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Perhaps the most hyper-local and Cincinnati-specific of NPR radio station WVXU’s original podcasts, OKI Wanna Know is a write-in show which directly engages with its listeners, answering their nagging questions about stubbornly unexplained things in the Greater Cincinnati area. No other NPR podcasts can tell you as much about your backyard in Ohio, in Indiana or in Northern Kentucky!Bill Rinehart, local host of WVXU’s broadcast of All Things Considered, dives deep into researching the backstory of each crowdsourced mystery and reports back with his findings twice a month.Have you ever wondered:Who owns the Ohio River?Who plays the organ at the Reds’ stadium?Why is Short Vine cut off from the rest of Vine Street?Are speed limits really enforced by aircraft?Why are neighborhoods like Norwood and Saint Bernard inside of the city of Cincinnati’s limits but not part of it?Who was Reed Hartman? Fields? Ertel?What happened to all of the flying pig statues from the Big Pig Gig?OKI Wanna Know is always accepting questions and queries as part of its mission to shed light on Cincinnati’s puzzling quirks and obscurities, overlooked histories and odd facts hiding in plain sight. If there’s something that’s been bugging you—a baffling conundrum that you can’t for the life of you Google your way out of—submit your question here, and the team of investigators at your local NPR radio station will get straight to the bottom of it. Whether it’s something that every Cincinnatian might wonder or something specific to your street, no inquiry is too arcane for Bill Rinehart and the production crew of OKI Wanna Know.You can listen to OKI Wanna Know wherever NPR podcasts are found—on streaming services, the NPR One app and a variety of smart devices.0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a5cf0000

OKI Wanna Know: Question Potpourri Edition

Provided: Kaitlyn Handel

Our feature OKI Wanna Know is where we ask you to ask us a question about something you've always wanted to know about, but maybe isn't traditional news. Bill Rinehart returns with the first OKI Wanna Know of 2021.

We get questions that are difficult to answer, and some that are not so difficult. Because the last few months have been a bit much, we're going with some of the easier ones.

What's Up With Bands On Poles?

Downtown resident Jeff Limerick wants to know about flag poles near the Ohio River. Specifically, he says, there are four poles between the Purple People Bridge and the Taylor Southgate Bridge at Sawyer Point. The furthest west pole has one black band about halfway up, the next one has two bands, the next one has three, and the pole closest to the Purple People Bridge has four black bands. Limerick wants to know what the bands are for.


"It's nothing too interesting."

The man with the answer is Rocky Merz with Cincinnati Parks.

"Sorry to disappoint. The markers are used simply to identify the poles. We have flagpole one, two, three, four. The fifth area doesn't have a flagpole, but we refer to it as Area 5."

Area 5 is next to the ramp that leads to the river and the Serpentine Wall amphitheater. It's also where Shark Girl, a fiberglass sculpture of a little girl with a shark head, used to be on display. The piece has since shuffled off to Buffalo, New York.

Speaking Of... What's Up With Shark Girl No. 2?

David Lawrence points out there's another Shark Girl sculpture at the Contemporary Arts Center Downtown, and wants to know what her story is.

Casey Riordin is an artist and a mental health counselor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She's also Shark Girl's creator.

Riordin says Shark Girl grew out of the panic attacks she had as a child, and again in adulthood. She says she was used to working on paper, and sculpting was a lot bigger.

"I would create these drawings and sculptures that were like, 'I need something time consuming and challenging because I need to think about not being stuck in this existential hell.' "

Riordin says the CAC's Shark Girl sits on a bench on the 6th floor, and is very popular.

Credit Provided / Casey Riordin
Casey Riordin
Artist Casey Riordin preps Shark Girl for display at the CAC.

"I feel like her mood and her outlook have improved, and in that process people like to be around her. That's why they sit with her and hangout," Riordin says.

She says the Cincinnati Art Museum has a Shark Girl, too, but it's not on display because it's mixed media, and is susceptible to fading.

Changes over time relate to our next question.

Where Does The BOE Get My Sample Signature?

At a polling place, voters are asked to sign in, and that signature is compared to one on hand. Christina Adkins of Goshen asks how a board of elections gets your sample signature.

Hamilton County Board of Elections Deputy Director Sally Krisel says they get the sample from when you first register to vote. "You also sign in our e-poll books when you go to vote. We will update signatures, because as you know, signatures do change over time. We also use sometimes the signatures on absentee ballot return envelopes. This happens a lot with younger people who change their signature over time, or older people whose signatures change over time."

Krisel says if there's a question about a signature, they can compare it to past versions to verify someone's identity.

How Do Pilots Coming Into CVG Know Where To Land?

Credit Pixabay

Tim Sheldon of Clifton wonders how pilots coming in to land at the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport know how to get into position. Sheldon says he sees flights going north along I-75, before turning west near Cincinnati State. He wonders if they use landmarks to know when to turn. 

CVG Quality Control Specialist Eddie Albert says the pilots are guided in, not by landmarks or beacons, but by air traffic controllers.

"It's based on our radar. We're watching them as they descend down. When they get to an altitude low enough that we know they can come inbound on the approach, we'll go ahead and turn them in," Albert says.

It's all about altitude and distance from the runway.

"The job of the controller is to make sure we don't turn them in too close so they're too high. So we have to make sure they get down low enough before we turn them."

Albert says at smaller airports, like Lunken, pilots will report landmarks to the controllers, because they're not using radar. They're often looking out the window.

If you have a question that keeps you up at night, fill out the form below and we may answer it. 

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