What should I be doing instead of this?
 
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Courting Controversy

As the city mulls selling public land in OTR to a private developer, familiar tensions arise

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 27, 2016
For 11-year-old Santinez Payne, the grassy lots and basketball courts behind his apartment building in northern Over-the-Rhine are among the most important places in the city. But the area means different things to different people.  

Moving Up, Moving Out

Over-the-Rhine’s dramatic makeover has harsh realities for some longtime residents

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 12, 2015
For the past year, Reginald Stroud has lived in a tucked away dead-end street in Northside. The building he lived in at 1123-1125 Walnut St. also housed both his convenience store and karate studio, which he says put him at the center of a tight-knit community of longtime OTR residents.   

Unrest in OTR: 15 Years Later

What’s changed — and what hasn’t

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Long after the protests ended, after the curfews were lifted and after buildings that had been burned were rebuilt — in some cases replaced with shining new storefronts — the fateful shooting in a dark alley just off Republic Street has continued to have ripple effects.   

New Plan, Old Tensions

Residents question a new development plan that would add 21 single-family homes to the Over-the-Rhine area

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 1, 2015
An ambitious plan by a developer to build 21 single-family homes costing between $400,000 to $600,000 each near OTR has caused debate over what the changing neighborhood should look like.   
by Katherine Newman 03.16.2016 47 days ago
Posted In: COMMUNITY at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Nonprofit Spotlight: Cincinnati Squash Academy

The Cincinnati Squash Academy is an urban squash program operating out of the Emmanuel Community Center in Over-the-Rhine where there are three brand new courts and a learning center. “We are aiming to blend squash and academics into one cohesive unit,” says Austin Schiff, executive director of CSA. The goal is to use squash as a motivation tool to keep kids accelerating their education. Since the second grade, Schiff has played squash, a racket sport that has been around for more than 100 years. The game is played on a four-walled court with two or four players and a hollow rubber ball. CSA is the only urban squash program in Cincinnati and recruits from four low-income schools: Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School, Hays-Porter Elementary, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s Otto Armleder School and St. Joseph School. “We go into the school and do a presentation,” Schiff explains. “They sign up if they're interested and then they can come and try-out.” Try-outs can take four to seven months. Students begin at the bronze level to see if they fit well with the program; at silver they begin to track attendance and do a home visit to ensure the family is supportive and sees a future for their child in the program. Once a student reaches the gold level, they are fully enrolled in CSA and have complete access to all the resources, trips and the summer program. Try-outs are so extensive because it is very important that each accepted student succeeds in the program. “We want to be selective of the kids and families that we choose, knowing that this isn’t just a six-month fad,” Schiff says. He wants to find kids that are committed to staying in the program through high school. CSA puts a major focus on school success along with learning squash. Kids come three times a week and their time is divided. Half the day is spent on the court and the other half is in the learning center working on homework and special projects. Rachel Parker, the academic director, works hard to help the students find their personal interests through different classroom projects and field trips. They have taken trips to the Cincinnati Art Museum and practiced gardening on Earth Day. “At heart we are an education program,” Schiff says “To the public we are squash, but it’s really much more than that.” The main goal is not to train world-renowned squash players, but simply to provide education and motivation and to make sure the kids make it to college. They start preparing kids freshman year or earlier for college by exploring resume building, the application process and understanding financial aid. CSA took a group to Boston last year for an urban squash competition at Harvard University. When they weren’t playing, the students toured Harvard's campus. “A year ago, to them, squash was a vegetable or what you do to a roach on the family rug,” Schiff says. “Now they are on the all-glass show court at Harvard University playing a very traditionally high-class, high-brow sport. Volunteers: Currently CSA has 20-30 volunteers. Volunteers help on the court every day at practice. Experienced squash volunteers — the more skilled, the better — are invited to come and teach kids the meticulous technique that is so important to the game. You can do this during the school year or come for the 4-week summer program. They need tutors in the classrooms and to chaperone trips. Schiff is looking for people who care and can connect with the kids. Volunteers as young as 12 can help in the learning center. “We want people who just love being with kids and want to push them to succeed,” Schiff says. All volunteers must pass a background check. Donations: There is a big CSA fundraiser happening in April. Corporate sponsors are needed to provide squash supplies. Because all the athletic equipment is donated, rackets, goggles, shoes and squash balls are always in demand. Basic school supplies like paper, pencils, dry-erase markers and a lot of disinfecting wipes are helpful in the learning center. CSA provides snacks for the students but haven’t had any luck getting a grant for fresh fruit and vegetables. Healthy snacks would be a great donation, but be mindful of students with allergies to peanuts and red dye. The organization has its offices, referred to as the bunker, in the basement of the Emmanuel Community Center. The bunker is safe from nuclear fallout, but unfortunately is not very home-like. Schiff is looking for plants and art to spruce the place up. The office could also use a working copy machine because theirs recently broke. For more information on CINCINNATI SQUASH ACADEMY, visit squashacademy.org.
 
 

Art: Look Here! Curator Walk

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Look Here!, an outdoor, site-specific photo installation project throughout Over-the-Rhine, is coming to an end.  

Holy Spirits

A restored Over-the-Rhine church brings people together with craft cocktails and catered events

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The church had been empty since 1993 until Michael Forgus of Funky’s Catering came along and bought the building from 3CDC in August 2013.   

New Burger on the Block

ZBGB’s intriguing concept could use a little polishing

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 3, 2016
ZBGB Gourmet Burgers & Bar is the new sister restaurant to Zula, across the street from Taft’s Ale House.   

Stuck in Park

Policy debates over parking permits leave OTR residents caught in the middle

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 27, 2016
That struggle carries a number of consequences for OTR residents, advocates say, influencing decisions about grocery shopping, childcare, work and even whether long-time community members feel welcome in or are able to stay in the neighborhood.   
by Cassie Lipp 01.13.2016 110 days ago
at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Slice of Cincinnati: Sabbath Records

Guitarist Coleman Williams can barely see through his overgrown hair as he leans over a 12-string guitar while he strums out “You Knew This Was Coming” for local electronic act Dark Colour’s upcoming Animal EP. The song is the last to be complete after two days of recording in Over-the-Rhine’s Sabbath Recording. Williams lays down the finishing touches. Although he can’t seem to play the chords right on his first try while the sound engineer, Isaac Karns of the Pomegranates, records him, the chords suddenly come flawlessly from Williams’ fingertips as he practices before the next take. “Cole is like an endangered species,” Karns says. “He plays this amazing stuff when you’re not recording and then you’re like, ‘No! Do it again!’ ”For Sabbath Recording, late-night music means polishing tunes with intricate details that dramatically transform songs, such as the 12-string guitar that helped turn the aggressive, almost chaotic “You Knew This Was Coming” into a more Poppy dance track reminiscent of Depeche Mode. Jacob Merritt, also of the Pomegranates, came up with the idea for Sabbath when he discovered a love for recording while in college about 10 years ago. Though his interest in recording was put on hold while the band took off, Merritt began investing in instruments and gear for a studio and started hunting for the perfect space when things began to wind down. Merritt and Karns hope that any artist who walks through their doors leaves with a more defined or reinvigorated purpose for their music. The idea is for the artists to feel refreshed and energized about who they are and what they are doing. “If you work from that place, I think the other things are likely to fall into place sonically or musically,” Karns says. Merritt says he tries to make artists very comfortable and eliminate any awkwardness from working with someone new. At Sabbath, the day always begins with time to ask questions, read from a thought-provoking book and have meaningful conversation meant to open the artists up. “Bands consistently comment on how much more connected they feel with their bandmates,” Merritt says. “If you aren't communicating as best you can, you might be missing out on your best creative work. I really love seeing musicians grow as songwriters and thinkers during their time at the studio.” The goals of Sabbath Recording are just like the name suggests — it is a place where artists can take time to rest, disconnecting from the stresses of everyday life in order to focus on something they enjoy. To symbolize this, artists leave their shoes at the door as they walk into the studio designed to be a place of healing. “Before starting, I always ask the artist if they love the songs, or their voice, or instrument or whatever we will be working on that day and have them respond,” Karns says. “It's small, but sometimes just saying aloud, ‘Yes, I love my voice,’ can be a great way to internally prepare for the day.” The intimate, uplifting recording sessions are what make Sabbath unique among other studios and opportunities for musicians in Cincinnati. The team’s dedication to giving every artist the best experience possible is evident in even the small things they do, from strategically structuring sessions to keeping the studio stocked with drinks and a snack pile so artists don’t have to leave in search of nourishment. “Jacob and Isaac put their hand in the creative direction of the music because they feel so involved with the projects they bring in there,” says Dark Colour vocalist Randall Rigdon. “Their connection with the artists set them apart from other studios, where engineers can tend to act more exclusively as technicians.” In the two years that the studio has been open, artists from all over the country have checked in. Merritt says they are open to working with anyone — and taking the time before and during sessions to really understand who they are working with. While Karns is currently putting the finishing touches on Dark Colour’s Animal, which will be released with the Montreal-based label Kitabu Records this spring, he is also excited to finish up the quirky, trippy lounge-Punk debut album from S.R Woodward. Karns is also developing a narrative-driven, collaborative experimental podcast project. The team’s former bandmate from the Pomegranates Joey Cook will also check into Sabbath to work on his fever-dream-Psych-Disco record, which Merritt says “will be an odyssey.” Inquiries: sabbathrecording@gmail.com
 
 

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