At first glance, it might seem like a rail line between downtown Cincinnati and the city of Milford would earn support from the same people who back the $132.8 million streetcar project, but streetcar supporters, including advocacy group Cincinnatians for Progress, say they oppose the idea and its execution.
Critics of the overall project, called the Eastern Corridor, recently pointed to a November study from HDR. Despite flowery language promising a maximized investment, HDR found seven of 10 stations on the $230-$322 million Oasis rail line would result in low economic development, five of 10 stations would provide low access to buses and bikes, and the intercity line would achieve only 3,440 daily riders by 2030.
HDR’s findings for the Oasis line stand in sharp contrast to its study of Cincinnati’s streetcar project. The firm found the streetcar line in Over-the-Rhine and downtown would generate major economic development and a 2.7-to-1 return on investment over 35 years.
Given the poor results for the Oasis line, streetcar
supporters say local officials should ditch the Oasis concept and
instead pursue the 2002 MetroMoves plan and an expansion of the
streetcar system through a piecemeal approach that would create a central transit spine through the region.
“To have (the Oasis line) be our first commuter rail piece in Cincinnati … just doesn’t make sense to me,” says Derek Bauman, co-chair of Cincinnatians for Progress.
MetroMoves spans across the entire city and region, with the rail line along I-71 from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to downtown Cincinnati to King’s Island fostering particularly high interest.
Voters rejected the MetroMoves plan and the sales tax hike it involved in 2002, but streetcar supporters say public opinion will shift once the streetcar becomes reality in Cincinnati.
“That’s been proven in other cities, especially ones that have not historically been transit-oriented,” Bauman says, pointing to Houston and Miami as examples of cities that built spines that are now being expanded.
Opposition to the Oasis line is also more deeply rooted in a general movement against the Eastern Corridor project. The unfunded billion-dollar project involves a few parts: relocating Ohio 32 through the East Side, the Oasis rail line and several road improvements from Cincinnati to Milford.
Supporters of the Eastern Corridor claim it would ease congestion, at least in the short term, and provide a cohesiveness in transportation options that’s severely lacking in the East Side.
Opponents argue the few benefits, some of which both sides agree are rooted in legitimate concerns, just aren’t worth the high costs and various risks tied to the project.
“When it comes to widening roads and highways, it’s kind of like loosening your belt at Thanksgiving. Somehow traffic always fills to fit,” Bauman says. “Highway expansion, especially in urban areas, is not the future. It’s not even the present in some areas.”
The big concern is that the relocation of Ohio 32 might do to the East Side and eastern Hamilton County what I-75 did to the West Side, which was partly obliterated and divided by the massive freeway.
“It hurts the cohesiveness of our communities when you create these big divides,” Bauman argues. “You would see that repeat itself.”
Officials are taking feedback for the Eastern Corridor and Oasis rail line at EasternCorridor.org.
This article was updated to use more up-to-date figures for the cost of the Oasis rail line.
Souped up car show Cavalcade of Customs returns to the Duke Energy Convention Center this weekend. The 54th annual expo’s highlights include more than 500 cars on display, live music, a motorcycle stunt show and appearances by Rick and Kyle Petty, WWE’s Shawn Michaels and Chris Jerico, Shane Harper of Disney’s Good Luck Charlie and more. Cavalcade runs Friday-Sunday. Get tickets and daily schedules here.
Cincinnati native and rising comic Geoff Tate makes a homecoming to record his third comedy album at Go Bananas nightly through Sunday. Tate spent the last year touring the country and with with Doug Benson and Bill Burr. Find show times and ticket info here.
Top stylists from an array of local salons will create works of living art Sunday at The Art of Hair at The Carnegie in Covington. Tresses take the spotlight at this runway show, running at 1 p.m. and repeating at 3. Check out our cover story to get a glimpse of the preparation for this event; buy tickets here.
Trackside seats at Cincinnati Rollergirls matches only get you so close to the action. Want to get even more involved? CRG are looking for skaters, referees and volunteers for their upcoming season. Roll on over to tryouts at The Skatin’ Place in Colerain Twp. Sunday for a chance to join the team. Go here for more details.
Councilman Charlie Winburn, City Council’s new budget and finance chair, suggested selling the Cincinnati Southern Railroad to help pay for the city’s $870 million unfunded pension liability. But other city officials, including Mayor John Cranley, Councilman Chris Seelbach and Councilwoman Amy Murray, voiced doubts about the idea, saying it would cost the city annual revenue when there are other options for fixing the pension problem. Meanwhile, the city and state’s retirement boards appear to be looking into what it would take to merge Cincinnati’s pension system into the state system, although that solution could face political and legal hurdles.
A new report from The Imagine Foundation found sex trafficking in the Cincinnati area follows the region’s spine on I-75 from Florency, Ky., to Sharonville, I-275 through Springfield and Fairfield and I-74 to Batesville, Ind. “This is real,” foundation Executive Director Jesse Bach told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “There are women and girls who are being bought and sold for sex in the Cincinnati area. The average person needs to take responsibility for what they might see. To use a sports adage, the average citizen has to be willing to say, ‘Not in our house.’ ”Gov. John Kasich and other state officials yesterday launched a public awareness campaign to combat human trafficking in Ohio at HumanTrafficking.Ohio.gov. “We may not want to admit it — it’s almost too horrific to imagine — but the fact is that human trafficking is real and is happening across Ohio. Over the past two years we’ve improved our laws to fight trafficking and begin getting victims the help they need, but we must do more,” Kasich said in a statement.
In light of the public awareness campaign, some activists say human trafficking should be addressed by going after the source of demand: men.
The head of the Ohio Department of Youth Services told a federal panel that his agency responded quickly and aggressively to reports of high sexual assault rates at the state’s juvenile-detention facilities. A June report found three of Ohio’s facilities had sexual assault rates of 19 percent or above, with the Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility estimated at 30.3 percent — the second highest rate in the nation. Since the report, the agency increased training, hired a full-time employee devoted to the Prison Rape Elimination Act and installed a tip line for prisoners, their families and staffers, according to Director Harvey Reed.
A northern Kentucky man was the first flu death of the season, prompting some tips from the Northern Kentucky Health Department.
Some national Democrats see Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld as a potential congressional candidate in 2022, assuming the next round of redistricting makes the First Congressional District more competitive for Democrats. The district used to be fairly moderate, but state Republicans redrew it to include Republican stronghold Warren County in the last round of redistricting.
Billions of health-care dollars helped sustain Cincinnati’s economy during the latest economic downturn, a new study found.
Downtown traffic came to a crawl this morning after burst pipes sent water gushing out of the former Terrace Plaza Hotel.
The U.S. economy added a measly 74,000 jobs in December in a particularly weak end to 2013.Dayton Daily News: “Five things you need to know about butt selfies.”
If the law catches up, robot ships could soon become reality.
“The loss of someone to the flu is a tragedy, and our thoughts go out to the individual’s family,” Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, district director of health, writes in a press release. “We tend to forget just how serious influenza can be, particularly for those with other health problems. Flu can lead to serious complications and even death, as it did in this case.”
While the CDC doesn't track adult flu deaths, they estimate 6.5 percent of all adult deaths nationwide were attributable to the flu or complications from the flu for the week ending Dec. 28. And Kentucky is reporting widespread flu activity, particularly a strain (H1N1) that disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults, according to Saddler.
The CDC recommends the following precautions to avoid getting the flu:
1. Get a flu vaccine. If you're over 65, also get a pneumonia vaccination.
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (and then throw it away).
3. Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleanser after you cough or sneeze.
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
5. Avoid sick people.
While the flu is commonly treated at home, these symptoms require immediate medical attention.
Along with the donkeys, there will also be an alumni team and celebrity team, featuring several Marines, the Clermont County sheriff and Clermont County prosecutor, plus two teams featuring current Batavia Local school's teachers, staff and high school students.
Get there early for a chili cook-off. Free donkey rides available at half-time.
5:30 p.m. chili cook-off; 7 p.m. donkey ball game. $6 in advance at Batavia's high school, middle school or elementary $8 at the door; free for ages 12 and under. Game in the Batavia High School gym, 1 Bulldog Place, Batavia, bataviaschools.org.
Ohio's weakening economy could hurt Gov. John Kasich and other Republican incumbents' chances of re-election in 2014, even if they don't deserve the blame for the state of the economy, as some economists claim. For Republican incumbents, the threat is all too real as groups from all sides — left, right and nonpartisan — find the state's economy is failing to live up to the "Ohio miracle" Kasich previously promised. Economists agree state officials often take too much credit for the state of the economy, but political scientists point out that, regardless of who is to blame, the economy is one of the top deciding factors in state elections. For Kasich and other incumbents, it creates a difficult situation: Their influence on the economy might be marginal, but it's all they have to secure re-election.
Despite promising to move on after he failed to permanently halt the $132.8 million streetcar project, Mayor John Cranley continues criticizing the streetcar in interviews and social media. In a Sunday appearance on Local 12, Cranley threatened to replace the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) board, which manages local Metro bus services, in response to its offer to take up streetcar operating costs. (City Council sets SORTA appointments, not the mayor.) The interview, held within weeks of Cranley mocking and arguing with pro-streetcar critics on social media, comes despite Cranley's promises to move on after City Council agreed to continue the project. "As I tell my son when he doesn't get his way, it's time to move on," Cranley said on Dec. 19.
Streetcar track installation will force the busy intersection at Elm and Liberty streets to close between Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. to Jan. 21 at 7 p.m., city officials announced yesterday. One northbound lane will remain open on Elm Street, but traffic heading east and west on Liberty Street will be redirected.
Commentary: "Bengals Loss Reminds of Terrible Stadium Deal."
Police are investigating three homicides in Avondale and Over-the-Rhine this morning.
Construction crews plan to turn the defunct Tower Place mall into Mabley Place, a new parking garage with several retail spaces on the exterior of the first floor. Across Race Street, other developers will turn Pogue's Garage into a 30-story tower with a downtown grocery store, luxury apartments and another garage.
Hamilton County is dedicating a full-time deputy to crack down on semis and other vehicles breaking commercial laws.
Ohio House Republicans' proposal to revamp the state's tax on the oil and gas industry would not produce enough revenue to cut income taxes for most Ohioans, despite previous promises. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the proposal would only allow for a very small 1-percent across-the-board income tax cut.
Ohio's education system received five C's and an A on a private national report card. The state's middle-of-the-pack performance is largely unchanged from last year's score.
The number of underwater residential properties is declining around the nation, but Ohio remains among the top six states worst affected by the housing crisis, according to real estate analysts at RealtyTrac.
The state auditor's new app allows anyone to easily report suspected fraud.
Macy's plans to lay off 2,500 employees and close five stores to cut costs.Cincinnati Children's is reaching out to to 10,000 children left without a health care provider after several clinics closed.
Ohio drivers can expect lower gas prices in 2014, according to AAA and GasBuddy.com.
A new glue that seals heart defects could provide an alternative to stitches.
This morning, the annual Bunbury Music Festival, coming up July 11-13 and returning to Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove along the Ohio River, announced the first acts for this summer’s event. Fall Out Boy, which won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Alternative Band last night, will be joined at the fest by consistent Pop/Rock hit makers Paramore (who were up against FOB for that People’s Choice Award and are doing a co-headlining tour with the band this summer, something that leaked early, allegedly angering Paramore) and up-and-coming Danish alt-rockers New Politics (also on the FOB/Paramore jaunt).
The full lineup for the Bunbury Music Festival is scheduled to be announced next month. Tickets are on sale now; below are details:
One-day, Any-day: $55.00 (U.S.) Buy on layaway until January 31, 2014
Three-day: $130.00 (U.S.) Buy on layaway until January 31, 2014
Three-day VIP: $325 (U.S.) Buy on layaway until January 31, 2014
Hotel and Ticket Package: Buy one three-day, get one free. Book now
Please note that ticket prices will increase after February 15 and again after July 1.
Also this morning, it was announced that The Afghan Whigs, one of the best musical exports to ever come out of Cincinnati, are returning to the road in 2014 to play (at least) the Coachella festival in California this summer. (The full Coachella lineup, which was released this morning and includes Arcade Fire, OutKast and The Replacements, can be found here.) Sounds like a good fit for this year’s Bunbury lineup, too.
Despite promising to
move on after he failed to cancel the $132.8 million streetcar
project, Mayor John Cranley continues criticizing the
project in interviews and social media.
Most recently, Cranley appeared on Local 12’s Newsmakers program and threatened
to eventually replace the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA)
board, which manages local Metro bus services, in response to board members’
defunct offer to take up streetcar operating costs. (City Council sets SORTA
appointments, not the mayor.)
“The fact is they were
willing to cannibalize bus service,” Cranley said,
contrary to SORTA’s insistence that their offer would not have affected bus
services. “I just felt that was a huge violation of what SORTA is supposed to
be about and what Metro is supposed to be about and what public transportation
is supposed to be about.”
Throughout the 24-minute
interview, Cranley referenced the
streetcar project when discussing the city’s parking meters and other subjects
— a continuation of repetitive anti-streetcar tactics Cranley
deployed on the campaign trail and in mayoral debates against former Vice Mayor
“I think the project is
wasteful and not worth the investment,” Cranley said
when asked about the project. “I think we would have been better off making the
hard decision to cut bait.”
Still, Cranley later added, “Obviously, since the supermajority of
council went against my wishes, I have to respect the process. So I’m not going
to try to sabotage the streetcar.”
The interview also
follows comments on social media. After the former head of the Cincinnati Art
Museum criticized the streetcar, Cranley tweeted on Dec. 27, “(N)ow some Orwellian commentators
will say art director not ‘progressive.’”
The continued anti-streetcar rhetoric comes despite promises to move on that Cranley made after Councilman Kevin Flynn announced he would provide the final vote needed to veto-proof City Council’s decision to continue the streetcar project.
“As I tell my son when he doesn’t get his way, it’s time to move on,” Cranley
said on Dec. 19.
heated rhetoric is nothing new in his campaign against the streetcar project.
After the Nov. 5
election, Cranley told The Cincinnati Enquirer
the streetcar debate “is over.” Cranley’s comments
marked a high level of confidence after voters elected a mayor and council
supermajority that seemingly opposed the streetcar project, but his statement
to The Enquirer proved to be wrong after Council Members Flynn, David
Mann and P.G. Sittenfeld decided to continue the
Cranley also called city officials “incompetent” after
they projected that canceling the streetcar project would cost nearly as much as
completing it. Once again, Cranley’s comments proved
to be wrong — an independent audit found city officials were largely correct in
their assessment — but still showed the level of confident, heated rhetoric
that follows the mayor’s campaign against the streetcar project.
At the very least, Cranley’s rhetoric proves that while the policy debate over the streetcar is over for now, the public discussion is not. The question is whether the messaging will work as the project moves forward and the streetcar becomes a reality of Cincinnati.
The Internet is a scary place, and anyone who’s browsed 4chan can attest to that. But this creepy technological web can connect strangers and answer questions, often with unexpected results. The latest example: Jenna Jameson exchanged an unverified story and super sad, semi-nude pics for information about her former agent who Jameson said turned out to be a con man and is sabotaging her online presence. She was given the man’s phone number, address, social security number, credit score an more private information within the hour. Cool?
David Lynch fans will likely recall the last episode of Twin Peaks, where Laura Palmer tells Agent Cooper she’ll see him in 25 years. Peaks took place in 1989, which means she was referring to this year — 2014. Hence, Lynch is filming new episodes of the cult series, as evidenced by a Twin Peaks casting call.
It’s always exciting to see Cincinnati on the big screen — not just a mention, but actual shots of the city. It’s certainly not the most exotic locale, and many scenes of a Cincinnati-based movie could probably be replicated in a Hollywood studio. So movies that do make the trip Midwest tend to be very special to locals. Rain Man, Traffic and The Ides of March all brought a spotlight and stars to the Queen City. Next up: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara make their way to Cincinnati this spring to film Carol. Based on the Patricia Highsmith book also known as The Price of Salt, the movie will be set in 1950s New York City, but shot exclusively in Cincinnati. Blanchett and Mara in vintage garb, traipsing around town? Celeb-stalking will be in full force, #ClooneyWatch style. Read more here.
In case you missed it, Shia LaBoeuf has lost his damn mind. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. But, due to my undying love of Louis Stevens, I still anticipate seeing his wiener (again) in Nymphomaniac.
We’re a week into 2014 but, judging by the proliferation of “best of” articles and continued obligatory year-end reflection posts on Facebook, it appears most people are still in #RIP2013 mode — so we’re going to follow suit. Now that our marathon New Year’s hangover has passed (and since awards season doesn’t kick off until this week's People’s Choice Awards and Golden Globes), let’s look back at some of the highlights — and low points — of 2013.
The most photographed location on Instagram was a Bangkok mall; the most “popular” is this shot of Will Smith and the Biebs, with more than 1.5 million likes.
A sacrifice to the Xenu gods? No such luck.
Moving on to Twitter, the most re-tweeted post was a somber one — Lea Michele of Glee’s photo of herself with boyfriend Cory Monteith, who died of a drug and alcohol overdose in July.
A close second was the announcement of actor Paul Walker’s death in November. :(:(:(
OK, enough with the sads! The most illegally downloaded artist of the year was Bruno Mars. Not sure whether that means he’s even more popular than his record sales show, or if people are just really ashamed to buy a Burno Mars album. Either way, the guy who penned, the exquisite phrase, “You and me baby making love like gorillas,” will be performing at halftime during next month’s Super Bowl. Good luck topping last year’s!
During awards shows and in end-of-the-year roundups, we often take a moment to remember people that have passed away. Since just looking at that Cory Monteith photo makes me want to sob and hide in a room full of Pug puppies and body pillows, actual real humans are out of the question. So, as a variation of this trend, let’s look back on some of the important TV characters we lost this year. SPOILERS.
Game of Thrones
After the main protagonist of Game of Thrones, Ned Stark, was shockingly beheaded in the first season, audiences quickly learned any character on the series could find themself chopping block at any time. But who (besides, of course, those who’ve read A Storm of Swords) would expect Ned’s widow and oldest son to join him so quickly — and in such a terrifying fashion? The episode “The Rains of Castamere” brought the merciless death of Catelyn and Robb Stark plus Robb’s wife, Talisa, their unborn baby and direwolf Grey Wind, in addition to at least a dozen others at the "Red Wedding" alone. Earlier in the season, Ros — one of my favorite “working ladies” on television — fell victim to the insufferable Joffrey. While she played a much smaller role than the Starks, her death was heartbreaking and shocking. You’ll all be missed!
A Prohibition gangster drama is bound to rack up a serious body count. For some of the historically-based characters, like Al Capone, viewers have a pretty good idea about how long they will last. The fictional characters, however, can meet their maker at any point. While I’m still not over Jimmy and Angela’s demise, Boardwalk fully crushed my heart by having Richard Harrow go out in a completely un-badass style. Harrow was more than just a talented sniper with half a prosthetic face. He was a hero in the show. He killed — a lot — but usually only the true bad guys, and often to protect others. He was sensitive and strong, but slipped in his final scenes, accidentally killing Chalky’s daughter instead of his target, Narcisse. As soon as he missed the shot, I knew he was done for — Harrow, by definition, always hits his mark! Sure enough, after a dream sequence in which Harrow reunited with his family, we were jolted back to reality to find the wounded war vet dying peacefully under the boardwalk. The show will go on, but won’t have the same heart without him.
Oh, Debra. I never much cared for Dexter’s little sis — the phony fowl mouth act just rubbed me the wrong way. But she definitely played an important role in the series, especially once she found out about her brother’s “dark passenger.” Dexter seriously declined after its fourth season, and this final one was a doozy. But it still didn’t prepare us for Deb’s death. After surviving a shot to the stomach, Deb appears to be recovering at a hospital. While Dexter was busy chasing down his sister’s shooter, Deb’s health turned for the worse, leaving her brain-dead. As a hurricane hits Miami, sending the hospital staff into a frenzy, Dex is able to pull the plug on his sister — sure she would not want to continue on in a vegetative state at a hospital for the rest of her days — and takes her body on his boat, to be whipped into the stormy sea. It seems like Deb and Dex died together in the water, until we meet up with a bearded, lumberjack Dexter in some mysterious woodsy locale, living in solitude. The fuh?
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead killed off a number of significant characters between the end of Season Three and first half of Season Four this year. Andrea, who once shared a bed with the Governor, ended up dead because of him. The Gov. hunted and captured Andrea after she attempted to run away to her group at the prison. Trapped in a torture chamber with the ticking time-zomb™ that was Milton, Andrea was unable to protect herself from a deadly bite. Michonne made it to her BFF Andrea’s side, only in time to put her down before she turned. And, after making an anticipated return to the show, Merle also fell victim to the Governor. His brother, Daryl, was tasked with killing zombie-Merle in a super-sad scene.
The Governor’s path of terror finally came to an end at the prison, but not before he was able to take out Hershel (the closest thing the group had to a doctor, not to mention Maggie and Beth’s father and the sweetest one-legged man to make it in the apocalypse). The villain was finally taken down in a big shoot-out between his group and Rick’s, which left all the survivors in disarray. Also, baby Judith is MIA, probably in a zombie’s belly. :(
I made up my mind early on that Walter White needed to die at the end of Breaking Bad in order for the story to retain its authenticity. Walt got into the meth business in order to pay for his medical costs and provide ample support for his family if and when he succumbed to cancer. We all know he stuck with the game for so long because, as he finally admitted in the finale, he liked it. He was good at it. “I did it for me,” he tells Skyler in their final scene. Most fans probably expected Walt to die, and he did so in a truly epic fashion, while protecting Jesse. His brother-in-law Hank also went out like a champ, after a brutal desert showdown. The saddest death of all was the end of the show itself, but Breaking Bad will surely stand the test of time as one of the greatest American dramas.
Talk about a surprise ending! After breaking free from countless near-death experiences, Nicholas Brody was captured and killed. Viewers got a taste of a Brody-less Homeland this season, as the character was on the lam and not present in much of this season. But the show was so much better with Brody in it — somehow, he balanced Carrie’s cray, despite the fact that he was a damaged man who flipped every chance he got. This death gives the show an opportunity to take a completely new route. Hopefully we’ll still check in on his family (am I the only one who still cares about them?) but we’re definitely going to have a little bit of Brody in the form of his child with Carrie. How a fetus could survive the stress, cigs and booze she put it through proves that this is definitely a Marine baby.
This fall, keep your eyes peeled for a new farm-to-table Cincinnati-centric cookbook: The Findlay Market Cookbook: Recipes & Stories from Cincinnati's Historic Public Market.
Scheduled to hit shelves in October, this release from Farm Fresh Books, "an independently-owned specialty publisher of cookbooks for the nation's most enlightened public markets, farmers markets, and farm-to-table restaurants," will feature profiles of Findlay Market vendors, more than 100 recipes for local and seasonal dishes inspired by Findlay Market products and produce and possibly recipes from the city's prominent chefs. Authored by Bryn Mooth, editor of Edible Ohio Valley, with help from Karen Kahle, resource development director of Findlay Market, Mooth sees the book as a celebration of local food in Cincinnati, which she says is best represented through Findlay Market.
"People who visit the market experience what a community it is — with vendors and a diverse body of shoppers all coming together around food," she says via email. "The book will represent that sense of community. It will share the stories of the various market vendors and their specialties. Recipes will come from farmers, producers, artisans and retailers. Too, we're asking for recipes from prominent chefs in the city who, like the creative team producing the book, love Findlay Market for its fresh and seasonal offerings. So, while the cookbook centers on Findlay Market — it's more broadly a big dinner party with contributions from all over the city. You don't have to be a Findlay Market shopper to enjoy it — you just have to love Cincinnati."
"In just this first week, I've received a couple of recipes from Kate Zaidan of Dean's Mediterranean Imports that connect to her family's Lebanese heritage, and a recipe from Debbie Gannaway of Gramma Debbie's that features goetta," Mooth says. "And the book's prelude will no doubt celebrate Cincinnati's food heritage and Findlay Market's place in that."
"The book is not only a wonderful, cook-able reference, but it's a great way for people to help the market continue its mission," Mooth says.