The recently-formed opposition to the "Community Bill of Rights" charter amendment contends the proposed ballot language is not well-crafted, and in practice, unenforceable. (Link to story in the local press)
However, that same argument of not being enforceable is not a bone of contention, but is interestingly shared by some of the supporters of the "Community Bill of Rights" that Youngstown voters will consider in the May 7 primary.
So while enforcement may not be the critical differentiation between the two sides, the resulting message that the Mahoning Valley's largest political entity by population could send through its vote has resulted in the creation of "Coalition for Job Growth and Investment" this week to oppose the amendment.
But is the main reason for people voting in support of this amendment a reflection of their attitudes on hydraulic fracturing activities, or something much larger?
As the Frack Free Mahoning Valley group was successful in collecting the thousands of signatures to create the ballot initiative, the organization has hit the pavement and attended numerous neighborhood meetings and community events in recent months sharing their beliefs to the voters.
One may think their presentations focus only on environmental issues (and with earthquakes and waste dumpings in recent times, there is plenty to discuss there), but they are not.
By watching the crowds' discussions, the topics are much more complex.
Take home rule for example.
It's a hot topic on many issues, from the ability of a state to regulate same sex marriage, or having residency requirements for employees on the public payroll.
In this case, some supporters of the Bill of Rights have shared that the state should not have this responsibility over local control in managing natural resources, which does not go over well with the audience. So while voters may be actually ambivalent to the environmental issues, they may view kindly on an issue that drives the sentiment of more local control.
Now take economic fairness for another example.
On this topic, some supporters of the Bill of Rights have shared that if the local manufacturing base is growing, then it needs to hire individuals from diverse racial backgrounds or hire citizens living in their neighborhoods. People are asked to recall if they know people who have benefited from the shale industry, and often they do not have any connections to people in their social circles who have experienced a growth in wealth.
They ask: is there is mismatch or alignment between voters in a Youngstown and if they are workers in Youngstown?
Again, even as voters may be ambivalent to either of the issues as the environment or home rule, they may feel a connection to perceived issues of fairness.
The co-mingling of these various issues, connected or not connected, fair or unfair, is wrapped around that single vote on the charter amendment.
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As shown this week by the excellent blog Warren Expressed, sometimes it takes very few people to drive a local election outcome.
A very small minority of voters may wind up dictating the message.
And for this upcoming primary, perhaps tactics to engage people on topics such as the environment and the charter's enforcement are a little simplistic.
Those who take advantage of these additional issues, either to promote them or to counter them may have the upper hand - especially when it comes time to count the votes.
About a month ago, former Youngstown Club Executive Chef Anthony Palumbo joined the ownership team at the "Dooney's Downtown" establishment - and introduced a menu upgrade that has many downtown lunch patrons taking notice.
"It's pub food done right," says Palumbo. "Nothing is frozen. All of our sauces are made in the kitchen, and everything is made to order."
When asked what the specialty sandwich of the house is, the marinated prime rib sandwich was identified as a top contender.
But what makes the sandwich unique compared other other places serving sandwiches downtown?
First off, the buns come from a Syrian bakery in New Castle, Pennsylvania, purchased every other day.
The prime rib is roasted in-house.
The coleslaw for the topping is made after the order is placed, incorporating large pieces of cabbage.
The cheese is fresh mozzarella and melts over the beef.
The fries are fresh-cut, and seasoned as requested.
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Another point of pride for Chef Anthony is that all their chicken is brined for a day before cooking. The tenders are hand-breaded. The wings are baked before a quick fry, and all get dressed with their homemade sauces.
For example, the BBQ sauce is made with honey and pineapple juice.
The Buffalo sauce is made with balsamic vinegar.
The Sriracha Orange sauce is made with fresh-squeezed oranges.
All the burgers are made with Catullo's meats. Here is the stackhouse burger, topped high with two onion rings and a sampling of their pulled pork.
Chef Anthony contends new entries will be coming to their changing menu in the coming weeks.
With the new attention to the food, it will be interesting to see if Dooney's can elevate their game in the long run.
Perhaps in the coming months the establishment known for the "worst business logo" downtown may also be home to the "best pub food" downtown.
YSU Design Students & YBI Collaborate to Launch Kickstarter for Downtown Mural
Do you live in the Youngstown metro area, or do you live outside of Youngstown and have a fondness for our town?
Have you ever thought...
what is a small way that I can personally improve this unique place?
well, here is a unique project that was just launched tonight on Kickstarter.
The goal: construct a mural along Federal Street downtown that will consist of 70 plus vinyl segments spanning over 300 feet in length, all created by graphic design students at YSU.
The theme: METAMORPHOSIS, and the urban development growing up all throughout the city of Youngstown.
Here's how Kickstarter works...people propose a project, any individual from around the world can donate, and when the goal is reached, only then will all donors be charged. If the goal is not reached, no previous donor is charged. (it was pretty easy too, paid with the ol' Amazon account as opposed to typing in another credit card number)
Also, there are some unique gifts for the various funding levels.
$25 or more - A 3"x5" oval "Metamorphosis Butterfly" sticker to show your support for local street art in Youngstown, OH!
$100 or more - A 3"x5" oval "Metamorphosis Butterfly" sticker, plus a collectable poster showcasing the designs used in the mural.
$250 or more - A 3"x5" oval "Metamorphosis Butterfly" sticker, plus a collectable
poster showcasing the designs used in the mural, plus a tour of the
Youngstown Business Incubator with Chief Evangelist, Jim Cossler $1,000 or more - A 3"x5" oval "Metamorphosis Butterfly" sticker, plus a collectable
poster showcasing the designs used in the mural, plus a tour of the
Youngstown Business Incubator, plus lunch with Chief Evangelist of the
YBI, Jim Cossler
Moving to the Mahoning Valley from Rhode Island, YSU graduate student Kasey Johnson is working with one local neighborhood group, The Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association, to organize a walk this Saturday afternoon which will highlight the culture, history, and future investments of this distinct section of the west side of the city of Youngstown.
“Jane's Walk” is in honor of the late urban activist Jane Jacobs and her writings on how people influence a place and place influences people.
The walk through a portion of Rocky Ridge will join similarly structured events taking place that weekend in hundreds of cities across the world.
The two hour walking tour will include the following stops:
The Shrine of Our Lady (start point and parking) will highlight the religious and ethnic contributions to Rocky Ridge
Chaney High School, its academic and sports history
The amazing backyard landscaping of 2011's “Volney Rodgers Emerald Pierogi Award” for home beautification
Aspects of Mill Creek Park, including the Robinson Sugar Maple Grove, Morley Pavilion and the actual geologic formation which comprises the actual “Rock Ridge”
Industrial and settlement history in the neighborhood by Bill Lawson, Executive Director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society
Showing of plans for the upcoming extensive renovations to the Children's play area at the Wick Recreation Area in Mill Creek MetroParks
All interested residents of the region are welcome and encouraged to attend this free event, with ample parking at the start point.
waking path of the Rocky Ridge Jane's Walk
WHAT: Local neighborhood group collaborates with YSU graduate student to
host the first local “Jane's Walk”, making Youngstown one of hundreds
of participating cities across the world.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012
WHERE: Shrine of Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted, 517 S. Belle Vista Avenue, Youngstown
A baby conceived in June 2011 would have been born by now.
Juniors in high school from June 2011 are getting ready to now graduate as seniors.
If you started counting from one for every second since June 2011, today you'd be beyond 23.7 million.
However, very little can also happen in nine months too.
It's been exactly nine months and one day since the Saturday in June 2011 when cheap vinyl siding was put on a facade at 25 West Federal Street.
This same vinyl siding design for this building was soundly rejected by the city's Design and Review Board before construction, however the owner of the building decided to put up the violating vinyl anyway.
And since the June construction of the rejected design, with citations issued, postponed court dates, and capitulation without construction deadlines, the white vinyl siding remains.
Through nine months, the vinyl siding remains, untouched.
And other current downtown investors wonder...
...why are plans not respected and agreements blatantly ignored?
...why is a city so weak when it comes to code enforcement?
...why do others not follow the rules, when most abide by certain standards?
...why now is the building inhabited, but the original problem still exists?
As these questions set into the minds of those who have made recent investments into the Central Business District, one may ask:
would they make a future investment in downtown youngstown?
Quick, what's the most direct way from Columbus/Cincinnati to Texas for a busload of entrepreneurs?
Why north of course...
... to Youngstown
Startup Buses are launching from all over America, making their way to the SXSW Festival in Austin.
You can track these buses here, as they make their way across the USA with their precious cargo of entrepreneurs... entrepreneurs looking to hone their pitches for new companies.
One bus sponsored by southern Ohio groups such as CincyTech, The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association took a six-hour detour this morning.
A six-hour detour to Youngstown.
The media was there at the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), watching as folks shared their business ideas. Some of the world-class talent associated with the YBI provided advice.
But a larger question arises:
Why not visit one of hundreds of other incubators in the country?
Simply put, the Youngstown Business Incubator is on the mental map of the state and national entrepreneurs as a remarkable place to build a business.
So much so, it's a stop for a very cool national event like the Startup Bus.
You can watch the travels of the Startup Bus here, as chronicled by a great guy, Thomas Mulready of Cool Cleveland.
The soon-to-be four building campus in downtown Youngstown is home now to hundreds of employees, generating wealth, generating innovation, generating taxes for the region, and generating hundreds of other spinoff jobs in the region.
It's a tide rising all boats.
It's a tide selling product across the world, building a connected Global Youngstown.
It's a tide that is becoming more and more known across the nation.
Please note: vendors are expected to sell food and crafts of an ethnic variety. Vendors are welcome from anywhere in Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and all over the world!
If you are a church, and your parishoners make the best home-cooked food, then this is the festival for you!
If you are an organization, and your members sell unique ethnic crafts, then this is the festival for you!
If you are a stromboli vendor or a snow cone vendor, please call the folks at Youngstown's many other wonderful ethnic festivals for vendor opportunities.
Food vendor and marketplace vendor forms are due March 30, so tents can be ordered at a resonable price.
Please connect through contacts on the Simply Slavic website if questions arise.
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These modern-day nations in Europe represent the origins of our Slavic
ancestors: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech
Republic, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia,
Can we get a organization/church from every one of these ethnic groups?
For all publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, a company must file a document every year called a 10-K to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A somewhat standardized document in terms of content, the 10-K contains information about how the company participates/competes in the global marketplace, the compensation of executives, financial data, etc, etc, but also a list of "risk factors" that may impact a company's future ability to attain earnings.
On February 12, 2012 the publicly traded Consol Energy (CNX on the NYSE) with a market cap of $8.5 billion mentioned in its 10-K the following "risk factor" which can cause an investor to lose value in their investment:
we cannot find adequate sources of water for our use or are unable to
dispose of the water we use or remove it from the strata at a reasonable
cost and within applicable environmental rules, our ability to produce
gas economically and in commercial quantities could be impaired."
part of our drilling and production in the Marcellus shale, we use
hydraulic fracturing processes.
Thus, we need access to adequate sources
of water to use in our Marcellus shale operations.
Further, we must
remove and dispose of the portion of the water that we use to fracture
our shale gas wells that flows back to the well-bore as well as drilling
fluids and other wastes associated
with the exploration, development or production of natural gas.
Our inability to
locate sufficient amounts of water with respect to our Marcellus Shale
operations, or the inability to dispose of or recycle water and other
wastes used in our Marcellus shale and our CBM operations, could
adversely impact our operations.
For example, in Ohio, injection of gas
well production fluids was temporarily suspended for underground
injection disposal wells near Youngstown while regulatory authorities
investigate whether injection of wastewater into the wells is causing
low category earthquakes in the area."
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While this one perceived risk factor is among a laundry list of risk factors, it is interesting to note how the Youngstown earthquakes (presumably caused by the D&L disposal of fracking waste into the earth) has made it into a company's released documents to the SEC.
this approximation of direct and indirect spin-off got my attention:
"A third shift at a Midwestern U.S. auto plant typically requires 1,000 autoworkers and creates 7,850 spinoff jobs ... about one-third within 60 miles of the plant, with others [two-thirds of jobs] at farther away suppliers and service providers."
And with subsequent real-life examples of how a third shift impacts the
bottom line in a community, this week's Bloomberg Businessweek magazine profiled some of the economic activity around Lordstown/Youngstown from the third shift assembling the Chevy Cruze.
Here is this week's Putin cover if you are looking for a copy to pick up:
An interesting line of work I did not know existed is overnight childcare. Parents drop off their kids going into their shift around 10:00pm, and then after their eight-hour shift, pick them up after 6:30am and take them to school. Wow.
What other unique opportunities come about in a third-shift kinda town?
In 2011 Mr. Ali Adi opened the Downtown Circle, which brought to downtown Youngstown a clean market stocked with goods, also serving daily unique freshly-prepared ethnic foods.
Less than a year later in January 2012, the successful entrepreneur will expand this model to an additional location in the city, but with a larger footprint.
Beginning next week, renovations will begin at the former R&S Market near the corner of Elm and Madison, just north of the YSU Campus and adjacent to other new and established private businesses near Wick Park such as Edward's Flowers, Dorian Books, and The Flats at Wick.
The new location, to be named the "University Circle," will have both a full market and a cafe space with wi-fi and seating for 46 people.
The existing two entrances will be remodeled into a single central entrance, with a complete physical redesign to the visual appeal of the building.
Similar to the location downtown, specialties such as chicken shawarma, grape leaves, smoothies, veggie falafel sandwiches, slowly-roasted meats can be ordered for lunches and dinners. The architectural drawings for the new place even have a space/drawn component for "vertical rotisseries."
What can north side residents and YSU students expect inside the "University Circle"?
Here's some quick shots of the interior and food from the "Downtown Circle" on Federal Street:
If we looked only at the last two weeks of Youngstown-related uploads, and treated it as a time capsule of December 2011 and the things going on in our hyperlocal world, what is in that bundle?
Here then are 10 videos uploaded in the last two weeks, a snapshot of this corner of the earth at the end of the last month of the eleventh year of the current millennium....
#10 - Highlights of the 2011 Youngstown Men's Rugby Season, who practices at Harrison Commons in the Smoky Hollow. (here's an article about the Youngstown Women's Rugby Team)
#9 - An interview between a christian pastor and a sheep puppet, discussing the history of christmas...
#8 - A homemade rap music video, complete with historical settings in Oak Hill Cemetery and a decapitated human body...
#7 - On the other end of that spectrum, someone installing one of Yoko Ono's "Imagine Peace" billboards in downtown Youngstown...
#6 - From a demolition perspective, the 71-year old Westlake Terrace public housing project christened by good ol' Eleanor Roosevelt is coming down. One of, if not, the oldest publicly-funded housing projects in the United States. At its height, Westlake Terrace was over 600 units.
#5 - From the revitalization perspective, Iron and String Life Enhancement (ISLE) Inc will be constructing a bakery/diner named "Sugar Plum" in downtown youngstown, partially staffed by adults with disabilities...
#4 -YSU's STEM Dean, Dr. Martin Abraham, at the Youngstown Utica Shale Conference announcing the formation of The Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute...
#3 - Some dude's assessment of Youngstown's recent 2.5 magnitude
earthquake using earthquake visualization software and Google Earth...
(Some of his info is correct, some info not so correct)
#2 - From a diaspora perspective, Catullo's Prime Meats is getting ready to send Youngstown treats across the USA...
#1 - Finally, The Youngstown Club's Famous cheese recipe created by James McGoogan well over 70 years ago has a commercial...
The world-famous cheese is now available at amazon.com to ship around the country & world. These 10 videos . . . a slice of Youngstown in December 2011.
The windows of Youngstown are trimmed with tinsel.
This Saturday the winner of the first-ever downtown youngstown window decorating contest will be announced, and a whole lot more.
This year's holiday parade will be really ramped up compared to years past. Besides the parade, there will be a lot to do...
10am - Oh WoW opens up for the day, filled with science and family fun. (till 7pm)
1pm - "The Nutcracker" by Ballet Western Reserve will be at the Warner Theater
1pm - at 20 Federal Place (the ol Strouss') there will be free train rides, free hands-on activities by the SMARTS downtown pioneers, baked good vendors, Youngstown Club nippy cheese, more food, and fresh-cut wreaths and garlands for purchase.
3pm - the parade gets underway, with floats and floatsam down Federal Street.
4pm - the Central Square downtown christmas tree will be lit, with Santa making an appearance. Free pictures with Santa courtesy of YSU photography students.
7pm - another "The Nutcracker" performance by Ballet Western Reserve
Looking to be a nice day Saturday with 50 degrees and Sunny!
Many of the newest downtown lunch and coffee shops will be open as well...
Here's a few pictures of some other downtown windows:
I love how our architecture is captured in the reflections of the windows.
The handprint wreaths on the Oh Wow center are really imaginative...
And the YSU Student Art Association (SAA) deserves mad props for decorating many many windows downtown with high quality paintings.