Greater Cincinnati Stories of the Decade

There have been so many stories from the Greater Cincinnati area in the past decade that had national significance, affected the entire region, or touched us in any way.

We selected 20 and rated them with the full knowledge that others should be considered and that our ranking is subjective.

Have a look:

1. Obergefell decides on same-sex marriage

The name Obergefell is on the historic US Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in the US in 2015. Jim Obergefell and his partner John Arthur of Over-the-Rhine had flown to Maryland in 2013 to get married because Arthur only had weeks to live and Ohio had a ban on same-sex marriage. When the couple said Obergefell would not be listed on their husband’s Ohio death certificate, they sued the state. The lawsuit, which was merged with others, went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the basic right to marry also applies to same-sex couples.

Terry DeMio, the Enquirer's heroin reporter, is photographed speaking to men in a homeless camp under the I-71 flyover at 550 Butler Street in downtown Cincinnati on July 12, 2017.  The contract was part of our Seven Days of Heroin project that was earned the Enquirer a Pulitzer in 2018.

2. Opioid epidemic

The opioid epidemic has struck our region with some of the highest statistics on overdose deaths in the country. Whether it was needle swapping, naloxone, support, rehab, or death, this was a topic that featured frequently on the local and national news.

3. Community development / improvement

The Great American Tower was the first building in more than 80 years to tower over the height of the Carew Tower. Trams returned to Cincinnati. We have a casino and a downtown Kroger. The banks (finally) developed. The cherished icons Union Terminal and Music Hall have been updated while Washington Park has become the centerpiece of Over-the-Rhine.

Otto Warmbier will be accompanied to the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2016.  The 22-year-old died in 2017.

4. Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier, a 2013 Wyoming High School graduate, was arrested by North Korean authorities in 2016 and confessed to stealing a propaganda sign. Warmbier was released in a comatose state a year later and returned to his family in Cincinnati, where he died shortly afterwards.

5. Mass shootings

In March 2017, two people were killed and 15 injured in a shooting in the Cameo nightclub. A gunman opened fire in the lobby of Fifth Third Bank in Fountain Square in September 2018, killing three and injuring two more before being killed by police. Then, in August, a gunman outside a bar in Dayton killed nine people and shot 17 others in 32 seconds.

6. Kyle plush

Kyle Plush, 16, died in his Honda Odyssey in the Seven Hills School car park in 2004 when he was trapped under a third row seat in April 2018. The incident exposed problems with Cincinnati’s 911 center as well as safety complaints about Odyssey minivans.

Kimberly Thomas of Clifton holds a photo of Sam DuBose outside the Hamilton County Courthouse following Ray Tensing's indictment in DuBose's death.

7. Sam DuBose – Ray Tensing

Former University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing picked up Sam DuBose from campus in July 2015 for driving a car without a license plate. After Tensing spoke to DuBose, DuBose restarted his car and drove off. Tensing shot DuBose in the head. The officer was charged with murder, but not convicted. There were several legal proceedings, lawsuits and settlements on both sides.

8. Cincinnati FC

Since the Futbol Club Cincinnati began playing in the United Soccer League at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium in 2016, the team has developed a loyal following and attracted the attention of Major League Soccer. FC Cincinnati joined MLS for the 2019 season and has begun construction on a $ 250 million West End stadium.

9. Marty calls it finished

Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman retired in September 2019 after 46 seasons as Voice of the Summer on WLW-AM (700) and on the Reds Radio Network. Marty joined Joe Nuxhall at the Reds Broadcast Booth in 1974, and the duo became as important to baseball as beer and peanuts here, along with Marty’s signature victory cry, “And this one belongs to the Reds!”

In this file photo dated April 26, 2012 House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

10. Mr. Speaker

Butler County’s John Boehner took over the hammer as Speaker of the House in 2011 when Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives. Boehner had represented Ohio’s 8th District since 1991 but struggled to dispute his own party’s tea party contingent and resigned effective late October 2015. Before leaving, however, he realized a dream of having Pope Francis in the U.S. Capitol to address Congress in September 2015.

11. Covington Catholic students

In January 2019, Covington Catholic high school student Nick Sandmann, wearing a Make America Great Again hat and surrounded by classmates, Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha tribe, was standing in the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, opposite. A video of The Encounter went viral. The response from social media has been spirited. Media coverage of the incident hit the headlines when Nick sued multiple publications for defamation.

Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn committed suicide in 2014, writing that she was desperate that her parents had pushed her to seek Christian therapy.

12. Leelah Alcorn

Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender student from Warren County at Kings High School, committed suicide in December 2014 when she ran in front of a truck on Interstate 71. Born Josh Alcorn posted this message on Tumblr: “My death has to mean something. Fix society. Please.” Leelah’s death sparked increased talk about gender identity, the controversy over conversion therapy, bullying and transgender life in the country.

Lauren Hill.

13. Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill, a teenager from Greendale, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma after an engagement at Mount St. Joseph University. But she didn’t give up on her college basketball dream. On November 2, 2014, she played in her first NCAA game at Xavier University’s Cintas Center. Even the other team drew for Lauren, who was doing a left-handed layup because her right side was too weak. Lauren helped raise more than $ 1 million for cancer research before she died five months later.

Exterior view of 3122 Union Road, Rarden, Ohio, where some of the victims of the Pike County massacre were found.

14. Pike County murders

In April 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were shot dead in four different locations in Pike County, approximately 100 km from Cincinnati. In November 2018, four members of the Wagner family were arrested in Ohio and Kentucky and charged with the eight murders. The investigation into the murders was the largest in Ohio history and the trials are currently at an early stage.

15. Tracie Hunter

Former Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge Tracie Hunter was charged with multiple offenses in January 2014. In October 2014, a jury only convicted her for improperly using her position as a judge to convey confidential documents to her brother, a juvenile court clerk who was just being fired. In December 2014, she was sentenced to six months in prison. In July, while her sentence was being carried out, Hunter hobbled her body into the arms of a MP who was being dragged out of the courtroom. She was released in October.

A statue of a gorilla and baby at the entrance to Gorilla World at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has become a memorial to Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla from the western lowlands who was shot and killed on Saturday after a 3-year-old fell into it was the enclosure and Harambe became engaged to the young child.

16. Harambe

Harambe, the western lowland gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 2016, became an unexpected sensation on social media. The male silverback had grabbed and pulled a young boy who had fallen into the gorilla enclosure, and zoo workers had shot the gorilla fearing for the boy’s safety.

Hamilton County Commissioners Todd Portune, Stephanie Summerow Dumas and Judge Ted Berry after Dumas was sworn in as the new Hamilton County Commissioner on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.  Dumas serves as Hamilton County's first African American commissioner and Ohio state’s first African American woman to serve as a county commissioner.

17. County turns blue

Once considered a Republican stronghold, Hamilton County has changed color over the past decade. There is no better example than Stephanie Summerow Dumas’s historic victory over GOP incumbent Chris Monzel in 2018. Dumas becomes the first Hamilton County African American commissioner and Ohio’s first African American woman to become a county commissioner. It made the Hamilton County Commission all democratic.

The 2012 World Choir Games and the upcoming MLB All-Star Game are the types of events where certified tourism ambassadors can be resources for the large number of tourists.

18th World Choir Games

Cincinnati was the first – and so far only – American city to host the World Choir Games, the largest choir competition in the world. There were 15,000 participants and more than 360 registered choirs from 64 countries filling our region with songs over the course of two memorable weeks in July 2012.

19. Lumenocity & Blink

Lumenocity made its debut in 2013 with a stunning music and light show in front of (and on) the Music Hall. An estimated 35,000 people flocked to Washington Park that weekend. It was a bold, bold, innovative display. Lumenocity came back in 2014, 2015 and 2016. And then came Blink in 2017 and 2019, which gave us the same thrill of light and sound all over Downtown and – this year – Over-the-Rhine and Northern Kentucky.

20 (tie). All star game

The Cincinnati Reds hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game for the fifth time in 2015. The fans were thrilled, put on old mustaches, and were eager to get a glimpse of the best players of the game in the Great American Ball Park. Red’s third baseman Todd Frazier made the hometown proud when he won the Home Run Derby.

20 (tie). Fiona born

Fiona, the adorable and photogenic hippopotamus calf captured hearts when she was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in January 2017. She was born prematurely at only 29 pounds and could not stand and care for herself. She was looked after by zoo staff and soon became a media darling. She’s inspired books, rookwood pieces, and even part of the Cincinnati Ballet’s Nutcracker.

In remembrance

Some of the symbols our region has lost in the past decade include Sparky Anderson (2010), Neil Armstrong (2012), Carl H. Lindner Jr. (2011), William Mallory Sr. (2013), Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth (2011 ) and Marian Spencer (2019).

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