Friday, October 23, 2009

Installation of Wrap the Arts October 24, 2009

We had a wonderful time at the Meet and Greet the Artists on October 10,2009 but this Saturday October 24, 2009 from noon until 2:00 PM on the corner of Wick and Broadway on Youngstown’s north side Art is the climax. Art Youngstown will be completing the final installation of the WRAP THE ARTS project. The public is welcome to come and watch or volunteer as the artists hang over 45 large works of art along a block long chain link fence on Wick Avenue, screening the blighted space by wrapping the art.
The project has been supported in part by the Wean Foundation's Neighborhood Success Grant Program.

The following is a list of artists who have contributed to the project:
Aaron Andrews
Marcy Roepke-Applegate
Danna Bozik
Al Bright
Lynn Cardwell
Kathy Crowe
Robert Dubec
Willie Duck
Terry Esarco
Terry Fetchet
Kristy Hoard
Susan Jacobs
The Jewish Community Center
Robert Kidney
Angelo LaMarco
Henry Lepore
Aaron Martin
Ron Mistovich
Tony Nicholas
Park Vista
Antonia Pilloli
Carol Raestadt
William Reents
Sharon Rich
Lynne Rosati
Cynthia Sahli
Robert Savage
Elaine and Joy Serednesky
Joshua Shank- Metro Church
Fred Shepherd
Marleen Simon
Judith Szabo
Jeff Terlecki
Sarah Terlecki
Anita Weinstock
Clara Wick
Chris Yambar

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wrap the Arts

Grassroots strategies to reclaim distressed neighborhoods are taking hold in cities around the country,including Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Youngstown. Fighting to reclaim neighborhoods blighted by blocks of decaying and neglected vacant homes, and abandoned parking lots is a very difficult task.

More than 1.2 million residential properties went into foreclosure in 2008 alone. the National Vacant Properties Campaign estimates that the number of chronically vacant properties is in the millions.

Art Youngstown is taking a creative approach to dealing with blight in one Youngstown neighborhood. Supported in part by the Wean Foundation's Neighborhood Success Grant Program, the organization has developed a plan to transform one large unsightly green space along Wick Avenue on the city's north side into a work of art.

The property is not suitable for development, green or otherwise. It currently consists of a large blacktopped parking lot that is surrounded by a ragged looking chain link fence. Art Youngstown has named the plan Wrap the Arts.. The plan is comprised of wrapping over forty large weather resistant canvases around the property. The works of art have been created by local artists, community residents and organizations. The large installation of art will be put on display on October 24for the entire community to enjoy. For directions to the site go here.

The following is a list of artists who have contributed to the project:
Aaron Andrews
Marcy Roepke-Applegate
Danna Bozik
Al Bright
Lynn Cardwell
Kathy Crowe
Robert Dubec
Willie Duck
Terry Esarco
Terry Fetchet
Kristy Hoard
Susan Jacobs
The Jewish Community Center
Robert Kidney
Angelo LaMarco
Henry Lepore
Aaron Martin
Ron Mistovich
Tony Nicholas
Park Vista
Antonia Pilloli
Carol Raestadt
William Reents
Sharon Rich
Lynne Rosati
Cynthia Sahli
Robert Savage
Elaine and Joy Serednesky
Joshua Shank- Metro Church
Fred Shepherd
Marleen Simon
Judith Szabo
Jeff Terlecki
Sarah Terlecki
Anita Weinstock
Clara Wick
Chris Yambar

Prior to the installation, Art Youngstown is hosting an event to meet and greet the artists at the beautiful Youngstown Metro Church located on the corner of Wick and McGuffy near the art installation. The public is invited to attend on Saturday October 10, 2009 from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. For more information please visit Art Youngstown. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Artists of the Rust Belt

I think I have recovered from the Grey to Green Festival and hope to begin posting to the blog again on a regular basis. The Grey to Green Festival was a wonderful event and the weather was perfect. Photos of the festival will be uploaded soon to the Grey to Green Festival website.


The Grey to Green Festival is only a memory now, and today was an opportunity to add to the cache of great memories for 2009. Today was the Artists of the Rust Belt FolkFest. When I woke up this morning, it was dark, gloomy and raining. My heart sank because I was afraid that the weather would keep people away from the festival. Wow! I couldn't have been more wrong. I went down to the B&O Station,the site of the festival, and quite literally couldn't find room to park. I love it when that happens, strange but true. To make the day even more glorious, the sun came out. For those of you not familiar with the B&O Station you can find more information here The Station sits near the scenic Mahoning River and there is a wonderful park like atmosphere.

There were over 45 artists vending their art. For further information you can go here

The musical entertainment was performed from the balcony above the entrance to the station. The music could be heard not only in the station but throughout the grounds.

Here is a clip of Brady's Leap. I apologize for my poor videography it is a bit shaky.

Here is Tom Breiding:

If you missed today's festival, you will have other opportunities. I have been told that there will be more Artist of the Rust Belt shows in the future. I'll make sure to keep you posted.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Economics, 'Food Racism' and Urban Agriculture

Grow Youngstown will be hosting a panel discussion at 3:00 PM at the Unitarian Church across from Wick Park on Elm Street on September 12, 2009. This discussion is held in conjunction with the Grey to Green Festival. The discussion will be insightful and thought provoking. Don't miss it.

The following panalists will be participating:

Will Allen – Founder and CEO/Growing Power
Awarded a MacArthur Fellow in 2008, Will Allen is one of the world’s foremost experts on urban. Grow Power, headquartered in Milwaukee, is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power provides hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

Steve Bosserman
Steve Bosserman, founder and president of Bosserman & Associates, Inc., specializes in strategic framing and organization design. Steve's career started with 20 years of manufacturing experience ranging from the shop floor to senior management. In 1987, he started B&A in order to apply his expertise in the design and delivery of organization change and leadership development strategies with clientele in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors across domestic and international arenas.

Over the past three years, Steve's interest in social networking systems, processes, and tools has evolved into the development of sustainable local food systems as a platform for local economies--the foundation for social justice. This shift positioned him to be a Co-Principal Investigator on a three-year USDA-SCRI grant awarded in late 2008 to utilize social networking strategies in the advancement of local food systems. Furthermore, his work in the development of metrics for local food systems and evaluation criteria for localized investment portfolios has led to a recent grant award from the Advance Northeast Ohio / Fund for Our Economic Future (ANEO / FFEF) to launch an Ag-Bio Cluster Leadership Council and provide the Council with a portfolio management process for their project proposals and business cases. You can read more about Steve's work on his blog at

Brad Masi, Executive Director, New Agrarian Center
Brad Masi serves as the founder and Executive Director of the New Agrarian Center (NAC), an organization which works toward growing a more sustainable and just regional food system in Northeast Ohio. Masi is co-founder of the City Fresh program, a region-wide partnership focused on linking rural and urban farmers with inner-city neighborhoods and institutions in Northeast Ohio. Masi is also co-founder of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Food Policy Council which is seeking to improve local food access in inner-city neighborhoods.

Leslie Schaller, Director of Programs
Ms. Schaller was part of the founding staff of ACEnet’s Food Ventures program and oversaw the development of the Food Ventures Center, ACEnet’s 12,000 square foot kitchen incubator facility. She has worked directly with food producers, farmers and artisan micro-entrepreneurs since1992 to develop businesses, resources and networks to relocalize Appalachia Ohio’s food economy. Ms. Schaller is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, focusing on the start-up phase of network clients. Ms. Schaller designs curriculum, provides direct technical assistance and coordinates the expertise of ACEnet staff teams to create innovative product ideas, marketing strategies, business plans, and financial management systems within the targeted sectors. Ms. Schaller currently serves as an appointee to the Governor’s Ohio Food Policy Council, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Market Connections Task Force, the national Farmers Market Coalition’s Board Treasurer, as Board executive for the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and chairs the Athens Municipal Arts Commission. See for more information.

Samina Raja - University of Buffalo, Dept. of Architecture and Urban Planning
Dr. Raja’s research focuses on planning and design for healthy communities and the fiscal dimensions of planning. Her research on healthy communities examines the influence of the food and built environments on obesity and physical activity. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this topic, Dr. Raja collaborates with colleagues from UB’s School of Medicine and the School of Public Health and Health Professions. An ongoing multi-year study, conducted in collaboration with the School of Medicine, examines the effect of the built environment on obesity among youth, and has received over a million dollars in funding from the National Institute of Health.
Urban Farmer - TBA

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grey to Green Festival Features MacArthur “Genius” Award-Winner

The second annual Grey to Green Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, in Wick Park on Youngstown’s North Side from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rep. Tim Ryan and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams will kick off the festival at 10:30 a.m. in the Wick Park Pavilion. At 11 a.m., Will Allen, of Growing Power ( will present his vision for urban agriculture
and local food production. Allen, a 2008 recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award, has developed a $250,0000 food-growing and distribution system in inner-city Milwaukee. At 3 p.m., Allen will be part of a panel of regionally and nationally recognized speakers who will discuss ‘food racism’ and the economics of urban agriculture.

The entire festival is free and open to the public and will feature displays and information booths by “green” non-profits in the area, as well as vendors, locally sourced food, live entertainment, and earth-friendly activities for children.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal last year, Youngstown’s 2010 Plan has a large “grey-to-green” component, which provides for protection of the current green space in the city, such as public parks, and also encourages the positive use of green space that is created by the shrinkage of the city—for example, vacant lots being used for food production or planted in trees to provide carbon offsetting and natural beauty. Grey to Green is designed to increase awareness of environmental issues in general, the grey-to-green component of the 2010 plan, and the revitalization plan for Wick Park. Located in the heart of the city near Youngstown State University, Wick Park is a lovely Victorian-era greenspace populated primarily by large oaks and ringed with a fitness trail, wide sidewalks, handsome old mansions, and broad avenues. The plan for the park focuses on drawing more activity into the interior, creating diverse habitat for plants and animals, and encouraging biophilia and a closer tie to nature in the city.

Participants will include Youngstown State University; The Raymond John Wean Foundation; Grow Youngstown; Art Youngstown; Youngstown CityScapes; Defend Youngstown; Treez Please–A Community Reforestation Project; the Green Team; Oakland Center for the Arts; Youngstown Litter Control and Recycling; Commonwealth Inc.; the Northside Farmers Market; TCT Renewable Energy; Lien Forward Ohio; The Villa Shoppe; Mill Creek Metroparks; YSU SMARTS; Children’s Center for Science and Technology; Animal Charity; the Alliance for Climate Change; TimeBank Mahoning Watershed; the Audubon Society, and other environmental organizations and businesses.

There will also be a Drop and Shop, where people can bring their unwanted household items, drop them off, and take something else if they wish. (Contact, or 330-941-2238, for information about items accepted).

Also, Scott Loveland from TCT Renewable Energy will be providing an educational presentation on wind power at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Church directly across the street from Wick Park.

Children’s activities will include a visit with Dora the Explorer as well as numerous arts and crafts activities. Rob Joki and the Magic Carpet Children’s Theater will also be premiering a new play with an environmental message. SMARTS will be on hand with their children's drumming circle. Entertainment for adults will include various bands, acoustic performers and dancers. Locally sourced food will be available for purchase.
More information is available at

The following is the schedule of events. Check back often for possible changes and additions.
10:00- 10:30 Caledonia Mission
10:30 -11:00 Mayor and Tim Ryan Opening Remarks

11:00 - 1:00 Will Allen At Pavilion

12:30 - 2:00 Polycultures: Food Where We Live (see description below) at the UU
PolyCultures: Food Where We Live is a documentary film and multi-media production project produced by LESS Productions in conjunction with the New Agrarian Center, in Cleveland. The film gets its title from the word “polyculture” which describes farm systems that mimic natural systems with diverse and interdependent elements. Polyculture is the opposite of “monoculture”- a description of the one-dimensional industrial farming systems that dominate much of Northeast Ohio.

1:00 - 1:45 Magic Carpet Theater (at Pavilion)

2:00-2:30 Dr. Ray's Amazing Sideshow of Science (at Pavilion)

2:00-2:45 Scott Loveland from TCT Renewable Energy speaks a the UU

2:30-3:00 Gospel Choir (at Pavilion)

3:00-3:30 McKelvy Raygun (at Pavilion)

3:P00-5:00 Panel Discussion at the UU with Will Allen

3:30-4:00 Brandon Martin/EOS Belly Dancers at the Pavilion

4:00-5:00 Sam Goodwill (at Pavilion)

There will also be poetry readers and Nin Andrews reading throughout the stage at the Pavilion

Nature Walks through Wick Park by Bill Whitehouse at 1-2:30 and 3:00-4:30 (starting at the Pavilion)

Ed Hallahan, area artist and art educator, has exhibited his art work both regionally and nationally. At the Grey to Green Festival he will show tree inspired sculptural work that is carved and constructed from wood and placed back into the natural tree environment where the trees support and present the sculpture and the sculpture re-presents the trees to us who view it.

In addition, the Youngstown Historical Center will present "History Kids" with a September 12 program titled "An Architectural Adventure." Students from 1 and 3pm will tour both Wick Park and downtown Youngstown to study buildings, their famous occupants and style of architecture. History Kids is for students 8 to 14. The cost of the proram is $10.00 for Ohio Historical Society members and $12.00 for non-members. Advance registration is required. Contact Keith Mann at the Youngstown Historical Center at (330) 743-5934.

The following is a list of vendors and exhibitors at the Grey to Green Festival

US Green Building Materials
The Green Building Pros Ltd.
EOS Whole Fitness and Bellydance
Audubon Society
Bill Youngman
Cats Paw Herbs
Vegetarians of Greater Youngstown
Divine Scentsations Inc.
Mahoning Valley Green Party
Firemother Designs
Energy Detectives
Mahoning River Education Project
Naturehaven Paperworks
Yo-Ho Studio
Mill Creek Metro Parks
Commonwealth Inc
Scrap Heap Sculpture
Dr. Ted Suzelis ND
The Villa Shoppe
YSU Smarts
Amber Foster
Treez Please
Green Team
Youngstown Litter Control and Recylcing
Lien Forward
Wick Neighbors
TCT Renewable Energy
Habitat for Humanity
Art Youngstown
City Scape
Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative
Grow Youngstown
YSU – Geology Department -Ray Beiersdorfer - Gem Table Exhibit
Etruscan Press
RJ Wean - Neighborhood Success Grants
Children’s Center for Science and Tecnology
Animal Charities
Youngstown for the Alliance for Climate Protection
Eco-Watch – Stephanie Spear
TimeBank Mahoning Watershed
Volunteer Services
HIRAM - Environmental Group
Lynn Anderson
CDA – Community Development Agency
Engaging Diamonds
Pride Youngstown
Goodness Grows
The Wind Chime Lady

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fire Eating

The Grey to Green Festival is taking up a great deal of my time these days so I fear I have been lax in my blogging responsibilities. I promise to get back in the swing of things after September 12, 2009. Keep checking back though because I will be providing a complete update and schedule for the Grey to Green Festival very soon. It is truly going to be awesome this year! So mark your calender now because you need to be at Wick Park on September 12, 2009 from 10:00 until 5:00.

In the meantime - if you are looking for something new and exciting to do you can take a fire eating class with Travis Fessler. For those of you who don't know, Travis Fessler is the current world record setting title holder for "Number of Live Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches Held in Mouth for Longest Amount of Time". I know gross right? Well, it appears that Travis is in Y-town this week teaching fire eating. You too can learn this valuable skill. He is holding fire eating classes on August 22-23 for the low cost of $75.00. He will also instruct you in safety and how to make your own torch. If you're interested e-mail Travis at

Travis and the Pickled Brothers Side show will also be performing at the Oakland Theater at a fundraiser for First Night. Show is at the Oakland from 6:30 to 10:00 on August 22. Tickets are a mere $15.00 and available at the door. This will include a First Night Virtual Tour as well as a Taste of First Night which will feature dishes from many local venues including C Staples, Cafe Cimmento, Tomasino's Sante Fe and more. Don't miss it folks!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do you need your car warshed? Want to have a good time too? Come on out to the Oakland's Great American Car Warsh

The Oakland will kick off their 2009-2010 Season with a rootin, tootin, high-falootin' musical! According to, "There's a new tenant at Armadillo Acres—and she's wreaking havoc all over Florida's most exclusive trailer park. When Pippi, the stripper on the run, comes between the Dr. Phil–loving, agoraphobic Jeannie and her tollbooth collector husband—the storms begin to brew." The show will run August 7,8,9, and August 14, and 15. Call the Oakland for show times and reservations.

In celebration and support of the musical the Oakland Center for the Arts will hold a Great American Car Warsh at its location, 220 W. Boardman St. in downtown Youngstown, on Friday, July 31 from 4:00-6:00 pm and Saturday, August 1, from 10:00 am-5:00 pm.

Cars will be warshed by the cast and crew of the season-opening show, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Prices are $5 for cars and $10 for trucks and vans. The Warsh will be held in the 2-lane alley parking lot next the building.

All proceeds from the Car Warsh will go toward production costs. The Great American Trailer Park Musical will be directed for the Oakland by Robert Dennick Joki with musical direction from Anthony Ruggiero (yes, the team that brought you Bat Boy and Reefer Madness)! Cast includes Melissa Cook, Gerri DeWitt, Jennifer Kuzeck, Molly Makselan, David Munnell, and Shawn Lockaton. Stage manager is Kim Nevel with assistance from Brittney Murphy. Costume design is by Pam Sacui.choreography is by Debbie Pesce, and the set design and construction are by Jim Canacci.

In addition a Rummage Sale featuring historical props and costumes from the Oakland will take place in the third floor gallery. Beverages and baked goods will also be for sale in the first floor lobby.

Donations of buckets, sponges, shammies, and liquid soap are also being accepted. Contact Brooke at 330-718-5515.

For more information about the Oakland, go to or follow oaklandcenter on twitter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Want to start a new business? Try Youngstown Ohio

I believe that this video speaks for itself.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Swing Dancing and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

July 19, 2009 at 7:00 at the Morley Pavilion at Mill Creek Wick Recreation Area in Youngstown, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will carry on the swing tradition of the legendary big bands and orchestras. The band is a contemporary swing band or as some say neo-swing. Come on out and swing with us. Admission is free and open to the public. For directions and more information about the 7UP Summerfest Spectacular Concerts for 2009 click here.

But hey, if you want to swing before the show or if you just need to brush up on your swing dance moves don't forget that Cedars in downtown Youngstown has swing night every Thursday night at 10:00 PM.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alice and Staughton Lynd

Tonight at 7:00 at the Unitarian Church located at 1105 Elm Street in Youngstown, Alice and Staughton Lynd will discuss their new memoir Stepping Stones.

Their story is one of a resolute struggle for civil liberties. Staughton Lynd's quite bearing and softly spoken words have angered and upset many of the powers-that-be in politics. Today, he and his wife Alice, also a lawyer, continue the struggle for worker and prisoner rights.

I believe that Staughton Lynd's response when asked what his hopes were for Wobblies and Zapatistas, provides an excellent window from which to view his philosophy.

He remarked, "On the Internet this morning (December 20, 2008) one reads of an Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at President Bush, of Israeli 12th graders refusing to be part of a military occupying the West Bank, of rank-and-file Greek workers occupying the offices of the trade union federation to prevent that bureaucratic organization from suppressing the spontaneous happenings in the streets and local town halls. Such courageous acts need to be understood as something broader than the conscientious refusal of individuals to become part of the pattern of things intended by last-stage capitalism and its creature, the state. That broader resistance began with the 'Basta!' (enough) of the Zapatistas and with their idea of 'mandar obediciendo': those in positions of authority must govern in obedience to what Marcos calls 'the below,' that is, us..."

Here is a photo of Staughton Lynd lecturing to the Freedom School Teachers. Staughton was director of the Freedom Schools in the Freedom Summer Project.

Please come out to the Universal Cafe tonight to hear the story of Alice and Staughton Lynd. Books will be available for purchase. There is an admission donation of $3.00 at the door. Light refreshments will also be available for purchase. Doors open at 6:30.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Butler Institute of American Art's 73rd Annual National Painting Exhibition

June 28th through August 23, 2009 is the Butler Institute of American Art's 73rd Annual National Painting Exhibition, Midyear Show. 72 Works were selected for this years show by juror George Adams, New York gallery owner and art historian.

If you have not visited the Butler Institute of American Art you are missing one of the greatest gifts the Mahoning Valley has to offer. The Butler collection includes works from four centuries, and is assembled in Butler galleries in chronological order according to the history of America. The Butler is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and on Wednesday from 11:00AM until 8:00 PM, Sunday from noon until 4:00 PM. It is located at 524 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, OH and Admission is free. If you need to contact them they may be reached at (330) 743-1107.

This year at the Midyear show, Youngstown's own James Pernotto will premier the painting SALT; Germs and Steel. The painting is acrylic on photo on wood and it is 60" x 135".

About his work he states:
This artwork is a depiction of dissipative structures. Most structures exist in a state of equilibrium (a chair), they are dead. Dissipative structures (a flame, a tornado, a human) exist in a state of change; they are processes and they are alive. When dissipative structures reach a point of equilibrium they cease to exist, they are dead. To look closely at SALT is to become aware of these organic processes. Steel is dead, steel making is a process that is as alive as the people who created it. The image that overlays SALT is the Van Allen belt, the envelope that protects the earth from the damaging bombardment of particles from the sun. It is also a process.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Let Y-town Entertain You -

There is so much to do and I want to do it all! It is only Monday and my calendar for the next seven days or so is chock full of entertaining things to do.

For starters, get up early next Saturday morning and check out the rebroadcast of Homeplate with Casey Malone and Kelly Pavlik. The show is being aired Saturday at 7:00 AM on WYTV and for those who can't begin to imagine getting up that early on a Saturday try Sunday at 11:30 on MyYTV. The episode gives us a glimpse of another side to Kelly Pavlik; he's at home with his kids, making spaghetti and meatballs. Supposedly he is a great cook. Mark Peyko, Editor of Metro Monthly and Remembering Youngstown: Tales from the Mahoning Valley,is the co-producer of the program.

Homeplate with Casey Malone airs weekly. It is an independent, locally owned and produced television program that features local cooks, locally owned restaurants, food manufacturers and ethnic groups.

Oh, and I must not forget Robert Dennick Joki's one man show, I'm Not That Girl at the Oakland Center for the Arts Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th. Show starts at 8:00. Reservations can be made by calling (330) 746-0404.

Then later on Saturday the show of the summer will be at Cedars on North Hazel Street in Youngstown. Come check out the Real-Time Digimob; The Triggers; and the Zou. Show starts at 11:00. I'm eagerly anticipating the release of the Zou's new video. I'm told it will be any day now. I can hardly wait to see it as Chris Rutushin shot it at some awesome locations in Youngstown.(you'll see).

The Zou will premier its new video release for When the Ink Dries at the Cedars show on Saturday night. Don't miss it!

For a glimpse of a night with the Zou at Cedars check out this video.

For a glimpse of a night with the Real Time Digimob check out this video:

And then on Monday June 29th at 7:00 at the Universal Cafe, Dr.Lars Brondum will be performing with Elsa Higby and Mark Hanley. The Universal Cafe is located at 1105 Elm Street in Youngstown.

Dr. Brondum is a composer, theorist and guitarist. Dr. Brondum holds a Ph.D from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters in Music in composition and music theory and a Bachelors degree from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. Dr. Brondum currently teaches music theory, composition and arranging at Stockholm Music Conservatory in Stockholm Sweden.

Also on June 29th, free movies will be back on the screen in front of the Covelli Centre. This year the city of Youngstown will show ten movies beginning at sundown each night and Touch the Moon Candy will sell old-fashioned candy and popcorn at each movie, with all proceeds benefiting adults with disabilities. So bring a blanket and/or lounge chair. June 29th the movie is Iron Man. See the trailer below.

Monday, June 15, 2009


There will be a free public screening of the Internationally acclaimed documentary FUEL at 4:00 pm Sunday June 21, 2009 in the Schwebel Auditorium in Moser Hall on the campus of Youngstown State University. Free parking is available in the F1 parking lot on campus at the corner of Wick Avenue and University Plaza.

The film is an insightful portrait of America's addiction to oil and a testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. FUEL takes viewers on a tour of the petrochemical industry, covering everything from Rockefeller's efforts to derail Ford's first ethanol cars to legislation designed to benefit the petrochemical industry.

Throughout the film, Tickell reveals a gamut of available solutions to "repower America", from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn waste water into fuel. Tickell and an array of environmentalists, policymakers and entertainment notables, including Sheryl Crow, Julia Roberts, and Willie Nelson, shed light on America's complicated relationship with energy.

The film won the Award for Best Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. After the film, Josh Tickell, the film's director, will answer audience questions.

The screening precedes the "Sustainable Energy Forum" hosted on Monday June 22 and Tuesday June 23, 2009 which will bring target government, industry, and academia to focus on technologies of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

For more information on the forum please click here. Please note that the cut off date for on-line registration for the forum is June 17, 2009, so if you're interested in attending this amazing forum register now.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 5, 2009 Youngstown kicked off its first Gay Pride Festival with a reception to honor some of those in the area who have been supportive of the LGBT community. The reception and the festival held on June 6th were a huge success thanks to the wonderful people who spent many hours organizing it, Marita Emmert, Kim Aikens, Carlos Rodriquez, and Anita Davis as well as other members of the Pride Center and the generous assistance of the Black Knights Association Click here for an article in the Vindy about the event. (If I have forgotten anyone who should be named please let me know and I will include them)

Gay pride or LGBT pride, is the concept that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the belief that diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered. The word pride is used in this case as an antonym for shame which has been used to control and oppress LGBT persons throughout history. Pride in this sense is an affirmation of ones self and the community as a whole.

Some time ago, a group of dedicated activists on the Human Relations Committee in Youngstown worked to get an ordinance passed to protect the LGBT community from discrimination. Included on the Commission were Glorianne Leck, Steve Beall,and James Ray. Toni Schildcrout of P-Flag also played an important role in advocating for the ordinance. The group were successful and the ordinance passed unanimously by City Council. Since that time however the ordinance has never been challenged and some have expressed concern that it does not provide adequate protection. Regardless, the ordinance has had a positive impact on the community and has helped to make the GLBT community feel safer. The ordinance may be found in the last sentence of Section 547.02(t) of the Youngstown City Ordinances. To read more about this go here. In light of the huge success of the Gay Pride Festival in Youngstown this past weekend, perhaps it is time for activists to work to get more teeth in the current ordinance. The time to do so is now.

Those honored at the reception included Robert Hagan, John Vivo, and Marita Emmert. Robert Hagan offered a moving acceptance speech:

Please note that the beautiful flowers and fountain were provided by Petitti Garden Centers.

In photo: David Betras, Carlos Rodriguez, Anita Davis

Monday, June 1, 2009

Downtown Youngstown - Summer is upon us and it is time to party and play!

Can you guess what is missing from this video?

The answer is YOU! and there is no excuse this coming weekend, as there is so much going on downtown that I know I'm going to be exhausted from my weekend come next Monday morning. In fact, I may have to take a day off to recuperate from my weekend. For happenings check it out:

"Artists of the Rust Belt Festival"

Saturday, June 6, 2009 from Noon until 2:00 AM,and Sunday June 7th from Noon until 6:00 PM at the B & O Station 530 Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44502, the Artists of the Rustbelt are having a festival. Over 30 artists will be selling their fine art and fine crafts. Live music will begin at 3:00 PM and will feature more than 20 bands and musicians from the Rust Belt Region. Hometown brew by the Rust Belt Brewing Company will be on tap. Local food vendors will also be on hand to feed your appetites. Admission is free. A portion of the proceeds will benefit YSU's SMARTS -Students Motivated by the Arts.


Youngstown's First Gay Pride Celebration

Celebration starts at noon on Saturday on Phelps Street between Commerce and West Federal, with a DJ mixx of gay iconic songs and introductory remarks. Entertainment begins at 12:30 with musical numbers and Drag Queens sure to spice things up. The street fair portion of Gay Pride Youngstown is over at 8:00 pm and is immediately followed by the Oakand Benefit Drag Show at the Oakland Center for the Arts. In addition several local bars will be open at noon to serve festival goers.

Oh and I must not forget that my good friend over at Shout Youngstown has posed a question. He is looking for a place downtown to play Four Square. I'm ready to play! Check out the video he has posted here. I opt for Phelps street on Saturday afternoon.

And then there is the Jones Fest II:
My favorite women from EOS will be on the program.

Oh and here is yet another addition that Janko was kind enough to remind me about:

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society Wick Park Walking Tour. The walking tour will begin at the First Unitarian Universalist church at 1105 Elm Street, Youngstown, OH at 4:30 PM. It is anticipated that the tour will be over at 7:30 PM. The approximate one mile walk will include stories about some of the affluent families in Youngstown during the era of industrialization and there will also be a viewing of the final design plans for Wick Park Revitalization. The tour is free. If you have questions call (330) 743-2589.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Harry's Friendly Service

Get ready for the World Premiere of Harry's Friendly Service, only at the Pittsburgh Public Theater May 28 through June 28,2009. The play is written by Rob Zellers,a native of Youngstown Ohio. The play is directed by Ted Pappas.

The year is 1977 and the place is Youngstown, Ohio. The steel workers are on strike, the city is in distress, but Harry's gas station is crackling with card games and bustling with spirited debate.

Heather Helinsky,Resident Dramaturg for Pittsburgh Public Theater says, "The spirit of Youngstown inspires Rob Zellers' new play. It is no accident that the word friend is in the title of this brand new play set in Youngstown, OH. Think about it."

She goes on to state, "During the peak of industrialization, Youngstown was a city where friendship and loyalty were essential. In the mills, making steel was a team effort. Outside of work, the local bars did brisk business. In the summers, Idora Park, an amusement park built in 1899, provided good times with roller coaster rides, minor league baseball games, and an exciting midway. Residents found a good life in this City of Homes. Prior to the 1970's Youngstown had the highest rate of home ownership in the United States. Youngstown held the promise of the American dream until September 19, 1977 when the Lykes Corporation, a southern based conglomerate, pulled out of Youngstown and left the workers stranded. This started a chain reaction that toppled industry in the region."

The play is at the Pittsburgh Public Theater located in the O'Reilly Theater at 621 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Tickets are $30.50 - $49.50. Tickets are available on-line at Pittsburgh Public Theater. There are also some 30% discounts available. The discounted tickets range from $21.85- $35.15. Tickets for students and those under 25 are $15.50(bring a valid ID). To secure your 30% discount contact Becky at (412) 315-8220 ext. 703 or by e-mail at Becky is also available to speak with your group or organization about the play. You can schedule her to speak by contacting her at 412-316-8200 ext. 704.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blueprint America

I am rather opinionated about the need for public transportation throughout the country in general, but especially in the industrial northeast and Midwest as our urban areas are relatively close to one another. In this age of climate change it is time to move beyond our reliance on the automobile and move toward public transportation in cities and rail service between cities. It is time to revisit the city plan that encourages walking, and biking, taking the bus, the street car or the train. It is my belief that if we make investments such as this, we will reduce our overall carbon footprint and also increase the livability of our cities.

There is currently a remarkable program airing on PBS called Blueprint America. I highly recommend it. If by chance you have missed it you may view it here. Please check it out and then, as always, I urge you to contact your representatives at the local, state and federal level and let them know that you want investment in public transit.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Reefer Madness Protest

This post is for those of you who missed the demonstration downtown on Friday.Don't forget next weekend is the last weekend to see Reefer Madness at the Oakland. Don't miss it! For ticket information go here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Heard through the grapevine...

As many of you know The Oakland Center for the Arts in downtown Youngstown has staged a production entitled, "Reefer Madness". The show is receiving rave reviews and I recommend that if you haven't seen it yet, you must! It is not to be missed. You can read the Tribune's review here, and the Vindicator's review here.
Today, it was brought to my attention that an organization in Y-town, calling themselves the Upstanding Citizens Against Marihuana, is planning a demonstration to protest the performance and the blatant promotion of marihuana in Youngstown. The founder of this organization is one Ramona Martin. My guess is that Ramona would take issue with the Govenor of California as well.

However, Brooke Slanina, President of Oakland Center for the Arts, has decided that she will not run from controversy. Today she announced that in response to Ramona's declarations against the Oakland, she and supporters of the Oakland Center for the Arts will stage a counter protest against Ramona and her ilk.

Any parties interested in defending the Oakland against misinformed citizens are welcome to attend a pre-protest poster making party on Thursday, May 7, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Supplies will be provided. Then on Friday, May 8, all will meet in front of the Oakland at 11:00am in preparation for Ramona and her upstanding citizens.

Brooke has stated that interested parties may reach her via email: at More information is also available here.

The Corner Store

Yesterday, the Idora Neighborhood Association, Residents of Ward 5 Precinct I, Councilman Paul Drennen and MVOC showed just how powerful citizens can be when they organize. Yesterday at the polls, citizens spoke through the ballot and they voted to discontinue sales of alcohol at Party Pantry on Glenwood Avenue in Youngstown.

It is time for corner stores in urban areas to improve their image and begin to serve as an asset to their neighborhoods rather than a detriment. There is little doubt that neighborhoods need corner stores within walking distance. No one really wants the corner store to disappear, but rather most would like the stores to stay, and provide healthy foods and products. If the stores were to clean up their image and provide healthy products, this would not only improve their neighborhoods, it would ultimately make owning and working in the stores safer, increase sales and make the stores more profitable.

Recently, changes in the WIC federal nutrition program have been made to allow the benefits to be used to purchase a much wider range of healthy foods, including fresh produce. This should help to create a strong incentive for stores in low-income areas to carry healthier items. There are numerous resources for communities who wish to improve access to healthy foods through work with small stores and corner stores.

If the owners of Youngstown's corner stores were to collaborate with residents to improve their neighborhoods, wonderful changes could transpire. For example, Youngstown as we all know is a shrinking city, more and more green space is being created, and it should be cultivated. By producing healthy food and creating a local sustainable food system, the "corner store" could participate as purveyors of local food. The idea of food production in the city is relatively new and will take some time to implement, however, in the meantime, if the "corner stores" were to clean up,and introduce new products I have little doubt that they could improve profits. Cleveland has such a project and you can read about it here.

The Idora Neighborhood Association and Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative began their nine month old corner store campaign in August 2008 with a public meeting attended by over 120 residents of the neighborhood. The purpose of the meeting was to cleanup Glenwood Avenue and the five corner convenience stores located along a one mile stretch of the commercial strip. The neighborhood attempted to work with the stores, but only one store came forward, as a result a Dry Precinct Initiative was launched.

In November 2008, the neighborhood voted Ward 5 Precinct I dry with 60 plus percent of the voters backing the dry precinct. However, Party Pantry Inc. was able to place a special option election for the Party Pantry site on the May ballot through 5R voting regulations. The residents vowed to continue their efforts and yesterday their work paid off. The months of extensive outreach, canvassing and public meetings resulted in approx. 80 percent of voters saying no to the sale of alcohol at Party Pantry, Inc.

James London of the Idora Neighborhood Association said, “The neighborhood was tired of this type of activity, which has gone on for twenty years. We are no longer willing to tolerate irresponsible businesses or behavior. The neighborhood has clearly spoken and a new day is dawning in the Idora Neighborhood.” London added “This is not about closing stores. It is about creating good neighbors and a healthy neighborhood.” Residents and members of the Idora Neighborhood Association say this is another successful step in the ongoing campaign. The campaign will continue to cleanup Glenwood Avenue and will target other corner stores in the days and months to come.

As residents of the city, let's begin to approach the owners of the corner stores and let them know they would have our business and support if they were to clean up their stores and offer something other than alcohol. I've been in several of the stores around town and I feel lucky when I'm able to purchase a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, much less anything nutritious.

You can learn more about cleaning up the local corner store by contacting the
the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative. The MVOC is a broad-based community organizing initiative that was established in March of 2008. The primary focus of the MVOC is to unite groups throughout the community (churches, neighborhood groups, schools, etc.) to work together to increase the quality of life in urban neighborhoods in the Cities of Youngstown and Warren, Ohio. For more information please visit

Monday, April 27, 2009

City Wide Clean-up and Perennial Plant Exchange

Youngstown Litter Control and Recycling in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful Program is sponsoring a city-wide litter cleanup of Youngstown's public lands, roads and neighborhoods on May 16, 2009 from 8:00 AM - 12 noon. Gather a team from your family, work place, church, social clubs or neighbors. Register your team by calling (330) 744-7526 or go here. Choose an area to cleanup, or ask for one to be assigned to you. Youngstown Litter Control will provide trash bags and gloves for your team. They will then pick up and dispose of or recycle the trash your team collects.

Treez Please will have a team cleaning up the Common Ground and adjacent properties on the corner of Kensington and Broadway Avenue on Youngstown's northside. Please feel free to join our team. Later, at 1:00 following the clean-up Treez Please will be hosting a Perennial Plant Exchange. Treez Please will also have several trees to give away. Bring your extra perennials and trade for something that you don't already have. If you are interested in gardening or just want your yard to look better with minimal effort,come to the plant exchange. Invite friends and family to participate as well. You may also bring trees,seeds, shrubs, and bushes, indoor and outdoor plants, and yard art and garden pottery. Bring along your no-longer-needed gardening items to help beautify the world one yard at a time!

Anyone in the surrounding area may participate in the exchange. Seating will be limited so don't forget to bring along a lawn chair if you are planning to stay a while. Treez Please will be providing cool drinks as well.

We will look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shots Fired!

First of all, let me start this article with a caveat. I love Youngstown, and I do not believe that generally speaking it is a dangerous place to live or work. Let me repeat...I do not share the typical suburban perception of crime in Youngstown. However, we do have a problem with people shooting guns in the city. The other morning about 1:30 AM I awoke to the sound of automatic gun fire very near my bedroom window. I looked out the window and saw a Ford van traveling down my street without headlights or tail lights. I immediately called the YPD. Some time later several cruisers responded to a location on the street behind my house. Several officers then began searching for something with their flashlights. I imagine they were searching for bullets.

This is not the first time that I have heard gunfire in my neighborhood. In fact, it was but a night later that I once again heard automatic gunfire. This must stop! This is not the Welcome Wagon that we want to greet new residents.

A young couple I know that recently moved here from Brooklyn with their infant told me that they too had recently had a similar experience with gunfire. They told me that although they love the city and want to reside here; the one thing that will make them move will be the sounds of gunfire ringing out in the night. I can't say as I blame them. What parent wants their child to grow up in fear? What's more, this is not unfounded fear. There were recently two incidents involving semiautomatic rifles within days. A house on the 100 block of Cleveland Street on Youngstown's South Side was hammered by more than 40 bullets Tuesday, the majority of them from an AK-47 assault rifle. In Warren, there was a drive-by shooting in the 2000 block of Wick Street Southeast in Warren. This incident left one child injured and two dead according to the Vindicator. My guess is that this is but the tip of the iceberg as warm weather is approaching and combined with the poor economy this could lead to more crime.

There are a few solutions to the problem available. One of them is something called ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System. The system detects real time gunfire. A picture of a city street is displayed on a police dispatcher's computer screen and red dots pinpoint the location where there was open fire seconds before. No one in the neighborhood has to call 911 to report the gunfire. The technology zeroes in on the precise location, sends the information to dispatcher and sounds an alert. More about the system can be read here.

The Vindicator reported about the system several months ago and indicated that the system "could" be in place by summer. The operative word in the article is "could". As residents who love this city I think it is time to let city government know that "could" is not good enough. We need the Vindicator to report that the city "shall" put this system in place. Please contact your city council representative and let him or her know that they must address the problem of gunfire in the city. For contact information please look here.

In addition to,or in lieu of, ShotSpotter, I believe we should push for implementation of Citi-Stat, technological crime fighting tool. I have written about this program before and I still believe it offers the best solution to our problems. To read more about this program go here.

Recently, I have noticed many references in the press to Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities. This is because her work is as timely today as it was when printed in 1961. To quote,"...the public peace - the sidewalk and street peace- of cities is not kept primarily by the police. It is kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious, network of voluntary controls and standards amongst the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves. In some city areas - older public housing projects and streets with very high population turnover are often conspicuous examples - the keeping of public sidewalk law and order is left almost entirely to the police and special guards. Such places are jungles. No amount of police can enforce civilization where the normal, casual enforcement of it has broken down".

We must take this to heart. We,as residents of Youngstown, must be vigilant and keep watch in our neighborhoods for illegal activity, and report it when we see it. With the recent increase in foreclosures and abandandoned properties this is especially important as abandoned properites often serve as havens for those with criminal intent. Report suspicious activity and encourage the city to have these buildings boarded up. In addition, there are many block watches in the city. Please join the one in your neighborhood. For a list of neighborhood organizations please look here. Together we can fight crime.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When I Knew and How it Saved Me

April 6, 2009: Local performers will tell the stories of local GLBT individuals, friend, and allies on the theme “When I Knew…and How It Saved Me” at the Oakland Center for the Arts. The show, scheduled for 8:00 Friday April 17 and Saturday April 18 with a 7:00 reception each night, is the work of Robert Dennick Joki, a director and performer who is well known in the local theater community.

Joki collected these stories by approaching friends and GLBT organizations and by spreading the word through the online community. These inspirational testimonies will be part of a performance that also features music and spoken word. Stories that are not performed on stage will be showcased in the Oakland Star Gallery.

Along with Joki, performers include Maxine Factor, Nicole Zayas, Ric Panning, Joyce Jones, Molly Makselan, Kage Jonas, Beth Farrow, Kelly Bancroft, Natalia Hagan, Kerri Rickard, Rick Morrow, Carlos Rivera, and Nikita Jones.

All proceeds from “When I Knew…and How it Saved Me” benefit Pride Youngstown, specifically Youngstown’s first gay pride celebration, scheduled for Saturday June 6th.

It is not too late to submit a story for “When I Knew…and How It Saved Me.” Please send, as a Microsoft Word attachment or as a rich text file, your submission to Include in your cover email a brief biography with your name, contact information, age, gender or gender identity, and anything else you would like us to know. Anonymous submissions will not be accepted, but names may be withheld from the performance at the author’s request. Submission deadline is Friday April 10.

To make reservations, call 330-746-0404. The Oakland Center for the Arts is the only community theater in downtown Youngstown and is located at 220 West Boardman Street.

For more information, contact Robert Dennick Joki at or 330-503-2671.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 -And How It Will Effect Your Family

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 appears on its face to be a good bill in that it will supposedly protect the food supply. Is serves as a response to the recent outbreaks in salmonella in peanut butter and the likes. This type of problem certainly needs to be addressed, however this bill is not the appropriate way to do so.

This bill is essentially a one size fits all bill and that size is large food producers. This bill should not apply to small farmers and organic producers but the language of the bill doesn't exclude them. It would appear that the bill does not face debate in the Congress and that without some outcry it will likely pass. This bill could potentially put an end to farmers markets and organic food production. The bill is being sponsored by some giant agricultural industries including Monsanto.

We must always be cognizant of the unintended consequences of even the most benign appearing legislation. Under HR 875 all participants in farmers' markets will be forced to register, otherwise the market will be shut down as an illegal operation. Failure to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 would result in a fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation. Specifically, the law would apply to any food establishment including farmers' markets. The term food establishment is defined in the bill as follows:

(A) IN GENERAL: The term 'food establishment' means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.

The extra requirements and inspections required of small family farms under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 would be a burden. Interestingly enough this bill was introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.

This act could potentially criminalize seed banking. It establishes prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, requires 24 hour GPS tracking of animals, easements onto farm property to allow for warrantless government entry, and it could strip away property rights. This Act is a corporate ag-business dream come true.

The full text of the Act can be read here.

I have posted a couple videos from several different sources about the farm bill. I have also included a video about how food production has changed over time. I have included material from the left and the right in order to show that generally speaking this bill is a nightmare.

I'm angry about this Act that is disguised as a consumer protection. I'm getting deje vu as I recall how upset I was by the Patriot Act before it was passed. At that time people often told me that I was wrong, and that the Patriot Act wouldn't limit citizen's civil liberties,but rather only those of terrorists. Well, we all know how that turned out. Once again in HR 875 we are about to lose our rights to food production. It is time to stand up for our local family farms. Please contact your congress person now! You can contact Congressman Tim Ryan here. You can also sign a petition in opposition to this bill at Leave My Food Alone

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Treez Please in Wick Park

Yesterday was a splendid day for tree planting. The sun was shining and it was a warm spring day. This was the first of several tree planting events to be hosted by Treez Please. Yesterday,seventeen trees were planted along the Park Avenue side of Wick Park. The trees were planted as part of the overall plan to revitalize the park. Among the trees planted were Honey Locust, and several Autumn Glaze and October Glory Maples. There were about forty people in attendance including a bus load of kids from First Friend's Church of Salem Ohio. The young people were doing community service in order to bring attention to world hunger. One young woman from the group explains their mission in this short video.

Below is a short video about planting trees:

Treez Please wishes to thank all of those who came out to plant trees yesterday. We would also like to thank Second Nature Landscaping for their assistance as well as the city forester David Sturtz for auguring the holes. We had a wonderful time and hope all those who joined us did as well.

Treez Please will be hosting several other events in the near future. If you or someone you know would like to participate go to and send us a message. We will add your name to our contact list.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Time Happenings in Youngstown

Well Spring time is here and there is a lot to do. It is time to clean up winter debris and start planting things. Last weekend's permaculture course presented by Grow Youngstown, and taught by Josh Benniston was a wonderful learning experience and a great social one as well, because it brought together people from Columbiana County, Mahoning County, and some from as far away as Oberlin, OH.

Grow Youngstown is once again offering an opportunity to participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) For information on costs go the website. The deadline for getting your contract to Grow Youngstown is April 1, 2009.

This weekend is busy as well. Treez Please is doing a tree planting in Wick Park tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. The tree planting will take place on the Park Avenue side of the park. I'm told the weather will be fine until tomorrow evening so come on out, get your hands dirty, and join the fun!

Also tomorrow, Judge Dellick of Mahoning County Juvenile Court and Tony Budak of the Time Bank of the Mahoning Watershed, are having a public meeting at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 514 Parmalee Avenue, Youngstown to discuss the development of a Teen Court. The meeting begins at 1:00 PM.

In addition a series of very important public hearings will be held by the Community Development Office of the city of Youngstown. The purpose of the hearings is to receive public comment regarding the City of Youngstown's One Year Action Plan. The Plan to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) includes estimated funding of $5 million of community development monies.

All interested citizens are encouraged to attend one of these meetings. Citizens will be provided the opportunity to offer input on how the City should allocate, within the Consolidated Plan, resources it receives from HUD. Audience dialogue is strongly encouraged, however these particular meetings are not designed to resolve general complaints. The meetings will remain focused on allocating resources within the plan. For further information, contact the City of Youngstown's Community Development Agency (330) 744-0854

Monday, April 6, 2009, 6:00 pm
115 S. Meridian Road, Youngstown, OH

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 6:00 pm
3660 Shirley Road, Youngstown, OH

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 6:00 pm
Park Vista Gathering Room
1216 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown, OH

Thursday, April 9, 2009 6;00 pm
Associated Neighborhood Center, Auditorium
1649 Jacobs Road, Youngstown, OH

Also, for those who are anxious to know when the Grey to Green Festival will be taking place; it has been scheduled for September 12, 2009 at Wick Park on Youngstown's north side. Further information will be made available at a later date.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homegrown Revolution

This wonderful little film is about a matter that is near and dear to my heart. Although, the film is about a family in California, it could just as well be about a family in Youngstown Ohio. There are of course numerous differences in the type of produce that can be grown, the growing season, and the need to learn food preservation, but do not doubt it, we too can grow our own food.

Grow Youngstown is presenting a two day workshop in permaculture on March 21 and 22, 2009. It will be held at the Davis Center in Mill Creek Park. If you too have an interest in the freedom that can come from growing your own food please contact Elsa with questions at Information about the course is posted below the film.

Introduction to Permaculture Design Instructor - Josh Benniston
A Weekend Workshop, March 21st and 22nd, at the
D.D. and Velma Davis Center, 123 McKinley Avenue, Yo. Ohio
We will learn about:

* Practical design methods for gardens, farms,
buildings, organizations, communities, etc.
* Productive Edible Landscapes
* Principles of Ecological Design
* Urban Sustainability

Workshop cost is $70 per individiual for the weekend,
$60 ea. for two people and $50.00 ea. for three
people or more from the same organization. Depending
on enrollment, scholarships will be made
available based on need and community involvement.

Checks are payable to: Grow Youngstown
and should be mailed to
PO Box 1191,
Youngstown, Ohio 44501.

IMPORTANT: Please indicate the
names and number of people attending as well as
your email contact information.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Downtown Development Project - Where Less is More

Press Release from the Ohio Arts Council

The Federal Plaza Corridor is nothing short of “the key to revitalizing downtown Youngstown” Raymond John Wean Foundation

MAHONING COUNTY Youngstown, Ohio

Youngstown in Mahoning County is shrinking. It has less than half the population it did 40 years ago. Where bustling mills once churned out sheet metal and tubing there are now abandoned buildings; busy streets once filled with children are now blighted neighborhoods of empty homes. But after waiting decades for boom times to return, the city is now trying a different strategy: through an initiative dubbed Plan 2010, the city is embracing contraction –“shrinkage,” with fewer residents, services and physical size – as a road to sustainability. Green space is being created. Incentives are offered to homeowners in sparsely populated areas to move to more densely populated ones. And the arts and cultural assets of the area, many of which receive operating and project support from the Ohio Arts Council, are being positioned to be at the center of the recovery.

The city’s rich past means it has abundant treasures worth celebrating. Federal Plaza and Federal Street are home to an amazing array of architectural jewels of early 20th century architecture, including the classical Sky Bank Building (1909), the neo-classical revival Reality Building (1924), and what was once a grand theatre. And today, the Raymond Jean Wean Foundation is funding “an exploration of the arts and culture in Mahoning County” – specifically the Federal Plaza corridor, once a thriving retail hub in downtown Youngstown. A large-scale project is being developed in the warehouse of nationally-known artist James Pernotto, where planners envision an adaptive re-use facility featuring artist live/work space, studios and shops. The Butler Institute of American Art is even considering a satellite exhibition space there. Nearby, over $12 million has been invested in a Tech Block business incubator for technology companies and other start-ups.

The Wean Foundation sees the Federal Plaza Corridor as nothing short of “the key to revitalizing downtown Youngstown.” The project is still in the conceptual stages but is gaining momentum and support. Change won’t happen overnight, but the mood is shifting – and you can feel it. Today Youngstown remains an example of rust belt glory days gone by, where streetscapes turned to eyesores and once-proud homes became empty lots. But tomorrow, with the vision of community leaders and an economic revitalization plan that embraces the arts, innovation and imagination, Youngstown’s best days may yet be ahead of it. YOUNGSTOWN DEVELOPMENT PROJECT Where Less is More We’re Building Ohio Through the Arts The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.

Ohio Arts Council
727 East Main Street
Columbus, OH 43205-1796
General Information:
Ted Strickland, Governor
Susan Saxbe, OAC Board Chair Julie S. Henahan, OAC Executive Director

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Riding on the WRTA

This photo by Tony Nicholas

photo of the smiling bus driver by Tony Nicholas

A good time was had by all who participated in the bus trip organized by Shout Youngstown. The Vindy did an excellent piece on the event, check it out here. Approximately 25 or 30 people met at the WRTA station in downtown Youngstown to take the Buckeye 33 to Casa Fiesta on Midlothian Blvd. The Casa Fiesta serves a wide range of Mexican dishes, in a bright and cheerful environment. (The pina coladas are to die for by the way)

Yesterday's gathering was similar to a flash mob only on public transit. It was organized to show support for the WRTA and to bring attention to the fact that Saturday service has been restored thanks to the levy that recently passed. WRTA's current goal is to provide county wide service.

Bus schedules can be found at the WRTA website here. Riding the bus is for everyone. I have often heard people remark that riding the bus is for people in poverty, or disabled. Actually, riding the bus is not a "class" issue but rather an environmental issue. The more people using public transportation the better for our environment.

Yesterday was a first for a few of the participants. Some were a little nervous about the experience because they were uncertain how to ride the bus. The WRTA anticipating this feeling has posted a rider's guide to the bus system here.

More flash mob events on the WRTA are in the planning stages, the bloggers of Y-town will keep you updated. Hope you can join us next time! It is our hope that more and more people will become aware and make use of this wonderful asset in the Mahoning Valley.

The WRTA will be receiving 3.51 million dollars infunds from the Federal Stimulus Package to make needed improvements to the station and to expand service. WRTA can get a head start on making needed improvements by placing bus schedules in the station and fixing their change machine. It would also be wonderful if the WRTA window could be open on Saturday as well.

We do hope to see you all next time. It was a great way to get together with friends old and new, explore Y-town by bus, and have a wonderful lunch!