Thursday, December 30, 2010

365 Things on the iPad

So after some requests I'll be slowly bringing back the 365 Things. I may not hit 365 right away but I'll get there eventually. Maybe one new post week? If anything, it will kill time on my commute and give me a reason to play with my ipad. I'll be starting back in the new year. Until then, happy new year Youngstown.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:NE Ohio

Monday, June 07, 2010

365 Things #21

Visit the Arms Museum. The Arms Family Museum of Local History in Youngstown is an early 20th Century Arts & Crafts-style home built by the Arms family, known formally as "Greystone". The first floor is furnished in period, creating the medieval ambience it must have had when Olive A. and Wilford P. Arms owned the home. When walking through the house, one will find many bronze animal statues and feel a sense of naturalism in each room. The second floor of the museum is filled with artifacts and history from others that have lived in the Mahoning Valley.

Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for college students. The house is a beautiful place to spend a few hours on a sunny afternoon in downtown!

648 Wick Avenue
Youngstown, OH 44502
(330) 743-2589

Friday, June 04, 2010

365 Things #20

Help beautify Youngstown! On June 5, 2010 (that's tomorrow!) the city of Youngstown will be holding CityScape's 13th Annual Planting Day. Over 400 volunteers help out at CityScape each year, and you should be one of them! Registration begins at the information booth of the Central Square Tent at 7:45am and there are free t-shirts to the first 400 people registered. Planting begins at 8:00am and ends at 12:00pm. Local dignitaries, including Congressman Tim Ryan (D-17th), will be in attendance.

If they can, volunteers should bring the following to the Streetscape 2010 event:
• Small Hand Tools
• Shovels
• Rakes
• Hoses
• Buckets
• Wheelbarrows (if possible)
• Hand Tools
• Gloves
• Sunscreen or other protection against the sun
• Insect repellent
• Beverages/Snacks

Questions about Planting Day? Please contact Sharon Letson (330) 742-4040 or e-mail:

After you green and beautify downtown Youngstown, stay down there and enjoy lunch at one of the city's fine establishments. Perhaps a sandwich and sparkling soda at the Lemon Grove (see #3) or a pizza and schooner at the Golden Dawn (see #1).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Obama comes to Youngstown: The pool reports

What the White House pool reporters were seeing...

Sent: Tue May 18 12:58:43 2010
Subject: Pool report #4
President Obama exited Air Force One at 12:41 p.m.

Gov. Ted Strickland, Reps. Charlie Wilson, John Boccieri and Tim Ryan and Youngstown Mayor William Jay greeted him on the tarmac, bursting into applause as POTUS got close to the foot of the stairs.

Lt Gov Lee Fisher was a no-show.
Motorcade is rolling to the manufacturing plant, hard hats and ear plugs in hand.
Sent: Tue May 18 13:22:43 2010
Subject: Pool report #4 correx
Youngstown Mayor is Jay Williams.

POTUS is currently touring the manufacturer, with green lab coat and hard hat-clad pool in tow.
Sent: Tue May 18 13:31:05 2010
Subject: Pool report #5

Pool Report #5
Inside V and M Star facility
The pool, in fetching green protective jackets, white helmets and glasses, awaited POTUS on a yellow gangway, above the heat and cacophony of the dimly-lit factory floor at the V and M Star steel mill.
Massive machines whirred and rumbled as large 18 foot long cylinders of steel, spewing sparks and palpable heat, appeared periodically along the production line, glowing orange with molten heat.

The building is a long cathedral type space, with all kinds of satanic-looking machinery on the floor, with just a few windows at each end.
The President, distinguishable by his black protective flame retardant jacket with red trim, appeared on an adjacent gangway with a group of people, presumably company executives and surveyed the scene, pointing at machines and nodding under his white protective hat.
He smiled and waved at the cameras on the way out. His conversations were inaudible amid the din.
The pool then ran through an indoor railway siding strewn with rubble and sand, past more menacing fire breathing machinery to position for the president's next photo op, in front of a blast furnace.
After exiting the mill, the president walked towards the venue for the speech, in an end finishing and dispatch warehouse, underneath a winding overhead ventilation tube.
A crowd of several hundred people is awaiting his remarks and the presidential podium is set up against a backdrop of steel pipes.
Sent: Tue May 18 14:09:21 2010
Subject: Pool Report #6
Pool Report #6

Youngstown, Ohio

After the speech, the President walked across to a line of 35-40 workers outside, ahead of a shift change. He shook hands, slapped backs and dispensed hugs.

He had a long conversation with one woman, Mary Ann Decapita, who works in Human Resources at the plant and lives in Youngstown.

"I told him, thank you for all your help here," she said.

POTUS autographed a business card for Mary Ann's daughter Brittany.

It read

"To Brittany
Dream the dream
Barack Obama."
Motorcade now rolling away from the plant
Sent: Tue May 18 14:30:46 2010
Subject: Pool report #7
Youngstown, Ohio

POTUS boarded AF1 at just after 2.20 pm
Heading to takeoff.
Sent: Tue May 18 15:27:26 2010
Subject: Pool report #8
Air Force One was wheels down at Andrews AFB at 3:17 p.m.
President Obama exited AF1 at 3:24 p.m. amid a light rain and overcast skies.
He got into the limo, and after he was joined by Reggie Love motorcade was rolling to the White House.
Pool had asked Burton for POTUS to come back to press cabin but alas he did not.
And for anyone wondering, AF1's return flight pattern bypassed Pennsylvania, instead traveling at 23,000 over Bellaire, OH, Morgantown, WV and the Potomac River.
Handing over to in-town pool.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

365 Things #19

Attend a spaghetti dinner on Sunday! (There is nothing more 'Youngstown' than spaghetti dinners, fish fries and pirogi dinners, anyway). This one is for an incredibly good cause. I went to high school with Taylor. She was incredibly talented in speech and debate and theatre at Ursuline High School before graduating in 2000. She was killed by a drunk driver while driving on Salt Springs Road in 2001.

From the Vindy:

The Taylor Lee Veisz Memorial Scholarship Fund’s 6th annual Spaghetti Dinner and Chinese Auction will run from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 122 S. State St. ( U.S. Route 422).

Tickets, at $8 for adults and $5 for children, will be available at the door. Carry out is available.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the fund can send a check made payable to the fund in care of Sherron Jackson, 921 Birch Hill Drive, Youngstown, Ohio, 44509. The fund provides assistance to young women and men pursuing a career in the fine and performing arts.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Inc. puts Youngstown in ink.

This is definitely worth sharing. Welcome to the New Youngstown.

Inc. Magazine article on Youngstown

365 Things #18

One of my many nicknames as a child was Bud Light. It has nothing to do with my love of beer, but was a take on one of my dad's nicknames, Bud. (Get it? I can explain, if necessary). Unfortunately, both Bud and Bud Light have worn off as nicknames. My love of beer, however, remains strong. It's nice to be able to satisfy that love with a beer brewed a mere two miles from home. Rust Belt Brewing Company moved into the old B&O Station and has ensured that Youngstown's history as a brewing town continues strong (Anyone for a Renner?) If you've never had a Rust Belt beer, make today the day you toss one back. You can visit the B&O for tours of the brewing operation or have a pint at the Boxcar Lounge. See their website for more details.

Rust Belt Brewing Company
534 Mahoning Avenue

Monday, May 03, 2010

If he runs for Congress, I'll leave the state

I posted this 6 months ago when he first started talking about it. I repost it today because it still feels the same way:

In what can best be described as a giant step backward for mankind, Jim Traficant has announced a major press conference for Thursday morning. As reported in the Vindicator, “He’ll be talking about Congress,” said Dennis Malloy, Traficant’s communications director. It pains me to think that Traficant may run for Congress, representing either the 17th or 6th congressional districts and speaking for the people of the Mahoning Valley.

And really, a crook representing the Mahoning Valley in any government seat? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. When Traficant got tossed from Congress and went to jail, we had just finished putting a county commissioner, a couple of judges, a sheriff and the county engineer away for corruption. The mid and late 1990's were about cleaning house in Youngstown. The 2000's have been about rebuilding that house.

What Jim Traficant can't understand is that we've moved past Jim Traficant. The Youngstown he left isn't the Youngstown to which he returned. While there are some people stuck in the past who would love to see him in office, most of the rational people in Youngstown see the damage he has done to our image and our city. There is substantive and positive change occurring in the Youngstown area. An entirely new model of urban renewal has been created around Youngstown's 'shrinking city' concept. People are moving back to Youngstown, dollars are turning some shovels, and there is significant hope being instilled in a lot of people who call Youngstown home. A 'Traficant for (insert political office here)' sign in people's front yards can destroy much of that in an instant.

365 Things #16

As we head down the list, #16 is something that should be required for every Youngstown resident: A visit to the Museum of Labor and Industry. It reminds me of a quote that's been tossed around, including by this blogger a number of times and even appeared on our mast head for a while. "Everybody breathing dirt, eating dirt-they call it 'pay dirt,' for Youngstown clean would be Youngstown out of work." When he uttered the words in 1915, Frank Bohn had no idea how true those words would ring. While a clean Youngstown is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, the 'Steel Museum', as the museum is often known, takes us back to the soot covered days of Youngstown, when steel was king. It should make any Youngstown resident born after 1980 appreciate the hardwork and sweat that their fathers and grandfathers literally poured into building America. I made my pilgrimage in December.

Museum of Labor and Industry
151 Wood Street (across from St. Columba Cathedral)

365 Things #15

So I'm a bit behind. If you ran a blog and had to post every single day, you would probably miss one or two (or five) as well.

The weather tomorrow is going to be beautiful. With the exception of some rain in the morning (thanks,!), it should be an awesome day for a hike. Why not head to Mill Creek Park, strap on your hiking boots, grab a Clif bar and go hiking?

You can find the complete maps and routes here.

PS: You can plan on seeing a lot of Mill Creek Park in my 365 Things to Do Around Youngstown series. If you think only one or two visits to the park is enough, shame on you.

New videos

Defend Youngstown and Shout Youngstown hosted a Detroit reporter. This is the evidence.

Friday, April 30, 2010

365 Things #17

Try taking in the Calvin Center for the Arts Grand Opening Festival! Artists of the Rust Belt will be holding a show at this new location tomorrow (12-7) and Sunday (12-5). The show will feature local artists, food and beer. Check it out at 755 Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown. Find out more about this group and event at their website.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Love it... more on urban ag

From the Associated Press...
Motor City may provide model for urban agriculture

Friday, April 23, 2010
(AP) --Detroit, which revolutionized manufacturing with its auto assembly lines, could once again be a model for the world as residents transform vacant, often-blighted land into a source of fresh food.

With growing interest in locally raised food, cities including New York, Los Angeles and Seattle are looking at ways to foster and manage urban agriculture. San Francisco's mayor has proposed creating community gardens on vacant public land citywide.

But no city seems to have as much potential for urban farming as Detroit, where land is cheap, empty lots are plentiful, and residents are desperate for jobs. The number of community gardens has been growing each year, and bigger, commercial agriculture could be coming as city planners draw up land use rules for farming.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

365 Things #14

Youngstown's personality and place in history allows it to have some of the greatest cultural wonders not thought of in the average city of 70,000. One of those wonders is the Butler Institute of American Art. If you haven't been there in a while (and I haven't), you should check out the Jackson Pollack piece on loan, 'Silver and Black,' or the paintings of John Stobart, a leading artist of ships under sail. Being a guy who loves ships and yet has never been sailing, Stobart's work is right up my alley. (I'm really sounding cultured here, aren't I?)

Butler Instutute of American Art
524 Wick Avenue

Monday, April 26, 2010

365 Things #13

(I realize that I'm a few days late, but the beauty of Blogger is being able to backdate my posts... Thanks, Blogger Team!)

It's Wednesday (err... Monday). How about heading over to Salsita's for margaritas? Youngstown is blessed with some great ethnic restaurants. In fact, you can't find a respectable chain joint that people will go out of their way to get into to. The same can't be said for the locally owned restaurants. Salsita's is one of those places. Stop in for a margarita, some tacos or enchiladas!

3031 Mahoning Ave

Sunday, April 25, 2010

365 Things #12

When I was a child, I had a minor fascination with rocks and minerals after a visit to Discovery Place. Think COSI but in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had no idea that we have a mineral museum in Youngstown, but incredibly, we do. How about a visit to the Clarence R. Smith Mineral Museum which is located at YSU and sponsored by the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. The museum is located in the atrium of Moser Hall and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Have a science class or tour group? Give them a call and they can set up something personalized.

Moser Hall atrium
On the campus of Youngstown State University
(330) 941-3612

Saturday, April 24, 2010

365 Things #11

Today is a pretty dreary day in Youngstown. So if you don't get out to see anything today, put on some coffee and hang around the house. But before the summer is out, you've got to see (and taste) what is going on right here under your nose.

In the past few years a number of community gardens have started up in Youngstown. I'll just mention a few and if there is not one near you, feel free to start one. Jubilee Gardens, Inc. is located on Lafayette Street in Briar Hill and has been around since the 1980's. Fairgreen Garden, operated by GROW Youngstown, is located at the corner of Fairgreen and Ohio Avenues, and Avondale Garden (pictured) is located on the south side, on Avondale Street, just east of Southern Blvd.

Their goal is to bring fresh produce to the city and help people to garden sucessfully.

Friday, April 23, 2010

365 Things #10

It is my favorite day of the week. Why not eat my favorite food? Ice cream. Stop by the original Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt on off Market Street. There is nothing better than the atmosphere of the yellow lights of Mrs. Handel's flagship store and a sugar cone full of chocolate pecan.

3931 Handel's Court

(The menu is from Handel's Williamsburg, VA location. I saw a familiar awning from almost 1/4 mile away and thought it could be and it was. They lack chocolate marshmallow.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Morning Read

Check out a couple of things going on in Youngstown today:

  • YNG has a new director. Only in the job for less than 24 hours, he already has an agenda focusing on expanding cargo operations at the airport. With the expansion of technologies and manufacturing in the region, improved access for cargo is a great direction for Youngstown's airport.
  • Rep. Tim Ryan introduced a bill into the House of Representatives yesterday which would promote business incubators (like the insanely successful Youngstown Business Incubator). The Vindy has the story and the full press release from T.R.'s office is available after the jump.
  • Like your Chevy? So do a lot of other people. The Tribune tells us what most people should already know: America is building better cars. Many Toyota owners couldn't agree more.

365 Things #9

Two words: DiRusso's sausage. I try and promote those awesome things about Youngstown, even if it causes a run on sausage sandwiches. John Slanina (owner/operator of Shout Youngstown) is setting up camp downtown for an hour today in front of the Youngstown Business Incubator with some free lunch. Check it out between noon and 1-ish where he promises sausage, boca burgers, turkey burgers, kelbasi, paprika-rubbed slanina, and some chevapchichi. Will have some sides, chips, chairs, and plant-life. No word on whether he means palm trees or lettuce for the burgers.

(No word on when OSHA stepped in due to lack of a hair net)

The deets:
Pop-Up Park in the Parking Spot
241 West Federal Street
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
He'll be bringing some plates and silverware, but it's B.Y.O.P. (plates!) as we are trying to minimize on trash.
Look for the big green carpet on West Federal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

365 Things #8

There is nothing I love more than finding a new book to read. With my new Kindle, I miss turning the pages but can carry hundreds of books in a nice little package. There is nothing better than browsing the stacks, however. Take 20 minutes and head over to the library. The main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County is open until 5:30 today. For those hipsters who like their internets, the Library can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

The Morning Read

Not much Youngstown-related news this morning, but still some winners.
  • CNN has an interesting piece with ideas for small airports to win big money. They sound skeptical that an airport with three flights a day (like the featured North Central West Virginia Airport) is worth it, but maybe YNG can mooch some ideas.
  • It was not a 3-year-old, but the mother of a 1-year-old who was the 1,000,000th visitor to the Covelli Centre.
  • And because I am like the cool stuff they do and don't want to live in the tropical forest known as 'The Future', the Oakland Center for the Arts is holding an open mic night next Wednesday. Since April 28 is (several days after) Earth Day, one can assume the topic will be something about saving the big blue marble.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1,000,000 fan

According to the Vindy, the Covelli Centre will hit its 1-millionth visitor tonight. Tonight's visitor will be attending the Nickelodeon show 'Storytime Live!' The winning fan receives a one year pass to all Covelli Centre events, including to see Elton John on May 1. There is no word on what they will do if a 3-year-old wins.

The Morning Read

A couple of cool things out there this morning:

  • That Youngstown schools have issues is not in doubt, but in a creative way, turning to the students for help may provide solutions. The Vindicator has the story.
  • There is a lot of good news emerging from YSU. Being an 'emerging center' is just part of it. Check this out (from the Vindy) or this (from the Business Journal)
  • 890 YSU students are living on campus with room for more on the way.

365 Things #7

Have you ever considered getting involved with community support agriculture? Now is the perfect time to look into a CSA in the Youngstown area. If you aren't in the know, a CSA (and its members) provides financial support to local agriculture and in exchange, you get some of the goods dropped at your door every week. Want some fresh swiss chard, strawberries, or peaches? Join one of the several CSA's in Youngstown. Grow Youngstown has all the details on this awesome and totally affordable program.

Monday, April 19, 2010

365 Things #6

Get rid of the Monday blues with some kolachi! Ghossain's Mid East Bakery on South Avenue has a wide variety of Lebanese and other Middle Eastern foods, including fresh baked pita and lavash, desserts and confections. Check out their website for a full list of options. Not in the Youngstown area? They will ship to you!

Ghossain's Mid East Bakery
3990 South Avenue
(330) 788-6003

Sunday, April 18, 2010

365 Things #5

How about some ribs? Head over to Charlie Staples and try the best BBQ in Ohio. I recommend the combo platter, with ribs, chicken, slaw and fries. Find the white bread buried on your plate in order to soak up the delicious sauce.

Charlie Staples
327 West Rayen Avenue
(330) 743-7427

Saturday, April 17, 2010

365 Things #4

Tulips, daffodils, and magnolias, oh my! It is peak time to see the blooms at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park. Because of the early warm weather, many flowers popped up early and the next two weeks provide the best time to see the garden in full bloom! If you've got the day off, why not make the trip to the South Side and take it all in? Check out the Garden's website here.

123 McKinley Avenue
Youngstown, OH

Friday, April 16, 2010

365 Things #3

It's Friday Happy Hour! Why not head downtown and visit the Lemon Grove. rates them as one of the best happy hour joints in the Mahoning Valley. They have over 30 beers on draft or in bottles as well as an extensive wine list. Stay for dinner and the musical stylings of Akron musicians 'Trouble Books'. Find their website here.

BTW: They have their own art blog!

122 W Federal Street
Youngstown, OH

Thursday, April 15, 2010

365 Things #2

Head to the Youngstown Playhouse and take in a show! The playhouse has risen like a phoenix as it rebuilds its theater and its image. Try Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, showing 4/16-4/25. For all the details, visit the Youngstown Playhouse website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

365 Things #1

What a better way to start this adventure than to head to the Golden Dawn and have a slice of pizza and a schooner of beer? Head there on a Saturday morning and have the most inexpensive breakfast in town. This institution is my favorite place to go in Youngstown, so I selfishly made it number 1. I swear, I will try and diversify for the remaining 364.

Find out what it's all about: Golden Dawn

1245 Logan Avenue
Youngstown, OH

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

365 Things To Do In Youngstown

I was recently inspired by a Facebook group called "365 Things To Do In D.C." and thought, 'Why not Youngstown?' Starting tomorrow, I will post one daily tip, helping Youngstown residents connect with their city and find new things to talk about. If you have something you want me to feature, drop me an email or leave a comment. I am excited to take this journey through Youngstown, its places and events. Let's get going!

To see the all of the things to do in Youngstown, click here!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Time for a walk

I love walking tours and am fortunate to live in a town where they are the norm, not the exception. In fact, every year D.C. has weekends offering dozens of free walking tours. I most recently made my wife suffer through a tour of Fort Stevens which included several men and women in period costumes. Let's just say that it really isn't her bag.

Anyway, it isn't Fort Stevens, but a pretty cool walking tour of Y-town is coming up. Check out the details from the Vindicator:

Mahoning Valley Historical Society is kicking off its 2010 History to Go Program with a walking tour through downtown Youngstown.
The free event will highlight the history and architecture of area skyscrapers, retail facades and theaters.

The 60- to 90-minute tour is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. April 17.
Participants are asked to meet in the lobby of 20 Federal Plaza where the tour group will be formed.

Walkers are reminded to wear comfortable shoes.
For more information call (330) 743-2589 or visit

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Youngstown closes up shop, cedes city to Girard

In a bold and unprecedented move, Mayor Jay Williams announced today that he would cede the entire city of Youngstown to Girard effective immediately. Williams made the move because of the fiscal constraints existing in the city and the realization that many of the planned 'Youngstown 2010' initiatives will be impossible to accomplish by the end of 2010. Williams feels that Girard can best handle the issues facing Youngstown citizens.

"Girard has a proven track record of taking care of its citizens and we feel that their system would benefit Youngstown better than anything we could do," said Williams at the press conference announcing the move.

At the press conference, Girard mayor Jim Melfi ordered all signs having the word 'Youngstown' in them to be changed to 'Girard'. Jim Cossler, chief evangelist of the newly re-named Girard Business Incubator on West Federal Street in south-central Girard, was seen on a ladder making the sign changes himself.

As an indicator about how fast the changes were taking place, the Golden Dawn on Logan Avenue had been renamed Pizza Parlor II within minutes of the announcement.

There was no reaction from residents of the former city of Youngstown as most of them were shopping in Boardman at the time and unaware the change had occurred.

Editor's Note: This blog will be renamed Girard Pride as soon as time allows.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Playing catchup - three weeks of Youngstown Pride

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for Youngstown and the United States. I've been busier than usual and have missed several opportunities to post some thoughts and news, so let me get caught up with a couple of things.

  • First, we have healthcare reform in America! After a year of interesting (and rather ugly) debate, the healthcare reform bill passed the Senate and House and then again the Senate and the House. This process showed all of the great things about America as well as some of the ugliness that divides us. The saying 'it's all politics' doesn't really apply here because it's about our livelihoods and it is indeed very personal. In the 17th congressional district, this new law will:
    • Improve coverage for 355,000 residents with health insurance.
    • Give tax credits and other assistance up to 180,000 families and 12,300 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
    • Improve Medicare for 109,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
    • Extend coverage to 39,000 uninsured residents.
    • Guarantee that 9,300 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
    • Protect 1,700 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
    • Allow 53,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.
    • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for four community health centers.
    • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $11 million annually.

      This information is sourced from Rep. Tim Ryan, who obtained it from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, whose data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Congressional Budget Office.
  • Second on my hit parade is some news out of the Youngstown Business Incubator and Jim Cossler, who is leading Youngstown's technology revolution. YBI portfolio company Zethus Software has entered into a partnership with Bruker-AXS who will serve as a reseller of Zethus' cumulus::CyberLab, a product that allows for secure, resilient, collaborative, remote use of instrumentation and the associated data collected. Awesome! (Nextgen: Remote use of a pancake flipper from the couch? Get working, Zethus!)
    • Who is Jim Cossler? This piece from December missed my monitor until just now. (link)
  • Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning County is getting busy in the Lincoln Knolls neighborhood over on the East Side. This would be their fourth house Maranatha Drive and 33rd house in the County. Call (330) 743-7244 to find out about the next volunteer orientation and to help with future projects!
  • Lastly, let me wish a fond farewell from the blogosphere to the guys at Blue Gray Sky. BGS is my second favorite blog! These guys captured the heart and essence of Notre Dame football for the better part of six years. The level of effort and research that they put into every one of their articles is incredible. For any Irish football fan who never ran across this site, I encourage you to browse the archives. Best of luck, fellas, and Go Irish!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Youngstown, meet Google. Google, this is Youngstown

I am a huge Google nerd. With little exception, I love the company and what they do. I use Gmail, Google calendar, reader, documents, etc. The only thing I haven't fully grappled with yet is Buzz. It is too much too soon. I was put off by their initial 'in-your-face' shove of Buzz into the world.

That said, I would be super excited if a plan by the YBI came to fruition. The redesigned Vindicator has the latest:

Will Youngstown and Google connect?

YOUNGSTOWN — Google is looking for cities where it can install an incredibly fast communications network, and Youngstown wants to be considered.

A local team will begin meeting next week to develop a proposal for how it would use the broadband, fiber-optic network, which Google said will be 100 times faster than current high-speed networks.

Jim Cossler, who assembled the team, is looking for practical ideas about how super-fast connections can help improve society. He is the director of the Youngstown Business Incubator.

For the complete story, see Saturday’s Vindicator and

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How do you like

them apples? Third shift coming back to G.M. Lordstown.

The vital stats:
  • Will increase the Lordstown workforce from 3,300 to 4,500
  • Expected to generate $47 million in additional payroll
  • Expected to generate $470,000 in local income taxes
  • Expected to generate $1.4 million in state income tax
Good stuff in the Valley.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

America is in trouble

Two links I figured I would share with the populace, neither directly tied to Youngstown.

The first represents the cruelest thing I can even imagine. Old ladies all over Youngstown are shuddering. Bake sale profits are being donated. Poles all over the world are in mourning. Yes, the unthinkable has happened, as the Vindicator headline reads, "Police seek man who robbed Pa. church pierogi sale". What is this world coming to? In the words of Florida governor Rob Ritchie, "Crime, boy... I don't know."

The second article, emphasizing the return of the housing market across America, the 'home' to millions of American's from 1987 to 1995 is on the market. For $4.1 million (lowered to $3.9 mil), you can buy the San Francisco townhouse featured on 'Full House'. Uncle Jesse not included.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Check out Youngstown State take on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee LIVE on ESPNU (which is nationally televised) tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.

ESPNU is Channel 303 on Time Warner Cable (Youngstown) and well, Dish and Direct TV aren't cooperating with me so find it yourself. Either way: YSU. National TV. Watch it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Problems in the burbs

At the risk of alienating readers in the Youngstown burbs, I am often amazed how some (not all) who live in the Mahoning Valley feel that Youngstown's problems aren't their problems. I've seen it consistently in issues ranging from economic development zones to crime and water sharing. The truth of the matter is that crime or economic decay in Youngstown are just as likely to have an effect on Boardman as they are on Fifth Avenue. It may not be a direct, in-your-face effect, but the long term societal and economic factors will still weigh heavily on the suburbs.

Well, I paid the Brookings Institution a lot of money to tell me what I wanted to hear and it turns out that I'm right. In a new study released today, they found that poverty (a problem in Youngstown) is growing at an increased rate in the suburbs compared to their urban center. One lowlight from their report:
  • Led by increasing poverty in auto manufacturing metro areas—like Grand Rapids and Youngstown—Midwestern city and suburban poverty rates climbed 3.0 and 2.2 percentage points, respectively.
Overall, the poverty level in the Youngstown metro area is 33.5 percent, a somewhat shocking number when you consider one in three residents of the Valley lives on $10,830 per year (in single person households; $22,250 for a family of four). Imagine now the rent or mortgage, car payment, food, utilities, and other demands of life in Northeast Ohio (snow shovels!).

From the report, two assumptions can be made. First, as populations shift, poorer people are moving out of the urban areas in the suburbs and second, long term residents of the suburbs are becoming poorer due to changing economies. (It would be false to assume that I first drew these conclusions. The report author made them in a Q&A posted here.)

The 24-page report paints an interesting picture of poverty level of suburbs in America and the changing shift of income levels, particularly looking at the 2007-2008 data at the start of the "Great Recession". If you have ten minutes, it may be worth a read.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Have land, will grow

Vegetables, that is. I stumbled upon a new blog, The Infrastructurist, which asks, 'What should we do with a semi-abandoned city?' The answer is gardening. The article speaks of Detroits loss of 70% of its population and infrastructure that can support three times as many people as currently live there. I've added this blog to my daily list of reads. You should too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not dropping dead so easily

'HUD to Mahoning Valley: Drop Dead.' Those were the words the Vindy used to describe Youngstown being rejected for a share of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds given by the Federal government to communities across America. Of $2 billion going out the door for housing and community projects (such as acquiring land and property, demolishing and/or rehabilitating abandoned properties, to offer down payments and closing costs to low- to middle-income homebuyers, and creating land banks), Youngstown gets zip, nada, nothing.

The Vindy isn't the only paper taking HUD to task. A scathing editorial appeared a few months ago in the Plain Dealer papers calling the agency and NSP a "a bureaucratic morass from which few emerge".

Congressman Tim Ryan was quick to send a letter to President Obama and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, stating that this will be at the top of the agenda for next week's White House meeting between President Obama, Jay Williams, and him.

If I was the President, meeting with Youngstown's leaders next week, I would be quick about getting some answers.

The text of the letter:

January 14, 2010

President Barack Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

It is with great disappointment that I write this letter. This morning, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the second round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, and a proposal for my District, which had been praised by the Brookings Institution as a proposal that “represents an unprecedented level of multi-jurisdictional collaboration,” was not funded. This decision is particularly egregious due to the inadequate level of funding received by my District in the initial program funding round.

The cities of Youngstown, Warren, Niles, Girard, Struthers, Campbell, Lowellville, McDonald, and Newton Falls – the Mahoning River Cities Consortium – proposed an innovative redevelopment effort that would utilize $32 million to stabilize neighborhoods that are facing unprecedented population loss, widespread substandard housing, and vacancy rates substantially above the national average. Add to those neighborhood issues significant losses to local manufacturing and service industries, above-average subprime loan rates, and a foreclosure rate that exceeds 11 percent – and you have a region that should be at the forefront of this type of assistance.

This Administration has lauded the benefits of collaboration and importance of government efficiency, yet both were ignored in the denial of this application. The regional cooperation advocated by this application is a model that should have been awarded full funding and replicated by other communities in the Rust Belt and, indeed, across the nation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has missed a prime opportunity to recognize the plight of those smaller, older industrial cities that have suffered a major decline and are presented with a weak recovery in this economy at best. Given the quality of the proposal and the need of residents of my District, it is hard for me to believe that of the $2 billion announced today, the Mahoning River Cities proposal was of no merit.

As the Congressman of the 17th Congressional District, in which all nine of these cities are located, I plan to raise this issue when Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and I meet at the White House next week. In addition, I am seeking an opportunity to meet with HUD Secretary Donovan as soon as possible. I will ask the Secretary that our proposal be reconsidered, or that some other form of assistance be forthcoming. The people of my District are looking to the Federal Government as an ally in this recovery effort, but the denial of this grant opportunity is a setback that we can ill afford.


Tim Ryan
Member of Congress

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Couldn't have said it better...

The New York Times editorial page spreads the word on what I've been saying (with many others) for a long time now:
The article's lead doesn't necessarily reflect the topic of the rest of the op-ed, but it fits with the hearts of so many people I know.

"Anyone who’s spent time in Youngstown, Ohio, is entitled to nagging affection for the gritty old steeltown that has long struggled with lost jobs and serial political corruption."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Morning Read

First, let me wish each of you a Happy New Year. 2009 was the return of Youngstown Pride and I hope for more good things for this blog in 2010.

Now, on to the morning reads:

  • The New York Times has an interesting article on U.A.W. Local 1112, the Lordstown local which chronicles the G.M. plants past as a rebellious local, filing 15,000 grievances a year to one that works with management and sees the enemy as the foreign competition.
  • The Business Journal is reporting that Ohio's small business and entrepreneurial climate ranks 11th nationwide. By reinventing their model for taxing corporations and with transportation infrastructure rivaling any other state, Ohio is well placed for those looking to start a small business. That is good new for Youngstown, which is seeing a lot of success from small businesses such as Turning Technologies and M7 Technologies.
  • The Vindy has a mention of leadership classes being offered by the Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Mahoning Valley Local Government Leadership Academy classes start February 2.