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on the rise: four young hispanic entrepreneurs making their mark

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:00am
Entrepreneurial growth in Cleveland has drawn aspiring business owners to the city. Hispanic business owners face added challenges, yet efforts are underway to bolster their success.

school's out forever: the challenge and opportunity of surplus schools

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:00am
Cleveland and other cities have struggled for years with vacant schools. As empty buildings hang in limbo, they deteriorate, increasing the likelihood that they'll be torn down. Adaptive reuse, while challenging, can be a tool for preservation.

conde nast traveler names cleveland the best beer city in america

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:00am
Here's what Conde Nast Traveler has to say about Cleveland's already-risen beer scene: "The Midwest--American beer's ancestral seat--is finally stealing the spotlight back from the craft brew-sodden coasts. The freshest flavors and most creative styles pour in places like Cleveland, home to super-small-batch start-ups such as Platform (try their Anathema series, aged in local cider barrels), Nano, and Market Garden.--William Bostwick, author, The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer Read the full story here.

forbes says midwest can lead the wearable tech revolution

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:00am
"One region that might benefit from the rise of wearables the most, interestingly, is the Midwest," writes NorTech's Rebecca Bagley in this insightful article. "'The rise of wearable and embedded electronics is driven by advances in printed and flexible sensor technology,” says Rick Earles, director of cluster acceleration at Team NEO. “Midwest companies are at the forefront of sensor innovation and many already offer cutting-edge products and applications.'" Read the full story here.

fire, ice, dogs and dancing this weekend in cleveland

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:00am
It's an eclectic weekend in Cleveland: check out ice carving at Uptown, learn about sustainability at city hall, dance to the music in your head at the Grog Shop and celebrate the life of Balto.

dca seeks city advocates to champion downtown improvement projects

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:00am
Downtown Cleveland Alliance is looking for new members of its City Advocates Program, which is now entering its seventh year. Advocates work on civic-oriented projects and gain an insider’s perspective into downtown Cleveland as well as a chance to experience first-hand the forward momentum of Cleveland’s development. “The City Advocates Program is considered to be a civic engagement program,” says Laura Wiegand, DCA director of development and community relations. “We want more downtown residents and employees to be involved in DCA.” The advocacy program also provides networking opportunities with business and civic leaders. DCA offers a mentoring program with DCA board members to learn even more about the city. “It’s a chance to sit down for coffee and chat about anything they want.” For the first time this year, DCA is releasing its list of projects advocates will work on. “City advocates always express intreest in projects closely related to DCA's mission,” says Wiegand. Applicants can list their top three project choices. This year's advocates can get involved in organizing a plan to steward public art initiatives in DCA’s portfolio; strategizing and executing the year-round activation of the new downtown dog park at Settlers Landing; and researching and planning ways to encourage people to go to Public Square during the planned renovations. DCA accepts about 15 advocates a year for two-year terms. Although advocates are limited to one term, DCA looks for other opportunities for people to get them involved in the city’s development after the term expires. The deadline to apply for the DCA City Advocates Program is 5 p.m. Friday, February 6.

clifton boulevard-style transit eyed for 25th street corridor

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:00am
A study conducted by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) and funded by the Cleveland Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners regarding the West 25th Street corridor (extending from the State Road intersection north to Detroit Avenue) has concluded that a dense residential neighborhood and reliable transit line go hand in hand.   The final report for the W. 25th Transit Oriented Development Strategy is due out at the end of this month, but Fresh Water got a preview from Wayne Mortensen, CNP's director of design and development.   "The study was designed to answer two sets of very critical interrelated questions. One being: what is the ultimate desired level of transit along corridor in terms of frequency, service and style?" says Mortensen, adding that the other focus was on the amount and type of area housing that would be required in order to support that transit and sustain it economically. Wayne Mortensen  "West 25th is perhaps the most critical north/south connection in the city of Cleveland," he says of the 3.8-mile stretch, "and definitely for the West Side."   The group conducted three public meetings using eight different working groups, each of which focused on a separate issue including, commerce, education, housing, the pedestrian experience, recreation, services, transit and workforce.   "One of the most poignant points of feedback came from workforce group," says Mortensen. The group cited a hypothetical single mother, who might rely on public transit for daily stops at a daycare facility, a workplace and a grocery store. "She is relying on transit to be on time and efficient six to eight times a day. That's not something a lot of people in Cleveland understand or empathize with."   To meet those needs, the study concludes that a transit system similar to the Cleveland State Line, which runs along Clifton Boulevard, would be the best fit. Mortensen cites the line's frequency, improved waiting environments and a dedicated bus lane during certain times of the day. The line is also branded.   "So everyone knows when they hop on exactly where they're headed. It's more friendly in terms of way-finding and getting around the city," says Mortensen. "That's the closest example to what we think we can achieve.   "I want to be clear: we don't think of this as the next Euclid Health Line," he adds. "This is not as invasive or as capital intensive as what we see on Euclid."   In order to support transit efficiency similar to the Clifton Boulevard experience and keep that mom on time, a certain level of population density is required, which leads to the housing portion of the study.   "Depending on which part of corridor we're in," says Mortensen, "every housing project should be at least eight to 12 units per acre in terms of concentration density and be of an urban quality."   But is density desirable? That's a subjective question. It is, however, natural for areas such as the 25th Street corridor.   "Urban neighborhoods are more predisposed to attracting residents that have proactively--or just through the logistics of their lives have--foregone private transit," says Mortensen. Since people opt out of public transit for different reasons, they breed diversity in the urban communities they populate while creating a customer base for the public transit suppliers.   Committing to residential density leads to perhaps the most challenging implication of the study.   "It's going to be really important that all the community development corporations and communities work together and nobody develops projects along the corridor or within a ¼ mile that create less dense residential neighborhoods."   It's a tall order, one that Mortensen estimates could take up to 10 years.   "What's most important is patience by the community right now."  

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

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 12:00am
As part of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 plan, Mayor Frank Jackson and his Office of Sustainability, along with partner organizations, will kick off the Year of Clean Water this Friday, January 23rd from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda. The event will feature local innovations, resources and organizations working to keep our water clean, as well as local food vendors. Since 2011, the city has dedicated each year to a different sustainability issue. The Year of Clean Water focuses on the impact water and Lake Erie have on life and business in Cleveland. “We’re really hoping that during the Year of Clean Water people take action and get involved in their communities,” says sustainability chief Jenita McGowan. “We want people to understand the water richness we have here in Cleveland. We’re fortunate to be located this close to fresh water. But don’t take it for granted and don’t take advantage of it.”   The kickoff event is the first stop on the Clean Water Tour and Sweepstakes. Each event throughout the year will offer the chance to enter the sweepstakes for the grand prize of a two-night stay at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Stanford House and six tickets on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. “The more events you go to, the more chances you have to win the grand prize,” says McGowan.   The kickoff at City Hall is free and open to the public. “Whether you’re coming as a student, resident or from a business perspective,” there’s something to learn and take away from this event,” says McGowan. Painted rain barrels, created as part of the Painted Rain Barrel Project to keep surface pollution out of waterways, will be on display in the rotunda.   Education is a key component of the Year of Clean Water, and McGowan says it starts with keeping neighborhoods clean. Plastic beverage bottles are the number one pollution problem in the Great Lakes, followed by cigar tips. “Land litter makes its way into our waterways through the storm sewers,” explains McGowan. “Some of the best beach cleanups you can do are in your own yard.” The second sweepstakes event on the tour is “Fire on the Water,” a series of original short plays at Cleveland Public Theatre. The world premiere of Fire on the Water is inspired by the burning of the Cuyahoga River and runs January 29th through February 14th.

new ohio city grocer offers organic, gourmet options from across the 216

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 12:00am
Earlier this month, Rachel Kingsbury took a leap into the world of entrepreneurship and opened her quirky storefront shop, The Grocery, 3815 Lorain Avenue, riding on an indisputable impetus.   "Everyone eats," says Kingsbury as she prepares a pour-over cuppa for a customer.   True enough, but the waters run deeper than that. She elaborates: "If you go to Chicago or a European city or anywhere that's a little bigger than Cleveland, their neighborhoods are connected by having entertainment districts that meld into amenities for the people that live there: grocery stores, hardware shops, laundry services, things like that."   Ohio City is surely in that league, with it's bustling entertainment district along West 25th Street, but why take on established giants such as the West Side Market and Dave's?   "What makes me different is I will only carry organic produce," she says. "I feel it's important to take a stand and have good food readily available."   Here in the middle of a northeast Ohio winter, most of that produce comes from the Cleveland Produce Terminal, 3800 Orange Avenue, which carries certified USDA organic fruits and vegetables. Kingsbury will add locally grown items when they become available in the fairer months.   The inviting shop is also heavy on the gourmet goodies. Try beef jerky or smoked pork rillettes from Saucisson, an array of raviolis from Ohio City Pasta, or cheese from Ohio Farm Fresh Direct's grass-fed livestock. There's even Cleveland Kraut for old-school customers.   Kingsbury worked with the city of Cleveland to secure a low percentage Neighborhood Retail Assistance Program Loan in order to make the project a reality.   "Kevin Schmotzer of Cleveland Economic Development and his team really helped me through whole process." Specifics on the incentive are confidential.   She had another advocate, significant other Justin Carson, cofounder of Platform Beer Co., 4125 Lorain Avenue.   "(Justin) says the difference between an entrepreneur and someone with an idea is that the entrepreneur does it." Considering Condé Nast Traveler recently mentioned Platform's Anathema as a notable quaff in the country's #1 beer city (Cleveland), his simple advice is worth taking.   "You just have to do it," says Kingsbury.   The former employee of Town Hall, Johnny Mangos and Liquid Planet is indeed "doing it" as a steady flow of customers come into the approximately 600-square-foot space for sandwiches made with bread from the Stone Oven, sauces and oils from the Gust Gallucci Company, Randy's Pickles and vegan, gluten-free cookies, granolas, and treats handmade by her sister Liz Kingsbury, who also created the shop's sprawling tree mural.   The scene, however welcoming, is not necessarily what the fresh-faced businesswoman had planned.   "When I was little," she recalls, "I wanted to be a Supreme Court judge." That's a far cry from a Lorain Avenue grocer, but Kingsbury isn't disappointed.   "This is more fun."  

unique vinyl record mastering engineer moves into 78th street studios

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 12:00am
Considering only about 30 people across the nation do what Clint Holley does, Cleveland is very lucky to have him and his small business Well Made Music.   "I'm the guy who takes your audio and transfers it to a record for the first time," says the vinyl mastering engineer. "I make an acetate or a lacquer."   He heretofore operated out of his home, but will be moving into 78th Street Studios next month. He's been sprucing up the 1,200-square-foot space since July, along with digital mastering engineer Adam Boose of Cauliflower Audio. While the two will share the space and often collaborate on projects, their businesses are separate entities.   Vinyl is an odd business. While sales are soaring (some eight million vinyl records were sold last year, up nearly 50 percent from 2013 according to the Wall Street Journal), the machinery used in their production is as rare as the people who know how to operate it. This is doubly true for Holley as he owns two mastering lathes.   "I got in before the vinyl craze started and got really lucky with my first machine. I paid around $28,000 for it five years ago. Now they're $50,000 to $60,000," says Holley. "Nobody knows how many are still in existence. It's very difficult to get into this business now."   The lathes Holley uses were produced between the 1950's and 1980's. There were only about 500 made and their use is mandatory in the vinyl record making process. Holley's models were manufactured by the legendary Georg Neumann company in Germany and he uses them to machine the first record, which becomes a template of sorts.   "I make the first one," says Holley. "Every one after that is an exact copy of what I make. The pieces that I make become the stampers."   When he's finished with them, Holley's stampers go to a studio such as Gotta Groove Records and are used in special presses, rare in their own right, to stamp record after record.   The boom in vinyl was one impetus for Holley's move to 78th Street, but it wasn't the only one.   "It's kind of a solitary job. You work by yourself," and when you work from home you end up spending a great deal of time there. "You start to feel a little crazy after a while," says Holley. "I thought it would be good to get around some creative people."   He also sees his operation as part of a loftier goal for Cleveland, the creation of a music production infrastructure, which goes far beyond good musicians and hip concert venues.   "In cities like Nashville or New York or Los Angeles, they have an infrastructure to get people to produce music. They have studios and production facilities. Cleveland is starting to build that infrastructure," he says, tagging his business, Gotta Groove and area studios.   "We're looking for a way to bring all these people together and put us on the map."

techpint returns to cleveland, offering startups a chance to network, pitch and win

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 12:00am
For the first time since April 2014, Paul McAvinchey is bringing TechPint back to Cleveland for an evening of networking, entrepreneurship and showcases at the Beachland Ballroom. “It will make an impression,” McAvinchey says of TechPint, which will be held this Thursday, January 22nd from 4:30 to 10 pm. “There are a lot of new people in town now, a whole new batch.” TechPint Winter Jam, described as a pop-up tech conference with pints of beer, will feature all the usual popular events. McAvinchey has secured the entire Beachland space, beginning with a Demo Pit in the bar area. “People kind of tinker with startup products while having a beer,” he explains. reMesh will showcase its app that allows an individual to have a conversation with a group. Dollop, formerly Prezto, will showcase its gifting app through free beer. “We’re giving a beer to gift to someone else,” says McAvinchey. “Hopefully it will encourage networking, but it’s a way to distribute beer as well.” There is still room in the Demo Pit for tech startups who want to showcase their products. Companies should contact McAvinchey to secure a table.   FlashStarts will host its second annual Pitcher Night with a chance for five entrepreneurs to win $2,000 in a quick pitch on stage in the ballroom. FlashStarts will accept applications through the end of today, Monday, January 19th. Speakers on Thursday are Laura Bennett, co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance, and Yuval Brisker, co-founder of TOA Technologies, which was recently acquired by Oracle. Doors for TechPint Winter Jam open at 4:30 pm. Pitcher Night begins at 5 pm, and Bennett and Brisker will speak at 6 pm. Beer and food will be served at least until 10 p.m. Admission is $20. While almost sold out, there are still tickets available.

start of something: internships can give both students and employers an edge

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:00am
Today's internships are about more than making coffee and copies. They connect employers with a pipeline of talent, help students obtain real-world skills and attract talent to Cleveland.

four unique events new to cleveland

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:00am
This weekend, kick off the first-ever Cleveland chapter of Creative Mornings, view light through a news lens at Heights Arts, groove to some live classic Cleveland soul and celebrate Martin Luther King day.

igniting the fire: social innovators spark cleveland's neighborhoods, kids

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:00am
From a team of cyclists turning trash into earthen gold, to one man who helps kids tumble into a brighter future, Cleveland's social innovators kindle projects that are illuminating people and places across the city.

new york developer bets on both sides of the 216: east and west

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 12:00am
Two New York based developers have taken note of the renaissance illuminating the 216 and have decided to get in on the action on both the east and west sides of town.   Community, Preservation & Restoration (CPR) Properties has purchased apartment buildings at 13450 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights and 3199 West 14th Street in Tremont. CPR partners Noah Smith and Ted Haber are naming the buildings Canterbury House and The Edison respectively.   "We're not in Cleveland by accident," says Smith, who has been in development for 25 years. "We're only in markets that we feel are exploding."   CPR purchased Canterbury House for $475,000 in 2013 and subsequently sunk $300,000 into renovations. The 20,000-square-foot building houses studio apartments and one-bedrooms with approximate square footages ranging between 400 and 650, and rents from $575 to $675. Currently, the building is at 50 percent capacity with eight units available to lease, which Smith believes will be filled by spring or early summer. He hopes to attract mostly eclectic "characters," which he defines as working people who are interesting.   "You build a certain type of mouse trap," says Smith, "you get a certain type of mouse."   At first blush, the intent sounds subjective, but on a deepere level it speaks to community development and nurturing an investment. Smith explains: "Our work over the years has showed us that when you renovate a building and bring in good people you increase the desirability of the neighborhood. In turn, they make your property more desirable and the value of the building goes up."   Canterbury House also has two vacant retail spots, both of which are approximately 800-square-feet. Smith hopes to attract start up businesses to fill the spaces by offering them at "a very low price." To that end, he's been in contact with Cleveland Heights Economic Development Department.   Renovations for The Edison on the other side of town have not yet begun, but are slated to commence as early as next month or March. CPR paid $400,000 for the 28,000-square-foot building, which houses 35 units and is at 50 percent capacity.   Of the evocative names, says Smith, "Part of what we do is brand buildings to create a unified image. It helps to create a sense of place." In keeping with that concept, CPR's vision for The Edison is sure to attract a certain demographic.   "We're going to refashion the apartments in sort of a steampunk style," says Smith.   Both projects are a perfect fit for CPR.   "We're always looking for good deals in parts of town where we can take things that are outliers and make them really nice so we can attract good people. Slowly by degrees, that's how places get better," says Smith. "You won't find a single building in our portfolio that isn't a beautiful historic building. Part of our passion is preserving things for generations to come."   Above all, however, he credits people for recreating places.   "Those tenants that come in are the greatest asset to any neighborhood revival," says Smith. "They become an ambassador, to the area and the businesses."  

brite winter is bigger & brighter than ever with 60-band lineup

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 12:00am
Bundle up, hold a beer in your mitten and it’s really not so bad. Brite Winter is dedicated to embracing the winter season with 60 bands and a strong focus on local music.

brew bus educates riders about the cle beer scene

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 12:00am
Any beer lover in Cleveland is painfully aware that the growth of the craft brewery industry leaves little time to try all of the available options. Bob and Shelle Campbell solve that problem with the Cleveland Brew Bus – a 22-seat party bus that takes riders on tasting tours of Cleveland’s most popular breweries.   Started in June 2013 by the Campbells, the tasting tour takes riders on a five-hour tour of three local breweries. Each stop features three to four sample sized beers and the opportunity of order food. While on the bus, tour coordinator Leslie Basalla educates and entertains riders with brewery and beer facts.   “Every tour is a little different,” Basalla explains. “We have home brewers, craft brewers and people just along to have fun. We play to the varying levels of knowledge.”   Basalla, who is in the process of buying the business along with boyfriend Brian McCafferty from the Campbells, joined Brew Bus after serving as front of house manager for Market Garden Brewery. Basalla is a certified beer steward through the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.   There were about seven breweries on the tour list when Basalla joined the business in 2014, and that list has grown exponentially as Cleveland’s brewery scene has grown. “There are new breweries opening up constantly,” she says. “We’re adding one brewery about every two months. It’s a small community where everyone knows each other.” Recent additions include Platform Beer Co. and Brick and Barrel.   Tours are primarily in Cleveland and the suburbs, but the Brew Bus occasionally will travel to Akron and Lake County for tastings. Private tours are available as well, although Basalla recommends people call at least two months in advance from July through October to book a Saturday night. “Sundays are wide open,” says Basalla. “If you have at least 10 people and you want a tour, I’ll give you a tour any day of the week.”   Tickets for public tours can be purchased on the Cleveland Brew Bus website.

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Wed, 01/14/2015 - 12:00am
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