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Cincinnati In The News

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Ohio does in fact make or break U.S. presidents


Political junkees have long called Ohio the ultimate swing state, the king-maker in U.S. presidential races. WVXU's Howard Wilkinson has found the numbers to prove that, in fact, Ohio is the decider.

"At last we can prove what we knew intuitively all along – that there is no better state to look at than Ohio as the predictor of who the next president will be," Wilkinson writes. "And it is the state where the vote in presidential elections most closely mirrors the nation's vote as a whole."

He shares data from Kyle Kondik, managing editor of a weekly politics newsletter published by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, looking at presidential elections dating back to 1896 and finding that no state had a higher percentage of picking the winner than Ohio. The candidate who won Ohio won the presidency 28 of 30 times, for 93 percent.

Ohio was followed closely by New Mexico, which picked 24 of the last 26 for 92 percent. (New Mexico didn't become a state until 1912.)

Read the full WVXU story here.
 

Cincinnati Children's named #3 overall pediatric hospital in U.S.


U.S. News & World Report released its ninth annual rankings of U.S. pediatric hospitals, and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center was recognized as #3 overall.

The rankings evaluate hospitals in 10 specialties, from cancer to urology, and in the new rankings 83 hospitals were ranked among the top 50 in at least one specialty. Twelve of the 83 ranked hospitals had high scores in three or more specialties and were named to the Honor Roll. Cincinnati Children's was one of only three hospitals to be ranked in all 10 specialties, and the other two (Boston Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) ended up #1 and #2 overall, respectively.

See the full rankings here.
 

Kroger 20, P&G 32 on new Fortune 500 list


Greater Cincinnati is home to 10 of this year's Fortune 500 in the magazine's 2015 ranking of the largest U.S. public companies. Kroger is the highest ranked, at #20, followed by Procter & Gamble at #32.

Other locally-based companies to make the list include Macy's (105), Ashland (371), Omnicare (414), AK Steel (415), Fifth Third Bank (416), General Cable (443), American Financial (459) and Western & Southern (481). Omnicare recently announced it was being acquired by CVS Health (#10 on the list).

Five years ago, P&G was ranked #22 and Kroger #23.

The five largest U.S. companies are Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway and Apple.

See the full Fortune 500 list here.
 

Workers need to make $13-$14/hour to afford apartment in Tristate


CityLab discusses a new study by the Pew Research Center on the growing gap between what American hourly workers earn and the rising cost of housing. The study results in a map showing how much a worker needs to earn per hour in each state to rent a two-bedroom apartment, finding that in no state can a person earning minimum wage afford such an apartment at market rent.

You'd have to earn $14.13 per hour in Ohio to afford a two-bedroom apartment, $14.31 in Indiana and $13.14 in Kentucky. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; Ohio raised its minimum wage to $8.10/hour this year, while Indiana and Kentucky use the federally mandated rate.

CityLab also looks at the cost of moving to one-bedroom apartments, though the hourly pay requirements aren't spelled out state-by-state. Instead, a second map indicates that someone in Ohio working a minimum-wage job would need to work 54 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment; Indiana workers would have to work 62 hours/week and Kentucky workers 57 hours/week.

"Rents keep rising because the demand for rentals keeps growing, and that’s partly because fewer people can afford to buy their homes today than they could before the recession," the article says. "The low supply of rentals has created a situation where people who definitely can’t afford to buy are also priced out of renting."

Read the full story here.
 

WVXU's Cincinnati Edition discusses church buildings coming back to life


WVXU's "Cincinnati Edition" show did a segment June 2 about abandoned local church buildings coming back to life, the subject of a recent Soapbox feature story by Rick Pender. Host Mark Heyne interviewed Pender, Cincinnati Preservation Association Executive Director Paul Muller and Kevin Moreland, head brewer and partner at Taft's Ale House, a focal point of Pender's story.

Listen to the full "Cincinnati Edition" segment here.
 

Hamilton County's slashed government jobs are likely gone for good


Governing Magazine's June issue reviews financial documents for more than 250 of the nation's larger distressed cities and counties to identify those recording among the steepest declines in public employment. Hamilton County ranks 11th, cutting 26.8 percent of its workforce from its 2006 peak of 6,272 positions to its current staff of 4,592.

"Total local government employment nationally remains about a half-million below its 2008 peak. But some governments have suffered a great deal more than others," says the article, "Are Some Government Jobs Gone for Good?" "What led these governments to make severe workforce reductions and how they responded to cutbacks offer unique lessons in an era of doing more with less."

Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman is quoted as saying he doesn't expect his workforce to return to pre-recession levels anytime soon but that the county has learned to adapt to the new reality. "Quite frankly, I don't want those days back," he says. "We’re now a leaner and more engaged organization."

Read the full article here.
 

Cincinnati's police reform after 2001 riots is a national model


Cincinnati Police reforms resulting from a U.S. Justice Dept. consent decree after the 2001 riots here are in the news every time another major city undergoes soul-searching following the death of an African American at the hands of police. The latest news story was about Cleveland's own consent decree from the Justice Dept. that will attempt to clean up a broken relationship between that city's police and its citizens.

"Cincinnati’s lessons seem newly relevant as officials call for police reform in the aftermath of the deaths of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Tamir Rice in Cleveland," Alana Semuels writes in The Atlantic. "Indeed, the recently released report from President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommends that departments adopt some of the strategies used by Cincinnati. A task force convened by Ohio Governor John Kasich cited Cincinnati as a model for community-oriented policing and recommended that other law-enforcement agencies in that state develop similar reforms."

Semuels offers a long, nuanced story about the long path the Cincinnati Police Dept. has traveled from its own broken community relationship to today's role as "a model for community-oriented policing." Things aren't perfect here by any stretch, as the rash of recent shootings have some questioning if the police are still on the right path.

Still, "for a great many other cities, Cincinnati’s imperfect present provides a glimpse of a much better future," Semuels writes.

Read the full story here.
 

Cincinnati rated #7 best park system among major U.S. cities


The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization working to create and improve neighborhood parks, has released its ParkScore index to rate how well the 75 largest U.S. cities are meeting the need for parks. Cincinnati ranks #7.

ParkScore uses mapping technology to identify which neighborhoods and demographics are underserved by parks and how many people are able to reach a park within a 10-minute walk. The maximum ParkScore is 100, and Cincinnati received 75. The two cities tied for #1, Minneapolis and St. Paul, received grades of 84.

The Trust for Public Land based its analysis on what it says are the three important characteristics of an effective park system: acreage, facilities and investment and access. In these rankings, the best park systems have large median park sizes in terms of acreage (Cincinnati is OK there); parks comprising a large percentage of city area (Cincinnati is good); spend a lot on parks on a per-resident basis (Cincinnati gets the max score there); provide what TPL says are the four key facilities parks should have: basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds and recreation and senior centers (Cincinnati does well); and have a public park within a 10-minute (1/2 mile) walk of all residents (Cincinnati is OK; the orange/red areas in the map above fall outside the 10-minute-walk threshold).

See the full rankings and city writeups here. Find out more about the Cincinnati Parks system here.
 

Memorial Day weekend event recommendations


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, featuring Taste of Cincinnati returning for the 37th year and lots of neighborhood parades, picnics and ceremonies honoring military veterans. Here's a roundup of local media coverage and recommendations:

Read the official 2015 Taste of Cincinnati event guide here.

The Enquirer's preview of Taste of Cincinnati, including Polly Campbell's recommended dishes, is here.

WCPO.com's preview of Taste of Cincinnati is here.

WVXU-FM has an interview with Taste of Cincinnati Communications Director Rich Walburg and others here.

See CityBeat's "to do" staff picks for weekend activities here.

Rasputin Todd's Enquirer recommendations for weekend things to do are here.
 

We're happy this Top 20 list doesn't include Cincinnati


Pest-control experts Orkin release a list each spring of the 20 worst mosquito cities in the U.S. based on the number of service calls the company makes to treat the buggers. There's finally a "top 20 cities" list that (thankfully) leaves off Cincinnati.

"Mosquito bites can transmit West Nile virus and other conditions that cause encephalitis — or swelling of the brain — as well as a relatively new virus in the United States called chikungunya virus," the Orkin report says. "In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upgraded chikungunya virus to a 'nationally notifiable condition' in the United States, providing state and local health departments with standard definitions for reporting and tracking cases."

If it's alright with you, just take that chikungunya somewhere else.

Read the Orkin rankings and helpful mosquito FAQs here.
 

Locally filmed 'Carol' gets rave reviews at Cannes


Todd Haynes' 1950s-era drama Carol, filmed in Cincinnati last year, debuted this past weekend at the Cannes Film Festival in France to outstanding reviews, writes Steve Rosen on today's CityBeat staff blog. He says Cannes critics "called it an instant Oscar contender and the most important high-profile gay drama to come out of American cinema since 2005's Brokeback Mountain."

Carol stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a story (based on the 1952 novel The Price of Salt) about a socialite who falls in love with a young department-store clerk.

Rosen links to published reviews from Variety ("the most important publication chronicling the entertainment business") and indieWire ("the most influential website for the independent-film industry").

Read the full post here.
 

Cincinnati Symphony's stability, growth in stark contrast to many other U.S. orchestras


The New York Times took notice of last week's announcements from Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra about its successful fundraising campaign and a new musician contract that will allow it to hire 14 more full-time players over the next four years. Classical music writer Michael Cooper says that the CSO's expansion of the ensemble to 90 members is in stark contrast to many other orchestras around the country, from Philadelphia to Atlanta, that are shedding positions to save money.

"The orchestra world is all too familiar with vicious cycles of mounting deficits, dwindling audiences, difficulty raising money and cuts," Cooper writes. "But at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, things are moving happily in the opposite direction: think crescendo, not diminuendo."

Read the full story here.
 

First Batch highlighted as one of the country's hottest design incubators


Dwell magazine has published a guide to “a few of the country's hottest design incubators,” including Cincinnati's manufacturing-focused First Batch, that it says are helping independent designers learn the basics of how to scale up and boost the local economy.
 
“While starting a company seems the scariest, figuring out how to grow and stay sustainable offers the most challenging decisions,” Matt Anthony, program manager of First Batch, says in the article. The Over-the-Rhine-based company is described as “one of the many local organizations across the United States helping designers and manufacturers build the networks, relationships and infrastructure they need to thrive.”

The article also highlights design incubators in Detroit, San Francisco and Oakland.

Read the full article here.
 

Cincinnati one of 10 cities recommended for relocations


The Huffington Post is reporting on new Lincoln Property recommendations for the "Top 10 Cities for Relocation" that considers a city's nightlife, culture, food, weather and rent costs. Cincinnati makes the list, which is arranged in random order and includes Austin, Tex.; Boulder, Colo.; and Philadelphia.

Cincinnati's infographic highlights Oktoberfest, cornhole, the Reds, our signature chili and our location "opposite the mouth of the Licking River."

Read the full article here.
 

New data analytics focus makes Cincinnati "the city of the future"


The City of Cincinnati's new approach to using data analytics to make city government more efficient and effective, championed by City Manager Harry Black, "turns tradition on its head" and "might start a national trend," according to a new article on Backchannel, a tech-focused subsite at Medium.com.

Backchannel praises Black and Chief Performance Office Chad Kenney for the debut of the city's Office of Performance and Data Analytics. Black previously served as Finance Director in Baltimore, where Kenney ran a similar tech-savvy program called CitiStat.

Backchannel contributor Susan Crawford says the genius of Black and Kenney's plan is that they intend to focus on outcomes instead of just outputs, as evidenced by the city's new Open Data portal.

"Outputs are what we can measure. Outcomes are what we really want," Crawford writes. "So what would happen if a city's services were managed, top to bottom, to focus on outcomes rather than outputs? We're about to find out in the great state of Ohio. Cincinnati, the Queen City, whose population is expected to grow to more than 300,000 in 2020 (following years of population flight) is determined to make the crucial shift."

Read the full Backchannel article here.
 
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