Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Lunch, Fountain Square

Not an empty seat in the Square (ok -- maybe there's one next to the guy who's relaxing in the sun).

Jails Opening, Jails Closing: There Has To Be A Regional Solution

Today's headlines are all about jails. One's being built (Kenton County). Others are underutilized or are now sitting empty (Butler County). Other places, like Hamilton County, are running short on jailspace. Campbell County is looking to rent space to others.

I've had the discussion before, but like other government "services," some mechanism for sharing jailspace and jail capacity among all these regional entities has to be part of the long-term solution. From a 30,000-foot level, the current situation just doesn't make sense. And the taxpayer is paying for it all.

I will pursue this further and keep you posted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In Our Tough Economy, Help is a Click Away

The economy continues to struggle, and so do many of our families.

I want to remind people that there is help out there, whether it's how to reduce costs on everything from prescription drugs to energy to child care, or avoid a foreclosure, or find access to job training and jobs.

You can find all these resources at a website we set up several months ago. Just go to

60 New "Green" Schoolbuses for County School Districts

I was excited yesterday to join the EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, in announcing a $1 million grant award for our Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services.

Working with seven school districts across the county, this grant, leveraging $3 million being invested by the school districts themselves, will build upon years of work to make our collective school bus fleet "green." Specifically, this grant will lead to the purchase of 60 new clean diesel schoolbuses, removing 15,000 pounds of contaminants from our air annually.

The Southwest Ohio Clean Diesel Campaign was started by Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services in 2004 after we received our first grant from EPA, and has already retrofitted 460 district-owned school buses with clean diesel technology, removing an estimated 28,000 pounds of air pollutants annually.

For stories on the announcement, go here and here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

World Cup in Cincinnati? Worth Going For

26 billion viewers across the globe. Four to six games--all sold out. Three weeks of hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the county and the world. A huge economic impact.

That could all take place in Cincinnati/Hamilton County in 2018 if we get the job done.

Hamilton County submitted our initial interest in being one of the sites for soccer's World Cup with the USA Bid Committee. We will put together a working committee to more intensely assess and pursue the opportunity, and the Bengals, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and City of Cincinnati have already agreed to take part.

It's a long time from now, and there will definitely be a competition to get there--but it's also a huge opportunity. More to come.

Monday, June 1, 2009

An Ounce of Prevention . . .

At our staff meeting today, we discussed the rolling out of a program that will benefit hundreds of young people in the County--particularly young people who face the greatest obstacles to "making it."

Through federal stimulus funds, nearly 700 area young people will see summer jobs and skills training for future employment opportunities.

The young people, ages 14 to 24, will be chosen based on certain barriers to employment, such as dropping out of high school or a history in foster care. They will then be exposed to skill training, jobs and careers in green industries, health care, construction, advanced manufacturing, education, science, technology, engineering and math.

Most young people will receive a combination of work readiness training and placement with a local employer. Additionally, participants may receive computer and financial literacy training, career exploration and planning, and/or student aid assistance.

By making these kinds of strategic investments in our young people, particularly those that are facing the greatest obstacles, we not only build the workforce of the future, but we prevent problems that cost us all.

Five providers with proven track recorders were selected out of 17 proposals to deliver the services – the Easter Seals Work Resource Center, Great Oaks, Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates, Arbor Employment and Training and the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati.

We will shortly provide more information on how families can access this opportunity.
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