Should a Person Go to Jail for Cutting Down a Tree?

Protecting them in public areas is a no-brainer. Protecting them on private land is a far greater challenge.

#endangered-and-extinct-species, #land-use-policies, #ohio, #trees-and-shrubs

Intel says Ohio “megafab” will begin making advanced chips in 2025

Intel's rendering of its two new leading-edge processor factories planned to be built outside Columbus, Ohio.

Enlarge / Intel’s rendering of its two new leading-edge processor factories planned to be built outside Columbus, Ohio. (credit: Intel)

Intel announced the location of its megafab today, a 1,000-acre parcel on the outskirts of the Columbus, Ohio, metro area. The semiconductor manufacturer plans to break ground on two leading-edge fabs by the end of the year and enter production in 2025.

“This is all part of the strategy that our CEO Pat Gelsinger announced back in March,” Intel Senior Vice President Keyvan Esfarjani told Ars.

“We are starting with two fabs, and that’s all in line with the growing demand for what the industry needs,” he said. “It’s also critically important for the balance of the supply chain around the world.”

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#chip-fab, #chips-for-america-act, #features, #intel, #lithography, #ohio, #policy, #semiconductors

In a First, Ohio Moves to Put Body Cameras on Guards in Every Prison

The state is distributing 5,100 new body-worn cameras, the most extensive commitment of any state as corrections facilities across the country push for better surveillance.

#cameras, #ohio, #prison-guards-and-corrections-officers, #prisons-and-prisoners

Intel “mega-fab” coming to Ohio, reports say

Intel “mega-fab” coming to Ohio, reports say

Enlarge (credit: ony Avelar/Bloomberg)

Intel is reportedly planning to build a large chip facility in New Albany, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, the state capital. An official announcement is expected on January 21.

The company reportedly plans to invest $20 billion in the site, and the city of New Albany is working to annex up to 3,600 acres of land to accommodate the facility, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which first reported the deal.

Given the size of the parcel and the facility’s rumored price tag, it is likely the site of Intel’s “mega-fab,” which CEO Pat Gelsinger said would be like “a little city.” The mega-fab would contain six to eight modules, he said, and would focus on lithography processes and packaging techniques. Suppliers would have space on the site, too.

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#chip-fab, #foundry, #intel, #ohio, #policy, #semiconductors

Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Republican Gerrymander of Map

The congressional map would have given Republicans 12-to-3 advantage in elections for the House of Representatives.

#ohio, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #republican-party

Fugitive Who Faked His Death and Fled U.S. Is Caught in Scotland, Officials Say

Nicholas Alahverdian, a suspect in a 2008 rape in Utah, was traced to a hospital in Glasgow, where he had been placed on a ventilator with Covid-19, the authorities said.

#elorza-jorge-o, #extradition, #forensic-science, #fugitives, #funerals-and-memorials, #glasgow-scotland, #langevin-james-r, #ohio, #providence-ri, #rhode-island, #sex-crimes, #utah

Map by Map, G.O.P. Chips Away at Black Democrats’ Power

Black elected officials in several states, from Congress down to the counties, have been drawn out of their districts this year or face headwinds to hold onto their seats.

#black-people, #bourdeaux-carolyn-1970, #butterfield-george-kenneth-jr, #congressional-black-caucus, #democratic-party, #discrimination, #georgia, #mcbath-lucy, #north-carolina, #ohio, #race-and-ethnicity, #redistricting-and-reapportionment, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #states-us

Former Ohio Deputy Is Charged With Murder in Shooting of Casey Goodson Jr

The former deputy, Jason Meade, was a member of a fugitive task force when he shot Casey Goodson Jr., 23, who was not the target of the operation, according to an indictment. He faces two murder counts.

#columbus-ohio, #goodson-casey-christopher-jr, #meade-jason, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings

CVS, Walgreens and Walmart Fueled Opioid Crisis, Jury Finds

This is the first jury verdict in an opioid case. The decision embraced a key legal argument that judges in other opioid cases had recently rejected.

#cvs-caremark-corporation, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #drugstores, #liability-for-products, #ohio, #opioids-and-opiates, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #walgreen-co, #walmart-stores-inc, #your-feed-healthcare

CVS, Walgreens and Walmart Perpetuated Opioid Crisis, Jury Finds

This is the first jury verdict in an opioids case. The decision embraced a key legal argument that judges in other opioids cases had recently rejected.

#cvs-caremark-corporation, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #drugstores, #liability-for-products, #ohio, #opioids-and-opiates, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #walgreen-co, #walmart-stores-inc, #your-feed-healthcare

For a Clue About the 2022 Midterm Elections, Look at 2 Ohio Races

Neither race received much national attention, but there’s a long history of special election results foreshadowing the next general election.

#democratic-party, #elections-house-of-representatives, #midterm-elections-2022, #ohio, #republican-party, #united-states-politics-and-government

Cleveland Baseball Will Share ‘Guardians’ Name With Roller Derby Team

The settlement of a federal lawsuit will allow the Major League Baseball franchise to move forward with renaming its team, amid a reckoning over symbols of racism.

#baseball, #cleveland-ohio, #cleveland-guardians, #franchises, #major-league-baseball, #names-organizational, #ohio, #roller-derby, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #trademarks-and-trade-names

Shontel Brown, a Democrat, Wins an Ohio House Seat in a Special Election

The district, Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, encompasses most of Cleveland and much of Akron.

#brown-shontel, #house-of-representatives, #ohio, #united-states-politics-and-government

The Demand for Money Behind Many Police Traffic Stops

Busted taillights, missing plates, tinted windows: Across the U.S., ticket revenue funds towns — and the police responsible for finding violations.

#conflicts-of-interest, #fines-penalties, #ohio, #oklahoma, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #traffic-accidents-and-safety, #traffic-and-parking-violations, #virginia

Cleveland Guardians Roller Derby Team Sues Over M.L.B. Team’s Name Change

“To be blunt, Plaintiff was here first,” the Cleveland Guardians roller derby team said in filing a suit claiming trademark infringement.

#baseball, #cleveland-ohio, #cleveland-guardians, #cleveland-indians, #major-league-baseball, #mauritius, #names-organizational, #ohio, #roller-derby, #trademarks-and-trade-names

Dying Satellite, Not U.F.O. or Meteor, Likely Caused Midwest Fireball

The fiery trail astonished viewers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, but a Russian military spacecraft was the probable source.

#defense-and-military-forces, #great-lakes, #indiana, #michigan, #ohio, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #russia, #satellites, #space-and-astronomy

For Christian Aid Ministries, Charity in Haiti Turns to Chaos

An organization based in Ohio and founded by Amish and Mennonites has been swept up in the violence roiling the country.

#amish, #boise-idaho, #brantly-kent, #brunson-andrew, #christians-and-christianity, #haiti, #kidnapping-and-hostages, #mennonite-churches, #missionaries, #ohio, #philanthropy, #port-au-prince-haiti, #seventh-day-adventists

Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican Who Voted to Impeach Trump, Won’t Run in 2022

Representative Anthony Gonzalez, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, is the first of the group to retire rather than face a stiff primary challenge.

#elections-house-of-representatives, #gonzalez-anthony-e-1984, #midterm-elections-2022, #ohio, #republican-party, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

Covid Vaccine Resisters Seek Religious Exemptions. But What Counts?

Major denominations are essentially unanimous in their support of the vaccines against Covid-19, but individuals who object are citing their personal faith for support.

#arizona, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #california, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #delta-air-lines-inc, #equal-employment-opportunity-commission, #food-and-drug-administration, #freedom-of-religion, #government-employees, #greenville-calif, #indiana, #kentucky, #new-york-city, #ohio, #religion-state-relations, #shutdowns-institutional, #texas, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vermont, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

Ohio Judge Reverses Order Requiring Covid Patient to Be Given Ivermectin

An intubated patient was prescribed the deworming drug by his doctor. Federal health officials have said that it has not been shown to be effective against the coronavirus and that it can be toxic in humans.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #decisions-and-verdicts, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #hospitals, #ivermectin, #ohio, #oster-michael-a-jr, #rumors-and-misinformation, #smith-jeffrey-1970, #smith-julie-1972, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #west-chester-hospital-cincinnati-ohio

Forced use of horse dewormer on COVID patient overturned by Ohio judge

Tablets of ivermectin.

Enlarge / Tablets of ivermectin. (credit: Getty | Nurphoto)

An Ohio judge has overturned an order by one of his colleagues that required a Cincinnati hospital to give the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to a critically ill COVID-19 patient.

The order to force the use of ivermectin—dubbed “unethical” and “extraordinarily dangerous” by experts— was the result of a lawsuit brought by the patient’s wife, Julie Smith, on August 20.

In a September 6 ruling overturning the order to use ivermectin, Butler County Judge Michael Oster Jr. wrote, “While this court is sympathetic to the Plaintiff and understands the idea of wanting to do anything to help her loved one, public policy should not and does not support allowing a physician to try “any” type of treatment on human beings.”

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#anti-parastici, #cdc, #covid-19, #dewormer, #fda, #hospital, #infectious-disease, #ivermectin, #ohio, #science

Man Who Confronted NBC Reporter on Live TV Is Issued Arrest Warrant

Benjamin Eugene Dagley interrupted an NBC reporter covering Hurricane Ida, the police said.

#benjamin-eugene-dagley, #craig-melvin, #gulfport-miss, #hurricane-ida-2021, #nbc-news, #news-and-news-media, #ohio, #shaquille-brewster, #television

Don’t Let the Fossil Fuel Industry Pivot to Toxic Plastics and Chemicals

As we confront climate change, focusing on a single metric, like greenhouse gas emissions, could leave other harmful practices unaddressed.

#africa, #chemicals, #environmental-protection-agency, #european-commission, #european-union, #far-east-south-and-southeast-asia-and-pacific-areas, #flame-retardants, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #international-energy-agency, #mckinseyco, #national-academies-of-the-united-states, #natural-gas, #ohio, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #pennsylvania, #plastics, #recycling-of-waste-materials, #united-states, #waste-materials-and-disposal

J.D. Vance Converted to Trumpism. Will Ohio Republicans Buy It?

As the “Hillbilly Elegy” author runs for Senate in Ohio, he has walked back previous criticism of Donald Trump and reversed arguments that the white working class bears responsibility for its problems.

#conservatism-us-politics, #elections-senate, #news-and-news-media, #ohio, #republican-party, #thiel-peter-a, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vance-j-d, #whites

In String of Wins, ‘Biden Democrats’ See a Reality Check for the Left

Progressives are holding their own with moderates in fights over policy. But off-year elections suggest they need a new strategy for critiquing President Biden without seeming disloyal.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #brown-shontel, #democratic-party, #elections-house-of-representatives, #ohio, #primaries-and-caucuses, #turner-nina-1967, #united-states-politics-and-government

2 House Races in Ohio Will Test Democratic Divisions and Trump’s Sway

In the Cleveland area, a bitter primary election is pitting the left against the Democratic establishment. Near Columbus, a Trump-endorsed candidate faces a crowded Republican field.

#brown-shontel, #carey-mike, #cleveland-ohio, #columbus-ohio, #democratic-party, #elections-house-of-representatives, #midterm-elections-2022, #ohio, #political-advertising, #primaries-and-caucuses, #republican-party, #turner-nina-1967, #united-states-politics-and-government

Behind the Lordstown Debacle, the Hand of a Wall Street Dealmaker

A longtime real estate investor and former Goldman Sachs executive decided to take an electric truck company public. Chaos ensued.

#automobiles, #banking-and-financial-institutions, #blackrock-inc, #cleveland-ohio, #detroit-mich, #diamondpeak-holdings, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #goldman-sachs-group-inc, #initial-public-offerings, #lordstown-ohio, #lordstown-motors-corp, #mckinseyco, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #ohio, #slovenia, #special-purpose-acquisition-companies-spac, #stocks-and-bonds, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #workhorse-group-inc

America’s “Smart City” didn’t get much smarter

In 2016, Columbus, Ohio, beat out 77 other small and midsize US cities for a pot of $50 million that was meant to reshape its future. The Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge was the first competition of its kind, conceived as a down payment to jump-start one city’s adaptation to the new technologies that were suddenly everywhere. Ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft were ascendant, car-sharing companies like Car2Go were raising their national profile, and autonomous vehicles seemed to be right around the corner.

“Our proposed approach is revolutionary,” the city wrote in its winning grant proposal, which pledged to focus on projects to help the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. It laid out plans to experiment with Wi-Fi-enabled kiosks to help residents plan trips, apps to pay bus and ride-hail fares and find parking spots, autonomous shuttles, and sensor-connected trucks.

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#columbus, #ohio, #policy, #smart-city

J.D. Vance Is Running for Senate in Ohio

The author and venture capitalist will vie for the Republican nomination in one of the most wide-open 2022 Senate races.

#elections-senate, #ohio, #republican-party, #thiel-peter-a, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vance-j-d

Ohio GOP ends attempt to ban municipal broadband after protest from residents

Champagne bottle and confetti

Enlarge

After coming close to imposing a near-total ban on municipal broadband networks, Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature has reportedly dropped the proposed law in final negotiations over the state budget.

The final budget agreement “axed a proposal to limit local governments from offering broadband services,” The Columbus Dispatch wrote. With a June 30 deadline looming, Ohio’s House and Senate approved the budget and sent it to Gov. Mike DeWine for final approval on Monday night, the Dispatch wrote.

As we wrote earlier this month, the Ohio Senate approved a version of the budget containing an amendment that would have forced existing municipal broadband services to shut down and prevented the formation of new public networks. The proposed law was reportedly “inserted without prior public discussion,” and no state senator publicly sponsored the amendment. It was approved in a party-line vote as Democrats opposed the restrictions in municipal broadband.

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#municipal-broadband, #ohio, #policy

Trump, Seeking to Maintain G.O.P. Sway, Holds First Rally Since Jan. 6

The former president’s speech in Ohio, made on behalf of a challenger to a Republican congressman who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, reflected both his power over the party and his diminished status.

#elections-house-of-representatives, #midterm-elections-2022, #ohio, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j

In its first funding in 7 years, profitable fintech Lower raises $100M Series A led by Accel

Lower, an Ohio-based home finance platform, announced today it has raised $100 million in a Series A funding round led by Accel.

This round is notable for a number of reasons. First off, it’s a large Series A even by today’s standards. The financing also marks the previously bootstrapped Lower’s first external round of funding in its seven-year history. Lower is also something that is kind of rare these days in the startup world: profitable. Silicon Valley-based Accel has a history of backing profitable, bootstrapped companies, having also led large Series A rounds for the likes of 1Password, Atlassian, Qualtrics, Webflow, Tenable and Galileo (which went on to be acquired by SoFi). 

In fact, Galileo founder Clay Wilkes introduced the VC firm to Dan Snyder, Lower’s founder and CEO. The two companies have a few things in common besides being profitable: they were both bootstrapped for years before taking institutional capital and both have headquarters outside of Silicon Valley.

“We were immediately intrigued because Ohio-based Lower echoes both of these themes,” said Accel partner John Locke, who led the firm’s investment in Lower and is taking a seat on the company’s board as part of the investment. “Like Galileo, Lower will be one of the most successful bootstrapped fintech companies globally. The combination of a company built in a nontraditional region across the globe and a bootstrapped company reminds us of [other] companies we have partnered with for a large Series A.”

There were other unnamed participants in the round, but Accel provided the “majority” of the investment, according to Lower.

Snyder co-founded Lower in 2014 with the goal of making the homebuying process simpler for consumers. The company launched with Homeside, its retail brand that Snyder describes as “a tech-leveraged retail mortgage bank” that works with realtors and builders, among others. In 2018, the company launched the website for Lower, its direct-to-consumer digital lending brand with the mission of making its platform a one-stop shop where consumers can go online to save for a home, obtain or refinance a mortgage and get insurance through its marketplace. This year, it launched the Lower mobile app with a savings account.

Sitting (L to R): Co-founders Dan Snyder, Grayson Hanes
Standing (L to R): Co-founders Mike Baynes, Chris Miller
Not pictured: Robert Tyson; Image credit: Lower

Over the years, Lower has funded billions of dollars in loans and notched an impressive $300 million in revenue in 2020 after doubling revenue every year, according to Snyder.

“Our history is maybe a little atypical of fintech companies today,” he told TechCrunch. “We’ve had a view going back to the start of the company that we wanted to run it profitably. That’s been one of our pillars, so that’s what we’ve done. Also, we all grew up in the mortgage industry, so we saw firsthand the size of the market, but also how broken it was, so we wanted to change it.”

In launching the direct-to-consumer digital lending brand, the company was working to make the homebuying process more “digital, transparent and easier for consumers to access,” Snyder said.

At the same time, the company didn’t want to lose the human touch.

“We tried to design the app flow in a way where you can get as far along as you can in the application but if you want, at any point in time, to talk or chat with someone, we’re available,” Snyder added.

Image Credits: Lower

Lower’s typical customer is the millennial and now Gen Z who’s aspiring to own their first home, according to Snyder.

“They might be thinking, ‘OK, I might be living in an apartment now, but in the next few years I’m going to meet someone and/or have a child and I want to unlock the investment that is a home,’ ” he told TechCrunch. “And we’ll help them on that journey.”

Lower’s recently launched new app offers a deposit account it’s dubbed “HomeFund.” The interest-bearing FDIC-insured deposit account offers a 0.75% Annual Percentage Yield and is designed to help consumers save for a home with a “dollar-for-dollar match in rewards” up to the first $1,000 saved, Snyder said.

Lower works with more than 35 major insurance carriers nationally, including Nationwide, Liberty Mutual and Allstate. It has more than 1,600 employees, about half of which are based in Lower’s home state. That’s up from about 650 employees in June of 2020.

Looking ahead, the company plans to add more services and has an “aggressive roadmap” for adding new features to its platform. Today, for example, Lower sells primarily to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And while it services the majority of its loans, like many large lenders, it uses a subservicer. That will change, however, in early 2022, when Lower intends to launch its own native servicing platform. 

And while the company intends to continue to run profitably, Snyder said he and his co-founders “think the time is now to gain share.”

“We want to become a global brand, raise money and gain market share,” he added. “We’re going to continue to double down on product and build out our capabilities. We are the best-kept secret in fintech and plan to change that with smart branding, advertising and sponsorships.”

And last but not least, Lower is eyeing the public markets as part of its longer-term roadmap.

“Ultimately, we know we can build a great public company,” Snyder told TechCrunch. “We’re of the scale to be a public company right now, but we’re going to keep our heads down and we’re going to keep building for the next few years and then I think we can be in a spot to be a strong public business.”

Accel’s Locke points out that in the U.S., mortgage and home finance are among the largest financial service markets, and they have primarily been handled by large banks.

“For most consumers, getting a mortgage through these banks continues to be an overly complex, slow-moving process,” Locke told TechCrunch. “We believe by providing consumers a great mobile experience, Lower will gain share from incumbent banks, in the same way that companies like Monzo have in banking or Venmo in payments or Trade Republic and Robinhood in stock trading.” 

#1password, #accel, #advisors, #allstate, #atlassian, #banking, #bootstrapping, #columbus, #computing, #detroit, #fdic, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #john-locke, #liberty-mutual, #lower, #monzo, #ohio, #qualtrics, #quicken-loans, #real-estate, #recent-funding, #silicon-valley, #sofi, #software, #startups, #united-states, #venmo, #venture-capital, #webflow

Ohio Republicans close to imposing near-total ban on municipal broadband

Ohio's state capitol building seen during daylight hours.

Enlarge / The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (credit: Getty Images | Joseph Sohm)

Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature is on the verge of imposing a state law to dramatically restrict the rights of cities and towns to build and operate municipal broadband networks.

The Ohio Senate on June 9 approved a budget bill that contains an anti-municipal broadband amendment. It’s not a done deal yet, and advocates for public networks are urging the legislature to strip the amendment from the final budget. The budget bill is expected to be hammered out within the next two weeks.

If passed, the proposed law could kill existing broadband services and prevent new ones from being deployed. There are reportedly 30 or more municipal broadband providers in Ohio that “would not be allowed to operate so long as there is a private-sector company operating in the area, as there are in most, if not all of the cities.”

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#municipal-broadband, #ohio, #policy

Larry Householder, a Former Speaker, Is Expelled from the Ohio House

The 75-to-21 vote to expel Representative Larry Householder came nearly a year after he was charged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to bail out a foundering energy company.

#bribery-and-kickbacks, #householder-larry, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #lobbying-and-lobbyists, #money-laundering, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #racketeering-and-racketeers, #state-legislatures

Welcome to Barn-Quilt Country

Take a road trip in the Midwest to see a homegrown art form that creatively combines aspects of Americana.

#agriculture-and-farming, #art, #barns, #bowling-green-ky, #iowa, #ohio, #quilts, #road-trips, #travel-and-vacations, #wisconsin

Branch raises $50M to offer bundled auto & home insurance via an API

Branch Insurance, a startup offering bundled home and auto insurance, has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Anthemis Group.

Acrew, Cherry Creek Holdings and existing backers Greycroft, HSCM Bermuda, American Family Ventures, SignalFire, SCOR P&C Ventures, Foundation Capital and Tower IV also participated in the round. With this latest financing, Columbus, Ohio-based Branch has raised $82.5 million in total funding since its 2017 inception.

With so many players in the insurtech space, it can get tough distinguishing the various offerings. Branch claims that it is unique in that it is able to provide customers with “an instant insurance offer” for bundled home and auto insurance “within seconds” using just a few pieces of information.

Co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas began his career at Allstate, where he went on to hold roles in underwriting, technology and product management. He then went on to build Esurance’s first online home insurance business.

But in the back of his mind, Lekas yearned to figure out a way to make insurance more accessible for more people. And so he teamed up with Joe Emison, and Branch was born.

“The industry is structurally flawed and it harms consumers. Complicated policies, rising costs and marketing warfare all contribute to a vicious cycle that results in overpriced insurance,” said Lekas. “We are a full-stack insurance company transforming the way people think about their home and car insurance.”

Branch, he claims, is the only insurance company that he is aware of that can bind insurance through an API, and the only one that can bundle auto and home insurance in a single transaction.

Another way Branch is unique, according to Lekas, is that it can be embedded into the buying experience. In other words, the company has partnered with companies such as Rocket Mortgage and ADT to integrate insurance at the point of sale in their products. For example, if a person is closing on a home, they have the option of purchasing Branch insurance at the same time.

Branch co-founder and CEO Steve Lekas. Photo: Robb McCormick Photography

“Every home or car policy starts with another transaction,” Lekas said. “Insurance is a product that exists only because of the other transaction. It’s never before been possible to embed in that primary purchase before.”

This distribution model means that Branch shells out less to acquire customers and thus, it claims, is able to offer premiums for a lower price than competitors.

“In just two clicks, a consumer can have home and car insurance or just home and we’ll cancel the old insurance on their closing date, and transmit all the data to their existing mortgage,” Lekas said.

Branch also offers its insurance direct-to-consumer and through agencies.

The company plans to use its new capital in part to accelerate its rollout across the U.S. so that it can sign more such partnerships where it can embed its offering. Currently, Branch has more than 30 partnerships of varying sizes, and is “adding more every week” as it launches in more states.

“It’s really hard to move quickly,” Lekas said. “The system is built to make you move slowly. Every state regulator has to approve individually and independently with their own rules.”

Lekas predicts Branch will be available in more than 80% of the U.S. before the year’s out.

Branch has seen increased momentum since its $24 million Series A in July 2020.

Specifically, the startup says it has achieved a 435% growth in its partner channel, 660% growth in active policies and a 734% increase in active premium less than one year after its last raise.

Anthemis Group Partner Ruth Foxe Blader notes that Branch marks her firm’s first investment from its new growth fund.

Blader says she has invested in insurance innovation over the past decade, and is particularly attracted to insurtech businesses that represent three things: significant technology and data science innovation; significant product innovation and significant cultural innovation.

“Branch easily ticks those boxes,” Blader told TechCrunch. “Branch’s products are both embedded and bundled, making them less expensive and more convenient to purchase, and less likely to leave customers with critical protection gaps.”

The startup, she added, effectively combines data science and technology to create “unique, automatic product bundles.”

With what it describes as a “built-for-savings” structure, Branch said it has created connected home discounts as well as programs that reward members for making referrals and practicing safe driving behaviors, for example.

Branch also has formed a nonprofit, SafetyNest, to help those who are un- or underinsured.

#allstate, #american-family-ventures, #anthemis-group, #auto-insurance, #branch, #car-insurance, #columbus, #finance, #foundation-capital, #funding, #fundings-exits, #insurance, #insurtech, #ohio, #ontology, #product-management, #recent-funding, #rocket-mortgage, #ruth-foxe-blader, #startup, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

Spurred by Clarence Thomas, Ohio AG wants Google declared a public utility

A large Google logo seen on the outside of a Google office in Silicon Valley.

Enlarge / Googleplex office in Palo Alto, California in January 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Ingus Kruklitis)

The state of Ohio sued Google today in an unusual complaint that seeks a legal declaration that Google is a common carrier and public utility under Ohio law.

“Google uses its dominance of Internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products—that’s discriminatory and anti-competitive,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, said when announcing the lawsuit. “When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access.”

The complaint was filed in the Common Pleas Court of Delaware County in Ohio. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages but would impose certain nondiscrimination obligations on Google.

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#clarence-thomas, #google, #ohio, #policy

A Veteran Tried to Credit Black Americans on Memorial Day. His Mic Got Muted.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter was speaking at an American Legion service in Hudson, Ohio, on Monday when he was intentionally silenced.

#american-legion, #black-people, #civil-war-us-1861-65, #hudson-ohio, #kemter-barnard, #memorial-day, #ohio, #race-and-ethnicity, #slavery-historical

High School Football Coaches Suspended After Teen Is Forced to Eat Pork, Lawyer Says

A 17-year-old in Canton, Ohio, was forced to eat a pepperoni pizza even though the coaches were aware he does not eat pork because he is a Hebrew Israelite, a lawyer for the boy’s family said. The Police Department is investigating.

#canton-ohio, #education-k-12, #football, #football-college, #interscholastic-athletics, #ohio

Remembering Cheryl White, the First Black Female Jockey

Fifty years ago, Cheryl White became America’s first licensed Black female jockey when she was just 17 years old. So why doesn’t the world know her name?

#black-history-continued-2021, #black-people, #california, #content-type-personal-profile, #horse-racing, #jet-magazine, #jockey-club-the, #jockeys-guild, #jockeys-drivers-and-trainers, #ohio, #race-and-ethnicity

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In Ohio, You Just Need Luck, and a Covid Vaccine.

With virus vaccinations on the decline nationally, states are offering big incentives, even $1 million prizes. Will it work?

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dewine-mike, #lotteries, #ohio, #scholarships-and-fellowships, #vaccination-and-immunization

Ohio’s Vaccine Lottery Is Working, Writes Gov. Mike DeWine

Unconventional strategies to increase vaccinations are worth it. 

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dewine-mike, #lotteries, #motivation-and-incentive-programs, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vax-a-million

Several Are Killed in a Shooting Outside Columbus, Ohio

A television station reported that three bodies were found in an apartment in West Jefferson, and that additional bodies were found outside.

#columbus-ohio, #columbus-dispatch, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio

Ohio’s 53% vaccination surge tied to $1M lottery; NY and MD announce lotteries

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan stands next to a person dressed as a lottery ball during a press conference on May 20 announcing the state's VaxCash promotion.

Enlarge / Maryland Governor Larry Hogan stands next to a person dressed as a lottery ball during a press conference on May 20 announcing the state’s VaxCash promotion. (credit: Patrick Siebert)

The governors of New York and Maryland on Thursday each announced big cash lotteries to entice their residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The announcements came as westward-neighbor Ohio celebrated the success of its “Vax-a-Million” lottery campaign, which helped boost week-to-week vaccination numbers 53 percent.

The lotteries appear to be part of a growing trend of states and officials offering cash prizes or other incentives to combat slumping vaccination rates. The country’s seven-day average for daily vaccinations has dropped to around 1.8 million, down from a peak of nearly 3.4 million in mid-April.

In a White House COVID-19 press briefing Friday, Senior White House Advisor Andy Slavitt said that, based on the data the administration has seen, the lotteries “appear to be working.”

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#covid-19, #incentives, #infectious-disease, #lottery, #maryland, #new-york, #ohio, #pandemic, #public-health, #science, #vaccination

Ohio Lottery to Give 5 People $1 Million Each to Encourage Vaccination

To bolster slumping demand for the vaccine, the state will use federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a weekly lottery beginning May 26.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dewine-mike, #government-bonds, #ohio, #scholarships-and-fellowships, #vaccination-and-immunization

Ma’Khia Bryant’s Journey Through Foster Care Ended With an Officer’s Bullet

The 16-year-old girl was fatally shot while threatening a young woman with a knife. She had spent two years shuttling among Ohio foster homes, hoping to return to her mother.

#child-custody-and-support, #children-and-childhood, #columbus-ohio, #foster-care, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #ohio, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings

Ohio G.O.P. Censure Representative Who Voted to Impeach Trump

They are also calling for Mr. Gonzalez to resign for being one of 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Donald J. Trump after the Jan. 6 riot.

#gonzalez-anthony-2005, #house-of-representatives, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j

Ohio State Senator Is Caught Zooming and Driving

Andrew Brenner, a Republican, used a background to make it appear as if he were at home rather than behind the wheel of his car during a state meeting. The giveaway? His seatbelt.

#columbus-ohio, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #driver-distraction-and-fatigue, #internal-storyline-no, #ohio, #politics-and-government, #united-states-politics-and-government, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

‘A Horrendous Tragedy’: The Chaotic Moments Before a Police Shooting in Columbus

New video and 911 calls shed light on what led up to the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who the police said was wielding a knife before an officer fired the four shots that killed her.

#columbus-ohio, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #police, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-columbus-ohio

Teenage Girl Fatally Shot by the Police in Columbus, Officials Say

The use of deadly force in Ohio happened just before the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #chauvin-derek-1976, #columbus-ohio, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #floyd-george-d-2020, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #ohio, #police, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings