Write to Unite

After last week’s events this is a conversation you do not want to miss. Presented in Partnership with Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Moderated by Cincinnati Enquirer’s opinion editor Kevin Aldridge, Pulitzer winners for commentary Clarence Page and Kathleen Parker will talk about the power of writing to heal and unite. Can this be possible and how can we columnists work toward that goal? Just $25 for NSNC Members. SPJ members use Coupon Code CINCYSPJ for member discount as well. Register now:

What happens to drug money?

Drug money funds the OPAA
Eye On Ohio

Here’s what we learned about drug money.

This is one of those articles where you think you have one story and then you turn a corner and bam! You get a piece of information that leads you to a bigger story. I learned so much working on this investigation about what happens to drug money.

The story centers around outgoing county prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown. She gifted cash to kids who completed 4-H projects and it nicely illustrates how Ohio law needs to do better. Ohio county prosecutors and county sheriffs have two outside accounts – meaning checks don’t cross the auditor’s desk for approval before they go out of these accounts. One of these accounts hold profits from drug money seizures. One can imagine the confusion and misuse this can cause. But I don’t think all of the misuse is malicious. Instead, some misuse is born from the discretion given elected officials.

We also learned about the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, an organization that solely exists to serve elected officials. The organization charges outrageous annual dues that are – you guessed – paid using these outside accounts. The organization is classified as a 501(c)3 organization and therefore was able to turn down our Freedom Of Information Act public records requests even though they are clearly funded with public money.

Eye On Ohio will follow up on this story as more information becomes available. We filled a public records request with the Department of Justice and are waiting for more information. Also, there may be a podcast in the works about this issue with Why Don’t We Know. For now here’s what we’ve learned so far:


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freelance writer
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp Freelance Writer

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie or at WriterBonnie.com.

Op-Ed Makes the Difference for Public Hospital Records

After a seven-month legal battle, the courts ruled and then Ohio Department of Health continued to stall. I was super frustrated. Each email from ODH angered me. You see, I was a wrier on the Eye on Ohio project that aimed to report hospital capacity numbers for the public during this COVID-19 pandemic. Our whole team was tired and frustrated for having to continue to argue with the ODH lawyer to gain access to what the courts had confirmed was public record.

I decided to write an op-ed. I am a freelance writer but I’m also a columnist on the Editorial Board of the Cincinnati Enquirer. So, I wrote the op-ed linked below to specifically call out the Socrates Tuch, the ODH Lawyer who insisted on giving us a hard time. The op-ed appeared on Saturday, November 21, 2020.

Read that Op-Ed Here:

The following Monday, November 23, 2020, ODH Press Secretary Melanie Amato sent an email that stated:

Here is the latest information on your public records request. Moving forward, please send your requests to me for I will be supplying you with the information.
Please stop sending to the legal counsel for they have other things to continue to work on.
I appreciate the help. 

Melanie Amato

Magically the data we requested started rolling in and Socrates Tuch was taken out of the loop.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an op-ed column.

Now, the citizens of Ohio have a clear understanding of what the hospitals in their state are facing with COVID-19. Click the link below to check on the capacity of each hospital that is reporting data. It will help individual communities cope with what’s happening in their area.


freelance writer
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.

When Teens Question Their Parents It’s All Part of Growing Up

“They’ll understand when they’re older.” It’s meant to be comforting: When our kids are parents struggling to do the right thing, they’ll realize how tough it all is. But the part no one tells you is that just because they may one day understand that you did the best you could, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll agree with your decisions. 

A lot of recent conversations with my 19-year-old daughter have revolved around parenting decisions I made in her childhood that she disagrees with. She feels some have even caused lasting damage. Ouch. That hurts. I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone a perfect parent. We’re all still human, just doing the best we can. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every parenting decision my parents made. My goal was to be better than my parents, but I’m not any better—I’m just different. 

Read what learned from the experts in my latest column below:


Read more of my work on child development and parenting

Christmas Is In The Air

I have a story in this book! I am thrilled to have contributed the story of my first Christmas together with my husband as a blended family. It was hard and beautiful and meaningful all at the same time, We made it through. The 12-year-old I wrote about is a grown worman now and I am so lucky I got to be a part of her childhood.

Get into the Holiday spirit with 101 real-life personal stories. My story is on page 160 and titled Christmas With a New Family.

Buy your copy today HERE

Get a preview on the Chicken Soup for the Soul Podcast with Amy Newmark

Looking for more books to give this holiday season? I have essays in these books too!

Eye On Ohio Got Records from The Ohio Department of Health…Sort Of

Despite an October 20 court order issued by the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Department of Health still had not released complete records as of late Wednesday night, claiming they needed several days to release information from a database that is updated daily. Read the full story below.

This came after winning the court battle for access to important hospital data. Read that story below:

This all started seven months ago when we first tried to report data in real time as a service to the public during a pandemic. Our attempts were blocked by ODH. Read that story below


Read more pandemic Coverage from Bonnie Jean Feldkamp HERE.

After seven month legal battle, Eye on Ohio wins public records lawsuit over hospital capacity numbers

This story went from slow motion to fast forward this week. It started 7 months ago when we tried reporting on bed and vent counts in Ohio Hospitals only to be shut out. Eye On Ohio took them to court. After a months long back and forth the court ordered Ohio Department of Health to hand over the hospital data we requested in our public records request. We’re still waiting on the data. Meanwhile Court News Ohio ran a story on the ruling and other media is picking it up. So yesterday we were off to the races to cover our own story. Written with Kathiann M. Kowalski. Please read and share.


Our report from seven months ago:


Read more of Bonnie’s clips HERE

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.

Madam Vice President

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to put my thoughts down for this historic event.

It’s hard to wrap my brain around what this election means to me. It means progress. Even though there’s another white man as president and that’s not anything new. 

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

I hope you’ll read the full column at the link below.

Jim Obergefell Sends Note of Encouragement to Young Gay Person in Cincinnati

I am so grateful I got to share this uplifting story following Justices Thomas and Alito’s damaging remarks against LGBTQ+ rights. Please, read the full story below and celebrate this generous kindness.

Like this story? You may also like these:

Metro driver, worry about safety not morality
Sexual harassment of girls starts during middle school

Also more HERE

Library Card Sign Up Month

It’s Library Card Sign Up Month (yes, that’s totally a thing) and it’s more than enough of a reason to bring back my memories of my childhood library. What is your favorite library memory?


If you liked this story please check out the ones below also or visit my Articles and Clips page.