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Painesville Chamber of Commerce

On Thursday, July 31st, we attended three events and two of them involved the Painesville Chamber of Commerce. Our first event was a "Combo Grand Opening and Celebration" of four local businesses which had recently relocated to an office building at 10 West Erie Street in Painesville. These businesses were Hennig, Szeman & Klammer Co., LPA; Diversified Insurance Concepts; Diversified Cleaning Solutions; and New York Life Insurance Co.

In fact New York Life Insurance Company had re-located here from South Euclid.

We were happy to see that about 40 people attended this event including a representative from U.S. Congressman David Joyce's office and as well as Ms. Felicia King, Outreach Specialist and Regional Director for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Ms. King told us that she used to work with Margaret W. Wong and Associates on immigration issues, along with Ms. Michelle Gilchrist, years ago when our current Attorney General was a United States Senator and she served on his staff.

We talked to Ms. Cathy Bieterman, Economic Development Director for Painesville, and Mr. Daniel D. Smith, Chief Operating Officer Real Estate for Consolidated Investment Corporation, the owner of this office building about why this is so important to the community and they both agreed that the relocation meant that these businesses were growing and expanding and creating more jobs and economic opportunities for the community and the citizenry.

Our other chamber event was a combined effort of the Painesville and Madison Perry Chambers of Commerce. It was dubbed the "Mad Hatter Mini-Golf Tournament" and it was held at the Red Mill Golf Center in Perry. The description for this minature golf outing read, " not a golfer...not a good golfer?...can't wait for the chamber's golf outing?...need fun after work for you and your co-workers?" and aptly so.

All participants were encouraged to put on a crazy hat while they played but we decided to play this down and just wore a tan cap. We teamed up with three other players who were Ms. Nicci Vanjo and Ms.Maureen Doherty both from Zito Insurance Agency, and Ms. Jeannine Felasco from Homestead Assisted Living. All of us were primarily there to enjoy ourselves and interact with other members of the two chambers.

We know that someone once said that many of the great business deals were made on the golf course but we doubt if any of that took place tonight. We did, however, exchange contact information with Ms. Janette Hamilton from GTS (group transportation services) which has contacts within Canada. It should also be noted that GTS was a sponsor of tonight's event.

When all of the score cards were totaled, the top two teams had to have a final one hole shootout to decide the ultimate championship and no, our team wasn't one of the top two. Needless to say, it would have been a boring exercise if we did not do our best to sink the ball in two shots instead of four but we were having such a good time engaging in friendly competition that to actually win this tournament tonight wasn't a priority for anyone there.

The term "friendly competition" could have used to partially describe the other event we went to this afternoon between the two chamber events. This gathering was "A Celebration of Peace! Peace Camp 2014 End of Camp Celebration" presented by the youth and staff of Peace in the Hood at their facility on Kinsman Road in Cleveland.

Unfortunately, we arrived late but we were still warmly welcomed and when it came time to make acknowledgements Mr. Khalid A. Samad thanked Ms. Margaret W. Wong for sending a representative and hailed her for her skills as an immigration attorney and as a civil rights activists.

This camp is held every summer and this summer 67 young people between ages 5 to 18 attended what community activist Ms. Alene Barnes described to us as a consciousness raising experience designed to teach young people about peace and love in the neighborhood and how important it is that these young people unite to achieve these goals.

On the wall there was a poster describing the "daily routine" which was:

1. Greeting 2. Nguzo Saba (the seven principles of African Heritage) 3. Language Skills 4. Affirmation 5. Review of Songs and Principles 6. Daily Project 7. Creative Play

The "daily project" and "creative play" obviously included art projects for we saw quite a few scattered around the room. We also understand that their were workshops where subjects like responsible entrepreneurship were addressed.

As for the "Nguzo Saba" principles of African Heritage, there was a poster on the wall for that also which read:

1. Umoja-Unity 2. Kujichagulia-Self Determination 3. Ujima-Collective Work and Responsibility 4. Ujamaa-Cooperative Economics 5. Nia-Purpose 6. Kuumba-Creativity 7. Imani-Faith

Moreover, on the back of our programs for today's gathering was the mission statement for Peace in the Hood/Coalition for a Better Life that seems to embrace all of the above and it reads in part, "We are a transformational and solution-based organization solving youth violence through prevention, intervention, and educational programs that promote personal responsibility, empowerment, and self-sufficiency. We provide young people with structured activities from a holistic culturally specific perspective. This process will enable young adults to learn and implement the tools necessary to become productive citizens in society."

We were so glad that we were able to be here for at least part of this wonderful gathering. As the event came to a close, we all joined hands as part of a circle because, as it was pointed out, a circle is an important part of any traditional meeting/gathering because it allows all to participate in the event.

Before we left, we asked Ms. Meredith Turner from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown's office how she would describe the Peace Camp and she said that it was "a tool kit to be peaceful citizens of the the world" and we couldn't agree with her more.

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