Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the best show on television. period.

GPS with Fareed Zakaria.

- - -

from the sept 21st 2008 show on global financial markets:

KARABELL: People will look back at this time and say, this was the period of time when the global capital base literally went outside the United States, much the way the manufacturing base of the world left the United States...

ZAKARIA: The de-Americanization of global finance, Niall?

FERGUSON: I'm not sure it's time to anticipate that yet.

You know, the American financial history is a series of crises, and often household names would evaporate. Who remembers now the Knickerbocker Trust?

Let's not forget that this is part of the American package, that banks fail. It's called "creative destruction." That was a great phrase used by Joseph Schumpeter.

When you look at the other models that are on offer here -- let's say, state monopoly capitalism of the sort they have in Moscow, or some kind of quasi-liberal planned economy of the sort they have in Beijing -- are those faring any better at the moment? Actually, no.

I know which stock market is down most in the world, and it sure isn't the U.S. stock market. Actually, it's the Russian stock market right now.

ZAKARIA: But so is the model...

FERGUSON: Let's not assume there's an alternative model that everybody can embrace, that somehow could proof against crisis.

ZAKARIA: But could the model be more European banks, which are much less leveraged, which have been -- which have not reaped the rewards of the last two decades quite as much, but are not imploding before our eyes?

FERGUSON: The last time I looked at the numbers, they had lost just as much money in the subprime crisis as their American counterparts. And it's only really a somewhat different set of arrangements between governments and finance that are preventing banks in Switzerland and in Britain from going bust.

KARABELL: But the issue, Niall, is not that this represents the failure of the United States long term. The globalization of capital can be immensely beneficial to any of the players within it.

And the manufacturing example is quite germane in that, yes, it's true that a lot of people lost their jobs in the 1970s. Pittsburgh was a disaster zone for 15 or 20 years. But Pittsburgh today is, you know, a high-tech service capital. And you have this transition in that creative destruction way.

It doesn't mean that the United States becomes a substantially poorer or less affluent society. It just means that the base becomes much more disperse. And I think that's what we're beginning to see, not the erosion of the model.

- - -

So, how can Youngstown reorient itself more towards Pittsburgh to come out stronger after this most recent wave of creative destruction?

what's at podcamp pittsburgh oct 18th & 19th?

why i'm going to podcamp pittburgh 3:

(1) - it's free
(2) - it's conveniently during a weekend
(3) - it's good opportunity to learn new things
(4) - i want to meet other Cleveburgh bloggers

It seems like the content of the conference is geared towards both beginners and pseudo-experts, and you can find the two-day schedule here.

some of the topics include:
"Intro to Blogging"
"Podcasting 101"
"Social Media Business Plans"
"Video Compression Best Practices"
"Using Analytics"
"Search-Engine-Friendly Blogging"
"Social Media and the Arts"
"Rustbelt Bloggers Roundtable"

so yeah, there will be a few of us caravaning from the Yo if you want to carpool.

It will held at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh downtown from 9am to 5pm both days and you can register here.

ps. I have been physically threatened to return to Youngstown saturday night from Pittsburgh because the following is going on that night downtown:

- Kelly Pavlik fight
- Ice event at the Chev which will air on Christmas on NBC
- YSU football game
- Oreo stacking cancer contest
- Mahoning River nude swim 2008

So there is also a chance some people will be returning Saturday night as well, or as was presented to me at knifepoint, I could actually bring some of the people attending Podcamp to Youngstown for the evening as the two places are so close.

While the jury is still out on my personal location Saturday night, I encourage you to attend Podcamp Pittsburgh 3 regardless.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

exclusive: a tour of the soon-to-be history center in downtown youngstown

Kudos and thanks must be given to those leading the larger-scale renovation projects in downtown Youngstown.

This includes the multi-million conversion of the 12-story Realty Building built in 1924 into housing, the recently-announced $8.6 million renovation of the YWCA on Rayen, and the $4 million project to renovate the Harry Burt/Ross Radio Building into the Mahoning Valley History Center.

This progress must also act as a lesson to those to wish to see other historical structures demolished which are in need of repair.

Redevelopment takes time (and money), but patience is needed. For the results are glorious.

The sins of the premature demolitions of terra cotta clad structures of McKelvey's and the Palace Theater, for example, serve as reasons to cautiously proceed as calls exist for the total demolition of the still-standing-but-endangered Paramount Theater, the Kress Building, and the Stambaugh Building.

With that editorial out of the way, let's jump into the future of the Burt Building:

Built in 1919, the original structure was purchased and renovated in 1921 by Harry B. Burt. Burt converted the four-floor structure into a working ice cream factory, restaurant and ballroom space.

The building however is best known as a place of innovation - as the ice cream on a stick, or the Good Humor Bar, was invented and patented in Youngstown.

The building was cited by Parade Magazine/The National Trust for Historic Preservation last year for an award.

But in the years to come this gateway to the future will be the home to the newest structure of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

Kicking it since 1875, the MVHS has a great website what can explain in further detail the history of the Good Humor Company and they maintain a stellar blog as well.

Above and below are two view of the future development of the building, identifying the space for future archive and exhibition spaces, a renovated ballroom for special events, and meeting space.

After Burt's death and the sale of the Good Humor Company, in 1935 James Ross purchased the building where it remained the headquarters of the Ross Radio Company until 2007.

Another very interesting point of history took place in this building after World War II:

In the basement where Burt's ice cream was once frozen, in order to assist the fledgling zionist movement in Palestine, supporters of the establishment of Israel collected guns and subsequently shipped them to the Middle East to be used by settlers.

Looking in that basement today, we find some neat stuff.

Survival saltine crackers were recently unearthed, and here are some other photos:

On the second floor is the ballroom, still intact from Harry Burt days. Check out those columns.

It was also known as "Club Vogue" back in the day, but this wide shot shows the lack of structural supports which really opens up the space as a dancing area.

But how is the second floor supported?

From the third floor, these supports come down to carry the load of the second floor ceiling.

Nice engineering work, and a nice view out the window:

an old sink:

the Peacock Room, where patrons were once served:

a old-school speaker:

and finally, a non smoking sign from the Harry Savasten mayoral administration more than fifty years ago.

So if you like what you see and support its future, donate to the campaign to transform this building.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

let's do it for coach - 22,000 strong

UPDATE:more cowbell

- - -

boy, last weekend's football game was exciting.

In case you missed it, YSU knocked off the #2 team in the country.

And as usual, Bob Hannon and Coach Dick Hartzell did a phenomenal job of calling the game. They are so descriptive when explaining the situation on the field.

Youngstowners know the only way to experience YSU football is with Coach and Bob on the radio, even if the game is televised or you are at the stadium.

- - -

"amen, brother"

And Coach has a request for this weekend:

Get 22,000 people at Stambaugh Stadium at 6pm on Saturday.

why doubt a man who could do this at 67 years of age?:

The Penguins will take on the undefeated Liberty University Flames (the school Jerry Falwell founded) as their opponent.

For the Youngstown Nation diaspora around the country, you can listen to the game live here.

But if you live anywhere in the Cleveburgh Corridor, Stambuagh Stadium will be the place to be.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

youngstown's polish brier hill

"I'd like some mathematics with my halusky."

- - -

Tucked into youngstown's Brier Hill - a neighborhood and home for multiple ethnicities over the generations - sits St. Casimir's Parish from 1907.

and it was rocking last weekend.

vodka, pierogies, topological spaces, dancing, pisanki, singing, data compression, wycinanki . . . this fest had it all.

but what I loved about this festival was blending of the new and the old - youngstown style.

- young kids learning how to color ornate eggs.
- information on cutting-edge mathematical research.
- handed down recipes of stuffed cabbage and kolachi.
- chinese auctions for baskets of polish food.
and open to all people from any ethnic heritage.

for a first glance, check out the parish grounds on Jefferson Street:

Also, there was some information about a few groups in town which I was not aware of:

The Polish Arts Club of Youngstown

next meets on October 12, 2008 from 1-4pm
and if you want to become a member costs $15 a year
which pays for meeting costs and their newsletter

The Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle
meets every Thursday from 6pm to 8pm
at the YMCA in downtown youngstown
for those interested in Polish customs, language, and folk dance.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

how can fostering tech companies alleviate poverty?

At this week's nonprofit community summit sponsored by the Raymond John Wean Foundation, Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown announced the “big hairy audacious goal” of cutting the city's poverty rate - now pegged at 32.6% - in half by 2020.

According to an article in the Business-Journal:
"Ohio ranks 19th in the nation with the percentage of its citizens living in poverty, Murry continued, and four of Ohio’s major cities – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Youngstown -- are in the top 20 in the United States."

The city and the Valley cannot wait for Columbus or Washington to come to the rescue. The leadership must come from the nonprofit community. “No one religious group or sector can do this alone,” Murry said. “Today I am asking you to become part of a group that will work together in [delivering better] social and health services.”

The bishop called for metanoia in the Valley, metanoia from the Greek for “a transformative change of heart, especially a spiritual conversion.”

He urged citizens to ask candidates for public office “what they will do within 100 days of taking office [to reduce poverty]. We must be advocates for the poor.”

What they often overlook is what James Coleman called “social capital,” the bishop said. “Social capital is a neutral resource that depends on the uses to which it is put.”

Nonprofits have much to teach about building social networks and trust in a community,” Murry said. “We must help people use [nonprofits’] assets better.”
which leads to an interesting question about building a local economy based more and more on technology-based processes and building a community which finds less and less of its people in dire straits.

That is, does technology-based economic development hinder or help traditionally disadvantaged groups?

On one hand, in a zero-sum world, it's possible to argue "we have no money for homeless programs in Toledo because we are spending tax dollars on research equipment in Dayton."

On the other hand, it's possible to argue "funding a successful technology incubator in Youngstown has spin-off effects, in that it creates downstream businesses such as coffee shops and office cleaners, and provides additional taxes to the overall system to provide social services."

any thoughts on this question?

please include in your comments ideas on how the public and bloggers can help alleviate poverty in Youngstown.

"could you be more generic?"

This hulu site sucked me in for a few hours...full length movies, daily show clips, and snl skits among others.

what's very cool is that when you embed the code, you can choose the start and stop times of the overall clip.

a highlight reel from the last few days:

the last 45 seconds of this one is priceless:

could you be more generic?

Friday, September 19, 2008

the downtown dormcubator and ybi news

A cool idea from our friends in Canada:

Last week, a combination business incubator & college residence at the University of Waterloo admitted its first group of 70 upper-year and graduate students to live in cohabitation at VeloCity, a home for young entrepreneurs interested in mobile communications and digital media.

UW spent $400,000 to convert the 40-year-old building into this modified space, which will include a wireless device lab, wi-fi, videoconferencing, hightened bandwidth, student presentation space, a LCD wall screen, and common areas to encourage collaboration. [picts here]

Any student who wants to live there must pass an interview process.

Applicants are asked questions about their technical and entrepreneurial abilities, and selected students are formed into project teams, each one partnered with an industry mentor to provide technical and business assistance.

And get this, towards the end of each term, the student groups will present their projects at a symposium populated by industry and investment capital representatives. According to the policies of the university, students would own the rights to any intellectual property they create.

- - -

so might a project like this take off in Youngstown?

You have one of the most successful mobile communications and software development business incubators in the country in downtown youngstown.

You have a new $34.3 million Gold LEED-Certified business school with planned space for student entrepreneurs being built two blocks from this incubator.

You have a mayor, a university president, and other community and political leaders who have a desire to populate the downtown with more residents.

You have a handful of structures in between the YBI and the new Williamson Business School (the Erie Terminal Building and the Kress Building for example), that can be converted into a similarly-modeled residence for business students and entrepreneurs.

so, what do you think?

- - -

On a side note, two press releases from the YBI went out this week.

First, some metrics:

In the last three fiscal years, the five ODOD-funded business incubators in Northeast Ohio (in youngstown, lorain, akron, cleveland, and mansfield) have created in aggregate 754 jobs, generated $304 million in revenue, attracted $81 million in investment capital, and sustained an annual employee payroll of $39 million.


Second, some construction:

The Youngstown Foundation has contributed $25,000 for YBI's "INSPIRE!" project. INSPIRE! is a new program of YBI that will offer flexible development suites within their main building, with access to resources for information technology start-ups in the very early stages of formation.


Let's also think regionally for a moment. . .

What is the combined impact of the state-funded business incubators when the Pittsburgh region is added to the mix?

What are some other mega-regional metrics in Cleveburgh which would be worth promoting?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

first fall STAGE thursday (tonight) - huzzah!

waiting for your day to finish?


when it's quittin time, head on over to the Oakland from 8pm to 11pm - I double dutch dare you.

Cause it's the next installment of THE STAGE, where the performers get in for free and it's only 5 bucks to watch in the audience. Free food as well.

AND, there is now wi-fi in the Oakland, so if the singing is awful, you could always check Facebook. Or you can be the first person to ever do a live blog from The Stage. Or you can email.

and, wow wow wow wow wow.

This may be your last chance to see the Star Gallery filled with the works of Hannah Woodroofe. More here.

See some thoughts on this topic at Subpopular.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

exclusive: final design of the ysu business school

As promised, here are the final architectural plans for the new Williamson College of Business in downtown youngstown:

The photo above shows the entrance on the side of the building closer to campus, specifically the entrance closer to Hazel Street extension.

Now below is the site plan of the ground floor:

There are two auditoriums (in orange) on the ground floor, one at each end.

A central atrium splits into two hallways depositing to Wood Street on the side closer to the central business district. One exits to the pedestrian staircase along Phelps Street, the other runs inside parallel to Hazel Street.

The photo below is looking from beyond Wood Street, towards the central part of campus. This is the part of the building along the ridge as the elevation changes, that one that people will see when looking from down below near Cedars' parking lot.

Looking from a similar, but not identical perspective, were we see all the southernish facing windows from the atrium.

The third and top floor in this view shows the conference center.

The views from inside the conference center will have stunning angles of the skyscrapers downtown.

The next view shows the strong design element framing the space from the Hazel Street side.

Below is a cantilevered section, with the name "williamson" in galvanized steel supporting the load.

And below, from inside the atrium - with entrance to the trading floor.

Notice the walkways and stairways that face the atrium, leading to a kinetic feel of the building as people walk through it (and even to the bathrooms).

And here's a handsome fellow with a soulpatch, checking out the letters. This view is looing up towards the central campus.

When finished in summer of 2010, the LEED-gold certified building will double the size of the current building - and be a signature piece highlighting the successful cooperation between the city and the university.

Monday, September 15, 2008

constructive deconstruction

Work began mid-August on the demolition of five structures between downtown youngstown and the university on the hill, whose former footprints will be the location of the new Williamson College of Business building.

Here's a photo of the site taken yesterday:

You can also track the day-to-day progress of the construction of the new $34.3 million certified LEED-gold building here:

from the project's press release:
"Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams said partnering with the university on the project is exceptionally beneficial because it will not only vastly improve a blighted area on the perimeter of downtown, it also will create a magnificent and powerful linkage between the city’s central business district and the university campus.

The new Williamson College of Business Administration will be a three–story, state–of–the–art facility bounded by Wood Street on the south, Rayen Avenue on the north and Phelps Street on the east. The building will be just east of St. Columba Cathedral and the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown."

be on the lookout in tomorrow's blog for the final design plans of the new building.

Friday, September 12, 2008

first-ever, jam-packed, music-filled, youngstown grey-to-green festival is this saturday

"even all the forks passed out by the food vendors will be made of biodegradable potato starch."

it's amazing what passionate individuals with dedicated sponsors can put together.


while I encourage you go to Youngstown Moxie's site to see the full schedule of activities, here is a quick sample of things at the first-ever Grey to Green Festival at Wick Park (north side 44504) in Youngstown on Saturday, September 13th:

farmers market
live music
ethnic food
belly dancing instruction
compost instruction
tai chi instruction
puppet shows
children's activities every half-hour

- - -

And as a special treat, Grow Youngstown is teaming together with the Shout Youngstown blog to present the demonstration:

Urban Permaculture: What is it?

The time: Saturday 4pm to 5pm, Sept. 13th
The place: right next to the Wick Park Pavilion
The presenters: Tracie Haynes and Brad Masi of the New Agrarian Center.

This talk is supported by the Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Youngstown Regional Learning Network.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

youngstown on cover of Next American City mag, 6-page color story inside

exciting news!

today the latest issue of the Next American City magazine came out, with Youngstown landing a six-page, full-color article explaining its city planning efforts and the 2010 plan.

NAC was founded in 2002, and after picking up a copy a few years ago, I fell in love with this magazine.

It covers architecture, city planning, transportation, urban economies, environmental issues, education, and labor/workforce development issues of cities - all topics this blog is keen on. Although the Youngstown story isn't posted online yet, other articles from previous issues can be accessed here at their website.

taking a look inside...

the article's title is: Can They Save Youngstown?

what's interesting to notice is the pictures the photographer chose for the article: the smokestacks from youngstown thermal, the paramount theater, the vw bus next to a terra cotta building...

attention, city leaders: objects like these are appealing to the tech-generation.

Light those towers at night!
Preserve the facades of all the remaining theaters!
Maintain a walkable and interesting streetscape at eye level!

Much thanks goes to Abby from GLUEspace in Pittsburgh who introduced us to the editors of the magazine in May.

For all you Youngstown fans on the east coast, the launch party for this issue will take place in the city of Philadelphia, on Thursday September 11th from 8 to 11pm at the Ugly American at 1100 South Front Street. More info on who's DJing at their website.

and if you are a city planning student or fan of rust belt wonderment, some of the local bloggers in town (two mentioned by name in the article) would be happy to provide tours of the city, meeting new friends in the meantime.

contact us.

good press, Team Youngstown...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

alaska, the youngstown region, and perspective

Just out of curiosity, I checked the population of the great state of Alaska. According to the U.S. Census Bureau . . .

670,053 people lived in Alaska in 2006.

- - -

Now let's look at what is commonly called the Youngstown region:

251,026 in Mahoning County (OH)
217,362 in Trumbull County (OH)
118,551 in Mercer County (PA)
110,542 in Columbiana County (OH)

which in that same year of 2006 was
697,481 people

add the
91,795 people from Lawrence County (PA) which is less than two miles from the Youngstown city limits can you get a total of

789,276 people in 2006 for the Youngstown region.

Definitely larger than Alaska, and still, one of the top 100 largest metro areas in the United States even without Columbiana and Lawrence counties.

and the Youngstown region is smack in the middle, the central hub if you will, of the 7.5 million Cleveburgh mega-region.

- - -

two things for all you mega-regional people:

Listen here for this week's interview on Lincoln Avenue with Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams - discussing regionalism.

Follow here the upcoming Restoring Our Prosperity Policy Summit to take place in Columbus this Wednesday, September 10th. Breakfast will be served at 8am at the Columbus Convention Center in the Short North.

The summit's agenda can be read here for those who cannot attend.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

buckeye innovation zones (biz)

This week, the Ohio Department of Development released its Strategic Plan, full of lots of pretty pictures and some policy recommendations.

One of the report's various proposals is to create at least 12 of what the OhDoD is calling Ohio Hubs of Innovation and Prosperity (or OHIO, chuckle) - with one in downtown Youngstown.

from the 108-page report, which can be found here:
"Our Ohio Hubs of Innovation and Opportunity program will leverage our regional strengths to facilitate and catalyze the creation of at least 12 regionally designated places where knowledge and place-based assets intersect; places where innovation will flourish and places where opportunity will be generated. We will offer targeted resources to renew physical space and foster new business investment in each OHIO Hub."
So what might these OHIO Hubs look like?

Youngstown can look right at our neighbors for some answers, as Pennsylvania offers a similar program, the Keystone Innovation Zones (KIZ), through its Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

More can be found on the PA KIZ Program here, so while the Ohio version may be different, here are some of its main components:
Each zone is area contiguous to an institution of higher education, linked to other economic development partners/organizations such as private businesses, business support organizations, commercial lending institutions, venture capital companies, angel investor networks or foundations.

Innovation Grants are provided to institutions of higher education to facilitate technology transfer, including patent filings, licensing, intellectual property, royalty agreements and other designated resource needs. Grants may not exceed $250,000 per year and the program is supported for three fiscal years.

Planning Grants provide seed funding to KIZ Partnerships that may not meet the criteria for Zone certification, but would benefit from additional planning and development of their application. Generally awards are $25,000 to support a follow on full KIZ application.

Operations Grants support each Zone's Coordinator for administrative costs incurred in establishing and implementing the keystone innovation zone. Grants will not exceed $250,000 and will be reduced in subsequent years by 25%, 50%, and finally 75%.

Tax Credits can be offered to a KIZ company (as designated) to claim a credit equal to 50% of the increase in the KIZ company’s gross revenues. The credit will not exceed $100,000 annually.
so while according to the report, the OHIO Hubs won't be operational until two to four years from now, what can Youngstown do to prepare?

1 - look across the border to what works and what doesn't for success, since Pennsylvania has 29 of these zones. Check the KIZ zones list here, and contact at least the close ones located in Oil City, two in Pittsburgh, Erie, Beaver Falls, and Johnstown and discuss best practices.

2 - Start pushing and marketing downtown youngstown NOW as the place to be for technology companies to locate in the region. Proximity and density is key.

3 - Similar to the WIRED Nation created by forward thinkers in some of the country's WIRED regions through the Dept. of Labor, a similar site can be constructed to link Ohio's Hubs and share best practices with each other.

While more programs exist in Ohio's most recent Strategic Plan, now is the time to start strategizing as a region about next steps.

- - -

as a side note, an interesting and revealing critique of the Strategic Plan's goals can be found here at NullSpace.
"...one goal is for Ohio to achieve job growth at a rate 25% above any of its neighboring states. Those would include Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and well, you know. In fact the lead measures (see page 6) are all defined by just doing better than those other 4 states and Pennsylvania.

Should those really be the goals for any state? I suppose Ohio could achieve that if things just went to hell in a handbasket in those bordering states, Pennsylvania included. Would that really be success? Not exactly a mega-regional view of economic development in that."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

10 days till first Grey to Green fest

To friends in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Erie, Buffalo, Akron, Wheeling, Canton, Meadville, Lorain, Columbus, and East Liverpool:

The first-ever Grey to Green Festival is 10 days away - Saturday September 13th - and you are all invited to join together in Youngstown's Wick Park.

over 40 booths and organizations . . .

green energy workshops . . .

music, entertainment . . .

food, farmers market . . .

how cities can minimize their footprints . . .
how individuals can save energy and money . . .
how a region can learn from each other . . .

want to lean more?
contact Deb Weaver at debraweaver2000 (at) hotmail.com

and check back here for more updates.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

he guessed the book

regardless of how one will vote, this answer is impressive:

(notice how biden picks up the book in the background ... waaaahhh)

nice use of the term "metropolitan area".

dear media, please take notes for future references.

and Joe, become fluent in this concept for the vice-presidential debates...

might work for the presidential ones too...