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Cincinnati In The News

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Good times in Cincinnati, A (art) to Z (Zula)


Andrew Davis, managing editor of Chicago's Windy City Times, a newspaper and website serving the LGBTQ community, visited Cincinnati recently as part of its TRAVEL series and came away impressed.

"When I told several people I'd be headed to Cincinnati, Ohio, and neighboring northern Kentucky," Davis wrote in the opening to his report, "I pretty much received a collective shrug as well as comments like, 'You'll probably run out of things to do within a day.' Well, I'm here to tell people near and far that Cincinnati and Kentucky have a LOT to offer — primarily with (courtesy of revitalization) some pretty unique spots that make the area memorable."

Davis' whirlwind visit included Over-the-Rhine, Covington's MainStrasse district ("reminded me of Evanston"), Clifton and Northside ("full of treasures of all types").

Read the full story from Windy City Times here.
 

Jens Lekman making music more personal and intimate from Cincinnati


Jens Lekman is one of Sweden's best-known musicians and a darling of the indie pop world, writes Stephen Heyman in The New York Times. He has three full-length albums to his name, including 2007's Night Falls Over Kortedala, which made it onto several critics' lists of the last decade's best records.

Heyman runs a Q&A in the Times's International Arts section to explore Lekman's recent push into more intimate and immediate ways of music-making and explains how he was in Cincinnati this fall working on a project called "Ghostwriting" in which he interviewed people about their lives and turned their stories into songs he later released for free on his website.

Lekman performed a few weeks ago at the Woodward Theater in a collaboration with MYCincinnati Youth Orchestra.

Read the full New York Times Q&A here.
 

How transportation planning is stuck in the past


A new report from the National League of Cities, "City of the Future: Technology & Mobility," details the many challenges city and regional leaders face in adapting their planning efforts to coming workforce and demographic changes. Bob Graves, associate director of the Governing Institute, writes about the report's findings in Governing Magazine.

"For all we hear about the impact that technology and social changes are having on urban mobility, you'd certainly expect to see their influence reflected in city transportation planning," he says. "For the most part, unfortunately, this simply isn't the case."

In short, Graves writes, the NLC study finds that the cities' planning efforts focus heavily "on the problem of automobile congestion and prescribe increased infrastructure in the form of new roads as the primary cure."

The study analyzed city and regional transportation planning documents from the 50 most populous U.S. cities as well as the largest cities in every state, for a total of 68 communities. Cincinnati didn't make the cut, but our regional planning shortcomings are certainly echoed in the report.

Read the full Governing Magazine story here.
 

Cincinnati has two of the 23 worst traffic bottlenecks in U.S.


The American Transportation Research Institute has collected and processed truck GPS data since 2002 to create performance measures related to truck-based freight transportation, then quantifies the impact of traffic congestion at 250 specific locations. Their latest analysis shows that Cincinnati has two of the nation's 23 worst traffic bottlenecks.

The intersection of I-71 and I-75 at the Brent Spence Bridge downtown is the #7 worst traffic congestion spot in the U.S., ahead of anything in Los Angeles. Don't worry, though, because we're going to get a Brent Spence Bridge replacement very soon.

The I-75/I-74 split is the country's #23 worst traffic congestion spot. That area is actually scheduled to be rebuilt and should be finished in 5-10 years.

But things could always be worse: Houston has four of the top 10 worst traffic bottlenecks.

Read the full American Transportation Research Institute study here.
 

Cincinnati among top 20 U.S. cities for freelance graphic designers


The Graphic Design USA website is citing Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers to say there are 259,500 graphic designers in the U.S., with 24 percent self-employed. It then looks at a study by Zen99, a tax company for self-employed workers, to compare which cities provide "the biggest bang for the buck" for self-employed or freelance graphic designers.

Cincinnati is ranked #18 in the study, which explores where graphic designers earn the most, which cities have the highest percentage of self-employed designers and how affordable are living costs, especially health insurance.

The top five cities are Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; and Miami.

Read the full Graphic Design USA post here.
 

Did Kentucky governor's race kill political polling?


Politicians like to say that the only poll that matters is on Election Day. That's starting to be more true, according to analysis in Governing Magazine.

Writer Alan Greenblatt points out that polls in the Kentucky governor's race consistently showed Democrat Jack Conway with a slight lead over Republican Matt Bevin. Not only did Bevin win, but it wasn't even close, as he took 53 percent of the vote to Conway's 44 percent.

The day after the election, The Lexington Herald-Leader announced it would dump Survey USA as its pollster.

"We might as well buy monkeys and dartboards vs. what we had here with Survey USA," Greenblatt quotes Kentucky Republican consultant Scott Jennings.

"The problems aren't limited to the Bluegrass State," the article says. "Last year, polls around the country underestimated the Republican strength in several Senate races, as well as the governor's race in Wisconsin. Conversely, in 2012, the Gallup Poll showed Mitt Romney beating Barack Obama in the presidential election."

Read the full Governing Magazine story here.
 

ArtWorks murals tell Cincinnati's story "one wall at a time"


The Cleveland Plain Dealer takes a tour of ArtWorks' mural program and comes away impressed.

"To learn the history of Cincinnati, take a walk. Then look around," Susan Glaser writes. "The city's story surrounds you, in full color, on the exteriors of buildings scattered throughout downtown and in dozens of nearby neighborhoods."

Glaser and a Plain Dealer photographer check out some of the Cincinnati's newest and best-known murals, including Ezzard Charles and Henry Holtgrewe, the world's strongest man, in Over-the-Rhine; the fruit stand beside Kroger's headquarters; and the retouched Cincinnatus homage at Vine Street and Central Parkway.

"Every day, thousands of residents and visitors pass by the murals," Galser writes, "and, perhaps, wonder: What is that? How did it get there?"

Read the full Cleveland Plain Dealer story here.
 

Cincinnati recommended for "weekend getaway" from Chicago


Inside Hook bills itself as "the essential city guide email for adventurous and established men — guys who have limited time, but discerning taste and a thirst for experiences." It focuses on Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and that's where Cincinnati comes in.

In its 4hr. Rule section, the Chicago site offers a guide to Cincinnati as one of "the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home. ... Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours."

Inside Hook calls Cincinnati "one of the surprising destinations on the mid-sized-American-city travel circuit ... a city built on Midwestern spirit (and immigrant German muscle) with a slight dose of Southern charm."

Guide highlights include 21c Museum Hotel, Salazar, Eden Park, Rhinegeist, Article Menswear and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar.

Read the full Inside Hook post here.
 

UC professors discover possible "gateway to civilizations" in Greece


A grave discovered this spring by Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker, a husband-and-wife team in the University of Cincinnati's Department of Classics, is yielding artifacts that The New York Times says "could be a gateway" to explain the earliest development of Ancient Greek culture.

"Probably not since the 1950s have we found such a rich tomb," James C. Wright, director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, told The Times. "You can count on one hand the number of tombs as wealthy as this one," echoed Thomas M. Brogan, director of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete.

The article says Davis and Stocker have been excavating near the Greek coastal city of Pylos for 25 years and were surprised to find such an impressive site basically right under their noses.

"It is indeed mind boggling that we were first," Davis wrote in an email to The Times. "I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. So many walked over it so many times, including our own team."

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

25 years later: Cincinnati and Mapplethorpe


Cincinnati writer/artist Grace Dobush has a well-researched and well-written story in today's Washington Post about this weekend's activity at the Contemporary Arts Center celebrating the 25th anniversary of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's infamous Perfect Moment exhibition at the CAC. Events and the symposium continue through tomorrow; see the full schedule here.

Dobush does a nice job reminding readers of the local tumult in 1990, centering around the prosecution of the CAC and its director, Dennis Barrie, and their subsequent acquittal by a Hamilton County jury. She also discusses Cincinnati's slow recovery from the culture wars that created an atmosphere where art could be prosecuted as obscenity.

"When Chris Seelbach became Cincinnati’s first openly gay City Council member in 2011 ... Cincinnati’s score on the Human Rights Council’s Municipal Equality Index, which evaluates cities on support for LGBT populations, was 68," Dobush writes. "As of 2014, it was a perfect 100. And Cincinnati son Jim Obergefell was at the center of the landmark Supreme Court decision this year to legalize gay marriage."

Interviews include Seelbach, CAC Director Raphaela Platow, Source Cincinnati's Julie Calvert, former Mercantile Library Director Albert Pyle and Vice Mayor David Mann. Great job, Grace!

Read the full Washington Post story here.
 

Cincinnati among three new U.S. streetcar lines hitting milestones


Urban issues website Next City discusses Cincinnati's Streetcar's final downtown track section being completed in its weekly "New Starts" roundup of newsworthy public transportation projects worldwide.

Streetcar projects in Cincinnati and Kansas City are moving toward completion, the roundup reports, with both systems awaiting delivery of their first vehicles from CAF's manufacturing plant in Elmira, N.Y. The article also provides an update on the new streetcar line in Washington, D.C., which is currently testing its vehicles and hopes to be fully operational by year end.

Read the full Next City roundup here.
 

Ohio political parties want to limit their own power in redistricting


Governing Magazine has a good roundup story about Ohio Issue 1, which we'll be voting on in a few weeks. If passed, it would change how Ohio legislators draw state senate and state rep districts every 10 years in accord with the U.S. Census.

"Ohio politicians have long talked about changing the redistricting process, but, if approved, this would be the first major change to it in more than 40 years, according to Brittany Warner, communications director for the Ohio Republican Party," writes Daniel Vock. "The 66 members of the state's Republican central committee 'found the plan to be transparent, accountable and fair, so they endorsed the issue,' she said.

"Democrats are on board, too — although the chair of the state party, David Pepper, said they would prefer an independent redistricting commission like the ones in Arizona and California. But voters soundly defeated a proposal to do that in 2012.

"'If you're going to have it be the politicians doing redistricting, which is less than ideal, I think it provides a structure that pretty creatively incentivizes doing it the right way,' Pepper said."

Pepper also told Vock, "The direct result of gerrymandering is non-stop, very far right, extreme legislating. Hopefully the outcome of fair districts is a much more measured approach by our state legislature."

Read the full Governing Magazine story here.
 

Procter & Gamble to run its home care/fabric product factories with wind power


Procter & Gamble officials announced at their annual shareholder meeting that the company is teaming up with EDF Renewable Energy to build a wind farm in Texas to power all of its North American plants that manufacture home care and fabric products. Those facilities make some of the company’s best-known household items, including Tide, Febreze and Mr. Clean.

"It is Procter & Gamble’s biggest foray into wind power, and is the latest in a burst of partnerships between major American corporations and renewable energy companies," writes Rachel Abrams in The New York Times. "The initiative also represents an opportunity for P.&G. to garner good will with environmentally conscious consumers at a time when personal care companies are under more pressure than ever to respond to their concerns."

Shailesh Jejurikar, president of P&G’s North American fabric care division, told The Times, "More and more, we find a very large number — call it two-thirds of consumers — looking to make some kind of contribution in the space, and hopefully not making trade-offs in value or performance."

Read the full New York Times story here.
 

Cincinnati's embrace of technology continues to draw attention, this time lasers & road repairs


The City of Cincinnati's embrace of technology and big data has exploded since the launch of its Office of Performance and Data Analytics late last year. National tech websites have praised the city for using data analysis to fight blight and to make local government more efficient and transparent.

Now Governing Magazine looks at the city's use of lasers and GPS technology to fix potholes and get ahead on road maintenance.

Michael Moore, director of the city's Transportation and Engineering Department, explains the new approach.

"What's really interesting about this is that there is a GPS component to it," he tells the magazine. "So every bit of data they collect is coded and we can code this back to our local (geographic information system). We then know, pretty much on a granular level, where every pothole is, where we have rutting, where we have a roughness index — all of those things get captured and layered into the GIS system in a way that we don’t do today.”

Moore says the result of the faster, more accurate street survey will be what he calls an interactive "900-mile-long photograph."

Read the full Governing Magazine story here.
 

How Cincinnati fares in analysis of U.S. bike & walk commuting


The League of American Bicyclists recently released its 2014 edition of “Where We Ride: An Analysis of Bicycling in American Cities,” a look at the growth of bicycle commuters based on new data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Topics covered include how all 50 states rank according to bicycle commuters as a share of all commuters, how cities with a high percentage of bicycle commuters compare to other cities in their regions and even numbers on the rate of growth among walking commuters.

The broad results show there was a modest increase of 0.5 percent from 2013 to 2014 in the percentage of bike commuters nationwide. That number has grown by 62 percent nationally since 2000.

Cincinnati, Ohio and Kentucky show up throughout the report, of course, with mixed results. The best news: Cincinnati is the third fastest growing city for bike commuting, with 350 percent growth in bike commuters between 2000 and 2014. Only Detroit and Pittsburgh grew faster.

Cincinnati ranks #31 among U.S. cities for percentage of commuter trips taken by bike (0.9 percent), which is about where the city sits in overall market size (#35). Portland, Ore. is #1.

In terms of overall share of commuting performed on bicycle, Ohio ranks 36 and Kentucky 43. Oregon is #1.

Interestingly, 6.4 percent of Cincinnati workers commuted by walking in 2014, which ranks ninth among U.S. cities in the 200,000-500,000 population range. Pittsburgh was first in that size category with 11 percent.

Read the full League of American Bicyclists report here.
 
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