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Ohio artists respond to 100 days of Trump presidency

On Friday, May 5, from 6 – 9 p.m., SPACES will host an opening reception of The First 100+ Days, which is an exhibition of Ohio-based artists’ responses to the initial phase of Trump’s presidency — specifically regarding his immigration policy.
 
The artworks feature stories from immigrant and refugee communities while addressing the practical application of the Trump administration’s direction. The exhibition also considers how the media influences political discourse and aims to capture the radical potential of artistic activism.
 
The hard-hitting and varied responses from artists living in Ohio — a strategically positioned swing state — will be accompanied by a timeline of actions taken since President Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration that have introduced, enacted, and protested changing immigration policies during these politically turbulent times. 
 
Participating artists include Julia Christensen, Ryan Dewey, Michelangelo Lovelace, Home Affairs (Arzu Ozkal, Claudia Pederson, Nanette Yannuzzi), Tony Ingrisano, Kelley O’Brien, Darice Polo, John C. Williams, and Megan Young.
 
The First 100+ Days will be on display through June 30 and is curated by SPACES executive director, Christina Vassallo, with assistance from Karl Anderson. The gallery is located at 2900 Detroit Ave. in Hingetown.

To complement the exhibition, SPACES is offering a number of companion events to further explore U.S, immigration policy.

FamilySPACES, Saturday, June 4, 2 – 4 p.m.: Art-making activities to help families talk with children about the changing world.
 
Sanctuary City Potluck, Thursday, June 8, 6 – 8 p.m.: Dinner and panel discussion on how to be a community ally.
 
Live Jury, Saturday, June 24, 2 – 4 pm: Artists and architects are invited to submit U.S.-Canada border wall designs to the Unofficial Global Barrier-Centric Design Competition. Shortlisted entries will be judged on this day before a live jury.
 
Fact or Fiction?, June 29, 6 – 8 p.m.: An evening of alternative fact trivia and print making, presented by April Bleakney. Attendees are invited to learn about the impact of the printing press in resistance efforts throughout history and to make a print to take home.
 
Additional events may be added. Check the SPACES event calendar for updates.

 

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress awards $4.2M in grants with three-year initiative

Beginning in July, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) will invest a total of $4.2 million in twelve community development corporations (CDCs) over the next three years. The Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) includes nine awards, three of which are collaborative efforts. The funding will have a direct impact on 16 Cleveland neighborhoods.

“These critical investments will help improve neighborhoods across the city," said Joel Ratner, CNP president and CEO in a statement. "We look forward to working with our grantees as they develop work plans and implement the strategies they presented to the committee."

The following grants will be administered annually through 2020:
 
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and Metro West Community Development Corporation, $220,000
 
Ohio City, Inc. and Tremont West Development Corporation, $215,000
 
Famicos Foundation, $200,000
 
Burten Bell Carr Development, $200,000
 
Northeast Shores Development Corporation, $140,000
 
Slavic Village Development, $125,000
 
St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Collinwood Nottingham Villages Development Corporation, $100,000
 
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, $100,000
 
– Lee-Harvard Community Collaborative, $100,000
 
“We are also excited to invest in neighborhoods on the southeast side of Cleveland through our new capacity investment in the Lee-Harvard Community Partnership,” added Colleen Gilson, vice president of CDC Advancement for CNP. "This partnership is the result of a visioning and planning process supported by City of Cleveland Councilman Terrell Pruitt that will bring a dedicated community development entity into the neighborhood.”
 
CNP received a total of 14 proposals from a 23 CDCs for this competitive funding program. Senior staff reviewed proposals and recommended finalists to the organization’s SII Advisory Committee. Last month, that committee hosted two days of presentations during which the finalists highlighted the comprehensive community development goals and strategies they will employ during the 2017-2020 program cycle. CNP's board of directors’ final decision on funding was informed by the scoring process performed by the SII Advisory Committee.
 
“These selected CDCs will be taking on important work city-wide and we look forward to working with them as they implement community development strategies in their neighborhoods,” added Gilson of the SII recipients.
 
Over the past 10 years, CNP has committed more than $15 million to Cleveland CDCs via the SII program, funding for which is provided by the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, and Enterprise Community Partners.
 
 
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.
 

"Year of Awareness" sessions examine impact of racism on low income neighborhoods

Race is at the forefront of national debate once more following a contentious presidential election. Through a forthcoming series of workshops, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) will determine the impact the complex and controversial topic is having on Cleveland's poorest neighborhoods.
 
CNP, a nonprofit community development group, is convening a cross-section of civic leaders and stakeholders to discuss the effects of persistent racial inequality on marginalized populations. The work began in 2016 after CNP partnered with the Racial Equity Institute on "Year of Awareness" training sessions touching on racism in all its forms. Efforts with the North Carolina-based organization re-launched in January with history-based training aimed at any resident willing to attend. Scheduled every month through the rest of the year, half-day sessions are $75, while two-day training events are $250.

"We want to get this out to as many people as possible," says Evelyn Burnett, vice president of economic opportunity at CNP. "We're trying to cast a wide net." The next half-day event is Monday, March 6. The next two-day event is the following Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7 and 8.

Per CNP fund development manager Mordecai Cargill, "Year of Awareness" sessions will be led by the institute's alliance of trainers and community organizers. Law enforcement professionals and social justice activists teach the sessions, imparting historical events that highlight America's institutional disparities. Earlier this month, organizers screened "13th," a documentary centered on a U.S. mass-incarceration system that disproportionately imprisons African-American men.

Other talks will highlight the problems encountered in high-poverty, racially segregated regions; among them diminished resources, underperforming schools, deteriorating physical environments, and the constant threat of violence. Session planners expect to reach 1,000-1,500 participants before year's end.
 
Cleveland has its share of long-standing inequities, CNP officials note. Even thriving neighborhoods like Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway and Tremont won't reach their full potential until the ongoing renaissance becomes more inclusive. 
 
"It's good this development is happening, but there are people in those places not participating in the same way, and that often falls along racial lines," says Burnett. "We have to address these issues to do our work."
 
Uplifting the underserved means having uncomfortable conversations about the systemic reasons American society is divided between the "haves" and "have-nots," Cargill says.
 
"We've got to become familiar with some of the barriers people face," he says. "Creating solutions tailored to the needs of residents requires this kind of understanding." 
 

Birthing Beautiful Communities educates, advocates and supports

This series of stories, "Grassroots Success: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods," explores how meaningful impact on our communities grows from the ground up. Support for "Grassroots Success" is provided by Neighborhood Connections and NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology.

An overwhelming number of babies are dying in Cleveland neighborhoods, and a group of strong women have come forward to prevent those deaths through education, advocacy and support.
 
According to Birthing Beautiful Communities, 22 babies in Hough die for every 1,000 born, which is a stark contrast to the national average of six. Meanwhile in Cleveland's Central neighborhood, approximately 30 babies die annually.
 
“Infant mortality is not a new problem,” Birthing Beautiful Communities founder Christin Farmer says. “We’ve always known that our babies die at a higher rate and maternal morbidity rates are high amongst African American woman too.”
 
She blames the disparity on racism. Understandably so, as infant mortality rates are three times higher for black babies than white.
 
“A lot of the supportive services we provide have to do with us having to attend appointments with the mothers because they’ve been treated unfairly," says Farmer. "They don’t want to receive care or assistance out of fear of being judged because this is their third or fourth child.

"There’s a lack of wealth within communities, and education and achievement gaps in communities," she continues. "These are all day-to-day stressors that African-Americans face. Also, when you look as mass incarceration rates within communities—the men in the community are being incarcerated at a much higher rate—and that’s leaving women to take care of the babies and the children by themselves, and that is a stressor. It boils down to institutional and structural racism.”  
 
Farmer formed Birthing Beautiful Communities in 2014 to combat these alarming realities and resulting statistics. She had previously studied to be a midwife and volunteered as a postpartum doula. Upon deciding on birthwork as her career path, she began seeking out other African American doulas in the area.

"I became acquainted with a few other woman and we began to form a little commune of birthworkers who were interested in supporting moms in our own communities where we live and decreasing the rates of infant deaths,” notes Farmer, adding that the volunteers started out by meeting weekly and garnering clients through referrals.
 
“More so than doula work, we began to connect them [our clients] to a lot of other support services that they needed,” she says. “We did a lot of navigation with them, helping them through a lot of issues pertaining to housing, social service and caseworkers. By the time we get to the labor and delivery room, it’s a little too late if we don’t provide support beforehand.

"What we found was that the women really lacked support through family, through friends, and they a lot of times lived in isolation… Women not having support around them during their pregnancy can cause stress. Stress can lead to prematurity, and prematurity is the leading cause of infant mortality.”

Birthing Beautiful Communities provides free services to local women including childbirth and parenting education with workshops and classes on breastfeeding, stress relief, bonding with baby, co-parenting and healthy eating. They also offer support for labor, delivery and postpartum health including depression. Other issues they assist with include infant loss, anxiety, panic or fear. They also advise in family, life and goal planning.
 
“Our focus is always on what is going on in this mother’s life,” Farmer says. “We make it mandatory for anyone who comes through our door to participate in our SOS circle, which is all about mental health and emotional trauma—we work with a psychologist on that. We have our birthworkers facilitate these circles. They’ve been largely successful because they really hit at the core," she adds, noting that some of the clients don't even realize they are being exposed to stressors because it’s just their norm.
 
"It’s not normal to not know where your next meal is coming from or where you’re going to sleep that night or why you have these sorts of feelings, so we have that family support structure among ourselves where we can help in such circumstances," says Farmer, adding that the group promotes healthy eating, breastfeeding, and togetherness. "It’s collectivism that has left our communities so we’re just bringing it back. We’re building communities through babies.” 
 
The organization also trains women to provide these services through an eight-week course on prenatal, birth, and postpartum support; breastfeeding; contraception; and stress, anxiety, depression and panic support. All birthworkers are required to obtain CPR credentials. The infant CPR classes are open to the public. 
 
They are currently training their second class of women. The first class had nine trainees; the current class has 10. The group is  planning to offer community birthworker training once a year that would include doula training in addition to training on the many other services they provide. Birthing Beautiful Communities aims to eventually hire those graduates. Beginning in April, the organization will also offering a course for doula-only training (labor, delivery and postpartum support).
 
“We don’t turn anyone away and we have never charged anyone anything,” Farmer says of the training, which is valued at $1,800. “Since we’re paying for the training, we expect our trainees to come back and take on one or two pro-bono cases so that we can accommodate those woman who live outside of our scope but still need the services.”
 
The Cleveland Foundation awarded the Greater University Circle Community Health Initiative (GUCCHI) $500,000 in April 2015, $125,000 of which went to Birthing Beautiful Communities to provide their services in the Hough neighborhood.
 
“Christin Farmer was the first person to inform me about the infant mortality crisis in 2014. I knew nothing of it,” GUCCHI project manager Neal Hodges says. “What Christin was doing was addressing the social determinants that play a part in the infant mortality crisis by training Glenville residents to become doulas to then help Glenville women who were pregnant and facing challenging situations to help ensure they would have a healthy, live birth."
 
He continues: "We started a marketing campaign in the communities as it became apparent that the community was unaware they were in the middle of a crisis (infant mortality) that rivals third world countries." The effort, however, does not stop with women.

“We are creating a Dude-la experiment program to address infant mortality from a two-parent approach,” says Hodges. “Most often—and rightfully so—infant mortality is geared toward the mother but not the farther. We aim to change that, and we are partnering with 100 Black Men and Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative to support the concept.”
 
In addition, Ohio Medicaid funds Birthing Beautiful Communities in neighborhoods outside of Hough deemed at high risk for infant mortality including Central, Buckeye-Woodhill, Ohio City and Lee-Harvard.
 
So far, the nine-person staff, which includes seven birthworkers, has assisted close to 50 women and is currently serving 23 pregnant mothers and three postpartum mothers. They have not suffered any deaths.
 
“Because we hire the women that we train, we are a workforce development agency, and we integrate the practice of birthwork with community development,” Farmer says. “It’s where community wealth meets community health.”

Bad Girl Ventures 'launches' new crop of grads, marks five years

Bad Girl Ventures' Cleveland location is celebrating its fifth anniversary by doing what it does best - giving area women business owners a financial boost for their entrepreneurial endeavors.
 
Last month, BGV awarded two $15,000 loans to a pair of graduates from its fall 2016 LAUNCH group. The loan recipients, Liza Rifkin of Liza Michelle Jewelry and Angelina Rodriguez Pata of Blackbird Fly Boutique, were part of an eight-member class that underwent nine weeks of training at Baldwin Wallace University's Center for Innovation & Growth.
 
Liza Michelle Jewelry offers custom-made, eco-friendly pieces, while Blackbird Fly Boutique brings customers contemporary apparel, footwear, accessories and locally made gifts. Both Ohio City store owners displayed the business-minded strength and acumen BGV seeks when choosing its awardees, says Northeast Ohio marketing manager Reka Barabas.
 
"These two are dedicated to growth and getting new revenue streams into their businesses," Barabas says. "We had a strong cohort of participants this fall, but there's only so much we can do with our funding."
 
The loans, awarded in  partnership with the Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI), will be used by the respective businesses to purchase inventory or expand a marketing campaign.
 
This is the first cohort to graduate under the new LAUNCH curriculum in Northeast Ohio, which is designed for established, majority women-owned enterprises that have been making sales for at least a year, says Barabas. Most program participants aim to tighten operations, discover new growth opportunities and learn about funding options.
 
"The loan can be a motivator, but it's often the icing on the cake," Barabas says. "Many people come to us because they realize the power of a structured program. They love being part of a supportive community of female entrepreneurs."
 
BGV Cleveland has graduated 18 classes since its establishment in 2011. Founded in Cincinnati and expanded since to markets throughout Ohio and Kentucky, the program overall has lent $220,000 to business owners. BGV Cleveland program grads, meanwhile, have attracted an additional $800,000 follow-on funding from non-BGV sources.
 
"We've grown up in these last five years," says Barabas. "Raising the profile of female entrepreneurship very much touches on our mission."
 
The nonprofit is already looking ahead to next year's iteration. Women business owners from any industry can apply online for the 2017 LAUNCH program by February 28. Barabas is excited to welcome a new class into BGV's hard-working fold.
 
"We're excited to be part of this ecosystem in Northeast Ohio," she says. "We want entrepreneurs to thrive in the community." 

Basic Health program offers multiple services to Cleveland's underserved

The nonprofit May Dugan Center has been addressing the basic needs of low income West Side residents for 70 years. New times create new necessities, to which the center has continued to answer the call, proponents say.
 
May Dugan's Basic Health program is a multi-faceted effort offering screenings and medical guidance for Cleveland's underserved and uninsured. These benefits are intertwined with ongoing food and clothing distribution and support services the nonprofit is already providing.
 
Each month during its food and clothing program, the center, in collaboration with St. Vincent Charity Hospital, gives check-ups on blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels to visiting clientele. Nurses on hand answer questions about medication interactions and other health topics, while podiatry residents consult with visitors about proper foot care.
 
In 2015, May Dugan performed 802 screenings on 200-250 returning individuals, says May Dugan deputy director Andy Trares.
 
"Forming relationships with a primary care physician is important to stay on top of your health," says Trares. "For many of our folks that come in, the screenings are the strongest relationship they have with a healthcare provider."
 
Some clients use the free service as a supplement to care from their general practitioner.
 
"We had a woman with high blood pressure who realized there was something wrong with her medication," Trares says. "We called her doctor and made the change right there."
 
Assistance with insurance applications is another program perk. As Healthcare Insurance Marketplace season approaches, certified application counselors will guide participants through what is often a confusing process. Meanwhile, insurance workshops will be led at May Dugan's facility at 4115 Bridge Ave. by a health and wellness coordinator.
 
The newest program under the Basic Health umbrella, meanwhile, invites senior citizens to drop into the center twice weekly for art and music therapy sessions, nutrition classes and free meals. Launched last year, the venture has brought 1,400 hours of socialization to 35 attendees.
 
Trares expects Basic Health's robust programming to continue into 2017, with help from foundational partners such as the Thatcher Family Fund as well as The Music Settlement, the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and other organizations giving their time for a much-needed service.
 
"We have clients picking up food and getting their health screenings on the same day," says Trares. "(Basic Health) looks at people holistically through issues that are tied together like food security, health and housing." 

This story is one of a Fresh Water series supported in part by the May Dugan Center.

Purveyor of hemp denim touts sustainability, eyes pop up locations

For some, the word "hemp" conjures up images of burning joints or bongs filled with white smoke.
 
Brian Kupiec is looking to change that perception with a new denim jeans brand that harnesses what he believes are the endless opportunities of hemp fiber. Called Magu Studios, Kupiec and his partners Val Garkov and Garrett Durica started the company in Cleveland two years ago.

After months of preparation, the trio is readying its first run of Japanese Raw Hemp Denim Jeans. The name delivers what it promises, interweaving industrial hemp with cotton for extra durability and bacteria resistance. Hemp carries environmentally-friendly properties as well, needing half as much land for growth as cotton. The leafy plant requires little to no pesticides and needs less water per growing season than "the fabric of our lives."
 
"We're highlighting sustainability and want to use our brand as inspiration for others to utilize hemp in their clothing," Kupiec says. "Industry trends are leaning toward more sustainable fabrics and ethical consumerism."
 
Magu Studios' hemp is cultivated in China, then shipped to Okyama, Japan, a city known in fashion circles as a source for high-quality denim. Kupiec, 22, a Kent State University double major in fashion and business marketing, says he and his partners saw a hemp-sized hole in the market and decided to fill it. His company name derives from the Goddess Magu, also known as the Hemp Maiden.
 
Kupiec and other supporters of the oft-misunderstood fiber point to the plant's myriad industrial applications, from medicine to building materials. Though hemp can't be used as a narcotic, the startup owner has fielded numerous queries about his company's relation to cannabis.
 
"People automatically ask us if our jeans are made of marijuana," says Kupiec. "Hemp gets grouped in with weed, but they should be viewed as two separate things."
 
Despite the stigma, Kupiec has gotten mostly positive responses to the business model, a trend he expects to continue in the next month when Magu Studios opens a pop-up shop in either Gordon Square or Ohio City.
 
Wherever it lands, the shop will carry the company's first 100 pairs of slim jeans in standard deep indigo. Different colors and fades will be available next year. By that time, Kupiec would like to be a budding voice for fashionable, sustainable garments.
 
"Creativity and innovation are what drives us as a business," he says. "We want others to have that same innovation and not be afraid to offer sustainability along with quality."  

Program to offer men with cancer unique roadmap

Cancer is a life-altering experience that impacts careers, relationships and bank accounts, while also giving the diagnosed an unwanted glimpse of their own mortality. Male survivors face a set of unique challenges, among them a clear direction on how to take back the power in their lives.
 
If cancer survivorship is a journey, Berea resident Dan Dean believes he has the roadmap. Dean, 36, is the founder of M Powerment, an organization providing resources geared specifically toward men affected by cancer. A series of free workshops, including a two-day event, Sept. 24 and 25, at Market Garden Brewery and Nano Brew Cleveland next month, promise action-oriented, practical skills that allow participants 21 and over to face the disease head-on.
 
"Men don't have great coping mechanisms to deal with illness," says Dean, a 12-year survivor of stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. "In layman's terms, guys don't talk about stuff."
 
M Powerment teaches participants to master their internal narrative and better communicate challenges with a spouse, partner or other support person. Program framework is based on mythologist Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, which prompts listeners to "follow their bliss," as well as the tenets of narrative medicine, an approach that harnesses people's stories to promote healing.
 
"By doing the work, you'll shift your energy into a more empowered place than you would be if you were victimized by the experience," says Dean, an avid backpacker and hiker. "It's about focusing on things that help you grow."
 
M Powerment workshops are research-based and use strategies approved by oncology social workers. Dean's road to an "m-powered" existence began upon diagnosis at age 23. Later years found him sharing first-person interviews with cancer survivors via a personal blog. Dean's mother, Caren, died of brain cancer in 2014, giving him further perspective on living a full life five, ten or 20 years after the disease is first discovered.  

Dean launched the group in May 2015, upon receiving seed money from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation. He hopes to garner additional funding from cancer organizations and for-profit businesses as the enterprise expands. After the Cleveland event, Dean is looking ahead to events in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Boston.
 
Ultimately, the program founder aims to form a wide-ranging network of cancer warriors. The program also has a sense of humor. Per the website, "This isn’t a trust circle and you aren’t going to hug someone in a sweater vest. You’re going to flex your cancer kicking muscles and come out m-powered men."
 
"The mission isn't to be in a group circle and talk about what happened, but to give survivors tools to successfully move forward," adds Dean. "It's almost like a 'cancer fraternity,' meaning anyone that comes in with a shared experience is going to bond over the cause." 

Making organic dough 'feels good' to Cleveland food entrepreneur

Pizza, calzones, empanadas and pot pies are all delicious, there's no debate to be had on that. However, thanks to the efforts of a Cleveland-area food entrepreneur, those flavorful goodies are now healthier, too.
 
Terry Thomsen, founder of Frickaccio’s Pizza Market in Fairview Park and the West Side Market - where their pizza bagels have been a staple for more than 30 years - launched Feel Good Dough in January. Thomsen's new venture is a line of USDA-certified organic frozen dough balls, which their proprietor says are vegan-friendly and GMO-free. The all-purpose dough, made in a 3,000-square-foot production and retail space in Fairview, can be used for both dinner and dessert recipes.
 
"It's good for pizza, dinner rolls, or anything else that's 100 percent clean without GMOs or pesticides," says Thomsen.
 
Though Thomsen previously trucked in organic artisan breads and dough balls, her latest enterprise is a good option for people with food allergies or difficulty digesting gluten. Feel Good Dough recently partnered with Milwaukee-based Red Star Yeast to utilize the company's 100 percent organic yeast, a move Thomsen says will keep her treats pure.
 
"I insisted on 100 percent organic including the yeast," she says. "This is not a common practice for many manufacturers, which are just 'made with' (organic ingredients) or 90 percent clean. We chose not to be like the rest."
 
Thomsen, a Lakewood resident, exhibited her homemade dough last month at the Fancy Food Show in New York. Upcoming is Expo East in Baltimore, where she will display Feel Good Dough for potential distributors.
 
Consumers can find the frozen dough balls today in 12 states. Locally, Heinen's, Whole Foods, Mustard Seed and other local markets carry the product, with Kroger's and Giant Eagle serving as future potential landing spots.
 
Thomsen initially test-marketed the dough out of her West Side Market location. After getting picked up by Heinen's, she tweaked the recipe to withstand additional heat for grilling and baking. Clean ingredients aren't cheap - Feel Good  Dough's suggested retail price is $5.99 - but healthy eating is worth the price, the business owner says.
 
"It's about being a grandmother and making something for families," Thomsen says. "Knowing people are eating it without stomach issues makes me feel good."

Forward Cities gathering will focus on area entrepreneurs, social innovation

More than 200 community, business, policy, and foundation leaders from four of the nation’s comeback cities are joining forces in Cleveland this month to foster entrepreneurship and social innovation in minority communities. This effort is part of Forward Cities, a national learning collaborative project in which leaders and donors from cities undergoing profound transformation can identify and share best practices. Participating cities include Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans and Durham.
 
“As the global economy becomes increasingly competitive and the war for talent spans worldwide boundaries, we can no longer leave behind huge swaths of our potential innovation talent pool – namely traditionally disenfranchised women and minority populations,” said Christopher Gergen, CEO of Forward Impact and co-founder of Forward Cities. “Cities that fail to heed this call and don’t take intentional action to create a new economy that is purposefully equitable will do so at their own peril. Inclusive innovation isn’t just the right thing to do – it is the smart thing to do.”
 
Forward Cities leaders will meet in Cleveland June 14-17 to explore how to drive inclusive innovation. Out of town participants will meet with Cleveland entrepreneurs, business incubators, social innovators, and neighborhood and government leaders. They will also tour target communities including the Opportunity Corridor, the West 25th Street Corridor, the East 55th Street Food Corridor, and the East 105th Street Corridor. The Cleveland Forward Cities Council, which acts as the project's local advisory board, selected those locations. The council includes entities such as Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Towards Employment, the City of Cleveland, RPM International the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., The Business of Good Foundation, the George Gund Foundation and several other civic-minded organizations. National and local donors are funding the effort.
 
In addition, panels of experts from across the participating cities will explore topics ranging from the use of globalization and immigration as a strategy for urban renewal, to the role of anchor institutions in economic development, and how individual entrepreneurs affect a city’s comeback. The Cleveland convening is the final gathering for Forward Cities, which met in New Orleans in December 2014, Detroit in June 2015 and Durham in December 2015.
 
While the Cleveland event is still days away, the area has already felt the impact of being included in the Forward Cities endeavor. The collaboration has led to stronger coordination of local programs to support entrepreneurs, enabled council members to adopt and apply successful programs from the partner cities and has generated new, honest discussions regarding issues that affect inclusive innovation, such as race. Three examples of Forward Cities achievements in Cleveland include:
 
- Compiling a comprehensive list of more than 1,200 minority businesses in the city that connects business owners to public and private projects, conventions and events that are seeking minority business partners
 
- Securing a $16,000 planning grant from the Business of Good Foundation for the Hispanic Marketplace, La Placita, in the West 25th Street neighborhood.
 
- Developing a small business seminar and tour for businesses in the Opportunity Corridor tour that helped the 25 business owners build familiarity and overcome hurdles they may have felt in approaching local technical assistance providers.
 
“Horizons are expanded, problems are viewed from unusual angles, ideas are blended, friendships are forged and challenges unstuck,” said Deborah Hoover, Cleveland Forward Cities Co-Chair and president and CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation of the previous gatherings and collective Forward Cities efforts.
 
“This magic occurs because so many people from different cities, backgrounds and types of organizations come together to listen, share, and most of all, understand and work together," said Hoover.
 
Follow the Forward Cities project on Facebook, or stay up to date on Twitter at @forwardcities. Use the hashtags #forwardcities and #roadtogrowth.

Fresh Water's parent company, Issue Media Group, is a national partner in the Forward Cities initiative.


Source: Forward Cities

Text compiled by Erin O'Brien

MomsFirst lends a much needed hand to pregnant area teens

It is a sobering statistic: African-American infants in Ohio die at more than twice the rate of white babies, according to 2014 data from the Ohio Department of Health. To battle that troubling number, the Cleveland nonprofit MomsFirst program offers critical support services and education to the area's pregnant and parenting population in an effort to reduce these potentially lethal outcomes.
 
In Cleveland, younger parents often need the most aid, says Lisa Matthews, program director for an organization recognizing its 25th anniversary. Last year, one-third of 1,823 mothers reached by MomsFirst were teenagers, some as young as 13.
 
Narrowing the disparity in infant mortality rates is the group's overall goal. Program participants, many of whom are students at the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD), receive individual service plans that screen them for postnatal depression and educate them on prenatal care, breastfeeding and safe sleep practices.
 
Community health workers visit new or expecting moms at home at least once a month, providing them with a much needed support system.
 
"It's like having the big sister or mother they never had," says Matthews.
 
Families stay enrolled in the program until their child is two years old. Finding underserved mothers quickly is vital considering the three leading causes of infant mortality - prematurity/pre-term births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects - usually take place before a child reaches its first year, Matthews says.
 
Infant death rates in African-American communities may derive from poverty and other environmental or social stressors. MomsFirst, on site at the nonprofit May Dugan Center in Ohio City, considers these factors in its implementation of fatherhood support services and educational programming.
 
In addition to its support of teenage mothers, MomsFirst sponsors teen-led summits and peer advisory sessions at eight CMSD schools. Boys and non-pregnant or parenting students are welcome at the sessions, which cover topics like family planning, child development and STD prevention.
 
For girls still in high school, pregnancy can curtail, if not outright eliminate, continuing education. To that end, MomsFirst helps its charges navigate day care, transportation, literacy issues and other barriers.
 
"Pregnancy doesn't have to mean the end of an educational career," says Matthews.
 
Juvenile detention centers are the nonprofit's newest venture. Pregnant offenders are given case plans, while those with and without children are provided with  educational support. In combination, the services provided by MomsFirst can lift up a population in dire need of help, organization officials say.
 
"We still have a disparity that's unacceptable," Matthews says. "There is a long way to go."
 
This story is one of a Fresh Water series supported in part by the May Dugan Center.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress announces finalists for Vibrant City Awards

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) has announced 21 finalists for its 2016 Vibrant City Awards. Winners will be revealed on May 2 at the second annual Vibrant City Awards Lunch, hosted by CNP and presented by Key Bank and Community Blight Solutions.
 
“We are proud to convene community partners and stakeholders to celebrate city neighborhoods. These leading efforts in neighborhood revitalization are what help us all create a vibrant city,” says Joel Ratner, president and CEO of CNP. “The organizations and individuals being honored have displayed tremendous passion, dedication and collaboration. We’re excited to recognize them for their successful efforts in community development.”
 
CNP received more than 70 nominations for this year's awards.
 
“The complete list of nominations tells an inspiring story of neighborhood transformation that is taking place in Cleveland," says Jeff Kipp, CNP's director of neighborhood marketing for the organization. "From community development corporations to corporate partners and everyone in between, there are amazing people performing incredible work in our neighborhoods.”
 
Additionally, CNP will present the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award and the first ever Vibrant City Impact Award at the May 2 luncheon. During the event, civic leaders, community development professionals, local developers, investors, realtors and passionate Clevelanders will gather to celebrate neighborhoods at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, 3615 Euclid Ave., an iconic structure located in Midtown on the RTA Healthline. A locally sourced meal catered by chef Chris Hodgson of Driftwood Catering will be served. This event is open to the public. More information and registration details are available online.
 
The 2016 Vibrant City Awards finalists include:
 
• CDC Community Collaboration Award
 
Ohio City Inc. – Station Hope
Held in May 2015, Station Hope, a collaboration of Ohio City, Inc., Cleveland Public Theatre, Saint John’s Episcopal Church and Councilman Joe Cimperman, was a free multi-arts event that celebrated the history of St. John’s Church, the triumphs of the Underground Railroad, and contemporary struggles for freedom and justice. Station Hope featured a diverse selection of theatre and performance ensembles, including more than 30 companies and 150 individual artists.


 
Slavic Village Development – Cleveland Orchestra at Home in Slavic Village
In spring 2015, The Cleveland Orchestra At Home in Slavic Village residency brought a world-class orchestra to the Broadway Slavic Village neighborhood. Partners included Slavic Village Development, the Cleveland Orchestra, Broadway School of Music and the Arts, the Broadway Boys and Girls Club, cultural organizations, and area churches and schools. In April, the orchestra performed a free public concert for an audience of 1,000 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The residency continued throughout the year with a host of events.
 
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita
In 2015, the Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office partnered with the Hispanic Business Center and local businesses and entrepreneurs to launch La Placita, an open air market near the intersection of Clark Avenue and West 25th Street that featured 24 local vendors and cultural offerings for five Saturday events that attracted thousands. The events also served as an effective venue to showcase “La Villa Hispana,” which is home to a growing ethnic population in the City of Cleveland.
 
• CDC Placemaking Award
 
MidTown Cleveland – East 55th Street railroad bridge mural
The railroad bridge above the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 55th Street has been transformed into a symbol of the innovation and emerging economy embodied in the MidTown neighborhood and the Health-Tech Corridor. The mural, designed by Twist Creative, Inc., includes a graphic of DNA molecules, and logos of MidTown Cleveland, the City of Cleveland, BioEnterprise and the Cleveland Foundation.


 
Slavic Village Development – Cycle of Arches
The Cycle of Arches installation evokes allusions to nature such as trees or grasses bending in the wind, while nodding to the industrial heritage of the community by representing the neighborhood's "steel roots" with its steel tube construction. Part of the $8 million Broadway Streetscape and Road Improvement Project, the installation is located at the intersection of E.49th Street and Broadway Avenue. Jonathan Kurtz, AIA, designed Cycle of Arches. Partners included Slavic Village Development, Land Studio and the City of Cleveland.
 
University Circle Inc. – Wade Oval improvements
University Circle Inc. recently invested in several improvements to Wade Oval including a permanent musical park that offers four large-scale instruments, benches, Adirondack chairs and a chalkboard with the “This is CLE to Me…” tagline emblazoned across the top. Visitors are encouraged to creatively express themselves in this eclectic area.


 
• CDC Economic Opportunity Award
 
Famicos Foundation – Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program management
Famicos Foundation weaves together a diverse portfolio of economic opportunity programming to aid family financial stability in the Glenville neighborhood. In 2015, the organization helped complete 1,917 tax returns with a total refund of $2.3 million for residents. 549 of those returns were for EITC clients and those individuals received $869,000 in refunds. Also in 2015, while participating in a pilot program, Famicos referred 90 tax preparation clients interested in receiving one-on-one financial counseling to the Community Financial Centers.
 
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita
The Stockyard, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office was instrumental in the planning and implementation of "La Placita," which served as a catalyst project encouraging collaboration between the local CDC and stakeholders in the community. This initiative served as a business incubator for new businesses with free business training and as an accelerator for established businesses. Situated in an economically challenged food dessert, "La Placita" also served as an access point for fresh, affordable produce and culturally relevant prepared foods and ingredients.
 
University Circle, Inc. – Business outreach and development efforts
In 2015, University Circle Inc's business outreach and development efforts included three key components: the Uptown Business Association (UBA), NextStep: Strategies for Business Growth and a financial literacy and QuickBooks bookkeeping program, all of which fostered networking amid business owners in the greater University Circle area. UCI consistently convenes the 17 NextStep alumni, a current class of nine business owners, 65 UBA members, and seven bookkeeping program participants at UBA meetings to network, enhance their skills and find new opportunities. 
 
• CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award
 
Northeast Shores Development Corp. – Welcome to Collinwood website
With the help of the CDC, the neighborhood has taken its brand as Cleveland's premiere artists’ neighborhood to a new level with the Welcome to Collinwood website. The homepage offers an artistic display of images and designs, and visitors are met with compelling copy that boasts the compelling opportunities available to artists in Collinwood. 
 
Slavic Village Development – Rooms to Let
St. Rooms To Let, a temporary art installation in vacant homes created by Slavic Village Development, was a successful marketing event that changed perceptions about the surrounding neighborhood. In May 2015, more than 1,000 visitors toured St. Rooms to Let, which included installations by 30 artists, live music performances and activities for children.


 
Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc. – Night Market Cleveland
St. Clair Superior Development Corp. and Campus District Inc. teamed up last summer to spark awareness, foster a creative economy, and bring attention to the hidden gems of AsiaTown and the Superior Arts District with Night Market Cleveland - a series of four summer events with local art vendors, Asian food and cultural entertainment. The inaugural season attracted a staggering 50,000 attendees and garnered coverage in 22 media publications.
 
• Corporate Partner Award
 
Community Blight Solutions
Community Blight Solutions focuses on understanding, solving, and eliminating blight. Prominent solutions currently include promotion of the organization's SecureView product and the Slavic Village Recovery Project, which aims to align demolition and rehabilitation to eradicate blight one block at a time and fosters corporate volunteerism amid the area's for-profit partners. The project is also focused on gaining access to a critical mass of real estate owned properties and those that are abandoned with the intention of either demolition or rehabilitation.
 
Dave’s Supermarkets
Dave’s Supermarkets' portfolio of stores sells products that match the profile of the communities they serve while their employees and customer base reflect Cleveland’s diverse population. Asian, Hispanic, African American and Caucasian residents all feel at home at Dave’s Supermarket. Dave’s has provided significant financial support in the form of food donations to community organizations, churches, and neighborhood groups. The local chain employs over 1,000 people in 14 stores, providing health care and retirement benefits to hard-working Cleveland residents.
 
PNC Bank
PNC was the lead sponsor of UCI’s summer concert series, Wade Oval Wednesdays – WOW! - a free weekly concert that draws up to 5,000 attendees. In addition, PNC supported UCI’s Clean and Safe Ambassador program expansion from seasonal to year-round with twice as many staff.  Additionally, PNC supported the creation and development of a children’s map and activity book to complement UCI’s newest education initiative, Circle Walk, a 40-point interpretive program set to launch in May 2016.
 
• Urban Developer Award:
 
Case Development – Mike DeCesare
Mike DeCesare of Case Development has been a pioneer in residential development in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, which he also calls home. He successfully finished the Waverly Station community in 2015 and completed the Harborview development at Herman Avenue and West 54th Street.
 
Geis Companies – Fred Geis
Fred Geis instigated the MidTown Tech Park, which boasts nearly 250,000 square feet of office and laboratory space leased to health and technology firms, and is part of the growing Health-Tech corridor. One of Geis’s most transformational projects is The 9, into which Geis moved its headquarters from Streetsboro. This spring, Geis will break ground on an Ohio City project converting the industrial Storer Meat Co. facility into 67 market-rate apartments. Fred Geis was also recently appointed to the Cleveland Planning Commission and will donate his stipend to the Dream Neighborhood refugee housing initiative.
 
Vintage Development Group – Chip Marous
Vintage Development Group provides well-built multi-family residential properties in Detroit Shoreway and Ohio City, thereby helping to support the associated commercial districts with residential opportunities and financial support. Not to be content with the footprint of his Battery Park project, Marous has executed plans for expanding it. His passion for complete, walkable urban development is made possible through established relationships in Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods.
 
• Civic Champion Award:
 
Joseph Black – Central neighborhood
Joe Black is committed to Central neighborhood youth. He is currently the Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. As the leader of the engagement team, he is responsible for fostering a seamless experience for youth and families to progress through their education from cradle to career. Black’s passion was sparked by personal experiences with the inequities linked to men of color, and has since matured into a responsibility to serve “at risk” communities. He is a tireless, dedicated community volunteer, mentoring youth at his day job as well as during his free time.
 
Charles Gliha – Slavic Village neighborhood
Lifelong Slavic Village resident Charles Gliha strives to improve the neighborhood with art, civic engagement and business development. As founder of Broadway Public Art, he has championed the Warszawa Music Festival, is the founder of Street Repair Music Festival, organizes the Polish Constitution Day Parade, and volunteers at Rooms to Let. Gliha is an active member of the Slavic Village Neighborhood Summit planning committee and hosts cash mobs and live music events in area retail establishments. He also created a printed business directory and garnered $25,000 in grants for the neighborhood.


 
Alison Lukacsy – Collinwood neighborhood
A Cleveland transplant turned North Collinwood artist, advocate and promoter, Alison Lukacsy sees opportunities where others see problems. She has secured over $20,000 in grants, resulting in projects such as Storefront Activation utilizing debris from Adopt-a-Beach cleanups, Phone Gallery - Cleveland's smallest curated art gallery, a Collinwood Vibrancy Project, Yarn n’ Yoga on Euclid Beach Pier, Euclid Beach Book Box, and Bus Stop Moves RTA shelter exercises.
 

Cleveland Education Compact aims to improve relations between charter and district schools

While organizations such as the Transformation Alliance are working to make sure Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools ensures every child in Cleveland receives a quality education with access to a selection of schools, the Cleveland Education Compact is doing their part by helping the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and the city’s 65 charter schools work together to bring excellence throughout.

The Compact is a collaboration between CMSD, the Cleveland Foundation and Breakthrough Schools, which is a network of public charter schools. The group came together last year after the associated schools received a $100,000 planning grant from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014.
 
The Compact’s goal with the planning grant is to unite all those partners via a common goal that includes cooperation between the CMSD and Cleveland’s publicly funded charter schools and improve the educational options in Cleveland.
 
“Essentially, the district and Breakthrough Schools were doing some collaboration already,” explains Lindsey Blackburn, project manager for the Compact. “We applied for the $100,000 grant to get things going.” Blackburn adds that the term “compact” refers to both the group and the document they wrote.
 
Now the planning is underway and a group of 40 people from a dozen schools and organizations met in February for a brainstorming session and to form subcommittees. The executive committee meets monthly to discuss the subcommittee topics, which include record sharing; professional development; special education; facilities; funding; and policy/advocacy.
 
The Compact’s executive committee, which consists of five direct representatives and five charter representatives, meets once a month to ensure the planning phase is carried out before the grant runs out later this year.

“The last two areas have a lot of overlaps so it may make more sense to combine them,” says Blackburn. “Each subcommittee has co-chairs: one representative from the district and one representative from the charters.”
 
The group will meet again on April 5 for additional planning and outlining. “This is an exciting time because this is actual real work,” Blackburn says, adding that they will look for the areas that are easiest to tackle first, then address the more complex issues.
 
"We will look at the ones we can win first, like sharing professional development resources – if a speaker comes in, opening it up to all compact members,” she says. “There will be topics that will prove to be more complex and may not be solved in this round of collaboration.”
  
While the Cleveland Education Compact is not affiliated with the Cleveland Plan, the two groups still share common missions. “The Compact is similar [to the Cleveland Plan] in the sense that it is all about finding areas where district and charter schools can work together.,” says Piet van Lier, executive director of the Transformation Alliance, the organization charged with making sure the Cleveland Plan is executed. “But it wasn’t written into the Cleveland Plan.”
 
However, van Lier does see the two groups complementing each other. “Since the Cleveland Plan envisions a portfolio district with good schools, both district and charter, and allows the district to share levy money with partner charter schools, the two really are different sides of the same coin.”
 
Blackburn says future fundraising options will be considered to keep the Compact going once the planning grant expires. 

Transformation Alliance is a Fresh Water sponsor.

Cleveland Tango School embraces the city with Argentinean flair

It may take two to tango, but it also takes two to run a promising dance company. For Micaela Barrett and Alberto Cordero, owners of the Cleveland Tango School, settling in Cleveland early last year warranted much more than picking a location to host dance lessons. It was about creating a community.
 
“There’s definitely an untapped market here,” Barrett says. “There’s definitely an amazing opportunity for tango – especially for a younger generation.”
 
The Barrett-Cordero duo officially set up shop last March in the Canopy Collective, where they began teaching authentic Argentine tango lessons. In February, they found a permanent home at Vision Yoga, 1861 West 25th Street in Ohio City – a location they feel comfortable in because of its close proximity to other arts communities like Gordon Square.
 
Coming from New York City, the couple says that after a year in Cleveland teaching and hosting tango get-togethers, known as milongas, they are confident their new digs are ripe for a developing tango scene.

Although the Cleveland Tango School has only been around for a year, Cordero and Barret are eager to contribute to an already-exuberant community of Cleveland tango enthusiasts that has existed for about 13 years. The dedicated Cleveland dancer can find a milonga happening nightly, from Lakewood to Brooklyn Heights, which makes Cleveland the city in Ohio for tango aficionados.
 
Viva Dance Studio on E. 38th Street hosts its Milonga Nueva twice a month, and Mahall’s Cleveland Tango Bowling Marathon in Lakewood sees on average, 130 people at the weekend-long dance-a-thons. To add to the mix, Cordero and Barrett encourage what’s natural for them as tango experts: to harness the dance’s communal bond via weekend getaways to Detroit milongas with students or just relaxing over drinks after a local session.
 
Cordero and Barrett, who’ve been together after serendipitously meeting in a master class three years ago, were set for a change from the New York scene after a trip to Argentina in early 2014. So the two decided to relocate to a city with “fertile ground” for their own company.
 
After some research, and noticing the rising popularity of established schools in Northeast Ohio, Cordero, a former Puerto Rican radio journalist who later taught dance at Hunter College in New York, and Barrett, a lifelong milonga-hopping New Yorker, had found their spot.
 
“We wanted to put Cleveland tango on the map,” Cordero says. “There are cities around the United States, New York or Chicago, let’s say, where it’s considered a pedigree to be a tango dancer from that city. Our goal is to make Cleveland one of those centers.”
 
Fit for beginners or experienced dancers, Cleveland Tango caters to the novice as well as the aficionado. With three to four classes taught weekly, from Tango 101 to Wednesday late-night practices, Cordero and Barrett lead about a dozen students through hour-long instruction on everything from musicality and turning patterns to mastering the close embraces Argentine tango is known for. “Intimate” is a suitable descriptor for Cleveland Tango. 

"If you're here," Barrett says, "then you're going to be dancing."

Learned from his studies of Buenos Aires tango masters such as the legendary Horacio “El Pebete” Godoy or Mariano “Chicho” Frumboly, Cordero peppers his lessons with anecdotes of tango’s lusty history. These cultural tips are “coming from people,” he says, “who very much lived and breathed the dance.”
 
He and Barrett are confident that novices, with even just Tango 101 under their shoes, will be set to hit the milongas in about a month. Why wait any longer?

“We like to say we teach a lot of ‘self-defense dancing’ for that reason,” Barrett jokes, “meaning that we want to make it easy for people to go out really quick and dance. That’s just the fun of it.”

As Cordero and Barrett adjust to their new space on W. 25th, the two say they look forward to weaving in with Ohio City’s evolving art scene. As their class sizes increase with the incoming demand (they’ve booked two world-renowned dancers from Buenos Aires for a special class because of it), the two are taken aback how much community they’ve created thus far.
 
“To see a man in a suit go out next to a young cat in a full beard with tattoos up and down his arms is incredible to me,” Cordero said. “That confluence of worlds is just amazing – that people are dancing together.”

Get a history lesson on Cle's lighter side, eat dinner and have a bit of fun at Music Box

Mike Miller has a long history with Cleveland. His grandfather was mayor of the city in the early 30s and is a self-proclaimed story teller.

So it’s only fitting that when coming up with new programming ideas at Music Box Supper Club, the venue’s vice president decided to do a history series on Wednesday nights.
 
But Music Box’s new Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties series, in partnership with Cleveland History Center, isn’t your run-of-the-mill lecture series on general history. It’s designed to be fun and light, at an affordable price.
 
Admission is free and a rotating weekly prix fixe, three course dinner is only $20. “This is an opportunity to have a fun dinner,” Miller says. We wanted to make this outrageously affordable and fun.”
 
The topics are designed to provide behind-the-scenes insight from speakers who know all the gritty details about Cleveland’s landmarks, celebrities and even the city’s pioneers.
 
The first event on Wednesday, Feb. 17 features Greg Harris, CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, who will talk about how Cleveland landed the Rock Hall and what goes on when the cameras aren’t rolling in “Backstage Shenanigans at the Induction Ceremony – yes, it is all sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll.”
 
The menu that night will have a psychedelic theme that includes ‘shroom soup, pot roast and a cosmic brownie sundae. “It isn’t going to be real mushroom soup,” Miller jokes in regard to the drug references. The other talks have equally witty titles for the food prepared by chef Dennis Devies. “He knocks people’s socks off,” says Miller.
 
On February 24 Cleveland historian Dan Ruminski will speak on “The Vixens of Millionaires Row,” during which he’ll share stories about Cleveland’s wealthiest founders of the 20s and 30s and the parties their antics. “They used to throw some wild parties,” says Miller. “”There were wild shenanigans.”


 
Three months of lectures have been booked, including journalist Mike Olszewski, who will discuss the final interview with Cleveland celebrity Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson) and other untold tales of Cleveland television, and John Gorman will share stories from his time at WMMS radio in the 1970s.
 
“He’s going to tell some crazy stories,” says Miller of Gorman. “Some speakers will be fun, some educational. They will run the gamut.”
 
Another upcoming talk will feature a Metroparks ranger, who will share how Whiskey Island got its name.
 
Miller, who grew up in Cleveland, moved away for college and a career in Chicago, returned to Cleveland in 2010 after 33 years. He says he wanted to share some of Cleveland’s lighter moments in history and encourage Cleveland pride.
 
“Clevelanders are fiercely proud of being from Cleveland,” he says. “We always have that burning rive thing and losing football teams hanging over us, but there’s a real renaissance going on. The pride is coming back.”
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