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by Nick Swartsell 02.20.2015 64 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

City Hall might get metal detectors; will Oxford get Amtrak service to Chicago?; Kasich proposal would funnel nearly $1 billion a year to charter schools

Hey all! Here’s a quick morning news rundown.

In the wake of last month’s infamous pickup truck incident (wherein a disgruntled man tried to ram his vehicle into our seat of city government), City Hall might be getting metal detectors. Council voted yesterday to find out how much the security measure will cost. The city has already stationed another guard in the City Hall lobby and instituted a requirement that visitors to the mayor or council members be escorted. The extra security measures also come as a response to death threats received by Mayor John Cranley and Councilwoman Amy Murray. Cranley has declined a body guard but has said that the recent events have left him a bit shaken.

• Oxford could be on the path to getting its first train service in half a century. Officials in Butler County are discussing an application for a federal TIGER grant that would fund a stop in the city for trains heading to Chicago. Miami University hosts many students from the Chicago area, officials with the school say, and there is great demand for easy and affordable transit to the Windy City. Last month, officials with the school, the city and the county asked Amtrak to do a feasibility study on picking up passengers there. Currently, Amtrak’s Cardinal Line runs from Cincinnati to Chicago, but only in the middle of the night and only a few times a week. There are efforts underway to expand that service led by transit advocacy group All Aboard Ohio.

• Gov. John Kasich’s proposal to make some Medicaid recipients pay premiums could block access to health care for low-income folks, a new study finds. The report by liberal-leaning Policy Matters Ohio says the proposed premiums, which would start at $15 to $20 a month, would prove a significant hardship for low-income people making just above the federal poverty line (about $12,000 for a single person). The study looks at past efforts in other states to require low-income people to pay premiums on government-subsidized health care. In examples from many states over the past decade, health care costs went up as a result of low-income people having less access to preventative health care, causing them to develop serious conditions for which they seek emergency treatment.
Policy Matters’ study suggests the same could happen in Ohio should Kasich’s proposal be adopted.

• There’s actually a raft of news about Kasich, now that we’re talking about the gov, so I’ll just briefly run through the rest of it here. First, an analysis of his budget proposal finds that it would funnel more money into Ohio’s controversial charter school program, bringing the funding devoted to charter schools by the state to nearly $1 billion a year. Charters in the state have come under criticism over the past year due to sometimes-poor performance and lack of accountability. Ohio’s system takes money from public school districts and gives it to privately run schools that are held to a lower standard by the state. Some of these schools have excelled, delivering better student performance at a lower cost, but a number of others haven’t been nearly so successful. What’s more, several schools have been rocked by allegations of financial and other improprieties. There is movement at the state House to hold the schools to higher standards, but so far no legislation has been passed. You can read our in-depth story on the state’s charter schools here for more on that. Critics of Kasich’s plan to provide more funding for charters say it’s time to reform Ohio’s charter system entirely.

• Speaking of education, Kasich and his budget proposal, Ohio state legislators are going to change Kasich’s proposal for pubic school funding, Republican lawmakers have revealed. Though it’s unclear just what they’ll do when the get under the hood of Kasich’s funding changes, they’ve already chosen Rep. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, to take the lead. Kasich’s public school funding proposal, which seeks to shift some state aid away from wealthy districts toward lower-income ones, left many scratching their heads earlier this month. Kasich’s complex proposed funding formula left some low-income districts with cuts while giving big percentage increases to wealthy districts like Indian Hill, which would get 21 percent more state aid under the model. There are reasons for that and other counter-intuitive increases, as we explored in our story on the proposal a couple weeks ago, but it still doesn’t sit right with many folks. Cupp has said there seem to be some “anomalies” in the formula, but that he won’t know exactly how everything is working until he and other lawmakers dive in and look at everything piece by piece.

Annnnnnd. I’m out. Happy Friday y’all. Tweet news tips, your favorite winter beer recommendations or Parks and Rec finale sadness/spoilers to me over the weekend: @nswartsell. Or you can e-mail me with all of that: nswartsell@citybeat.com.

 
 
by Rick Pender 02.20.2015 64 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
little women_cincy shakes-photo cal harris

Stage Door: Fatherless Families on Cincinnati Stages

Just how can Tracy Letts' sprawling play August: Osage County be wedged into the tiny Clifton Performance Theatre on Ludlow? Director Buz Davis knows that this show is more about characters and great dialogue than the set; he told me so. (Read more in my Curtain Call column here.) He's made it possible for you to sit in the midst of the home of the cantankerous Westons as they fuss and fight when their father goes missing and their mother's addiction to pain killers spills over into everyone else's lives. The show won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award in 2008, so it's one you should have on your list to see if you're a serious theatergoer. (Through March 13). Tickets: 513-861-7469.

Although it's about another family struggling to get along while husband and father is absent, there's a whole different dynamic in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. This adaptation by Emma Reeves should offer an excellent opportunity to see some of Cincy Shakes' best actresses onstage; it's being directed by Sara Clark (who would likely be in the show, but she's pregnant right now, wich doesn't quite fit this story). It opens tonight and runs through March 21. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.

The short run of a touring production of Cole Porter's jaunty Anything Goes is over on Sunday. Need a mid-winter getaway? Take a madcap cruise on the S.S. American and watch as love affairs go overboard and confusion reigns. This show from 1934 has been reinvented numerous times, most recently in a 2011 Broadway revival that won a boatload of Tony Awards. Tickets: 513-621-2787.

It's always worth paying attention to productions on our local university stages, where fine renditions of classic theatrical works are the norm. Northern Kentucky University just opened a production of the great musical Les Misérables, onstage through March 1. I'm told most performances are sold out, but if you show up in person (no calls) you can be put on a wait list and fill seats available just before curtain time. At Xavier University this weekend (through a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee) you'll find a production of Shakespeare's most beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, staged by Jeremy Dubin, veteran member of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Tickets: 513-745-3939.

Continuing productions this weekend include the Cincinnati Playhouse's staging of the charming romance between dog and cat lovers, Chapatti (through March 8; CityBeat review here) and Falcon Theater's production of the tense drama about race relations in 1960s Alabama, In the Heat of the Night (through Feb. 28). Falcon performs in a small theater space on Monmouth Street in Newport. … It's also the final weekend for Know Theatre's production of the one-woman version of The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel adapted for the stage. Cincy Shakes veteran Corinne Mohlenhoff is doing a bravura job with this thoughtful and frightening piece. Tickets: 513-300-5669

Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 
by Staff 02.20.2015 64 days ago
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List (2/20-2/22)

The Art of Food, 20th Century Cincinnati design show, The Price is Right Live!, Oscar parties and more

Looking for things to do this weekend? There's plenty of reasons to leave the house — once you put on like six layers of clothes, a hat, gloves, some snow boots and tire chains. 

FRIDAY 20 
Celebrating the ways in which food appeals to our senses both orally and visually, The Carnegie’s ninth annual The Art of Food event and exhibition features some of our most experimental local chefs, bakers and sweets-mongers showing off their most artistically inspired creations. In addition to all the yummy eats, artist Pam Kravetz is organizing a multi-gallery “Candy Land” theme that corresponds with the classic board game. 6-9 p.m. Friday. $25 members advance; $40 non-members advance; $35 members at the doors; $50 non-members at the door. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington, Ky., thecarnegie.com.


500 Miles to Memphis, one of many Greater Cincinnati acts showing love for WNKU this weekend
Presented by the Good People Festival, 30 bands — locals plus out-of-towners Charlie Mars, Will Kimbrough and Jason Wilbur — will perform over two nights in honor of WNKU radio station’s 30 years on the air. The bands include 500 Miles to Memphis, Noah Hunt & The Scotty Bratcher Band, The Tillers, Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle, Frontier Folk Nebraska and plenty more. All proceeds will benefit WNKU to help keep them going strong for another 30 years. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $30 weekend pass; $20 single-day ticket; $50 VIP weekend passes (includes Saturday reception with food, drinks and private performances from Chardez and special guests). Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., wnku.org.


Nikki Lane
Photo: Glynis Carpenter
One of the great Wanda Jackson’s biographical talking points is the fact that she toured with and fleetingly dated Elvis Presley back in a time when her Rockabilly star shone as brightly as his. In a good many ways, Nikki Lane represents the 21st century manifestation of that vaunted pair’s musical DNA — she twangs and bangs with the ferocity of a roadhouse Rock band churning out amped up Country covers behind the sturdiest chicken wire known to man. Deals don’t come any more real than Nikki Lane. Lane’s appearance in Cincinnati at MOTR Pub during last fall’s MidPoint Music Festival was a near religious experience … if your religion allows whiskey shots, a foul-mouthed choir and a hymnal packed with classic Outlaw Country and scorching Rock. Nikki Lane plays at Woodward Theater Friday, Feb. 20. Find tickets/more info here.


EVENT: Bockfest Sausage Queen Preliminary Round

Cincinnati beer festival Bockfest hosts the second of four preliminary rounds of a gender-neutral pageant to name the 2015 Sausage Queen, who will lead the Bockfest Parade with a symbolic tray of bockwurst sausage. Based on their personality, presence and talent, judges will move beer enthusiasts through a series of rounds of competition, leading up a final crowning and cash prize. Come out and support the candidates and have a couple of beers yourself. Future rounds Feb. 26 at Washington Platform and Feb. 28 at Crazy Fox Saloon. 9 p.m. Friday. Free. Milton’s, 301 Milton St., Prospect Hill, bockfest.com.


Little Women
Photo: Cal Harris 

ONSTAGE: Little Women

The story of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel from the late 1860s, Little Women, has long been woven into the American consciousness. The March family lives in refined poverty, with a dutiful father away in the Civil War and a steadfast mother raising four headstrong daughters. Their story is one of hardship and heartbreak, with generous doses of situational humor, all of which are recaptured in Emma Reeves’ new adaptation for the stage being regionally premiered by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. CSC’s acting company is replete with fine actors, and local stage veteran Annie Fitzpatrick plays loving Marmee, who strives to keep her chicks in order. Through March 21. $14-$36. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273, cincyshakes.com.



SATURDAY 21 
Vintage is the new black, and Cincinnati knows this. Fuelling our desire for nostalgia and simplicity by feeding us quality and value is the annual 20th Century Cincinnati vintage modern design show, returning for its third decade. More than 60 dealers will fill the Sharonville Convention Center with a funky and fabulous selection of furniture, lighting, fashion and more. There will be plenty of period decorative objects featured, including art glass, pottery, posters, metal wares, textiles and dinnerware, with something for every collectors’ budget. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; ticketed preview 9-11 a.m. Saturday. $8 two-day general admission; $25-$30 preview pass. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, 20thcenturycincinnati.com


You probably won’t see Bob Barker or Drew Carey cruising around Cincinnati this weekend. However, The Price Is Right Live! is in town, so you could still win a BRAND. NEW. CAR! The show is an untelevised stage version of the nation’s longest-running game show, hosted by a celebrity like Marc Summers, Todd Newton or Jerry Springer. Ticket numbers are already limited for both nights the show chugs through the Horseshoe Casino, but fret not. It turns out you can still try your luck and register to compete even without a ticket. Sticky wicket: Without a ticket, you wait in a holding area instead of inside The Pavilion, watching your neighbors play Plinko and spin the wheel. So, ya know, come on doooown! 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. $44-$55. Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway, Pendleton, priceisrightlive.com. (REGISTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS FROM CITYBEAT HERE.)


Jean Yves-Thibaudet
Photo: IMG Artists 
This Saturday and Sunday, famed French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will perform two Khachaturian pieces (the waltz from Masquerade Suite and Piano Concerto) and Holst’s The Planets. The Planets! On Saturday night, Bell’s Brewery is offering flights of its limited beer series, The Planets, for $8 a pop. Bottles will be available at all three concerts while supplies last. 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22. $12-$120. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org


Borrowed Landscape
Photo:CAC
Heine Avdal is making a short trip from Belgium to Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and 22 just to visit the Whole Foods Market in Rookwood Commons. It’s sandwiched between theatrical performances that he and his artistic organization fieldworks will be doing in Heine Avdal is making a short trip from Belgium to Cincinnati on Feb. 21 and 22 just to visit the Whole Foods Market in Rookwood Commons. It’s sandwiched between theatrical performances that he and his artistic organization fieldworks will be doing in Budapest and Oslo. So why exactly is he coming here to go to Whole Foods? It isn’t just because he needs goat milk or edible flowers. It will be the site of the U.S. premiere — and only U.S. event to date — of a site-specific performance art piece called Borrowed Landscape, which he has been performing in Europe. He is being sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Center as part of its international-oriented Performances series. 2-4 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22. Admission is free and you can come and go anytime within the two-hour window.


SUNDAY 22
 
In honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary, People Working Cooperatively takes its annual Oscars night party back to psychedelic during a “Hometown Hollywood 1975” event. While watching a live telecast of the annual Oscars gala, guests will enjoy a three-course dinner wrapped up in a funky ’70s theme reminiscent of the era’s groovy game shows. Attire for the night will be either classic black tie in true Oscars fashion or ’70s retro, complete with platform shoes and powder-blue tuxedos, so take your pick. 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Sunday, Feb. 22. $175. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, pwchomerepairs.org.


Ring in the year of the sheep at Orient Wok in Fort Mitchell for its Chinese New Year dinner and celebration. You’ll get the full experience of this notable holiday with a delicious and authentic nine-course meal. There will also be a traditional Lion Dance, plenty of explosives during the firecracker celebration and many more forms of cultural entertainment. 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. $75; $25 children ages 6-12. Oriental Wok, 317 Buttermilk Pike, Ft. Mitchell, Ky., orientalwok.com.


Adam Cayton-Holland
"I was always doing funny stuff,” says comedian Adam Cayton-Holland from his home in Denver, “but it was more writing behind-the-scenes. I wasn’t one of those guys growing up watching stand-up going, ‘That’s going to be me.’ Never in a million years did I think I’d be the guy up on stage.” At the behest of a stand-up comedian friend, Cayton-Holland tried it on a whim. “I did it and I was hooked,” he says. Today he divides his time between Denver and Los Angeles and has picked up more TV writing gigs. Showtimes Thursday, Feb. 19-Sunday, Feb. 22. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com. 
 

MONDAY 23
Explore how science and art overlap for the perfect date night at the Contemporary Arts Center’s One Night One Craft event. A sommelier will walk attendees through the science of wine making and the art of sampling it, plus artist John Humphries will show you how to make art with less palatable wines. 6-8 p.m. Monday. $20 members; $30 non-members. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.




 
 
by John Hamilton 02.19.2015 65 days ago
at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Forgotten Classics: Harry and Tonto

Reviewing lesser-known films that stand the test of time

When I started doing this blog series I promised myself that I would avoid covering movies that had won an Academy Award, especially those that were awarded Best Picture, Director or Actor. When most people decide to look up “classics” to watch, their go-tos are often Oscar winners. But there is a 1974 film that I think has been unfairly ignored and dismissed, despite its Best Actor win. That film is Harry and Tonto.

Co-written and directed by the late Paul Mazursky, this movie follows the eponymous duo — Harry (Art Carney) is a retired widower who looses his apartment building when it is condemned; his only companion is his pet cat, Tonto. The two go on a cross-country odyssey meeting many colorful characters along the way, including a health-food salesman (Arthur Hunnicutt), an elderly Native American (Chief Dan George) and an underaged runaway (Melanie Mayron), among others. Harry eventually reconnects with his three kids who live all across the map.

Just based on that plot, many would think that it’s just a basic road trip movie with a quirky old man and his cute little cat. While it is enjoyable in that respect, it is a truly great film that should be truly appreciated and given another look.

Let’s go ahead and begin with the obvious topic: Art Carney winning Best Actor. Many have found that to be a bad decision. Especially since that year the other nominees included Al Pacino for The Godfather and Jack Nicholson for Chinatown. Many feel that picking Carney for the award was just a sympathy win given Carney’s long career and status as a comic icon.

While I will admit that the other nominees that year were all very good — 1974 was just a great year for movies in general — I will forever be an apologist for Carney being the winner.

Carney’s performance as Harry seems so natural. He never gets overly dramatic with his line reading, and he adds the right amount of comedic charm to his role without reverting back to his Ed Norton character from The Honeymooners.

A great example is in the beginning, when Carney and Tonto are relaxing in the apartment and he reminisces the old days in New York. “There were trolleys, Tonto. Cobblestones. The aroma of corned beef and cabbage. The tangy zest of... apple strudel.” He slowly starts to fall asleep during this monologue, but what really makes it great is that it does sound like a real person. Carney isn’t being overly dramatic, he’s not trying to make it all sentimental — it sounds normal. It is because of that tone that makes the lines powerful and Harry such an endearing character.

With that note, Harry’s arc is a subtle but great one. Through the film and with every encounter he comes across on his odyssey, he begins to change and become more open-minded. The changing of the scenery is a big motif. He starts out in a cramped, confinded and lonely apartment, then he ventures out west like a pioneer to open and warm California. It can be seen in wardrobe changes as well and with those elements we see him go from being a “Things were better in my days” guy to a man who lets go of the past and looks to the future.

It’s a movie that will make you smile, laugh, think and even get teary eyed. I promise you’ll adore this film and Art’s performance.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.19.2015 65 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
buchanan

Morning News and Stuff

Enquirer publisher Buchanan leaving; Oasis bike path complications; Ohio cities near bottom for economic diversity

Hey all! Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on today in the news.

Cincinnati Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan will retire from her position, making way for former Enquirer reporter and editor Rick Green to take the helm of the paper. Green is currently the publisher of the Des Moines Register, where he was previously head editor. The move comes as Enquirer parent company Gannett undertakes a drastic restructuring of its newsroom, changing job descriptions and eliminating positions as it seeks to create what it calls “the newsroom of the future.” The changes haven’t been well-received: A dozen long-time newsroom staff left the paper rather than reapply for their jobs late last year.

• Will the railway company that owns tracks next to the proposed Oasis bike trail put a halt to the 17-mile long project between downtown and Milford? This Cincinnati Business Courier article takes a look at the ins and outs of the situation. Genesee & Wyoming Inc., the parent company of the Indiana and Ohio Railway Company, sent a letter to Mayor John Cranley last week outlining its business and safety concerns about the project. The company cites accidents that have occurred when people trespass too close to rail lines as among its worries, but it also claims it may want to use the tracks the bike lane would pave over. It doesn’t own that set of tracks — the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority controls them — but the company says it has the right to use them. That, however, is a matter of legal debate, one that looks likely to play out if the bike trail is to go forward.

Clarification: the stretch of track in question is four miles long. The entire project is 17.


• If you didn’t already know, the Cincinnati Bearcats lost to Xavier in last night’s Crosstown Shootout err, “Classic.” It was the first time in three years the game was held on either team’s arena (the ‘Cats got home court advantage) as the result of a big brawl after the 2012 game. I’ve been watching the game since I was but a wee lad even though I’m not much of a sports fan. I pull for UC every year. And just about every year, no matter how good they are, they lose. That’s about all I’m going to say about the entire unfortunate situation. Next year.

• Here’s an interesting bit of data: According to personal finance site WalletHub.com, Ohio cities rank pretty low in terms of economic diversity. That is to say, the state’s major cities have big wealth gaps, or a large divide between highest and lowest earners with a high concentration of wealth in relatively few hands. In a ranking of 350 cities compiled by the site, Ohio doesn’t even make an appearance until we get to Columbus, which is the 208th most economic diverse city in the country. Cincinnati comes in at 262, followed by Cleveland at 341, Akron at 345, Dayton at 346 and Toledo at 349. Ouch.  Carrolton, Texas had the most economic diversity, followed by Orange, Calif. Flint, Mich., was 350th on the list.

• Today is Ohio’s 212th birthday. We officially became a state Feb. 19, 1803 and were the 17th state to join the U.S., meaning we got in on this whole statehood bandwagon way before it was cool to do so. Happy birthday, you old geezer. You don’t look a day over 200.

• Ohio Gov. John Kasich visited South Carolina yesterday as he does the delicate dance that is running for president before you’ve formally acknowledged that you’re running for president. Such trips are usually two-fold: to court potential supporters and fundraisers and to try out campaigning to see if a run looks promising. Kasich spoke to a crowd of GOPers at the South Carolina House Caucus, trying to thread the needle that is appealing to the party’s ultra-conservative southern base, which he’ll probably need if he wants the party’s nomination, while preserving the compassionate conservative mantle he’s tried to don in a bid for general election viability. We’ll see how that goes.

 
 
by Mike Breen 02.18.2015 66 days ago
 
 
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Artist Submissions Open for 2015 MidPoint Music Festival

Fall fest puts out call to artists interested in performing at 14th annual event

Musical acts interested in being considered for a showcase slot at the 14th annual MidPoint Music Festival (scheduled for Sept. 24-26 in various venues around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine) can begin submitting today.

The festival — owned and operated by CityBeat — has announced a new partner for facilitating submissions, switching from Sonicbids to the locally-based CloudPressKit. The move will save artists some money — the submission fee for MPMF 2015 is $15 (through Sonicbids, it was $25, plus a Sonicbids membership) — and CloudPressKit is described as more “artist friendly.”

Click here for MPMF submission details. MPMF.com has a Q&A with the fest's head honcho, Dan McCabe, about the application process that answers a lot of questions submitters may have (other questions can be directed to info@mpmf.com). Applications are being accepted through May 17. 

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.18.2015 66 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_lizrogers_ns

Morning News and Stuff

ResponsibleOhio amends proposal to allow growing weed at home; Beavercreek asks judge to dismiss Crawford lawsuit; you think your morning commute was epic? Check this out.

Morning y’all. I won’t be making any comments about the snow and the cold today, other than to tell you the low tomorrow is expected to be -15 degrees. Let’s compare that with past places we’ve lived or could have lived (it will be 70 degrees tomorrow in Texas, for example) and take a moment to think about how our life choices got us into this situation. And… OK. Let’s learn from our mistakes without dwelling on them, shall we, and move on to the news. Everything is happening at once today and I’m gonna tell you about it.

A weed legalization effort is making room for home growers. ResponsibleOhio, which has mounted a petition drive to put legalized marijuana on the November ballot, is adjusting its pitch to Ohio voters. Previously, the group proposed a measure that would have created 10 legal growing sites around the state run by ResponsibleOhio’s investors. Those sites would be the only places in the state allowed to grow marijuana. Now the group says it is amending the language of its ballot issue to allow home growth, so long as growers don’t exceed a certain amount and don’t sell their crops. The adjustment comes after many decried the original plan, which was patterned after Ohio’s casino amendment, as a state-run monopoly on weed.

• Cincinnati City Council Budget and Finance Committee voted yesterday not to declare Mahogany’s restaurant owner Liz Rogers in default on her $300,000 loan from the city. Mahogany’s opened at The Banks in 2012 after city officials recruited Rogers to try and boost diversity among business owners at the riverfront development. Rogers eventually fell behind on the loan, and the restaurant closed last October. Rogers said the business didn’t succeed because promised amenities that would have drawn more customers to The Banks, including a major hotel, did not materialize in time. But Rogers’ critics say she simply did not run a tight ship. Councilman Kevin Flynn proposed the default declaration, but other council members yesterday voted against it, citing other businesses who have yet to pay back city loans who have not been declared in default.

• The city of Beavercreek has responded to a lawsuit by the family of John Crawford III, who was shot Aug. 5 by police officers in a Walmart there. The city is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, which charges that officers behaved recklessly when confronting Crawford over the toy gun he had grabbed off the Walmart shelves. The city says the officers responded correctly and that Crawford did not respond to repeated requests by officers to drop the weapon. Officials also claim Crawford turned toward the officers aggressively. A security video of the incident shows Crawford with the toy weapon slung over his shoulder while he faced store shelves talking on his cellphone. A grand jury last fall found the officers actions were justified, but the Crawford family says their son’s civil rights were violated.

• A railroad company that owns lines along the proposed Oasis Bike Trail says the project is a bad idea. The Indiana and Ohio Railway Company yesterday released a statement opposing the project, saying it could cause deadly accidents.

"Pedestrians and freight trains do not mix,” the release from the railroad said. “The proposed Oasis trail would have pedestrians less than eight feet from active railroad tracks. The railroad's own rulebook requires its employees – who are trained railroad professionals – to keep at least 30 feet from moving trains at all times. Safety is the railroad's first priority, which is why we strongly object to placing pedestrians in such potentially tragic proximity to freight trains."

The proposed bike trail would run from downtown all the way east to Milford. Boosters of the project would like to see another set of tracks run by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Administration converted into a bike lane. Those tracks run next to the lines owned by Indiana and Ohio Railway.

• The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that municipalities don't have the power to block fracking with zoning or land use ordinances yesterday. The finding comes as the result of a four-year-old lawsuit between the city of Munroe Falls and Beck Energy Corp., which sought to drill for oil using the controversial technique in the city. Munroe Falls refused, citing its zoning laws, even though the company had already gotten a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the city doesn't have the power to overrule state decisions on fracking. You can read more in our story here.

• Rand Paul is expected to announce he’s officially running to be the GOP nominee for president in early April, the New York Times reports. Paul has picked April 7, sources close to the Kentucky senator say, as the date to make his announcement. That will more than likely put Paul ahead of his potential opponents in the GOP primary time-wise, giving him more opportunity to fundraise. Paul has been actively working to raise his profile over the past couple years, traveling around the country and engaging issues that aren’t typically seen as GOP strong points like drug policy and justice system reform. Paul has a tricky road to travel, however — he must continue to tend to his tea party base, with which he has been very popular, while courting more mainstream, establishment Republicans as well. Also a double-edged sword is the legacy of his father Ron Paul, who ran for president in the 1988, 2008 and 2012 elections. The elder Paul had a committed following from self-described libertarians, something Rand Paul has sought to capitalize on. Rand Paul must find a way to juggle these three distinct groups as he makes his case he’s the best pick for the GOP nomination. It will be a tall order given the GOP’s schizophrenia of late.

• Finally, if you’re feeling heroic about your morning commute, here’s an epic story to humble you. It’s about a 600-mile dogsled trip across Alaska to deliver medicine to a dying city in the days before GPS, Gore-Tex gloves or unmanned drones. So, you know, things could always be worse.

Snowed in somewhere and bored? Tweet at me with your news tips, bad jokes or just to say hey. No pics of snow, though. I have enough of those on my feed already, thanks. You can also e-mail me at nswartsell@citybeat.com if you're old-school.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.17.2015 67 days ago
Posted In: News at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_fracking.widea

Ohio Supreme Court: No Local Power to Block Fracking

Court sides with drilling company over municipality's attempt to stop fracking

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday struck a hard blow against local municipalities’ abilities to control fracking, handing down a 4-3 ruling stating that local zoning and land-use ordnances cannot be used to prohibit the controversial drilling technique if state law allows it.

The decision comes in response to a lawsuit by the city of Munroe Falls, a suburb outside of Akron, which has been trying to prohibit drilling by Beck Energy Corp. Beck sought to begin drilling on private property in Munroe Falls in 2011. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources  issued the company a permit, but the city sued to block drilling, citing a clause in the state constitution that provides for so-called “home rule.”

The court has ruled that clause does not apply to drilling activities, which a 2004 law made explicitly the domain of the state. That law was passed in an attempt to bring some consistency to the state’s oil and gas regulations, lawmakers said at the time. When state laws and local laws conflict, state laws win out, the court said.

"We have consistently held that a municipal-licensing ordinance conflicts with a state-licensing scheme if the 'local ordinance restricts an activity which a state license permits,’ " Justice Judith French wrote in the majority opinion.

Justice Terrance O’Donnell ruled with the majority, but issued his own more limited opinion on the case. The scope of lawmakers’ intentions when they passed the 2004 legislation isn’t immediately clear, he wrote in his opinion. O’Donnell says it’s uncertain whether the law is meant to usurp all local zoning and land-use ordinances when it comes to drilling.  

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, breaks up subterranean layers of rock to access hard-to-reach oil deposits. The practice has caused controversy over concerns that it can pollute groundwater and even cause small earthquakes.

Three justices dissented, citing concerns about local control over fracking. Justice William O’Neil called the decision a victory for big oil, which has lobbied for laxer regulations in the past decade.

“What the drilling industry has bought and paid for in campaign contributions they shall receive,” O’Neil wrote in his dissent. “The oil and gas industry has gotten its way, and local control of drilling-location decisions has been unceremoniously taken away from the citizens of Ohio."

Justice Judith Lanzinger dissented on the grounds that state law and local home rule ordinances don’t necessarily have to be in conflict. Both Lanzinger and Justice Paul Pfifer, the third dissenter, argued that the 2004 law leaves more room for local control than the majority ruling grants.

 
 
by Staff 02.17.2015 67 days ago
Posted In: Brunch, Cincinnati, Indian, Leftovers, Wine, Holiday at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
brij mohan

Leftovers: What We Ate This Weekend

With a delay because of President's Day and Snowmageddon

Each week CityBeat staffers and dining writers tell you what they ate this weekend. We're not always proud — or trendy — but we definitely spend at least some money on food.  

Ilene Ross: I ate out quite a bit this weekend due to the fact that my newly engaged daughter was in town for some wedding planning. On Friday we spent the day trying on wedding gowns, which left us feeling quite peckish, so we treated ourselves to afternoon tea at The BonBonerie. I find the $25 per person a bit high for the amount of food you get, but for a special occasion, you can’t beat the pomp and circumstance of tiny scones, macarons and finger sandwiches. *Note: You must make reservations for afternoon tea. 
Saturday found us in OTR looking at reception venues, so we popped into Park + Vine for their annual Customer Appreciation Day. I had the tofu and roasted vegetable sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese. Now I know P+V is a vegan restaurant and it’s not “real” dairy cheese, but as an omnivore, I can honestly say that it’s one of my very favorite renditions of the mac and cheese. 
On Sunday night I tried new-to-me Brij Mohan Indian Sweets & Restaurant out in Sharonville with a group of friends. I had the Navratan Korma (fresh assorted vegetables and dried fruits cooked in creamy gravy), onion naan and a mango lassi (a yogurt smoothie). This place is super authentic and incredibly popular. There was a long line of people waiting to get in before they even opened for business. We were told that everything is made from scratch and in-house. Brij Mohan is wallet-friendly and super-casual, right down to the paper plates, but don’t let the dinnerware stop you from enjoying the incredible food. Said my dining companion Danny Korman (of Park+Vine), “The  paper plates I don’t get, but the food I do.” 

Kristen Franke: My Valentine and I spent Saturday morning at Findlay Market searching for wine-and-cheese-night goodies. We picked up three cheeses — St. Andre triple cream, Spanish manchego and creamy smoked gouda — and some freshly-sliced proscuitto from Gibbs Cheese, country French bread from Blue Oven, Castellare Chianti from the Market Wines and a package of dates from Madison's. Later, the dates were stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with bacon to complete our little V-day spread.  

Maija Zummo: My friends and I had a girls night at Pontiac in Over-the-Rhine on Friday. Two of the four of us got there at 5:30 p.m. and there was no wait, which was great. However the other half of the group was late (which some portion of us always is), and they won't seat you until your whole party is there, so we sat at the bar and had some drinks until they showed up. The drinks at Pontiac are awesome. There's a whole menu of Tiki drinks, all served in tall Tiki cups. Note: If you steal a Tiki cup, they will charge you $75. I had the Bahama-Lana ($13) at the bar, which tasted like bananas and coconut and was full of rum, Domaine de Canton ginger liquor and bourbon cider. It was pretty sweet but I felt great after drinking it; vacation-style relaxed. My friend had a glass of chardonnay and the bartender was really nice and warned her about the kinda steep price ($10-$12 for a glass). She didn't mind.
In terms of food, I can't say much. I don't eat meat so I just had an assortment of sides. (Food reviewer Michael Taylor has more to say about the meat here.) Mostly I just wanted more Tiki drinks, so we ordered a bowl of Rumspringa Punch ($30). The mix of rum, ginger, champagne, pineapple and some more stuff came in a giant Tiki bowl with four straws and a flaming volcano in the middle (on fire because of the 151 puddle in there). Also fantastic. We finished it and then split another one. Turns out I love rum served in thematic cups. Also, I had to pee pretty bad because of all the Tiki drinking, and on the way to the bathroom I saw CityBeat dining writer Kristen Franke. Adorable.

Jesse Fox: I went to Tacocracy and got their vegan chorizo taco and their shroom taco (substitute avocado for cheese) and a black margarita. The shroom taco is always my go-to there and I still prefer it over the vegan chorizo, but it's awesome to see more vegan options on menus around town. The black margarita was good and not too sweet and syrupy, like some inexpensive margaritas tend to be. 
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.17.2015 67 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
tedstrickland

Morning News and Stuff

Former NKU employee busted for embezzlement also subject of sexual harassment settlement; Strickland seriously considering Senate run; federal judge puts stay on Obama immigration action

Hey all. I made the treacherous arctic trek into the CityBeat office this morning just to bring you the morning news. It’s a bit of a slow day, probably because all the newsmakers and shakers in the world are hunkered down doing whatever it is powerful people do on their snow days. I picture them sitting in front of a several fireplaces smoking multiple cigars while watching a whole wall of big-screen TVs and double-fisting mimosas, mostly because that’s what I would do if I had money and power. Anyway, here are a few things happening around the city and beyond today.

Let’s start off with grilled cheese. Cincinnati-based Tom and Chee restaurants just signed a franchise deal for its first location in Nashville. The brand has also planned other expansions in Tennessee as well as Texas, Nebraska, Missouri and other states. The rapidly growing chain started just five years ago and got a boost from a 2013 appearance on the ABC investment show Sharktank. It has since expanded to 22 locations, with plans to have 50 open by the end of this year. The brand has received more than 25,000 franchise requests from around the world since its appearance on the show.

• A former Northern Kentucky University employee who is currently serving jail time for embezzling money from the school was also the subject of an earlier sexual harassment complaint and court settlement, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The university settled with former associate athletic director Chrissy Soards for $200,000 in 2013 after Soards complained that her boss, Scott Eaton, had sexually harassed her. Eaton was soon after fired for other ethics violations, including inappropriate sexual relationships with coworkers and an adult NKU student. After his dismissal, NKU discovered he had embezzled some $300,000 from the school, a crime for which he is currently serving 10 years in prison.

• Here’s more evidence former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland could jump into the 2016 U.S. Senate race against Sen. Rob Portman. In an interview with the Enquirer yesterday, Strickland said he’s “evaluating whether or not I am the person who is best positioned to do this and to win. I think I am, but I’m taking this very seriously.” That sounds pretty affirmative to me. Should he chose to run, Strickland’s candidacy could spell a major challenge for Democrat Senate hopeful and current Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. Sittenfeld announced his candidacy a few weeks ago and has already begun fundraising. But he’ll have a challenge on his hands if one of the state’s best-known Democrats jumps into the race.

• Hey, this is terrifying. A CSX train full of oil from North Dakota derailed in West Virginia yesterday evening, causing the evacuation of two nearby towns and setting cars and a house afire. The oil was en route to coastal Virginia. No one was injured in the accident, but it’s the second oil related accident in this year. The other took place just 200 miles away in Virginia, where another train derailed and caught fire. Another accident involving a train carrying oil also happened last week in Canada when a train derailed and caught fire in Northern Ontario. The accidents and others like them have focused new questions on oil rail shipping safety standards.

• Yesterday, I told you about the budget hubbub currently going on between Republicans in the House and Democrats. The GOP Is steamed about President Barack Obama’s executive order halting deportations for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. They’re so steamed that they’ve passed a bill that makes funding for the Department of Homeland Security contingent on eliminating Obama’s orders.

Anyway, that’s yesterday. Obama’s executive orders prohibiting deportations are currently under attack from another source as well. A federal judge in Texas has put a stay on the actions, saying halting deportations could cause irreparable harm to states on the border, including Texas. The decision is in response to complaints from a group of conservative, mostly Southern states who say the executive action constitutes an overreach of power by Obama. They say halting deportations will result in more law enforcement expenses and other burdens associated with processing applications for deferred deportation. How not deporting people is more expensive than the millions we spend rounding up, holding and shipping people back across the border I don’t’ know, but that’s the logic the states are arguing. 

 
 

 

 

 
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