by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 09:06 AM | Permalink
Lytle Park changes, early voting hours and mummies
All right. It's time for the good stuff, the bad stuff and the ugly stuff in today's news. Fair warning — the ugly stuff involves a mummy.Big changes are coming to the Lytle Park area. Alterations to the area’s historic district designation are set to pass City Council today. Western and Southern Financial Group, which owns the whole dang area many of the buildings around the district, wants to expand its office space and will need the ability to tear down a parking garage and some other buildings in the historic district to do so. So it's asked the city's planning commission to change the district, which expires this year. The changes were folded into the renewal of the area's historic designation and have gone through the commission and City Council's Neighborhoods Committee and now just need final approval.The area became the city’s first historic district when it was designated such in 1964. The district as it is currently drawn prevents the changes Western and Southern would like to make, but the proposed redrawn boundaries would leave the buildings in question out of the district. There are a few historic buildings in the district whose designation would change due to the plan, including the University Club and the Sheakley Building. The owners of those buildings said they have big investments in the historic structures, however and would not be significantly changing or selling them.Meanwhile, Western and Southern is gearing up to convert the Anna Louise Inn into a luxury hotel. The Inn, which was run by nonprofit Cincinnati Union Bethel, served as a women’s shelter for over 100 years before being purchased by the company after a long legal battle. Because low-income women escaping abuse and exploitation just don’t look good in a neighborhood you’re trying to turn into a shimmering and artificial oasis of ludicrous wealth.• Funding disparities between two affordable housing projects in the city are raising questions about the ways the city allocates money for such projects. A 100-unit supportive living site in Avondale requested $500,000 in funds last year from the city, and its application has still not been processed despite council approving the project. Meanwhile, a vote later this month could send $1.8 million toward 40 units of affordable housing in Pendleton. Difficulties have popped up with the site chosen for the Avondale project, but some on council, including Yvette Simpson, are questioning why money is going to the more recent Pendleton proposal over the Avondale site. Advocates for housing in the city say the two projects aren't competing and that funding should be found for both.• The city of Cincinnati was awarded $1 million in federal transportation grants Tuesday. The city announced it will use the money for bike trails. Half will go to an expansion of a trail in Westwood, and the other half will go to fixing up part of the trail near Lunken Airport. The city will pitch in another $125,000 for both projects.• Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has set early voting hours for the state
but only after some arm-twisting by the Supreme Court. Originally,
Husted had moved to eliminate early voting the Sunday and Monday before
election day. He claimed the move was for more uniformity in voting
hours across the state. Voting rights advocates, however, claimed the
changes curtailed voting opportunities, especially for minority voters.The
Supreme Court agreed that, you know, generally giving people the chance
to vote is good and ordered Ohio to reinstate the days. Now the time frame is set. Voters will be able to cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday in the month before the election and will be able
to vote from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m.
to 2 p.m. the Monday before election day. This schedule starts in August.• In the category of “surreal, awful things that could only happen in an Ohio rustbelt city,” a boy exploring an abandoned house in Dayton found… a mummy. Apparently the man who once lived in the house hung himself in a closet, which preserved his body. He wasn’t discovered for five years, until the curiosity of youth led the boy to the house. Multiple levels of disturbing right there.• Finally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today canceled the trademarks for the name of a certain Washington, D.C. based football team on the grounds that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” The office went on to say that the name is definitely an ethnic slur and should never have been able to be patented in the first place. In case you're wondering why it took until 2014 to figure that out (I sure was), the trademark was overturned once before, in 1992, but was reinstated by federal courts due to a technicality. The Trademark Office says that no such error exists in this case and that the ruling will likely stand. Finally.
7 Comments · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Rich people get to do whatever the hell they want in this city. Maybe that’s the way it is in every city
and anyone surprised by it is a simpleton who clearly grew up on the
wrong side of I-75. But the influence that Cincinnati's rich people have over the direction of this city and the distribution of its resources should disturb everyone.
by Hannah McCartney
Community coalesces on International Women's Day for the Inn
There will be a giant swarm of purple in front of the Western & Southern headquarters (400 Broadway St.) in Lytle Park beginning at noon today in support of the Anna Louise Inn, which provides shelter to low-income women, to coincide with International Women's Day. The rally is intended to demonstrate both local support for the Anna Louise Inn and its missions and oppose Western & Southern's long-standing attack on the ALI. Sponsoring organizations stretch far beyond the Inn, including the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, Nuns on the Bus, League of Women Voters, Women's City Club, Women's Political Caucus and others. According to the press release, the rally will be "strong
and noticeable with singing, chanting and signs," so it's likely the
execs at Western & Southern will be forced to take notice. Attendees will all wear purple sashes — purple is the color of the logo for International Women's Day, which is intended to both celebrate and continue to lobby for advances in gender equality across the world. The tension between the Inn and Western & Southern began in 2009, when the Inn was facing financial setbacks and considered selling the plot. Western & Southern, which owns more than 20 properties in Lytle Park, made a lowball offer, which the Inn refused. Following Western & Southern's missed opportunity, they embarked on a vicious series of legal challenges against the Inn, after it had already won funding for much-needed renovations to the 103-year-old building. Speakers will include civil rights leader Marian A. Spencer, state congressional representative Denise Driehaus, Kristen Barker of Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, a former resident of the Inn and several others. Most recently in the Western & Southern/Anna Louise Inn debacle, the Ohio First District Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that Cincinnati Union Bethel, which owns the Inn, filed an "incomplete" permit application, requiring them to resubmit funding requests to the city, including more thorough details about the Inn and its Off the Streets program, which helps formerly prostituted women turn their lives around. That means the Inn is required to once again jump through another series of legal hoops based on minor technicalities that would have never been an issue if Western & Southern had accepted they missed their chance at the plot already. Click here to see an archive of all CityBeat's Anna Louise Inn coverage.
by Stefanie Kremer
Posted In: Homelessness
at 10:12 AM | Permalink
Annual Hunger and Homeless Unity March to benefit Anna Louise Inn
This year, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition's annual Hunger and Homeless Unity March will focus on an abundance of issues regarding the poor and homeless in our city. Marching a route that highlights the path of homelessness, the walk will move through the southern portion of Over-the-Rhine, through the Central Business District and end in Lytle Park beside the Anna Louise Inn. The Anna Louise Inn has been involved with a series of legal disputes with Western & Southern Financial Group as the corporation is on a mission to buy the Inn's property to expand their business. (CityBeat covered the issue in-depth in a Aug. 17 cover story, "Surrounded by Skyscrapers.")For more than 100 years, the Anna Louise Inn has been serving local women in need. Located in Lytle Park, it is the only single-room occupancy residence for women in the city and acts as a safe harbor for women who have nowhere else to go. Former Anna Louise Inn resident Pam Franklin will speak about the importance of affordable housing at the event. Not only will the march show support for social service agencies such as the Anna Louise Inn, it will be educational. Participants will learn about local residents being affected by gentrification, businesses suffering from displacement and the affects of foreclosure. Attendees will learn that in order for "new life" to enter, "existing life" does not have to leave. "This will be a time to protest and to become more informed about the current injustices," says Josh Spring, the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. Everyone is invited to participate in the march and learn about the affects of gentrification and displacement this Saturday."This really is an event for everyone — people that already are against gentrification, people that might be against gentrification, people that are for it, and people who don't know what gentrification is," Spring says. "Everyone will gain some truth from this experience." Beginning at Buddy's Place at 1300 Vine Street, the march is from 12:45-3 p.m.
1 Comment · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We at WWE! have never found beauty pageants to be all that interesting — who wants to watch a bunch of models talk about changing the world when you can see real people eating donkey balls on three stations at any given time?