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Call for young filmmakers

Hathaway Brown and St. Edward High School have partnered to offer the 2017 iMagine Film Festival.
 
Hence, through March 31, organizers are accepting film submissions from Northeast Ohio high school students. Films must be no longer than 15 minutes in length. All finalists will receive constructive feedback from area industry professionals. Winners will receive film-related prizes.

iMagine 2017 will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Hathaway's Ahuja Auditorium, 19600 North Park Blvd. The event, which will include screenings of the student films, is free and open to the public.

Click here to register and for submission details.
 

Nine local sustainable products

Between Cleveland's winning sports teams, revitalizing neighborhoods, and thriving food and arts communities, the city is clearly on an upswing. Another key to this revitalization is creating a sustainable economy that benefits all.

From energy efficient LED lighting to windpower, Sustainable Cleveland rounds up nine local company's that help to do just that.

Get the whole list here.

Celebrate love with free skating on Valentine's Day

Courtesy of the Cleveland Foundation, on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 3 to 11 p.m., skaters will enjoy free skate rentals and a free 45-minute session on the ice, weather permitting. Tickets are required and will be distributed at Public Square at noon on a first come, first served basis. Up to 150 tickets will be distributed per time slot. Additional activities during the Feb. 14 free skate will be announced.
 
“The Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink on Public Square has proven to be one of our community’s top destinations during the winter months,” said Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation in a statement. “We wanted to provide a chance for residents to celebrate their love for Cleveland by coming out and enjoying this vibrant gathering place in the heart of our city.”
 
In November 2016, the Cleveland Foundation announced a $100,000 grant to support ongoing community programming on Cleveland Foundation Centennial Plaza in Cleveland Public Square. The grant to the Group Plan Commission continued the foundation’s support for the Square, including $8 million for the transformation of Public Square and the creation of Cleveland Foundation Centennial Plaza. That same month, on Nov. 26, the foundation presented a free day of ice skating on Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink to coincide with the return of Winterfest in Public Square. More than 1,900 ice skaters took advantage of the free opportunity to enjoy the official opening of the skating rink.
 
The Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink will remain open for the season until Feb. 28, 2017 with skating available for $10 per skater, which includes skate rental. Additional information about Cleveland Public Square programming is available here.

Cleveland cited as up-and-comer on MovieMaker's 2017 'best places' list

From Maggie Gottlieb and Julie Pearson for MovieMaker:

This year, we skewed big, compiling a list of 15 big cities (population 400,000 and up—that’s city population, not metro) along with a shorter list of five small cities and towns, for those who like a more intimate setting for creativity. Each list also ends with three cities that were “On the Cusp.” (Who can resist an honorable mention?) As usual, you’ll see some familiar names and some up-and-comers—and yes, one of the lists has a tie for the top spot. We’re confident that the places on these lists offer the finest array of filmic institutions, backdrops and good ol’ community-driven energy available. Sink your roots into any of them, and you really can’t go wrong. What you can do, we hope, is find your people, and from there help to write the next chapter of North American cinema.

Read why they think Cleveland is getting ready for its close-up here.
 

Free help available for taxpayers ahead of April 15

Locals seeking help with their tax preparation have options.

—Lakewood Alive has teamed with Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) to offer free tax preparation and filing on Saturday, March 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Turkish Cultural Center in Lakewood’s Historic Birdtown Neighborhood, 13303 Madison Avenue. Click here for more information.

—Cuyahoga EITC Coalition has a bevy of tax information online, including a list of tax sites where low and moderate income taxpayers can make an appointment for help with filing by dialing 211.

The EITC free tax prep locations will also host several “Super Saturday” events at select locations where a larger number of volunteers will be on hand to provide additional assistance. These include:
 
February 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saint Ignatius High School (co-hosted by Key Bank)
Library Room
1911 West 30th St., Cleveland
 
Cleveland Central Catholic High School (co-hosted by Third Federal Savings & Loan)
1st Floor Atrium
6550 Baxter Ave., Cleveland
 
February 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

PNC Fairfax Connection (co-hosted by PNC Bank)
8220 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland
 
February 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Notre Dame College (co-hosted by Ohio Savings Bank)
Administrative Building, 2nd Floor
4545 College Road, South Euclid

February 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stephanie Tubbs –Jones Community Building (co-hosted by Ohio Savings Bank)
3420 Lee Road, Shaker Heights
 
Required documentation for tax preparation includes: Current photo identification, Social Security cards for each adult and child, W2 and 1099 income statements, child care expense statement and provider’s Tax I.D. Number, Form 1099-INT for any checking or savings accounts, and bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit. If the taxpayer purchased health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, they should bring 1099 tax credit from the issuing health insurance company.
 
The EITC Coalition is a volunteer driven program. Free training is available to become an IRS certified tax preparer for community members who want to volunteer to prepare taxes.
 

Demonstration this Friday to denounce Trump's immigration actions

This Friday, Feb. 3, at 4 p.m., a demonstration denouncing Trump’s executive orders on immigration will be conducted at Market Square on the corner of West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue.

The following is the complete press release regarding the event:

"Civic leaders will join together for a demonstration in Market Square to denounce the Trump administration's executive actions on immigration. These executive orders, calling for the construction of a border wall and threatening the withdrawal of federal funding from sanctuary cities, prioritize the deportation of illegal immigrants without considering the circumstances that drove them to emigrate from their homes. The documents promise to expand Immigration and Customs Enforcement by a combined total of 15,000, but no amount of border control or enforcement will affect whether or not migrants make the difficult choice to leave their countries and seek safety in the US.
 
There are several push factors existing in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez, co-director of the InterReligious Task Force on Central America, said, “Neoliberal and militaristic US foreign policies are often at the root of the push factors for refugees who are fleeing violent social and economic persecution. If we promoted true democracy in our international relations, rather empirical, unbridled, domineering policies, refugees would have less reason to flee violence and poverty.”
 
The Trump administration’s executive actions claim to target dangerous criminals, but, in reality, the new policies are vague enough to put at risk the status of families and individuals who, in the administration’s words, “In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”
 
Jose Mendez from DreamActivist Ohio, said of his personal experience with immigration policies, “As a Dreamer, I can’t continue to live in anxiety day by day. We need Congress to act and fix our broken immigration system. I will continue to fight for my family and myself no matter how tough the battle gets.”
 
Civic society will continue to fight for the rights of immigrants. We call on this administration and the 115th Congress to do everything in their power to reverse these executive orders."


Per the statement, attendees will include the following organizations: InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, DreamActivist Ohio, Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Lorain Ohio Immigrant Rights Association, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, Ohio’s Voice and others.

Global Student Awards Qualifications set for this Thursday

The Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards (GSEA) will host a Qualifying Competition on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Kent State University School of Podiatric Medicine, 6000 Rockside Woods Blvd N in Independence, starting at 1 p.m. GSEA, a program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), is an awards program for student entrepreneurs, providing students the opportunity to form relationships with fellow enterprising students and the judges.
 
“Over the course of the past several years, the GSEA awards have been responsible for launching and fostering the entrepreneurial efforts of many local students” said Brain Sprafka, Chair of Cleveland’s GSEA Awards, in a statement. “We look forward to hearing the presentations from these enterprising individuals.”
 
As qualifying criteria for the program, the four student finalists are in currently enrolled in their undergraduate studies of a recognized college or university and have been primarily responsible for operating a business for no less than six consecutive months. The four presenting students are enrolled at Kent State University, The Ohio State University, and Cuyahoga Community College. The presentations will focus on their business efforts in emergency medicine, software, locally sourced food, and fashion with a philanthropic cause.
 
The winner of this competition will be sent to compete at the Qualifying Competition in Kansas City, MO, on March 8 – 9,  and will also receive business services and prizes totaling more than $20,000 from Brouse & McDowell, Compass Packaging, Licata Law, Northcoast Angel Fund/Todd Federman, Post-Up Stand, Sales Concepts Inc., Studiothink, and Technical Assurance, Inc.
 
The winner of the Qualifying Competition will attend the GSEA Finals in Frankfurt, Germany on April 27-29, 2017 to compete with the world’s top student entrepreneurs and have a chance to win over US $400,000 in cash and donated business services.

Wilbur Ross, Trump's Commerce pick, offshored thousands of jobs, including some in NEO

From Andy Sullivan for Reuters:

"Billionaire Wilbur Ross, chosen by Donald Trump to help implement the president-elect's trade agenda, earned his fortune in part by running businesses that have offshored thousands of U.S. jobs, according to Labor Department data attained by Reuters.
"

The article goes on to say that one of those companies, Canton, Ohio, based
International Automotive Components Group, closed in 2016 "and shifted production of rubber floor mats to Mexico, eliminating the final 16 jobs in a factory that once employed 450 workers."

Get the whole story here.

Online event to focus on uncertain future of historic tax credits

 
Per the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS), last month, several people responded when word circulated that the House Ways and Means Committee Republicans were meeting to discuss tax reform legislation. CRS members and staff heard from numerous constituents about how the historic tax credit leverages private investment in underutilized historic buildings and their request for it to remain part of the tax code. 
 
A very incomplete list of local projects that have benefitted from the state and federal historic tax credits includes the ongoing West 25th Street Lofts, the boutique Kimpton Schofield Hotel, Heinen's Downtown and the Wagner Awning Building.
 
To follow up on the issue, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is holding a free webinar on Thursday, January 19 from 2 – 3 p.m. to share the results of interested parties' efforts and to discuss follow-up actions. President and CEO of the National Trust, Stephanie Meeks, will initiate the conversation and describe steps the National Trust is taking to address these and other policy challenges. A panel of top Washington advocates will be on the call to describe the legislative environment and what should be done to protect the historic tax credit.  
 
The webinar is free but registration is required. Click here to register. Click here for more information.
 

Monday: Ice Fest, free admissions to Science Center, Rock Hall

Come join the City of Cleveland, Downtown Cleveland Alliance and North Coast Harbor for Ice FEST this Monday, Jan. 16. The wintry action will take place between the Great Lakes Science Center and the Roll Hall starting at 10 a.m. This event is free and open to the public.
 
More than a dozen ice displays will be set up on the walk way between the Science Center and Rock Hall. In addition, both venues will host free admission for the day.
 
Full details and scheduling here.
 

Will drilling expand in Cuyahoga Valley National Park under Trump's plan?

From Annie Knox and Kim Palmer, with additional contributors, for Reuters:

President-elect Donald Trump aims to open up federal lands to more energy development, tapping into a long-running and contentious debate over how best to manage America’s remaining wilderness.


The U.S. government holds title to about 500 million acres of land across the country, including national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and tribal territories stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. They overlay billions of barrels of oil and vast quantities of natural gas, coal, and uranium.

The article goes on to include the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) as one federal holding pertinent to the controversy. The CVNP is one of the nation's few parks that already allows drilling on account of privately owned mineral rights.


Per this article by Kabir Bhatia for wksu, however, park officials do not foresee an expansion:

Right now, there are 91 wells within Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s 33,000 acres. Last fall, the rules governing those wells* were overhauled to give the parks more control. Lisa Petit, head of resource management for the park, says she doesn’t foresee new wells being added in the next several years; instead the focus will be bringing the existing wells in-line with the new rules.

The greenspace is a local mecca for hikers, bikers and those who enjoy watersports on the Cuyahoga River. It is Ohio's only national park.

Further reading: 100 miles of the Towpath Trail, one step at a time

*link added

 

Whispers: U2 coming to Cleveland?

UPDATE 1/8/17 12 P.M. EST: oWOW Radio is reporting that details and confirmation may come as early as tomorrow.

Rumors are abounding that the legendary band U2 will celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree with a stadium tour of North America. The website @U2 taps Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Washington, DC. In addition, one German website also adds Cleveland's to the roster for a possible summer 2017 date.
 
Per Google translation: "A source told oWOW Radio that U2 was booked for the summer of 2017 at FirstEnergy Stadium."
 
Bono, The Edge and Co. have not performed in Cleveland since the band's Dec. 10, 2005 concert at Quicken Loans Arena.
 
If the whispers pan out, this will prove to be one (ahem) beautiful day for area U2 fans, if not, call it Sunday, bloody Sunday.

The man behind Cleveland Kraut earns slot on prestigious list

Drew Anderson of Cleveland Kraut was named as one of Forbes' "30 under 30" for the 2017 food and drink category. Read why here, then scroll through the rest of the list to see the other lofty young foodie professionals that made the list and what they're offering up. (Think: pancakes, curry, toffee, hemp, grass-fed beef and ... cookies!)

19 reasons to celebrate 2016

From bikes and trees to street festivals and offshore wind, the Office of Sustainability takes a look back at the year that was with a fun and fresh roundup of 19 stories and events that made 2016 great here on the North Coast.

Read the whole list here.

Our most popular stories from 2016

A zoomin' fleet of electric go-karts? The next must live neighborhood? What made the RNC such a success? We've got all that – and more.

Click here for a roundup of some of Fresh Water's most popular stories from 2016.
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