Carl Hirsch, Architect of WMMS’ Heyday, Dead at 64 (Cleveland Scene)

Courtesy of Cleveland Scene March 1, 2011

The link is here 

Carl Hirsch, Architect of WMMS’ Heyday, Dead at 64

Former Cleveland radio executive Carl Hirsch died suddenly Monday of a heart attack in Florida, where he had been living in recent years. He was 64.

Hirsch was president/CEO of Malrite, WMMS-FM’s parent company, from 1974-1985, the years in which WMMS became the most influential rock station in the country. He ran Legacy Broadcasting from 1986-1990. In the 1990s, he was president and CEO of OmniAmerica, which made WMJI-FM one of Cleveland’s dominant stations. In 1999 he founded NextMedia, which owns and operates broadcast properties around the country. Most recently, he had been doing consulting through his Legacy Management Group.

“There wouldn’t have been a WMMS without him,” says John Gorman, who was the station’s program director during its glory years. “The only thing he demanded of you was that you be as creative and innovative as possible. He didn’t ask a whole lot of questions. He just said, ‘Go out and do something that hasn’t been done before.’”

WMMS was legendary for its cohesive, stable staff of talent — unusual in radio, with long-running personalities like Denny Sanders, Matt the Cat, Kid Leo, Betty Korvan, Jeff Kinsbach, and Ed “Flash” Ferenc. “Carl was a big reason why that staff not only stuck together 12-13 years,” says Gorman. “It wasn’t like coming to work. It was like walking into a dot.com start-up. People were coming up with crazy, creative ideas nonstop.”

“He was the right man at the right time to take over the upper management of the radio station,” says Denny Sanders. “He was young; he understood what we were doing in programming and marketing more than the ownership itself. He possessed a certain dynamism that was infectious.”

Gorman also points to how Hirsch took Malrite, a small, Cleveland-based broadcasting company, and built it up, adding television and cable to its portfolio. “He bought a little station in New Jersey, WVNJ, that played what he used to call ‘chicken jazz,’ and turned it into Z100. He made it the biggest top 40 station in the nation, and he did it in one month — one ratings book. That was the way he was.”

Hirsch was also known for his philanthropy. He was generous to his alma mater, Kent State University, giving $500,000 for the Carl E. Hirsch Media Convergence Lab. Last year he gave $1 million to the Cleveland Clinic Florida Health and Wellness Center, its largest single donation ever, which named its main lobby was named after him. — Anastasia Pantsios

Maurice Maschke, a tribute written by Roelif Loveman, Plain Dealer (11/20/1936)

MASCHKE, MAN OF KINDNESS, CHARM 

Symbol of Bossism, but to Reporter He Was One Who Bore No Grudge. 

BY ROELIF LOVELAND, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Friday November 20, 1936


I don’t know much about editorial opinion or what constitutes a great public servant or a fair-to-middling one. But I do know something about people, as all reporters do who have been in the racket for more than a year.

 

You get so you can spot the phonies, and the average guys, and the better than average guys—and every so often you run across a fellow who grows with acquaintance and who never lets you down. And you are inclined to call them great guys, and sometimes you call them great men.

You can kick a heel around, and his bellows will fill the air, guilty or not. You can kick an average guy around, and he’ll smack you the first chance he gets. But when you kick a great man around, and he takes it, unconvinced of his error, but grinning, you’ll know he’s a great man.

A Man Kind and Gracious.

We all booted Maurice Maschke around—and he held no bitterness against us. Why did we kick him around? God only knows. Maurice Maschke was the symbol of party bossism. Maurice Maschke this, Maurice Maschke that. Maurice Maschke wore horns a foot long. So what?

To think of him—and we who knew him are not likely to forget him in a hurry—to think of him is to think of a man who was kind and gracious; who loved his city and his family and his party and truth and personal decency. To be sure, he gave the city about what its citizens wanted. If they wanted the town cleaned up, it was cleaned up. If they wanted it less rigid, it was less rigid, I do not attempt to claim that Maurice Maschke was a Boy Scout.

I can see him as he sat in a court room. Flash bulbs exploded all about him. One exploded. and the glass hit him in the face. Maschke was mad. Not mad about the bulbs, but burned up because he was being kicked around. He was acquitted.

Chatting With Foe’s Wife.

I can see him on a platform in Public Hall, graciously trying to make conversation with the wife of one of his political enemies. The lady looked scared to death until Maschke began to talk with her. Only a gentleman to his shoetops could have done it.

I can see him in his office going over the proof of the history of his life which he wrote for the Plain Dealer. A comma out of place was a matter of moment for him. He would consider the break of a paragraph for minutes. He liked words, and he fished for them diligently, until he had the right one. He had a lot of fun. I do not recall that most of the gross Tammany bosses ever gave a comma or a paragraph a thought.

I recall him on election nights, with his hat on his head, and his glasses on his forehead, looking up and pretending to growl at his assistants. They pretended to be frightened by the growl, but they weren’t, because they loved him. And I really believe he knew he wasn’t scaring anybody.

Eyes That Then Were Happy.

And I remember that night, not so long ago, when Maurice Maschke marched down the aisle of the former Women’s City Club where, on the eve of the greatest Democratic victory in history, Republicans had gathered to honor him. The hall was packed. Maschke’s scarf was flying free from his coat. His face was flushed. His eyes were happy, and a little moist. He did not seem to be very strong.

One by one, they got up, great and small, and told Maurice Maschke of their regard for him.

His heart was full—full almost to bursting.

It is a comfort today to those of us who booted Maurice Maschke around, to know that he bore us no iIl will. He never quite understood it—and neither did we. It was wicked to be a party boss, in spite of what Lincoln Steffens said on the subject. And Maschke let it go at that. Let it go at that, and took us into his confidence and, whether he knew it or not, sometimes into his heart.

And what we saw there was shining silver and pure gold.

For Maurice Maschke, diabolical party boss, was one of the kindest and gentlest and finest gentlemen I have ever known.

Read more about Maurice Maschke here

“Personal & Professional” Memoirs of Sidney Z. Vincent

“Personal & Professional” Memoirs of Sidney Z. Vincent.

Mr. Vincent was Executive Director of The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland for many years during the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. He was also a national leader in Jewish education and communal affairs.

We are grateful to Mr. Vincent’s daughter, Jill Caslin and son, Norman Vincent for giuving us permission to offer this book

The pdf file is here (please be patient, the file is approximately 10mg in size)

Western Reserve Plan – Current Plan for Cuyahoga County Government

The link is here

Plan Highlights:

The Western Reserve Plan will focus on these 12 key areas:

  1. Metropolitan Government:
    Implementing a practical strategy for creating a functioning, county-wide metropolitan government.
  2. Entrepreneurship and Job Growth:
    Establishing Greater Cleveland as a center of entrepreneurship and job growth.
  3. Downtown Cleveland:
    Designing a place-based development strategy which recognizes the centrality of downtown Cleveland to the region as a whole.
  4. Human Service Needs:
    Aligning and coordinating both public and private resources around our most pressing human service needs.
  5. Education:
    Identifying education, from early childhood forward, as the central factor in individual and community success.
  6. Health and Wellness:
    Embracing a health and wellness culture which mirrors the excellence of our major medical institutions.
  7. Economic Inclusion:
    Incorporating economic inclusion as a guiding principle in our economic development strategy.
  8. International City/Younger Generations:
    Branding our metropolitan area as an international city which harnesses the energy of our younger generations.
  9. Foreclosure Crisis:
    Adopting a collaborative approach to the foreclosure crisis- from prevention to restoration.
  10. Veterans:
    Honoring the service of our veterans by giving them priority in hiring, training and education.
  11. Public Safety:
    Protecting our county by leading a county-wide public safety initiative.
  12. Good Government:
    Creating a culture within county government which implements nationally recognized good government practices and innovations.

Ohio Flood of 1913

From the Chillicothe Gazette, March 15, 2013

The link is here:

http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20130316/NEWS01/303160001/Public-largely-has-forgotten-Ohio-s-Flood-1913

Public largely has forgotten Ohio’s Flood of 1913

Written by Russ Zimmer CentralOhio.com

By any measurement, the Flood of 1913 was the most significant catastrophe in Ohio’s history. One that left an indelible mark on transportation infrastructure, humanitarian missions and, of course, flood planning.

bilde.jpeg

This image was taken during the Flood of 1913 on Seventh Street in Chillicothe.

Forty-two percent of Dayton was underwater. The water was 17 feet deep in parts of Columbus. Five hundred bridges were washed away. Ohio was changed forever.

However, outside of Dayton, there isn’t much talk about the week of March 23, 1913, when at least 600 people died, 250,000 people were left homeless, and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage (billions in today’s dollars) was wrought, according to the Silver Jackets, a collective of local, state and federal agencies involved in flood planning and response.

“This event was so historic, but it really has slipped through the public consciousness,” said Sarah Jamison, National Weather Service hydrologist. “If you think about the scale of this event, it was a (Hurricane) Katrina or a (Hurricane) Sandy.”

Eight to 12 inches of rain fell across the state starting on March 23, Easter Sunday, and ending midday March 27. Data from the NWS says a typical March in Ohio has 2.5 to 4 inches of precipitation. Ohio seemed star-crossed as pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did, starting March 21, Good Friday, when a strong windstorm swept through with hurricane-force winds in the north and sustained winds up to 40 mph elsewhere in the state.

“That knocked out power lines and telephone lines,” said Jamison, who works at the Cleveland NWS station. “There was no way of relaying information once the flooding started (Sunday).”

Before it was all over, not a single river in Ohio remained contained within its banks and no corner of the state was immune from the effects of the flood.

“In the case of 1913, it was pretty much the entire state of Ohio,” said Julie Reed, a hydrologist at the Wilmington NWS office. “It remains to date the single most deadly and devastating disaster in Ohio history.”

In the old parlance, Jamison said the series of storms that caused the 1913 flood would have been called a 500-year or 1,000-year event. Spearheaded by Daytonians, plans quickly took off to make sure Ohio would be as ready as it could be for the next one.

Within a year of the flood waters receding, Dayton had developed a plan to build large reservoirs that would capture excessive rainwater, but officials found they didn’t have the legal authority to construct flood-control structures. The Ohio Conservancy Act was approved in February 1914 and the Miami Conservancy District was born a year later. (One in Kenton with a much smaller footprint was established first.)

Today, there are 20 conservancy districts in Ohio, including the massive Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, which encompasses about 20 percent of the state. Its dams and reservoirs have been tested many times since its first dam was built in 1935, but perhaps not more so than during flooding in January 2005, when 8 inches of rain fell in a 10-day period

The pools at seven of the 16 dams in the district set record highs, according to district spokesman Darrin Lautenschleger, and there was some flooding in the easement areas behind the dams.

“However, the system operated exactly as it was designed, as there were no significant reports of property damage and, most importantly, there was no loss of life reported from this event,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates property owners were spared $400 million in damage from that flood and a total of $10.4 billion through the history of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

Flood planning today, however, is geared more toward “keeping people away from the floods instead of floods away from people,” said Alicia Silverio, a senior environmental specialist at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Silverio provides guidance on floodplain management to local governments.

“We have so many communities where their downtowns have rivers running through them,” Silverio said. “They knew areas like that were flood prone. They were low-lying and next to channels, but it was a risk they had to take, to be close to those waterways.”

Ideally, land inside what the federal government has identified as the 1 percent floodplain — areas that have a 1 in 100 annual chance of flooding — would be used for open space, picnic areas and ball fields.

The reality is much different for many cities, which were designed around water access for commercial uses, so it becomes about mitigating the damage to new structures. As development increases, so does the flood risk, Silverio said, because more parking lots, roofs and other impervious surfaces means less ground to soak up rainfall.

“Flooding is going to happen,” Silverio said. “It’s when we have people and development in the way of that flood that it becomes a problem.”

The scope of the post-flood transformation was not limited to just flood control, or even to just Ohio and Indiana, the two most deluged states. That makes its relatively small place in history all the more puzzling, said Trudy Bell, a veteran science journalist and author of several stories on the flood.

Bell is crisscrossing the region and giving talks about the catastrophe, but she said the attention the event is getting now wasn’t there in 2012 and probably won’t be there in 2014. Leave the Miami Valley and talking about 1913 flood might bring a lot of blank stares, despite its many legacies, she said.

For example, the American Red Cross, which was chartered by Congress in the preceding decade, cut its teeth in the flood, she said.

“The experience they gained through handling that broad of an area prepared them for handling all the casualties on the battlefield of World War I,” Bell said.

The United Way sprung from the model of federated giving — donating to an umbrella charity organization — that was pioneered by “community chests,” the first of which was established in Cleveland in 1913 as a response to the flood.

Bell said that what now are known as Rotary International clubs transformed from primarily business groups to community service clubs when they reacted to the flood with their first cooperative humanitarian response.

Radio, a relatively new technology at the time, became an integral tool in future disaster responses, as amateur operators at Ohio State University helped relay information to family members searching for their relatives, she said.

Bridges subsequently were built with their piers farther up the banks of the river or creek and with higher spans. Many bridges acted as dams in 1913 when debris became trapped against their pillars and decks, causing water to back up and then spill out in unintended places, Bell said.

Before the flood, there was an extensive system of canals in Ohio, she said. Goods on their way from New York City to the Gulf of Mexico would travel via canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio River at Portsmouth. Parts of the canals, whose owners were already feeling the pinch of competition from railroads, were intentionally destroyed during the flood and the system was completely abandoned for commercial purposes.

“Seldom can you say a canal era ended at one particular moment, but in this case I’m pretty sure if was either (that) Tuesday or Wednesday,” she said.

Experts: Weather conditions that created 1913 flood are rare

Climate change takes weather to the extremes, but it’s unclear if rising temperatures raise the odds of a repeat of the 1913 flood, Ohio’s state climatologist said.

Global warming is responsible for periods of prolonged drought, but also the increase in intense bursts of rain, he said. In recent years, we’ve seen both of those in Ohio.

“What the scientific evidence seems to be showing is that with global warming, we are getting more frequent high-rainfall events in Ohio,” said Jeff Rogers, a geography professor at Ohio State University and the state’s climatologist. “In Ohio and other parts of the Midwest, we’ve seen an increase in days with 1 inch or more of rainfall.”

However, that type of weather leads to flash floods and doesn’t describe what happened March 23 through March 27, 1913.

The Flood of 1913 wasn’t caused by one massive storm, such as a hurricane, but by a series of low-pressure systems from the Rocky Mountains that were stalled over Ohio and Indiana by an unusually immobile high-pressure system sitting on the East Coast, according to hydrologists with the National Weather Service in Ohio.

“We don’t know very much about what the role of global warming actually is in causing weather systems to stall,” Rogers said.

On Easter Sunday 1913, temperatures climbed from near freezing up to above 70 degrees. Winds from the south pushed warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico into the mix, providing an ample source of moisture to feed the storm. The entire state was soaked, not just one basin, which meant there was no relief to be found anywhere.

Sarah Jamison, a hydrologist at Cleveland office of the NWS, said the meteorological circumstances that caused the flood are rare.

“The rarity of those storms from a rainfall perspective — 6 to 10 inches on average and in some areas as much as a foot — we can get rainfall events like that on a local basis,” she said. “That it was so widespread is what makes this storm unique.”

About the only thing not working against Ohio that week was that the ground wasn’t snow covered or frozen, said Julie Reed, a hydrologist at the Wilmington office of the NWS.

Rogers, who has been the state’s climatologist since 1986, said the pattern of quick and intense storms tied to global warming already has revealed shortcomings in the storm water infrastructure.

“The shorter-term events are pointing toward improved needs for updating sewer systems and storm drainage and when the big events — the real nasty ones — come, it will help us be better prepared for those, too,” he said, “but sometimes you’re just never really ready for it.”