By CAROLINE R. MERK
Instead of focusing on what a delight our climate is from spring through autumn, every year we go through the same thing … moaning and groaning about winter in Cleveland. Well, I have discovered that there are many people who don’t mind our winter at all. They’re not natives of the area, they could be elsewhere, but they choose to stay. Here is what some of our most ardent cheerleaders have to say!
Beth Mooney, Chariman and Chief Executive Officer at KeyCorp, said that she was born and raised for a short time in the Midwest. Even though she has lived in more than a dozen cities throughout her life, she still considers this part of the country as her home. “Nine years ago, I was fortunate to not only come to work for a great company, but to also move to a great city. It’s been an incredibly exciting time to be a Clevelander – watching our economy grow, our downtown become a place where people want to work and live, and our arts scene flourish,” she said. “And, while many complain about our winters, there simply is no better place to enjoy all four seasons than Northeast Ohio. We are very lucky to live in such a great city.”
When he came to Cleveland five years ago, Grafton Nunes, president and CEO of the Cleveland Institute of Art, experienced a substantial increase in quality of life. “I lived in Maine and commuted to work in Boston every day — two hours each way,” he said. By contrast, his current 10-minute commute is “divine,” and he considers Cleveland’s climate “balmy” compared to Maine! In addition to those factors, Grafton said, “I most love the food and art cultures of Cleveland and the great audiences for every type of cultural event — be it sports, music, theater, visual art or movies.” He continued, “The audiences here are informed, passionate, enthusiastic and supportive. Who could ask for anything more?!”
Originally from Ireland, Dr. Deirdre Mageen is the dynamic Provost at Cleveland State University. She came to Cleveland almost two years ago from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Prior to that, like Grafton Nunes, she spent a considerable amount of time in Maine, so Cleveland weather is not that much of an extreme for her. In reply to what she loves about having moved here, Deirdre said, “the Cleveland Orchestra, the Metroparks and Mitchell’s Ice Cream!”
Mixed-media artist, Sandy Buffie, and her husband Craig moved to Cleveland two years ago from idyllic Kiawah Island, South Carolina. They had spent 30 years living in various locations throughout the south when Craig accepted a position with Key Bank as Chief Human Resources Officer. “The cost of living is so affordable here,” said Sandy. The adventurous couple moved into a spacious apartment downtown, permitting them to walk to work, to sporting events and to the theater. “The weather doesn’t bother us because we don’t have to drive in it or shovel snow,” she said. “Everything is so close in downtown, that it’s not an inconvenience.” Sandy, who uses predominantly recycled material in her artwork, opened a studio/gallery in 5th Street Arcades. “The arts scene here really gets my juices going,” she said.
Dennis and Kathie Barrie could live anywhere. Their firm, Barrie Projects, helps develop museums, like the Spy Museum in Washington D.C. and the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. Barrie Projects is currently acting as project manager for the U.S. Olympic Museum being built in Colorado Springs. With work that takes them all over the country, why stay here? “Each season has its own unique beauty that we look forward to,” said Kathie. “And when there is lousy winter weather you have to stay inside and get work done.” She adds, “Our Celtic heritage and melancholic souls actually love these shadowy gloomy days.” The couple goes to Chicago frequently to see family. “Compared to Chicago, winter in Cleveland is almost balmy,” she says. Now that is keeping things in perspective!