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Three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Pontiac selling off properties. The financially troubled city of Pontiac, Michigan, is selling most of its assets. An emergency manager appointed in 2009 says the sales are necessary to help close a $12 million budget deficit. A three-page list of property available includes five fire stations, two cemeteries, two landfills, 11 water-pumping stations, two community centers, the public library and a police station, according to the Detroit Free Press. The city’s budget has already been cut by $20 million since the emergency manager took over.

2. Art scene in Columbus barren? The streets of Columbus aren’t devoid of eye-catching artwork, writes Robert Vitale of the Columbus Dispatch, but recent attempts to add art downtown have highlighted the fact the central Ohio city’s public landscape is “relatively barren.” Vitale notes that Columbus is the nation’s 15th-largest city, but the largest without a public-art program. In examining the state of public art in the city, he writes a 2007 economic development report called for better funding of public art, but Mayor Michael B. Coleman has made “no progress” over the past two years in making that a priority.

3. Study: Residents still flee Midwest. Illinois and New Jersey sat atop a list of states with the largest outbound migration this year, according to an annual study of interstate moving trends authored by United Van Lines. Although specific numbers were not available, a synopsis of the study said Americans continue to leave the Northeast and Midwest and migrate toward the South and West. Based in St. Louis, the company has tracked interstate moves since 1977 and says its study has reflected migration trends accurately enough that financial firms and real estate companies use the data. Despite the trend for Illinois, U.S. Census estimates say the state gained 38,625 residents over the past 15 months.

Illinois Vote: The Illinois Senate is set to vote today on an incentives package meant to keep the CME Group (better known as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and Sears in the state. The vote follows the Illinois House’s approval of the package on Monday.  Barring a last minute glitch in the political process, listen for a report from Changing Gears’ Niala Boodhoo on the incentives situation tomorrow.

Michigan Liquor:  The State of Michigan is considering changes to the state’s liquor laws, which restrict sales on Sunday and allow local governments to set limits on who can get liquor licenses. The Detroit News reports the Liquor Control Rules Advisory Committee is looking at “anything and everything,” according to one state official. The review is not open to the public, however, and the News says that’s causing some consternation among groups that want the state to take a conservative approach to reforming liquor laws.

Arts Money: Sixty-six arts and cultural organizations in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County will be sharing nearly $14 million in grants for 2012. Our partner ideastream is among five organizations getting grants of $1 million or more from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The group gets its funding from a tax on cigarette sales. Dan Bobkoff reported earlier this year on the unique way the grants are funded.


Michigan may be getting more federal dollars to modernize its railway system. U.S. Transportation officials will be in Detroit today to make an announcement, probably about Michigan and New York splitting the $2 billion dollars in high speed rail funds Florida recently declined.

MOVE Detroit want to get 1,100 people to move into downtown Detroit by November 11, 2011. What’s the best way to get young people to move downtown? Throw some loft parties!

Protestors followed Governor Rick Snyder, chanting "traitor!" Photo by Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder didn’t get a very warm welcome at this year’s Blossomtime Parade from some attendees. Protestors followed the governor throughout the event, chanting “shame” and “traitor” for passing a law that gives more power to emergency managers.

Students studying the arts are not fated to a starving artist lifestyle. In fact, there’s a good chance they’ll find a job not long after graduating from college, according to a new study by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project.

McDonald’s sales figures were up by six percent in April. The Oak Brook,
Illinois-based company saw strong sales of McCafe drinks and breakfast items nationwide. 

High gas prices and poor emissions standards are leading the State Line Energy Plant in Hammond, Indiana to close. The coal plant started working in the 1950’s, and will likely shut down next year.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is holding open office hours this afternoon for Chicagoans who want to say goodbye ahead of his retirement next week. (See our look at Daley’s beautification efforts.)

A new report shows that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal is out of balance by more than $2 billion. The report says Quinn is overestimating some state revenues.

Meanwhile, despite facing an $8 billion budget gap, Ohio may end up with a budget surplus. Lawmakers say currently there is an $840 million surplus in the budget, but by the end of this fiscal year that may grow to as much as $1.5 billion.

TravelCenters of America LLC didn't have a great first quarter this year, but they still did better than the same quarter last year. Photo by Greg Turner via Flickr.

The Ohio Education Association has decided to invest heavily in efforts  to combat the state’s recently passed collective bargaining law. The law limits union members collective bargaining rights. The unions are trying to overturn that law via a referendum this November.

TravelCenters of America LLC reported losses in the first quarter of this year, but not as much as in the same quarter last year. The Westlake, Ohio based company lost$16.7 million during the first three months of 2011, but during the same period last year the company lost $41.2 million.



It has been a long time since my last post, and quite frankly, I was asked to write about something unusual that will transform the East 4th Street Neighborhood and hopefully bring new audiences into the area.

I began to think to myself, what brings me into the city of Cleveland on a monthly or even weekly basis, anyway? For one, there needs to be something new, inventive or interesting for me to do that I cannot find in the suburbs. In fact an event that is so “out there” that will prompt me to buzz, facebook or even twitter my friends or followers about what I’m doing. This is a two-fold process. I hope to create such excitement and enthusiasm that they will want to check it out. Hopefully, they will repost to their friends and followers as well. Here goes!

This new exhibit will transform the old Woolworth store into a cutting-edge, art experience – BODIES . . . The Exhibition. I don’t know if anyone remembers a similar Exhibit, at the Great Lakes Science Center, but I was amazed at the quality, detail and preservation of these human BODIES or art forms. These ‘real’ three-dimensional human bodies have been meticulously dissected exploring various areas of the body that probably many of us have never seen.

What makes BODIES different from the Great Lakes Science exhibit? Cleveland native, John Zaller, who serves as Vice President of Creative and Design for this exhibit, wanted to further integrate Cleveland’s history and current modern design elements at the East 4th Street Neighborhood with a fresh, dynamic show. With Zaller’s 15 years experience in the traveling exhibit industry, BODIES will surely entertain and explore new audiences into a different art form.

The bottom line is, we have an abandoned space at a prime location that perfectly lends itself by providing BODIES the exposure of working professionals to individuals who want an excuse to come downtown. Zaller states, “ . . . we focused on transforming this space to provide a combination of form and function that affords visitors the time and space to create their own unique experience.” Let’s be honest, Clevelanders want a reason to come downtown, and this is a perfect solution. Food, Art and revitalizing our economy by patronizing our great local amenities is a Win-Win.

This exhibit will hopefully ignite enthusiasm as Zaller states “ . . . pay tribute to the human body that continues to inspire us every single day.” This exhibit gives audiences an exploratory view that mixes early medical historical imagery with advanced medical knowledge/technology. If you are unfamiliar how your muscles look when bent or flexed, then this is a must see.

My anticipation stems from the many local partnerships- the Downtown Cleveland Alliance that equivocally states, “diversity helps us bring new visitor’s downtown” to MRN Ltd., who is responsible for the revitalization of the historic neighborhood. With all this backing plus Cleveland native, Zaller, this should be a memorable showcase of what Cleveland has to offer, a unique and vibrant experience for us all to be proud.

Exhibit opening: June 5 thru October 2010
Location: Corner of Euclid Avenue and East 4th Street
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Website: more information and photo reference.

My blog for other information:

An email from Dan Hanson:


I submitted a project to celebrate Cleveland’s diversity through art to a company that awards an annual grant.

We are one of 10 finalists. The winners are chosen by Internet voting. You can vote once each day at by selecting us (ClevelandPeople.Com) from the View and Vote for Finalist section and leaving your name and e-mail.

Please vote each day and spread the word to your lists to make this project happen in Cleveland. It will result in lots of work for local artists, ways to beautify the community and celebrate our cultures.


Please help out if you’re so inclined. I am.

Professional performing and literary artists who make their home in Cuyahoga County have a new opportunity to further their careers through the second cycle of the Creative Workforce Fellowship (CWF) program.  The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) recently issued CWF 2nd Cycle guidelines and application materials for dance, literary, music, theatre and interdisciplinary artists. Individuals who meet eligibility requirements can compete for one of up to 20 fellowships. Each CWF recipient will receive a $20,000 financial award; membership in the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) Arts Network; a full tuition waiver for CPAC’s Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI); and inclusion in a publication of Fellows’ work.

“Ten Living Cities” Symposium & Arts Festival is looking for professional photographers to submit work showing why the “10 Fastest Dying Cities,” as selected by Forbes magazine in August 5, 2008 issue, are “10 Living Cities”.

via Photos — Ten Living Cities.

One of the things I’m looking forward to at this year’s Ingeniuty Fest is a something that Chris Yanc my friend at Optiem is working on:

Local Artists and Mechanical Engineers; Alexander Boxerbaum and Andrew D. Horchler have drawn inspiration from Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mt. Fuji have used time-lapse photography to explore the converging worlds surrounding the Veterans Memorial Bridge [Detriot Superior Bridge] in Cleveland OH.

But that is not all, readers of this site know of the nearly 10 months of work I’ve been putting into learning all about multi-touch technology in my free time. From the very beginning I’ve been looking for the right opportuinity to unveal it. Now is that time. Teaming up with Alexander and Andrew, we are going to use multi-touch computer vision technology to change a passive viewing experience to an interactive one…

via Event: Ingenuity Fest | Cyan[c] Design.

Tom on the Waterloo Arts Fest:

Collinwood is  a neighborhood in Cleveland with a rich history and a bad reputation.

I was born there, raised there and well, my family moved just before I had to go to high school.

The area was getting bad in the late 80’s. I remember seeing drunks, pimps and a murder victim being pulled from a building when I was 14 years old. The Hells Angels used to frequent the motorcycle shop on the corner of 149th and Lakeshore. I used to have to walk past it to  get to and from my school, St. Jeromes

When my parents moved my brother and  I to the Westside of Cleveland, I swore that I would never go back to Collinwood. There’s no fun there.

Forward to 2009.

After reading the local paper and reading blogs, I was seeing that my old neighborhood was going through a change. A couple of years back, my mom moved back to Collinwood to live near the Euclid Beach area where she grew up. (She used to rent from the Humphrey family.) One day I decided to drive around the Waterloo area of Collinwood.  I was looking for the old black bomb marks left over from a failed mob hit in the 70’s and I was looking for the barber shop my father used to take me to. The barber and the bomb marks were gone.

But I noticed something amazing. There area had color. It was bright…

via Collinwood Arts Festival | The Daily Bragger.

As if you need another reason to be at the WAF:

After much deliberation and much Stroh’s, I’m proud to announce the formation of the greatest dj team since the Buzzard Morning Zoo: Drive Time Radio with Kid Flamingo and the 185th St. Shuffle. We (Myself and Jeff Sierputowski) will be making our debut at Blue Arrow Records on Saturday, June 27th from 3:30 to 5:30 as part of the Waterloo Arts Fest. We’ll be spinning what I like to refer to as “All Things Rock” — a mix of classic rock, garage, punk, psych, indie from the ’60s through modern times…

via I Rock Cleveland: Introducing Drive Time Radio with Kid Flamingo and The 185th St. Shuffle.