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    Kroger announced Friday that its family of stores would be hiring for an estimated 20,000 permanent positions in its supermarket divisions. 

    "Kroger's growth trajectory creates more job opportunities for current and future employees," said Katy Barclay, Kroger's senior vice president of human resources. "Right now in our stores across the country we have openings for bright, hard-working associates who are passionate about making a difference for customers every day."

    Kroger invites interested applicants to visit www.kroger.com/careers where they can join Kroger's talent network, sign up to receive job alerts and apply for jobs.

    Over the last six years, Kroger has created more than 40,000 new jobs. This figure does not include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, nor does it include Harris Teeter's approximately 25,000 associates who joined the Kroger family earlier this year. 

    Kroger has hired more than 22,500 veterans since 2009.  In addition, Kroger is proud to have helped the "100,000 Jobs Mission" surpass its original goal in January 2014, seven years early.  The "100,000 Jobs Mission" is a coalition of more than 130 companies with the common goal of hiring more than 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020.

    Follow The River City News on Facebook,Twitter, or email us!

    From Kroger

    Photo: Kroger location in Covington/RCN file


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    After watching the first game of the Atlanta Falcons season, it's hard to discern what they do well on defense. The Falcon defensive line appeared extra soft last week as they got nowhere near sacking Drew Brees on the day.

    On top of that, Saints running backs consistently had decent running lanes to plow through. If pressed, perhaps one may point to their ability to get to the flats in a hurry, but the Bengals offense should be licking their chops when watching film of their next opponent.

    Because of that, one might suspect Cincinnati putting up over 30 points on the day and rolling to a win. This may prove to be the case, but because Atlanta drops their linebackers and safeties on pretty much every play, coupled with the fact the Bengals continue to talk about how important running the ball is to their offense, I could see them settling for decent yards on runs for most of the day with the idea of dominating time of possession and keeping Matt Ryan and company off the field.

    It's true that the deep ball was the savior a week ago in Baltimore (and a nicely thrown one at that), but that element of attack is not the strong suit of the Cincinnati offense. They are an offense made of screens and draws and quick outs and crossing patterns. They would rather see yards gained after the catch than a multitude of majestically thrown bombs to the end zone.

    If the run game is working the way it should on Sunday, Andy Dalton may end up with modest statistics, but points should still show up on the scoreboard. If they can avoid hurting themselves with turnovers and penalties again, there is no reason they shouldn't march down the field on a regular basis yet again this week. Only this time, they can't settle for field goals on five of their six scoring drives.

    Defensively, the Bengals must tackle well in the open field on dump off throws and rely on their depth along the front four to get pressure on their own without blitzing defensive backs or linebackers. This is the formula used successfully for years under Mike Zimmer, and new coordinator Paul Guenther has been in Cincinnati long enough to know his personnel still thrives under these conditions.

    The Falcons have a lot of explosiveness and veteran experience in their wide-receiver ranks. Headlining this group is Julio Jones, who is essentially the other great receiver to come out of A.J. Green's draft class. While Green is the graceful technician, Jones is a wild horse at the position, galloping over smaller cornerbacks or roasting safeties with his impressive speed. Jones is deadly on the screen pass because of these characteristics, but his mates are more of the deep-threat variety.

    The Falcons are not a grind-it-out variety of an offense they way Cincinnati is. Their run game is average at best as the aged Steven Jackson is only useful between the tackles these days. Get him moving laterally and his effectiveness dries up almost immediately. Complimentary back Antone Smith showed some big-play ability last week when he got the ball in the flats, but the Atlanta run game is not a fearsome one.

    Instead, Ryan seeks the gouging play that eats up big yardage all at once. Roddy White still displays the polished skills of a multiple pro-bowler, but he has been firmly rendered second-fiddle to Jones these days. He became a little banged up last week that required him to sit some, and one has to wonder how much he still has in that proverbial gas tank. Harry Douglas and kick-return star Devin Hester complete the veteran core of pass-catchers, but neither are what you might call possession guys and are more known for their speed.

    Because of all of this, I would be surprised if the Bengals got too greedy on blitz packages. If Atlanta can only get 10 to 12 yards on successful plays, unlike the five to six the Bengals seem to get regularly on their drives, it doesn't make sense to create a vulnerability on the back end and get beat over the top by loading up the box to stop the run. With a third-string left tackle expected to start this week for the Falcons, Bengals defensive ends should be able to get their hands on Ryan without needing to send other blitzers.

    The Falcons can score points, but only in a few select ways. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is far more adaptable with adjusting to the opposing defensive scheme and scoring with a variety of methods by mixing and matching their many weapons against whatever they face. In short, they are a more complete team with better depth and that should prove the difference in getting the win this Sunday.

    Bengals 27, Falcons 23

    Written by Bryan Burke, Associate Editor

    Photo via Cincinnati Bengals Facebook


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    The Cincinnati Bengals stymied Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons with defensive discipline on Sunday, especially from their cornerbacks.

    The Bengal secondary not only covered well, collecting three interceptions on the day, but they also tackled proficiently. This kind of toughness is a luxury for defensive coaches as they can move linebackers and safeties closer to the line of scrimmage without worrying about a receiver getting loose on the outside after a broken tackle.

    The Bengals defense was raised by former coordinator Mike Zimmer to be a disciplined unit where each member stays within his personal responsibility and trusts his teammates to do the same. Collectively, they frustrate offenses like the Falcons without showing much glitz and glamor at all. When watching them play, nothing appears dominant but at the same time, the opposition has been able do very little in terms of sustaining long scoring drives.

    Yes, the secondary is long in the tooth with four key members in the 30-and-over club. They aren't the fastest or the biggest, they aren't of the shut-down variety of the position, but when a wide-receiver screen is tossed in their direction, they come up and make the play. It sounds simple enough, but because not enough corners can routinely make this kind of play is the reason the quick-hitting pass out to the flats has become such an offensive fad on every level of the game.

    Julio Jones looked like a monster on the outside against New Orleans, as he shoved and muscled his way to first downs on a consistent basis against the Saints, but against Cincinnati, he racked up only a modest 88 yards on seven catches, most of those harmless outs for minimal damage.

    Another luxury at the position the Bengals enjoy is having two first-round draft picks deep in the ranks behind so many veterans. Perhaps some might view this as wasted top draft picks who contribute primarily on special teams and have yet to earn the check that comes with their high draft status, but the fact remains that these youngsters are essentially apprentices who are eased into the role rather than trial by fire. Also, since the starters are of such vintage quality, these newbies provide insurance for when the bodies of the aged invariably break down.

    The NFL is firmly in the greatest passing era of the game's history with records falling each year like the autumn leaves and the need to counter this attack becomes more paramount every season. Cincinnati has invested in the corner position with two recent first-round picks and has resisted casting away any of the veteran presence it has within their corner depth chart. As a result, it has sacrificed drafting many linebackers but have lucked out with terrific undrafted free-agents like Emmanuel Lemur and especially Vontaze Burfict.

    In fact, team depth for the Bengals seems to be at an all-time high. Typically when a team loses it's top-three passing targets to injury, a high-profile defensive end and a talented left tackle (not to mention a long-time starting center), production drops off. Yet Cincinnati has showed a variety of attacks as the injuries mount and players become unavailable to them. Can't throw to A.J. Green? Throw to Brandon Tate instead. Lost the Law Firm in the offseason? Pound the rock with rookie Jeremy Hill and second-year dynamo Gio Bernard instead. Tired of seeing Dalton throw every pass? Give Mohamed Sanu a chance to chuck one downfield.

    The rich stockpile of talent at just about every position, mixed with arguably even better coordinators than the previous regime has the Bengals organization looking like the model for the league. If teams face the same kind of effort the Falcons got from Bengal corners, Cincinnati should then become one of , if not the number one most difficult place to play in the league.  

    -Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

    Photo via the Cincinnati Bengals Facebook page


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    The Roebling Suspension Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati is one of the ten greatest suspension bridges in America, a new book claims.

    Writer, photographer, and bookmaker R. Glenn Alexander has included the Roebling in his new book, America's Greatest Suspension Bridges, a Photographic Essay.

    "I got interested in photographing bridges in general several years ago and realized that some of them were architectural works of art in their own right," Alexander said. The author was first attracted to cable-stayed bridges, but found that they were few and far between.

    There are plenty of suspension bridges, however; So many in fact that Alexander had to figure out a way to narrow the field.

    "As I started looking through Wikipedia, I started to see what the longest bridges were and when they were built," he said. "You can sort of trace the history of the longest suspension bridges built in the United States by looking at ten bridges."

    Alexander said that each bridge in his book was the longest when it was built. 

     photo suspensionbridgebook_zps36d87883.jpg

    He visited the Roebling Suspension Bridge last year. "I had photographed everything at that time from the Golden Gate to the Ben Franklin and all of those are pretty magnificent, but I was really impressed with the personality of the Roebling Bridge, and also the fact that it was designed by the man who did the Brooklyn Bridge."

    "You can sort of really see the evolution of how he went from one to the other."

     photo suspensionbridgebook2_zpsd4cc9925.jpg

    Alexander is based in Rochester, New York where he not only writes and shoots photos for books, but also produces them through his company pixelPRESERVE. 

    His latest includes the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in addition to the Roebling, which he said he really enjoyed photographing. "It's kind of old but well-maintained and beautiful and stately," he said.

    "It's among the ones I like the best when I look at it from my own perspective."

     photo suspensionbridgebook3_zps4f9307db.jpg

    Interested in purchasing the book? Click Here

    Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

    Photos provided by Alexander


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    An interesting chain of events nearly landed a National Basketball Association team in Northern Kentucky.

    The year was 1989 and the NBA's Seattle Supersonics were fed up with their facility, then known as the Seattle Center Coliseum. Team owner Barry Ackerman said that he wanted to keep the team in Seattle, but that he needed a new arena. City officials were not all the way on board with such a proposal, so the rumors began about relocating the team.

    In the hills of Kentucky, a Lexington developer named Dudley Webb became extremely interested in the prospects of returning pro basketball to the Bluegrass State. Webb identified Northern Kentucky as the desired destination of the Sonics and moved aggressively to get the ball rolling in that direction.

    Webb was widely quoted in publications across the county about his efforts to court a team to Cincinnati, possibly basing it in Northern Kentucky.

    Cincinnati sports-radio host Andy Furman has been an outspoken advocate for having an NBA team in the area for decades. In the late 1980's, Furman had rallied a group of investors and politicians to seriously examine the possibilities of landing a team.

    A preseason exhibition game was held that year at what was then the Coliseum in Cincinnati and local organizers brought in Florida businessman Les Alexander, who was interested in purchasing an NBA team, to tour the facility. It was reported that the Coliseum's owners were open to expanding the facility should an NBA team play there, but Alexander was unimpressed with the arena, and even called it a dump, according to Furman.

    Alexander went on to buy the Houston Rockets in 1993.

    Meanwhile, representatives from Northern Kentucky University had been in Frankfort trying to secure state funding for a new arena for the school and the region as a whole. That's when Furman caught wind of the arena plans, and began banging the drum about a team in Northern Kentucky. The arena could have been either 10,000 seats to accommodate the school, or 19,000 seats for both the school and a professional basketball team.

    “Andy, on his sports talk show, started to muse his opinion that the Coliseum wasn't the right fit for an NBA team, but if Northern Kentucky got this supposed arena funded then maybe an NBA team could play in the new arena in Northern Kentucky,” said Rick Meyers, former Vice President of Communications for NKU.

    “It started the impetus, I really believe, to get the Bank of Kentucky Center built,” Furman said.

    After the Coliseum had been ruled out, reports of the new arena in Northern Kentucky began to surface, one that could have been shared between NKU and possibly the Supersonics or another NBA team. It came down to a decision by the Kentucky General Assembly which apparently had some political gamesmanship involved in ruling of the arena.

    “Of course, Northern Kentucky had the arena in the budget,” said Rick Meyers. “But the Northern Kentucky legislators voted against (the Kentucky Education Reform Act), which was the big educational legislature in that particular session, which force-funded poor school districts at the expense of large school districts and the Northern Kentucky people voted against it. When they did that, the governor and the legislature at the time said, Okay if you're not going to vote for it, we're going to take the arena away from you.”

    An arena would not open at Northern Kentucky University until 2007 when the Bank of Kentucky Center began hosting Norse sporting events just before the school transitioned to NCAA Division I athletics.

    “They decided to go with a 9,000-seat arena, which they have right now, so that's not any good for an NBA team,” said Furman. “I mean, you have to have at least 17,000, 18,000. So there was talk of expansion if it would have happened, but I'm happy NKU got the arena and it's going to be used solely for NKU.”

    Now twenty-five years later, Furman says he is still working on getting the NBA to the Bluegrass State but with a group of organizers in Louisville instead. The group hopes to bring a team there which has the NBA-ready KFC Yum! Center that seats over 22,000.

    “The NBA TV contract runs out 2015-16, and it looks like the NBA is going to expand to two more teams. They're talking about Seattle and one other team and I figure that other team may be Louisville,” Furman said.

    As for any NBA in Northern Kentucky, there are certainly no plans in the works to build a big enough facility to lure a team to the area any time soon, especially with other cities in the same state in line that are better equipped to handle a pro team. Perhaps in the next 25 years that will have changed, but for now, the Northern Kentucky Supersonics remains in the "what-if" category. 

    Follow The River City News on Facebook, Twitter, or email us!

    Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor


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    Two men are dead after a boat they were on collided with a barge on the Ohio River late Thursday night.

    The barge captain saw the boat cross the barge's path.

    "He was looking right out the front watching what was going on. It was a big barge," Cincinnati Fire Chief Lou Arnold told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "The (pleasure boat) just crossed right in front of them and slammed into the barge. We can only assume they didn't see it."

    The barge was carrying limestone and was headed north at the time of the collision between the Taylor-Southgate and Purple People Bridges, WKRC reported. The barge has been moved to Covington Landing.

    Some media accounts have identified the victims as men in their twenties.

    WCPO reported Friday that the victims were locally-based FBI agents in their thirties.

    The US Coast Guard and the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife are investigating.

    This story will be updated when more information is learned.

    -Staff report


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    It is hard to believe that a video lasting only six seconds to two minutes could net a cash prize of $1000, but that is what a new contest is offering. Called Through My Eyes, the contest is co­ sponsored by Vision 2015 and Agenda 360 along with WCPO and powered by the Story Project for the purpose of having people who live in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati tell what they love the most about the area, whether it is a special place on the river, or the way the city lights up at night, or even the vista of the Cincinnati skyline seen from the cut in the hill.
     
    “We decided we didn’t want someone outside our area to tell people what sets us apart in our area,” said Kara Williams, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Communications for Vision 2015. “We want to give people who live here a chance to show us the hidden gems they have discovered while working and living here. So far we don’t have a lot of entries so this is a great opportunity to get in on this contest.”
     
    The video can be shot with an HD camera, or with a smartphone, but it can’t exceed two minutes and it has to be less than 200 MB in size. The contest is open to anyone over the age of 13, and has to be in by October 10, a deadline that is fast approaching.
     
    There are three categories for people to fit into. The first is student, and students must be registered in high school, or an equivalent home school, or registered in a 2 or 4 year college.
     
    This category is sponsored by the University of Cincinnati.
     
    The second category is professional, anyone who has earned more than 50 percent of their income from video production or related fields. This category is sponsored by the Big Idea Challenge, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
     
    The third category is general public, and anyone who is not in school and does not produce videos for their profession can enter under this category. It is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
     
    Two special prizes will be awarded; the first is the best University of Cincinnati entry by a UC student and sponsored by UC. The second is the best portrayal of an active and healthy lifestyle, sponsored by Interact for Health. Both special prizes are worth $500 apiece. The other three aforementioned categories each have a first prize of $1,000, a second prize of $750, and a third prize worth $250.
     
    “Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have so many great assets and stories, and we are looking forward to seeing them through the eyes of people all around the region,” said Bill Scheyer, President of Vision 2015. “It is also the perfect opportunity for people to create a vision of what they love and win a cash prize too.”
     
    Finalists will be selected by an expert panel of judges by October 20. Winners will be chosen by public vote and will be announced the week of November 3. For more information about the contest, people can visit the website WCPO.com/ThroughMyEyes, or they can contact Kara Williams at kwilliams@vision2015.org.
     
    “Fall is a wonderful season for the competition,” Williams commented. “Schools are back in session, the weather is gorgeous, our streets are teeming with festivals, and sports are in high gear. We want everyone to get out with their smart phone or camera and show the world in 6 seconds to two minutes how we stand out, and do it in their own way.”
     
    Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
     
    Photo video Through My Eyes video
     

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    The Duke Energy Foundation handed out its latest round of urban revitalization initiative grants and the big winner was Covington.

    Of the $280,250 handed out, $111,750 is going to Covington-based projects, or 40% of the total funding.

    Among the recipients in Covington: Braxton Brewery, the Schott Grocery Building, the Hellman Lumber Mill Conversion, Pike Star Phase II, and SQUARE1, INc. at bioLOGIC.

    Braxton Brewery - $25,000

    The 22,000 sq. ft. building that most recently was home to Covington Arts and MKSK Architects will soon be the region's newest brewery.

     photo braxtonbrewers_zpsc050ef74.jpg

    The 1937 structure was originally built as a grocery store on West Seventh Street. The entire downstairs will be renovated to house the new microbrewery while the upstairs will be the new home of MKSK which will move from the floor below.

    "We are thrilled and honored to even be considered for something as remarkable as an urban revitalization grant," said Jake Rouse, one of the co-founders of Braxton. "There's truly a renaissance happening here and it's happening because of programs like this."

    Braxton received the grant thanks to help from The Catalytic Fund. "It is the mission of the Catalytic Fund to accelerate Northern Kentucky's urban renaissance," said Brandon Sehlhorst of the Catalytic Fund. "We are so lucky in this region to have a forward-thinking entity in Duke Energy who understand economic development."

     photo IMG_4688_zpsfc30a62b.jpg

    Schott Grocery Store Building - $22,500

    This long vacant building sits prominently at the corner of Sixth & Main Streets in Mainstrasse Village and was recently purchased by Paul & Emily Weckman, the couple that own the popular Otto's restaurant in the neighborhood.

     photo IMG_4689_zpse56085fd.jpg

    The building was suffering from serious structural deficiencies prior to the Weckmans' purchase. It has been vacant for seven years and the funds from Duke will assist the Weckmans in architectural and structural engineering services as well as historic tax credit consultation.

     photo 602main_zpsd227090c.jpg

    The building will be home to an upscale full-service restaurant, Duke Energy's Rhonda Whitaker announced.

    "We're really excited to be continuing our efforts in Covington," said Paul Weckman. "We love what's going on with the urban redevelopment in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and we couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of it. These small gaps can be hard to fix so this program has proven to be invaluable to us."

    The Catalytic Fund also assisted the Weckmans in securing these funds. Sehlhorst called the project, "vital to the continued success and future of Mainstrasse Village".

    Pike Star Phase II - $9,250

    Pike Star Phase I led to the renovation of the building that now houses UpTech and will soon have newly renovated market rate apartments above.

     photo taninos4_zps42b74137.jpg

    The building next door, commonly referred to as the Tanino's Building, which was recently acquired, will now also be renovated to include new market rate apartments and a commercial space for Bad Girl Ventures.

    Orleans Development and the Center for Great Neighborhoods will collaborate on this project as they did on the first phase.

     photo IMG_4691_zps31dd5038.jpg

    "When we first started Pike Star phase one several years ago, we didn't know if we would get to this point," said Rachel Hastings of the Center for Great Neighborhoods. She added that a planned phase three will include two additional buildings. The apartments in phase one will go online November 1.

    Hellmann Lumber Mill - $35,000

    This impressive structure has sat vacant for years at 321 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The Center for Great Neighborhoods acquired it at auction and will be the organization's first entirely commercial, non-residential development.

    It will serve as the creative hub of the Center's creative development efforts in the city's Westside. The site will also include a wood shop for The Carnegie.

     photo hellman_zps824bbcf1.jpg

    "It will be the keystone of our creative place-making initiative," said the Center's Sarah Allan. She called it "a catalyst for MLK" and promised "a really wonderful celebration when it opens".... we will have a really wonderful celebration when it opens.

     photo IMG_4690_zps6aa606ee.jpg

    SQUARE1, Inc. at bioLOGIC - $20,000

    Inspired Partners intend to develop the vacant warehouse space at 632 Russell Street, next to bioLOGIC, the life sciences incubator. The new space will house an open workspace to accommodate scientists, entrepreneurs, and creative individuals.

    The design will include several closed office and meeting spaces including a conference room on the mezzanine level. Several flexible lab spaces will also tie into the lab facilities at bioLOGIC. The development may become a small retail center for tenant companies that have a completed product to sell.

    The focus of the new space will be on health technology companies.

     photo biologiccheck_zps6a8af2d1.jpg

    bioLOGIC's Keith Schneider said that two new programs should launch by the end of the year. "The goal is to help people with ideas get into our accelerator and incubator programs," Schneider said.

    bioLOGIC's Dawn Denham said that she is about to turn 40, a significant milestone in years as it relates to keeping an eye on Covington. "My whole life, as long as I can remember, we've talked about Covington and how it's coming back, and it hasn't," she said. "I stand here today and it's finally happening."
     
    "Thanks to Duke for their never-ending support for our community," said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, who was present to congratulate Cincinnati recipients of grants in Westwood, Pleasant Ridge, and College Hill. "Obviously my heart is with College Hill and Westwood (and Pleasant Ridge) and their awards today but obviously our region is bigger than that and it is great to see how much Duke puts into our regional partners."
     
    Covington Mayor Sherry Carran was joined by City Manager Larry Klein, assistant city managers Larisa Sims and Frank Warnock, and the city's business development manager Naashom Marx at the ceremony.
     
    "It's sort of icing on the cake," Carran said. "It makes things a little easier for the people who are investing so much in the city. Acknowledging them is a boost. It's a boost to them and a big boost to the city."
     
    Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
     

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    The revised guidelines for historic preservation practices in Covington were among the winners at the fiftieth annual meeting of the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

    Historic preservation officer Beth Johnson accepted the award with Mayor Sherry Carran.

    "Covington has a great track record of preservation success with National Register districts, historic tax credit projects and preservation overlay zones. The city’s recently revamped historic preservation guidelines incorporate the latest in scholarship and technology and serve as a model for other cities to follow," the organization said about the new guidelines.

    Those new guidelines were presented to the public in June. The city commission offered its approval then.

     photo historicpreservationguidelines_zpsf08ca359.jpg

    This newly adopted and updated manual will be useful for homeowners and developers working on historic homes in those areas. "It will give you advice how to do it, provide insight on how it was done in the time when the buildings were constructed and help guide you through the process. Whether you are a homeowner, architect, or developer, this guide will help you," Johnson said at the time.

    The process to revise the guidelines included Johnson attending neighborhood association meetings within historic districts to go over the guidelines, explain the changes and get feedback. "The feedback I received was a big part of the process and a lot of it led to some really great additions and modifications in the content." she said.

    -Staff report

    Photo: Beth Johnson (left) and Mayor Sherry Carran/Jody Robinson


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    Twenty food trucks in one place on Saturday: The Cincinnati Food Truck Association is hosting its first ever CFTA Food Festival.

    It's Saturday, from 4 - 10 p.m. in Cincinnati's Washington Park.

    Which trucks can you expect to see? Bistro de Mohr, C'est Cheese, Cuban Pete Sandwiches, East Coast Eatz, Eclectic Comfort Food, Empanadas Aqui, Falafel Mobile, Mobile Cold Stone Creamery, panino., Pizza Tower, Quitefranklyllc, Red Sesame Korean BBQ/Taco, Streetpops, SugarSnap!, Texas Joe: The Legal Mexican, The Chili Hut, Ricco Food Truck, Roll With It Cafe, Waffo, and Wiggy Dip.

    There will also be live music by DJ Nate the Great.

    Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy a day of food and fun in the awesomely re-envisioned Washington Park.

    For more information: CFTA Food Festival

    -Follow The River City News on Facebook, Twitter, or email us!


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    Complex issues need lots of discussion, and the Brent Spence Bridge is no exception. Boiling the debate down to one word or issue is a disservice to the citizens of northern Kentucky.
     
    Today, anti-tollers seem to be fixated on the word “safe,” saying that because the bridge is structurally strong there is no need to replace it. 
     
    That’s not unlike saying a safe neighborhood is one in which the buildings are still standing, but with no mention of crime rates. We all know there’s more to safety than just strong architecture.
     
    In the case of the Brent Spence Bridge, it’s not the structure that’s unsafe – it’s how people use it. 
     
    It is true that the existing bridge was built more than 50 years ago and requires regular maintenance to care for its “age spots” – the rust, spalling concrete, worn-out expansion joints and other issues that are inevitable in roads and bridges.
     
    It also is true that the bridge is in relatively good physical condition for its age, and in no imminent danger of falling. In other words, it is structurally sound.
     
    That is distinct from the driving conditions that have evolved on the Brent Spence Bridge and which too often, at predictable points of every day, make driving unsafe.
     
    Reduced-width lanes to accommodate more traffic is an unsafe condition.
     
    Absence of emergency shoulders is an unsafe condition.
     
    A traffic load nearly double the designed capacity, when combined with narrowed lanes and no shoulders, is an unsafe condition.
     
    The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) works hard to maintain the Brent Spence Bridge, but operating conditions on the bridge are often deplorable. As time goes by, the existing bridge will get more congested and driver frustrations will continue to mount. This situation will only get worse over time, not better.
     
    So, what to do with this information? The public should understand that the basic problem is that the Brent Spence Bridge is undersized for the traffic that wants to use it. The only cure for that condition is to increase the number of traffic lanes at this location, and the only viable way of doing that is to build a second bridge. We cannot “restripe” our way to more capacity. So, the question becomes: How long can the communities on both sides of the river tolerate the ever-increasing bridge congestion?
     
    An ongoing discussion of the need to modernize the Brent Spence Bridge Ohio River crossing is necessary to ensure a thorough public understanding of the issues surrounding this very complex project. It is healthy to talk about why improvements are needed and how those improvements can be paid for. It is not healthy for anyone to make uninformed assertions about the safety of the existing Brent Spence Bridge.
     
    We at KYTC encourage healthy public discussion about the project. Our only request is that this discussion be centered on the basic truth that the existing Brent Spence Bridge congestion creates driving conditions that are unsafe. Then, and only then, will the result of the public dialogue be responsibly productive.
     
    Mike Hancock is the Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Kentucky
     

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    Two cars crashed on the Roebling Suspension Bridge Tuesday afternoon sending at least one man to the hospital.

    The crash happened at around 3:30 and forced the bridge to be shut down in each direction.

    Covington Police and Fire responded quickly, transporting at least one man from the scene.

    Two trucks arrived at 3:45 to remove the vehicles. The bridge is expected to reopen soon after their removal.

    Photos and details by Michael Monks, editor


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    Kids will make their own animated movie at the Weston Art Gallery’s popular annual Children’s Animation Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  
     
    It sells out early every year, if you’re interested – register now!
     
    J. Russell Johnson, Wright State University’s professor of motion pictures, leads the workshop with Ruben Moreno, art educator and clay animation specialist.
     
    Kids will learn the basic premise of animation, the foundation of all motion pictures, and practice techniques to create a short film.
     
    Participants will:
     
    • Sketch and color their own flipbook then turn their flipbook into a movie;
     
    • Create and animate Claymation figures with sound;
     
    • Watch their movie set to music on the big screen with their friends and family (date TBD);
     
    • See their name in lights!
     
    Workshop fee ($5) includes supplies plus a free DVD and film screening (with popcorn!) next spring (for children ages 5-12 and adults). 
     
    Cost: $5 per child. Advance registration (strongly) suggested; Register at www.westonartgallery.com/learn.
     
    -Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
     
    Photo provided
     

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    Why don’t we see Sherman Fracher front and center on Cincinnati stages more often?
     
    She’s given so many sublime performances over the 20 years I’ve been here, and lately she’s been relegated mostly to supporting roles – which she has always inhabited deeply, often making so much more of them than what’s been written.
     
    The region has some outstanding actresses – Sherman Fracher is the one who’s unheralded.
     
    Fracher gives another don’t miss performances in Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Halloween entry The Birds
     
    If you know it at all, it’s probably from an Alfred Hitchcock film from about 50 years ago. Birds – little ones, big ones – start attacking the residents of a seaside town beak first. There’s lots of gore and a famous scene where they set upon the Hitchcock Blonde heroine.
     
    This is so, so much better. Contemporary master of theatrical creepies Conor McPherson draws from the original short story by Daphne Du Maurier (I’d forgotten what a mistress of psychological suspense she was) as well as Hitchcock, and then he does something inspired. 
     
    McPherson digs down into OUR psyches, the fear that’s so clearly humming right under the surface these days. Since the Great Recession, when so many felt the ground slide out from under them, our anxiety has been shooting up so that now we’re near-paralyzed by every new bit of news. We’re being invaded by terrorists, a zombie disease is going to get us, our livelihoods are gone. It’s the end of the world.
     
    It might just be the end of the world in The Birds. Several scenes play out in the claustrophobic confines of a lake house. When the play opens, middle-aged Diane (Fracher) and thirtysomething Nat (Brent Vimtrup) are in the living room of a cottage far from any city. Something very strange and very bad is happening.
     
    A voiceover entry from Diane’s journal sets the scene: “I met the man on the road. We’d both abandoned our cars...”
     
    Attacked by birds, they’d found shelter in the house. Their clothes are both streaked with blood. The bird attacks follow the tide, and the birds fly in with a vengeance, shrieking, pitching themselves against the wooden shutters. 
     
    “That night was the last broadcast I ever heard,” the voiceover tells us. Even with heavy, it’s clear that the bird attacks are everywhere. Will it ever stop? Is there somewhere safe? Will their refuge keep them alive? Will they run out of food as the attacks continue? Unknown.
     
    Before long they are joined by appealing, young but enigmatic Julia (Sara Clark.) Triangles are always fun, especially when there’s nowhere to go. They tell each other secrets and don’t tell others. Trusts are broken. Much is unspoken.
     
    Fracher has always had a powerful stage presence. Here she emanates an electrifying energy through every twist and turn as Diane goes into survival mode. Her performance is riveting -- theatrical art throughout.
     
    Brian Isaac Phillips carefully builds tension through the one-act play. Vimtrup and Clark are core members of the company and they’re both consistently good but there seems to be a comfort level here rather than exploring new territory. There are strong echoes of many performances that have come before. 
     
    Nick Rose comes to visit for one scene and matches Fracher’s energy with a crazy energy of his own as scary neighbor Tierney, who plants the idea that there as many dancers in the cottage as there are outside. It’s a stand-out scene.
     
    Applause, too, to scenic designer Andrew Hungerford and sound designer Doug Borntrager for their well-played roles in messing with our heads. If you want stage tricks and treats for the Halloween – this is it.
     
    The Birds, through Nov. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St., Downtown Cincinnati. Tickets $32-$36 adults, $28-$32 seniors and $22-$26 students depending on weeknight or weekend performance. 513-381-2273 and here For more information: www.cincyshakes.com
     
    Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
     
    Photo provided
     

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    Hi. I'm Michael Monks, the editor and publisher of The River City News and I don't usually editorialize but I read something today that had me seething and shaking with anger.

    I don't want to assume that you, as a resident of Covington or a neighbor or a friend of the city, will feel the same way I did after reading what I read, but I think you might. 

    First off, it involves the alleged rape of an underage girl in Covington, something The River City News covered as police were searching for two of the four men accused of being involved.

    Secondly, what I read today seems as though it blames all of us who live in Covington for that rape.

    It also describes us as, basically, backwards hicks living in the shadow of glamorous Cincinnati and Newport. The spirit of an entire city is encompassed by an act of violence against a teen girl at one house on one block on one night here.

    But CityBeat columnist Kathy Y. Wilson in an offensive, inaccurate piece filled with hyperbole and a vague reference to having visited Covington a few times a long while ago, managed to indict all of us as the girl's rapist.

    First, take a look at her ridiculous piece at CityBeat, titled They Raped That City, then come back and join us here.

    ...

    OK. Welcome back. You mad, bro?

    Look, her telling of the crime isn't even as brutal as the alleged details I've learned about it. These allegations are very serious and if these suspects are guilty (something Wilson assumes throughout her garbage piece), then I hope they are punished appropriately. 

    The brutality of a violent crime can illicit an emotional response from people and perhaps that is what happened to Wilson when she went on this ill-advised tirade about a city that she clearly doesn't know a thing about. What exactly does she mean by this line:

    The larger point of all this small-focus heinous behavior is that Mason, Conrad, Tyler and Perry didn’t just hold and rape someone’s daughter — though that in itself is bad enough — they have further besmirched the reputation of an already bedraggled, mostly poor and Appalachian burg caught between the shadows of the bright lights illuminating the happy, drinking revelers of Newport — which might very well be the same population crowding along The Banks to Cincinnati’s stadiums — with very few venturing a few blocks south into Covington beyond the bars dotting the near side of the Roebling Suspension bridge.

    A community already known for its poverty and rampant drug use because of the state’s zero-tolerance laws punishing but not treating addicts and its less-than-stellar track record of public education and public housing doesn’t need the stench of rapists and a rape videographer added to its long list of ills and woes.

    I'm happy for the success of Cincinnati's The Banks (and, for that matter, urban revitalization throughout the city) and even happier for what's happening in our River City neighbor, Newport that we cover frequently and passionately, too. But let's not act like Covington is over here rotting.

    Wait, is Kathy Y. Wilson the faceless internet troll behind that God-awful string of Facebook "news" sites. You know the ones, "Covington News", "Cincinnati News", "Boone County News", "Latonia News", etc. No... can't be her. Those are operated by some strange, lonely old man who lives closer to Covington, Georgia than Covington, Kentucky. But the tone is the same, right? The point is to create some image of Covington as a forgotten wasteland surrounded by communities getting it right.

    Kathy Y. Wilson

    The Facebook "news" troll's motivations are known: He's just a mean old ass. Did you catch his recent racist threads about all the "white people" at Covington events because it's such a racist city?

    Maybe he should hire Wilson. Of course, she's busy as the writer-in-residence at the Cincinnati Library. Yeah, that's right. She's actually a reputable writer and even has a book that was published by the company from which The River City News currently leases its office.

    So why was she so reckless and lazy in her depiction of Covington? Worse, why did she attach the violent rape of a young girl to a city's socio-economic woes? Look at this crap:

    I know Scott Street in Covington; I once had a long-ago friend I used to visit there in a two-family house that looked onto the backside of a grocery store parking lot that looked especially creepy at night.

    Her neighbors were never particularly friendly. They always looked wary and suspicious and reminded me, stereotypically, of the weather-worn faces of the mute-mouthed mountain people in Deliverance, one of my favorite movies. Covington is a place that makes a visitor feel like she could turn a corner and be smack dab in the middle of a dirt farm in the middle of nowhere.

    I wonder now as I did then: The good people of Covington have more power than they realize to change their reputation, beginning with a house on Scott Street.

    Ugh. Seething! Deliverance? Maybe she is that Facebook "news" troll who lives in Georgia. Have you ever actually been to Covington, Kentucky, Kathy? I mean, your publication's annual Best Of... issue consistently nominated Covington Mayor Butch Callery as favorite Northern Kentucky politician as recently as last year even though he left office in 2008 (and is, while an awesome dude, so three mayors ago). 

    Look. I know. I am accused of wearing rose-colored glasses and being a cheerleader for Covington and Northern Kentucky. I dispute the first charge about the glasses. The good, the bad, and the ugly (like the rape of a young girl) are reported here. But am I cheerleader? You bet. And I'll never apologize for that. I want this community to succeed because I love it and over the past few years there have been incredible difficulties, on top of the long-standing ones, and there have been brushes with greatness.

    We have momentum here. We have attitude. We have... yeah, we have problems. Serious ones. But my goodness, Kathy, you have no idea at all what you're writing about. It's offensive to me, I bet it's offensive to many more, and it should be offensive to the victim. How dare you. Disgusting. Get a clue, and then get on the bus and come visit Covington.

    Be careful though. You might turn a corner and run into someone who JUST MIGHT SAY HELLO!

    Even if they read your bullshit column.

    -Michael Monks

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    And now, The River City News contributor Pat LaFleur offers his letter to the editor at CityBeat in response to Wilson's column:

    Dear Ms. Wilson, and the CityBeat editorial board:

    I love CityBeat. I pick up an issue pretty much every week, and appreciate the alternative, forward-thinking reporting your publication continues to produce. I am happy to consider myself one of your loyal readers.
     
    But I have a confession that might frighten and possibly disgust you. I imagine it might send waves of fear and resentment down your spine as you sit in your downtown offices, reading.
     
    I live in Covington. And I do so (deep-breath) voluntarily.
     
    Now, I must admit, before Wednesday, I honestly did not see this as something I needed to confess. But I hope you can forgive me, one of your loyal readers, for residing in what Ms. Wilson's most recent article ("They Raped That City," Oct. 22) called a "bedraggled, mostly poor and Appalachian burg caught between the shadows of the bright lights illuminating the happy, drinking revelers of Newport."
     
    This is me, hanging my head in shame, wading through "a cloud of generalized low self-esteem."
     
    Thank you Ms. Wilson, thank you, for making me realize that my city is nothing more than that dark house on Scott St. where a young girl was gang-raped earlier this year.
     
    I realize now that I, and my friends and neighbors, are nothing more than "mute-mouthed mountain people," and should be treated as such. We're dirt farmers posing as city-folk. 
     
    How dare we?
     
    I realize now that, if I'm ever crafty enough (will probably never happen) to trick one of my out-of-towner friends into visiting me here at my seedy apartment in Mainstrasse Village, that I should at least show them the courtesy to warn them to be on their guard.
     
    They'll probably figure that out on their own anyway, though, since, as Ms. Wilson implies in her article, would-be visitors should look at our city as a teenage girl should look upon a darkened, unfamiliar house on the 1600 block of Scott St... one which, also according to Ms. Wilson, she probably arrived at against her will.
     
    After reading the article, I understand now that we, "the good people of Covington have more power than (we) realize to change (our) reputation." 
     
    After all, imagine if we did know what we're capable of. We'd probably be doing things like:
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    - investing in green space (I bet there are LOTS of ways we could be doing this!)
     
     
     
     
     
    I bet we'd also invest in streetscape rehabilitation throughout the entirety of downtown Covington, and, oh, for good measure, why not transform an unused parking lot into a pop-up community and performance space?
     
    If only we knew what we're capable of.
     
    And everyone knows, too, that Covington's crime rates far exceed those of its neighbors, Cincinnati and Newport, those two brightly-lit cities Ms. Wilson contrasts with Covington's shadowy alleyways and side streets.
     
    If only we could do better.
     
    Oh, one second, though. You know, I'm embarrassed to admit so deep into this letter that, it turns out, all of those wild ideas I listed before... actually are happening. It just took a quick look at The River City News -- that's Covington's own alt-news publication -- to see what Covington has been up to... in just the last month.
     
    Oh, and it turns out Covington's violent crime rates are actually on par with, when not lower than, its neighbors'. I just saw those figures, too. Oops. They weren't that hard to find, turns out. I guess I'm not the one who should be hanging my head in shame, after all. 
     
    Now, Ms. Wilson is right to call out Kentucky's zero-tolerance policies that favor jail-time over treatment as part of the problem. And she's also right to say that, overall, Covington has work to do regarding its gateways and welcome mats throughout the city.
     
    But we are not a city of criminals, violent or otherwise. We are not a city of mute-mouthed mountain people. We are not a network of dark alleyways, plotting to prey on you outsiders.
     
    We are a city and on the rise and a community that wants to be a part of the Greater Cincinnati machine. 
     
    And, more so than those four men raping that teenage girl and distributing video footage of the crime, it is fear-based, elitist articles like Ms. Wilson's that are actually raping our city, setting back the progress so many of us are working so hard everyday, in so many different ways, to make happen.
     
    Ms. Wilson, I -- and many others -- know what Covington is capable of. And I also believe that you're capable of better, if you only knew.
     
    Is it okay if I cancel my "loyal reader" status? While I'm at it, do you mind if I let my fellow, Covington-based CityBeat loyalists know they should go ahead and do the same? Y'all don't need the lawless, senseless, and depraved for readers. Besides, most of us can't read down here, anyway.
     
    Pat LaFleur
    Covington, KY
     
    Follow The River City News on Facebook, Twitter, or email us!
     

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    What happens when people from out west are faced with tasting Goetta, Cincinnati-style chili, and Grippo's chips for the first time?

    "It looks like it was left behind by an animal in the forest," one woman said of goetta. They tasted Glier's, made in Covington.

    "It started off good, but then ended badly," one said of Grippo's barbecue chips.

    Real estate website Movoto found out and produced this video (with items listed as Ohio foods, but we in Northern Kentucky are quite familiar, too):


    Follow The River City News on Facebook, Twitter, or email us!


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    A new documentary about the Roebling Suspension Bridge is on the way -- but could use some help from you.

    Filmmaker Cam Miller, whose Our True Blues - a documentary about Covington's foray into major league baseball with the Blue Sox - premiered earlier this year, is the man behind the bridge movie, too.

    Miller writes:

    During a break in the research phase of my doc Our True Blues: The Story of the Covington Blue Sox, I sat on a bench at the river bank with a cup of coffee, gazing at the steel wire and brick monument. I wondered how such an amazing work of art could have been erected at such an uneasy time in our American history. I thought of how difficult the project must have been for Mr. Roebling. How did they pay for it? Who were the key players and what was their story? What was it like on December 1, 1866 when those first citizens boldly walked across the 1,057 foot span?

    I knew there was an interesting story to be told. A story that is important not only for today, but for the future of our river cities. 

    The Suspension Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati was designed by John A. Roebling who would later use it as the prototype for his Brooklyn Bridge.

    Miller is seeking to raise $1,500 for the project. If you can chip in -- and there are perks for those who do -- visit the IndieGoGo page.

    Meanwhile, the Roebling Suspension Bridge is also featured in a new book about the ten greatest suspension bridges in America.

    -Staff report


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    There will be no wardrobe malfunctions on stage, promises Jeff Richardson. He’s playing hunchback Igor in manic musical comedy Young Frankenstein at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater, opening Friday and continuing through Nov 15. 
     
    Igor’s hump, which has a tendency to moves mysteriously from side to side as he trundles after the mad doctor, won’t be falling of his back. Then again, “Maybe a little GQ ‘hump’-reveal photo shot would sent ticket sales over the top!”
     
     
    Young Frankenstein is, of course, based on Mel Brooks’ nutsy hit movie. The song-and-dance re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein (that’s ‘FRONK-en-STEEN’as he attempts to create a monster – but not without wacky complications. 
     
    Along with the Transylvanian castle, the Doc inherits his grandfather’s laboratory, Igor and deeply strange housekeeper Frau Blucher. 
     
    What’s a doctor to do? The Doc makes the right choice -- carry on his grandfather’s mad experiments reanimating the dead with the help, Igor and leggy lab assistant Inga.
     
    Florence resident Richardson loves physical comedy – his pantheon of roles includes Max Bialystock in The Producers, Patsy in Spamalot (who hauls a backpack and gave Richardson plenty of practice for Igor) and Wilbur Turnblat in Hairspray.
     
     
    Igor was the only role he tried out for and some friends actually checked to make sure Richardson had an audition time set.
     
    Richardson laughs that Igor is the show’s “king-maker.” The mad doctor couldn’t ask for a better wingman – “Igor is an easy-going free spirit,” Richardson analyzes. “Maybe a little George Carlin-esque
     
    He Takes life as it comes and handles what needs to be handled. "He’s passionate about his one true goal – to follow in the steps of his grandfather. And then take it further.”
     
    What’s next for Richardson? You’ll be able to find him at Showbiz Players’ The Addams Family auditions next month. It plays at The Carnegie in spring. “I’m hesitant to say only to avoid jinxing myself,” Richardson ventures, “but I would be honored to get the role of Gomez in The Addams Family musical. The comedy, the passion –the Tango. Who could ask for more, monamie?”
     
    Want to get in on the “Young Frankenstein” act? There will be an audience participation performance (think Rocky Horror) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12. Be ready to sing, dance in your seat (are you ready for “Puttin’ on the Ritz”?), shout iconic lines, and dress up as your favorite character.
     
    Young Frankenstein, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 15, Jarson-Kaplan Theater, Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown Cincinnati. Tickets $24 adults, $20 students/senior/military. 513-621-2787 and www.CincinnatiMusicTheatre.org or www.CincinnatiArts.org.
     
    Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
     
    Photo provided
     

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    Gateway Community & Technical College has a new transfer agreement with another university in the region, this time reaching its first such agreement with an institution from Ohio. 

    In Covington on Friday morning, Dr. Ed Hughes, president & CEO of Gateway, joined Mt. St. Joseph University President Dr. Tony Aretz in signing the agreement.

    "We all realize we are one region. The river just happens to run through our region," Hughes said. "It's really the Ohio Ocean and it's this kind of bridging that helps people feel comfortable moving in both directions."

    The new articulation agreement enables Gateway students to transfer credits earned at the community college to degree programs at Mt. St. Joe. 

    "Mt. St. Joseph University is pleased to formalize our relationship with Gateway to provide students with the opportunity to affordably complete their baccalaureate and graduate degrees with distinguished faculty and excellent learning experiences within the classroom and beyond in the community," Aretz said. 

    The agreement provides for collaboration on credit transfer between Gateway and the Mount and involves the design of both "1+3" and 2+2" programs. 

    "Students who haven't decided on a major, who wish to complete general education coursework before enrolling at the Mount, or those who may have developmental course neds will benefit from 1+3 agreements," said Maggie Davis, associate vice president of academic support at Mt. St. Joseph. "These will allow students to complete a year of coursework at Gateway before transferring to the Mount to finish a bachelor's degree."

    The 2+2 path calls for a student's completion of an associate's degree at Gateway before continuing at the Mount. 

    "Gateway is known for its high quality technical education and seamless transfer to Kentucky's public universities," said Mike Rosenberg, Gateway's director of transfer. "This new partnership creates an efficient, economical option for students in Cincinnati's metro area who wish to graduate from a top-ranked liberal arts college. Completing one or two years at Gateway makes finishing at the Mount much more affordable while still providing students a high quality, hands-on learning experience throughout their academic career."

    The agreement was signed during a ceremony held at Gateway's new Technology, Innovation, & Enterprise (TIE) Building on Madison Avenue, part of the college's growing urban metro campus in Downtown Covington.

    -Michael Monks, editor & publisher

    Photo: (From left) Sr. Margaret Stallmeyer (provost) and Dr. Ed Hughes of Gateway and Dr. Tony Aretz & Dr. Joel Thiersten (vice president for academic affairs) of Mt. St Joseph University/RCN

     


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    What will it take for a bike share program to roll its way into Northern Kentucky?
     
    The answer — and this also applies to actually cycling across one of our many bridges — is that it’ll be a lot less difficult than many might think, especially since Red Bike,
    Cincinnati’s bike share program launched this October, is already setting wheels in motion south of the Ohio River.
     
    Just two months after installing thirty bike share stations and over 250 bicycles across Downtown Cincinnati, Over­-the-­Rhine, and Uptown, Jason Barron, Red Bike spokesperson, says the time is rapidly approaching when Northern Kentucky communities should start gearing up.
     
    “If we hustle, and people make it a priority, we can have bike share up in Northern Kentucky next year,” Barron said over his coffee, warming up at Roebling Point Books &
    Coffee in Covington just after riding a Red Bike down from Over­-the-­Rhine through record cold temperatures.
     
    For some city officials, those gears are already turning.
     
    Mayor Sherry Carran of Covington, who is also a board member for the non­profit Green Umbrella, has been involved in the Red Bike project since its beginnings. "We knew that the Northern Kentucky phase was going to be on the fast track,"Carran said.
     
    The mayor joined Southbank Partners President Jack Moreland and Bellevue Assistant City Administrator Jody Robinson in a meeting last week about the initiative.
     
    Now, Barron admits, shooting for an operational bike share program in Northern Kentucky as early as next fall is ambitious. “The first step is always finding the cash,” he said, which will need to involve cooperation among cities and corporate partners.
     
    "Each city is going to have come up with a sponsor,” Carran said. "We will be having a key stakeholder meeting in December so we can get more input from people about locations."
     
    Funding typically poses one of the biggest, or at least most time­-consuming, challenges.
     
    But there are numerous opportunities to explore, Barron said, which beyond city involvement could include non­profits, community organizations, corporate partners, and even seeking out federal transit grants.
     
    The last of those avenues would probably pose the biggest challenge, since so much of the Northern Kentucky political discourse currently surrounds the Brent Spence Bridge, a project many believe to be the federal government’s responsibility to fund and is seen by many as priority for any federal spending in the area.
     
    Above all, though, Barron said, “It starts with cities and with the citizens.” Without that sort of support, not only would finding funding prove more difficult, but a bike share program would also be less impactful.
     
    “It’s absolutely a political issue,” he said, adding that without open support from Mayor John Cranley in Cincinnati, Red Bike might not have gotten off the ground. “People need to make it obvious they want (bike share) here."
     
    Robinson, from Bellevue, agrees. "To realize our goal to be part of the Red Bike network,” she told The River City News, "takes our communities to not only ride, but help make the investment. Great things unfortunately do not come for free."
     
    "(The River Cities) will be working together to build partnerships and find grant opportunities to help fund the project. It will only make the Northern Kentucky riverfront more vibrant and desirable,” she added, pointing to upcoming, national­ draw events like the MLB All­Star Game in July as a strong motivator for making this happen.
     
    And Red Bike will be looking for such initiative from the cities. “We’ll absolutely take guidance from civic and corporate leaders (in Northern Kentucky),” he said.
     
    For Robinson, much of whose work consists of revitalization projects for Bellevue’s main urban corridor, Fairfield Ave., bike share poses a way to unite Northern Kentucky’s River Cities in a new way.
     
    "I’m very excited about the opportunity Red Bike provides to further facilitate building the region as a community by providing a fun, healthy alterative mode of transportation,” she said. "It truly will add to the dynamic that makes the urban core extraordinary."
     
    Along those lines, Barron believes it will encourage inter­city commerce, both across the Ohio River, between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, but also within Northern Kentucky, across the Licking River, between Kenton and Campbell Counties.
     
    City officials seem the same potential. Robinson said, “There’s a real beauty in getting people out of their cars and on foot or bicycle because they will see their community in a more engaging and authentic way, which will lead to even more interconnection between the River Cities’ business districts."
     
    When thinking about how much cash might be necessary to fund the project, Red Bike will also have to consider where they would install bike share stations throughout Northern Kentucky, and how many.
     
    When it comes to determining where a bike station goes, it really comes down to originations and destinations, Barron says. That is, where people are going, and where they’re going home to. Density of residential properties, along with density of retail, dining, entertainment, or workplace destinations are the primary factors Barron considers when thinking about a bike share location.
     
    Red Bike has already begun collecting feedback on Northern Kentucky locations through social media, and, according to Carran, plans are already being made among the River Cities’ leaders to determine which locations would be best suited for Red Bike.
     
    Population density is only part of the equation, Barron said. "There’s a little bit of science and guidelines to it, but a lot of it is an art,” he mused, as he paced around the intersections of Greenup, Park Place, and Third St, at the foot of the Roebling Bridge, carefully weighing Red Bike’s options on the block.
     
    Off the cuff, he considered everything from sidewalk depth, curb space, and street width to patio seating, parking spaces, and street side trees and utility structures that could be disturbed by a bike share station.
     
    The Licking Riverside district is one of Red Bike’s prime targets for a Northern Kentucky bike share location, along with Newport on the Levee and Mainstrasse Village.
     
    In fact, Red Bike has gone so far as to solicit the services of Geographical Information Science students from the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP) to study how Northern Kentucky space is laid out by property use, socioeconomic status, commuter status, and other criteria, to develop preliminary recommendations for bike share locations.
     
    All­in­all, everyone’s perspective will be considered, Barron said, and initial studies indicate over twenty spots in the Northern Kentucky urban core that could, one day, become a bike share location.
     
    But will all of them be part of the initial expansion in Northern Kentucky? Probably not, according to Barron, who says the key to a successful launch of the Northern Kentucky phase will mirror his approach to growing Red Bike on the Cincinnati side: slow and steady growth.
     
    The fact remains, though, that the truth behind Red Bike is that they’ve been looking forward to pedaling down to Northern Kentucky from the start. Even Red Bike’s name, according to Barron, reflects this. Many bike share programs across the country, he said, are named simply after their city. Denver Cycle, for instance, or Nashville Cycle. But when considering “Cincy Cycle,” Red Bike leaders thought twice.
     
    “We don’t want this to be just for Cincinnati,” Barron said. “It’s for Northern Kentucky, too."
     
    So they went with a simple, straight­forward name that everyone could connect with.
     
    Rest assured, Red Bike, Northern Kentucky looks forward to having you.
     
    Written by Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor
    Follow The River City News on Facebook, Twitter, or email us!
    Photo: ​Red Bike in Covington/RCN
     

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