Tristate ideas worth spreading
By Maggie Heath

They’ve gained world recognition for their insightful talks and presentations about nearly all aspects of academia, culture and arts.

Now TED, which brings together thinkers and innovators to speak about their cutting edge ideas, is carving out a niche in the Tristate with TEDxCincinnati.

The TEDx program enables local chapters to adopt the TED mission and bring in speakers on a smaller scale. At two years old, TEDxCincinnati is quickly growing to include scores of eager participants and conference-goers.

“We’re really trying to build awareness, but getting creative minds together to share ideas is what it’s really all about,” says Jami Edelheit, TEDxCincinnati executive director and organizer. The Cincinnati native got involved with TED—which stands for technology, entertainment and design—in 2011 after attending another TEDx conference with Semester at Sea. The experience at the floating university was enough to spark a movement here.

“It was great,” she says. “I wanted to bring that back to Cincinnati.”

Recently, the group started holding happy hour events at local restaurants, mostly in the Mount Adams area. After chatting and sharing drinks, the event includes an open mic session for audience members to briefly talk about prospective ideas or their favorite TED Talks.

“We’ve recently had restaurants asking us to hold our happy hour events there,” says Edelheit. “They love it, and so do we.”

The talks foster creative thinking among all professionals and are a part of “Paint the Town TED.” The campaign hopes to bring awareness to TED and its local Cincinnati chapter.

“It’s basically just an action-packed evening,” says Edelheit. “We want people who are excited and want to show us what they’ve got. We’re building a community, and we want our speakers and performers to do that with us.”

In true TED fashion, all conferences are videotaped and sent to the parent group, where they are uploaded on TED’s YouTube channel. The main TED site also features many of these local talks.

On Oct. 3, TEDxCincinnati will host an event called “Sound Ideas” at Memorial Hall. Speakers and innovators will give six to eight minute presentations on various subjects that will capture the public’s imagination, says Edelheit.

“People will come and be entertained.”

The former real estate agent is also trying to mimic the same type of spirited presentations that the TED Talks conference captures in the West twice a year during their nationally-publicized events. She believes the magic and enthusiasm can be recaptured here in Cincinnati.

“This is a place for creative minds in the community to share ideas, get feedback, and do great things,” says Edelheit. “The city has a lot to offer in terms of creativity and ingenuity.” 

Building the Banshee
Kings Island's biggest record breaker begins to take shape
By Chris Saulner

Kings Island’s newest thrill ride, Banshee, will undoubtedly produce bloodcurdling wails from riders next year. The coaster is Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.’s first female-inspired thrill ride and will be the world’s longest inverted steel roller coaster when completed.

“An inverted thrill ride is something the park needed and guests have been asking for,” says Don Helbig, public relations manager at Kings Island. The two minute and 40 second ride will feature 4,124.1 feet of track, seven inversions and a 150-foot drop all while reaching speeds of up to 68 miles per hour.

Construction is already under way on the $24 million coaster that was announced by the park on Aug. 8. “We’ve received the first pieces of the track and have now started going vertical”, says Helbig. No rides or areas of the park surrounding the new coaster will need to be closed during construction.

Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers based in Monthey, Switzerland, the same company that designed Diamondback in 2009, the coaster will be located where the former Son of Beast stood. Bolliger & Mabillard invented the no floor inverted coaster concept and completed their first inverted ride in 1992.

This record-breaking coaster will add to Kings Island’s already extensive record-breaking attraction history.

The Beast, which opened in 1979, remains the world’s longest wooden roller coaster and a staple of the amusement park. The King Cobra, designed by Japanese roller coaster manufacturer TOGO, was the first roller coaster in the world to be designed as a stand-up ride from the beginning before it was dismantled in 2001. Before it was demolished in 2012, the Son of Beast was the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world and also featured the world’s first wooden loop before it was removed in 2006.

Most recently, Kings Island opened the nearly 13-acre Dinosaurs Alive! park in 2011. It contains over 50 animatronic dinosaurs and features Sauroposeidon, the world’s largest animatronic dinosaur. Sauroposeidon stands six-stories tall and is the length of three school buses.

Banshee will be the fifteenth roller coaster and first inverted ride at Kings Island, as well as the most recent addition to the park’s Action Zone.

“Diamondback was our last major thrill ride…we go in cycles [of park improvement] and it was time again for a big thrill ride,” says Helbig. Eager thrill seekers don’t need to visit the park to check on the progress of the ride as Kings Island has posted a live minute-by-minute HD construction cam on its website.

According to Helbig, work crews have already started installing pieces of Banshee’s track in the station area of the ride in early September. If visitors want to get a sneak peek of the new thrill ride, they can take an elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower for an aerial view. The ride will be ready for test runs near the end of February or early March and be fully operational by opening day in April 2014.