Archives for the Month of February 2011 on Case Cares About Cleveland

Bits and Pieces (I Forgot to Post)

-- A special shout out to all those Case students who tend to make something happen at the drop of a hat. When Mary Thompson and Matthew McPheeters were looking for a cleanup project here in the city, I wanted to see if something could be done on Quincy Avenue. So they rallied a group of students to walk from 94th to 89th streets and clean up some litter along the way. It always brings a smile to my face when I know that Case students are out there making a difference.

And Speaking of Difference

-- What a difference a couple of years make! I had been hoping to work with the Center for Civic Engagement and other university groups to see if we could get students more engaged on the west side of Cleveland. Since that time, Case students have been working on a number of projects in Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway, Clark Metro and downtown.

In addition to helping the Brooklyn Centre Orchard and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods, Case students are also assisting the Brooklyn Centre Community Association and Brooklyn Centre Naturalists. They've done an incredible job assisting with the 39th Street Garden and landscaping the lot at West 36th and Denison.

So What's the Plan for This Summer?

Until my furnace is officially off, it's hard to start thinking about summer. But it's OK to think about last summer since there were a lot of things I wanted to blog about ...

-- On July 25, I volunteered at the Burning River Fest where folks converged on Whiskey Island and Wendy Park. If you want to know how to help out with the local environment, this event is a must. They should be posting some information about the 2011 event, so look for that information soon. Good people, cold beer, great bands ... what more could you want?

-- On August 19, Case Connects was held for first-year students. We had wonderful weather for the event, and it was a great way to introduce hundreds of new students to community service in Cleveland. I was able to participate by taking photos for Case and following some students along on their adventures at Lake Erie, as well as the non-profits they assisted on the east and west sides of town.

-- If you've never heard of River Sweep at the Cleveland Zoo, that's another eye-opening experience. The annual event is organized by Friends of Big Creek and is always well attended. Last year, I joined 44 of my closest friends to clean up the Zoo's watershed. Members of our local community joined the Cleveland Metroparks staff to haul metals, plastics and tires out of Big Creek.

Among the finds? More than 1,660 lbs. of scrap metal, plus a vintage clock, guard rail and Barbie doll.

-- Over in Summit County, I attended a fundraiser for City Fresh, which was held at the Pure Intentions Wheatgrass and School of Energy building. About 60 people attended the event while folks from Chrissy Hynde's Vegeterranean restaurant served up a delicious meal made from locally grown foods. The spotlight also shined on a number of talented musicians from Akron that day. Thank you Kathy Evans and Karen Gee for a wonderful event.

-- Last but not least, the annual Saturday of Service event sponsored by the Case Center for Civic Engagement and Learning was held last April. This event assists numerous non-profits in the Cleveland area, including many in my own neighborhood. I can't say enough about all the Case students that continue to give of their volunteer time. Cleveland appreciates you more than you know!

First Signs of Spring?

Hard to believe, we almost hit 60 degrees in Cleveland on February 18. But if you're like some folks, you don't need suntan weather to get out and start moving.

On Sunday, February 13, I joined a group of people affiliated with the Friends of Big Creek and the Cleveland Zoo to take part in a Porcelain Berry Snap at Brookside Park. Our goal was to help remove some invasive vines that are choking back trees along the eastern portion of the park. It was a lot of work to tug, snap, pull and cut, but more than 30 people joined in on the fun, including some local retirees and students from James Ford Rhodes High School. A special thanks to Dennis Petro and the crew that provided the hotdogs, hot chocolate and chili.

The Orchard in Brooklyn Centre

Once again, I have witnessed the power of neighbors helping neighbors.

If you haven't seen the latest ReImagining Cleveland brochure, you'll want to check out the orchard that's been getting a lot of attention lately.

It all began with an abandoned lot and folks who were tired of looking at an eyesore. So they applied for a neighborhood grant and created a community orchard just like that.

Credit goes to Cleveland residents Johanna and Darren Hamm, who had the vision to see it to fruition. Johanna took the time to do her research, then applied for a grant through Neighborhood Connections. Darren (a Case alum) rallied nearby neighbors, talked it up at community meetings and encouraged people to watch the plan unfold.

Little by little, neighbors started coming out on weekends, pulling up grass, churning up dirt, and laying down stone for the walkway. That’s when I heard about the grant and wanted to get involved.

I stopped by on a Saturday and got a chance to plant a few of the 47 apple trees, plus blackberry and raspberry bushes too. Two days later, we celebrated our inaugural summer solstice and neighbors continued to work the lot. By the time school rolled around, we were able to rally 30 members from Case Western Reserve's Delta Tau Delta fraternity. They came out to the site, cleared a section of dirt for the trellis, and dug the holes for the fence posts.

The ribbon cutting was held in October, but that's just the beginning. Meetings will be happening soon, so once the snow thaws, stay tuned.