Green Umbrella in the News

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  • October 26, 2022 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Link NKY

    Gift Promoting Bike Safety Could Open Eyes to Larger Conversation: ‘It’s the Concept of Making Our Streets Safer for Everyone’

    Robin Gee

    October 26, 2022

    Brrring, brring!

    That’s the sound drivers, bike riders and pedestrians will hear more often in Fort Thomas if all goes according to plan. At the October city meeting, council member Ken Bowman announced that Reser Bicycle in Newport donated 400 bike bells to Fort Thomas residents in the hopes of promoting safer riding, especially on sidewalks.

    Jason Reser, owner of Reser Bicycle Outfitters in Newport, donated the bells after learning that safe bicycling is an issue in Fort Thomas. It’s been a growing issue across the region as people seek alternatives to driving.

    Crowded sidewalks

    “Fort Thomas is pretty unusual in Northern Kentucky because a lot of kids ride their bikes to school,” Reser said. “Fort Thomas and Fort Mitchell are really the only communities where people really feel safe to let their kids ride to school, that the roads are safe enough for them to use.”

    However, he said, a lot of children are riding their bikes on the sidewalks. Fort Thomas is also known for its walkability — and this is causing issues between bicycle and scooter riders and pedestrians.

    “What’s going on now is kids are riding to school and people are using the sidewalks, but the sidewalks are not that big,” he said. “And now, there’s also the electric scooters, and those go a little bit faster than the bicycles, especially on the sidewalk, so that’s becoming an issue up there.

    “We thought, hey, if we can try to draw awareness to this, multiple users on the sidewalks. It’s a little gesture, but maybe we can make people a little bit happier, make it easier to share the sidewalk for now.”

    Complete streets

    The concept of complete streets, Reser explained, is to reconsider how and why we use our streets.

    “A lot of street and road design has been about the most efficient and fastest way to get cars from point A to point B,” he said. “But now there’s a lot of thought, especially when you’re looking at urban and suburban locations, toward places where people really shouldn’t be speeding up. It’s the concept of making our streets safer for everyone.”

    Complete streets is an approach to city and street planning that takes into consideration not only bicyclists, but people in wheelchairs, scooters and golf carts, as well as pedestrians. The term has made it’s way into planning and design circles and even to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    According to the Department of Transportation website, “Complete Streets approaches vary based on community context. They may address a wide range of elements, such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, bus lanes, public transportation stops, crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, modified vehicle travel lanes, streetscape and landscape treatments. Complete Streets reduce motor vehicle-related crashes and pedestrian risk, as well as bicyclist risk when well-designed bicycle-specific infrastructure is included (Reynolds, 2009).”

    Reser cited projects by Newport, Fort Thomas and other river cities to create a “smart corridor” on U.S. 27. He said city officials and planners are paying close attention, and there are a number of organizations in our area hoping to influence those leaders.

    He pointed to a November 10 summit at Northern Kentucky University hosted by Tri-State Trails, an organization promoting expansion of the region’s trail and bikeway network. The summit will feature guest speakers from other communities that have moved toward complete streets and other pedestrian and bicycle friendly infrastructure.

    Community connection

    Communities that provide more options for transportation and better connectivity also have a better time attracting employers, he noted. He said organizers for the summit are pushing this fact and hoping that area leaders are listening.

    He said, going back to Fort Thomas, he hopes planners can take a hard look at how streets are being used.

    “Is it necessary to have four-lane streets plus parking, basically six lanes wide just for cars?” he asked. “So many users are running and biking and using golf carts now… A lot of people say, ‘Well, this is just for bikers.’ I would push back and say, really this creates more safety for everyone.”

    There are a number of organizations advocating for “complete streets.” One of them is the Smart Growth America, and greater details of the concept is available on their website. Reser Bicycle Outfitters is located at 648 Monmouth St. in Newport. Fort Thomas residents can pick up their free bells at the Armory in Tower Park. A few are also available from the Fort Thomas Police Department.

  • October 24, 2022 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: CityBeat

    Studio Kroner's Newest Exhibit Examines Literal and Metaphorical Trash — and How it Threatens Our Future

    Katrina Eresman 

    Mon, Oct 24, 2022

    Trash is everywhere. Literal garbage litters the streets and sidewalks. Metaphorical trash makes up much of the content flooding news channels and phone screens.

    In its upcoming exhibit Trash Talk, Studio Kroner is putting this trash in the spotlight, and examining how it threatens our future. The exhibit will feature works by studio founder Paul Kroner and Northern Kentucky-based artist Devan Horton.

    The two artists had been working on their own trash-related works separately. When Kroner reconnected with Horton at a show at Clifton Cultural Arts Center, he realized it was the perfect fit.

    “Neither one of us are necessarily painting pretty things,” Kroner tells CityBeat. “I get very excited about that kind of possibility, of trying to go, OK where’s the deviation? How do we create conversation? How do we use art to explore difficult topics?”

    Studio Kroner opened on Court Street in Downtown Cincinnati in 2021, and has held exhibits by local and national artists. Recent exhibits have included San Francisco-based New Yorker illustrator Mark Ulriksen, and Ludlow, Kentucky-based twin artists ​​Jeff and John Winkle.

    In addition to curating more traditional exhibits, Kroner likes to use the space to engage audiences with difficult topics. Earlier this year, he hosted a month-long exhibit and program called All Else Pales. In addition to highlighting visual art, poetry and theater focused on the causes and effects of climate change, the exhibit included educational talks by scientists.

    Trash Talk is going a step beyond the standard exhibit by serving as a fundraiser for local environmental organizations.

    “Hopefully our work in that space can matter,” Kroner says.

    Kroner’s contribution to Trash Talk speaks on the world’s metaphorical trash. His series "Box News" features black-and-white portraits painted on cardboard boxes.

    “There are so many people in our news feeds every day who are just like, ‘blablabla,’ spewing forth a lot of untruths and things that I feel are really threatening to our culture and democracy,” Kroner says. “I really have this idea that these people are wanting to send us back to a black-and-white timeframe, which is why they’re in black and white.”

    Kroner says that he chose to paint these portraits on a medium that’s meant to be thrown away, with the message being that their untruths will ultimately end up in the trash, too.

    “This is my hope, is that they’re here but they’re very ephemeral, like the packages we get delivered to us,” he says.

    Horton’s series “Penchant” makes up the other half of Trash Talk. In these works, Horton paints towers of trash in order to call attention to the problem of waste.

    “They’re all pure trash,” Horton says. “I purposefully took away everything that was living. Because, you know, trash surrounds us. It's everywhere.”

    In college, Horton’s work focused on swarms and hive minds, so she frequented the woods seeking subjects to paint. But all she ever seemed to find was a shocking amount of trash. Horton hopes that her series will get more people to confront the severity of the problem, and consider how they might adjust their own consumer waste.

    “Trash is obviously not the number one contributor for climate change, but to me it seems like the easiest one to fix, and something that we can do a lot about at an individual level,” Horton says. “I’m hoping to reach out to individuals. [...] Maybe they start analyzing the things they consume, maybe they just start recycling more.”

    When it comes to recycling, both Horton and Kroner praise the Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub.

    “They can recycle anything,” Kroner says. “They’ll find a use for anything.”

    “It’s pretty impressive,” Horton adds.

    Related


  • October 21, 2022 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: MLB.com

    New Crown Mural Dedicated Outside GABP

    Brendan Hader

    October 21st, 2022

    The Cincinnati Reds, ArtWorks and CROWN dedicated a new mural outside of Great American Ball Park on Wednesday.

    A project championed by CROWN Vice Chairman Rick Greiwe and designed by local artist L.D. Nehls, the 165-foot mural was created to spark excitement, curiosity and discovery of Cincinnati’s gem landmarks along the CROWN: the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network. The CROWN is a 34-mile urban trail loop intended to serve as the hub connecting Greater Cincinnati’s regional trails to downtown, transforming the way people move in the community. Over 18 miles of the loop have been completed, and the latest creation at the corner of Joe Nuxhall Way and Mehring Way is one of two completed murals along the trail, the other on Wasson Way in Oakley.

    Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails and CROWN Campaign manager, hosted the event outside the ballpark in front of the mural. Representatives from CROWN, Duke Energy and Artworks spoke at the event while Reds president and chief operating officer Phil Castellini, senior vice president Karen Forgus and other members of the Reds’ front office staff were in attendance.

    “We believe our city is a gallery,” said Colleen Houston, CEO and artistic director of ArtWorks, a nonprofit responsible for multiple other murals around the city. “The artists have immense value in the power of storytelling honoring and elevating our culture, and that art belongs to everyone. … We hope that the CROWN trails network is catalyst for more art, placemaking and building community across our city.”

    This mural is meant to encourage locals to learn more about the city and community they live in and to celebrate how the CROWN trail and the Reds connect people and communities. It contains 19 iconic landmarks that the trail will pass. The mural also contains a QR code that offers a key to identify each of the landmarks.

    “There’s a quote on the wall that says, ‘A ribbon of energy connecting the gems and the crown of the Queen City,’” Johnston said. “That quote was from Jan Portman, one of the co-chairs of the campaign. It came to her as we were going through this process, how the trail is forming a ribbon of energy and connecting people to places in the city that they care about. The gold, decorative line work throughout the entire mural is representative of that.”

    The preliminary work on the mural began in August and featured a team of youth apprentices from ArtWorks. Funding for this mural project included a $30,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation.

    “Duke Energy is incredibly proud to support this project and this mural,” said John Juech, speaking on behalf of the Duke Energy Foundation. “In terms of our charitable giving goals, one of our core commitments is urban revitalization and making sure this is an inviting and welcoming city for us all to live in. I think the murals fit really well into that vision and provide a lot of vitality and pride in this city as you walk around.”

    The mural also received $25,000 from the Cincinnati Youth to Work program, which allowed ArtWorks to employ 10 youth apprentices under the guidance of two teaching artists, Sophie Shiff and lead artist Brandon Hawkins. They were there as late as Wednesday morning putting the finishing touches on the wall.

    “I went to several games as a youth growing up here in Cincinnati, so I always had a connection to the Reds,” Hawkins said. “I had the jerseys and liked to rep my city through Reds baseball, so it was amazing to get a phone call and be told that I was going to be leading a team with a mural at the Reds’ ballpark.

    “As we were painting the wall, it was really cool to see the diversity in those individuals. People asked us questions about the CROWN trail, and it seemed as if they really started to connect to the subjects that were on the wall. We hope that as people continue to walk past and learn more about CROWN trails, they can see themselves riding the CROWN trails throughout the city. And if that’s the case, then this mural will have done its purpose.”

  • October 19, 2022 11:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Xavier Newswire

    Ethics/Religion and Society to Host Discussion

    By Morgan Miles

    The Ethics/Religion and Society (E/RS) Program at Xavier University is co-sponsoring a lecture and panel discussion, in collaboration with the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, called “Mindful Utopianism: Real Possibilities for Solving the Ecological Crisis” on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. in the Kennedy Auditorium.

    The panel discussion will feature Drew Pendergrass, an environmental engineer who co-authored the book “Half Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change, and Pandemics.”

    Pendergrass’ publication spurred the panel’s creation. Its title refers to American biologist, naturalist and writer E.O. Wilson’s idea of restoring half of the Earth to a “rewilded” state, where the ecosystem is left alone to become balanced and biodiverse. Pendergrass is embracing “mindful utopianism” in light of the climate crisis.

    Associate Professor of Sustainability and Global Cultures History Dr. Suparna Chatterjee and Director of the Philosophy, Politics and the Politics Honors Program Dr. Timothy Brownlee will join Pendergrass in the panel discussion.

    Chatterjee and Brownlee will contribute to the conversation with their expertise in global politics and sustainable resource management.

    Panel speakers will consider practical possibilities of “’mainstream’ technocratic environmental approaches such as geoengineering,” according to the Green Umbrella website providing details on the upcoming event.

    Thursday’s event is a part of a series hosted by the E/RS Program.

    E/RS’s Director Dr. James Helmer explains that the program’s current focus is environmental and sustainability issues and our response to the ecological crisis, such as developing new ways of thinking.

    “Ethical principles and ideals grounded in an Ignatian worldview and expressed in ideas of ‘ecological solidarity’ and ‘ecological justice’ can help inform our practical response to the ecological crisis,” Helmer said.

    Dr. Bethany Henning, who currently serves as the Besl Family Chair for the E/RS program, originally suggested inviting Pendergrass to campus.

    “He is a young person with the requisite drive and expertise to engage in a global conversation that often seems hopeless,” Henning said.

    Henning’s response to the worsening ecological crisis involves considering how to retain cultural practices while disorienting shifts occur and encouraging thinking through complex questions on the global crisis and its problems.

    “The longer we put off… changes, the more lives we stand to lose in the coming decades,” Henning said.

    “We have all considered some of the benefits and drawbacks to imagining utopias, and now we are in the midst of a serious global crisis that demands radical and ingenious answers.”

    “What can we tolerate, and how can we compromise to protect one another as our life support systems become more fragile?”

    All Xavier students, Henning mentioned, have or will have experience in utopian thinking because they are required to take PHIL 100, which has students navigate through utopian thinking exercises while reading Plato’s Republic.

    The E/RS program is giving out free copies of Drew Pendergrass’ book Half-Earth Socialism to the first fifteen attendees of Thursday’s event. Attendance is free.

    For further information, please contact Henning (henningb1@xavier.edu) or Helmer (helmerj@xavier.edu).

  • October 06, 2022 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: NKy Tribune

    Four Area School Districts, Including Campbell Cty., Are Piloting Feed Our Future’s ‘Local Menu Takeover’

    Four local school districts are piloting Feed Our Future’s Local Menu Takeover, serving locally sourced meals in select schools this week as a coordinated effort to celebrate Farm to School Month.

    Farm to School Month raises awareness about connections happening all over the country among children, local food, and farms. The districts participating in the Local Menu Takeover are Campbell County Schools, Cincinnati Public Schools, Milford Exempted Village Schools, and West Clermont Local School District.

    Schools were able to select from seven meal concepts (two breakfasts, three entrees, and two desserts) featuring ingredients like eggs and produce sourced from farms in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council sub-awarded funds from their USDA Farm to School Implementation grant to participating districts. The recipients in this pilot will serve as Greater Cincinnati Region Feed Our Future benchmark schools and mentor other districts, continuing collaboration to inspire innovation around the Farm to School program in the future.

    Feed Our Future launched ‘Local Menu Takeover’ in Northeast Ohio during the 2020-2021 school year, creating pre-planned, all-local menus concepts where the meal ingredients served to children were grown, raised, or processed in Ohio. The program proved that procuring local foods can be done in a replicable way, even in unpredictable conditions. School foodservice programs were provided turn-key solutions necessary to create the menu and market the concept to their staff, students, families, and communities.

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council is an initiative of Green Umbrella that strives to create cross-sector collaboration of organizations and individuals, community influencers, and decision makers to drive impact in creating healthy, equitable, sustainable food systems for all in the Greater Cincinnati region.

    Feed Our Future: Local Foods for Growing Minds is an initiative of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. Driven by its vision that all children deserve access to fresh, healthy, and (when available) local foods no matter where they go to school, it works across sectors to create opportunities in the food system to improve diet quality and nutrition security for school-aged children.


  • October 04, 2022 10:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: CityBeat

    Concrete Barriers, Dedicated Bike Lanes Likely Coming to Girl Scout Bridge

    By Madeline Fening

    Tue, Oct 4, 2022

    It’s been more than a month since a driver struck and killed Gloria San Miguel on the Girl Scout Bridge connecting Newport and Covington, sparking a push to quickly install protective barriers for cyclists on the bridge.

    Devou Good Foundation — an organization that supports active transportation in Greater Cincinnati — was prepared to install temporary water walls on the bridge in the week following the deadly crash.

    Water walls are plastic orange barriers filled with water to give them weight. Their use would have been free and immediate because the foundation already has them in stock, but the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) says this option would pose more dangers for cyclists.

    ”The problem with a water-filled barrier is it cannot be attached to the bridge deck, and is not massive enough to deflect a vehicle that might hit it,” says Mike Bezold, project development and design manager for KYTC. “If a vehicle hits the water-filled barrier, the entire water-filled barrier would deflect (scoot) 8-10 feet into the bike lane depending on the size of the vehicle that hits it.”

    A heavier alternative

    The alternative being proposed by KYTC is a barrier similar in size and shape but twice as heavy. Concrete barriers, or “Jersey blocks,” are heavy-duty barriers often used in construction zones to protect workers from oncoming traffic.

    KYTC is proposing heavy-duty concrete barriers as a temporary solution for cyclist safety on the Girl Scout Bridge. - Photo: Provided by Tri-State Trails via Devou Good Foundation

    KYTC is proposing heavy-duty concrete barriers as a temporary solution for cyclist safety on the Girl Scout Bridge.

    “While it’s disappointing that KYTC is right now not accepting the water wall, we think that the concrete barrier wall – and we agree with them – will be safer than the water wall,” says Matt Butler of the Devou Good Foundation. “Although we do see the water wall as being a potential solution, it may not be the one that they prefer.”

    Butler agrees with KYTC that the concrete barriers may be able to stop a vehicle in its tracks better than a water-filled barrier, especially when considering how fast drivers are going on the Girl Scout Bridge.

    According to speed radar data collected by the Devou Good Foundation, approximately a quarter of drivers on the Girl Scout Bridge are breaking the 30 miles per hour speed limit, instead driving 50-60 miles per hour. In the chart below, the red line represents the 30 mile per hour speed limit.

    According to data the majority of drivers on the Girl Scout Bridge are severely breaking the speed limit, as indicated above the red line. - Photo: Provided by Devou Good Foundation

    According to data the majority of drivers on the Girl Scout Bridge are severely breaking the speed limit, as indicated above the red line.

    The downside of sourcing concrete

    There are drawbacks to the barriers, though.

    “I think if we can all agree and go forward with the concrete barrier, that’s the preferred route, but it’s definitely not the quicker route,” Butler says.

    Butler says the concrete barriers will take time to cast, transport and install all the way from Louisville, which is their closest option for the project. The Devou Good Foundation, which is picking up the entire bill for the project, will need to foot the transportation cost of hauling multiple truckloads of materials that already are soaring in price.

    Concrete has been hit particularly hard by inflation, with the National Association of Home Builders saying prices are the highest they’ve been in decades. Butler was unable to provide a cost estimate for the project by press time.

    Next steps

    The next steps towards getting the two-way protected cyclist lane on the bridge will come from the Newport and Covington city manager’s offices who will need to sign off on the permit application for the barriers. From there, KYTC’s engineers will evaluate the Girl Scout Bridge’s weight capacity before thousands of pounds of added concrete are added to the deck.

    The Devou Good Foundation is offering to install a water wall on the Girl Scout Bridge to protect cyclists.

    Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Won't Approve Immediate Barrier for Cyclists After Fatal Hit-and-Run: Two men have been arrested in connection with the Aug. 20 death of cyclist Gloria San Miguel.

    While KYTC owns the bridge that connects Newport and Covington, Butler says Tri-State Trails is leading the way on the project so the bridge will connect seamlessly to trail systems in both cities. Similarly, the recently completed Beechmont Bridge Connector gives cyclists and pedestrians an extended dedicated lane that safely connects the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the Ohio River Trail for the first time.

    Butler says the permit application for the protected bike lanes on the bridge needs a signature from one city manager on either side of the bridge, and both Newport and Covington are in favor of the protected lanes.

    “We were very pleased to be a part of the conversation about safety in the bridge,” says Newport city manager Thomas Fromme. “We fully support the concept of both a temporary and a permanent solution, whatever they may be.”

    Covington’s city manager, Ken Smith, says his department gathered feedback on what should be done with the bridge, but they are leaving the guidance up to the experts.

    “The City of Covington hosted the meeting earlier this month about the shared concern of bike safety on the state-owned bridge and gave its preliminary approval to a separate bike lane on that state route that connects Covington and Newport,” Smith says. “We were told later that the [water wall] was no longer feasible, and we haven’t been party to the subsequent discussion. That’s not our expertise anyway.”

  • September 27, 2022 3:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WLWT

    Select Greater Cincinnati School Districts Piloting ‘Fresh Food’ Lunch With Local Farms

    Four local school districts will pilot "Feed Our Future’s Local Menu Takeover", a program that will serve locally sourced meals in select schools the week of Oct. 3.

    The partnership is a locally coordinated effort to celebrate Farm to School Month.

    Farm to School Month raises awareness about connections happening all over the country among children, local food, and farms.

    The districts participating in the Local Menu Takeover are Campbell County Schools, Cincinnati Public Schools, Milford Exempted Village Schools, and West Clermont Local School District.

    Schools were able to select from seven meal concepts (two breakfasts, three entrees, and two desserts) featuring ingredients like eggs and produce sourced from farms in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council sub-awarded funds from their USDA Farm to School Implementation grant to participating districts.

    Participating schools will serve as Greater Cincinnati Region Feed Our Future benchmark schools and mentor other districts.

    Feed Our Future launched ‘Local Menu Takeover’ in Northeast Ohio during the 2020-2021 school year, creating pre-planned, all-local menus concepts where the meal ingredients served to children were grown, raised, or processed in Ohio.

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council is an initiative of Green Umbrella that strives to create cross-sector collaboration of organizations and individuals, community influencers, and decision makers to drive impact in creating healthy, equitable, sustainable food systems for all in the Greater Cincinnati region.

    Feed Our Future: Local Foods for Growing Minds is an initiative of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. The organization says it's driven by the vision that all children deserve access to fresh, healthy, and (when available) local foods no matter where they go to school.

    The organization works across sectors to create opportunities in the food system to improve diet quality and nutrition security for school-aged children.

  • September 26, 2022 2:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    Can the Transition to a Greener Economy Happen in a Way That Benefits Everyone?

    From record-breaking floods to recurring wildfires to ongoing droughts — the effects of climate change are being felt more and more across the country.

    That’s led to recent climate-conscious federal legislation and greener business practices among some companies.

    But many advocates argue change must happen faster to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

    And they want to see a “just transition," meaning the shift happens in a way that includes minority communities, low-income workers and other groups that have been left out of economic growth in the past.

    On Cincinnati Edition, we discuss the idea of a “just transition” — what it means, who it would benefit and the political implications of a greener economy.

    Guests:

    Kevin Cassidy, director of the International Labor Organization of the U.S. and representative to the Bretton Woods and Multilateral Organizations

    Elizabeth Rojas, director of the Cincinnati 2030 District

    Matt Kolbinsky, president of Pro Lighting & Solar and a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 212

    Michele Mansfield, board chair of the World Affairs Council of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

    The World Affairs Council of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will host Cassidy to discuss the green economy and its impact on manufacturing and the workforce. He’ll be giving a public lecture entitled, “A Just Transition to a Green Economy: The Impact on Businesses, Workers & Government,” from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter in Covington, Ky.

    More information about the public lecture is available online.

  • September 24, 2022 3:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Northern Kentucky Tribune

    At 98, Oakley Farris Finds New Life and Purpose — And Bill Scheyer, the Son He Didn’t Know He Had

    At 98, Oakley Farris was dealing with the deepest possible grief, mourning the death of his beloved Eva to whom he was married for 72 years. He faced being “frozen in time” for the remainder of his life with only his sweet memories to keep him company.

    But Farris is a positive fellow — and perhaps a charmed one as well — who believes that when one door closes, another opens.

    When their paths crossed at a social function in 2012

    When the other, miraculous door opened, on the other side was the unsuspecting Bill Scheyer who has come to learn — and genetic testing has positively confirmed — that Oakley Farris is his “real” father.

    These are two giants of Northern Kentucky — one a pull-yourself-up-by-bootstraps entreprenuer cum philanthropist and the other who devoted 40-plus years of his life in service to NKY, lastly as head of Skyward (formerly Vision 2020). They had circled each other in their orbit around NKY, knew each other well enough for polite social interchanges here and there, but never really connected.

    Today, that is changing and for both of them, it is an unanticipated adventure. A discovery in the making. Who knows where it can go?

    It all started with 23andMe, an online biotech company that, for a fee, can tell you all you want to know about your DNA. Farris had heard about it from a young man who had a positive experience — and, not wanting to be left out, decided to try the service himself. His results told him he had relatives he knew nothing about and, one thing leading to another, his friend Mike Hammons identified his successor at Vision 2020, Bill Scheyer, as a person of interest.

    Hammons accompanied both men to their genetic testing, which confirmed the father-son connection. It was “a little intimidating,” Scheyer said, “for two old guys to be sitting in that waiting room with an assortment of young people.”

    . . .And the conversations go on.

    “Oakley never imagined he had a son,” said Scheyer, who also never imagined that the man he always considered his father was, in fact, not his biological father.

    Scheyer’s mom and her husband were divorced when he was a small boy. He and his mom lived in Covington and moved around a lot, but always in the First District school area. Her ex-husband lived in Cincinnati and, as Scheyer described it, was just briefly in and out of his life but not part of it. The “father figure” he credits as helping make him the man he is today was an uncle with whom he spent a lot of time. His mom, her husband, and his uncle are now deceased.

    Apparently, Oakley, a handsome, unattached young man from eastern Kentucky and a traveling salesman, met Scheyer’s mom at church in Covington — and she invited him to her apartment. Oakley moved on, she never told him she was pregnant, and she married Scheyer’s “father” soon after.

    As for Farris, he says Scheyer “came along at just the right time.”

    “I could have ended up with an ax murderer or a bum, but I gained a wonderful son, and I am absolutely enjoying getting to know him.”

    The two have started spending time together, just talking and getting acquainted in the most delightful ways.

    “I am usually laughing,” Scheyer said. “Oakley is a character, and when I’m talking with him, it’s reminiscent of talking to my older relatives. I feel a kinship there. He is ‘Kentucky’ all the way to his roots, and so am I.

    “I will say that we are definitely alike in this way — We are happy and confident of the lives we’ve had, in the people we know and love, and neither of us would change any of that.”

    In addition to leadership of Vision 2020/Skyward, Scheyer was city administrator for Erlanger, president of Southbank Partners, and president of Green Umbrella. He graduated from Northern Kentucky University — and from Holmes High School where he has been inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He loves to talk about public policy issues and says he and Oakley haven’t really disagreed on anything yet.

    “I’m getting a kick out of the relationship,” he says. “We are finding a natural rhythm. And we’re enjoying it.”

    As for Farris, he is “still digesting all this information. . .I’m taking my time. Longevity has its pros and cons.

    “I’d say this is a pro.”

  • September 22, 2022 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier 

    ‘It’s 1819 on Steroids’: University of Cincinnati Marks Move to Digital Futures Space

    University of Cincinnati is planting deeper roots within the Cincinnati Innovation District. Officials this week will formally celebrate their move to the Digital Futures complex, a $200 million, multiphase project taking shape Uptown.

    UC signed a long-term lease in 2018 for building one at Digital Futures, a 189,000-square-foot, six-story structure, part of a 5.8-acre development located on the southeast corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road.

    Officials said it’s the first facility solely dedicated to interdisciplinary research in the university’s more than 200-year history – a space meant to foster “creative collisions” and collaboration.

    “Nowhere else on campus can you walk out your door and run into someone who's not just in a different department but a completely different college or academic area of expertise,” said Pat Limbach, UC’s vice president for research. “We have faculty here from all over because they want to be here, but they also get to be together and dream of new ideas because of proximity.”

    The Courier recently got a sneak peek of the building, ahead of its grand opening Friday. Here’s what you need to know about the project, and what’s still to come:

    High risk, high reward

    Research is at the heart of UC’s plan for the building, “designed to foster moonshot thinking and high-risk, high-reward research,” according to the Digital Futures website. There are 20-plus labs throughout for pilot studies that include cryptoeconomics, cybersecurity, smart manufacturing, hypersonic flight and more.

    The labs are flexible, meaning they can grow or shrink in size to best accommodate changing teams.

    Several units of the UC Office of Research now call Digital Futures home. Staff have moved in systematically over the last several weeks. So do nonprofits like Green Umbrella, Mayerson Academy, Leadership Council and Elementz (all but Elementz have made the move permanent; Elementz will maintain its base in Over-the-Rhine).

    Jennifer Krivickas, associate vice president of the UC Office of Research, said having those organizations onsite provides faculty, staff and students a front row seat to the work they do. Those groups can also participate in the research taking place on site.

    “It's really advantageous,” she said.

    See inside The Battery co-founders' Pacific Heights mansion, now relisted at $35 million

    All floors includes a “canteen,” or breakroom space. The canteens are outfitted with different furniture with varying color schemes. Even the snack selections vary at each, as to encourage people to move throughout the building. That’s a practice UC borrowed from the MIT-founded CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) in Kendall Square, one of many sites the team visited during its planning process.

    “It’s a significant move for UC, and one we’d like to aspirationally apply across the institution as we think about coming back from Covid,” said John Seibert, UC’s associate vice president for planning, design and construction. “There are opportunities (in these spaces) to collide with other researchers and talking about things. Architecturally, moving those type of functions is a game changer in how we work together.”

    Other highlights include:

    • A two-story high-bay facility: The space will support the testing and operation of robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles and more.
    • Augmented/virtual/mixed realty: A large-format AT/VR/XR lab will support multiple research efforts. There’s a multi-user space (where researchers can put multiple people in the same virtual environment to study how people interact); a driving simulation area (to study interactions with autonomous vehicles); and biometric capabilities (using sensors to track heart rate, respiration and more), among other offerings.
    • Advanced mobility: An advanced mobility propulsion lab will develop data, tools, designs and solutions to enable ultra-quiet electric aircraft propulsion systems.
    • Cryptoeconomics: This lab provides a physical space for researchers, students and companies to study the impact of blockchain technology on the future economy.
    • E-shop: An electronics shop includes a dry lab workbench for designing, repairing, testing and prototyping electronics.

    Next gen

    The Digital Futures building is the latest addition to the Cincinnati Innovation District, an ecosystem that also includes UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub, a 100,000-square-foot building that opened across the street in 2018. Other additions to the district are planned.

    Terrex Development & Construction and Messer Construction, which are developing the Digital Futures complex, said a neighboring 180,000-square-foot, six-story speculative office building, which is neighboring UC’s, is also nearly complete. The buildings will eventually be flanked by more office space, a hotel and a mixed-use retail and residential development.

    The Digital Futures complex is meant to complement 1819, which counts Fifth Third, Kao, Kroger and biotech investment company Orange Grove as partners. But it can offer more in terms of space, said Rusty Myers, executive vice president of JLL Cincinnati. JLL is handling leasing for the property.

    “This is 1819 on steroids,” Myers told me.

    Conversations are ongoing with a number of potential tenants for building two, including local, national and international companies. JLL is working with partners like REDI Cincinnati and JobsOhio as part of that process.

    Myers said ideal tenants include corporations – companies in 1819, for example, looking to grow their footprint – or those on the “cutting edge” in terms of digital research, AI, biotech research and more. Intel’s planned $20 billion investment in central Ohio has also spurred increased interest.

    The space is designed flexibly, whether for office or lab use. Myers sees it as Cincinnati’s version of a Microsoft or Google hub.

    “I've done a lot of spec office building work in my career, and this is the best one,” he said. “It's the next generation of office. You have high ceilings, (it’s) designed for open office concept, with no columns in the footprint, (with) full-height windows and tons of light. It’s pretty special.”

    Still to come

    Phase one, which comes in at the $200 million price tag, will also include the construction of a 160-room, up to 10-story hotel. A partner has yet to be determined. Work could start next year, after the initial timeline for that part of the project was delayed by Covid and its impact on the hospitality industry.

    Phase two calls for another office building fronting Interstate 71, between five and eight stories at 120,000 to 200,000 square feet.

    Phase three includes a possible mixed-use building, with ground floor retail/restaurant space and residential living above, at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive

    Adding those components "will really tie all of this together, including 1819, into a real campus,” Chad Burke, principal at GBBN Architects, said.

    Overall, the price tag for the entire project is estimated at more than $500 million. Peter Horton, principal and co-founder of Terrex, said the timeline for future phases is to be determined. A lot depends on the leasing for the second building.

    “The dominos have to fall in order,” Horton told me. “We intend to keep working and developing, and the quicker we move the better. But there's a lot of great traction. It’s too perfect of a scenario for companies out there looking to collaborate with UC, and all the things this site delivers.

    “I think it’s going to be a smashing success,” he said.

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