Is Your Content Kingly or Common?

If you follow or have an interest in Content Marketing, then you know that producing fantastic and engaging Content for the Internet is an important part of your strategy. But have you ever asked yourself where it is taking you. Or more precisely where it is taking your prospective customers and audience? Is your Content leading people to trust you and want to do business with you? Or is it just like everyone else’s?

There was a time not too long ago in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Circles when we would say, “Content is King”. And it was and still is crucially important to any Inbound Marketing or Public Relations Strategy. Driving people to your website so you can continue to engage them with your expertise and Unique Selling Proposition or messaging means the difference between being successful and just being here.

Look around and you will see that many people are here. And it is a certainty that many more people are coming. Wherever your content is on line it is in a fierce competition with a lot of other people’s content for attention. And every day more and more content is produced and stored here in the digital library we like to call the internet. In 2014, it was estimated that every minute:

  • Facebook users shared nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
  • Apple users download nearly 50,000 apps.
  • Email users send over 200 million messages.

It was also estimated that 4.6 billion pieces of content are produced daily (Source: LinkedIn). Every day there are around 92,000 new articles posted on the internet. There are 83,000 blog posts published every hour. WordPress users produce about 35.8 million new posts each month. In 2014 alone, over 86 million sites were built with WordPress.

So how to stand out among the crowd? I propose that we set a royal standard. And here are some ideas to think about when you are creating content. Or having others help you or do it for you.

What causes a King or Queen to stand out among his or her subjects? Why does royalty influence people to pay attention and act where common folks like you and me sometimes need to work much harder for the same effect?

Announced Appearances

When royalty appears there is fanfare. It is accompanied by sounds and sights that signify it is coming. There are trumpets and announcers and a parade. Throngs of people hope for just a glimpse or a wave. When royalty appears in public, it is a big deal that produces its own attention. Usually, before a public appearance there are announcements and people know that the king or queen or prince will be in a certain place at a certain time. It is quite unusual and rare for royalty to just show up somewhere without any warning. And people who are interested in participating in the event have the opportunity to plan for it. To mark their calenders. Can you think of ways that your content creation strategy would evolve if you were to consider this?

Regalia

Regalia is defined as: the emblems, symbols, or paraphernalia indicative of royalty or decorations or insignia indicative of an office or membership. So when royalty is seen it looks like something special. Royals wear the finest garments. Everything surrounding them is the best and most attractive it can possibly be. The people surrounding royalty also look as well put together as possible. There is an air of sophistication and belonging that accompanies royalty. It causes people to want to be a part of the experience. To want to join the entourage. To jump on the bandwagon. So when you are creating content, what kind of things can you think of to make certain that it is accompanied by the regalia necessary to influence your audience?

Authoritative

Kings and Queens receive respect. Their words and actions bring results because they have authority. When you live within a kingdom, you either do what the king or queen or prince says, or you suffer unpleasant consequences. And that is something that kingly content conveys. The weight of authority.

Entrepreneur.com describes it this way: “Social tie-ins remain a must in terms of creating powerful, authoritative content. The key here is to create impactful content that catches the attention of influencers and inspires them to share your content. This will often resonate with your target audience more than anything else. Search engines are also utilizing social signals for validating authority. Bing, for instance, searches for social signals to determine whether an author is recognized, well-cited and considered a subject matter expert. This is where signals from LinkedIn can prove to be particularly beneficial.“

How can you create content that conveys authority? Will you content impress people sufficiently that your peers and those who have influence in your sector feel good about sharing it or quoting it?

Confidence and Poise

If you have had the opportunity to interact with royalty, then you may recall that in most cases; they had confidence and poise. The way that royalty interacts with others demonstrates a certain assuredness. And grace. Consider this description of poise.

Be humble. A person who’s unsure of themselves will try to overcompensate by bragging or showing off. A poised person has no need for validation from others, and can take criticism well.

Be calm. Being poised means being at peace. Stress and worry will cause you to come across as negative and frantic. Practice taking deep breaths when something starts to cause you stress, and take a step back from the situation. Analyze why you’re having this stress and what you can do about it.

Don’t rush. A poised person will never be seen rushing across the room to get the last seat. The mindset behind poise means slowing down, and being confident that you’ll get where you need to be eventually.

Be gentle. Your body movements should be gentle and careful. Put your cup down slowly. Don’t drop your books on the table. When you hug someone don’t try to squeeze the life out of them. Just use as much force as is necessary in most situations.

Ask yourself questions like this when creating content, Is my content bragging about me or my business? Am I relating my message in a way that may seem frantic or negative? Am I rushing my audience to make a decision about my services or brand? Am I producing content that gently leads my audience to conclusions that will add value to their efforts?

There will continue to be videos, podcasts, infographics, blog entries, and articles produced in staggering amounts. And much of it will be common. And will be overlooked. Just bytes taking up space on someone’s servers. But if you consider some of these ideas while producing your content, you can also make your content kingly. And expect the same benefits that royalty brings.

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 27

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Did you know that the Bee populations in this Region has been under attack? Not just in the Mahoning Valley but in many parts in the Country? Actually the world wide populations of “pollinators” has been spurring a resurgence in looking at ways that we as a community and a world can begin to preserve the natural benefits of pollination. A linchpin of the natural world.

According to GreenPeace, Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed the mysterious and sudden disappearance of bees, and report unusually high rates of decline in honeybee colonies.

Bees make more than honey – they are key to food production because they pollinate crops. Bumblebees, other wild bees, and insects like butterflies, wasps, and flies all provide valuable pollination services. A third of the food that we eat depends on pollinating insects: vegetables like zucchini, fruits like apricot, nuts like almonds, spices like coriander, edible oils like canola, and many more… In Europe alone, the growth of over 4,000 vegetables depends on the essential work of pollinators. But currently, more and more bees are dying. The bee decline affects mankind too. Our lives depend on theirs.

Here in the Mahoning Valley, we have an Organization who is doing something about it this weekend. American Food Forest is going to be planting flowers in one of their Urban Farms on the Southside. Click the link to find out more and plan on going over there on Sunday afternoon from 12-3PM. It is on Idelwild Avenue in the 3400 Block. You can’t miss it.

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Rock and Roll will be used as a weapon against Cancer this weekend. Head on over to the The Embassy Banquet Centre on 5030 Youngstown Poland Rd in Boardman, Ohio 44514 on Saturday from 6:30 PM to 11PM for Generation Rock and The Acoustic Jones show that will benefit in part the American Cancer Society here in the Mahoning Valley. Make sure to bring 35 Dollarinos for your admission. And prepare to be rocked by some of the Veterans of the Rock and Roll Scene here in the Valley.

Saturday during the day, The Ohio Young Democrats hold their first meeting of 2017 to regroup after a rather staggering and surprising loss in the Presidential Election. Help them regroup at their first meeting.

Good agenda with local leaders. We’ll be meeting at the YWCA in Youngstown (25 W Rayen Ave, Youngstown OH 44503) on Saturday, February 25th at 11am.

11:00am: Welcome, Introductions, Overview of the Agenda

11:30am: Remarks from Mahoning County Democrats Chairman David Betras

11:35am: Remarks from Ohio Senate Minority Leader Senator Joe Schiavoni

11:45am: Q&A session with Leader Schiavoni

12:00pm: Issue Advocacy Presentation – How Things Work at the Statehouse (Ohio Senate Democrats staffers Bethany Sanders and Rachel Coyle)

1:00pm: Lunch (during lunch we will hear from YD candidates and office holders).

1:45pm: OYD Business / Local Chapter Updates

– OYD Convention update

– Issue advocacy survey results

– Chapter building update

– Campaigns update

– YDA Convention in August

– Board member and local chapter updates

2:30pm: Presentation Revitalizing a Rust Belt City – how young democrats can promote revitalization efforts, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation Executive Director Ian Beniston

2:50pm: Closing Remarks

3:00pm: Adjourn

This meeting is open to all Young Democrats, you do not have to be a member of a chartered OYD Chapter to attend. Time to get involved in local politics? Here is your chance to get your feet wet.

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Meals on Wheels of Mahoning County PSA Get out and meet some people who need your help!

St Vincent de Paul is holding their Annual Fund-raising Banquet on Saturday as well. The proceeds will go to helping people here in the Valley who sincerely need the help and with your fifty dollars, you will be highly entertained.

This wonderful event will be held on the evening of February 25, 2017 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Social Hall in Youngstown, Ohio. This annual event is a major fundraiser to support the Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and other various charitable works completed for those in need throughout the year.

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This year’s event evening will begin at 6:00pm with Hors d’ourves and cocktails (Cash Bar is available) followed by Dinner at 7:00pm. Our Buffet Dinner will include Chicken Marsala, Pasta, Beef Tips, Italian Roasted Sausage, Salad and Dessert. Your ticket entitles you to the chance to win over $3,000 in cash prizes. The Grand Prize Winner (Need not be present) will take home $1,000.00. Additional winners of Bottles of Wine and Cash will be drawn randomly throughout the evening. A Chinese auction featuring Gift Baskets, Tickets, Sports Memorabilia, Art and many other exciting items will be available for your enjoyment. A 50/50 Raffle will also take place, along with other exciting events throughout the night. Live entertainment will be provided for musical entertainment throughout the entire evening. Tickets for this wonderful event are only $50.00 per person and will sell out fast, so order yours today!

Tickets can be ordered by calling our office at: (330) 333-3601

Maybe you don’t want to meet the Young Democrats of Ohio on Saturday. You can still get out there and do some good for our Valley at the Youngstown CityScape Cleanup Work Day.

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Join us this Saturday, February 25th from 10am-12pm for this month’s Downtown Youngstown Volunteer Workday. Volunteers will do a clean up of the Mahoning Commons area and finish installing fence line mural pieces at WRTA. This is a family-friendly event. All materials plus refreshments provided. Volunteers are asked to meet at the WRTA mural (604 Mahoning Ave) at 10am.

Please click the link above and let them know you are going to be there so they can plan on sufficient refreshments.

Interested in some history and learning in a phenomenal setting? Head on over to the Ward Beecher Planetarium on Saturday between 8-9PM. Natural Selection will be showing.

We will join Darwin on his voyage with the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos Islands where he was inspired to develop his later theory of transmutation by natural selection.

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From the comfort of Down House in Kent, Darwin himself will explain the mechanism of natural selection to the audience, and support it by showing many beautiful examples in nature. The thrill of a scientific discovery, the adventure of science and the beauty of nature are central in this show. This program is a joint presentation of YSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Biology. For more information on how to get here, or other programs throughout the year, please visit http://wbplanetarium.org We look forward to your visit! For a preview of this show, check this link on Youtube.

Want to know more about Art? Well the Butler Institute of American Art wants to teach you. Sunday from 2-3PM

Join Butler Art Director Dr. Louis Zona for the second in a series of five lectures in A Butler Director’s Art Lecture Series-Winter 2017

MY FAVORITE THINGS

These free lectures are presented at 2:00 pm Sundays in Zona Auditorium on the first floor of the Butler’s Beecher Center. Seating is limited.

In this lecture series, Dr. Zona discusses a wide range of works of art including:

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Leonardo’s Mona Lisa

Rembrandt’s Night Watch

Cezanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire and The Large Bathers

Van Gogh’s Sun Flowers

Gauguin’s Vision After The Sermon and The Yellow Christ

Monet’s Impressions Sunrise

Matisse’s The Dance

Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon and Guernica

Wassily Kandinsky’s Painting (Autumn)

Marcel Duchamp’s The Fountain

Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Daughters of Revolution

Edward Hopper’s Early Summer Morning

Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles

Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie

Giorgio DeChirico’s The Soothsayers Recompense

Salvador Dali’s Temptations of Saint Anthony

Willem de Kooning’s Woman 1

William Baziotes’ Dusk

Pierre Soulages’ Ceramic Wall

Jean Dubuffet The Gypsy

Helen Frankenthaler’s Interior Landscape

Robert Rauschenberg’s Retroactive II

Jasper Johns’ Flag and Target with Four Faces

The rest of the lectures in the series are scheduled for March 5, March 12 and April 9

Did you know that podcasts present an incredible opportunity for you to raise awareness about your organization and cause? About your personal brand? They do. Take for instance this Public Service Announcement that I created with conjunction with the Wild Earth Guardians.

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Our national forests are a treasure. A place of serenity and peacefulness that is restoring to the mind, soul and body. Our children deserve to have the opportunity to enjoy these pristine places in all their glory.

But the sounds of nature are under threat. If we don’t act today, the only sounds that we and our children may be able to hear are the sounds of 4 wheel drive trucks and diesel engines. The peace of the forest will turn into a nightmarish rush hour of loud motorcycles and dump trucks.

You have the power to preserve the peace. With just a few moments of your time, you can let the Forest Management Personnel know that you value the sounds of nature. And how important it is for all of us to have places where we can relax and enjoy nature’s wonderful symphony.

At the Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest, the future of these forests are under scrutiny. Currently the National Forest Service is accepting Public Comments on how this national gem will be managed going into the future. These public comments will be taken into consideration when any of our Public Land Management Plans are up for revision.

Your voice can make all the difference in how our Public Lands sound. Please take a few minutes to let our Official know that you value the sounds of nature.

To make your voice heard via fax, send your comments to 406-449-5436.

To make your voice heard via email, please visit https://goo.gl/ugoyve

Get involved with Wild Earth Guardians at www.wildearthguardians.org

Let’s keep the sounds of nature for future generations. Get started right now.

Now that they have an Audio PSA, they can request that it be played on any number of podcasts with just a little research and some requests. Here at the Mahoning Valley Podcast, I help organizations, brands and individuals do the same thing. Contact me and we will get started today.

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 20 Transcript

Please listen or download here.

I started drinking when I was 14. I started by stealing liquor with my friends from my dad’s liquor cabinet. Initially the first time, like so many people who start drinking, it felt dangerous and completely different. There was an element of fun and laughter at how challenging it was to walk and hide the activity from my parents. We thought we were so cool.

Before long, I was also using tobacco. The two seemed to be like brother and sister. Take a drink, have a smoke. My parents did not want me smoking or drinking though. They were and still are nice people who were thoughtful and responsible parents. And of course, it is not like I was trying to do it in their faces. I was sneaky as were my friends.

It is important to note that my use of alcohol and tobacco did not start in a vacuum. I had peers who encouraged me and shared my predilection for getting high. We also had older people in our lives who thought that drinking and smoking was cool. These were the 1970’s. And much of society was engaged in the escapism that drinking and taking drugs provided. It was normal in a lot of places for the people who were just little older to smoke weed and drink.

And I stress that it was my own choice to get involved in this activity. Although my friends and the older children and young adults were doing it too, ultimately it was my own choice. And that is where it starts. It is possible and some recovery programs will start with the premise that alcohol or drug addiction is a disease. And it may well be. I do not want to to debate that issue. I can simply say for me that starting the abuse of alcohol and drugs was a choice for me. And I made it. Likewise, getting sober and leaving drugs and alcohol behind was and still is a choice. A daily one. Sometimes, and hourly one. But it still requires that I choose. And choose to be sober.

If you are thinking that it has been some easy road through drunkenness and impairment, I will tell you; it has been a very difficult and lonely road that has resulted in the loss of many things. The loss of relationships. The loss of opportunities. The loss of resources. The loss of time. Much of which there is no guarantee I can ever get back. I know the time I have lost to partying is not something I can get back. Time can only be spent once. And I have wasted a good portion of what was allotted to me chasing a drink or a joint.

I have gone through healthy relationship opportunities and cannot recover some of them. Friends and family who loved me and who I loved have moved on. And there may not be a chance to recover those relationships.

I have gone through jobs and opportunities that will not be offered again. That have passed for good. And now face a time in my life where I have to deal with the fallout. I have damaged my body, perhaps permanently and have to deal with the loss of my personal health. The cost of the party has gone far beyond just what it costs to buy a drink or a bag of weed. And now I may have to go to my grave long before I would have if I had made better choices when I was younger. Long story, short; It has not been a party. It has been a nightmare. But there is hope.

So if you are listening to this or reading this transcript, I want you to know that today you have a choice. Just as I do. I am choosing to stay sober. To deal with whatever comes today in my right mind instead of trying to run away into a bottle or a joint. That is my choice and it is a choice that you can make too. If you are thinking to yourself that it is too hard to face life without a drink or a joint or a pill: I want to encourage you. Yes, it is painful and sometimes difficult. It can even look impossible. But it all begins as a decision. A choice to seek help. And find a way back to a life that does not have the weight of substances as a crutch. You can do it.

Make the choice to start back now. And the first thing you can do is call someone. Call someone you miss. Call someone you love who you know is sober. Call 211. Pick up that phone. Turn this off and make that call and tell the person that you want help. That is the first step. Although it is your responsibility to keep your commitment to living without drugs or alcohol; you do not have to go at it all alone. There are resources to help you start and help you keep at it. But it all starts with you letting someone else know that you want to change. You want to win.

Here are a few phone numbers if you do not want to call your family right now. If you prefer to start this process and then seek support from your friends or family, you can start here. Call 211. Three easy numbers. 211.

211 is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate programs/services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed. 211 is currently available to 93.4% of residents in the United States. Here in the Mahoning Valley, 211 is available to anyone in this area.

Admitting that you need help can be daunting. And is not something that you may want to do. We all think at times, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But it is OK. You are loved. And we want to help. We want you to get what you need right now. And there are people who are in your life today or have been a part of your life who want to you get what you need. And want you to come back from the dark and loneliness place of substance abuse. We will welcome you with open arms, if you just decide that you want to come back. Call us, whether it be your mom, or your dad, or your brother, or your friend, or if need be call 211. But know that we are here for you still. We forgive you and want you to heal and recover.

One of the things that have and still does help me is having something else to do besides drink. Giving myself a healthy alternative to partying. For me, it is doing this podcast and finding people to help online and off. Making it my personal mission and penance if you will, to help people. If you want help with some problem you are having with the internet and your desire to use the internet to communicate; then I want to participate. I want to help you from a place of experience and knowledge. I do not know everything about using this here internet thing, but I know some things and I know people who know things I do not. If you want to put us to work on your problems or challenges online, just let me know.

You can call me at 330 519-1205 or reach me on my website. I would love to talk with you about using the internet to communicate.

Meals on Wheels PSA with Mario Andretti

By now anyone who listens to this podcast knows that I like free events. Tomorrow, Laura Schroder of YSU will be discussing the Saga of the Mahoning River at YSU. as part of the Spring Semester Speaker Series on Energy and the Environment YSU CUSHWA B112. Free and open to the public. There is ample free parking at the on-street metered-parking spaces along nearby streets. Anyone needing assistance getting to the room should call the YSU Student Security Service at 330-941-1515

This will be a part of the Lecture Series on Energy and the Environment at YSU going on through April Click the link here to find out more.

Back to the Mahoning River:

According to a story on the WKBN Website, The Mahoning River has been part of our area’s history since day one. It was how John Young got here, arriving on the river’s bank, to land that would eventually bear his name. But mention the Mahoning River around Youngstown today and it’s more infamous than famous. Youngstown of the mid-1940s was the poster child for industrial pollution. The steel mills fouled the air and dumped their waste directly into the Mahoning River.

I am fairly certain that Ms Schroder will be discussing how far our community has come in restoring the River to a balanced and healthy waterway. In fact, the good news is that this once dangerous and polluted waterway has recovered so that when the weather breaks if you want to; you can kayak down the river and see the Valley from a whole new perspective.

Just a couple of years ago, our own Stan Boney proved this by kayaking down the river with a guide. According to WKBN, On Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 WYTV 33 News anchor Stan Boney was part of the first TV News crew to ever kayak down a stretch of the Mahoning River, which was once considered among the most polluted streams in the United States. What he discovered is that this river, which was once a centerpiece of America’s industrial might, is now being used for recreation.

His trip down the Mahoning River began at the kayak launching dock at the B&O station adjacent to downtown Youngstown. He was joined by Christine and Gerald Hurayt, a father and daughter from Austintown, and April Shirilla of Warren, a co-worker of Christine’s at Delphi in Michigan. Their guide was Chuck Miller.

“Water is low and very forgiving today. The level’s about 3 foot. It is recommended for beginners to go at this level,” Miller said.

Chuck Miller has made the 8-mile run to Lowellville 100 times. He did a small video on Youtube here to give you a little taste No offense to Mr. Miller, but you may want to turn the sound down just a little if you view this. This is of course is Mahoning County, but Trumbull County also offers many opportunities to put in and a few different locations.

According to The Trumbull County Metroparks Website, there are six different locations where you can launch your kayak to traverse the River. Click on the link above to find out more. You can also meet with some of the Friends of the Mahoning River at an event this Friday coming up.

According to their calender, Eclipse of the Hunger Moon on Fri, February 10, 7:00pm – 8:30pm at 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Rd., Canfield, OH, 44406, United States

February’s Full Moon AND a Lunar Eclipse! Hope for a clear sky as we walk beneath the only lunar eclipse visible here in 2017. Meet at Kiosk at MetroParks Bikeway Trailhead at MetroParks Farm. Call Ford Nature Center for details. Easy, 1.5 mi.

You can also join the Friends Facebook Group here.

Congratulations to the Lowellville High School Band who has been selected to play at the Ohio Music Education Conference on Saturday in Cleveland.

According to the Vindicator, Bob Antonucci, Lowellville’s high school band director, sees an upcoming showcase as the culmination of decades of work.

The Ohio Music Education Association has selected the band to perform Saturday at a professional-development conference in Cleveland.

Lowellville’s band submitted a recording last May to OMEA. The state association, which is an affiliate of the National Association for Music Education, selects the ensembles it will feature via a blind audition process.

“What OMEA has realized is that they’ve been focusing on the big schools from the suburbs of the big cities – the school districts that have thousands of kids, tons of money, tons of teachers,” Antonucci said. “They’re realizing that there’s good things happening in school districts that don’t fit that. … So, this year they’ve made it a point to feature the top programs in rural and urban school districts, as well.”

About 3,000 music-education professionals will attend the OMEA conference this week. Lowellville’s band, which comprises about 65 students, will play six pieces from a variety of genres.

Like the OMEA Facebook Page here. For more information about Classical Music Events and Opportunities, Like the Orchestra Players Page here.

Adopt US Kids PSA

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 14 Transcript

Listen here.

I don’t even have to quote a mainstream media source for this segment. By now, anyone who has access to media either print, tv, radio, or of course interactive media like this knows that YSU Football failed to bring home a championship last Saturday. And that is OK. It is OK that people sometimes fall short of their goals. It is OK to drop the ball. We still love our University. And our university teams. And our university faculty and staff. And yes, even our university president.

Failure and falling short does not negate love. In fact, sometimes when people fall or fail or suffer it causes us all to remember that we are all people. We are all human beings who have strengths and weaknesses. We all need each other to progress. Every person who you know is someone you need on some level to progress. If you are looking to do that. If you are looking for progress that is.

If you want to make things better for yourself and your neighbor. Then every single person you know on facebook or twitter can work with you. IF you are willing to work with them. And that is one of the things that I took away from YSU Footballs fumbles and turnovers and blocked kicks. IT was not those events directly that gave me the lesson. It was the Unity of the team after the game. It was how publicly there was no fingerpointing or blaming. There was none of that foolishness of if he did something different it would have been different.

There was only solidarity and kind words from the Coach and right down the line. There was only optimism that there can be another chance to improve. To progress. To move forward despite the fall. To find ways of making it better then it was. And quite frankly, that was the most incredibly positive and remarkable accomplishment of the entire season in my opinion. That as a team, they lost. But as an example for many people here in the Mahoning Valley, it was and still is a huge victory and a stellar example. Congratulations YSU Football Team and Coaches. You have set the bar for all of us here in the Mahoning Valley who are intent on working as a team to being good to our community.

Onto something that is easy for all of us to do as individuals. And that is embrace kindness. Let me first say that ever since I have relocated here from Miami Beach Florida in 2002, I have been impressed and pleased with all the kind acts I have witnessed and had the opportunity to participate in. Many people here do not know me and I did not grow up here full time. But it is time that you found out. I am actually from Pittsburgh by way of Miami Beach.

My family lived in Pittsburgh while I was growing up. First in Penn Hills and then Point Breeze during my high school years. And it was a wonderful place to grow up. Plenty of peers and people to interact with and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. This was in the 1970’s. A time much different from today when if we wanted to call someone, we had to find a payphone or be at home. Or the office.

A time when as children we could have the run of the neighborhood without fear of being attacked or abducted. A time when our parents did not punish us by making us go outside, they punished us by forcing us to stay in.

I had a grandmother and aunts and cousins who lived in Northeast Ohio. For a time, my grandma lived in North Bloomfield. One aunt lived in Austintown with two of my cousins who were about my age and another aunt lived in Newton Falls. So I have always had family here in Northeast Ohio. And we did visit on a regular basis. So I spent part of my time growing up here as well.

But while the people who lived here may have felt that it was always the same old thing, when we got to visit NE Ohio, it was like a holiday. In fact, most of our visits were for the thanksgiving holiday. We would get time off from school. My parents would pack up the Station Wagon. We would crawl in the back of it and take the 2 hour drive northwest to Ohio. The land of holiday parties and feasts. The land of interesting and entertaining cousins. The land of a doting grandmother who loved to cook up all the thanksgiving fixins. And the land of freedom from our usual routines and friends. It was so much fun.

And so I fell in love with NE Ohio. Because for maybe as many as 15 or so years in a row, every thanksgiving my family and I would get to come here and celebrate family and love. And that is why when I was ready to leave Miami Beach, I wanted to come here and settle down. I wanted to come here and start a family. I wanted to see the snow and feel the cool breeze of a spring morning. And smell the cut grass in the Summer. And crunch through the leaves in the woods in the Autumn. Because here we have seasons. In Miami Beach, there are also seasons; 2 of them, wet and dry.

One thing that always impressed me when I visited here and after I moved back was the inherent friendliness and kindness of the people here. The good old fashioned Midwestern Values of God and Family and Hard Work. Of taking care of your neighbor and feeling bad if something bad happened to someone who lived in your community. Of wanting to pitch in and help. We still have a lot of these things here and these are the kinds of things that we need to continue to practice.

More so now then ever. Because our world has become increasingly hostile and divided by opinions. Sometimes we claim that we have the facts, and that may be true in part; but people have started to decide that their opinions are strong enough to be less than civil. And that if someone disagrees with you it is OK to block them. Or attack. So I have attached a graphic to this podcast to remind us of how to be kinder to each other. Not that we have forgotten entirely, but that kindness is one of the strengths that we can continue to build on here in our community. I have also linked to a facebook page and website that promotes kindness. I got this idea from one of the nicest people here in the mainstream media while listening to his show “Brainfood from the Heartland” Because staying informed can help us to practice kindness.

SCOURGE PSA

One of the most valuable resources we have here in the Mahoning Valley is the Public Library. When I first moved here to Boardman, I didn’t have any CD’s or DVD’s and one of my favorite things to do was walk over to the Library and borrow these types of media for my personal enjoyment. The fact is though that the Library is one of the most valuable resources that any community can have. Many of us may take it for granted, but there is a wealth of information and resources available to anyone free of charge. If you haven’t visited in a while, I encourage you to check it out. Here are few of things that you can expect to enjoy in a library and if you are in Trumbull County, your library is linked to here. Columbiana County yours is here.

In Mahoning County where I live for instance, The Columbus Children’s Theater will present the story of Lonely Jack, a foolish trade, and the giant who is ready for trouble. “Jack and the Beanstalk” was adapted by William Goldsmith.

Fun for kids of all ages. No reservations are needed.

Boardman Library, 11 a.m., Sat., Jan. 28

Meet and Greet Story Time with Youngstown Phantom’s Hockey

Meet the Youngstown Phantoms! Listen to stories and receive a special giveaway. No reservations needed for this special story time that will be fun for the whole family!

Canfield Library, 6-7 p.m., Tues., Jan. 24

Library Night with the Phantoms

Join the Library and the Phantoms at their January 27 game at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. The theme is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” Watch for upcoming details in your local library and on the website.

This is a very small list of things that you can do with your friends at the library. Stay in touch with them on Facebook.

I know most people who listen to this podcast can spend money to entertain themselves. Or even spend money to help me keep this podcast coming out and spreading only good things about our Valley, but I still like to talk about Free events every now and then. I like free stuff. Most people do I think. Like for instance, I offer free initial consultations and assessments on your internet communication strategies. I don’t mind spending a few minutes chatting with you or even talking to you on the phone about what you have been doing and what you want to do. You can message me on facebook or twitter or even call me at 330-519-1205 to talk about it. Sometimes it is good to have an objective opinion. And I am here to help.

Anyway, back to free events. It may save you some time if I just mention a few free things that you can do with your family or friends and that way you can get back to work on that report for your boss or that term paper or research project or watching that movie or whatever you will do after you listen to this. If you want more information or need to get the details for these freebies, just find the transcript of this show somewhere. They are like everywhere. But mostly on my website. Or blog, Or other blog.

Let’s go do something free:

What: Book Discussion Group “Blackberry Winter” by Sarah Jio

When:Thursday, Jan. 12, 2 p.m.

Where:Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

444 Mahoning Ave.

Warren, OH

330-399-8807

What: Kidz Cooking Club Registration Required

When:Thursday, Jan. 12, 5:30 p.m.

All ages

Where: Liberty Public Library

415 Churchill-Hubbard Road

Liberty, Oh

330-759-2589

Young cooks will follow Master Chef Miss Jill’s lead using their math, science, and language skills to make a delicious creation. For kids in kindergarten to grade five. Registration is required by calling (330) 759-2589.

What: Music and Movement Registration Required

When: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 11 a.m.

Age limit: All ages

Where: Warren Public Library

444 Mahoning Ave. NW

Warren, OH

330-399-8807

Children learn language and motor skills through an energetic combination of music, movement, and books. For toddlers 19 to 35 months old with a parent or caregiver. Registration is required by calling (330) 399-8807 ext. 206.

If you can’t make it tomorrow:

Check out these additional dates:

Wednesday, Jan. 18 or

Wednesday, Jan. 25

Just because something is free does not mean it is not good. I know there are two sides to that coin. Some people may say, “you get what you pay for” or even, “something is only worth what it costs.” But other people say that “the best things in life are free”. Like for instance this podcast. It is free. I really have no ambition to ever charge anyone to listen to or hear about the good things that happen here in the Mahoning Valley.

I gather this information and write it up for you for free. Sometimes, hopefully I am entertaining or at least informative. I admit this project is a work in progress. So I do something for you the listener for free, and I need to ask you to do something for me and for this valley. If you think that there are ways to improve our Valley, please share them with me somewhere. On facebook. On Twitter. On the blogs where I post the transcripts. Please participate in this project.

If you have any vested interest in improving this community and helping all of us live up to our potential then spend some money on keeping this project going. It is really easy to do that. Head on over to the website and send some money. Easy. If you do that, and want to be mentioned or linked to, just let me know. We can also work out ways for you to advertise your business or organization on other podcasts. Or even make your own podcast.

We can talk about ways you can improve your use of the internet to communicate through any channels if you want. I did offer to talk to your for free initially. If you want to run with some ideas I have and have me implement them for you, great. I like to work. And I have been using this here internet thingie for a long time. I know a few things about it. Let’s work together to make it better and spread the good.

Creative Classroom Contest: Columbiana teacher plans ‘escape’ for class — WKBN.com

Each December, the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign recognizes four teachers across the Valley and surprises them with $500. Teachers apply to win, then a panel picks the entries with the best ideas.Our third winner comes from North Elementary School in Columbiana. COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – A fourth grade teacher at Columbiana’s North Elementary…

via Creative Classroom Contest: Columbiana teacher plans ‘escape’ for class — WKBN.com

United Way collecting supplies for Trumbull County schools — WKBN.com

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As schools head into 2017, many students are starting to run out of school supplies. There is a way that you can help. Donation bins have been set up at Dollar General and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores throughout Trumbull County. You can drop off items now through January 7. The effort…

via United Way collecting supplies for Trumbull County schools — WKBN.com