Scene & Heard

Monday, June 25, 2018

Family Separation Happens in Ohio Too, According to Immigrant Rights Group

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 3:07 PM

  • ICE

CINCINNATI - Stories of children being forcibly separated from their parents are adding fuel to the fire for advocacy groups in Ohio already fighting for the rights of immigrants.

After widespread outrage over separations along the southern U.S. border, GOP leaders vowed to end the practice. And last week President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end separations.

The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati is among the organizations in Ohio working to help elevate the voices of immigrant communities. And program manager Samantha Searls said a solution is not that easy, since there are policies that separate families even here in Ohio.

"A lot of people may not realize that family separation has been happening for months if not years now through ICE activity, and it's recently been increasing," Searls said. "So regardless of what's happening on the border, there are still families being separated by our immigration system."

IJPC will host an event Monday night to discuss current policies and educate community members on how they can advocate for immigrants. Saturday is a National Day of Action Against Family Separation, and rallies will be held in cities across the country to coincide with a mass mobilization in Washington.

In early June, more than 100 people were arrested by immigration agents at a garden and landscaping company in northwestern Ohio. And Searls noted, just last week 146 people were detained in an ICE raid of a meatpacking operation in Massillon.

"These kind of surprise operations are very detrimental to the community," she said. "A lot of these people have families and are trying to provide for their communities. And being taken away so quickly is a shock to the whole system."

Searls said immigrant-led organizations are collecting supplies and donations to help these families, and advocacy groups are working with local officials to ensure fair treatment of those detained.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.
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Ohio Smoking Rate Still One of the Highest, Despite Numbers Dropping Nationally

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 2:24 PM

  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Cigarette smoking rates may be declining in the United States, but Ohioans continue to light up in numbers well above the national average.

As reported by the Akron Beacon Journal, the Centers for Disease Control recently revealed that about 14 percent of the U.S. population reported smoking last year, down from 15.5 percent in 2016. However, about the same number of Ohio adults admit to smoking over the last two years, 22.5 percent, despite the known health risks.

Each year, cigarette smoking kills about 480,000 Americans, including 41,000  from second-hand smoke, according to the CDC. Smoking-related illness in the United States also costs billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity.

Even more troubling, the National Center for Health Statistics also released a report earlier this year showing that 14.4 percent of women pregnant in the Buckeye state smoked tobacco, a rate higher than most other states. Smoking while pregnant can lead to premature birth, low birth weights and a slew of other health issues.

Education and income levels have a major influence on whether a person will smoke or not, the CDC says. None of these statistics include rates of e-cigarette use, which continues to grow in popularity, especially among teens and young adults.

In order to combat these numbers, the Ohio Department of Health continues to fund its anti-smoking campaigns, while many cities, including Akron and Cleveland, have raised the age a person can buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. 
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'Occupy ICE' Protesters Attempt to Shut Down Detroit Office

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 1:07 PM

  • Violet Ikonomova

More than a dozen protesters have camped outside of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Detroit, the field office for Michigan and Ohio, with the hope of shutting it down.

The organizers have been gathered outside the federal building at Jefferson Avenue and Mount Elliot Street since Saturday. They said they planned to stay for a week.

"We want to physically, through mass action, shut down ICE operations," says Kate Stenvig, an organizer with By Any Means Necessary. "We are enforcing Detroit as a sanctuary city."

The organizations involved are calling for a shutdown of the nation's detention centers, immediate reunification of children with their families, asylum for all immigrant parents detained trying to enter the United States, and the abolition of ICE.

The protest is one of several "Occupy ICE" demonstrations that have cropped up around the country in the wake of a successful Portland action that forced ICE to temporarily shut down its office there. As of Saturday, Occupy protests were also being held in New York, L.A., and Washington state.

"This is the biggest crisis, this is a crime against humanity," says Stenvig.

Other groups involved include the Metro-Detroit Political Action Network and Great Lakes AntiFa.

Stenvig says the protesters plan to stay at the site until Saturday, when "Keep Families Together" demonstrations will be held throughout the country.
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CBRE is Marketing the Scranton Peninsula as 'Thunderbird,' a Bespoke Cleveland Neighborhood

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 12:34 PM

The real estate firm CBRE is marketing the western portion of the now-vacant Scranton Peninsula as "Thunderbird," a brand-new mixed-use neighborhood "in the heart of a reemerging American city."

As PD real estate reporter Michelle Jarboe notes, the renderings in the PDF below are extremely early and "very conceptual," and the entire development — envisioned as a "small, compact and walkable community" — is for the moment purely aspirational. But acreage is indeed available for lease or sale.

Thunderbird, CBRE says in its lit, "will be designed with both the honest and self-evident character embedded in the city as well as a thoughtful overlay of
placemaking that looks beyond Cleveland today and towards a bright future."

We're not quite sure what that means, but the proximity to downtown, the Flats, Ohio City and Tremont should make for commanding residential options, if developed. Earlier this year, Great Lakes Brewing Company bought eight acres of land on the peninsula, signaling a significant expansion. And the Irishtown Bend project — including a new park — has received substantial funding and will be stabilized and renovated in the coming years as well, adding value to the nearby area.

According to CBRE, the aspiration for the site is one that highlights the river views and adjacent amenities.

"Thunderbird is conceived of a predominately mid-rise development (5-7 stories)," the PDF explains, "with the potential for strategically placed higher rise buildings (8+ stories). All designed around view corridors and pedestrian experience."

Here's the full PDF from CBRE:
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Cases of Hepatitis A Have Doubled in Ohio This Year, On Track to Quadruple 2017

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 11:22 AM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Last week, The Ohio Department of Health declared a statewide outbreak of Hepatitis A. Most of the outbreak has been concentrated in the southwest and northwest portions of the state, but the ODH notes there have been cases reported in Cuyahoga and Summit Counties as well.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease that usually spreads when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by the stool of an infected person. Hepatitis A can also be spread from close personal contact with an infected person, traditionally through sexual activity.

(So, be careful when you're feeling frisky enough to eat the booty like groceries.)


According to the health department, the increase in cases are linked to risk factors outside of anal play, like illegal street drug use (injected or not), homelessness, people who have traveled to other areas of the U.S. currently experiencing outbreaks and people who have been incarcerated – or people who have had contact with known cases. Luckily, there haven't been any deaths associated with this year's outbreak, but the statistics are as follows:
  • Number of cases: 79
  • Illness onset range: 01/05/2018 - 06/18/2018
  • Age range: 19-64 years
  • Gender: 68 percent male
  • Number of hospitalizations: 58 (73 percent)
  • Number of deaths: 0
  • Number of counties with cases: 24 (27 percent)
The state health department has provided more than 5,000 doses of vaccine to local health departments, and the 79 reported cases is nearly double that of 2017's cases. At this rate, Ohio will quadruple last year's numbers.

Symptoms include sudden nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, especially on the upper right side below the lower ribs; clay-colored bowel movements, dark urine, no appetite, low fever, joint pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes); and itching. People who are high-risk for contracting Hepatitis A should contact their doctor or local health department for a vaccine to prevent infection.
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Ohio Republicans Introduce Bill That Would Allow Parents to Deny Transgender Children the Right to Transition

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 10:59 AM

  • Courtesy of the ACLU Ohio
Last week, the Ohio GOP decided to push forward with a bill that would allow parents the ability to deny their transgender child body autonomy and the right to transition.

Sponsored by Republican House Reps. Tom Brinkman and Paul Zeltwanger, House Bill 658 grants parents sweeping rights to “withhold consent for gender dysphoria treatment or activities that are designed and intended to form a child’s conception of sex and gender.”

HB 658 also prevents schools from affirming a child’s trans identity without the consent of the young person’s parents. Violating that portion of the legislation would result in a 4th-degree felony.

Despite the fact studies have proven that children are aware of their gender identity around the age of 4, this bill authorizes parents to reject their children's gender identity or expression.

Perhaps more damning, one of the other provisions of HB 658 prevents Ohio courts from denying custody to parents in the event they block their transgender child from transitioning.

"[The bill's] a waste of time and money that could otherwise be spent on actual issues affecting Ohio's minorities," Kate Kloss, a transwoman from Cleveland, tells Scene. "And it's insulting to teenagers, cis or trans, to say that they can't make decisions for themselves."

Rep. Brinkman says the legislation was inspired following a February court ruling by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals in which the grandparents of a 17-year-old transboy were awarded custody after his family attempted to force him into conversion therapy.

Meaning, if a child wanted to move in with more affirming family members that would support their transition, the child would be completely helpless and would be stuck living in a non-affirming household.

“They should have that responsibility,” Brinkman told WOSU Public Media. “And if somebody doesn't like it, you're emancipated at age 18 and you can go do whatever the heck you want.”

The problem with that, however, is that transitioning later in life can be extremely difficult. Once a transgender person has already gone through puberty, reversing those changes is much harder than if the child was able to transition beforehand. Transmen would have developed breasts. Transwomen would have already developed deeper voices and facial hair.

While being trans is about existing and not about passing, disallowing a transperson to transition as early as possible is denying them the opportunity to live authentically as soon as possible.

Additionally, the law seems frivolous because children under 18 years old already need parental or guardian consent to begin hormone treatment. There is no set age limit for starting on prescription hormones related to transition, and doctors need to assess a patient’s situation on a case-by-case basis. This law is specifically about preventing the affirmation of transgender youth disguised as a concern for their "health."

"Medical professionals are more qualified than parents to make decisions about a teenager's healthcare," says Kloss. "I wonder what [the legislators] could accomplish if they cared as much about police brutality as they do about interfering in teen healthcare."

According to a statement from Equality Ohio, “This unnecessary and discriminatory bill does nothing to support youth and families, In fact, it puts the livelihoods of some of our most vulnerable youth—transgender youth—further at risk with bullying and discrimination by potentially forcing teachers to out them.”

The bill attempts to perpetuate a dangerous narrative surrounding transgender youth, despite all research proving that access to transition related care is vital in allowing a healthy future for transgender individuals.

This is just the latest anti-trans legislature to be introduced in Ohio, wasting valuable time that could be spent on anti-discrimination and protection legislation, as Transpeople are at higher risks of violence and discrimination than anyone else under the LGBTQ umbrella.

HB 658 received a hearing from the Community and Family Advancement committee earlier this week, but it remains to be seen whether it can find support in the Ohio General Assembly.

If it does, it can only be expected that a massive pushback from progressive groups and protests would soon follow.

To learn more about transgender rights in Ohio, visit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) here
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Iceland, Europe Among Most Popular Travel Destinations for Clevelanders This Summer, According to Travel Agents

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 2:11 PM

Clevelanders are taking advantage of low airfare and nonstop flights to Europe this summer. - PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • Photo via Wikipedia
  • Clevelanders are taking advantage of low airfare and nonstop flights to Europe this summer.

While popular domestic destinations like Florida and the Carolinas topped Clevelanders' travel plans last year, trends this year show more people vacationing abroad, most likely thanks to cheap, competitive airfare.

That and other tidbits come from travel agents who are tracking where we're heading this summer.

Heather Jones, a travel consultant for The Travel Connection, says that desired travel destinations boil down to three things: how cheap it is to get there, how easy and, of course, weather conditions.

Here's what 2018's hot spots are shaping up to be:

Don Miller, Owner of Lakewood Travel Bureau, says one of this summer's newest popular travel destinations for Clevelanders is Iceland. With Icelandair and WOW Air offering cheap non-stop flights out of Hopkins since May, travelers are already taking advantage. Danielle Johnston, a travel agent at Canary Travel, also confirmed this pattern.

Great value flights aren't just heading to Iceland, though. France, Italy, Ireland and a bunch of other European countries are also welcoming Clevelanders this summer, according to Jones, as many airlines are dropping prices to stay competitive.

Cruises are a popular travel method for those wanting to experience a lush life and multiple vacation spots. But the hot thing this summer are river cruises, in both Europe and America. Miller says that popular domestic river cruises include those in Mississippi, while Jones says Alaskan river cruises boast breezy summer weather, making them perfect for summer.

Classic favorite vacation spots that haven't changed from last summer include various islands in the Caribbean and also Riviera Maya and Cancun in Mexico. The reason for these spots' popularity remains the same: families love all-inclusive packages (and water parks), according to Johnston. And who wouldn't love paying one price for food, beverages (alcoholic ones, too) and activities like snorkeling and water skiing? Miller says that many of his clients also travel to Hawaii year-round.
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