Community Solutions Fundraiser at The Chateau Hough
On Tuesday, August 9th, our event for the day was a fundraiser for Community Solutions held at its main project, the Vineyards at Chateau Hough at East 66th and Hough.
Providing the food, the food servers, and parking assistance was EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute under the personal direction of its founder, Mr. Brandon Chrostowski.
The mission of Neighborhood Solutions is "to use innovative educational and entrepreneurial strategies to encourage, prepare and assist at-risk youth, veterans and those returning-or have returned-to neighborhoods after incarceration in creating greener, healthier and wealthier places to live, work and raise families."
Upon arriving, we said hello to Mr. Mansfield Turner, the Executive Director of Community Solutions and to Mr. Manny Calta who has been very supportive of Chateau Hough since its early stages. Mr. Calta told us that even though he and Mr. Frazier grew up a relatively short distance from each other they had never met until they were in their sixties age-wise. Mr. Calta recalled meeting Mr. Frazier at a neighborhood empowerment meeting and at first thought he had wanted to build a restaurant at this location. When he discovered that Mr. Frazier's plans were for a vineyard, he, at first, thought the idea was crazy but ended up being very impressed because Mr. Frazier knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish and how he wanted to accomplish it. Since Mr. Calta himself had worked with ex-offenders at one time, he thought Mr. Frazier had an excellent grasp of the realities of working with them as people.
We also talked to Reverend John Johnson of the Dunham Avenue Christian Church that is just a few doors down on the other side of the street from the Chateau Hough. Rev. Johnson said that he had kept an eye on the vineyard's progression and he thought that it was an excellent asset to the community.
We talked to the young foreman, Mr. Marvin Foster, about the wine created from the grapes grown here. Mr. Foster told us that their brand, "The Vineyards of Chateau Hough est. 2010" produces two wines now: "Traminette" and "Frontenac-Valdipina" but soon a third one, "Rose" will be marketed. Mr. Frazier told us that the wine is now produced at a facility in Solon but the proceeds from the fundraiser tonight will go towards transforming the greenhouse, which is on the premises, into a winery. Accordingly, we also met two people instrumental to this project's success who were Mr. David Popp, who is an Oenologist/wine scientist who trains people on the processes of making wines, and Mr. Rob Donaldson, an architect who designed the greenhouse. Interestingly, we met Mr. Donaldson several weeks ago when he was volunteering at the Lakewood Meltdown where we were tabling for Margaret W. Wong and Associates.
Soon after we arrived Mr. Frazier introduced the entertainment for the evening but he talked to us for a moment before he did. Briefly, Mr. Frazier believes (as we do) that if the inner city is allowed to die its death will very much affect the other localities. He was very optimistic about the future of Chateau Hough which has been an excellent success thus far. He hopes to replicate its success by establishing similar establishments in other parts of Cleveland. Part of the reason that he wants to move forward is that these projects are low tech and the skills required to create and maintain them are easily learned.
Mr. Frazier then introduced a group we are quite familiar with called "Distinguished Gentlemen of the Spoken Word" who we written about several times before. Part of their chant tonight was, "we protect our community and anyone who calls it home...we improve ourselves and help improve anyone around us." Needless to say, they were excellent as always. After their performance, Mr. Frazier said, "you know that these young men are going to college, not to prison. Now that's community development!"
Then three members of the Cleveland Orchestra who were Ms. Carolyn Warner, Ms. Tanya Woolfrey, and Mr. Robert Woolfrey entertained us with some classical music including selections by Beethoven. They closed, however, with some neat jazz by Benny Goodman.
Mr. Frazier concluded the program by acknowledging those who had helped with the program this evening including the Cleveland Museum of Art that had a table there. He praised those involved with Chateau Hough especially Mr. Foster who he acknowledged "used to be the terror of the neighborhood" but with the help of some constructive mentoring had turned his life around. Obviously he was quite proud of Mr. Foster who calls him every morning at 6am "to get his marching orders for the day."
Before we left, we had a conversation with Mr. Kurt Karakul, Executive Director of the Third Federal Foundation who has known Ms. Margaret W. Wong for many years. We also spoke to an information technologist who once worked for a firm that made use of Ms. Wong's services to help or dozen or so of their workers from India obtain their green cards.
We especially liked talking to Ms. Mary K. Holmes who helped start the North Union Farmers Market and sometimes teaches a class at CWRU titled "Food, Farming and Economic Prosperity." In addition she has assisted students who are seniors on their capstone projects. One of these involved the interviewing of three refugee families from Somalia, Bhutan, and Burma to get an idea of their food pattern. Ms. Holmes said that we can learn a lot about a culture by focusing on the food that is consumed by its people.
Besides that, Ms. Holmes is very aware of the work of Ms. Margaret W. Wong and loves receiving our holiday card each year.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC