members aren’t ignored during neighborhood growth. 

As for preserving our history, Cincinnati’s historic buildings are one of our biggest treasures, and must be protected. I would prioritize preservation through tax abatement programs and the Historic Conservation Board.

Let’s get to work. Cincinnati needs a 21st Century workforce. We must connect our current workforce to existing jobs with robust, multi-modal transportation. We also must attract middle class jobs of the future – such as those in advanced manufacturing and green technology. The unemployed and underemployed can't wait. The time is now.

We must re-evaluate our transit system to meet the needs of employers and employees. As mayor, I will work to improve mobility and collaborate with others to develop a 24/7 regional transit system. One that connects people to existing job opportunities. 

Education and Opportunity: We must match training opportunities with current jobs, and ensure our workforce is prepared for jobs with middle-class wages. 

That means attracting 21st Century Jobs. To grow opportunity, Cincinnati must be forward-thinking. I will work to attract jobs of the future by prioritizing the preparation of Queensgate for middleclass employers.

Safer, brighter future. Violence plagues too many of our communities. Cincinnati’s crime rate has been stuck in a yo-yo for years. To have a real impact on crime, we must do things differently. We must address the root causes of violence.

 Violence is a disease. To prevent it, we must treat individuals, families, and communities that are victims of repeated trauma. This includes implementing psych trauma teams for witnesses and others impacted by violence, and programs—treatment, inoculation, and prevention—to identify the young people most exposed.

 It takes a village of police officers, professionals, and the community—individuals, families, and organizations—to come together and collaborate. I would work to provide them with the tools they need to reduce violence.

These strategies are ready to go. Pilot programs for children and parents are in place in Westwood, and other cities are already using these techniques.

           Cincinnati can’t wait; the time is now.  

2016 numbers are in; city gains continue

The City of Cincinnati’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Tuesday released its 2016 Annual Report, outlining programs, trends, and benchmarks. Through enhanced department structure and an even sharper focus on customer service delivery, the department saw many wins for the year, further cementing the notation that Cincinnati is a city on the rise.

In total, the City saw over $447 million in total investment over the course of 2016. The City leveraged more than $398 million in outside funding through the allocation of $49 million in city funds, an 8:1 investment ratio. The City also created 2,347 jobs and retained an additional 1,840 jobs through housing and economic development projects, nearly 1,800 more than 2015.

"Cincinnati's economy and population continue to grow," Mayor John Cranley. "I am proud that in a few short few years we have added over 7,500 jobs. That is real progress."

City Manager Harry Black added, “I am proud of the strong effort put forward by DCED Director Oscar Bedolla and his entire team who are making a tangible difference in the downtown core and our 52 neighborhoods. These results are possible because as an organization we are becoming smarter, faster and more responsive. We are also grateful for the policy direction provided by the mayor and City Council who have supported us every step of the way.”

Additional highlights include:

* City projects included the creation of 816 housing units.

* The Parking Facilities Division saw a 44 percent increase in meter revenue from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016. This is due, in large part, to more effective meter deployment and customer-focused technology like the Cincy EZPark app, which allows the customer to start or extend a parking session from their smartphone or wireless device.

* The department developed a new strategy to launch development opportunities, building a branded message around Cyber Monday and incorporating a stronger focus on community engagement.

* The major projects division led the inaugural Cincy Pop Shop program, which activated three previously vacant retail spaces in the Carew Tower for the 2016 holiday shopping season.

“The jobs we have created will pay dividends in the future, positioning the city to weather any economic uncertainty that lies ahead,” adds Bedolla.

Visit www.choosecincy.com<http://www.choosecincy.com/> to view the DCED 2016 Annual Report. 

Children’s Hospital to meet with Avondale residents on expansion plans

Black Lawyers to host forums on Tensing retrial

Wire Services

CLEVELAND – The man who killed an elderly man and posted the execution on Facebook on Easter Sunday turned his gun on himself around 11 a.m. Tuesday and took his own life, said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. 

        After receiving a tip that the suspect Steve Stephens of Cleveland was seen Tuesday morning at a McDonald’s restaurant drive-thru window in Erie, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Police spotted the white Ford Fusion Stephens was driving in the parking lot of the restaurant. Stephens drove off with police in pursuit for a short distance before he shot himself, Williams said.

Williams said he regretted the way the national manhunt for Stephens ended since it left unanswered questions.

Stephens didn't know the elderly victim he killed around 2 p.m., said Cleveland authorities, who did not release a motive.

Authorities identified the homicide victim as Robert Godwin, 74.

"From what we can tell now, it's just a random person that he picked out. We don't know why," Williams said.

Godwin had just left his children's home after eating an Easter meal and was walking home when he was killed, according to reports. Stephens also claimed publicly to have committed multiple homicides, according to police. However, Williams said that cannot be confirmed.

Hundreds of leads had poured into the department, police said.

"What happened today is senseless and if Steve has an issue, he needs to talk to some folks to get that resolved," Williams said Sunday.

Cleveland police first learned of the shooting from callers outside the Cleveland area who saw the Facebook post, according to police union President Steve Loomis.

The video on Stephens' Facebook page showed a gun being pointed at an unidentified man's head. The gun is fired and the man recoils and falls to the ground. The video was posted Sunday afternoon and Facebook later disabled access to it.

       Godwin's daughter, Malisa Godwin, said: "It feels like my heart is going to stop."

Stephens' mother, Maggie Green, told CNN she had spoken to her son on Sunday and he told her he was "mad with his girlfriend. That's why he is shooting people and he won't stop until his mother or girlfriend tell him to stop."

Green said she told her son to stop. She said she was upset and in disbelief.

Stephens was employed at Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency in northeast Ohio that serves children, teenagers and families, according to a spokeswoman for the facility.

Hamilton County Commissioners Denise Driehaus, Todd Portune and Chris Monzel. Provided

The City of Cincinnati will continue to provide 100 percent green energy and save residents money through the Cincinnati Electric Aggregation Program. Eligible residents don’t have to do anything to take part in the program.

            Cincinnati voters approved a measure in 2011 to allow the City the ability to competitively bid and negotiate electric prices for City residents. The City recently selected Cincinnati-based Dynegy to supply all eligible residents and small business with electricity for the next three years.

            Eligible residents and small businesses will receive opt-out letters this week providing details on the program and directions on how to decline participation.  Those wishing to take part should do nothing. They will automatically be enrolled in the program staring with the May utility billing cycle.

            The old program provided 100 percent green energy at a 7 percent discount off Duke Energy’s standard offer.  The new price increases savings to 10 percent and continues to generate additional savings each year for the next three years as the price of electricity drops.

Prices under the new Electric Aggregation Program are as follows:

            May 2017-2018: 5.57 cents per kilowatt hour

Estimated savings to residents*: $99

May 2018-2019: 5.41 cents per kilowatt hour

Estimated savings to residents*: $122;

May 2019-2020: 5.09 cents per kilowatt hour

Estimated savings to residents*: $168

Savings will vary based on a customer's electricity use. The savings estimate is based on an average monthly use of 1,200 kWh compared against Duke Energy's current service rate of 6.26 cents per kWh.

For additional information about the program, please visit:  www.cincinnati-oh.gov/aggregation

1 Vendor Table

Cincinnati will rally for climate protection April 29

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Deonte Baber. Photo provided

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Cranley, Richardson, Simpson face off in mayoral primary

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald


Danielle and Christopher Jones, of Cincinnati, were married for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. They just never imagined they would experience all those during their first years of marriage.

Unemployment; a car accident; a terrifying medical diagnosis; the loss of a loved one; the death of their 10-day-old son Junior.

Through it all, Danielle and Christopher held tightly to their faith, and to each other, taking each day and each step as it came and remaining committed not only to their marriage, but turning their pain into a positive for other families.

Founders of the Angel Baby Network, the couple share their story in their new book, As Sure As Tomorrow Comes: One Couple’s Journey Through Loss and Love. “We hope our book provides hope and inspiration for married couples and parents facing their own highs and lows, including child loss,’’ Danielle said. The book not only discusses infant death, but provides insight into the challenges of living with MS, emphasizes faith and commitment as keys to a lasting marriage, and destigmatizes unemployment and financial struggles. Danielle adds that the book isn’t a step-by-step guide on what to do when life “sucks,’’ for it is a novel-like true story about two people who decided to bounce back stronger and harder than ever when life tried to knock them down. 

The book is available online and at local bookstores, and Danielle and Christopher and their publisher, KiCam Projects will host a book launch and signing event Tuesday, April 25, at 7 p.m., at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Rookwood in Norwood.

Chris is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an associate degree in business. He owns JonesEight Photography and Media and currently works at Everything But the House as a fulfillment specialist. Danielle is a graduate of Florida A&M University, where she earned a degree in public relations, and UC, where she earned her MBA. She has worked in media relations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for the last several years and will soon be leaving the medical center to join Fifth Third Bank as an assistant vice president and senior manager of public relations.

Danielle and Chris were married in 2011, working in good jobs and looking forward to their future together. However, their lives were faced with some tough challenges shortly after they got married.In their first year of marriage, Chris was laid off, then in October 2013, Danielle was diagnosed with having benign fibroid tumors in her left breast and a month later, in November, Chris was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (Chris says he is dealing with MS, and is thankful it was diagnosed early, and that treatment could begin early on.) Danielle’s maternal grandfather died unexpectedly in June 2014. In October 2014 Danielle had to have breast surgery on her right breast to remove a non-cancerous lesion and then, in November 2014, Chris was involved in a serious highway accident. Another devastating punch came on Good Friday of 2015 when the couple learned that their unborn child would have multiple birth defects. The infant was born July 21, 2015 and lived only 10 days.

Four months later, the couple founded Angel Baby Network in memory of their son Junior.

“It was like walking in the rain,’’ Chris said. “Some take shelter, and some don’t, but you are still in the rain no matter what you do. You have to determine how you walk through it and we decided to walk through it with faith. I have always been taught that in a marriage it is necessary to be open with each other and always talk out your problems with each other.” As for Danielle, she too, sites her faith as what has sustained her as well as her and her husband’s desire to help others. She asks people to follow her and Chris at Angel Baby Network at www.angelbabynetwork.org and refer families to them who have lost children - especially those who have suffered loss because of pregnancy, infant loss, miscarriage and SIDS. “We exist to connect these special families to each other and to the resources that they need as they walk through child loss,’’ she said.

       Danielle said that bereaved parents should be empowered to believe that no one will ever take away the fact that they are still parents and that it is necessary for them to keep the memory of their child alive. “If we can do it through our faith, you can too,’’ she said. “Chris and I are both Christians, and our relationship with God keeps us grounded.’’ They also have family, friends, co-workers, and church members who support them in this journey, she said.

Danielle adds that while one in four women suffer some form of pregnancy and infant loss, including miscarriages and SIDS, many of these women do not talk about their experiences. Through Angel Baby Network, she is raising awareness about the necessity of people discussing their loss. “There is such a thing as healthy grieving, and it is better to get things out, rather than holding them inside,’’ she said. “We exist to connect these special families to each other and to the resources that they need as they walk through child loss.’’

Angel Baby Network meets again on Saturday, April 22, from Noon to 2 p.m. at 9363 Allen Road in West Chester. More information is available at the website at www.angelbabynetwork.org.