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Issue Date: January 2009

Most Interesting People 2009

Cliff leeCliff Lee
Age 30 | I'm a starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians

Why he’s interesting //
After being optioned to Class AAA Buffalo in 2007, he returned in 2008 to became the Tribe’s first 20-game winner since Gaylord Perry in 1974. After ending the season with 22 wins, he won the American League Cy Young Award.
His favorite pitch // A fastball. “As a starting pitcher especially, you have to pitch with your fastball. It’s a pitch I have good control with, and if I throw it in the right spot, the batter’s going to get himself out.”
Teams to watch out for // “To me, it’s the Twins or the White Sox. My biggest rival is the team that’s ahead of us.”
His most memorable win // “The 20th win was pretty nice — just to get that over with the first time I was going for it and to get a complete game shutout made it a little more special to me.”
His hardest battle // “Dealing with my son having leukemia at 4 months old. He’s overcome that, and he’s a perfectly healthy 7-year-old now.”
His Top 3 ballparks besides Progressive Field // : Kansas City, Anaheim and Yankee Stadium. The Deer Hunter: “I killed a pretty nice 11-point. There are still a few more I got my eye on that I am trying to get.” 
Advice for aspiring Major League pitchers // “Learn the fastball and throw strikes. The key is a first-pitch strike to make the hitters work their way on base. And I wouldn’t start throwing curveballs, sliders or split fingers until you’re at least 15 or 16 years old.”

On winning the Cy Young Award // “It’s an honor I feel proud to put my name beside. There have been a lot of unbelievable pitchers who have won that award. There have been a lot of guys who have won it many more times than once, and hopefully I can do that.”

Jonathon sawyer Jonathon Sawyer
Age 28 | Chef and restaurateur

Why he’s interesting //A little more than a year ago, Jonathon Sawyer, flying below the foodie radar, opened Bar Cento in Ohio City. It quickly became one of the neighborhood’s hottest dining spots. His simple approach, focus on implementing green practices and occasional appearances with Iron Chef Michael Symon on the Food Network’s Dinner Impossible have all elevated Sawyer’s profile. He’ll soon shake up the city’s culinary scene once again as he unveils Ohio’s first green restaurant, the Greenhouse Tavern, set to open in early 2009.

Green way //“We want to remove the stigma of having tofu involved in [going green]. We want to use green practices, but don’t want to be preachy about it.” Plans for Greenhouse Tavern involve subtle incorporations such as using recycled materials in the bar, décor and furniture; faucets with touch censors; and a greenhouse on the roof.

Pick a bin //Bar Cento has three types of waste bins: one for recycling, one for compost and one for trash. Sawyer estimates this method has cut waste by 70 percent.

His motto //“Eat as much of the season when you’re in the season.”

Michael Symon is to pork as Sawyer is to ... // “Anchovies. We secretly put anchovies into everything at Bar Cento. It’s kind of our salt and pepper.”

Moving on //This month, Sawyer will step down as executive chef and co-owner of Bar Cento. After turning the reigns over to chef Mike Nowak, Sawyer will focus solely on the Greenhouse Tavern. “We really believe in the rejuvenation of downtown, and right now, I really need to focus on my new project.”

Heather moore Heather Moore
Age 39 | I’m a jewelry designer

Why she’s interesting //
Moore’s handmade jewelry is sold throughout world, and her customizable charm collection has been featured on Bravo’s influential fashion show Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. She creates her pieces in Cleveland, using recycled and refined gold.

Have puck, will vote //Her bumper sticker reads “Hockey Moms for Obama.” All four of her kids, three boys and one girl — ages 9, 8, 6 and 4 — play hockey.

Analyze this //Before going into art and design, Moore attended Lake Forest College in Chicago and Case Western Reserve University, studying psychology and business. She transferred a third time to the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she earned her degree in glass arts.

Everyone’s doing it //“The age group of our [customers] goes from babies at christenings to grandmas.” The customizable charm collection is designed to “celebrate milestones and document them in jewelry.” She’s done pieces for everything from children’s birthdays to runners completing marathons to couples’ inside jokes. “We turn the design tables on the customer by asking them to be part of the design process. They’re telling us their story. ... It becomes more than just a necklace.”

Traveling family //Though she’s an avid skier, Moore and her family love the beach. They recently returned from a two-week vacation in the Galapagos Islands. “The Galapagos trip was huge, so insanely fun and great for the kids. ... Our kids need to grow up and understand other cultures. I think it’s really important.”

Favorite new toy //“I am hugely into photography.” So with her kids in so many hockey games, “I can’t just sit there: I got this pimped-out action lens that weighs, seriously, like 10 pounds.”

Raymond bobganRaymond Bobgan
Age 42 | I’m the executive artistic director for Cleveland Public Theatre

Why he’s interesting //Bobgan, who writes, directs and produces some pretty cool plays himself, guides Cleveland Public Theatre in staging experimental Ohio premieres from new (and often local) playwrights, including a program in which formerly homeless men write and perform original plays.

Old (stage) hand //A native of Santa Barbara, Calif., Bobgan got the theater gene from his mother, who directed plays at their church. By the third grade, he was directing. By the sixth grade, he was writing his own plays.

Artistic process //Bobgan says his work with homeless men in transition has had an incredible effect on his sense of compassion, justice and self-awareness. “It’s this group of artists who are in the process of very actively reflecting on their lives and attempting to grow and change. That’s something that all artists should be doing, and these men have an opportunity to do it actively ... because it’s a life-or-death struggle.”

On his nightstand //“I really like to read juvenile fiction, for some reason.” Favorites include Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Murakami. He is also a huge T.S. Eliot fan and hopes to someday make a play based on his “Four Quartets” poems.

He’d like to see more ... //Original work. “There’s not a lot of people doing that in Cleveland. What makes CPT amazing is that people across the country ... know about it. We’re recognized from people in our [industry] more than we’re recognized in Cleveland.”

On Cleveland theatergoers //Cleveland hasaudiences that are “really smart and not pretentious.”

Doris o’donnellDoris O’Donnell
Age 87 | Journalist

Why she’s interesting //One of the city’s great newspaper writers, O’Donnell is still finding new ways to tell stories from her 54-year career. Her memoir, Front-Page Girl, and Doris O’Donnell’s Cleveland, a TV series on PBS 45 & 49, describe legendary moments in Cleveland history.

Why she thinks Sam Sheppard killed his wife //“I was in the courtroom, and I watched his face and his physical actions and how he reacted to a lot of things.” The deputy coroner brought in a wax model of Marilyn’s head after the murder, with 35 cuts in it. When he pulled a sheet off it, the jurors stared fixedly at the head, while Sheppard “folded his arms and put his head down in his arms and didn’t look up.”

Gangster lunch //“We all knew Shondor Birns. We’d eat at the Theatrical with him. He’d pick up the check.” The legendary gangster was working as the bouncer at the restaurant on Short Vincent. “He just knew everything that was going on in town. He knew more than the police.”

Best party she attended in Moscow while a correspondent there //She crashed a party at the Afghan embassy full of top Soviet officials and drank champagne with Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin. “These guys, they didn’t have their wives with them. They had the girls from the Bolshoi Ballet with them, so when I wrote the story about Bulganin, I called him a wolf.”

How she spends her retirement, besides writing and filming the show //Taking classes on James Joyce and writing essays, knitting and reading

Shannon davisShannon Davis
Age 37 | I’m thefounder of Beyond Motherhood

Why she’s interesting //
When her youngest child started school, Davis felt it was time to rejoin the work force. But she didn’t want to work full time, and she needed a job that was flexible. She found no such place. But instead of moping, she had an “a-ha moment.” Soon after, she founded Beyond Motherhood, a Web site that connects mothers looking for jobs with employers offering flexible work.

DIY project //Sure, there are all kinds of Web sites with job postings, but none targeted specifically toward mothers returning to the workforce. “I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to create it myself.”

What’s in it for employers //Simply put, not having to pay benefits.

And ...//Mothers are great multitaskers. “And they’re very efficient with their time.”

What’s in it for mothers:Jobs posted on the site range from corporate to work-from-home positions. They are all part time. “The opportunities are as diverse as the moms.”

Top 3 working-mom don’ts //1.) Don’t over-commit. You want to ramp up slowly. 2.) Don’t talk all the time about your family. 3.) Don’t forget to realize that a temporary position could turn permanent. Give it your all.

Davis, by the numbers //Thirty-five-hundred women nationwide have posted on her site. Six-hundred companies have registered to list jobs on it. Davis’ goal is 50,000 moms and 10,000 companies — in the next year and a half.

Is Cleveland kind to mothers? //Not really, not yet. But some large employers — especially KeyBank and the Cleveland Clinic — are trying to offer more flexibility and are making strides.
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Saturday, January 03, 2009 2:42:59 PM by Anonymous
Beyond Motherhood is a great idea and one I will check out in 2009! Thanks for your research.
Sunday, March 08, 2009 2:41:36 PM by Anonymous
You can watch Doris O'Donnell's Cleveland here:

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