Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another fine day in the YO.

Thats right it truly does happen in the YO. Saturday started off with a run to the grocery store and ended at the future home of the Mahoning Valley History Center. In between the kids and I found ourselves in downtown YO. where once again things were jumping. The Pig Iron Festival was in full swing down on Phelps st. local bands, local artists, and the Old Precinct was dishing out some chickens cooked on the spit. I could smell them from a two blocks away and yeah I spilled some on me, what else is new, its not good unless you get a little on ya! great food. Can you tell my daughter had fun, she got her balloon puppy made by a clown and she was happy!

Bob Barko had his studio open and jumping, finally got my YO. sticker, You better get one to!
Some great work hanging in his place, a real historic journey when you walk in there.

I told you the guy's from the Old Precinct had it goin on! can you smell them chickens cookin!

Did that dog pee in the corner!

Clowns and belly dancers, what more do you need for a good time.

Another fine example of talented people right hear in Youngstown. The lovely Amber Pence
and her Amber Leaf Jewelry were on hand to show her beautiful work. Check out her work at

More wonderful work by another talent from the area, Valerie Spitaler and her
Emily Claire Creations was there as well.

Did I mention belly dancers? I was a bit far away when they began their performance but the crowd moving towards the stage enmasse told me go see whats going on. I thing every male in the crowd was a bit mezmerized. Beautiful, to say the least. Ever watch "Shimmy"?

This little handsome guy got his ballon puppy!

You think he is wondering who the big guy is with this camera pointed at me is?

Another example of a talented artist right here in Youngstown, did I say that before? People there are too many that you need to discover!
I never met Eric Alleman but I think I soon will. He is an artist of many talents, poet, musician and makes some very cool stencils on tshirts, wood etc. very cool. Love the Che' Micheal J.
Check out his work at

Yes, thats Lisa on the right of William Leonard Extraodinary Gentlmens Mens salon.
She has the headphones on and she's jammin away on this beautiful Sat. afternoon in the YO.

My photographic day ended here thanks to Bill Lawson of the Mahoning Valley Historical Center. The kids and I were in the truck on our way home on Federal street when I noticed the front doors open to the future home of the center. The magnificant Burt building. I had to turn around and go see what was happening. I figured my friend Jess Trickett had to be there.
Well she wasnt' but Bill Lawson was along with two sweet ladies setting up for a fundraising event later Sat. night. Bill was gracious enough to let us come in and take a look around. Wow is all I can say. Having never been inside the building before I had now idea what to expect. Bill took us upstairs to the Ballroom which was just incredible. The hardwood floors, the architecture, the windows, just the overwhelming size of the place was surprising. I wish I was better prepared to photograph the place right. I was literally firing the camera in all directions just so I wouldnt miss anything.

This image is of the second floor looking back away from the street, those staircases are marble and check the mural on the back wall!

This image is my first glimpse as I came up the stairs to the second floor Ballroom.
That floor didnt make a sound, its like new! The windows at the far end overlook Fed. st.

I had to put Isabella in there for some scale of those stairs and that mural.
My trusty assistant.

This view is from coming down the stairs to the ground floor looking towards the street.

I even got a look at the plans for the Centers future. Its going to be incredible. Please support this organization they are a huge asset to the vitality of Youngstown. They are the keepers of our past and add so much to the quality of life in our region. Not only can they teach future generations of our history but this center exemplifies the vitality and spirit of innovation in our hometown.
Check out
Thanks to Bill Lawson for the impromtu tour!
Sorry I missed you Jess!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tour of the Valley Cycling event rolls through Downtown Youngstown,(contact info for photo usage

Add another fantastic event to your calendar for next year if you missed this weekends "TOUR OF THE VALLEY" cycling race. It was incredible! A first class event filled with first class riders.
If you've never witnessed a real bicycle race it is something to see. The speed will surprise you. The talented riders grouped together inches apart flying at 30 plus mph. is a must see! A very well organized event and perfect weather to top it off. I have posted just a bit of what I photographed today, enjoy! I will edit post later, Its been a long day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An Honorable Tribute

Tuesday July, 7 2009 was the first running of the "Lou Blaney Memorial Classic" at the historic Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio. What a night! And I am being modest. It was truly a classic and an emotional tribute to a local racing legend. Mr. Blaney left this world for a better place in January and the racing community lost a great competitor, ambassador and a wonderful family lost a father. To honor such a man and to do it proper could not have been an easy task. In my humble opinion those who planned and organized the event did it right. You have a race! Put the word out and they will come, period! Come they did, the grandstands were filled to capacity, a few Nascar stars in the mix, which shows you what some are made of. Kasey Kahne,Tony Stewart brought there passion for racing, jumped in a sprint car and put on a great show. That damn Stewart can drive anything! Yeah, he won the sprint feature in style but I heard through the crowd a few stating that Dale Blaney just needed a few more laps and he may have reeled him in. That's why they call it racing and that's what I love about it. Everyone has "their Driver" who they root for. To see Dave and Dale Blaney racing sprintcars on that track with all the local studs battling for a nice purse was an incredible adrenaline rush. And they did come from all over, from right here in Ohio to Australia. Fierce competition in honor of a good man. Good stuff.

A treat for all was the vintage race cars on hand, it was great to see and even better to see them on the track running. too cool!

Is that Katie Libecco chasing Kasey Kahne?

In the above photo is a guy who is partly responsible for my passion for racing. Tom Levelle and his brother Jack where crew members of Lou Blaney's back when I was in High school in the early eighties. They where high school buddies of my late father Tony Nicholas. It was their friendship that brought my dad and me to Sharon Speedway back then. Its why I bought a camera and started photographing racing.

Dave Blaney on the gas.

Dale Blaney with that classic lift of the left front.

What sprintcar racing is all about, close battles with a nice hooked up power slide through the corners. And people think "drifting" is a new thing!

Tony Stewart showing how its done!

Another generation of Jacobs racers.

Perhaps one of the coolest parts of last night was when Lou's son Dave Blaney climbed into Lou's old Sprintcar and took a lap around the speedway, even broke it loose in turn one. I stood near his mother Kate who was surrounded by her family as they watched that car go around the track I wondered what thoughts were going through her mind. It was emotional to say the least. I also thought what was Dave thinking, driving his dads old car. I'm sure its one of those moments he'll keep for himself.
Going to Sharon Speedway with my kids brings me closer to my dad. I get teary eyed on any given sat. night of racing. I am sure coming to this track now and in the future for the Blaneys and many other folks will bring them closer to what is dear to them as well. That's what racing gives you, one more emotional connection to what life is all about, Family!