Thursday, January 31, 2008

why less entrepreneurs are better for the economy

this line caught my eye today:

"Having fewer entrepreneurs means that we are experiencing economic growth."

what do you think?

before leaving a comment, read the rest of this very brief article.

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in this context, now what do you think?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

we need to represent this weekend

Urban Leaders Gather to Discuss Future of Great Lakes Cities,
Shape Agenda for Multi-State, Multi Issue Community Revitalization Effort;
Brookings Institution, Oishei Foundation, University at Buffalo Regional Institute Agree:
The Time is Now for Post-Industrial American Cities

Contact: Abby Wilson, Co-Founder, Great Lakes Urban Exchange
412 551 4609,

From January 31st to February 2nd, over 40 urban devotees from ten US States will gather in Buffalo, NY to craft a new narrative for industrial cities of the Great Lakes region, the so-called “Rustbelt.” The Buffalo gathering is the kickoff of a multi year initiative that will use new media to build networks for change. The Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE) will engage young urbanists in an effort to bolster regional identity, envision livable urban futures, and tell stories about the people who are creating them.

GLUE was developed by Pittsburgh and Detroit boomerangs Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki to combat negative perceptions about the cities they call home. Its mission quickly evolved from new media boosterism to issue-based network building and resource pooling, and from a brain trust of two to a core planning team of forty young, devoted, and solutions-oriented leaders from twenty-one GLUE cities: Akron, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit, Duluth, Erie, Flint, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lansing, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, Toledo, and Youngstown.

GLUE’s ten state network of younger leaders will share best practices, create a resource hub, and use new media to tell 21st century stories about cities that remain hampered by monolithic and anachronistic associations with heavy industry., the project’s online hub, is in development at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (

GLUE, sponsored by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program through its Great Lakes Economic Initiative (GLEI), will use creative research and documentary journalism to build upon the analytic foundation laid by Brookings’ “Restoring Prosperity” and “The Vital Center,” seminal reports about the immediate needs and shared challenges of cities at the core of GLUE’s mission. John Austin, Non-Resident Senior Fellow to the Brookings Institution and director of GLEI, has coordinated support to the initiative. For more information, visit

“The Great Lakes region has been and remains a significant center of economic activity, but is making a spotty and imperfect transition from the industrial era,” said Austin. “Young talent, attracted to urban centers with a high quality of life, is essential to this transition.”

“I got tired of telling my mega-city dwelling friends that there’s more to Pittsburgh than beer cozies and empty Steel Mills, but that doesn’t mean we’re living in utopia, either,” Co-Founder Abby Wilson said. “Cities like Pittsburgh have made remarkable progress, hold extraordinary potential, and have a very long way to go.”

“I moved back a year ago to contribute to the future of my first love, Detroit, and have had the good fortune of getting to know several other cities that are in the same boat,” Co-Founder Sarah Szurpicki said. “I’ve had the thrilling realization since that my hometown and its cohorts all boast communities of people devoted to sustainable, equitable, and thriving futures for all. Those communities will, I hope, continue to find peers among the GLUE network.”

Scheduled activities for the Jan 31 – Feb 2 gathering include some of the following: peer to peer interviews that will be downloadable for podcast at, a bus tour of Buffalo’s beloved, but overlooked, gems, a presentation of research from the Brookings Institution’s Great Lakes Economic and Restoring Prosperity Initiatives, a new media tools primer, a Great Lakes cities trivia contest, a tour of Hallwalls gallery, and remarks from both the Regional Institute at Buffalo and the Oishei Foundation.

“The foundation believes it is critical to engage young leaders in envisioning and planning for the future of our region,” said Robert D. Gioia, President of The John R. Oishei Foundation, a critical partner in this effort. “This effort not only links emerging leaders in our own region, but connects them to a body of experience and knowledge in other Great Lakes cities dealing with similar challenges.”

“The institute is pleased to partner on an initiative that draws perspectives and ideas from Buffalo Niagara’s young leaders together with their counterparts from nine other Great Lakes states,” said Kathryn A. Foster, director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, which will assist in administering the convention. “GLUE will help foster a valuable knowledge exchange and generate strategies for the Great Lakes region’s future.”

“I am proud to support the engagement of young leaders in the future of upstate New York’s urban communities, and thrilled to have diverse regional representation here in Buffalo for such an important and timely conversation,” said New York State First Lady Silda Wall Spitzer. “GLUE is a natural complement to the work we’ve done here in Western New York with the I Live New York campaign.”

“I'm thrilled to support this initiative on behalf of both my adopted hometown and the Great Lakes community at large. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership welcomes the opportunity to engage with young leaders to learn and share best practices. Specifically, we’re excited to explore ideas related to our efforts to cultivate young talent through our Young Professionals program. Investing in our assets and showcasing ourselves as great places to live and work are essential to our collective success,” said Ann Mestrovich, Business Development Specialist at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, one of GLUE’s organizational supporters in the region.

For a complete schedule of activities, or to attend open sessions at the GLUE conference, email

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

7 part lecture series at YSU on start-up businesses

Hey, listen up.

There is going to be a series of webcasts at YSU free and open to the public, intended for entrepreneurs

There is no charge to attend, but reservations are required. To make a reservation, call (330) 941–3064. Free parking is available in the parking deck on Wick Avenue.

Each session will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Cafaro Suite in Williamson Hall.

Go listen to Chuck speak at the first session about the very successful SBIR (small business industry research) Program. We need more winners of this FREE MONEY from the mahoning valley.

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Jan. 30: Funding University Startups with SBIRs
Jo Anne Goodnight (Division of Special Programs, Office of Extramural Programs, National Institutes of Health); Kesh Narayanan (Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, National Science Foundation); and
Charles Wessner (Program on Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, The National Academies)

Feb. 13: Alumni Funded University Commercialization Funds
Daniel Behr (Harvard University); Melissa Carrier (University of Maryland Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship); and Leon Sandler (MIT Deshpande Center)

Feb. 20: What Do Early Stage Investors Really Look For In Startups (I)
Cali X. Tran (North Bridge Venture Partners); Constance Freedman (Cue Ball); and David Beisel (Venrock)

Feb. 27: What Do Early Stage Investors Really Look For In Startups (II)
Jura Zibas (Clear Springs and S.N. Phelps & Co.); Dan Gordon (Valhalla Partners); and Stephen Ringlee (Cimarron Capital Partners)

March 5: The Commercialization Continuum – Creating IP to Creating Companies.
Tracy Warren (Battelle Ventures); Alex Fischer (Battelle); and Glenn Kline (Innovation Valley Partners)

March 12: What Do Corporate VCs Really Look For In Startups
Don Clark (NEC Corporation of America); Paul Cummings (Honda Strategic Venturing); and Julie Gerstenberger (Eastman Kodak Co.)

What Do Early Stage Investors Really Look For In Startups (III)
Thomas L. Churchwell (Midwest Venture Partners); Mark Grovic (University of Maryland New Markets Fund); and Matt McCooe (Chart Venture Partners)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Valley native Schreckengost, renowned designer, passes away at 101

Viktor Schreckengost, born in Sebring, winner of the National Medal of Arts, and artist extraordinare, passed away over the weekend at the age of 101.

from his wikipedia article:
"Schreckengost taught industrial design at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) for more than 50 years, and is Professor Emeritus at CIA today. He was also the youngest faculty member ever at CIA (then known as the Cleveland School of the Arts). Schreckengost founded CIA's renowned school of industrial design, the first of its kind in the country."
and from the website of his foundation:
"Every adult in America has ridden in, ridden on, drunk out of, stored their things in, eaten off of, been costumed in, mowed their lawn with, played on, lit the night with, viewed in a museum, cooled their room with, read about, printed with, sat on, placed a call with, enjoyed in a theater, hid their hooch in, collected, been awarded with, seen at a zoo, put their flowers in, hung on their wall, served punch from, delivered milk in, read something printed on, seen at the World’s Fair, detected enemy combatants with, written about, had an arm or leg replaced with, graduated from, protected by, or seen at the White House something created by Viktor Schreckengost."
click here to access his gallery, where you can see more wonderful images like this:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

extending the conversation

Youngstown's printed-daily newspaper of record, The Vindicator has been recently pumping up their activities with more blogging pieces from their managment and reporters, as well as hiring some new faces at the newspaper's Valley24 entertainment site.

A new entry to Youngstown's blogsosphere is Todd Franko, the editor of the vindy, whose site "Your Newspaper" can be found here.

Franko dedicates one of his first posts to comments left on the Youngstown Moxie blog analyzing a vindy story about a gentleman from Poland (a Youngstown suburb) who was looking for female companionship.

Franko writes:
"Despite the less than glowing words from just about everyone, I think that being part of any dialogue is better than not being part of any discussion.

Your posts are heartfelt and sincere. Like many members of the blogging community, there are some good criticisms. But there are also some points where you might think differently if I explain just a bit. Or maybe you could care less after I explain and you'll see it through the glasses you choose to wear in this matter."

This is followed by the Youngstown Renaissance blog who reflects on a recent meeting with the editor here:
"I liked Franko, and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's running a quality operation. Now, I know it's a big shop, and he won't change every little thing I might not like: "fugitive of the week", "scripture of the day", Cal Thomas, etc.

But I'd like to put out a challenge for us to make a case for important stories and themes and see if we can get traction. Instead of complaining amongst ourselves, let's make it count and bend Franko's ear. See something you don't like? Push back with facts. Don't see something that should be covered? Push it forward. Just don't keep silent. This may yet be another golden opportunity to say what you want Youngstown to be and see it happen. What have you got to lose?"
- - -

another golden opportunity to say what you want Youngstown to be and see it happen.

What have you got to lose?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

fifth look inside the rosetta stone

Had my first meal at the newly opened Rosetta Stone downtown over the weekend. Here is a tour of our table's plates that evening:

salad with strawberries and mandarin oranges:

mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil and balsamic vinaigrette salad:

I believe this was mushroom ravoli, with pears (maybe apples?)


salmon with subtle blue cheese sauce over a bed of angelhair:

A carrot cake upon first look I thought was mashed potatoes:

Creme caramel with fruit garnish and black coffee.

my next goal is to get there on Federal Street for their daily breakfast, and try things from their bakery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

a day fit for a king

lift every voice and sing,
till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty;

let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies,
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

These words filled the air of Powers Auditorium saturday night, as a community came together in song, music, dance, and word to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Downtown was really packed Saturday: about 7,500 people to watch the YSU basketball game, a couple thousand at the hockey arena, and just as many to watch the MLK celebration choir perform with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.

The performances included readings by Sonja Williams and her husband, Jay Williams; a breakout violin solo by 13 year old Youngstown city school student, Shannon Lytle; as well as the presentation of the "Strength to Love" awards to four special citizens of the Valley.

The event was one pearl along a string of events this week which included a community pot-luck dinner with speaker at the Rodef Shalom temple; the Bishop's (diocese of youngstown) presentation at the New Bethel Baptist church; a community workshop at the First Presbyterian on empowering local youth; and today's MLK community breakfast. The only main event left is the Diversity Breakfast on 8am on Thursday at YSU, topic to be closing the achievement gap in education.

from today's news:
"The Rev. Lonnie Simon, 82-year-old emeritus pastor at New Bethel, sat up front in a wheelchair, a King photo pin in his lapel. Mr. Simon, pastor for 33 years, proudly recalled marching with King to Montgomery, Ala. in 1965.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-17th, presented Mr. Simon with an ornate hand-carved cane from Africa. Ryan brought the cane, adorned with a giraffe on top, back from a recent trip to Kenya.

Ryan, in his comments to the congregation, focused on the word ethos, which means the characteristic spirit of a culture, era or community as shown in its beliefs and aspirations.

He said King shaped assumptions.

“We contribute to the ethos of our community,” Ryan said. “Ten years from now Youngstown is going to be the comeback city ... They will say it was their attitude.”

lift every voice and sing,
till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty;

let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies,
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

the ascension

On December 29th, the individuals who will compose Youngstown City Council for the next four years were sworn into office. Of the seven ward seats, six of them are new to the office, now held by first-time officeholders.

Pictured here is 1st ward councilperson Annie Gillam, just as she was taking the oath to upload the Constitution and the laws of the city:

Here is the view of downtown from Council Chambers on the sixth floor of city hall:

And here is the beautiful ceiling of the chambers, restored a few years ago:

Listed below is the contact phone number for each of your City Council members, as provided on the city's website. You can find a map of the wards of Youngstown here.*

First Ward
Annie Gillam

Second Ward
DeMaine Kitchen

Third Ward
Jamael Tito Brown

Fourth Ward
Carol Rimedio-Righetti

Fifth Ward
Paul Drennen

Sixth Ward
Janet Tarpley

Seventh Ward
John R. Swierz

Council President
Charles Sammarone

*note: for a listing of some really cool GIS maps, go here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

recap of first night 2008

Spread throughout downtown youngstown in 17 different locations were the numerous events that made up First Night Youngstown 2008.

It was the first time I had attended the event, and the variety and number of activities and performances really impressed me. Even though it was hard to be in 17 places at once, many were on hand to see the ball drop at the City Hall Annex (the old post office). Here is a video of that moment:

Here is the first event on the 31st, the piroghi eating contest at 4:00pm. The awards for the event were awesome, modeled on the glorious eats from St. Joseph the Provider.

The lights were on throughout the downtown, and some of the older buildings I have never been inside were open to the public.

Here is a smattering of photos from a handful of the things I was able to see that night.

Civil war stories at Pig Iron Press:

Bob Barko's mural on the history of Youngstown:

Horse-drawn carriage rides throughout the downtown:

A hanging dragon at the SMARTS Art Center:

Getting ready for a drum circle:

Magic in the mirrored dance room upstairs at the DeYor:

Inside the Helen Chapel designed by P. Ross Berry:

A plaque signifying the founding of the First Pres. Church in 1799 what was then the Connecticut Western Reserve.

Rock music at 20 Federal Place:

High School Rock-off:

And as highlighted in a earlier post, the opening of the Rosetta Stone, a talent competition plus an entertainment review featured here by Metro Monthly.

The sideshows at the Oakland:

The vibe at the Youngstown Art gallery:

A tour from Central Square:

Looking across the street and up onto the buildings:

And much more took place than what is shown here.

First Night 2009 is already looking for volunteers, and if you can't help out, be sure to stop by on January 31st, 2007.

Friday, January 11, 2008

fear the penguin, hello kangaroo

Crain's Cleveland Business reported today an agreement reached bewteen the University of Akron Research Foundation and Youngstown State University.
"The research foundation will help Youngstown State evaluate products for commercialization, negotiate contracts regarding intellectual property and identify opportunities to form partnerships with companies and other organizations. The foundation also will assist young companies formed to commercialize Youngstown State technology.

[YSU will] stand to benefit not only because they will gain access to technology transfer expertise at the University of Akron, but also because the foundation, unlike public universities, is able to take equity in startup companies."

also, check out this march:

Oh yeah, additionally check out this cool post from Shout Youngstown's sister site In The Yo:

Coveted Creativity

Sunday, January 06, 2008

live from new orleans

So it's a normal Saturday afternoon.

I just jumped on a horse carriage with six other of my friends from Louisiana.

The driver wanted two more passengers before leaving for a stroll.

And then, like magic, two unknown people jump aboard.

And of course, they're from Youngstown.

C'mon Jimmy.

Win it for the O. Win it for the Yo.

O - H - I - O

Thursday, January 03, 2008

fourth look at the rosetta stone

Because uploading all of my videos from First Night is taking a good bit of time, I'm just going to concentrate on the construction at the Rosetta Stone Cafe today - which was serving coffee, fruit, and cheese and crackers on New Year's Eve.

Walking through the main door, this chocolate sculpture greeted all the visitors:


The three figures carved in cocoa were very ornate, and held the wine bottles in place.

The floral arrangement was also made of sugar. A nice compliment to the mangoes and fromage.

The display cases have now been installed, which are right next to the ovens and will contain all the daily baked goods.

Leather couches and tables have been placed on the upper level.

From the street level, the wide open windows allow pedestrians to look all the way to the back mural. Compare this experience at the street level to the horribly designed Children's Services Building just two blocks away.

Just imagine if this vision continued down the street, all the way to the symphony!

The new booths have been installed, along with some chairs . . .

. . . and the bar looks to be finished, with lights and beer taps now installed.