Of course, recipients of GCF's 18th annual Jacob E. Davis Volunteer Leadership Awards will also get an award ceremony, lots of back pats and exposure for themselves and their favorite causes.
The idea is to "honor and recognize people early in their volunteer careers so that their example can inspire others," according to GCF literature. GCF is calling them "unsung heroes" -- those who haven't already reaped accolades or attention and who are making huge volunteer efforts in one of six areas: arts and culture, community progress, education, the environment, health and human services.
Cincinnati Tomorrow founder and former city council candidate Nick Spencer, also the local poster boy for the "creative class" and Richard Florida's loudest fan, put the bug in GCF's ear to open the award to the younger set -- for which he'll gladly pat himself on the back.
Spencer's also helped GCF assemble a youthful advisory committee that includes himself, The Cincinnati Enquirer "young professionals" reporter Maggie Downs and Stephanie Dunlap (yes, that's me) of CityBeat.
The whole thing's especially admirable because it's a twist on the creative class and young professional concepts. Those designations mostly depend on how younger people pay their bills, but these award winners will be recognized for the things they do without pay.
Nominate yourself or the most devoted person you know through Sept. 8 at www.greatercincinnatifdn.org. Get in while the giving's good.
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Where There's Smoke: Lower Price Hill got off lucky Aug. 19 when Queen City Barrel burned to the ground in a five-alarm fire, according to Mike Henson, project coordinator for the Urban Appalachian Council's environmental leadership group.
"Well, it was lucky in that, for the most part, the plume went away from the populated part of the neighborhood," he says. "It could have been much worse had the wind blown south, where the big bulk of the residential section of the neighborhood is. Not that we're happy that Clifton and the West End got it."
As for the long-term environmental effects on the neighborhood, Henson says he's still gathering information and will release a statement soon.
"We're concerned that the people doing the investigation know the history of Queen City Barrel," he says.
He notes that, in statements following the fire, the company has touted its role as a leader in environmental controls. Henson has a different take on that.
"The reason they become a leader is that they were made to become a leader," he says. "And they don't always use those controls, and those controls don't always work."
Henson's been keeping an eye on Queen City Barrel for a while (see "Pollution Is a Crime," issue of May 12-18). He's not convinced that only empty barrels and wood pallets went up in flames.
"We've seen the same barrels in the same windows of that warehouse for years," he says.
He has photos of them and of the barrels in nearby trailers that the company hasn't touched in a year, though adventurous neighborhood kids have.
The Cincinnati Fire Department has asked the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to help it investigate the fire.
All The News That Fits: Leads, entrails and tales we couldn't get to.