July 2007 Archive

Sorry, no posts today due to real work intervening. Why not add something to the OhioWiki instead? OhioWiki needs editors!

Don’t sleep on train tracks.

I, doctor

Robot hospital:

In just a few weeks, stroke patients who are taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital may be treated by a doctor located miles away. At the same time, that doctor will be bedside — all thanks to a robot….

If the doctor is out of the hospital when a patient arrives, the robot goes into action.

From a remote location, the doctor flips open a laptop and guides the robot to the patient’s bed. The doctor then sees the patient through a camera attached to the screen.

“Actually, they’re really not talking to the robot,” said Dr. Mark Hackman, vice president for Medical Affairs at Mount Carmel East. “They’re talking to the physician. The robot is just a tool. I’d say it’s a pretty revolutionary change.”

They call that sort of thing telepresence. I see some potential for stuff to go wrong with this. It would give new meaning to the phrase “blue screen of death.”

Farmer welfare passes House

The US House passed a $42 billion dollar welfare package for farmers on Friday. Dave Harding at Progress Ohio covers it- is he supposed to be proud that Democrats favored this? I don’t get it. There are some heros though:

[Passage of the bill] came after Democrats quashed a rebellion from one of their own, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., who teamed with conservative GOP budget hawks and urban and suburban Democrats on an amendment to wean farmers from government payments. It would have imposed stricter income limits on farmers, barring subsidies to those making an average of $250,000 or more annually, and would have steered more money to conservation, nutrition, specialty crop and rural development programs….

“I had high hopes that this Congress — given market conditions and our commitment to a new direction for this country — would have the stomach to reform these outdated and unfair policies,” Kind said in a statement.

What are those billions for? Here’s one thing it does:

…leaves in place — and in some cases increases — subsidies to producers of major crops such as corn and soybeans at a time of record-high prices.

Nice. The Senate will work on their end of it in September.

Meh.

Less terrorism aid from the feds

Joe Hallet on the federal funds Columbus receives:

[Former official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Matt A.] Mayer said Columbus should be in the top half of cities eligible for terrorism funds because it is the nation’s 15th largest city, has America’s biggest university and the fifth-busiest zoo, is home to several Fortune 500 companies and large shopping centers and has critical infrastructure such as power plants, dams, rail lines and airports.

Columbus has been one of the busiest areas in the US as far as terrorism goes:

[Christopher] Paul, who grew up in Worthington, is awaiting trial, accused of helping train terrorists for attacks on America. Former Columbus truck driver Iyman Faris is serving a 20-year prison term for scouting the Brooklyn Bridge for al-Qaida. And Nuradin Abdi of Columbus, a Somali immigrant, is scheduled for trial Aug. 7 on charges involving a plot to bomb an unspecified Columbus-area shopping mall.

With allegations of three al-Qaida-related plots in its backyard, Columbus would seem primed for steep increases in terrorism funds. The opposite has occurred: The city received $4.7 million this year, nearly $3 million less than it got in 2004, the first year funds were available.

You’ll recall that major cities like New York complained that other places were getting too much money. I guess they fixed that.

Spinning the State Auditor’s report

Buckeye State Blog is reporting that $20M was misspent under Ohio’s charter school program. This is either spin or a misunderstanding of the Ohio Auditor of State’s report. Here’s BSB:

Doc Wood, BSB’s resident education expert, has some bad news for us. The Ohio Department of Education misspent $20+ million through problems with charter school’s/accountability. For comparison’s sake, the whole intern blunder cost us $2.2 mil. Wonder if the Republicans will be debating this one? -Jerid

It should not have been any surprise to read that Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor found that our own Ohio Department of Education mis-spent over $20,000,000 in the Community School program. These schools, also known as charter schools, were the focus of much of the debate around Governor Ted’s budget this past spring. While the Governor wanted to put the program on hold (and end payments to ‘for profit’ charters) while issues like this were straightened out, the General Assembly charged ahead and funded the program without any new controls.

The audit report doesn’t actually conclude that the money was misspent, but rather that the proper oversight wasn’t in place to insure that the money, all of which was federal grants, wasn’t misspent. Apparently, the state had rules in place that said that only schools spending over half a mil in federal funds had to file certain reports, but that schools spending less than that accounted for the majority of the money. From the 2006 state audit report (pdf, real page 189):

During SFY 2006, EDU disbursed $20.8 million in Federal Charter Schools grant funds to qualified charter schools in the form of start-up (planning and design) and implementation sub-grants. EDU’s Office of Community Schools (OCS) is responsible for monitoring the use of the Federal Charter Schools funds by the charter schools. However, during the majority of SFY 2006, OCS did not have an effective system in place to determine whether subrecipients were using these Federal funds in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

As in previous years the Department has a number of potential monitoring tools in place such as required site visit reports and other monitoring procedures performed by charter school sponsors, reviews of Annual Performance Reviews (APRs) and Final Expenditure Reports (FERs), and the monitoring of A-133 audits performed on the schools. However, these tools either were not used effectively or did not provide for adequate subrecipient monitoring during SFY 2006.

OCS did not have procedures in place to ensure that charter school sponsors were performing their required compliance monitoring. Furthermore, the majority of these schools did not expend $500,000 or more in Federal money during SFY 2005, and therefore were not required to have an A-133 audit. Of the 137 charter school subrecipients that received funding during SFY 2006, only three were required to have an A-133 audit for SFY 2005, and none of these three were submitted to EDU until after SFY 2006. Finally, while the APRs and FERs do address these Federal funds, they do not provide a level of detail which would allow the Department to determine whether subrecipients are complying with applicable Federal regulations.

This is a problem obviously, and one that is being resolved. But lack of oversight of the money is quite a different thing from saying that it’s known that the money was misspent. It’s no doubt that some of it was misspent, statistically speaking, but I think quite unlikely that anything approaching most of it was.

As BSB mentioned, this problem was the one Gov. Ted Strickland used in an attempt to trash the whole program, certainly a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The better solution is to fix the oversight problems.

NBC4i also covers this, and they get the story right:

Improper accounting practices led the state to overpay Medicaid providers $13 million last year and made it impossible to know whether $20 million in state payouts to charter schools was being properly handled, according to a state audit released Thursday.

In all, state Auditor Mary Taylor questioned $36 million in spending at six state agencies last year, most at the departments of Education and of Job and Family Services.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for BSB’s post on the $13 million in questioned expenditures “related to the Medicaid Cluster and State Children’s Insurance Program.”

Jeff at Urban In-Fill looks at the little-known second Parsons Avenue Kroger parking lot.

New immigrants need not apply?

The AP has this story on a proposal that Columbus cabbies should have had a US license for 5 years rather than the current 6 months:

The Independent Taxicab Association of Columbus, which represents mostly foreign-born drivers, says about 530 of the group’s 700 drivers would lose their jobs under the proposal.

A committee of city, community and business officials recommended the requirement to make the capital city a more cab-friendly town….

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says the proposal is somewhere between ill-advised and illegal.

I have to side with the ACLU on this one. If having a driver’s license is not a sufficient guarantor of good drivers, then increase the licensing requirements. Discriminating against recent immigrants isn’t the way to go.

Walker Evans is looking for input into the YP Commission “Convince” Subcommittee that he’s a member of.

Chiquita’s terrorist pay-offs and the Ohio media

Bill Sloat on Chiquita’s payoffs to a terrorist group in Colombia and the failure of Ohio media to cover the Cincinnati-based company:

Ohio’s newspapers seem to have been stricken with sleeping sickness. Or maybe they have lost consciousness. Or maybe they just don’t give a damn. What else could explain how the Los Angeles Times dug up a story about a $4.5 billion Oho corporation that seems to have been treated leniently by the Bush Administration in a case involving pay-offs to terrorists.

Big Fruit of course has a long and sordid history in Latin America. The fickle nature of the Ohio news media in what they choose to cover and what they choose to ignore has come up before.

A recent email pointed out a site that I wasn’t aware of before: Campaigns & Elections, which has an Ohio section. A couple of recent articles focus on Ohio Democratic blogs and conservative blogs. The site allows subscribing by email, but not by feed, which is so 2002.

Lots of posts about Sherrod Brown being named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill by The Hill. But Nancy Pelosi is number 4 on that list, so a huge grain of salt is certainly warranted here.

No light rail for Columbus

Light rail for Columbus is officially off the table for now. (Note: this does not refer to the city’s streetcar project.) From ThisWeek:

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has officially removed the proposed light rail transit plan from its Fiscally Balanced Transportation Plan and placed the concept on the commission’s “wish list.”

Ahmad Al-Akhras, assistant director of transportation, recently told the group’s policy committee that MORPC will continue to monitor conditions for the proposed light rail transit corridor and federal policy, but the project cannot move forward without federal support and approval.

The project doesn’t meet federal guidelines for subsidies, so it’s a no-go.

Ahmad Al-Akhras, by the way, is a defender of accused terrorist Christopher Paul, is one of Mayor Coleman’s closest associates, and is vice chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations which has several former leaders convicted of terrorism-related charges and which is linked to the terrorist group HAMAS.

UPDATE: Blue Bexley has a good post on why Columbus doesn’t qualify for federal funds (and incidentally channels the Smiths). Bottom line: per dollar, the project doesn’t reduce transit times from current levels nearly enough.

1840’s Columbus

Ed Lentz at ThisWeek has a cool column on the Columbus social scene of the 1840’s.

Columbus is a created city, created in a special place for a special purpose - to be the center of things for the people and state of Ohio. Since 1812, it has been just that.

In 1900, a local writer named Alice Faye Potter wrote a short article describing what the social life of the capital city was like in the 1840s. It is worth recalling as a reminder of a world that used to be in the capital city.

Read about the Parsons, the Deshlers, and Dr. Goodale. Abraham Lincoln makes a cameo.

The Feed

Best Farmers Market of 2014: Clintonville

With over 40 farmers markets in the Columbus region, we decided it was time to survey our readers this year on which ones they like the best. The....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 21, 2014 11:08 pm

Best Local Product of 2014: Jeni’s Ice Creams

For four years running, Jeni’s Ice Creams have taken the top spot in our annual reader survey when it comes to naming the best locally made....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 21, 2014 10:30 pm

Best Theatrical Group of 2014: Shadowbox Live

It might be something of a “best kept secret” but Columbus is a great city for taking in theatrical productions of all shapes and sizes.....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 21, 2014 9:41 pm

Best Local Brewery of 2014: Seventh Son

For the second year in a row, Seventh Son Brewing has won the hearts of the readers at Columbus Underground in our annual readers survey. Columbus....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 21, 2014 5:49 pm

Opinion: Accomplishments and Recognition for Marriage Equality, Yet More Wo

On December 15, Columbus City Council unanimously passed an historic resolution in support of marriage equality. The resolution also honored the work....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 21, 2014 7:00 am

Zoe Cafe Opens in Bexley

There’s been rumors of a second Tasi Cafe location in Bexley for well over a year now, and the rumors have finally (sort of) come true. The new....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 2:34 pm

Eight Finalists Selected for Vacant City Council Seat

As reported last weekend, 19 applicants threw their names in the hat for the Columbus City Council vacancy left by outgoing member Hearcel Craig.....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 12:20 pm

Best Fashion/Apparel Store of 2014: Tigertree

Columbus often gets praised as a fashion-centric city, both due to the number of corporate fashion and retail jobs headquartered here, and also due....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 9:17 am

Best Patio of 2014: Barcelona

It might sound silly, but determining the best patio in Columbus is something we’ve never included in our annual reader survey… until....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 9:16 am

Best Local Movie Theater of 2014: Studio 35

Last year was the first year that we surveyed our readers on their favorite place to take in the moviegoing experience, and for two years in a row,....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 9:14 am

Best Local Music Venue of 2014: The LC Pavilion

2014 was a big year for Promowest Productions. The local venue management and event production company celebrated 30 years in business, and....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 9:13 am

Best Local Bakery of 2014: Pistacia Vera

Cookies, pies, cakes, breads, donuts, muffins… bakeries can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Which is why we....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 20, 2014 9:11 am

Middle West Spirits Releases Ohio Maple Syrup

Local alcohol distillery Middle West Spirits made a very last-minute holiday shopping announcement this afternoon. The company is launching a very....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 3:14 pm

Peeing on Mars: OU wastewater treatment invention a finalist for space miss

Ohio University wastewater technology that converts urine to clean water and hydrogen fuel has a shot at going to Mars, but the more-immediate....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 2:11 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Aladdin Shrine moving to Grove City as it exits Easton

The Aladdin Shrine Event & Conference Center has bought land in Grove City for a relocation and expansion next fall. Public records show Aladdin....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 1:27 pm

Nationwide Children’s gene therapy lands TechColumbus investment

Gene therapy developed at Nationwide Children's Hospital that has shown early promise in improving muscle strength in children with a form of....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 12:43 pm

First Look: Hot Chicken Takeover at The North Market

As we reported in November, the popular Hot Chicken Takeover restaurant pop-up concept is heading indoors for the winter, temporarily relocating from....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 11:52 am

White Castle ready to roll out Veggie Sliders

White Castle will help you eat your broccoli. The newest creation from the folks who gave us sliders, chicken rings and the Surf & Turf is a Veggie....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 11:28 am

Top of the List: Central Ohio’s top home mortgage lenders

Rising interest rates and surging home prices took a toll on the mortgage lending industry in 2013. Market conditions caused companies like Wells....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 11:24 am

Transmission grid operator wants plants to stay open to protect against win

The electric grid operator that includes Ohio lines wants to postpone some planned plant retirements next year to help hedge against potential....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 11:13 am

PHOTO TOUR: Honda Heritage Center showcases decades of innovation

From its first cars to hit the ground in the U.S. to a jet that will take to the skies this summer, 55 years of Honda Motor Co. history is about....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 11:05 am

Ohio Machine Announces 2015 Schedule

The Ohio Machine Major League Lacrosse Team announced their 2015 schedule yesterday, which includes its season opener against the New York Lizards on....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 11:01 am

Columbus Crew Announces 2015 Season Openers

The Columbus Crew SC announced today that the 2015 season will officially be kicking off with an away match versus the Houston Dynamo on Saturday,....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 10:27 am

Another top executive out as Scotts CEO continues restructuring

The chief operating officer of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. is leaving as the lawn-and-garden juggernaut continues restructuring its executive ranks. ....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 10:07 am

Ohio Oil and Gas Association leader Tom Stewart retiring

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association is losing its long-time leader. Tom Stewart, who has led the state's top industry lobbying firm as executive vice....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 9:49 am

Year in Review: Grandview Yard, Arena District West among busy slate of rea

The commercial real estate industry was plenty active in 2014 as Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd. continued development of its Grandview Yard....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 9:42 am

Au Bon Pain Closes Downtown, Opens at OSU Medical Center

Boston-based cafe chain Au Bon Pain just quietly completed the relocation of its singular Columbus location from Downtown to the OSU Wexner Medical....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 9:21 am

Morning Roundup: OSU trustee resigning, Blue Jackets go down fighting, and

In today's roundup: OSU Trustee Algenon Marbley leaving his seat, Big Lots closing some stores, Clevelanders upset about historic tax credit award,....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 7:17 am

Holiday Shopping Guide 2014 No. 5 – Last Minute Things

The holidays are near! Thank you for reading our annual Holiday Shopping Guide! The 2014 Guide is presented by the The Columbus Foundation. Their new....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 6:50 am

Give Diapers This Holiday Season

This holiday season, consider giving in an influential manner — one that rises above the overpriced trinkets that mom will never use, and hotter....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 19, 2014 6:45 am

Four tactics for 2014’s complex year-end tax planning

With the end of the year just around the corner, individuals and businesses often turn their attention to any last-minute, year-end tax planning they....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 19, 2014 5:00 am

Photos: Dave & Jimmy’s Jingle Ball 2014

The LC hosted yet another sold out radio Christmas show last night as Dave & Jimmy’s Jingle Ball fed the capacity crowd a hearty dose of....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 18, 2014 9:22 pm

Conservative group asking Dublin for records on Bridge Street District proj

A big public records request is the latest twist in the Bridge Street District redevelopment saga. Dublin residents associated with the conservative....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 5:16 pm

Honda training center designed to bridge manufacturing’s skills gap

The newest Honda facility is as much about the future as the past. While the big draw to the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville will be the museum....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 2:22 pm

Huntington adding Apple Pay

Huntington National Bank will offer Apple Pay in early 2015 to ease payments for its customers. As I've reported, Columbus-based Huntington....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 1:50 pm

Mega Fall Weekend 2014 – Vol. 13

Happy last weekend of fall! Have you gotten your ugly sweater yet? All of your cookies baked? All of your gifts ready? Tomorrow is the last edition....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 18, 2014 1:00 pm

Equity invests in Texas medical project, adds San Antonio brokerage

Commercial real estate developer Equity Inc. has jumped outside of its Columbus base for the second investment of its Equity Velocity Fund I. The....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 12:56 pm

Barrett School housing plan, Mercantile Building conversion land historic t

State tax credits are paving the way for the largest housing project in south Columbus in decades, plus the redevelopment of a downtown building into....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 12:30 pm

Obamacare’s employer mandate gets 60% approval rating, but 46% like entir

Turns out selective presentation of facts can sway public opinion. Who knew? Six in 10 Americans have a favorable view of the Affordable Care....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 12:27 pm

Worthington Industries’ oil and gas business misses expectations for 2Q

An oil and gas business at Worthington Industries Inc. did not meet expectations for the last quarter, but the company sees the problems as....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 12:26 pm

Nationwide, Otterbein team up to train software testers – ‘You’re imm

Otterbein University and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. are running a Ruby Cucumber Boot Camp, which despite its ridiculous name could fill a....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 12:21 pm

Temperance Row Brewing shakes off Prohibition’s ghosts with Westerville b

Scott Francis took no chances with his newest brewery, Temperance Row Brewing Co. Before opening Wednesday the long-time Columbus brewer invited a....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 10:47 am

Year in Review: Our most-popular stories – from Costco to Cameron Mitchel

Restaurants dominated our top 10 list of the most-viewed online stories over the past year. From familiar names like Cameron Mitchell to newcomers....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 10:06 am

Should AEP be guaranteed profits for coal-burning plants? Company makes its

A packed room watched a unique back-and-forth between energy regulators and attorneys for Ohio power companies and business and environmental....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 10:04 am

A Kitchen Inspired by Gifts From the Kitchen

When it comes to gift-giving, sometimes I can get stumped about what to give my friends and family. Given my prowess in the kitchen, however, it’s....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 18, 2014 8:27 am

ACLU Investigates Religious Requirement in Kasich’s School Program

Governor John Kasich’s school mentorship program is now being investigated by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. The Governor’s....

The Walker Evans Effect

Dec 18, 2014 6:50 am

Morning Roundup: New York unions lobby against Columbus to DNC, Ohio Mulch

In today's roundup: New York union officials are bad-mouthing Columbus to the DNC, Ohio Mulch agrees to a settlement with the state, Drive Capital....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 18, 2014 6:50 am

Craft brewers talk competition, Stone Brewing and whether Budweiser is a hi

Columbus' beer quality, Stone Brewing Co. and the unabated popularity of IPAs all were discussed at a lively Columbus Metropolitan Club forum....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 17, 2014 3:57 pm

Huntington Bank buys city’s first skyscraper on West Broad Street

Huntington National Bank has purchased the city's first skyscraper as it corners the office market from the southwest corner of Broad and High to the....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 17, 2014 3:15 pm

Local craft brewers say space crunch hampering expansion plans

Developers and real estate people take note — the beer brewing industry is shopping. "The No. 1 problem facing brewers is space," Eric Bean,....

Business First of Columbus

Dec 17, 2014 3:00 pm