Jolene Almendarez

homeless
Eric Ward / Unsplash

In Hamilton County, the pandemic has hit teens experiencing homelessness hard. LGBTQ teens are particularly likely to face life on the street.

Michael Keating / WVXU

Last year, Hamilton County voters approved a tax levy to pay for a massive overhaul in local transit, and some of the changes will be implemented soon. Officials say increased bus frequency on routes, longer hours of operation and better amenities will be an economic driver in the county, in addition to increasing accessibility and improving quality of life.

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Editor's note: On Monday, March 1, the same day this article was published, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that some childcare workers would become eligible for the vaccine beginning Thursday, March 4. You can read more about the new list of Ohioans who qualify here

Just over 13% of Ohio residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Among the most recent people eligible to receive it are K-12 educators. Governor Mike DeWine says with enough of them vaccinated, schools can reopen in person. But early childcare providers have been excluded from that vaccine rollout even though some have been working since the start of the pandemic.

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A program that works with police to help people at the scene of domestic violence calls is expanding throughout Hamilton County. The Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team, known as DIVERT, helped 3,000 survivors in two years while focusing on the Cincinnati area. Now, it's set to expand to up to 15 more jurisdictions.

DIVERT director Wayne Williams said Tuesday police have been eager to sign on for a collaboration.

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Jason Whitman / WVXU

The pandemic has caused record unemployment rates across the country. In Cincinnati, the unemployment decreased to just under 5% in January. But plenty of people are still looking for work. Since October, the Community Action Agency has been helping people switch careers and find work through its rapid employment program.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A polar vortex hit parts of the country at the beginning of February causing, in some places, unprecedented low temperatures and snow. The Tri-State area dodged most of those record-breaking cold temperatures, but has still been hit with back-to-back snow storms. It's caused delays in the delivery of salt for roadways.

Jolene Almendarez / WVXU

Cincinnati council members may be voting soon to limit how and when the police department can use no-knock warrants. But whether the council has the authority to make those limitations is up for debate. And the police department has been mostly mum on the issue. But a collection of 15 years of data on no-knock warrants show they have been mostly issued in historically Black neighborhoods and Black people are most often arrested.

covid vaccine
Jay LaPrete / AP

Almost 10% of Hamilton County residents have begun to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Under the statewide rollout, that includes many first responders, hospital workers, people 65 and older and teachers. But getting the vaccine once eligible isn't easy. The push for vaccine information remains widespread with everyone from the Hamilton County Health Department to Facebook trying to get facts out to people.

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Last year was the deadliest for domestic violence homicides in Cincinnati in 20 years. A local group who helps women says at least 16 women were killed, but the number could be as high as 20. This is all in spite of the city allocating more money than ever to the issue. The cause? Lockdown and social isolation required because of COVID-19.

the reading house
Pixabay

A new literacy screening tool pioneered at Cincinnati Children's Hospital helps identify reading difficulties in children as young as three years old. But the study into early childhood literacy does more than that. The research also shows young children's brains develop differently when they learn literacy fundamentals early.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The CDC recently extended its eviction moratorium until the end of March to keep people in their homes during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when up to 40 million people across the country are at-risk of being evicted, the protections in place are a welcome relief for some. But for small landlords who don't have much of a financial cushion, the moratorium could be disastrous.

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Three Cincinnati Council members were charged with creating pay-to-play schemes with a developer last year and elected officials have been scrambling to reinstall the public's trust in governance since then. But the Charter Party — which is comprised of Republicans, Democrats and Independents — is launching an entire platform centered around corruption reform and transparency.

mark ruffalo
Blair Raughley / Invision for Focus Features, AP

Chemicals known as PFAS were, until a few years ago, commonly used in carpets, clothing, Teflon and water-resistant items — they also contaminated local water supplies in some places and can now be found in the blood of nearly all people, the EPA says. While some exposure to PFAS can leave people relatively unscathed, concentrated levels of it can cause serious health problems. That's why the University of Cincinnati is delving into the issue at its inaugural Environmental Justice and Advocacy Symposium this week.

Cincinnati saw a reduction in most crimes throughout 2020 as many people hunkered down in their homes because of the pandemic. But among the most violent — homicides and shooting — numbers were up after declines for the past few years. Chief Eliot Isaac says that's likely linked to the increased number of gun sales throughout the country last year.

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Update: Data for January 2020 was not available by press time. 

Protests throughout the summer of 2020 demanded the national spotlight focus on the separate and unequal reality Black and white people face when it comes to policing. Cincinnati is not immune to that reality. It recently released reports about marijuana-related infractions in the city that show indecencies among racial lines.

Courtesy of UC Health

It's been over a month since the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out for health care workers and other vulnerable members of the community. Experts have proved the vaccines are safe through testing and human trials. But hospitals are not requiring workers to get vaccinated.

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While most crimes in Cincinnati are down, homicide reached a record high in 2020 while shootings spiked. The numbers, police say, correspond with a national trend of increased deadly crime last year.

otr development
Courtesy KEAN Development & Cincinnati City Planning Office

Updated: Friday 10:30 a.m.

A major mixed-use development project at Liberty and Elm in Over-the-Rhine has been delayed for two weeks while City Council reviews the details and tries to work affordable housing into the project.

breonna taylor protest
Timothy D. Easley / AP

A move to change how no-knock warrants are executed in Cincinnati has been delayed after concerns were raised during the Law and Public Safety meeting Wednesday. Among the issues are whether elected officials have the authority to change police procedures, and who was involved in writing the proposed changes.

breonna taylor protest
Timothy D. Easley / AP

The killing of Louisville woman Breonna Taylor last spring caused no-knock warrants to come under scrutiny in cities across the country, including Cincinnati. An outright ban on the practice in the city likely won't be happening soon. But changes in how and when they’re applied could be on the way.

Provided

As a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, two Black women were already wrapping up plans for Cincinnati’s online National Day Of Racial Healing events. They weren’t as surprised by the events as other people.

Tia Sherèe Gaynor, Founding Director for the Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at the University of Cincinnati, says that while people in white robes may no longer burn crosses in yards, systemic racism and extremism in the country has never ended.

adoption
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Judge Ralph Winkler was a criminal court judge for more than 30 years when he started to notice a common thread between people convicted of crimes: Many of them had abusive childhoods or had no family at all.

"I started asking around. I'm like, 'If we get these kids adopted into good families younger and quicker, that's going to change the trajectory of their life,' " he said.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

Cincinnati Council Member Betsy Sundermann's social media activity is causing a stir after an old tweet resurfaced on Twitter this week.

Nick Swartsell / WVXU

In Cincinnati and in cities across the country, people living paycheck-to-paycheck are finding it ever-harder to afford increasing rents as demand for housing near urban cores heats up. Those who can't keep up with increased living expenses are often left with few options.

coronavirus vaccine
Jessica Hill / AP

COVID-19 numbers in Hamilton County are on the rise again after taking a slight dip in late December.

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Three Cincinnati Council members have been indicted this year and accused of creating pay-to-play schemes with developers. Now, other members of council are deciding exactly how to prevent those kinds of crimes, and they're getting down to the specifics.

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Prospective Cincinnati home buyers and those looking for help keeping their homes up to code may now have an easier time finding assistance. In September, members of City Council's Budget and Finance Committee asked for an analysis of city resources and how well they assist people.

covington cincinnati
Al Behrman / AP

The vile 12 months of 2020 are over and a lot of things are already on track to change in 2021. For instance, a vaccine for the deadly pandemic is rolling out and a new president (for better or worse) is taking office. But things that won't change unless people decide to modify their behaviors, are the calamities caused by climate change.

In Cincinnati, it may be hard to feel connected to 2020's unprecedented wildfires in Australia or deadly flooding in China. But collectively, experts say the choices made in all communities matter, and there's a lot people can do on micro and macro levels to contribute to solving global problems.

coronavirus vaccine
Hans Pennink / AP

COVID-19 vaccines have started rolling out across the country for people on the front lines of combatting the virus, as well as those most at risk of getting it. That includes health care workers, nursing home residents and employees, and emergency first responders. But when can most Ohioans expect to be vaccinated? One local official says it's just not known yet.

for rent sign
Reed Saxon / AP

President Doanld Trump signed Congress' new stimulus package Sunday night, which extends the CDC eviction moratorium for another month. This gives people roughly four more weeks to catch up on their rent and fees before they face being booted out of their homes during a deadly pandemic.

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