CINCINNATI ZOO: Shit happens, and the zoo is trying to turn that into a positive. About 1 million pounds of animal feces are produced each year at the zoo by various critters, so it’s teaming with Marvin’s Organic Gardens in Lebanon to compost some of the organic waste. About 500 tons of waste are estimated to be recycled during the first year, which will save the zoo between $5,000 and $10,000 in waste removal fees. Also, it will create a significant reduction in methane gas at the landfills used by the facility. A $35,000 grant from the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District will help launch the project; the money will be used to buy an all-terrain forklift and seven large-scale compost bins, which are being used to move the waste from the animal exhibits to the pickup area. This smells like a good idea to us.
JOHN KASICH: Do you remember all those incessant TV commercials last fall for Kasich’s gubernatorial campaign? He kept drilling home the point that he had “a plan” to create jobs. Nearly three months into his term, though, it’s clear he has no real idea about how to do so other than throwing around tax incentives and selling off public assets, desperately stumbling for something that works. First, Kasich blocked federal aid to build a high-speed rail system, which would’ve created 16,000 jobs across the state. Now he’s threatening to block state grants for Cincinnati’s streetcar project, injecting politics into what’s supposed to be an apolitical process. Never mind the project promises a 2.7-to-1 return on investment, far larger than most highway projects. A new poll shows the guv’s disapproval rating at 47 percent, larger than his approval rating. We’re not surprised.
PANERA BREAD: The deli and bakery chain recently co-sponsored the 21st annual Cincinnati International Wine Festival. Proceeds from the event were used to aid several worthwhile organizations in the area including the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, Freestore Foodbank, Women Helping Women and others. During the past two decades, the festival has donated more than $3 million to local charities, while providing attendees with the opportunity to sample a wide variety of vino at a fraction of the normal cost. Known as the Midwest’s premier wine event, the festival features more than 600 domestic and international wines from more than 100 exhibitors. Held at the Duke Energy Convention Center and the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, this year’s festival was a rousing success. We’ll raise a glass (or three) to that.
CITY POPULATION: The Queen City got some bad news last week, learning that U.S. Census data revealed its population dropped 10.4 percent during the past decade, down to 296,943 people. Of the city’s more than 161,000 housing units, 17.2 percent were vacant. The last time Cincinnati has this few residents was around 1890; its population peaked at nearly 504,000 in 1955. Cincinnati isn’t that unique, as the nation has been shifting away from urban centers since the ‘50s. Still, city leaders should work aggressively to provide incentives for people to move into the area, particularly empty nesters and young professionals, who are more likely and able to make the switch. And before you suburbanites crow about your bucolic hamlets growing, remember that regions tend to rise and fall based on the fortunes of its urban core.