Bill Rinehart

Reporter, Host of All Things Considered

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.

Ways to Connect

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

There could be four U.S. Senators doing some  odd gyrations on the steps of the Capitol by Tuesday morning. 

All because of a football game Monday night - the national championship game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Oregon Ducks.

There's interest on Capitol Hill in the Monday night game.  Ohio Senator Rob Portman says he'll be watching the game.

Portman, a Republican, and the Democratic senator from Ohio, Sherrod Brown, have a wager with their colleagues from Oregon.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Macy’s plans to lay off thousands of retail workers in response to changing shopping habits in stores and online.  The Cincinnati-based retailer has announced it will close 14 department stores in nine different states, but will open two new locations in the continental US and one in Puerto Rico, and will open two new Bloomingdale’s stores by late 2017.

In a press release late Thursday afternoon, Macy’s says its overall workforce of about 175,000 will stay nearly the same as it picks up staffing in other parts of the company.

Provided, Freedom Center, by Farshid Assass, Assassi Productions

 A delegation from the Freedom Center met recently with activists in Greece, Lithuania and Romania, to talk about human trafficking.

Brooke Hathaway of the Freedom Center, who was among the three-member delegation, says they went to Eastern Europe to meet and thank the people who've been instrumental in combating human trafficking in those nations.  She says they wanted to learn from those people and to raise awareness of the problem back in the United States.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has released a list of the most popular books in 2014.  They are the titles that were checked out most often between January and November of this year.  (December’s numbers weren’t available.)

Top 10  Adult Book Titles:

1.       Top Secret Twenty-one by Janet Evanovich

2.       Invisible by James Patterson 

3.       The Target by David Baldacci

4.       Unlucky 13 by James Patterson 

5.       The Collector by Nora Roberts 

6.       A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The City of Cincinnati has reached a deal with the unions of current employees and with retirees over the pension fund.  Unfunded liability in that account had been estimated at $862 million, according to a release from the city.  But now, Mayor John Cranley says the settlement reached late Tuesday night will mean the pension system will be fully funded.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The debate over Christmas trees, real or artificial, will likely never stop.  Artificial trees can be used again and again, while live trees have a short life span.  However, the real things do serve a purpose after they are no longer good for decoration.

The Clermont County Park District says natural trees can be composted or mulched, and they are often used for shoreline stabilization projects, to reduce beach erosion, and under water as fish habitat.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The governors of Ohio and Kentucky plan to meet early next year to talk about replacing the Brent Spence Bridge. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says they're going to try to find a way to get the project moving.  He says any more delays will be costly.

Using a 3 percent inflation figure from the Federal Highway Administration, Beshear says continued delays will add about $7 million per month to the construction price tag.  “Folks, that’s $84 million a year,” he says.

Jennifer Wright / provided

Combat veterans face a host of challenges when they return to civilian life. Some of them end up in trouble.  But there is an effort across the country to keep them out of jail and back on the straight and narrow.  In Hamilton County, there’s a unique twist to help vets manage their lives: yoga. 

Veterans’ Courts have sprung up across the country as a way to reduce recidivism.  They work like drug or mental health courts.  Veterans charged with misdemeanors or low level felonies are directed out of the regular docket and into the special programs to meet their particular needs.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is approaching its busiest time of the year. But spokesman Jay Brock says Christmas being on a Thursday could spread out the rush. 

“People are probably going to be taking off some of those days," says Brock. "So it is probably going to be Christmas Eve, or probably that Monday as well… going to be a heavy travel day.”

Provided / SORTA

The SORTA board of trustees has signed off on an operating and maintenance agreement for the streetcar.  Cincinnati Council has already approved the agreement, which spells out the responsibilities of the transit authority and the city.

The new streetcar logo was also unveiled Tuesday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will make an annual funding request to the city to cover operating costs.  The city will collect the funds from fares, advertising revenue, parking fees, and from property tax abatement offset revenue.

provided / Metro

The former head of Atlanta’s streetcar project is now the chief executive officer of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

The SORTA Board approved Dwight Ferrell as the new CEO Tuesday morning.

Ferrell comes to the Cincinnati area from Fulton County, Georgia, where he served as county manager since October 2013.  Before that, he was the deputy general manager and chief operating officer of MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority for four years.

provided

Two big, and relatively new, Cincinnati music festivals will be run by a Columbus company.  PromoWest has purchased the rights to Bunbury and Buckle Up. 

“We are excited to expand into the Cincinnati market,'' said Scott Stienecker, president and CEO of PromoWest Productions. "We have strong relationships with the bands that play Bunbury as they play our venues throughout the year."

According to a release from PromoWest, the concerts' founder, Bill Donabedian, will continue to oversee the events.  The company will handle booking, marketing, and production for the concerts.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The schedule Metro’s buses follow is about to change.  The transportation entity shifts to its winter schedule this weekend.  21 bus routes will change as of December 7. 

Sarah Ramsey

A member of Cincinnati council has won an award for his idea on Town Square Schools. 

P.G. Sittenfeld is one of four people to win the New Ideas Challenge, from the NewDEAL, a group of elected Democrats from across the country.  Sittenfeld’s proposal, the Town Square Schools program, uses school buildings for neighborhood programs after classes have dismissed. 

Two Cincinnati men have each received $100,000 from a philanthropic organization that wants to improve the city.  People's Liberty named Brad Cooper and Brad Schnittger as the first recipients of the Haile Fellowship. 

“I can’t begin to express how rewarding it was to call both of the grantees, to let them know they’d be taking on their dream projects next year,” said Jake Hodesh, People’s Liberty’s vice president of operations. “Both indicated how their lives would never be the same.”

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Many people have a four day weekend, and there is no shortage of holiday-themed activities to choose from.

There are free Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday.  Give Back Cincinnati's Fall Feast is expected to serve 3,500 people at the Duke Energy Convention Center, from 11 am until 2 pm.  Another 2,500 meals will delivered off-site.  The Cincinnati Recreation Commission is hosting its 22nd annual Thanksgiving meal at the Evanston Rec Center, at 3204 Woodburn, from 11 am to 3 pm.   

Mark Heyne / WVXU

The All-Star Game is expected to bring tens of thousands of baseball fans to Cincinnati next year.  And to assist those visitors, Major League Baseball is looking for help. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A Cincinnati tech start-up supported by Cintrifuse has received a large investment from a pair of venture capitalist firms. 

"Everything But The House" is an online estate auction and consignment company, which now has the backing by firms that also supported Twitter and tumblr.  

Tim Schigel with Cintrifuse says the investment shows Cincinnati is becoming a good place for start-ups. 

The offices of dunnhumby USA are still under construction but the parking garage beneath those offices is open.  City leaders cut the ribbon on the 1,000 space garage Monday morning.  Construction on the project at 5th and Race began in January 2013.   

The building includes six floors of parking and three floors of office space, with retail on the ground floor.

The president of PNC Bank, Kay Geiger, calls the project "transformative."

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A suspended juvenile court judge will not get a new trial or an acquittal on her conviction for unlawful interest in a public contract.  Tracie Hunter was found guilty last month of using her position as a judge to preserve her brother's job as a bailiff. 

The Ohio Innocence Project says a Cleveland man has been exonerated after 39 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Following a 2-day hearing in a Cuyahoga County courtroom, the star witness in the case against Ricky Jackson admitted to lying during the original trial.  Jackson was convicted in 1975 along with two other men based on the eyewitness testimony of then 12-year-old Eddie Vernon.  On Tuesday, Vernon recanted his story, saying he testified to seeing the murder in order to please others. 

Provided / HRC

A week after releasing its ranking of cities, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has graded American corporations on how friendly they are to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.  The HRC looked at 26 employers in Ohio and gave a perfect score to half of them, including three in Cincinnati.

Search corporations' rankings at the HRC website.

There may not be a lot of electric cars on the road now but Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld believes there will be soon and he wants the city to be ready. He's behind a resolution directing the city manager to look at creating more charging stations.

Tuesday, City Council's Education and Entrepreneurship Committee discussed a resolution directing the administration to report on the feasibility of having stations on city property, and creating incentives for privately owned stations. Eight of the nine council members signed on to the resolution.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Cincinnati city administration is promising everything will be done to make the streets safe after Monday morning's snowfall.  Many places in the area reported receiving two to four inches of snow.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says everything will be done to clear city streets as soon as possible but he is warning that Tuesday could be worse.

Colder temperatures Monday night are expected to re-freeze anything that melts during the day, creating icy streets. 

The Krohn Conservatory's annual holiday show opens Saturday, Nov. 15 with Cincinnati landmarks rendered in wood and other organic material. The Magic and Mistletoe display also features model trains, flowers, and animated figures and other Christmas artifacts from the Schmalz Family collection.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Former juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter will find out next week if a common pleas judge will overturn her conviction or order a retrial.

Hunter was back in court Thursday morning with her lawyer, Clyde Bennett II, who had filed two motions: one for a retrial, and another for an acquittal.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has awarded Cincinnati a perfect score on its municipal equality index, which ranks a city based on its record of laws and policies protecting sexual and gender identity. HRC vice president Fred Sainz says Cincinnati is on the “forefront of equality”.

Sainz says in the city can't rest on its laurels; and should continually rededicate itself to making life better for all citizens.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

 On any weekend night, the bars and restaurants in Over-the-Rhine are busy.  But the president of the OTR Chamber of Commerce, Emilie Johnson, would like to see the crowds visiting during the day, especially during the upcoming holiday season.

Johnson says most people are familiar with the nightlife along Vine Street, “but what helps to balance and round that all out, is to have additional things."  Johnson says that's retail, and service businesses.  She says a mix of those and the entertainment businesses are what make a neighborhood strong. 

WVXU

A Council committee has approved the first pay raise since 2009 for Cincinnati Firefighters. 

Union president Matt Alter says it doesn't have everything they wanted, but does include a pay raise.

Alter says members voted by a 5-to-1 margin in favor of the new deal.  He says Local 48, the firefighters union, was also the bargaining unit for the assistant chiefs, who voted three to one in favor.

The contract provides a 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment.  Alter says that's the first raise firefighters have received since 2009.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

There is an online petition drive devoted to making a used car dealership in Carthage replace its signage seen by some as offensive to Native Americans. 

The Motor Time Auto Sales sign at Vine and 75th Streets may originate from when it was a Pontiac dealership, and portrays a Native American, grinning and waving at passersby. 

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