Welcome! This free speech community journal was created so the Maple Heights African American community could share videos, photos, events, articles, posts, ideas, thoughts, and information.  We're now exclusively on Facebook, so don't forget to also check out our Facebook page.  Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012



"If you’re one of the thousands of Ohio families who has experienced the pain of losing your home to a wrongful foreclosure, help could finally be on the way. But you must act quickly.

Before the reports of widespread foreclosure fraud two years ago, Ohio had 14 consecutive years of increased foreclosures.

Then, we discovered that many of the biggest banks in the country simply didn’t follow the law and give people the chance they deserved to keep their homes. We found that servicers used poorly maintained, lost, or even forged documentation to evict homeowners.

Big banks tell us that these mistakes are isolated and harmless. But these problems are not new. 

Senator Sherrod Brown with Housing Secretary Donovan in Cleveland:

Too many Ohioans were unjustifiably foreclosed on in recent years. That’s why it is important that the more than 140,000 Ohioans whose homes were foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010 know about the free Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) process.

The IFR process – enforced by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve – awards financial assistance to borrowers who were foreclosed on because of inaccuracies and oversights.

According to the Independent Foreclosure Review website, borrowers are eligible for independent foreclosure review if:  (1) the property securing the loan was the borrower’s primary residence; (2) the mortgage was in the foreclosure process at any time between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010; and (3) the mortgage was serviced by one of 27 IFR approved servicers. These servicers include: America’s Servicing Co.; Aurora Loan Services; BAC Home Loans Servicing; Bank of America; Beneficial; Chase; Citibank; CitiFinancial; CitiMortgage; Countrywide; EMC; EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company; Financial Freedom; GMAC Mortgage;  HFC;  HSBC;  IndyMac Mortgage Services; MetLife Bank; National City Mortgage;  PNC Mortgage; Sovereign Bank; SunTrust Mortgage; U.S. Bank; Wachovia Mortgage; Washington Mutual (WaMu); Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; and Wilshire Credit Corporation.

And while it’s estimated that 147,000 Ohioans are eligible, as of now, only 6,000 have requested IFR reviews.

The good news is that it’s not too late. With the application deadline extended to September 30, 2012, it is important to spread the word to Ohio homeowners that they may be eligible to receive compensation or other support.

For the families who were foreclosed on – even when they were abiding by the terms of their mortgage or their modification agreement, even after they requested assistance and submitted all the required documentation on time, or even though they were protected by bankruptcy – IFR can help.

The Independent Foreclosure Review process may provide compensation in the form of a lump sum payment, a loan modification, a suspended foreclosure, or even a corrected credit report. 

While IFR is a good option for many homeowners, it’s not a perfect process and I’m working to fix some serious flaws in it. That’s why I sent a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency requesting that homeowners have access to an appeal process that ensures Ohioans can receive the assistance they deserve.

And though not everyone will receive compensation, going through the IFR process is free of charge and won’t prevent Ohioans from pursuing other options related to foreclosure assistance.

If homeowners don’t take advantage of this opportunity and participate in this program, then the banks will avoid making payments for their wrongdoing. Our economy will never fully recover until we stabilize the housing market – and that means restoring trust for both homeowners and investors.

But it’s up to all of us to take action. By raising awareness of the services the Independent Foreclosure Review process provides, we can help Ohio homeowners receive the compensation they deserve.

To find out more about the Independent Foreclosure Review process, Ohioans can call 1-888-9105 or visit the website https://independentforeclosurereview.com/ "


Sherrod Brown U.S. Senator"

Senator Sherrod Brown's Website


Monday, July 30, 2012


"Mitt Romney's latest brush with a quotation requiring further explanation is really an act of political genius -- albeit, one of the cravenly cynical and despicable variety.

By standing in Jerusalem on Monday and declaring that Jews are richer than Palestinians because of their culture -- this, as he was asking wealthy Jews for money at a campaign fundraiser -- Romney effectively exploited the Israeli-Palestinian divide as cover to annunciate a racist notion that resonates with a key slice of the electorate at home: white voters." (Peter S. Goodman)

Read entire article:


"Ohio outlawed payday loans – and the 391 percent interest rates that went with them – in 2008.

Instead, the state adopted a short-term loan law that caps annual percentage rate, or APR, on paycheck loans at 28 percent -- one of the most ignored laws since Prohibition.

Today, payday lenders in Ohio freely dispense loans that can carry annual percentage rates, or APRs, of 600 percent or more.

Payday stores simply refuse to take out short-term loan licenses, opting instead to be licensed under the Mortgage Lending Act. This switcheroo allows them to create new fees that boost the price of their loans. Some stores, for example, issue loans as checks that they charge customers to cash. Or they charge customers for a "credit check," even though the loans aren't contingent on having good credit. " (Sheryl Harris)

Read entire story at:
Could a muni court reel in Ohio's payday lenders? Plain Dealing by Sheryl Harris

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Kickstarter helps people "fund creative projects".  

"Want to start a project, or curious about how it all works?" 

"Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields."

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The Economic and Community Development Institute, one of the nation's largest micro lenders, opened its first Cleveland branch on Tuesday, July 18, 2012.  The branch is located at 6701 Carnegie Avenue. 

It's designed to help small businesses.

Friday, July 20, 2012



Servicemembers – already armed with the discipline and skills needed to strengthen the 21st century economy – should not have to struggle to find a job when their military service ends. These heroes who fought for our country shouldn’t have to fight for work when they come home.

And yet, unfortunately many do. As citizens, we have a responsibility to do something about the thousands of older veterans who are jobless or underemployed.

That’s why the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) – a joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor training initiative – is so important.

Last year, Congress passed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which honors our government’s obligation to our veterans. VRAP is a critical component of the law.

VRAP provides unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 the opportunity to pursue training for new careers in high demand occupations.

While the entire list of VRAP high-demand occupations can be found on the VA website, some include:

  • Welders, chemical plant operators, painters
  • Law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians
  • Construction, electrical technicians, flight attendants
  • Paralegals, legal secretaries, administrative support
  • Teachers aides, library technicians, counselors
These opportunities are wide-ranging. And in fact, as of July 12, more than 31,000 applications nationwide have been received for the VRAP program. However, the program is limited to 99,000 participants through March 31, 2014.

Because applicants will be approved on a first come, first serve basis, we all must do everything we can to spread the word to eligible veterans in Ohio. This is a great opportunity that Ohio veterans deserve.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in order to qualify for the program, a veteran must:

  • Be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
  • Be unemployed
  • Have an other than dishonorable discharge
  • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
  • Not be in receipt of VA compensation
  • Not be enrolled in a Federal or state job training program
And while participants are required to be enrolled in a VA-approved education program, here in Ohio, we’re lucky to have 23 community and technical colleges that have already been approved.

Each of these schools offers programs which lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and include training for a high-demand occupation. Veterans can enroll at each of these colleges using VRAP assistance.

We need to spread the word about training programs, like VRAP, that will help provide our veterans with the necessary skills to find good paying jobs.

By raising awareness of veterans' jobs services and better coordinating the range of resources available to them, we can help improve job prospects for America’s heroes.

To find out more about the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/VOW/. If you’re ready to apply, VRAP applications are available here.

If you have any other questions regarding veteran services, please contact my office at 888-896-OHIO (6446) or visit www.brown.senate.gov for additional information.


Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


To Maple Heights residents:

Please join the Maple Heights Neighborhood Team to help re-elect President Barack Obama. We will be phone banking on Thursday, July 19th, 7pm-8:30pm at 14904 Brunswick Ave.

** Now that the event is over, if you would like to continue helping re-elect President Obama, please email:   or contact her on facebook.