Tall Stacks On Board for 2012

Board member Vanessa White, Board Vice President Eve Bolton and Superintendent Mary Ronan announcing the Effective rating.

Welcome back the calliopes. The gleaming white steamboats, all spit and polish, moving through the shimmering water. The celebration of Cincinnati's rich river history.

Tall Stacks returns in 2012. At least that's the plan.

"It'll be a great celebration, a great week," says BB Riverboat Capt. Alan Bernstein. "Things are shaping up quite well," he says, for the festival of boats, history and music to take over the riverfront Oct. 3-7, 2012.

It does hinge on corporate sponsorships, though. Tall Stacks Board Chairman Fred Craig says the board has a strong commitment to 2012 but it has to raise more than $1 million in corporate sponsorships.

What Cincy has crowned "the glorious signature event" is just that. First held in 1988 to celebrate the city's Bicentennial, Tall Stacks brought 14 riverboats and 700,000 visitors to the shores of the Ohio River. Over two decades, it grew to include tours, cruises, races, music and enough history displays to attract busloads of school children. Thousands boarded the grand old boats and traipsed up and down the decks, reveling in the history.

But the economy slashed tourist dollars and corporate sponsorships. Plans for 2010 were dropped. Face it, even in good times, Tall Stacks loses money.

The Belle of Louisville, the Majestic of Pittsburgh and the General Jackson of Nashville are expected, says the captain. Some of the smaller boats have not weathered the storm of the economy. Still, there should be enough of the great big boats to fill the Serpentine Wall, Bernstein adds. The Colonel from Galveston will come the greatest distance. No RSVP yet from the Creole Queen of New Orleans.

"Every morning I wake up when the boats are here and look out over them, it's so very exciting," says the riverman.

For us, as well.

Highest Rating Ever for City Schools

It always great to get an A. It means you learned the lessons and delivered the goods.

Taft IT High School and Schiel Primary have received that top grade from the U.S. Department of Education.

The news comes within weeks of Cincinnati Public Schools becoming Ohio's first and only effective-rated urban district.

Taft, transformed in partnership with Cincinnati Bell, and Schiel, now part of the acclaimed School for Creative and Performing Arts in its stunning new $72 million facility, are National Blue Ribbon schools.

It's a run of good news.

Just as CPS welcomed more than 33,000 students back from summer break, Superintendent Mary A. Ronan announced the district's "Effective" rating on the state's report card based on test scores, graduation rates, attendance and yearly progress. .

Ronan thanked all the right people."It is a reflection of the hard work "” and teamwork "” of our school and central staffs, our parents and community partners, and, most of all, of our students themselves."

The improvements and honors recognize:

"¢ A third of CPS's 57 schools that moved up one or two report card categories.

"¢ 8,000 students and 560 teachers working with the University of Virginia to overhaul every aspect of school operations.

"¢ Hundreds of corporate partners who commit money and volunteer hours.

So, keep up the innovation and excellent efforts. And, let us know how we can help.