Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kiss one bottleneck goodbye......


In the great scheme of things, traffic in Newark is usually
not much of a problem. The three areas that come to mind
as being the most problematic are North 21st Street around
the ramps to State Route 16, Church Street and Country
Club between the State Route 16 ramps and Granville Road,
and finally Mount Vernon Road between Deo Drive and
Waterworks.

The State of Ohio (ODOT) has plans to add some lanes to
21st Street and the State Route 16 ramps, so that problem
could be lessened, with construction possibly starting this
summer. The City of Newark is working on plans to widen
Country Club Drive north of Granville Road, which should
help, but maybe not entirely fix that problem. The Country
Club Road widening is projected to happen in late 2011.

After much effort (the process included some eminent
domain takings, so effort should be expected), construction
has begun on the Deo Drive extension across Mount Vernon
Road. Well, almost. The work started is the relocation of
utility lines and demolition. Road work is expected to start
by mid-April and should be completed by late Spring of 2011.

For those of us who travel north on Mount Vernon Road in
the afternoons, the two traffic lights at Deo and Waterworks,
a scant 490 feet apart, always make for some interesting
driving, or more accurately waiting. Upon completion of this
project, Deo Drive will cross Mount Vernon (the light
remains), cross the rail road tracks, and then bend north to
connect to Waterworks Road. The existing light at
Waterworks and Mount Vernon Road will be only a
memory and the intersection of Waterworks and Mount
Vernon Road will only provide access to those few
businesses that are located on the west side of the rail
road tracks.

The drawing below shows the new roadway.





Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the construction
is how the City is paying for it's share of the cost (Federal
dollars will pay about half of the more than $4,000,000
total cost). Back during the Stare Administration, a TIF
district was proposed for the development of the old Chilcote-
Prior farm. TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. This
is a development tool that allows for a certain percentage of
the property taxes projected to be collected on future
commercial development to be re-allocated, or re-directed,
towards infrastructure improvements. After the TIF was put
in place, the Chilcote-Prior farm became Adornetto's, Wal-
Mart, Log Pond Plaza, McDonalds,Steak n Shake, First
Federal, a LMH medical office building, the Light House car
wash, Murphy Oil and a three unit strip center. All told, a
significant amount of development.

Over time the boundaries of the TIF district were expanded
to include the Home Depot site, the Kohl's site, and the
North Elementary site.

Infrastructure improvements ultimately paid for by the
TIF proceeds include the extension of Deo Drive west to
Goosepond Road, the construction of Log Pond Road
connecting Baker Blvd to Deo Drive,the expansion of
sanitary sewer and water lines, and now finally the
extension of Deo Drive across Mount Vernon Road to
Waterworks Road.

The one constant through this whole TIF process has been
Brian Moorehead, the City Engineer. Working with limited
capital improvement dollars, he has significant
responsibilities. Those of us who come in contact with him
professionally consider Brian to be open-minded, fair,
thoughtful, unflappable, steady, responsive, responsible,
methodical, and proficient. In other words, he is a good
man who is good at his job. Without a lot of fanfare, he has
served the citizens of Newark well. He deserves a pat on
the back.

It is time to become remarkable....

I have become a fan of Seth Godin. You can see his blog
by clicking the link on my Blog List.

In his most recent book (a book well worth reading, by
the way) Linchpin, he writes:

"Thornton May correctly points out that we have reached
the end of what he calls attendance-based compensation
(ABC). There are fewer and fewer good jobs where you
can get paid merely for showing up. Instead,
successful organizations are paying people who make a
difference and are shedding everyone else."

I suspect that for the last hundred years our educational
system has been designed to teach us "to produce, to
conform, and to consume". The ability to show up and
follow directions was well rewarded. Those days appear
to be long gone. Change can be wrenching (although I am
not sure why. Seems like it has been constant for most of
my adult life), but if we do not embrace change and accept
the responsibility for the success of our own lives, change
will be done unto us.

Godin says, "If the game is designed for you to lose, don't
play the game. Play a different one."

It is time to become remarkable.

A few quotes for Saturday.....

"As long as you live, keep learning how to live."
-Seneca

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
-Teddy Roosevelt

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not
an act, but a habit"
-Aristotle

"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship."
-Louisa May Alcott

"In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments-
there are consequences."
Robert G. Ingersoll

Friday, April 2, 2010

Reasons why I like living in Newark and Licking County








Reason #40: WORKENOMICS.

Originally the brain child of Kelly Wallace, Fred Paul
(both of whom worked in the Adult Education part of
C-TEC), and Rick Platt (Port Authority), Workenomics
started as an attempt to beef up workforce development
in the face of looming baby boomer retirements. The idea
seems quaint right at this moment, but back in 2004 the
question of "where will the workers come from?" was real.

As we leave the current down cycle of the economy, the
question will become germane again.

Unique to Licking County, Workenomics has evolved into
an active coalition of people focused on the connection
between workforce issues and development issues.
Workenomics is involved in the effort to support both the
attraction of new industry to our community and also the
retention and expansion of existing industries in our
community.

The players include COTC, OSUN, C-TEC, LICCO,
Opportunity Links, Licking County Jobs and Family
Services, United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, The
Works, the Port Authority, Licking County Planning
Commission, the County Commissioners, Newark City,
Heath City, Pataskala, Etna Township, Hebron Village,
the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Southwest
Licking Community Sewer and Water District, AEP,
the Energy Cooperative, and all of the local private
developers.

To date, the effort has been mostly spadework. There
have been several trial runs, and the coalition functioned
effectively. The results will come.

You may be wondering what this has to do with liking
Newark and Licking County. I just like what the
Workenomics effort says. It says to me that:

We are a community that can, and does, effectively
work together;

We are a community that can be, and is, forward
thinking;

We are a community that can be, and is, pro-active
instead of reactionary;

We are a community made up of some first class people
who work hard at things that benefit us all.

I just like what Workenomics says about our community.

The richest man in town.......

might not be who you think.

Posting about Sam Walton the other day made me think
of the book, The Richest Man in Town. This is another
of those small, easy-to- read, inspirational books that I
am so fond of.

To set the scene, the author, V. J. Smith, is minding his
own business while waiting in a checkout line at his local
Wal-Mart. He soon notices that the cashier, Marty, was
engaging each customer, by greeting them, asking how
they were doing, and actually listening to what they said.
As if that wasn't different enough, after each customer
paid, Marty was walking around his bagging station and,
while handing them their change or receipt, looked them
in the eye, shook their hand, and thanked them for
shopping at his store.

The book is the story of the impact that Marty's simple
humanity had on his customers, his community, and
the author.

As you may have guessed, Marty was the richest man
in town. Not monetarily, he lived in a double wide in the
local trailer court. His wealth was measured by kindness,
by relationships, and by love- given and received.

Marty shared three rules:

Relationships matter most in life.
Try to do a little more.
Only you can make you happy.

Simple acts of kindness and connection. Hopefully,
some day, they won't be so remarkable as to merit
a book.

A quote for today...

"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than
a single lovely action."
-James Russell Lowell

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Made in the USA!!!!!!!!!

I took the liberty of copying and pasting the following.
For the full story, go here.

"Consolidating Manufacturing Facilities From Abroad.

Manufacturing products overseas was once a sensible move
for US businesses, allowing them to take advantage of lower
costs without compromising quality. This has changed in
recent years. Quality is now questionable in some parts of
the world, leading many American consumers to prefer
products that are “Made in the USA.” Coupled with rising oil
and logistics prices and a closing wage gap in many foreign
countries, manufacturing abroad has become less attractive.
At the same time, the recovering economy, along with new
government incentives, have renewed interest in the US as
a manufacturing destination. As a result, many companies
have considered moving their facilities here in many cases,
consolidating them with existing US operations."

Thanks inGenics.

P.S. We have some buildings they can use.

Thoughts and Gratitude

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
-G. K. Chesterton

Abraham Maslow would have been 102 years old today....

Sadly he died shortly before the 1971 publication of The
Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Perhaps best known
for his work on man's "hierarchy of needs", in this collection
of his papers he pursues the understanding of, among other
things, "peak experiences" and "self-actualization".

As noted in the post on Influences, this book opened
some new pathways for me to follow.

Here are some passages from the book:

"If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of
being, then I warn you that you'll be deeply unhappy for
the rest of your life. You will be evading your own
capacities, your own possibilities."

"In any case, I can certainly say that descriptively healthy
human beings do not like to be controlled. They prefer to
feel free and to be free."

"If we want to know the possibilities for spiritual growth,
value growth, or moral development in human beings, then
I maintain we can learn most by studying our most moral,
ethical, or saintly people....I think it fair to say that human
history is a record of the ways in which human nature has
been sold short. The highest possibilities of human nature
have practically always been underrated. Even when 'good
specimens', the saints and sages and great leaders of
history, have been available for study, the temptation too
often has been to consider them not human but super-
naturally endowed."

"We know only too well that a parent cannot make his
children into anything. Children make themselves into
something. The best we can do and frequently the most
effect we can have is by serving as something to react
against if the child presses too hard."

"One main characteristic of the peak experience is just
this total fascination with the matter-in-hand, this
getting lost in the present, this detachment from time
and space."

"let us think of life as a process of choices, one after
another. At each point there is a progression choice
and a regression choice. There may be a movement
toward defense, toward safety, toward being afraid;
but over on the other side, there is the growth choice.
To make the growth choice instead of the fear choice
a dozen times a day is to move a dozen times a day
toward self-actualization. Self-actualization is an
ongoing process..."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A most amazing thing happened to me today.......

Friend Dave called and wanted to meet. We met. He tells
me this story about his Dad and a long ago discussion they
had about the birthday practices of the the Hobbits in J.R.R.
Tolkien's Middle Earth. Hobbits do not receive gifts on their
birthdays, instead they freely give gifts. In the long run,
this works out better for everyone involved, as you give gifts
once a year, but, if you have enough friends, you are
practically guaranteed to receive a gift at least once a week
every week of the year. How cool!

Dave's Dad died some thirty one years ago. To honor his
father, every year on his Dad's birthday, (which is today)
Dave gives a gift- a book- to a friend. This afternoon, Dave
gave me Randy Pausch's book, The Last Lecture.
Inscribed inside the book cover are the words
"Happy Birthday 3/31/10" followed by his signature.

This whole encounter was a gift beyond measure.
Thanks Dave.

How long is long term......?

As reported in the Commercial Investment Real Estate
magazine, there was a CCIM investor survey. The given
statement was that "most property investors agree
that they are buying now for long-term holds". The
question asked was, "But how long is long term?"

My favorite answer, bless whoever it was that said it,
was, "We hold our assets forever, because that is where
true wealth is created".

Thoughts and Gratitude...

"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives,
as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which
secret garden we will tend... when we choose not to focus
on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the
abundance that's present -- love, health, family, friends,
work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring
us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we
experience Heaven on earth."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

Is there a twelve-step group for this....?

Our trade publication comes out with what I suspect is
a warning.

"This Is Your Brain on E-mail

A University of London study done for Hewlett Packard
revealed that infomania - addiction to e-mail and texting-
can lower your IQ twice as much as smoking pot. In addition,
e-mail constantly introduces new stimuli, raising levels of
noradrenalin and dopamine, making complex thinking such
as decision making and problem solving harder to accomplish.
'Once you’ve processed 30 or 40 e-mails, you’ve ruined your
brain chemistry for higher level tasks that are going to create
value,' says David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, one
of top 10 business books of 2009. 'Start [your day] with the
tougher work that requires a more-focused, quiet mind.
Tackle thinking tasks early and tasks that are relatively
‘interesting’ (which means your brain will go there easily)
such as checking your e-mails later when you are tired'.”

I don't often read Time magazine......

but while waiting for my daughter at the orthodontist's
office the other day, I thumbed through the March 22nd
issue.

Two stories caught my attention. One was an essay
on "The Boring Age". The author, Michael Lind, laments
that, after viewing the classic 1968 movie 2001: A Space
Odyssey, we just haven't come as far as we could have.

Then he offers this great quote:

"And anyone who struggles with automated receptionist
messages or programmable televisions knows that
today's computers are just as psychotic as HAL 9000,
only dumber."

(I am now waiting for my technologically competent
brother-in-law to tell me that "poor workmen blame
their tools".)

I am pretty sure that I don't agree with the author's
conclusion that we are living in an era of technological
stagnation, but that is just fine. It was an interesting
essay and I love the quote.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jeff Thredgold to the rescue.....

Faithful readers will remember that Jeff Thredgold is my
favorite "economic futurist". If you share my attraction
to the positive, you will read why here.

Happy Birthday to a most amazing man.....















Eric Clapton turns 65 today. Singer, songwriter,
guitar player extraordinaire, survivor.

Saw/heard him in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in
London in January of 1987. Mark Knopfler (Dire
Straits) was part of his back-up band. Steve Winwood
came on stage to sing during the encore. An amazing
night.

Have been to two of his concerts at the Schottenstein
Center. Always something special. A true artist
dedicated to his craft.

Thanks Eric.

Gratitude......

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have
into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos
to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a
house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes
sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision
for tomorrow."
-Melody Beattie

Another one hundred million...?









A "realist" reviews an
optimist. Read it here.
Can we start
building yet?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Did we really believe......

that consuming is more important than producing? Story
here about rising consumerism in China and India. Now,
can we get back to making things?

Just as a reminder.....

















Thanks Hugh

A poem for Monday...

"Why does the new moon give anyone hope?
Nevertheless it does and always has for me
and likely does for that Mexican poet with no pesos,
maybe a couple of tortillas, chewing them while sitting
on a smooth rock beside a creek in the Sierra Madres
seeing the new moon tilted delicately away from Venus,
the faint silver light, the ever-so-small sliver
of white enamel rippling in the creek, the same moon,
he thinks, that soothed the Virgin in her great doubt
over the swollen belly beneath her breasts.
The fatherless son had two new moons in his forty days
in the wilderness, the second one telling him it was time
to become God and enter the beast of history.
This poet, though, ignores the sacraments of destiny
and only wants a poem to sing the liquid gift of night."

-Jim Harrison

Happy Birthday Sam Walton......







Samuel Moore Walton
3/29/18 - 4/5/92











It's not that Sam Walton was a visionary businessman
(although he was), it's that he knew his customers, saw a
huge market that no one else saw, had rock solid values
that he never wavered from, had a passion for growing,
and the discipline to keep re-investing in his business.
While his company had been accused of devastating small
retail businesses through out the Mid-West, Sam had
a different understanding of the situation:
"It was this kind of strong customer demand in the small
towns that made it possible for Wal-Mart to get started in
the first place, that enabled our stores to thrive immediately,
and that eventually made it possible to spread the idea
pretty much all over the country. For many years, we lived
entirely off the principle that customers in the county and in
small towns are just like their relatives who left the farm and
moved to the city: they want a good deal as much as any
body. When we arrived in these little towns offering low
prices every day, satisfaction guaranteed, and hours that
were realistic for the way people wanted to shop, we passed
right be that old variety story competition, with its 45%
mark-up, limited selections, and limited hours."

In his autobiography, Sam Walton: Made in America,
Sam offered his Ten Rules. They are worth reading.

"Rule 1: Commit to your business. Believe in it more than
anybody else. I think I overcame every single one of my
personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to
my work. If you love your work, you'll be out there every
day trying to do the best you can, and pretty soon
everybody around will catch the passion from you - like
a fever.

Rule 2: Share your profits with all your associates, and treat
then as partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and
together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.
Remain a corporation and retain control if you like, but behave
as a servant leader in a partnership Encourage your associates
to hold a stake in the company.
Rule 3: Motivate your partners. Money and ownership aren't
enough. Constantly, day by day, think of new and more
interesting ways to motivate and challenge your partners. Set
high goals, encourage competition and then keep score. Make
bets with outrageous pay offs.

Rule 4: Communicate everything you possibly can to your
partners. The more they know, the more they'll understand.
The more they understand, the more they'll care. Once they
care, there's no stopping them. Information is power, and the
gain you get from empowering your associates more than
offsets the risk of informing your competitors.

Rule 5: Appreciate everything your associates do for the
business. A pay check and a stock option will buy one kind of
loyalty. But all of us like to be told how much somebody
appreciates what we do for them. We like to hear it often and
especially when we have done something we're really proud
of. Nothing else can quite substitute for a well-chosen, well-
timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free -
and worth a fortune.

Rule 6: Celebrate your success. Find some humour in your
failures. Don't take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and
everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always
show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and
sing a silly song. Then make everybody else sing with you.
All of this is more important, and more fun, than you think,
and it really fools the competition. 'Why should we take those
cornballs at Wal-Mart seriously?'

Rule 7: Listen to everyone in your company and figure out
ways to get them talking. The folks on the front line - the
ones who actually talk to the customer - are the ones who
really know what's going on out there. You'd better find out
what they know. This is what total quality is all about. To be
able to push responsibility down in your organisation, and
force good ideas to bubble up within it, you must listen to
what your associates are trying to tell you.

Rule 8: Exceed your customer's expectations. If you do
they'll come back over and over. Give them what they want -
and a little more. Let them know you appreciate them. Make
good on all your mistakes - and don't make excuses -
apologise. Stand behind everything you do. "Satisfaction
Guaranteed" will make all the difference. The two most
important words I ever wrote were on that first Wal-Mart
sign: 'Satisfaction Guaranteed.' They're still up there, and
they have made all the difference.

Rule 9: Control your expenses better than your
competition. This is where you can always find the
competitive advantage. For 25 years running- long before
Wal-Mart was known as the nation's largest retailer- we
ranked number one in our industry for the lowest ration of
expenses to sales. You can make a lot of different mistakes
and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you
can be brilliant and still go out of business if you are too
inefficient.

Rule 10: Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the
conventional wisdom. If everybody is doing it one way,
there's a good chance you can find your niche by going in
exactly the opposite direction..."













His first store in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Thoughts....

"The mind grows by what it feeds on."
-Josiah G. Holland

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Never complain, never explain...

It is a great bit of advice, variously attributed to Henry
Ford II, Katharine Hepburn, Benjamin Disraeli, Sir Francis
Bacon, and others.


I am going to ignore the advice for the moment and explain
why Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook made the list
posted yesterday of influential books in my life.


In 2001 I was freshly divorced and single parenting two
children seven days out of fourteen. The kids were ages 6
and 10 at the time of the divorce. They were, and are,
great (just because I'm biased doesn't make me wrong).
Anyway, as you might suspect, between the three of us
there was a significant amount of hurt, confusion, and
anger. Communication between us sometimes felt like
open warfare.


I explained our situation to a wise friend who suggested
I get a copy of Read-Aloud Handbook, and read it. I did
both of those things. Then I changed my behavior.
Among other things, after the kids got in bed for the
night, I would sit in the hallway between their
bedrooms and read aloud to them for ten or twenty
minutes. They liked it- and so did I. It amazed me
how quickly our group dynamics changed. Almost like
magic, much of the tension went away, allowing other
changes. Open warfare soon became a thing of the past.
We became a happier and, I dare say, healthier trio.


Now you know why Read-Aloud Handbook made the list.

Regrets? I've had a few, but then again too few to....

Well, maybe I'll mention one here. I regret never having
seen the old facade of the Auditorium Theatre. The post
cards below show how it appeared in 1910 and 1911.

Sometime before the mid-1960's a fire damaged the facade
and it was removed. By the late 1960's, a very 60ish looking,
soul-less style brick office building was standing in its place.

About ten years ago, the old Auditorium Theater, with its
replacement facade, was razed. It is now the site of the
Licking County Foundation building and street park.










































Must have been a beauty!

Sunday's verse.....

"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it shall be opened."
Mathew 7:7-8 The Open Bible

Do they make this stuff up, or can it really be true?

March's National Real Estate Investor magazine has a story
about one of the stronger segments of the real estate market:
medical offices. Here is an interesting quote from the article:

"The real estate formula is that every patient in the system
requires about 1.9 square feet of medical office space,
according to Cooper. Reforms proposed by President
Obama would add 30 million people to the ranks of the
insured, which equates to demand for 60 million square
feet of additional medical space."

It seems logical, as we baby boomers age, that we should
expect an expansion in medical office space. Just look at
Tamarack Road in Newark where the Medical Center of
Newark and all its associated buildings have gone up in the
last five years or so.

But, 60 million square feet? It is a big country so we need
be be careful around big numbers. There are some 362
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the United States,
according to the Census people. Metropolitan Statistical
Areas are urban areas with a city of at least 50,000
people living there (as of 2008, all of Licking County is
listed as part of Columbus's MSA). If we divide
60,000,000 by 362, it means that each MSA could expect
165,000 square feet of new medical office space. Put that
way, it seems like a reasonable number, maybe even low.

Regardless, once the development community gets fully
engaged in this projected growth market, based on past
history, I suspect we should be prepared to read news
stories in seven or eight years about the "bubble" and
looming crisis of too much medical office real estate.