Saturday, May 25, 2013

extraordinary YSU students begin installation of Metamorphosis Project in downtown youngstown

As a chilled air hit Youngstown on Friday evening, YSU graphic design students pulled up their shirtsleeves to get to work.

Installed tonight was the first phase of the Metamorphosis Project, a series of images designed by YSU students to improve the shared cityscape between the YBI's three main buildings and the public.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"A camera captures a Youngstown, Ohio city council member as she starts dancing in a council meeting"

per the description of this video, on YouTube

I think if City Council meetings were like this, more people might attend.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

home-rule & economic fairness arguments may propel May 7 anti-fracking vote

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.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

new ownership at Dooney's implements massive menu upgrade

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.