Will Cleveland Indians Get another Chance at the World Series?

Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field

The Cleveland Indians came out swinging starting the 2017 MLB season on a good footing and fans are starting to believe they can successfully defend the 2016 AL Championship title. So far the tribe has scored 25 wins and 23 losses; a run that has pushed the team to 2nd place in the AL Central division. “They are holding their own but if the tribe can turn up the heat and squeeze out a few more impressive wins, the World Series could be in the cards for the second time in a row”, mentioned Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

Like any team, the Indians have gone through some really tough times. For example, they had to turn things around to stop a frustrating losing streak. And they did this in style by beating Kansas City Royals 10-1 at Progressive Field to grab the final game of the three-game series. The last time the Cleveland Indians lost more than three games in a row was back in July, 2015. This illustrates how impressive the tribe’s performance has been in recent years. According to Cleveland Indians manager, Terry Francona, the team needs to stay focused in order to play again at the World Series.

Although the Indians did manage to make it to the 2016 World Series for the first time in nearly twenty years, losing to the Cubs was devastating. But Clevelanders are known for dusting themselves off and getting right back in the game. And that’s exactly what the tribe has done. In fact, Francona is looking to leave his mark by winning this year’s World Series for the first time since 1947. The Indians made their intentions clear at the start of the 2017 season when they showed how aggressive they are in free agency by landing one of the biggest prizes on the market; the signing of Edward Encarnación to a 3-year, $60 million contract.

With a healthy rotation and postseason experience, the tribe is expecting to get things done this year. And manager Francona is getting the best out of the likes of Jason Kipnis, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, and right-hander Josh Tomlin. The Tribe does not expect this season’s run to be a breeze, but they can take some positives and experience from their loss in last year’s World Series. They also need to absorb all the mounting pressure and pound out a few more impressive wins to score another chance at bringing the Commissioner’s Trophy home to Cleveland.

Image Credit: Doug Chapman

Ohio State Men’s Volleyball Wins Third National Championship

OSU mens volleyball

“Buckeyes fans were once again filled with excitement upon hearing that Ohio State has won the national championship,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. And this was not the first win. OSU also won the national championship in 2011 and 2016. All tallied the OSU men’s volleyball team has now won the national championship three times in six years.

Considering that the team began the season as champions and finished as champions, 2017 has been a great season. And Pete Hanson, Ohio State coach, feels his team deserves the credit. To him, his players were great this season to the extent that he cannot point out what they were unable to do on the court.

OSU’s final game was against BYU, a match that was played in front of a huge home crowd of 8,205 rooting fans. And Hanson states that senior setter Christy Blough, junior outside hitter Nicholas Szerszen, and senior opposite hitter Miles Johnson have also been great this year. They helped OSU beat BYU in straight sets; winning the first set 25-19, the second set 25-20, and the third 25-22. This is the second consecutive time Ohio State has registered a similar win over BYU, a clear indication of how well the team has improved since 2011. The game brought out the best of Szerszen who managed 16 kills. Johnson and junior outside hitter Maxime Hervoir also showed their value to the team by managing 9 and 10 kills, respectively.

But Ohio State did not just win their third national championship trophy since 2011; they also managed to register an overall record of 32-2. Pete Hanson has been at Ohio State for the past 32 seasons, and it is this consistency that’s rapidly turning OSU into one of the teams to beat in the national championship. In fact, Ohio State is only the third straight school to win back-to-back titles. Others include UC Irvine which won crowns in 2012 – 2013 and Loyola that became notable for winning crowns consecutively in 2014 – 2015. Pete Hanson is assisted by Kevin Burch who has also helped to shape this season’s men’s volleyball team and turning them into title contenders.

According to Blough, Coach Hanson told players that they need to treat each game they progress as the best game. And it is that spirit which has made Ohio State become ambitious. Winning the third national championship in just six years is no easy feat. It requires total commitment and hard work, which Hanson has managed to bring into the team. As a result, fans should expect a lot more excitement in the upcoming seasons.

Image Credit: KLM volleyball

Record Number of Tourists Visit Cleveland, Up 30 percent since 2007

cleveland-ohioThe number of tourists visiting Cleveland and Cuyahoga County has been steadily increasing since 2007, according to the 2015 Convention & Leisure Metric Report recently released by Destination Cleveland. The report showed tourism in Cleveland grew 3.7 percent after welcoming a record number of 17.6 million business and leisure travelers to the Northeast Ohio region. In fact, the rate of tourist growth in Cleveland has outpaced the U.S. since 2011, according to a study published by Tourism Economics.

In 2007, there were 13.7 million tourists who visited Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. And within eight years this number jumped to 17.6 million; an increase of almost 30 percent. Cleveland has been registering a consistent rise in tourism for the past several years, giving a much needed boost to the local economy. The increased tourism resulted in an $8.1 billion economic impact supporting 65,900 local jobs and $1 billion in sales tax revenue.

The big increase in Cleveland tourism has also been a boon for the hotel industry with over 5 million hotel rooms sold in 2015, representing an increase of 5.2 percent from the previous year. It was the largest increase ever recorded in the past five years. Additionally, the number of hotel rooms sold in Cleveland outpaced the number of rooms sold nationally by 0.7%. “Growth in nearly every metric we report shows that more people are motivated each year to visit and discover more about Cleveland for themselves,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO, Destination Cleveland. “Research shows that continued short-term gains in travel and tourism are the foundation for broader economic success as many of those who move to a new city often had a favorable visitor experience first.”

So, why are so many tourists visiting Cleveland? “There are a lot of exciting attractions throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan area including The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Cedar Point Amusement Park, A Christmas Story House, Cleveland Aquarium, and Cleveland Botanical Garden, among others that are attracting visitors,” said Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Also, many business travelers come back with their family to explore the region. In addition, the city has beautiful waterfront parks, a lively shopping and entertainment district, a world-class convention center and top-rated hotels that attract business and leisure travelers from around the globe.

Image Credit: Tim

Why Birders From Around the World Are Flocking to Ohio

Northern Cardinal in Ohio

Every year in the month of May, birders from over 32 countries around the world flock to Ohio. The shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio, in particular, is a birders paradise of sorts and has rapidly gained popularity because the area is a popular migratory path for hundreds of species of birds that fly hundreds of miles from their wintering grounds in the tropics to places where they nest in the forests of the northern U.S. and Canada. Migrating birds stop at the Lake Erie shores to rest and hunt for food before they continue on their long journey home.

According to Stacy Wiseman, the Holiday Inn Express GM in Oregon, the flocking of birders to Ohio is amazing, and one may find it hard to believe that thousands of visitors flock to Ohio to see birds. But why does Ohio have such an incredible number of birders in May? Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Observatory in Oak Harbor, explains that Lake Erie has a rich habitat that attracts birds of all kinds. They are attracted by the easy availability of food, which most find handy when it comes to regaining energy.

Birds such as warblers, finches, blackbirds, and sparrows really like this place. And it is not uncommon to find them in large numbers along the shores of Lake Erie. Most of them are colorful and melodic, which makes this place a stunning destination for birders. “Wherever there are birds, birders will undoubtedly follow,” says Kaufman. Warblers and other species of birds often create this incredible bird watching scenery from the end of April to mid-May. And this prompted Kaufman and others to start a festival dubbed “The Biggest Week In American Birding”. Since its inception in 2010, the festival has made many people more aware of birds than ever before.

“Guides, lectures, and other programs offered during the festival help birders appreciate bird watching even more,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Most of them will always come back to Ohio every May to be part of the spectacular migration. Kaufman says that every year from the end of April to mid-May, over 90,000 birders visit Northwest Ohio alone to view various species of birds. This is a large number that is great for the tourism industry, considering that birders arrive before summer, giving a nice boost to the local economy. In fact, studies indicate that birders spend nearly $40 million during their stay in Ohio.

Ohio’s habitat is ideal for numerous species of birds (a total of 408 species). There are many popular birding locations including East Harbor State Park, Great Egret Marsh, Magee Marsh Wild Area, Maumee Bay State Park, and Erie Marsh Preserve.

Image Credit: Jen Goellnitz

Its Full Speed Ahead for Ohio, Governor Approves 7.8B Transportation Budget

Highway in Cleveland Ohio

Its full speed ahead for Ohio as Governor John Kasich approves a $7.8 billion transportation budget. “Ohio ranks high among all states for the quality and maintenance of our highway infrastructure and we did it without ever having to raise the gas tax,” said Governor Kasich.

The 2018 – 2019 Transportation Budget Bill was signed into law on March 31, 2017. The bill was established to help the state improve its highways as well as be in a better position for the long-awaited self-driving vehicles and drones. Remember, Ohio is one of the few states selected for the research and testing of self-driving cars. “We’re determined to maintain the competitive edge we have with our highways, while also positioning our state for the industries of tomorrow with self-driving cars and drones,” he added.

Roads are of strategic importance to the economy. From the gas we put in our cars to the groceries on store shelves, all depends on roads. The $7.8 billion transportation budget will not just improve Ohio highways but also will make sure that the introduction of the autonomous vehicles becomes real and successful. And now there is the determination to improve Ohio roads and highways further to remain on the short list of states with the best roads in the country.

Recent reports indicate that the past seven years has seen more than a few states falling behind in repairing and maintaining their highway infrastructure. And Ohio wants to remain in the driver’s seat to push their economy forward, as depicted in its $14 billion investment for over 7,000 projects. The new transportation budget is enormous and will lead to the accomplishment of many necessary infrastructure projects. In fact, the state is planning to start and complete 43 major projects, 356 safety projects, 446 bridge projects, and 615 pavement projects within a span of just two years.

Additionally, the Transportation Research Center (TRC) projects in central Ohio are also included in the transportation budget. Some monies have been allocated to expand capabilities for self-driving research as well as to create smart highways where autonomous vehicles will be safely tested in real-life traffic situations. This will include improvement for highway U.S. 33, sections of Interstate 90 in northern Ohio, and I-270 in Columbus. The drone technology will also benefit from the transportation budget, with funds set aside for its development. Moreover, the funds will facilitate the ongoing plans to fly unmanned aircraft beyond the line of visual sight.

The transportation budget will give Ohio a much-needed competitive edge. It is a comprehensive budget that takes into account all highway infrastructure including smart highways. The 2-year transportation budget will without a doubt take Ohio’s highway infrastructure into the future.

Image Credit: Doug Kerr

Cleveland to Host Team USA Triathlon National Championships

Team USA Triathlon

Cleveland, Ohio has been selected to host the USA Triathlon National Championships in 2018 and 2019. The events, which are expected to attract around 5,000 athletes and 10,000 spectators, will be another big for boost Cleveland’s economy with a total estimated $13 million economic impact for the two annual events,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

The 2018 USA Triathlon National Championships is scheduled to take place from August 11 – 12. The venue will be at Edgewater Beach Park and the surrounding neighborhoods of downtown Cleveland. The 2019 event is expected to take place from August 10 – 11 in the same venue.

On Saturday (August 11, 2018, and August 10, 2019) the concentration will be on the Olympic-distance triathlon. This section includes a 10-kilometer run, 1,500-meter swim, and 40-kilometer bike. Athletes who come top in these categories will represent Team USA at the International Triathlon Union Age Group World Championships. That event will take place in 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland and 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Also, there will be Sunday competitions (August 12, 2018, and August 11, 2019) and this includes a sprint triathlon. The competition will be open to public competitors. The open sprint triathlon will feature a 5-k run, 20-k bike ride, and 750-meter swim. The 5k run and 20k bike ride are scheduled along the Detroit-Shoreway, St. Clair-Superior, Downtown Cleveland, and University Circle neighborhoods. The 750-meter swim, on the other hand, will be held at Edgewater Park.

This is great news for Cleveland. “We are extremely excited that Cleveland was chosen to host the Team USA Triathlon National Championships,” said the President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, David Gilbert.

This is not the first time Cleveland has held a major competition. In 2007, the city hosted an NCAA Division I women’s basketball Final Four while in 2015, it hosted the ACHA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships and U.S. Master’s Swimming Championship. It has also hosted the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, which was held in 2016 and the 2017 USA Fencing North American Cup.

Cleveland is becoming known as the sports city and has been selected to host some very exciting sporting events in the near future. And these include the 2018 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships, 2018 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Progressive Field, which is the home of the defending American League Champion, Cleveland Indians.

Image Credit: West Point Military Academy

Cleveland Sees a Bright Future in Solar as Jobs Double

solar power home

With the solar industry on the rise across the country and in Ohio, Cleveland sees a bright future as jobs double. The Solar Foundation, an independent non-profit organization, recently released employment data indicating a number of states have greatly benefited from solar jobs. And Ohio is taking the lead. A recent report states that 5,831 people were employed in the Ohio solar industry in 2016. “Definitely Ohio is the heavyweight among its neighboring states,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. The number of solar jobs in Cleveland doubled in 2016 to 1,632 workers representing nearly 30 percent of the state’s total solar workforce.

According to Luecke, solar energy adds tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy annually. Experts are encouraging solar states like Ohio to continue investing in the solar industry. In 2016, the U.S. solar industry employed more than 250,000 workers generating a $62.5B economic impact and creating nearly 789,000 jobs nationwide. In other words, every solar job creates two additional indirect jobs that support the industry.

“After years of economic decline from the loss of manufacturing and other industrial facilities, Cleveland has spent much of its resources on economic revitalization diversifying its industry portfolio without relying too heavily on any one sector for job growth,” noted Victor J. Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Capitalizing on solar makes economic sense for Cleveland. Sustainability and clean energy is big here, and in Ohio as a whole, and Clevelanders have embraced solar as the next big thing in green energy. In fact, Mike Foley, head of the Department of Sustainability in Cuyahoga County, has even gone so far as predicting “in 10 years a rooftop that doesn’t have solar will look funny and will look out of place, ” in a Midwest Energy News article.

In cooperation with OH SUN, the Cuyahoga County Solar Co-Op is helping to educate local residents throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan area about solar energy and adding solar panels to their rooftops. With the increase of high paying solar jobs ($26/hr. avg.) combined with the recent economic growth, the sun is rising again in Cleveland.

Image Credit: Andrew Fogg

Explore 5 Top Museums in Ohio

Cleveland Museum of Art

“When you think of Ohio, there are a lot of things that come to mind, but museums and culture is probably not one of them for some”, noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.  While touring the Buckeye State from the northern shoreline of Lake Erie to the Appalachian Mountains you will find numerous tourist attractions dotting the landscape including some of the best museums in the country that even the kids will love. In keeping up with its nickname, Ohio really is in the Heart of it All. So, pack up your gear and load the family in the car while we take you on a tour of the 5 top museums in Ohio.

1. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Designed by famed architect, I.M. Pei, The Rock Hall is one of the most unique museums in the world showcasing hundreds of legendary performers that have shaped the American music scene. The fascinating exhibits take visitors on a musical journey through the Rock and Roll revolution. And the building’s unique architectural design is a work of art in its own right.

2. The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA)

The Cleveland Museum of Art has been the cultural epicenter of Northeast Ohio since its founding in 1916. It was ranked as the #2 museum in the country in 2016, by Business Insider. The highly acclaimed museum is known for its impressive Asian, Egyptian, American, and European collections from contemporary to medieval art. The original neoclassical building has also been expanded and renovated several times. Every year, the CMA attracts approximately 598,000 visitors.

3. Cincinnati Art Museum

Founded in 1881, the Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the oldest museums in the U.S. Today, the diverse museum has more than 67,000 works in its collection with some artifacts nearly 6,000 years old. Aside from its comprehensive collections, the museum’s old and unique architectural design built in the Romanesque Revival style will surely appeal to any historian.

4. American Sign Museum

Housed in a former factory in Cincinnati, The American Sign Museum is hands down one of the most interesting museums in the world. The museum’s sign collection spans over 100 years. The exhibits in its historic collection include neon signs that recreate a Main Street USA storefront. The 20,000 square foot museum takes visitors on a trip back in time to discover the changing sign styles over the past century.

5. The Dayton Art Institute (DAI)

The Dayton Art Institute or DAI, as it is sometimes referred, was rated one of the top 10 best art museums in the U.S. for kids, by Parents® Magazine. In addition to its rotating exhibits, the museum features an extensive permanent collection of more than 20,000 objects from around the globe dating back 5,000 years. And its Lange Family Experiencenter, an interactive hands-on experience for the entire family is one of its most popular galleries.

Image Credit: Erik Drost

Cleveland Indians Ticket Sales Double Over Past 5 Seasons

Cleveland Indians

As Opening Day approaches, Cleveland fans are optimistic that the Indians will bring home the World Series pennant this season. They are having a pretty good run in Spring Training clinching the top spot in the American League and this is fueling the excitement. The tribe recently confirmed that they will play their home opener before a sellout crowd after selling out all tickets in just 40 minutes. In fact, the Cleveland Indians have been selling out home game tickets for the past 25 years. And according to the Indians, “The Tribe’s 2017 one-day on-sale total is double that of any on-sale date in the past five seasons.”

“Apparently, losing the MLB World Series to the Cubs has not hurt ticket sales. The tribe’s fans are an intensely loyal crowd,” mentioned Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. To show their support of the team, fans are making sure that they will be present in the club’s home games. Most vowing to attend all home games like they have done in the past five seasons.

In the 2016 season, for instance, the Indians sold out all remaining World Series tickets in only 15 minutes. Average resale prices for those tickets rose past $24,000 within hours of the Indians winning the AL pennant, based on sales figures from TicketIQ. All are clear indications that single ticket sales for the tribe have significantly improved.

With the off-season signings of Edwin Encarnacion and Boone Logan, it’s clear that club manager Terry Francona has his sights on winning the World Series pennant in the upcoming season. Also, the Indians announced today that it has signed a 5-year contract with INF Jose Ramirez. The contract includes options that could extend his run through the 2023 season. The 24-year old Dominican Republic native has an impressive record scoring 84 runs, 46 doubles, 3 triples, 11 home runs and 76 RBI while stealing 22 bases in his first MLB season in 2016.

The tribe will play the first game of the major league season in Texas against the Rangers on April 3rd. The Cleveland Indians will host the White Sox in its 2017 home opener on Tuesday, April 11th at Progressive Field.

Image Credit: Keith Allison

Ohio Aims to Shore up Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Lake Erie

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Project (GLRI) is the largest Federal investment in the basin for the past 20 years. GLRI is a federal program that was enacted to support efforts of restoring and protecting the Great Lakes and its ecosystems. “The GLRI meets its objectives by investing in a variety of restoration projects that clean up toxic pollutions, restore habitat and wetlands, and combat invasive species like Asian carp,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Currently, there are approximately 3 million Ohioans who depend on Lake Erie for their drinking water. Rob Portman, U.S. Senator, mentioned in an op-ed that “hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depend on Lake Erie for jobs.”

In addition, the bordering U.S. states and Canadian provinces formed a compact agreement in 2008, known as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The compact outlines the shared roles and responsibilities of the parties. The compact also required states and provinces to enact legislation to protect the basin.

Therefore, Lake Erie is vital to the state of Ohio and so is the GLRI whose main objective is to restore the Great Lakes basin including Lake Erie. Ohio has released grants as well as taken part in a number of projects and initiatives to help shore up the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In 2016, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown announced a $175,000 grant from GLRI to install bioretention cells at Wildwood Park in Cleveland for preventing untreated storm water runoff from finding its way into Lake Erie.

“ A great deal of progress has been made in recent years to improve the lake’s condition and bold reforms Ohio has championed under the leadership of Governor Kasich have contributed to that progress. Ohio has spent more than $2.5 billion in the Lake Erie watershed since 2011,” mentioned Emmalee Kalmbach, Press Secretary for Governor John Kasich in a statement to Great Lakes Now.

Also, the U.S. government has provided more than $1.7B in Federal funding through the GLRI for 3,455 projects. The EPA alone was responsible for nearly half the funding of nearly 1,000 projects. And with the EPA’s roles, budget and responsibilities being redefined, some of its funding in the future will likely come from some of the other 13 Federal agencies that have been funding the GLRI and the Great Lakes states and provinces, including Ohio, that are signatories to the compact agreement.

Image Credit: Tom Whitten