Most intriguing unconfirmed rumor of the week: George Clooney buys The Cincinnati Post and hires his father, Post columnist Nick Clooney, as publisher. This enables George to save a dying daily with a proud history and enables Nick to keep writing about politics and his late sister's glory days. (See CityBeat's recent cover story on The Post — "The Light Dims," issue of Feb. 21 — for other ideas on what to do with the afternoon paper.)
The Collaborative Agreement on Police-Community Relations is also about to expire, unless U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott orders it continued. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to the agreement, is trying to gauge public opinion about whether to ask Dlott to keep the agreement alive.
The Racial Justice Task Force at First Church holds an open meeting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at First Unitarian Church in Avondale. ACLU attorney Al Gerhardstein and staffer Iris Roley will lead the discussion. A leaflet distributed by the ACLU says, "A large percentage of blacks in Cincinnati do not trust the police. This has been true for many years and it remains a serious problem.
... We are reaching out to many people in order to help us decide whether to seek an extension of court supervision."
The agreement, signed in 2002 to settle a lawsuit over racial profiling by police, is scheduled to end Aug. 5.
Ruth "Cookie" Vogelpohl, founder of Our Daily Bread, an Over-the-Rhine ministry of food and hospitality, has announced she is taking "active retirement." Vogelpohl will continue to work at the facility one day a week; in addition, she is now on Our Daily Bread's board of directors. Her fund-raising duties will be taken over by Angela Pancella, a CityBeat contributing writer who recently moved to Cincinnati from St. Louis, where she was working for the Holy Spirit Adoration (Pink) Sisters.
Founded in 1985, Our Daily Bread provides a warm meal in a safe place for all who come.
"It's been a long journey with cheers and tears, decades filled with memories and stories to last a lifetime," Vogelpohl says.
A special endowment fund has been created for those who wish to honor Vogelpohl's 22-year commitment to Our Daily Bread. For information, call 513-621-6364.
Things That Are Just Starting
An unusually large number of prospective jurors were summoned for the trial of anti-war protesters charged with trespassing during a sit-in at U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot's office. Spectators were barred from the courtroom March 5, the first day of trial, because there was barely enough room for the 40 prospective jurors to sit. The large pool of prospective jurors was required because there are multiple defendants but also because so many people have strong opinions about the war.
Before the start of jury selection, the Rev. John Rich pleaded no contest — as he had planned from the start — and was found guilty by the judge. Before being sentenced, Rich told Hamilton County Municipal Judge David Stockdale why he participated in the sit-in.
"The loss of life in Iraq is terrible," Rich said.
He cited a study that said the U.S. military is directly responsible for up to 30 percent of the 600,000 civilian deaths that have occurred in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. Stockdale sentenced him to one day in jail, with credit for the day he served following his arrest; 20 hours of community service; and a fine and court costs totaling $85.
The trial of the remaining defendants — Ellen Dienger, CityBeat News Editor Gregory Flannery, Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen and Barbara Wolf — is expected to last three days.
Elementz, the Hip Hop Youth Arts Center in the West End, is teaming up with Literacy Center West to provide inner-city youth with the know-how to find, get and keep jobs. One night a week Literacy Center West will take job-readiness workshops to the 14- to 24-year-olds who go to Elementz. Since 2005, Elementz has drawn youth eager for the chance to make music in a recording studio and learn DJ-ing, breakdance and graffiti techniques (see "The Youth Shall Set You Free," issue of Jan. 10).
"It's the perfect fusion of missions," says Gavin Leonard, co-founder and executive director of Elementz. "We hear youth saying all the time that they need jobs but they don't know where to find them, and they may be held back by a lack of work experience or by mistakes they've made in the past. But at Elementz we're all about meeting youth where they are and respecting them there. With this collaboration, we're adding another layer to what that respect looks like by starting to address some of their concerns about jobs."
Literacy Center West (litcenterwest.org), located in East Price Hill, provides job readiness and placement services as well as GED preparation to men ages 19-21. Since the program's inception in 2003, more than 150 men, including many ex-felons and high school dropouts, have completed the program.
For daily updates on the peace protesters' trial, visit CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at citybeat.wordpress.com.
Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or pork(at)citybeat.com