High turnout of “elefriends” protest Big Top cruelty

Over 40 concerned tri-state citizens gathered outside the US Bank Arena last night, to protest Ringling Bros. Circus’ methods of training and punishing animals. As costumed elephants were led into the building behind them, several of the demonstrators explained why they were there.

“When I got a dog I became a human again.”

"Bump!"  Last month at Cincinnati's Everything Pet Expo, Amy Hoh showed how her service dog, Cortez, opens doors for her.

"Bump!" Last month at Cincinnati's Everything Pet Expo, Amy Hoh showed how her service dog, Cortez, opens doors for her.

Amy Hoh, 51, is a Hamilton County employee with a strong voice, a glowing face, and degenerative disk disease that landed her in a wheelchair 5 years ago.

Cortez is a five-year-old German shepherd with bat ears that flicker constantly toward Hoh, waiting for a signal that she needs his help.

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Who wants hunting in Mariemont, and why?

Last week the Village of Mariemont’s council agreed on a plan to redesign the bow hunting program that began illegally last fall and was quickly suspended. But facts are vague and opinions divided, on why the program began without input from the town council or the public, and whether it should be revived.

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Gamboling animals and fine design, with a cup of tea

The magic of Charley Harper’s wildlife paintings crouches between his precise descriptions of animals’ bodies, gestures, and personalities, and the baby’s-first-blocks simplicity of his style. If either geometry or animal-watching quickens your pulse, you might brave a touch of Stendhal Syndrome to visit a collection of Harper’s prints on display in O’Bryonville.

"Red and Fed" by Charley Harper

"Red and Fed" by Charley Harper

Pat Wynne opened The Coffee Shop on Madison in 2007, and decorated its walls with the 40+ prints he has collected by the Cincinnati-based painter, illustrator, and poster artist, since the early 80’s. To a Harper fan this permanent (though rotating) exhibit may be the best thing to happen since the Contemporary Art Center’s Harper retrospective closed in 2007, months after the artist died at age 84.

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Homeless women say “Yes, We Can!” on Inauguration Day

Jessica, a mother of seven, forfeited her lunch yesterday to stay by a television as noon marked the start of President Obama’s first term. While Yo-yo Ma’s rising cello melody evoked the words to “Simple Gifts” Jessica covered her wet face with two wiry hands. “Those were tears of joy,” the 49 year-old said.

Until the lunch buzzer sounded at The Drop Inn Center, a shelter working “to empower people to move from homelessness to housing” in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, the windowless TV lounge for female residents rang out with responses to the inauguration. About eight women–most of them African American mothers and grandmothers–followed the ceremony with curiosity, wonder, shouts of agreement, and an attentiveness that bespoke ownership. Each of their votes helped Obama win Ohio.

Ethel, 51, watches the post-inaugural coverage

Ethel, 51, watches post-inaugural television coverage

Roberta, 37, along with Jessica, not only voted for Obama but also helped fellow shelter residents find rides to polls on Election Day. Their voices rose while describing the empowerment they carried away from the election. Obama had moved Roberta to vote for the first time in many years, and she understood his victory in the same way he often represents it: “It’s not about him, it’s about what we’re going to do.” What will that be?

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