2011: the year in Soapbox

We told a lot of stories in 2011. With a new year upon us, we take a look back at our most read stories of 2011. From the prospective new life of the Emery Theatre to the opening of A Tavola to the controversial story of the Anna Louise Inn lawsuit, here are the 12 Soapbox stories you read the most last year.

1. The Emery Theatre. Once snared by mortgages and sparse funding for restorations, the historic Emery Theater could be ready for local arts by January 2012. To the arts community, and the city, the theater's return alone could be epic. An exciting time. New energy for Over-the-Rhine.

2. The streetcar. Let's recap, briefly, the recent spate of unpleasantries. Governor Kasich, under the guise of his "new sheriff in town" persona, has been making noise in recent weeks about his extreme distaste for the streetcar project. He telegraphed, in not-so-subtle terms, that the project would not be receiving state funding through the state's TRAC program.

3 & 4. The women to watch. And watch some more. They know what they want. And they have found it in Cincinnati. A place to grow, a place to lead -- whether by adding bike lanes, pioneering new sounds or resurrecting an architectural treasure. From enriching our culture to enhancing our air quality, these "women to watch" exemplify the courage, tenacity and passion the city needs.

5. Cincinnati's churches. Before the turn of the century, the compact nature and density of urban areas meant there was a church on every corner. Enter a bunch of resourceful Cincinnatians past and present who found creative ways to inject renewed spirit into these community anchors.

6. The urban grocery. The sign for Mayberry Foodstuffs at the corner of Seventh and Main streets in Downtown Cincinnati includes a hint of irony. It announces itself as an "Urban Grocery Store," a very old concept that has nearly become extinct in Cincinnati, though many hope it will become a new trend.

7. A Tavola. The owners of A Tavola Pizza, opened their restaurant last spring on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. By staying true to their story, they'll offer diners a memorable experience rooted in their restaurant's humble DIY beginnings.

8. Catholic condos. The resurrection of the second Catholic parish in Bellevue, Kentucky, has turned one defunct but architecturally stunning space into five fast-selling condominiums.

9. The man behind the waffles. Jean-Francois Flechet has spent the last four years growing his business, A Taste of Belgium; The Authentic Waffle, from a single waffle iron in a produce stand at Findlay Market to four locations and 30 employees in two cities.

10. Nati Evolvement. "Find your soul in the city" was a catchphrase that locally based cool clothing purveyors, Nati Evolvement, included on one of their first creations. When Colin Groth and Michael Palmer started the online clothing company, the message was simple: quit complaining, find what inspires you and love where you live.

11. The new immigrants. The year is 1848, and Germany is in the throes of political and social upheaval. Friends who have immigrated to America write about a western city where jobs are many and their own language is commonly spoken on the streets. Fast forward to 2010. A young woman, a professional with a good college degree and a job that reflects her hard work, is transferring to Cincinnati, Ohio. Her perspective is not colored by the past as she researches different neighborhoods and notices one that truly stands out.

12) Anna Louise Inn. Fueled by a Western & Southern employee's recent resignation-via-editorial, makes it difficult to see the real point of contention and the real issues at stake. Does the insurance giant have legal grounds to sue the Anna Louise Inn and the City of Cincinnati?

Have ideas of what you’d like to see us cover in 2012? Add your comment below or post on our Facebook page.
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