By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Don't know for sure, but we're hearing that Heidi Mueller (daughter of Who Wants to Marry My Dad's Don Mueller) may be doing a little bit more as bad girl Kay Bennett on the soap Passions (2 p.m. Monday-Friday, Channels 5, 22).
"She loves that role, because it allows her to play something she's not, and actors love to stretch that way," says Don. "She's really not a bad girl at all."
On the personal front, she's now dating hunky Thad Luckinbill, J.T. Hellstrom on The Young & the Restless, and enjoying life in Los Angeles. Well, "enjoying" it is an understatement: "She absolutely loves it out there. And from what I'm hearing, she's doing a really good job."
Channel 48 rolls out its latest local production - conceived, shot and staffed entirely in Cincinnati - at 5 p.m. today. Safe Passage stars local teenagers and tells the story of five Underground Railroad heroes: John Rankin, Levi Coffin, Josiah Henson, John Parker and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The show airs today as a stand-alone drama, then goes into a multi-media curriculum project that uses the Underground Railroad to teach sixth- through ninth-graders language arts and social studies. Channel 48 partnered on the project with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and University of Cincinnati's College of Education.
Kids in starring roles are Johnathan Lucky (Forest Park), narrating Rankin's story; Lindsay Maurer (Florence) as Coffin; Paul Nyhart (Indian Hill) as Henson; Maggie Perkins (Cincinnati as Parker and Kayla Pitts (Cincinnati ) as Stowe.
Meanwhile, readers have been e-mailing asking why Channel 9 pulled Mary McConnell off its traffic reports.
"We didn't. Mary didn't even work for us," says Bill Fee, Channel 9's general manager. Seems McConnell works for a traffic reporting service called Metro Networks and Channel 9 subscribes to the service.
"Metro assigns reporters to stations, not the other way around," Fee says.
McConnell still works for the service but is now doing traffic reports for WAKW-FM (93.3). Tune her in during rush hour.
Bang a gong
The Discovery Channel is headed into town. Specifically, it's the show Monster Nation, and it will be in Newport Wednesday and Thursday.
A crew will be at the World Peace Bell Center (Fourth and York streets) shooting as the Verdin Co.'s "Bell Foundry on Wheels" (it's the mobile foundry Verdin president Jim Verdin was demonstrating last year at Tall Stacks) casts a 250-pound bell decorated with the Monster Nation logo.
TV schedules are iffy, but as of now they shoot the ingot ceremony at 11 a.m. and the actual pouring of the bell at 4 p.m. Wednesday, then the breaking of the mold at 10 a.m. and the dedication and first ring at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The public is invited to come watch. There's no air date for the show yet.
Things just keep looking better for Cincinnati artist C.F. Payne. His deal to produce back covers for Reader's Digest, the world's most widely read magazine with 100 million readers, has expanded to the Internet.
The magazine is now making posters of his back page and selling them for $19.95. Just go to www.rd.com and click on the link. You can do that, but Payne probably won't. "Computers! I'm thinking of bashing mine a good one and making it a planter," he says.
His April page, by the way, is "Earth Day" and he used, as always, people from his life.
"That's me raking leaves in the red jersey with the No. 11. Ohio State, you know. And that's my next door neighbor, Sandy Cantor, doing the gardening. I took a few pictures of her and then painted. The child is a morph of my son, Evan, and her son, Jules. I probably would have used just Jules but he wasn't around when I was taking pictures."
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