Bill Rinehart

Reporter, Host of All Things Considered

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.

Ways to Connect

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Macy’s plans to lay off thousands of retail workers in response to changing shopping habits in stores and online.  The Cincinnati-based retailer has announced it will close 14 department stores in nine different states, but will open two new locations in the continental US and one in Puerto Rico, and will open two new Bloomingdale’s stores by late 2017.

In a press release late Thursday afternoon, Macy’s says its overall workforce of about 175,000 will stay nearly the same as it picks up staffing in other parts of the company.

Provided, Freedom Center, by Farshid Assass, Assassi Productions

 A delegation from the Freedom Center met recently with activists in Greece, Lithuania and Romania, to talk about human trafficking.

Brooke Hathaway of the Freedom Center, who was among the three-member delegation, says they went to Eastern Europe to meet and thank the people who've been instrumental in combating human trafficking in those nations.  She says they wanted to learn from those people and to raise awareness of the problem back in the United States.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has released a list of the most popular books in 2014.  They are the titles that were checked out most often between January and November of this year.  (December’s numbers weren’t available.)

Top 10  Adult Book Titles:

1.       Top Secret Twenty-one by Janet Evanovich

2.       Invisible by James Patterson 

3.       The Target by David Baldacci

4.       Unlucky 13 by James Patterson 

5.       The Collector by Nora Roberts 

6.       A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The City of Cincinnati has reached a deal with the unions of current employees and with retirees over the pension fund.  Unfunded liability in that account had been estimated at $862 million, according to a release from the city.  But now, Mayor John Cranley says the settlement reached late Tuesday night will mean the pension system will be fully funded.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The debate over Christmas trees, real or artificial, will likely never stop.  Artificial trees can be used again and again, while live trees have a short life span.  However, the real things do serve a purpose after they are no longer good for decoration.

The Clermont County Park District says natural trees can be composted or mulched, and they are often used for shoreline stabilization projects, to reduce beach erosion, and under water as fish habitat.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The governors of Ohio and Kentucky plan to meet early next year to talk about replacing the Brent Spence Bridge. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says they're going to try to find a way to get the project moving.  He says any more delays will be costly.

Using a 3 percent inflation figure from the Federal Highway Administration, Beshear says continued delays will add about $7 million per month to the construction price tag.  “Folks, that’s $84 million a year,” he says.

Jennifer Wright / provided

Combat veterans face a host of challenges when they return to civilian life. Some of them end up in trouble.  But there is an effort across the country to keep them out of jail and back on the straight and narrow.  In Hamilton County, there’s a unique twist to help vets manage their lives: yoga. 

Veterans’ Courts have sprung up across the country as a way to reduce recidivism.  They work like drug or mental health courts.  Veterans charged with misdemeanors or low level felonies are directed out of the regular docket and into the special programs to meet their particular needs.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is approaching its busiest time of the year. But spokesman Jay Brock says Christmas being on a Thursday could spread out the rush. 

“People are probably going to be taking off some of those days," says Brock. "So it is probably going to be Christmas Eve, or probably that Monday as well… going to be a heavy travel day.”

Provided / SORTA

The SORTA board of trustees has signed off on an operating and maintenance agreement for the streetcar.  Cincinnati Council has already approved the agreement, which spells out the responsibilities of the transit authority and the city.

The new streetcar logo was also unveiled Tuesday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will make an annual funding request to the city to cover operating costs.  The city will collect the funds from fares, advertising revenue, parking fees, and from property tax abatement offset revenue.

provided / Metro

The former head of Atlanta’s streetcar project is now the chief executive officer of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

The SORTA Board approved Dwight Ferrell as the new CEO Tuesday morning.

Ferrell comes to the Cincinnati area from Fulton County, Georgia, where he served as county manager since October 2013.  Before that, he was the deputy general manager and chief operating officer of MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority for four years.

provided

Two big, and relatively new, Cincinnati music festivals will be run by a Columbus company.  PromoWest has purchased the rights to Bunbury and Buckle Up. 

“We are excited to expand into the Cincinnati market,'' said Scott Stienecker, president and CEO of PromoWest Productions. "We have strong relationships with the bands that play Bunbury as they play our venues throughout the year."

According to a release from PromoWest, the concerts' founder, Bill Donabedian, will continue to oversee the events.  The company will handle booking, marketing, and production for the concerts.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The schedule Metro’s buses follow is about to change.  The transportation entity shifts to its winter schedule this weekend.  21 bus routes will change as of December 7. 

Sarah Ramsey

A member of Cincinnati council has won an award for his idea on Town Square Schools. 

P.G. Sittenfeld is one of four people to win the New Ideas Challenge, from the NewDEAL, a group of elected Democrats from across the country.  Sittenfeld’s proposal, the Town Square Schools program, uses school buildings for neighborhood programs after classes have dismissed. 

Two Cincinnati men have each received $100,000 from a philanthropic organization that wants to improve the city.  People's Liberty named Brad Cooper and Brad Schnittger as the first recipients of the Haile Fellowship. 

“I can’t begin to express how rewarding it was to call both of the grantees, to let them know they’d be taking on their dream projects next year,” said Jake Hodesh, People’s Liberty’s vice president of operations. “Both indicated how their lives would never be the same.”

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Many people have a four day weekend, and there is no shortage of holiday-themed activities to choose from.

There are free Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday.  Give Back Cincinnati's Fall Feast is expected to serve 3,500 people at the Duke Energy Convention Center, from 11 am until 2 pm.  Another 2,500 meals will delivered off-site.  The Cincinnati Recreation Commission is hosting its 22nd annual Thanksgiving meal at the Evanston Rec Center, at 3204 Woodburn, from 11 am to 3 pm.   

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