Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The other new blog is written by Lou Yuhasz and is titled 'Steel Valley Outdoors'. He has posted a great video and commentary on the demolition of a paper mill in Burgess, New Hampshire and the planned future use for the space. The loss of manufacturing and planned use of space is something that should sound familiar to a few of us.
In 1977, as the reality of Black Monday set in, just at the time that far-away company presidents and board chairman began spending overseas the profits made in Youngstown, efforts to fix a broken town were stymied, would falter, or just plain fail. Our few working class heroes such as the late Bishop James Malone or Staughton Lynd labored to prevent the closing of the steel mills in the Valley. Their efforts were noteworthy, even valiant, but could not stop the loss of jobs and urban decay that the next thirty years would enough. Unfortunately for Youngstown, their moral authority wasn't near enough.
It is not hard to see that while some of Youngstown's political leaders of the 70's, 80's and 90's were both honest and hardworking, there were those individuals who still saw a struggling community as their playground – their place to bask in the sun and line their pockets. A congressman, judges, attorneys, county sheriffs and others in authority helped keep the Valley in the throes of recession and their shadow still haunts. But that is merely a chapter in the tale of this city and certainly not the end of the story. It is yet to be written.
While Youngstown has a long way to go to overcome the legacy of Black Monday, there are things happening in this Valley that we only dreamed of a few short years ago. We have a resurgent downtown with a new arena, new restaurants and clubs, a thriving technology incubator, new traffic patterns, and a group of professionals ready to take this city into the future. Three of these people have a unique perspective as leaders in the economic and social fight in which the city is engaged. This is the redevelopment of Youngstown through their eyes.
Jay Williams, Standard Bearer
A work in progress. It defines not just this city today, but a way in which to see it's future. The mayor of Youngstown has been at the center of the revolution in Youngstown long before he succeeded George McKelvey as this city's 47th mayor. As the city's director of economic development, he laid the groundwork for the Youngstown 2010 plan and continued that leadership as mayor.
And that plan doesn't end in 2010. Williams sees the Youngstown 2010 plan merely as a stepping stone into the future and something the city needs to continue to evolve. He only half jokes when he says that city leaders have done such a good job marketing Youngstown 2010 that pushing Youngstown 2020 is that much more difficult.
Regardless in the name of the plan the success of Youngstown, Williams said, is the transformation of attitudes within the city residents, especially the younger generations, who have lost the wait-and-see mentality to become a people of action.
"There has been a change in focus towards where the younger generation has been looking." With younger leaders such as Williams, state senator John Boccieri, and others now in office, this generation has a larger voice to get their message across.
To the naysayers, who don't see the progress in a redeveloping Youngstown, Williams argues, "look at any other area across the country and see how the condition of that central city has around the surrounding area." Youngstown as the core city and surrounding area, rise and fall together.
Allen Hunter, Innovation Ecologist
When it comes down to it, YSU chemistry professor Allen Hunter believes economic development in Youngstown is about the people.
“We’ve got a great framework, but we need to get more people at the ground level interacting,” says Hunter. That’s exactly what he tries to do while working with local business leaders to create the ideas of today that become tomorrow’s business models.
Hunter has been actively involved in projects throughout Youngstown emphasizing workforce development and expanding grant opportunities to local business in an attempt, he states, to expand Youngstown ‘innovation ecology.’
Innovation ecology, a term Hunter coined, is individuals and companies bringing their experiences and innovations together to create a sustainable marketplace. Hunter believes that is a realistic goal but is a point that Youngstown has not yet reached.
Hunter took his experience writing grants in the science field and, with the help of several colleagues, developed CEATIS Consulting, which has proven to be a successful tool in tapping into the state and federal funds which otherwise were not reaching the Mahoning Valley. This money allows for further research and development, provides workforce training, and funds other human services within the area.
Hunter’s goal is to just make the Youngstown area a better place to live, something he echoes each time he speaks on economic development by challenging his audience to ask themselves, “What have you done this week to make this better?"
Sarah Lown, Bridge Builder
Revitalizing the land which yesterday was a steel mill and is today a brownfield is just one of the many tasks which lay before Sarah Lown.
Lown, as the Director of Economic Development for Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, is responsible for facilitating the process by which area leaders can plan for transportation, economic development or environmental improvements.
Within Eastgate, Lown’s goal is to identify projects that would successfully be funded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (US EDA). One of her most recent projects is the construction of the Walton Avenue Bridge in 2005. That project gave access to 800 acres of brownfields in Youngstown, Campbell and Struthers to enable new development to occur.
For the past several years, Lown has concentrated her efforts on revitalizing former industrial areas --brownfields-- along the Mahoning River corridor, which is the heart and soul of the Valley. She is also the current president of the Mahoning River Consortium, which is working to clean up the River and the land along its banks.
Lown grew up in New England and moved to Youngstown 15 years ago. Two things helped revitalize the New England town she grew up in.
“What I saw work was two things: artists, who saw the beauty of the New England landscape and its low cost historic homes, and industrial consortia to attract economic growth. Revitalization has to take place on many fronts like that in order to be sustainable and attractive to new investment.”
And what should the next step be for Youngstown? Lown believes there needs to be a continued effort to clean up the corridors going in and out of town which removes a tremendous psychological barrier to new investment. Further, and perhaps more importantly, a renewed emphasis on regionalism, more closely tying Youngstown, its suburbs and the surrounding areas together, perhaps in order to create the innovation ecology for which we should be striving.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
What: Remembering Black Monday 1977-2007
When: 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 19
Where: Youngstown Historical Center, also known as the Steel Museum, 151 W. Wood St.
According to the Vindicator, some of those who were directly involved with the closings and the efforts to save the mills will share their thoughts about what happened and why it matters.
The event is part of the 2007-08 Center for Working-Class Studies Lecture Series sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society Young Leaders' Advisory Board, YSU Center for Applied History and the Office of Social Action at the Diocese of Youngstown.
Monday, September 17, 2007
What: Yougstown City Council's buildings and grounds committee meeting
When: 5:30 p.m., Friday, September 21
Where: City Council Chambers, 6th Floor, 26 S. Phelps Street.
Why: Because we can't let those hooligans cut down our trees
Tyler, you get a second chance to attend this meeting after all.
Second, on this date 25 years ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development granted $2.8 million for refurbishing the Kimmel Brook Homes in Youngstown and Sheriff James A. Traficant Jr. met with famed Boston defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey to discuss the possibility of Bailey representing Traficant in his bribery trial.
The city has come a long way in 25 years. Kimmel Brook has been demolished with the new Rockford Village built in its place. Traficant is in jail and Bailey was disbarred in 2001. Of course, we all know Jimbo went on to defend himself without counsel and actually beat that particular rap (not so in 2002). This all comes from the Vindicator's "On this Day" column. There are some great historical tidbits in there.
Will today's boomtown eventually go bust? - Campbell, Ohio, offers example of how fast trouble can strike (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 9/16/07)
Emerging from Black Monday (Tribune-Chronicle 9/17/07)
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The last mini vacation is directly attributable to the fact that I am (well, actually, until the paperwork catches up, will be) a ProBoard-certified Firefighter I/II. After a 240 hour class on firefighting related topics and now a 40 hour course in hazardous materials, I can now run inside a burning building while the smartest people in the room are running out. It has become my life's passion and so with class four days a week while still spending 45 hours a week driving my desk for a living, I just haven't had the time to keep this thing up to date.
That all changed last week when an exciting opportunity presented itself. I can't share just yet, but there is more to come. Stay tuned.
I first caught wind of this while reading the online edition of The Jambar, which does a fairly good job of covering not just YSU news but city news as well. While reading, something struck me. We (meaning the bloggers and the mainstream news) do an excellent job of tauting the wonderful progress made in the city and how a lot of that has to do with new local businesses such as M7 and Turning Technologies. Even with those successes, where is our bottom line? It's still at $21,850. And why? Because while we are providing new high tech jobs, how many of those jobs will employ the average city resident, who lacks the education and training to compete? I mention this because The Jambar piece mentioned the restructuring and revitalization of Youngstown City Schools as something which provides a glimmer of hope for Youngstown; something to push us down the Poorest City list and up the Progressive City list.
I hope that may very well be the case. In 2007, you can't do much without education, and we need to look in our own backyards and educate our city residents, starting with those kids at Harding, Taft, Paul C. Bunn and the others, before this city can claim any success in its efforts to revitalize itself.
In other news:
- How We See It: The Vindy takes on the city's deal with Global Entertainment, manager of the Chevy Center
- Something to do this weekend? How about a free block party on the North Side.
- Hate your neighbors? Not if these folks lived next door.
BTW: I stopped using the "redevelopment" tag on articles. Almost every article was getting that tag and since that is one of the major focuses of this blog, it seemed silly to tag articles that way.
P.S. (Blog Post +4): Four hours later I am realizing this is one of the most rambling posts I have written. That's what I get for a little stream of consciousness writing. Also, I ran across this link to the Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association's website. This is the sort of stuff which gets at what I was trying to say.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
“Maybe Bruce Springsteen will have to write some new lyrics to his song.”
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Inc.com looked into the future (the story will be published in their print edition next month) and ran a brief story on Mike Broderick and TT. It is the plain and simple on what makes Youngstown an attractive place to do business and how places like the YBI are the right place to plant your flag.
Why is Youngstown great?
- "There are a lot of folks working jobs that aren't up to their potential."
- "This company would be much more expensive to operate in a place like Silicon Valley or Chicago or a major market."
- "We started the business here because the founders are from the area..."
You can check out the entire article here.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The entire emphasis, however, is the fact that people are finally involved in the City. You have bloggers, activists, politicians, developers, young professionals, and retirees all talking about the future of the City. We are a part of the process, which couldn't be claimed five years ago. Then the City was ruled by people closed off to new ideas and were in fact leading this city down a path that wouldn't promote development or change. In my opinion, former city leaders were just using their position as a stepping stone to something else, including a seat at a White House dinner.
We have a mayor who is engaged and engaging (as evident by his own blog - see my links). We have a congressman who grew up in a post-steel Valley and understand the hardships this area truly faces. Lastly, we have an energetic group of young residents who don't want to move out of the city and instead want to leave their mark on the place. It's a beautiful thing to see and I encourage you to get involved.
The link: http://www.vindy.com/content/local_regional/289592890514565.php
Young professionals from Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Medina will all be converging on the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Downtown Youngstown at 6:00PM on August 23 for the third edition of Networking in the Middle.
The free event, hosted by the Mahoning Valley Professional 20/30 Club with help from the Youngstown Business Incubator, is an incredible opportunity for us to get the word out to young professionals throughout Northeast Ohio about all the exciting things happening here.
Please...strongly encourage the young professionals in your organization to attend and become ambassadors for the Valley.
RSVP by August 20 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out their website at http://www.mvp2030club.org/index.html
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Update: I have been informed by a few that the gallery code I used isn't compatible with some browsers. You can also see the images in this Flickr gallery.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
So, I put effort into creating the banner and now you get to guess which letters came from which sign around Youngstown. This certainly won't be easy. Only two are truly evident in my opinion. Two more are so-so in difficulty. The rest are total mysteries to the untrained eye. I encourage you to guess anyway through the comments section. I think a few of the answers will surprise you. I'll post the answers in a few days.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Reglaardless, the story ran on the 6 p.m. broadcast but didn't make the 11 p.m. cut.
YoungstownPride was at least mentioned according to my sources and I know Phil Kidd of Defend Youngstown, Jim Cossler of the YBI, and Mike Garvey of M7 Technologies were interviewed. I have no idea what else they mentioned or who was featured.
If anyone has detailed, email me or drop some comments. Thanks!
Update: I found the video. Nice job by Phil, Jim and Mike. The mayor was even featured. Maybe this will be the motivation to get him to post more frequently. I posted the link to the video so you don't have to go wandering through WFMJ's 'crowded' website.
Oddly enough, I saw a massive increase in visitors to the blog on Tuesday before the story ran, but a much smaller crowd yesterday, the day the story ran. I thought maybe the name drop and the general story on bloggers might push people to check them out. Although, maybe the others did; I didn't.
Monday, August 06, 2007
The winner gets my respect and the chance to have their custom Youngstown Pride header/banner on the site! What could be better?
Update: I ended up trying something myself but it's a lot of copy and paste. If you can do better, you are welcome to send something over. Thanks!
TODAY! Today! today!
The city will be discussing plans for the "redevelopment" of West Federal Street this afternoon. This plan includes removing the medians and changing the current parking arrangement. I encourage all to attend this meeting and voice your support that green space and not more concrete is the way to improve the Federal Street corridor.
Monday, August 6, 2007, 3:00 pm, at City Council Chambers, 6th Floor, City Hall, 26 S. Phelps St., Youngstown, Ohio.
I have no idea how this video ended up in my gmail inbox, or who Mark and Betty Duncan are, but they apparently made it. I present Charles Montgomery Burns in "Downtown Denial!"
Friday, August 03, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Anyone who has read the Vindy, checked out the blogs or watched the news has seen a tremendous amount of good news about the turn-around the city has been making. Providing excellent community recreation facilities is just one part of that.
More: New North Side Pool opens with a challenge to officials
Monday, July 30, 2007
First, Mayor Jay Williams jas just become one of the first mayors in the United States to start blogging. This is exciting to see in an era where so much of what government does is behind closed doors that the mayor is willing to open himself up like that. Kudos!
The blog can be found at http://mayorjaywilliams.blogspot.com/
In other news, the Vindy wrote a great editorial, which I have reprinted here. Be sure to read the whole thing.
Momentum is mounting toward moving the Mahoning Valley into the fast lane of the tech-based economy of the 21st century.
A triple whammy of positive development news last week illustrates that the Youngstown region has turned a corner toward remodeling its economy from one based largely on services and heavy manufacturing toward one that thrives on research and high technology. That’s exciting and encouraging, because as the economy of Youngstown and its surrounding communities strengthens, so, too, do standards of living, quality of life and community revitalization.
The three announcements last Wednesday underscore the importance of this slow but steady economic shift:
-Turning Technologies, a downtown Youngstown based producer of cutting-edge audience response software and hardware, gets ranked seventh on Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of the Hot 500 fastest growing companies in the United States.
-Empyra, which provides Web-based products to improve the operating systems of companies and agencies, has succeeded so well that it must hatch out of the Youngstown Business Incubator and settle into its own headquarters in 20 Federal Place. It has growth projections of up to 300 employees within a few years.
-U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, has secured $2 million in the federal defense appropriations bill for the proposed Youngstown Center for Excellence in Metrology and 3-D Imaging to be located at Youngstown State University, itself a growing center of scholarly, scientific and technological research.
Turning Technologies model
Of course, we did not need a national trade publication to tell us that Turning Technologies is a hot property and a rising star in the global tech market. Its hottest product is TurningPoint, a credit-card sized responder that feeds into Microsoft’s Power- Point system and enables teachers and corporate presenters to get immediate feedback from classes and audiences.
How hot is Turning Tech? Sales grew 200 percent last year, revenues are projected to increase 500 percent over the next five years and its products reach more than 80 nations. Such meteoric growth has led, in part, to construction downtown of the $5.9 million Taft Technology Center, into which TT will move next year.
Another incubator occupant, Empyra, couldn’t wait. Its growing pains at the incubator — currently at 105 percent occupancy — encouraged it to open shop at the former Phar-Mor building downtown. Like Turning Tech, Empyra has created a common- sense high-tech product — one that eliminates paperwork by allowing forms to be completed online — and markets it aggressively. Its client list includes the federal government and Proctor and Gamble Co.
These two companies, and others like them, prove that the Mahoning Valley can be a viable player in the global tech marketplace. Both, too, demonstrate a firm commitment to keeping their bases rooted in Youngstown. The low cost of operations and access to interns from Youngstown State University stand out as vital assets.
YSU plays a role
Indeed Youngstown State has singled itself out as a leading player in regional tech research and development. That’s why we commend Congressman Ryan for his efforts to enhance that presence by earmarking $2 million for the center for excellence.
The center, a joint effort between YSU and M7 Technologies of Youngstown, will be part of the university’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) College and will research and develop advanced manufacturing and imaging techniques.
Should Ryan’s appropriation win approval, the center would need matching funds from YSU and outside sources for completion. We’d like to think that it would be easy for many to contribute in the interest of strengthening a new and vibrant Valley economy.
Thirty years ago this September, that economy was wracked by the closing of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., which signaled the beginning of the end for the steel industry upon which this region’s livelihood was built. Thirty years later, the rapid-fire pace of research and tech-based startups in the Youngstown area signal a new era of growth, vitality and economic security.
Private and public officials in Youngstown and throughout the Valley must work to keep that momentum building.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The room is currently locked and unused except for an apparent Christmas party, although there is no telling what year it occurred. Even to get into the building we had to convince a stern and frank looking maintenance man that we were legitimate. He informed us that the room sees little use and although the rest of the building is air conditioned, this room is not. It did have radiator heat, however.
Time magazine Monday, May. 16, 1927
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I also spent Saturday night at the Draught House talking with Pat Manning, otherwise known as Mighty Mahoning. This meeting was less by chance as we have been old North Side friends for years, both spent time at St. Ed's and have diplomas from The Academy (known to most as Ursuline). Pat is actually getting ready to move back to Youngstown after a few years in the burbs of Cleveland.
In general, it is great to talk to people who share the same vision for Youngstown that you have. Personally, it makes me appreciate what a few people can do. When I started this blog in 2004, I was I believe the first person to regularly blog about Youngstown and now there are at least a dozen solid Youngstown blogs focused on its history and redevelopment.
Anyway, if you had the opportunity to make it downtown last night (Friday), you were in for quite a treat at the Bean Counter's Jazz Festival and wine tasting. I arrived late and missed the wine tasting but was able to hang out with hundreds of people enjoying great music, wine and beer. The music was a mix of classic jazz with soul and even classic rock. A cover of The Ohio Player's Fire was a personal favorite.
After chatting with Phil, we both remarked how great Downtown is for events like this. The wide open spaces and ample parking make it very conducive for gathering large groups of people together. The success of this event and others such as Party on the Plaza is a testament to that. If you are able to, I encourage you to make it down for next year's event. I will be sure to get some advanced notice out there on this and other Downtown events in the future.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I hope to get around the city this weekend and capture some pictures of various projects that are ongoing, including East High School, see what's left of Wilson, and some general downtown snaps. Usually I get enough to supply my blog posts for three weeks or so and then I have to resort to using no photos or whatever someone else "loans" me from Flickr.
Anyway, good morning Youngstown. I'll see you downtown this weekend.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The tagline: Youngstown, Ohio, a former steel town an hour west of Pittsburgh, is getting ready to spend millions of tax dollars to shrink. It's a fairly radical plan, but one that Youngstown's mayor says is the best way to bring his struggling city back to economic health.
The audio is available here.
I guarantee you will see a lot of hope in Youngstown residents by listening to the story. There are excited people out there who really want to see the redevelopment of Youngstown through the 2010 plan. NPR is the latest in a string of media who are just helping us promote it. Last week was the AP story which ran, according to my count, in at least 78 papers or online editions. The possible audience within cities just like Youngstown is huge. I am excited to finally see Youngstown as part of progressive development, even if it means scaling back. Bigger doesn't always mean better and I think people outside the politicians and urban planners are starting to see that.
Miltonia Ave. on Youngstown's East Side, one focus of the story. Notice the lack of homes? Another case of planned development which never happened.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I love how they are using Myspace and Facebook. This is another great way that YBI is thinking outside the box in the development and promotion of tech companies in Youngstown.
(Apparently this was a Vindy story picked up by the AP. Sorry I missed the original piece here.)
Monday, July 09, 2007
Reading this article, it is apparent these Boardman-tonian's don't cross Midlothian and head down Hillman Avenue very often.
The article is here.
I don't blame them at all, truthfully. No one likes blighted homes in their neighborhood and they should do all they can to stop it. That said, with all the recent complaining from suburbanites in Vindy editorials about having to contribute to the redevelopment of Downtown, I thought this was just a little comeuppance.
(Triple word score for using comeuppance in a blog post!)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
There are a ton of great events in downtown both tomorrow and this weekend. Youngstown's July 4th fireworks display will be at 10 p.m. by the B&O Station on Mahoning Avenue sponsored by the city and Anthony's On The River. Frankie and the Sensations will perform at Anthony's from 7-11 p.m. Wednesday.
Also this weekend is the Annual Festival of the Arts up and down Wick Avenue and on the campus of YSU. They have a ton of events planned. A few things of interest:
- Four of YSU’s many published authors will be available for book sales and signings. Donna DeBlasio and Martha Pallante, authors of Youngstown State University: From YoCo to YSU, will sign copies both days from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo, authors of Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown and New Working-Class Studies, will sign copies of their books both days from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Center for Working Class Studies will also have free copies of the pamphlet, "Worker Portraits: Faces of Strength," about work in the Mahoning Valley today, and part of the exhibit of the same name, plus other materials.
- Wick Neighbors, Inc. will illustrate their plans for building a creative neighborhood in the Wick District-Smoky Hollow Development. Stop by Saturday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. to meet their volunteers and staff and get the results of the annual Smoky Hollow 5K Run held earlier in the day.
- The Mahoning Valley Historical Society at the Arms Museum will offer a free open house on Saturday, July 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 5pm during the festival. They'll be open regular hours on Sunday, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and offer BOGO admission. (BOGO Admission?)
- On Friday, July 6 at 7:00 p.m. the newly formed Youngstown Film will screen the classic movie To Kill A Mockingbird in McKay auditorium, Beeghly Hall on Rayen Avenue. Check the website for more information. (They have a nice website at http://www.youngstownfilm.com/)
- On Friday, July 6 & Saturday, July 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., a rummage sale and church tours will be held on the grounds of St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Avenue. Also on Saturday, vote for and buy your favorite cookies, baked by the St. John’s bakers celebrating the 100th year of the Hershey Chocolate Company. If you haven't seen the inside of St. John's, now is the time! It's a beautiful church with a lot of local history.
- Children’s artwork will be exhibited in the Bliss Hall Gallery both days as a part of the Tri-County Youth Art Expo. Here in Youngstown, a 24-foot mural depicting the history of Youngstown from when John Young first settled here to recent history, will be unveiled Saturday, July 7 at 12:00 noon in the Bliss Hall Gallery. The mural will be available both days. Stop by to see how much you know about Youngstown history!
- On Saturday from 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the Youngstown Historical Center will host a free Introduction to Genealogy Resources. The Center will be open Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Check out more here: http://www.ysu.edu/sfa/
Remember when this was called "Walk on Wick?" Ohh the fun we had...
Firefighters earn flags as protectors of the homeland
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
EDITOR: I was disappointed to read a June 27 letter in The Vindicator expressing a belief that firefighters who die in the line of duty should not be eligible to receive an American flag on their casket. I must wholeheartedly disagree with him.
Day in and day out, America's 1.5 million firefighters respond to emergencies around this country. They are now trained not just to respond to fires and medical emergencies, but incidents relating to hazardous materials, technical rescues and terrorism. They are in fact the protectors of the homeland and hundreds of them have given their lives doing that in the face of a known enemy.
On Dec. 7, 1941, three Honolulu firefighters were killed in the line of duty defending our soil against the Japanese. On Sept. 11, 2001, 343 of New York City's bravest were lost in the War on Terrorism. Do they not deserve a flag?
It is true that firefighters are not trained kill. In fact, it is the exact opposite; Firefighters are trained to save lives. Much like the medic on the battlefield who risks his live to save others, firefighters and EMTs respond to thousands of emergency calls per days around this country willing to risk their lives to save others.
The American flag isn't just a symbol of this country; it is a symbol of honor, loyalty and commitment. Firefighters live by those virtues every time they are asked to respond. They understand the dangerous environments in which they must operate, and understand that at any time they may be called upon to lay down their lives to save another. All firefighters give some, some give all. Those who do have earned the right to have an American flag on their casket.
The writer is a former Youngstown resident and a firefighter with the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department.
Friday, June 29, 2007
There was some talk of a Youngstown River Walk a few years ago if I recall, tied in with the Mahoning Commons development (What is up with that project, by the way?). If it wasn't specific talk, there were examples where an attempt was made at starting in that direction. The B&O Restaurant and Anthony's-on-the-River had a good thing going for a while. The missing component to tie them together was the actual river walk. There is no easy way for people to walk along the banks of the Mahoning River.
Imagine having dinner at Anthony's and then taking a nice stroll on a summer's night heading towards the Chevy Centre and taking in a show. It sounds like a great idea to me, and I'm sure some of the other bloggers would agree. I'm not sure what influence I can have on such a project other than writing about it, since I am in fact 300 miles away, but this is certainly worthy of discussion once downtown gets the attention it needs.
I'm curious to see what others thing about this. It would be a great way to continue development of downtown and push it to the "Mahoning Commons" area.
Other cities, large and small, are trying River Walks as a way to expand their arts and entertainment districts. Check out these sites for more info:
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
“Until we're educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.”
CINCINNATI (AP) - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide more than seven million dollars to improve educational performance in some of Ohio's urban high schools.
The investment by the foundation set up by the Microsoft Corporation chairman and his wife will help continue funding for the next phase of the statewide Ohio High School Transformation Initiative.
KnowledgeWorks, the Gates foundation and the stat Department of Education will provide up to $20 million in resources for schools and districts involved in the initiative through June 2009.
Districts receiving the 3-year grants include Canton, Columbus, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, East Cleveland, Lima, Lorain, Toledo, and Youngstown. The Cleveland Municipal School District will receive a 1-year grant.
Monday, June 25, 2007
The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria): In Youngstown, acceptance is first battle
I chose that paper because their link came up first, but a Google News count shows 73 different papers, including Kiplinger and Forbes. Whether this story made it into the print editions is a different story...
Thursday, June 21, 2007
If you know nothing about soapbox derbys (which I don't), this is something interesting to take with you:
Each heat begins with what is called a "two for four wheel draw". Four balls that have been labeled to match the wheels of the cars are placed in a bucket and each driver picks two. They then must switch the corresponding wheels with each other. For example if driver A picks the balls that say "front right wheel" and "back left wheel" those wheels from drive A's car must be given to driver B and put on his car. Then they race down 900 feet of track, drag the cars back up by themselves, switch all four wheels and race again. The competition is double elimination so that every driver is guaranteed four trips down the track.
More information: Greater Youngstown Area Soapbox Derby
Source: Drivers are ready to roll for 8th annual soap box derby
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I have no idea how come people find out about Youngstown, including Noise Free America, an advocacy group trying to keep things library-quiet. According to an article in The Hill (A newspaper covering Congress), Youngstown is "noise hell." Noise Free America claims that "Youngstown's citizens are still inundated with bass booming cars, blaring music, incessant barking dogs, junky cars without mufflers, thunderous backyard fireworks shows, rumbling motorcycles, and loud gunshots. In short, noise levels in Youngstown are completely out of control."
The Hill article, published today, relates Youngstown's Noisy Dozen award to that of Washington, D.C. Youngstown has claimed the award twice, first in February 2002 and again in July 2006. Washington is the most recent winner. Warren, Ohio claimed the title in May 2007.
Youngstown has since strengthened its noise ordinance. I'm curious to know what Noise Free America would think now.
Of course, Forum will be closed within the year. The silver lining to all of this is that HMHP and Akron Children's end of the deal will continue, with expanded services at St. Elizabeth's and at the new hospital in Boardman.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
West Federal Street may soon see even more redevelopment. Sweet Jenny Land Co. plans to invest $332,000 in renovating the John R. Davis building, next to the Draught House. The building has been vacant for more than 20 years. It plans to headquarter Ronald C. Faniro Architect Inc. on the building's second floor, renovating the third floor into a living-working quarters for one architect. The first floor may serve as retail space.
I love to see this type of creative use for space but my biggest question is whether Bruce Springsteen is working for this company...
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The survey doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know. We have a great cost of living, decent transportation but a crappy economy. The two interesting things to come out of this survey include that Youngstown lost points in the leisure section because there are only three Starbucks Coffee locations in the area compared with the national average of 13 for a region. Was this survey done by Howard Schultz? Nevermind our impressive array of parks and minor league sports teams, we need our Half-caf Double Mochachinos with extra foam!
Secondly, and to my delight, Boardman was quoted as "an unremarkable middle-class suburb." I've been saying that for years.
Source: Valley climbs 22 spots on list of best metro areas
Monday, May 21, 2007
A North Side tradition almost since the inception of the North Side, the Golden Dawn opened in 1934. It has long been the place to go after those Ursuline football games or before a Steelhound's game to enjoy great food at a price which will blow you away.
- Pizza: $5.25
- Beer: $1.10
- Fries: $1.20
As for the schooner's, expect nothing less than Genesee Lager on tap, and nothing else. Want a Bud Light? No problem; it comes in a bottle. Want a Coors Light? Too bad. As one innocent young lady was once sternly told, "We don't serve non-union beer here." (For those not in the know, a schooner is a 15 fl.oz. beer. You order simply by stating, "I'll have a schooner". Beer appears 3 minutes later.)
Brothers Ralph and Carmen Naples have run the place since 1960, and at 87 and 86 respectively, they show no sign of slowing down. They are always there for a friendly hello or a goodbye after the check's been paid.
Importantly for a Youngstowner, a family of four can eat here for under a Jackson. There is even a bonus for those kids with small hands. When mom or dad goes to pay the bill, Junior can put his hand in the bubble gum box, keeping as much Bazooka Joe as he can pull out. My hand hasn't fit since I was 8, but I still love that crazy Bazooka Joe.
I propose that Eastwood Mall add 1.2 million square feet just to keep pace. The entire city of Niles should be "annexed" by Eastwood Mall to ensure that our beloved mall retains that top title. We can't let those Minnesotan's have the title, can we, eh?
Source: Mall of America wants biggest mall title
Conrail and Chessie trains work in the shadow of the steel mill. Photo taken August 1979 by R.A. Durfee.
A P&LE Switch Job rolls through the Center St. interlocking; in the distance an eastbound Conrail freight waits for it's turn to cross. Photo taken June 26, 1983 by Doug Kroll.
Two Conrail locomotives switch tracks at the old Brier Hill Works. Photo taken September 1979 by R.A. Durfee.
A trio of Chessie GP-40-2's pull east through Center St in a view that has seen much change since this photo was taken. Photo taken September 1979 by R.A. Durfee.
Empty "hot bottle" train arrives at Center St junction with the Republic Steel ore pile and blast furnace in the background. The entire mill has been torn down. That's the Chessie System main curving off to the right. Photo taken August 1979 by R.A. Durfee.
It's 3 years since the festivities, and "76" could use a cleaning. Photo taken March 1979 by R.A. Durfee.
Heading west, 734 passes by a relic of Youngstown's steel making past. Photo taken August 27, 1995 by Wade H. Massie.
These photos were all captured by searching "Youngstown" at http://www.railpictures.net/. There are plenty more where these came from, but this offers the best view of trains at work in Youngstown. I will try and do some research on the history of passenger trains in Youngstown
Monday, May 07, 2007
YOUNGSTOWN — It was Christmas Eve when Corey Maizel and Jaime Hughes first saw the 92-year-old State Theater sitting unnoticed along Federal Plaza.
‘‘We were driving around downtown, and I saw this building outside ... It left me in awe. I couldn’t believe that there was this beautiful building there,’’ Hughes said.
Hughes, 18, said she fell in love with the theater after seeing pictures of the massive interior.
She and Maizel, 20 began their own campaign to restore the former charm to the theater’s facade, and the two hope to use fundraising campaigns to donate money to local art and theater groups. They created the group Patrons of the Youngstown Arts and are working on getting nonprofit organization status.
Hughes said the theater was an example of one of the city’s beautiful buildings that fell into a state of neglect and obscurity. The property is owned by the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corporation (YCACIC) which stated to other community groups such as StreetScape, that the organization would try to preserve the facade if possible as it paves the way for a mixed commercial and technology district.
‘‘There’s a lot of history on that block ... Why that appeals to a generation who never got to see the theater when it was open ... I couldn’t say. But I respect that,’’ said acting YCACIC President Reid Dulberger.
Hughes and Maizel want to make everyone else see the building the same way they do. As she stood in front of the theater, excitedly pointing out the building’s features, someone walking past stopped and commented that he never really noticed the building before. But once, it was a stopping point for national rock bands, orchestras and plays.
‘‘A lot of people know us for the steel mills, or they see downtown, but there’s definitely an arts and theatrical aspect to Youngstown that we want to bring out,’’ Hughes said, adding that the State Theater was one of about 12 original theaters in the city.
When Maizel, a business student at Youngstown State University, and Hughes, a Cardinal Mooney High School senior with designs on a YSU English degree, learned the historic theater occupies the same block as the soon-to-come Taft Technology Center, the duo decided to launch their own campaign to preserve the building.
That campaign has called people of all ages to meet under the roof of Cedar’s Lounge downtown. Hughes said people wanted to see the facade of the theater adorned with its original marquee, and a historical marker.
But Hughes and Maizel also want to turn Patrons of the Youngstown Arts into an organization that holds art festivals and concerts to raise money for theaters such as The Oakland and Easy Street.
‘‘We want to commemorate the State Theater, but we also want to support the theater groups that are up and running now. We give them a lot of credit for staying active that long,’’ Maizel said.
Hughes said their original idea was to see the theater restored, but Dulberger said the theater is in such a state of ‘‘advanced decay’’ that the most anyone can hope to salvage is the building’s columnated facade.
Work to demolish the building could begin next year.
Dulberger recalls looking inside the theater and seeing a disaster area. The walls, he said, were slipping under the weight of the building, the plaster was falling in chunks from the bowed-in ceiling, and the floor too dangerous to walk on.
‘‘It’s a dangerous environment,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s a curtain stretched across the back of the stage with the word ‘Asbestos’ written in big letters. We got an ironic chuckle out of that.’’
First, an engineer would need to be brought in and assess the facade, Dulberger said. The plan would require crews to rest the facade against a metal frame and cut it away from the building. Dulberger said the engineer would see how much this could cost, if the facade could be moved, or if the facade would simply turn to rubble when cut away from the building.
‘‘It’s our hope and intent to save the facade,’’ Dulberger said.
Cost is a factor in the preservation efforts, Dulberger said. But he declined to give a figure that the YCACIC would consider too pricey to preserve the facade. He said those questions could be answered as early as this year when the facade is inspected.
Meanwhile, Hughes’ and Maizel’s Myspace.com site for the State Theater collects friends from across the city, with groups such as Defend Youngstown and The Pro-Yo Party of Youngstown. The support the two are seeing for the city makes Hughes and Maizel proud.
‘‘It seems like more people are starting to care about Youngstown ... They want to keep more of the population in the city rather than see people run from it. People aren’t ashamed to say that they’re from Youngstown anymore,’’ Maizel said.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Their argument against losing the spaces: YPA President Ed Colon said about 30 percent of patrol officers are older than 50, and many have unhealthy diets and health problems.
Than what are they doing as police officers anyway? While I never doubted that fat, unhealthy police existed, even in Youngstown, I would never expect that to be used as an argument as to why these guys can't walk three blocks. Hell, the walk might even do them a little good. I have a lot of respect for Youngstown cops, especially considering the crap they get from some of Youngstown citizens, but don't make stupid arguments in stupid fights with the city.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I was able to get out and take some pictures of the new East High School which I thought I would share. These were taken on Friday, April 6 so I'm sure they have even shown improvement since then.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Check out the entire set at Flickr.