Archive for February 2007

Democrats Have Reason to Party

February 28, 2007

To paraphrase Prince, Hamilton County’s Democrats are going to party like it’s 1962.

Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune is hosting a party for local Democrats from 5-7 p.m. Thursday to celebrate the party’s return to controlling the county commission for the first time in 44 years.

When Portune was elected to his first commission term in 2000, he was the first Democrat to serve on the three-member board in nearly 40 years. For years, he served with a Republican majority that largely ignored his views. With the election of David Pepper to the commission last year, Democrats took control of the board and Portune became president.

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City, County Agree on Hotel Tax Surplus

February 28, 2007

When Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials truly want something done in a hurry, they can make it happen.

Just a week after it was proposed, both the county and the city have approved a deal to allocate $2.3 million in surplus funds this year from the area’s hotel-motel tax. Under the plan, $450,000 will be allocated to help with a planned expansion of Sharonville’s convention center, and $350,000 will go toward helping advertise downtown Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Center.

Also, $250,000 will be spent to market hotels in northern Hamilton County suburbs, $250,000 will be spent to pay off some debt from the Duke Energy center’s expansion, $75,000 will go to the Cincinnati Film Commission and the remaining $300,000 will be split between marketing efforts for the Duke Energy Center and the northern suburbs.

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BockFest Kicks Off Thursday

February 28, 2007

BockFest is, according to organizers, Cincinnati’s “coolest, underground festival celebrating bock beer, the Renaissance era, Over-the-Rhine, and the coming of Spring.” And it all starts Thursday, March 1 with a party on Fountain Square that will run from 4-9 p.m.

The event, to be held rain or shine, will feature music by the Bier Band as well as a “Bocks and Brats Beer Toast” competition. Lots of Bock beer and brats will be available for purchase, so come hungry and thirsty. (Proceeds from the event go to benefit not-for-profit OTR
Brewery District Urban Redevelopment Programs.)

Check out other programs that will occur through Sunday — including the Friday night BockFest Parade and lots of special musical acts throughout Over-the-Rhine and the Main Street Entertainment corridor — at www.bockfest.com.

— Michael Schiaparelli

Child’s Plea Won’t Save School

February 27, 2007

Carthage Paideia Academy is one of the schools slated for closure as the result of the Cincinnati Public School (CPS) Board of Education vote on Dec. 11, 2006. When it will close was on the minds of some people in attendance at Monday’s board meeting.

An unhappy parent, Thad Long, took issue with a point in the superintendent’s report asking the board to approve an early closure if the enrollment numbers dropped to the point where it was necessary to do so.

“We were told a few months back, before the holidays, that our school possibly would be left open for the 2007/2008 school year,” Long said. “I feel like that decision’s already been made to lower the enrollment of Carthage Paideia. So, come the end of this year, what decision’s left on the table is, ‘Enrollment’s down, we need to save money.’ I hope before it’s too late, don’t close an effective school. When my children look at me and say, ‘Dad, where am I going to school next year? What are my options?’ I don’t know. I really don’t know what my options are.”

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Bortz’s Call: Charter Violation?

February 27, 2007

A key belief of the Charter Committee — Cincinnati’s de facto third political party — is that elected officials shouldn’t meddle in daily administrative tasks at City Hall, instead letting the city manager handle the matters as a method to depoliticize some aspects of municipal government.

In fact, the Charterites formed in the early 20th Century to overturn the political machine created by the notorious Boss Cox and passed a charter amendment that created the city manager’s position. Ever since, the Charter Committee has prided itself as a watchdog and an advocate for clean government.

Now one of two Charterites on Cincinnati City Council, Chris Bortz, is being criticized for calling a department head and allegedly telling him to delay signing a contract approved by council that involves an agency that Bortz has questioned in the past.

Although the city’s charter specifically states that council members should direct all dealings with the administration — except for questions — through the city manager, the Charter Committee’s president said Bortz did nothing improper.

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Sopranos Henchman Silvio Now WNKU DJ!

February 27, 2007

Northern Kentucky-based public radio station WNKU (89.7 FM) has announced some changes to its current weekend lineup. One of the marquee additions is Little Steven’s Underground Garage, a syndicated version of the Bruce Springsteen sideman/Sopranos actor/Garage Rock afficanado Steven Van Zandt’s radio show celebrating Garage nuggets from the past and present. There’s an “Underground Garage” station on Sirius satellite radio and if its indicative of Van Zandt’s two-hour syndicated  version, fans of pure, raw, real Rock & Roll will be glued to their radios every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. The show debuts this weekend.

On Van Zandt’s Sirus station, DJs play everything from Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly to The Sonics and The Ramones to more contemporary acts like Cincinnati’s Greenhornes, Mooney Suzuki and The Woggles. The station’s programmers don’t get marred down with what the term “Garage” actually means, seemingly playing anything that tickles their fancies, just like the old days of FM (although I have noticed a lot of play for artists on Van Zandt’s new label, Wicked Cool Records, such as The Charms).

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Surprise! Deters Summons the Cameras

February 27, 2007


(Photo: Jymi Bolden)

In another move to capitalize on the media frenzy over the Marcus Fiesel case, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has called a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today. This morning David Carroll pleaded guilty in Clermont County Common Pleas Court to murdering Marcus, his 3-year-old foster son. Last week his wife, Liz Carroll, was convicted of the same charge. Deters didn’t prosecute either case because the little boy died outside his jurisdiction, but he is constitutionally incapable of passing up an opportunity to gain easy publicity by calling the foster parents bad names.

— Gregory Flannery