Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago
Whether you life on the east side or west side, there are plenty of opportunities this weekend to explore new neighborhoods and try new things. Learn to swing dance, try a new beer and visit a museum you’ve never been to for free -- it's all within an arm's reach.
The Browns have one of the largest fan bases in the NFL, with Backers groups spread across the globe. It's a vast pigskin-loving Cleveland diaspora out there, one that's found something to cheer about this season.
Rocked by a pair of senseless tragedies, Cedar Lee merchants say they can't remember a sadder year. Yet they say their community has been painted in an unfair light. Crime is down overall, many merchants are thriving and street improvements are in the works.
Cleveland Heights is working to attract new businesses to the city and provide established merchants with resources and loans so that they succeed.
The Cleveland Heights Police Department has long had a reputation for doling out too many speeding and parking tickets, but new leadership is partnering with businesses and making community policing a focus.
When Michael Goldberg was in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2012 on a Fulbright Scholarship, he was asked by the Vietnamese government to conduct a seminar on how the already entrepreneur-focused country could become more like Cleveland. Goldberg, now a visiting assistant professor in the design and innovation department at CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management, was surprised. They weren’t asking about Silicon Valley. They wanted to know about what Cleveland has done to encourage its entrepreneurs. “They could learn from organizations like JumpStart and Third Frontier,” he recalls thinking. “Show what Cleveland has done over the last 10 years to support entrepreneurs. It takes years, if not decades to put the mechanisms in place to support entrepreneurs.” Goldberg taught a weeklong seminar for the Vietnamese National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, emphasizing in his blog post that “in transitioning markets where there is not a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem financed by the private sector, government officials, donors and business leaders need to experiment with creative approaches to support the growth of entrepreneurs.” With Cleveland’s thriving and supportive entrepreneurial environment on his brain, Goldberg returned to CWRU with an idea for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – an online interactive course that is open to the world. In April, Goldberg launched “Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies.” The MOOC looks at how Cleveland has supported the growth of entrepreneurship by pooling funding from government, donors and the private sector over the last 10 years. Apparently, at a time when both Cleveland and Ohio lag behind the rest of the U.S. in terms of overall job growth, the world is interested in what Cleveland is doing. That's because Cleveland has a growing tech sector and programs like Third Frontier and organizations such as Jumpstart are being lauded for helping spur entrepreneurship. The course has 36,000 registered students from 183 countries and has been translated into 10 languages, making it the top translated course on Coursera. The second six-week session wrapped up in November. “We really didn’t know what to expect,” says Goldberg about the MOOC. “Some participants are more active and some are more observers. The good news is the students themselves carry it.” The participants include entrepreneurs, representatives from local, national and regional governments around the world, and even U.N. representatives and people from NGOs. In fact, 10 foreign U.S. Embassies have hosted Meetups around the class. Lively discussions have occurred through Skype, Facebook and video around the world about opportunities for new businesses and how entrepreneurship efforts can be supported. “I think it actually worked well as something to have discussions around,” says Goldberg. “Our own experience in Cleveland has relevance for other people of the world.” And what does Goldberg see as the lessons Cleveland has to offer? “It’s not just 'here are 10 things you have to do,' it’s more a 'here’s what we did,'” he says. “It’s a strong story of where do you go when you have nowhere to go but up.” Even though the class is over, users can still access it. Goldberg also plans on offering the MOOC again in the spring.
Built in 1930, the Amasa Stone House, 975 East Boulevard, was a "home for aged women" with a history dating back to 1877. Ironically, this place designed for people near the end of life is transforming into a place for little people just starting out in life, the Stonebrook Montessori Charter School. Renovations on the 40,000-square-foot structure in the historic East Boulevard neighborhood began in summer 2014 after Montessori Development Partnerships (MDP) purchased the building. MDP president Debbie Guren hopes to welcome as many as 20 three- and four-year-olds to the school this winter for a pilot program. "We have interest from over 30 families," says Guren. The school will formally open in fall of 2015 with slots for 100 three- to seven-year-olds, and then add a grade per year to eventually cater to 300 kids up to age 15 by 2020. Guren estimates the facility will have 30 to 40 employees by then. The three-phase construction schedule reflects the enrollment plan. The Krueger Group is proceeding with the work and has completed what project manager Daniel Krueger, calls "disassembly," a process by which they peel back what exists to expose the "bones" of a facility. "It was kind of like a hotel," says Krueger, noting the long halls with individual rooms and private baths. There were even suites outfitted with small kitchens. "We gutted the interior to the walls." The crew kept architectural points of interest such as fireplaces intact. "It's built like a tank," adds Guren, noting that Samuel Mather oversaw the original construction on the structure and named it after his father-in-law, Amasa Stone. "It's so well built and so well designed—just as the Mathers would build something. To have that history is amazing." Phase one, currently underway, focuses on the main floor. The upper level will be completed in phase two; and phase three will unfold on the lower level. The first part of phase one, a kitchen and a community room, will be complete this winter for the pilot program. The entire project is slated for completion in 2016, although progress depends on funding. Thus far, MDP has raised more than $3 million of their $6.23 million goal, which has facilitated the purchase of the building, renovation, furnishings and operational funding for the first five years. "We're almost halfway to our goal in less than a year," says an optimistic Guren. While charter certification from the state and municipal entities is pending, the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation formally agreed to act as the school's sponsor, a mandatory and important step in the process. Enrollment will be open first to Cleveland residents, then inner-ring suburbs, then other Ohio residents. "We're pretty sure we'll be able to fill up," says Guren. Long-time senior living advocates McGregor last operated the facility, which went dark in 2002. McGregor eventually gifted it to the Northeast Neighborhood Development Corporation, with loans for maintenance and expenses. The property transferred to the Famicos Foundation when NNDC closed. MDP purchased the structure for $550,000, a substantial reduction on the property's valuation of $1 million. McGregor forgave interest on the outstanding loans to enable Famicos to sell at the reduced price. The Krueger Group has worked on several projects at area Montessori schools such as Russing (Rocky River), Hudson, Cleveland and the high school at University Circle. "We enjoy these projects and we enjoy just how tangible they are," says Krueger, adding that he and three of his siblings are former Russing Montessori students. There are more than 4,000 Montessori schools in North America, notes Guren, while only 10 percent of them are public. "It's very important to me that we bring this to Cleveland and offer a free option for a complete Montessori program that's the top of the line."