Early statistics from Cleveland's Right to Counsel program show promising results - but what will happen when that moratorium ends? East Side Cleveland resident Dennis Eads ran into some trouble paying rent last year. Eads, a father of five, said he was thankful to have kept his job at a warehouse in the Cleveland area despite the pandemic. But, some of his children got sick, which meant he couldn’t go to work. “I had to quarantine at the house; I couldn’t go outside, couldn’t go to work, couldn’t get paid,” he said.
A plan to end Ohio’s long-criticized Electric Security Plans comes from a primary sponsor of HB 6, the 2019 law at the heart of a $60 million corruption case. This story is from the Energy News Network in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy News Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. A new plan is on the table to phase out rate programs that have let Ohio’s electric utilities collect billions in subsidies over the past dozen years. But the bill aims to continue coal plant subsidies and cuts authority for utility energy efficiency programs.
Critics also worry that vague wording will continue cross-subsidies in another guise.
State made $1.2 billion in accidental payments, which could be forgiven
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. When Matthew Bishop started getting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance a year ago, it pulled him out of a tight spot. Bishop, who runs a small company called Gutenberg Author Services, lost all his customers when the economy imploded in March, and had moved out of his group house and in with his parents because he couldn’t make rent. PUA was a lifeline.
ByLucia Walinchus, Marisa Twigg and Jaelynn Grisso |
Almost a year later police still won’t identify officer who attacked journalists; Reporters say they mostly work without incident but face an increase in online threats
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Matter News. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list and follow Matter News as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Who is this person? Nearly a year after Columbus police officers pepper sprayed journalists covering protests against police brutality, The Columbus Division Police still have not named the officer shouting “I don’t care!” and turning eyes into agony, as those reporters shouted, “We are members of the news media!” and held up their badges.
A police spokesman said the incident is still “under investigation” but, contrary to previous precedent, declined to name the officer involved. In public records requests, Police said no officer on that crowded street had body cam video of the incident, and no officer has faced discipline, though the inquiry is still ongoing.
Exacerbated by a polarized political climate, an increasing number of reporters in the U.S. are facing unrelenting threats of violence and harassment from people online. Here in Columbus, several reporters have experienced harassment directly. “It was maybe a week after we ran the piece,” recalled Andy Downing, editor at Columbus Alive. “I started getting all these random calls on my cell phone, like from South Africa, just all over, leaving threatening voicemails.”
Downing said he then received a message from the other Alive editor who worked on the story, Joel Oliphint, telling him to check the homepage of The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website. Downing and Oliphint had spent more than four months in 2016-2017 reporting a story on Andrew Anglin, a Worthington native and founder of the Nazi website.
Dark money loopholes remain, while people linked to utilities and fossil fuels hold public office or enjoy ongoing access to government officials. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Dark money loopholes remain in Ohio law, despite last month’s surgical repeal of part of the law at the heart of a $60 million corruption scandal. Meanwhile, more evidence has emerged in recent months, detailing the flow of money by groups engaged in the House Bill 6 scandal and showing close ties between current and former utility lobbyists and Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as various lawmakers.
The company’s broad view of its ongoing investigation for purposes of limiting public disclosures seems at odds with its narrow view and piecemeal approach to regulatory proceedings. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Complete disclosures are still not forthcoming from FirstEnergy, Energy Harbor and others who may have played roles in an alleged conspiracy that funneled millions of dollars to former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder in order to elect lawmakers sympathetic to House Bill 6, pass the law and then prevent voters from having a chance to reject the law in a statewide referendum. FirstEnergy President and CEO Steven Strah said at the company’s Feb.
In the early months of the pandemic, Cleveland Councilwoman Jasmin Santana, who represents a West Side ward with the densest population of Latinos in the city, said health department officials reassured her that when the city released urgent health updates, they would be translated into Spanish.
It didn’t happen.
The city put out public releases, sometimes daily, as the pandemic evolved – about safety precautions, work restrictions, and how many people were infected with the virus – but the information didn’t seem to make its way to the Spanish-speaking residents in Santana’s ward, where close to 40% of residents are Hispanic.
When she pressed again, this time with city communications officials, Santana said she was told the city didn’t have resources for translation.
One high-ranking city official suggested Santana and her office should create Spanish-language versions to distribute, she said.
The reaction startled her.
“I almost didn’t know how to respond,” Santana said. “That's when I started really realizing, ‘You know what? This is a huge issue for the city.’ Who would have thought that a city with more than 300,000 residents wouldn’t be ready to have their communications translated?”
(A city spokesperson did respond to questions about what Santana was told.)
Santana’s concerns as a councilwoman were rooted in what she’d witnessed growing up in her community and later as a health outreach worker: that language and trust act as barriers to resources that can improve or save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified pressure on a chronically underfunded public health system that already faced staggering disparities in access to medical care and health outcomes, especially for people with limited English proficiency.
But the crisis also has offered an opportunity, which some local health departments have embraced, to forge relationships and connections that could outlast the virus.
Cleveland, a city that declared racism a public health crisis almost a year ago, with officials vowing to tackle disparities and inequities, has seen some progress but it has been sluggish.
Despite a windfall in pandemic aid, Cleveland still has not beefed up its own contract tracing operations by adding bilingual staff. Instead, it has relied on the state health department for virtual assistance with Spanish-speaking residents and a language translation line.
FirstEnergy news raises questions about grid resiliency and clean energy approaches to cope with climate change. A notorious investor’s plan to acquire a significant stake in FirstEnergy voting shares has critics worried that pressure to turn quick profits could undercut the company’s duties to ratepayers and need to invest in a cleaner and more resilient grid. In its Feb. 18 earnings call, FirstEnergy revealed it had received notice of Icahn Capital’s intent to acquire between $184 million and $920 million in voting securities. The fund would have a minority voting interest, but it might be enough to sway changes in its board of directors, company management and more.
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. For women survivors of sex trafficking struggling to make ends meet, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already desperate situation. Funding programs to support them have shifted to more urgent crisis funding— to house and feed the homeless, for example. Losing financial and food security only places these already scuffling women at an even greater risk of being trafficked again to earn money just to survive.