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Thursday, August 30, 2007

tailgate party

The Buckeye tailgate party (2nd annual) is drawing a good crowd today.

Friday, August 24, 2007

historical video

This is an historical video I made for the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center. I wanted to see how the new Blogger video feature worked. Hope you enjoy.


The sidewalks were like the canals of Venice outside the bookshop after the cloudburst Monday. It's strange to watch how this happens...about the time the heavy rain starts to let up and the storm is abating, the water jumps the curb from Park Avenue and comes around the corner on Main Street. I guess the buildup of water coming down the slope of Park Ave takes about the time of an average cloudburst to reach the Square.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

other issues

Complaining about parking in my opinion is an excuse used for not shopping downtown by people who feel vaguely guilty about not supporting local businesses. It's an issue high up on the agenda of merchants, but not really very significant to the customers compared to other issues, like what kinds of stores are downtown, what their hours are, and what there is to do otherwise.

Mansfield needs a couple more downtown restaurants to make it a mealtime destination.
We need more browsing shops (like more bookstores, or an army surplus store, or antique shops). And we need to capitalize on the Carrousel, Central Park, Rennaiscance Theater, North Main Street shops, in advertising outside our local area! Local people do not spend money downtown to any significant degree from my experience. At least in my bookshop this is true. It's out of town visitors who bring armfulls of books to the counter and gush about what a great store it is. And they are also just as likely to gush about how cheap the parking is! Local people tell me they just can't spend much time in a shop like mine or they would buy too much, or they have to come back when they have more time, and walk out the door empty handed.

I think this is true everywhere. If you're in you're own town, you don't have the urge to buy on impulse because you can come back any day you feel like and buy what you just saw in the shop. Or you can go look for the item on eBay and if you don't find it at a better price, come back later for it. The other factor is the monkey see monkey do effect. If the shop is crowded and people bringing things to the counter to purchase, it's more likely other people in the shop will spend some money also. Extend this theory to downtown, outoftowners making purchases would stimulate the MSMD effect with local people who happen downtown.

So the bottom line is that local advertising is wasted unless it's targetted to your specialized customer base. Cooperative advertising by groups of merchants or promotions by the city have to be directed to bringing in the tourists, not wasted on local shoppers.


Some plans were finalized this morning for downtown parking. Primarily the meters in the core business district will be reset uniformly to two-hours with 25 cents per hour. This is hoped to eliminate the confusion of where to park and give ample time for visiting a restaurant. Other things discussed at the meeting this morning between merchants and the city included putting stickers on the meters to indicate when you need to feed them (like they had on them in the old days).
Regarding people who habitually camp at meters, we learned that the city can give them a red warning tag when they are found over the two hour limit, which gives the violator the opportunity to move the vehicle before the meter person makes the next round. It was agreed that using these might be better to give fair warning rather than slapping the $25 ticket on them.

Friday, August 10, 2007

mansfield data

Check out to map an incredible amount of statistical data on Mansfield or any other US municipal area. Here's an example: Poverty level by census tract in percentage in 2000.
I've been working with data on subprime lending. Here's another example...: Percent of Conventional Home Purchase Mortgage Loans by Subprime Lenders in 2004
I made my own map of current foreclosed properties that are listed, and was surprised that most are on the south side of the city, not in the lower income tracts. Then, looking at another map from dataplace makes the reason clear. The rate of home ownership is so low in the high poverty tracts, so the number of mortgage loans is very low in those areas as well.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

sogbety diomande's west african celebration

The 2nd Annual West African Celebration is coming up August 24-26 at Camp Avery Hand, 3766 Orweiler Rd. Visit the website for the celebration at
for information about all of the weekend activities and tickets. The highlight of the weekend will be the Saturday night performance at 8 p.m. featuring West African dancing and drumming. Tickets for that event are $25. You can also purchase a weekend ticket for $165 adults or $45 Children 6-12, that includes food, camping, all classes, all performances, and the lecture. Contact Highlands of Ohio for tickets at 419-522-5058 or email