Green Umbrella in the News

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  • January 13, 2021 4:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 13, 2021
    CONTACT: Rob Reiman, CEO, T
    he Giving Grove
    (913) 486-2340
    rob@givinggrove.org
     

    NATIONAL NONPROFIT ESTABLISHES AFFILIATE IN CINCINNATI

    Giving Grove orchards provide free fruits, nuts and berries for neighborhoods facing food insecurity 

    Cincinnati -- The Giving Grove, a Kansas City-based nonprofit serving food insecure communities, announces today it will expand to Cincinnati through a partnership with Green Umbrella and the Common Orchard Project. 

    Launched in 2013, The Giving Grove has 273 orchards across the U.S. that provide free, holistically-grown fruits, nuts and berries for neighborhoods with high rates of food insecurity. After finding success with its model in Kansas City, The Giving Grove began expanding to other cities with high food insecurity rates, launching affiliate programs in St. Louis and Omaha in 2017, and Memphis, Louisville, and rural Kansas in 2020. Giving Grove’s expansion plans include launching affiliates in 14 more U.S. cities by 2025. 

    The typical Giving Grove orchard will produce more than 10,570 servings of free, healthy foods worth nearly $9,000 each year. With a 50-60+ year lifespan, each orchard will produce over its lifetime more than 232,000 servings of food for people in need while sequestering carbon, reducing stormwater runoff and providing urban tree canopy.

    Giving Grove co-founder Kevin Birzer, CEO of TortoiseEcofin and Giving Grove Board Chair, noted that the national Board sought partners for expansion that operate well-run organizations with proven track records of successfully serving their communities. Green Umbrella, in partnership with Common Orchard Project, fit the model well.

    “We are delighted to partner with Green Umbrella and the Common Orchard Project to bring Giving Grove orchards to neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati,” Birzer said. “Green Umbrella’s commitment to vibrant, sustainable communities makes them a strong partner in our work.”

    Green Umbrella executive director Ryan Mooney-Bullock sees the alignment between the Common Orchard Project and the organization’s existing efforts. “We are excited to support this simple yet elegant solution of transforming vacant lots in food-insecure neighborhoods into sources of greenspace, healthy food and community connection.”

    The Common Orchard Project works to install and maintain hundreds of small orchard plantings across Greater Cincinnati and grows “commonly held” resources by educating communities on fresh food and urban land management. Founded in 2017 by Chris Smyth, the effort has since planted 10 orchards across Cincinnati and three in Cleveland. Smyth will continue to serve as the director of the project as it incubates within Green Umbrella and will plant more orchards each year thanks to Giving Grove’s support. Learn more about Common Orchard at www.commonorchard.com.

         #####

    Giving Grove’s vision is thousands of little orchards in food insecure urban neighborhoods across the nation, creating a local food production system that feeds people for decades. Learn more at www.givinggrove.org      


  • January 08, 2021 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Press Release For Immediate Release  

    For more information contact:

    Elizabeth Rojas, elizabeth@greenumbrella.org 513.633.5823
    Director, Cincinnati 2030 District

    Cincinnati 2030 District Releases Building Progress Report and Grants Funds to Member Upgrades

    Cincinnati -- The buildings in Cincinnati’s central business district and uptown areas are making better-than-expected progress toward measuring and reducing their carbon footprint, according to the Cincinnati 2030 District’s first-ever building Progress Report.

    The Cincinnati 2030 District 2019 Progress Report includes aggregated energy data from participating member buildings falling within the Central Business District and Uptown, the District’s defined geographic boundaries. The District, which supports building owners and managers in making bold reductions to their buildings’ carbon footprint, aggregates and uses the data as a benchmark for cutting emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Across the Greater Cincinnati region, property owners and managers from 197 buildings voluntarily reported their building’s energy data as part of their commitment to make the needed reductions.

    “This is significant,” said Elizabeth Rojas, Director of the Cincinnati 2030 District, “because our members and leaders are committed to making these reductions. This is evident not only by the high percentage of organizations sharing their data, but also that we are on track to achieving our energy goal, even as a fairly new district. This showcases Greater Cincinnati as a leader in sustainability.”

    According to Architecture 2030, the urban built environment is responsible for 75% of annual global GHG emissions. Buildings alone account for 39%, and in Cincinnati, that number is nearing 60% according to the City’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. Ohio’s carbon dioxide emissions rank 6th in the U.S. because of reliance on coal and natural gas. Reducing energy use in buildings decreases carbon dioxide emissions by lessening our need to burn carbon-emitting fuel sources.

    Measuring energy usage of the nearly 300 properties committed to the District is the first step toward reaching the goal of a 50 percent reduction in emissions. Armed with usage data, building members and partners collaborate to design and implement creative strategies, best practices and verification methods for measuring progress towards a common goal. Professional and Community Partners in the areas of engineering, design, construction, building analytics, transportation, renewables, EV charging, water conservation and building health all support building members in reaching their goals.

    In addition to benchmarking member performance, the District will fund member projects that increase their energy efficiency. Leveraging funds from the Duke Class Benefit Fund, the District announced four winners of its Business Incentive grant. Selected through a request for proposal process, awarded business owners received a combined $65,000 in 1:1 matching grants for energy efficiency upgrades. Projects were selected based on the percentage of energy reductions anticipated and contract value awarded to the District professional partners contracted for the work. The recipients and partners selected are:

    ● Cincinnati Art Museum with CMTA and Siemens

    ● Mercantile Center with Johnson Electric

    ● Our Lady of Grace with PRO Lighting and Solar, and Paff Electric

    ● Sleepy Bee Cafe with Melink Corp.

    Both the District Progress Report and the Business Incentive grants support the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan, which found that the two largest sources of emissions in the region are in the commercial building and transportation sectors. Establishing a 2030 District was a key goal set forth in the Green Cincinnati Plan because it had the highest potential for emissions reductions. The 2030 District name stems from the belief that drastic changes to the sources and methods of our energy consumption are required by 2030 to stave off the worst possible effects of climate change. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 212 is a proud sponsor and a trusted partner of the 2030 District.

    To learn more about becoming part of the solution to decrease our region’s carbon emissions and secure a sustainable future for all our community members, visit 2030districts.org/cincinnati or email Elizabeth Rojas.

    ###

    Green Umbrella leads collaboration, incubates ideas and catalyzes solutions to create a resilient, sustainable region for all.


  • December 03, 2020 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Press Release

    For Immediate Release      

    For more information contact: Ryan Mooney-Bullock

    Executive Director, Green Umbrella

    513.633.5823, ryan@greenumbrella.org


    Green Umbrella Hires Climate Policy Lead for Greater Cincinnati

    Cincinnati, OH — Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati's regional sustainability alliance, has hired Savannah Sullivan as its Climate Policy Lead. Sullivan will launch and lead the organization's work with local governments to plan and prepare for a changing climate. Sullivan will facilitate collaboration among government leaders to adopt proven solutions that will improve the quality of life in their communities, resilience of their infrastructure, and predictability of their budgets.

    While climate change is a global issue, local governments end up absorbing many of the costs. The Cincinnati region is seeing more extreme heat days and more frequent and heavier rain events due to changing climate patterns. Hotter summers can cause more air quality alert days, heat-related illness, and deaths, and extreme precipitation events can cause flooding, landslides, and increased water pollution. These impacts are not felt equally across communities -- people of color or with low incomes are hardest hit by climate change because they are more likely to live near sources of pollution, in flood zones, in homes with frequent sewer backups, and without air conditioning.

    Policies and programs to address climate impacts are often most effective at the local level, but most local governments in the Greater Cincinnati region lack capacity to adapt and build resiliency. “Our region’s elected officials and government staff are looking for ways to connect with each other and share solutions. Savannah will serve as a climate action point person for local leaders,” said Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella.

    Sullivan brings direct experience working with local governments and concerned residents to design sustainability and resilience plans and advance environmental justice priorities. Most recently, she served as a Climate and Community Resilience Analyst for the City of Cincinnati's Office of Environment and Sustainability. In this position, which was supported by the Energy Foundation, she co-led the development of the City's Energy Equity programs. Sullivan also led local implementation of two national climate programs: the National League of Cities 2020 Leadership in Resilience Cohort and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 2020 Urban Heat Island Community Science Campaign. Sullivan has also worked for Indiana University's Environmental Resilience Institute and Rural Action, a nonprofit building a more just and sustainable economy in Appalachia Ohio. She spent four years in Washington DC, where she led green chemistry programs and analysis for the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute and the US Environmental Protection Agency. "Greater Cincinnati is a region ripe for action. I look forward to working alongside communities to learn from their lived experiences, leverage their local expertise, and collaborate to build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable region." says Sullivan, who begins her work with Green Umbrella this month.

    The Climate Policy Lead position is supported by The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation. “When local governments prepare for climate change they see more predictable spending, the health of their residents improves, and their infrastructure responds well to the shocks and stresses of a changing climate,” says Jerry Newfarmer, board President The Agnes and Murray Seasongood Good Government Foundation.

    Since most local governments in the region are small, they often lack the staff support or budgets to carry out sustainability goals, even when elected officials champion them. Green Umbrella seeks to address this issue by building on regional strengths, and growing capacity through collaboration and leveraging local to national resources. “The Climate Policy Lead will equip community leaders to make meaningful change and encourage collaboration – further strengthening regional resiliency,” says Sunny Reelhorn Parr, executive director of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation. “Unlocking solutions and removing barriers at the local level are often most effective to help lift up the community.”


  • November 18, 2020 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Press Release: For Immediate Release

    For more information contact:

    Michaela Oldfield
    michaela@greenumbrella.org
    Director, Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council

    Food Policy Council awarded federal grant to expand local food access

    Cincinnati, OH - Cafeterias in local schools and office buildings will see an increase in fresh, local foods thanks to a federal grant for the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council. The $610,000 award from the US Department of Agriculture will accelerate local efforts to build a comprehensive, institutional investment into the local food system and increase consumer access and consumption of local foods. 

    “We have been working for 5 years to build a coalition of partners to work collaboratively on addressing regional needs in our food system,” said Michaela Oldfield, director of Green Umbrella’s Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council. “This grant is a testament to our success thus far and to our well articulated plans to create a food system that is healthy for people, healthy for communities and healthy for our environment.” 

    The funding will support the Food Policy Council’s partnerships with The Health Collaborative’s Gen-H, local health departments, food entrepreneurs and nonprofits to encourage anchor institutions like Cincinnati Public Schools, area hospitals and local corporations to invest in building an equitable local food system. Modeled after the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s Feed Our Future campaign, the goal is to transform local institutions into anchors of health that invest their buying power into local economies, adopt sustainable practices, incentivize employees to purchase local foods and align their messaging around shared local foods priorities. Additionally, the Food Policy Council will direct funds toward increasing consumer access and consumption of local foods by supporting needed upgrades for farmers markets that make it easier to buy locally produced foods and working with community based organizations to address food access issues in neighborhoods.

    “This funding infuses resources into implementing win-win projects that will increase the economic success of farmers and ensure children and families can enjoy a healthy diet,” says Oldfield.  

    One third of the funding will be directed to partner organizations to support their ability to participate in the program. The funding will allow the Food Policy Council to hire a Food Systems Analyst to manage research and reporting needs.

    To learn more or get involved visit greenumbrella.org/food-policy or register to attend the next Food Policy Council meeting on  Wednesday, November 18th from 2:30-4:30 pm via Zoom.  


  • October 22, 2020 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    Source: NKY Thrives

    By: David Holthaus

    Gunpowder Creek in Boone County.

    Two Northern Kentucky sites have been named “Greenspace Gems” by a regional environmental group.

    Green Umbrella has recognized Gunpowder Creek Nature Park in Boone County and Battery Bates Woodland in Kenton County with the honor, which spotlights the region’s protected landscapes.

    Three Ohio sites were also recognized: Buttercup Valley Preserve in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood; Riverside Natural Area in Butler County; and Kelley Nature Preserve in Clermont County.

    Launched in 2018, the Greenspace Gems program has recognized 30 local properties for their scenic value, biodiversity, scientific importance, or historic interest. The sites are selected by a team of volunteer conservation experts to showcase the region’s variety of natural sites.

    Green Umbrella says the program aims to tell the stories of these places to grow public support for greenspace conservation and the organizations leading this work.

    “Greater Cincinnati has a wealth of diverse natural environments,” says Green Umbrella executive director, Ryan Mooney-Bullock. “Residents and visitors have access to grassy knolls, forested wetlands, and breathtaking riversides all within a relatively short distance from our city center. We’re excited to share the stories behind these beautiful spaces.”

    Boone County’s Gunpowder Park encompasses 122 wooded acres. It features an unpaved, upgraded 1800’s logging trail that travels from an elevation of 830 feet to 620 feet and ends near Gunpowder Creek at a stone seating area. The park also has a stand of mature oaks on the northern hillside that is considered one of the best remaining undisturbed areas of woodland in the region.

    The Battery Bates site in Devou Park is considered the best preserved of Northern Kentucky’s two dozen or so Civil War fortification sites. Many have since been destroyed by development. The Battery Bates earthwork built by Union soldiers during the war is clearly visible and still stands up to four feet tall in places. Rifle trenches are still visible as is a section of a military road.

    Green Umbrella has also launched an interactive story map featuring pictures of each Greenspace Gem and facts about them.

  • October 20, 2020 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    As a 2030 district, the city is committed to creating greener businesses.

    A new six-part documentary, “Modern Metropolis,” tells the story of how Cincinnati formed its own sustainability district, designed to make healthier buildings and communities. Part three focuses on the Latin phrase inscribed on the city’s official insignia: “juncta juvant,” or “strength in unity.”

    The focus is on Cincinnati’s work to become more sustainable, which started in 2008 as the Green Cincinnati Plan and was updated in 2018, the same year that Cincinnati became a 2030 district. It lays out two main ambitions: an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 and for Cincinnati to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2035. Guided by local businesses, faith-based organizations, nonprofits and government leaders, the plan was built on three central pillars: sustainability, equity, and resilience.

  • October 14, 2020 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Press Release                     

    For Immediate Release                                                             

    Rashida Manuel, Director of Public Engagement, Green Umbrella

    Five regional greenspaces are now Greenspace Gems thanks to recognition by Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati’s regional sustainability alliance. Scattered across the tri-state area, the gems make up the sixth round of the Greenspace Gems program, which highlights Greater Cincinnati’s abundance of quality protected  landscape.

    The sites named in the current round of Greenspace Gems are: 

    ·       Buttercup Valley Preserve, Hamilton County, OH

    ·       Gunpowder Creek Nature Park, Boone County, KY

    ·       Riverside Natural Area, Butler County, OH

    ·       Batter Bates Woodland, Kenton County, KY

    ·       Kelley Nature Preserve, Clermont County, OH

    “Greater Cincinnati has a wealth of diverse natural environments,” said Green Umbrella executive director, Ryan Mooney-Bullock, “Residents and visitors have access to grassy knolls, forested wetlands and breathtaking riversides all within a relatively short distance from our city center. We’re excited to share the stories behind these beautiful spaces. We encourage our community to get outside and explore some Greenspace Gems this fall and winter, as a safe and fun way to connect with friends and family.”

    Launched in 2018, Greenspace Gems has recognized thirty local properties for their outstanding scenic value, biodiversity, scientific importance or historic interest. Gems are selected by a team of volunteer conservation experts to showcase the region’s variety of unique natural sites. The program strives to tell the stories of these protected places to grow public support for greenspace conservation and the organizations who are leading this work in our region. 

    To aid in storytelling, Green Umbrella is excited to launch a new interactive story map featuring pictures of each designated Greenspace Gem and important facts that make them each truly unique. Visit www.greenumbrella.org/greenspace-gems to learn more about the program, explore the story map and find your next adventure. 

    ###

    Celebrating over 20 years as Greater Cincinnati’s hub for environmental sustainability. Act locally with Green Umbrella and make a difference. Learn more or become a member at www.greenumbrella.org.



  • October 07, 2020 7:56 AM | Anonymous

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

    By: Jeanne Houck

    Community leaders recently celebrated the opening of a new half-mile stretch of the Columbia Connector multi-use trail, which links Columbia Township to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

    “It’s amazing to see it finally open and it couldn’t have come at a better time when everybody is looking for outdoor activities,” David Kubicki, president of the Columbia Township Board of Trustees, said in an email to The Enquirer.

    “Columbia Township worked closely with (Great Parks of Hamilton County) and made a significant financial commitment to the Connector. This will improve the quality of life for our residents and also help the businesses nearby. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

    The newly opened stretch of the Columbia Connector runs west from the Little Miami Scenic Trail at the northern end of the Newtown Road bridge.

    It continues behind the 50 West Brewing Co., May We Help and Carriage House Car Wash, all on Wooster Pike, to Walton Creek Road.

    Great Parks of Hamilton County said in a press release that it is planning the next phase of the Connector, which is to cross Walton Creek Road and eventually turn north toward an intersection with Wooster Pike.

    After that, the release said, Great Parks will coordinate with the Ohio Department of Transportation to extend the Connector further west to the Mariemont branch of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library.

    The eastern end of the Columbia Connector reaches the Little Miami Scenic Trail near trail access points at Avoca Park and trailhead on Wooster Pike and at the Bass Island Park and trailhead and the Little Miami Golf Center, both on Newtown Road.

    Columbia Connector part of CROWN network

     The Connector is also part of CROWN (Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network) a planned 34-mile urban trail loop around Cincinnati.

    When it is complete, CROWN will connect the Columbia Connector to the Murray Path and Wasson Way, as well as the Ohio River Trail from Lunken Airport to Downtown Cincinnati.

    “Great Parks is committed to leading in the development of our regional trails as we see…with the opening of the first phase of the Columbia Connector,” Great Parks CEO Todd Palmeter said in the Great Parks press release.

    “This extension will further expand the CROWN network, which connects the Little Miami Scenic Trail and communities such as the village of Mariemont. The trail also allows easier access to all that Fifty West Brewing has to offer along Wooster Pike.

    “It is dedicated partnerships with Tri-State Trails, Columbia Township, Ohio Department of Transportation, among others, that make great community projects such as this possible,” Palmeter said.

    Marcus Thompson, president of Great Parks’ Board of Commissioners, said in the release that providing trails for the public is important.

    “Since 2019, trail usage has increased 68 percent,” Thompson said.

    “That’s almost half a million extra visitors since 2019. That shows the importance of trails like this and trails throughout the rest of Great Parks.”

  • October 06, 2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Source: Sustainable Brands

    By: Andy Brownell and Joey Maiocco

    A systems mindset illustrates how we're better together, how we're all connected, how a rising tide lifts all boats. That shift in thinking became evident as we documented the City of Cincinnati’s work to transform itself into a sustainable, "Modern Metropolis."

    Over the course of 18 months, the Brand Studio from Newsy documented the formation of a 2030 District in Cincinnati, Ohio. We interviewed industry professionals, particle physicists, authors and architects. We also closely followed a number of sustainability experts and non-profit organizations from our own community, who were on the ground rallying behind the same big goal: Form a 2030 District in Cincinnati; and in doing so, make it a healthier place to live, work and play.

    This story is not just about Cincinnati, however — it's about how science, technology, storytelling and unlikely partnerships can help drive meaningful change. Understanding those connections and how they work together is critical. It's obvious to see that we live in a stakeholder-driven world and reimagining the future is no small task. Buy-in from the public and private sector is not only important, it's really the only way to get everyone on board. That's how one organization, at least, has been able to turn those visions into reality. 

    The 2030 District Model: Healthy buildings = healthy cities

    By the year 2030, 8.5 billion people will call Earth home, with more than two-thirds living in cities. This growth represents a fundamental shift in how we must design, plan, build and govern our urban areas. Because the fact remains, cities account for up to 70 percent of GHG emissions worldwide

    2030 Districts are a collection of building owners and property managers, normally in a city's downtown core. Members commit to reducing their building's energy, water, and transportation-related GHG emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030; as well as sharing their data with the District, which is normally its own non-profit or part of a larger one. There are currently 22 of these "sustainability districts" across the US and Canada

    In Cincinnati, what started with a few conversations overtime spawned into a fully funded 501c3 — with member buildings including 3 Fortune 500 companies, the City, 2 major universities, and a myriad of other local organizations. In total, 34 member organizations have committed 357 buildings and close to 26 million sq. ft, all geared towards the goals of the District. These reduction goals are met through a combination of education, awareness and helping connect the dots across multiple different sectors of industry. 

    Across the 22 Districts here in the US and Canada, dozens of Fortune 500 companies are active members committed to the collective goals — some are even members of Sustainable Brands™. According to their latest data, from 2018: Districts showed an aggregate reduction of 24 percent in energy, 17 percent in water and 25 percent in transportation-related GHG emissions. 

    Nudges, behavior change and systems thinking 

    At the most fundamental level, collective efforts such as these require a shift in how organizations think about addressing some of our biggest problems. Knowing where to start can be daunting, though. Fortunately, early on, we learned about an emerging field of science called the science of cities. It presents a new way of framing cause and effect, in addition to the growth and decline of nearly everything — from our biggest cities to the natural world. Most importantly, it lays the foundation for a systems-based approach to viewing the world.

    Systems thinking relies on a non-linear way of addressing the "big" geo-political questions of the 21st century — such as climate change, poverty, global economics; or any other large, interconnected system binding us to each other and the planet. This way of thinking also comes in handy when confronted with the limitations of our own minds. A systems-based mindset can help counteract our cognitive evolutionary handicap associated with long-term planning, and can make us better collaborators in the process. 

    From recognizing our shifting baselines to how we respond to threats — confronting each will require fundamental behavior change. It also requires a new story about human potential, adaptation and the collective buy-in needed if we are to change our current trajectory. There's a true strength in unity when we adopt a systems mindset. It can illustrate how we're better together, how we're all connected, how a rising tide lifts all boats — an old idea, with a new twist. That shift in thinking became evident as we documented our own City of Cincinnati’s work to transform itself into a "Modern Metropolis."

    Part 1: The Science of Cities

    What makes up a city? Is it the roads, the buildings, its people? Or is it an interconnected system, just like any other living organism? In this first installment of “Modern Metropolis,” we learn about an emerging field of science that seeks to understand how we are all interconnected. 

    Part 2: The 2030 Districts

    Watch as the Cincinnati 2030 District starts to get off the ground. And learn why this national model for urban sustainability has caught on from one of its early pioneers, the Cleveland 2030 District.

    Part 3: Strength in Unity

    The City of Cincinnati was one of the first 10 founding members of the Cincinnati 2030 District. Learn how the city is working to make its 150-year-old City Hall more "green," and get a tour of the world's first "net-zero" police station. 

    Stay tuned for future episodes in the “Modern Metropolis” documentary series.

    Documentary credits:

    Joey Maiocco - Exec. Producer, Editing & Visual Effects

    Andy Brownell - Writer, Producer

    Matt Boylson - Graphic Designer

    Borne Content - Visual Effects

    Sarah Hume - Copy Editor

    Martin Moran - Copy Editor

    Kristin Forte - Voice Over

  • October 04, 2020 1:16 PM | Anonymous

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

    By: Julia Fair

    This is an installment of reporter Julia Fair's series "By the way, NKY." Here, you'll find what's going on in Northern Kentucky.  

    The leaves are changing, people are adding pumpkin flavors to recipes and you probably swapped out your t-shirts for cozy sweaters. 

    As the season changed, a ton of things are happening in Northern Kentucky. The city of Covington is working to expand internet access to its residents and organizations are promoting voter participation.   

    In this series, By the way, NKY – we focus on some of the good news happening in the region and to fill you in on what's going on in your neighborhoods. 

    If there's something you think should be included, email reporter Julia Fair at jfair@enquirer.com

    By the way, here's what's going on in Northern Kentucky:

    Wifi hotspot hosts needed in Covington 

    The city of Covington is on a mission to place 116 WiFi hotspots throughout the city to give internet access to school kids. 

    The $2.5 million project, called Covington Connect, aims to "smash the digital divide," in the city, according to a press release from the city. The Covington Connect initiative will expand internet access by installing Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city and giving out free computers to families. The city said it will fund the initiative with up to $1.25 million in CARES Act funding. 

    The city partnered with property owners to install a volleyball-sized device on the outside of their house to create a WiFi hotspot in that area. 

    Now, anyone can volunteer their home or business to host the device.

    If you're interested, email Pete Bales, a consultant hired to coordinate the Covington Connect initiative, at petebales@icloud.com. He can also answer questions.

    Bike or walk with local candidates on the Purple People Bridge 

    Running a political campaign is already stressful. Adding a global pandemic to the mix made it even more difficult for local candidates in Northern Kentucky to connect with neighborhoods. 

    On Oct. 17, candidates vying for positions for a spot on a city council or a mayoral title will get the chance to walk and talk with constituents along the Purple People Bridge. Tri-State Trails will host the event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., according to a Facebook event.

    Lance Montanez and his daughter, Willow, 4, of Fort Mitchell, walk across the Purple People Bridge from Newport, Ky., to Cincinnati on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

    Tri-State Trails asked participants to support its Active Transportation Policy Platform which can be found on its website. 

    The Facebook event did not include which candidates agreed to attend. 

    Voter turnout effort got a boost with a grant

    In 2019, The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative to increase voter turnout. 

    That effort got a boost with a $10,000 grant from the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation, according to a press release from the chamber. 

    The Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky will manage the funds for the chamber to improve voter turnout. It plans to do that by engaging with infrequent voters and people without internet access.

    Since 2011, voter registration in Northern Kentucky increased by 25 percent. During the 2019 gubernatorial election, voter turnout increased by double digits compared to the 2015 gubernatorial election.  

    COVID-19 Resources for NKY residents 

    Need a COVID-19 test? Here are some helpful links to resources in Northern Kentucky. 

    That's it for this installment of By the way, NKY. Let us know if there's something you think we should include in the next. In the meantime, here are some other ways to keep up with your community:

    • Keep an eye on your local government with us and subscribe to the free daily newsletter that gets sent directly to your inbox every morning. 
    • Download the NKY news app and sign up for alerts to be the first to know about news in your neighborhood

    Julia is the Northern Kentucky government reporter through the Report For America program. Anonymous donors pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with The Enquirer. If you want to support Julia's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at this website or email her editor Carl Weiser at cweiser@cincinna.gannett.com to find out how you can help fund her work. 


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