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Miami U. grad picked as Romney's running mate

Published: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 8:17 AM
Updated: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 6:21 PM


            House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.

Mitt Romney’s decision to select Republican congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate is a bold stroke designed to convince skeptical conservatives that as president he will crusade for lower taxes and curbing federal spending.

Analysts acknowledge that Romney’s choice Saturday could prod voters to focus on the federal deficit and the sluggish economy as opposed to Romney’s career with a Boston investment firm.

But some GOP officials privately fear that the Republican ticket could hurt itself in the crucial state of Florida, which has 29 electoral votes, by emphasizing restraints on the rapidly growing entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Ryan, a Wisconsin lawmaker who chairs the House budget committee, has pressed for a sweeping overhaul of Medicare’s current fee-for-service plan into a system in which the federal government would subsidize private insurance plans so seniors could buy their own policies. Although Ryan has stressed his Medicare plan would not into effect for a decade, it could prove toxic with many seniors.

In addition, even though Ryan graduated from Miami University in Oxford, many Republicans were convinced that Sen. Rob Portman had a better chance than Ryan to tip Ohio toward Romney.

“It was a bold choice and it will virtually guarantee that the issues of the role of the government and fiscal responsibility will be a top priority in the general election,’’ said David Walker, former comptroller of the United States and founder of Comeback America Initiative, a nonpartisan organization that champions lower deficits.

“It increases the likelihood that the debates will be more substantive and the American people will be provided with a real choice,’’ Walker said. “And whoever wins the election will be able to claim they have a mandate for action.’’

But even as many Republicans praised Ryan as smart and possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the federal budget, they know that Obama and Democrats will hammer the GOP ticket on the type of Medicare changes that Ryan has championed as chairman of the House budget committee.

“Paul Ryan is a great guy,’’ said Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant in Washington with close ties to Portman. “My heart’s 100 percent with Paul Ryan.’’

“But my head says we need to talk about how people are hurting (economically), not how to end Medicare. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a debate on how much to cut entitlement programs. If it does, we’re going to lose.’’

Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said that by picking Ryan, Romney’s “chances have been irreparably harmed in Florida. The majority of Floridians understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare.’’

As he introduced Ryan to an enthusiastic rally in Virginia on Saturday, Romney praised Ryan as “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course.”

Neither Romney nor Ryan has much international experience.

“Who would have thought that only a decade after 9/11, the Republicans would have so little foreign policy experience on the Presidential ticket?” asked University of Dayton political science lecturer Dan Birdsong. “This underscores a simple ‘truth’ about presidential elections: domestic policy trumps foreign policy.”

Ryan signaled an aggressive course when he said that Obama and many others in Washington “have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford four more years of this.’’

Yet Romney appears to understand the potential danger with Ryan’s Medicare plans. The Romney campaign has advised its surrogate speakers that are differences between Romney and Ryan on some of the major issues, including Medicare revisions and reforming entitlements.

Federal spending on Medicare, which pays for health coverage for seniors, is projected to nearly double from $560 billion this year to $1 trillion in 2022. By 2022, Washington will spend almost as much on the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as it spends today for the entire federal budget.

Without restraining the growth of the entitlement programs, the only way the government can eventually balance the budget is through either large tax increases on all Americans or politically unpopular reductions in spending for national defense and domestic programs.

While the Ryan choice will thrill economic conservatives, particularly those who write for the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard, many analysts doubt whether he can broaden the appeal of the ticket to the handful of swing voters in a dozen states who will decide the election.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,’’ said one political strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You don’t win elections with your base vote and this guy doesn’t get you anything beyond the base. What’s the No.1 rule? Don’t pick anybody who can hurt you? Do you think swing voters in Ohio are going to like this guy’s message?’’

Naturally, local Democrats and Republicans had different opinions on how Ryan would affect the local vote. Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Rob Scott said having Ryan on the ticket will make his job easier because so many voters are looking for a real plan with specifics.

“There’s been a huge push for good fiscal management in our government, from Washington D.C. to Columbus to here locally,” Scott said. “And Congressman Ryan’s plan speaks directly to that.”

But county Democratic Chairman Mark Owens said he was looking forward to spelling out pieces of Ryan’s plan to voters, saying it would help the Obama campaign.

“Raising the tax burden on the middle class, cutting education through Head Start programs and Pell Grants that allow middle income families to go to college, all that’s going to have an effect on everybody in the Miami Valley,” Owens said.

Ryan, who was born, raised and still lives in Janesville, Wis., has an interesting parallel to the Miami Valley in the auto industry. General Motors closed its Janesville Assembly plant on Dec. 23, 2008, the same day as GM’s Moraine Assembly plant closed here. Janesville made trucks and SUVs, as did the Moraine plant.

Ryan voted in favor of the auto industry bailout, but later explained to The Daily Caller newspaper that he was told the industry was going to get government money no matter what, and he voted for what he thought was the better of two options.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich hailed the choice of Ryan, saying “he’s got a keen intellect and the kind of courage to think big on solutions that America needs from its leaders. That he’s a graduate of one of Ohio’s great universities – Miami University – doesn’t hurt either.’’

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, said that “the selection of Paul Ryan shows that we are serious about putting this country back on the path to prosperity. Unfortunately, the President has failed to offer a plan to put Ohioans back to work or to end the largest federal deficits since World War II. Governor Romney has a plan, and our country is in desperate need of leadership.”

Asked how Ryan was different from other possible Romney running mates, Turner said Ryan is “young, dynamic, intelligent, well-studied and very well-spoken.” He said the fact that Ryan has been overwhelmingly re-elected six times in an otherwise Democratic district is proof that he can appeal across party lines.

Romney will be back in Ohio on Tuesday as part of a four-state bus tour. He will stop in Chillicothe and eastern Ohio, but the campaign has not yet said whether Ryan will be with him.

Dayton’s top boss: Here’s why we spend millions on downtown projects

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 8:26 AM

Dayton’s new “downtown living room,” the Levitt Pavilion music venue site, is planned for a green space named after a former city mayor.

The city of Dayton’s top executive spent part of this week’s commission meeting defending the city’s spending on downtown redevelopment, evidently in an effort to quash criticism about the city’s financial priorities.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein gave a presentation intended to highlight the economic importance of downtown to the entire city and how the city invests a small fraction of its budget into downtown projects.

“There’s a lot of conversation about the city of Dayton putting too much money into downtown,” she said. “Let me be very clear that about 1 cent out of every dollar — or less than 1 percent of our annual general fund — is strategically invested in downtown economic development efforts.”

Some citizen activists have said the city is neglecting many of its neighborhoods by overly focusing on building up the center part of the city.

RELATED: Clean up deteriorating neighborhoods, residents tell Dayton officials

Downtown’s vitality and redevelopment is crucial to the entire city, because it generates more than half of the income taxes the city collects, which is about $70 million annually, Dickstein said.

Dickstein said that 75 cents of every dollar of income tax collected from downtown workers and businesses goes toward support services in Dayton’s neighborhoods.

City Manager Shelley Dickstein at Wednesday’s work session. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF(Staff Writer)

“Without the income tax earned from downtown jobs, $53 million annually in services to Dayton neighborhoods would be lost,” she said.

In the last six years, the money the city has spent downtown — about 1 percent of its annual general fund budget, which this year was $164 million — has leveraged $152 million in private investment, Dickstein said.

The greater downtown has about 51,000 employees and 20,000 residents, which increase the appeal and value of other neighborhoods, she said.

RELATED: 4 big questions facing downtown Dayton projects

Downtown has 1,400 housing units and 600 more in the pipeline, and the hot demand for housing is fueling consumer activities and growing jobs and wealth that support the city’s tax base, Dickstein said.

Downtown has 60 restaurants and 30 night clubs that make it the social epicenter of the region, which also drives new investments and activities, she said.

Each resident in Dayton “should be cheering for the investment” and for downtown to be as strong as possible because it drives investment into the neighborhoods, she said.

MORE: Million-dollar club: The most valuable homes in Montgomery County

Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams said the city often has to leverage its dollars where the developers want to go, and they want to invest downtown.

“While we’ve tried to push them to other certain parts of the city, a lot of developers want to come downtown,” he said. “But we are starting to see more go into other parts of the city, which is a very positive development.”

Second Ward turnout sparse in meetings to plan Hamilton’s future

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 9:32 AM


            A corridor in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
A corridor in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

When residents participating in the Plan Hamilton effort to create a 10- to 15-year vision for the city’s future met in five areas of the city recently, they were asked to place dots on a city map to represent where they live.

As a neighborhood leader of the Lindenwald neighborhood looked at that map on Wednesday, he noted dots were notably sparse in some of the poorest areas of the city, including the East Side neighborhoods of the 2nd and 4th wards, Jefferson, the East End, and even northern Lindenwald.

MORE: 2 charged in Lindenwald shots fired incident

Those are some of the city’s areas most in need of help, noted Frank Downie, chairman of PROTOCOL (People Reaching Out To Others; Celebrate Our Lindenwald).

It’s especially surprising because city leaders had taken care to distribute the five meetings throughout Hamilton, including at Booker T. Washington Community in the 2nd Ward on July 22, a Saturday.

Wendy Moeller, owner and principal planner of Blue Ash-based Compass Point Planning, which is facilitating the comprehensive plan, said the East Side turnout was disappointing. The map’s dots make it easy to see the gaps.

“The main reason we did this map is we wanted to see if there were those big spots, and then we need to re-think how we need to get those folks engaged,” she said. “We will probably try to do some strategies to get them involved, but there’s other things we’re going to be doing …”

“We are trying to get any idea to go out there,” she added. “Sometimes it’s very engaging to go out to churches, or if they have local community events there.”

MORE: Hamilton block party shares healthy living tips

While the Lindenwald business district made both lists of things residents are proud of and want to see improved in coming years, not making either list was the 2nd Ward, which city officials have previously committed to work to revitalize along with Lindenwald in coming years.

“There were a number of places that called out the 2nd and 4th wards,” Moeller said. “People talked about neighborhoods, or even sub-neighborhoods that we didn’t try to identify individually. A lot of times they were identified in specific meetings, and didn’t necessarily cross all of them.”

“That’s why one of the things I continuously hounded on was ‘Just because you don’t see something specifically here does not mean it’s not important,’” she said. “This (series of lists of top issues raised) is where we’re just hearing repeated issues.”

MORE: 5 things to make Ohio 4 corridor in Hamilton better for businesses

Bob Harris, president of the South East Civic Association, which focuses its efforts on the 2nd and 4th wards, said he attended the BTW Center meeting.

“I don’t know where Hamilton’s going to be 10 years from now,” Harris said. “What I do know is you have to have your best minds at the table. You need those who will work hard, with sweat equity, to make a difference in your city. And you do need diversity on all of your committees and boards.”

“That may not be something I’ll see in my lifetime,” he said. “That’s what we should be looking for as a community and a city.”

RELATED: Hamilton term limits and wards: Petitioners short on signatures

Harris said the lack of diversity in city government, and on City Council, was one reason he supported a recent failed effort to place on the November ballot an issue that would change council’s elections to a ward system. Opponents have said a ward system could create infighting between parts of the city, and lead council members to represent parts of Hamilton, rather than the whole.

“I hope that what is being done this time (with Plan Hamilton), that we use that information to make a major difference,” Harris said.

Injured Kettering wrestling star 'had a great day’ back at school

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 12:42 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:55 PM

Injured Kettering wrestling star 'had a great day’ back at school

UPDATE @ 6:55 p.m.

Students were excited to see wrestling star Ahmad Doucet back at Fairmont High School today following an incapacitating injury on Father’s Day 2015.

“It’s great that he was back in school today,” said Frank Baxter, head wrestling coach. “His first class that he takes is my class, actually, it’s a social studies elective.”

Doucet’s stroke came just before his senior year when he was training for a national tournament that was not associated with Kettering schools. When word reached Baxter that Doucet suffered a debilitating stroke, the news was “crushing,” he said.

“There’s no coaching manual that explains how to deal with something like this,” Baxter said. “As unbelievably tragic as it was, it’s unbelievably positive that he’s back in school.”

>>2016: Former Fairmont wrestler ‘trapped inside his own body’

>>2015: Injured Fairmont wrestler communicating with family, doctors

Although many were not sure it was possible, Doucet persevered and was able to return today for his senior year, and is working to graduate in May.

Principal Tyler Alexander said his first day on the job was right after Doucet’s injury.

“One of the great things about Kettering is this community comes together and supports our school district, also supports our students. Ahmad is a perfect example of that,” Alexander said. “There are a lot of folks that didn’t know Ahmad prior to the accident that have stepped up and are trying to do everything in their power to make him feel comfortable whether it be in the community, whether it be home or whether it be at Fairmont.”

FIRST REPORT

A star Kettering Fairmont wrestler who suffered a debilitating stroke while practicing front headlocks nearly two years ago returned to school for his senior year today, his family said on a Facebook post today.

“Ahmad's first day of his senior year! I am so proud of my son. He has worked so hard to get back to this day, and here we are. I would like to thank everyone who helped make today possible,” his mother Angela Fisher wrote in the post.  “It's such an incredibly long list of amazing people who have loved and believed in Ahmad throughout this journey.”

>>2016: Former Fairmont wrestler ‘trapped inside his own body’

>>2015: Injured Fairmont wrestler communicating with family, doctors

 On Father's Day 2015, Ahmad Doucet was training at the Prodigy Fitness Center in Springboro as a national tournament approached in Tulsa, Okla. Initially, Doucet was thought to have suffered a concussion, but doctors later determined he had a stroke. 

He was treated at local hospitals then moved to the Cleveland Children's Clinic then Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center before eventually returning to his Kettering home, which was remodeled through community donations. 

Fisher  last year said, "Ahmad can't speak or purposefully move any of his limbs” and that he was "trapped inside his own body," aware of what has happened.

Less humid today; heating up for Monday’s solar eclipse

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 5:22 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks at the chance for rain and how warm we get this weekend

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Wind shift will bring less humid air back
  • A few showers Saturday, but drying out quickly
  • Heating up for the solar eclipse Monday
Five Day Forecast

DETAILED FORECAST

Today:  Despite a very warm and muggy start to the day, winds shifting to the west will help to bring in cooler, drier air for the rest of the day, said Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. A front will push through in the morning. Breezy at times this afternoon with highs in the low 80s. There will be sunshine and some scattered clouds.

>> County-by-county forecasts

Saturday: A few showers are possible during the day. Any rain should stay isolated, but you might want to keep some rain gear around for outdoor plans. Highs will be around 80 degrees. It will be dry in the evening.

WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Sunday: It will be a beautiful end to the weekend with highs in the upper 80s. It will be warm and muggy with sunshine.

Monday (Eclipse Day): It will be hot for the solar eclipse with highs in the upper 80s. It will be muggy with heat index values in the low 90s. Keep plenty of water around. There will be sunshine and some scattered clouds possible later in the afternoon. It will still be a good view for the eclipse.

>> Dew point and humidity: What’s the difference?

Tuesday: It will be dry early with highs in the upper 80s with showers and storms at night.