Tuesday, March 11, 2003


Judge Jones holds court on weekend

By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It was quite the weekend for Judge Nathaniel Jones on the party circuit. One group honored him as a champion, another honored him and wife Lillian for their commitment.

• Thursday was night No. 1 of the Jones love-fest, when Kids Voting, a grass-roots organization that promotes voter education among children, honored him with its Champion of Democracy Award at its annual Gridiron Dinner and Roast. The award cited endless hours of work promoting voting, and even monitoring elections in far-flung countries.

Oh, they also abused the guests by roasting them medium rare after a cocktail hour and filet mignon dinner at the Hyatt. Roastees were Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Hendon ("I'm not interesting. Why are they picking on me?"), Hamilton Country Democratic Party co-chair Tim Burke ("They got too many Republicans firing at me"), and Cincinnati Community Action Now co-chair Ross Love ("They'll never find anything mean to say about me").

About 280 showed for the fifth annual do, including most of Cincinnati city council, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and a ton of other politicos.

• Love fest No. 2 was Friday night at the Phoenix, when the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) threw its annual Caring Award banquet and honored the Joneses for "working internationally for racial justice and civil rights ... plus lifelong dedication and leadership" in the Tristate.

About 260 showed for this one - 100 or so more paid but couldn't come, said party co-coordinator Rosemary Schlachter. Proceeds from the $150-a-head black-tie cocktail party and dinner went to VNA, a group of nurses who provide home health care to the indigent, uninsured and under-insured.

As for Judge Jones and Lillian, someone asked, "Is this getting old hat? Two nights in a row?"

"Wellllllll ... it's a busy weekend, but it feels good," he said.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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