by Nick Swartsell
26 days ago
Posted In: News
at 11:20 AM | Permalink
Questions about I-71 interchange's benefit to Avondale, Walnut Hills; high-ranking GOP Congressman spoke at white power convention; whatever you're doing on New Year's is better than this
Morning all. It’s a slow news day around here, and we’re waiting for tomorrow for our obligatory end-of-year top 10 news stories list. But there are still some interesting things happening around the city and beyond in the waning days of 2014.Police officers from around the region gathered last night to pay respects to two officers killed by a gunman in New York City earlier this month. Police from Covington, Kenton County and Campbell County attended a rally at a memorial for fallen officers in Covington to remember New York City Police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were shot while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. A few dozen members of the public also gathered for the event. Ramos and Liu’s shooter, who had earlier murdered his girlfriend in a Baltimore suburb, later killed himself. The incident has become a controversial moment in the nation’s tense struggle over police killings of unarmed people of color. Ramos and Liu’s shooter mentioned ongoing anger over the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after an officer placed him in a choke hold. Activists decrying police violence have said the shootings of the officers are a tragedy and have called for peaceful protests. • Cincinnati has gone all-in on a new highway interchange where I-71 passes through Walnut Hills and Avondale. But questions continue over whether that interchange will bring jobs and prosperity to some of the city’s poorest residents. It’s a tough question to answer because the project is fairly unique. Building a new highway on and off ramp in an already-built urban area is nearly unprecedented, and it’s tough to tell what will happen. That’s especially true since it’s unclear who will end up owning some of the 670 acres around the interchange officials say is blighted and in need of fresh development. City officials tout a study by the UC Economics Center that predicts the new interchange could create 7,000 jobs. But other studies of highway development projects say it can be exceedingly hard to tell what their impacts will be. The city has more than $25 million in the project, so stakes are high. They’re also high for residents of the neighborhood — as we reported this summer, Avondale has a 40 percent poverty rate and has historically found itself cut off from the rest of the city economically and geographically. What’s more, some residents will need to move to make way for the interchange. As the project continues toward its November 2016 completion date, questions keep swirling. • State Rep. John Becker, a staunch conservative representing suburban Cincinnati, has been busy during his freshman term, according to a recent profile in the Columbus Dispatch. The former anti-abortion activist has authored tons of right wing legislation — 27 bills, in fact — and has courted a similarly prodigious amount of controversy. He’s been outspoken about police shootings of people of color, even commenting that he “wasn’t sure who the victim was” in the case of Mike Brown, an unarmed black man shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. He has suggested that similar shootings in Cleveland and Beavercreek involved drugs or “suicide by cop.” He’s also questioned why Planned Parenthood isn’t considered a hate group. That’s all charming stuff. Becker was reelected in November and will enjoy an increasingly conservative House — Republicans will hold 65 seats there next session. Up next on his agenda: abolishing the state’s income tax. Great!• In national news, the Washington Post reports that House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, spoke at a white supremacist conference in 2002. The third most powerful member of the House appeared at a European-American Unity and Rights Organization convention in New Orleans hosted by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke when he was a state representative. Representatives for Scalise’s office say he was unaware of the group’s connections with the white power movement and was in the midst of a statewide campaign rallying support for lowering taxes and other conservative ideas. “For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous,” Scalise told the Times-Picayune as the story was breaking last night.The revelation comes as Republicans look to make a new start with an expanded majority in the House and a newly minted majority in the Senate. Meanwhile, Democrats are pummeling Scalise over the revelations.• Finally, if you’re not satisfied with Cincinnati’s New Year's Eve offerings (I can’t imagine why. There are about a million things to do) take heart: Whatever you get into is probably better than watching a giant nail drop in this Pennsylvania town. It's not even metal. It's wood. The, uh, nail dropping will commemorate a historic nail factory. Get wild.
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 25, 2014
A pedestrian walkway between McMillian
Street and Curtis Street in Walnut Hills called the St. James Cut
Through has long been a community eyesore and crime hot spot.
by Nick Swartsell
108 days ago
Posted In: News
at 09:44 AM | Permalink
Winburn, Thomas debate; Ky. Senate candidate Grimes draws crowds in Newport; who's trolling over tolling?
Good morning! Apparently two tuba players are dueling with chainsaws outside our window, or at least it sounds like it. I’m going to try and fight through the distraction to give you the morning news. Today’s update is mostly a politics sandwich, but stay with me here, because things are getting interesting as we speed toward Nov. 4.Republican Councilman Charlie Winburn will do anything for your vote as he runs for state Senate in a heavily Democratic district encompassing much of Cincinnati — but he won’t do that. I told you yesterday about Winburn’s recent evolutions on issues near and dear to most liberal hearts and minds. He’s pulling for expungements for folks who have marijuana convictions under a now-rescinded Cincinnati law, and though he says he’s pro-life, he recently lost endorsements from right to life groups after he signaled some reconsideration on women’s choice issues. Last night during a debate with state Senate opponent Democrat Cecil Thomas, Winburn made the case that he’s “an independent thinker,” willing to listen to his potential Democratic constituency but also able to use clout gained with the GOP as a long-time member of the party and reformed hard-core right winger. But one place he’s not bending: same-sex marriage rights. While Thomas, who was once opposed to gay marriage, has changed his tune on the issue, Winburn’s staying put on that one. “Let me be clear about what I believe,” he said during the debate. “I do not support gay marriages. Period.” Tell us how you really feel, Charlie.• Former Mahogany’s owner Liz Rogers has a new deal she wants the city to think about. Rogers, who recently threatened the city with a lawsuit if it didn’t forgive a $300,000 debt she owes on her former restaurant at The Banks, now wants the city to cut that debt almost in half and suspend payments until July 2016. Rogers has proposed paying $800 a month for 12 years, interest free, to pay back the loan. City Manager Harry Black has passed the proposal along to City Council for a final decision.• There’s another big development project happening in Walnut Hills. Developers Model Group are working with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation on a $9 million project to renovate 3 buildings along East McMillan Street in the neighborhood. The buildings will house about 7,200 square feet of retail space and 30 market-rate apartments. The aim is to attract residents interested in urban living who can’t afford or don’t want to pay downtown or Over-the-Rhine prices.• Who’s trolling over tolling? Was the head of the OKI, the region’s planning office, being overly provocative when he said yesterday that drivers who avoid the crumbling Brent Spence Bridge are “realists?” Those opposed to tolls on the bridge, who call themselves by the equally provocative name "No BS Tolls," say OKI head Mark Policinski should publicly rescind his statement about the safety of the bridge, calling it “unacceptable” and calling him out for fear-mongering. Policinski says he’d didn’t say the bridge was going to collapse tomorrow, just that reports show it is degrading. The battle rages on.
• It’s one of the most-watched 2014 races in the country, and yesterday the clash came to Northern Kentucky. A big throng of supporters, along with a healthy group of national press and local press, came out to hear Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Democratic candidate for Senate, make her pitch to the area. Grimes came to Newport yesterday to talk about two of the region’s biggest concerns: the aforementioned Brent Spence Bridge conundrum and the burgeoning heroin crisis. Grimes slammed her opponent, Senate Minority Leader and 20-year incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell, saying he didn’t have a plan for either issue. She promised she could secure funding for a replacement for the Brent Spence Bridge by closing some of the state’s corporate tax loopholes. She also pledged to use some of that money to hire more law enforcement officers and fund drug treatment programs. McConnell’s campaign shot back against Grimes’ speech. McConnell said he has floated the idea of rolling back state rules that require companies working government contracts to pay the prevailing wage in an area. The campaign says the savings from that move could be used for the bridge. He’s also laid out plans for increasing the number of counties under scrutiny as drug trafficking areas, though he hasn’t mentioned Northern Kentucky specifically. A recent poll commissioned by the Louisville Courier Journal put Grimes ahead by two points in the race, though other polls have her trailing McConnell. • Finally, the Greater Cincinnati area ranks lowest in the region, and very low nationally, in terms of public transit and job accessibility. It’s very hard for people to use public transit to get to their jobs in Cincinnati, according to a new University of Minnesota study. The area came in 41st out of 46 cities, well below Columbus (27), Cleveland (26), Indianapolis (38), Pittsburgh, (22), Louisville (36) and Detroit (34). Bummer.
Leah Joos and Jen Lile follow their dreams and taste buds to open Kitchen 452
3 Comments · Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Leah Joos and Jen Lile would like you to
try new things. The chefs/owners of the newest lunch spot in East Walnut
Hills, Kitchen 452, want to introduce people to things they may not
have thought to cook at home and to taste things they think they
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Seems thugs took “Pause for the Cause,”
talk radio host Nathan Iverson’s Jan. 9 anti-violence tête-à-tête with
Police Chief James Craig, as a green light and not the intended
by Jac Kern
Posted In: Events
at 12:02 PM | Permalink
Northside and OTR
get a lot of neighborhood love, but Walnut Hills is quickly becoming yet
another hot spot for local businesses, art galleries, shopping and more.
Support the Hills Friday and check out the Walk on Woodburn
from 6-9 p.m. Neusole
Glassworks will have a mobile glass-blowing truck, there will be plenty of live
music performances and caroling, Queen City Cookies will be hawking delicious
edible art and pop-up shops will be joining area businesses for all your holiday shopping needs. Read Her Magazine’s feature on the women of
This year has been
an a amazing time to live and work in Over-the-Rhine. Businesses, restaurants
and bars are opening every week, Washington Park’s revitalization has been a
success and the area is truly becoming a destination for locals and visitors
alike. On Friday, OTR will shine — and not just figuratively —with luminaries
for the third annual Light Up OTR
event. Volunteers will illuminate the streets beginning at 6 p.m., followed by
the lighting of the OTR tree at Kaze (new sushi spot opening next week at 1400
Vine St.) at 10 p.m.
Make Covington Pop
and Renaissance Covington keep the local love flowing as they present the first
annual 7th Street Makers Market Friday and Saturday. This festival
features area artists, bakers, farmers and business owners as they show off
their handmade and homegrown goods. Purchase gifts or goodies for yourself and enjoy
free gift wrapping at Artisan’s
Enterprise Center (AEC). Come hungry on Friday — there will be a food truck
happy hour outside AEC. The fun runs 5-8 p.m. Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday.
Street style is rapidly
gaining attention in the fashion world. No longer is fashion defined as
couture on a runway model — everyday folks are showing off their personal
style and flair all around cities, especially Cincinnati. Rise of the Cool Kids
(#ROCK) is a celebration of individual style, art and music and it all goes
down Saturday at the Bertke Electric Warehouse in Northside. Guests will get to
be a part of Cincy’s first projected fashion show, filmed in advanced,
featuring local designers and fashionistas. It all kicks off at 7 p.m. and is
followed by an after-party at FB’s downtown (there will also be a free shuttle
going to and from each location.) Get tickets here.
On Saturday, Third
presents a third installment of its monthly
experimental film program, Staring Eyes. “Yule Logs and
Certain Types of Nog” will feature eclectic holiday-themed screenings — no Miracle on 34th Street here.
The event begins at 8 p.m.
Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker opens Friday;
OTRimprov’s The Naughty List continues
at Arnold’s Sunday-Tuesday; Find more weekend theater info here.
out our calendar for more events, art shows, theater
productions and more to do this weekend and beyond.
2 Comments · Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Like a lot of Cincinnati neighborhoods, mine — Walnut
Hills — is segregated and there are fine, even
invisible-to-the-unknowing-eye dividing lines separating beauty from
filth, danger from safety, white from black and the strugglers from the
Cincinnati’s The Pinstripes set the stage for their biggest year yet
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 6, 2012
It’s been three years since my
introduction to The Pinstripes, interviewing the band in the cramped
rehearsal space they dubbed “The Good Stuff.” We discussed their love of
Ska, Reggae, Dub, Soul and all points between and beyond, as well as
their recordings to that point (Higher Ground and The Decay) while downing a few lightly chilled Pabst Blue Ribbons.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Singer/songwriter Holly Spears celebrates the release of her first full-length album, Heartache to Hope,
at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley this Friday.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Education
at 02:31 PM | Permalink
You've heard of prodigies who are offered full rides and stipends to attend universities, offered big money in hopes they'll become a golden poster child for the success of the school; a face of intelligentsia, promise and scholarship. That's not the case for the the 170-some students at Dohn Community High School, who, as of Monday, are getting paid just for showing up to class. A new incentive program rewards seniors who arrive on time every day, stay productive and out of trouble with $25 Visa cards every week, while underclassmen can earn $10. When a student receives a gift card, $5 will be put into a savings account to be paid out upon graduation. Dohn, which is a charter school in Walnut Hills, is comprised of mostly drop-out recovery students from other schools and other at-risk students from nearby communities.