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Out & About in Cleveland

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ClevelandPeople.com Holiday Party

On Thursday, December 11th, we attended the annual "Magnum Holiday Party" at the Bo Loong restaurant on St. Clair Avenue organized by our friends from Clevelandpeople.com Mr. Dan Hanson and Ms. Debbie Hanson. By Ms. Hanson's estimation, about 73 or so people were present including Mayor Georgine Welo of South Euclid, Mr. Jason Lin (HCI and Omni Square), Johnny Wu (Cleveland Asian Festival), Mr. Gary Baney (ASMGi), Ms. Andrea Anelli (Cleveland Opera Theater), Ms. Kristen Morris (Government Relations Officer at the Cleveland Clinic), Mr. Marty Mordarski (ERC), Father John Lee from Communion of Saints Parish in Cleveland Heights, and Mr. Neil Mohney (Forest City Development) to name only a few.

Just before lunch started, Mr. Hanson said that "we are all huge fans of Cleveland. We love the city and we do cool stuff" and then went on to encourage us to network with the other attendees because "through making a contact here, you might be able to do even more cool stuff!" We thus had good conversations with several people including:

***Mr. Ronald Rerko, Director of Translational Development from the Cleveland Clinic who has been working for the past 8 years with Dr. Charis Eng who is a good friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

***Ms. Amy Kenneley, Mr. Maury Feren and Ms. Beverly Cobb. We sat down with them and visited for a few moments. Ms. Kenneley writes for "Cleveland Seniors". Mr. Feren is a now-retired but reknowned broadcaster for 58 years who will soon celebrate his 100th birthday. Ms. Cobb is his assistant and she also started a group called "Widow Might" which offers assistance to women who are struggling. When we told them that we work for Ms. Margaret W. Wong, Mr. Feren said that she was "the most famous immigrant in the country."

***Mr. Phil Alexander who is the CEO of BrandMuscle that employs 200 people in Cleveland and between 300 and 400 people in Chicago. Mr. Alexander immigrated to the United States from India in 1979 to study at CWRU. In 1982 Ms. Wong helped him obtain a Green Card and in 2000 he founded BrandMuscle which is a marketing automation company. He says that there is "not a more welcoming place than the United States."

***Our friend, Mr. Paramjit Singh who told us that he first came to Cleveland in 1962. In the mid-seventies, his wife and he agreed that "Cleveland is the best location in the nation" because they wanted to raise a family and they liked it that Cleveland has the four seasons. Mr. Singh recalled that Cleveland used to be the home of many millionaires who settled on Euclid Avenue and he believes that the time has come for Cleveland to realize its potential by creating a new millionaires' row on Euclid Avenue to be settled by a new generation of millionaires/billionaires. He admires President Obama for his Executive Order pertaining to immigration and said that the President is taking the steps that Congress should have been taking because he would like it if the United States were to become more inclusive and more welcoming of other cultures.

***Mr. James H. Foster, former CEO of the City Club of Greater Cleveland, said that Ms. Margaret W. Wong was "a delightful person with a good sense of humor" and "a warm light of the City Club experience."

To be sure, Mr. Hanson and Ms. Hanson got a lot of praise for organizing the luncheon and for their contributions to Cleveland. Mr. Russ Mitchell, news anchor for WKYC, praised them for showing the "vibrancy and strength" of the international community in Cleveland. Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman said that Mr. Hanson and Ms. Hanson lend a "good spiritual presence" to all the events that they cover for Clevelandpeople.com. Mr. August Pust said that it was only fitting that this multicultural event be held in a Chinese restaurant that is only a short distance from where other ethnic groups like the Slovenians and the Poles settled when they first came to Cleveland.

In addition, we had a good visit with Mr. Brad Sussman, former Meteorologist for New Channel 5, in which we discussed the possibilities for a cold, snowy Cleveland winter. Ms. Sussman said that anything can happen but cited examples where there was a lot of snow in November and not that much in December but when January came....anyway, we are appreciative that we have been able to move swiftly from event to event for as long as we have and to be able to take in as many events as we have been able to do. As for the future, we will continue to do the best that we can while we can.

Our second event for the day was the "Big Creek Connects Holiday Celebration" held at Moncho's Bar and Grill on Denison Avenue. Until recently this organization was called "Friends of Big Creek" and we had never been to one of their meetings, although we have heard a lot about it over the years, but we know that Ms. Wong is very concerned about environmental conditions in Cleveland so we decided to stop by for a few minutes and were readily welcomed by Ms. Mary Ellen Stasek, the board chair, and Mr. Bob Gardin, the Executive Director.

Mr. Gardin told us about the Big Creek/I-71 Relocation and Restoration Initiative which is a promising project that examines relocating sections of Interstate 71 and redirecting the flow of Big Creek to improve steam hydrology, expand greenspace and recreational trails, improve highway access, and create community and economic development opportunities.

We had a special treat when we got to meet the owners of Moncho's who are the Montoya family composed of Ramon (the father/husband), Cristina Bermudez (the mother/wife), Isabel (the daughter/sister) and Mario (the son/brother). We found the Montoya family to be very warm and happy people who immigrated to the United States from Columbia about twenty years ago and became citizens eight years ago. Isabel is on her way to becoming a teacher and Mario is studying finance. Montoya's has only been open for 6 months but Ramon has had over 15 years of experience in the restaurant business. Ms. Stasek told us that she believes that people like the Montoya family are the American dream and we certainly extend to them our best wishes.

We also respect the mission statement Big Creek Connects which is "to conserve, enhance, and bring recognition to the natural and historic resources of the Big Creek Watershed and develop a recreational trail network that connections these resources to each other and the community."

As we were leaving, a person called out to us and said, "I remember you, you work for that lawyer, Wong!"

After we left Moncho's, we hurried over Tizzano's on 260th Street in Euclid for the Cuyahoga Democratic Party Holiday Party. There is no point in saying who was there because everyone was there so we walked around the room saying hello to all of our friends.

We were, however, impressed by the number of local judges that we knew who were there including Michael Jackson (Common Pleas), Alison Floyd (Juvenile Court), Lauren Moore (Cleveland Municipal Court), Cassandra Collier-Williams (Common Pleas), Emanuela Groves (Cleveland Municipal Court), and Brendan Sheehan (Common Pleas). And there were also three newly elected judges scheduled to take office shortly who were Anita Laster Mays (Cleveland Municipal Court), Francine Goldberg (Domestic Relations), and Shannon Gallagher (Common Pleas).

We spoke with Ms. Lana Moresky who told us that she was at the White House Holiday Party on December 5th which was also attended by her friend, Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

We met Mr. Andrew Baker who is the Prosecutor and Assistant Law Director for the City of Linndale who told us to say hello to Ms. Wong because he knew her from when he worked as a bartender at the Key Club downtown from 2005 to 2011.

We also talked to Judge John P. O'Donnell, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, who attended the Holiday Party of Margaret W. Wong and Associates last Saturday. Judge O'Donnell liked our party a lot and said to us that there was "a wide cross section" there. We told him that that was what was what we wanted to have because we have friends from all across the spectrum. Judge O'Donnell grinned and told us that if diversity is what we wanted, "you got it!" which made us happy.

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