by Nick Swartsell 01.23.2015
Posted In: News at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Activists demand apology from Norwood mayor; Northside to get new venue, brewery; more than half of public school students are low-income

Hey hey! In the past, specifically around election time, I’ve admonished you about getting involved in the democratic process. Well, it’s time to do your civic duty once again by casting your ballot in CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati reader survey.  Vote! Yes, it’s a long ballot, but don’t worry. You can skip some sections in case you don’t have an opinion on the best combination cupcake bakery/live music venue/dog grooming salon in the city.* But while you’re weighing in on the best burger in the city and the best place to hang while waiting for a table in OTR, consider casting a vote for best journalist, whether it be one of CityBeat’s great staffers or contributors, the top-notch reporters at other publications, or heck, yours truly. There are no electoral colleges or hanging chads in our process, so you’re basically mainlining democracy. America!*Not a real categoryOn to news. Cincinnati City Council yesterday passed an ordinance adding homeless individuals to those protected by the city’s hate crimes law. The new ordinance could mean up to an extra 180 days in jail for those convicted of hate crimes against the homeless. Members of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, who worked with Councilman Chris Seelbach on the legislation, say it’s a huge step forward for the city.• Cincinnati activists who have organized a number of events around racial injustices in police killings of unarmed black citizens are asking for an apology from the mayor of Norwood. Yesterday, I told you about a letter Norwood Mayor Thomas Williams sent to the city’s police force decrying what he called “race-baiting black leaders.” Williams’ letter refers to those who have raised questions and protest around police officers who have killed unarmed blacks across the country.  Members of the group Black Lives Matter Cincinnati, who have organized marches, teach-ins and other events protesting the deaths of citizens like John Crawford III, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown and others, sent their own letter addressed to Williams today asking for a full apology for his remarks. “We call upon Mayor Williams to publicly retract these comments and issue an immediate public apology,” the letter says. “Locally and nationwide, Black people are under assault by the negligent policymakers, inequitable school systems, broken windows policing, disproportionate conviction, sentencing and incarceration, and overall limited access to resources that are designed to maintain a high quality of life. Drawing attention to these realities is not ‘race baiting’ and attempting to silence the critique of Black leaders is a form of derailment that we will not tolerate.”The letter highlights a 2013 excessive use of force lawsuit brought against the Norwood Police Department that led to a misdemeanor assault conviction of involved officer Robert Ward, who subsequently resigned. It also highlights a 2014 Civil Rights lawsuit filed against the department by Maurice Snow, who alleges he was wrongfully imprisoned by police there in a case of mistaken identity. The activist group who wrote the letter is asking for an apology by Jan. 26.• Northside is about to get another entertainment venue, along with a brewery. A group of local musicians and developers calling themselves Urban Artifact have put their heads together to create a concept for the old St. Pius X church on Blue Rock Street that will feature two performances spaces, a full-service brewery and other attractions. The brewery will start up next month, with a goal of being open by April. Another interesting detail: Live performances at the space will be recorded and streamed from the space’s website. Originally, Urban Artifact wanted to launch its model in Over-the-Rhine, but the building on Jackson Street it sought needed extensive renovations that would have precluded a quick opening. • In-person head counts of students in Ohio charter schools done by the Ohio Board of Education often contrast sharply with those schools’ reported enrollment figures, the OBE announced earlier this week. Half of the 30 schools where auditors did surprise counts had head counts “significantly lower” than reported enrollments, the board said. The privately run schools receive taxpayer dollars on a per-student basis, raising questions about whether the schools are cheating taxpayers. Of the 30 schools counted, more than half had discrepancies greater than 10 percent. Some were off by as much as 50 percent. One school in Youngstown that was supposed to have 95 students had zero in attendance on the day a headcount was taken.“I’m really kind of speechless of everything that I found. It’s quite a morass,” Ohio Auditor Dave Yost said during a news conference in Columbus this week. Yost stressed that the findings were by no means comprehensive and that further investigation was being carried out. • Speaking of schools, a new study released last week shows that for the first time, more than half of U.S. public school students are considered low income. Fifty-one percent of students at public schools qualified for reduced price or free meals in 2013. That eligibility, based on household income, is used to determine how many students in a school are low-income. In 1989, fewer than 32 percent of students in public schools met those criteria. In 2000, that ratio had risen to 38 percent. The Southern Education Foundation produced the report using data from the National Center for Education Statistics. The report says the data marks a “turning point” for public schools and shows the trend is spread across the country. Mississippi had the highest concentration of poor students in public schools with 71 percent. Concentrations were highest generally in the South. Kentucky’s public schools had 55 percent low-income students; Ohio’s had 39 percent.• Finally, let’s take it back to local news for a zany incident: The old cliché is that you can’t fight City Hall, but apparently you can drive a truck into it. William Jackson was upset about difficulties he has been having in selling his business Beverage King and decided to take his concerns to the city, piloting his extended cab pick up right into the steps of City Hall while his dog sat in the passenger seat. Jackson then demanded to see Mayor John Cranley, who is in D.C. this week meeting with federal officials. Both Jackson and the dog were unhurt, though first responders said Jackson may need psychiatric attention. Jackson faces misdemeanor inducing panic charges as well as the more-serious count of inducing lyrics to a country song.As always, you can find me on Twitter or via email at nswartsell@citybeat.com. Both of those are also great for sending me news tips or pitches offering 1,000 Twitter followers for just $10.

Collective Espresso Expands to Northside

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Collective Espresso now offers two of the city’s finest coffee shops found off the beaten path.   

Northside Community Council OKs Needle Exchange Program

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Northside Community Council voted July 21 to create a needle exchange program in the neighborhood. The effort, run by the Cincinnati Exchange Program, will start sometime in August and operate from a van one day a week for three hours at a time. Planned Parenthood will also participate, providing testing services for diseases like HIV and hepatitis.  
by Nick Swartsell 07.22.2014
Posted In: News, Drugs at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northside Community Council OKs Needle Exchange

Northside program an effort to fight disease, demonstrate benefits of exchanges

Northside Community Council voted July 21 to allow a needle exchange program in the neighborhood. The effort, run by the Cincinnati Exchange Program, will start sometime in August and operate from a van one day a week for three hours at a time. Planned Parenthood will also participate, providing testing services for diseases like HIV and hepatitis.Exchanges, which aim to cut down the transmission of those diseases among intravenous drug users, have been controversial in the city. A similar effort in Springdale earlier this year was shut down after just a few weeks due to outcry from some in the community. But the community council in Northside thinks the program is worth it.“The community has been doing its due diligence as to how the program would work and what the repercussions are, and decided the health benefits definitely outweigh any consequences,” said Northside Community Council President Ollie Kroner. “Northside wants to be part of the solution to the heroin epidemic.”A 2012 study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that needle exchange programs can greatly reduce the number used syringes found littering streets. And a 2004 study by the World Health Organization found that exchanges do not increase the rate of heroin use in areas where they are undertaken.Heroin addiction has been rising steadily in Ohio in the past five years. 2012 Ohio Department of Health data shows that 159 people in Hamilton County died from heroin overdoses, a 6 percent increase over the year before. Experts trace the epidemic to an increase in the availability of prescription opiates in the last decade. As Ohio has cracked down on those drugs, addicts turn to other, similar drugs to experience the same high. The most popular by far is heroin.Local organizations, including Northside-based Caracole work hard to fight heroin addiction and prevent overdoses. But as heroin use increases, needles infected with various blood-borne diseases including HIV and hepatitis are a serious concern. Hepatitis C in particular has been increasing among intravenous drug users in the area. Needle exchanges allow a person to exchange a used needle for a new, sterile one, so they at least won’t catch deadly diseases associated with intravenous drug use. The exchanges also cut down on the level of needle litter, meaning less risk of exposure for community members who aren’t using. Opponents say exchanges encourage heroin use, but supporters of the programs say the availability of clean needles alone won’t sway a person to take or not take the incredibly addictive drug.Kroner said the effort is a six-month pilot program to demonstrate the benefits of needle exchanges. Though some in the community have expressed concerns that the exchange will create a perception that Northside has a heroin issue, Kroner emphasized that the program isn’t a response to any specific drug problem in the community.“What we’re really hoping is that Northside can show that this kind of program can work in other communities,” Kroner said.

Northside’s Bourbon Nation

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 1, 2014
A collection of Northside residents and art lovers are taking a stab at creating Cincinnati’s first bourbon bar and restaurant, the neighborhood’s soon-to-open The Littlefield.   
by Nick Swartsell 06.25.2014
Posted In: News at 08:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

Streetcar cost confusion, Northside development and campaign finance questions

This morning, as it seems every morning, people are disagreeing on the streetcar. I know, big breaking news, right?Currently, the disagreement is as follows: Have cost estimates gone up for the always-embattled transit project’s eventual operations, or haven’t they? It depends on what you read, and which study you look at. The Enquirer yesterday ran a story reporting that the deficit the streetcar will run — the gap between operating costs and its revenues — will be $2.6 million in its first full year of operation and would then climb to $3.85 million by 2025. The story then compares those numbers to a study done in December by KPMG, an independent auditing firm, which found that operating deficit would top out at $2.4 million.So clearly the expected costs of the streetcar have gone up right? Not so fast, the city says. Streetcar project leader John Deatrick said yesterday that the city has always expected the deficit to end up around the $3.85 million figure, which were included in an earlier study of the project. The city isn’t sure exactly how the KPMG arrived at their numbers, but a spokesperson for SORTA told the Business Courier that the two estimates aren’t comparable.The KPMG study was commissioned by City Council during the December fight over possible cancellation of the streetcar project, and is a cost assessment of that proposed cancellation. The city’s numbers were developed by another group, called TRA, and they take into account staff and administrative costs. It’s unclear if the KPMG numbers do this as well.Deatrick did reveal that the start-up costs for the streetcar-- training staff, testing the project, and other details-- could cost $1 million more than originally anticipated. He asked council for that money, which will be needed by 2016, at the Transportation Committee meeting yesterday.• A new development broke ground yesterday at one of Northside’s most prominent intersections. The Gantry building will hold 130 apartments and first-floor retail and dining at the corner of Blue Rock and Hamilton Avenue. The $13 million project is expected to finish next year. Check out this story for illustrations of the building, which looks to be a big departure from the aesthetics of the neighborhood now.• Gov. John Kasich, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine have all received those special invitations to a party you never want to go to: court hearings over alleged campaign finance improprieties. The three Ohio GOP leaders received subpoenas related to millionaire and big GOP funder Ben Suarez. The North Canton businessman is accused of funneling illegal contributions to two other Republicans, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican from Wadsworth, after they sent letters on his behalf over a California false-advertising lawsuit. Prosecutors charge that after the letters were sent, Suarez channeled $100,000 from his employees to each politician. Both later returned the donations.Kasich, Husted and DeWine are trying to RSVP a “no, thanks” to the whole mess, fighting the legal standing of the court summons. Suarez wants the Republicans to testify that letters from politicians on constituents’ behalf are normal and legal.• A new study by Arizona State University’s Carey School of Business found that Ohio is ranked 38th in the nation in terms of job growth. That’s not that great, really. On the upside, we beat Michigan by one spot and New Jersey by several. Hey guys, we’re not New Jersey!• ICYMI: American Apparel kicked their founder to the curb recently after years of allegations that he’s, well, super creepy. Dov Charney has weathered a number of sexual harassment lawsuits and other scandals during his time leading the company. None of that was a big deal for the label, which is famous for its racy ads featuring scantily clad models, until it started losing money. Like, lots of money. Now the company is looking to distance itself from Charney’s weird sideshow in order to clean up its image a bit.* Finally, and really relevant to nothing in particular in the news today, here's a pretty awesome map someone recently did of America's tribal nations as they existed before contact with Europeans. NPR has a great story on the map here.

Sonic Barbarism

Avant-garde cult hero Lydia Lunch hits the road with a live retrospective of her provocative music career

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Here’s a clear sign the apocalypse is coming: Lydia Lunch is touring North America, especially the Midwest, with her Retrovirus band and show.     
by Rachel Podnar 06.24.2014
Posted In: 2014 election, Governor at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
ed fitzgerald

Ed FitzGerald to Walk in Northside Fourth of July Parade

Gubernatorial candidate follows former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' appearance last year

Ohio Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald is coming to Northside for the Fourth of July Parade. FitzGerald will walk in the parade, but will not hold a speaking event. The parade will be his only public appearance while he is in Cincinnati.  “He knows it’s a great celebration for the 4th of July and he enjoys the Cincinnati area,” campaign press secretary Lauren Hitt says. “He’s excited to get out and see some folks there.” The Cuyahoga County executive and democratic nominee will face incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich this November. FitzGerald recently signed on for five debates — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Sandusky and Zanesville — against Kasich. This past weekend FitzGerald walked in the Columbus Pride Parade, in line with his support of same-sex marriage. Last year, Gabrielle Gifford’s appeared in Northside’s annual community parade and held a rally on gun control before the parade. Member of parade committee Ollie Kroner said the parade organizers typically invite city politicians, but FitzGerald reached out to the parade. “I just think the parade has a reputation beyond our side and beyond the city,” Kroner says. “When politicians want to come and get a taste for local flair the parade is a great venue for that.” The parade will take place at noon on July 4 and travel south on Hamilton Avenue through the Northside business district. It is part of the three-day Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival.
by Jac Kern 05.16.2014
Posted In: Events at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 5/16-5/18

The Contemporary Arts Center turns 75 this year and she’s looking as good as ever! Celebrate the CAC’s long history of pushing Cincinnati along the cutting edge with an epic birthday bash tonight. The festivities start at the CAC’s former location in the Mercantile Center with dinner and silent and live auctions from 6-9 p.m. (email sday@contemporaryartscenter.org or call 513-345-8422 to get on the waiting list). More food and drink, dancing and art awaits at the CAC with a Diamonds + Debauchery after-party from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. CityBeat’s own Jesse Fox will be taking fabulous photobooth pics and there will be an appearance by California avant-garde performance artist boychild. After-party tickets are $40 in advance, $75 per couple and $100 for a group of three (online sales end at 4 p.m.) or $50 at the door. Read this week's cover story on the Contemporary Arts Center here. Downtown nightlife staple Mt. Adams Pavilion recently underwent a facelift, complete with interior renovations of the dance floor area and penthouse, new cocktails and a menu created by Chef Brian Duffy (of Bar Rescue fame). Check out the updated digs tonight at Pavilion’s re-launch party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Head down to Washington Park for an OTR-rific Saturday with the first City Flea of the season and the eighth annual OTR 5K. City Flea, Cincy’s local curated urban flea market, embarks on its fourth season this weekend, offering handcrafted goods, art, antiques, local grub and more fun goodies from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The OTR 5K also kicks off at 10 a.m., with festivities following in the park. Northside is a hub for creativity, so it’s fitting that the Cincinnati Arts Association is sponsoring a self-guided tour of Hamilton Avenue artist studios from 2-5 p.m. this Sunday. North By Northside features studio tours, pop-up exhibitions and an overall celebration of art in the eclectic neighborhood. Start at Hoffner Lodge (4120 Hamilton Ave.), where tickets can be purchased beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, then make your way through several artist studios and creative spaces. Head back to the lodge from 5-7 p.m. for an after-party including food, drinks and music. Tickets are $35; the event benefits non-profit gallery Weston Art Gallery. For more art openings, parties, festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
by Jac Kern 04.11.2014
Posted In: Events at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Weekend To Do List: 4/11-4/13

This weekend’s forecast includes warm weather, a bit of rain, a few clouds and tons of art. Whether you want to watch it, make it, buy it or just support local arts organizations, art is all around this weekend — starting with the last Macy’s Arts Sampler of the season, presented by ArtsWave. Macy’s Arts Sampler Weekends bring free performances, workshops, tours and other art opportunities to venues across Greater Cincinnati. Saturday’s final installment includes concerts by the Cincinnati Children's Choir, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Cincinnati Men’s Chorus at St. John’s Unitarian Church; dance demo classes and performances at Covington’s Step-N-Out Studio; yarn-bombing 101 with the Bombshells of Cincinnati at 21c Museum Hotel and tons more events in College Hill, Butler County, Mariemont and other neighborhoods. Find a full schedule of free art to sample here. Visionaries + Voices provides countless opportunities for local artists with disabilities. With locations in Northside and Tri-County, V+V helps these artists create, market and showcase their pieces. At the organization’s annual fundraiser, Double Vision, talented V+V artists exhibit and auction their works of art. Double Vision V takes place at Memorial Hall Friday — VIP and general admission ticket options available here. Art will be on sale via live and silent auctions, and attendees can enjoy drinks, snacks and music by DJ Mowgli. Oakley’s Brazee Street Studios hosts a free art supply swap from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Clean out your craft closet and bring any unwanted items such as paint, textiles and brushes, then stock up on other materials you may need. It’s all free and honor system-style — please bring at least two items if you plan on swapping. All extra supplies will be donated to Crayons2Computers.It’s Northside Second Saturday time this weekend! Art, retail sales, food and drink specials abound throughout the neighborhood starting around 6 p.m. Highlights include shows at Northside Tavern and The Comet, gallery openings at Fabricate, NVISION and Northside International Airport’s Bathrool Gallery and a closing reception at Thunder-Sky, Inc. Local electronic artist Charles Woodman is a founding member of video performance group viDEO sAVant and he currently has a show on display in Weston Art Gallery you can read about here. This Sunday viDEO sAVant presents Lateral Thinking, a unique, live multimedia performance at 21c Museum Hotel downtown. Video clips of both sci-fi and avant-garde films will play out as a soundtrack is composed live. This feast for the senses is free and begins at 4 p.m. Read more here. Be sure to read our Best of Cincinnati issue for reader and staff picks on the city’s best restaurants, businesses, events and more. For more theater shows, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.