Oh Oberlin: Christian Colbert

Christian Colbert was just the person I was hoping to talk to while kicking off the next round of “Oh, Oberlin.”

Born and raised here, he left, built a career, and then six weeks ago left where that career had taken him in Chicago to return home.

His art is pretty awesome, but so are his words of encouragement to young artists as is the strength of character necessary to work for yourself.

Thanks for listening! Send along your Oberlin interview ideas to petercomings@gmail.com.



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Oh Oberlin: Lester Allen revisited

Revisiting an an episode from a couple years ago, I thought I would prime for this week’s first new interview by republishing a great conversation I had with Lester Allen. Allen, until just a few weeks ago, was my mail carrier. But to the Oberlin community he is much more.




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Oh Oberlin podcast outlet connection

Expect the first new episode some time next week. In the meantime, pardon the construction.


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Time for the next round

Good morning. Follow the link to the more detailed information, but I am actively trying plan my next round of Oberlin interviews. I have initial funding to reactivate my storage plan with WordPress and hope to get new stories up in the next two-three weeks.

Warm regards,


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Blowing off the dust

This is just a test

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Oh Oberlin: Oberlin City Schools Supt. David Hall

Last summer I met Oberlin City Schools Superintendent David Hall as I had just decided to run for city council and he had just been hired into his job. That equals meet and greet time for everyone. I meant to talk with him sooner for the podcast. The occasion of having two levy renewal issues on the March 15 ballot made sense as a point in time to make that happen.

We talked about:

Issue 25
is a 5.05 mill renewal of the property tax levy you passed in 2012. This renewal will provide the District $940,000 per year for the next five years. The returns from this levy will be used for the operating expenses of the District, namely staff, academic programs, athletics, teacher and student supplies, transportation, and the like.

Issue 26
is the renewal of a 2.0 mill permanent improvement levy that you first passed in 1976.  This tax issue would raise $371,064 a year, money that can only be used to pay for building repair and maintenance, equipment replacement and repair, and other non-consumable purchases. Items purchased with this money have a lifetime of five years or more. Some examples we may be expecting in the near future include a roof, boiler, electrical systems, doors, windows, textbooks, sidewalks, parking lots, athletic equipment furniture, buses, band and orchestra equipment, etc.

For more information from the district concerning Issues 25 and 26 on the March ballot, visit Facebook, or oberlinyesyes.com.

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Oh Oberlin: Kelley Singleton

Hi Oberlin-interested people! The first show this year is with OHS Class of ’91 graduate and newly elected City Council member Kelley Singleton. We cover growing up in Oberlin, Kelley’s family immersion in political awareness and the “Oberlin bubble” which, to paraphrase the discussion, maybe means the idea of the community to which people want to return.

We also touch on ’80s pop culture and the way a group of young adults from Oberlin followed each other out to Providence, R.I.

The interview wraps up with a look at Kelley’s take on the coming year in council, including discussion he and other council members would like to have with Oberlin College representatives concerning a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program. Kelley references this December article from the Oberlin Review.

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Oh Oberlin: 2015 Year in Review

Thanks for coming back to check the 2015 year in review. My interview with Meeko Israel provided a great backdrop to piece together the conversations from last year. The fact that it didn’t take much trying to stitch these stories together speaks to Oberlin’s nature I think. If you’d like to listen to any of the particular interviews, you should be able to find the tag on the blog page for this post and trace it back to the original full interview.

No favorites here. I learned a great deal and enjoyed the conversations in the process.

Here’s to 2016.

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Oh Oberlin: Incubating businesses

In September, I attended a business incubator session by Lisa Hutson, director at the Small Business Development Center at Lorain County Community College. When Corey Butler and Ms. Ann mentioned their business plans in the last episode, it was this woman who had handed them out. I may or may not have a blank copy still somewhere. This meeting was the one in which she described the different efforts at business planning to a group that met her advice at points all along the spectrum.

This episode jumps back and forth by about a month Hutson’s presentation at the September to an October day I walked by and chatted with Susan Wilgor about her soap business. Hutson offered a lot of information about starting a business. Wilgor and the other SEEDVenture entrepreneurs desired it. Said Wilgor:

Remember to stop by the SEEDVentures store front at 29 S. Main Street, seven days a week, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., 8 p.m. on Thursdays. And if you’re in town on Sunday, Dec. 6, stop by the craft room at the Oberlin Public Library at 2 p.m. I’m hosting an informal meeting among podcast followers to say hi. I’d like to hear your opinions and ideas for the show.

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Oh Oberlin: entrepreneurial grind

In this episode, the entrepreneurs at SEEDVentures are 10 days into business at 29 S. Main Street. I spoke with Ann Mickel (a.k.a. Ms. Ann), about her business, Love Delivered and went back for a second helping of pretzels with Corey Butler and Doki Doki Chocolates.

Talking about the passions that got them where they are, they also each mention the benefits of working with SEEDVentures from the emotional support of having business people believe in their idea to the presence of a task master minding whether they have finished their business plan.

The main body runs about 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes clipped from a city council meeting this fall. I had previously talked with Krista Long about the parking situation downtown and during my run for city council had recorded a council meeting at which it seemed dozens of business owners showed up to express concern over the lack of parking on College Street connected to the Gateway Project. From business owners still launching their businesses to veteran business operators, I thought the context of hearing some of their concerns against the others would be interesting.

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