My latest installment for Politico's "What Works" series on successful urban innovations is on how Cincinnati, Ohio transformed Over-the-Rhine -- a neighborhood that in 2009 was declared the nation's most dangerous -- into perhaps the most happening and sought after place in the city, and did so in the proverbial blink of an eye.
The controversial bit, as you'll read, is that the city accomplished this by outsourcing the problem to the corporate community, which funded and govern a private non-profit tasked with executing the neighborhood's rescue. That they've succeeded in turning the neighborhood around is undeniable and an extremely impressive feat. But have they avoided simply gentrifying Over-the-Rhine? Long-time residents aren't so sure.
Earlier this week, in recognition of World Oceans Day, I joined Don Perkins of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Nichole Price of the Bigelow Laboratory to talk withMPBN's Keith Shortall about climate change and the Gulf of Maine on Maine public radio's hour-long interview program, "Maine Calling."
I'll be doing public talks on both themes in the coming months. On June 16, I'll be talking about climate change, the Gulf of Maine, and the world oceans crisis at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, Maine, part of their climate stewards lecture series. On Sept. 25, over on the other coast, I'll be talking American Character and American Nations at Portland, Oregon's First Congregational United Church. (More details on that to come.)
For those following the "North Woods Lawless" story, a belated update on last week's "hearing" by the Maine legislature's Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. For anyone who has read the story and its follow ups -- with multiple corroborating witnesses alleging a pattern of misconduct and even lawbreaking by undercover game warden Bill Livezey, the hearing was amazing to watch, a case study in how not to conduct a real inquiry.
Tomorrow, the Maine legislature's Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee is holding hearings on the accusations in "North Woods Lawless", the May 8 Maine Sunday Telegram investigation I wrote on a controversial Maine Warden Service undercover operation and dramatic raid in the remote northern Maine town of Allagash.
That's a total of seven operations based in seven Maine counties (and the state of Pennsylavnia) in which Livezey is accused of similar misconduct.
You won't hear from critics at tomorrow's hearing; the legislators are calling only three witnesses: the chief warden, the warden's boss (the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner), and the person at the attorney general's office who is tasked with assisting in public records requests, Brenda Kielty, who features in a related controversy over the wardens' flouting of public records law during our reporting of this story. (On this, don't miss the entire Kafka-esque email chain, posted here.)
For more background on all of this, see my previous post, "North Woods Lawless II," encapsulating the complex events from May 8 to May 19. There's also this landing page for "North Woods Lawless" at the Press Herald.
[Update, 6/6/16: The hearing was, in the words of the Press Herald editorial board, a "sham."]
Thanks to Western Kentucky University's Aaron Hughey for the kind words. "“American Character” is an eye-opening critique and analysis that should
be read by anyone interested in the future direction of our republic," he concludes. "I
recommend it highly."
For those in Ohio, there are now signed copies of this and other titles at The Booksellers on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati and at the B&N in Columbus's Polaris Mall.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.