For New Editor, This is Home

She has raised her three children to love Graeter's and Skyline, and now Carolyn Washburn has moved back home.

Washburn took charge of the Cincinnati Enquirer newsroom as Vice President and Editor in January following the retirement of VP for News Tom Callinan, who will teach at UC.

Arriving from Des Moines, Iowa, amid the announcement of unpaid furloughs, Washburn won't speculate on specific changes Enquirer readers will see. Instead, she's immersing herself in the newspaper and the city.

"A city newspaper needs to reflect the city," she says, and readers can expect community journalism that reflects the passion and energy she finds here. "It's a great business city, it deserves great business coverage. It's a great sports city, it deserves great sports coverage. We will challenge the community where it needs to be challenged," she says, and celebrate it when it should be celebrated.

Washburn snagged the headliner business beats as she was mentored through the ranks of media giant Gannett by folks including Callinan. Fresh from Indiana University, she reported on the U.A.W. and General Motors in Lansing, Michigan. Within a few years, she moved to Rochester, New York, to cover Eastman Kodak at a time when Kodak defined that chilly, gray city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Bosses pulled her into editing ranks despite her protests that she wanted to be a reporter "forever." Most recently, she was Editor of the Des Moines Register.

She grew up listening to WLW and treasuring shopping trips with her grandma to downtown McAlpin's. At McAuley High, she was editor of the student newspaper. Raised on the West Side, Washburn has crossed the great divide and moved into Anderson Township.

She teams up with another former boss of hers, Enquirer Media President and Publisher Margaret Buchanan, another local. The key, Washburn says, is both have had important experience elsewhere to use here at home.

"” Dianne Gebhardt-French

Honoring a Writer, a Teacher

Friends and former colleagues plan to honor former Cincy columnist and longtime Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Jim Knippenberg April 4 with an evening reception at The Celestial in Mount Adams. The event, with Nick Clooney as emcee, will raise money for college scholarships in Knip's name.

Before his death in November 2009, the talented and irreverent reporter taught courses in columns and review writing for 14 years at the University of Cincinnati where he had earned a bachelor's degree in literature and a master's in education. UC's Director of Journalism, Jon C. Hughes, says the class was always overcrowded with students sitting on the floor and window sills. It was partly because Knip was so entertaining but, Hughes adds, it was also because of the concern he showed for students and the encouragement he gave them. It's important to note in anything written about Knip that he was an Elder grad. Visit for

"” D.G.F.

Anniversary for Chamber Alliance

The West Chester -  Liberty Chamber Alliance celebrates its 35th anniversary at the annual dinner March 18 at the Cincinnati Marriott North at Union Centre. The award-winning Chamber serves the Butler County growth corridor along I-75 and, in the last year, changed its name to reflect the continuing regional development by including Liberty.

Their mission: promote business innovation and growth, advocate free enterprise, and address issues of regional and community significance.

"We are already excited and celebrating," says Chamber President and CEO Joe Hinson.

"The transformation of the West Chester -  Liberty Chamber Alliance has experienced over the past decade runs parallel only to the growth of West Chester and Liberty Township and is nothing short of remarkable," says Hinson.

For details on the event, visit


Climbing for A Cause
 How do you fight lung disease? One step at a time, of course.

And the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb at Carew Tower is climbing even higher this year.

ALA Development Manager Liza Aromas-Janosik expects the largest field yet for the annual climb up the Carew Tower's stairwell on Feb. 20. What started six years ago with a couple hundred participants is expected to balloon to more than 500 this year.

"It's one of the most unique events to be part of," Aromas-Janosik says. "(Participants) tell others about it, and there's a domino effect of interest."

Climbing events in skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas are held in more than 60 cities to raised money to fight lung disease. Participants can compete in a race or go at that their own pace for fun and fitness, as an individual or as part of a team. The truly competitive can tackle the "Vertical Mile" "” more than 10 times up and down. Starts are scattered to avoid congestion.

The race to the top takes about 5-10 minutes, and most participants complete the 804-step trek in less than 20, with a medal, elevator trip down and a warm reception as their reward. The "Vertical Mile" takes about three hours with last year's winner breaking the two-hour mark.

The daylong event ends with a reception at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, inside the Carew Tower, with food, music and massages.

Many people take part for the physical challenge (think firefighters in full gear) and fun (think costumed cows and festive team-themed clothing) but "just as many if not more" also do it "in honor of a family member or friend who has passed away," Aromas-Janosik says. For them, signing the event's annual "Wall of Hope" banner is extra special, and completing the arduous task is extra rewarding.

For details, visit, call the local ALA office at (513) 985-3990 or e-mail

 "” Tim Curtis

  Labor of Love

Valentine's Day holds special meaning for Bengals cornerback Leon Hall and his wife, Jessica. As a senior at the University of Michigan, Leon proposed on the holiday in 2006.

"We were making dinner at my apartment, and he was so nervous," Jessica says. "He was like, 'Am I burning this?' I said, 'Honey, you can't burn steaks on the George Foreman (grill)."

Yet he did. Jessica smiles and Leon acknowledges the charred meat and admits he's not a very good cook.

The Bengals' 2007 first-round draft pick can be forgiven for his culinary ineptitude. He makes up for it in the romance department. Asked where he rates on a scale of romance from 1-10, Jessica laughs before Leon playfully warns, "Remember, I'm standing right here."

"He's a 10," says Jessica. "He surprises me with little things, and that's the thing I like about him. He just reminds me all the time that I'm the best wife and mother that he could ever ask for."

Asked the same question, Leon confidently asserts that he's "off the charts," drawing yet another string of hearty laughs from Jessica.

The two work together for the Leon Hall Foundation, which benefits the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky. Their combined commitment showed this holiday season with a food sample/auction fundraiser at Jaguar Land Rover Cincinnati and a shopping spree for the Home's kids at Toys "R" Us in Kenwood.

Working closely with a spouse might strain some, but the Halls thrive on their charitable partnership.

"It brings us closer together," Leon says. "It's been a positive thing for us."

"” T.C.

LifeCenter Celebrates Heroes

In a room full of heroes, "Tater" stole the show. Just six years old, Taiquese Donnel Hicks was climbing lap to lap at his table at the 8th Annual LifeCenter Community Breakfast. He eased off his chair to stand close to 17-year-old Crosby Fugate, a long-haired teen who also is a transplant recipient. The pair paged through the 2011 LifeCenter calendar, its slick pages and exceptional photos telling the stories of 14 organ and tissue recipients and donors.

When his mom, Queisha Johnson, scooped him up to be recognized by the audience of 300 people at the Kingsgate Marriott, he waved. Sincere but modest.

The heroes are the people who donate and the families who love them and tell their stories to honor their memory and encourage others to donate. They are recipients who battle health issues and hospitalizations. They are doctors, nurses and researchers. They are staff and volunteers at LifeCenter, which encourages and coordinates the donation of organs and tissue for transplant at 30 local hospitals.

Bengals icon Ickey Woods and Chandra Woods were there to honor their son Jovante. The teenaged athlete-scholar died last year of asthma and had checked the donation box on his learner's permit, giving five people the gift of life. Carolyn Henry was there, wearing a "Donate Ohi' shirt. Her son, Bengals receiver Chris Henry, died in 2009. In the calendar, she says he "believed donation was the right thing to do."

You see it in the smile of a 6-year-old.

"” D.G.F.