Mayor John Cranley yesterday announced a plan to add another recruit class to the Cincinnati Fire Department and effectively eliminate brownouts, but it remains unclear how the class will be paid for in the long-term. The Fire Department applied for a federal grant that would cover the costs for two years, but the city would need to pay for the new firefighters’ salaries after that. To some City Council members, the proposal, along with other plans to add more police recruits and fund a jobs program for the long-term unemployed, raises questions about what will get cut in the budget to pay for the new costs.
Gov. John Kasich’s administration has led an aggressive effort to shut down abortion clinics around the state, and a clinic in Sharonville, Ohio, could be the next to close after the administration denied a request that would have allowed the clinic to stay open without an emergency patient transfer agreement. The process has apparently involved high-ranking officials in the Ohio Department of Health, which one regulator says is unusual. The threat to the Sharonville clinic follows the passage of several new anti-abortion regulations through the latest state budget, but state officials say the new regulations were unnecessary to deny the Sharonville clinic’s request to stay open.
Unions broadly support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald’s campaign, but at least one union-funded group, Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio, seems to be throwing its weight behind Kasich, a Republican. The surprising revelation shows not every union group has kept a grudge against Kasich and other Republicans after they tried to limit public employees’ collective bargaining rights through Senate Bill 5 in 2011. ACT Ohio says its support for Kasich is related to jobs, particularly Kasich’s support for infrastructure projects. The jobs market actually stagnated after Kasich took office, which some political scientists say could cost Kasich his re-election bid even though economists say the governor isn’t to blame.
Talk of tolls continues threatening the $2.65 billion Brent Spence Bridge project as opposition from Northern Kentuckians remains strong. Ohio and Kentucky officials insist tolls are necessary to replace the supposedly dangerous bridge because the federal government doesn’t seem willing to pick up the tab.
Ohio gas prices keep rising.
A Dayton University student froze to death after falling asleep outside, with alcohol a possible factor.
Airplane pilots often head to the wrong airport, according to new reports.
Watch people tightrope walk between hot air firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each week our intern Amber will be exploring what Cincinnatians are interested in by scouring the local Twitter trends and reporting on what she’s found. From serious tweets to goofy hashtags, she’ll highlight what Cincy’s been buzzing about. So get to tweeting, folks.
So it’s official: There will, in fact, be six more weeks of winter, according to Phil, the Groundhog’s Day spokes-rodent. For one, I never knew the groundhog had a name! He has even been on The Oprah Winfrey Show, but most people in Cincinnati are probably ready to go find and kill him after the weather we've endured. I am cool with winter and all, but it’s really sad when 30 degrees feels warm. As long as these six weeks don’t include another polar vortex, I think we’ll survive.
I know it seems like every day is a day for something. I could probably live without Ice Cream Day or Chocolate Pudding Day (lord knows my thighs could), but this day of awareness, on Feb. 4, is one I can deal with. On World Cancer Day, people are asked to spread awareness and remember those who passed away fighting cancer or currently dealing with cancer. @TCSociety made a good point: “Remember that a moment of awkwardness could save a lifetime! Talk about Testicular Cancer.” Talk about breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, skin cancer, too, and go get checked, then get re-checked. It could save your life!
Really? I don’t know if it’s sad or just funny that this was trending at #3 in the USA and #2 in Cincinnati this week. How these things get started and why so many people actually do it, I’ll never know. It does make for some comic relief at 3:30 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. Here were some that actually made me chuckle:
Up! In My Pants
Great Expectations In My Pants
The Dark Knight Rises In My Pants
Clueless In My Pants
A Series of Unfortunate Events In My Pants
#HottestCollegeInAmericaThe Cincinnati Bearcats beat the University of Connecticut on Thursday 63-58, which makes it their 15th straight win. I don’t know anything about basketball, so I’ll just say there was a lot of running, dribbling and shooting. The team is rising in the ranks of its division and momentum is high. School spirit is what being in college is all about, besides the whole degree thing. Whether you are a student, faculty member, staff member, alumni or just a fan, a sense of pride is among us. You don’t have to know anything about basketball to enjoy seeing a local team make sports headlines. Keep it up, fellas!
I seriously couldn’t figure out why Netflix was trending, but as I began scrolling through all the tweets, I noticed something. There were a lot of single people dwelling on the fact that Netflix would be their only date on Valentine’s Day. There is nothing wrong with watching Netflix on Valentine’s Day — hell, that’s probably what I will be doing with a bottle of bourbon. Just remember, it’s only one day, it will be over soon and then it’s on to the next irrelevant holiday. Plus, if you don't have a date, you don’t have to buy anyone else a gift and you can buy yourself all the half-off chocolate you want the next day. If you are hung up on the fact that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and Netflix isn’t an acceptable date for you, here are a few single-friendly events to treat yourself to:
Pretty in Pink at The Esquire
A classic '80s night, what’s not to love? Dress up in your favorite pink prom dress or tuxedo and there will be a costume contest before the show! $7-$9.75. 10:30 p.m. at Esquire Theater.
Southgate House Revival
Three shows take place under one roof: Elk Creek at 9 p.m. in the Sanctuary, Hank Erwin at 9:30 p.m. in the Lounge and Hot For Alice at 10 p.m. in the Revival Room. Get some friends together for some live music and cheap drinks.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstein Are Dead
The story of “Hamlet” told from the perspective of these two quirky characters. $22-$35. 7:30 p.m. at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
Other things that were trending: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Superbowl, #Bearcats, #PLL, #LHHNY, Sochi and The Olympics.
Cincinnati Beer Week is in
full effect, bringing craft beer tastings, pairings and brewery nights to bars
and restaurants across the city through Feb. 13 (followed by the popular Cincy Winter Beerfest Feb. 14-15). Go here for the week’s highlights
and find all of today’s CBW events here.
Balls Around the Block is a
bar crawl with a mission: To expose more locals to the ever-changing downtown
landscape by visiting several different local establishments in one night, all
while raising money for a good cause. Twelve groups of 25 each begin at a
different bar on the same block (so as not to overwhelm one establishment all
at once) and continue progressing around to bars like Madonna’s, Rock Bottom
Brewery, Igby’s and Nicholson’s.
It’s $35 to participate, with food and drink specials along the way. This year’s crawl benefits Fido Field, the privately funded off-leash dog area located at 630 Eggleston Ave. BATB hopes to raise $12,000 this year for the continued construction of Fido Field — the group raised $10,000 in 2013. Go here for more information, to make donations and to join a group for the crawl.
Cincy Blues Society’s
annual Winter Blue Fest kicks off Friday at The Phoenix. More than 25 local
Blues acts perform through Saturday including headliners Tinsley Ellis and Janiva Magness. Read more here.
Jungle Jim’s Big Cheese Fest is now sold out, but those with tickets are in for a day full delicious dairy from more than 80 cheese companies. More than 40 booths will feature varieties of local, artisan and international cheeses, charcuterie, breads, spreads and more. Beer and wine pairing options available at additional cost. The festival takes over Jungle Jim’s Oscar Event Center from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The Big Cheese Kick-Off Party (also sold out) is 7-10 p.m. Friday.
A satellite event to the Cincy Blues Society’s huge outdoor, summertime Cincy Blues Fest, the Winter Blues Fest — which returns to The Phoenix (812 Race St., Downtown, thephx.com) tonight and tomorrow — has truly grown into its own. This year’s lineup features two of the fest’s biggest national headliners yet.
Celebrated Blues/Rock singer/guitarist Tinsley Ellis performs in the venue’s third floor Grand Ballroom on Friday at 9:45 p.m. Check out Ellis’ “Kiss Of Death,” from his recently released Midnight Blue album, below:
Accomplished singer/songwriter Janiva Magness performs in the Grand Ballroom on Saturday at 9:15 p.m. (For more about Magness, read Brian Baker’s preview from this week’s CityBeat). Here’s a clip of Magness and her band performing “I Won’t Cry,” which won her and co-writer Dave Darling “Song of the Year” honors at the Blues Music Awards (one of many Mangess has won over the past several years).
Below is the full lineup (subject to change). Click each artist’s name for more info.
Third Floor Grand Ballroom
6:30-8 p.m.: G. Miles & The Hitmen
8:15-9:30 p.m.: Greg Schaber Band
9:45-11:15 p.m.: Tinsley Ellis
11:30-12:45 p.m.: The Blue Birds
Second Floor Cincinnati Room
6:30-7:45 p.m.: Bob Dellaposta
8-9:15 p.m.: Jimmy D. Rogers
11 p.m.-12:45 a.m.: Dave Muskett Duo
Second Floor Archway Ballroom
7-8:15 p.m.: Blue Sacrifice
8:30-9:45 p.m.: The Juice
10:00-11:15 p.m.: Leroy Ellington Blues Band
11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.: The Blues Merchants
First Floor Presidents Room
6:15-7:45 p.m.: The Heaters With Ben Levin
10-11:15 p.m.: Ralph & The Rhythm Hounds
11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.: Ducttape & Dynamite
3rd Floor Grand Ballroom
6-7:30 p.m.: The Tempted Souls Band
7:45-9 p.m.: Doug Hart Band
9:15-11:15 p.m.: Janiva Magness
11:30 p.m.-12:45 a.m.: Johnny Fink & The Intrusion
Second Floor Cincinnati Room
6:30-7:45 p.m.: Brian Wallen
8-9:15 p.m.: Greg Schaber (Solo)
9:30-10:45 p.m.: TBA
11 p.m.-12:15 a.m.: The Twirlers
Second Floor Archway Ballroom
6:30-8 p.m.: Blues In The School Band
8:15-9:30 p.m.: Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project
9:45-11:15 p.m.: The SoulFixers
11:30 p.m.-12:45 a.m.: Jay Jesse Johnson
First Floor Presidents Room
6:15-7:45 p.m.: Little Red & The Rooster
8-9:15 p.m.: Ricky Nye Inc.
9:30-10:45 p.m.: Brad Hatfield Band
11 p.m.-12:45 a.m.: The Noah Wotherspoon Band
Tickets can be purchased in advance at cincybluesfest2014.brownpapertickets.com. Prices are $20 for one night or $32.85 for a weekend pass (there are smaller-than-usual service fees through the ticketing site). There will be food available and full-service bars throughout the venue.
Visit cincyblues.org for the full schedule, artist details, ticket links, deals for special room rates at the nearby Garfield Suites Hotel and more.
Last evening I went to see Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses
at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. You can read more about
playwright Zimmerman in my column in this week's issue here, and you'll
probably figure out that this is one of my favorite scripts. CCM's drama
program has created a shimmering, playful production that's getting a
brief run (final performance is a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday) at Patricia Corbett Theatre.
Guest director D. Lynn Meyers
took a break from Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati to travel up the hill and
stage this one on the UC campus, and her cast of 18 student performers
wholly embraced this unusual show — which requires a pool of water as
its central design feature. (Water plays a significant and meaningful
role in the retelling of a set of classical myths shaped and recorded by
Ovid two millennia ago.) But Dana Hall's scenic design doesn't stop
with water; it's elemental, with immense hanging slabs of stone that
resonate with the decorative concrete slabs in PCT. Wes Richter's
lighting — it really does shimmer — enhances the stories of characters
changed by circumstances, good intentions and bad decisions, and Kevin
Semancik's sound design brings vivid punctuation to many stories,
including a destructive storm at sea.
Speaking of sound, cellist Jacob Yates, a senior at CCM, composed moody accompaniment that distills the moving emotional essence of each scene; he performs live from stage left as the tales unfold. Amanda Kai Newman's costume designs complete the visual power of the show, whether they are fluttering around the edge of the pool or from a high balcony upstage from which the gods watch and control the mortals — and even when they are sopping wet from action in the variable-depth pool. Much of the action is beautifully choreographed and delivered with confident physicality. All in all, CCM's Metamorphoses is a total theatrical package that's definitely worth seeing. Tickets are likely available if you call quickly: 513-556-4183..
Cincinnati officials and Cincinnati Board of Education leaders yesterday announced a new collaborative that aims to share and align the city and Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS) policy goals. The initiative will focus on five areas: population growth, workforce development, safe and livable neighborhoods, wellness and access to technology. City and school officials say the collaborative alone won’t hit their budgets, but future joint initiatives could obviously carry their own costs.
Councilman Chris Seelbach and union supporters yesterday gathered outside the Hamilton County Administrations Building to call on county commissioners to open bidding on several Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) projects. County commissioners blocked the work in protest of Cincinnati’s “responsible bidder” rules, which require MSD contractors to meet more stringent job training requirements and pay into a pre-apprenticeship fund that will train new workers in different crafts. The Republican-controlled county says the rules are illegal, favor unions and burden businesses, but the Democrat-controlled city says the standards help train local workers and create local jobs.
Meanwhile, county commissioners appear ready to take the city-county dispute to court. If the conflict isn’t resolved by the end of the year, the federal government could impose fines to force work on a mandatory overhaul of the local sewer system to fully continue, according to Commissioner Chris Monzel.
Cincinnati’s riverfront has come a long way, but The Cincinnati Enquirer and others seem unhappy The Banks is taking so long to fully develop. A lot was promised with the initial plan for the riverfront, but the Great Recession and other hurdles slowed down the development of condos, office and retail space and a hotel. For some business owners, the slowdown has made it much harder to get by unless a major event — a Reds or Bengals game, for example — is going on, particularly during bad winters. In particular, struggling Mahogany’s owner Liz Rogers says she “would like to see more retail, a hotel, a movie theater.”
Following Councilman Charlie Winburn’s warnings that the city wastefully bought too much road salt, the city is actually running low on salt and waiting on an order of 3,500 tons. Over the past couple months, Winburn accused the city of wasting money when he “discovered” a pile of unused road salt. Despite Winburn’s attempts to make “saltgate” into a thing, it turns out the city bought the salt when it was cheaper and planned to use it in the future.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center plans to reopen a pediatric health clinic that abruptly closed down when Neighborhood Health Care Inc. shut down operations. The clinic expects to see 500 needy children and teenagers each month.
Local Republicans are still looking to host the Republican National Convention in 2016.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald asked Republican Gov. John Kasich to pledge he would serve his full four years if he won re-election, meaning Kasich would be unable to run for president in email@example.com.
The trippy, Alice in Wonderland inspired themed bar FB’s is temporarily closed down for remodeling and the revamping of its image.
In the mean time, the owners are auctioning off their dramatic and glamorous interior décor and artwork. Now’s your chance to own that bar stool you fell off of, the mirror you checked yourself out in a million times (Hey, your soul-mate could have been there right?) and that chair you nearly passed out in while the room spun around.
If you’re having a hard time remembering all of the interior accents due to your blurred vision at the time, you can check them out at Everything But the House.
A preview will be held 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, at FB's, 126 W. Sixth St., Downtown. Eighty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Some of the items for sale include gaudy chandeliers and ornate mirrors, brewery neon signs, one-of-a-kind Andrew Van Sickle artwork and their famous signature yellow vinyl couch that you probably made-out with someone on.
certificates from locally owned downtown restaurants are also be available for bidding. Don’t miss your chance to fall down the rabbit hole one last time,
before everything is gone.
The online biding will end on 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Today is the start of our beer lovin’ city’s favorite event, Cincinnati Beer Week. Although advertised as “a week,” it’s actually eight days of fun and foamy shenanigans in restaurants, bars and stores all across the Greater Cincinnati area.
The mission statement behind Cincinnati Beer Week states, “it aims to educate, inspire and celebrate well-crafted beer in a welcoming environment.” And the never ending list of participating venues includes: Jefferson Social, Tap House Grill, Arthur’s Café, Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, Incline Public House, Virgil’s Café, The Oak Tavern, The Famous Neons Unplugged and dozens more.
Some of the festivities this week include beer sampling, beer paired meals, meet and greet with local brewers and several opportunities to give back, with beer event charities such as Hops Against Cancer, Pints for Parkinson’s, MadTree Sprye Launch Party benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and more.
View the complete list of events and participating venues at cincinnatibeerweek.com.
Need ideas on where to start you beer adventure?
Cincinnati officials and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) leaders on Thursday promised to work in greater collaboration through the Alliance for Community and Educational Success (ACES), a new joint operation that will attempt to align the city and school district's shared policy goals.
ACES plans to focus on five areas: population growth, workforce development, safe and livable neighborhoods, wellness and access to technology.
As a few examples, the city could help CPS establish better Internet access at low-income schools, align marketing to attract more residents, sustain school resource officers that help keep schools safe and set up internships within the city's workforce.
"While the city and school system are separate entities, we all know that our schools are the most powerful tool for growth that we've got," said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.
City and school leaders cautioned that the collaborative alone shouldn't affect their budgets, although future initiatives could require new funding.
To enforce the collaborative, City Council's Education and Entrepreneurship Committee and the Cincinnati Board of Education members will meet on a monthly basis. Sittenfeld said he will regularly call on city department directors to make sure city services are being delivered in cooperation with the local school system.
The collaborative will also try to bring in outside education groups, such as the Strive Partnership as it works on providing a universal preschool program in Cincinnati.
School officials praised the announcement.
"Without good schools, we don't have good cities. Without good cities, we don't have good schools," said Alecia Smith, principal of Rothenberg Academy, where city and school leaders gathered for the announcement.
Cincinnati Board of Education President Eve Bolton argued the announcement should make voters more confident when supporting property tax levies for the schools, which voters might be asked to do again in 2015.
"I think it will increase the confidence by the voters and by the taxpayers that what resources exist are being best leveraged together," she said. "There's no infighting or turf wars being waged and wasting their dollars."
City and school leaders previously worked together for CPS' $1 billion school facilities master plan, which officials credit with effectively rebuilding major aspects of the school district.
ACES could also help bring in another major player — the city — into community learning centers, a CPS-led initiative that brings in various outside resources, including health clinics and college preparation programs, to turn schools into service hubs.
Community learning centers have been recognized around the country for their success in lifting low-income schools. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to adopt the model in the city that just elected him last November.