Friday, December 31, 2010

ysu basketball heating up

YSU Penguins are 6-0 on the home court in 2010 after last night's win.

What will 2011 bring?

Next game is downtown on campus on new yea's day @ 1pm.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

civic crowdsourcing question: Has anyone taken the Chinatown bus from Youngstown to NYC?

Tonight the evening news was blanketed with stories of people stranded in airports across the country.

According to Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog (now at nytimes), with airline load factors at all-time highs of 82 percent, people won't be able to get a flight until after the new year.

Events like this massive snow storm show how limited our options are in the USA for public transportation.

- - -

side note: It would be great if Ohio had $400 million (a random amount) to begin implementation of passenger rail.

But money like that from the federal government would never be allocated.

- - -

here's a question:

Recently I heard there is now a Chinatown Bus providing cheap seats from Youngstown to New York City and back.

according to this site, there is a stop in Youngstown, right off Interstate 80.

Has anyone taken the China Bus?

Was it a pleasant experience?

How much was your ticket?

What time did you depart and arrive during both legs of the trip?

please leave your comments below...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

it's going to be almost 50 degrees on Friday - First Night Youngstown buttons for sale downtown all this week

after one straight month of snow on the ground, it looks like we're getting a heatwave starting Friday . . .

What's also on Friday?

It's First Night Youngstown, the Mahoning Valley's new year eve celebration.

With events to run from 5pm all the way to the ball drop and fireworks at midnight, the entire schedule can be found HERE.

some events include:
- woodwind quartet and victorian holiday displays at MVHS
- lasers at the Planetarium
- Irish folk music at St. Columba Cathedral
- kids' art at SMARTS
- string concert at the stunning Trinity United Methodist Church
- open ice skating at the Covelli Centre
- horse carriage ride thru downtown
- karaoke at choffin
- classical acoustic guitar at the Masonic Temple

food discounts at:
- Cafe Cimmento
- Charlie Staples
- Pizza Joe's
- Touch the Moon Candy Saloon

a video from a recent ball drop downtown . . .

tickets are available ALL WEEK downtown at the ground floor of the City Center One building, 100 East Federal Street.

$10, adults
$5, kids and seniors
free, children under 12 yrs old

and this week only, if you go downtown and purchase an adult ticket, you get a free toy from a local toy company:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

grassroots downtown youngstown music videos

here's exhibit one, just posted this week:

more to come...

just for the record, the editors of this blog had nothing to do with the creation of the video.

it popped up on a google alert.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The "I Will Shop Youngstown" 100% Pledge

Looking over the gifts I've purchased for the holidays this year, the realization hit me that all of the items or gift certificates being given to friends and loved ones so far were attained in downtown youngstown.

Taking it a step further, presenting the:
"I Will Shop Youngstown" 100% Pledge. . .

"I, (insert name), will do 100 percent of the rest of this year's holiday shopping will in Youngstown, and I will continue to purchase the rest of the presents for birthdays and other holidays in 2011 locally as well."

Can you take the pledge?
Can you make that extra effort?

- - -

Purchasing locally made gifts is like a huge economic stimulus for the Valley, especially if we do it in aggregate.

In fact, it's downright patriotic.

When you purchase stuff at Best Buy and Barnes & Noble and all those chains, local folks take a small sliver in wages, but the bottom line goes somewhere else outside of the metro area.

Give the gift of investing in your community - buy local.

- - -

Some unique examples:

- All your holiday cards can be purchased at the downtown SMARTS store, designed by local students.

- Our artists in the Ward Bakery Building and Calvin Center Idea Incubator have a wonderful variety of products for both art and utility.

- Have a friend without medical benefits? There's a dentist on the 9th floor of the Huntington Bank Building. Give them the gift of clean teeth, with a gift certificate!

- Think your friends will enjoy a hot stone message or manicure/pedicure? Order them one from William Leonard's Extraordinary Gentlemen!

- Ever have a dress shirt custom made for a perfect fit? Try John Lisko's shop in the Commerce Building!

- Want to share the gift of knowledge with young children? Memberships to the new Science and Technology Museum downtown are available!

- Like live theater? Give a flex pass to the Oakland, and a one to yourself!

- Have a friend who is unable to drive? WRTA bus coupons!

- Have a friend addicted to barbeque sauce? Charlie Staples and cups and cups of love!

- Have a friend who eats too much bbq and needs to shed a few pounds? YMCA memberships!

- Love History? Memberships to the Tod Engine Heritage Park!

- Flowers from Briel's!
- Hardcovers from Dorian Books!
- Beer from the Rust Belt Brewery!
- Sausage from DiRusso's!

this list can become a very long one, but the core question remains the same...

If given the chance, can you exclusively shop local?

Will you take the "I Will Shop Youngstown" 100% Pledge?

Friday, December 17, 2010

the world's first ever horror film - from 1910 - to be shown downtown on Friday

This little blurb is a great example of the cool little things that keep popping up all throughout Youngstown.

On Friday, Dec 17th @7pm, the Oakland Center for the Arts will host Frankenstein, originally produced in 1910 by Thomas Alva Edison's film company.

$5 will get one in the door, which includes a lecture on the film by the great Youngstown artist Chris Yambar.

From the Oakland's press release:
"Due to the Victorian public’s outcry against the film’s content, all copies of the cinematic first were gathered and destroyed, making it one of the most sought-after “lost treasures” of Silver Screen history. When a lone copy surfaced in the silent film collection of Alois Dettlaff during the 1960s, it became a guarded reel, one shown in its entirety to only a select few over the next 40 years. The eccentric Dettlaff never allowed the film to leave his estate and refused to have it restored.

In 2003, Chris Yambar joined forces with illustrator Robb Bihun and examined the film frame-by-frame, noting everything that occurred. They fought the popular temptation to “gore it up” and decided to keep their adaptation as bloodless and straightforward as the original content. There were areas, however, that needed some bridging in order to have a cognitive narrative flow. This was done with thoughtfulness and respect. The result was a 40-page graphic telling of the legendary 15-minute film."
Coffee, cocoa, and popcorn will be available at the Oakland.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

oh wow! - live downtown - right now

The crane is out...installing the sign.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

global talent search: Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI)

want ad:
Youngstown Business Incubator, single, young, full of life, seeks Chief Operating Officer for building a beautiful relationship.

more info:
At the LinkedIn group: Greater Youngstown Global Talent Network

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Youngstown Business Incubator has the prime responsibility for the internal management of the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) and its managed technology campus.

The COO reports directly to the YBI's Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The COO will oversee all operational and administrative functions that support entrepreneurial activities but do not relate directly to participants.

A full job description for the position may be requested in advance
by contacting:
sdiamond (at)

Interested parties should send letters of interest and resumes to:
James W. Cossler
Youngstown Business Incubator
241 West Federal Street
Youngstown, Ohio 44503

Electronic submission is preferred and can be sent to:

jcossler (at)

[No telephone calls will be accepted.]

No resumes will be accepted
for consideration after 12/27/2010.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

clips from Mazowsze dance workshop and performance at Youngstown's Wigilia dinner

The group Polish Youngstown continues to rack up victory after victory of quality ethnic-themed events.

Case in point:
Downtown Youngstown was chosen as the site for the first-ever U.S. dance workshop of Mazowsze - THE ethnic dance toupe of the country of Poland.

Held at Ballet Western Reserve downtown on Sunday, the five-hour event allowed people from around the U.S. to learn from this famous group. Here's a video that was posted online today:

Immediately afterwards, hundreds of people dressed up for the annual Wigilia Dinner at the Youngstown Club - organized by the Polish Arts Club of Youngstown (since January 1935) where people feasted on the traditional meal served on Christmas Eve in central/eastern european households.

I didn't know pickled herring could be so delicious.

Mazowsze performed with its 18-piece orchestra and 20-piece choral group between dinner and dessert.

Here are some videos of Mazowsze's performance at the Youngstown Club. They are excellent!

This week, the monthly Polish Happy Hour resumes on Thursday Dec 9th at Rips Tavern from 5:30pm-9:00pm
The focus will be on Old Polish Christmas traditions.

from last month's event:

Then on Thursday, January 13th, "Kulig" will take place...

with horse-drawn sleigh rides around Lake Glacier in Mill Creek Park,
roasted keilbasa in the old log cabin
bonfires at Fellows Riverside Gardens
Singing, Dancing, Ice Carving, Live Music, and Polish Food.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

great gift shopping everyday in downtown youngstown - open house tues at SMARTS

The space that houses the SMARTS program downtown is like a hidden present along Federal Street.

Go inside and open the doors, and you'll find an explosion of color, laughter, music, dancing, opera, creative writing, and art throughout its two floors.

But you'll also find shopping - in the SMARTS Store. From 60 artists!

In fact, I think I can do just about all of my holiday shopping in here.

The SMARTS program will be having its annual holiday open house on Tuesday December 6th from 10am to 6pm.

There will be refreshments, music, and hands-on activities for kids.

Check out the variety of gifts for sale:

as a bonus, all sales get a 10% discount on tuesday.

SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) is a FREE downtown after-school program to provide instruction to grades k through 12 in art, music, an dance for children from all income levels.

Through its affiliation with YSU, students in the university's music education program and other programs teach students in various disciplines.

All proceeds from the SMARTS Store benefit future programming for students (maybe your children) downtown.

More information about SMARTS is available here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

tuesday's public workshops to look at pedestrian paths and roadways near YSU

On Tuesday Nov 16, two workshops will be held downtown to discuss the future of bikeways, roadways, and walkways around the YSU campus and downtown.

What do you think should be around YSU?

less bike paths?
more crosswalks?
higher speed limits?
additional parking lots on Wick Avenue by demolishing historical properties?

Your opinions are desired at these two sessions:

10:30am - 12:00pm
Chestnut Room, Kilcawley Center
parking provided in Wick Ave Garage
on campus

5:00pm - 6:30pm
Eastgate Offices, City Center One Building
100 East Federal Street, Suite 1000

you can also leave additional comments here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rust Belt Brewery to release newest mircobrew downtown Saturday - a milk stout

noon Saturday, Nov 13th, at the B&O train station.

That's the time and place the Rust Belt Brewery will release to the public for the first time their newest flavor made with Youngstown tap water - their Milk Stout.

It is the first beer to be released in the new line of John Young Selects, a series of brews to honor the founder of Youngstown.

The initial release will only be 100 cases, and will only be available at the brewery on Saturday.

Can't wait to try it out!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

RACK & ROLL - a friday party for downtown bike rack sculptures

This Friday, a big step forward will take place in the placement of bike racks in downtown youngstown.

The RACK & POLL party will take place - a party with a $4 cover - and all proceeds from this event will go toward the creation of one-of-a-kind bike racks, designed by local artists, in downtown Youngstown!

time: 9:30pm to 3:00am

With performances by:
Chris Splain
Joe Shelby
The Realtime Digimob

Followed by a dance party with Matt and Richie till late.

4 bikes will be raffled off - by the group Bike Youngstown!

Maps of "Best Bike Routes in Youngstown" will be available from The Outspokin' Wheelmen!

Projection art!
Those tall hand-fabricated bikes!
Photography from urban bike races through downtown by Downforce Imaging!

See some of the participating sculptors' work:
Tony Armeni - link
Daniel Horne - link
Charles Hughes - link

This project brought to you by a (growing) coalition of interested citizens, bike riders, and Youngstown artists.

See what's possible below...
(photo by Tony Nicholas)

THE event to attend in Youngstown Friday night.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

tasting results from the 2010 vintage of local cider

In our continuing efforts to bring the highest quality journalistic endeavors to the internet, the staff at this blog recently sponsored a local-cider tasting event with 3 of Youngstown's finest chefs.

Each of those refined palates were given unmarked glasses of three local and prominent apple ciders.

The ciders were from:
White House Fruit Farm - link
Haus Orchards and Cider Mill - link
Hays Orchard - link

In unmarked glasses, the judges captured their thoughts on paper.

Here are some of their comments from all three judges for each sample:

sample A
"slightly buttery, sugar is subtle but not overpowering"
"body: light with a crisp apple finish"
"richness in color"
"slightly acidic, deep hues of color"

sample B
"clean, crisp taste"
"darkest color of all samples"
"long finish of apple remains in mouth"
"slight spice, even peppery"
"distinct apple taste - like biting an apple"

sample C
"translucent compared to others"
"saccharine sweet"
"slight tartness, even onion residues"
"too sweet"
"tastes artificial"
"light in color and body compared to the others"

Two judges picked sample B to be the best.
One judge picked sample A to the the best.
All judges agreed sample C to be a distant third compared to the others.

now, let's put in the names of the ciders into the above sentence...

Two judges picked Haus' Cider to be the best.
One judge picked Hays Cider to the the best.
All judges agreed White House Cider to be a distant third compared to the others.

- - -

Depending on the harvest the apples used from year to year may change, but for the 2010 vintage, the judges found...

Haus' Apple Cider is the best.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

metro monthy posts The Flats at Wick ribbon-cutting

from the north side:

More housing now up, and more planned on campus/in downtown. discussed further in this great article in the Business-Journal:
Dominic Marchionda, president of US Campus Suites LLC, told guests at a ribbon-cutting event Monday that he plans to begin Phase II of the $24 million Flats at Wick next year, and at the same time start preliminary work on a plan to convert downtown's Erie Terminal into additional student apartments.

Marchionda is performing due diligence on that property, and says a student-housing complex would be a perfect fit there because of its proximity to the new Youngstown State Williamson College of Business Administration.

And he shared his vision of redeveloping this YSU section of the city's North Side. In addition to the parcels bound by Bryson and Elm Streets, Madison Avenue, and the West Bound Service Road, Marchionda has purchased the parking lot and convenience store across the street.
watch the patterns of investment...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

UPDATE: first Little Steel Derby Girls home match Saturday!

UPDATE: Youngstown beat Lansing in their first home match, 232 - 41!

from the LSDG's website:

Become a Little Steel Derby Girl:
Fresh Meat Market
November 1st, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
at Youngstown Skate
7080 Tiffany Boulevard
Youngstown, OH 44514-1956


bonus: video from the downtown zombie crawl...

if nothing else, zombies are a courteous folk.

There were a lot of people all dressed up going to the symphony last night and this set of local zombies quickly made it through the intersection right in front of Powers Auditorium.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

first Little Steel Derby Girls home match Saturday!

If you need a break from being a zombie all day on Saturday, head on out to Youngstown Skate on Tiffany Blvd. for the first home match of the Little Steel Derby Girls.

The ladies will be looking to knock out those Vixens of the North, from Lansing Michigan. Match starts at 7pm.

More info on the team can be found at their website.

all photos courtesy of DownForce Imaging

Thursday, October 21, 2010

hundreds of people to attend 2010 Youngstown zombie crawl this saturday

Who is going to take home the 2010 "Best Zombie Jay Williams" prize?

The 2010 Zombie Crawl will make its way throughout the street of the downtown this Saturday.

Some of the activities include:
- 3pm kick-off at Oak Hill Cemetery, with self-guided historical tours

- 3pm onward, for $5 get painted like a zombie by The Oakland Center for the Arts

- 5pm registration for crawl at Anthony's on the River

- 6:30pm begin mass crawl of zombie across Mr. Peanut Bridge

- 7pm zombies of the world unite at Central Square to being dancing and party

- post 7pm: Mayor Jay Williams, Channel 33 WYTV Reporter Greta Mittereder and Channel 27 WKBN Reporter Jennifer Jefcoat will judge best zombie competition for the categories of:
Best Zombie Bride
Best Zombie YSU Student
Best Zombie Celebrity
Best Zombie Kid
Best Zombie Mayor Jay Williams

buses will then take people all over town to zombie-hop at local watering holes.

AND pumpkin bocce / historical tours at the Burt Building, courtesy of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

LAWN-CON 2010 - a new ultra cool Youngstown event launches this Saturday

video recap: (story here)

"Youngstown is my Gotham City."
-- Chris Yambar

This Saturday, October 9 2010, a new free event will take place in the city: LAWN-CON.

Just off Mahoning Avenue in the west side's Rocky Ridge Neighborhood, Lawn-Con will be a comic book convention taking place in local artist Chris Yambar's front lawn.

From the facebook page of the event:
"LAWN-CON 2010 is a mini yard convention designed to build a bridge between the general public who can't find comic books in stores any more, fans who love the hobby, and those who are actually working in the industry. It is "grass roots" in nature and just a whole bunch of fun. A Meet-n-Greet, if you will.

There will be limited-edition t-shirts, an event print, photo opportunities, an art contest, portfolio reviews and awards given for best costumes throughout the day. This event will be captured on film and turned into a documentary.

Fans and pros will be interviewed...and made instantly famous when the final cut is released just in time for the Christmas gift-giving season. Snippets will appear on YouTube.

There is FREE admission to the general public for this event. Fans will have access to all pre-approved comics professionals who "set up their own table" by 10:30 AM. Chairs will be provided. Comics and sketches are available for a fee. There is no charge for autographs!"
More info on the event, including attending artists can be found here.

As an additional bonus, First Book Mahoning Valley will be on hand, passing out FREE BOOKS to every child in attendance.

What a great organization.

Lawn-Con 2010
in the front lawn of Youngstown's Chris Yambar
of "the Simpsons" and "Mr. Beat" fame
23 S. Hartford Avenue
Yo O 44509
October 9 from 11am to 5pm

"kickin grass, and taking names"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Monday's “Youngstown Community Congress” has 700 citizens signed up, and growing

One week ago, I had my first experience within the walls of downtown youngstown's Trinity United Methodist Church.

The beauty of the Trinity United Methodist structure puts the space in the upper echelon of architectural awesomeness for local sacred spaces, such as St. Patrick's Catholic Church on the southside and Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church downtown. The numerous separate chapels, the wood detail throughout, the stone gothic arches, the ornate baptismal font, the treed courtyard, the tunneling hallways, the people, and the history – all merge together to make the place shine.

The Trinity United Methodist Church complex will also be the site of the upcoming “Youngstown Community Congress” Monday at 6:30pm, where hundreds and hundreds of residents will gather to discuss the urban agenda with local officials.

The event is free and open to the public,
with free parking downtown in parking lots along Front Street.

Topics for mass discussion include policies for vacant properties, access to healthy foods, neighborhood safety, and jobs/economic development.

Citizens will have the opportunity to ask questions to candidates for Congress, for state Senate, to representatives of the Governor's race, and various targeted local elected positions. Depending on to whom the question is asked, candidates will have 2 minutes to respond.

While approximately 80 neighborhood/community organizations from across the Mahoning Valley will be represented at the event, a number of opinions can develop into a single entity with a unified voice to share with local and state officials.

The opportunity then exists to make your voice heard in the upcoming election, but also to create accountability among those officials who currently hold office.

Youngstown Community Congress
Trinity United Methodist Church
30 West Front Street
Yo O 44503

Thursday, September 23, 2010

YNDC Youngstown Rising

anyone reading this blog should take a drive or walk through the Idora Neighborhood.

As the video shows, there are many activities taking root.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the band - and the actors - put on a great show at the Youngstown Playhouse

In operation since 1924, the Youngstown Playhouse presents itself as "America's Oldest Ongoing Community Theater".

As it opens its 2010-2011 season, the organization is seeing record sold-out shows based upon their rendition of "Chicago", with refined music sounds of a 14-piece band and young local talent.

(all photos by Leslie Cusano Photography)

Because the performance is such a blockbuster, they've added a Sunday show this weekend.

Performances which were really amazing during the show:

- Donna Huntey's consistent outstanding vocals as Mama Morton, especially in "When You're Good to Mama"

- The choreography of the entire stage, especially Kayla Boye (Roxy) and Brian Palumbo (Billy) during "We Both Reached for the Gun"

- Natalia Lepore Hagan in just about everything she's on stage for

kudos to the band and the actors and the directors who made the show shine.

As the show demonstrates, you have to plan big to get big.