Sweetest Day is October 15

Sweetest Day Editorial (1922)Sweetest Day is an observance celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes region, and parts of the Northeast United States, on the third Saturday in October.[1] It is described by Retail Confectioners International as an “occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember husbands, boyfriends, the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed.”[2] Sweetest Day has also been referred to as a “concocted promotion” created by the candy industry solely to increase sales of sweets.[3]


Sweetest Day was a promotion concocted by Cleveland confectioners in 1921.[3] The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s October 8, 1921 edition, which chronicles the first Sweetest Day in Cleveland, states that the first Sweetest Day was planned by a committee of 12 confectioners chaired by candymaker C. C. Hartzell. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor” in Cleveland, Ohio.[3] The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee was assisted in the distribution of candy by some of the biggest movie stars of the day including Theda Bara and Ann Pennington.[3]

There were also several attempts to start a “Sweetest Day” in New York City, including a declaration of a Candy Day throughout the United States by candy manufacturers on October 8, 1922.[4] In 1927, The New York Times reported that “the powers that determine the nomenclature of the weeks of October” decreed that the week beginning on October 10, 1927 would be known as Sweetest Week.[5] On September 25, 1937, The New York Times reported under Advertising News and Notes that The National Confectioners Association had launched a “movement throughout the candy industry” to rank Sweetest Day with the nationally accepted Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and St. Valentine’s Day.[6] In 1940, another Sweetest Day was proclaimed on October 19. The promotional event was marked by the distribution of more than 10,000 boxes of candy by the Sweetest Day Committee.[7] The candy was distributed among 26 local charities. 225 children were given candy in the chapel at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children on October 17, 1940.[7] 600 boxes of candy were also delivered to the presidents of the Jewish, Protestant and Catholic Big Sister groups of New York.[7]


Sweetest Day commonly involves women giving their husband or boyfriends candy. While it is not as large or widely observed as Valentine’s Day, it is still celebrated in parts of the United States, despite persistent allegations of being a “Hallmark holiday.”[8]

Retail Confectioners International describes it as “much more important for candymakers in some regions than in others (Detroit and Cleveland being the biggest Sweetest Day cities)”.[2] The popularity in Detroit was greatly perpetuated by the Sanders Candy Company. Frederick Sanders of Detroit, Mi was a large promoter of the holiday. In 2006, Hallmark marketed 151 greeting card designs for Sweetest Day. American Greetings marketed 178.[9]


Since Sweetest Day was invented by commercial interests which stood to profit from such a holiday, dissenting Cleveland residents refer to it as a “Hallmark holiday[8] (although it was not invented by Hallmark Cards company). Due to its relative historical insignificance, adherence limited to the Great Lakes region and commercial origins, many Clevelanders do not celebrate Sweetest Day


  1. ^ Cridlin, Jay (2006-10-21). “A sweet day for Hallmark”. St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
  2. ^ a b Sweetest Day, retailerconfectioners.org. Retrieved on 2007-02-21.
  3. ^ a b c d The Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 15, 2005.
  4. ^ The New York Times, October 8, 1922.
  5. ^ The New York Times, October 10, 1927.
  6. ^ The New York Times, September 25, 1937.
  7. ^ a b c The New York Times, October 18, 1940.
  8. ^ a b Arnett, Lisa. “Sweet wine o’ mine”. The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-02-21.[dead link]
  9. ^ Orsborn, Kimberly (2006-10-20). “Sweetest Day born in Ohio”. Mount Vernon News. Archived from the original on 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2007-02-21.

Talk With Jeannie Rossi: Brandon Lions Club and Her Blind Son’s Triumph

By Linda Chion Kenney

Jeannie Rossi of the Brandon Lions Club talks about Danny Rossi’s blindness from childhood cancer and his subsequent accomplishments, including climbing Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro and graduating from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jeannie Rossi and her husband, Al, have a deeply personal reason for their involvement with the Brandon Lions Club, which hosts its Second Annual Wine and Cheese Party tonight, Oct. 8, at the Barn Theatre at Winthrop.

They have a son, Danny, who lost both his eyes to cancer.

With plastic eyes in place since childhood, Danny Rossi is a mechanical engineer out of Carengie Mellon University, the nation’s first blind and licensed parachutist and has climbed both Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro, said his proud mother.

In 2006, Jeannie Rossi won both the Brandon Idol and Miss Senior Florida contests. She was scheduled to sing with Troy Allen Coman, the 2011 Bright House Senior Idol, at the wine and cheese party, open to the public and scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Rossi and her husband joined the Brandon Lions Club 26 years ago, after moving to the area from New York, where they first joined a Lions club after talking to the group about their son’s condition.

She took a moment to discuss her son, her song selections and her lifelong affiliation with Lions Clubs International.

BRANDON PATCH: What do you like about the Brandon Lions Club, which in 2004 celebrated its 50th anniversary?

  • ROSSI: I like the idea that everything we take in, all monies collected, are put right back into the community. Our motto is, “We serve.” And we do.

BRANDON PATCH: Lots of groups give back. Why Lions Clubs International, over any other service organization?

  • ROSSI: Let me tell you why. When we lived in New York, our son had cancer of the retina, both eyes, and they removed both eyes. People we knew in the community invited us to speak to the Lions club there because people had never heard of cancer in the eye. They think they can just cut it out, but you can’t. They have to take the eye out, and once the eye is removed it’s irreparable. It can never, ever be repaired. They cannot replace an eye. So my son has two prosteheses that he wears, two plastic eyes, but he’s gone on to become a mechanical engineer out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He’s gone on to climb Mount Everest. He’s gone on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He is the fi

BRANDON PATCH: What happened to your son?

  • ROSSI: My son has two prosteheses that he wears, two plastic eyes, but he’s gone on to become a mechanical engineer out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He’s gone on to climb Mount Everest. He’s gone on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He is the first blind licensed parachutist in the country. He’s a rock climber, a

bungee jumper, he married a professor from the University of Pittsburgh and he is now employed at the school from which he graduated. He’s an extraordinary man.

BRANDON PATCH: What happened to your son?

  • ROSSI: My son has two prosteheses that he wears, two plastic eyes, but he’s gone on to become a mechanical engineer out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He’s gone on to climb Mount Everest. He’s gone on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He is the first blind licensed parachutist in the country. He’s a rock climber, a

bungee jumper, he married a professor from the University of Pittsburgh and he is now employed at the school from which he graduated. He’s an extraordinary man.

BRANDON PATCH: What happened at that first Lions club meeting in New York?

  • ROSSI:  I went to the Lions club to inform people that this can happen to anyone. This can happen to anyone’s child. It’s called, “retinoblastoma.” He looked like a very normal 3-year-old until, to me, something didn’t look right and I took him to a specialist and they found it.

BRANDON PATCH: It wasn’t well known at the time, retinoblastoma . . .

  • ROSSI: He was at an eye institute and that was the only place they did reasearch for retinoblastoma. Nobody knew about it. A child would die of a brain tumor, or a tumor in their lymph nodes, but it began in the eye. They never saw it in the eye. My son lost his first eye a month before his third birthday. He was only seven years old when he lost his second eye. He had 17 different forms of surgery to try to save that one eye, but then they couldn’t wait any longer because it wasn’t improving.

BRANDON PATCH: What happened after your first talk with the Lions club?  

  • ROSSI: The first thing they did, they got us a tandem bike. They got him a lot of things that are for the blind. There’s lots of children’s toys for the blind, and books. They asked us, “Why don’t you join? Why don’t you become a Lion?” And when we saw what they did and  how the money was spent we said, “Yes.” So my husband joined the Lions club because at the time women were not allowed to join the men’s club. All of the wiives formed the first Lionettes Club, in Holbrook, Long Island. Now, it’s all one. Everybody’s a Lion, so the men and the women can work better together, rather than fighting with each other for all these things to do.

BRANDON PATCH: Still, there are lots of clubs to join in the community, why the Brandon Lions Club?

  • ROSSI: I know there are a lot of organizations out there that do a lot. But we are primarlily for sight- and the hearing-impaired. We collect eyeglasses. Right now I think we’ve given out 1,300 pairs of eyeglasses and exams, to adults and children, and that’s just our small group.

Reenactors storm battlefield in Zoar Ohio

By Denise Sautters
ZOAR —Johnny came marching home Saturday afternoon, following the Battle of Bull Run.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Confederate and Union “soldiers” from as far away as Canada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and New York gathered to muster in this historic village to commemorate the 1st Manassas (Va.) Battle in 1861, the first major land battle of the Civil War that occurred three months following the battle at Fort Sumter.Uniformed reenactors conducted battlefield demonstrations, camp living, and home-front activities Saturday. Activities continue today through 10 p.m. More events are scheduled Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing through 5 p.m.


Abby Cole of Akron took advantage of the day’s activities to learn about the Civil War as part of her history class.“I’m home-schooled, so this is a history lesson for me,” she said. “It is pretty interesting.”

Her grandmother, Ginny Cole of Akron, is her teacher, and made sure they took advantage of seeing history taking place.

Another student of history attending the activities Saturday was Jacob McCowan of Chillicothe.

“I just really love history,” he said.


Larry O’Donnell portrayed Confederate Gen. Jeremy Gilmer. He was in charge of topography. His brother, Jim O’Donnell, also participated, but did not take on a different persona. He did serve as Gilmer’s assistant during the weekend activities.

Both are from Michigan, but are part of the 4th Texas Co. E Citizens for Independence in Bold Springs, Texas.

“I am a licensed land surveyor,” said Larry O’Donnell, commenting he lived in Virginia when he first got involved in Civil War reenactments five years ago. “I love this. People do this for a lot of reasons. For me, as a land surveyor, this just seemed to be a natural for me.”

Dena James of Canton, a funeral director at Spiker-Foster-Shriver Funeral Home, described herself as a camp follower.

“We help feed the soldiers,” she said. Dressed in Civil War garb, she and her son, Seth, got a fire started to prepare a meal for Confederate soldiers, while her older son, Corey, a corporal, prepared for battle with the 4th Virginia Regiment. “We follow our soldiers wherever they go.”

Using a hatchet to grind coffee beans, Gregory Renault came from Toronto, Canada, to serve in the Confederate Army.

“A lot of Canadians fought in the Civil War,” he said. “Most of them fought for the North, but there was a fair number of them who supported the South during the war.”

Enjoying the fruits of his labor was Freda Baldwin, also from Toronto, a civilian.

“There were a lot of sympathizers in Canada,” she said. “There were 50,000 Canadians who fought in the war. A lot of Canadians also helped with the Underground Railroad.”


Bob Mattocks of Pennsylvania, proudly wore a buck deer tail on the back of his Union hat, a symbol of the 150th Bucktail Infantry marksmanship. The tail had to be from a buck the soldier shot.

“We are supposed to be part of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment, one of the first units in the war,” he said. “We fired the opening volley at the first Bull Run battle.”

In another area of the “northern” camps, John Aaron, Jim Miller and Sue Lener from Meadville, Pa., also were part of the 150th Bucktail Infantry.

“Women who could pass themselves off as men served in the war,” said Lener, dressed as a soldier. For the purpose of Saturday’s event, her name was Samuel. “Some of the women even moved up in rank.”

Participating in his first reenactmentment, Andrew Sheffer of New Bethlehem, Pa. “I am definitely a private in this event,” he said.

“His friend, Dan Landers, of Clarion, Pa., has been a reenactor for eight years and is a sergeant.

“We are part of the 40th Pennsylvania 11th Reserves,” he said as he prepared for the battle.

The North won the war, but the South won the 1st (and second) Battle at Bull Run.


*Photos by Uniontown Lion Bob Kendall

Uniontown man felt the world was going to end

By Mark Phillips
When I was a little kid, I thought Pearl Harbor was a woman’s name.

I remember watching an episode of “The Waltons” that centered on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

I wondered, why would the Japanese attack a woman? Who is she? It may sound silly, but sometimes, little kids don’t understand things.

As I got older, I learned about Pearl Harbor from family and teachers in Uniontown. The words began to mean something.

I learned how the attack scarred our country, but also how we rallied together against our enemies. When anyone says “Pearl Harbor” now, it conjures up images of the attacks that I’ve seen on old newsreels and in movies. But I have no real emotional attachment to it.

For me, you only have to say “9/11” or “Sept. 11.” For the next several minutes and sometimes a lot longer — I have to apologize — I’m not with you. They say time travel isn’t theoretically possible. But I can attest to it: It happens around every Sept. 11, or any time I hear the date.

I’m back in 2001, standing in front of a New York fire station where the lives of nearly every firefighter and medic were snuffed out, killed by the falling towers.


I remember the ash in my hair, the ash that hung in the air for days after it happened. I remember looking from my hotel room into the pit of where the World Trade Center used to stand and seeing the glow of the fires. I see military jets scream between the high-rises, their pilots vigilant, looking out for the next airborne terrorist.

I see a profound sense of loss too unbearable to accurately describe. For the first time in my life, I felt the world literally was going to end. That doesn’t make sense to the rational brain, but standing amid all of this in New York, it made complete sense. It was the little kid in me doing the talking.

Back up to the morning of Sept. 11, before the attacks occurred, when my psyche wasn’t damaged. I was the assistant city editor for The Repository and got the first word of the attacks through an Associated Press wire bulletin on my computer at work. I don’t remember the exact words, but it said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.

Bad weather? Must have been a terrible accident, I thought. I jumped up from my desk and ran to a TV. There, I saw the second plane hit the other tower.

At that moment, as a journalist, I had to be in New York. But since then, I’ve wondered whether I should have pushed my bosses to let me go. It changed my life forever, and I’m not sure I’m better off for it.


I did what officials told journalists to do and wrote my Social Security number and name in permanent marker on my skin, in case there was another attack and they needed to identify my body. Then I drove with Rep photographer Michael Balash to New York (all planes in the United States were grounded for days). The assignment was to document work that people from Stark County were doing to help New York recover.

To say I wasn’t ready for the experiences in New York isn’t completely accurate. I had been crime reporter for a newspaper in central Ohio before coming to The Repository. For that job, I saw any number of chilling scenes of death that I’d rather forget. At the end of each day, I’d take a mental inventory of what I saw, and then I’d put it in a little box to be filed away in my brain. Those memories rarely came out.

I still can’t watch a TV documentary about 9/11. I’m not sure if I ever will. I like to think I can, only to get about three minutes into it and have to change the channel or shut off the TV. As soon as I see the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower, I’m traveling through time.

Which is why 9/11 is different: There’s no little box to put it in and file away. It’s simply too massive, the loss too great.

The murders of nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and D.C. gutted us as a country. Those memories feel like they burst out of my brain. I cannot get the images of those planes hitting those towers out of my head. I cannot get the images of the towers falling out of my head, either.

I’ve tried. But I’m not sure I should try anymore.

Stark County native Mark Phillips is a former assistant city editor of The Repository. He now edits an automotive industry magazine. In his spare time, he writes novels.

Disaster plans crucial to weathering crisis

Risk managers, others offer catastrophe management lessons learned the hard way
by: Russ Banham

t’s hurricane season in the United States, and so far the tempests have been kind. But, as the extraordinary array of natural catastrophes in recent years has indicated, Mother Nature is merely providing a reprieve.

 Learning from past disasters helped the Miami-Dade County Public Schools cope well with future hurricanes, according to the district’s risk and benefits officer, Scott Clark. “When Hurricane Andrew struck in August 1992, we suffered a $95 million loss from the ground up,” said Mr. Clark, who also is the president of the New York-based Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. “What we learned there we have carried forward, and have not endured any really significant property losses since.”

Under Mr. Clark’s watch are some 360 schools, comprising more than 1,500 buildings that collectively represent $8.2 billion in property risk. The key lesson Mr. Clark learned was to remove any and all equipment from the roofs of schools and other facilities. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, among other machinery, had broken free of their moorings during Hurricane Andrew and punctured the roofs. Once the envelope of a building is opened, the real damage begins, Mr. Clark said.

“We’ve removed all the stuff off the roofs and now have it stored on ground in cement bunkers,” he said. “In schools that have flat roofs, we’ve built an 18-inch high parapet along the perimeter at top to reduce the possibility of debris hitting the roof. This way the parapet, and not the roof, suffers damage.”

Also learning from past losses is Andy Salipante, loss-prevention manager at Chesterfield Services Inc., a third-party administrator in Uniontown, Ohio, that has been representing the Salvation Army since 1947. “Our losses from Hurricane Katrina guided the funding of a hurricane-impact survey of all major buildings in excess of $10 million each,” Mr. Salipante said. “This, in turn, allowed us to do things we should have done in the past, such as removing or tying down equipment on roofs, replacing the flashing, installing 140-mph (wind-resistant) windows, and creating an emergency response plan that directs people to tie down interior furnishings. We’re much better prepared when the next one hits.”

Messrs. Clark and Salipante are two of several risk managers who learned hard lessons from previous natural disasters. In interviews with other risk managers and loss prevention experts at risk consultancies, law firms, insurance brokers and insurers, the best of all best practices for minimizing natural catastrophe and related human losses is this: Assess their impact well beforehand.

“Constructing scenarios of what can happen is essential, yet many organizations fail to do so,” said Howard Kunreuther, professor of decision sciences and co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Others agree. “All companies in disaster-prone areas need to undertake failure mode and effects analyses, where a bunch of people in the organization get together and imagine worst-case scenarios, and how the business will sustain itself during such events,” said Robert Wolf, staff partner-risk management at the Society of Actuaries in Schaumburg, Ill. “The goal is to quantify potential costs to prioritize mitigation strategies.”

“It’s all about preparation,” said Gerry Alonso, senior vp-claims at Providence, R.I.-based property insurer Factory Mutual Insurance Co., which does business as FM Global. “You want to protect buildings from potential damage, from boarding up windows to securing all equipment, and have pre-existing arrangements with contractors so your buildings are first in line to be repaired.”

Tracking danger

A key step in preparing for a natural disaster is grasping when it will strike. Quality Distribution Inc., a Tampa, Fla.-based trucking company, maintains close communications with hurricane trackers. “We have three separate people here who stay in close touch with the National Hurricane Center, which also is located in Tampa,” said Mike McDonald, vp of enterprise risk management. “These people also follow storms on our computers, and they reach out to employees when (storms) threaten via a 1-800 informational hot line, so everyone—and especially our drivers—knows what’s coming.”

Business disruptions caused by a disaster are not confined to a company’s own facilities, due to the complex, global links in many manufacturers’ supply chains. One link fails and the entire chain can unravel.

“The last 18 months have shown that disasters occurring elsewhere can still affect U.S. companies direly,” said Mr. Alonso. “You need to know the laws, culture, language and customs of the countries you draw supplies from, and have back-up plans in place to mitigate the damage quickly.”

Gary Lynch, global leader of risk intelligence and supply chain strategies at insurance broker Marsh Inc. in New York, advises organizations to prepare a supply chain resiliency plan “that is transparent throughout the various links,” he said. “You need visibility into each link to understand the economic impact when something breaks. Then you can take the appropriate response.”

As recent events have shown, a single natural disaster can set in motion other catastrophes. “Four of the five costliest earthquakes occurred in the last 13 months, and the one in Japan unleashed a tsunami and other perils, creating a domino effect,” said Mr. Wolf. “Companies with operations or supply partners in affected areas are not immune to the consequences, even though these events may be thousands of miles away.”

As Mr. Kunreuther states in “At War with the Weather: Managing Large-Scale Risks in a New Era of Catastrophes,” a recently published book he co-authored with Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan, the tragedy in Japan “is viewed by experts as an almost impossible combination of successive catastrophes….The series of disasters…has spurred thinking among business leaders and policy analysts about what steps need to be taken to prevent catastrophes that could have global impacts but are currently not on key decision-makers’ radar screens.”

Planning first, then action

While planning is the first step in gauging possible loss scenarios, acting on this information is next.

“About 85% of property damage in a hurricane comes from wind-driven water, so the idea is to protect equipment from water damage by ensuring that all building openings, like windows, are hurricane wind-resistant, and having the roof inspected annually,” said Arnie Goldin, property specialist in insurer Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.’ Tampa, Fla., office. “You want to make sure the cladding—the protective shield of a building—is as puncture-proof as possible.”

Mr. Goldin further recommends developing emergency-preparedness plans that put certain employees in charge of particular responsibilities, such as shutting off utilities, covering equipment with plastic sheathing, making contact with contractors, and distributing flash drives to colleagues to capture data in case the communications and data network fails.

Labor Finders International Inc., a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based temporary staffing firm, stores all its data at a remote hot site far from company headquarters, despite operating in a building engineered to withstand a 150-mph windstorm. “We’re highly centralized here, so we also have a backup electrical system to keep us functioning if power is lost,” said Wayne Salen, director of risk management.

One last piece of advice comes from law firm Reed Smith L.L.P.: Make sure the insurance to transfer disaster risks has air-tight coverage terms, conditions and financial limits.

“In the wake of Katrina, many companies learned to their chagrin that the policy language was inferior to address the losses at hand,” said Gary Thompson, a partner in the firm’s Washington-based insurance recovery group. “The best way to ensure this doesn’t occur to you is to have a legal expert review the insurance policy. You need to think through to the end game when you’re well in front of it. “

Companies must remain vigilant.

As Mr. Alonso puts it, “The No. 1 killer of businesses is complacency. A major hurricane hasn’t hit the Northeast in more than 20 years, but that doesn’t mean one won’t strike tomorrow.”


Retailer donated 30,000 pairs of sunglasses and reading glasses to charity New Eyes for the Needy

S-based travel retailer Hudson Group has donated the sunglasses and reading glasses inventory from its New York and New Jersey airport, bus and rail terminal stores to charitable organisation New Eyes for the Needy, which recycles glasses for distribution to poor people in developing nations.

The 30,000 pairs of glasses were worth over $1m in retail and will be handed to medical missions that work in partnership with New Eyes. The charity also works with larger organisations such as Feed the Children, Physicians for Peace and the Tree-Land Foundation to provide glasses for eye clinics in developing countries.

Hudson Group president and CEO Joseph DiDomizio said: “Hudson was delighted to be in a position to aid this outstanding organisation in the marvellous work they do around the world. We also provided glasses to local chapters of Lions Clubs International across the US, which conducts a similar mission to improve the vision of needy people in the US and abroad.”

New Eyes for the Needy executive director Susan Dyckman added: “This incredible donation from Hudson Group will help New Eyes to answer 100% of the requests for glasses we will receive from medical missions this year. We are very grateful to Hudson Group for this generous humanitarian gesture that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of poor people around the world by allowing them to see clearly so that they can work and attend school, as well as protect their eyes from the harsh sun.”

Uniontown Company to Open $100M bleach plant in Pittsburg

A $100 million bleach manufacturing plant will be built and operated by K2 Pure Solutions at Dow Chemical Co.’s Pittsburg site.

K2 will build and operate the plant on 15 acres leased from Dow on its 513-acre east Contra Costa County site. Dow will supply raw materials.

The new plant will sell bleach mainly to municipal water treatment plants in Northern California. It should be operational by the end of 2010.

Seperately, K2 will lease to Dow an additional separate facility K2 will operate to make chlorine and caustic soda for Dow’s agricultural markets.

Howard Brodie, K2’s chief executive officer, said the 20-year agreement should provide about 200 direct and indirect construction jobs and approximately 40 direct and indirect permanent operations jobs.

Dow, the $53.5 billion chemical giant based in Midland, Mich., said Dec. 8 as part of a global reduction it would close its Pittsburg latex operation, costing 20 jobs. The latex plant had been idle since August. Dow has 500 employees and contactors in Pittsburg.

Dow has nine production units left after the latex plant shut down, said Randy Fischback, Dow’s California public and government affairs leader.

The K2 plant “will be a new unit on site; its footprint every bit as robust as our larger plants.”

Dow operated a global-scale chlorine production plant in Pittsburg for 50 years, before closing it in 1992.

The new plant will have to get city and regulatory agency approvals, Fischback said.

Tod Sutton, Dow’s Pittsburg site leader, said Dow will get “a stable, onsite, low-cost raw material supply by working with K2,” and that “sharing capital costs is consistent with Dow’s asset-light strategy and provides Dow better raw material integration at the Pittsburg site.”

While chlorine and bleach may be the same thing, chlorine is a deadly gas, mostly made in the Gulf, and shipped by rail.

K2’s technology “eliminates the public safety risk,” said David Cynamon, K2 executive chairman.

Cynamon and partner Brodie founded KIK Custom Products in 1997, a Concord, Ontario, company that grew to $1.5 billion in sales and is North America’s largest contract manufacturer of private label household bleach, personal care and household cleaning products. The duo sold KIK with its 25 plants in May 2007 to CI Capital Partners LLC of New York.

“We knew chlorine,” Cynamon said, “We were the largest store brand bleach manufacturer in North America.” Along with Centre Partners, their original partners at KIK, Cynamon and Brodie founded K2 and put to use their knowledge of bleach-making.

K2 is based in Toronto, Ontario, with U.S. headquarters in Uniontown, Ohio. It has 15 employees and, besides Pittsburg, plans to open bleach plants in Vernon in Southern California and later Chicago.

K2 makes bleach using only salt, water and electricity as the inputs.

K2’s plan is to reduce the need to transport chlorine for water treatment by setting up a network of regional plants using its safer method of bleach production.

While early-stage technologies are often expensive — windfarms and solar power, for example — K2 is able “to create products at no extra cost to taxpayers,” Cynamon said.

Shipping chlorine by rail isn’t allowed in Europe and Asia, he said, something that may happen in the United States.