Saturday, June 25, 2011

is it time to stop widening exurban roads like Western Reserve?

"just say NO."

Nancy Reagan taught us well.

And this same mentality can be applied to the practice of local government spending local dollars on adding more and more lanes to existing roads.

More lanes mean more future money needed to maintain them.

More lanes mean exacerbating sprawl even with a shrinking population.

More lanes mean turning existing commercial areas into emptiness.

But are the points above the right perspective?

While one of the local newspapers reads: "[Western Reserve Road] which is 10 feet wide on each side, will be widened to 12 feet on each side and will have 4-foot paved shoulders," I've heard from others just how nice it would be if Western Reserve Road was additionally widened to four lanes.

Maybe now is the time to question the wisdom of expanding more and more streets in what used to be the exurbs. (now increasingly the suburbs)

some questions:

When money is taken from the general fund (which it is) to widen roads, does that result in existing roads in your neighborhood not being maintained?

When the labor and time of county employees is used to widen roads, does that mean your issues compete with road widening?

When a two-lane country road becomes a four-lane dragstrip, does that make the situation more of less safe?

When the government subsidizes sprawl in a region that is shrinking, do your personal property values go down?

When these roads are built and the grocery stores and shops move, are you going to have to drive further and further just take care of basic necessities?

- - -

what do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Youngstown's 2011 Free Outdoor Movie Fest starts this Monday

At dusk on Monday June 20 begins the 2011 series of outdoor movies in downtown Youngstown.

This year's lineup begins with "Despicable Me" and as always, drinks and snacks and popcorn will be provided by The Purple Cat and the Touch the Moon Candy Saloon.

The rest of the summer movies in 2011 are:
* June 20th - Despicable Me (PG, 2010)
* June 27th - Iron Man 2 (PG-13, 2010)
* July 11th - Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (G, 1971)
* July 18th - Next Three Days (PG-13, 2010)
* July 25th - How to Train Your Dragon (PG, 2010)
* August 1st - The Social Network (PG-13, 2010)
* August 8th - Rango (PG, 2011)
* August 15th - Rebel Without a Cause (PG-13, 1955)
* August 22nd - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PG-13, 2010)
* August 29th - Toy Story 3 (G, 2010)

free movies
under the stars
in the grass
in downtown youngstown

Friday, June 17, 2011

youngstown's first pan-Slavic Fest to feature night disco, imports, other unique events

The first ever "Simply Slavic" fest kicks off this Saturday June 18 in downtown youngstown, celebrating the collective traditions of 12 countries across central and eastern europe.

A unique twist to cap off the day's festivities, there will be a EURO DISCO from 9pm to midnight with contemporary music from these countries, led by local DJ talent. Five types of imported slavic beers will be served throughout the festival.

Check out video 1, video 2, and video 3 for more information (good interviews and content).

Besides the disco, the Simply Slavic Festival will include starting at noon:
- ethnic foods from 12 churches of various nationalities
- baking contest, with winning entries to be raffled off
- Polka bands throughout, with folk dancing between sets
- a huge map of europe to mark your family origins
- discounts to the new OH WOW childrens science museum
- every person upon entry gets one ticket to the raffle of ethnic crafts
- a marketplace for ethnic crafts and sundries

a special flight of import beers will be available for $10, sampling beverages from 5 different countries...

- Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic)
- Zlaty Bazant (Slovakia)
- Tyskie (Poland)
- Karlovacko (Croatia)
- Obolon (Ukraine)

and, they've got Slivovica, the magic elixir of life - in both Serbian and Croatian varieties

a few volunteers are still needed as of Friday because of last-minute needs to fence off the whole festival, resulting in having to reassign existing volunteers.

If you can help during the day (asking for one hour slots or more, from 12pm to 8pm) and want a free t-shirt, please respond in the comments section below as the organizers need some help!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the bus systems is free - all day Thursday - "dump the pump" day

Who remembers this commercial for WRTA?

Now, replay the video and sign along at the top of your lungs.


Do it.

It feels good.

- - -

Thursday June 16 is national "Dump the Pump" day, and the Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA) is pitching in, with the county-wide bus system available FOR FREE all day.

The coupon to ride free is in local newspapers and is available here as well.

All the coupons from people who "dump the pump" on Thursday will be put into a drawing. There will be five 15 ride passes awarded and three 31 day passes awarded.

Click here to see how close the bus comes to your house.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

free summer concert series begins Wednesday at Morley Pavilion near Rocky Ridge

Westsiders will be walking over, others will be driving over to Morley Pavilion for the beginning of the summer concert series.

With all concerts starting at 7pm, the music type will shift from week to week.

For example, this Wednesday's concert kicks off with local music talent Sarah Turner (country)

Then the big concert of the season is this Saturday June 18, the Atlanta Rhythm Section:

The rest of the dates:
June 15 - Sarah Turner - Country
June 18 - ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION - National Recording Artists
June 22 - Canfield Community Concert Band - Concert
June 29 - Del Sinchak & Jack Vasko - Polka
July 6 - Ryan Humbert Band - Americana/Pop/Rock
July 13 - Don Burns - Big Band
July 20 - Going for the One - YES tribute
July 27 - The HouseBand - Rock/Dance
July 31 - The Sensations - Sunday, 5pm to 8pm - Motown/R&B
August 3 - HeartBEAT Afrika - Street percussionAfrican drumming
August 10 - The Juke Hounds - Blues/Rock/Soul
August 17 - Easy Street - Standards/Show Tunes
August 24 - Hey Mavis - Modern Old-timey
August 31 - Michael Austin - Jazz

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the city with a cowlick: new map shows Youngstown's boundary adjustments in 2010

On November 17, 1913 the area of land known as Youngstown Township ceased to effectively exist as the township was annexed into the City of Youngstown.

In the 97 years that followed, the western boundary of Youngstown was one straight shot along Meridian Road from Trumbull County down to Boardman and Canfield townships.

Similarly, almost all of the City of Youngstown is to the south of Gypsy Lane, with the exception of North Side Hospital, Stambaugh golf course, and additional industrial lands near the Crab Creek - north of Gypsy but actually in Trumbull County.

In 2010 however, the boundaries changed, albeit slightly, in the name of economic development.

Here is the new map, which now has a funky border in its northwest area, bound to slightly change the coloring of future maps online and in print:

and a zoomed in picture:

Why the slight changes?

In one case, now a bit of Youngstown for the first time rests to the west of Meridian Road. It's 6.4 acres of undeveloped land where Phantom Fireworks will be constructing a new store.

In the other case, about 190 acres of industrial space was transferred from Girard to Youngstown for part of the V&M Steel Tubing manufacturing facility, good direct foreign investment in the Mahoning Valley from a company headquartered in Paris France.

In both cases, successfully completing economic development projects where local jobs will be created was the impetus.

Bottom line, cooperation = economic development = future abilities for all of the Mahoning Valley to market itself.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

incubator company Via680 partners with city for public input on future signage downtown

do you have opinions on the signage needed in downtown youngstown?

The YBI-portfolio company Via680 has partnered with the City of Youngstown's Office of Economic Development to develop media-rich tool to collect the opinions of the public.

Click here to watch the video and share your opinions.
The whole process took me 6 minutes.

Please provide advice and they'll listen.

Via680 (the artist formerly known as BIzVeo) produces software that allows the user to send emails maximized with video, embedded questions, and track answers.

what are the applications?

Let's say you're a hospital and you need to make sure your patient is ready for surgery. With Via680's product, you can craft instructions for the patient, ask them questions, receive their input and even post-surgery questions as they recover from home.

Let's say you're a local butcher and you are looking to engage your clients. With Via680s product, you can share cooking videos, recipes, and questions of the specials of the week.

Let's say you are managing a project for work, and need to make sure all of your employees not only listen to information, but also if they understand it. With Via680's product, you can track what employees have opened your email, and by the voting process inside the email, you can quiz what employees actually understand the information.

- - -

All three of the above examples are taking place right now.

The company, Via680, is headquartered in downtown youngstown (inside I-680), partnering with local hospitals and business (just off I-680), and is expanding their reach around the globe (way beyond I-680).

Now Via680's product is helping to advance the civic space.

Watch their video about signage options, and vote on the what you'd like to see downtown.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

450+ volunteers planted, digged, and mulched thoughout the city Saturday

In addition to print-based stories in the local media (such as this good story from the Business-Journal), it's interesting to see the contributions from various other sources to provide context and deeper visual imagery.

Check out this video of re-imagining the "triangle lot" near the Golden Dawn on the north side near the intersection of Wick and Logan:

Here's a link to the new Defend Youngstown YouTube channel, where one can subscribe these grassroots four-minute videos as they are produced...

Here's a recap from the new blog from DownForce Imaging (link to new blog)

Photos from the Youngstown CityScape website...