by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 10:25 AM | Permalink
Cincinnati man arrested for planning to bomb U.S. capitol; Requiem Project sues UC over Emery Theater; Possum: the victory meat
Heya! I’m gearing up to spend a couple days in Chicago, so no morning news tomorrow. However, I’m leaving ya with a bunch of crazy stuff today, so check it out. First, something’s in the air here in Cincinnati lately. Yesterday I told you about Michael Hoyt, the West Chester bartender who threatened to kill House Speaker John Boehner, possibly during a bout of mental illness. Today, we learn about Chris Cornell. No, not the long haired, goateed grunge singer. Different guy. Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested yesterday morning after buying two semi-automatic weapons from a gun shop in Colerain Township. Cornell had been on the Internet for months talking about a violent Jihad, it seems, and had even met up with a person who turned out to be a government informant a couple times here in Cincinnati. The plan Cornell reportedly hatched involved pipe bombs and a shooting spree at the U.S. Capitol building. When he and the informant made concrete travel plans for D.C., the FBI swooped in. Here’s the criminal complaint filed against Cornell in federal district court. • The tangled, confusing fight over renovations to Over-the-Rhine’s Emery Theater continues as nonprofit group the Requiem Project sues the University of Cincinnati over the historic venue. Let’s recap, in the simplest way possible. Since 1969, the University of Cincinnati has owned a historic, 1911 building on Central Parkway that was once home to the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute but now houses downtown’s Coffee Emporium location as well as some luxury apartments. Know the building? Of course you do. I see everyone and their mom at Coffee Emporium. Anyway, in 1999, UC signed a 40-year, $40 lease with a for-profit group called the Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership that allowed ECALP to renovate the building for use as 59 market-rate apartments. Still with me? Good. That group then spun the theater portion of the building over to the Emery Center Corporation, a non-profit charged specifically with renovating the theater. THAT group, ECC, in Sept. 2010 entered into a partnership with the Requiem Project, which was started by Tara Lindsey Gordon and Tina Manchise, who moved from New York to undertake the project. Flash forward a few years, and after some 35 fundraisers and some renovation, the Requiem Project was locked out of the building in August 2013. They were told UC would have to sign off on their contract with ECC, something that was not originally revealed to the nonprofit. A move by UC to sell the building to ECALP never materialized, and now Requiem is suing all parties involved for the rights to continue renovating, as well as $25,000 in damages. Phew. • Former Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter will be in court again over the eight felony counts an earlier jury couldn’t agree upon last year. Hunter was convicted on a ninth count, having an unlawful interest in a public contract, but she has appealed that conviction and her six-month sentence has been suspended until that appeal goes through. The other eight counts that prosecutors will again try Hunter on involve misusing a court-issued credit card, tampering with court documents and other alleged misdeeds. Hunter and her attorney say she is a victim of politics and did not do anything wrong in her courtroom. The case has been incredibly controversial in Cincinnati. Hunter was the juvenile court’s first black and first female judge, and she came into office promising to reform the county’s juvenile justice system, which she says is racially biased. As Hunter's trial goes on, others have made similar accusations about the county. Recently, the Northern Kentucky-based Children’s Law Center sued the county over its treatment of juveniles. The Center alleges racial bias in the county’s juvenile justice system, including incidents where young people of color have been held without charge for weeks at a time.• Good news for cigar aficionados, and an interesting moment in history for everyone: The United States has formally announced it is easing travel restrictions for folks wanting to go to Cuba. Many U.S. visitors will no longer need to apply for a special license from the Treasury to visit the island nation, will be allowed to use credit and debit cards, will not have restrictions on how much money they spend on the island, and will be allowed to bring back up to $400 in stuff, including $100 in alcohol and tobacco products. There are a number of other rules that have been loosened or done away with as well. The move is the government’s first practical step since President Barack Obama announced he was seeking to repair relations with the communist country, which the U.S. has embargoed since the 1950s. The important question is, will those cigars taste as good now that they’re not forbidden? • Finally, say you’ve just been elected president. You’re about to be sworn in and start serving your four years at the most stressful but also most prestigious job in the world, and you just want to take some time, kick back and savor the moment. What’s an appropriate victory meal? If it’s this day in 1909 and you’re then President-elect William Howard Taft (the notorious WHT) visiting Atlanta, you sit down to a huge possum feast. Taft’s a giant in this town and his historic home is right down the road from my historic home (one of the two is a museum; you can probably guess which). I had no idea about this. Possum: for the good times.
by German Lopez
CPS gets national attention, city might take Emery Theatre, SoMoLend accused of fraud
New York City mayoral candidates see Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS) community learning centers as a model for their city’s schools.
The centers bring members of the community, including dental clinics,
mental health therapists and mentors from local banks and churches, to a school hub to
keep students engaged after traditional classroom hours end. But an
analysis from The New York Times also finds that progress has
been fairly modest, with some schools in the district still struggling
and graduation and attendance rates showing little sign of improvement.
Still, CPS officials argue the initiative has helped mitigate the
effects of poverty and hunger in the classroom. CityBeat covered CPS and its community learning centers back in October here.
The city of Cincinnati could take control of the Emery Theatre
following a legal dispute between the Requiem Project, a nonprofit
seeking to renovate the theater, and the University of Cincinnati, Emery
Center Apartments Limited Partnership and the Emery Center Corporation,
the group of leasers and owners trying to push Requiem out of the
building. Requiem stated in a letter Friday that it would approve of the
city taking over the building, a possibility currently being analyzed
by Cincinnati’s legal team. CityBeat first covered the Emery Theater situation in further detail here.
SoMoLend, the local startup and city partner that connects small businesses seeking loans and lenders, is being accused of fraud by the state of Ohio.
The charges could force the high-profile business to shut down; for the
time being, it’s not giving out any loans in the state. In December,
the city of Cincinnati teamed up with SoMoLend in a partnership that was meant to land local small businesses and startups much-needed loans through crowdfunding.
Ohio will spend $6.2 million this fiscal year to combat gambling addictions.
With casinos, racinos and gambling generally expanding in Ohio, the state government is directing more
money to county mental health and addiction boards to ensure problem
gamblers are treated.
The two officers who were on the clock when death row inmate Billy Slagle hung himself have been put on paid administrative leave
while the Ohio prisons department investigates what happened. Slagle
was convicted of murder and sentenced to death — a punishment the Ohio Parole Board and Gov. John Kasich upheld in July despite pleas from a county prosecutor — but he hung himself days
before he was supposed to be executed. CityBeat covered Slagle’s case in further detail here.
Attorney General Mike DeWine is asking Ohioans to be cautious of unsolicited phone calls offering medical alert devices.
Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino accidentally awarded two $1 million prizes
on Saturday night. It turns out the casino gave a $1 million check to
the wrong Kevin Lewis, so it decided to keep course with the original
check and give another $1 million to the Lewis the check was
originally intended for.
Cursive might get kicked from the classroom.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is directing federal prosecutors to minimize the use of mandatory minimum drug sentences.
The change will mostly benefit drug offenders with no ties to
large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels and no history of violence.
Ohio gas prices dropped this week and remain below the national average.
Actual headline: “Video shows thief stealing cigarettes.”
Check out Kings Island’s new roller coaster: Banshee.
Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN’s medical respondent, is now down with marijuana.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: News
at 03:50 PM | Permalink
Organization faced eviction with management agreement set to expire Aug. 3
The Requiem Project filed a complaint today asking a judge
to force the Emery Theater’s operating entity to enter into a long-term
lease with the organization.
On Monday, Judge Carl Stitch is scheduled to rule on a motion to
grant a temporary restraining order to stop the Requiem from being
evicted from the building. The complaint states that the Emery Center
Corporation asked Requiem to vacate the theater by Aug. 3 and has
requested that Requiem return its keys to the building. It asks the court to declare that the Requiem is entitled to a long-term lease of the property based on a 2010 agreement that the two sides would work toward a long-term lease.The Requiem Project is a nonprofit organization that
formed in 2008 to redevelop the Emery Theater, a 1,600-seat,
acoustically pure concert space on Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine. The
theater entrance is on the west side of the building at the corner of
Walnut and Central Parkway, which includes Coffee Emporium and about 60
apartments. Requiem founders Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon have programmed events at the venue during the past few years under
temporary occupancy permits. The theater is not eligible for a permanent certificate of occupancy because it needs significant renovations — it currently doesn't have working plumbing or heat. Still, organizers have produced individual events, sometimes bringing in portable toilets and taking other measures to make the space functional. In April, the
Emery hosted the Contemporary Dance Theater’s 40th anniversary
celebration. It also hosted three nights of live music during last fall’s MidPoint Music Festival, which is owned and operated by CityBeat. MidPoint organizers were unable to secure the venue for this year’s event.
The theater is operated by the Emery Center Corporation
(ECC), a nonprofit organization that subleases the theater from the
Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP), a for-profit
corporation that holds a long-term lease to the building from UC. All
three parties — UC, ECC and ECALP — are named as defendants in the
University of Cincinnati spokesperson Greg Hand declined
to comment, only stating that UC doesn’t have a relationship with the
Requiem Project because Requiem works directly with the ECC, which subleases part of the building from ECALP. The Requiem Project alleges that the intent all along was
for ECC to lease the space to Requiem long-term, not just for Requiem to program
events under a management agreement. According to the complaint, the
Requiem and ECC in 2010 signed a Letter of Intent, which stated that the
ECC would enter into a lease agreement with the Requiem “on
substantially similar terms” as the ECC’s current deal with ECALP, the
for-profit entity that oversees the rest of the building. That lease,
signed in 1999, is for 40-years and renewable for another 40 years after
The two sides entered into a management agreement while
negotiating the long-term lease, but the lease was never agreed upon.
The most recent yearlong management agreement is set to expire Aug. 3.
ECC informed Requiem Jan. 16 that it would not renew the current agreement “for no cause,” according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that the theater cannot obtain a
permanent certificate of occupancy because ECALP removed the heat and
water systems while renovating part of the building into apartments,
which were developed to raise revenue for the eventual renovation of the
theater. The renovations of the apartments left the theater without
running water, heat, bathrooms or fire escapes, according to the
complaint, which notes that ECC let the theater sit empty between the
time it took over its management in 1999 and when the Requiem Project came
along in 2008. A permanent certificate of occupancy would allow regular programming in the theater, but the venue needs considerable
renovations to qualify. "UC refuses to even meet with the parties to outline its demands," the complaint states. "ECC and ECALP have stopped replying to Requiem's reasonable proposals."
The hearing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Monday.
by Stefanie Kremer
GottaVote concert drew hundreds of Obama supporters and opponents alike
Members of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Cincinnati natives The National
knew they could lose fans if their band became vocal supporters of
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama back in 2008.
“When we publicly started supporting Obama, we did have a
lot of fans that were upset about that and just thought, ‘you should
keep your political opinions to yourself,’ ” lead singer Matt Berninger
told reporters before their Thursday GottaVote concert sponsored by the
“And I actually totally understand that and in many ways
almost agree. I don’t want to be preached to by the Rock bands that I
The band drew a mixed crowd of 750 people to the intimate show at The Emery Theater on Thursday. The concert’s purpose was to encourage attendees to vote for
Obama in the Nov. 6 election and encourage Cincinnatians to take
advantage of Ohio’s early voting. While the band’s support for Obama has drawn some vitriol
(fans made comments like “fools” and “shame on you” on Facebook posts
announcing the shows in support of the president) it didn’t stop everyone
who didn’t plan on voting for Obama from coming to the concert.
Adam Kesee, 25, is not an Obama supporter. He explained that he
was at The Emery to see The National perform anyway — just as long as
they didn’t devote the whole show to politics.
"I do not think music and politics should mix," Kesee
explained. "It's OK if you play to support a candidate you like, but
don't expect everyone to share your views and do not bog down the
concert with political views."
The National plays a GottaVote concert for the Obama campaign in CincinnatiCatie Viox
[Photo gallery: The National plays in Cincinnati Oct. 4]Despite their recent outspoken support of President Obama
and their series of shows dedicated to rallying support in 2008, 2010 and 2012,
Berninger and guitarist Aaron Dessner said they never saw their band
going in such a direction.
“We didn’t want our band to be a political band … most of
our songs are love songs or songs about drinking — we don’t think of
ourselves as socially conscious songwriters or anything,” Berninger
He said that during the George W. Bush administration,
they started to feel a responsibility to get involved — even if their
band took a hit. He cited his 3-year-old daughter as the context
through which he sees politics — he’s worried about the way her world
will be shaped.
"Where our country is now is more important than our Rock
and Roll band," Berninger said. "If it hurts our band, that's OK
Although some of The National's songs seem to hold
political themes, including "Mr. November," the majority of the songs
performed were rock songs written about love and loss including the
popular "Bloodbuzz Ohio" and "Fake Empire."
An intense performer, Berninger didn’t get so enthused
about performing for Obama that he slipped "Vote Obama," into the
lyrics, or devote the majority of the performance to campaigning. Aside
from two young campaign volunteers speaking at the beginning of the
concert, the president was not even mentioned until introducing the
third song, "I'm Afraid of Everyone," written, Berninger said, about a
desperate plea for the truth.
In exchange for free tickets to see The National, attendees were expected to volunteer their time for the Obama campaign.
Many concertgoers explained that they would gladly offer
their time to support the campaign. Others said that they were strictly
in attendance to see The National and do not plan on knocking on doors
or making phone calls to support the president.
"I don't really have the time and I don't really care about politics that much," said Kedharhneth Sairam, 24.
The crowd may not have been full of Obama supporters, but
they were still supporters of The National. The band’s GottaVote tour
included a Wednesday stop in
both Columbus and Cincinnati. Along with performing for fans, the band
took to the streets with clipboards encouraging students on the campuses
of The Ohio State University, Xavier University and Berninger’s alma
mater, the University of Cincinnati, to sign up to vote.
CityBeat staff writer Andy Brownfield contributed to this report.
by Mike Breen
Locally-bred Indie Rock sensations The National give away tickets for volunteer support
Good news/possibly bad news for those hoping to attend the special appearance by Cincy-bred/Brooklyn-based Indie Rock stars The National Thursday at The Emery. The good news: tickets will be available on Wednesday. The (possibly) bad news (depending on your busy schedule and/or support for Barack Obama) is that you can only get one ticket and you have to agree to do some volunteering for the Obama campaign. To get details, sign up on the President's GottaVote campaign website here.Once you do that, you'll get this message: Get a ticket to see The National in Cincinnati
To get a ticket, beginning Wednesday, October 3rd at 10:00 A.M. stop by an OFA-OH office listed below and volunteer.
Tickets will be required for entry to the event. One ticket per person.
1112 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Doors open: 7:00 P.M.
OFA-OH Over the Rhine Office
1130 Main Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202You'll also be able to get a ticket (according to the email you'll be sent) at the OFA-OH Woodburn Office, 2718 Woodburn Ave. Good luck!
Acclaimed singer/songwriter debuts Jeremy Pinnell and the 55's tonight at MOTR
The music he made with groups like The Light Wires, The Great Depression and The Brothers and the Sisters helped make singer/songwriter Jeremy Pinnell one of many local music fans' favorite songwriters. Pinnell's folksy songs were marked by his ability to convey — with an almost uncomfortable accuracy — the kind of dark, ominous emotions most people try to bury. His words, his melodies and especially his muttering yet soulful voice had that rare ability to effortlessly do what most writer's strive for their whole career — to make a deep connection with the listener that goes beyond a hummable hook or slick guitar solo and buries itself deep inside their conscience. Having practically every person who heard his songs immediately captivated wasn't enough to keep those projects together. Pinnell seemed to ride the waves of success each act experienced (on varying levels), then the band would break up before the project's full potential was reached. After another dry spell, Pinnell returns to the local stage tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine for the live debut of his latest project, Jeremy Pinnell and the 55's. Once again, Pinnell has hooked up with some gifted collaborators to create more soul-stirring songs to shatter what's left of your fragile, blackened heart. The 55's reteams Pinnell with one of his earliest musical partners, Cameron Cochran (currently with Pop Empire). When they were 18, Cochran and Pinnell were pals playing Country songs together at their buddies' Punk Rock shows. Cochran says "The Voice" was already in place."He had that voice that would shut up a room," Cochran writes in a press release. "It didn't matter what the show was. He would open his mouth and everyone listened." The two went their separate ways eventually, but recently reconnected. Cochran is vague about the circumstances of their last project ending and this one beginning, saying only that it is a tale of "heartbreak, tragedy, love and redemption" worthy of a Country song. Indeed, the 55's sound is somewhere between AltCountry and Indie Folk, with the timelessness of those genres' precursors driving everything. The band is rounded out by drummer Chris Alley and bassist Ben Franks; Cochran adds spectral atmospherics with his pedal steel guitar work and hovering backing vocals. Some of the 55's material has come out via a handful of wonderful live videos shot by local photography superstar Michael Wilson. Below, check out one of the clips by Wilson, who is also working with Cochran on a series filming at The Emery Theater called "One Shot Music Videos" (referring to how Wilson shoots each in one continuous shot without edits). Tonight's show at MOTR is free and starts around 9:30 p.m. Visit JP & the 55's on Facebook here.
Secrets of a Civil War-era Queen City revealed on walking tour
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Somehow, a sensational thing happens when hiking around the city on a historic walking tour: The modern world is always present but seemingly overlaid with a transparency from the past, the ghosts looking back at us while we search for them. At least that's been my experience when good storytelling is involved, as it is in the new Cincinnati Civil War Tour, happening Saturdays through Sept. 25.