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Five designs chosen for Curb'd parklets in Covington this spring


Five ideas from local businesses and design teams were chosen last week for Curb’d, which will turn ordinary parking spaces in Covington into parklets, or miniature parks. The activation project is a collaboration between Renaissance Covington and MainStrasse Village Association and is funded by the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation.
 
Forty-two designs were submitted from 11 local businesses that wanted to host a parklet. A review board of leaders in the local design committee judged designs based on the durability, safety and design connectivity to the businesses. Designs were then cut down to 11, one for each business, and five businesses and design teams were chosen from that lot.
 
The final decision was based on concept, context and construction feasibility of the parklet ideas.

Parklets will be installed around Covington in early May and remain on display through October.

Read the full Soapbox and see the 11 design finalists story here.
 

Why CVG's surge in passengers continued in 2015


Maintaining a recent trend, the number of passengers who flew from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2015 saw a notable bump, a continuing sign of the airport’s resurgence, even as dominant Delta Air Lines continues to cut flights.

CVG reported it had achieved its largest passenger growth since 2005, although it did not provide raw numbers for the last decade.

The number of total passengers, which includes those simply passing through CVG on their way to another destination, increased by 6.6 percent from 2014, the second year in a row that has happened. The number of passengers who began their trip in Cincinnati increased by 16 percent, marking the third year in a row for that trend. The figures capped off another strong year for the airport, which also saw the amount of cargo increase by 11.3 percent, making it the ninth-largest cargo airport in the United States and the fastest growing one. During the second quarter of 2015, CVG dropped from near the top of the country’s most expensive airports list to No. 20.

Read the full Cincinnati Business Courier story here.
 

Thomas More ranked as top Ky college where grads make the most money


Thomas More College has shown up on a social media site, being cited as the top college in Kentucky "where the student body goes on to earn the most money."

The Chive, a social media site aimed at young people, published the story, attributing the data to the Georgetown University Center on Eduction and Workforce.

The report used the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard to highlight the median earnings of students from over 1,400 colleges 10 years after starting their studies.

Read the full Northern Kentucky Tribune story here.
 

Second NKY incubator kitchen focuses on helping small food companies get started


Two years ago, Rachel DesRochers of Grateful Grahams opened the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen in Covington to help local food producers get their products off the ground. She is continuing that goal with a second, smaller incubator kitchen located in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newport.
 
The Hatchery is a micro incubator — a place where new businesses can start to “hatch” their ideas. It’s much smaller than the 5,000-square-foot NKYIK, making it the perfect space for small business owners to get their feet wet.

“We’re seeing companies that have an idea and have worked out of a lot of the kinks in their home kitchens but now they’re ready to take a step into a commercial kitchen,” DesRochers says.
 
Her goal is to have about six tenants in the kitchen, each for 40-60 hours per week. Three have signed leases and are scheduled to move in this month: Firecracker Bakery, Grass Fed Gourmet and Passion in my Pans. Three other businesses have shown interest in The Hatchery.

Read the full Soapbox story here.
 

Local group celebrates one year of random acts of kindness


Local group Random Acts of Kindness is celebrating its one-year anniversary by repeating a citywide clothing drive and hosting two fundraisers.
 
Rivertown Stomp will take place Jan. 22, while RAOK the Casbah will take place Jan. 30. Both will be hosted at Leapin Lizard Lounge in Covington.
 
Random Acts of Kindness started when Liz Wu saw a photo of scarves wrapped around trees circulating on the Internet after last year’s big snowstorm left the region hovering in single-digit temperatures. The scarves were not lost but a random act of kindness for strangers to take if they were cold.
 
Wu didn’t act on it right away, but the second time she saw the same photo she was inspired and wanted to pay it forward in the Greater Cincinnati area. She created a Facebook event for a citywide clothing drive, hoping a few friends would help her gather gloves, scarves, hats and other warm items.

Read the full Soapbox story here.
 

Next hot neighborhoods: Newport and Covington


“The core of Covington is experiencing a revival,” says city Public Information Officer Liz Barlik. Evidence: The Aparium Hotel Group is pairing with Salyers Group (parent company of Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs and the Madison Event Center) to transform the former city hall into a boutique hotel.

Both the Mutual Insurance and Pike Star buildings have been renovated and converted into mixed-use structures (business accelerator UpTech moved into the Pike Star from Newport). And over on Banklick Street, Orleans Development built the Pulse Loft Apartments, a sleek new 32-unit residential complex. At least partial financing for much of the area’s new development has been secured with help from the nonprofit Catalytic Fund, one of Northern Kentucky’s biggest cheerleaders by far.

Neighboring Newport has its fair share of shiny new projects, too. The Aloft hotel, Aqua apartment complex, and an 800-space parking garage are all well under construction on the Levee’s east side, plus there’s a Hampton Inn going up on the site of the old Travelodge. Kentucky Route 9 is being rerouted to take major truck traffic out of residential neighborhoods — a double bonus, says Newport Development Services Director Greg Tulley, because “all that new roadway will open up development opportunities.”

And the Newport Pavilion is now 100 percent occupied and offers two things most urban Cincinnati neighborhoods would kill to have: a Kroger and a Target.

Read the full Cincinnati Magazine story and see photos here.
 

Winter Carnival returns to Bellevue Feb. 20


Winter Carnival In Vue returns to Bellevue’s Fairfield Avenue 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, bringing with it even more family-friendly carnival fun and games than last year’s successful event.

Strolling Shrine Circus clowns, Presto Paul the magician, a balloon twister, face painters and the roving Pickled Brothers, who will perform feats of fire-eating and sword swallowing, will entertain visitors to Winter Carnival In Vue.

Four giant artist-created photo boards — featuring Anna and Elsa, Ariel and Flounder, Mickey Mouse (pictured) and Star Wars’ Kylo Ren characters — will be set up in Fairfield Avenue shops. Kids can get their pictures taken with each board and enter a drawing at each of the four locations to win one of two photo boards: Anna and Elsa and Star Wars’ Kylo Ren.

Read the full River City News story here.
 

Mainstrasse is a historic neighborhood well worth visiting in Greater Cincinnati


When it comes to travel, a common misconception is that it takes a blockbuster trip to deliver a rewarding experience. True, Patagonia, Bora Bora and the Canadian Rockies are spectacular, but a trip to any of those requires a lot of effort, not to mention a lot of money.

Sometimes, we’re just in the mood for a nice getaway — one that doesn’t take too much advance planning and doesn’t put a substantial dent in the bank balance. Cincinnati, a little more than an hour’s drive from Lexington, offers great value for a reasonable price.

Over the Rhine may be Cincinnati’s most visible example of a neighborhood renaissance, but it is far from the only one. The city has 52 unique neighborhoods, each with its own history and distinctive style, and that’s just north of the Ohio River. I couldn’t see them all in a weekend, so I decided to concentrate on two of my favorites — Mainstrasse, on the Kentucky side of the river in Covington, and Mt. Adams, perched high above the city.

Mainstrasse is a place I’ve always thought of as a sort of living history museum, channeling the mid-19th century when the area experienced an influx of German immigrants. The village’s primary attraction, the Goose Girl Statue and Fountain, was based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, and the annual Oktoberfest celebration testifies to the surviving German influence.

Read the full Lexington Herald-Leader story here.
 

Kentucky high school graduation rate ranks 9th in nation


Kentucky’s high school graduation rate is among the highest in the nation, according to the latest data released this week by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

The state’s 2013-14 graduation rate of 87.5 percent ranks Kentucky ninth overall and far exceeds the national graduation rate of 82.3 percent.

“We should be very proud of the efforts of our local educators to keep students engaged, in school and on course to earn a high school diploma,” Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said. “We have created a culture in Kentucky that education is important and that a high school diploma is absolutely necessary in this day and age if you want to realize success in life.”

Read the full Northern Kentucky Tribune story here.
 

UpTech startup accelerator awarded $100K business development grant


UpTech, metro Cincinnati’s accelerator for informatics-driven startups, announced today that the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has approved an operational grant of $100,000.

As UpTech looks to the future, the continued support from the Commonwealth is recognition of the program’s success over the last three years. This operational funding comes only months after receiving $800,000 in Kentucky state tax credits for UpTech’s second fund.

"The work of UpTech and the other accelerators in Greater Cincinnati is vital to economic development in our region, and we are pleased to have the Commonwealth's strong support of that work," said UpTech President and Board Chair, Thomas Prewitt. "It’s about creating companies, and we're creating companies."

Read the full River City News story here.
 

Enquirer Column: Skyward getting things done in NKY


Skyward President William Scheyer wrote a guest column for the Cincinnati Enquirer on Dec. 19:

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” When I reflect on those words from Henry Ford, I think about all the volunteers in Northern Kentucky who have accomplished so much for our community in the past 12 months.

Northern Kentucky has a long and prosperous history of being supported by community members and business leaders who are driven to go above and beyond for the greater good. We are a community of individuals and organizations who are passionate about making our region a better place. Most importantly, we are constantly striving not only for our own success, but also for the community as a whole.

At Skyward, volunteers were not only instrumental in our efforts to develop the myNKY strategic plan, they are also a crucial part of its implementation. Our board, staff and thousands of individuals volunteered their time and ideas to create the myNKY strategic plan, as well as guiding the formation of Skyward: a new organization with new leadership, a new name and new brand to drive the community’s agenda forward.

On top of all of this, just six months after the launch of myNKY, these individuals are helping to bring the myNKY plan quickly to life with the launch of programs like Transit Friendly Destinations, the Pre-K Works pilot in the Erlanger-Elsmere Independent School District and LiveWell NKY. I am inspired by their dedication to the region and its future.

Read the full Cincinnati Enquirer column here.
 

Mubea set to graduate first apprentices, ensuring quality workforce


A group of nine students were recognized as the first Northern Kentucky graduates of Mubea North America’s apprenticeship program Dec. 17 in a ceremony at Triple Crown Country Club in Union.

The Mubea apprenticeship program is patterned after the model used by the German-based automobile parts manufacturer in its home country. That program, which has been in existence for nearly a century, is recognized as the gold standard within the industry.

Mubea has invested more than $2 million in the apprenticeship program.
 
Luigi Tiddia, General Manager of Mubea’s Hose Clamps division, said the program provides a great opportunity for students and helps the company develop a quality workforce in the region.

“We did not see the market having the kind of expertise that we are looking for,” Tiddia said. “The outline is our ‘driven by the best’ environment, which is a strategy to develop the students in the way that we need them to be.”

Read the full Northern Kentucky Tribune story here.
 

NKU student-produced live sports broadcasts earn "A" grade from Horizon League


Northern Kentucky University was given a straight-A report card from the Horizon League for the school's student-produced television sports broadcasts on ESPN3.

The production crew is led professionally by faculty members Wes Akers and Bill Farro as head engineer and co-producer, and the other 11 or so positions on the crew are filled by students.

Akers graduated from NKU in 1996 and went on the career path of sports video production. When he returned in 2004 as a teacher, he created a class where students could learn about live television productions. The program went from producing about 10 men's basketball games to airing almost all of NKU sports home conference games. Over the years, the productions have transitioned from analog to digital to the current high-definition production.

The production value now meets the standards set forth by ESPN.

Read the full River City News story here.
 

New walking, biking path in Covington's downtown gets $1M boost


A dedicated walking and biking path is coming to the heart of Covington's budding central business district, and now the city has $1 million to help pay for it. The funds come in the form of a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Transportation Alternatives grant, city officials announced on Dec. 15.

The entirety of the funds will go toward developing what city spokeswoman Liz Barlik described as “a safe and easily traversable pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists” along Electric Alley, which currently runs parallel to Madison Avenue and Scott Boulevard between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Officials said the development is part of a larger plan to build up the block surrounding Gateway Community and Technical College’s new urban campus. The path will run through the center of the college’s downtown Covington campus.

Read the full WCPO.com story here.
 

Ray Neverovich elected new president of Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati


Ray Neverovich of Union has been elected 2016 President of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati (HBA) and was officially installed on Dec. 11 at a downtown luncheon. Neverovich is the Cincinnati Division President of The Drees Company. He has been active in the residential construction industry since 1984.

Neverovich has served the HBA for over a decade, including chairman of CiTiRAMA®, a member of the board of directors and trustee of the Ohio Home Builders Association and a local director for the National Association of Home Builders.
Neverovich served four years in the United States Navy prior to attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a degree in Environmental Science.

Read the full River City News story here.
 
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