Pack Your Bags and Head CVG's Way
By Tim Curtis

Fares are down, come back.

That's the message from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. It's launched an aggressive marketing campaign tied to its "Think CVG First" initiative.

The plan is to lure back flyers who may have left for other regional airports and to retain flyers through a new loyalty program.

Through billboards, online, radio, TV and print ads, the airport's $250,000, 12-month campaign is "all about savings, convenience and benefits," says CVG spokesperson Barbara Schempf. "We are really trying to explain, "¢Why CVG first,' and at same time want to thank those who have already come back (an estimated 200,000 flyers) through our loyalty program." Also on the marketing agenda: preview ads in major area movie theaters in December and more prevalent signage within and around the airport.
 
 
Yes, That Is a Pirate Flag Atop The Belle
By Dianne Gebhardt-French

Skullduggery is after all, skullduggery. So, having been permanently declared a pirate by the International Maritime Organization, Cincinnati's beloved Capt. Alan Bernstein must fly the "Jolly Roger" flag on The Belle of Cincinnati and all ships who fly under her flag.
 
It's a great story, made better by the storytelling skills of the pirate himself, Capt. Al of BB Riverboats, alias "Calico Jack." He settles back in his seat overlooking the mighty Ohio and asks if the writer would like the 20-minute version or the full two-hour treatment. The writer wishes she had more time.
 
He admits to the facts, or most of them. Years back, he boarded, along with four loyal crew members, The Belle Of Louisville to reclaim the trophy awarded for the pre-Kentucky Derby steamboat race. The 225-foot Belle of Cincinnati won, he says, fair and square. "The Mayor of Louisville convinced the judges to disqualify The Belle of Cincinnati. We were stunned. How could they?" he still asks. The crew of The Belle of Louisville took the trophy "” a set of antlers "” and ran off the stage, according to Calico Jack, uh, Capt. Al.
 
It left his crew "publicly humiliated, dismayed, shocked and certainly confused." They had no choice but to wait till cover of night to reclaim it.

There was an uproar, even a "trial." Then the proclamation from the maritime law group which declared that Capt. Al "did piratically" seize the antlers and "that he further took to the high seas ... to make his escape to the pirate haven known as Cincinnati, 30 leagues distant from the scene of his wretched crimes."
It's history, but the punishment stands. "That's why our boats fly the Jolly Roger. I may add, proudly. To mark our victory," Capt. Al says, smiling as he looks forward to a rematch this spring. They call the Derby the fastest two minutes in sports. The steamboat race is the slowest two hours in sports. But the crew of The Belle of Cincinnati has its eye on the prize.

More than 1,000 people have joined the loyalty program, named First Rewards (www.cvgfirst.com), since September. Members earn frequent flyer miles for spending at CVG on parking and with merchants, and they can earn unique parking privileges. There is also a drawing each month in which four members win 100,000 bonus miles.

As far as savings, CVG is touting that fares are down 26 percent since 2007 ($549 to $404). And in the convenience department, CVG is highlighting its more customer-friendly airport shuttles.
 
 
Kroner Dry Cleaners Embraces Eco-friendly Bags
 By Gretchen Keen

Every year, 300 million pounds of single-use plastic dry cleaning bags end up in U.S. landfills.
 
Ray Kroner, owner of Kroner Dry Cleaners in Cheviot, couldn't stand by and let that happen "” at least not at his business. Instead, he began implementing Green Garmento bags, which are reusable, washable bags that function as laundry bags, hampers, duffels and garment bags. As far as he knows, his company is the only one in the Tristate area to implement the bags so far.

"I started doing some research, and I was using three tons of plastic a year "” you know, we're not that big of a place, but you figure, three tons is a lot to go in a landfill," says Kroner, whose family has run the business since 1939.

So he began by ordering 100 bags "” and they were all sold out before the shipment even arrived. Kroner Dry Cleaners has already sold over 300 bags and expects to bring in more incrementally, while continuing existing green initiatives such as recycling solvents and hangers. Plastic bags will still be available to those that want them.
 
Seeing the high demand for the Green Garmento bags, Kroner admits he's a bit surprised.

"Bringing change to this area has always been a little tough," he says. "But I'm really amazed by how pleased people are with it. They're happy to be part of doing something to make that little bit of change."
 
Major Makeover for Anna Louise Inn
 By Kaitlin Walter

Cincinnati Union Bethel is celebrating its past and its future.
After marking its 180th anniversary in 2010, the community and family services agency is looking forward to a $12.4-million renovation to the Anna Louise Inn to begin in 2011.
 
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has approved 10 years' worth of tax credits totaling $10 million toward the project. "The Anna Louise Inn was built in 1909 to provide housing for women, and has been full to capacity since opening its doors over 100 years ago," says Development Director Brittany Ballard.
 
President and CEO Steve MacConnell says the renovation will convert dormitory-style living into 85 apartments with private bathrooms and kitchens. "The building is 101 years old, and it could really use a facelift," MacConnell says.
 
"The renovation will create a much better living environment for the same cost to the urban women living there. Right now each woman only has enough space for a bed, dresser, and a desk; the upgrades will give the women more privacy, areas to cook, and their own bathroom."
 
The building will continue to house the organization's administration and the Off the Streets program, which helps prostituted women leave the streets.
The agency also provides early childhood education at four Head Start preschools as part of its mission to support urban women, children and families.