Monday, February 23, 2009

Permaculture Workshop in Youngstown

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.

For More Information
Contact: Grow Youngstown at (212) 255-
3505 or

Please bring your lunch or purchase it at the Garden Cafe.

Grow Youngstown
Promoting the growth of food, forage,
forest and fuel within Mahoning County
and the immediate vicinity.
in partnership with Treez Please and Fellow Riverside Garden -
Mill Creek MetroParks present:

Meet Grow Youngstown

Meet Grow Youngstown – March 20, 2009.
The Garden Café
D.D. and Velma Davis Center
123 McKinley Avenue, Yo. Ohio

6:00pm – The event will start off with an Edible Hour featuring healthy locally produced food.
7:00pm – Auction of various special items valued from $50 to $350. 7:30pm – The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (90 minutes).
Tickets at the door: $10.00

When Cuba lost access to Soviet oil in the early 1990s, the country faced an immediate crisis—feeding the population—and an ongoing challenge: how to create a new low-energy society. Cuba transitioned from large, fossil-fuel intensive farming to small, less energy intensive organic farms and urban gardens, and from a highly industrial society to a more sustainable one. This film tells the story of the Cuban people’s hardship, ingenuity and triumph over sudden adversity— through cooperation, conservation and community, told in their own words. As the world approaches Peak Oil, Cuba provides a valuable example of how to successfully address the challenge of reducing our energy use.

“Everyone who is concerned about Peak Oil needs to see this film. Cuba survived an energy famine during the 1990s, and how it did so constitutes one of the most important and hopeful stories of the past few decades. It is a story not just of individual achievement, but of the collective mobilization of an entire society to meet an enormous challenge.” –Richard Heinberg, author of
The Party's Over and Powerdown

This fundraising event for Grow Youngstown has received generous support from Fellows Riverside Gardens – Mill Creek MetroParks and Treez Please

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

A good friend called me a junkie yesterday when my posted status on facebook said that I was reading the stimulus bill. He may have a valid point. (I assume he was implying I am a political junkie.) However, you too can read the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 here on line.

I have mixed emotions regarding the Act. I am both worried and excited about the possibilities for the stimulus money. It is from this place of anxiety that I feel compelled to read the Act for myself rather than satisfy myself with the many interpretations I keep hearing in the media. Maybe it is the lawyer in me.

For example I remember when the Patriot Act was proposed. I read it immediately and then I was appalled when it passed. I swear to this day that our law makers didn't read it before they signed it. The same may be true for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. However, I admit I feel a lot better about this Act than I did the Patriot Act although I'm sure there are many who disagree with me.

Nevertheless, I think that we all have a responsibility to learn as much as we can about this Act that is putting future generations of our children deeply in debt.I worry that the monies will be spent frivolously. I think we have a tremendous responsibility to make certain the funds are put to good use. They should be used to make our country less dependent on oil and to generally make our country greener and more energy efficient.

I also think that it is important to know what it says so that we here in Youngstown can make certain that we understand what we need to do to help the city benefit as much as possible from the Act. The President is developing a White House Office on Urban Policy. There are funds available to support Regional Innovation Clusters. We here in Y-town must make certain that we are involved in this. There is a lot to do and we need to get a start on it now.

In addition to reading the act I have also found a website that is tracking the money from the stimulus bill. It is called Shovel Watch While checking out this website I came upon a curious fact. It appears that states that have less unemployment are getting more money than those that have much higher unemployment. If you take the stimulus money per state divided by lost jobs of those states it ends up that Wymoming and its neighbors are receiving five times more stimulus money than places like Ohio and Michigan. I'm truly at a loss as to why this is the case and what the thinking is behind the decision. Seems to me that Wyoming is Dick Cheney's state, right? Wyoming and its neighbors are some of the few states that have not been hit much by this economic meltdown. So if you know or have any ideas about why they are getting so much money please enlighten me. In the meantime I have sent my question to the White House and will await their response.

One of the things that I think is truly wonderful about the Obama administration is its commitment to accountability and transparency, The administration has set up a website where questions can be asked and comments made. You too can express your concerns about the Act at the White House website. I have already submitted my question about Wyoming. I hope to receive a response, When I do I will let you know what it is.

In addition, if you would like to make suggestions to the Middle Class Task force you can do so here.

Folks, I'm hoping this kind of transparency and accountability is for real. If it is, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in politics unlike any the world has ever seen. We are moving toward authentic participatory democracy. What is more we have the technology now to support such as shift. We can't sit back now, we must participate. There is a lot of work to be done.

One troubling footnote: It would appear that the anti-war candidate of last summer (Obama).especially in comparison to the "hawkish" Clinton, yesterday ordered an increase in airstrikes in the soverign nation of Pakistan.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MVOC Community, Faith and Legislative Luncheon with Lee Fisher - The Perfect Economic Storm

Yesterday the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC) brought the community together to hear Lee Fisher, Congressman Ryan, and Mayor Williams discuss the vacant properties issue in Youngstown. Video of their speeches are below. The Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative is a broad-based community organizing initiative established in March of 2008.

The primary focus of the MVOC is to unite groups throughout the community (Churches, neighborhood groups, parent/teacher associations etc.) to work together to increase the quality of life in urban neighborhoods in the cities of Youngstown and Warren, Ohio. The MVOC seeks to bring change to our community through neighborhood actions and campaigns.

Vacant properties have been an issue repeatedly raised as the MVOC has worked in the neighborhoods. Vacant properties significantly impact our neighborhoods. The MVOC did a citywide vacant property survey in which over 150 community leaders participated. The survey estimates the number of vacant properties in the city of Youngstown at 22,000 of which 4500 have structures. The current approach to addressing the problem is not effective. Vacant properties effect the quality of life here and discourages reinvestment in the city.

My prior posts outline the work of the MVOC as well as the outcome of the meeting they recently had in Columbus with representatives of the governor's office. It was at this meeting that Lee Fisher promised to come to the Mahoning Valley to meet the people and see the problem first hand.

Yesterday, Lee Fisher kept that promise. The meeting was held at the Union Baptist Church. The church was filled to capacity. I heard estimates that upwards of 600+ people attended. Many citizens took the afternoon off work to attend the event as they feel it is imperative that the politicians in Columbus understand that the citizens of this Valley are concerned and want the vacant properties problem solved. Youngstown needs funds to solve this problem and the Governor's office needs to heed our cry or our disappointment will be evident at the polls on election day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bug at the Oakland

The Oakland Center for the Arts, 220 W. Boardman Street in Downtown Youngstown, is proud to announce its first show of 2009. Bug, written by Tracy Letts, opens Friday, February 20, at 8 P.M with a reception immediately following the performance. Local artist Gail Trunick, whose work was recently featured at The Butler Institute of American Art, is the featured Star Gallery artist.

Set in a seedy hotel room, this thriller centers on the blossoming relationship between Agnes, a divorced waitress, and Peter, a soft spoken Gulf War drifter. Agnes stays at a hotel in hopes of avoiding her physically abusive ex-husband, Jerry, who was just released from prison. On top of that, there’s a hidden bug infestation problem that has both Agnes and Peter dealing with scathing welts and festering sores. Their fears soon escalate to paranoia, conspiracy theories, and twisted psychological motives.

Robert Dennick Joki, known for such Oakland hits as The Full Monty, Bat Boy, and How the Drag Queen Stole Christmas, will direct. The cast includes Ron Aulet of Niles, Terri Labedz of Youngstown, Ric Panning of Hubbard, Lisa Skerkavich of Youngstown, and Jim Canacci of Boardman.

The show runs February 20, 21, 27, 28, March 5, 6, and 7 at 8:00 pm with a matinee on March 1 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 55 years and over, and $10 for students with valid ID. Group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more.

For reservations, please contact 330-746-0404. For additional information, cast photos, blogs and more, visit Also check for special discounts.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mayor Jay Williams Addresses the City Club of Cleveland February 5, 2009

I am posting this video here with no comment on my part. However, if you were a participant in the downtown tree debate a year or so ago you would be interested in hearing what the Mayor has to say at minute 8:30 on Video 5. Once again thanks to Janko for pointing that out. I would be very interested in your thoughts about the mayor's speech and will post your comments here. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Looking Back - and Moving Forward

Janko at Shout Youngstown has posted a story about the genesis of his blog. I want to encourage everyone to check out his post at Shout Youngstown.I did not see the film footage he presents when it was first aired because I was en route to Houston Texas and busy making a life with my family in a new place because my now ex-husband had just lost his job at Sheet and Tube. I want to thank Janko for sharing it now and for reminding us that we are some of the most resilient people in the country. I also want to thank him for continuing to Shout Youngstown.

Speaking of genesis it was over a year ago that I began Youngstown Moxie. The reason I started Moxie was because I was inspired by the many young bloggers that were creating a buzz about Youngstown. I have lived here for many years and have always been involved in various forms of activism, however it wasn't until Janko at Shout Youngstown, Tyler Clark from Renaissance Youngstown and Phil Kidd from Defend Youngstown began blogging that I began to rejuvenate and once again get excited about the potential here in the city. We have come a long way since the early days of Y-town blogging. For more about that growth see Tyler's blog post today. Since the early days of Moxie I have learned a great deal about technology thanks to the patience of the aforementioned bloggers. I have also developed a keen respect for the power of the blog and see it as one of the few ways to get the news of the day as seen through a different lens than that of the establishment press.

Today we have a new President and I fear that he may be damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. The Washington Press Core is part of the very establishment that Obama wants to change. Many in the press derive their livelihood from their knowledge of establishment politics. If the knowledge required to do the job were to change, that means that many in the media can no longer operate as they have been. Whether conscious or not, they have a personal stake in maintaining the status quo. The spin they put on politics determines to a large degree the approval ratings of the President. I do not believe that the press is necessarily conservative or liberal, I believe that they merely want to maintain the world as they know it.

The establishment of Washington fully expects that Obama will come around to their view of the world. They fully expect things to stay the same. In other words they figure Obama said what he needed to say to get elected, but now that he is President, it will be business as usual. I do not believe this is Obama's intention. However, if pushed up against a wall by negative public opinion created by the establishment press, he could ultimately find himself a part of the very establishment he wishes to change.

As citizens we must not stop our support now, we must continue to make our voices heard. If necessary we must demonstrate and create some tension to make certain that Obama has an opportunity to implement the programs that we have been lacking for over eight years. Granted the stimulus package is for a great deal of money, but government spending on programs has been substantially reduced in recent years. We have a lot to make up for. Granted, I would prefer that the package itself were written in a more comprehensible format but nevertheless, we need it and we need it now. It is time for the creation of a green economy and public transportation on a large scale. My personal dream is that some day we in the U.S. will have high speed rail service. It is by the development of such projects that we will create real growth in the economy. For more on the economy and the stimulus package see Tyler Clark's blog Renaissance Youngstown and by all means don't shut up yet,continue to make your voices heard.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Youngstown - Mahoning County Vacant Property Initiative

Youngstown-Mahoning County Vacant Property Initiative Announces Launch of National Vacant Property Campaign Report
February 4, 2009 - Youngstown OH

The Youngstown-Mahoning County Vacant Property Initiative invites all members of the public to attend the launch of the National Vacant Property Campaign report entitled Regenerating Youngstown and Mahoning County through Vacant Property Reclamation on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM at St. Patrick's Church Hall on Oak Hill Avenue in Youngstown. Distinguished guests include Joseph Schilling (National Vacant Property Committee, Virginia Tech) and Daniel Kildee (Genesee County MI Treasurer, Genesee Land Bank Chair and CEO.

This groundbreaking report is the result of 18 months worth of work by a diverse collection of local leaders who have collectively addressed the vacant property challenges that face both the city of Youngstown and Mahoning County. The main focus of the VPI and this report is to revise existing and create new city and county systems for the prevention and reclamation of vacant property. The report promotes the integration and coordination of policy and practical solutions to more effectively prevent, acquire, and reuse these community assets.

The VPI steering committee is comprised of members from a number of state, county and city organizations along with community groups and the private sector. This unprecedented illustration of regional collaboration includes representation from Mahoning County, the City of Youngstown, Wick Neighbors Inc. Austintown Township, Boardman Township,Coldwell Banker/First Place Real Estate, Home Savings and Loan, Lien Forward Ohio, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Department of Development, Ronald Cornell Faniro Architects, Seventh Ward Citizens Coalition, St. Patrick's Church, and Youngstown State University.

I highly recommend that if you have an interest in this issue that you attend this event.