by Nick Swartsell
19 days ago
Posted In: News
at 09:17 AM | Permalink
Million-dollar homes in OTR?; bill allowing unlicensed concealed carry proposed; South Carolina cop charged with murder over shooting of unarmed man
Good morning y’all. Let’s get right to the news. Are million-dollar homes coming to Over-the-Rhine? At least one of the city’s big movers and shakers thinks so. Reds owner Bob Castellini made that prediction last night during a speech at Music Hall for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber’s annual Star Awards, which spotlights the neighborhood’s growth and its business leaders. Castellini is on the board of 3CDC, the developer that is approaching $1 billion in projects completed in the neighborhood and downtown. He’s bullish on the idea that the once-neglected neighborhood will continue to see high-price new developments. He highlighted condos in 3CDC’s Mercer Commons development that have sold for more than $400,000 as one example of growing interest in high-end living in OTR. Following new development, median household incomes and property values have been going up in the historically low-income neighborhood in the last few years. That’s caused a lot of fanfare, but has also stoked fears about gentrification, apprehensions that came up again recently when a developer proposed $400,000 single-family homes in the neighborhood’s less-hyped northern area. Some advocates in the neighborhood say there isn’t affordable housing there.• Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is shifting gears in his campaign for U.S. Senate. Sittenfeld’s campaign manager Ramsey Reid has left the Democrat’s team, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Sittenfeld’s campaign says his departure was planned from the beginning and that a new campaign manager and other new hires will be announced shortly. Sittenfeld recently ramped up his team, hiring a spokesman, a finance director and a polling specialist in his underdog primary battle against former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Strickland is a heavy favorite to win the primary. He’s garnered an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton and is currently polling nine points ahead of Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman. Sittenfeld has been steadfast about staying in the race despite pressure from some Democrats to bow out. • If you need proof that the weather here really is a bummer and that you’re not just a big whiner, here it is. A new study by a popular meteorology blog called Brian B’s Climate Blog shows Cincinnati is ranked 5th in the country for major cities when it comes to dreary weather. The city tied for that… err, honor… with Cleveland and Lexington. Buffalo took the top spot, followed predictably by Seattle, Pittsburgh and Portland. The climate blog considered three factors in its rankings: total number of days with precipitation, total annual precipitation and total annual cloud cover. If you need more anecdotal evidence, just find your nearest window. • A new bill in the Ohio House would allow concealed carry in the state without a license if passed. The bill, proposed by State Rep. Ron Hood of Ashville, has 20 cosponsors and support from State Rep. Ron Arnstutz, the second-most powerful Republican in the House. Lots of dudes named Ron are into this idea, which makes me think of the ultimate Ron. Anyway, the bill would do away with licensing and training requirements for those who want to carry concealed weapons, limiting concealed carry only to those below the age of 21 or people who aren’t permitted to have guns due to their criminal background or other legal reasons. Five other states, including Kansas, have already approved unlicensed concealed carry, and 10 more states are considering similar measures. Gun rights groups have applauded the bill, but opponents, including law enforcement groups, say it will make the state less safe. • With bicycle commuting on the rise, both nationally and, I’m hoping, in Cincinnati, do we need better data collection practices from police when it comes to cyclist-car accidents? It seems that way, according to a study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study, summarized in this CityLab post, suggests that most data collection methods used by public safety agencies around the country are outdated and don’t consider the differences between cars and bikes and don’t make allowances for the different situations in which the two could collide. Better data could lead to safer bike infrastructure, the authors of the study say. • Finally, it’s almost becoming a sentence in which you can just fill in the blanks with the latest shooter and deceased. Michael Slager, a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina shot an apparently unarmed black man named Walter Scott over the weekend. The police incident report says that Scott had the officer’s taser and that Slager feared for his life. But a video taken by a bystander contradicts all of that, showing Slager firing eight rounds at Scott as he ran away. After Scott fell to the ground, Slager appears to casually drop something next to him. More officers soon arrived, though none are seen administering the CPR the police report alleges took place. Scott died at the scene. The incident has drawn national attention and a murder charge for Slager — a rarity perhaps brought about by the graphic and shocking video taken by a witness.
by Nick Swartsell
70 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:46 AM | Permalink
Sittenfeld gets support from major local fundraiser; construction company admits errors in Hopple Street offramp collapse; could some salaried employees be eligible for overtime soon?
Good morning Cincy. Remember last weekend when the high was 59 degrees? No, no, I don’t either. Let’s just not talk about the fact that winter is apparently going to last forever and get on with the news, shall we?A major Cincinnati fundraiser for the Democratic Party has put his backing behind current City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld in his run for the U.S. Senate. Cincinnati businessman Allan Berliant raised as much as $500,000 for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 through his network of donors both here in Cincinnati and around the country. He expects many of those donors could chip in for Sittenfeld in his upcoming race. "I have been very pleased almost to the point of being surprised at the breadth, width and depth and passion of support, both politically and financially, that I've seen here in the last three weeks,” Berliant told the Cincinnati Business Courier about Sittenfeld’s campaign. “I'm a fairly seasoned political fundraiser. I will tell you there is a lot of excitement surrounding this campaign and that is off to a great start."The 30-year-old councilman has a big task ahead, as Democratic favorite and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has made noises about entering the race for the seat. And should Sittenfeld best Strickland and the other experienced Democrats eying the seat, he’ll have to take on sitting Sen. Rob Portman, who has already raised $6 million ahead of the election. Sources say Sittenfeld has raised about $500,000 since he announced his campaign a few weeks ago.• Officials with Columbus-based Kokosing construction company apologized Friday for the fatal collapse of the Hopple Street off ramp last month. The collapse, which investigators believe was at least in part caused by last-minute changes to demolition plans, killed construction foreman Brandon Carl. Officials with the company have said a review shows key details missing from the plans, including stipulations about how to remove the road surface on the ramp. "I am very sorry, and all of us are deeply troubled by these findings," CEO Brian Burgett said in a statement about the accident. The company will institute new safety policies as a result of the accident, having an independent engineering firm produce plans for bridge demolitions along with Kokosing’s in-house engineers. Demolition won’t proceed unless both plans match.• So this is cool: A proposed tribute to Crosley Field, the Cincinnati Reds’ former home in Queensgate, is making headway. Designs have been drawn up for replica foul poles, a mural depicting the field near where it stood at Findlay Street and Western Avenue, a pocket park with information about the Crosley and other historical features. Crosley was the home of the Reds from 1912 to 1970, when the team moved to Riverfront Stadium. It was demolished in 1972. Boosters are aiming to have the tribute done in time for the 2015 MLB All Star game, which will take place in Cincinnati July 14. • House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP members of the House are playing budget hardball again, this time over immigration. Republicans are risking shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security over several executive orders President Barack Obama has issued over the past two years. Boehner has signaled he won’t back down on a bill the House passed to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded for the next year. The department’s current funding ends Feb. 27. The GOP funding bill rolls back Obama’s 2012 and 2014 executive orders that have kept the federal government from deporting millions of undocumented immigrants. The GOP bill stands no chance with Democrats in the Senate and President Barack Obama has threatened to veto it, putting the Department of Homeland Security’s funding in a precarious position. Boehner says the House has done its job and passed a bill to fund the department and that it’s up to Senate Democrats and the president to follow through. Democrats, on the other hand, are saying that the bill is an obvious no-go and that far-right members of the House are once again playing political brinksmanship.• Low-earning salaried positions could become eligible for overtime pay if a plan by the Obama administration comes to fruition. Under current rules, companies can declare some low-paid workers making as little as $23,600 “exempt" employees, meaning they’re not eligible for overtime. Labor advocates say that arrangement allows employers to take advantage of workers by forcing them to work long hours with no extra compensation, eroding the traditional 40 hour work week. The Department of Labor has discussed a plan would raise the floor for those who can be considered exempt to somewhere between $42,000 and $52,000 a year. Anyone under that salary range would have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. Liberal think tank Economic Policy Institute says the increase could affect between 3 and 6 million workers in the U.S. The Department of Labor is expected to roll out its proposal sometime in February or March.
by Nick Swartsell
111 days ago
Posted In: News
at 11:06 AM | Permalink
Sittenfeld eyes Senate; Christ Hospital fights lawsuit; Shocker: Congress mostly male, mostly white
Hey all. Hope your morning commute was safe and warm amidst the cold, nasty dusting of snow we got last night. I’m still glued to my space heater here at home, so I’ve yet to venture out into the grossness. Here’s what’s up today:It looks as if Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is seriously checking out a run for U.S. Senate. Sources close to Sittenfeld told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the 30-year-old Democrat has begun raising money for a bid at Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s seat. It’s a big jump from councilman to senator, and Sittenfeld may have some more experienced competition for the nod as the Democratic candidate. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has shown signs that he may be interested in running, as have former Ohio Congressional delegates Betty Sutton and Tim Ryan. However, Sittenfeld has laid some groundwork for a run, visiting all corners of the state in the past year on issues of taxes and the economy. He also has a number of Senate-themed website names on lockdown, including pgforsenate.com, sittenfeldforsenate.com, and surelysittenfeldsoundssenatorialsam.com (I made that last one up). He hasn’t made it official yet, and there’s no telling if he would stay in the race should someone more experienced like Strickland officially throw his hat in the ring. But party leaders like Hamilton County Democratic Party chair Tim Burke and Ohio Democratic Party head David Pepper say he could be a serious contender depending upon how things shake out ahead of 2016.• Mount Auburn-based Christ Hospital is fighting a lawsuit claiming the health organization submitted $28 million in claims to Medicare that cannot be proven. The hospital claims the money was used to train doctors rotating into the hospital from other health organizations between 2007 and 2012, but former employee Glenda Overton says in her lawsuit that the claims the hospital filed were not documented in accordance with federal law. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2013, but federal judge Timothy Black just struck down the hospital’s request to dismiss the case Dec. 31. The hospital could be on the hook for more than $90 million in damages if a jury finds it is guilty of misrepresenting claims. • One of Mayor John Cranley’s staff members made a pretty prestigious list this week. Daniel Rajaiah, Cranley’s director of external affairs and the head of the mayor’s immigration task force, appeared on Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 list in policy and politics. Rajaiah has been at City Hall just over a year, but then, he hasn’t been out of college much longer than that. Rajaiah graduated from the University of Dayton in 2013. While at UD, he led the College Democrats of Ohio for a year. The magazine highlights his work on the immigration task force as well as his time at his college post, where he helped get 43,000 people registered to vote. • Meet the new bosses, who look very much the same as the old bosses. As Congress prepares to start a new session today, let’s look at how representative our representatives are. Four out of five members of Congress are male, and four out of five are white. Women make up just 19 percent of the House of Representatives and 20 percent of the Senate, despite, you know, being half of the general population. Meanwhile, blacks make up just 10 percent of the House and a whole 2 percent of the Senate, despite representing 14 percent of the U.S. population. People of Hispanic origin make up just 8 percent of the House and 3 percent of the Senate. They account for 18 percent of the general population. Only three of Ohio’s 16 reps are women. Only two are black. The saddest part? What I just described to you is the most diverse Congress in history. America!• Finally, remember how much of a fight it was to get a few miles of those streetcar tracks in the ground? I put forward this next bit of news only to demonstrate conclusively that we live in an entirely different dimension than some other parts of the country. Officials broke ground today on a high-speed rail project that could eventually shuttle people between Los Angeles and San Francisco at 220 mph. That means you could escape the hellish traffic hole that is the city of angels for the bay area, which is rapidly becoming one big Google campus, in just over two hours. Amazing. Sorry, LA and SF. I'm just kidding. I love you and your lack of below-freezing temperatures. Hit me with your news tips, heckling and/or chili recipes: email@example.com and on Twitter: @nswartsell.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Plans to turn a former Kings Island Resort and Conference
Center into a $35 million luxury apartment complex are in the works by
by Paloma Ianes
at 09:26 AM | Permalink
Mike Georgiton of Senate, Abigail Street and Pontiac shares his favorite cocktails
Cocktail-mad scientist and adventurist Mike Georgiton is the bar
manager/director of Senate, Abigail Street and forthcoming barbecue joint Pontiac
(all owned by Daniel and Lana Wright). His unique creations make you want to
rethink your regular cocktail order to try something that’s thoughtfully
crafted to perfectly pair with your dish.
CityBeat: When did you
start getting into bar tending and creating craft cocktails?
Mike Georgiton: I’ve
been a bartender for about 11 years. I was working for a while in fast-paced
club kind of environment, and it wasn't until later that I got another job in a
lounge. It was actually the worst job I’ve ever had; I hated it there.
Eventually, the club changed hands, and the new owners brought some guys from
Louisville to train everyone. I went through like 90 hours of training of
cocktail history and that’s when I started making craft cocktails and started
to enjoy the process. It wasn't until I started here that I began researching
and getting creative. I started reading and figuring out more techniques and
developing my own from there.
CB: What would
you say is your technique/method in coming up with original cocktail recipes?
MG: I don’t
like to read too many cocktail books. Books do help in getting kind of basic
idea of what people are doing, but I like to get more inspiration from food and
the way people pair food together. I ask myself, ‘How can I pair this food
ingredient with a liquor?’ and that way I’m coming up with more obscure
ingredients that are my own. Flavor combinations that chefs use in a lot of
their dishes will push me to think, ‘Well, how can I tie in pistachios?’ or ‘How
can I tie in this or that?’ I want to do something that’s completely different and
inspired from my own source — something that no one else is doing.
CB: What’s your
favorite ingredient to use in your cocktails?
MG: My favorite
ingredients are usually more food-type ingredients that chefs are also using in
their dishes. My favorite liquor to use is Domaine de Canton, which is a
cognac-based ginger liquor. I put it in a lot of drinks. It’s one of those that
I love it because it goes good with everything, but I also kind of hate it
because I want to put it in everything.
CB: Do you
notice any changes in cocktail culture within OTR?
MG: I have
noticed that, more than before, people are starting to get more creative in
making original cocktails instead of just taking recipes from a book. People
are using more modern techniques, and I think that’s great because that was
always what I was more into than just traditional cocktails.
CB: What’s the
strangest ingredient that you've ever put in a cocktail?
gras, which is stuffed goose liver. Hands down the most bizarre that I've
It's fatty and it’s easy. You cook it and render it down in a pan and add
some cognac to it. I know cognac has always been a classic pairing with foie gras,
so I thought it would be really interesting to come full cycle and put foie
gras in the cognac. It was one of the initial cocktails that I did more of a
direct food style. In the cocktail I added a fig emulsion, some black pepper
tincture and sprinkled some nutmeg, which are all ingredients you usually find
being used with foie gras. It turned out really great and is on the menu here [at
Senate], but to get one great original cocktail you have to go through five
horrible ones. It takes a lot of experimenting.
CB: What is one
of your favorite cocktails served at the Senate?
Fidel Castro. It goes great with the fall season, and we have it pre-mixed and
ready to serve at Senate.
Fidel Castro2 oz. oak-aged spiced rum1/2 oz. pure maple syrup3 dashes of Angostura bitters1 dash orange bitters1-inch piece of orange peel
Shake all ingredients together (except for orange peel) over ice in a
cocktail shaker. Stir and strain into glass. Heat up orange peel with a
lighter. Squeeze the peel over the glass, running the rim with it before adding
to the cocktail.
Oak-Aged Spiced Rum
750 ml. bottle Bacardi Silver Rum1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise2 whole cinnamon sticks1 T. whole coriander, cracked10 allspice berries, cracked3 black peppercorns, cracked2 whole nutmegs, cracked1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves1 T. cardamom pods, cracked1 star anise1 T. sarsaparilla bark or root (optional)3 4-by-1-inch strips of orange peel, white pith removed5 slices ginger root1/4 cup French or American oak chips
Combine ingredients in a large glass jar. Cover and allow to age,
shaking every few days. It can be used after a few days.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 11:14 AM | Permalink
Taste of Belgium, Bakersfield and Senate on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'
Remember when Guy Fieri and his Flavortown mobile came to Cincinnati this summer to film Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? The Food Network star made appearances at several area restaurants from Corryville's Island Frydays and Northside's Melt to a bevy of spots in Over-the-Rhine. Melt and Island Frydays' segments have since aired; tonight, a special OTR-centric episode of DDD premieres.Vine Street eateries Senate, Bakersfield and Taste of Belgium will all be featured in this "One Street Wonders" episode. Typically three restaurants from three different cities are compiled in each episode; tonight, the entire episode will be devoted to OTR's Gateway Quarter. Tune into Food Network at 10 p.m. Go here for additional showtimes and recipes from Senate and Taste of Belgium.Diners Drive-ins and Dives is no stranger to Cincinnati. Before this summer's filming, Fieri had visited Terry's Turf Club, Blue Ash Chili and Virgil's Cafe for the show.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 31, 2013
WEDNESDAY JULY 24: It’s hard to find a job that pays $40,000
and allows you to be you, because most people with money are
insufferable to be around.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Language abuse — as opposed to abusive language — is as old as language itself.
After 50-plus years of reporting and
editing, I should be used to it, but I’m increasingly irritated by its
deliberate, partisan misuse.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 12:15 PM | Permalink
The remaking and
re-imagining of classic films and TV shows is often met with high expectations
and harsh reviews. Despite this, I was really looking forward to A&E’s new
horror-drama, Bates Motel. Something
of a warped prequel to Psycho, the
thriller places a young Norman Bates and his mother Norma in charge of a
previously foreclosed motel in a contemporary setting. With the swoon-worthy
Vera Farmiga (big sis to American Horror
Story’s Violet, Taissa Farmiga) starring as the mother to the future sociopath
(who is portrayed by creepy-yet-cute Freddie Highmore), I really thought it was going to be
awesome. It wasn’t. Check out my full reaction in this week’s TV column.
I know I should
have lowered my expectations — prequels generally suck — but I was really
pulling for this one. Sadly, I’ve felt more suspense in an episode of A&E’s
Intervention that in this show where
multiple people were murdered in the premiere. Dammit, Bates Motel, I was rooting for you!
recommendation site Urbanspoon recently listed the most buzzed about
bar-n-grills across America and Cincinnati topped the list with seven restaurant-bar mentions
— matched only by Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis. The restaurants
include A Tavola, Adriatico's Pizza, Bakersfield OTR, Nada, Senate, Taste of
Belgium Bistro and Terry’s Turf Club. With Covington’s Wunderbar bringing the
local count up to eight, it looks like Greater Cincinnati is the place to go
for beers and bites!
Usually when my
mom shares with me something she found on the Internet, it’s either a pug photo
shoot on YouTube or an MSN slideshow of inappropriate advertisements, but
recently she sent me something even
better. Check out this informational North Korean documentary footage of
Ah, America: Where
there aren’t any birds, except for the ones we all ate yesterday. Just a
reminder, next time you order your snow coffee, make sure to ask if it’s
Thanks for the cake, North Korea!
So the Catholics
got a new pope last week. Remember: There’s always money in the Vatican!
Usually when I
hear “Satan” and “Obama” in the sentence, I quickly tune out whichever Fox News
zombie or disgruntled family member is ranting, but this week the two were
compared for a new reason. The History Channel’s incredibly factual miniseries The Bible obviously features the devil,
an important supporting character from the original masterpiece, but some
people are upset about the resemblance to our president. Check it out for yourself here.
The Princess Bride is a classic, but
what if little Fred Savage’s grandpa gave him another book instead?
If the kid hated
all that kissing in PB, I can only
imagine what he’d think of GOT’s uh, adult scenes.Hey remember my American Horror Story Season Three guesses? AHS: Coven = confirmed. Witches! Squee!
1 Comment · Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Nothing screams artisan or handcrafted
food like a flannel-shirted, tattooed server. Remove the pageantry from
the building, please, and just give us the weird cuts of beef or spruced
up hot dog served alongside a Prohibition-era cocktail.