Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 32

Bootlegger Edition

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Northeast Ohio is full of great entrepreneurial talent. If you have an idea and you want to make it happen, SunDown RunDown is the best place to showcase your idea and grab a beer while you’re there. Doors open at 5:30pm, pitches start by shortly after 6:00pm You have a little over a week to get your pitch in order to make a pitch as this will be occurring on March 22 at the Historic MVR.

Here’s how it works for those who pitch:

1) Before the event: Submit your idea to us on our site here. – you’ll actually hear back from us, no secret handshakes, no buddy, buddy shenanigans with us.

2) Register to Attend

3) We’ll schedule you to pitch at one of our events – and you better show up!

4) You pitch, get feedback on your idea, and maybe make a connection to help move your idea further. And we do this at night and we try to have 4 pitches during that time.

Here’s how it works for the audience:

1) Register to Attend

2) Give critical, but constructive feedback to the pitched business idea.

Sundown Rundown with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

A little about the Group who is sponsoring this event. SunDown Group has come a long way since it started offering business pitch events in Columbus in May of 2013. Our community has grown to over 1,350 individuals and our programs and services have expanded well beyond pitch events. We are helping entrepreneurs Connect, Do, Expand their businesses and Learn. Check out everything SunDown currently does to help out entrepreneurs everywhere.

This event is being held at the historic Casseses MVR on Walnut Street. This place is a landmark here in the Mahoning Valley. Started in 1927 by Carmine T. Cassese as a means of well, I am not sure exactly what they were doing there because I was not there. I could guess as 1927 was smack in the middle of the Prohibition Era in the United States and as soon as that failed experiment in representative democracy falied; MVR got one of the first Liquor Licenses in the State of Ohio.

Not that matters to me, but there is the possibility that Carmine was brewing up some fine beverages there at MVR. I know that we do not hear much about it these days, but there was a time when drinking was illegal. Can you imagine that? People having to break the law to drink?

Bootlegger Bust with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

Not only that, but there was quite a bit of drinking going on anyway. In fact, the term bootlegger was coined during this time. I am not alleging that anyone at MVR or anyone else did this. But, there were people here in the Valley who were so serious about getting drunk and getting other people drunk that according to Ohio History Central, “Many Ohio cities gained a reputation for lawlessness while Prohibition remained in effect. Toledo supposedly was a safe haven for mobsters and bootleggers from Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. Bootleggers from Kentucky smuggled alcohol into Cincinnati, Ohio, and then shipped the liquor to other communities in the state. It was rumored that law enforcement officials in Steubenville and Youngstown, Ohio, risked their very lives if they attempted to enforce Prohibition. Bootleggers did not exist only in Ohio.” That is a serious commitment to getting drunk there.

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Idora Park was created as a result of a Street Car Company wanting to expand their business and get more riders on the weekends and in the evening. According to Rick Shale writing for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, “In the mid-1890s streetcar companies across America looked for ways to increase ridership in the evenings and on the weekends when the regular commuter traffic slacked off. Locally, the Youngstown Park & Falls Street Railway Company held the franchise for routes south of the Mahoning River, and it decided to build an amusement park in the largely undeveloped south side of Youngstown.

Idora Park (for its first season known as Terminal Park) opened on Decoration Day, May 30, 1899, and was an immediate success. Ideally located adjacent to Mill Creek Park and sufficiently far from the smoke and dirt of the mills that lined the Mahoning River, the new park was about 3.5 miles from Youngstown’s Central Square—far enough to convince most people to pay a nickel and ride the streetcar to the park rather than walk.

Back Wabbit at Idora Park

In 1902 Idora Park built its first roller coaster, a figure-eight toboggan slide, the first of three coasters constructed in approximately the same location on the western edge of the park. This coaster would be replaced by the Firefly in the 1920s and then by the famous Wildcat. In 1914 a second coaster, the Dip-the-Dips, built by the T. M. Harton Company of Pittsburgh, opened in the park’s southeast corner. It would be remodeled in the mid-1920s and renamed the Jack Rabbit.

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Music of all types played a significant role in Idora Park’s history, and the park’s success was due in part to its policy of booking top attractions. John Philip Sousa played at Idora in 1918, and by the end of the Big Band era of the 1930s to the 1950s, virtually every significant dance orchestra in America had played at Idora Park including Cab Calloway, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Guy Lombardo.

In the 1950s and 1960s tastes shifted from Big Band to rock and roll. Dan Ryan of WBBW radio introduced record hops to Idora in 1953. Live music was not abandoned, however, and the park continued to book national acts such as the Eagles, Monkees, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Sherman, and many others. Polka bands also drew huge crowds to Idora.

Youngstownbaseball at Idora Park

Sports were popular attractions at Idora, especially in the 1920s when Major League teams would play exhibition games there. The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates played at Idora as did the Boston Red Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, and many more. By 1920 Idora Park had the only fenced-in ball field in Youngstown, and the city’s premier semi-pro team, the McElroys, used Idora as their home field. In July 1920 the legendary John McGraw brought his New York Giants to Idora. Though the New York lineup included five future members of baseball’s Hall of Fame, the McElroys won 8-2 marking the first time a local team had ever defeated a major league club.

By the 1960s most visitors to Idora Park were teenagers, not families, and several changes reflected this new demographic. In 1967 Idora charged admission for the first time, inaugurating a Pay-One-Price policy that included unlimited rides for $2.50. The Rapids was re-themed as a jungle ride and renamed The Lost River, and the fun house became the Whacky Shack to reflect the psychedelic 1960s.

On April 26, 1984, a catastrophic fire destroyed Idora’s Lost River ride, part of the Wildcat, the park office, and most of the game booths on the lower midway. Despite the losses, the park opened on schedule for the 1984 season. But the loss of major attractions proved to be a fatal blow, and the owners announced that the 1984 season would be the last.”

Although the Park is long gone, the neighborhood still exists and the YNDC will be out there with volunteers cleaning up the Glenwood Ave this Saturday March 18. And of course they could use some help. Why not go ahead on click the link and let em know you can come out to help. And you can reminisce too about simpler times while you are there. Help us clean up Glenwood Avenue! We will be removing overgrowth and debris from vacant lots, cleaning up trash, shoveling sidewalks, and more! Meet at YNDC Office, 820 Canfield Road. Parking available around the corner at 822 Billingsgate Avenue.

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Meals on Wheels PSA with Mario Andretti. Head on over to their page and give em a like, then get in touch by calling 330-744-3583 and do lunch with some of our treasured seniors here in the Mahoning Valley.

The Fowler Market Spring Fling with Mahoning Valley Podcast

The Fowler Market will be holding it’s Spring Fling on Saturday and Sunday. We will be hosting a two day “Spring Fling” vendor event with TONS of local handmade crafters, homemade edibles like chocolates, breads, jams & jellies, and much more!

Break that cabin fever and come join us with all of your favorite local vendors! There will also be a Chinese Auction, 50/50 drawing, and of course our weekly Queen of Hearts drawing – plenty of chances to win some unique goodies and a little extra spending money!

Tickets for the drawings will be sold on both Saturday and Sunday, but drawings will not take place until Sunday. Winners need not be present to win!

Donna from Wooden Barn Shop will be hosting a Sip & Build from 12:00-2:00 on BOTH days. Cost will be $40 with all materials provided and Builders may bring their own beverages to “Sip” (let’s stay within reason though, please! Remember, it’ll only be noon. Please RSVP to Donna at 330-442-1722 or message Wooden Barn Shop on Facebook.

Free Shoutouts with Mahoning Valley Podcast

This is the Mahoning Valley Podcast and it occurred to me that there a plenty of people here who may want to do a segment. Who may want to have their voice heard on a Podcast. Maybe you have an event or cause or just want to say hi to the Valley. This podcast was never meant to be all about me. It has been a work in progress. Well, it is your turn. If you want to record a segment and email it to me, I will consider adding it to an episode.

Because this is a community project, you must be a part of the Mahoning Valley or have some connection to the Valley. If you want to talk about your grandma or how you grew up in Struthers or what you favorite restaurant is, or favorite gym, or favorite bar, or favorite band or anything. It just needs to be about something or someone in the Mahoning Valley.

You may be thinking, how much is this going to cost me. Nothing. Nada. Just record on your phone. Record with your friends. Record on your laptop or tablet. Save the file as an MP3 and send it over. Send it over with any links or pictures you want to include. This is all about everyone here in the Valley. So give it a try. It is easy and free and will get your voice added to the Mahoning Valley Podcast Archive. Send as many as you want. Any topic. BUT, no bad language. I look forward to helping you be a part of the Mahoning Valley Podcast.

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Transcript Episode 16 of The Mahoning Valley Podcast

Listen, Subscribe or Download it here.

New Star from Youngstown. NIE, (Newspapers in Education) Outing the Mainstream Media Ownership in Mahoning Valley. Bits and Bites at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. Sign Up to become a Change Bandit for Akron Children’s Hospital. And Opinion on the Trump Inauguration and Impending Presidency.

According to our local CBS affiliate, The star of the new show, “Hunted,” premiering this Sunday, January 22 on CBS, is a Mooney grad from Youngstown. While it might sound glamorous, life for Robert Clark started with everything stacked against him. His early years were nothing like that of a network TV star. Clark was born in Youngstown and raised on the tough streets of the south side, spending ages 4 to 12 in foster care. His father, Bobby Clark, operated the mob-owned Casablanca Night Club until January 15, 1980, when he was allegedly murdered. Robert Clark said his years as a high school student at Cardinal Mooney, Class of 1984, changed him. “They are a part of who I am. The motivation that I had to not just be different, but to be the difference that I want to see in the world,” he said.

Clark also played football at Mooney and was part of the 1982 state championship team under Coach Don Bucci.

Here is another story of people rising up to overcome adversity and history. Much like many of us here in the Mahoning Valley and indeed the Valley itself. Our Valley has a long and storied history of adversity and challenges. Struggles with our local economy, and struggles with less than scrupulous individuals who operated beyond the rule of law and spread fear and strife in our community. But some of us, myself included believe that those struggles can be things of the past. That it is possible to rise above the history of crime and corruption and face the challenges. If you believe that too, you should consider getting involved with this project. Even if you fail to see any reason to drop a couple of pennies in the coffers of this project to keep it going; you can like this and share it with your friends.

Here is something that many people who hear this podcast or read the transcripts may not be aware of. Free Educational Resources from the Vindicator.

For instance: Beyond Comprehension: The Newspaper and Critical Literacy
Dr. Sherrye Dee Garrett, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
Introduction & Overview (mp3, 23 minutes) / Lesson Activities (mp3, 30 minutes)

Critical literacy involves the analysis and critique of the relationships among texts, language, power, social groups and social practices. It shows us ways of looking at written, visual, spoken, multimedia and performance texts to question and challenge the attitudes, values and beliefs that lie beneath the surface. (courtesy NAA NIE Conference) This is just one of the over 300 lessons designed to help your children learn about the world around you. And it is all free. Did I say that? Follow the link above and get in touch or start downloading and teaching them youngins.

Why would you want to download and listen to this particular item? Well, one reason I can think of is that many of your mainstream media outlets in this valley may be just about getting your money. No matter how much squawking they do about their local point of view, they may just be here to make money. Both our CBS and ABC Affiliates are not even owned by a local company. The people who run WKBN and WYTV and the other channels on these bandwidths like 27.2 FOX 27.3 ION and 33.2 and 33.3 live in other communities and have big fat paychecks so they can hire our local reporters and anchors and producers to act like they give a crap about this community. And the local people who work here probably do care about this Valley, but their employers may not.

Although there are a few local people who work for Media General and it is likely they do actually care about the Mahoning Valley; for the most part the editorial direction and personnel decisions are coming from another state and a big media conglomerate located over there in the fine state of Virginia.

Why am I talking about this? Because this company that owns a few of our local tv stations is a public company. That means they have no real interest in local issues or struggles. It means that they are beholden to their stockholders to make a profit and that is all. So that also means that anything they report to you should be taken with a grain of salt.

Let’s look at some other mainstream media companies here in the Valley so you can get an idea of where they are coming from too. The local Newspaper, The Vindicator and Channel 21 WFMJ. These two companies are owned locally. So when they say, “locally owned and locally connected”; they are not flat out lying. But they are also owned by a couple of wealthy people who live in Canfield and are about as connected to our community as a bank is to it’s depositors. As long as they are making money, they are as happy as they can be most likely. To be fair, they do employ some people here in this Valley and contribute economically in terms of taxes and fees and what not. But they also clearly have an vested interest in keeping up with the maintenance on their million dollars estates far removed from the struggles of the city.

Are you interested in knowing how to get in touch with these media mavens who run the show over there at the Vindicator and WFMJ? Here ya go. I figure if I let you know, and you don’t like the way they are doing it; then as a community we can hold them accountable. For the Vindicator, they are required to publish their names and positions and here they are. Keep in mind that Ms Jagnow and Mr Brown are also the people who own the company who holds the FCC License for WFMJ.

Whether or not the Mahoning Valley ever reaches its potential, or starts to grow and flourish due to their influence; that is the question that only they can answer for themselves.

And just so our neighbors in Trumbull County don’t feel left out, The Tribune Chronicle is published by a company out of Wheeling West Virginia. And for those of you in Columbiana County, the Morning Journal, also owned by a company out of Wheeling.

Our Radio Stations also are owned primarily by out of state corporations who are beholden to stock holders more then to our community. The two biggies are Cumulus Media and of course Iheart Media.

So although our mainstream media companies here do have a vested interest in the Mahoning Valley; with the exception of the millionaires who live in Canfield who own the Vindicator and WFMJ; our mainstream media is controlled by people who do not live here. And in many cases do not have any interest here in this community other then how much money they can suck out of us. So when you hear people talk about the media elite and the mainstream media as biased, it probably makes more sense.

I am actually an avid consumer of the media. Not just TV and Newspapers, but interactive media as well. I source much of the information for these podcasts from the local outlets. Sometimes I quote them to talk about the good things that are happening here. Well a lot of the time. That is because in order to talk about the good things that are happening here in the Valley,

I need to know about them. That is one of the things that you can do to help support this project. When you hear about something that is good, let me know. If you have an event that is not all about the money, then let me know. Or if you are doing events that do have a financial component to them like fund raising or raising awareness, at least send me a notice. Give me a chance to cover it here and link to it.

That is the difference between independent media, like this podcast and other independent information sources and the mainstream; I at least am not being enriched by this project greatly. I am doing this podcast as a community service that I have sentenced myself to do. Because I enjoy podcasting and publishing and I love this area. It is my home too.

FEMA PSA

I have received some feedback on content ideas for this podcast and most recently it was to discuss some history of the Valley. Well I got something even better for you if you are interested in the history of the Valley. A free discussion that occurs every third Thursday at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

This Thursday, you can join the Mahoning Valley Historical Society for the new Bites and Bits of History Lunch Program. Bring your lunch to the beautiful Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center on the third Thursday of every month at noon for a historical presentation. These free lunchtime discussions will cover a variety of topics and give you a chance to explore local history in a new way.

The daily parking lot on the west side of the building is available for $2.00. Place money in the numbered slot which corresponds to your parking space in the white box on the Federal Street sidewalk. Do not park in the monthly lot on the east side. Street parking in marked spots is free. Additional visitor information.

Bring your own lunch, or visit Overture for their $6 Bites and Bits Lunch Special. Call Overture at 330-744-9900 to place your order. Coffee, pop, and water are available for purchase at the History Center.

This Thursday, The People’s House: A History of the White House

Kimberly Kenney, Curator – William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Learn more about the history of the most popular historic home in America! This presentation will cover the design and major restorations of the house, and features an in-depth look at the rooms of McKinley’s White House from the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum archives.

I encourage you to help the Akron Children’s Hospital this year by signing up to become a Change Bandit. Change Bandits “rob” their friends, family and co-workers of spare change to raise funds for Radiothon.

Children, individuals and families register to participate here.

Schools, businesses, community organizations and hospital departments register here.

We’ll mail your kit to you in early January. It will contain complete, detailed instructions to get your Change Bandit program started, including how to set up an online fundraising campaign for your collection efforts.

Please contact Nicci Avalon at 330-543-8340 or navalon@chmca.org with any questions.

In a few days we will be swearing in a new president and vice president. Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Despite the fact that these good ole white boys did not actually win the popular vote in this county, we are going to have to endure another round of Republican Class divisionism. I know, that may not be an actual English Language word, but it does adequately describe what this country is in for now that the republicans are going to have a majority in the senate and the house and an executive to push through their let’s get ourselves and all of our buddies richer agenda.

Some people may think it ironic that me as a white male would be discussing this turn of events in such terms. In fact, some may think that it is a betrayal of my race or gender to even dare to call the republican party the good ole white boys party. But I just call it like I see it. It should not be called the GOP. It should be called the GOB. For Good Ole Boys.

I will clarify. According to the Wikipedia, this term can be positive or negative. Positive aspects: The term can be used for well socialized men who live in rural and generally Southern areas. If a man is humble and well thought of, he can be referred to as a good old boy, regardless of his age. It is also commonly applied to men from a family with multi-generational wealth or prestige, or to men who behave like a Southern gentleman.

Negative aspects: Pejoratively, the phrase can often suggest a man with an anti-intellectual bias or some other intolerant viewpoint. The phrase also can refer negatively to someone who engages in cronyism among men who have known each other for a long period of time. Collectively, these people are referred to by the slang term, good ol’ boy network (also known as an old boys’ club; however, note that in certain countries in the Commonwealth including the UK, an old boys network or club has a very different meaning involving alumni).

So if you don’t think that Donald Trump and Mike Pence and the Republican Party are a bunch of good ole boys, let me tell you as story. When I first moved here to the Mahoning Valley, I needed a job. Truth is, I probably still need a job, but that is not your problem. I started working at Infocision. One of the largest employers here in the Mahoning Valley.

If you are not familiar with Infocision, they operate call centers. They have a few here and a couple over in Western PA as well as over in the Akron Area. Large employer and actually not too bad as far as employers go. Decent wages back then and reasonable management with advancement opportunities. No they did not pay me to say this and that is why they get no link.

Anyway, I was initially assigned to the political division. Guess who was one of their clients? The Republicans. And a few of their various affiliations. And we called people. We called them at home, we called them at their offices, we called them from 8 AM to 12 AM seven days a week. We called them and told them all about how the republican way of life was under threat and how traditional values were going to disappear. We called them and lied to them about how they were the Business Person of the Year. We called them and tried to frighten them with tales of how the Second Amendment was going to be destroyed and they were going to have to give up their guns. We called them and told them anything we could to get their money.

It was and still is pathetic. In some cases it was exaggeration. In some cases it was outright deceptive. For instance, did you know that the only qualification required to be the Business Person of the Year is do be registered as a Republican and to donate money. That’s all the Republican Party needs you to do to be recognized as a Business Person of the Year. Some days I signed up 20 or so new BPOY’s. If that does not tell you something about this new administration, then maybe this will give you some clues about the kind of people we are going to be calling President and Vice President. Did you know that Donald Trump is still fund-raising? Yes, he is. He is running a store selling presidential bobbles and keepsakes. Inaugural Glasses and other trivial items. To raise money. HUH? No link to that either cause he is not sponsoring this project today.

I am not going to make any bones about it. I do not like modern American politics. I don’t like the democrats or republicans. I don’t like the tactics or agendas of either party. I, like many people think that national politics are not actually representative of my personal interests. But I am not saying we can just ditch the whole thing. As many people say, American Representative Democracy is an experiment. It was born in a noble ideal. That people should be equal and have liberty that is endowed from above.

That is a noble ideal. But it has been playing out like a good ole boys club. And the richer will keep getting richer. And the rest of us will be scrambling around trying to get a hot dog dinner for our families while we work 80 hours a week to put money in other people’s pockets. And trying to take care of our own. There is not a single shred of evidence that Mr. Trump’s Presidency is going to change things much for most of us. Sure, there will be changes. And many people may benefit. But most likely many people will lose too. And at the end of the day, our new President will likely get richer from his experience. And that is good for him. But is it good for you?