Archive for November, 2005
The restless crowd at Mayor Jack Ford’s election night camp at UAW Local 12 headquarters wanted numbers — any numbers — that could tell them whether their candidate would be reelected. Former county commissioner Sandy Isenberg addressed the crowd shortly after 10 p.m.
”We have had paper ballots that came in quicker than these new computers,” she said. ”As soon as we know some results, we’ll let everyone know.”
Long after the crowd went home, the numbers had still not been released by the Lucas County Board of Elections.
Last week’s election returns were delayed by a combination of factors, and most Lucas County residents had to wait until Wednesday to learn the results of important contests. Final results were not released until 9 a.m. the morning after the election.
The use of ”rovers” — election workers who traveled from site to site — seems to have been one source of the delays. One poll worker, who requested anonymity, said the new system prevented timely returns.
”We used to have one person from each precinct deliver the ballots Downtown,” he said. ”This year we waited until 9:30 p.m. for the rover to show up.”
BOE director Jill Kelly took issue with placing blame for delayed returns solely on the rover system.
”At most, any problems with rovers might have slowed results by a half hour,” she said. ”Our biggest problems were structural.”
Kelly said the room holding the server was too small for the number of people and card readers needed to upload the voting data.
”Data from 1,655 cards needed to be loaded,” she said. ”We needed a larger space to accommodate the number of people for this procedure.”
Toledo councilman Frank Szollosi was among those desirous of timely returns; he waited at BOE headquarters from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. for word on his race.
”By about 10:30 they came down with one printout with raw numbers from a handful of precincts, but they couldn’t even tell us what precincts the results were from,” he said. ”The Diebold rep said that the county never asked for the ability to generate real-time results by precinct.”
Kelly said, while Diebold reps worked ”shoulder-to-shoulder” with the county, there was still room for improvement in their logistical support.
”At 9:30 p.m. they were saying things like: ‘you could knock a wall out here for more machines,’ ” she said. ”That would have been useful information, say, a few months ago.”
Kelly said the manual transport and uploading of the individual computer memory cards, which added a great deal of time to the process, could not be avoided.
”We are prohibited by the Secretary of State from downloading the data over unsecured phone or cable modem lines,” she said. ”We will have to continue like this until such a point in time as the county installs secured data lines at each polling location.”
Szollosi said he was not surprised there were some operational issues with the new computer systems, but questioned the board’s preparedness.
”Lucas County was the only county in the state with this rover system; the board will have to take a hard look at whether this system should be continued,” he said. ”At 11 p.m. Board of Elections reps brought down two copies of the preliminary results to a room full of waiting people, and then they claimed to have no photocopier on the third floor.”
County commissioner Maggie Thurber agreed the board — which had a complete turnover in membership after the 2004 elections — may not have been completely prepared, but defended the overall performance of the board.
”A brand new board meant they might not have had the experience of learning from previous lessons, but on the whole, I think that they did an excellent job,” she said. ”It’s far more important that accuracy comes before speed.”
Thurber said she expected operational problems.
”This was a complete overhaul in the way in which elections are conducted,” she said. ”I am more interested in what they are doing to improve than to place blame on individuals.”
Szollosi said while some delays were to be expected, the 13-hour delay was longer than anything he has ever witnessed.
”I have been working on campaigns since 1984, when I was a 12-year old kid. I remember helping my dad at St. Stephen’s church, writing down results on a blackboard with chalk,” he said. ”This was like playing the Super Bowl without a scoreboard.”
In a typical municipal campaign, according to Szollosi, precinct results would be made available beginning about 9 p.m.
”Knowing which precincts were in, you could generally predict the results looking back at previous years in similar races,” he said. ”I finally left at 3 a.m., and they still had only 60 percent of the vote tallied.”
Kelly defended the effort of election workers.
”Our first goals were to have fair and accurate elections, and we succeeded in that goal,” she said, noting there were no abnormalities like the missing computer cards in Montgomery County. ”I think it’s important for the public to realize how hard everyone worked on this election.”
Kelly said there were likely to be areas in which the Board could improve in the next election cycle.
”We are conducting an internal audit to highlight areas in which we can improve,” she said. ”We will find out what worked and what did not work.”
Szollosi said one segment of the voting public needs to be remembered on election night: campaign workers.
”These election-night functions also serve to thank campaign supporters and volunteers,” he said. ”Not having the results denied the candidates and their supporters of that sense of finality; everyone puts so much into a campaign expecting that it will all come to a close on election night.”
Two football teams on enormous power surges, their respective force building to a crescendo as they crush everything in their path, are now about to collide at full speed, blood in their eyes, ice in their veins, abhorrence their essential attitude.
Keep the tow trucks and repairmen away. Forget about the brooms and dustpans. Don’t bring in collision counselors and anarchy-trained psychologists.
It happens every year about this time. It has occurred 102 times during the last 108 years, to be more precise.
At Ohio State, it’s ”Michigan Week.” At Michigan, it’s ”Ohio State Week.”
Everywhere else, it’s the ”Battle of The Big Ten Titans Week,” with the usual spoils going to the winner in the form of championships, eye-catching national rankings and bountiful Bowl agreements. The loser? It will snatch up less meaningful morsels, its dignity requiring immediate patchwork as it looks a full year ahead for a chance at redemption, never mind the less-important incidents in between.
Coaches are hired to win this game and are fired when they don’t.
Former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler recently admitted, ”When I got the job at Michigan in ‘69 I told my staff, ‘Men, we were hired here for one reason and one reason only, to beat Ohio State.’ Then we had the great upset (defeating the defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Buckeyes 24-12), but we lost to Michigan State that season. The next spring, I told my staff, ‘Well, actually, men we’re here to beat two teams.’ ”
But actually, men, women and children, too, we all know there’s only one team each institution absolutely has to beat, don’t we?
Even current UM coach Lloyd Carr, among the staunchest advocates of the old clichÈ, about, ”Playing ‘em one at a time,” admitted, ”I don’t think you ever stop thinking about them (the Buckeyes),” after his team dismantled Indiana 41-7 last Saturday.
Ohio State (8-2, 6-1) raised one spot to No. 9 in the Associated Press and USA Today Polls following its fifth straight win last Saturday over Northwestern. The Wolverines (7-3, 5-2) captured its fourth consecutive victory last Saturday to move up to No. 17.
In mid-October, the Wolverines were 3-3 following a home loss to Minnesota. They dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time since Napoleon was upset at Waterloo, and dreaded the thought of not being bowl eligible with at least six victories.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes fell to 3-2 after losing at Penn State, their national title hopes totally dissolved and maybe even their opportunity to win at least a Big Ten championship.
But now, following well-defined resurgences, they’re both done licking their wounds and are now licking their chops.
Since 1968, there was only one year (1987) in which neither team was nationally ranked. And only eight times in the last 37 years have neither Michigan nor Ohio State figured in the conference championship.
So what’s new? Both still have that opportunity.
Ohio State could win the Big Ten crown outright with a victory over Michigan, provided Penn State, also 6-1 in the conference, loses at Michigan State on Saturday. If Penn State loses to MSU and the Wolverines beat Ohio State, the three teams would earn a share of the Big Ten championship with 6-2 records, but UM would be the BCS representative from the conference because it would have defeated Penn State and OSU.
Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable, an Ohio native, remembers Ohio State’s 37-21 win over the Wolverines last year and the spitefulness that greeted him when he returned home.
”It’s one of those games where you know you have to bring your best, because they’re going to bring their best,” he said last Saturday after helping send IU to ICU. ‘I hope they play their best, because we’re going to play our best. May the best man win.”
Be careful what you hope for, Mr. Crable.
If Ohio State brings its best it might be best if you take up residence in Michigan.
The Buckeyes have one of the best defenses in the country, a defense that leads the Big Ten in every major category and seems to get stronger every week.
Offensively, OSU has found a running game in tailback Antonio Pittman, who has now rushed for more than 100 yards on six occasions this season to surpass the 1000-yard mark at 1,110. By contrast, Michigan tailback Michael Hart has been sidelined the last two games with an ankle injury.
The Bucks have scored at least 35 points or more in five straight games for the first time since 1974 when the late Woody Hayes was preparing to defeat his former student, Schembechler 12-10 in Columbus. And let’s not forget that OSU coach Jim Tressel is 3-1 against Michigan.
And how about Troy Smith? If he takes his best to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines will be beset by titanic troubles. The OSU quarterback riddled UM last year with a total of 386 yards, rushing for 145 and passing for 241. He also scored three touchdowns.
Ohio State is ahead of Michigan in every major conference statistical category and is the favorite to defeat UM by three or more points in Ann Arbor. It appears to be the Bucks’ game to lose.
Everything considered, Michigan couldn’t be sitting in a much more favorable position.
The Ohio State-Michigan game always decides who gets bragging rights for the year, but this time it may mean big bucks.
Two trucks — one scarlet and gray, the other maize and blue — at K-Limited Carrier Ltd., a bulk transport contractor, reflect a heated office rivalry among its employees. Jay Kaplan, senior adviser, said the company might purchase one of the trucks, and the outcome of the game could tip the scales.
”These trucks bring a different dimension into [the rivalry] because more or less when rubber hits the road, whoever wins this little battle, well, that’s about a $135,000 investment,” he said. ”We’re considering one or the other — maybe not either one, but just for the fun of it, we’re having a good time with it.”
Kaplan, a long-time Buckeyes supporter, has encouraged employees to show their school colors and display an array of college paraphernalia. Although fewer Michigan fans work at K-Limited, the two camps are easily distinguished by a quick glance in most any office.
Kaplan said the company has bought trucks painted scarlet and gray in the past; however, it is the first time a truck has sported a team logo. Parked in full view in front of the building, the trucks have attracted a lot of attention. While the feud will continue inside, K-limited will either return the trucks or make its purchase sometime after the season. The stunt is a ”one-shot deal,” Kaplan said.
”Everybody carries on in the office with it,” he said. ”It’s good for morale, and they have a lot of fun with it.”
The fun spills over to Nollenberger Truck Center Inc. in Stony Ridge, which loaned the trucks, hoping to make a sale, according to Bob Ruch, sales manager. He said the sales team remains evenly divided in the rivalry, and each side is hoping to make the sale first. The company decided to stir a little excitement, hiring a Fremont artist to create the decals, which eventually will be removed.
”We’re actually just selling the truck, not the team name,” he said.
Nollenberger ordered the two International 9900ix trucks in premium colors in early summer. They arrived at the start of football season by coincidence, sparking the sales team to apply the Buckeye and Wolverine decals. Other trucks in the past have matched collegiate colors, but never intentionally.
”Generally there’s just a few colors like your red, your black, your blue,” Ruch said. ”Very rarely do we bring in just standard colors; we usually try to spruce up our stock units.”
Jim Tressel, coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, is offering the opportunity for a private lunch with him at the Toledo Club in Downtown Toledo on May 11. This opportunity will be auctioned off in early 2006 and will benefit Mom’s House Toledo.
Tressel led his Buckeyes to a national championship in 2002, completing a perfect 14-0 season with a victory over the No. 1-ranked Miami Hurricanes.
Mom’s House is a non-profit organization that has helped nearly 75 young moms in the Toledo area to graduate from high school, technical school or college since it opened its doors in 1993.
”This is such a huge and unique opportunity for Buckeye Fans” said Stephanie Koehler, executive director of Mom’s House. ‘We are so grateful for Coach Tressel’s support of the mission and vision of Mom’s House”
For details on the auction and how to participate, call Mom’s House in Toledo at (419) 241-5554.
The Game. Enough said.
It will be played Saturday in ”That state up North.”
The field of play will be ”The Big House.”
There will be no appetizers, no spices and definitely no a la mode or au jus.
The Game stands alone. There’s no other contest in college football that rivals the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan.
The Game is ”The Game” because of the acute significance that engulfs it year after year: consequences such as national championships, Big Ten titles, national polls and bowls, TV prominence and state bragging rights. Saturday’s game will be the 102nd meeting between the two institutions, in a rivalry that dates back 108 years to 1897.
Since the Wolverines and the Buckeyes started meeting on the final Saturday of the season in 1935, The Game has had a bearing on the Big Ten championship 42 times. Saturday will make it 43. OSU is tied with Penn State for the Big Ten lead, both at 6-1. Michigan is a game back at 5-2.
Only eight times in the last 37 years have neither Michigan nor Ohio State figured in the conference championship. During that time (1968-2004), Michigan has won or shared the Big Ten title 20 times and Ohio State has won or shared it 15.
The Wolverines lead the series 57-38-6, but Ohio State has won three of the last four encounters under coach Jim Tressel.
In 1999, ESPN.com compiled a list of what it considered the top rivalries in all of sport in the 20th Century. The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry topped that list, ahead of such notables as: Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier; North Carolina-Duke basketball; Wilt Chamberlain-Bill Russell; Arnold Palmer-Jack Nicklaus; and Alabama-Auburn football.
If you’re new to The Game, and your existence under that big rock is becoming a nuisance, maybe a few words from a couple of former coaches will explain the state of affairs between the two states on one day each year.
We start with former OSU coach Earle Bruce, who was 5-4 against Michigan, and please don’t refer to ”The Game” as nothing more than a ”Big Game.”
”Anybody who has been associated with Ohio State football would have to know the importance of this football game. It is THE game, it is the BIG game, and sometimes people say it is the ONLY game,” Bruce said, veins popping, skin tone reddening and eyes darkening.
”It lets you walk the main streets of Columbus. If you lose, you go to the alleys, buddy.”
You sort of get the point, don’t you?
Now we turn to former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, who battled his former mentor, the late Woody Hayes, to a 5-4-1 record that favored Schembechler in what was dubbed, ”The 10 Year War,” a period that will forever immortalize ”The Game.”
”Can you imagine waiting a whole year for one football game?” Schembechler said. ”To have your mood for the next 365 days depend on how you did that one, cold Saturday afternoon in November?
”Lose, and your world turned gray. Win, and you were in heaven.”
The Game has, to a large extent, been a coaches-driven affair. The Bo-Woody period (1969-1978) was, by far, the most prominent. That was when the Big Ten was really the ”Big Two” and the ”Little Eight.”
The emphasis on The Game when Woody and Bo were matching wits and fits started the day after the previous conflict was completed.
The most prominent confrontation during that era was the initial one, when first-year UM coach Schembechler upset the defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Buckeyes 24-12, ending OSU’s 22-game winning streak. The tutor had beaten his teacher in what Michigan fans prefer to call the greatest game in the history of The Game.
”I played in the NFL for 12 years. I received every honor I could receive,” said UM all-American tackle Dan Dierdorf, who is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ”That ’69 game was the biggest win in my football life. It was my best three hours as a football player.”
It came on the heels of what was probably among the worst three hours of his football life. That’s when the Buckeyes hung a 50-14 loss on Michigan in ’68. It was in that game that Hayes inserted starting fullback Jim Otis for a two-point conversion (that failed) after OSU had cataloged 50. Asked after the game why he went for two following the final touchdown, Hayes’ answer lives in infamy: ”Because I couldn’t go for three.”
For Buckeye fans, The Game lost some of its glitter when John Cooper took over from Bruce as coach in 1988 and registered only two victories in 13 attempts against the Wolverines. It’s the worst record of any coach from either school in the history of The Game.
”There has been only one coach in the history of the series who did not emphasize it as ‘The Game’,” Bruce said, referring to Cooper. ”Every other Ohio State coach has been fired after three straight losses to Michigan. Cooper could have been fired three times.”
The Buckeye Nation has since been re-energized by Tressel’s success against ”That team up North,” as Hayes always stated, to block using the ”M” word.
Tressel, an Ohio native, knows the significance of The Game, as does Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.
In an account that appeared in the Michigan Daily following the first game between the two schools in 1897, won by UM 34-0, it was stated, ”The entire (Ohio State) team played gentlemanly and not a single wrangle arose to mar the game.”
Time has given a much more fervent posture to the yearly ”Wrangle.” Just ask Bruce.
”You can be 11-0, but if you lose that game, you’re mediocre,” he states emphatically.
In the words of Buddha, ”Hatred does not ever cease in this world by hating, but by love; this is an eternal truth … Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good. Overcome the miser by giving, overcome the liar by truth.” Jim and Lou’s Bar attracted the prayers of peaceful marchers Nov. 12. Lead by Mansour Bey, Pastor Stephen Ward, right, lifts his hands to pray for the recovery of businesses damaged by the Oct. 15 riot. The group also prayed for reconciliation among Toledoans.
Technical information: this photo was taken at 1/100 sec., ISO 1600, f/22, 18mm with a Canon EOS 20D.
DM Stanfield is Toledo Free Press photo editor. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the greatest pieces of rock journalism is David Sheff’s September 1980 interview with John Lennon. Written for Playboy, the interview hit stride with a section in which Sheff would simply name a Beatles song, and Lennon would talk about its origins, debunk its myths and offer insight to its context.
Such interviews are commonplace now, especially in magazines. Paul Zollo’s new book, ”Conversations with Tom Petty,” takes the spirit of the Sheff interview and fills a 330-page tome with questions and answers about Petty’s life and music.
The benefit of the format is
a breezy, talking-across-the-table feel that allows Petty to tell his story without the interference of a writer’s prose or interpretation, a stylistic rarity.
The drawback is that Petty’s story is told without confirmation or research. Petty’s candor and openness certainly lull the reader into a sense of trust; there’s no apparent reason to doubt Petty’s veracity.
Petty often falls on the critical ladder below Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but his knowledge and passion for the music he creates and his appreciation for his fans elevates his status as elder statesman. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee begins at the beginning, telling the story of meeting Elvis Presley and the impact of The Beatles.
Petty’s tale is strewn with lost friends; he remembers Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Heartbreaker Howie Epstein, who died of a heroin overdose at 47.
”I still can’t believe he’s gone,” Petty says of Epstein. ”I saw a rerun of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and there he was, and he looked so vibrant and healthy. It’s weird, because he hasn’t become like a photograph to me. He’s still 3-D to me.”
Petty also talks about his own experimentation with drugs, from marijuana to heroin, and how his music and family kept him from getting lost on that path.
The chapters on the formation of The Traveling Willburys are great fun, as Petty recounts stories of creating songs with Harrison, Orbison, Dylan and Jeff Lynne.
The book’s best section is Part Two, in which Zollo throws out song titles and Petty raps about what the songs mean to him. Album by album, track by track, Zollo leads Petty through his music, from ”American Girl” and ”Refugee” through ”Free Falling,” ”The Last DJ” and beyond.
”Refugee”: ”It was a difficult song to record. But well worth it. [Producer] Jimmy Iovine did a really great job of making a great record out of that song. Jimmy really, really believed in that song.”
”Here Comes My Girl”: ”It’s kind of an R&B vocal. It’s like our whole vision of the Stones and the Byrds all that wrapped into one.”
”You Got Lucky”: [The Heartbreakers] were really angry about the synthesizer. It’s one of the only times we’ve used a synthesizer. But I don’t see them as taboo. I don’t see anything as taboo, if it gets the job done.”
”Free Fallin”: ”It’s probably the most famous song I ever wrote, but it was really only
30 minutes of my life.”
Zollo often engages Petty as if he were a fan with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which in a way, he is.
More visceral than any ”VH-1 Behind the Music,” ”Conversations with Tom Petty” offers insight to Petty fans, aspiring songwriters and fans of rock music.