CLOVERNOOK: The nonprofit center in North College Hill that helps blind and visually impaired people find employment and become self-sufficient recently was honored with a major award. The National Industries for the Blind gave its 2010 Employment Award to Clovernook for its success at helping blind people lead more fulfilling lives. The unemployment rate for elderly Americans with visual problems is 70 percent, and the national group said efforts like Clovernook’s are more vital than ever. Founded in 1903, Clovernook provides not just employment assistance but also braille service, recreational opportunities and more. Robin Usalis, the center’s CEO, said the award shows how hard they work “to empower people who are blind and visually impaired to be self-sufficient and full participants in their communities.”
TUCKER’S: Carla and Joe Tucker are well known to people who frequent Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. As owners of Tucker’s Restaurant, a small diner that’s been around for decades, the pair always has a friendly word for their regular customers and other neighborhood gadflies who stop by
MAYOR MALLORY: It’s well known by now that Cincinnati’s mayor spent time recently in disguise, helping recreation crews do their duties as part of a segment for Undercover Boss, a popular CBS reality TV show. Mallory donned a fake mustache and dreadlocks to pose as a worker who helped collect dead animals. Despite the mayor’s unlikely get-up, we find it hard to believe that any city worker wouldn’t recognize him — making the whole premise highly suspect. Moreover, with Mallory already facing criticism that he’s not fully engaged in the mayor’s job, while also facing the prospect of laying off some municipal workers in coming months, his appearance strikes us as a mixed blessing, at best. We’ll reserve judgment until the episode airs, but we’d prefer it if Mallory could show as much interest in his real job.
JOEY VOTTO: Reds fans can breathe a little easier. The team agreed Jan. 17 to a $38 million, three-year contract to keep the talented first baseman in the Queen City. Votto, 27, was eligible for arbitration for the first time under Major League Baseball’s rules, so Reds management knew they would have to ante up more than the $525,000 they paid him last season. As part of the deal, Votto gets a $6 million signing bonus, divvied up over the contract’s duration. By agreeing to a multi-year pact, it keeps a fan favorite happy while letting the Reds’ front office plan the budget better and know what it has available to offer other players, instead of being mired in uncertainty for months. Coughing up the extra cash for Votto is a wise investment, and we fully expect to see the Reds once again make the playoffs later this year.