B E S T B A B Y B OOM It’s been a big year for babies at the Cincinnati Zoo. Since being born six weeks early on Jan. 24, baby hippo Fiona has become a bona fide local celebrity. Initially weighing just 29 pounds, the tiny baby inspired the hashtag #TeamFiona as the city anxiously awaited daily updates on her condition. But the hippo wasn’t the only baby the zoo welcomed this year: African painted dog Imara gave birth to a whopping 11 pups, all of whom were named after cheese, and first-time Malayan tiger mom Cinta also welcomed three female cubs; her maternal instincts, however, failed to kick in. Luckily, six-year-old Australian shepherd Blakely stepped in to fulfill the role of nanny. Blakely’s previous baby-rearing experience includes cheetahs, a takin, a warthog, wallabies, skunks and bat-eared foxes. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, cincinnatizoo.org.
B e s t pr e v io u sly s e cr e t a n d a rg u a bly e m b a rr a ss i n g c o rr e sp o n d e n c e b e t w e e n t w o m ayo r a l b u d di e s The best convos between bros should stay between bros, you know what we mean?
So it was kind of embarrassing when a records request for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s emails turned up Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley’s missives bragging about working with the city’s black police union, the Sentinels, on the ouster of then-chief Jeffrey Blackwell. Even more embarrassing: Cranley had previously said he had no role in that firing, officially carried out by City Manager Harry Black. Triple embarrassing: The Sentinels afterward came out saying they didn’t support Blackwell’s firing at all. Oops.
B e s t c o ll e g e sp o r t s fa k e o u t For a beautiful few weeks, it kinda seemed like the University of Cincinnati was about to join the big leagues. But it was all one big tease. After some flexing for one of the country’s top college sports conferences, we found out this past fall that UC won’t be joining the Big 12 any time soon. In fact, no new schools will be hopping on board the high-level collegiate athletic conference, which currently has only 10 members for some reason. The Big 12’s board of directors say the move doesn’t have anything to do with individual schools and that it simply isn’t the right time to expand. That means UC won’t get the chance to join a
Power Five conference or top-tier athletic groups that net much larger TV revenues, better shots at major bowl games and playoff berths. Oh well.
B e s t m o v e b y l o c a l fa i t h gr o u ps g i v i n g u s fa i t h i n h u m a n s Before Cincinnati formally declared itself a sanctuary city, local faith leaders convened by the Amos Project stepped up, offering support for immigrants and others who might be targeted by policies promised by the incoming Trump administration. If mass deportations or Muslim registries become a reality, these mosques, churches and synagogues have pledged to have the backs of some of Cincinnati’s most vulnerable residents. After high-profile court battles over President Trump’s executive orders banning immigration from certain majorityMuslim countries and halting refugee resettlement, that’s looking more and more like it could become a reality.
B e s t n e w i d e a t o f ig h t v io l e n c e i n Ci n ci n n at i ’ s n e ig h b o r h o o d s While overall violent crime in Cincinnati is still well below levels seen in decades
past, the city saw a devastating number of shootings in 2016 — enough to be featured in national media, including a New York Times article on gun violence. While some officials have called for still more police officers on the street, Councilwoman Yvette Simpson has proposed a different idea. Simpson’s proposal would include mental health professionals among first responders heading to crime scenes. Studies show that those exposed to the trauma of violent crime are more likely to be victims or perpetrators of that violence in the future. Working to treat that trauma could be a first step to reducing violence in Cincinnati neighborhoods.
B e s t m o m e n t pr o v i n g p e o pl e s t i ll h av e p o w e r Early November 2016 was a tense time in Cincinnati. Donald Trump had just been elected president and a Hamilton County jury declared it could not reach a verdict in the case of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing’s shooting of unarmed black motorist Samuel DuBose. That tension was especially high outside the Hamilton County courthouse as the verdict — or lack thereof — came down. The hundreds
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