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ZooKeys return to raise awareness, evoke nostalgia

Education is key to protecting the planet's endangered animals, a mindset Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is taking quite literally.
 
This month, the zoo launched its ZooKey program, which offers young visitors customized keys that unlock recorded messages specific to particular exhibits. Kids can use the elephant-shaped keys on two dozen designated boxes scattered throughout the zoo to get fascinating facts on their favorite beastie.
 
"Our mission is about connecting people with wildlife," says Kelly Manderfield, chief marketing officer for Cleveland Metroparks. "This is a hands-on opportunity to educate the next generation and encourage them to learn more about these animals."
 
ZooKeys, part of a partnership with KeyBank celebrating Cleveland Metroparks' 100-year anniversary, are available for purchase at the zoo for $3. Pint-sized patrons can keep the keys and bring them back to access additional recordings.
 
Zoo officials expect nostalgic parents to use the keys, too, considering the program made its original debut in the 1960s. Since the re-launch, adult visitors have arrived with the old "Packey the Elephant" keys they grew up with.
 
"This has stirred lots of memories for parents," says Manderfield. "People are having fun seeing their own children participate."
 
New animal keys will be introduced over the program's current five-year timeline. Manderfield hopes the venture not only connects participants with the zoo's 2,000 animals, but inspires them to get interested in wildlife conservation as well.
 
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are now 16,306  species threatened with extinction, a figure that also includes plants. Species endangered include one in four mammals, one in eight birds, and one third of all amphibians.
 
Cleveland zoo patrons can witness efforts to stave off this trend at the Eastern black rhinoceros exhibit. This subspecies of black rhino is considered "critically endangered"  under World Wildlife Foundation guidelines due to demand for rhino horn, which has driven poaching to record levels.
 
Unlocking knowledge about rhinos and other rare creatures can be the catalyst that saves them from disappearing forever, Manderfield says.
 
"If we don't take care of these animals now, they may not be around for future generations," she says. "We're taking the idea of conservation and bringing it to the forefront."

The Cleveland Metroparks is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.
 

RALLY: Clevelanders to March for Science on April 22

Cleveland is becoming a powerhouse for scientific discovery and research thanks to its world-class universities and medical facilities as well as a growing tech industry. What better way to celebrate the innovative leaps happening here than with a parade? ask Northeast Ohio's science proponents.
 
That question will be answered during the March for Science taking place at Public Square on April 22. The collaboration among a coalition of local foundations and science-based organizations is expected to draw thousands of supporters downtown, and will act as a satellite event to the national March for Science held the same day in Washington, D.C.
Evalyn Gates 
"Cleveland is a science town and that's something we should appreciate and showcase," says Dr. Evalyn Gates, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, one of the sponsors for the march.
 
The free event begins at 9 a.m. and includes activities and speakers that underscore the influence of science on the world. While the speaker lineup is still to be determined, attendees can choose banners displaying beer, bald eagles and other elements of our planet that are impacted by science.
 
"People can carry these banners during the march," says Gates. "There are so many ways science undergirds our lives."
 
The list of local advocates is emblematic of Cleveland's scientific strengths, adds Gates: Along with the natural history museum, Cleveland State University, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Great Lakes Science Center, Holden Forests & Gardens, The MetroHealth System and West Creek Conservancy are just a few partner organizations on the march.

"Cleveland is a global leader in medical research and other fields," Gates says. "Then you have companies like Sherwin-Williams and General Electric employing a science-based workforce."
 
A march championing this work is especially critical in the face of proposed budget cuts to some federal science agencies, notes Gates. Among the projects at risk is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since its inception, the program has funded 3,400 projects targeting everything from the control of invasive Asian carp to pollution cleanup.
 
Marching in support of these endeavors sends a message to the nation's capital, and also serves as a strong message for future generations interested in the pursuit of science.
 
"We want this event to be a catalyst for people to talk to each other," says Gates. "It's a good starting point for conversation on science-related matters." 

New app puts key to green spaces in your pocket

A new learning app designed by three local nature-loving entities is offering a deeper perspective on Northeast Ohio's robust parks systems.
 
ParkApps, developed via a partnership among Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and Kent State University, aims to educate visitors as they explore the region's parks. Similar to other apps created for national and state parks, the new software, currently available for free on iTunes, places points of interest on a digital map where users learn about the history and ecology of our precious green space, says Patrick Lorch, manager of field research for Cleveland Metroparks.
 
The map currently has 200 points covering topics like wildflowers, geology and marsh habitats. Through a feature called "Adventure Tracks," a user's mobile device pings them to stop and engage with pre-determined points along a trail or path. Completed trails earn visitors digital badges as a reward.
 
"The map is the basis for everything," says Lorch. "Points on the map are the equivalent of a sign at the side of a trail."
 
Another feature called "My ParkApps" lets users create their own maps, giving them free access to an accompanying website that records their hikes in the park. "Citizen Science," meanwhile, asks participants to share photos of the same park features over time, allowing officials to study stream bank erosion and other changes in habitat.
 
The app project, funded by a three-year, $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning initiative, will test the feasibility of app technology in parks while studying the impact of mobile devices on informal science learning. Along with the educational piece, combining technology and nature is a new way to explain park management activities such as the culling of invasive species or protecting particular natural resources, Lorch says.
 
"People ask us why we're pulling plants they find attractive," he says. "We want to help people understand the ecological reason for these things, because that's often not clear."
 
Future versions of the tool will include availability on Android devices and an identification option where visitors can get help identifying plants, trees and animals.
 
"I can imagine a fishermen recording their favorite fishing spots and tagging them with a photo," says Lorch. "How people use the app could point to a general direction for us."

The Cleveland Metroparks is part of Fresh Water's underwriting network.

2016 Vibrant City Award winners announced

Earlier this week Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) honored the 2016 Vibrant City Award winners amid 600 guests gathered at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium. The winners were chosen from a field of 21 finalists.
 
CNP president Joel Ratner honored Cleveland Metroparks with the first-ever Vibrant City Impact Award. The community partner was recognized for its role in managing the city’s lakefront parks, rejuvenating Rivergate Park and bringing back a water taxi service.
 
Ratner also bestowed the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award upon Joe Cimperman.
 
"Joe is a true champion of the city of Cleveland and Cleveland’s neighborhoods," said Ratner. "He truly is a visionary for making Cleveland a fair and equitable place to call home for all city residents."
 
Cimperman recently left Cleveland City Council after 19 years and is now the President of Global Cleveland.
 
The seven other Vibrant City Award winners include:
 
CDC Community Collaboration Award: Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office
 
La Placita – A Hispanic-themed open-air market providing business development opportunities to entrepreneurs and access to local goods and fresh foods for residents.
 
CDC Placemaking Award: University Circle Inc.
 
Wade Oval improvements - the main greenspace in the University Circle neighborhood received a musical themed amenity boost and became an even more attractive and comforting destination for residents and visitors.
 
CDC Economic Opportunity Award: Famicos Foundation
 
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program management – This organization has excelled in focusing on the financial well being of its residents and had a record-breaking year with its EITC work. 
 
CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award: St. Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc.
 
Night Market Cleveland  -  the two CDCs partnered and capitalized on past successes and momentum in the AsiaTown and Superior Arts District neighborhoods to create a new destination event that brought exposure to the neighborhood and appreciation for the diverse cultures that surround the area.
 
Corporate Partner Award: Dave’s Supermarkets
 
The local grocery chain stayed committed to Cleveland and provides a much-needed amenity to city residents, providing access to fresh food and produce and on-going constant community support.
 
Urban Developer Award: Case Development, Mike DeCesare 
 
A residential developer that has successfully completed development projects in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and is actively pursuing new developments in other city neighborhoods
 
Civic Champion Award: Joseph Black, Central neighborhood
 
The Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland that possesses a passion to serve at-risk communities and has aided and mentored Cleveland’s children and families for years.

Metroparks a-buzz over cicada emergence

Parts of eastern Ohio will be abuzz for the next couple of months with the emergence of the 17-year periodical cicadas. Cleveland Metroparks is using this rare opportunity to educate the public about a mysterious, yet harmless insect.
 
"We want our neighbors to join us and understand how this organism survives and thrives," says Mark Warman, an education specialist at the West Creek Reservation.  

April's warm temperatures will hasten cicada activity by mid-May, says Warman. The park system's cicada-related programming begins May 10 at West Creek with a primer about the creatures' life cycle. Additional events scheduled through the end of June include nature walks and a birding/cicada expedition on Hinckley Lake.
 
Mark WarmanNaturalists view the cicada invasion as a cause for celebration rather than concern. While the insects can be noisy in large numbers, they don't sting or bite. Nor are they bent on destroying crops or gardens in some biblical plant Armageddon. Cicadas can cause branches to fall off through egg-laying, but this is not harmful to mature trees, says Warman.
 
Periodical cicadas are expected to emerge in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Long Island, NY. Unlike their greenish-black cousins that appear each summer with a "ch-ch-ch" sound, the 17-year cicada is black and orange and makes a continuous buzzing noise.
 
This year's crop started life as eggs in 1999. After hatching, the rice-sized nymphs spent the past 17 years underground sucking nutrient-rich fluids from tree roots. The winged adults emerge for three to five weeks to mate and feed on plant juices. Females will then lay hundreds of eggs in tree branches, beginning the cycle anew.
 
While it's unknown where heavier pockets of Northeast Ohio cicada activity will be, the public can help by sending tweets and Instagram posts regarding larger swarms. Metroparks is asking would-be citizen scientists to report sightings with the hashtags #cicadas2016 and #broodV, the latter of which designates the number of cicada swarms recorded since 1948.
 
Ultimately, the phenomenon is a chance for people to learn about a misunderstood insect that means humanity no harm, Warman says.
 
"It's a reminder that the earth was wild at one time," he says. "It's going to be a neat thing for people to experience."

The Cleveland Metroparks is part of Fresh Water's underwriting network.
 

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.

Station Hope
 
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.

E55th St mural
 
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.

University Circle Inc. Wade Oval improvements
 
• 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.

Rooms to Let 2015
 
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.

Slavic Village
 
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.
 

In search of Lake Erie: Tracing streams' paths and histories

When Jim Miller retired as a Cleveland Heights probation officer nine years ago, he developed a rather unusual hobby: he began tracing the brooks and streams flowing through Cleveland’s east side, seeking out where they exist and where they flow underground all the way to Lake Erie.
 
“I began just looking at local waterways, trying to detect them and their link to the lake,” Miller recalls, adding that some streambeds are exposed and others have been erased over the decades. "When you look at it, it’s often a strong economic reason.”

Miller explains the economic correlation: he often found waterways that were buried on smaller properties, while the streams ran open on larger plots of land. “On a 1912 plot map, on the bigger lot sizes the stream is in the open,” he says. “By Coventry School on Lancashire Road, it goes under. By the Rockefeller estate and Forest Hills Park, it’s open.”
 
Miller’s interest in the waterways was piqued 15 years ago after reading his friend and Green City Blue Lake director David Beach's account of a bike ride along the Dugway Brook watershed, which runs through the Heights, into East Cleveland, Cleveland and Bratenahl before emptying into Lake Erie.
 
“You have to get some pretty good rubber boots to do this," he says. "It’s often not so clear what land you’re on. It’s often city land or hasn’t been lived on for 100 years. You have to do a lot of research to find out, because it’s kind of no-man’s land.”
 
Miller explains that “Dugway Brook is one of the bluestone creeks that were of great economic benefit to the early European settlers in the 19th century,” he says of the long-gone quarries, "but which then were deemed of no value in the 20th century." Much of Dugway was buried in culverts.
 
Miller has also traveled portions of Green CreekDoan Brook and Nine Mile Creek, much of which is under Belvoir Boulevard, but there are sections still flowing in the open. “It’s in a steep ravine, so it couldn’t be built on,” says Miller. “If it had been a park, it would have been covered over.”
 
In fact, Miller cites a section of Dugway Brook between Lee Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, near Cain Park, that was filled in during the 1980s to make way for a parking lot. Residents resisted the parking lot idea so the land remains vacant, although no water can be seen.
 
A reclamation success story, however, exists along a portion of Nine Mile Creek in South Euclid across from Notre Dame College. The city created a wetland area and planted native plants such as milkweed to attract birds and monarch butterflies. “It really looks nice and that branch of Nine Mike Creek has taken on life,” Miller says. “It isn’t the way it looked 100 years ago, but it’s nice.”
 
Further down, on Euclid Avenue, the creek now runs buried beside Luster Tannery, a circa 1848 building on the Cleveland-East Cleveland border. The tannery diverted essential water from the creek for its work in the 19th century. “When you get to Euclid Avenue, there is a building there that is probably the oldest industrial structure in the city,” explains Miller. It’s made of solid stone and the creek runs through the building.”
 
But Miller’s true love of the east side watersheds lies in Dugway Brook. He’s had marker signs erected, mostly along Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. “You probably didn’t even know this little stream had a name,” he says. “We can have wetlands there, so you can have water soaking in to prevent runoff and attract birds.”
 
Miller encourages people to keep an eye out for natural dips in the road – often indicating the presence of Dugway or other area watersheds.  
 
His treks have sometimes been perilous, but it’s worth the journey. “It’s very hard to walk and see these things,” he warns. “In many cases, it’s quite difficult. You go down and it’s a steep slope. You have to do it slowly.”
 
But Miller frequently co-leads tamer walks around these creeks and watersheds. In 2014 he helped lead a tour of Dugway Brook east branch from Cain Park down to Forest Hills Park.
 
Another walk, led by Roy Larick, along with Miller and Korbi Roberts, is tentatively scheduled for May. "Cleveland Heights Rocks & Waters 2016: Nine Mile Creek" is part of the annual Preservation Month, co-sponsored by the Cleveland Heights Historical Society, Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, Noble Neighbors and Heights Library.
 
On sidewalks and forest paths, the hike follows Quilliams Creek on its course to join Nine Mile Creek. Participants will learn the local geology, ecology and history as well as discuss how best to conserve this unique bluestone landscape. 
 
Miller has documented his explorations through a photo journal on Facebook. He’s also logged his trips along Dugway on YouTube.

Ingenuity transitions into new era with annual festival at Voinovich Park

For the past 10 years, IngenuityFest has been known as a three-day celebration where art and technology come together in somewhat unknown places, like the lower level of the Detroit Superior Bridge or Docks 30 and 32.

This year, Ingenuity Cleveland decided to highlight its evolution from just the festival to a full-blown organization by moving IngenuityFest 2015 outdoors to Voinovich Park in North Coast Harbor Friday, Oct. 2 through Sunday, Oct. 4. “Everyone remembers the bridge,” says Emily Appelbaum, director of programming. “This year we’re building it from the ground up."

This year’s theme, “transitions,” celebrates not only Ingenuity’s transition into an organization with year-round programming, but Cleveland’s transitions into a modern, thriving city. “We’ve always been in underutilized spaces,” says Appelbaum. “Instead, this year we’re looking at all the great development that’s taken place over the last couple of years – looking at what’s happened."

In keeping with its campaign “what’s your transition,” Ingenuity has partnered with organizations like SE Blueprint and Agnes Studio to help with a wayfinding campaign. “Ingenuity has always been a good place to come out and see objects, but we’re really excited this year about the feeling of moving through place,” says Appelbaum. “There will be some iconic large-scale wayfinding elements.”

There is no typical schedule, but instead a scavenger hunt for visitors to make their way to events. Challenges include making something with your hands or staying in touch with an artist after the event to find your way to the next attraction.

Four artists, including Stephen Manka and Brad Civic, have designed fire pits that will be located throughout the venue. Other artists featured include Leila Khoury’s sculpture, “Dirges.”  Tesla Orchestra will produce its piece, “Big Tippy,” which mimics the classic arcade claw game.

Organizers are also having some fun with words this year, with areas dubbed IngenuiTEAtime, IndusTREE Alley, and Archi-TECH-tonica featuring installations, discussions, performances, workshops and other interactive activities. There will be four stages at the event for bands that have not yet been announced.

“We want it to feel like you are walking into the living room of your best friend,” explains Appelbaum. “It should feel like a place where you feel at home and are able to let your guard down, strike up a conversation and dream a little bit.”

A Very Ingenious Person Salon (VIP) experience is open to the general public for $20 and includes access to IngenuiTEAtimes, Friday and Saturday, 6-9 p.m. and Sunday, 12-2 p.m., with civic thought leaders and Ingenuity partners. VIP tickets also include music by Ernie Krivda and social dance lessons from Viva Dance Studio, drink tickets and discounts free parking.
 
General admission is free. VIP tickets must be purchased by Wednesday, Sept. 30. IngenuityFest runs from 5 pm to 1 am Friday, 12 pm to 1 am Saturday and 12 pm to 5 pm Sunday.

Unique urban cycling event returns for a second year

Thousands of cyclists and bike enthusiasts will descend on Cleveland from September 11th-13th for the second annual NEOCycle, an urban cycling festival that offers races, rides, concerts and other events.

The event is the first and only urban cycling festival in the country, according to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the organizer behind the event. “We wanted to create a cycling festival that brought different races and rides together,” explains communications manager Nick VanDemark.  “It was incredibly successful in our first year – we went way past the goals we set. There’s a lot of positive momentum around the cycling community and infrastructure in town.”
 
Last year almost 2,700 people registered for five different race events and 10,000 came to Edgewater Park for the live music. This year, organizers are hoping to register 4,000 cyclists.
 
The center of activity takes place at the event's Hub at Edgewater Park. Two stages will feature 25 bands over the course of the weekend and there will be food trucks, vendors, activities and a beer garden with four craft breweries. Admission to the Hub is free.
 
This year, VanDemark says organizers hope to grow the event even more. Competitive races include the Velodrome – high speed track racing -- on Friday, September 11th at the Cleveland Velodrome, and the Cyclocross, in which riders will navigate the crowds and other obstacles in a race around Edgewater Park, on Saturday, September 12th.

The Fundo, an un-timed ride for cyclists of all ages and ability levels, will take place on Sunday, September 13th. Proceeds from the Fundo go to Bike Cleveland, an organization dedicated to making the streets safer for biking and walking. The Criterium, also on Sunday, is a fast-paced race in partnership with Case Cycling that will travel through closed city streets in Battery Park.
 
“It’s a great collaborative event for a lot of people in cycling,” says VanDemark of the races.
 
The signature biking event is the Night Ride. The event takes place Saturday evening and offers spectacular views of the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie as more than 2,000 cyclists ride down the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway in costume and glow lights. “It’s an eight-and-a-half mile course that anyone can do,” says VanDemark. “It’s an awesome visual scene to see thousands of bikes whizzing through downtown on the Shoreway.”
 
For those more inclined to hit the lake, NEOCycle has teamed up with Nalu Standup Paddle and Surf for standup paddleboard races, lessons and demos throughout the weekend. There are two mile and four mile races, plus a one mile kids’ race on Saturday, and a three-quarter mile buoy race on Sunday.
 
Registration is required for all of the NEOCycle races.
 
Even if biking is not your thing, there's plenty to do at NEOCycle, says VanDemark. “There are a couple of ways to get involved, even if you’re not a biker. There’s something there for just about anyone, whether you’re a cyclist or not.”

city of cleveland to kick off year of clean water with resource fair

As part of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 plan, Mayor Frank Jackson and his Office of Sustainability, along with partner organizations, will kick off the Year of Clean Water this Friday, January 23rd from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda. The event will feature local innovations, resources and organizations working to keep our water clean, as well as local food vendors.

Since 2011, the city has dedicated each year to a different sustainability issue. The Year of Clean Water focuses on the impact water and Lake Erie have on life and business in Cleveland. “We’re really hoping that during the Year of Clean Water people take action and get involved in their communities,” says sustainability chief Jenita McGowan. “We want people to understand the water richness we have here in Cleveland. We’re fortunate to be located this close to fresh water. But don’t take it for granted and don’t take advantage of it.”
 
The kickoff event is the first stop on the Clean Water Tour and Sweepstakes. Each event throughout the year will offer the chance to enter the sweepstakes for the grand prize of a two-night stay at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Stanford House and six tickets on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. “The more events you go to, the more chances you have to win the grand prize,” says McGowan.
 
The kickoff at City Hall is free and open to the public. “Whether you’re coming as a student, resident or from a business perspective,” there’s something to learn and take away from this event,” says McGowan. Painted rain barrels, created as part of the Painted Rain Barrel Project to keep surface pollution out of waterways, will be on display in the rotunda.
 
Education is a key component of the Year of Clean Water, and McGowan says it starts with keeping neighborhoods clean. Plastic beverage bottles are the number one pollution problem in the Great Lakes, followed by cigar tips. “Land litter makes its way into our waterways through the storm sewers,” explains McGowan. “Some of the best beach cleanups you can do are in your own yard.”

The second sweepstakes event on the tour is “Fire on the Water,” a series of original short plays at Cleveland Public Theatre. The world premiere of Fire on the Water is inspired by the burning of the Cuyahoga River and runs January 29th through February 14th.

new book illustrates history of lake view cemetery, 'a record of our time as it passes'

University Circle and Euclid Avenue continue to evolve into a world where modern amenities meet historic architecture. Barney Taxel's new book of photographs, “The Lake View Cemetery: Photographs from Cleveland’s Historic Landmark,” is a showcase of where the neighborhood has been and where it's going in Lake View Cemetery, the 285-acre park, museum and burial ground.

“Euclid Avenue is in a comeback – there are a lot of new things on that whole stretch,” explains Taxel, whose wife, Laura Taxel, who wrote the book's essays. “University Circle and Downtown was a place known as Millionaires Row, where the movers and shakers settled. This comeback with Uptown represents just that – a new chapter in the area that was once sought-after in terms of real estate.”
 
Taxel took 14 years to document some of the characteristics that make Lake View unique. “It was very challenging to create a photographic portfolio that did not follow conventional forms,” he says. “I wanted to do something as it is relative to a person’s experience walking or driving through.”
 
He points out that Lake View offers an important chronicle of Cleveland history. Its architecture offers a documentation of the city’s impressive business beginnings.
 
“There are many, many threads to Cleveland businesses,” Taxel says. “Sherwin-Williams, Western Union, the great shipping companies, and of course Standard Oil. You walk through the place and you see names like Halle and Higbee.”
 
The mausoleums showcase architecture details of the past, and great names such as John D. Rockefeller, Eliot Ness, Carl B. Stokes, President James A. Garfield and Cleveland Clinic co-founder George Washington Crile grace the grounds. Yet the sprawling 145-year-old cemetery, modeled after garden cemeteries of Victorian England and France, also has room left for today’s history makers.
 
“It is, and always has been, a record of our time as it passes,” says Taxel. “It is timeless.”
 
Laura Taxel's introduction and six essays weave the photographs with the history and culture of Lakeview. The book is for sale at Lakeview Cemetery’s business office at 12316 Euclid Avenue, Loganberry Books and Macs Backs-Books.
 
Laura and Barney have upcoming book signings at Loganberry on Saturday at 3pm; at Mac’s Backs on Saturday, December 13 at 1pm; and at The Wine Spot on Sunday, December 14 from 3pm to 5pm.

naturalization ceremony, celebration of diversity on tap at this year's one world fest

Clevelanders will celebrate its diversity through artistic performance this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13 and 14 at the second annual Cleveland One World Festival. Taking place at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens at Rockefeller Park, the event will feature a variety of arts and activities for all ages, from a parade and performances on a dozen stages to international sporting competitions and art exhibits. Vendors and food trucks will offer authentic ethnic food and drinks. 
 
But for Clara Jaramillo, the One World Festival holds particular significance. She will become a U.S. citizen during the festival’s naturalization ceremony. Jaramillo is one of 25 people participating in the ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
 
“We’re excited about it,” Jaramillo says of becoming a U.S. citizen. “It’s been a long adventure.”
 
Born in Cali, Colombia, and raised in Medellin since she was eight, Jaramillo moved to San Antonio in 2000 with her husband, Jorge Zapata, for his career as an engineer in the medical field. From San Antonio, Zapata joined Phillips Medical Systems and they moved to San Jose, California, for eight years. They had two sons, Daniel and Nicolas, before they relocated to Cleveland nearly five years ago.
 
Jaramillo and Zapata settled in Chagrin Falls. “The schools are great, the boys are very happy,” Jaramillo says. “It’s a great place to raise a family. It’s quiet and the quality of life and the schools are much better. We think we’re going to stay here for good.”
 
Jaramillo is excited about becoming a U.S. citizen. “We’d like to be a part of the system, to be able to vote, to travel the world. As Colombians, we have to apply for visas to go to other countries.”
 
However, Jaramillo admits she is a bit nervous about the ceremony. “I’m normally very, very shy so it will be interesting,” she says. “It’s nice; it’s going to be a good moment to share with a lot of people.”
 
Zapata will receive his citizenship in a separate ceremony.

art museum womens council to host panel on urban gardening, jobs potential

The Cleveland Museum of Art Womens Council will host a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 31 entitled Growing the City: Urban Garden and Neighborhood based Cooperatives. The talk will focus on the urban farming trend that is growing in Cleveland and the benefits gained from it.
 
As part of the discussion, the panel will talk about the more than 3,000 acres of vacant green space in the city -- about 11 percent of the city's total area -- and how planners hope to translate that space into 20,000 sustainable jobs in Northeast Ohio. “That’s just an estimate of what potentially could be done with the land,” says Jesus Sanchez, Green Corps youth manager for the Cleveland Botanical Garden and panel member. “A lot of groups, organizations and individuals that are taking urban gardening on are still looking for ways to contribute to the local economy. We’re still in the early stages, but it takes a collaborative effort.”
 
Jobs created from urban farming include everything from the actual tending of the crops and distribution to supply chain to the culinary industry, explains Natalie Ronayne, panelist executive director of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. She cites Green Corps as just one program that is preparing a workforce for urban farming.
 
“We’re trying to educate students for jobs for life,” she says of the program. “We’re trying to create a workforce ready for those jobs. That means understanding nature, biology, plants, community stewardship. And sustainability is woven throughout those things.”
 
There are more than 200 community gardens in the city and three dozen for-profit farms providing affordable produce. Other current projects include Green City Growers’ construction of a hydroponic greenhouse on E. 55th Street and Kinsman Avenue that will grow lettuce and herbs, and Rid-All Green Partnership’s farm on the Forgotten Triangle in the Kinsman neighborhood. “These are jobs you can live off of and feed a family,” says Ronayne.
 
In addition to Sanchez and Ronayne, other panelists include Cleveland city council member Joe Cimperman, and Joel Ratner, president and chief executive officer of Neighborhood Progress Inc. Plain Dealer columnist Mike McIntyre will moderate.
 
The event is presented by Circle Neighbors and will be held at 11 a.m. in the Cleveland Museum of Art recital hall. Go to the Womens Council website to RSVP.

 
Sources: Jesus Sanchez, Natalie Ronayne
Writer: Karin Connelly

maker design studio produces designs that impact the city they love

Westleigh Harper, Brian Bernstein and Michael Horton like to share their view of Cleveland through their designs. The three -- Horton and Harper are project designers and Bernstein is a landscape architect -- often work 16-hour days at their day jobs, yet they repeatedly find themselves working on public art projects in their spare time.
 
So the three formed Maker, a multi-disciplinary design studio to create projects that have a positive impact on the city.

“Basically, we’re just an entity to enter design competitions,” says Harper. “It’s something that the three of us get together and look at the city a little differently.”
 
Their perspective has made an impact of various sites within Cleveland. Harper lists their recent projects: “Over the past several years the three of us have collaborated on small projects that pique our interest, including a four-level live/work space on Prospect Avenue, an installation for the June 2012 Made in the 216 event, and a proposal for re-conceptualizing the Euclid Arcade as an emerging design-based incubator.”
 
Maker is currently working on a small public art project along W. 25th Street for MetroHealth Hospital's 175th anniversary. The project was the result of a conversation the three had with LAND Studio in March.
 
“The three of us expressed a desire to get involved with local community organizations that we felt aligned with our motivations to positively impact our city,” explains Harper. “We've found that there are a lot of other people out there that want to maintain the sense of urgency to keep the momentum going in Cleveland, so we proactively seek out those opportunities and hope we can add to it.”

 
Source: Westleigh Harper
Writer: Karin Connelly

sow food offers chef-made meals crafted from locally grown food

Imagine eating chef-made meals from food grown right around the corner. That’s the dream Brian Doyle had when he created Sow Food last year, which is a catering business built around locally-grown food.
 
”Last year my wife Jennifer and I wanted to create a business that was full-circle,” Doyle explains. “We wanted to add a farming component to our catering business because we were interested in adding food in areas considered food deserts.”
 
Doyle found a plot of land on W. 47th Street and Lorain Avenue in the Cleveland area using the land bank. There, he has created a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model that combines local farming with catering.
 
Members buy a share in the farm in exchange for gourmet meals prepared by chef Doyle. During the growing season -- June through September -- members get three meals for two people each week. The cost is $1,520 for 16 weeks of food presented in re-usable containers. Subscribers pick up their meals each week at the farm.
 
Doyle creates the meals from the farm produce while supplementing it with other locally grown meats and cheeses. “We try to feature other local producers of value added goods,” he says. “You’ll never find a national brand item in our bag.”
 
Last year, Sow Food had 10 customers. This year, the company already has 10 customers signed up. Doyle hopes to get to 30 customers, but will cap it at 50. “We’re thinking in small increments of growth,” he says.
 
Sow Food has two full-time employees and two seasonal employees. If they reach their targeted growth, Doyle plans to hire an additional full-time employee and two part-time employees.
 
Sow Food sub-leased kitchen space from a couple restaurants. This year, Doyle is hoping to find a permanent space.
 

Source: Brian Doyle
Writer: Karin Connelly
 
 
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