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Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Shadow Hare" protecting Cincinnatians?

This goes down as one of the strangest stories I've heard in a long time. There are so many things to comment on here from the names of these self-described "superheroes," the "Allegiance of Heroes" that Shadow Hare is part of, the pitch of his voice, the fact that he's 21 years old and from Milford or their costumes.

Just watch this great news piece from WLWT to see for yourself (be sure to notice the reaction of the Hamilton County Sheriff that Shadow Hare approaches in the video).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Coal moratorium presentation & Q/A - 4/29

The Cincinnati area League of Women Voters is sponsoring a presentation on coal generated energy that will focus on the impacts that a coal moratorium might present for a state like Ohio where 90% of the electricity comes from coal.

The presentation will take place this Wednesday, April 29th at the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church (GoogleMap) Social Hall, and will last from 7pm - 8:30pm. The presentation is free and open to the public and will include a Q/A session immediately following the presentation from guest speaker Nachy Kanfer who is the National Coal Campaign representative in Ohio for the Sierra Club.

The League of Women Voters has recently called for a coal moratorium that proposes a 10-year freeze on the construction of new coal-fired power plants. The event is co-sponsored by Citizens for Civic Renewal, the Sierra Club Miami Group and the Women's City Club of Greater Cincinnati. For additional information you can call (513) 281-8683 or email

Photo: Duke Energy coal power plant at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio rivers - by Jake Mecklenborg

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great day in Cincy

This past Saturday was a great day. It started at Fountain Square where I met up with several friends. The Square was crowded, the Reds game was on the LED board, a wedding party posed for pictures and horse-drawn carriages were in high demand.

Chris, Jake and myself went for a walk around Downtown to take some photos and enjoy the beautiful, albeit windy, weather. We eventually made our way over to the historic West Fourth Street area. Just after checking out the progress on the McFarland Lofts project we looked up at the new Parker Flats midrise and saw 5chw4r7z and Ms. 5chw4r7z with a couple friends enjoying their wrap around balcony.

They invited us up to check out their digs which we discovered to be a chic urban living space complete with 'city doors.' We arrived just in time to see the Bengals make their first selection in the 2009 NFL Draft and were pleased with the selection of an offensive tackle.

We worked our way back to the Square where Sherman and Chris had dinner on Via Vite's rooftop terrace. I worked my way further north into Over-the-Rhine where I met my father for dinner on Lavomatic's beautiful rooftop terrace.

Following dinner I met back up with Chris outside of Park + Vine and we walked down to City Cellars where we met a couple more people and had a couple glasses of wine out on City Cellars' patio. We then worked our way south, en route to the Cyclones game at US Bank Arena, stopping at Chipotle on Fountain Square for a quick bite for our other friends who had not yet eaten.

We arrive a little late to the Cyclones game and noticed we were already trailing 3-1 which quickly became a 4-1 deficit. Right about this point a t-shirt was launched from a canon in my direction. Making quick use of my eye-hand coordination, I snatched the t-shirt out of the air and savored my prize.

The third period hit and the Cyclones had charged all the way back and tied the game at 4-4. To overtime we went and the Cyclones quickly scored ending the game and taking a 2-0 series lead. After the game finished we split off as our two friends went to JeanRo Bistro for some drinks while Chris and I went to go meet up with Sherman once more in Over-the-Rhine.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We need Zipcars in Cincinnati

Living car-free anywhere can be a bit of a challenge. It's even more difficult in Cincinnati where our transit options are limited to bus service.

With that said living car-free is definitely possible and I know several people that are able to make it work even here in Cincy. One thing that could make living car-free a lot more feasible would be the use of Zipcars.

Zipcar is a carsharing company that allows people to get a membership and use the cars on an as needed basis. Basically what you do is you get a membership (which gets you a Zipcard) and then go and get a car when you absolutely need one. You just walk up to the car, wave your Zipcard over the windshield, get in and start driving (keys, gas card and insurance are all awaiting you).

Presently there is no Zipcar service in any Ohio city (closest locations are Chicago & Pittsburgh), but Cleveland does boast its own carsharing club called Citywheels. The Ohio State University, in Columbus, used to have its own Zipcar service that came to a close in January 2009. It's about time that Cincinnati get into carsharing and introduce Zipcars to our urban core.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Local black community turning on Smitherman?

Christopher Smitherman is the controversial President of the local chapter of the NAACP. He has always been a somewhat controversial figure, but his recent actions as the President of the NAACP has led several prominent local black activists to openly criticize Smitherman and the NAACP. Smitherman's outspoken opposition to the proposed streetcar system, Mayor Mallory and relationship with Chris Finney seem to be leading this dissent within the black community that is causing them to break away from Smitherman. What does this mean for the local chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Smitherman and his current prominent stances on issues like the proposed streetcar system?

Smitherman and Chris Finney:

Chris Finney is the attorney for the local chapter of the NAACP and the ultra-conservative group COAST. He has been known for his bold stances against minority groups like GLBT and even the black community. This continuation of the relationship between the NAACP and Chris Finney has led many to question Smitherman's motives.

Smitherman "scaring" senior citizens:

It gets even worse as one local black activist has alleged that Smitherman is "scaring senior citizens" about the proposed streetcar in order to drum up more support for his personal opposition to the project, and he is doing this all while wearing the suit of the President of the local chapter of the NAACP.

The author of the Black Fist Blog states that Smitherman is, "slithering in and out of area Senior Citizen Facilities/Centers and comparing the building of a proposed Streetcar to "The Great Depression", and to outright tell to our precious senior citizens that to NOT sign the NAACP Streetcar Petition would be something close to signing on to one of the "Greatest Economic Tragedies" since "The Great Depression" is at the least irresponsible, and at the most could be classified as (mental) elder abuse."

Not much is clear on any of this aside from one thing - Smitherman is surrounded in a lot of controversy and it appears to be clear that he is in no way truly representing the interests of the black community in Cincinnati. What I truly want to know is what the actual concerns are, from the black community, in regards to the proposed streetcar system. A conversation should be had so that they are engaged and involved in the process to help make this system a success.

In the end this seems to be damaging the reputation and credibility of the local chapter of the NAACP for the sole cause of advancing Christopher Smitherman's political interests. In a time when the economy is in the pits we really need groups like the NAACP to stand up and fight for the equal rights and standing for the black community...and it seems as though President Smitherman is failing at this.

Keep following these stories at the following:
The Black Fist Blog
Cincinnati Black Blog
The Phony Coney

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last chance to see the '09 Cincinnati Flower Carpet

If you haven't yet visited Fountain Square to check out this year's Flower Carpet then you need to hurry up as it will only be on display until Saturday, April 25th.

Cincinnati's annual Flower Carpet started taking bloom in 2007 and is similar to the Biennial Floral Carpet in Brussels, Belgium. What happens each year is flowers take the form of a massive art project on Fountain Square and act as a "flower carpet" for several weeks until it is dismantled.

View of last year's Flower Carpet from Carew Tower

This year's display will be dismantled on Sunday, April 26th. Starting at 8am the public will be able to go to Fountain Square and take home some of the pansies used in the display for themselves - for free.

In the mean time though you should go and check out the display. A great spot to view it from is the Carew Tower Observation Deck. It's cheap ($2 for adults, $1 for children), offers unobstructed 360 degree views of Cincinnati and a great aerial view of the Flower Carpet and Fountain Square.

Monday, April 20, 2009

National Dark Sky Week 2009

Tonight, take a look into the sky. Your view will be very different than that of someone a century ago. You will likely see a lot more light, and a lot fewer stars, than our ancestors would have seen.

An unfortunate side effect of our modern industrial society is light pollution. Unlike the contamination of our air or water, light pollution is one type of contamination people may not think about or take very seriously. But over-illumination causes a variety of issues, such as an annoying nighttime glow, unnecessary energy usage, problems for astronomers, and even human health problems like reduced visual acuity and increased fatigue. Like our air and water, our dark night sky is a natural resource that we must work together to preserve.

Today marks the beginning of National Dark-Sky Week (April 20-26, 2009). This annual event encourages Americans to audit their outdoor light fixtures and reduce their contribution to this problem. To help, you can turn off any unnecessary lights and make sure the rest are aimed toward the ground and are only as bright as necessary. Maybe even consider purchasing a directional shade to prevent your fixtures from spilling light upward.

One emerging technology that may help reduce light pollution is LED lighting. Although LED bulbs last longer and use less energy than incandescent or even CFL bulbs, their highly-directional light is typically seen as a drawback. In the case of outdoor lighting, directionality could be a benefit, as less light leaks up to the sky.

Although it may seem minor in comparison to other pressing issues, it’s easy to make a small step toward reducing light pollution and improving public quality of life. This National Dark-Sky Week, take a moment to think about the simple things you can do to reduce your impact.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Metro debuts new hybrid buses

Metro will debut the first 6 of their 15 new hybrid buses on Tuesday, April 21st. The ceremony (10:30am) will take place at the Twin Lakes Overlook in Eden Park where Mayor Mallory, ODOT and others will dedicate the new buses that will then be paraded (11:00am) through Eden Park, past Mirror Lake and into downtown via 5th Street to Fountain Square.

The new hybrid buses will have a "unique go*GREEN hybrid design" that will reduce soot and hydrocarbon emissions by at least 90% and use about 30% less fuel that the typical Metro bus. Additional hybrid buses will be purchased next year with some of the $17.5 million that Metro received from stimulus funds in March.

The 6 new hybrid buses will go into service the next day and will be featured in a lunchtime Earth Day event on Fountain Square before officially being launched into service at 1pm. At the Earth Day event, there will be a fashion show of "environmentally-conscience and bike beautiful" fashions. The models will arrive on the new hybrid buses and will use the Flower Carpet, on Fountain Square, as their runway. Visitors will also be able to check out the new hybrid buses and get more information on Metro during the event.

To learn more about Metro's new hybrid buses check out this interactive diagram.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mainstay Rock Bar opens downtown

5chw4r7z has reported that Mainstay Rock Bar is now open at the SW corner of 5th & Plum in downtown Cincinnati.

Mainstay Rock Bar (GoogleMap) has introduced a fresh look and feel to the former Poison Room space. The building is now more open to the street and boasts an interesting decor and features that should keep all of our rock-lovers out there happy.

From the owners:
"MAINSTAY takes a plush sexy lounge with brown leather seating and gives it a strong, edgy rock & roll vibe. You're not gonna hear hip hop, mash-ups, drum & amp; bass, downtempo, or trancey house music at MAINSTAY. Think more along the lines of classic and modern rock with a twist. Framed photos of rock stars line the walls, and the bar mixes up a tasty list of specialty cocktails. MAINSTAY is a new venue with a tribute to all things rock & roll. Dual DJ booths and a stage fit for a rock star, or a band of them, allows for multiple live entertainment options."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lavomatic turns 1 and opens rooftop terrace

Lavomatic will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary and the reopening of their rooftop terrace tomorrow night (4/17) with a pig roast, drinks and a live DJ. The urban food and wine bar will offer the pig roast for $20 and everyone's favorite OTR Ale for just $2. The fun will start at 8pm in the heart of the Gateway Quarter in Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine.

Lavomatic Cafe is located in a former laundromat in a single story building wedged in between multi-story structures on both sides. The rooftop terrace has a great view of the Art Academy and surrounding OTR buildings. The neat thing about it is that the terrace is surrounded by renovated buildings that now boast condos just feet away.

If you haven't yet been to the Gateway Quarter this may be a great chance for you to get acquainted. Come down a little early and go check out the businesses nearby that are all within a short walk and make for great browsing/window shopping.

Lavomatic on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New MainStrasse regulations to go into effect

MainStrasse, an old German neighborhood and a national historic district, is a collection of locally-owned businesses and restaurants in Covington, Kentucky. During the evening and into the night, the business district comes alive, abound with nightlife that has at times irked residents of the neighborhood. Complaints about excessive noise, litter and sidewalk access have only escalated over the years as the neighborhood matures and becomes more dense, and the Covington City Council is set on approving new regulations that may be approved next week.

Under the new regulations, both bars and restaurants could feature outdoor seating and tables on public sidewalks, but people would not be allowed to stand alongside diners to reduce pedestrian congestion. An earlier proposal would have barred bars from having outdoor seating, but it proved an unpopular option.

In addition, sidewalk service would need to cease by 12:45 A.M. every night of the week. The exception to this would be the Sixth Street plaza near the Goose Girl fountain, where service would stop by 10:45 P.M. Sunday through Thursday and by 11:45 P.M. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tables would then need to be removed within 15 minutes for all dates and locales.

Commissioners also decided to charge a fee of $40 per four-person table and $20 per two-person table, raising approximately $2,500 per year. The cost would go to the Covington Police Department, which would partially recoup the cost of street patrols that cost the department $25,000 annually. A higher fee was also considered.

Finally, violators of the new regulations could have their outdoor seating permit revoked.

This is a positive step in the right direction for the MainStrasse neighborhood, and is a sign that the district is maturing. The regulations would maintain peace in the residential neighborhoods that line the business district, introduce enforceable regulations and partially recoup the costs of police patrols that maintain a low crime rate for MainStrasse.

'Green Washing' in Cincinnati

Everywhere you turn you hear about this or that being "green." So what does it really mean to be "green?" Are these products, services and projects really "green" or are they using the term unjustly to help promote their particular item?

'Green Washing' is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy.

Hybrid vehicles, LEED certified buildings and recycling seem to top the list of popular "green" friendly activities. But what are these initiatives really accomplishing? William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of Cradle to Cradle, might argue that these are simply initiatives aimed at making these things less bad instead of actually making our community more good.

At the same time, the most ridiculed initiatives seem to be the ones that McDonough and Braungart might appreciate a bit more. Eating less meat, living in walkable communities and rethinking the way in which we design our everyday products would all be examples of making our community "more good." So why aren't these the initiatives our community is grabbing on to?

Maybe it is evidence that this new "green" movement is really just a reflection of economic opportunists looking to capitalize off of the mass appeal of being "green." I'm not quite that cynical as I do believe we are becoming more environmentally conscience. I'm just a bit weary that the majority of being are being educated by pop culture, instead of being educated by the environmentalists out there.

I guess I'll take a LEED Certified office building out in Blue Ash over one that is not LEED Certified, but wouldn't renovating an existing building that currently stands vacant in our center city be the most "green" thing we could do? Or how about ditching that commute in your hybrid vehicle for a daily walk or bike ride to work?

So what do you think...are we doing enough, is the label of "green" being diluted and how can we improve the current situation to remove the confusion and get back to the core issue of being environmentally responsible?

Also check out The Sin of Greenwashing on the thoughtscreen

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All-Star showing for Cincy in 2013?

The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay is reporting that the Reds are "actively pursuing" for an All-Star Game to come to Cincinnati in 2013.

It seems like a relatively long time away, but in All-Star Game terms it's not. St. Louis will host the game this year, Los Angeles (Anaheim) has 2010 and Arizona will have 2011. Boston is rumored to be the favorite for 2012, but Kansas City is also in the mix for 2012 or 2014.

The game alternates between AL and NL locations, so that leaves 2013, 2015 and 2017 as the next options for Cincinnati to get its fifth All-Star Game and first at Great American Ballpark that opened for the 2003 season.

First generation rendering of Great American Ballpark and its then future surroundings - from Hamilton County

The timeline works fine with me as the first phase of The Banks and the Central Riverfront Park will be complete. The Great American Tower (Queen City Square) will also be finished; and if we're really lucky, so will the first phase of the proposed streetcar system. Talk about making a good impression.

At the same time work will be underway for future phases of The Banks, Central Riverfront Park and (once again if we're lucky) the proposed streetcar system. I'm glad we didn't get an All-Star Game immediately after the opening of Great American Ballpark. I'd much rather have the out-of-towners come in and experience the revitalized Cincinnati and see that we have a lot more to offer than the nostalgia of WKRP.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dead retail space becoming more prevalent, but we’re still building

Let me stand on my soapbox and loudly proclaim what millions have done before me over the past year and say, “It’s a sign of the times”. Sure, it might not be the most original statement you’ve heard in awhile, but perhaps it truly does apply.

Western Hamilton county is seeing an increase in the reduction of commercial real estate, and yes that’s a borderline double-negative. It seems like everywhere you look, in addition to the depressing little white or yellow slips posted on the front doors or windows of vacant homes, you’re seeing more and more empty retail space.

No, it’s not just the little guy, it’s the big guys too. From the K-Mart in Forest Park, to the Dillard’s in Colerain, and finally to the most peculiar little area, Glenway Crossing in my neck of the woods over here in Western Hills. This once thriving area, while still bustling with activity from the remaining businesses, is starting to become a little, shall we say, ghostly?

Circuit City, CostPlus WorldMarket, and Steve & Barry’s have all gone the way of businesses past. It is understandable that in this and any economy businesses will fold. Circuit City succumbed to the national rivalry with BestBuy, and ironically, the “thrifty” stores like Steve & Barry’s and CostPlus WorldMarket found it difficult to stay financially afloat. Yeah, I’ll give you that WorldMarket was more of a niche store, but they still had everyday items which I only recently discovered before their demise, such as coffee and olive oil which was amazingly priced considering the quality. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Target took their operations up the road, which seems to be another interesting trend. Despite the vacancies, the real estate in Glenway Crossing doesn’t seem too bad. Businesses like BestBuy, Chipotle, and Panera, as well as WalMart nearby, still draw a lot of people (i.e. money) to the area. Yet new development, including the construction of new buildings, is going on just a few miles up Glenway, where the demographics are really no different.

Western Hills Plaza is seeing new life at Glenway Crossing's expense

Am I missing something here? No, we’re not building “Legacy Places”, but why build new structures when existing real estate sits not too far away? At least these are being built over the sites of older business and parking lots, etc., but c’mon, would it kill to put something, anything, other than more retail along Glenway?

At any rate, instead of whining about something I really have no control over, I’ve decided that it’s my duty, as a resident of the west side of Cincinnati, to at least contribute ideas of how to utilize this space at Glenway Crossing.

I’ll be honest, the plazas are fairly drab, mostly concrete and mortar, and not overly attractive. So, I’ve come up with the following...

Low Security Jail Space: We keep on hearing about talk about a new jail, why not offer up this space as a small jail facility for the low risk criminals, such as petty thieves, peeping toms, and the Madoff family. I mean, who wouldn’t want a jail in their neighborhood when it’s for the good of the community, right?

Small College Campus: Why between the empty plaza space and the two standalone buildings, formerly known as Target and Circuit City, you could have another concrete University and call it NKU North, or “Northerner Kentucky University”, as some of our friends across the river might say.

Black Friday Training Facility: The FBI has had Hogan’s Alley for years, and the military uses fake cities to teach urban warfare tactics. Why not turn it into a site that department stores can rent for day after thanksgiving training? It would also boost the local economy, as a local “mob” would have to be hired to storm the doors of the trainees. Yep. That’s called thinking outside the box folks.

Before I get hate mail about poking fun at Kentuckians, I should point out that I grew up in Kentucky and spent the majority of my life there. By default, that means I’m privileged to perpetuate the stereotype of the Kentucky hillbilly. I should also point out that I know several people from the west side of Cincinnati who pronounce “wolf” as “woof”.

As stated earlier, this is all a sign of the times. Businesses are bound to fail, while others rebuild. Citizens such as myself will find something else to complain about during the Bengals off season, and satirical posts will rise hand in hand with the unemployment rate.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is a boondoggle?

I'm sure you've heard this term thrown out there before. It seems as though any time a project is proposed, that a certain constituency doesn't like, they simply throw out the descriptive word "boondoggle" of said project and poof - it must be true.

After all, the stadiums were boondoggles. So was the convention center expansion, the 2002 Metro Moves plan, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Fountain Square renovation and now of course so is the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar.

Fountain Square in 2008 (post renovation)

Technically speaking a boondoggle is "an unnecessary or wasteful project or activity." More informally speaking, Wikipedia cites that the term first made its appearance in the 1930's during the projects of the New Deal. A New York Times report, at the time, reported that over $3 million was spent on teaching the jobless how to make boon doggles.

What I wonder is whether the term has lost its value? Can we apply this term and rallying cry to projects preemptively? If so, how does it differ from someone else's opinion that the project may be a roaring success?

While in some instances the proclamation of a particular project being a boondoggle may have been valid, there are just as many opposite examples. One of the most recent examples is the renovation of Fountain Square*.

Many of the opponents, to the project, saw it as being destined to failure. That the new design would be worse than the previous one, that the new management would be damaging to activity on the Square and that the private investments wouldn't occur around the Square. These opponents have been wrong on all accounts, but are still claiming every new idea to be a boondoggle without any real accountability.

In the case of the Cincinnati Streetcar, opponents use boondoggle in combination with "trolley" and/or "choo choo train" in virtually everything they write on the topic. Words are a powerful thing and language is often manipulated to advance one's interests on an issue. This is fine, but the distinction should be made...and the problem is that these techniques/strategies come at the expense of the center city, Cincinnati politicians, local government and the mentalities of all Cincinnatians.

Just because someone somewhere cites that a project is one of those dreaded boondoggles does not make it so. Do some research and learn about the topic on your own free of bias, then make up your own opinion. The Cincinnati Streetcar has had several studies done on it...and the results are in. Economics, the environment, transportation and livability issues are all on the project's side. Don't take my word for it for yourself and make up your own mind.

Economic Analysis
UC Economic Study (confirming previous study's findings)
Feasibility Study
Climate Protection Action Plan
Growth & Opportunities (GO) Report for Cincinnati

All of these studies find the streetcar project to be a positive project for the city/region in regards to their specific interests. The studies are all specific to the Cincinnati region. All documents are in PDF form.

NOTE: Fountain Square has seen the recent activity of the following businesses that have cited the renovation of Fountain Square as being instrumental to their operations...Chipotle, Potbelly, McCormick & Schmick's, Boi Na Braza, Via Vite, Tazza Mia, Ingredients, Joseph A. Bank, Graeter's, Morton's the Steakhouse, 5/3 Banking Center, Jones the Florist, Cadillac Ranch, Oceanaire, Bootsy's and Nada...just to name a few.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

1 Night, 12 Kitchens at the Midwest Culinary Institute

The Midwest Culinary Institute (MCI) located at Cincinnati State is one of the nation's best culinary schools and a gem for the Cincinnati region. On April 26th you have the opportunity to experience great food and wine prepared by the top chefs in Cincinnati while also raising some money for scholarship opportunities down the road.

1 Night, 12 Kitchens will be from 6pm to 9pm on Sunday, April 26th at the MCI (GoogleMap) located on the Clifton campus of Cincinnati State. In addition to the culinary treats, participants will also have the opportunity to visit with MCI faculty, students and explore the school's 12 teaching kitchens. There will also be a silent auction that will include wine lots, a handcrafted chandelier and tickets for a variety of culinary experiences.

Two of MCI's kitchen classrooms - Photos from Cincinnati Magazine

The menu, for the evening, includes a terrine of foie gras, medallion of lobster, truffled tenderloin of beef, rum baba and an assortment of French cheeses and petite sweets...making it a perfect evening for our Food Network and culinary lovers (I know you're out there).

Prices start at $80 for a complete food and wine sampling that also includes tours of all 12 kitchens. A $150 VIP package includes, "an exclusive culinary station, private receptions with the participating chefs and a souvenir apron." And for those that are willing to put up $250 for a good cause, you will also be treated to a private dinner at the MCI's Summit Restaurant with Comfort and Chef Timmins.

You can purchase tickets online at Cincinnati Magazine, or by phone at (513) 562-2777. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot early.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Couple random thoughts

1) According to recent Census data and analysis, Cincinnati has seen a 4% growth in its number of YPs living in the metropolitan area.

This 4% growth is slightly lower than the overall population growth rate (5.4%) for the metropolitan region but is better than other Midwestern cities like Columbus (3%), Indianapolis (3%), Louisville(2%), St. Louis (1%) and Cleveland (-1%).

This is tremendous news for a couple of reasons. The first is that if cities can't attract and retain talented young people then they are destined for failure. Bold actions need to continually be made to position Cincinnati in a way that it can continue to attract and better retain these individuals, but it is certainly encouraging to hear that we're heading in the right direction and growing one of the most important demographic groups out there.

2) The relationship between the local chapter of the NAACP and the local attorney, Chris Finney, most known for his controversial stances on issues as they relate to the GLBT community will continue indefinitely and at the discretion of Christopher Smitherman.

This is not all that surprising as the relationship has proven to be somewhat fruitful politically for Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman. I do feel that this is just that - a politically motivated move. It further frustrates me because I feel that it is these types of issues that distract people and confuse them about the purpose of the NAACP.

The local NAACP should be listening to its constituents and fighting for things like equal access to education, healthcare and so on. Many of Cincinnati's lowest income neighborhoods also face extreme impacts of environmental impact inequalities. These foundational problems though have seemed to be forgotten amongst the recent political forays (red light cameras, streetcar, no confidence vote in Mayor Mallory, Finney) of the Smitherman led Cincinnati NAACP Chapter.

Furthermore, I find it somewhat disgraceful that one group fighting for the rights of a minority population would work so closely with someone like Finney who has been so outspoken when it comes to the rights and equality issues of another minority population.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fountain Day 2009

This Saturday, April 4th is the second annual Fountain Day where Cincinnatians gather to ceremoniously turn the water back on at Fountain Square. The events will begin at 6pm and last for several hours with live music and an statement from Mayor Mallory.

The event is a great way to kick off the spring season and the return on warmer weather to the Queen City. Rozzi's Famous Fireworks will close out the programed portions of the evening shortly after 8pm.

The event is free and open to the public. Adult beverages and soft drinks will be available for purchase on the Square throughout the event. Parking is available in the Fountain Square Garage and Metro provides heavy service to the event via Government Square.

Event Schedule:
  • 6 pm Bob Herzog welcomes crowd with a “Dance Party Saturday”
  • 6:15 pm Live Music: 500 Miles to Memphis
  • 7pm Live Music: Eclipse
  • 8 pm Remarks by John Ryan of Raymond James
  • 8:05 pm Remarks by Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory
  • 8:10 pm Water flows, Fireworks start

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cincinnati in the spring

With temperatures rising to seasonably warm measures, and bountiful sunlight bathing the ambrosial green carpets that are sheathed with flowering trees and blossoming tulips, Cincinnati is rolling out the customary welcome mat to spring by hosting several events that are well worth attending.

Running until April 12, the Krohn Conservatory is hosting its annual Peaceful Spring Show, where the gardens are overflowing with countless early spring flowers and scented lilies that offer heightened sensual delights. The Conservatory, an Art-Deco relic from 1933, is open from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. five days a week, and will have extended hours from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. on Sunday, April 12.

Beginning on April 6, the Cincinnati Zoo is hosting its annual Zoo Blooms until April 30 during normal zoo hours, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. The Zoo is one of two botanical gardens in the state, and features a colorful palette of more than 80,000 tulips and flora. Also during April is the Tunes and Blooms that is offered every Thursday in April from 6 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. Guests can enjoy great melodic music while strolling the park and taking in the evening daylight. For this season, eight bands will be highlighting this popular event.

Finally, the Cincinnati Flower Show is hosting its 20th Anniversary Celebration and annual flower show at Symmes Township Park from April 18 to April 26. The event is generally regarded as an acclaimed flower show that feature numerous, spectacular exhibits, social events, plant and gardener's markets, a lecture series and more.

Get outside and enjoy Cincinnati in the spring!

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