Wednesday, March 28, 2007

By the numbers

When George Murry is installed today as bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, he'll be the fifth person to occupy that post since the diocese was founded in 1943. The number of people to hold other key jobs during that time:
  • President of Youngstown State University: Six
  • Mayor of Youngstown: 13
  • Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers: 11
  • President of the United States: 12

    Source: Vindicator, Wednesday, March 28, 2007

NEW Youngstown

NEW Youngstown
by T.L. Mayle © 2005

No more dwelling on the past
That kind of mindset won’t last
They may have been the Glory Days
But now it’s time for a change

And I think you would agree
We’ve had our fill of apathy
Listen up, young and old
We have a future to behold

If you don’t see the potential
In the place you’re residential
You might have the blues and bummers
Listen, natives and newcomers:

There’s the Youngstown Symphony
And Funny Farm Comedy
The Monday Musical Club
The Youngstown Playhouse and pubs

We’re the home of Warner Brothers
(No, they didn’t come from Struthers)
We got Stambaugh, we got Powers
And long summer daylight hours

Gloomy winters we may curse,
But eleven states have got it worse!
We have affordable houses
And the schools aren’t overcrowded

There’s so much we take for granted
In the places that we’re planted
Spend the day at Mill Creek Park
The Butler Institute of Art

And if you happen to get lost
You can always play golf!
If you’re into thrills and speed
There’s Cedar Point in Sandusky

And just one hour away
The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
Or if your love is football
Check out Canton’s famous Hall

The country’s most affordable?
Youngstown – Warren - Boardman
The Top 100 places to live was just revealed
Number 82 on the list? Canfield!

No one can hold a candle
To the ice cream from Handels
And the fireworks we see
Are even better than DC’s

Phil Keaggy, Ray Mancini
Musicians, actors, athletes
Jim Tressel, Bernie Kosar
Ed O’Neill – our hometown stars

Seen the Penguins on the street?
YSU’s great football team?
And the Dana School of Music
No musician can refuse it

Been downtown for ‘First Night?’
Seen Federal Plaza’s tree lights?
Have you seen the gems and treasures
Of the business architecture?

And new buildings, even better
Like the Convocation Center
We might call ourselves progressive,
Optimistic and impressive!

We’ve got family, traditions,
Opportunity and vision
There’s still a little ways to go
And new leadership will show

That our bright future’s even nearer
So let go of the rear view mirror
Respect our history, but live here now
Let’s make our home a
New Youngstown!

Tracy Mayle wrote the poem several years ago when she was volunteering for Youngstown 2010. She read it at the Festival of the Arts downtown in July 2005 and it won 2nd place. I share with all...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Here comes!

Who knew that a silly internet bid on would make me the owner of said domain? Three weeks later, it is all mine. In the next few days, you should be able to type that URL directly into your browser and be directed there (I hope!). I need to work out a few things, but look for this site to migrate there soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The people that keep us going

While I haven't seen it yet, what sounds like a great exhibit opens today at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor entitled "Working Ohio/Working Youngstown" and features the photos and words of firefighers, steelworkers, lab technicians, and janitors, the working men and women of Northeast Ohio. The exhibit is sponsored by Center for Working-Class Studies and the journalism program at Youngstown State University.

The exhibit started as a journalism project in Assistant Professor Alyssa Lenhoff's advanced journalism class, where students were tasked with capturing the experience and perspective of workers. According to Dr. Sherry Linkon, Co-Director of the Center for Working-Class Studies, the exhibit is exciting because it brings students into the process of redevelopment within Northeast Ohio. Projects like this "engage our students in the community, and for journalism students, it helps them learn that "news" is not only about the most visible, important members of the community but about everyone," said Linkon.

Linkon hopes that the project can help all of us get a sense of how work is shaping the Mahoning Valley today. "After the mills closed and as the auto industry declines, our shared identity as a community of industrial workers has faded, and we don't know what to replace that with. People ask me all the time, "what do people do there now?""

Here's what we do: we teach school, we run medical tests, we staff retail stores, we make high-tech materials and dance clothes, we work in offices, and much more. We work, largely in the service industry, many in locally or regionally-owned small and mid-sized businesses. Many of us work multiple part-time jobs, while some are building careers in fields that go almost unnoticed."

In addition to student photos, the exhibit features the work of Cleveland-area photographer Steve Cagan. If you are interested, the show runs through May 4 and admission is free. If you can catch it, a reception and gallery talk will be held at 7 p.m. tonight.

View Steve's online gallery of images from the show here.

Oddfellows Local 151

In Pittsburgh, a divorce court withheld decision last week in the case of Gladys Johnson, who protested that when Lewis J. Johnson, U. S. marine, came home in his uniform and asked her to elope with him to Youngstown, Ohio, she had done so without recognizing Mr. Johnson as her father's brother.

Time magazine Monday, May. 16, 1927

(I like the comments that I receive from people who don't check out the year on some of these posts.)

Happy Birthday, Streetscape!

Streetscape, the beautification program working to improve Downtown, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Often these programs go unnoticed and whither on the vine but Streetscape has received a lot of public support and appears to be thriving. Working with Cityscape and a number of public and private entities, they plant flowers throughout downtown, remove trash, and work to improve the general aesthetics of the Federal Street corridor. If you like to garden and want to help beautify Youngstown, I highly recommend getting involved with this group.

Some of the work done by Streetscape volunteers in 2003 before Federal Plaza was reopened. Photo by Melissa Jenoff, American Institute of Architects Eastern Ohio Chapter.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vote early, vote often

I am not the one who generally does this but I can't help but support a fellow firefighter. I don't personally know Jamie Goodlet, but I know people who have said he is the nicest guy, so I can't help but support him. He is a Youngstown firefighter at Station 6 on the east side. He and his fiancee Carissa are now one of four finalists in the WFMJ Today wedding contest. They could win a $65,000 all expenses paid wedding and honeymoon.

Votes are being accepted at the WFMJ Today website here.

Votes are only being accepted untill 11pm DST on Saturday, March 24th. Please take 30 seconds and put a vote in for them. They are couple #1 Carissa Smith and Jamie Goodlet. More details about their story can be found on

If you would like to wish the newly engaged couple congratulations or good luck please feel free to post it in our comments section BUT ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE VOTED FOR THEM!!!! Vote First, Congratulate Second! Thanks to everyone and let's get Carissa and Jamie a wedding they will never forget!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Speedy Recovery

Youngstown Pride wishes a speedy recovery to Officer Jerry Stanley of the Youngstown Police Department. Officer Stanley was patrolling Wick Park when he was assaulted with a metal rod by Bienvenido Carmona. Stanley was forced to shoot Carmona, who survived with a gunshot wound to the hand, but not before Stanley received internal injuries. Stanley is the only YPD officer assigned to the Parks and Recreation Department, primarily patrolling Wick Park. He is currently in St. Elizabeth's Hospital in guarded condition.

Mayor to Herb: Pay us back or expect a Youngstown tune-up

Mayor Jay Williams is calling in the big loan. The city sent a letter to Key Bank last week asking that a $2 million loan taken out by Herb Washington, owner of the Steelhounds, be repaid. It was not unexpected, however. The term limit on the 18-month loan was up. According to Washington, the check is in the mail. There is no word from William's office if he will follow up on this blogger's fake threat of a Youngstown tune-up should the obligations of the loan not be met.

Source: The Vindicator

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jeannette furnace resumes production

Washington Post - May 17, 1936
Youngstown, Ohio, May 16 (AP) -- The Jeannette Blast Furnace of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. today resumed production after being idle for five years.

Some history of Jennie:

Built in 1917-1918 at a cost of $3 million, it was one of three blast furnaces in operation at the plant, then owned by the Brier Hill Steel Company. It was "blown in" or lighted on September 20, 1918 by its namesake, Mary Jeanette Thomas, daughter of W.A. Thomas, who was the President of Brier Hill Steel. The furnace was 90 feet tall and weighed 500 tons. It produced more than 11 million tons of steel in its lifetime, and is said to have produced 34,356 tons of pig iron in one month during the early years of iron production. Brier Hill Steel was purchased by YS&T in 1923. The Jeanette furnace went out of blast in September of 1977 when the Brier Hill Plant was shut down. It was one of the oldest blast furnaces in the United States, and the last of its kind in Youngstown.

The Jeanette furnace was torn down at 11:37 a.m. on Wednesday, January 29, 1997 to clear the 62-acre brownfield for use as an industrial park. Musician Bruce Springsteen refers to the Jeanette in the lyrics of his song "Youngstown," a melancholy musical tribute to the steelworkers of the Mahoning Valley.

Source: Youngstown Public Library

Moving to Youngstown? What an idea

A post on the forums arose yesterday from someone who goes by the user name tenshoes asking something that few people do.

"I'm considering moving to Youngstown. Can you comment on Youngstown as a place for a family?"
Some of the replies are striking, and make me proud to be from Youngstown. A fine summary:
  • ..."I've never worried about my safety while driving through the worst parts"...
  • ..."Youngstown does have a lot to offer that the “big cities” have to offer...
  • ..."[Some people] slam the area that they live in saying its terrible and such, but yet they are still there. If it was really that bad, don't you think they would have moved out?...
  • ..."Downtown and YSU campus are amazing and has alot going for it"...
  • ..."Youngstown has a lot to offer, you NEED to go look for it. It is there..."

The best reply: In the last three days there has been downtown the Blue Man Group, 6 shows at community theaters, hockey, a lecture by a world-famous author, mystery dinner theater, a cd release party under the stars at the planetarium, jazz, a gallery opening, and number other music shows and pieces of nightlife. I will be en route to an operatic performance at a church downtown in 15 minutes.But I look at Youngstown as an exciting canvas for making one's mark. Teachers, administrators, and public officials are all very approachable. And we would welcome any individual who wants to get a great education and flourish in this town.

It is great to see people taking pride in where they live. So often you talk to people who are from Youngstown and they simply repeat the negative stereotypes which have existed for thirty years. They contribute nothing to our redevelopment but laugh at the attempt, because all they can think of is the way it used to be, not the way it is or will be. I feel bad for those people, because like the reply stated, Youngstown is an exciting canvas. You just have to bring the paint.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

By the numbers

  • 3, 525 - The average attendance for the Youngstown Steelhounds during the 2006-2007 season
  • 4, 067 - The average attendance during the 2005-2006 season.
  • $3,000 - $6,000 - The average amount the Chevy Center makes off of one Steelhounds game.
  • $5,000 - $25,000 - What the center expects to make from the Mahoning Valley Thunder per game.
  • $88, 424 - The Chevy Centre's anticipated loss for April to June 2007.
  • $96,632 - The anticipated loss for July to September.

    Source: Vindicator, Sunday, March 11, 2007

Youngstown had decades of warning, Toffler says

Friday, March 9, 2007
Youngstown needs to be home to new technologies and ideas, an author says.


YOUNGSTOWN — It's easy but foolish and shortsighted to blame the Mahoning Valley's losing thousands of manufacturing jobs between 1995 and 2005 solely on outsourcing and globalization.

If Youngstown is going to continue to make an economic comeback, it needs to understand its challenges in a broader context.

These are a few of the opinions Alvin Toffler offered in a lecture he gave Thursday at Stambaugh Auditorium. His appearance was sponsored by Youngstown State University.

Toffler wrote several best-selling books such as "Future Shock." He spoke about the numerous significant economic and societal changes that have their roots going back at least 50 years. His latest book, written with his wife, Heidi, is "Revolutionary Wealth."

"The usual explanations [regarding job losses] are simple-minded at best and wrong at worst," Toffler told his audience of a few hundred.

The decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs got under way in the 1950s, and in 1956, such jobs fell below 50 percent of the nation's work force for the first time, he noted.

Time of change

Contrary to popular opinion, the '50s was anything but a docile decade. It was a time of huge government investment in science, and when drugs became more prevalent in society; in addition, movies were starting to extol various negative values, Toffler pointed out.

The loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector didn't develop suddenly; Youngstown and other similar cities had "decades of warning" about economic changes that would occur, but many city leaders failed to see or comprehend their importance, he continued.

With today's economy, which Toffler referred to as the "third wave," Youngstown needs to be home to new technologies and ideas while embracing and adapting to changes brought about by an economy that's increasingly knowledge-based, he noted. Toffler praised the Youngstown 2010 plan and other local initiatives, saying they're steps in the right direction.

Becoming obsolete

Factors that are becoming less common are 9-to-5 jobs, work in offices and factories, and the structure of the nuclear family, Toffler said. More positions have variable schedules, and more people are working from their homes, he added.

Friday, March 09, 2007

You're only big time if Craig says so

And it looks like he finally has. For those who have lived in bigger cities, you are familair with Craigslist, the clearing house for selling that old couch, finding a roommate or reading the ever popular "rants and raves". Well, the creation of Craigslist Youngstown came and went without any notice on my part and I felt I would put it out there for the rest of the world to see (or at the two people that read my blog. Thanks mom and dad!). To check it out, navigate over to

"And now you know…the rest of the story."

"Hello, Americans, this Is Paul Harvey!"... A few other blogs have posted a story which radio personality Paul Harvey did a few weeks ago on Youngstown. It is definitely worth a read. Phil Kidd posted the entire thing at

Youngstown is under appreciated only by its own citizens who are as yet unaware that running scared from the blast furnace flameout they've run on ahead of most of the rest of us.

It is positive stuff like that from nationally known people which will help Youngstown redefine itself. Check it out...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Tell your neighbors it came from Haber's"

East Federal Street, 1960's. This will be part of an upcoming DVD on downtown Youngstown in the 1960s. Write to for more information.

Music: "Afro-Harping" by Detroit jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby

Monday, March 05, 2007

More from Time

Fish were found in the Mahoning River in Youngstown last week. It was the first time in 25 years. Chemicals discharged into the Mahoning by the steel mills that line its banks for miles & miles normally kill all living things. Hot from steel mill sewage, the river has not frozen in many a puddler's memory, until this winter.

Source: Time Magazine, Monday, Jan. 09, 1933, link here

Youngstown boy shot in chest, remove bullet from the leg

In Youngstown last week a playmate accidentally shot Harry Besharre, 13. in the chest, directly over the heart. When Harry reached the hospital he complained less of the pain in his chest than of a gripe in his left groin. X-rays showed a strange accident. The 22-calibre bullet which struck the boy's heart was in the main artery of his left leg. It had traveled there, surmised surgeons, by piercing the heart and entering the left auricle. Contraction of the heart pushed the small lead pellet into the left ventricle, whence further pulsation drove it into the aorta, main feeder of the arterial system.

There is where the boy, having survived the puncture of his heart, ran his second greatest risk. One branch of the aorta goes to the head and brain. The other branch goes to the trunk and limbs. Had the bullet been carried by the flowing blood and pulsing artery up toward the brain, it would quickly have plugged some small bore artery, caused quick death. Instead, the pellet turned downward, worked into the left iliac artery, then the left femoral. Surgeons last week left it there, hoping it would work further down the leg where its removal would be less risky to Harry Besharre's life.

Source: Time Magazine, Monday, Jan. 11, 1932, link here

Lazy days of summer at the pool farther off than hoped

To steal the lead from a Vindy article from last week, those wanting to swim at a new North Pool are going to have to wait until August. That's the planned opening for the NEW northside pool, assuming about 1,000 things which need to be done in advance of that date are accomplished. First and foremost, a contractor needs to signed on to the project. Thus far, the city has put the project out to bid three times. The first two times, no bids were submitted. This time the city wised up and changed the plans which should make it easier for the project to be completed by the target date. For a million dollar investment, lets hope something good comes back from some contractors.

The original pool, built in 1939, was torn down last summer and the pool house has already undergone a number of renovations including a new roof and shower facilities. Without the North Pool, the only public swimming pool in Youngstown is Borts Pool on Belle Vista Avenue on the West Side.

The picture, by the way, was taken by Pat Lowry before the new roof was put on the bathhouse.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reprint from the Tribune-Chronicle

Residents’ tax burden gets painful

When Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams ran as an independent candidate, many Democrats speculated that he was a Republican in disguise.

Williams’ recent comments about raising taxes should sufficiently debunk that pre-election myth.

Williams recently told Mahoning County commissioners they should not seek a half-percent sales tax renewal. A true Republican would have added that the commissioners should work with what they have and take the tax off the books. But Williams instead told commissioners they should increase it to 1 percent and make it permanent.

‘‘It’s painfully obvious that the county cannot run on less than 1 percent,’’ Williams said.

The only thing painfully obvious is local residents’ tax burden.

County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti had said the board was considering three options: request renewing the half-percent sales tax for another five-year term, request a 10-year renewal or request a permanent levy. Hopefully Traficanti and his colleagues will ignore Williams’ suggestion.

Williams wants more help from the county to follow through on his recent zero-tolerance criminal position. After a quadruple homicide further highlighted Youngstown’s violent reputation, Williams ordered a 30-day police blitz to capture every undesirable no matter how insignificant the offense.

Youngstown police are now flooding the county court system with all those undesirables. Their efforts will be thwarted if the county has trouble prosecuting the cases quickly or if the county runs out of jail space.

But Williams found a way to target crime without increasing Youngstown’s taxes. So, too, must county commissioners find a way to handle the criminal influx without increasing taxes.

It is a matter of priority.

Quote of the Day

How reliable is the Vindicator? The better question is how reliable are its trucks! At 2:00 a.m. this morning, a Vindy delivery driver and his trainee were shot at while delivering newspaper bundles on the South Side near the Youngstown Playhouse. Two men approached the pair of Vindicator employees who retreated to the truck while one of the men took dead aim at the driver's chest. Luckily, the raised dashboard stopped one bullet while the vehicle's radiator stopped the other. Neither was hurt and the suspect's fled.

The full story is available here. As for the driver, he believes the Mayor's new zero tolerance policy "is a bunch of crap — it ain't working as far as I'm concerned." In a move to show what a great employer they are, the Vindy gave him the rest of the day off. No word on whether the trainee will show up for her second day of work.