Business Development News

$1.6 Million Home For Cats Opens in Madisonville

The Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic (OAR) expanded into its new adoption center in Madisonville last month thanks to a generous $1.6 million donation from the Joanie Bernard Foundation.

The facility, the Joanie Bernard Home for Cats, was named in honor of the life-long cat lover. OAR’s adoption center is located adjacent to the current spay/neuter clinic which still houses 75 of the rescue’s cats. The new building offers 4,800 square feet of feline housing, which is double the amount of the original spay/neuter clinic.

Joanie Bernard Home for Cats
The new $1.6M OAR Home for Cats in Madisonville opened last month. Photograph by Paige Malott for UrbanCincy.

Inviting glass windows, wood framed doors, and custom play equipment makes life comfortable for OAR’s cats that are in between homes. In addition, there are special rooms for kittens, elderly cats, and those with a medical condition. Each room features a screened porch, which allows cats to access a protected outdoor area on their own through the use of a pet-sized door.

Over 400 people stopped by the Joanie Bernard Home for Cats for its grand opening, with many families taking home a new feline friend. To help guests learn more about their cats, OAR includes the animal’s back story on each room. Experiences tug at the heartstrings from tales of lost kittens to an 11-year-old cat that was displaced when his elderly owner passed away.

Other details include the cat’s age, breed, name, and picture so that visitors may identify a cat that shares a communal room.

With a modern, clean atmosphere, the Joanie Bernard Home for Cats hopes to appeal to those considering pet adoption and make the meet-and-greet experience more interactive for both human and feline.

Currently, OAR finds homes for 300 cats annually. Charlotte E. White-Hull, Director of Development and Outreach for OAR, estimates that the updated facility will increase the number of cat adoptions by 25%. By expanding into the new facility, OAR’s spay/neuter clinic also looks to double its service to treat over 16,000 cats a year.

Up To Speed

Clock is ticking on Music Hall renovation deal

Clock is ticking on Music Hall renovation deal.

The group tasked with overseeing the massive renovation of Music Hall has said that the time to act is now. Meanwhile, prominent arts philanthropists have said that they not only want to see the City of Cincinnati contribute $10 million to the project, but also give up ownership of the historic structure to the management group. More from the Cincinnati Business Courier:

Music Hall Revitalization Co. (MHRC) President Jack Rouse has said his group will dissolve if the deal isn’t done by June 1. The nonprofit was formed in early 2010 to jump-start the renovation project, which had been talked about for years. Devey said dissolution of MHRC would be a real loss for the effort to restore Music Hall, which has serious maintenance problems that need to be fixed no matter what.

Arts & Entertainment News

Dinner in total darkness aims to explore senses, raise awareness

A dinner and concert in complete darkness will be held this Friday and Saturday in Northside at the North Presbyterian Church. The event is part of the growing number of “Blind Cafes” being hosted around the country to raise awareness and improve the lives of those who are blind.

The Cincinnati Blind Café is the fourth such event to take place in the United States, and will include a three-course, gluten-free vegetarian/vegan meal prepared by a popular local chef. There will also be a concert performed by Rosh & One Eye Glass Broken in complete darkness.

Event organizers say that all of the waiters will be blind and that patrons will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the waiters about issues related to visual impairment. Furthermore, a portion of the event’s proceeds will go to support the Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

The idea is to challenge patrons to experience life without sight, and to force greater use of other senses. Additionally, organizers and patrons claim that the lack of sight allows for heighted taste of the prepared meal, and that the music and poetry elements come to life in a new, unexpected way. Patrons of past blind café events have walked away feeling enlightened, and encourage others to experience the event first-hand.

“I went to the show, and it was magical,” exclaimed Kalea Wright who attended a blind café in Austin, TX. “It truly gave me a new look on life. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share the evening with you all.”

Tickets for the Cincinnati Blind Café (map) start at $50 and can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-838-3006. Organizers say that check in will begin at 5:45pm, with seating to follow at 6pm both nights.

Photograph of two patrons at a recently held blind cafe in Boulder, CO courtesy of Alive Studios.

Arts & Entertainment News

Neighborhood picnic to raise money for Tucker’s shooting victims

Bring your picnic blankets and chairs to St. Francis Seraph Church this Saturday, April 30 for a community support picnic in Over-the-Rhine.

The picnic will be held from 1pm to 5pm in the Franciscan Secret Garden to benefit two victims of a shooting incident that took place at Tucker’s Restaurant earlier this year.

City residents and businesses have rallied around the victims’ families for this event, and free local entertainment will be provided by Wild Mountain Berries, Robin Lacey & Dezydeco, and Chico & Friends. Free food will also be provided from Over-the-Rhine establishments, and Christian Moerlien beer will be available for $3.

Raffles, split the pot fundraisers and a silent auction will benefit the victims’ families. Event organizers say that prizes will include theater and concert tickets, restaurant and bar gift certificates, and more.

Organizers are requesting a minimum donation of $10 at the door. All proceeds will go to Carla Tucker and Ronisha Burgin, the victims of a January shooting at Tucker’s Restaurant. Free parking will be available in St. Francis Seraph parking lot (map), and an indoor location, in case of rain, has been set aside next door at St. Francis Seraph School.

Tucker’s Restaurant exterior photograph by 5chw4r7z.

Arts & Entertainment News

Over-the-Rhine rec center to offer Final Friday skate

Over-the-Rhine has a skating rink.

No, seriously. The Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center, located just steps away from Findlay Market, houses a 365-person capacity roller skating rink in its lower level that is in pristine condition. Caitlin Behle of Far-I-Rome Productions has stepped forward to bring new attention and patronage to a little-known space, in a way that is both fun and supports the neighborhood.

The Final Friday OTR Skate roller disco party hopes to become another staple in the myriad of events that bring people into Over-the-Rhine on the last Friday night of every month. From 8pm to 11 pm, two dollars buys skate rental for the evening. Two local DJs, Positronic and Dirty C will be providing music, and Cincinnati’s newest food truck, Taco Azul, will be stationed outside with taco treats. Artist collaborative SuchandSuch will have an art installation in the space.

All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Rec Center – everyone involved is offering their services for free. According to Behle, the OTR Skate, at its heart, is about helping the community.

“The OTR Rec Center is an invaluable resource to the community,” said Behle, who is an Over-the-Rhine resident and supporter. “They do so much with the little they have. I wanted to do something unconventional that benefits Over-the-Rhine and the people that live here.”

Another huge part of Behle’s motivation to host the event was to inspire and excite the creative community that is currently in the city. “Look, Cincinnati has all the potential of any other city,” explained Behle. “Tons of people that have so much creative power are leaving. We need to do more things to keep people here.”

Future skates could expand to include the Cincinnati Roller Girls, as well as expand into a side room to sell and display artwork from local artists. Yelp! Cincinnati is an event sponsor, and Southpaw Prints worked to create the initial poster.

The Final Friday OTR Skate is Friday, April 29 at the OTR Rec Center (map), and will take place from 8pm to 11 pm.