01 January 2009

The Bloggers of Youngstown

On the right is a list displaying the 25 most recent posts published by the writers of the Youngstown blogosphere.

This list is automatically generated, so feel free to visit www.intheyo.com everyday to see the most recent posts from our mayor, our congressman, our newspaper editors, and perhaps even your neighbors.

13 August 2008

news: 15 aug 2008

Some interesting tidbits in the news today, continuing with yesterday's article in the Australian Financial Review about revitalization efforts in the city of Youngstown.

Local Lawmakers meet with Officials of Ohio Hub Plan
read here about taking a train going 110 mph to Cleveland and Pittsburgh

Multi-Story Tower to Display YSU Signage
200 ft at&t structure change to be ready in October. here

First Weekend of YGH Campaign Raises $14,000
Joe Kaluza's wife says $160,000 had been donated to family here

Site Prep Begins for New Business College
new structure to become anchor of downtown here
watch construction live here

Idora Park Neighborhood Group Meets with City Officials
efforts to clean up a spot on the south side here.

Bob Hannon to lead local United Way
voice of the Penguins and all-around nice guy makes commitment here.

19 July 2008

Saturday around the blogs, and how you can help

On behalf of the In The Yo management, I want to say that while we have been going gangbusters on our individual blogs, this aggregate blog, despite our best intentions, has suffered from neglect over the past couple of months. If you can volunteer to sponsor a day of the week, please let us know; we may be able to use your help.

As you can tell from reading past posts, the format is one of basically three options: (a) significant bits of news, (b) best of the blogs or (c) a bit o' both. Original content, of course, is also welcomed. It only takes maybe 15-30 minutes to put up a post, which is why we aren't offering any lame excuses for the crickets you hear chirping around here.

One post of significant interest to Valley residents young and old comes from MVHS, about the famed Idora Park carousel:
In 1984 Jane Walentas purchased the 1922 Idora Park Carousel at an auction. She has spent the past 22 years painstakingly restoring this beautiful ornament to its original beauty. The carousel resides in Brooklyn, New York and Ms. Walentas is looking forward to the day when a Carousel Pavilion will be in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Idora Park Carousel will have a permanent home.

A bus trip is being organized to see (and ride) the Carousel
Check out the post for more details, and be sure to report back if you take the trip!

Steel Valley Outdoors speculates on how the Vindicator comes up with story ideas and provides a poll to verify its hypothesis:
This is one of those stories that was assigned before any research was done. The poor reporter was told to go out and find out how gas was “forcing” people to cut back.

Well, they were. If they’re boaters or drag racers. D’uh. But most outdoor sports don’t take that much gas. Especially if you stay in your own back yard.

Meanwhile, Cleveburgh Disapora visited Youngstown recently and came away very impressed and waxing about liminal spaces:
I would characterize Rust Belt urban liminal space as the landscape beyond the purview of the inert politics crippling the economic development of the mega-region. This is where we Rust Belt Bloggers can have the greatest impact in terms of improving our cities. One of my goals for the trip back to Cleveburgh was to explore the in-between neighborhoods and business districts, what I believe to be a geography of innovation.

On that count, Youngstown delivers and exceeded my own expectations.

A follow-up post builds on the enthusiasm:
I want to proclaim Y-Town as the official cultural capital of Rust Belt Chic. The model I have in mind is the migration of Slackers to Austin with Dallas-Ft. Worth being the actual global economic engine and ascendant world city. Youngstown and Pittsburgh have that kind of potential.

The way the rest of country knows so little about Pittsburgh, the entire Rust Belt lacks an appreciation of Youngstown. After touring Youngstown, I'm anxious to visit other Rust Belt cities and see the hidden gems residing there. Cincinnati tops my list. But in my mind, the "Y" in Generation Y stands for Youngstown.

This excitement stems from a recent blogger summit in Buffalo and the Youngstown hospitality and tour-guide prowess of Shout Youngstown's Janko. More coverage of the summit from Pittsburgh City Paper.

01 July 2008

Blogging in Style

Let's take a look around the blogs tonight:

Steel Valley Outdoors is Camping in Style. Check it out for some video.

A Commonplace Book is a bridesmaid. A bridesmaid to be reckoned with:
According to Bizarre Origins of Wedding Traditions, “Historically, that dress you’ll never wear again was actually selected with the purpose of tricking the eye of evil spirits and jealous ex-lovers (spicy!). Brides’ faithful attendants were instructed to wear a dress similar to that of the bride so that during their group stroll to the church it would be hard for any ill-willed spirits or former boy-toys to spot the bride and curse/kidnap/throw rocks at her.”

First of all, it’s a great dress (really it is). Now, I’m fully prepared to deal with evil spirits. Jealous ex-lovers too, for that matter, and this bit of history led me to speculate which of Nina’s exes might actually turn out to be a wedding day stalker (I won’t name him here, but let’s just say he published a book about a certain evil and anorexic blond conservative media gadfly/demon). Is it wrong that I fantasize just a little about going all crazy white girl on him? It’s that displaced anger again.

The job of the best man was even better: “the original duty of a “Best Man” was to serve as armed backup for the groom in case he had to resort to kidnapping his intended bride away from disapproving parents. The “best” part of that title refers to his skill with a sword, should the need arise.”

Shit. Why can’t the maid of honor have a sword?

Shout Youngstown covers the recent Regional Learning Conference at the Youngstown Club:
One of the benefits of the meeting was the ability for individuals to interact with their counterparts from each region - bloggers met other bloggers, economic development professionals met other economic development professionals, and neighborhood leaders met other neighborhood leaders.

And after lunch, participants moved throughout the Youngstown Club to attend presentations on the following topics:

* Data-Driven Decision Making
* CDCs as Agents of Change
* Addressing Vacancy
* Economic Development Strategies
* Designing Sustainable Communities
* Networking and Blogging for Change

26 June 2008

Ryan Brings Home the Bacon

Congressman Tim Ryan Secures $1.2 Million Dollars for Crime Prevention Programs

Money secured in Commerce, Justice and Science Spending Bill to be used for inner city youth-sports programs, crime cameras, help corrections track inmates, rehabilitate woman offenders

(Washington, DC) -- Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has secured $1.2 million dollars from the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill for purposes of crime prevention and justice. The four earmarks target every level of the justice system, including prevention, detection, corrections and rehabilitation.

“Crime is a complex problem with many root causes. It’s my belief that these earmarks will help keep our citizens from going down the wrong path, help solve violent crimes in communities, help officers keep track of inmates and help rehabilitate some criminals in hopes they can find a better life,” said Congressman Ryan. “These programs compliment the other work I have been doing to bring better education, better jobs and a better quality of life to the valley.”

“Congressman Ryan has once again shown an unwavering commitment to improving the quality of life in the City of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley,” said Mayor Jay Williams of Youngstown. “The work of reducing crime and improving safety must begin at the grass roots level however, without the critical financial resources to assist in those efforts the task becomes insurmountable. The financial investment in the safety of our citizens made possible through Congressman Tim Ryan, speaks volumes to his ongoing dedication and concern for our communities. We look forward to continuing our charge of Defending Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.”

"It is widely known that positive police/community relationships assist in deterring crime. The City of Warren is grateful for Congressman Ryan’s efforts in securing funds to assist our community so that we can develop an ongoing Police Athletic League Program which will add to the quality of life in our community," said Mayor Michael O’Brien of Warren

An explanation of the programs can be found below:

AWARD: $300,000

Mahoning County: Inmate Management; Request: $390,000 from the Edward Byrne Grant (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs).

Acquiring Jailview® Management System technology allows Mahoning County to interface current County and City Courts systems, Courtview®, to the Mahoning County Justice Center. The program supports single point data entry and up-to-the-minute inmate information. Jail data would be seamlessly derived through software licensing and integrated through a RAM Server. Jailview® has 125 pre-defined reports but allows flexibility to create and define new reports, track cell assignments, sentencing information and more.

AWARD: $530,000.

Youngstown: Youngstown Shotspotters (City of Youngstown Neighborhood Safety Initiative); Request: $750,000 from the Edward Byrne Grant (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs). The City of Youngstown is embarking on a series of new safety initiatives in an effort to reduce crime in various neighborhoods. In addition to traditional crime fighting activities, the city is seeking to deploy equipment and technology that will allow for gunshot detection and video surveillance in areas that have statistical patterns of heightened criminal activity.The total project cost:

AWARD: $300,000.

Youngstown/Warren: Ohio Police Athletic League, Request $300,000 from the Edward Byrne Grant. To organize, create, and maintain recreational and educational activities twelve months out of the year for the youth of our community and surrounding areas as an alternative to delinquent acts and/or criminal behavior. Our organization uses police officers working as participants (coaches/mentors) and supervisors in these activities thereby forging a friendship between the youth and police officers. The organization provides opportunities for youth to participate in team sports in a safe well-supervised environment. It promotes the ideals of good sportsmanship, fair play, teamwork, “healthy” competition, healthy lifestyles, drug free environments, and educational success. Funds will be used for equipment, insurance, site preparation, tutoring, transportation and medical services.

AWARD: $120,000.

Warren: UMIDOAP, Project 180; Request: $121,000 from the Edward Byrne Grant (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs). Project 180 is designed to work with incarcerated women through targeted Pre-Release Initiatives and reduce the recidivism rates upon release from the institution. Project 180 will also assist women who are at any stage of contact within the criminal justice system to achieve stability, meet short and long term goals on their way to becoming full participants in community life. The program’s goal is to improve the success rates for women’s full reintegration into their communities and families.

20 May 2008

New tech center opens downtown

bit by bit, a growing tech cluster is emering dowtown.

More on the grand opening here.
"Since 2000, said Garry Mrozek, chairman of the incubator board and area president of National City Bank, the incubator has contributed to the creation of 250 jobs and 17 patents. The success of incubator, he noted, has forced the organization to revisit its plans for growth. “We’re more of an accelerator rather than an incubator,” he stated.

Future endeavors call for working with the CIC to transform the Semple Building into new offices for technology-based companies.

Much of this growth has been fueled by Turning Technologies, which officially moved into the Taft Center two weeks ago.

Turning Chief Executive Officer Michael Broderick said the building is critical to the continued growth of his company. Five years ago, Turning consisted of a handful of employees. Today, it employs more than 135 -- 120 of whom work from the corporate headquarters downtown.

Broderick reported the company topped $28 million in sales least year and expects to increase revenues by 50%, or $14 million. The company occupies portions of all three floors of the new building."

how technologies from Youngstown save you money

from the Business-Journal
HMHP Works with Eris to Ensure Billing Accuracy

How can the the technologies being developed downtown help you?

Check out this recently announced partnership?
"Humility of Mary Health Partners is working with Eris Medical Technologies, a new tenant of the Youngstown Business Incubator, to reduce the errors and omissions that occur when health-care insurers are charged for the treatments patients receive.

Eris is providing HMHP with software tools to help health-care insurers, HMHP management and physicians achieve a greater level of confidence that medical charges that should be billed are billed and at the right prices."

what's up with the river's restoration?

This article from the Youngstown Vindicator explores how the revitalization of polluted riverbeds have helped other regions.

So how goes it for the Mahoning River?
". . . the dredging project is at a standstill in its second phase, “feasibility.” During this phase, the corps will investigate restoration methods and proposed costs and determine who is responsible for paying for the project.

DeCicco estimates that 99 percent of the feasibility study is complete."

16 May 2008

news: 15 Dec 2008

Unfortunate but Necessary: Marc Dann had to Go
from the Business-Journal
"In a statement issued by his office, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan offered only that his prayers were with Dann and his family. Dann was appointed in 2002 to the state senate seat held by Ryan, who had defeated him in the 2000 Democratic primary for the seat.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams reflected that Dann’s involvement in monitoring the financial problems at Forum Health “was truly both necessary and vital to brining that particular situation to a stage” where the parties involved could sit down and address it.

“Mark was really doing some good work on behalf of this community, and to have all of that now come to an end the way it did is just tragic,” he remarked.

Additionally, Williams said he was “saddened and frustrated at what’s being said about the Mahoning Valley and the city of Youngstown” as a result of the scandal. “None of this happened in Youngstown, but it’s Youngstown that is being held up and this is not really a Youngstown issue,” the mayor remarked."

14 May 2008

Going Downtown

Kudos to Mark Peyko for a wonderfully enlightening tour of downtown's business district. Federal Street has always drawn my attention as I've walked along it, and I will now have a deeper appreciation for its history and its details thanks to the tour.

You can catch another tour next month, so keep your ears open for the date. I have always wanted to learn about the theaters and skyscrapers and department stores and banks here and gone. Mark covered all these and more!

Be sure to check out Lincoln Avenue's interview with Phil Kidd:
One of the things that has impressed me about Phil is his ability to turn ideas into action. I’m excited about all the thoughtful conversation that has developed out of the “thinkers and drinkers” gatherings, but I’m also always a little skeptical about the value of talk. And yet I know from my own experience how easy it is to comment on issues and how much harder it is to go out and do something. But Phil has a philosophy about how to make things happen. He believes that getting people involved means creating opportunities for them to speak and act, and those who have the resources and power to make things happen need to listen to what others want, not just forge ahead on their own. He understands, too, that community engagement is not only a good way to get things done but also a way to transform the community by building relationships and changing attitudes. He also knows how to organize a project, a skill he says he learned in the military.
Audio available here

13 May 2008

The Pearl Paradigm

Shout Youngstown provides today's featured post:
Youngstown is building a mixed-used residential/commercial neighborhood adjacent to the univeristy and downtown in Smoky Hollow, but many design elements and construction have yet to be accomplished. What places can they emulate as the project moves forward?

Atlanta created the uninspiring Atlantic Station on the grounds of an old steel mill, a tacky collection of disneyland-esque buildings, a destination adjacent to the interstate north of Midtown with an "in and out, but not staying" existence.

Portland's emerging Pearl District, anchored by many LEED certified buildings and free wi-fi throughout, is a nice mix of old and new, livable and walkable designs of which Youngstown may learn from.

The rest of this post shows photos from three separate smaller "pocket" parks in the Pearl, possible role models for downtown youngstown, wick park, and the smoky hollow. The Pearl's wikipedia article has a good aerial photo of what the railroad yards used to look like.
Visit the post for the pictures and more details.

If you're looking for some new music, check out Jason Mraz's latest, "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things", just out today. It's been on repeat on my iPod all day. And "Dynamo of Volition" makes a great workout track, FYI.

07 May 2008

community college to begin in 16 months

Mahoning Valley Community College Becomes Certainty
in the Business-Journal
The Mahoning Valley will have a community college, the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents announced Monday, and it will open its doors to students for the fall 2009 term.

In the Chevrolet Centre Monday, Chancellor Eric Fingerhut promised a room filled with Mahoning Valley education and political leaders that the two-year college will be ready for students in roughly 16 months with an undetermined number of classrooms and instructors prepared to begin teaching.

The college, however, will not have its own campus and be concentrated in one location. Instead it will likely use classrooms at Youngstown State University, in the Salem and Champion campuses of Kent State University, and the Mahoning County and Trumbull County technical and careers centers.
more here.

01 May 2008

calling for blockwatch captains

Councilman Paul Drennen coninues to use to blog to promotes events and get public participation. bravo!

Now is is looking for "Block Watch Captains in these areas on the West Side and South Side":

find out more here.

YBI's Zethus links with YSU research

from the NEO Inc blog:
"Zethus Software, a portfolio tenant company of the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), has entered into a contract with Youngstown State University (YSU) for software development to support its CyberLabNet Project.

The CyberLabNet system will allow people at multiple locations to remotely control analytical and testing equipment used to perform chemical analyses on a variety of materials, including pharmaceuticals, ceramics, plastics, and composites."
read more on the agreement here.

The YLM story

Jambrain provides a historical perspective to the beginning of Youngstown Local Music - YLM.
"VexFest proved it was possible to have a major musical event in downtown Youngstown without the hassles associated with the area in the past. That was not a minor accomplishment.

Now, knowing they could do it, DeCapua and his Youngstown Local Music partners wanted to do a festival that was purely festive; to kick off springtime downtown with good time music, games, food, drinks. That’s what JonesFest, May 31 will be. Good music, positive vibes, all day; influencing local music by selecting and promoting it.

Jimmy D envisions Jones For Revival as a regional touring band, playing 100 shows a year on three tours and providing a living (and health insurance) for the band members, and sees Youngstown Local Music influencing the development of local music and even the rebirth and growth of Youngstown, which he loves."
read more on the players involved and upcoming events here.

the miracle of loaves and fishes

Tales from the Rust Belt tells of a recent visit to Pymatuning Reservoir, where the Mahoning Valley goes to see fish literally jumping on top of each other for bread.

This is how one can walk on water.
"There is plenty to do once you watch the carp crawl all over each other trying to score some bread. And if you watch the video, you will see that they literally crawl over one another for those tasty morsels."
more fish here.

youngstown pride is back!

After a few month haitus, Youngstown Pride is back up and running. Here's component from the most recent post:
"The "da Vinci," a robot that is already changing how surgery is done in Youngstown, is only one of the ways that the city is changing from a manufacturing base into a high technology corridor. While high-tech companies like Turning Technology are leading the charge to make Youngstown a player in the software industry, we shouldn't discount the significance of St. Elizabeth Medical Center getting its own high tech robot that will change the way health care is delivered in the Valley.

The St. Elizabeth's Center for Robotic Surgery has been in operation since September of last year, and using the da Vinci have already performed 40 robotic prostatectomies (prostate surgery), 20 robotic hysterectomies, one robotic pyeloplasty (removal of a blockage in the ureter leading from one of the kidneys to the bladder), and one robotic cystectomy (removal of all or part of the urinary bladder)."
I heard it make milkshakes as well.

read more about it here.

30 April 2008

2nd YBI building open for business

Turning Technologies heads to its new home
from the Youngstown Vindicator
"The company’s local staff has grown from 50 to 125 in the past two years as schools, universities and corporate trainers have rushed to adopt its audience response system. It allows presenters to receive real-time feedback from audience members using small response cards.

All of the new workers have been shoehorned into small offices on four separate floors of the Youngstown Business Incubator on Federal Plaza West.

The adjacent Technology Center offers a much different environment. The front and back walls are made mostly of glass, allowing plenty of natural light to spill into the offices. A glass-enclosed shaft has been built through the third floor to allow sunlight to reach into the middle of the second floor.

For Broderick, the best feature is the open-floor environment. Most of each floor is without interior walls, and the work stations have movable petitions so that workers can easily gather in teams.

“There aren’t any private offices in the building, not even for me,” Broderick said.

The design is meant to help people in the same department share ideas and work together."
Last month, the Shout Youngstown blog reviewd the design of the new building. Check out the photos here

29 April 2008

Reactions to Senator McCain's Visit

Yoments comments on the visit:
It seems that with every election cycle, we’re aggressively courted by the hopefuls, and it’s worthwhile to listen to what they have to say. It’s also easy to get caught up in all of the excitement and momentum of a presidential election.

What to me is particularly interesting about McCain’s visit is that he is here because he (or his people) sees Youngstown as a disenfranchised pocket of poverty. Youngstown has been, without question, struggling economically for some time now; however, if the hopefuls didn’t see a stop in Youngstown as worthwhile, they would’ve moved on by. Yet, we’ve been visited multiple times this election cycle. In other words…we’ve got potential.

While it’s fun to be visited by the famous folks, it’s important to remember that there are local activists who live and work daily with their beliefs in Youngstown’s potential . This month’s issue of The Sun magazine features an interview with political/spiritual writer Andrew Harvey, who speaks of radical humility and sacred activism. He speaks against “top-down” organization: “it is often authoritative and patriarchal and driven by an agenda.”

Here's the real shocker: Steel Valley Outdoors gets... political?
[E]ven though I started this blog to help promote the area, I have not been too political here. Until Now…

Retraining will not work for Youngstown- Retraining is why our population is shrinking. If you have a skill or know a trade, you will leave Youngstown and go where you are needed. We have less engineers here than either the state or national averages, even though YSU still has a major, well known engineering school pumping out the graduates. We have less College graduates than the national and state averages. We have a larger percentage of retirees. All these are symptoms. We do not have the business or industry to support college graduates. Until we do, things will not improve. Asking our young to get an education, then waving as they leave will not help us.

Promote The Right Benefits- As long as I can remember, this region has been promoted as “Halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and halfway between New York and Chicago.” Great. We’re also halfway between China and China. In the global economy, and with the collapse of manufacturing, these benefits no longer matter. There’s a lot of disparagement locally about the “Service Economy” because around here “service” means restaurants. That’s not what the service economy is. It’s Banks and Insurance and Computers and the industries that support these businesses. And these businesses and these entrepreneurs don’t care where they’re located, so long as they have an educated workforce and can keep them happy. They want Arts, Culture and Leisure Activities, which we have in spades, one of our last remaining legacies of the power the mills had.

Entrepreneurship begins at home- Nobody is coming to rescue us. Not the state, not the feds, not GM or Toyota or China. We are not going to get Barge missiles, Pentagon Payroll facilities or blimp factories. The economy of the future cannot be one or two large facilities and the businesses that support them. It will be many small businesses that create a network of jobs. Offices, factories, storefronts and homes that can be enticed to do business here. And we have to do it ourselves. And to do this, we have to stop thinking of Business as “Them” and workers as “Us.” After all we’ve been through, we still have this top-to-bottom Mill mentality. That we only do what we’re told, when we’re told and it’s somebody else’s responsibility to make the decisions. This has to change. We have to help and promote those small businesses that want to support our area and do business here, whether it’s a small manufacturer, a laborer with a buyout following his dreams, or a new business idea in the incubator. This means supporting them with tax incentives and grants, good press and a positive attitude.

Regionalism begins at home- Any Organization that has “NEO” in its name is designed to do one thing: Bring state and federal pork to Cleveland and Akron. Youngstown will always be the ugly stepchild of these two bigger, more powerful siblings. Really, for all the good press Cleveland Plus is getting, does anyone think it’ll benefit us? In order to compete for these resources, we’ll have to start doing it ourselves. And that means looking for funding in ways and areas we’ve never done before. Tim Ryan understands this. Jay Williams understands this.

23 April 2008

A Little Earth Day for Ya

Two Earth Day posts to feature today. Here's photographer Jaci Clark:
In honor of Earth Day, here are some fun or not so fun facts:

* We, as Americans, make up 5% of the world's population but use 25% of the world's resources.
* Americans use over one billion plastic bottles a week.
* Plastic takes up to 500 years to decompose.
* In one year, we generate enough hazardous waste to fill the New Orleans Superdome 1,500 times over.
* In 1987, Americans generated almost enough trash to fill a 24-lane highway one foot deep from Boston to Los Angeles. Disposable diapers alone make up enough trash to fill a barge half a city block long, every six hours, every day! (Can you imagine how those numbers have changed today?)
* Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day.
* The amount of wood and paper we throw away is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.
* 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year.
* Computers pose an environmental threat because much of the material that makes them up is hazardous. A typical monitor contains 4-5 pounds of lead.

I'm certainly not one to say you must change your lifestyle and be green but there's gotta be at least one thing you can do. One less paper towel a day, bring your own coffee cup to work, catch a ride with a friend. One thing across the span of the world can change a lot!

And here's Jean Engle's letter to the Vindy editor, courtesy Youngstown Moxie:
[O]ur individual choices magnified a billion-fold add up to disaster for the planet. We in the post-industrial nations won’t feel the pain in our own lives for a while. If I read the papers or listen to the news, I’ll know that the Haitians are starving, right in our Caribbean back yard, in part because the price of staples like corn has skyrocketed, now that corn is going into wealthy nations’ gas tanks and not into poor nations’ bellies. I’ll know that the Arctic ice cap is melting rapidly and that the magnificent polar bear is probably doomed. But those of us in relatively privileged nations will be the last left standing, and, while the fate of the polar bear is tragic, there seems to be little we can do to prevent it. Maybe the zoos can keep them going for a while.

So is that all? Do I just shrug and walk away from it? Do I just go fill up the tank and run some errands, buy some more stuff to distract me from the pain I might feel? Maybe. Or maybe I join the millions of people who are finding ways to do things differently, in ways that sustain the environment rather than deplete it. Maybe I change my incandescent light bulbs to low-consumption compact fluorescents; maybe I put up a clothesline — the original solar dryer; maybe I turn lights off when I’m not in the room; maybe I install an on-demand water heater in my house; maybe I plant some new trees in my yard; maybe I ride my bike for short errands and carpool or take a bus to work (and vote for the WRTA levy); maybe I get involved with non-profits like Treez Please and Grow Youngstown that are working to make a difference at the local level.

Be sure to click and read more. Support your local bloggers!

21 April 2008

Exploring NEO revenue sharing

A story in the Akron Beacon-Journal discusses some possible future directions as a region:
"Mayors and community leaders in 16 Northeast Ohio counties are studying a proposal for regional planning and the sharing of new tax revenue to boost economic growth and reduce suburban sprawl.

The Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association will vote next month on whether to pursue recommendations from the Regional Economic Revenue Study, a group of elected officials, business leaders and educators who have been analyzing land use and tax sharing nationwide"
You can explore the webpage of the Northeast Ohio Regional Economic Renevue Sharing project here.

jaci's review of the stage

Some incredible photos were just posted from the latest Stage. See one woman's many steps to becoming a drag queen.
"I had a great night! BTW...the next Stage will be May 22nd at 8:00pm so if you're local, get your bootie down to the Oakland!"
More here.

16 April 2008


Looking for something to do Thursday? Head out to the English Festival:
My favorite YSU event is going on right now–the YSU English Festival. This year’s is the 30th, and while I’m not on campus today, I’m conducting workshops tomorrow and Friday. And I plan to spend much of Friday morning being a festival groupie and autograph seeker (the perks of being an insider).

Or check out the Warner Brothers exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art:
This exhibition, curated by Steve Schneider, features original drawings, paintings and animation cels from Warner Bros. created from 1930 to 1969. At their best, Warner's "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" starring Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Sylvester, Tweetie et al., were the zaniest and most inventive of all the movie cartoons. This exhibition chronicles Warner's animation growth and development over four decades, and features all the major characters and their unique personalities. Factual matter on the directors, artists, and other talent as well as many animation drawings, layout sketches, background paintings, and color cels are displayed in this exhibit.

And at night, be at the Oakland for The Stage for the most eclectic mix of talent in the valley. It's sure to be fodder for your Friday-morning watercooler conversations:
Dr. Ray's Sideshow of Science promises new amazing acts including the World's Tiniest Box of Blades, and the incredible writing duo Panning and Liller will be debuting their skit, "Rock n' Roll Jesus," complete with live action photos (pending we get the projector set up). Don Connors is developing something or a cult following at the Stage, and he'll be back with a few songs.

15 April 2008


Today we catch up on a variety of posts from the past few days, so buckle in.

Youngstown Renaissance covers a panel discussion with Korean journalists at City Hall:
But what was being suggested, again, was that the media was manufacturing this false working-class representation of our city, when in reality YSU's Center for Working-Class Studies went to great pains to work with the Wall Street Journal to arrange the interviews.

We as a region and as a nation won't start addressing our problems until we drop our cynicism about media misrepresentations and face our weaknesses and hard truths. I'm not suggesting we believe everything we read. But let's be realistic about the challenges we have yet to overcome rather than pretending we're all innocence and roses.

Steel Valley Outdoors plugs an upcoming Bass Tournament at Mosquito Reservoir:
On April 19, Head out to the Northern Open Anglers Association Bass Tournament at Mosquito Reservoir, 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m., State Park Ramp. Two-angler teams.

Shout Youngstown plugs Tim Ryan, though you wouldn't know it from Google:
That lack of macro-perspective and ability to anticipate and assist the future needs of a region is exactly why leadership matters.

The great tragedy of Youngstown's past Congressional leadership was its inability to prepare a region for the future. That's why we as a region are twenty years behind other regions in some matters.

Not that that awesome responsibility should lie in the hands of one person, but the burden of leadership is to take the hard steps to ensure the growth and prosperity of future generations - and not the growth and prosperity of your own wallet and ego. Very little of the personas on local talk radio seem to comprehend this fact.

And, finally, Lincoln Avenue highlights the 30th English Festival at YSU:
Our interview can’t fully convey the behind-the-scenes story of the Festival, but as a member of the English department, I see it all the time. Planning goes on all year. The committee, which includes both YSU faculty and area teachers, meets regularly to select books, identify guest speakers, organize the distribution of materials, plan the Festival schedule, recruit volunteers, and judge contests. While a dozen or so people do all the planning, another cadre of volunteers steps in during Festival week to lead discussions, staff information tables, and run workshops. It’s a time-consuming project, and the organizers commit incredible amounts of time and energy.

Why do all that work, year after year? Because the English Festival makes a difference for so many students in our community. By promoting the value of reading for pleasure as well as for study, by engaging students in creative writing and production of several kinds (essays, songs, videos, and more), and by recognizing the power of young adult literature, the English Festival helps to foster literacy and an appreciation for education among young people in our Valley. It also reminds students that reading and talking about literature can be fun. It all sounds very serious, but playing language games, debating aspects of the Festival books, and listening to visiting writers talk about their work is also a good time.

09 April 2008

Getting Serious

Some blogs like to chronicle the little quirks of life, not that there's anything wrong with that. But we know there are hard-hitting subjects out there that need to be considered. Thank goodness there are blogs with the moxie to tackle them, like Youngstown Moxie's spotlight on the 15th Anniversary of the Lucasville Prison Uprising:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio opposes capital punishment under all circumstances because it violates the Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. It is administered arbitrarily and unfairly and fails to deter crime or improve public safety.

More often than not, the quality of a defendant's legal representation determines whether or not he or she will be sentenced to death. Most currently sitting on death row could not afford a qualified attorney.

Another determining factor is whether or not a prosecutor on a case decides to pursue capital sentencing. Unfortunately, the race of the victim often determines whether or not the prosecutor will do so.

In September 2007, the United States Supreme Court heard Baze v. Rees, a case challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection procedures used in Kentucky. As a consequence there have been no executions since the end of September and there will almost surely not be any until after the court decides the case.

08 April 2008


Yoments laments having "the conversation" with students and the point of no return:
Every semester, I have to have the it-isn’t-mathematically-possible-to-pass-this-course conversation with a student. And it usually happens during week ten or eleven of the semester when the student has gotten around to adding up his or her grades. Sometimes, the student has spent the past ten weeks skipping, texting, and making excuses for late work.

A Commonplace Book shares a story of spring:
While we were eating, Mira stopped in midbite, and with the wrinkliest of eight-year-old noses asked, “Mommy what’s in your hair?”

Jaci is relieved to find her son retains his innocence for another day:
"At McDonald's, when we were playing, there was boy who said, 'she said the "S" word and the "A" word.' " Then he says, "I know what the "S" word is but I don't know what the "A" word means?"
Me, semi-mortified: "You know what the "S" word means?!"

07 April 2008

how to get a 1936 Ford

order one from Clarencedale Cakes!

check out their latest creation.

10,000 books and counting

The First Book of the Mahoning Valley blog discusses an important milestone:
"To date, First Book- Mahoning Valley has distributed over 10,000 books to children in the Mahoning Valley.

While we would love to stop and celebrate this wonderful achievement, there are countless children in our area who still do not have their own new books at home. Having these books at home to read at their disposal increases test scores, literacy skills, and often inspires children to look forward to futures that they may not see in their immediate environments.

Help us continue to get books into the hands of the children who need them. There are several events you can participate in:"
click here to find out more about upcoming event.

plus, the group has a few items for its wishlist.

can we as a community help them?

a voice from the inside

a student from East High School writes a letter to the paper:

"As an East High student, I must say that this district is by far the most complex, yet caring, system I have been a part of.

Teachers and staff find themselves taking on parental roles due to the lack of discipline at home. Students tend to attach themselves to the authoritative figures outside their home, due to a lack of parental support. We have nearly 1,000 students attending East High School and roughly 100 parents attended the parent-teacher conferences this year.

When I moved to Youngstown in 2005, I found students who lacked basic morals, self-respect, a need to strive for their very best and some who did not want to comply with our society. I was stunned at the value placed on education and the value of life."

- - -

"Bottom line, don’t give up on them, don’t you dare give up on these students. They are the immediate future of Youngstown. Children are considered to be miniature figures of their parents or guardians, and if you do not find our students to be appealing, we have learned our values from you"
read the whole passage here.

follow the comments on federal street

The Reason blog considers if moving forward on the West Federal Street plans are the best move for the city at the present moment.

Looking at some of the comments . . .
"Substandard ideas breeds substandard cities. We can be small, but something completely different from other cities if we have planners who are bound to banality."
Read more here.

03 April 2008

Get out and get trout

Apparently it's time to get your trout on. So says the region's Premiere Outdoor Enthusiast Weblog today:
Trout fishing starts on April 12th in the western part of PA.

To find a list of stocking locations, click here.

If you're in the mood to share your political thoughts, local author Chris Barzak posted a notice about an upcoming publication:
Tin House is putting together another interesting issue for this coming fall. If you’ve got stories involving political trends, you might try them out

A relative newcomer in blogland, at least to my radar, "A Commonplace Book", muses about trashy television:
My current fixation is Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City. The show focuses on the lives of five very wealthy New York women, four of whom are married with children. The fifth is a reality TV veteran (from Martha Stewart’s Apprentice) and also very wealthy. I wouldn’t consider any of these women “housewives,” but the title refers more to Brie, Susan, and Gabriella, than to say, June Cleever.

As any show that focuses on the relationships between women, Real Housewives draws its drama from highlighting the differences between the women and focusing on the conflicts that arise. During those reality-tv “confessional” moments, they criticize and make fun of each other’s lives, spouses… even kids’ names aren’t off-limits. Granted, some of these moments are truly funny, like when Bethenny took a shot at Alex’s obsession with making her kids bi-cultural by insisting that the au pairs (yes, she has more than one) speak French exclusively with her children, one of whom is named Francois.

These women, despite their status (one is actually a Countess) are depicted as petty, jealous, and undermining. Their relationships seem based on class and maintaining the right contacts, but yet, they whine about not being invited to each other’s parties; they compete through their children; they compete through their marriages. And although they see themselves as supportive, these women regularly exchange thinly veiled snide comments and send gossipy text-messages about the others.

The most tantalizing post of the day goes to Phil Kidd, over at "44503 LIVE":
2008 BUDGET AND 2007 EXPENSE REVIEW. Review finished and figures finalized. To be posted May 1st with release of 2008 Summer Calendar of Events.

What does the Youngstown Kidd have in store for downtown? Inquiring minds want to know! Stay tuned, indeed...

02 April 2008

Good Humor, in multiple senses

Shout Youngstown highlights a hopeful bit of news today:
The Mahoning Valley Historical Society (MVHS) will be expanding its operations to create a new History Center downtown. The 132 year old organization recently purchased the 22,000 sq. ft. Burt Building (continuously occupied since 1935 by Ross Radio) for renovation. It was at this location that Harry Burt first produced his patented invention in the early 1920s: the “Good Humor” ice cream bar on a stick, now famous all over the world.

The History Center will include:
- permanent space for exhibits and education
- climate controlled storage and conservation facilites
- exhibition space for traveling history shows
- downtown space for community activites and group events

And if you missed out on the good humor of April 1, The Vindicator compiled a round up of some April Foolery:
John Conti, a Boardman Rotary member, said fellow members used the jokester’s day to have fun with Lou Young, a longtime club member who has since died. Young was known for his perfect Rotary attendance.

One year at the annual Maple Syrup and Pancake Festival, practical jokers including Conti placed a piece of cardboard in between cakes in Young’s pancake stack.

“He was trying to cut and trying to cut through his pancakes, and he couldn’t get through,” he said.

I think the pancake joke is alright, but the stolen car jokes seem a bit too far for me. In fact, I thought the Vindicator came up a bit short in their search for April Fool's jokes. Anybody want to top them? Post yours in the comments here. If you missed the Pavlik joke, check it here.

If you missed your New Year's resolutions, well, spring's here, so you've got another excuse to start anew, and Jaci Clark's posted a thought on how you can think positive in your personal finances.

Finally, if you're not listening to Lincoln Avenue Wednesday nights on WYSU, you're missing out on some of the most thought-provoking talk in the valley. You can catch it on podcast if you miss it live at 7:30pm. This week's topic is building global solidarity:
This week’s Lincoln Avenue interview might be a bit tough for listeners in the Mahoning Valley, because it focuses on the problems faced by Chinese workers – the very people who are doing some jobs that used to be done here. So the first thing I asked my guest, Katie Quan, is why Americans should care about the situation of Chinese workers.

The answer isn’t revolutionary, but it does matter: it’s not just about human rights but of fair economic competition and the broader interests of workers around the world. Chinese labor is cheap because it’s so exploitative. Workers are regularly not paid; have almost no rights to object to their hours (she describes how some people work 17 hours days, 7 days a week), working conditions, or treatment; and don’t have the knowledge or skills to organize to stand up for themselves. Quan argues that the American labor movement can help Chinese workers fight for better conditions and better pay, largely through outreach that brings workers together across global divides.

01 April 2008

news: 1 Apr 2008

Mahoning Valley Comm. College to Open in 2010
in the Youngstown Vindicator
"YSU took the lead on the local community college issue two years ago when its board of trustees directed the university administration to begin looking at the process and to develop an implementation plan.

However, it now appears that the Ohio Board of Regents, which oversees public higher education in the state, will be in the driver’s seat.

Fingerhut said the board of regents has received a grant from the Raymond John Wean Foundation in Warren to hire state and national experts to help devise a local community college plan for the Mahoning Valley.

It will be accomplished in collaboration with YSU, Kent, Jefferson Community College and the adult work force centers, according to the 10-year plan."

- - -

"With the development of a local community college relieving some of the pressure YSU has been under to provide remedial courses for incoming students, the university will be freed to pursue a more focused mission in the field of economic research and development, the chancellor said.

That can change the face of a city like Youngstown, he said, noting that the University of Akron has done a similar thing for the Akron community.

The state will authorize and support undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on quality and have relevance to economic rebirth, he said."
more here.

30 March 2008

lincoln, canals, cuban coups and ytown

The YSU Archives and Special Collections blog finds some amazing things.

On Lincoln:
"I came across a local tie to one of the nation's most well-known events, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Quoting from John Turk's book The Musical Danas of Warren, Ohio page 6.

"On the evening of April 14, 1865, when President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded, not only was the Vice-President away from the city but the Secretary of State, Frederick Seward, lay seriously wounded as the result of a similar assassination attempt. Setting up an office in the room across from where Lincoln lay, Stanton took full control of the government. With Dana at his side, he spent the night dictation orders and telegrams to alert the country, keep the military advised, and attempt to solved the crime. For a period of almost twenty-four hours, Charles Anderson Dana was the de facto Vice-President of the United States."

Charles Anderson Dana was the uncle of William Henry Dana, founder of the [YSU] Dana School of Music in 1869."
more here.

On canals:
"An entire chapter is also devoted to Kirwan’s favorite project: The Lake Erie-Ohio River Inter-Connecting Waterway.

Kirwan envisioned the cheap waterborne transportation of goods into the American heartland, as well as the creation of a connecting link between the Atlantic Ocean (via the St. Lawrence Seaway) with the Gulf of Mexico (by way of the Mississippi River). Kirwan fought a thirty-year struggle for the Waterway's construction, but failed in the end when the Republican governor of Pennsylvania, Raymond P. Shafer, killed the Waterway by refusing to grant a right-of-way passage through his state. Would the canal have provided the economic benefits that its supporters promised?"
more here.

On conspiracies:
"I highly recommend visiting this site, not only to inform one self about the hidden history we sometimes miss (and incorrectly label as conspiratorial). But to get a better understanding of what an archives does and can accomplish for a society."
more here.

news: 30 Mar 2008

The city of Akron and Summit County are looking into becoming more efficient by cooperating regionally.
"The Summit County sheriff will help run Akron police for the next 18 months while the departments see if they can save money and boost crime fighting.

Mayor Don Plusquellic on Friday assigned his new deputy mayor of public safety, Larry Givens, to work with Sheriff Drew Alexander on a plan that may be the first step toward a metropolitan police department, the first in Ohio."
more here.

YSU's Dr. Carroll gets to the $4 million point for his work on nuclear isomers.
"YSU’s Isomer Physics Project concentrates on discovery research, trying to develop a better understanding of the fundamental processes with new experiments, he said, rather than looking for applications.

Grant funds pay student wages and research release time for Carroll, buy materials and equipment, and pay the research team’s travel expenses. Carroll plans to take a group to Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago later this year for some off-site experiments there, and another experiment may be scheduled at a facility near Tokyo."
more here.

29 March 2008

everyone needs a 3rd arm

The Jambrain blog features some local cooperation:
"Jason Tibolla is on a musical mission: he and his cohorts are making a market for original, local music. Their Pre-Pat Party Saturday at Salty Grog’s was one shining example of their work.

Tibolla, Viking Jim and Pete Drivere host the Sunday night (9-10) Home Grown show on Clear Channel 93.3 which they started this past Thanksgiving to feature local bands doing their original work."

"Most of their shows are at Salty Grog’s (where Commesso tends bar), Barley’s downtown and the Cellar in Struthers. “We are putting 3-5 bands in each show,” Tibolla explained. “They get part of the door, so they know they’re getting something. We take care of all the up-front costs: venue rental, sound, lights, security,” and then make sure it works with a very visible presence.

Cooperative contacts with promoters in other tri-state areas are broadening the exposure for local bands and bringing other bands to Youngstown."
more here.

28 March 2008

OMG, it's the RJW.

The Raymond John Wean Foundation is stepping up big-time to the plate to assist the urban communities in the Mahoning Valley. You can go to their website for more information about this great organization and the grant programs they offer, especially for neighborhood development.

Here are some highlights of their recent March 2008 awards:
"A group that has created a national model fighting foreclosures will receive $50,000. The group, based in Cleveland and known as the East Side Organizing Project, brings subprime lenders to the table through organizing. Homeowners who have mortgages with ballooning payments are then offered an opportunity to renegotiate their loan. The money will be used to hire an organizer for the Mahoning Valley.

Lien Forward is Mahoning County's effort to return vacant lots to usage. After the properties become abandoned, the County Treasurer is able to pass the lots on to local residents who own adjacent property and are seeking to use the lots. A grant of $50,000 will allow Lien Forward to expand its outreach capability.

Three groups in Youngstown will receive funding to hire community organizers. These grants are part of a neighborhood organizing initiative that the Foundation is supporting. The Northeast Homeowners and Concerned Citizens Assn. will receive $65,000, and on the North side a group of stakeholders will oversee an organizer ($60,000), as well as the 7th Ward Citizens Coalition ($60,000) on the City's Southeast side.

The Youngstown-Downtown Revitalization Committee is a project to bring residents and stakeholders together to discuss improving Wick Park. A grant was made to support Youngstown Cityscape's involvement in the process. The Kent State Urban Design Coalition will also be a resource to the group in its efforts ($70,000)
more here.

14 March 2008

tonight's event is free, no euros needed

First off, Art Youngstown is having a community-wide gallery showing tonight, March 14th from 7pm to 10:30pm in the Ohio One Building downtown.

This event is free and open to the public.

If it's similar to the last gallery event on Federal Street, there will be plenty of people, art covering every corner of the space, food, drink, and excitement.

Everyone in Ohio and Pennsylvania is welcome to attend.

The Youngstown Artblog has been really cranking out posts recently. First, here is a post about the space for the reception this evening:
"Art Youngstown is having what promises to be a great show. How could it be otherwise in a venue known as The Great Room?

This fantastic space is five thousand square feet , has 25 foot high ceilings and is completely decorated in heavy wood work to nearly the ceiling. There are even hand carved wood griffins above the entry. The lighting is seductive and warm and the space is an incredible place to display original art. If you have never seen the Great Room in the Ohio One building this is your chance to enjoy the splendor and grandeur of Old Youngstown."
more on the space here.

Next, he shows his love for the interesting lady known only as Rita.
"I receive so many benefits from the city that at times I am actually glad to pay. These days so many organizations get a chunk of my money, including the Church and various art and cultural organizations, that I figure I am paying my dues to be a part of a club of 85,000 members.

Consider what you are getting for your money: great location in the state, great inner city parks, a convocation center, impressive downtown events to name just a few. So take my advice: pay it, shut up and enjoy the city."
This post made me chuckle. Read more here.

And next, a very interesting post on the devaluation of the dollar, the rise of the euro, and how Youngstown artists can take advantage of this:
"The American Dollar continues to fall like so many dead leaves from Autumn trees and a cold winter wind is blowing. The Euro however is rocketing into prominence like a 4th of July firework. Many reports are coming out of Manhattan stating that Europeans are spending Euros like mad on American Art and Antiques, because of their currency's strength against the feeble Dollar. In fact signs saying "Euros Only" are appearing in gallery windows."

"To reiterate what I have been saying in this blog, we have a tremendous resource in the artists of our Valley. Many of us have been selling our work to those very collectors for years now. We can easily tap into the National and International Art Markets in a much more profound way if we can work together and get REAL support from the powers within our community.

Here is a list of things I would like to accomplish in the next 6 months: Create a stronger unity amongst Valley artists, Use this unity to promote Valley art nationally and internationally, establish strong contacts with European collectors, and establish Youngstown in the Manhattan and European mindset as a Cultural Mecca. To help assist in accomplishing these goals I would be happy to hold meetings to discuss and formulate plans.

Email me: Artbake777(at)aol.com."
more on this topic can be found here.

If you are surfing the internet instead of being downtown tonight, well, then you need to get out more. (if you are physically capable)

Yes, that means you Aunt Betty.

If I can do it, you can do it.

support the arts in downtown youngstown

sticks and stones

Very interesting post in the Reason blog today:
"Of course I'm not equating Kern and Ferraro. It was just interesting to contrast two free speech items in the news this week. Kern is a zealot and a bigot who clearly needs to get out some more and meet cooler people. I feel sorry for her and hope all the gay and lesbian friends she doesn't know she already has don't take her comments to heart. I believe that Ferraro is an intelligent woman with her heart in the right place. She just needs to polish her rhetorical skills. There was a message in what she said that could have been delivered more effectively. I'm imagining her words might go something like,
"Senator Obama has found himself in a remarkable position in this campaign, and it's hard for many people to look away. They want to be a part of that movement, even if it's about history and not Mr. Obama himself."
More bite, less perceived racist tenor."
More to read here.

wo we think we are

Meditations in an Emergency considers a recent New York Times article about how Barack Obama is doing in fairly mixed-race states:
The growing counties an hour’s drive from Cleveland and St. Louis are filled with white voters whose parents fled the industrial cities of their youth before a wave of African-Americans and for whom social friction and economic competition, especially in an age of declining opportunity, are as much a part of daily life as traffic and mortgage payments. As Erica Goode wrote in these pages last year, Robert Putnam and other sociologists have, in fact, found that people living in more diverse areas evince less trust for others — no matter what their race. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that while white Democrats in rural states are apparently willing to accept the notion of a racially transcendent candidate, those living in the shadow of postindustrial atrophy seem to have a harder time detaching from enduring stereotypes, and they may be less optimistic that the country as a whole would actually elect a black candidate.

"What I find interesting about this is that we can no longer think along lines of urban/suburban/rural. The mention of communities that are somewhere between these categories, and in existence outside of formerly successful urban empires, is a new sort of population that’s only recently beginning to enter the cultural consciousness for many Americans who assumed that everything was either New York City, the suburbs of Desperate Housewives, or Mayberry. There are many different kinds of communities between each of those sorts of points on the scale."
Read more at Meditations here.

And a very interesting article on Barack Obama's mom who died of ovarian cancer at 53 in the New York Times here.