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Hip, hip, hippo-ray! #TeamFiona fan proposes

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:23 PM

Team Fiona fan proposes to girlfriend with help from hippo

Fiona, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s beloved baby hippopotamus, helped celebrate the engagement of #TeamFiona fans.

The couple were in line to snap a picture on their one-year anniversary earlier this month when Nick Kelble surprised Hayley Roll when he got down on one knee and proposed while Fiona photo-bombed the special moment at the zoo’s Hippo Cove.

Kelble, a University of Cincinnati student, and Roll, a recent Bowling Green State University grad and radiology tech at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, have loved Fiona from the start, our media partner WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

“We are huge #TeamFiona fans and have been following her since she was born,” Roll said, WCPO reported. “We’re so happy Fiona could be there on our special day. Here’s to many more years of going to zoos with you,” Roll posted on Instagram.

(WCPO)
One zoo staff member cropped the photo and quipped that Fiona thinks she’s the one getting engaged. Another said Fiona would need a much bigger ring for one of her toes.

Brrrr! It’s getting too cold for visitors to see Fiona

Published: Thursday, October 26, 2017 @ 5:18 PM

MUST SEE: Fiona spends time with momma Bibi

It’s getting too cold for Fiona, the beloved hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Hippos can only go outside if it’s at least 50 degrees with sunny skies. The zoo suggest checking the Zoo Today page on its website before visiting and too see all zoo updates.

>>Hip, Hip, Hippo-ray! Fiona photo bombs wedding proposal

The 9-month-old Fiona, who weighed 29 pounds when she was born six weeks premature, is the smallest hippopotamus ever to survive. Normal birth weight is between 50 and 110 pounds.

Team Fiona fan proposes to girlfriend with help from hippo
On Wednesday, the scale tipped 550 pounds for the baby hippo who measured 5 feet long and 2.5 feet tall, the zoo reported. Adult female hippos can weigh between 1,400 and 5,000 pounds.

It’s the largest bus contract in RTA’s history: Here's what you need to know

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

After nearly three years of testing the NexGen electric trolley Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is buying 26 of the buses at a cost of about $1.2 million each and will put the first production model on the street by early 2019.

The new NexGen battery-electric trolley buses Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is purchasing might leave people wondering how a bus with trolley poles can be motoring down the road on its own power without a trolley wire in sight. Here are five things to know about the new buses:

The cost: RTA will buy 26 of the buses for about $1.2 million now and 15 more when federal funding can be lined up. The $57.4 million contract with Kiepe Electric of Georgia for buses and parts is the largest bus contract in RTA history.

The battery:This is not your grandfather’s battery. The NexGen has a 3,000-pound Lithium Titanate Oxide battery with a 12-year lifespan that can power a fully loaded bus at full speed for 15 miles off wire.

A 3,000 pound battery powers the NexGen electric trolley that Greater Dayton RTA will buy to replace its current fleet of ETI trolleys.

Bang for buck:The NexGen trolley bus has a lifespan of 18 to 20 years and 800,000 miles. It costs 63 percent more than a standard diesel bus but lasts longer, is cheaper to operate, is better for the environment and quieter, said Mark Donaghy, RTA executive director.

RELATED: RTA to buy 26 electric trolley buses — at $1.2 million each

Testing: RTA tested four prototypes of the NexGen — which is short for Next Generation —before deciding on the electric-battery version. The first production bus arrives in about 15 months and then RTA hopes to get two a month after that.

Old bus retirement: RTA will eventually retire its fleet of Electric Trolley Inc. buses, which have been on the road since 1998 and plagued by multiple problems over the years.

This aging ETI electric trolley is part of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority trolley fleet that will be replaced by NexGen battery-electric trolleys. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(File Photo)

RELATED: A High-cost Laboratory

Other vehicle technology stories by Lynn Hulsey

The newest frontier for hackers: your car

Would you ride in a car with a brain?

‘Smart car’ technology may make roads safer, but some fear data hacks

3 new manatees arrive at Cincinnati Zoo

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 9:24 PM

Orphaned manatee Pippen is bottle-fed at SeaWorld Orlando following his rescue.
SeaWorld Orlando
Orphaned manatee Pippen is bottle-fed at SeaWorld Orlando following his rescue.(SeaWorld Orlando)

Three orphaned male manatees in need of rehabilitation arrived Wednesday at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

This is part of a collaborative effort by participants of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, a program designed to rescue and treat sick, injured and orphaned manatees and release them back into the wild.

“We are extremely proud to be part of this conservation program and excited to welcome Pippen, Miles and Mathew to their new home in Cincinnati,” zoo Director Thane Maynard said.

The manatees at the zoo’s Otto M. Budig Family Foundation Manatee Springs habitat. The space for the three orphans became available after two healthy manatees -- Betsy and BamBam -- were returned to Florida.

>>Fiona the baby hippo will grace Cincinnati Zoo’s 2018 calendar

BamBam will be the 14th manatee from the zoo to be returned to the wild. He is expected to be released in early 2018.

Betsy, who has been at the zoo since 2010, will return to her birthplace, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, in time for her 27th birthday. She is not considered a candidate for release and will be cared for at the park.

ABOUT THE NEW MANATEES

  • Pippen: Rescued from the Halifax River in June 2016 weiging 58 pounds. After critical care at SeaWorld Orlando, he weighs 225 pounds. He is the smallest manatee ever to live at the zoo. 
  • Miles: Rescued from the Sykes Creek on Merritt Island in August 2016 weighing 43 pounds. After critical care at SeaWorld Orlando, he weighs 320 pounds. 
  • Mathew: Rescued from New Smyrna in October 2016, right after Hurricane Matthew.. He weighed 56 pounds and is now up to 340 pounds.
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Ohio Patrol cracking down on distracted driving; state considering higher fines

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 3:08 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 3:25 PM

Distracted driving

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is cracking down on distracting driving with a special effort through July 22.

This is part of a six-state project which includes all of the states that border Ohio. 

“Distracted driving is a reckless and dangerous behavior,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride in a statement. “If you’re behind the wheel, you need to be completely focused on driving. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and our law enforcement partners in our neighboring states know the devastating effects of distracted driving.”

RELATED: Ohio considering major changes for teen drivers

Driving while distracted could cost you an extra $100 if you are pulled over for speeding or another moving violation under a bill the Ohio House of Representatives approved last month.

The law goes beyond driving while texting and State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, says it goes too far because it also covers talking on the phone, switching radio stations and other distractions beyond texting.

“To me, its overly expansive. Its not just texting while driving. It’s everything,” Antani said.

“While cracking down on distracted driving is important, this bill will criminalize talking on the phone while driving which is terrible government overreach.”

The bill passed 71-10 but would not become law unless approved by the Ohio Senate and signed by the governor.

The bill is co-sponsored by State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, and State Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington. It covers moving violations such as speeding, running red lights, disobeying any traffic devices, driving too slowly, improper lane changes and other offenses.

RELATED: Teens involved in more crashes in summer months

“Inspired from previous efforts to bring attention to the dangers of distracted driving, Rep. Hughes worked in coordination with the Ohio Department of Public Safety to draft legislation to create this enhanced penalty, which would not add points to an individual’s driver’s license and would not go on their driving record,” according to a news release on Hughes’ website.

“The enhanced penalty for distracted driving as proposed in House Bill 95 will help provide a deterrent to this reckless and dangerous activity,” Hughes said. “Ultimately, the goal is to save lives by making our roadways safer.”

A person could only be cited for “distracted driving” if the law enforcement officer witnesses the offense while the moving violation is occurring, according to the bill.

In lieu of the fine an offender may instead attend distracted driving safety courses, according to a summary of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

The bill defines “distracted” as:

- Using a handheld electronic wireless communications device - including phones, tablets and computers - except when it is on speakerphone or otherwise hands-free.

- Any activity “that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle” and could or does impair the driver.