Press Releases

Update on Hulett Removal Project

Update on Hulett Removal Project

Cleveland – March 29, 2024 – Despite sincere efforts to enable the potential conservation one of the Hulett Ore Unloaders in its entirety, the Port of Cleveland encountered unforeseen challenges with a proposal aimed at doing so. As a result, the Port has entered into a new contract with Northern Ohio Scrap Service that will allow the port to continue to salvage two of the Huletts most historically significant pieces – an arm and a bucket – while the vendor handles the removal of remaining pieces.

Last week, the Port contracted with Maple Leaf Demolition, selected in part for the company’s intent to reassemble one of the Huletts on its site in Canton. Regrettably, Maple Leaf could not provide the necessary bonding and insurance required.

The new contractor is a Cleveland-based company with significant experience with this type of work.

Dave Gutheil, Chief Commercial Officer for the Port of Cleveland, expressed disappointment at this but reiterated their commitment to the initially envisioned solution of preserving several significant pieces on-site. He underscored the acknowledgment of their importance in Cleveland’s industrial and maritime history, emphasizing the desire to grant preservationists more time to find a suitable display solution.

Additionally, a shunt engine that was part of the Hulett unloading system will be salvaged and publicly displayed at the American Industrial Mining Museum in Brownsville, PA.

The Huletts were taken down in 1999 and two have been stored at the Port’s Cleveland Bulk Terminal since that time. Initially intended for storage for just five years, the Port has withheld actions to remove the pieces for over 24 years in an effort to accommodate preservation efforts.

The Port has agreed to store the pieces for a year to provide more time for preservationists to secure a suitable location for their display and raise funds for their removal.

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The following is a statement from the Port of Cleveland’s President & CEO, William Friedman, on the Baltimore bridge collapse

“The Port of Cleveland extends our deepest condolences to the families of those individuals who may have lost their lives in the tragic bridge accident in the Baltimore Harbor this morning. Our hearts go out to our colleagues and friends at the Baltimore port and in the maritime community as they begin to recover from this catastrophe. We also thank the first responders who routinely put their lives at risk in these emergencies to help others.

Local media have asked the question: could this happen in Cleveland where we also have bridges over shipping channels? Our circumstances differ significantly from Baltimore. The Francis Scott Key bridge had a long span over open water with in-water support piers located on either side of the shipping lane. Our network of bridges is different and varied. Several of the bridges over the Cuyahoga ship channel are lift or swing bridges overseen by capable and trained bridge tenders who communicate with vessels to elevate or swing the bridges to let vessels pass. The fixed bridges over the Cuyahoga have no supporting infrastructure in the water adjacent to the shipping channel, making it unlikely they could be compromised by a vessel. Additionally, all vessels that transit the Cuyahoga Ship Cannel are piloted by highly skilled ship masters who know the waterway extremely well and have transited it many times. They also keep vessel speeds low as appropriate in a much more confined navigation channel.

“The most significant threat to our shipping channel was the risk of a catastrophic landslide into the river at Irishtown Bend. The good news is that the Port has now mitigated that risk with the stabilization work now underway.”

William D. Friedman
President & CEO
Port of Cleveland

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Hullet Remnants to be Removed from Cleveland Bulk Terminal

Cleveland – March 22, 2024 – The Port of Cleveland has entered into a contract with Maple Leaf Demolition (Maple Leaf) of Canton, Ohio to remove the disassembled pieces of two Hulett Ore Unloader machines from the Port’s Cleveland Bulk Terminal (CBT).  Site preparation and clearing will commence immediately and removal will occur in April and May.

Four Huletts were originally installed at CBT (then known as the C & P Ore Dock) in the early 20th century to unload ore ships.  All four were taken down in 1999.  Two of the machines were scrapped at the time and two were set aside on the terminal in pieces. Initially intended for just five years, the Huletts' stay at CBT stretched into 24 years.  The acreage encumbered by the Hulett remnants has been undevelopable for Port purposes during that time.

The two remaining Huletts were not previously removed because they were caught in legal and administrative limbo resulting from a lawsuit brought against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), which issued a dredging permit that included disassembly of the Huletts.  That legal action and ensuing administrative process was not concluded until a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was executed in 2018 between the Army Corps, the Port of Cleveland and several interested historic preservation groups.

The MOA gave the preservation interest groups three years to plan and raise the funding for a Hulett display.  It also obligated the Port to store the pieces until the end of the three-year period.

The Port selected Maple Leaf for the removal because, among other factors evaluated, Maple Leaf intends to make its best efforts to reassemble one Hullet in its entirety on a site the company owns in Canton.

Dave Gutheil, the Port’s Chief Commercial Officer, said, “We are very pleased to offer Maple Leaf the opportunity to reassemble one of these machines because we recognize the role they played in Cleveland’s industrial and maritime history.  That said, these machines are massive -- more than 800 tons a piece -- and it is a major undertaking both financially and technically to safely transport and reassemble one.”

Chance Ayers, owner and president of Maple Leaf, said, “My company is very excited to be awarded this contract and to have a chance to reinstall one of these historic machines on our site in Canton, which was once used for steelmaking. I’m personally passionate about this project and hope others will be pleased too.”

Mera Cardenas, Executive Director of Canalway Partners, who was spearheading efforts to put up a Hulett display, acknowledged the challenges faced in preserving the Huletts on Cleveland’s waterfront, which was ultimately not feasible.

“While we’re disappointed we weren’t able to secure an interpretive site for the artifacts over the last 25 years, we are pleased at the prospect of a fully erected Hulett nearby,” she said.  “The Port has been very collaborative and patient and I am pleased that they have found what appears to be a preservation-minded outcome under the circumstances.

“The funding that Canalway previously set aside for preservation of the Huletts will now be allocated to our ongoing work of preserving and highlighting Cleveland’s cultural and industrial history through preservation and programming,” she added.

If Maple Leaf is unable to re-erect the Hulett in its entirety, the Port has contractually obligated the company to set aside a bucket and leg for a period of one year to once again give others time to find a way to use them in a display.

Additionally, a shunt engine that was part of the Hulett unloading system will be salvaged and publicly displayed at the American Industrial Mining Museum in Brownsville, PA.

As part of the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding, the Port will return $250,000 to Canalway Partners and disburse $250,000 to the State Historic Preservation Office. This funding is intended to support interpretation of sites within the Ohio & Erie Canalway Heritage Area and the preservation of historical resources about Cleveland’s industrial heritage.


Port approves up to $15 million in financing for new and historic Ohio City residential project

Cleveland – March 14, 2024— The Port of Cleveland Board of Directors has approved issuing up to $15 million in bonds for the development of a new residential project and rehabilitation of a historic building into residential in Ohio City.

The $19.8 million Franklin Yard project, located at the corner of Franklin Boulevard and West 32nd street, will include construction of a modern new three-story apartment building with 29 units and restoration of a former YWCA women’s residence and a mid-19 century mansion that will create an additional 38 units.  

The project is being developed by The Dalad Group of Independence in partnership with Property Advisors Group of Beachwood. The Dalad Group is a developer of office, industrial, retail and residential space. Their historic renovation projects in Cleveland have included the Hoyt Block featuring the Blue Point Restaurant, the Hat Factory apartments on West 6th and Worthington Yards in the Warehouse District.  Property Advisors Group developed the first office-flex projects in Independence’s Rockside Road business district, and most recently has been involved in historic redevelopment projects in Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway, Little Italy and Tremont.

Construction is expected to start in the second quarter of 2024, with planned completion in 2025.

Franklin Yard tenants will have access to several outdoor patios, an interior courtyard, a fitness room, a community living room and convenient storage areas. The historic rehabilitation aspect of the project was the recipient of federal and state historic tax credits.

“The Port is happy to partner with The Dalad Group and Property Advisors Group on this project,’’ said Rhonda Winslow, Vice President of Development Finance for the Port of Cleveland. “This project will revitalize a historic building and contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the historic Ohio City neighborhood.”

“The Port and its consultants have been very responsive and helped simplify a somewhat complex process,’’ said Daniel M. Spirko, General Counsel with Dalad Group. “We are in a challenging real estate market where every dollar matters. The Port’s program is certainly going to add value to the project and provide another piece to the puzzle.”

Port authorities in Ohio can offer an array of benefits in the real estate and economic development space. Since 1993, the Port of Cleveland has provided more than $5 billion to more than 160 projects in Cuyahoga County and beyond.


Cleveland Port secures $32+ million for modernization and sustainability

CLEVELAND, February 8, 2024 – The Port of Cleveland took a significant stride toward the future as its board approved the allocation of more than $32 million in federal and state grants to help rehabilitate and modernize a key warehouse and upgrade electrical infrastructure at its General Cargo Terminal. This strategic move will ensure ongoing efficiency of Port facilities and prepare the Port for upcoming electrification efforts. 

William Friedman, Port president and CEO, said the investments were critical to successful port operations as well as sustainability.  

“These initiatives stand as a testament to our commitment to sustainable practices,” Friedman said.  “True environmental stewardship requires translating words into meaningful, concrete actions.  

Through these measures approved today, we are actively decarbonizing and forging a path toward a greener and more sustainable future.” 

The undertaking is part of a broader investment of $93.8 million in Port infrastructure since 2015, with more than 75% of it covered by state and federal grants. Aligned with the Port’s recently implemented Climate Action Plan, the overarching goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making Cleveland the first Great Lakes port to adopt such an ambitious plan. 

The grants for these projects include:

  • $27.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program to improve safety, efficiency and reliability of movement in and around the Port.  
  • $4.9 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Maritime Assistance Program for projects enhancing efficiency and capacity of cargo terminal operations.

The funds will be allocated toward:

  • Comprehensive rehabilitation and modernization of the terminal’s largest warehouse, Warehouse A, including structural steel repairs, a new overhead crane, window replacements, new concrete slab, updated lighting and a new roof. Friedman said Warehouse A, over 50 years old, can’t accommodate evolving technology the Port needs for successful operations.
  • Development of an Electrification Master Plan and installation of new terminal electric feed in collaboration with Cleveland Public Power, which has been an integral partner in providing technical expertise and planning for sufficient capacity for the Port’s electrification goals. 

Friedman highlighted the importance of the new electric distribution hub, which will lay the foundation for future electrification efforts, including cargo handling equipment, charging stations, switching locomotives, ships when docked at the Port, mobile harbor cranes and potential solar arrays on the warehouse roofs. 

  • Stormwater collection and treatment infrastructure to ensure the quality of stormwater discharging into Lake Erie, building resiliency to climate change impacts such as increased storm intensity and heavy rainfalls.  
  • Construction of a new learning center for students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Davis Aviation & Maritime High School.
  • Reconstruction of two smaller buildings on the terminal as warehouse annexes, opening cargo traveling lanes and freeing up additional cargo laydown space.

To begin executing this ambitious project, the Port board also authorized an engineering design contract with Jacobs Engineering Group for the project. Jacobs was selected through a competitive process.

The Port received letters of support for the federal funds from Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. David Joyce, Shontel Brown and Marcy Kaptur and former U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

Sen. Brown wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “The Port is an economic engine for the community, a key to Northeast Ohio’s global competitiveness and a partner in building the region’s future. This project will work to increase the port’s efficiency in cargo movement with much needed improvements around the warehouse. It will also enable a more energy efficient warehouse, which will help greatly decrease carbon emissions.”

Board Chair J. Stefan Holmes expressed sincere appreciation to both the U.S. and Ohio Departments of Transportation for their generous grants and their recognition of the vital significance of the ongoing projects at the Port. "It is through collaborative partnerships such as these that we can fortify our position for sustained success in the years ahead," he emphasized.

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Port Approves Up to $6 million in bonds for Grand River Walk Project in Painesville

Cleveland – Dec. 14, 2023— The Port of Cleveland Board of Directors has approved the issuance of up to $6 million of bonds to help finance the more than $33 million Grand River Walk, a project which will transform and revitalize downtown Painesville.

The project is expected to include a five-story mixed-use building with 120 residential units, 18,760 square feet of ground floor retail space and 69 covered parking spaces. On December 4, Painesville City Council voted on the finalization of a Cooperative Agreement to facilitate the urban redevelopment tax incremental financing (TIF), which has already been approved by the local school district. The Port of Cleveland will enter into a Cooperative Agreement with the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority to use its bond fund to facilitate the project financing.

“We are thankful for the help from the Port, Painesville City Council and the Painesville City Local Schools Board” said Michael Vidmar, Director of Acquisitions for Marous Development Group. “This is a critical piece of the financial package needed to make this large development happen. Lake County is home for our company, so this transformational project is particularly important for us.”

“The Port is happy to use our bond fund to monetize the TIF and help with the financing for Grand River Walk,’’ said Rhonda Winslow, Vice President of Development Finance for the Port of Cleveland. “We believe this project will help spur further investment in downtown Painesville.”


Port Approves Capital Lease Incentive for Fairfax Neighborhood Apartment Project

Cleveland – Dec. 14, 2023— The Port of Cleveland Board of Directors has approved the issuance of up to $6 million of bonds to help finance construction of the first modern, market rate rental development in the central part of Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood.

The $10.5 million 89th Rising Housing Development is planned by a company founded by Timothy L. Tramble Sr., president of We Rise Development and a resident of the Fairfax neighborhood. Tramble is also president and CEO of the Saint Luke’s Foundation and has more than 20 years of community development experience.

The project’s first phase will include 48 one-bedroom and two-bedroom market rate rental units along East 89th Street between Cedar and Quincy avenues. The apartments will be in 6 large structures designed to give the appearance of the rambling Victorian houses that once anchored the street. They will have large porches, gables, turrets and variegated facades. Construction is expected to start in early 2024.

“My wife and I built our home in Fairfax in the mid-1990s,’’ said Tramble. “My career interests, efforts, and accomplishments have centered revitalization of disinvested, low-wealth neighborhoods of Cleveland. Our street is in need of revitalization, so as a vested stakeholder I am using my skills to effectively address the vacancy and blight. The assistance from the Port’s capital lease program will help our company do just that.”

“The Port is happy to partner with We Rise Development on this project,’’ said Rhonda Winslow, Vice President of Development Finance for the Port of Cleveland. “This project is a great addition to the Fairfax neighborhood and a great complement to projects the Port has assisted with in the neighborhood over the last few years.”


Challenges, Delays Lead to Pause on Lake Erie Wind Turbine Project

Cleveland – December 8, 2023 — Citing considerable challenges and increased costs resulting from years of delays and obstacles, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) board of directors made the difficult decision to temporarily halt the Icebreaker Wind project.  This innovative project, consisting of six wind turbines, was planned to be located eight miles off Cleveland’s shoreline.  

The board is exploring various avenues that might allow the project to move forward in the future.  

“We join with many civic leaders, businesses and environmental organizations in being disappointed in having to suspend this project,” said Will Friedman, LEEDCo board member and president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland.  “This pause is necessitated by a confluence of adverse circumstances and numerous delays resulting in a financial climate where the project’s commercial viability is in question.”

The project’s development efforts began around 2009.  Since that time, it received approvals from numerous local, state and federal agencies.  But there were significant regulatory and legal hurdles.  

Specifically, LEEDCo pointed to a project killing condition by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) which significantly impeded the project by mandating that Icebreaker cease operations in the evening, making it financially untenable.  The State’s own experts testified under oath the shutdown mandate wasn’t needed. This provision was ultimately reversed, but the lengthy delay significantly dimmed prospects for advancing the project.  

Friedman emphasized that LEEDCo invested great amounts of time reviewing any potential impact on birds.  Siting Board staff determined after 18 months of extensive study and review that with certain conditions, Icebreaker Wind “serves the public interest” and poses “minimal adverse environmental impact.” After thorough review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated the project poses “limited direct risk” to migratory birds.  And many environmental groups have endorsed Icebreaker, including the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Ohio Environmental Council.   

Additionally, Icebreaker Wind faced frivolous and costly lawsuits funded by dark money tied to fossil fuel interests. This burdensome litigation caused years of delays and significant expense.  The delays have led to a constrained economics for the project: 

  • Higher interest rates have driven up financing costs.  General inflation and global circumstances have significantly increased capital costs, especially for materials like steel, making offshore wind particularly susceptible to economic fluctuations.  While LEEDCo is a small non-profit, other projects being pursued by the world’s leading offshore wind developers, with government support, are being stalled by similar factors.  
  • LEEDCo’s private development partner, which was to construct and operate the project, ceased financial support for Icebreaker due to the numerous obstacles presented.  Friedman said LEEDCO is open to the possibility of other developer-owners taking over the project.
  • LEEDCo and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have mutually agreed to terminate a funding award given the delays and the practical inability to meet the Department’s award milestones.  While this award has terminated, the federal government continues to prioritize offshore wind and there might be future opportunities for funding.  

LEEDCo Board Chair Ronn Richard, who was central in conceiving the project, said Northeast Ohio was poised to be a leader in innovation with this potential first of its kind offshore wind project in North American fresh water. 

Richard said the community’s efforts have not been in vain.  “LEEDCo has conducted extensive, expert research about the environmental sustainability of offshore wind, laying the groundwork for future projects,” he said. “We have sparked a meaningful community conversation about the potential offshore wind can provide and the importance of renewable energy. “  

Richard noted many companies in Northeast Ohio and throughout the state have set ambitious renewable targets, underscoring the need for clean energy.  

“I maintain my belief that – just as Ohio was the first in flight – the day will come when Ohio will be a leader in advanced energy.  I am disappointed by this pause on Icebreaker, but I believe that there will be a significant number of offshore wind turbines in the Great Lakes in my lifetime. Climate change will necessitate it,” Richard added.  

Chris Tavenor, associate general counsel for the Ohio Environmental Council, also is optimistic. 

“LEEDCo was ahead of its time when it proposed the Icebreaker Wind Project, the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America. This innovative project has persevered through significant legal and regulatory challenges that in some cases were funded by the fossil fuel industry,” he said. “For decades, the Ohio Environmental Council has worked to grow Ohio’s renewable energy future by advocating for smart investments that provide Ohioans with clean, affordable energy. That includes the Icebreaker Wind Project, with its potential to reduce carbon emissions and inject millions into the local economy. While we are disappointed by the temporary pause of this innovative clean energy project, we remain optimistic about the potential of offshore wind for Ohio and other Great Lakes states.” 

The LEEDCo board extended its thanks to multiple partners including local and state elected officials who were advocates, environmental groups, labor organizations and others who were staunch advocates.  

About Icebreaker Wind

Icebreaker Wind was anticipated to create over 500 jobs and pump $253 million into the region’s economy.  Ohio already has the largest wind energy manufacturing base of any state in the US, according to the American Wind Energy Association.  More than 275 manufacturing companies had expressed interest in being part of the project.  

The project received approvals from agencies including the Ohio EPA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Power Siting Board.  The U.S. Department of Energy conducted an Environmental Assessment and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Eight miles from shore, the proposed turbines would not be visible on most days. On a clear day, a person standing on the downtown Cleveland lakeshore holding their arm out would have seen turbines no taller than half a thumbnail.   The small project would have only occupied .000002% of Lake Erie’s surface area. 

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Canadian Seaway strike threatens severe economic consequences; Port of Cleveland makes urgent call for federal intervention

Cleveland – October 25, 2023 – A labor strike by hundreds of Canadian workers along the St. Lawrence Seaway has, in effect, paralyzed a critical maritime trade route connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Over 100 vessels remain stranded outside the Seaway system, unable to access it, and this backlog will worsen as the strike endures.

The dispute is between Canadian entities St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and UNIFOR, the union representing its workforce. The striking workers walked off in a labor dispute three days ago, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the extensive economic activities that the St. Lawrence Seaway System supports in both Canada and the United States. This lifeline is not just pivotal for Cleveland but also for North America’s broader economy and transportation network. The strike threatens to disrupt the flow of crucial commodities, including steel for example.

The Port of Cleveland will feel the impact of the strike soon if the matter is not quickly resolved. Annually, the Seaway facilitates the movement of approximately 550,000 metric tons of cargo to and from the Port.

In response to this crisis, the Port of Cleveland has urgently dispatched a letter to the Canadian Ministers of Labor and Transportation, along with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, imploring them to promptly help resolve the labor impasse. (See attached letters)

Will Friedman, President and CEO of the Port of Cleveland, expressed deep concern.

“This shutdown is a matter of grave concern for us and numerous local businesses, given its substantial economic ramifications,” he wrote. “This vital waterway is the linchpin of trade and the movement of goods to and from Cleveland. The interruption is particularly disruptive, occurring just before the end-of-season cargoes are expected, and as winter approaches. The consequences include a halt in exports from Cleveland to overseas destinations, and end-of-year cargoes cannot reach businesses relying on them in Cleveland.

“The longer this stranglehold on commerce in and out of the Great Lakes persists, the more significant the consequences will be,” he continued. “It not only jeopardizes the operations of ships and cargoes but could result in substantial daily economic losses. Ultimately, it may negatively impact Port workers due to dwindling traffic, and severely impact local businesses.”

Friedman said the Port is anticipating several vessels this autumn with imports that are crucial to regional manufacturing, and the longer this crisis endures, it may lead to increased costs for consumers both locally and beyond.

“Much of the high grade imported steel that moves through the Port of Cleveland is destined for local businesses, where it is processed and/or made into products such as nuts, bolts, screws, food grade tin cans, battery casings, automobile parts, and appliances that consumers use daily,” Friedman added in the letter.

Immediate intervention is imperative to avert an escalating economic catastrophe, Friedman said.

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Port of Cleveland Recognized with Ohio Auditor's Financial Excellence Award

Port of Cleveland Recognized with Ohio Auditor’s Financial Excellence Award

Cleveland – October 16, 2023— The Port of Cleveland has been honored with the Ohio State Auditor’s Award for Financial Excellence, underscoring the agency’s robust financial health and exemplary management.

“This prestigious award validates the unwavering commitment, meticulous attention to detail, and fiscal responsibility exhibited by our dedicated financial team and leadership,” expressed Carl Naso, the Port’s chief financial officer. “I am exceptionally proud of my team, who consistently perform at the highest standard of financial reporting and accountable government.”

Board Chair J. Stefan Holmes said the award is a testament to Port staff. “We’re very pleased with this award because it shows our commitment to financial accountability, transparency and responsibility to the taxpayers.”

Naso noted that the Port has maintained a spotless audits for at least five consecutive years in the State of Ohio’s audits. This accomplishment signifies that the audit reports have consistently been free from any findings, management recommendations, internal control weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Uniform Guidance (Single Audit) findings or questions regarding costs. Naso has been with the Port for the past six years.

Kathryn Semo, Northeast Regional Liaison, presented the award from Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber.

“There are not many entities that receive this award,’’ she said, noting that very few of the nearly 6,000 entities which are audited each year are eligible to be considered. “We are happy to have had the opportunity to come in person and present this Auditor of State award to the Port.”

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Left to right: Port Board Chairman Stefan Holmes, Carl Naso Port’s Chief Financial Officer, Kathryn Semo, Northeast Regional Liaison, Ohio Auditor of State and Port financial team Margaret Rivalsky, Renee Snipes and Rhonda Winslow. (missing is Justina Dugan).