Residents of the Buckeye, Central, and Ohio City neighborhoods have a chance — a very limited chance — to tell the American Heart Association whether they want celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to drop a teaching kitchen in their backyard. One of the neighborhoods could get the permanent facility, which will be used to demonstrate healthier cooking techniques and recipes in an effort to curb obesity and improve health. Once the neighborhood is chosen, the heart association will need only to raise about $2 million to build it.
In what seems to be an almost clandestine operation (the local chapter of the AHA reports it knows nothing about the effort — it's being handled on a national level), the association will interview adult patrons of the Carnegie West, Sterling, and Rice branches of the Cleveland Public Library. They will not ask about health, but will ask whether residents would use the kitchen, sign up for cooking classes, or be interested in healthier cooking at home.
But you have only one day to weigh in, according to library spokeswoman Cathy Poilpre. State your case for Ohio City at the Carnegie West library from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, for Central at the Sterling branch from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Monday, and for Buckeye at the Rice branch from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 25. The heart association hopes to talk to 100 people at each branch. That may be a tall order, considering nobody knows about it.
"It's interesting they wouldn't reach out to us as part of the community," says Eric Wobser, director of Ohio City Inc. "But it could be they want to stay independent and not be lobbied."
WEST SIDE MARKETING: We have officially entered the centennial of the West Side Market, a year that will be filled with major events commemorating the public market's remarkable history.
"Shoppers will begin seeing a new Market identity that was created around the centennial," says Amanda Dempsey, market district director with Ohio City Inc., the city's marketing partner. You'll also begin seeing a broader marketing message, with bus ads, billboards, and print and radio spots aimed at attracting new and old customers.
By late January, vendors will have stickers, stamps, and decals bearing the Market's new logo to be used as part of their packaging. In summer, a new stand offering official merchandise should be up and running. And already, a bi-weekly e-newsletter has launched, for the first time informing shoppers directly about Market news and events.
For years, Market officials have touted attendance figures of "over a million per year." But the truth is, nobody really knows. New electronic door-mounted counters will soon begin taking accurate readings, adds Dempsey.
While the official schedule won't be announced until early February, details of one of the major events have already been made public. Scheduled for September is the International Public Markets Conference, bringing together more than 300 public market leaders from around the globe.
OHIO CITY'S RISING STAR: Launched a little over a year ago in rural Litchfield, Rising Star Coffee Roasters is relocating to a former firehouse in Ohio City. Following the principles of the "Third Wave" coffee movement, which puts quality above all else, Rising Star "buys the best green coffee, takes the most care when roasting it, and devotes time and money to training," says partner John Johnson.
Rising Star sources what it calls "the top 1 percent" of beans, much of it estate grown or hailing from micro-plots. Traditional coffee drinks are made one cup at a time using the pour-over or siphon methods. "We take a slow-food approach to coffee," says Johnson.
The Ohio City roastery should be up and running in two weeks, with a sit-down café coming online this spring. They're at 1455 West 29th St. Learn more at risingstarcoffee.com.