Saturday, April 28, 2007

Could We Use Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs) In NE Ohio?

As a Realtor®, it's easy to be made aware of all the newly planned or just being built housing developments in our area. One of the frustrating aspects of all that has been the price points. $300k seems to be the standard for new town homes for example. There is one architecturally fabulous exception being built in Tremont (Starkweather me if you are interested). For the most part we seem to have new housing going up that no one can afford -- or barely afford as long as there is tax abatement.

When I lived in Maryland I was impressed with Montgomery County's Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) program. For any new development in Montgomery County the developers of that project were required to set aside about 12% of the units as moderately priced homes. They allow people who meet certain residency requirements to enter a lottery and get on a list to own one of these lower priced units. This was a model program started in the 1970s. Of course, their home price points went through the roof so their moderately priced homes now would be way above what most of us could afford. But I really think it's an idea that our Planning Commission could explore.

The Center for Housing Policy issued a report called New Century Housing (it's in pdf format and 54 pages but a quality explanation of the idea) This next report was issued by the League of Women Voters in Montgomery County and it gives a further explanation and history of MPDUs there. This report explained that you were required to have MPDUs if your development was 35 units or larger. I did not remember that part. Anyway, curious to know what others think about this idea.

When I first moved out of Cleveland in the early '70s to attend college and make my way in the world, Ohio City was just being 'pioneered,' if I can call it that. I knew people who knew people and they were involved in starting the Call and Post, and trying to revitalize the area. But revitalize it in an inclusionary way. Manager Mark (my manager) has lived in Ohio City for years and years, and I was fascinated with his recounting of the mission and passion of Ohio City residents who did not just want 'rich' people in the neighborhood, but original residents as well.

When I look at some of the development occurring elsewhere, I still see 300k price points. And in fact, Ohio City sports quite a few new town home and condo complexes in that price range -- and higher. But there are still homes to be bought under $200k or less. In fact we are under contract (a client and I) on a home closer to 120k that exemplifies all the character of Ohio City architecture.

A lot of cities are experiencing a housing crisis because people can't afford to downsize when they need to, or even buy their first homes. I think our area could use an MPDU or AHU (Affordable Housing Unit) plan because some of us just are not interested, even if we can afford it, in putting all of our available monies into homes that cost over 300k. I guess I will get off my soapbox for now lol. I am slightly optimistic that the downtown development plans seem to be going in the direction of mixed use development and I am hoping that idea will take off as well. Here is the National Association of Home Builders take on Mixed Use. Here is the Wikipedia explanation of it. Do you like either of these ideas? Peace Out - 3C

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cuyahoga County Homes For Sale: Can You Say "Buyer's Market?'

To say there are many homes on the market in each community is putting it mildly. Here, by zip code, is a summary of some Cuyahoga County communities and the number of homes available.

Cleveland's Near West Side:

44102 320 Single Family Homes For Sale 48 Condos or Town Homes For Sale

44111 359 Single Family Homes For Sale No Condos For Sale

44113 102 Single Family Homes For Sale 84 Condos or Town Homes For Sale

44135 319 Single Family Homes For Sale 6 Condos or Town Homes For Sale

Shaker Heights:

44122 180 Single Family Homes For Sale 48 Town Homes or Condos


44107 334 Single Family Homes For Sale 135 Condos or Town Homes

Rocky River:

44116 137 Single Family Homes For Sale 114 Condos or Town Homes

Peace Out - 3C

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thinking of Selling Your Home? You May Need a Point of Sale Inspection

Maybe a new job or a need for a bigger (or smaller) home has you thinking about putting your home up for sale. For some of our communities, a Point of Sale inspection is required. This means, before the Title to your home can transfer to that new buyer, you will need a city inspector to okay the sale and sign off that no repairs are needed. Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and Euclid are all areas requiring a Point of Sale. (The Cleveland Heights link is for their general contact numbers; they did not have 'point of sale' info' readily available on the web. But the Euclid and Shaker links take you to some detailed info about point of sales in those communities).

Lakewood has a point of sale inspection on non-owner occupied (rental) properties. One reason to do a point of sale inspection before you list your home? Buyers can feel as comfortable as you can that there won't be any surprises in store for them, or additional expenses, if they exist, will all be described in the inspection report. You can't avoid it so instead of possible unpleasant surprises, an inspection can give you, as a seller, peace of mind. Lakewood also has a fantastic First Time Home Buyer program but the City inspection will be detailed so again, why not get it done ahead of time so you won't have surprises at contract time.

With a lot of homes on the market you can give yourself a competitive advantage by having the inspections completed before the first potential buyer walks in your door. Most of our communities have wonderful old housing stock and these inspections are ways to keep each home in tip top shape, adding value to living in these communities (although there are those who disagree...there was a very thoughtful post by my friend, a Realtor ® in Minneapolis). Regardless of how you feel about them, they exist so we may as well be prepared. What's that phrase: forewarned is forearmed? Hmm, I hope that is correct lol.

The other thing an inspection can do is help you decide when to put your home up for sale. You might decide to get a few things repaired this year and then sell next year, as long as you have the luxury to do so. Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Foreclosures: More Info on Possible Targets by Predatory Lending

The month of February had some poignant moments for me as a Realtor®. Early that month I was called by an out of town lender who had a website; he was trying to get a local contact to help a Cleveland resident save their home with a short sale (sell a home in order to avoid foreclosure, but at less than market value).

Unfortunately, the market value of this person's home was much less than they paid for it. You guessed it: predatory lending. And some complicit appraiser who helped the predatory lender sign off on the mortgage process. Before I found out I could not help this person, he had a friend call me. Then another person called. Before I knew it, over eleven people had sought me out to help them. One or two may have been able to just make enough money through a sale so that they could avoid foreclosure. But most of the homes were way over market value and there was no way to sell it and recoup....even if they sold the home themselves. It was the saddest month I have had in my professional career so far.

Today, on the News Net Five website, there was a recap of a law school Fair Housing seminar held at CSU. They heard from Housing Advocates and government leaders. Their conclusion is that three mortgage companies targeted minorities and that these lenders may have contributed to as much as 35 percent of the 15,000 foreclosures in our area last year. It makes me angry. This is a link to local Fair Housing groups. If you think you need them, please call them.

Also, don't forget, no matter where you live in NE Ohio, if you think you are in danger of losing your house if you don't take action...take action! Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation has their staff and people from organizations who can help direct you, hopefully help you find the light at the end of the tunnel. Their Foreclosure Workshop is Thursday.

on Thursday, April 26th
From 5:30pm to 7:30pm
at 14703 Puritas Avenue(use side entrance behind US Bank)

Peace Out - 3C

Monday, April 23, 2007

Student Newspaper Article Sparks Free Speech Debate and Pending Teacher Suspension

I'll let you judge for yourself. You can read this article on The First Amendment Center's website. It seems a student wrote an editorial in her Indiana high school newspaper asking everyone to accept those 'who are different.'

The newspaper advisor/teacher is in danger of losing her job...and a hearing is scheduled on May 1st. The site is also a very good source of information on other First Amendment Rights issues, no matter which side of the fence your opinion falls. If you read it, oddly, Indiana has some other school/paper/free speech issues.

The First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Of course this issue deals with students - most of whom are not yet 18 years of age. Somehow a student's editorial asking us to all be tolerant of each other's differences does not seem like something that needs to be censored.

Here is the CNN on line article about it. A deeper discussion from an Indiana reporter with the Decatur Democrat. The teacher is interviewed a bit in this article and she says she would make the same decision again. What do you think? Peace Out - 3C

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ohio SB 117 - Not really in our best interest

It's been a busy week and I am behind on this past week's news and events. First up was a fabulous 'Meet The Bloggers' round table discussion which brought together public officials, lawyers, citizens and bloggers to discuss Ohio's SB 117. It is well worth your time to listen to the podcast which you can find here. It will be on our next ballot for your vote.

A fellow Ohioan and blogger 'Maureen' said it right when she commented on my We Want Choice blog -- we've been had. When 'Earn and Learn' lobbied us to allow slots at racetracks, you could go to their website and see who the supporters were, and included were racetrack owners. Then we could all make informed decisions, based on the issues, regarding whether we wanted slots in Ohio. The We Want Choice website does not convey this information...doesn't tell us who is behind it. Turns out, AT&T and Verizon are behind it. Why not come out in the open guys?

Anyway, the issue regarding SB117 is that it would take away the cable franchising responsibilities from our individual communities and turn it over to the State of Ohio. How does giving up our ability as a community to negotiate who will be our cable providers give us more choice? It probably doesn't!

Matt Zone (Cleveland's Ward 17) is on the public utilities committee. He was at the round table discussion. He stated that Cleveland would wind up with one cable access channel instead of the seven we have now. There is a wealth of information on those access channels. Hmm. From seven to one....more choice or less? Councilman Zone also estimated a quarter of a million dollar loss in revenue each year from Cable revenues...and that was based solely on Time Warner as our city's cable provider.

Another worthy read was pointed out in my last blog on SB117 by George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily. Bill Callahan wrote a good post discussing the issue and you can read that here.

Choice and competition is, I bet, what we all want from cable service. The City of Mentor just negotiated some competition. That was community, not State, controlled. You can hear about it on the podcast. Check it out. Peace Out - 3C

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rock Hall Has Money For Redesign But Not For Concerts?

Is Rock and Roll about music or buildings? I love the design of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, don't get me wrong. But it's Spring and they announced they don't have money to host the annual Festival this year. But they want to spend money to redesign the interior of the Museum? Crain's Cleveland's had this news story this morning. It's supposed to (the redesign) help improve traffic flow inside the building. I would imagine losing visitors by not hosting concerts could also help traffic flow.

I've been to exhibit opening nights when a few thousand people are there; I stopped by for a while during one of the free Staind concerts a few years back. Lot's of people, not feeling overwhelmingly crowded inside. What am I missing here? Sigh. Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We Want Choice Ohio Says: How About Some Healthy Competition for Cable Provider Service in Ohio??

Do you get as aggravated over not having a choice in cable companies as I do? At least with high speed cable I had a few choices. But cable TV? If it's Cleveland it's Adelphia er, now, Time Warner. Anyway, I hate the monopoly idea and did not know until a few minutes ago that there was a grassroots non-profit group working on this issue.

We Want Choice Ohio (WWCO). They make good points: competition can increase quality of workmanship, customer service (customer service was one of the main reasons I got rid of my cable TV service back in March). Prices could come down...apparently this has been true in areas where competition was allowed. Competition breeds creativity; creativity could be awesomely cool new features, and maybe - dare I say - less expensive ones.

What's up with Cleveland anyway? Just how long is their contract with Adelphia/Time Warner? Competition was just arriving in Lakewood when I moved back to Cleveland from Lakewood in 2005.

WWCO makes the point that since 1995 cable rates have increased 90 % Nationally and that here in Ohio rates have far outstripped the rates of inflation. did an article this month on a study done by the Univ. of California at Berkeley. They were estimating the kinds of savings that could occur in California alone, once telephone companies were allowed more inroads into the cable provider business. They were estimating a total of 690 million to 1 billion dollars a month for California consumers. Yes, per month! That got me looking at other articles on the competition issue and that led me to WWCO.

We Want Choice has a cool website. They have a 'take action' section. You can contact your elected officials. That's a great choice but the one I like is writing letters to local newspapers. They even have suggestions for things to mention in a letter if you need help.

One of the mantras here on this blog is jobs jobs and more jobs...can we have them please. Well, competition among cable companies would bring jobs for the laying of the cable as well as customer service, etc. Many good points on this website, check it out and see if there isn't a 'take action' item you might want to put into practice. The squeaky wheel, especially if we made it a lot of squeaks and not just a few, could get some results! Peace Out - 3C

April 18th update: A shout out to George Nemeth for pointing me to the fact that WWCO may be a non profit financed by AT&T and others with a vested interest. While I think they have the right to lobby us, I would prefer they do it openly and not disguised as a grassroots consumer group. Now for sure the phone company will not be my 'other option of choice' (not that they were anyway). Go to George's comment below to read more.

April is Cuyahoga County Sponsored Toxic Waste Month

Ok, yesterday it was Spring cleaning in Cleveland; now it's County wide. Do you have old cell phones you want to dispose of? Old hard drives? Computers? I have an iMAC I need to get rid of and local schools have refused it.

Cell phones, computers, hard drives etc., all have toxic materials in them like lead for example. So this month Cuyahoga County will take your cells and pagers and hard drives .

For the rest of this month you can contact the RET3 Job Corp office on East 40th Street in Cleveland. They are the drop off point for these items.

They will erase your hard drives for you (at least that is what they say lol).

Call 216-361-9991 for details. Peace Out - 3C

Monday, April 16, 2007

Free Coffee Today

Check out Cleveland Jim's Bargain Hunter's website. Not just for the free coffee (and yes, apparently Denny's is giving it away today in honor of Tax Day), but because it's a cool, fun site. I love seeing what he ferrets out as freebies.

Thanks, Jim! Peace Out- 3C

Mayor Jackson Announces the Clean Cleveland Initiative

My parents (and their siblings) were very serious about Spring cleaning. They washed walls, curtains, blinds, driveways, the street got swept! Turns out the City of Cleveland is going to start doing some Spring Cleaning of it's own. Maybe this is not a new initiative, but, it's the first I've heard of it.

The Clean Cleveland Initiative kicked off today. Apparently we can expect to see various City departments at work giving Cleveland a good Spring cleaning (this is what it says on the City website).

Along with that, they want residents to be the 'eyes and ears' for them. For example:

  1. Report high weeds, graffiti, traffic light outages, abandoned vehicles, etc.
  2. Report illegal activity (!) around abandoned buildings

You know how there can be vacant or abandoned lots and the back sides of shopping strips that seem to be magnets for people to dump trash? The City would like us to call 216-664-DUMP (3867) and report illegal dumping.

I guess it's time for me to get out and clean up my yard for the first time this year. Not to mention trim back the wild rose bushes before they start to sprout. Now while we are all cleaning up, apparently we will have company...City workers! Well, from 8am to 4pm anyway lol.

If you want to commend (or otherwise) any of the work that is done by the various City departments, you can call The Clean Cleveland Hot line at 216-664-2510 or you can email them at:

Peace Out - 3C

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Do You Remember Yuri Gagarin?

Every now and then, when I turn to Google to search for who knows what, I know something special is up by the change in the logo. Lo and behold, today, April 12th, is the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's launch into 1961! This was when the 'space race' between the U.S. and The Soviet Union was in full force. He became the first human to orbit the earth. A thorn in the side to the U.S. government, because Nikita Khrushchev took great delight in promoting the U.S.S.R's superiority due to this accomplishment. Politics aside, it feels good to be able to celebrate such a pioneering event and fellow human's success on the anniversary of his orbit.
According to Wikepedia, Gagarin is called the 'Columbus of the Cosmos' in Russia. Cool name yes? He enjoyed quite a bit of celebrity, as you can imagine, until his untimely death in a plane crash in 1968. NASA does a good job on their website called Starchild (geared appropriately for young people) explaining Gagarin's accomplishments.
Here is a Time Magazine article from May 1961 when Alan Shepard was launched into space; it talks about both Shepard and Gagarin's flights. They say Shepard was fired into space and it all sounds so primitive now compared to the Space Shuttle.
Okay, so it's not Cleveland news. I couldn't help myself, it fascinates me... people were/are willing to be 'the first' at something like this. I mean, no one knows if it's really going to work or not! So Happy Anniversary Yuri.
And a shout out to Google for doing this. The next time you see the Google logo looking a bit different...they just might have other historical events to learn about and celebrate. Who says the Internet is evil :-) Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Would You Believe: Cleveland Ranks in Top Five Hottest Job Markets According to Monster Board

Ok, MonsterBoard, the job finding phenomenon, looked at job growth as it related to on line job demand, and came up with some interesting statistics. These are the five hottest job markets, according to Monster:

  1. Houston
  2. Dallas
  3. Atlanta
  4. Cleveland
  5. St. Louis

For more of the story, check out the source at Monster® By the time you get to number 27 and 28 on the list (San Diego and Washington DC - Washington DC?) there was zero percent job growth on line. Surprised me! And btw, Monster stats show Cleveland with a 10 percent growth in one year. Peace Out - 3C

Tax Abatement Changes Proposed By Mayor Jackson and the City of Cleveland

Apparently the Cleveland Community and Economic Development department has made a recommendation to Mayor Jackson that some changes be made to the tax abatement policy.

Instead of a 100% across the board abatement, it would be more like this:

  • 100 % Abatement for 7 Years on new construction
  • Increased Abatement Policies on Rehabbed Homes
  • Homes Meeting Certain Energy/Green Standards Could Receive an Additional 5 Yrs of Abatement

I'm personally in favor of the increased abatement on rehabbed homes. And a 7 year abatement sounds like a reasonable compromise. I may be in the minority on this, I'm not sure. There are arguments about how suburban 15 year abatement might now win residents over Cleveland. But we certainly can't afford to keep giving blanket abatement. Just my opinion. For example, taxes are lower in Cleveland anyway, so 7 years at 100% and then a lower tax than some of the suburban communities....that has to still be enticing.

I would have liked to see longer abatement for some of the still 'needy' neighborhoods...identified in the Mayor's CIP Plan as fragile. Maybe there is more news on this as the plans - proposal becomes available to the public.

Joe Cimperman, whose district has benefited greatly from abatement, has lent a disapproving comment or two about this. To read more about it, check out the story by Jay Miller in Crains Cleveland.

It would be nice to see the economic figures to back this proposal up....can they show that the tax monies received will outweigh a potential loss of new residents due to the lower abatement period? Inquiring minds want to know. At least I do! I know the CSU study was very bullish on abatement. Peace Out - 3C

April 17th Update: Local WKYC news showed a reporter ( I could not catch the name) taking a straw poll of sorts, asking Cleveland's Councilmembers if they wanted to continue the current abatement program or support Mayor Jackson's plan and there seemed to be no hands up in support of his plan.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Cancels Festival -- Is That Anyway to Get the Ceremony Moved to Cleveland?

I've avoided blogging about this but remain aggravated. And now there is an editorial in Crain's Cleveland that pretty much says it the way I feel it. Read what Jeff Stacklin has to say.

I realize rock stars have no vested interest in where the ceremony is held...but couldn't the RRHofF&M get some funding from them for the Festival? Peace Out - 3C

Need a Job In Cuyahoga County? These Jobs May Be Waiting For You

According to today's Plain Dealer, in an article written by Allison Grant, there are unfilled jobs - chronically hard to fill because the nature of the jobs. Here is the list:

1. Sales representatives
2. Teacher
3. Mechanic
4. Technician
5. Management Executive
6. Truck Driver
7. Driver/Delivery
8. Accountant
9. Laborer
10. Machine Operator

This list is from Manpower, Inc. They interviewed upward of 2,400 employers across the U.S.
According to the Manpower study, engineers and nurses came off the list and teachers and mechanics moved up to second and third place. If you browse our local, available job listings, there are usually teaching jobs 'going begging' and they are almost always in Early Childhood areas, Special Education or Math and Sciences.

I know from interviewing Rebecca Kusner of WIRE-NET a few months ago that local manufacturers are working with them on training programs so they can fill their unfilled job positions.

I was wondering what employers are doing to help meet their goals and the Manpower Study has some answers, at least from those they interviewed. Flexible work schedules and improved benefits were mentioned as changes offered to entice prospective employees.

To view the entire Manpower White paper survey follow this link to the pdf files on line.
Peace Out - 3C

4/10/07 (During the news tonight I saw a commercial. I swear it was called 'Dream It, Do It', and it talked about being a machinist and what it means in today's world. Paid for by a bunch of people, including NEO manufacturing companies. I wasn't dreaming myself, was I?)

Curiosity just got the better of me so I headed to Craigslist. They have a substantial employment section and under manufacturing? Steady job listings. For example:

1. A Mentor company looking for a Precision Grinder (well it actually said precision grider and since I'm not in manufacturing, that may or may NOT be a typo!) Familiarity with blue prints needed. Pay is hourly, they said $14 and up.

2. Two positions as a welder in a Cleveland company; all in all, over 14 jobs listed in the manufacturing field since April 1st.

Lends credence to the original article/survey done by Manpower Inc, yes?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Will There Be a New Convention Center in Cleveland? Who Should Decide: Clevelanders or Sam Miller?

I wrote a post on my excitement at finding terrific interactive information on the three final proposals for a new Convention Center in Cleveland. It was (and still is) on the City Planning Commission website. That was at the beginning of March. (rendering of one proposed plan from City Planning Commission Site) (I have a rendering of one of the other proposals on the first post)

Since then, Sam Miller of Forest City Enterprises has come out with a strong challenge to the City and us, the residents, to take charge of the City and get things done and stop thinking badly about ourselves as Clevelanders. I can get with that. What are his motives? I almost don't care, because he is right. However, I said 'almost.' lol. I've had a week to mull over his interview regarding this challenge to all of us, conducted by Tom Beres of WKYC. You can go to Brewed Fresh Daily to see a longer interview with Miller conducted by Cool Cleveland.

So what is this post about that has taken two paragraphs to get to the point? I respect Sam Miller, but I don't personally think his plan for the Convention Center is the best. Secondly, no matter what plan is chosen, I think resident and business input from a 'majority' is the best way to decide this. Apparently the Planning Commission truly wants your input. I am imploring all of you to go to the section of their website on The Convention Center. To me, as long as the decision is made by more than one person (i.e. Sam Miller or any other developer who has a vested interest,) I am satisfied. Please check it out! After you have reviewed the plans, you can email the Planning Commmision right from that site and I promise you they get your comments and you will get a response back.

Sam Miller said one thing right: we all need to take charge of our City and do our part to put Cleveland on the right path. Peace Out - 3C
April 9th Update: Received a nice email from Robert Brown, Director of our City of Cleveland Planning Department. He said that while the Department's website receives visitors who comment every day, it has been a while since people have commented on the Convention Center ideas. Do you want one? Let them know, yes or no. Do you like one plan better than another? Let them know! Having a 'voice heard' has gotten so much easier with the internet!

Tired Of Snow? Give Global Warming a Few Years.....

I saved this article from The Plain Dealer. After two days of snow (good thing I took a photo of my miniature daffodils, I have a feeling they are not bright and sunny anymore) - it seemed like a good time to post it here. I'm going to provide the entire article instead of a link.

Scientists say global warming will bake Midwest
Posted by John Mangels April 03, 2007 17:58PM
Categories: Breaking News

If global warming continues unchecked, within 100 years its impacts will significantly alter the Midwest, with the Great Lakes climate resembling that of today's Sun Belt, a panel of scientists said Tuesday.

While shorter winters and longer growing seasons might sound like improvements, the climate-change consequences on balance will largely be negative, the researchers said.
In In Ohio and the other Midwest states, they likely will include worsening summertime droughts and heat waves, intensifying storms, declining water levels and purity, increasing air pollution, and a greater risk of insect- and rodent-borne diseases.

"We're talking about a climate for the state of Illinois that's maybe more like that of eastern Texas by the end of the century," said atmospheric scientist Don Wuebbles of the University of Illinois School of Earth, Society and Environment. Computer models of climate change project summer conditions in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin by 2095 "more like that in Arkansas."
"People should be very concerned," Wuebbles said.

He and several other climate researchers briefed reporters in anticipation of Friday's release of a major report on the impact of global warming. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to issue a sobering assessment of the long-term region-by-region effects of human-caused warming.

The buildup of heat trapped by greenhouse gases coming from cars and factories already is causing substantial climate change, including melting Arctic ice sheets, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns.
The plight of polar bears on shrinking ice floes at the top of the world may seem like an abstraction to an Illinois farmer or an Ohio surburbanite, but that shouldn't be the case, Wuebbles said. "Because the Midwest's climate is basically the result of interacting Arctic and southern air masses, whatever happens in the Arctic will affect us." If current greenhouse gas levels persist, climate models indicate that, by the end of the 21st century, average winter temperatures in the Midwest will be as much as 12 degrees warmer than at present, and as much as 20 degrees warmer in summer. Nighttime temperatures likely will not fall off as much as they do now.

Snow cover will be erratic, with more wintertime thaws, said Knute Nadelhoffer, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor at the University of Michigan. Spring rainfall will more commonly come from heavy storms than from long, gentle "soaker" showers that allow the water to percolate into the soil. Midwest summers probably will be considerably drier.
Those climate changes will have profound health effects, said Dr. Jonathan Patz, an associate professor of environmental studies and population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin.

Peace Out - 3C

'Advance Northeast Ohio' Website Launched

Voices and Choices is an organization we will keep hearing about and it seems as if people are listening to them. The latest of their suggestions to be 'taken' is a website (I found it by lurking on the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Website) It's a new website called Advance Northeast Ohio. It's interactive, I just signed up to be able to leave messages when I want...they might be sorry lol. Anyway, there are four 'initiatives' from Voices and Choices - the website seems like a way to keep everyone honest about progress. I recall that was the goal of Mayor Jackson when he announced the City of Cleveland's Five Year (CIP) Plan and then put the outline and then increasing detail about it on the City website. (It's still in pdf form so let's get it interactive guys!)

Anyway - here are the four initiatives:

  • Business Growth and Attraction (who can argue with that?)
  • Workforce Preparation & Educational Excellence (WIRE-NET? Max Hayes? Design Ctr?)
  • Growth Through Racial and Economic Inclusion
  • Government Collaboration and Efficiency

Voices and Choices completed a study and had (I think) at least 3000 participants in this written study - and these initiatives came out of the research V & C did.

The new website hasn't gotten a ton of exposure yet. And of course it's late at night so no one was logged in when I was logged on. There is a web page where you can add topics for discussion or add to already existing topics...a forum page! I like that. What I don't like? No one has participated yet! I know what I will be doing this weekend: getting familiar with the website.

There is also a page that outlines in a little more detail what could? will? happen to advance the four initiatives. For example :

Regional High-Tech and Health Care Jobs Portal that will shine a spotlight on the large number of available jobs in the region’s health care, technology and biosciences industries.


Minority Business Accelerator to assist mid-sized to large minority-owned enterprises to boost sales by more than 20% and more than double employment. Supported through $1 million grant by the Fund for Our Economic Future

There is also something there about a National marketing campaign to promote all that Cleveland has to offer; I try not to roll my eyes, but, can you say 'Believe In Cleveland?' Anyway, I like Voices and Choices so I will give them the benefit of the doubt but seems like money is better spent on 'doing' rather than promoting. Anyway, check out the website and get involved from the comfort of your own home: Advance Northeast Ohio Peace Out-3C

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation is Sponsoring an 'Avoid Foreclosure' Seminar April 26th

I am posting a flyer from the Bellaire Puritas Development Corp (BPDC) about an upcoming event that many of us truly need to attend:

Having Trouble Making Ends Meet?
· Are You in Over Your Head in Bills?
· Have You Ever Had a ‘PayDay’ Loan?
· Not Sure if You Can Make Your Next House Payment?
· Afraid of Losing Your Home?
· Looking to Refinance Your Home?
· Thinking of Consolidating Your Debt?
· Not Sure if You Have A Predatory Loan?

Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation
is sponsoring a night of
on Thursday, April 26th
From 5:30pm to 7:30pm
at 14703 Puritas Avenue
(use side entrance behind US Bank)

Attorneys from Housing Advocates, Counselors from the County Foreclosure Prevention Program, East Side Organizing Project (ESOP), Cleveland Housing Network and Neighborhood Housing Services will be on hand to guide you in the right direction.

For more information please call
Toni Jones at the BPDC office at (216) 671-2710.
Please bring your mortgage documents

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Other posts regarding foreclosures and mortgage issues:
Professor Kathleen Engel Discusses Predatory Lending at 'Meet the Bloggers' Session
Predatory Lending: What to Look Out For as You Search For a Home

Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Amtrak Comes Out of the Dark In Cleveland

Amtrak started morning train service to New York City yesterday! This is good news for weary riders who had to be night owls to do this in the past. Apparently the train is leaving Cleveland at 7am and you will arrive in New York (Penn Station) at 6:45 pm. This of course could be much faster if we get into the Three C Corridor Plan and the Hub Initiative but for now, it's great progress, imho. And not just mine.

Here is a quote from yesterday's PD article, written by Grant Segall: "It's good news for Cleveland," said Ken Prendergast, spokesman for All Aboard Ohio, a nonprofit group promoting rail travel. "We like to wake up at reasonable hours and ride trains at reasonable hours." And travelers will get some brighter views along the way. The route runs through New York's Mohawk Valley and Hudson Valley en route to Manhattan. "It's a scenic ride," said Sheldon Lustig, a railroad consultant in Mayfield Heights. (you can read about it here on the blog Cleveland vs. The World, as well as other info regarding Amtrak funding on the All Aboard Ohio website)

Want to be one of the first to do this? Here is the Amtrak train schedule; go ahead, get your ticket :-) Peace Out - 3C

Monday, April 2, 2007

Hoover Sold, Bought, Sold Again in January and Now Closing it's North Canton Doors

Do you own a Hoover Vacuum Cleaner? If not, you know the name, like the rest of us. Well, after 100 years in operation in Stark County/North Canton, it will be no more. As of September, Hoover will shut down it's plant and join Rubbermaid as a former Ohio manufacturing company. 100 years is a long time and this is sad news. The news report I heard (WKYC local news) said Stark County will lose 15 percent of their tax revenue when the 800 workers lose their jobs. Unless of course they can find new jobs in Akron. Can Akron absorb that many jobs? At least some of the employees were offered to keep their jobs and transfer to Texas. TTI Floorcare bought out the operation from Whirlpool a few months ago, and this is the result of that change in ownership.

TTI is building some kind of a research/development center in Solon which will employ about 100 people. That still gives us a deficit of 700 jobs. Sigh. You may also remember that Dirt Devil became part of the Hoover operations when TTI bought Hoover.

It's ironic. At the time, here is what TTI said: "...TTI is combining Hoover with its existing Dirt Devil operations in Glenwillow, Ohio. The company also will establish its global research and development facility in Glenwillow, adding a minimum of 110 new jobs during the next three years..."

And then: "We're proud to tell the world that Ohio is now home to TTI Floor Care, North America's largest floor care business," said Joseph Galli, Jr., chief executive officer of Techtronic Appliances Holding Co. Ltd., TTI's global floor care and appliances division. "We have had intensive and productive discussions with the State of Ohio over the past two weeks. State officials are concentrated on enhancing Ohio's economic health and in creating good employment opportunities for Ohioans. TTI is focused on bringing together the combined operations and brands of Dirt Devil and Hoover to create a strong and growing leader in the global floor care business. Our discussions have shown these goals to be in alignment." (two quotes provided by Lexdon Business Library's website) This was back in January, folks. Sigh, again.

Peace Out - 3C