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Talent : Cincinnati In The News

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Cincinnati rated #7 best park system among major U.S. cities


The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization working to create and improve neighborhood parks, has released its ParkScore index to rate how well the 75 largest U.S. cities are meeting the need for parks. Cincinnati ranks #7.

ParkScore uses mapping technology to identify which neighborhoods and demographics are underserved by parks and how many people are able to reach a park within a 10-minute walk. The maximum ParkScore is 100, and Cincinnati received 75. The two cities tied for #1, Minneapolis and St. Paul, received grades of 84.

The Trust for Public Land based its analysis on what it says are the three important characteristics of an effective park system: acreage, facilities and investment and access. In these rankings, the best park systems have large median park sizes in terms of acreage (Cincinnati is OK there); parks comprising a large percentage of city area (Cincinnati is good); spend a lot on parks on a per-resident basis (Cincinnati gets the max score there); provide what TPL says are the four key facilities parks should have: basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds and recreation and senior centers (Cincinnati does well); and have a public park within a 10-minute (1/2 mile) walk of all residents (Cincinnati is OK; the orange/red areas in the map above fall outside the 10-minute-walk threshold).

See the full rankings and city writeups here. Find out more about the Cincinnati Parks system here.
 

Locally filmed 'Carol' gets rave reviews at Cannes


Todd Haynes' 1950s-era drama Carol, filmed in Cincinnati last year, debuted this past weekend at the Cannes Film Festival in France to outstanding reviews, writes Steve Rosen on today's CityBeat staff blog. He says Cannes critics "called it an instant Oscar contender and the most important high-profile gay drama to come out of American cinema since 2005's Brokeback Mountain."

Carol stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a story (based on the 1952 novel The Price of Salt) about a socialite who falls in love with a young department-store clerk.

Rosen links to published reviews from Variety ("the most important publication chronicling the entertainment business") and indieWire ("the most influential website for the independent-film industry").

Read the full post here.
 

Cincinnati Symphony's stability, growth in stark contrast to many other U.S. orchestras


The New York Times took notice of last week's announcements from Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra about its successful fundraising campaign and a new musician contract that will allow it to hire 14 more full-time players over the next four years. Classical music writer Michael Cooper says that the CSO's expansion of the ensemble to 90 members is in stark contrast to many other orchestras around the country, from Philadelphia to Atlanta, that are shedding positions to save money.

"The orchestra world is all too familiar with vicious cycles of mounting deficits, dwindling audiences, difficulty raising money and cuts," Cooper writes. "But at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, things are moving happily in the opposite direction: think crescendo, not diminuendo."

Read the full story here.
 

First Batch highlighted as one of the country's hottest design incubators


Dwell magazine has published a guide to “a few of the country's hottest design incubators,” including Cincinnati's manufacturing-focused First Batch, that it says are helping independent designers learn the basics of how to scale up and boost the local economy.
 
“While starting a company seems the scariest, figuring out how to grow and stay sustainable offers the most challenging decisions,” Matt Anthony, program manager of First Batch, says in the article. The Over-the-Rhine-based company is described as “one of the many local organizations across the United States helping designers and manufacturers build the networks, relationships and infrastructure they need to thrive.”

The article also highlights design incubators in Detroit, San Francisco and Oakland.

Read the full article here.
 

New data analytics focus makes Cincinnati "the city of the future"


The City of Cincinnati's new approach to using data analytics to make city government more efficient and effective, championed by City Manager Harry Black, "turns tradition on its head" and "might start a national trend," according to a new article on Backchannel, a tech-focused subsite at Medium.com.

Backchannel praises Black and Chief Performance Office Chad Kenney for the debut of the city's Office of Performance and Data Analytics. Black previously served as Finance Director in Baltimore, where Kenney ran a similar tech-savvy program called CitiStat.

Backchannel contributor Susan Crawford says the genius of Black and Kenney's plan is that they intend to focus on outcomes instead of just outputs, as evidenced by the city's new Open Data portal.

"Outputs are what we can measure. Outcomes are what we really want," Crawford writes. "So what would happen if a city's services were managed, top to bottom, to focus on outcomes rather than outputs? We're about to find out in the great state of Ohio. Cincinnati, the Queen City, whose population is expected to grow to more than 300,000 in 2020 (following years of population flight) is determined to make the crucial shift."

Read the full Backchannel article here.
 

Open data making a splash in Ohio, Cincinnati


Ohio is making a name nationally for its efforts to open government records to public scrutiny.

Government Technology magazine, which provides "solutions for state and local government," published a story yesterday about a new initiative coming to Ohio's budget transparency site OhioCheckbook.com, which already offers 3,900-plus local governments — townships, cities, counties, school districts and more — a chance to place revenues and expenditures online free of charge.

The new concept rolls out in June and will allow citizens to track local government revenues and expenditures via interactive graphs, which the story says will "illustrate not only a bird's eye view of a budget but also the granular details of check-by-check spending. Highlights include top earning government contractors, highest paid officials and revenue consumption by departments."

Last month Ohio was ranked #1 in the country for financial transparency by consumer advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), thanks to the launch of OhioCheckbook.com in late 2014. Ohio received a grade of A+ one year after getting a D-, and PIRG Senior Policy Analyst Phineas Baxandall says the new online portal looks like something one would expect from a successful tech company, not a government agency.

Back in Cincinnati, yesterday also marked the launch of the city's high-profile effort at transparency, Open Data Cincinnati.

"Open Data Cincinnati is about more than just stats, numbers and bar charts," City Manager Harry Black said in a press release announcing the online portal's launch. "This is about the City opening itself up to the people we serve on a daily basis."

Black says he wants to establish Cincinnati as a national model for using data analytics to make city government more efficient and effective.

Read the full Government Technology story here.
 

Cincinnati's street art highlighted in Paste travel story


Writer Karen Gardiner notes that people in-the-know about street art head for Brooklyn, Berlin and Bristol to see work by the best-known artists, but, as she writes in Paste, "there are more and more destinations where you can see work by both artists local to the area and the bigger names." She then lists her 11 favorite "Lesser-Known Cities for Street Art" in a photo gallery — starting off with Cincinnati.

"Much of the street art you will see in Cincinnati are large-scale murals by the local ArtWorks organization," Gardiner writes, although she says several internationally known artists have also "made their mark." She photographed the above work on the outside of the former Mainstay and Societe clubs on Fifth Street to run with her story.

Read the full story here.
 

Price Hill volunteer Patti Hogan and Soapbox writer Liz McEwan interviewed on WVXU


Price Hill's "super-volunteer" Patti Hogan was profiled in a recent Soapbox story by Liz McEwan, and the reaction from friends, neighbors and residents was extremely positive — many feel that the West Side doesn't get enough attention for its efforts to improve. WVXU's "Cincinnati Edition" agreed, asking Hogan and McEwan to appear on the program April 9 to discuss Price Hill's struggles and successes.

Listen to the WVXU interview here.
 

Get an M.B.A. from Indiana University if you want to work at P&G


Media outlets love to do splashy high school and college graduation stories at this time of the year, and The New York Times is no exception. Today's Education Life section has a story about how to choose the right university for your M.B.A. degree, which The Times says "has clearly become a commodity."

"Conventional wisdom will tell you that Harvard is for Fortune 500 jobs, Wharton for Wall Street, Kellogg for marketing and Insead for multinational entities," the story continues. "There's truth to some of it, but times change, and so do employers' recruiting preferences."

If you want to work at Procter & Gamble, for instance, you should enroll at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

"P&G clearly has a thing for Kelley," the story says. "The school is its biggest source of brand managers. Of the 172 Kelley alumni there, the most senior is Marc S. Pritchard, the chief brand officer."

Read the full story here.
 

Cincinnati is #10 best city for college graduates to find work, housing and fun


Cincinnati makes another list of the best U.S. cities, this time from Rent.com.

"Spring is in the air, and for many college seniors this also means it’s graduation season," says the intro to a new study at Rent.com. "Aside from coordinating their cap and gown, college graduates are also faced with many major life decisions, like where they will land a job and what city they want to live in."

By Rent.com's measures, Cincinnati is the 10th best U.S. city for college grads to start out their careers and lives. The top three are Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Denver.

Read the full article here.
 

Potential Seattle streetcar changes could impact national movement


Seattle followed Portland to build the second modern streetcar system in the U.S., featuring one downtown line, a second that's about to open and a third in the planning stages. Overall ridership grew steadily after the first line opened in 2008, the transit website Transport Politic says, but usage flattened out in 2013 and actually declined in 2014.

"The problem may have something to do with the way the streetcar runs: In the street, sharing lanes with cars," says Transport Politic Editor Yonah Freemark in a new blog post. "The results have been slow vehicles — the line's scheduled service averages less than eight miles per hour — often held back by traffic and a lack of reliability. This can produce horror stories of streetcars getting stuck for half an hour or more behind other vehicles and, combined with infrequent service, it certainly reinforces the sense that streetcars are too slow and unreliable to provide any serious transportation benefit.

"This is a problem shared by every existing and planned modern streetcar line in the country, suggesting that the streetcar designed to run in the street with cars may, over the long term, simply fail to attract riders who grow increasingly frustrated with the quality of service provided."

Sobering thoughts for those anticipating long-term success for the Cincinnati Streetcar, which will run in street traffic along its entire route.

Seattle is now studying the idea of dedicated lanes for its third streetcar line, with the idea of providing quicker travel times. Freeman thinks that new approach could "demonstrat(e) that one of the fundamental problems with today's modern streetcar movement can, in fact, be addressed, albeit a few years late. If it shows that those dedicated lanes can reduce disruptions and speed up service, it hopefully won't be long until we see them in cities across the country, from Atlanta to Portland."

Read the full article here.
 

Constella Festival is "challenging the misconceptions of classical music"


Cincinnati's annual Constella Festival of Music & Fine Arts is called "the festival that's challenging the misconceptions of classical music" in a preview article published in Huffington Post's Arts & Culture section.

In December Soapbox wrote about founder Tatiana Berman's efforts to expand Constella's reach by employing more digital promotions that "target audiences nationally to come to Cincinnati." This Huffington Post piece will certainly help with her goal.

"Unlike the standard classical music circuit — characterized by what Berman's team describes as the 100 concert a year demanding schedule — Constella seeks to, in essence, maintain the intimacy of classical music, but encourage the experimentation and chance-taking," the article says.

The Constella Festival runs April 8-19 at Memorial Hall, Woodward Theatre, Cincinnati Art Museum, SCPA and several other venues. Get festival details and buy tickets here.

Read the full Huffington Post article here.
 

Search is on for next great urban innovation idea


Governing Magazine's City Accelerator section is all about "local government innovations that make a difference in the lives of city residents," and the current push is a collaboration with Citi Foundation and Living Cities to reinvigorate local democracy in American cities. Seven cities are finalists in a contest of sorts to get help developing the systems, skills and knowledge to adopt innovative approaches into their normal course of business.

Cincinnati isn't one of the finalists, but these cities are: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Seattle. Each city is pitching a specific project it needs help with, from engaging immigrant entrepreneurs to involving residents in updating the city's 20-year comprehensive plan. Each city has a video pitch on the site.

You can vote for and comment on your favorite pitches, and judges will take your votes into consideration when making final decisions on the winners.

Read the full story here.
 

Craft beer & community development on WVXU


Soapbox Managing Editor John Fox was joined by Michael Albarella from Nine Giant Brewing and Doug Newberry from Wiedemann Brewing March 5 on WVXU's "Cincinnati Edition" program to discuss the upcoming forum on Cincinnati's embrace of craft beer as community development. Nine Giant is building a brewery and taproom in Pleasant Ridge, while Wiedemann is doing likewise in Newport; both plan to be open by fall 2015.

Albarella and Newberry will be panelists, along with Bryant Goulding of Rhinegeist, 5:00-7:00 p.m. March 11 at UC's Niehoff Urban Studio, bringing beer samples as well. The event is free and open to anyone 21 and older.

Read about the March 11 forum and RSVP here.

Listen to the WVXU interview here.

Cincinnati #3 among U.S. cities in company growth and relocation


Site Selection magazine and website has unveiled its ranking of the top U.S. cities for economic activity, based on the number of companies expanding or relocating, and Cincinnati ranks third behind Chicago and Houston and ahead of Dallas and Atlanta. There were 196 expansion/relocation projects in Greater Cincinnati in 2014, according to the rankings.

The report includes a nice feature section about Cincinnati under the headline "All-Star Success in an All-Star City."

"Several years ago Major League Baseball selected Cincinnati to be the site of the 2015 All Star Game," the article says. "But the city on the banks of the Ohio River has been a top choice for companies for long time and last year it climbed three spots, from number six to number three, among Site Selection’s Top Metros."

The section highlights decisions by ThyssenKrupp Bilstein and Empower to expand in this region instead of moving out and quotes Johnna Reeder, president and CEO of the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI): “While other regions fought to hang on during the 2008 recession, Cincinnati doubled down with investment in infrastructure and housing. It’s created an environment where new companies are moving to town and expanding. Cincinnati is hot right now.”

Read the full story here.
 
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