{ Education }
CPS Teaches Special Ed Students Workplace Skills
When Shannon Benion dismissed her class, she firmly shook hands with her students and told each one, "Have a good day at work."

The seven students headed directly to their workstations at Cincinnati Public Schools Central Office. They are enrolled in Project SEARCH, which trains students with disabilities on how to get and keep a job.

CPS has Project SEARCH sites at Fifth Third Bank, Mercy Health-West Hospital and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. This is the first year for an on-site program at the school district office. In fact, it's the first Project SEARCH site in the nation in which a school district serves as the business liaison.

"As we were continuing to think about additional partnerships within the community, my thought was, we really should not continue to ask our community partners to do what we're not yet doing ourselves," says Markay Winston, director of student services, which operates Project SEARCH at CPS.

Students in the program have graduated from high school, but deferred receiving their diplomas while in the program.

The student interns work three 10-week rotations in different departments. They interview for each job. "We treat them like employees," Benion says.

Ashley Mincy, 21, works in the Department of Student Services, where she does filing and enters data on Excel. "They're making me more independent," she says. "It's making me learn how to get a job. I would like to work in a restaurant."

Her supervisor gives Mincy high marks. "She's always on time," says Deb Ranson, lead secretary. "She has a very professional demeanor. She stays on task."

Created in 1996 by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, SEARCH is now in 150 sites in 39 states and four countries.


{ Outdoors }
Bundle Up,Take a Hike
On those brilliantly sunny winter days when a hike through the pine trees and hardwoods is in order, you can put Indian Creek back on the list.

Formerly known as Upper Indian Creek Preserve, now Indian Creek MetroPark, it's been reopened from 8 a.m. to dark daily. Head for either entrances "” off Springfield Road or Oxford-Reilly. The park is just outside the village of Reilly. It opens during the winter months for the first time in four years and the trails are easy to moderate. No bikes but leashed dogs are welcome.

It is the final park to be reopened after funding cuts forced the park system to close many park areas two years ago. Improvements include a new parking lot and access drive. Trails have been cleared and are marked.


{ Religion }
St. John's Bible Heads to Mount St. Joseph

The St. John's Bible "” the first completely handwritten and illustrated Bible to have been commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press "” will be featured at the College of Mount St. Joseph's Studio San Giuseppe Art Gallery from Jan. 17 to Feb. 26.

Currently on its national tour, the St. John's Bible Print Exhibition will give the Greater Cincinnati community the rare opportunity to view traditional calligraphy and illumination done by calligraphy master Donald Jackson and a team of scribes and visual artists, along with 25 large-scale giclee prints and accompanying text that highlights the creative process.

In keeping with tradition of great medieval Bibles, the St. John's Bible is two feet tall and three feet wide when opened, consisting of nearly 1,150 pages bound in seven distinct volumes.


{ The Arts }
Anderson, Mason Students Follow CSO Baton

It has to be thrilling for a student musician. After warming up your strings, you sit up straight in your seat to follow the baton of a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conductor.

That opportunity comes this winter as the orchestras at Anderson, Turpin and Mason high schools are led by CSO Associate Conductor Robert Treviño. A presentation of Sound Discoveries: Music for the Community, it is made possible in part by the Corbett Educational Endowment.

Community Concerts have long been part of the CSO's educational and community engagement mission.

On Jan. 6, the CSO travels to Anderson High School with conductor Pablo Heras-Casado to perform Schumann's Manfred Overture and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 at the Forest Hills Community Concert. On Feb. 2, the CSO will be at Mason High  School with conductor John Storgårds performing Brahms' Academic Festival Overture and  Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica.   

Both concerts feature an opening work, chosen by the schools orchestra directors, performed by the high school orchestras conducted by Treviño. The proceeds from both concerts benefit the school orchestra and instrumental  programs.


{ Health }
New Treatment Center Helps Business Employees

With the opening of The Ridge, a residential treatment center, employers have a cost-effective option for employees facing drug and alcohol problems.

According to Chisano Marketing Group, because the cost of finding and training new employees can be expensive, it may cost a company less to send an employee to a drug and alcohol treatment program rather than replace the employee. In addition, recovered employees can be more productive, satisfied and loyal to their company.

The Ridge offers patients individualized recovery programs and upscale accommodations on a private 51-acre estate. Patients go through detoxification, personal assessments and customized treatment programs, all in a tranquil and comfortable environment.

"It's a minimum of a 28-day stay, where you can focus on one thing and that's recovery," says Laura Child, account executive for Chisano Marketing.
4560 St. Rte. 222, Batavia Township. (866) 902-9846 or

"” J.R.

Morrow Vineyard has "Best Red' in Ohio

Valley Vineyards' Cabernet Franc was awarded the "Best Red Wine in Ohi' at the 2011 Ohio Wine Competition.

Valley Vineyards, located in Morrow, Ohio, began in 1969 when Ken Schuchter revitalized the family farm. Now three generations work alongside each other.

Joe Schuchter, marketing and sales director, says the start of the vineyard was rooted in a bit of a mistake.

"My grandfather bought grape vines for what he thought would fill two acres," he says. "He really got enough to fill 20 acres."

With suggestions from Ohio State University, Ken Schuchter planted the first 20 acres and started the vineyard.

Joe Schuchter says he always enjoyed working at the vineyard growing up.

"When I came in, Grandpa was retiring so I thought my greatest contribution would be distribution," he says.

The key to growing good quality wine grapes in Ohio is in the glaciated soil in the Ohio River Valley.

"They need well-drained soil, hot summers, cool nights and sunshine," Joe says.

Any suggestions for the holidays?

Thanksgiving: Cabernet Franc Rosé, a dry, fruity wine goes well with turkey and cranberry sauce.

Christmas: Cabernet Franc, a light, fruity wine goes well with lamb.