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Out & About in Cleveland

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CAMEO Holiday Party

On Thursday, December 10th, our first gathering was an Cleveland District Council of the Urban Land Institute networking event that took place at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. We made about 20 new contacts there who were mostly architects, policy planners and real estate professionals. We learned that the Urban Land Institute is a "501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that has as its mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide."

We spoke to Ms. Debra Wilson; Manager, Real Estate Development for the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation; who told us that the Urban Land Institute is an invaluable resource for such things as surveys, environmental reports, and asbestos removal. She also praised them for their innovative approaches concerning land usage. Ms. Mackenzie Hutton; Manager of Strategic Initiatives for Forest City; likes the way that the Urban Land Institute creates partnerships with community groups and local government.

As is often the case, we met several people who know of Ms. Margaret W. Wong asked us to convey seasons greetings including Mr. Anthony Whitfield who also works for Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. as its Economic Development Director; Mr. David Parrish of RDL Architects; and Mr. Lennie Stover of Stover Wealth Management, LLC.

One person told us that his firm has hired several "international people" and took our contact information for future reference and at least two people inquired about the EB5 program. We enjoyed speaking with Mr. Adrian Byrne from the Lund-Bryne Association. He immigrated to the United States from Great Britain in 1971. During the course of our conversation, we asked him if he became a United States citizen and he replied, "Why would you not?" He went on to say that the answer was "yes" he did around 2000.

Our next event was the CAMEO Holiday Party that was held at the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road in Independence. To be sure, it is always great to see Mr. Pierre Bejjani, Mr. Tony Abdulkarim, Mr. Fred Bourjaily, Mr. Sam Tanious, and Mr. Abby Mina all of whom are almost always at each monthly meeting. But there were also other people there like Judge Ralph Perk, Jr. and his wife, Ms. Kelli Perk, Mr. Jay Khoury who also said hello on behalf of his wife, Judge Maureen Clancey; Ms. Laura De Pompei who is the bailiff of Judge Joan Synenberg; Mr. Ken Rubenstein, Attorney at Law; Ms. Cindy David from Raqs for Joy; and our friend Ms. Lisa Wong of OCA Greater Cleveland Chapter.

At this meeting we met Captain Stephanie M. Goggans who is the Company Commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Company in Cleveland. Captain Goggans has served all over the world including Korea, Iraq and Fort Bragg. The only two places that she hasn't been to are South America and Africa. She was raised on the East Side of Cleveland where she attended John F. Kennedy High School and is very glad to be back here where she will serve for probably two years. Captain Goggans likes listening to those have who have expressed an interest in joining the U.S. Army and finds advising them to be very rewarding. We liked it that Mr. Bejjani knew her and invited her to the party.

We also got to meet Judge Joe Nahra who is retired now but during his tenure he served on the Common Pleas Court, Court of Appeals, Probate Court and Juvenile Court. We asked him what the most memorable case was that he tried and he cited the one that involved the 1969 murder of Ms. Marlene Steele who was the wife of Dr. Robert Steele who was tried and convicted in the court of Judge Nahra in 1977. When we told him that we were from Margaret W. Wong and Associates, he said that he didn't need an immigration lawyer. He then smiled and said that, "my parents did...but that was a long time ago."

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