Saturday, July 24, 2004

'Ghettopia' mural helps freshen up Over-the-Rhine

Good things happening

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This old house just received a new face. It is a 100-by-60-foot mural that practically covers the south side of the building at the northeast corner of Orchard and Main streets, Over-the-Rhine.

Local artist Douglas Smith painted the mural. It was dedicated Tuesday by a small group that included Smith; Susan Angel, the owner of the building; artist John Rice; and architect Mike Uhlenhake.

Near the bottom of the mural, an inscription reads: "Ghettopia. This mural is dedicated to the people of Over-the-Rhine."

It contains scenes of Over-the-Rhine: buildings, airplanes overhead, birds, flowers, utility poles, people and windows.

Price designed an angel, made of wire. He also restores buildings and has done much of the work of renovating Angel's building.

"There is no secret message here," Smith said. "What you see is what it is. Just a simple scene about Over-the-Rhine."

Uhlenhake said this is a first step of a renovation to help enhance the area, at least in this corner.

He said renovation includes refurbishing two buildings across the street and landscaping an area on Main Street.

"We want to develop some kind of terrace on a vacant lot next to Angel's building," Uhlenhake said. "I have lived in this area for 11 years, and I want to do something to help spruce it up. I arranged for Smith to paint the mural. He volunteered to do it freely."

Angel has big plans for the building. She missed her deadline to open Ayurveda cafe on April 1.

"Let's say I am going to try to get it opened by April 1 next year," said Angel, who also owns Eco-Van of Columbus. "Ayurveda food is Indian food prepared to produce a balanced meal. It is an old tradition in India."

Senior center king and queen

Ernie and Maxine Jones have taken their place among royalty after being named the Hamilton Senior Center king and queen.

Ask them what they like most, and Maxine Jones says dancing.

Ernie Jones, a retired grain farmer, says he prefers tractor shows.

Maybe they will attend a few tractor shows, but the reigning royalty is expected to do a lot of dancing this year and next, much of it at the Hamilton Senior Center on Wednesday afternoons.

The center is operated by Senior Citizens Inc.

"I survive it," Ernie Jones, 80, said of the dancing.

Maxine Jones, 78, began taking art classes at the center in the 1980s and started taking dances lesson in the 1990s. Sometimes she plays the marimba or the piano with the Over the Hill Gang band.

The couple will be the king and queen of the Fairfield and West Chester senior centers. They will represent the Hamilton Senior Center at all upcoming 50th anniversary celebration events through June 2005.

Volunteers: Students graduating

Through the volunteer efforts of teachers, resource consultants for high schools and local universities, corporations, private individuals and the staff at Boys Hope Girls Hope, 11 students will graduate today.

The ceremony for eighth-grade, high school and college students is 4-7 p.m. at St. Ursula Academy, 2333 Upland Place, East Walnut Hills.

Graduating are John Ko, Purdue University with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering and Matthew Jacobson, Loyola University, Chicago, with a master of arts degree in Pastoral Counseling and John Richardson, University of Cincinnati, master of arts in Education Counseling.

From high school: Ashley Keller, St. Ursula Academy, and Julius Carter, St. Xavier.

Six students graduated from the eighth grade, but the agency does not release names of minors.

"We take kids in need who we feel can benefit from a home environment," said Sister Melanie Bair, executive director of BHGH. "Once they are here, we stay with them through college."

BHGH was founded in 1977 and is a national nonprofit organization.

"We save kids, one life at a time," Sister Melanie said. She said the organization was funded on the belief that Band-Aid solutions to major problems will rarely allow a child to break the cycle of poverty.

BHGH was organized in Cincinnati in 1984 and currently has three homes, two for boys and one for girls.

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