Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Nuns' eatery faces eviction

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS - A group of nuns who provide part-time jobs for hard-to-employ people at a pizza parlor in University Heights is being evicted.

Power Inspires Progress, a nonprofit agency that operates the Venice Pizza restaurant on West McMicken Street, was issued a notice Monday from the Hamilton County Municipal Court to vacate the property in 10 days for nonpayment of rent. The restaurant has been a University Heights mainstay since 1990.

"We're in deep water," said Sister Barbara Wheeler, a member of the Dominican Sister of Hope order who co-founded Power Inspires Progress. "How do they ever expect us to move all of that heavy equipment in 10 days? I'm just devastated."

Venice Pizza employed about 12 part-time workers who were paid minimum wage up to $7 an hour.

Power Inspires Progress maintained the building and rented it for $400 a month. In September, new landlords raised the rent to $600.

Wheeler said she refused to pay the higher rent because she thought she had signed a long-term lease with the previous landlord. The lease agreement was later found to be invalid because it had not been renewed or registered.

Wheeler said she'd appreciate any donations of time or services to help with the move, as well as leads on rental properties. She also made a plea for other employers to consider hiring her trainees who will likely be out of work while the parlor is closed.

For more information, call 381-5882.


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