Morning News: Will Clifton Market make it?; conservative think tank says Cincinnati should absorb Norwood, other municipalities

Group says declining population and lax governmental oversight mean places like Elmwood Place and Norwood should become part of Cincinnati.

click to enlarge Clifton Market
Clifton Market

So, what’s happening around Cincinnati today? Glad you asked.

It’s strapped for cash, a major giant competitor just opened a glistening new superstore down the road and its board is fighting each other. Can Clifton Market carry on? Leadership with the cooperative grocery store says yes. There’s debate over whether to sell the store’s building and lease it back — a suggestion made by new board president Gary Crawford. There’s also uncertainty about which board members will remain following a battle over the legality of a board vote back in August that could trigger either Marilyn Hyland or her son Adam, both influential members of the co-op board, to step down to comply with new rules barring family members from serving together on the market’s governing body.

But Crawford, who is also the vice president of Laurel Grocers, one of the market’s biggest creditors, says he sees hope that the venture can turn a corner and be successful. He would say that — he’d like to see his company recoup more than $500,000 Clifton Market owes the grocery wholesaler. But sales have edged up, and market manager Keith Brock says the $130,000 the store is bringing in each week is a “workable” amount. Now, leadership, including Crawford and Hyland, say they’re focused on raising $500,000 to continue operating the store — though they don’t agree yet on how to do so.

• Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and his mayoral opponent City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson will square off today for a business-oriented debate sponsored by the Cincinnati Business Courier. You can watch the livestream here or look out for our coverage following the debate. It’s the first big debate since Simpson trounced Cranley in the mayoral primary earlier this year — but Cranley has since upped his ground game and out-raised Simpson by a healthy margin. Should be an interesting conversation.

• If you live in an apartment, you might need to get used to going outside to light up a smoke. In advance of new regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority went smoke-free recently. Residents in CMHA housing will get a warning if they’re caught smoking indoors — something CMHA head Gregory Johnson says hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, a number of other apartment complexes, especially those in Northern Kentucky, are following HUD’s lead and also banning smoking in their units, citing health, maintenance and safety concerns.

• Miami University and Cincinnati Public Schools are working together to try and increase the number of minority students entering highly sought science, technology, engineering and math fields. CPS is teaming up with the Oxford, Ohio-based university to create an educational pipeline that will continually engage selected students with college-readiness programming. After successfully completing the program, Miami will cover the costs of attendance for the students. Right now, it’s just a pilot program kicking off next year with eight to ten students, but both schools hope to increase the number of students participating in the future.

• The city of Cincinnati should just go ahead and absorb Norwood, Elmwood Place and the other small municipalities around its border, a new study by a conservative think tank suggests. But that research also acknowledges that politically, that would be a very heavy lift. The research by right-leaning group the Manhattan Institute says that the suburbs’ declining population, grim prospects for increased tax base and lack of governmental oversight from media watchdogs and the state suggests that places like Norwood and other municipalities like Lockland and even Indian Hill have lost population in the new century and should consider joining Cincinnati to stay viable. But despite what some think tank says, if you’ve ever been to Norwood you know they have an actual tank and will likely not be taken over quietly.

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