31 August 2007

Finding Nemo on Fountain Square

Anyone want to meetup at Fountain Square Saturday to see Finding Nemo? I'll be there with the kids if the weather holds up. Send me an email ..

8pm Saturday.

Market Vender Poised to Leave

Mike Heminghaus, a 12 year vendor at Findlay Market is poised to leave the market because of disagreements with the market management. Mike, probably our favorite vendor, is the one of the most knowledgeable, entertaining and helpful people at the market.

Mike feels that the management does not communicate clearly with the vendors. He was suddenly moved from his longtime spot just to the left of the main north central entrance. He is now closer to Race Street, which is a less prime spot. The Madison's outdoor stand is now in his old spot. According to Mike, this was done without explanation. The Madison's are a bigger operation, with several storefront operations and longer hours.

I hesitated to blog about this because I haven't heard both sides of the story. However, I have heard similar complaints from other vendors, so it seemed like something should be written about it.

I encourage the market management to talk with Mike and see if some kind of agreement can be arranged to retain this successful stand. If not, stop by, thank Mike, and say goodbye Friday or Saturday, because this may be his last weekend.

29 August 2007

Planetaria Open to Public

Like many Cincinnati children, I was very fond of the Planetarium at the old Natural History Museum on Gilbert Avenue. I had assumed they were a thing of the past, and that I would never set foot in one again. Fortunately, I was wrong.

This past summer the Cincinnati Park Board reopened a very small planetarium (it maybe seats 20) in Burnet Woods, at the Trailside Nature Center. Our family attended a short program, and the kids enjoyed it a lot. This setting is very appropriate for little kids because the naturalist is very casual, and talks directly to and interacts with the audience.
[where: Brookline Dr & Burnet Woods Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45220]

Then, yesterday I read that Northern Kentucky University, has just completed construction of a state-of-the-art laser projection planetarium. This planetarium will be open to the public every Monday at noon (beginning Sept 27), and it can be reserved for school classes or groups. It seats 61. I haven't attended yet, but it seems more appropriate for older kids, as the programs are computerized and explore science questions.

...Northern Kentucky University's campus has joined the list of seven institutions worldwide to boast a laser projection planetarium, and the first ever installed on an educational campus.

NKU unveiled Aug. 27 its plans to open the new Carol Anne and Ralph V. Haile Jr./US Bank Foundation Digital Planetarium, which is set to open to the campus community Sept. 17, 2007, at noon.

Tours will be available the opening week every day at noon and that Saturday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. After that, tours will be available with tickets each Monday at noon. Tickets are free and will be available throughout campus at undetermined locations at the time of print.

The planetarium, which is being funded by a $2.7 million federal grant and private funds from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./US Bank Foundation, has a 16 megapixel resolution, uses three six watt lasers, and takes 18 computers to run, according to a press release from the university.

"We expect this facility and its programs to create a 'wow' factor, instilling in students a lifelong passion for discovery and exploration," President James Votruba said in the release. "We've come a long way since chalkboards and classroom movie projectors."

Dan Spence, coordinator of the planetarium, said it has been a dream of his for nearly 20 years. Spence taught astronomy courses and labs at NKU while serving as the Cincinnati Planetarium director from 1977 to 1985...

[where: 7 Kenton Dr., Highland Heights, KY 41099]

Apparently there is also a planetarium in Norwood High School.

Also: this site has a list of all the planetaria in Ohio!

Green Baby Products Downtown

Park + Vine makes the following announcement in their newsletter:

We're very excited about our new "green baby" products arriving in the store throughout the next month. New arrivals include a nice selection of easy-to-use cloth diapers and other cloth diapering accessories. As far as we're concerned, Park + Vine will have the best cloth diaper selection in Cincinnati. We're also receiving two organic baby carriers: a pocket sling and a Mei Tai. Kids step stools, organic storage, and crib bedding from Nest Please, organic stuffed animals from miYim, and organic baby clothing from Blue Canoe round out the new offerings

We used cloth diapers, but we had to order all our cloth diapering supplies by phone as the selection in town was limited. Great to see this new store venturing here.

Now all we need is a cloth diaper laundry service. (An extinct service in the hometown of P&G, creator of the modern disposable diaper).

[where: 1109 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

Best Studs In Town


I've shopped there, but don't remember these guys.

27 August 2007

Marvin Smith


Law Dawg rotwieller, drippy ice cream, and directions to Ollie's Trolley

26 August 2007

Rubber Duck Regatta to fund OTR Demolition


Some people, maybe most, don't really get what OTR means. Many outsiders just see crime and old buildings. But most who live here, understand that Over-the-Rhine is an unparalleled attribute to this great city. It has incredible history, beautiful and diverse people, struggles of all kind, and the largest intact collection of Italianate buildings in the country.

Unfortunately there are some people who work here, maybe even some who live here who, also, just don't get it. They just don't get the gift our predecessors left us. John Young is apparently one of those people. He is the CEO of the Freestore Foodbank, and he is on a mission to expand foodbank operations in OTR, and these two measly buildings, 1606 and 1608 Walnut, are in his way.

Instead of keeping our heritage, instead of housing maybe a dozen people, Mr. Young has a vision to turn these two beautiful buildings into........ parking for semi-trailers. What a vision.

Many people have had similar visions, and have created vacant lots and parking lots in their wake. Just across the street, I can remember Husman's demolishing a cool building at the flat-iron intersection of Walnut and Moore Street 15 years ago. They left a parking lot, and now where is Husman's? Gone. Just like the Freestore will be someday.

This makes me sick.


[where: 1606 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

The Freestore's proposed site plan can be seen here. Their vision of the future involves more and more parking lots, and more demolition.

UPDATE 2: I looked up the email address of John Young and sent an email urging them to reconsider. I also linked to this as well as leaving my full name and personal email. I really do hope they will reconsider.

Court Street Condos Available


I happened by this open house, and met the owners of this building. They recently moved out of downtown themselves to raise their little girl. [where: 15. E. Court St., Cincinnati, OH 45202]

The whole building of 5 floors has just been completely rehabbed with one condo per floor, and an office condo on the first floor. The units are walk-up, one-bedroom, one bath and about 1,000 SF+ by my guess. These would be nice for singles, but no way a family could fit here. This unit is listed at $179K, which seems high to me. Finishes are nice though. For a family sized unit, I guess you either need to pay more, or go a few blocks north or west.
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25 August 2007

Cornhole on Fountain Square


Tailgate Party, I think they called it.

24 August 2007

Sex Offender Limits - Going Too Far?

I get an email almost everyday notifying me that a person convicted of sexual offense has moved into my neighborhood. Most of the offenders, have a listed address of 115 W. McMicken, which is the location of the Pogue Rehabilitation Center, a treatment facility for hard-to place male offenders, operated by the VOA. A few are at various apartments or at the Drop-Inn-Center, and a few are listed as residing at the Justice Center. I think I get notified of any offender that lives within one mile. You can sign up for this notification service at the Hamilton County Sheriff's site.

I appreciate the notification, as it gives neighbors a heads-up on a potential threat, however I feel that the restrictions on where these people can live is beginning to get overly restrictive:

Ohio bars registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school. But many city leaders have said that isn't tough enough.

Some have extended the buffer zones to 2,500 feet — about a half-mile — and added parks, preschools and other places to the restricted list.

One argument against the most restrictive bans is that sex offenders will simply stop registering or say they have moved somewhere else.

In my opinion, registration of these type offenders is a good idea. Increasing the distance they must be from schools, parks and daycares is unnecessary and could be counter productive.

There is another argument made by people who live closer to the Pogue Center than me that it is a deterrent to development and holds down property values. They also say that they attract placement of offenders from other places across Ohio. All this is true, but I don't really know what the solution, is.

UPDATE: Interesting site that combines all the sheriff's info into one searchable map. hat tip Jackie Danicki.

23 August 2007

New Stand at Findlay Market

From the Findlay Market Newsletter:

Angelina Fine Italian Foods is Open
We are delighted to welcome mother and daughter business partners Angela and Loretta Lucarelli as they open Angelina Fine Italian Food.
Located in the north addition across from Eckerlin Meats, Angelina Fine Italian Food is a deli that offers Italian and European meats, cheeses, prepared foods and handmade pastries from Lucarelli family recipes.

Their ready-to-eat menu includes soups, salads, pizza and sandwiches.
To place an order by phone, call Angela and Loretta at 513.381.2222.

Now all we need is a Mexican Grocery. We had to go over to Covington after Findlay Market this past Sunday!

I also want to make sure to be at the Market Sept 8th to meet other families:

A Family Arts Celebration
Hands-On Activities: 10:00am – 2:00pm
offered by the Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, take place in the roll-up door spaces on north Elder Street, close to the Elm Street esplanade.

10:00am – 10:30 am Madcap Puppet Theatre
10:45am – 11:15am Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre
11:30am – noon Garrett Sprague - Juggler
12:30pm – 1:00pm Matthew Brian Taylor – Magician
1:15pm – 1:45pm Brian Malone, Bacchanal Steel Drum Band

Fearless Mother for First Lady

Michelle Obama:

So our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. So, so we''ve adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere, but they don't care. They just know that I was at home to tuck them in at night, and it keeps them grounded, and, and children, the children in our country have to know that they come first. And our girls do and that's why we're doing this. We're in this race for not just our children, but all of our children.

Compare to our current first lady. Wow.

22 August 2007

Schools Closed for Heat

Cincinnati Public Schools are closed Thursday, and perhaps, Friday, because is was unbearably hot in many of the classrooms.

The Best Kite

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This kite sits in our glove compartment, and is super easy to fly. No messy assembly like the paper and wood kites I got from the local hobby shop as a kid. Ours cost about $15 at Joseph Beth, but they are available on the web etc. We have gotten lots of use out of it, and it shows no sign of wear. Comes with spool, string, and collapsible parafoil kite; all rolled up in a 3"x6" bag.

21 August 2007

Granite pavement


Notice how the large flat slabs are located where people /carts would cross the alley.

20 August 2007

Get rid of your lawn

Americans mow 31 million acres of lawn every year. It takes 300 million gallons of gas and 1 billion hours to complete the chore. And for this privilege they will spend $17.4 billion on everything from pesticides (70 million pounds) to lawn tractors.

Warren Klink thinks that's insanity.

Klink is a landscape architect who runs a small firm here called Urban Thickets. He proudly proclaims it's a "lawn reduction company." A little quirky, a bit mischievous and highly likable, Klink is referred to fondly within the industry as "an onion among the orchids." He has been known to put up a stink.

Commuting in Cincinnati is Expensive

...and a waste of time that could be spent with family.

The article from Forbes, via Business Courier:

Cincinnatians on average dedicate 20 percent of their total household costs to getting to and from work, making the city the sixth most expensive in the nation for commuting, thanks in part to its lack of light rail and other mass transit systems.

The ranking comes from Forbes magazine, which based its information on a study by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, a nonprofit research firm that used 2003 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. According to the data, the annual delay per Cincinnati traveler is 30 hours.

Houston ranked as the most expensive commuting city, with travel taking up 20.9 percent of household costs. It was followed by Cleveland, Detroit, Tampa, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo.

Cincinnatians actually spend less than the national average on their commutes, Forbes reported, but it is still one-fifth of expenses

Stargazing in the city

Our family saw dramatic shooting stars last week while out of town. At the time, I didn't realize that it was the middle of the Perseid Meteor shower.

We also gazed at the Milky Way, a sight which most suburban and urban children now rarely see.

We also saw satellites travelling across the sky, which I never see from my city perch.

Our city balcony faces west, which means we can often observe planets following the sunset, and can see more stars than you would think, being that we live amongst much light pollution. It is important for me and my children to be able to sit out at night and stargaze. We are not astronomers; not even amateurs, but we enjoy it nonetheless.

Make no doubt about it, excess light is pollution. Light shining up into the sky is in essence, wasted energy; caused by laziness on the part of engineers and ignorance of property owners. They install improperly designed and improperly directed light, and they insist that more is better, which is not true. Just enough light is best.

Sure, light pollution is pretty low on most people's priorities (below things such as crime, transportation, schools and dozens of other things) but I think it is another quality of life issue, up there with other local forms of pollution such as litter, noise and graffiti, that make city living less pleasant. Some cities, such as Tuscon, near Kitt Peak Observatory, have implemented light trespass ordinances to much success.

A study of Cincinnati would probably show that road lighting as well as uplighting on buildings cause the most damage. What would it take to start installing "full cut-off" fixtures at these locations? Most street lighting would provide the same function, and would have less distracting glare to drivers, if it was shielded so that the light shines downward, not horizontally or upward. Building lighting can be done with neon outline lights or downlights, or portions, such as the top of a tall builings can be internally illuminated to great effect.

Although our night sky is ruined by light from dozens of jurisdictions, it would be a great start and a great statement for the City of Cincinnati to pass a light pollution ordinance.

18 August 2007

Crumpled Slide


Hanna Park
[where: McMicken and Dunlap Streets, 45202]

17 August 2007

Crocs get stuck in escalators


It is not just heresay. Here is a picture of crocs that recently got mangled in an escalator.

10 August 2007

Packing tape car repair


Single Family Houses Downtown


I noticed this historic house, and the one across the street, are both for sale. They both have 2 full baths, 3-4 bedrooms, small yards, and only about a two block walk to city hall and downtown. There are more than just lofts for sale if you want to live downtown.

09 August 2007

School Starts in 11 Days

Cincinnati Public Schools have their first day of school, Tuesday, August 21. We haven't even begun to get supplies or mentally prepare. We also have not yet received our yellow bus notice. Seems like they should be here by now.

This will be our second year at Fairview German Language School. The first grade teachers have a fabulous reputation amongst the parents. We have met our son's new teacher, and she seems excellent.

I am very happy with our decision to send our children to Cincinnati Public Schools. They are a great asset to this city.

08 August 2007

Quest for Community in America - Quote

... the nostalgia for the small town need not be construed as directed toward the town itself: it is rather a "quest for community" - a nostalgia for a compassable and integral living unit. The critical question is not whether the small town can be rehabilitated in the image of its earlier strength and growth - for clearly it cannot - but whether American life will be able to evolve any other integral community to replace it. This is what I call the problem of place in America, and unless it is somehow resolved, American life will become more jangled and fragmented than it is, and American personality will continue to be unquiet and unfulfilled.

Max Lerner, America as a Civilization, 1953

07 August 2007

Johnny's Toys - Birthday Club

Many, many years ago, when I was a child, I was fascinated with the birthday card and key that came addressed to me every year, about a week or two before my birthday. Inside the envelope was a card, with a tin key taped to it. The key opened a door at Johnny's where you got a free gift. I loved it, and my kids now continue to love it. Sign up here.

06 August 2007

Main Street Nightclubs - Who do they attract?

A young man, a former marine was shot the other day after leaving his job at a Main Street Nightclub. Are these bars attracting a dangerous crowd? Here is a sample of the advertisements they keep putting on our cars and littering our parks with:
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Rivera was shot as he was leaving his bouncer's job at Club Dream, between Main and Sycamore streets in Over-the-Rhine, at 2:48 a.m. Wednesday.

"He escorted someone out," ...
That's the person... who police believe waited in the alley for the club to close, then ran up to Rivera as he sat in his car.

Calls and an e-mail to Club Dream also weren't returned.

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04 August 2007

Video - Should this pool be removed?

By the way, this was a clear video, but it seems to get mangled as it is uploaded to google video. If anyone has any advice on how to do this better, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

03 August 2007

Liberal NIMBYS

Good article about the people who support low-income housing with their donations, but fight it when it is proposed to be built near them:

affordable housing in the county was so fierce in the 1990s that a Marin chapter of Habitat disbanded, former members say, after finding itself unable to get a single project built in five years.

... across party lines, most opposition to affordable housing boils down to homeowner fear of lowered property values and higher school costs.
"They should be creating wireless areas of tribal habitats," he says. Not in his neighborhood, though. He recommends a spot owned by the Catholic Church, several exits down the freeway.

Property values are the symptom. The illness is disconnected residential developments completely segregated by income.

I find it interesting that most of the neighbors who are opposed are older people. I think the younger generations are bored with living in isolation, and are less likely to be NIMBYs.

Things to do this weekend

1. Saturday afternoon (noon-6): OTR Community Festival in Washington Park

2. Saturday evening (8pm): Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars on Fountain Square

3. Sunday Afternoon: Blue BBQ: Blues music and barbecue at Findlay Market.