Monday, February 28, 2011

Do This: Clean the Highway and Get a Free Trip to the Zoo!

This year, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful will again kick-off the Great American Cleanup with the Ohio State Roadway Cleanup on March 26th. On this day, hundreds of volunteers will take to the highways to clean and beautify our city's dirtiest exit and entry ramps.

Why should you volunteer?
The first 500 volunteers will receive a free admission ticket to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for participating in the event. (Volunteers must be signed up with KCB prior to the event and at least 16 years old with a parent or guardian present if under 18.) This is the perfect opportunity for a parent or two who want to plan a trip to the zoo, but would rather not have to pay for multiple admission tickets. If both parents volunteer at the State Roadway Cleanup, their tickets will be free! Find a sitter for the morning and come volunteer!

You can also help choose the cleanup locations by submitting your pick for the dirtiest highway exit or entrance ramp in Cincinnati. Voting ends on March 11th.

Sign up now for details about meeting times and locations!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Positive Reinforcement

Because I'm generally not a fan of forced ethics on a governmental level--i.e. outlawing plastic bags and the such--I do appreciate all forms of positive reinforcement.

Take, for example, the way the City of Cincinnati re-worked their curbside recycling program to reward residents for their participation.

Thanks to a new partnership with Recyclebank, a rewards program similar to a frequent flier program, residents can now earn tangible rewards for each pound they recycle. With new, high-tech (and massive, I might add) recycling bins and fancy recycling trucks with scanners and scales, Recyclebank now keeps track of how much is recycled per household and allots points to the residents. Then, registered families log on to their online account and, once they've reached a certain level, can redeem their points for online rewards from local businesses.

Many folks, myself included, took advantage of the City's curbside recycling program without this rewards program. And, so, receiving rewards for our efforts are only an added bonus to the work we were already committed to do. (In fact, I'll be honest and say that, although I'm registered online at Recyclebank, I haven't checked my account for a few months. And, because those new bins are so huge, I only put out my recycling every month instead of every two weeks, which is when it is now collected.)

I know there have been some complaints about the size of the bins (especially in historic row house districts like the one in which I live), or about the switch from weekly to bi-weekly pickup (because people like me are absentminded about this sort of thing), but I think the program is much stronger than it was a year ago--due in part to this partnership with Recyclebank.

Hopefully, the City has seen an increase in recycling since the program kicked off a few months ago. If nothing else, maybe the appearance of a large, green recycling bin on the doorstep made some residents wonder why they'd never recycled before. Either that, or there's some lady in Over-the-Rhine hoarding dozens of the new recycling bins in her backyard... (oh, wait, that's totally true...)

Visit the Cincinnati Recycles website for full information. Then, when your bin arrives (or if it has already), log on to the Recyclebank website and register!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Do This: Blue Manatee kids' programming

My plan today, due to the warmer weather, was a walk to the downtown branch of the library for the weekly storytime. But, because I had another side-trip to make, we decided to try something new and get out of downtown.

When my son was young, before he was fully-mobile, we drove out to the Blue Manatee Bookstore in Oakley every so often so I could grab a cup of coffee with a friend and our kids could peek through some books. Sometimes we'd make it a day trip and stop in to The Spotted Goose and King Arthur's Court Toys.

I haven't been to the bookstore for the past six months or so but, early this morning, I checked the schedule and registered my son for the art class at 10am.

The class cost me $5, lasted a half hour, and we came home with two art projects. Izzy loved his first official painting experience, and it was fun to watch him alongside his peers. The class was for ages 2-4, with eight kids total.

For Cincinnati parents, I would highly recommend a trip to the Blue Manatee, either to browse, catch a storytime, or take a scheduled class. (I believe they host private parties, as well, which I'm going to keep in mind for my mid-winter birthday boy.) Check out the website and find a time to stop in. Heck, you can spend the whole day in Oakley--books, toys, boutique goods, and even a trip to a good ol' soda and ice cream shop!

Enjoy your trip!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Couldn't Agree More

I definitely haven't said much lately on this blog. Rest assured, it's not for lack of ideas or desire. I've simply been too busy and overwhelmed to sit down and write.

Until I get my act together and write something original, chew on this:

A great article, courtesy of about the value of planning cities with families in mind.

Thanks, GOOD. I couldn't have said it any better.