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.
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.
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.
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
47 days ago
Posted In: COMMUNITY
at 11:25 AM | Permalink
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.
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
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
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.
must pass a background check.
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.
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.
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
For more information on CINCINNATI SQUASH ACADEMY,
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Look Here!, an outdoor,
site-specific photo installation project throughout Over-the-Rhine, is
coming to an end.
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.
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.
Policy debates over parking permits leave OTR residents caught in the middle
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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
110 days ago
at 11:25 AM | Permalink
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
“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
“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
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
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.”