CONVERGYS: After reneging on a tax break deal with the city of Norwood years ago, the firm recently tried to do the same thing to Cincinnati, even as it adds 180 jobs in Erlanger. Now Convergys will have to pay the price. Cincinnati officials are standing behind the restrictions of their 2003 tax incentive deal with the company. Because Convergys’ downtown employment has dropped below 1,400 people, the firm must repay $1 million in deferred tax payments to the city. Convergys tried to argue it should be credited for people working for a human resources unit it sold to another company, but officials wisely rejected that notion. All of this comes after Convergys last year hired more than 3,600 employees in the Philippines. Hardly what we would call a good display of the American spirit.
DORIS DAY: The singer and actress, who was born in Evanston as Doris Kappelhoff in 1924, has mostly been known since the early 1970s as an animal welfare activist. Now the Queen City’s pooches and mutts have another place to play thanks, in part, to her generosity. Donations from the Doris Day Animal Foundation and the Selma A. Keller Trust allowed the renovation of the dog park at Mount Airy Forest’s Highpoint Picnic Area, on Westwood Northern Boulevard. Work on the upgrades began last fall and included new fencing, expansion of dog play areas, new entrance gates, new water fountains, a new restroom area, new grass, vertical mulching to help tree health and the installation of agility equipment. The park, now renamed in Day’s honor, will reopen on May 14.
BOB PETERSON: Proving that favoritism is alive and well in Ohio’s capital, the state representative from rural Fayette County slipped a little-known amendment into a budget bill last week. It would’ve blocked state funding for the Waldvogel Memorial Viaduct unless Cincinnati officials let one of Peterson’s constituents, David Martin, build a large barge terminal along the Ohio River in East Price Hill. A jury in March had rejected most claims in a lawsuit filed against the city over Martin’s stalled Queensgate Terminals project, which city officials blocked based on neighborhood complaints. Peterson’s amendment was an end-run around that decision. After State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill) publicized the shady amendment, though, the House unanimously voted to remove it from the unrelated bill.
THE ARBY’S GUY: Cincinnati’s most ubiquitous celebrity at the moment isn’t Nick Lachey or Chad Ochocinco. It’s Andrew Breving, better known as “R.B.,” the indie-looking, working-class character who appears in a series of TV commercials for Arby’s fast-food restaurants. Y’know, he’s the dude with the blue jacket who dances kind of poorly and belts out the chain’s new slogan of “It’s good mood food.” The square-jawed actor lives in Brooklyn nowadays but is a Queen City native who graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1996. Maybe Andy will come to town this fall and lead the chicken dance that kicks off Oktoberfest. He’d be a better choice than some chosen in past years. (Yes, MMA champion Rich Franklin, we’re referring to you.) By the way, Kevin Osborne is just my pen name; my real name is Danny Cross.