Bill Rinehart

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.

There is a connection between lower COVID-19 cases and fewer deaths and closed schools, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Katherine Auger of Cincinnati Children's Hospital says states that closed schools early in the pandemic saw fewer new cases and fewer deaths than states that closed later.

Our new feature, OKI Wanna Know, is a way for you to get an answer to one of life's little mysteries in the Tri-State. It's the story behind those quirky things that make the area what it is. In this edition, WVXU's Bill Rinehart scratches an itch that's bugged him since he first moved to the Central Business District 12 years ago.

Picture a Downtown sidewalk. There's a few trees, a fire hydrant, parking meters and maybe a pole with a triangular black box on top.

The Departments of Agriculture in at least four states - Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee - say people have reported receiving unsolicited packs of seeds in the mail.

Activists are hoping to get a police reform measure on November's ballot as a charter amendment. People's Safety Reimagined says they want to change Cincinnati's police department into a public safety agency. The group started collecting petition signatures Thursday evening in Cincinnati's Piatt Park.

Major League Baseball starts the COVID-shortened season this week. The Cincinnati Reds host the Detroit Tigers Friday evening. Because of the pandemic, there won't be fans in the ballpark. Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini says the team is getting ready for when they can welcome fans back.

Cincinnati Council will weigh in on whether racism is a public health crisis in August.  Three members will introduce a resolution when the council meets again.

Baseball is a very ear-friendly sport. There's the crack of the bat, the sound of a fastball hitting leather and the roar of the crowd. There might not be fans in America's ballparks as this COVID-shortened season starts - which just might make sound all the more important. Bill Rinehart has more about the organist for the Cincinnati Reds in this chapter of OKI Wanna Know.

The Purple People Bridge between Newport and Cincinnati has become an outdoor art gallery this summer. Twenty photographs from local middle and high school students will be on display for the next month. The photographers are all taking part in the Fusion exhibit.

A Hamilton County Sheriff's deputy charged with assaulting a prisoner has been fired. Sheriff Jim Neil says Jesse Franklin was fired after an investigation showed he used excessive force. 

Walk around downtown Cincinnati and you'll find statues of three presidents: William Henry Harrison, James Garfield and Abraham Lincoln. What you won't find is a statue honoring the one president who was actually born in Cincinnati. WVXU's Bill Rinehart wondered why in the new series, OKI Wanna Know.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says after Congress passed the first pandemic relief bill, he thought the smart thing to do was to re-evaluate the situation in July. "We're now in July." McConnell says there's a high likelihood there will be a third, final rescue package. He toured a COVID-19 testing lab in Covington Thursday morning.

The amount of COVID-19 testing in Hamilton County has climbed significantly. Interim Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says by the end of Wednesday, about 6,000 people will have been tested at pop-up sites run by the Ohio National Guard alone. But the increase has overwhelmed other functions.

Cincinnati City Council will meet in a special session Friday to discuss passing a mask ordinance. Mayor John Cranley says it's in response to rising numbers of COVID-19.

Anderson High School will keep its mascot until Thursday at least. That's when the Forest Hills School Board meets again and could vote on the issue. The Redskins mascot is seen by some as racist. Others argue it honors the history of Native Americans.

The Flying Pig marathon and its associated events won't happen this year, but organizers say they already have next year's dates selected. Pig Works, the umbrella organization, says the health and safety of participants and spectators comes first.

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