Monday, May 21, 2007

Pavlik Wins

If you hadn't already heard, Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik defeated Edison Miranda in a 7th round TKO this past Saturday night in Memphis, TN. In honor of Pavlik's win, I've posted a few videos from his website. A much more comprehensive look at the Pavlik fight and its importance to the Valley is available over at the Defend Youngstown site.

The STO documentary trailer:

Youngstown band Tilt 360's Pavlik tribute video:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tim Ryan's Food Stamp Challenge

Congressman Tim Ryan is currently participating in a "Food Stamp Challenge," attempting to live on Food Stamps for seven days. He's hoping to raise awareness about the daily struggles of those on the Food Stamp program. According to Congressman Ryan, approximately 90,000 people in the 17th District are on Food Stamps.

You can read his blog of the Challenge on his website.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pavlik on STO

Tonight at 10pm, Sportstime Ohio (STO) will be airing a documentary on Youngstown boxer Kelly Pavlik entitled "The Ghost of Youngstown." If you watched the Tribe over the weekend at all, you may have seen some previews for the show which featured Pavlik in his now-signature "Defend Youngstown" t-shirt.

The list of STO affiliates is available here.

"Defend Youngstown" shirts are available, of course, here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Stambaugh Stadium's 25th Anniversary

This fall, Youngstown State University will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Stambaugh Stadium. The stadium, opened in 1982, has been home to many significant memories for YSU football fans, and many of the significant moments and players from the last quarter-century will be honored this year. More detailed information on the anniversary and related promotions is available at

In addition to being the home of the Penguins for the last 26 seasons, Stambaugh has also been a city icon. Originally built as a one-sided stadium, the resulting enormity of what is now the home stands immediately made the stadium a unique and recognizable part of Youngstown's skyline. The bright lights of high school football (Stambaugh has been home to Ursuline, Mooney, and the City Series teams for several years) illuminate the city every Friday night, and the fanfare and tailgating around Penguin home games has brought people and fans into the city during even the lowest points of the last twenty-five years in Youngstown.

Over time, the stadium has been improved and modified while still retaining its identity. The renovations and changes, especially in recent years, have allowed the stadium to remain a point of pride for the university and the Mahoning Valley. A new visitor stand, new turf, a glass-walled event room, and a trophy room are just some of the major upgrades the university has made in the last few years. A far cry from old Rayen Stadium, Stambaugh is a worthy home to one of the most outstanding I-AA programs in the country.

The commemorative events and promotions planned for this year should excite a lot of local fans and encourage them to come down to campus and catch a few home games. Of course, YSU is also coming off quite an impressive season, and the excitement that creates (the kind of excitement that's been missing since the Tressel years) will do even more. Youngstown State's football program is one of the few things that unites the local area, and its success can do a lot of good for the Mahoning Valley and its residents.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cleveland Plus

The Greater Cleveland Marketing Alliance (GCMA), which includes the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, and Team NEO, has recently unveiled its new marketing brand and strategy. It's called "Cleveland Plus" (or, alternatively, "Cleveland+"). The idea, of course, is to market the entire Northeast Ohio region, with the city of Cleveland as its anchor or "capital."

The need for something like Cleveland Plus is clear. The fortunes and fate of the various cities and communities in Northeast Ohio are all tied together and, therefore, long-term success can come only from cooperation. Northeast Ohio, too, is clearly unique from the rest of the state (see: 2004 national election), and its differences require that it be looked at and marketed differently from the rest of the state.

Youngstown's role in this whole endeavor will likely be met with mixed opinions. On the one hand, Youngstown is clearly part of Northeast Ohio. Any map will reveal this. On the other hand, Youngstown is not truly part of "Greater Cleveland." Youngstown's identity has always been unique from Cleveland's. It's had its own media, for example, for decades and news about Youngstown rarely appears in the Plain Dealer or on the evening news. Akron and Canton, by contrast, are mentioned frequently and are much more a part of the sprawling entity that is "Cleveland" for most people.

Youngstowners also do not see Cleveland as its "big brother" in the same way that people in the suburbs or in Akron and Canton might. Part of the issue comes from the fact that Youngstown is more or less as close to Pittsburgh as it is to Cleveland. Depending on who you ask, the Mahoning Valley even includes the Pennsylvania counties of Lawrence and Mercer. Although its own place, Youngstown has probably gleaned as many aspects of its identity from Pittsburgh as it has from Cleveland. Even sports loyalties are divided fairly equally- and these sports loyalties can flow over into loyalties to the cities themselves.

More than anything, though, Youngstown has always had a maverick spirit and a distinct culture that has separated it from other places. Outsiders rarely feel welcome here and, by turn, Youngstown natives often have trouble adjusting to life in other places.

Of course, as stated above, Youngstown will have to compromise somewhat if it wants to achieve any success. Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Akron, Canton, and everywhere in between are tied together, and need to work together to turn things around. There seems to be a renewed sense of energy and optimism on this corner of Ohio right now, and it's good that Youngstown is a part of it. If we can play nice, good things can happen.