Jennifer Merritt

Digital Editor

Jennifer Merritt brings 15 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor. 

cincinnati women's march 2017
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The 2020 Cincinnati Women's March will take place downtown on Saturday, Jan. 18 and will cause some road closures. 

Courtesy of Amazon

The biggest headlines of 2019 overwhelmed many. On the local level, we thought we were done with the Gang of Five, and then we weren't. There were tensions over TIF districts and former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's pardons, to name a few. On the national level, "disinformation" is the word of the year, and we can't even agree on when the decade ends. Oh - and did we mention impeachment

No wonder then the area's most circulated titles of 2019 are (mostly) escapist fun. 

Provided

Editor's note: This story first ran in April 2018. We are republishing it now because chances are you may see a sign while driving this holiday weekend that reads "Don't Drive Sauced, Leave It To The Cranberries," or "Visiting In-Laws? Slow Down Get There Late." The aim? To make you chuckle, yes, but also to drive safe. 

Glance at an electric overhead highway sign board this weekend in Ohio and you'll likely see an amusing message encouraging you not to text and drive.

"Texting and driving is not 'wreck-amended'" will run in honor of National Distracted Driving Month this April, though it won't be the first time the state's signs have gotten a little clever. 

cincinnati bell
Courtesy of Cincinnati Bell

Cincinnati Bell on Monday announced it is to be acquired by Canada-based Brookfield Infrastructure, a global company with assets in utilities, transport and energy and data infrastructure. The deal is valued at approximately $2.6 billion, including debt.

2019 year in review
Clockwise from top left: The Northerner; AP; Pixabay; AP; Pixabay; AP; Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden; Kings Island; University of Cincinnati

We dove into the data for a look at the stories that resonated with you most this year – and what we found was a potpourri of reporting that covers everything from controversies and cures to gorillas and dogs (yes, really).

Ready to relive your year? 

Courtesy of Great Parks Of Hamilton County

If you come across a string of broken lights as you unpack decorations for the upcoming holiday season, know there is at least one bright spot: you don't have to send them to a landfill. 

Ilyce Meckler / WVXU

Updated: Tuesday, 11:40 a.m.

Firefighters on Tuesday recovered a construction worker's body from a building that had collapsed Monday at the corner of Fourth and Race streets in Downtown Cincinnati. Wednesday morning, the coroner's office identified him as Preston Todd Delph, 58, of Hebron, Ky. It took the search and recovery team more than a day to locate the body. 

light up the square
Light Up the Square / Facebook

With AAA expecting Thanksgiving 2019 to be the busiest holiday travel season since 2005, local commuters should also expect to hit some additional road blocks thanks to street closures around Downtown Cincinnati this Thursday and Friday.

kimba giraffe
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden / Facebook

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden says its 12-year-old male giraffe 'Kimba' has died following a recent surgical procedure. Officials say he developed complications after undergoing a successful procedure last week to fix his hooves. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Downtown's beleaguered Millennium Hotel will close its doors Dec. 31. The hotel will continue to operate and honor all reservations up to its closure, a release says.

columbia parkway landslide 2
Jay Hanselman / WVXU

The $17 million project to stabilize the hill along Columbia Parkway begins its first phase Monday. A release from the city says two of three westbound lanes between Delta and Torrence will close that morning for two to three months.

andy beshear
Bryan Woolston / AP

In an election where Republicans won every down-ticket race, Democrat Andy Beshear appears to have narrowly beaten incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin to win the Kentucky governorship, with 100% of precincts reporting. As of Tuesday night, Beshear held 49.2% of the vote compared to 48.9% for Bevin, who said, "we are not conceding this race by any stretch."

banks music venue
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Updated: Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.

A prickly back-and-forth between the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County over the construction of a music venue at The Banks seems to have softened. Tuesday night Mayor John Cranley and Commissioner Todd Portune released a joint statement saying they "have worked together to come to an understanding that will advance future development at the The Banks." 

2019 election
Jim Nolan / WVXU

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, residents of Kentucky vote on a variety of statewide races. Here's what you need to know before heading to the polls.

kendi
Courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo.

The Cincinnati Zoo announced Wednesday that its "beloved black rhino Kendi" would be leaving the zoo for a new home at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where he will be paired with a female "so he can do his part to contribute to the survival of his critically endangered species." 

the banks
John Minchillo / AP

Two events take place this weekend that require some road closures. Here's what you need to know before heading out the door. 

race road closures
Pixabay

Blink isn't the only event happening in the Tri-State this weekend. The Queen Bee Half Marathon takes place Saturday, Oct. 12, through various parts of Cincinnati and requires a number of road closures. 

running of the wieners oktoberfest zinzinnati
Courtesy Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

If you're traveling to or near Downtown this weekend, take note: Oktoberfest and the Hudy 14K will close some streets. Here's what you need to know: 

Pixabay

Cincinnati Public Schools' Lauren Worley says the district started implementing changes and improvements to its overtaxed bus system this week. Since school began Aug. 19, parents have complained about buses being overcrowded, late or not showing up at all.

fall reading
Pixabay

Last check, we thought it was just Cincinnatians who were obsessed with reading James Patterson. As it turns out, Northern Kentuckians are enamored with him, too.

race road closures
Pixabay

Think downtown streets are free and clear following Sunday's Riverfest? Think again. Monday morning, the Aruna Run - held to raise awareness about human trafficking in Asia - takes place, further impacting access to downtown streets. 

riverfest fireworks
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Riverfest is Cincinnati's unofficial farewell salute to summer. Here's what you need to know if you're planning to attend the 43nd annual fireworks show.

banks music venue
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Updated: Friday, 2:04 p.m.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has waded into the fray over the relocation of Hilltop Basic Resources so the county can construct a new music venue at The Banks. 

police tape
WCPO

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

The pastor of a Sharonville church is facing federal charges for allegedly coercing a teenage girl. The Aug. 9 complaint against Cesar Augusto Guerrero Jr., was unsealed Wednesday following the 41-year-old's appearance in federal court. 

In a merger of two of the country's biggest newspaper companies, GateHouse Media, which owns the Columbus Dispatch, is buying Gannett Co., owner of USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer, for about $1.4 billion. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S., along with more than 300 weeklies, or "more than one-sixth of all remaining daily newspapers," according to Nieman Lab. In Ohio, the merger puts most of the state's local papers under one roof.

ashleigh barty
Ben Curtis / AP

World No. 1 players Ashleigh Barty and Novak Djokovic are the top seeds for the Western & Southern Open taking place Aug. 10-18 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. 

ron jans
Wikimedia Commons

FC Cincinnati has hired Dutch manager Ron Jans as its new head coach, the team announced Sunday. His first training session with the team will be Tuesday, Aug. 6, and his first game on Saturday, Aug. 10 in Columbus.

pg sittenfeld
Jennifer Merritt / WVXU

Standing on the steps of City Hall Thursday, Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld announced legislation to create a Rapid Response Network meant to protect Cincinnati's immigrant and refugee population in the event of a federal raid.

tracie hunter
Ramsay Fulbright / WCPO

Former Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter has filed a grievance stating she was injured  while being placed in custody during her court sentencing Monday. A release from the sheriff's office says she's being held in the medical unit.

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Updated: 3:20 p.m.

The City of Newport says the U.S. Army of Engineers has approved the permit to construct the Skywheel on the city's riverfront.

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