WE ARE SOLD OUT!
The Cincinnati Herald
As it nears 3 p.m., group of sixth-grade mentees and their high school mentors mingle in the Frederick Douglass Elementary media center. A wave of excitement washes over the room as Susan Hiles-Meadows, retired CPS teacher and administrator, suddenly calls for a single-file line to be formed at the front of the room. After a year of hard work—both intellectual and physical—30 sixth graders will graduate from Operation DRIVEN: A health and wellness curriculum designed to educate communities on how to maintain fit lifestyles and inspire personal development.
Joshua Reid, at age 24, came up with the concept of Operation DRIVEN as he made the hour trek to and from his corporate job in Sidney, Ohio. “The second day on the job I knew it wasn’t for me,” Reid says. “It didn’t fulfill my full potential. I felt like I had so many gifts and talents, but I wasn’t able to tap into them as an engineer.”
Reid began using his vacation days to do speaking engagements at schools. “They treated me like the president had just walked in the building,” Reid says of the overwhelmingly positive responses he received from students. These reactions inspired him to expand his platform to increase his community impact.
Before long, Reid began drafting a curriculum for Operation DRIVEN under the counsel of Hiles-Meadows in 2015, and introduced the program to Frederick Douglass Elementary that same year. Two years later, Operation DRIVEN has can be found in 12 Cincinnati Public Schools, in partnership with Tri-Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Cincinnati Police Department. Reid has designed a nationwide curriculum, which he hopes to see further implemented in schools both regionally and nationally.
“I love seeing the transition of the kids before and after they go through our program,” Reid says. “They’re infatuated with the fun we have and we reward them with a lot of things—I believe all kids should be rewarded for their hard work.”
Born of humble beginnings, Reid knows first hand how critical having ample support is to succeed.
Originally from Albany, New York, and raised in the Bronx, Reid grew up under financially difficult circumstances. “What helped me become the man I am today is that I had the opportunity to live on both sides of the fence,” Reid says. “I lived on the side where we would toast old bread to make it new again and have snowball fights wearing tube socks on our hands.” Although money was tight, his mother’s love and encouragement kept him and his younger brother, Jonathan, happy, healthy, and intellectually sparked.
“As a child, Joshua was very caring and very nurturing,” Cynthia Adams, Reid’s mother, says. “He always saw beyond what other saw. He was the type of child that would look at the stoplight and ask, ‘Well what did they do to make that one green and that one red?’ He always wanted know what made things happen and what made things move.”
As the years went on, Adams began acquiring luxuries the family had never had before. She suddenly had enough income to move the family from the small trailer they’d lived for years and into a nice home in South Boston, Virginia. Adams also began taking frequent trips out of town. One sunny Saturday morning, Adams informed then 13-year-old Reid she’d be leaving for the day, but would return that night and left him with money in case he needed anything. Saturday night came and went and Adams still hadn’t returned by Sunday morning. Reid, though concerned, carried on about his day.
“I got a phone call as I was watching cartoons and eating my cereal and it was my mom,” Reid says. “Talking to her on the phone, I heard noises I’d never heard before, subconsciously. I heard telephones ringing and I heard somebody say ‘sergeant.’ Reid knew something was wrong, but Adams assured him everything would be okay and that he “knew what to do.’’
“And when she said that, it all came into perspective,” Reid says. “When we were younger, she would teach us things and always tell us, ‘If one day I’m not here, you know how to take care of yourself and your little brother.’ And that was the phone call that told me I wasn’t going to see my mother for the next eight and a half years.”
Jonathan, who was with his father at the time of Adams’ arrest, was taken into his custody. Reid lived on his own for three weeks before going to live with an aunt. Before Reid turned 14, he’d stolen a car for the first time, sold drugs, and held his first gun. However, his maternal grandmother took him in soon after. Through her influence and the values his mother instilled in him as a child, Reid turned his life around, graduating from high school with a 4.0 GPA and earning an academic scholarship to study engineering at Rensselear Polythecnic Institute. Adams came home from prison when Reid was a sophomore in college.
“Those eight years that she sacrificed were for us,” Reid says. “If she didn’t have us, she wouldn’t have done that. But she wanted us to have a chance in this world, and so that was my way of saying ‘thank you.’ ”
Adams went on to receive a bachelor’s degree of her own, and Reid an MS in engineering. If doing eight years in the penitentiary is what it took to help her sons succeed, Adams says she’d do it all again.
Today, Reid uses his story of triumph to inspire his Operation DRIVEN students to reach for their full potential.
“Josh’s personality is infectious,” Hiles-Meadows says. “It’s very hard to have a bad day around Josh.” Reid’s students are always eager to participate and the attendance rate is at 98 percent, according to Hiles-Meadows.
“When Josh walks into a room, his presence is so powerful,” La’Shance Perry, an Operation DRIVEN mentee and Walnut Hills High School senior says. “He draws the attention of everyone around him before he even speaks. I aspire to be like that.”
As the 2017 Operation DRIVEN graduation ceremony nears its end, Reid puts a video on the projector to share. It’s the seven-minute-long Facebook video of him proposing to his fiancée Ashley Sutherland, which went viral with more than three million views as of May 14. By the end of the video, tears of joy are surging through the room.
“My whole point in telling my story is that dreams come true,” Reid says. “You’ve just got to be patient.”
With marriage and plans to expand Operation DRIVEN on the horizon, Reid has a lot to look forward to.
The 2017 Nefertiti Awards Banquet, honoring extraordinary women, is on Saturday, July 1, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Covington (the hotel with the revolving restaurant). Come, enjoy the vendors, music, and honorees, and be inspired!
Cincinnati Intern Network Connection (CINC – pronounced sync) is a summer-long program exposing interns and co-ops around the Cincinnati area, to all that the region has to offer through four engaging experiences. Organizations who host summer interns should encourage their students to sign up this week at cincyintern.com.
CINC has one event per week from June 13- July 13 for interns to attend and enjoy. The CINC 2017 Kickoff is June 13, 6-8:30p.m. at Great American Ball Park followed by a FC Cincinnati Tailgate & Game Experience, a BB Riverboat Social Cruise and finally, a Chat & Chew with local young professionals at Anderson Pavilion.
In its fifth year, CINC hopes to top its record 900 participants of 2016. Last year, CINC participants represented 182 companies, 156 universities and 40 countries.
“There is no better way to ensure students from a vibrant mix of backgrounds and cultures understand how this region can complement their lifestyle, goals and interests,” said Jill Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “Ultimately, our goal is to continue to expand the talent and opportunities found in the area.”
CINC is free to students and companies with the help of many investors which include: Presenting Investor Xavier University’s Summer Intern Housing; Excellence Investor P&G; Participating Investors Cintas, Ernst & Young, Kroger Technology, Miami University, Northern Kentucky University, Patheon and University of Cincinnati; and Contributing Investors Cincinnati Reds and The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) has found that 1 in 10 adults age 18-64 in our region (10 percent) reported being uninsured in 2017. This is down significantly from 2013 (19 percent) and 2010 (21 percent), but similar to 2002 (11 percent).
Results for African Americans were similar to Whites, with 10 percent reporting being uninsured versus 8 percent of Whites. This is also an improvement since 2013, when there was a gap between races, with 23 percent of African Americans being uninsured versus 17 percent of Whites.
This is the first time CHSS has collected insurance data since the 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Since then the national uninsured rate has declined steeply. After rising to 20 percent in 2013, the percentage of uninsured adults nationwide dropped to 12 percent in 2016. Our region was similar to the nation.
“Many factors affect an individual's health status,” says O'dell M. Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President/CEO of Interact for Health. “However, having health insurance is a critical factor in whether someone seeks the right health care at the right time. Those without health insurance are more likely to delay getting care when they need it.”
The uninsured rate among adults earning less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) dropped steeply. In 2013, 37 percent of adults in this group were uninsured. In 2017, only 8 percent were uninsured. This decline is likely because of the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio and Kentucky, which targeted uninsured adults earning less than 138 percent FPG.
Similarly, the percentage of uninsured adults earning between 100 percent and 200 percent FPG dropped from 28 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2016. Despite this decline, adults in this group were still more likely to be uninsured than adults in other income groups.
Insurance status varied by education. Nearly 3 in 10 adults with less than a high school education (26 percent) were uninsured. This compares with 1 in 10 high school graduates (10 percent) or those with some college (9 percent), and fewer than 1 in 10 college graduates (4 percent).
The stability of health insurance coverage is also a factor in access to health care. A measure of stability is whether a person has been covered continuously for the past 12 months. About 5 percent of currently insured adults age 18-64 in our region reported having been without insurance at some point in the last 12 months. This remains stable from 2013.
More information about the insurance held by adults in our region, the stability of insurance, and other topics, is available online at www.interactforhealth.org/community-health-status-survey.
The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for Interact for Health.
Interact for Health serves 20 area counties as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. More information is available at www.interactforhealth.org.
WILBERFORCE, OH. – Central State University and Union Savings Bank (USB) will create a Summer Banking Institute to train CSU students for careers in Banking.
The innovative partnership combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience at a Union Savings Bank location. The USB Summer Banking Institute, which starts June 5, is an eight-week program. Student participants will spend the first four weeks in classes taught on Central State’s campus by CSU faculty and USB officials. The remaining four weeks will be a paid internship at a participating branch bank site.
Dr. Fidelis Ikem, Dean of the CSU College of Business, said, “we teach the students what they need to know in the classroom and then they have an opportunity to gain field experience.”
The curriculum is designed with the banking industry in mind. Topics include Basics of Mortgage Processing, Retail Banking, Building and Retaining Customer Relationships, Relationship Selling, Data Management, Monetary Policy and Bank Operations.
The Institute is the brainchild of Union Savings Bank, whose branches serve Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The goal is to create a pipeline of talent for the banking institution. The bank has announced the opening of a new branch in Xenia, OH.
Louis Beck, Chairman of Union Savings Bank, said, "We are excited about collaborating with CSU in building future diversity and inclusive talent in the Banking industry. For us, having a presence in a community like Xenia, Ohio, is even more meaningful with a partnership with Central State University, a Historically Black College and University. We look forward to working with the students in the 2017 Summer Banking Institute and to building a robust talent pool through internships and deepening the understanding, familiarity and trust in the banking industry."
The Cincinnati Board of Park Commissioners announced it has hired Wade A. Walcutt, an Ohio native and current director of the Greensboro, North Carolina, Parks and Recreation Department, to lead Cincinnati's award-winning Parks system. Walcutt's selection was the culmination of an intensive nationwide search based on the input of more than 70 community leaders, civil servants, parks employees and devoted volunteers. After months of reviewing profiles and conducting interviews, Walcutt emerged as the candidate of choice due to his considerable experience and remarkable career success in parks management. Most notably, Walcutt was able to match public funds with more than $25MM in sponsorships and private partnerships during his time in Greensboro, and he also played an instrumental role in passing a $34.5 million bond package supporting land acquisition, infrastructure improvements and economic impact for Greensboro Parks and Recreation.
"I am thrilled that Wade is on his way to Cincinnati Parks to build on the incredible accomplishments that Cincinnati Parks have achieved under Willie Carden's tenure," said Dianne Rosenberg, chair of the Board of Park Commissioners. "Cincinnati is blessed to have a community that values and supports its beautiful parks, and I am confident we have selected a director whose vision and leadership will guide our park system to reaching even greater achievements on behalf of our citizens."
Walcutt has worked for the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department since 2011. He was promoted from Division Manager to Director in 2013. Previously, he served as the Facilities Manager and Park Operations Director for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department & The National Audubon Society, and as Program Supervisor for Westerville Parks and Recreation. He has a degree in Recreation Management from Ohio University. Walcutt was recently selected to serve a three-year term on the National Recreation and Parks Association Board of Regents as an instructor at the National Supervisors Management School.
Walcutt said, "I have been aware of Cincinnati's nationally ranked parks for quite some time, and upon my recent visit to Cincinnati, I was literally taken aback not only by the top-notch professional staff, but by the enthusiastic support of the citizenry and the philanthropic community. This kind of engagement simply does not occur everywhere, and I am honored to have been selected to build upon this extraordinary legacy. My wife Kelli and I, along with our two children Whitney (age 4) and Drew (age 10 months) are very much looking forward to returning to our home state of Ohio."
By Camri Nelson
The Cincinnati Herald
Dartmouth College alumna Amanda Brown Lierman, 31, who began her career working for the country’s first Black President, is now making history as the Democratic National Committee’s youngest political director.
Brown Lierman wasn’t always the strong and confident woman that she is today. As a child growing up in Georgia, she was extremely shy and was in search of her voice. It wasn’t until she met Meleia Willis Starbuck during her freshman year at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH that everything changed.
“She always pushed me to try to find my voice and share my opinions, which I had for sure, but I wasn’t comfortable pushing them out,” said Brown Lierman.
As the year progressed, the two Ivy League students became close friends, and Brown Lierman found her voice. A year later, the unimaginable happened: Willis Starbuck was interning in Berkeley, California when she was shot and killed.
“I didn’t know how to process that as an 18-year-old,” said Brown Lierman. “It’s crazy to lose your best friend and someone who has totally transformed the way that you see and think about the world.”
This was a very tough time for her. Instead of struggling in school, she took a break and with a help of a grant provided by Dartmouth she went to D.C to do an internship during her junior year of college. Her internship fell through days before she was to begin, but she didn’t let that stop her.
She applied to every internship that she could and finally received an internship offer to work with Senator Barack Obama in the Senate House in 2006.
“That was a crazy experience where you do all the glamorous and important grudge work of an intern like sorting mail, answering phones and giving tours,” said Brown Lierman. “You learn so much and it’s a great way to experience and get to know the players and learn more about how our government works.”
After finishing her internship, she went back to Hanover, graduated, and moved to Chicago with a plan to attend law school at The University of Chicago. However, while attending a fundraiser for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign, she ran into the future president, and that meeting caused her to reconsider her plans.
“Within a span of four minutes, he convinced me to go work for his campaign and defer law school because I could always go to law school, but I couldn’t always work for him,” she said.
Not knowing what to expect, she moved to Las Vegas to join the campaign. She admits that it was like being on a rollercoaster ride because she was constantly moving from state to state. Even though she was sleep deprived all of the time, she put forth her best effort.
After the election, she moved to D.C. to work on the inaugural committee, and shortly thereafter, was asked by the director of political affairs, Patrick Gaspard, if she wanted to be his assistant in the White House. She accepted the offer, and, hours after President Barack Obama was sworn into office, she began working in the White House.
“As a young person sitting in the West Wing, you have an amazing perspective and position to watch all the dynamics and learn the players,” Brown Lierman said.
After the midterm election cycle, she moved on to do policy work at various venues such as the US Department of Energy, Rock the Vote, and The National Women’s Business Council. She even helped start the “For Our Future” organization that helped bring awareness about global matters.
While trying to figure out her next venture, she was offered the position as the Democratic National Committee Council’s political director. She gladly took the position because she knew that the party needed to be restored and there is a great deal of work to be done.
“Being a young Black woman brings a lot of perspective to the role of understanding the communities and different constituencies and the different ways in which we can all work together,” she said. “I’m excited to bring my own personal experiences and use them to this very big and challenging role ahead.”
As she embarks on this new chapter of her life, she not only looks forward to her new role in the DNC, but also as an expectant mother – Brown Lierman is eight months pregnant. She hopes to set a good example for her child and provide him or her with a good life.
“Eighteen years from now, when my kid asked what did I do in this very moment, I would tell them that I tried to help, that I tried to do my part,” Brown Lierman said.
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513-961-3331, ext. 18.
By Dr. Vanessa Enoch, Ph.D.
On Wednesday afternoon, jurors entered the 15th hour of deliberation in the retrial of Ray Tensing, the White police officer who shot and killed unarmed Black motorist Sam DuBose in the summer of 2015 after stopping DuBose for driving a car without a front license plate.
Tensing’s first trial ended in November in a hung jury after the jury deliberated 25 hours.
With several days of testimony and 16 witnesses for the prosecution, on June 18 Tensing took the stand in his own defense. He was one of only four witnesses for the defense. Tensing maintained what the DuBose family defined as “fake emotions” throughout the trial.
As several witnesses analyzed the shooting video frame-by-frame, Tensing held his head down whenever the video showed the actual shooting. He appeared to be overcome with emotion when he finally took the stand to testify. Tensing explained that he had four officers cover him while he entered Dubose’s car to stop the revving of the engine after DuBose’s car slammed into a fence on Rice Street in Mount Auburn after he had been shot.
Tensing insisted that although he intentionally shot DuBose, he only did it to stop the threat of DuBose hitting him with the car as he began to drive away. He claimed he did not become aware that DuBose had died until after he arrived at the hospital following the shooting. He continually repeated he only shot DuBose to stop the threat, and that he had not intended to kill DuBose.
The prosecutor challenged the validity of Tensing’s statement when he asked whether Tensing, or any of the four officers who pointed a gun at DuBose’s car, ever once stopped to ask if DuBose was okay, and whether he needed medical attention. Tensing answered that neither he nor any of the other officers bothered to ask that question.
During closing statements, Prosecutor Seth Tieger pointed out that DuBose never posed a threat to Tensing, because all he had to do is just step away from the car and let him go. Tensing instead chose to execute DuBose, because he dared to defy his orders.
DuBose’s mother, Aubrey and sister Trina were overcome with grief after the trial, upon the realization that no one attempted to administer CPR or any life saving techniques to preserve Sam’s life. Trina said, “If Tensing didn’t know if he was dead or alive, then why didn’t he check his pulse or touch his body to see if he was dead or alive?” She went on to explain that Tensing cared more about his minor scratches than whether a man he just shot in the head was dead or alive. Trina said that, “Tensing was no more concerned about killing Sam than the dog that he killed. He comes off like a choir boy, but I don’t believe it.”
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ghiz blocked testimony about Tensing’s disproportionate stops of Black motorists and she refused to allow testimony about the fact that Tensing was wearing a Confederate flag t-shirt, which for many carries racial overtones. There is no doubt in the minds of protesters that race played a factor in the killing. Protestors carried signs stating things like, “Racism Kills”, “Black Lives Matter”, and “Leslie Ghiz is a Racist.” Ghiz is the judge in the case.
The Tensing verdict will come on the heels of last week’s acquittal of all charges against Jeronimo Yanez, a Hispanic cop who killed unarmed Black motorist Philando Castile, in front of his girlfriend and daughter in Minnesota. Thousand’s took to the street in protest of the verdict, which acquitted Yanez of all charges on Friday, June 16.Over the past couple of years, every cop across the country charged in the killings of unarmed Blacks have ended in no convictions. This has been the case in the killings of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and Amadou Diallo.
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
Mount Auburn resident property owner, and retired Cincinnati firefighter Stanford Poole has spent more than $3,000 on repairs to meet Cincinnati Building Code regulations on his two homes in the hilly neighborhood just south of the University of Cincinnati, a night in jail, more than $1,000 in court fines and costs, as well as inspections and legal costs. He has been in court 13 times to defend himself regarding the Building Code citations, and he has made more than 20 trips to the City Hall concerning these issues. It’s not over, for he faces additional fines and construction costs on repairs required by the City, repairs he says that resulted in one case from City requirements for an adjacent property to be razed.
Poole, who retired from the Cincinnati Fire Department after 28 years as a fire lieutenant with honors including a Key to the City, says he thinks what is happening to him, as well as those Mount Auburn property owners who were cited for code violations during one of the City’s Neighborhood Enhancement Programs (NEP), is targeted racism. Poole’s problems with the City began before the Mount Auburn NEP.
City Councilwoman (and mayoral candidate) Yvette Simpson spoke about the NEP citations at a recent meeting of Mount Auburn property owners at Woodward High School and at Taft Elementary School and is seeking a halt on them until the City Council can provide some guidelines for issuing them. Simpson, and Council members Wendell Young and Chris Seelbach have submitted a motion to the City Neighborhood Committee that calls for a halt on the issuance of citations until the City can get a handle on the situation and develop a program to assist homeowners in upgrading their properties. (See accompanying article.)
Poole owns rental properties at 2143 and 2160 Rice Street in Mount Auburn.
In a letter to City Council members, he requested an investigation into the Building Department and City Prosecutor’s Office, “as I do not believe these departments demonstrated the same principles that every City employee should abide by. These departments have an agenda to target myself and what I consider an attempt to execute a modern-day ‘eminent domain’ of prime real estate by fabricating violations and charges and attempting to accrue significant fines to try to take the property I have owned and maintained for over 30 years at no cost to the City.’’
The problems began, Poole said, when the owner of a garage that was attached to his rental home at 2143 Rice was required to repair or demolish it after it was damaged by a fallen tree limb. The company carrying out the demolition damaged the side of his home. Also, the adjacent property homeowner did not have a demolition permit.
Litigation was waived against the adjacent building owner, but Building Department officials cited Poole for the damage that was caused to his siding, Poole said. Yet, the City has still not corrected the hazardous drop off resulting from the removal of the garage.
Not long after the garage was removed, Poole was pulled over by a Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputy and issued a warrant for a building code violation for his property. He pleaded not guilty in court, explaining that the damage to his house was due to the negligence of the City’s Building Department in having the adjacent garage demolished. He complied with the citation by having siding added to the damaged side of the home. He still hopes to recover these expenses from the City, he said.
While dealing with this situation, Poole received a postcard from the City informing him an additional warrant had been issued against him regarding an issue City inspectors had with a joist that supported a second story porch at his house at 2160 Rice St. The porch was supported by wooden beams that ran into the house through the flooring on the second story, providing more than adequate support, he said.
In a meeting with an assistant city manager, Poole related that he felt he was being discriminated against as a minority property owner, and that inspectors were bringing other charges against him to cover up their mistake at the residence at 2143 Rice. After not getting anywhere with the assistant, Poole said he was taking his case to the city manager, but was advised that would not be possible, he said.
Back in court, this time regarding the porch at the second house, Poole presented the judge with a report from a licensed structural engineer who stated the porch was structurally sound. The judge refused to allow the report as evidence, and found Poole guilty of violating City code.
With no criminal record, on November 16, 2016, he was sentenced to jail where he spent a night, placed on probation for a year, fined, and had an electronic monitoring device placed on him for 180 days. He was fined $1,750 in the case involving the porch issue and $1,750 for the case involving the garage demolition, a case that had been previously dismissed.
Just recently, City inspectors conducted another inspection of his house at 2160 Rice, an inspection that cost him more than $300.
After 12 court appearances, spending time in jail, damage to one of his homes, and fines and out-of-pocket expenses of about $8,000, the harassment continues, he said.
He said he finds the inspectors “bullying, threatening, and constantly covering up for each other.’’ His case documents reveal this. After one inspector overruled another about whether the required work at 2143 Rice was completed, inspector Ed Cunningham referred his case for “criminal action,’’ which resulted in the jail sentence.
Poole’s case is being looked at by the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C., that researches code enforcement issues nationwide. Joshua House, of the Institute for Justice, came to Cincinnati to meet with Poole and visit his properties. He says with some municipalities finding it more difficult to use eminent domain proceedings to gain control of potential development properties, they are turning to excessive code enforcement measures to force property owners out. Ohio is one state where eminent domain proceedings have become more limited, he said.
House said, “The problem of over criminalization of code enforcement is picking up nationwide. As the economy is picking up, cities want to develop faster and are turning to code violations to gain control of properties.’’
House he is not accusing Cincinnati of doing this. But he added property owners in Atlanta are also receiving sentences that involves probation, and jail time for code violations. “The intent of having code enforcement rules is to improve conditions in a community, not to put people in jail,’’ he said.
Poole concludes, “I spent about $8,000 clowning around with these folks from the City, now have a criminal record, and have not gotten back the two fines I paid the City.”
Duane Simpson, Poole’s attorney who came on board late in his code battle, was able to have the charges dropped against Poole.
He said the problem with the City’s housing code is its provisions for criminal actions, with a first-degree misdemeanor resulting in 180 days probation and a $1,000 fine.
“The City has made noncompliance a criminal procedure. Violators get to court thinking they can go in there and present their argument without an attorney, as Mr. Poole did, and they end up on probation or in jail,’’ he said. “Many of those cited do not have the financial means to bring houses up to code or do not understand what the inspectors are telling them. My experience is you can work with them and get those issues resolved.’’
Simpson says the Housing Court does have a diversion program that, for a $200 fee, allows them to come into code so they can pass inspection and have the case dismissed.
It would make more sense for the City to coordinate services for repairs and place a lien on properties if the owners do not comply, he said. The owners would be forced to be pay back the costs of those repairs the City advanced to them for the repairs when the property is sold.
Simpson says housing code violations should be handled as civil cases, not criminal cases.
The bigger issue is the focus on certain demographic areas and are the citations issued fairly, Simpson said. Are they citing people in just certain area? she asks. “There is a purpose for a housing code, but is the City handling it consistently?’’
Councilman Wendell Young noted that while the complaints stem from the NEP the purpose the NEPs s is to help rid communities of blighted areas, enhance properties, and help homeowners keep up their property values. “The idea is to have as many services as possible available to help the homeowners, and we do bring in building inspectors and they do write citations. This is as good thing in that some building owners do not take care of their properties, and those properties, especially those of absentee home owners, become a drag on a community, which draws crime and other negative influences to the community,’’ he said.
The downside of this is that some homeowners in Mount Auburn found themselves cited for in the properties they live in, Young said. He explained some of those homeowners do not have the finances to make the required repairs or improvements, and those people feel as though they are being driven out by people looking at Mt. Auburn as the next place for gentrification and redevelopment.
“The City denies that,’’ he said. “The City does not want to hurt or displace homeowners and force them out of their properties. Any program the City has should assist people in staying in their homes, and help make the neighborhood safe and attractive where people can take pride in where they live. Homeowners should never feel their government is their enemy.’’
Yvonne Gray Washington is retiring June 30 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of United Way of Greater Cincinnati after 21-plus years with the organization.
“It’s been my great pleasure and honor to work side-by-side with Yvonne Washington over the past 17 years,” said Rob Reifsnyder, president and CEO, United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “Every CEO should be fortunate enough to work with someone of Yvonne’s mission-driven leadership caliber. She has led many critical initiatives and guided our United Way to great success, while contributing her volunteer talents to numerous community organizations. Yvonne will be sorely missed.”
Washington joined United Way of Greater Cincinnati in March of 1996 as vice president of Finance & Administration and became chief operating officer in January of 1999. In February of 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president.
“I’ve been fortunate to be part of such a great organization, surrounded by so many dedicated and talented leaders,” said Washington. “It gives me great pride to call them colleagues and friends. While I look ahead to the next chapter of my life’s journey, I will look back fondly on my time at United Way.”
As executive vice president, Washington shared responsibility with the president for the overall operations of the organization, including strategic planning efforts, governance and corporate administrative matters. She also had oversight responsibility for the organization’s four regional offices: Dearborn & Ohio Counties in Indiana, Northern Kentucky, Clermont & Brown Counties, and Middletown in Ohio. Notably, Washington led United Way’s recent building renovation and she was a founder the Herbert R. Brown Society, which engages African American leaders working together to improve the region.
“Yvonne has been a focused, passionate and calm leader whose positive dedication to the people in our community has made a huge impact on our United Way and our community at large,” said Julia Poston, managing partner, EY, and current United Way of Greater Cincinnati Board chair. “Yvonne’s thoughtful, steady approach to solving problems will leave a lasting impact for years to come. Yvonne will be missed but we wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement!”
Washington’s professional background also includes 21 years of experience in banking, public accounting and education.
Washington has been extensively involved in the Greater Cincinnati community. She currently serves on the Boards of 3CDC, Every Child Succeeds, Bethesda Inc., The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati. Previous activities include serving as a member of the Boards of TriHealth, Inc., Health Care Access Now, The Springer School, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and Enjoy the Arts.
Washington was named an Enquirer Woman of the Year for 2007. She was a 2000 YWCA Career Women of Achievement honoree and served as co-chair for the YWCA Rising Stars program. Other honors include Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction.
She is a member of The Queen City Chapter of Links, Incorporated, and Leadership Cincinnati Class XXII where she has served on the alumni board.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from West Virginia State University. In 2005, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College of Mount St. Joseph.
Yvonne and her husband, Dennis, have five adult children and seven grandchildren. They reside in Symmes Township.
Applications are available now for the 2017 Ohio Minority Engineering Student Scholarship Program (OMESSP) sponsored by CT Consultants, Inc. in collaboration with Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and New Visions Group, LLC.
The purpose of the OMESSP is to foster minority students majoring in civil engineering through mentorship and financial assistance and possible internship opportunities.
The 2017 application process is currently open on a rolling basis with award cycles beginning in May, August and January. Applicants can view program details, past recipients and complete the application form online at http://www.ctconsultants.com/about-us/scholarship.
The Ohio Minority Engineering Student Scholarship Program offers four $2,500.00 scholarships on an annual basis to students enrolled in accredited Ohio colleges or universities in a civil engineering program. Since its establishment in 2008, the program has awarded 23 scholarships totaling $57,500.00 to undergraduate students from seven Ohio colleges and universities.
For requirements and information visit http://www.ctconsultants.com/about-us/scholarship.
Ten beautiful, accomplished women who exemplify the wisdom and inner beauty of the ancient African Queen Nefertiti will be honored at the Nefertiti Awards Banquet on Saturday, July 1, noon - 2 p.m. Guests should arrive at the Radisson in Covington by 11 a.m. to take advantage of the vendors, enjoy a little Jazz, and mingle with friends before the royal honorees process in at noon. As always, Nefertiti will be an afternoon of music, entertainment, food and fun! Tickets are available at www.TheCincinnatiHerald.com, or by calling 513-961- 3331, ext. 10.
By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Former NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, also former Black press executive, is now launching a political career.
Perhaps recently best known as a surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Jealous confirmed this week that he is running for governor of Maryland. He cited his long record of civil rights and the diversity of the state of Maryland as being matched to his favor.
"When I was president of the NAACP I learned just how quickly my neighbors here were prepared to move forward on civil rights. In one year, we abolished the death penalty, we passed marriage equality, we passed the Dream Act. I'm running for governor because I believe we're prepared to move just as quickly in moving forward on our education, on employment, on the environment while continuing to protect civil rights," Jealous said this week in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. "I'm running for governor because I believe we can do much better by our kids right now."
Tim Burke, chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said that for years, the Sycamore Township Trustees gave the exclusive right to sell beer at the Township’s Summer Festival in Sycamore to the Sycamore Township Republican Club.
“Conveniently, those same Township trustees and the Township’s Parks and Recreation director who ran the Festival, were also the officers of the Sycamore Township Republican Club,’’ Burke said. “While Sycamore Township was losing tens of thousands of dollars a year on its festival, the Republican Club was clearing ten to twenty thousand dollars a year on the sale of beer. Then the club would donate the bulk of those proceeds to the Township Trustees running for re-election. The conflict of interest couldn’t have been any clearer. ‘’
Three years ago this week, Burke filed a complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission regarding this obvious misuse of government authority. Subsequently the Ethics Commission referred the matter to the County Prosecutor’s office. This week, Burke received a letter from the Ethics Commission, with a copy of the agreement reached between a special prosecutor and the trustees and Parks and Recreation director. The agreement requires the public officials to resign as officers of the Republican Club and requires that any future profits from beer sales by the Republican Club can not be used for any partisan cause and must be donated to a local charity or back to the Township.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters had received at least one contribution from the Township Republican Club, which probably why a special prosecutor was appointed, Burke said. “While three years is far too long for this blatant abuse of township power for personal political gain to go on, at least this slush fund is finally shut down once and for all,” said Burke.
Kroger and the City of Cincinnati on Tuesday announced that Kroger is building a new downtown store. Cincinnati-based Kroger will relocate its Vine Street store less than a half mile to a new site at the corner of Court and Walnut Streets. The store will be part of a $90.5 million, 18-story mixed-use development that will also include a 555-space parking garage and 139 market-rate apartments.
At 45,000 square feet, the new store will be twice the size of Kroger’s Vine Street location, offering fresh food and traditional grocery items at low prices that Over-the-Rhine, West End and downtown residents currently enjoy. In addition, fresher prepared meals and a greater variety of products will be available for shoppers to choose from once the new store opens. The grocery store will be located on the first floor of the new structure, while a bar and food hall, featuring several local vendors and restaurant-style seating, will open on the second floor, alongside the grocery’s beer and wine section. Kroger is investing $19 million for the new store.
Above the grocery store, the 555-space parking garage will serve a combination of Kroger customers, apartment residents, and the public. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) will serve as developer on the project and will manage the day-to-day operations of the garage, which will be owned by the City of Cincinnati, upon its completion. North American Properties, NorthPointe Group, and Rookwood Properties will develop, own and manage the residential portion of the new development, located above the parking garage.
The City of Cincinnati will contribute $8.5 million to the project in the form of a grant, with $6.5 million being used for the construction of the garage and $2 million going toward the residential portion of the project. Approximately $2.5 million in Federal and State New Markets Tax Credit equity will also be utilized, but will be used solely to fund the construction of the grocery store.
An estimated 52,000 square feet of vacant street-level commercial space and 190,000 square feet of vacant land currently exist within two blocks of the project site, and for several years, the lack of accessible transient parking has limited commercial activity in the area. The new development will serve as a catalyst to the Court Street corridor, which had been considered a “dead zone” before recent efforts to activate the area, ultimately connecting the Central Business District to Over-the-Rhine.
The new development will also bring many new jobs to the area, including approximately 160 permanent positions at the grocery store, and 1,200 temporary construction jobs. As part of the relocation, all 60 associates at the Vine Street store will be offered employment at the new location or other Cincinnati-area stores.
The Vine Street location will continue to operate until the new store is completed, at which time Kroger will donate the Vine Street store to 3CDC.
Construction on the new mixed-use development will commence this summer, with Turner Construction serving as the general contractor on the project, and GBBN as the architect. Completion is slated for mid-2019.
COLUMBUS - The Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) welcomes Duffy Jamieson who will serve as Regional Director for the Commission in the Dayton Regional Office and Cincinnati Satellite Office. Jamieson is a seasoned attorney with more than 27 years of litigation experience with the Ohio Attorney General’s office, including eleven years as assistant chief of the Civil Rights Section. Jamieson also possesses an impressive track record of outreach to Ohio communities and has received local and national recognition for his legal work.
Executive Director of the OCRC, G. Michael Payton, remarked, “We are elated for the opportunity to again work with Duffy Jamieson, who is a highly talented individual. As prior legal counsel who prosecuted cases for the OCRC in the Attorney General’s office, Duffy will bring many years of dedicated, professional service and experience to the OCRC’s management team. He is highly respected by his legal peers.”
For more information about the OCRC, visit our website at: www.crc.ohio.gov.
State Representative Alicia Reece, (D-Cincinnati), who represents Cincinnati’s 33rd District, says she is considering either a potential run for Congress or a state office in 2018 once her term in the State Legislature expires at the end of this year. Reece has served two terms as a state representative and cannot seek re-election under Ohio’s term limit provisions.
Reece said she will be in Washington, D.C., on June 15 to discuss running for Ohio’s First Congressional District seat in Congress, currently held by veteran Congressman Steve Chabot, a Republican. She will be meeting with members of the National Democratic Committee, including Representatives Elijah Cummins of Baltimore, Maryland, and Marcia Fudge, of Cleveland, who is a former Congressional Black Caucus president. Both have asked her to consider a run against Chabot.
Reece, a former Cincinnati City Councilwoman and assistant director of Ohio’s Department of Tourism, served as chair of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus as a state representative. She was instrumental in the OLBC holding its annual convention in Cincinnati last summer. As a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016, she was able to have her proposed Voters Bill of Rights incorporated in the party’s platform.
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