Hamilton County

Four years ago, politicos on both sides were stunned when the formerly rock-solid Hamilton County was won by Barack Obama by a margin of 29,683 votes, taking 54 percent of the county to 46 percent for GOP nominee John McCain.

This year, the GOP and the Romney-Ryan campaign rolled the dice on winning back Hamilton County, one of the handful of linchpin counties that can make or break a presidential campaign in Ohio.

Again, though, they lost.

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About 100 voters at the Evanston Recreation Center were inconvenienced this morning when a worker failed to unlock the doors. Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke, who went to the scene himself when he heard about the problem, said an employee had forgotten to open the doors.  It was 7:15 a.m. when somebody came with a key. The poll workers were locked out too, so it took them a little while to set up even after the doors were opened.

4-H.org

Master gardening classes and 4-H could soon be a thing of the past in Hamilton County. The Ohio State University Extension office which runs the programs says it can't find new funding and will shut down at the end of the year.

Some Hamilton County employees could see a big change coming to their health insurance. Commissioner Chris Monzel wants to make the county's Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) mandatory for all eligible, non-union employees.

A statewide plan to revive struggling communities is kicking off in Cincinnati. "Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program" uses national mortgage settlement funds to tear down blighted properties.

The first houses are coming down in East Price Hill.

Ken Smith with the community development organization Price Hill Will is excited about the redevelopment opportunities and other possible land uses.

A third Ohioan has died from complications of West Nile Virus.

Hamilton County Commissioners are meeting with department heads as they work out next year's budget. With most agency leaders begging not to have their budgets slashed and Commissioners facing steep cuts, the meetings don't last long.

Board president Greg Hartmann calls the process challenging.

“We’re in the neighborhood of being $100 million dollars smaller than we were six years ago, from $300 million to $200 million,” he says.

Tana Weingartner

Hamilton County Commissioners are considering a proposal that would cover the projected 2013 deficit in the stadium fund.

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