A scooped-up side lot and the riverfront parcel that mysteriously got away: How rules written for distressed  ‘Rust Belt’ property may benefit a select few

This project provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio's free mailing list as this helps provide more public service reporting to your community. On May 12, 2021, Chris and Angela Powers submitted a $4,000 bid for a Lawrence County Land Bank property. 

It was above the Auditor’s appraised value of $3,340. But the Powers really loved the riverfront site. The owner of an adjoining property had let them camp right next to it for years. 

So they bid for the wooded parcel, on the northern bank of the Ohio River, as well as an adjoining parcel - not on the river, but just behind it. 

The Powers attended a May 18, 2021 land bank meeting.

Cleveland and Columbus offer an LGBTQ+ business certification process. So why aren’t any businesses actually certified?

LGBTQ+ Business Enterprises are part of an intentional effort to create jobs, provide opportunities and build equity...if people sign up. Since 2014, more than 25 public entities — such as Houston, Miami Beach and Nashville — have signed on to offer the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)’s process to certify Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs), including Cleveland and recently Columbus. But despite great fanfare in announcing the new program, few businesses have actually signed up.    

Cleveland was one of the first cities in the U.S. to offer LGBTBEs, opting into the NGLCC program in 2015. The advertised benefits include networking, an online business directory and training on how to secure government contracts. But while the certification has been available for seven years, there currently aren’t any companies with LGBTBEs listed on the city’s online directory.

As Ohio regulators sit on coal plant subsidy cases, costs could rack up for ratepayers

Ratepayers are getting tiny credits right now, but House Bill 6’s coal plant bailouts have huge net costs. And millions of dollars of those costs were improper, critics argue. This story is a joint project of the nonprofit Energy News Network and Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Although Ohio regulators have paused four FirstEnergy cases dealing with House Bill 6, they could still take action in cases dealing with the two 1950s-era coal plants that were subsidized by the law at the heart of Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal. 

Yet the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has made no rulings in those cases in months.

Six key energy questions that winners of Ohio’s high court races will decide

Several energy and utility questions are likely to come before the Ohio Supreme Court in the next two years, including cases involving coal plant subsidies, HB 6 corruption, and renewable energy project siting. This story is a joint project of the nonprofit Energy News Network and Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. While much of the attention on this year’s races for the Ohio Supreme Court focuses on the state’s six-week abortion ban and gerrymandering, the election also comes with high stakes for state energy policy. Several cases involving power plants, utility oversight, and clean energy development are likely to land before the state’s high court in the next two years.

Special counsel hired to help PUCO with document requests has multiple ties to HB 6 push

Links include an HB 6 co-sponsor, a lobbyist for FirstEnergy’s former subsidiary, and a former partner who served as an officer for Generation Now

This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism, in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. An outside law firm working with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on responses to federal subpoenas and public records requests has multiple ties to the law at the heart of the state’s ongoing corruption scandal. The firm, Dinsmore & Shohl, is headquartered in Cincinnati and has offices in 30 cities across the United States. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office retained the firm as special counsel for the PUCO after it received the first of two federal subpoenas in the spring of 2021 relating to House Bill 6.

Freeze of regulator’s HB 6 cases could further harm Ohio consumers

A federal prosecutor’s move to stay PUCO cases would thwart investigations behind FirstEnergy’s spending and other matters related to Ohio’s ongoing House Bill 6 corruption scandal. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism, in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. On Tuesday, a federal prosecutor asked to shut down four Ohio regulatory cases relating to Ohio’s House Bill 6 scandal for at least six months. If granted, the request by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker of the Southern District of Ohio will further block Ohioans’ ability to learn more about the alleged corruption behind the state’s 2019 nuclear and coal bailout law. 

FirstEnergy admitted last year that it paid nearly $60 million and bribed two Ohio public officials in connection with HB 6, including the former speaker of the Ohio House and a former head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission finds probable cause of disability discrimination in Dublin case

Mysterious arson remains unsolved

This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in conjunction with WOSU 89.7 NPR News. Please join Eye on Ohio's free mailing list or download the WOSU Public Media Mobile app as this helps provide more public service reporting to the community. This week the Ohio Civil Rights Commission released a letter of determination finding probable cause of disability discrimination after a Dublin couple was unable to open an assisted living facility in the area. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission says it is “probable” that the city of Dublin broke state law by discriminating against the elderly with recent zoning changes. The new city law followed a suspicious fire that broke out amid a months-long neighborhood dispute.

Regulators’ foot-dragging on public records hides the full story behind Ohio’s utility corruption scandal

Documents produced at the end of July shed light on Sam Randazzo’s role at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. But more documents before and after his tenure still haven’t been produced. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism, in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine knew critics questioned whether the former FirstEnergy nuclear plants really needed House Bill 6’s $1.1 billion bailout.

Giving back? Charities laud Columbia Gas in $212 million rate hike case

Charity groups often depend on utilities for funds to do good works, but rate hikes by those utilities can impose more stress on low-income people the nonprofit groups serve. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism, in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohioor the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Central Ohio’s LifeCare Alliance is a lifeline for tens of thousands of seniors and medically challenged residents. The Columbus-based charity delivers meals and healthcare to people who need help staying in their homes due to age or other issues.