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Dayton vice mayor previews Beyond the Curb NKY urban tour


“Vibrancy is a core and essential feature of our Northern Kentucky river cities – it’s a chief reason why so many choose to live, work and play here,” Dayton Vice Mayor Ben Baker said in a recent Enquirer opinion piece.
 
Baker’s comments preview the upcoming installment of Beyond the Curb, an ongoing urban living tour of Northern Kentucky that allows participants an inside look at some of the region's most iconic structures. The tour will come to Bellevue and Dayton April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Past tours have featured residences and other buildings in Newport and Covington. The series highlights NKY’s walkability and unique history as well as its proximity to river trails and other outdoor amenities.

For more information and to register, visit beyondthecurb.org.
 
Read the full Enquirer story here.
 

Thomas More women's basketball team wins second straight title


April 4 marked 66 consecutive victories for the Thomas More College Saints women’s basketball team, coinciding with their second NCAA Division III national championship in a row.
 
The team finished the season 33-0, beating the seventh-ranked Tufts 63-51 in a Monday night game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
 
Simon Kenton graduate and sophomore guard Abby Owings led scoring with 17 points, while senior guard/forward Sydney Moss (Boone County) and sophomore forward Nikki Kiernan (Newport Central Catholic) had 14 and 13 points respectively.
 
The win results in head coach Jeff Hans becoming only the third DIII women’s coach to win back-to-back national titles. The feat was previously accomplished by Nancy Fahey of Washington University in St. Louis and Capital University’s Dixie Jeffers.
 
Read the full River City News story here.

 

UpTech company acquired by Silicon Valley-based firm


Covington-based UpTech, the region’s informatics accelerator, recently announced the acquisition of one of its most notable graduates.
 
Travel Notes, who leveraged UpTech resources to develop a fraud protection platform to improve travelers’ banking experience, has been acquired by Silicon Valley-based refund.me Group, Inc.
 
Founder and CEO Hudson Chilton entered Travel Notes into the UpTech program in 2015, where the startup idea quickly took hold amongst UpTech leaders.
 
“The success of Hudson and Travel Notes is exactly the vision we had in mind when UpTech was created in 2012,” said UpTech Founder, Casey Barach. “We wanted to build a unique program that supported, educated and funded startups. This story would not be taking place without the amazing support of the business community volunteers, financial supporters and the UpTech Fund Investors.”
 
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
 
Read the full NKY Tribune story here.
 

Covington's Shotgun Row gets national media coverage


A recent article by Preservation Magazine highlights Covington’s efforts to rebuild its West Side neighborhood, starting with the renovation of several shotgun-style homes on Orchard Street.
 
The magazine, which is published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, describes Covington’s West Side as, “a working-class enclave across the Ohio River from Cincinnati,” and features perspective from Sarah Allan, program director for the nonprofit Center for Great Neighborhoods (CGN). In 2012, CGN purchased three vacant properties from the city and two from private owners, all to be transformed into spaces for artists — defined in this case as anyone involved in a creative pursuit. Neighboring green spaces, complete with an urban-chicken coop, followed in short order.
 
“These houses were so far gone, people questioned why we would even want to save them,” Allan tells the magazine. “But with this project we were leveraging so much more than just a single building. We basically took the worst block and helped transform it. People look at Shotgun Row now and don’t even see the (individual) houses. It's like its own beautiful entity. It was definitely the most transformative project we've ever done.”
 
The article further details the Center’s efforts to rehabilitate substantially dilapidated historic buildings on Covington’s West Side, using grants from the Kresge Foundation.
 
Read the full Preservation Magazine story here.
 

April brings child abuse prevention events to NKY


The month of April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in Northern Kentucky, communities are invited to take action through awareness events and “Blue Ribbon Tree” ceremonies.
 
Statistics show that NKY ranks higher than state and national averages in the area of child abuse and neglect. To help improve those numbers, groups like the Family Nurturing Center are hosting awareness and action events for the month of April and beyond.
 
Events include Wear Blue Days, a Blue Ribbon 5k/10k race on May 14 and “Kids on the Block,” a traveling series that visits area schools to discuss bullying and school safety.
 
Learn more about upcoming events here.
 

NKY water experts invited to attend White House summit


It’s no secret that areas of the country – and much of the world – are water-stressed to varying degrees. But it may surprise some to learn of the work being done by our region’s water experts to help address the problem on a global scale.
 
Last month Confluence, the region’s water innovation cluster, were invited to attend a White House summit where scientists, politicians and environmental advocates from all over the country discussed the challenges they face and brainstormed possible solutions.

Like many attendees to the event, which was the first of its kind hosted by the White House, Confluence representative Melinda Kruyer said more funding is needed to implement water solutions.

“We’re seeing challenges that we’ve never seen before – algae toxins and lead in the water – at degrees we didn’t realize,” Kruyer said. “We need funding to implement the solutions to those problems.”

The EPA founded Confluence in January 2011 to bring together businesses, government, researchers and other organizations to identify issues and develop programs to keep water clean in the Ohio Valley area, including Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
 
Read the full WCPO Cincinnati story here.
 

Hotel Covington welcomes general manager Jack Olshan


In preparation for an anticipated July 2016 grand opening, Aparium Hotel Group has appointed Jack Olshan as general manager of the forthcoming 114-room Hotel Covington.
 
Olshan, who brings more than a decade of professional hotel experience to the role, expressed enthusiasm, saying, “I embrace and believe in Aparium’s culture of combining the aspects of art and science into the guest experience. We give our team the building blocks of great guest service and that’s the science. The art of it is how our team executes on that with their own originality.”
 
The long-awaited hotel will open at 638 Madison Ave. in the more than 100-year-old space known by many Northern Kentuckians as the Coppins Building.
 
Read the full River City News story here.
 

Record year for tourism highlights meetNKY annual meeting


At its annual meeting on March 24, meetNKY – the region’s sales, marketing and service organization – reported a victorious year on many fronts for the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau.
 
“There is no doubt in our minds that 2015 was All-Star in many ways,” said meetNKY President and CEO Eric Summe, referring to last summer’s hosting of the MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

As NKY Thrives reported, several other events bolstered the region's best year ever. Last summer's NASCAR series at Kentucky Speedway further underscored a tourism boom that researchers say will continue gaining momentum for years to come.
 
According to the report, travel and tourism contributed nearly $366 million to Northern Kentucky’s economy, or an average of about $1 million per day, during 2015. That number represents a $26 million increase over 2014 in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.
 
Read the full NKY Tribune story here.

 

KY House approves free community college


In a bill that passed the Kentucky state House on March 17, lawmakers gave recent Kentucky high school graduates the option to receive free tuition at institutions within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).
 
House Bill 626 now moves to the state Senate.
 
The legislation, also known as the “Work Ready” scholarship bill, would require students to apply for available financial aid, with the state then covering outstanding tuition costs for up to six semesters. The deal extends to full-time students who maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
 
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, said the program would cost about $20M per year and could serve up to 18,000 students in its first year.
 
“It’s a lot of money, but think of the bang you get for the dollar,” Stumbo said.
 
Read the full Courier-Journal story here.

 

Fourth round of Covington Creative Community Grants now open


The Center for Great Neighborhoods is seeking applicants for its fourth round of Creative Community Grants intended to engage and impact Covington for the better.
 
In its most recent grant cycle, the focus was on building an inclusive community for all. A total of $30,000 was awarded to grantees creating unique opportunities for togetherness “from incorporating personal possessions into a mosaic mural to highlighting the collective artistic talents of an entire neighborhood to learning culinary techniques in a new way alongside the blind and visually impaired,” says Shannon Ratterman, the Center's Program Manager of Community Development.
 
In the new round of grants, the focus is on health.
 
“We believe that the health of the community is dependent upon the health of its residents,” Ratterman says. “When residents have access to physical activity, healthy foods and good medical care, they are more likely to succeed in other aspects of their lives.”
 
Read the full Soapbox story here.

 

Renovated Meinken Field debuts with ceremony honoring Covington employees


Last July, when Cincinnati was chosen to host the MLB’s All-Star Game, league officials also began researching community projects to coincide with the big game. At that time, Covington’s former Programs and Strategic Projects manager Natalie Gardner suggested Meinken Field.
 
All-told costs came in at over $1M, with Gardner taking responsiblity for raising $330,000 in completion costs and organizing more than 60 volunteers to landscape the neighboring grounds.
 
Gardner was surprised upon arriving at the field for the first official baseball game of the season to see her name gracing the sign leading into the parking lot.
 
“I definitely squeezed out a few tears out there,” Gardner admitted.
 
Gardner’s colleague Eric Neff, Director of Human Resources for Covington Independent Schools District, also received recognition for his work on the project. Both Gardner and Neff were inducted into the Covington Public Schools Hall of Fame at the opening ceremony on Friday, March 18.
 
Read the full River City News story here
 

Baseball superfan Dale Silver hits a homerun as new president of Rosie Reds


Baseball has played a key role in Dale Silver’s life. In the last 20 years she’s missed only one Cincinnati Reds opening day, and she attends about 25 home games a year. She’s traveled to 25 of the 30 ballparks around the country (so far).

This year, Silver, a lifelong baseball fan — and athlete in her own right — will serve as the president of Rosie Reds, a philanthropic social organization focused on supporting the Cincinnati Reds.

Rosie Reds (Rooters Organized to Stimulate Interest and Enthusiasm in the Cincinnati Reds) was formed in 1964, when there was a risk that Cincinnati would lose a National League Baseball franchise. Rumor had it that Reds owner Bill Dewitt was considering moving the franchise to another city due to dwindling attendance and little community interest in the sport.

In addition to her role with the Rosie Reds, Silver is client services manager with C-Forward Information Technologies in Covington. She’s also active in the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, where she is an executive board member on the chamber’s board of directors and is vice chair.

Read the full Northern Kentucky Tribune story here.
 

Bash for Rabbit Hash General Store raises over $11,000


Hundreds of supporters gathered at the new World Headquarters of Colonel De Herbs & Spices for the Rabbit Hash Bash event on March 12. The event raised over $11,000 for the rebuilding of the Rabbit Hash General Store.

This community event was created to help rebuild the Rabbit Hash General Store, which was destroyed by a devastating fire on Feb. 14. The General Store has been in existence since 1831 and is listed on the National Registry of Historical places.

The landmark houses memories for not only local but also people from all over the country — including local business owner De Stewart of Colonel De Herbs & Spices. He felt compelled to help after learning the General Store was a complete loss and insurance coverage was minimal.

“I was completely heartbroken after learning the news from my dear friend Don Clare,” Stewart said.

Don Clare, President of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society, and Stewart have spent many weekends together making and listening to music in Rabbit Hash. 

“We are so thankful for this event and all the support we have been receiving since the fire,” Clare said. “We can’t thank Colonel De and all these people here who have taken time out of their day to stop by and share stories with us. This is over the top.”

Read the full River City News story here.
 

Hotel Covington to open its doors this summer


The long-awaited Hotel Covington will open at 638 Madison Ave. in downtown Covington this summer in the space known by many Northern Kentuckians as the Coppins Building. The hotel is a collaboration between Aparium Hotel Group and The Salyers Group and has been under construction for a year.

With the help of $5.4 million from the Kentucky Tourism Department Finance Authority, the century-old building underwent a $22-million renovation that preserved its historic features while also adding some modern finishes.
 
Built in 1910, the building housed Coppins Department store until 1977. Covington City Hall moved there in 1990 and moved out in 2014 so the hotel project could begin. The seven-story structure will house 114 guest rooms with vintage-inspired free-standing coat racks that pay homage to the building’s past.

Read the full Soapbox story here.
 

Paddlefest offers a number of changes for 15th annual splash in August


Greater Cincinnati’s Paddlefest event, which attracts 2,000 canoers and kayakers to the Ohio River each year, is undergoing a number of changes in 2016, including a new date, a different route, route guides and a new sponsor. The 15th annual Paddlefest will be held on Aug. 6, nearly a month later than usual.
 
Paddlefest was postponed last year due to heavy rains that flooded the Ohio River. By moving the event to later in the summer, organizers hope to avoid the rainier months.
 
Paddlefest will be a bit longer this year, with an 8.9-mile trip that takes participants under all six Ohio River bridges in Cincinnati. The event will start at Schmidt Recreation Complex in the East End and end with a celebration at Gilday Park in Riverside, with a mid-point stop in Covington. In previous years, Paddlefest started at Coney Island and ended at the Public Landing downtown and was 8.4 miles long.

Read the full Soapbox story here.
 
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