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Local craftsman welds discarded objects with art

Jereme Westfall, owner and artist of Work of Arc Welding, prides himself on breathing new life into discarded objects.
A damaged cello Westfall purchased from a music store, for example, is now a lighted sculpture complete with ribbed metal wings. The instrument can no longer play a beautiful concerto, but it's still lovely to behold, says its owner.
From his workshop at Steelyard Commons, Westfall also welds a unique identity onto working lamps, clocks, shelving, fountains and wall hangings. Primarily focused on metals, the arts-centric entrepreneur "upcycles" junk into works he sells at gallery shows or on his Etsy site.
"I take garbage and instead of recycling it to its original form, I'm turning it into something that still has a use," says Westfall, 39. "I've got a basement filled with valves, springs and other stuff that inspires me."
Hard work comes at cost for customers, although some pieces can be had at lower prices than others. Westfall's cello sculpture, a product of 100 man hours and $500 in materials, sells for $3,100, while his lamps run from $320-$355. More affordable offerings include business card holders built from transmission gears, which are $35 each.  
Westfall opened his studio a year ago after receiving certification from the Lincoln Electric Welding School. Creating functional art full time wasn't his first thought upon entering the industry, however.
"I worked as a welder for awhile, then decided I wanted to make my own rules," Westfall says. "I started making my own stuff, went to some art shows, and things took off from there."
Westfall's steampunk/industrial style lends itself to rustic spaces or the average man cave, he notes. The Medina native tries to add something quirky to each piece, like a valve that acts as a dimmer for a lamp.
Going into 2017, Work of Arc has several months of back orders to fill, among them a conference table repurposed for an area diamond broker. The business is also busy showing its regional pride through Cavaliers and Ohio State metal wall art pieces.

As long as folks keep buying, Westfall is happy to continue making something out of nothing.

"The biggest thing for me is to be flexible," says Westfall. "I like doing a wide range of pieces rather than just one thing over and over again. There's such a wide variety, I never get bored."

Motorcycle garage owner gets real with upcoming TV show for Esquire Network

Motorcycle aficionado Brian Schaffran has been running his Cleveland-based hotrodding fix-it clubhouse Skidmark Garage for over a year. While bringing in new riders has been a slower process than Schaffran would like, a forthcoming motorcycle competition television series he recently finished filming could rev up that all-important customer base.
Schaffran will serve as co-host of "Wrench Against the Machine," an unscripted motor-cycle centric show pitting teams of enthusiasts against one another to construct badass bikes of all styles and builds. A panel of judges will evaluate contestants' creations following each build challenge.
Filming began in Los Angeles at the end of April and wrapped last week. As host, Schaffran was on call during day-long taping sessions - sometimes lasting until 10 p.m. - where he would he would recite scripted lines for one or two scenes. Downtime was spent on a laptop working his day job as a customer support rep for a software company.
"The whole thing felt a little surreal," says Schaffran, whose 2,800-square foot community garage in the Hildebrandt Building rents out tools, lifts and storage bays to riders. "I never thought I'd be on TV. Everything is hitting me all at once."
Schaffran's workaday world turned when a production company that makes reality shows contacted him following a March 2015 Fresh Water article about his shop. 
"They thought the community garage idea was original, and said somewhere inside the garage was a show," Schaffran says. "They finally came up with this build competition idea."
Though excited at first, Schaffran was put off by other motorcycle build shows where drama is heightened to extreme levels.
"I've seen these shows and how people are portrayed," he says. "I didn't want to be part of some soap opera bullshit like every other reality show."
Schaffran's concerns were allayed after additional conversations with production company officials. When not filming or helping folks trouble-shoot their computers, he visited area community garages to scope their physical layout and how they marketed themselves.
"It was enlightening to see how clean their shops were," says Schaffran. "They're leveraging social media more than I am, too."
"Wrench Against the Machine" will premiere this fall on the Esquire Network. Ideally, the program will give Skidmark Garage a membership and branding boost, says its owner.
"Everyone is pretty excited for me," says Schaffran. "So many people's comments are like, 'Holy shit, dude, you're living the dream.' Everyone's been really supportive." 

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.

Pieces of rust belt history come to life at Heights Arts' Remade in Cleveland show

Local artisans who upcycle industrial materials from the rust belt into imaginative, yet functional household objects will be kick off the 2016 Heights Arts season with the gallery's “Remade in Cleveland” exhibit.
The work of Doug Meyer’s Rustbelt Rebirth, Kevin Busta, and designers with Rustbelt Reclamation will be showcased in an exhibit that features everything from furniture to accessories using repurposed materials dating back to 100 years ago in Cleveland’s history.
The artists use locally sourced wood and metal to create items such as custom tables, seating, lighting, mirrors, wall features, and tabletop objects such as clocks, serving boards and wine caddies.
“Cleveland is in its second cycle,” says Greg Donley, head of the gallery committee, founding Heights Arts board member and assistant director of creative services of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “One hundred years ago it was in its first boom. All of these things used to build Cleveland are seeing second lives.”

Meyer fell in love with ceramics while in high school, but instead turned to welding through a Job Corps program. He led the metal fab shop at furniture maker Cleveland Art before starting Rustbelt Rebirth in 2009.
“Things that get my creative mojo going: Science fiction movies, surrealist landscapes, googie architecture, electronic music, art deco and mid-century modern design, the streamlining movement, quantum physics, and mysticism,” Meyer says of his inspiration.
Meyer says he is glad Heights Arts is exploring the upcycle trend with Remade in Cleveland. “I'm glad to see that the movement is gaining traction and champions,” he says. “It's forced us all to look at things in a different light in terms of quality, design, and creative re-interpretation.” 

Donley defines Meyer’s work as combining raw materials with bent metal. “Meyer simultaneously uses mid-20th Century modern design in a combination of raw materials,” he says.

Busta creates items like lamps made of industrial cast iron fixtures, while Rustbelt Reclamation takes mahogany molds used to make cast iron fixtures and turning them into art.
“Cleveland has a long history of making objects with function and design,” says Donley. “Almost everything in [the show] is stuff you live with – chairs, tables you can eat on.”
The show opens on Friday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. and runs through Saturday, Feb. 27. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday 1:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Feb.11 at 7 p.m., an  artist talk and ekphrastic poetry event will be held, during which the artists will share their inspirations and challenges from working with salvaged and repurposed materials, while local poets Terre Maher, Mary Quade, Barbara Sabol and Barry Zucker will respond with original verse inspired by select objects in the exhibition. 

Cleveland Jam's sweet new creations made from local wine and beer

Jim Conti started making wine as a hobby five years ago. While his friends loved his wine, he wanted to do something with the sediment left at the bottom of his bottles.

“I didn’t want to throw it away,” he recalls. “I thought about what I could do with it. I tried it, and it was pretty good.”

Then one day an idea came to Conti: Why not make jams out of the sweet sediment left over from the wine he created? After many recipe trials and taste tests, Cleveland Jam was born. Since 2013, Conti and his two partners, Dennis Kramer and Dennis Schultz, have been producing jams and jellies made from local wines and beers.

Conti begins the jam-making process by boiling down the wine to remove the alcohol, then processing it into jams and jellies. After perfecting the wine jellies, he thought “why not beer?” So Conti went to work on making beer jams as well.

Cleveland Jam now has five beer jams and three different wine jellies – all made with the aid of local brewers and vineyards and locally-grown produce. The company’s signature wine jelly flavors are Dynamite White Zinfandel, Rock and Roll Merlot and Press Play Cabernet.
The company has its own half-acre vineyard in the Clark-Fulton district off W. 25th Street on Sackett Avenue. The eight varieties should start producing fruit in the next two years. The site is actually an old brewery from the Prohibition era and Conti hopes to open a storefront there. His ultimate dream is to open urban vineyards all over the city.

In addition to his original Beer Jam, Conti began working with Great Lakes Brewing Company last year to create Burning River Pepper Jam. In July, the two companies released Eliot Ness Fig-Apple jam. “They put it on prosciutto sandwiches,” Conti says. Cleveland Jam also makes two beer jellies with a brewing company in Catawba – blueberry IPA and mango habanero.

The jams are used on menu items at Great Lakes and are available in Great Lakes gift shops.  Their popularity is keeping Conti busy these days. This summer, Cleveland Jam was chosen as one of three companies in the Old Brooklyn Community Development’s business pitch competition to receive a grant to open a storefront in the Old Brooklyn. Conti says he hopes to open in the city in the next few months.

F*Sho celebrates Cle furniture makers for seventh straight year

Jason Radcliffe – steel furniture designer, owner of 44 Steel in Avon, reality show finalist on SpikeTV’s Framework, and a cheerleader for the Cleveland maker movement – will once again bring the F*Sho to Cleveland on Friday, Sept. 18th from 5-8 p.m.

The F*Sho is a contemporary furniture show featuring work by local designers, furniture makers and Cleveland Institute of Art students. Radcliffe has been staging the show for seven years now, primarily to highlight the style and talents of local builders. “Time flies,” he says. “I feel like we just started this a couple of years ago.”
Radcliffe says there’s no doubt these makers are Clevelanders. “The best thing about this show is we are hands-down Cleveland builders and you can see that in everything we do,” he explains. “We all use local materials, reclaimed wood or fallen trees from here, all local steel. If you look at how we do steel in this city – it’s undeniably us.”
This year’s show features 27 furniture makers – six of whom are new to the show. One home builder, David Krebs of Modern Smart Homes, will also showcase his work. “I’m excited at the idea of a home building company that designs, builds and has furniture,” says Radcliffe.
Other designers and makers include 2nd Shift Design, Sawhorse Woodworks, blacksmith and metal fabricator Stephen Yusko, and Framework co-finalist Freddy Hill.
The F*Show is never in the same space twice. “We move it every year to an obscure location,” he says. “We try to show some buildings and spaces that are not normally on the radar.” This year’s show is in 20,000-square feet of space on the fifth floor of the 44 Building, 3615 Superior Ave. E., in Tyler Village – a new hotspot for furniture builders. “One of the cool things about Tyler Village is there are soon to be five makers in space there,” says Radcliffe.
Radcliffe and Hill hosted the first F*Sho in Los Angeles last March, after Framework was over. “L.A. went unbelievably well, he says. “We had almost double the response we had from the first Cleveland F*Sho. We’re working on doing another one out there in the spring.”
The F*Sho is free and open to the public. Everything the artists show is also for sale. Food and drinks will be served and a D.J. will spin tunes. “The fifth floor is all windows, all the way around,” says Radcliffe. “You can see the lake, downtown, and south. When the sun goes down the space lights up. We’re really happy about this space, these designers.”

FutureHeights to offer mini-grants for neighborhood improvement projects

In an effort to improve Cleveland Heights neighborhoods and create a new kind of social interaction, FutureHeights is now offering mini-grants of up to $1,000 for neighbors to get together for improvement projects.
“It’s a way to strengthen our neighborhoods,” says FutureHeights executive director Deanna Bremer Fisher. “The way we do that work is with our residents and strengthen their assets.”
The grass-roots program is loosely based on Cleveland’s Neighborhood Connections program, which offers grants of up to $5,000 for neighborhood enhancement projects and is partially responsible for the creation of popular events like Larchmere PorchFest.
Years ago, Bremer Fisher says neighborhood block clubs were prevalent in Cleveland Heights. While some of the groups still exist and thrive, such as in the Fairfax neighborhood where the block has as many as 10 events a year, many of the groups have dissolved.
“This will be an incentive to be able to do small projects – do little things from a social aspect or physical appearance,” says Bremer Fisher. “Whether it’s a project that works on some aspect of physical appearance or strengthens a social network, we’re really open to all ideas. Let’s talk about it.”
FutureHeights has $7,500 budgeted for the mini-grants. Groups must consist of at least three people in the same neighborhood, and they will be required to match 20 percent of the grant in either money or volunteer hours.
 The organization plans to offer the program again in the spring, depending on the interest. “We have no idea what kind of response we’ll get,” Bremer Fisher says. The application deadline is September 15. An informational meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, July 29 at 7pm at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Lee Road Library.

Jakprints combines cutting edge print technology with environmental standards

Custom printing company Jakprints has always been on the cutting edge with its technology as well as its commitment to the environment. Jakprints recently teamed up with Heidelberg USA to bring the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor press to its offices. The green-friendly press is the first of its kind to be installed in North America, says CEO Nick DeTomaso.
While Jakprints has been doing digital printing for the past 13 of its 16 years in business, DeTomaso has never seen the efficiency Heidelberg’s new press offers in terms of both quality and speed.  

“The technology has matured, but it’s evolved quickly enough that it changes,” he says. “We’re very heavily involved in the graphic design community, and they have an eye for quality.”
The Speedmaster is billed as having the top efficiency, versatility and environmental friendliness in a digital format. “Everybody’s trying to get digital print efficiency,” says DeTomaso. “For the printing industry of America, this is the direct mail wave of the future.”
In addition, the Speedmaster fits with Jakprints’ environmental commitment. The press uses only 20 to 30 sheets of paper to make something ready for printing, whereas older offset models use between 500 and 1,000 sheets.
“That motivated us to make this move,” says DeTomaso. “We’ve always found ways to reduce waste. This is a huge advancement for us and will save over one million press sheets this year.”
Jakprints also uses soy and vegetable-based inks with zero-VOC press washes. Founded by Dameon Guess and Jacob Edwards, the company has grown to 250 employees in its Midtown headquarters and has earned a reputation for being environmentally conscious. 

KeyBank prides itself on sustainability in and out of the workplace

Four years ago, KeyCorp, one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, released its first corporate responsibility report to demonstrate its commitment to responsible operations.

A big part of that report illustrates Key’s commitment to sustainable practices. In May, the bank released its fourth corporate responsibility report for 2014. A large part of that report centers on “responsible operations” -- a commitment to green building practices, reduced waste and reduced energy consumption.

That commitment translates into a good corporate neighbor to Clevelanders. “At Key we look at the operational footprint as well as our impact on the community,” explains Andrew Watterson, head of sustainability at KeyBank. For instance, Key’s Tiedeman Road facility, which employs 3,000 workers, is Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified, the highest of four levels recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“Beyond energy efficiencies, we focus on waste streams, particularly paper,” says Watterson. “We’re really proud of where we’ve come in the last five years. Key has reduced paper use by 60 percent and the goal is to reduce use by an additional 30 percent by 2020."

“We’re performing significantly better than our peers,” he boasts.

The environmental concerns transfer over to the retail side of Key’s operations as well. Last year saw a 40 percent jump in the number of mobile accounts and 80 percent of Key’s active accounts now rely on e-statements.
Waste reduction also relies on Key employees across the bank’s facilities. During Green Office Week in April, Key employees were reminded of what they can do to reduce paper usage and even tracked the amount of food they threw away at lunch “to measure how much food waste is being generated on a daily basis,” says Watterson. On Waste Recycling Day, employees brought paper from home for shredding and recycling.
Employees also are charged with making sure the recycling containers on every floor are well placed and labeled. “We won’t be successful without engaging our employees in our efforts,” says Watterson, who also polls employees on areas of improvement in sustainability.
Key and its employees regularly sponsor and participate in community activities. Furthermore, Key boasts that it was one of the first backers of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, the initiative to encourage residents to implement green practices.

“Key was one of the early supporters of Sustainable Cleveland 2019 since it launched in 2009,” says Watterson. “We encourage employee participation and attend the summits.”

Olivia Rose Bakery makes confections a family affair

Saidah Farrell has always enjoyed baking with her two daughters. While cupcakes were their favorite confection to make, the three always used a box mix. But when Farrell lost her job as a help desk manager almost six years ago, she decided it was time for a career change. “When you lose your job, what are you going to do,” she asks. “You either find another job or go back to school.” Farrell decided to go back to school.
In 2010 Farrell enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College to earn her associate of applied business degree in hospitality management with a concentration in culinary arts. This weekend will be the grand opening of Olivia Rose Community Bake Shop at 16832 Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights. Farrell runs the bakery with the help of her two daughters, Olivia, 12, and Rose, 16.
“The oldest works on the cupcakes and croissants, while the younger one does the cookies,” Farrell explains. “I went back to school and then I saw my 16-year-old making croissants from scratch. You never realize how much they pay attention of you.”

Farrell received a lot of help to make her vision a reality. She went through ECDI for help securing loans get things off the ground.  “I started off needing nearly $20,000 but if you don’t have collateral, it’s hard to get a loan, she says. “ECDI got me $15,000 in loans through the SBA, the City of Shaker Heights and Cuyahoga County.”

Farrell has been marketing her bakery mostly through Facebook and has already gotten a lot of support from the community. Word has gotten out about her macaroons – especially her maple bacon macaroons. Other goodies include croissants, cookies, eclairs and cinnamon rolls. All of her creations use natural ingredients.

Farrell, who taught baking before opening her shop, plans to offer baking workshops, classes and kids' baking parties at the shop. She also welcomes other area bakers to bake and sell at her shop. Eventually, she plans to exhibit the works of local artists on a regular basis.

The grand opening runs Friday, June 12 through Sunday, June 14 with the ribbon cutting on Saturday.

University Hospitals, Geis could create hundreds of jobs in the Health-Tech Corridor

University Hospitals announced earlier this month that it plans to build a community care center, called the UH Rainbow Center for Women’s and Children’s Health, on East 57th Street and Euclid Avenue on a part of 12 acres in MidTown’s Health-Tech Corridor.

Along with the facility, Geis Companies’ Hemingway Development will develop the rest of the land for a second Midtown Tech Park with mixed-use medical companies, retail, restaurants and other commercial space. Bike trails will also be created, and a new bus stop in front of the UH facility are planned, according to Fred Geis.

“We’re engaging the community with public spaces, restaurants with healthy eating and possibly a small market,” Geis says. “This will connect E. 59th Street, connect the Hough neighborhood and League Park. With the bike trails, people can easily walk to the facility.”

HTC director Jeff Epstein says the two projects mean jobs and more development in MidTown. "The additional traffic that comes as a result of development adds to the critical mass to add restaurants," he says. "The intersection of a healthcare provider and technology in the corridor provides opportunities for residents. And University Hospitals' major commitment is using strength to bring additional jobs."

Cleveland City Council, which owns the land, approved the purchase last week. Geis says they are scheduled to go before council again on May 4th for approval of the plans. The deal preserves $13 million in Housing and Urban Development loans and grants originally set for renovating the Warner and Swasey building on Carnegie Avenue and East 55th Street.

The UH facility will provide maternity, post-natal and medical care, and will employ as many as 100 people by June of 2016. UH also plans to house healthy living programming at the facility and provide more than 200 parking spaces. Hospital officials predict the 30,000-40,000 square foot facility will see 47,000 visits a year.

As a whole, Geis conservatively predicts the project will create at least 400 jobs. “Based on experience from down the street at the Midtown Tech Park, it should create 600-800 jobs,” he says. “The Midtown Tech Park provides 600 jobs currently. And employment statistics show female and minorities are in half of those jobs.”

Geis says he wants to attract companies from outside the region to the new park. “Our sincerest goal is to entice people from outside the region,” he says. “This is a brand new area, brand new to the region.”

UH officials are pleased with the services the hospital system will offer in MidTown. “As we plan for future growth, it is clear a new and more convenient location for women’s and children’s services is a priority,” says Steve Standley, UH chief administrative officer. “The MidTown Corridor site is ideal for the patients we serve and aligns with University Hospitals’ economic impact goals to help generate the local economy by attracting more businesses to this urban area.”

Hemingway’s Maura Maresh says the center is exactly what the neighborhood needs. “It’s the opportunity they needed to build this facility instead of building in the usual places,” she says. “It shows the power of what you can do with one project.”

Geis points out that residents in most suburban areas have easy access to community medical centers. Other medical centers, including the Cleveland Foot and Ankle Clinic and two divisions of the Veterans Administration, have already successfully established themselves in MidTown.

“They realized years ago it’s difficult to make it down to University Circle,” Geis says. “This is long overdue that someone comes out here to serve these communities. University Hospitals is the first of the institutions to invest in this type of infiltration of a neighborhood.”

Groundbreaking is scheduled for May 2016.

edwins restaurant plans dormitory-style housing for homeless workers

In just over a year since it opened, Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute has trained almost 50 formerly convicted criminals in the art of working at an upscale French restaurant. It has also trained another 30 at the Grafton Correctional Institute. Now, founder and CEO Brandon Chrostowski is taking it to the next level by helping his students start their new careers on the right footing.

On February 23rd, Chrostowski will host NEXT, a six-course dinner fundraiser to build student housing. Chrostowski is working with the Cuyahoga Land Bank to buy an abandoned two-building parcel on Buckeye. “The whole idea behind Next is to take things to the next level for Edwins students,” he says. “I had a vision to build dorms near the school. I thought it would be a bit later, but the needs of the students – some of them are in shelters, some of them are homeless – made it happen sooner.”

The plan to build the dorms began brewing in April of last year. “In October, I put it out there to people supporting Edwins and within one month I received $1 million in two checks for $500,000 each,” says Chrostowski.

Additional support wasn’t far behind. Six chefs from Cleveland and chefs from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles will come together to make a memorable dining experience at Edwins. “It’s a great group -- anything we need they provide,” says Chrostowski.

Tickets for the event, which cost between $250 and $350 each, sold out in three days. Chrostowski is still open to sponsorships for the project, though. “It’s going to be one big party to contribute to a good cause,” he says. “It’s not just about the money. It’s about community support.”

Chrostowski has phase-one designs for a 37-bed dorm. Students will pay $100 a month, which would be returned to them at the end of the program for a deposit on an apartment. The plan also calls for six individual units on the top floor for Edwins graduates who are having trouble finding housing. Their rent would contribute to operating costs.

Bialosky and Partners Architects helped with the design and Kirt Montlack of Montack Realty helped guide Chrostowski through the operating costs of running the buildings. Jones Day helped with the legal work.

“This is one example of the community coming together, and Buckeye is a neighborhood I believe in,” Chrostowski says. “We’re talking about someone without a home who is struggling. We have to change that. It’s a very real problem and we have the power to change it.”
Phase two of Chrostowski’s plan includes a library, fitness center and a meat and fish shop where employees will butcher the meat for sale and for use at Edwins.

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.

rust belt riders' waste-to-compost business on a roll with new customers, funding

When Daniel Brown and his partners, Michael Robinson, John Stone and Mikey Ericsson, formed Rust Belt Riders last year, the purpose was to nourish their community garden. The soil needed to be enriched, and compost was the way to create a rich, growing soil.
“We were running a garden on E. 40th Street and St. Clair Avenue and we realized before we could grow anything with success we had to cultivate the soil,” Brown says. “A lot of gardeners in town are in the same situation. We realized that cheap, nutrient-rich soil was the common thread and that started with composting at home.”
With that, Rust Belt Riders was born in June. The group collects compost – fruit and vegetable peels and scraps, coffee grinds, tea bags, garden and lawn waste – from clients, who are given five-gallon buckets. The team rides bicycles around a 10 square mile area in the Detroit Shoreway, Tremont and Ohio City, picking up the buckets on a set schedule. Rust Belt Riders then delivers the compost to eight area community gardens.

The company currently has 35 subscribers, with five more coming on at the end of the month. So far, Rust Belt Riders has collected more than 18,000 pounds of compost.
The concept is so innovative, it earned Rust Belt Riders one of 13 spots in the SEA Change Accelerator, a collaboration that supports social enterprise businesses, access to support services and mentoring and a chance to crowd fund through Kiva Zip, a micro-lending website. “We quickly realized we had no idea what we were doing running a business,” recalls Brown. “We thought it would be worthwhile to apply and get some business acumen going.”
Brown and his partners went through the six-week SEA Change program, learning about business law, accounting, branding and marketing and creating a business plan.
“We selected Rust Belt Riders as one of the twelve participants because they are addressing a clear social issue (waste reduction/sustainability) and have high commercial potential through two prominent revenue streams: waste removal and sale of compost,” says Mike Shafarenko, manager of community engagement, web and social media at ideastream. “In our mind, that is a recipe for a strong and sustainable social enterprise down the road.” 
Now Rust Belt Riders are meeting with mentors Shafarenko, Bill Leamon with the Business of Good Foundation and assistant professor of marketing at Notre Dame College and Bryan Mauk of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries

The company is preparing for a "Shark Tank" type pitch competition with the other 12 SEA Change companies in January, in which the winning company can win $50,000.
Rust Belt Riders will launch their Kiva Zip campaign in the next couple of months. If they raise at least $1,000 in their fundraising, the Business of Good Foundation will match $1,000. The company is also eligible to receive some of the $50,000 SEA Change will award to some of the 13 finalists in the program.

keycorp report answers the question, how green is my banking?

KeyCorp's business practices are becoming as green as the currency handled by its nearly 1,000 branches nationwide, according to a recently released 2013 Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report.

In earning its eighth consecutive "Outstanding" rating on the Community Reinvestment Act exam, the financial institution has emphasized its conscientious approach to banking, citizenship and operations. That responsibly includes establishing operational policies that protect the environment, notes KeyCorp head of sustainability Andrew Watterson.

Last year, the corporation invested more than $6 million in energy efficiency improvement projects in KeyCorp buildings nationally. This includes lighting retrofits and HVAC improvements, diversion of waste from landfills, and nearly 5,000 tons of recycled office paper.

In addition, over 900 KeyCorp facilities are engaged in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, an effort promoting power saving products and buildings in order to reduce pollution and energy consumption. On the local front, the bank's Tiedeman Road offices are platinum-certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

Meanwhile, the institution has invested upwards of $1.2 billion in its renewable energy portfolio. This funding has gone largely to utility-scale wind and solar farms that carry the capability of producing massive megawatts.

An environmental focus aligns nicely with KeyCorp's overriding mission of helping the community thrive, says Watterson.

"Sustainability is in perfect alignment with that purpose," he says. "It's an important component of being a responsible corporate citizen." 
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