DaytonOS goes offline….

Wouldn’t you know it, Mike Robinette heads out of the country on vacation, and the site goes kapooie.

Even though I named the site, registered the url originally, he had wanted to play with Drupal at one point and our server didn’t have the version of MySQL his version of Drupal needed- so he hosted with SiteGround.

We’ll see how long it’s down- but, there is a lesson to be learned here: if you have a site with multiple authors and admins, make sure you have a backup admin.

Brown Street becoming the ice cream mall

I love Orange Julius. It’s one of those treats that I’d seek out when on a trip out of town. For a while, I even tried making them at home, but it was never quite the same. So, I’m real happy that Dayton’s first Orange Julius is coming to Brown Street:

Local Dairy Queen franchisee embraces company’s strategy
Drew Hilgeford, owner of two local Dairy Queen stores, says he likes the strategies being served up by the food and frozen treats chain enough to invest money and energy into bringing them to Dayton.

Hilgeford, long a fan of the Orange Julius products, plans to open a DQ/Orange Julius Treat Center at 1100 Brown St., Dayton, in the next six weeks, making it the region’s second. DQ/Orange Julius offers lowfat soft-serve ice cream, fruit smoothies and some food.

Now, as far as I can tell- it’s going in between the new Subway and Moe’s, right across the street from Dolcessa, down the street from UDF and Cold Stone Creamery and Ben & Jerrys. Makes you wonder if anyone has done any real market analysis? Or, if their analysis is flubbed by UD. Yes, high concentration of kids 18-24, but, most of them leave during the summer- peak ice cream time.

UPDATE

driving back from the bank I saw that 1100 is Ashworths- and I don’t think they are going anywhere- more than likely the paper screwed up and it’s 1105 Wayne.

No one’s walking in from Woodland Cemetery- and the concentration of houses is kind of low- thanks to MVH, Fairgrounds, and UD/former NCR property. Could we be seeing ice cream wars?

And, doesn’t it make you wonder that not a single donut shop (if you don’t count the old crispy cremes at UDF?), only 2 coffee shops (Starbucks and Night and Day)? We have a glut of sub shops: Milanos, Submarine House, Jimmy Johns, Penn Station, Potbelly’s, Subway- maybe ice cream is just catching up.

Brown Street is fast becoming the comfort food gastronomical epicenter of Dayton.

What’s the plan candidates?

Next year, Dayton gets to chose a majority of the seats on the Dayton City Commission. The Mayor, Nan Whaley and Joey Williams are up for reelection.

Last cycle- Dean Lovelace and Matt Joseph ran unopposed. That can’t happen again.

“Counting to three” is the key phrase among Commission watchers- you have to be able to get three votes to get something passed, so this is an opportunity for “regime change” in Dayton. Richard Florida slams our leadership on the DDN editorial blog:

‘Creative Class’ guru loves Dayton | A Matter of Opinion
“Another thing the region suffers from is really poor leadership. And I think the reason that is, it really bears the imprint, that as the economy is changing to newer things, away from manufacturing, the leadership still reflects that top-down, vertical, 1950s organization mentality. So you get these conflicts between old-style democratic political machine and business-led organizations.

“Those conflicts become very dysfunctional. I think one of the other things is that if older cities could achieve better leadership, leadership that was more in tune with the future.

Note the suck up comments by Democratic Party patronage princess Sarah Abernathy chiding Florida for offering an opinion.

The reality is- we’ve got too many chiefs in the region- and none of them are actually leading us anywhere. See the poll from the Dayton Biz Journal: Who should lead? The fact that they have to ask is an indication of trouble in the Gem city.

With the low level of intelligent discussion about real goals at almost every level of government (talking about what a candidates preacher said, or personal affairs as measures of leadership) instead of issues is an epidemic in this country.

So what should be Dayton’s new leaders goals and objectives?

Here’s a starter list:

Restore faith in Dayton Public Schools through innovative partnerships that create marketable differences between DPS and suburban districts. Examples: every graduate gets 2 years free at Sinclair (not a big deal, because it’s already almost there for suburban districts through TechPrep). Laptops for every student with free wi-fi. New alignment for sports where we have an “Athletic track” high school with the best sports program in the region (We already have an Arts school that does this- Stivers).

Establish goals for:

Increasing population (which brings increasing income tax collections), filling vacant homes in “healthy neighborhoods” first.

Foster community pride by working on shared objectives- this can be the goals above, or maybe creating a citywide fitness goal program, urging everyone to work out (neighborhood walks every night at 8pm, or organize community sports programs). This has been done in other cities.

Reinvent citizen participation: Dayton’s Priority Board system is a mere shell of what it once was. Time to reinvent. Scrap the 7 districts- become one city again and have neighborhood association presidents meet 4x a year directly with the Mayor and City Manager to work together for the betterment of all.

Focus on small business: Waiting for the “Silver bullet” to walk into Dayton and put a huge number of jobs in place is suicidal. We need to grow our own and measure the number of small business start-ups and encourage it. If we are really a city of innovation as many people like to promote, lets prove it by being the start-up capital of the heartland. With our low cost of living, reasonable cultural attractions, high concentration of academia and military research, this should be easy if we enable and empower the process.

Reward smarts: In Austin Texas the newspaper publishes lists of local patents that are granted. Not only should we do it (I suggested it to DDN editor Max Jennings long ago) but maybe we should have a local fund that spiffs cash for every patent granted. Why not reward good ideas from locals- instead of giving handout corporate welfare to carpetbaggers?

These are just a few ideas. Do you have anymore? Anyone want to run for Commission (start getting your signatures now, you need a minimum of 500 in January from registered Dayton voters- I only needed 50 to run for Congress).

If you want to see change, we need to change the way we approach elections. Starting NOW!

Hospitals now in a turf war

Are we seeing a turf battle between Kettering Health Network and Premier? Not in acquiring patients- but in buying football fields?

Donation ‘the right thing to do’
One way to look at Kettering Health Network’s $1 million contribution toward the rebirth of Dayton schools-owned Welcome Stadium is as an investment in marketing.

Kettering’s president, Fred Manchur, doesn’t look at it that way.
“This really doesn’t make business sense,” he said Tuesday, March 25.

Sports stadiums in suburbs such as Centerville and Springboro may be attracting big dollar corporate sponsorship from other area hospital systems seeking to promote their brands, but having Kettering’s name on the field at the city’s showcase stadium really did not add up, Manchur said.

As a marketing or advertising vehicle, the $1 million contribution could not be cost-justified, he said. But part of Kettering’s mission is to serve its community and for more than two decades, that has included supporting the city schools’ athletic programs with sports medicine, even providing discounted or free treatment to needy city athletes.

In the context of the hospital’s greater mission, the gift made sense, Manchur said: “You have to take away the business aspect and look at what is the right thing to do.”

First we had Premier doing fields in South suburbs, not, we have KHN sending a shot right across the river at Premier. Don’t believe for a minute that this is a bad business deal.

Buying ads on TV is an expensive way to reach customers- sticking a permanent billboard on Welcome Stadium, right next to UD arena for X years isn’t a bad deal at all. Plus, being able to brag about how good of a corporate citizen you are…

Goodwill is one thing hospitals depend on for getting customers. Community standing, perceived as the more “caring” organization is worth way more than another bad billboard on I-75 which could cost $60K a year.

Nope, this is shrewd marketing at work. Too bad, it’s more about marketing than actually providing health care anymore.

It’s the county fair every day but Sunday at Tony’s

If you’ve been to a fair around here, or the Folk Festival, you know Tony’s Italian Sausage. Frying up on a hot griddle with lots of green peppers, onions and, how can I say it any other way, grease. In fact, Grease is the word at Tony’s. It’s why I love it- it’s why I hate it.

Imagine a place where you can get all your fair food favorites: those giant hand battered onion rings, funnel cake, deep fried oreos and twinkies, Philly Cheesesteak, Giant Texas Tenderloin, footlongs and Chili Cheese Dogs….. you get the picture, and not have to pay admission, get the kids past the shooting gallery and the other carnival barkers.

For the last few Fridays the office here has been making a run up to Tony’s at 2920 Wayne Ave- right at the Wayne/Watervliet split on the corner of Arbor and Wayne in the old AnnaMaries pizza shop. They don’t have a website- but the phone number is 937.258.8550

They are still working on the store hours- but last I tried to go in the evening at 7:15 I was 15 minutes past closing- so call first at night.

The food is just like at the fair- the prices seem a little more reasonable than what you would pay at the fair (probably because the rent to be at those festivals is pretty high) and the food is just as greasy. They should seek a sponsorship from one of the cardiac hospitals in the area- but, that’s why we love them.

It’s a Dayton Localvore experience waiting for you to try- so go give it a shot.

You can tell Tony, Esrati sent you.

Again the contact info:

Tony’s 2920 Wayne Ave Dayton OH 45420

937-258-8550

All return, no risk. Time for a class action lawsuit.

The Marketplace Morning report had a segment about the bail out of Bear Sterns and the cost to the common people in this country. 30 billion isn’t exactly pocket change.

In the report he said that from 2002 to 2007 Wall Street firms paid bonuses of 137 billion to these “investment wizards” who managed to crash a bank that made it through the Great Depression. Here is the link to the report

New York State Comptroller
The Securities Industry in New York City, October 2007 pdf

I say it’s time for restitution. Time to go yank the golden parachutes off their backs, auction off the Bentleys and the Breitlings. It’s time to collect back rent from posers who’ve been playing monopoly with other peoples real money.

I don’t care if Elliot Spitzer was paying a hooker, let’s put him on the case as his payment back to society. Throwing him in prison won’t accomplish anything.

The whole country is now going to suffer the costs of paying these fools an average of $339,910 a year while the rest of the city was only making $59,530.

In 2006 the bonuses hit a record of $23.9 billion. Almost enough to pay for Bear Sterns.

Something has to change. It’s unlikely that our congress, who depend on the support of these crooks to finance their high dollar campaigns, will do anything.

They’d rather investigate steroids in baseball, or approve torture.

Is this why I got shellacked?

Since I wasn’t a professional politician, and didn’t consult the “professional” campaign types- I talked about issues and ideas. Apparently, “Policy is bad for candidates” especially specifics:

More Than Words: Moving Forward On Iraq With Our Congressional Candidates | Buckeye State Blog
Speaking on Saturday, Burner acknowledged that this path is completely against what everyone in politics has recommended for the candidates. Policy is bad for candidates – and generally if you’re running for office you’re not supposed to talk about specifics. However, Burner, and the other folkss that have signed onto this effort believe that so little progress on Iraq has been made that it’s time to throw conventional wisdom out the window and everyone that can should push to change the dialogue.

It’s too bad- because I like to be an informed consumer of anything. Now we’re stuck with candidates who talk in circles.

What would the Dayton Transit Map for Optimists look like?

Picture of the Cincinatti Transit map for optimists t-shirtWhen gas hits $4 a gallon, or $5, this won’t seem like a stupid question at all.

Long ago I thought two major lines would go a long way. The West to East line would start at Westtown and the VA and head straight down Third street to WSU and then cut over to the Fairfield Commons mall. It would also have a branch from WSU to WPAFB.

The North South line was a little more complex- starting at the Airport, cutting down to what was the Salem Mall and Hara Arena, and then down to Third and Main straight shot down 48 and then over to the Dayton Mall and now then cut down to Lexis Nexis and Teradata.

We would also have two circulator routes: from UD Areana to UD up Brown past MVH to the Convention Center and then over to Sinclair, and back down Edwin C. Moses, and the other around downtown.

Of course the new high speed rail would tie in somewhere- esp. the one from Cincy to Dayton so that Sinclair can keep focused here and Warren County residents can ride up here to go to school.

Of course, someone in Cincy already has the shirt made for optimists only:

Wire & Twine : Cincinnati Transit Map for Optimists
Been meaning to create something for our hometown and wanted it to be special — something that incorporated the many neighborhoods of Cincinnati, had an eye to the future, and a bit of tongue in the cheek. And that is how the Cincinnati Transit Map for Optimists shirt came to life.

Maybe we should start with a shirt too- and get this train on track.

Volatility and uncertainty=instability and insecurity

Yesterday I saw gas prices sway 15 cents between two Sunoco stations two blocks away. I can guarantee the tanker didn’t pull in twice that day.

I’ve watched the stock market go up and down like a yo-yo, without any relation to the string or any laws of gravity that used to apply.

In one day, Bear Sterns lost half it’s value- yet their business is based purely on long term financial paper.

The price of everything has seemingly decoupled from reality overnight and is now based on fancy.  This is not an economy anymore- it just became high seas piracy, where you can loot at will, until someone bigger than you comes and loots from you.

Ben Bernanke  at the Fed is throwing whitewash on a fence without fence posts. President Bush has no clue what a gallon of gas costs or why people are losing their homes.

I saw an article “are we talking ourselves into a depression,” and I almost have to laugh- because if you think about it, with an oil and corn based economy, and the prices of both skyrocketing, it won’t stop steamrolling unless someone starts shooting the biggest looters: the major banks and investment companies who created an intricate system of derivative financial paper that was totally built on optimism and an always expanding bull market.

At this point the churn and volatility are feeding the collapse. The simple solution is to lock things down and force some sensible restructuring into place. While the big movers are able to quickly restructure and take advantage of rate changes, the individuals at the bottom don’t have the same ability. To refinance a home takes weeks or months, yet refinancing Bear Sterns can happen on a dime.

To give you a local example, look at the effect gas price changes can have on your budget. Gas prices rise 30 cents a gallon in a week, you buy 30 gallons per week, that’s $9 multiply it out and add it to the cost of all the goods you buy that are shipped by truck and it quickly becomes staggering. This swing in gas prices has no bearing to the price the gas station paid for the gas last week- it’s all based on what the next fill-up is going to cost.

Then, consider my small little family grocery, Halal International Grocery up the street. They price their products on the shelf with stickers when they stock the shelves. Yes, the cost to get their new products goes up, but, since the cost of labor to relabel the goods exceeds the value of changing the prices, there are still bargains to be had. Kroger just changes one shelf label and reprograms their registers and voila, instant price change.

If we slow down the small changes, we won’t see the huge compounded changes which are then spooking the big players – which then restarts the cycle. Each time, the swings are getting wilder and soon, it will be out of control.

It’s not going to be pretty when the brakes go on, but, the crash that’s coming may be fatal. It’s times like these when dictators have risen, it will be a true test of the values our country was build on if we can make it through without the worst in people coming out.

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