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Eleven Reasons To Love Cincinnati Told At #CincyStorytellers


John Faherty at Cincinnati Enquirer Event, #CincyStorytellers

Please click here to watch John’s talk. NOTE:  Videos produced by Glenn Hartong

Last week, I sat in a filled to capacity room at the Phoenix as a panel of 11 people filled the stage, sharing one-by-one their own very personal story about their life and the impact of our region on it. It was all part of the new Enquirer series called #CincyStorytellers. You can watch all of their talks at this link.

What I loved about the event, besides the fact that I always enjoy opportunities to hear other people tell stories, was the great diversity they represented, the different points of view and different life experiences that individually and collectively are what has built such a dynamic region.

Take a look at who we heard from (as listed at

David Falk owns Boca and Sotto and Nada. He is making Cincinnati a better place to eat nearly every day. Falk has lived all over the world, but in October of 2013 he wrote a Love Letter to this city on Huffington Post. He changed the conversation.

Molly Wellmann makes an amazing drink. She also creates places that make people happy. That is not easy. She owns The Famous Neon’s Unplugged, Japp’s, The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and The Hearth Room. And Myrtle’s Punch House. Wellmann is also a true believer in this place. We have no stronger advocate.

Aftab Pureval is a lawyer at Procter & Gamble and this year he was in C-Change, a leadership-development program with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. He was part of a group that created the Grand City Experiment, which challenged people to do small things every day to make this a more welcoming place. It was simple, and it made a difference.

Libby Hunter is an example for all of us. One day, she saw some kids being lousy to another person. She thought all those kids needed was something to do; to love words and learning. It was naive, at best, and somehow, Hunter turned her life upside down to create miracles in Northside at a place called WordPlay Cincy. Now the story is evolving.

Dan Wright opened Senate in Over-the-Rhine before opening a restaurant there was a thing. He made a statement and invested his time and money. It was kind of a game changer. Then he opened Abigail. Now Pontiac BBQ. He planted a flag.

Alisha Budkie has a different kind of story. She has always been a part of the creative community in Cincinnati. She also knew of the frequent connection between creativity and mood imbalances. So she decided to create a community at that intersection. It will change lives.

Yvette Simpson has lived a life of civil service. She grew up here and faced her share of struggles early. But she found herself through work and education and became a leader. Simpson is intelligent and charming and she serves on City Council anyway. She is making a big difference.

If you ever noticed a big guy with a big beard and a bigger smile walking around Over-the-Rhine and thought he looked like a happy viking, you probably saw Jason Snell. His company is actually called We Have Become Vikings. He is an artist, designer, creator and light maven. If you liked the flying birds at Lumenoicty, thank Jason. If you like Mr. Satin, thank Jason. If you liked the Henry Holtgrewe mural, thank Jason.

Every city needs a Kathy Y. Wilson. She writes like an angel, and she challenges people like a sledge hammer. This is her home. And she is making it better with her words.

James Marable is smart and interesting, and making people dress better. Marable wanted to open a business, so he quit his cushy and safe job, ran up every credit card he had, borrowed and depleted his savings and opened OTR Fresh. Now he has a place on Main Street that provides a different look for a city that can sometimes use one.

Not listed here (probably because he compiled the list) was organizer and Enquirer reporter John Faherty. I actually was most looking forward to hearing what he was going to share because I follow his writings (all of the panelists were people whom he has written about). John has a way of expressing himself that moves and inspires me. Last year he openly and candidly shared his very personal, brave battle…and its impact on not only his own life but the lives of those who love him. If you haven’t already read his documentary article on how a transplant saved his life, I highly recommend it. During his #CincyStorytellers talk, he reminded the standing room only crowd that it was a pancreas transplant as he looked to the side of the room toward a few of his greatest supporters, his family.

There were so many lessons to have been learned in that evening. There were so many reasons to celebrate our great place where we all live, work and play. It is our diversity that collectively gives us all strength. Whether we are walking down the street, at work or a place of worship, or attending an event, we should realize that each one of us has our own personal story…our internal battles, challenges quote about diversity by Lisa Desatnikthat we have overcome, people who make our lives whole, sadness and laughter. In our daily hast, think about how much more enriched our own lives would be if we take a moment to learn something new about someone…either a stranger or an individual already in our life. Let’s talk to each other. Let’s share our stories. Let’s be there for each other. And let’s celebrate that what we each bring to this world is truly a gift.


Cincinnati Area Philanthropists Honored For Generosity


Each summer for the past four years, in working on the post-publicity for the Voices of Giving Awards, I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know stories from some of our area’s truly inspiring philanthropists. And I’ve learned about the Cincinnati area nonprofits whose invaluable work is sustainable only through generosity of people like the honorees.  (The Voices of Giving Awards is an event of the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council. It was sponsored by PNC and held at CET.)

While the honorees were honored for their planned gifts, they have done so much for their favorite causes often having been long time volunteers and/or supporters.

Emilie Dressler was one of the honorees. A weekly Guest Services Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati for 10 years, her genuine care is a vital part of what makes the House so special for families with critically ill

Representatives of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati

Tracy Monroe, dir. of planned giving for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati; Emilie Dressler; Tanya Cornejo, dir. of development for the Ronald McDonald House

children.  Emilie is the first person worried families meet with they come to the Ronald McDonald House, and her smiling face has a magical way of putting them at ease.

“I love helping out and making a difference.  If there’s anything I can do to make a family’s stay less stressful, I try to do it,” she said.

Emilie actually helps out in so many ways. In fact, I’m told there is hardly a part of the Ronald McDonald House that she hasn’t been involved in. And so, it makes sense that she would also choose to support the cause financially too. Her bequest gift will help ensure future generations of families find relief there too.

“In a perfect world, there would be no need for Ronald McDonald House.  But, since there is still such a great need for the House, my great concern is the wait list to get a room. What these families face is truly overwhelming.  I just want to do as much as I can now. And, by making a planned gift, my hope is to help make sure that the House will continue to be there for all families, when they need it most, and that the House will continue to grow long after I am gone,” Emilie said.

Her passion for a cause that is dear to her heart is the common thread she shares with all of the Voices of Giving honorees. Together they have collectively given tens of thousands of dollars to help ensure the sustainability of Cincinnati area nonprofits working to strengthen lives and communities.

“It is truly our greatest honor to recognize such a special group of individuals for their purposeful gifts to ensure the long term welfare of many nonprofits whose work strengthens our families and neighborhoods,” said Lori Asmus, co-chair for the event.

Cincinnati Area Philanthropist Carole Blackschleger was honored for her planned gift to the American Cancer Society

Cincinnati Area Philanthropist Carole Blackschleger was honored for her planned gift to the American Cancer Society

All Voices of Giving honorees included: Patrick J. Cleary (posthumously) – on behalf of Xavier University; Anne Zaring on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Bob Friedman on behalf of CET, The Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation; Emilie Dressler – on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati; Louise Morrison – on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation; Shirley Davies (posthumously) – on behalf of Life Enriching Communities Foundation; Marianne and Snowden Rowe – People Working Cooperatively; Ruth F. Rosevear – on behalf of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops Orchestra; Bill Prosser – on behalf of Cincinnati Public Radio, WGUC; Betsy K. Jameson – on behalf of the Cincinnati Bar Foundation; Vincent H. Beckman (posthumously) – on behalf of the College of Mt. St. Joseph; Thomas G. Cody – on behalf of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Carl Bergman – on behalf of Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati; Trey and Chris Heekin, and Kip and Jenny Heekin – on behalf of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Wilbur Cohen – on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati; James A. Miller – on behalf of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Susan and Tom Young – on behalf of the Cancer Support Community Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky;  Barbara and Ted High – on behalf of the Episcopal Retirement Homes; and Carole Blackschleger – on behalf of the American Cancer Society.  NOTE:  Other honorees requested not to be listed.

For more information on them, please click on this link: 2013 Voices of Giving honorees

The 2013 event was co-chaired by Lori Asmus and Telly McGaha. Committee members included Sally Alspaugh, Diana Collins, Jessi Konnagan, Bruce Favret, Jim Friedman, Misty Griesinger, Bill Hitch, Mary Alice Koch, Susan Kulick, Michelle Mancini, Chandra Mathews-Smith, Tracy Monroe, Carol Stevie, Sue Ellen Stuebing, and Molly Talbot.

The Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council is a professional association for people whose work includes developing, marketing, and administering charitable planned gifts for non-profit institutions and a variety of other legal and financial settings.

Lisa Desatnik Is Doing Cincinnati Dog Training…With PETential!


As you may have gathered if you know me or follow Good Things Going Around, I am all for positive energy. As an animal lover, pet owner, and long term student of behavior modification and pet training using positive reinforcement strategies and applied behavior analysis, I have been sharing information on pet behavior through my Hyde Park Living columns for many years.

Now I have taken the leap. In addition to my public relations work and Good Things Going Around, I am doing Cincinnati dog training (and parrot training) using positive reinforcement strategies.  My new pet training business is called So Much PETential! Please learn more about my work at my new website, and check back often for pet blog and dog training updates.

So Much PETential! is also on Facebook, Google+ and other networks.

Paul Miller And Circus Mojo Inspire Potential


Note: Do you have children who want to learn circus arts? At the bottom of this post, learn how they can!

One of my favorite movies of all times has got to be Patch Adams – the beautiful true story of a man impassioned since early adulthood to dedicating his entire life toward spreading joy and laughter and love and kindness.

As a doctor, his greater purpose isn’t about prolonging death with medical treatment, but about promoting quality of life. In the movie, we saw Robin Williams (playing the role of Patch) dress as a clown and transform gloom into smiles, anxiety into joy.

“Celebrate that you have the ability to step out of yourself and the opportunity to give yourself to others and the world,” the real Patch just wrote on his Facebook page.

And so, when Paul Hallinan Miller aka Pauly the Clown first showed me a video story about his work with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, I knew this was a man and a passion in which I believed. In the little bit of time that I’ve been working with him in a PR capacity, I can see how much his work means to Paul and how much he wants to make a difference through his skills.

The Bigger Story

Paul was in his final year of college in 1996 when he dropped out to become a clown. He did ultimately return and got his theatre degree but not before a stint with Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey.

These days Paul and his team at Ludlow-based Circus Mojo are all about bringing out the best in people through circus arts. Their classes, workshops, performances, and other programs have inspired children of all backgrounds, seniors, sports teams, corporate executives, people with disabilities, doctors, and hospitalized kids.

“In a hospital, giving kids some skills to take home besides their cast or their prescription or their scar is really important. It’s about giving the kids something to celebrate,” Paul said of his Circus Wellness Therapy that takes medical clowning to hospitals including Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital.

Other programs of Circus Mojo for diverse populations include:

 CircAbility empowers people who have physical, mental and behavior disabilities to discover and strengthen skills and build self-confidence.

Circus Scholastics, largely funded by The Fischer Family Foundation, is a unique after-school tutoring program combining circus skills and homework.

Circus Wellness has performed at a center that serves people who are blind, in a juvenile detention center, for grief counseling, and others.

Work Your Mojo corporate programs foster team building, trust and confidence.

 Under the Big Top

Built in 1946, the Ludlow Theatre was vacant for years when Paul acquired it and is continuing to renovate it. Immediate plans for the facility include expanding the seating capacity, installing a restaurant and bar, and developing its very own in-house circus production group.  In addition to programming an array of music and entertainment (jazz, folk, rock, dance, comedy, improvisation, etc), the restaurant will offer brick-oven pizzas, the bar will specialize in independent micro brews, and the in-house production group will produce regular circus performances and a touring show.

Mark Your Calendars!

To purchase tickets for all events of Circus Mojo, please visit You can also purchase tickets at the door.  Ludlow Theatre is located at 322 Elm Street; Ludlow, Kentucky, 41016).

October 27
MojoWeen Haunted Circus

 Calling all kids and kids at heart. Have you ever wanted to be a circus hula hooper, juggler, aerialist, or plate spinner? How about learning how to be a circus clown just in time for Halloween?

Circus Mojo’s MojoWeen Haunted Circus will feature an action packed performance fit for the Big Tent. Immediately following the show will be a fun, interactive workshop so can-do attitudes and gym shoes are recommended! It all begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 27 at the new performance hall of Circus Mojo – the Ludlow Theatre. (322 Elm Street; Ludlow, KY 41016).

Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids. (Adults 18 and over do the Thriller dance can also receive a free admission ticket to the Coulrophobia ball later that night – a $20 value.)


October 27 at 8 p.m.
Coulrophobia ‘Fear of the Clowns’ Ball


Just in time for Halloween, Circus Mojo is hosting Greater Cincinnati’s newest, spookiest, scariest circus event for adults with live music, unusual locally brewed beers, and of course – daring acts sure to amaze. Cost for the event is $20 per person.

Featured at the Coulrophobia Ball will be music from hailed Celtic folk metal band Winterhymn while performers will inspire with aerial acts, balls, wheels, and comedy. Those who dare come in costume are to be forewarned – the scariest clown guest will go home with a cash prize.

Proceeds from both of these events will support research on the impact of circus arts for people with disabilities and underserved youth.

There are other big events in November. Please check the Ludlow Theatre web site to learn more.

Win Tickets To MojoWeen!

I’ve got two groups of 4 kids tickets plus and adult kid-at-heart ticket to give-a-way. I’ll be drawing a name on Wednesday, October 24, at 4:30 p.m. To enter:

1.      Simply tell me why your child or children love the circus as a comment below or message me (note that your comment may be used on Facebook)

2.      Hang out with me on my Good Things Going Around Facebook page

2.      Hang out with Circus Mojo on their Facebook page

3.      Repin this contest image on Pinterest.  Click on the photo for the link.

Cincinnati Appalachian Festival Is A Good Thing!


Mother’s Day weekend in Cincinnati just isn’t the same without the region’s most popular spring festival – the Appalachian Festival. And the three day event is back – May 11 to 13 at Coney Island – packed with down home fun for the whole family. (For hours and pricing, please see below.)

The 43rd annual Appalachian Festival — presented by The Appalachian Community Development Association to help raise awareness of Appalachian culture – will re-create authentic mountain life with down-home music, dance, storytelling, food and crafts. Appalachian heritage runs deep throughout this entire region with more than 300,000 people claiming Appalachian ancestry.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on the publicity for the Festival for over 20 years (I started in grade school). It is such a fun event.

Appalachian Festival 2012 release

Hang out with the Appalachian Festival on Facebook by clicking here.

The Appalachian Festival has always been known as a value-packed festival with modest ticket pricing. And now it is even better:  Friday, May 6, is extra special with a half-price admission all day and night long. “Frugal Friday” pricing is adults $4, seniors $2, and children 4-11 $1 (children under 3 get free admission.) Pricing on Saturday and Sunday is adults $8, seniors, $4, children 4-11, $2. Parking is $6.

Festival hours are Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


 Don’t forget to check out MY SIDEKICK AND ME while you’re here for
pet behavior and fun posts. Just click here.


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