Those Boston revolutionaries beat us by a crate of tea, but the City Club of Cleveland — the oldest continuous free speech forum in the United States — recently ranked No. 2 in a survey of executive speaking forums conducted by Best Practices in Corporate Communications (Beantown’s Chief Executives’ Club finished No. 1). The Washington D.C.-based membership organization evaluated U.S. forums based on strategic mission, prestige, demographics, media coverage, sponsorships and student outreach. Every Friday, the City Club of Cleveland broadcasts its forum to more than 150 radio stations in 19 states. “We are embarking on a strategic initiative process to make sure our identity stays out there. We’ve got to keep that up and build on that,” says City Club of Cleveland President Sanjiv Kapur. At age 93, the City Club is steering clear of complacency. And on that issue, the floor is closed to debate.
And Another Thing
Gunther von Hagens’ acclaimed exhibit of preserved human specimens (“Gutsy Move,” March 2005) helped push the 5 millionth body through the Great Lakes Science Center’s front door over the summer. Andrea and Mike Taborsky and their son, Philip (above) of Woodbridge, Ill., snagged the honor, which included a trip to Mars — that’s 1,700 population Mars, Pa., not “the red planet” Mars, obviously — and a weekend in Pitts-burgh, of all places. “To reach 5 million visitors in under nine years validates our success,” says Great Lakes Science Center president and executive director Linda Abraham-Silver. Von Hagens' Body Worlds 2 played a part, pushing museum attendance 60 percent higher than the same period in 2004. The exhibit’s run ends Sept. 18.
Before we could say, “Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip,” a pint of the treat — sent to our office to announce the arrival of the Cincinnati-made ice cream in Northeast Ohio — had been kidnapped from the break-room freezer. When the culprit confessed, explaining she has been known to drive to Columbus to get her fix, we told her all she has to do now is drive to the closest Heinen’s store. The local grocery chain recently started sell-ing the country’s oldest continually made ice cream at its 16 Greater Cleveland locations. Endorsed by Oprah Winfrey as the “best ice cream I’ve ever tasted,” the secret is Graeter’s traditional French Pot process. Just two gallons are produced at a time, leading to the brand’s extra-creamy taste. An assortment of flavors will be on sale at Heinen’s, including the ice-cream maker’s most popular flavor: Black Raspberry Chip, of course.
Bring Marilyn Monroe home to dinner this month. The iconic beauty’s centerfold photo from the 1953 inaugural issue of Playboy magazine will soon arrive in Northeast Ohio beverage stores splashed across the front of special-edition wine bottles. Discretely packaged in a handsome box, a wispy wrap covers Marilyn’s less-seen parts. Until you get home, that is. And you may just want to hang out with the bottle, given the hefty price tag attached to these Napa Valley Carbernet Savignon and Merlot vintages. The Velvet Collection 2003 runs $225 for a 1.5-liter bottle in a sealed gift box. You can also pick up a three-bottle, wooden-boxed set (consisting of 750-ML, 1-liter and 3-liter bottles) for $1,000. Want to take a peek for yourself? Visit www.marilynwines.com.
After years of helping Northeast Ohioans buy and sell their homes, Realty One Real Living recently backed the U-Haul up to its Independence headquarters. The company cut the ribbon to its new home at 800 W. St. Clair Ave. in the city’s Warehouse District over the summer. “We want to be part of the economic growth of the area,” says Realty One president Barbara A. Reynolds. Leaving little doubt about its commitment to Cleveland, Realty One moved into one of downtown’s premier residential and commercial neighborhoods. Although Reynolds says transplanting the company’s headquarters wasn’t exactly a breeze, it went easier than expected. And if Reynolds is feeling nostalgic for her workdays spent overlooking I-77 prior to Realty One’s big move, she’s not showing it. “We’re here to say,” she says confidently. And she’s got the 10-year lease to prove it.