Archive for December, 2005
The bid by Cornerstone Church to acquire WGNT (UPN-48) ran into a hurdle, as Marty Miller filed an objection with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny the transfer of the low-power transmitter license.
This keeps the beleaguered station in receivership for the time that the federal agency reviews Miller’s petition.
The complaint by Miller cites conflict of interest, failure to follow due process, and ”character issues” as reasons why the FCC should deny the license transfer.
”We will fight this hostile takeover with every tool available,” said Miller. ”We hope that the FCC petition will at least buy us some time to put together a financing package.”
The battle between Miller and Cornerstone extends back to the late 1990s. Cornerstone has provided financing to keep the station afloat; Miller believes that the church used its financial position in order to further its unstated goal of owning a television station.
”From the very beginning they got involved with one goal: owning WGNT,” he said. ”I have learned some hard lessons about being too trusting.”
Cornerstone Church offices are closed for the holidays, but minister Robert Pitts denied Miller’s accusations in an earlier interview with Toledo Free Press.
”We are just as likely to sell the license and recoup our investment as we are to take on the day-to-day operation of a television station,” he said. ”At this point we have made no plans on the future of the station, since we are waiting for the court to make its decision.”
Ralph DeNune, the attorney overseeing the UPN-48 receivership, said that the motion filed by Miller interfere with the acquisition of the station by Cornerstone.
”I’m not sure what happens next,” he said. ”The objection will likely delay the license transfer by 3-4 months.”
Miller remained upbeat.
”I have an investment group putting together a proposal as we speak,” he said. ”This will be the time we need to rescue UPN-48.”
The Special Improvement District (SID) begins its development projects this month, providing enhanced services for businesses operating in area roughly bordered by the Maumee River, Cherry Street, 10th Street and Washington Street.
The SID board of directors, composed of representatives from businesses within the district, will oversee projects to spur Downtown economic development such as a secure environment, increased commercial occupancy and a positive image of the district. SID assumes the role previously served by Downtown Toledo Inc. (DTI), a private group formed in 1992.
Peter Gozza, DTI president and CEO, said SID resolves issues regarding assessments imposed by the city on business owners who felt they had no say in the investments made toward economic development. Assessments are incurred based on the front footage of properties within the district.
”What’s really nice about this though is that the people who are contributing the money, the property owners, are responsible for the expenditure of those dollars,” he said. ”The money goes directly back to them. Now they are in control of their own destiny.”
Gozza said DTI has served its purpose and will bow out to allow SID to continue the vision of Downtown economic development. DTI began forming SID in 2000, when Gozza was hired to implement a new organization dedicated to revitalization. He said he will move on to other endeavors.
”It brought the community together, it developed the strategy, raised the funds to move the organization forward, created the district that would move it forward,” Gozza continued. ”Now it’s time for us to put DTI in mothballs and let DT improvement district take over.”
1. ”Sideways” — Paul Giamatti’s road trip of wine, women and whining goes down even better with deleted scenes and his commentary with co-star Thomas Haden Church.
2. ”The Incredibles” — The family that super-heroes together gets incredible DVD backup, led by animation master Pixar’s delightful short cartoon ”Boundin’.”
3. ”A Very Long Engagement” — Audrey Tautou takes her ”Amelie” act to World War I, the love story fleshed out with a polished batch of deleted scenes.
4. ”House of Flying Daggers” — A ballet of martial arts from Zhang Yimou, with a grand documentary on costumes, choreography and the eye-popping color schemes.
5. ”The Motorcycle Diaries” — Young Che Guevara hits the road, his real-life traveling companion Alberto Granado offering touching recollections on the DVD.
6. ”Million Dollar Baby” — The Academy Awards champ comes with a chatty session by Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman a day after their Oscar triumph.
7. ”Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” — George Lucas finishes his space saga with another DVD stuffed to the skies with deleted scenes and making-of goodies.
8. ”The 40-Year-Old Virgin” — ”Now lasts 17 minutes longer,” reads the clever tagline for the unrated DVD cut of first-timer Steve Carell’s sexual pursuits.
9. ”Serenity” — ”Give us more,” pleaded fans of Joss Whedon’s failed sci-fi series ”Firefly.’’ He complied with a big-screen continuation, and now a nice batch of deleted scenes.
10. ”The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” — The two-disc set is the one to own, with excellent extras that help decode Wes Anderson and Bill Murray’s weird ocean voyage.
1. ”Ran” — Akira Kurosawa brushes up his Shakespeare one last time with a ”King Lear” set in feudal Japan, his late masterpiece getting royal DVD treatment after shoddy previous releases.
2. ”The Big Red One: The Reconstruction” — Samuel Fuller’s autobiographical dramatization of his World War II infantry days is magnificently expanded with 40 extra minutes.
3. ”An Angel at My Table” — Jane Campion’s finest film is one of cinema’s great literary portraits, tracing the horrific hardships and eventual triumphs of author Janet Frame.
4. ”Ninotchka” — The wacky side of Greta Garbo shines in Ernst Lubitsch’s comedy about a Russian ice queen’s romance with a Westerner.
5. ”Jules and Jim” — Jeanne Moreau is the minx at the center of one of cinema’s great love triangles. Francois Truffaut’s classic gets a marvelous DVD update.
6. ”King Kong” — Beauty killed the beast. And Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s tragic love story of star-crossed primates remains one of the movie world’s great wonders.
7. ”The Sting” — Finally, we get to see Paul Newman and Robert Redford pick Robert Shaw clean in a widescreen DVD version of George Roy Hill’s con caper.
8. ”Shoot the Piano Player” — Charles Aznavour is a master of droll world-weariness in Francois Truffaut’s gangster classic, which gets a terrific DVD overhaul.
9. ”Bambi” — The circle-of-life tale that was sire to ”The Lion King.” When Disney condemns its best customers (”Man is in the forest”), you know a cartoon is truly special.
10. ”Harry and Tonto” — A man and his cat. Art Carney deservedly won an Academy Award for this gem about an old man’s friendship with a little furball.
1. ”La Dolce Vita” — The sweet life is even sweeter with a beautiful set that pays fitting tribute to Federico Fellini’s masterpiece of cultural commentary.
2. ”The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection” — Next to Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton, he’s the forgotten comic of the silent era. This great set will jog memories.
3. ”Ealing Studios Comedy Collection” — Five classic laugh fests from the esteemed British outfit, including the truly inspired ”Whiskey Galore!” and ”Passport to Pimlico.”
4. ”Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” — Not all 14 films are masterpieces, and there are scant new DVD extras. But it’s ”Psycho,” ”Vertigo,” ”Rear Window.” Enough said.
5. ”The Man Who Fell to Earth” — Nice touch, packaging Walter Tevis’ novel along with this comprehensive update of Nicolas Roeg and David Bowie’s artsy sci-fi tale.
6. ”Treasures From American Film Archives” — This reissue is a piece of film history in a box, presenting 50 choice selections from early U.S. cinema.
7. ”The Martin Scorsese Film Collection” — Dramatic masterpiece (”Raging Bull”), rock doc (”The Last Waltz”), crime romp (”Boxcar Bertha”), musical (”New York, New York”). Can you say versatility?
8. ”The Wizard of Oz” — There’s no place like home video. An over-the-rainbow assortment of keepsakes and documentaries accompany Dorothy and her little dog, too.
9. ”The Lina Wertmuller Collection” — Five key films from the great Italian director, led by her modern classics ”Swept Away” and ”Seven Beauties.”
10. ”The Big Lebowski: Achiever’s Edition” — The comedy about life, love and bowling makes the list if only for the enclosed drink coaster bearing Jeff Bridges’ line, ”Careful, man, there’s a beverage here!”
TV on DVD:
1. ”Deadwood: The Complete First Season” — At last, a Western for our times. How the West was really won, through greed, opportunism and other time-tested American values.
2. ”The Office: Season One” — Steve Carell is poster boy for every nincompoop boss whose picture hangs on a dart board in some lowly worker bee’s apartment.
3. ”Scrubs” — In quick succession, years one and two of the medical sit-com. Don’t watch if you just had surgery. You might bust a stitch laughing.
4. ”Sex and the City: The Complete Series” — A mammoth set packs all six seasons of love, lust and heartache for Carrie and her gal pals.
5. ”Undeclared: The Complete Series” — After failing with his terrific teen tale ”Freaks and Geeks,” Judd Apatow went to college with this short-lived show, another glorious failure.
6. ”SCTV” — Two more volumes of the comedy series arrive to remind us why John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and company were the funniest ensemble ever on late-night TV.
7. ”Cheers” — Seasons four through seven came to DVD this past year. But years four and five are the gems, the last gasp of the Sam-and-Diane romance before Shelley Long insanely departed.
8. ”Northern Exposure: The Complete Third Season” — The tale of a Manhattan doctor in indentured servitude in Alaska hit its whimsical stride in year three.
9. ”Moonlighting: Seasons One and Two” — Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd gave screwball romance a modern tweak with this detective story about an ex-cover girl and a wisecracker.
10. ”Kolchak: The Night Stalker” — Darren McGavin’s short-lived series about a reporter chasing boogeymen was an inspiration for ”The X-Files.”
David Germain is a film critic for The Associated Press.
Two football teams with two losses each both wish they could have their one most disparaging defeat back.
If that were the case, Ohio State and Notre Dame might be been playing for the national championship in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 instead of meeting in the Fiesta Bowl two days earlier.
Top-ranked Southern Cal will meet No. 2 Texas for the national title, as it should be but almost wasn’t. While both are unbeaten, they each were on the verge of losing earlier this season, the Trojans to Notre Dame and Texas at the hands of the Buckeyes.
Fans rushed onto the field at Notre Dame when USC quarterback Matt Leinart dove for the endzone on a second-and-goal situation with seven seconds remaining and got stopped at the one with no time outs remaining.
But Leinart had fumbled the ball out of bounds giving the Trojans one more attempt. With his coaches yelling for him to spike the ball when he got to the line of scrimmage, Leinart twisted and turned his way into the endzone to score with three seconds remaining and gave USC a 34-31 triumph.
The Buckeyes were leading Texas before the Longhorns scored a touchdown to pull ahead 23-22 with 2:37 left in the game. The Bucks had to settle for a Josh Huston field goal, a record-tying fifth by Huston, on their last scoring possession after a touchdown pass was dropped in the endzone. Texas got a safety in the closing moments in its 25-22 victory.
While the Fiesta Bowl may be considered the consolation game by many, it might very well produce better competition and offer the fourth-ranked Buckeyes a chance to finish No. 2 in the country. That would be a marvelous accomplishment considering they were ranked as low as 15th in the middle of last October after losing at Penn State to fall to 3-2.
This will be the third trip in the last four years to the Valley of the Sun for Ohio State, which won the 2002 national championship in Tempe, defeating Miami in double overtime 31-24. For the Fighting Irish, Arizona has been nothing but ”Cactus Canyon.” They’ve gotten thumped in their last two post-season games there to OSU. No, not that OSU; Oregon State University.
Notre Dame hasn’t won a bowl game since the 1994 Cotton Bowl, with seven straight losses. It’s something first-year coach Charlie Weis reminds his troops of, but only during their waking hours.
The Buckeyes feature the No. 1 defense against the run and are ranked fourth in total defense, while the Fighting Irish possess the country’s fourth-best passing attack and are ranked sixth in scoring.
According to ”College Football for Idiots And Other Malcontents,” a publication that hasn’t reached local bookshelves yet, the Buckeyes must attempt to control the ball and keep it out of the hands of Brady Quinn, OSU star linebacker A. J. Hawk’s future brother-in-law.
That relationship might be a bit overstated at this point, but the Notre Dame quarterback’s oldest sister, Laura, is dating Hawk, projected to be a top first-round pick.
Quinn, who grew up in suburban Columbus and prepped at Dublin Coffman, finished the regular season ranked fourth in the country in passing efficiency. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,633 yards and 32 touchdowns, all single-season records at Notre Dame.
But the Irish haven’t seen a defense to match that of Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ resurgent offense will offer significant problems for an Irish defense that yields 257.5 yards per game to rank 99th nationally in that category.
The Buckeyes have plenty of defense and just enough offense to keep Irish eyes from smiling once again in the postseason.
As co-starting tight end for the University of Southern California, Toledoan Fred Davis is part of what many call the most powerful offense in the history of college football. He also has shown an almost Forrest Gump-like ability to be at in the right place at the right time.
With the USC record at 12-0, a 34-game winning streak intact, Davis is ready to take the field Jan. 4 as USC faces Texas, also 12-0, in the Rose Bowl for the BCS Championship.
A 6-4, 225-pound sophomore who played quarterback at Rogers High School, Davis has been given a unique role in preparation for the game: Posing as Texas quarterback and Heisman runner-up Vince Young during practice. His teammates have taken to calling him ‘Fred Young.’
”I’ve got a little bit extra in practice then I usually do,” Davis said in an interview with Toledo Free Press from the USC campus. ”Most of the time I just run a lot. They let some other quarterbacks throw. I just run.”
If it wasn’t for a little bit extra from Davis earlier in the season against Notre Dame, the Trojans may never have arrived on the doorstep of a third consecutive
On the final play of the now legendary game, Davis gave a shoulder of assistance to quarterback Matt Leinart, helping USC score a remarkable last-second touchdown for a 34-31 victory.
”That game was crazy,” Davis said. ”I knew we were going to win. I said ‘we can’t leave here without winning.’”
The Rose Bowl date against Texas has been on the radar of every college football fan since the season kicked off in September. For Davis, the championship game means an opportunity to finally take the field in college football’s biggest game.
Last season, as his team prepared for the 2005 BCS Championship game, Davis was late returning from Christmas break in Toledo. Instead of slapping on the shoulder pads, snapping up the chinstrap and running into Orange Bowl field to play Oklahoma, Davis was in Toledo, suspended for the game by Coach Pete Carroll.
”I learned I’m not going home for break this Christmas, so that’s a good sign already,” Davis said with a laugh.
”Fred’s not traveling. Fred’s not leaving the state,” Carroll recently told the LA Times.
During the 2005 Orange Bowl, which USC won 55-19, Davis was in Toledo, being interviewed on FOX 36’s Hardcore Sports by anchor Brad Fanning.
”It was real weird, because I wasn’t with my team to go out and play Oklahoma. I have the opportunity now.”
The maturation is evident on and off the field. After just four receptions for 30 yards last year, Davis has grasped the offense. Growing into his position, he’s shown consistent improvement and ended the regular season with 11 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. His role on the nation’s marquee team is showing shape and focus.
He shares a huddle with two Heisman Trophy winners, Leinart and running back Reggie Bush; the team gets regular visits from Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell and Nick Lachey, the latter even rumored to have spent the night on Leinart’s dorm room floor. But Davis steers clear.
”I probably could have met [Lachey],” he said. ”But I’m really not into that.”
He’s into beating Texas.
”We’re out here working hard and getting ready to play a great team,” he said. ”Two undefeated teams, so there’s a lot of preparation. There’s no school, so we’re even more focused on football. Who ever plays every down the hardest, that’s who’s going to win.”
For seven days in June, builders from the Toledo area will erect seven homes for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity. When they are done, seven families will have the opportunity to become homeowners.
The project is part of a national effort to build 1,000 homes (300 of those in hurricane-ravaged areas) in seven days for Habitat for Humanity International, a non-profit organization that helps provide affordable housing to those who could not otherwise build a new home. The event is scheduled for June 5-9, Homeownership Week for HUD.
Tim Schlachter, of Buckeye Homes, credits Sam Irmen, former The Andersons executive, with bringing the Blitz Build idea to Toledo. ”He had witnessed a Blitz Build in North Carolina and came back on fire to get the idea done,” Schlachter said. ”He presented it about three years ago, but Habitat didn’t have the lots for it.”
About 14 professional builders and a handful of businesses will donate time, supplies and money to meet the challenge of the Blitz Build.
”This is a little different than the typical Habitat build,” said Greg Dodge, of New Homes and Homesites.com. ”This is a group of professional builders, where normally the Habitat builds consist mostly of volunteers.”
The subdivision where the homes will be built, off Angola Road in Spencer Township, was owned by the County and sat dormant until the 1990s, when Habitat purchased the lots. The Blitz Build will be the second phase of the project to install Habitat housing.
”It’s a great location because there’s a community center right in the neighborhood,” said B.J. Fischer, a member of the project’s steering committee. ”For daycare and things [the new homeowners] will need, these services are accessible.”
Schlachter said some builders have donated their time in the past to Habitat and this is a way to get new builders involved.
”We were able to get core builders who had worked on Habitat homes and paired them with builders who have not been involved,” Schlachter said. ”The idea is to teach them the process so they can do their own Habitat homes down the road.”
”One of the things that is exciting is that this is a national effort,” Fischer said. ”The builders are donating their time, a lot of the materials are being donated, and builders are working with their own suppliers to get more donated.”
Fischer said nothing like this has ever been done in the Toledo area.
”We hope to help bring the public’s attention to this cause as well,” he said.
The Issue: As one year ends and another fresh start is on the horizon, many people resolve to attend more networking events in the New Year. What most don’t understand is how to make the best use of the time, so the return on the investment is optimized.
A Solution: If asked, ”What is the most important tool to take with you to a networking event?” most people would guess business cards or maybe even small brochures. What is being forgotten is the reason for attending such occasions. It is impossible and also rather tactless to try to sell during these times. Instead, it makes good sense to schedule future appointments with new prospects or referral sources. The most important tool to have in hand is an appointment book or electronic calendar. Having such a device means you won’t have to play telephone tag with that new person before you ever meet with them.
The Next Step: It takes a bit of practice and maybe even a few false starts to get into the habit of saying, ”Hey, let’s get together next week to get to know each other better.” In the past, it is likely that good communication has occurred and during this time you’ve gotten a good feeling about someone. The next and last step has been that you’ve asked for their business card. You are going to have to push yourself to suggest an appointment.
It is easier to end the conversation and drift away having accomplished a good conversation, but that’s about all. This will mean developing a new habit, and it will take a few attempts to feel comfortable performing this task.
Take Away: What you will find is more quality appointments on your calendar. You will also quickly know if someone is not interested in meeting with you, because they will probably not book that initial appointment. While this can be disappointing, it is much less so than having to play months of telephone tag to the person’s voice mail without them ever returning the call. You might also find that some other people do not carry their calendar with them. You can start a trend and you can also deliver a message that you have all the tools you need to be a top level professional. (If you carry a paper calendar, be sure you’ve purchased or ordered the 2006 version.)
Debby Peters is owner and director of training of Certified Networker Program of Ohio.
Ohio Turnpike workers threatened to strike shortly after their contract expired, primarily in dispute of co-payments for health care coverage.
Toledo lost two renowned figures. Entrepreneur Thomas A. DeVilbiss II, great-grandson of DeVilbiss Co. founder, died of cancer at his Royal Oaks, Calif., home at age 70, and radio personality Art Barrie, Toledo’s ”Bob Barker,” passed away at age 91 at Bay Park Community Hospital.
Tragedy struck when a gunman at the DaimlerChrysler Jeep plant killed one co-worker and wounded two others over disciplinary action. Myles Meyers, 54, then turned the gun on himself.
Four years after filing bankruptcy, Owens Corning faced more litigation as a trial began over liability of the product Kaylo, which contains asbestos. A federal judge would later rule that OC potentially faces $7 billion in claims by victims exposed to the asbestos manufactured until the early 1970s.
Counties received word from Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell to implement optical-scan voting systems by the November elections, which is required throughout Ohio by 2006.
Lucas County commissioners named Toledo City Council clerk Michael Beazely as county administrator, a position vacant since Pete Gerken won election in November 2004 for county commissioner.
Police arrested Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick for drunken driving on I-75 near Bowling Green. She refused a sobriety test and attempted to escape in her vehicle.
Two local major corporations showed signs of development in Toledo, while a third dodged rumors of moving to the suburbs.
Fifth Third Bank received council approval to raze three buildings under protest of an historical preservations society. The site on North Huron Street now accommodates parking and deliveries by armored trucks. Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park leased six new stores as part of its expansion, signing two shoe retailers, two clothing shops, a sports bar and a custom stuffed-animal workshop. Meanwhile, Owens-Illinois Inc. remained tightlipped about possible plans to relocate its headquarters to Levis Commons in Perrysburg.
The Toledo Zoo fired veterinarian Tim Reichard after 22 years, claiming the dismissal was unrelated to a 2004 U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection about issues Reichard indicated to zoo officials. The reasons cited were inadequate administrative and management skills.
A death resulting from police use of a taser prompted Lucas County Sheriff James Telb to suspend officers by implementing the nonlethal weapon. Proposed changes sparked proponents to respond that the new policy would take too much time to follow procedure and subject the county to medical expenses and their taxpaying residents.
Gas prices experienced a record jump, breaking the $2.25 mark and sending consumers to pumps in droves at a few stations around town slower to post the increase.
TARTA began a study on the feasibility of biodiesel, a fuel refined from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats. TARTA teamed with UT to analyze their effects on bus parts, then increase the percentage of biodiesels in the fuel mixture, all under a $1.5 million federal grant.
Mayor Jack Ford laid out plans to put a dent in Toledo’s potholes, announcing the City’s intent to repave 27.5 miles of local roads and recondition another 37.4 miles. Plans also included sealing 35 miles of uncurbed streets and sealing cracks on about 30 miles of asphalt.
Catholic Bishop Leonard Blair publicly apologized to victims and their families for the actions of Chet Warren, a former priest Blair said was guilty of ”grievously and sinful criminal” behavior.
A 5-year-old boy died from injuries suffered in a car accident in which the driver said she was talking on her cellular phone in Oregon. Angelique M. Dipman, from Genoa, faced charges of aggravated vehicular homicide for the death of Dameatrius McCreary.
Spring brings Tom Noe coin-investment scandal
Numismatist Tom Noe lashed out at The Blade for allegations of his now-infamous coin scandal. Ohio invested $25 million into a limited partnership to help fund Bureau of Workers’ Compensation coffers. Noe later faced indictment for his activities.
Controversy erupted over the proposed Edison Steam Plant as developer Rod Kagy cited an effort by the Ford administration to nix his proposal in favor of one submitted by David Ball and Jimmy Jackson. He said an anonymous caller informed him of the City’s intentions, which was corroborated by Toledo Free Press from a source inside city hall. Robert Gilchrist, commissioner of Toledo Division of Business, Workforce and Technology, denied the claim, saying Kagy submitted the proposal ”piecemeal” rather than a complete draft.
Luckey resident Bruce Beatty protested Toledo’s ban on concealed carry during a ”Pistol Packin’ Picnic at Ottawa Park. Beatty invited Toledo Police and Mayor Jack Ford to attend. Officers arrived, citing Beatty, who later lost his court battle. Beatty eventually appealed the case, which is still under review.
County employees took flak for accessing personal Web sites, including a blog addressing pornography, during working hours. County regulations bar all workers from personal use of computers and viewing obscene material. One official labeled the activity as ”fraud.”
Medical experts reported an epidemic of childhood obesity, citing research by Medical University of Ohio professor of graduate studies Ann Baker, PhD. About nine million children older than age 6 were considered obese, according to the National Institute of Health, with the number of younger obese children tripling during the past three decades. As a result, medical practitioners are diagnosing more cases of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and related disorders among teenagers.
Former Toledoan editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson accepted the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for his work while at the Louisville Currier-Journal. He bested 100 entrants, including Gary Trudeau, the creator of ”Doonesbury” for the award and $10,000 in cash.
Bill Carroll defended Jimmy Jackson, one of two developers favored by Toledo City officials for the steam plant proposal, against rumors of his businesses struggling. The former NBA player had invested about $900,000 into two local companies, according to Carroll, yet callers and bloggers railed Jackson for cozying too closely with the Ford administration. Carroll also denied directing business toward Jackson’s environmental testing firm, which provides services for construction projects.
Owens-Illinois announces it will move its world headquarters to Perrysburg.
High school wrestler Tim Samson traveled to New Orleans and China during the summer to improve his grappling skills. The sophomore hopeful placed high in city, state and national tournaments, but said his goal is to become a Navy Seal.
A former local addict reflected on his use of inhalants, but one segment of a growing national problem. He said about 20 percent of his fellow students also ”huffed.”
Tina Kielmeyer assumed the role of interim administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation during the Tom Noe coin scandal. The bureau scrambled to recover from millions lost in investments, a task she described as ”absolutely phenomenal.”
A casualty in the Iraq War shattered a local family. U.S. Army Sgt. Andy Eckert from Sylvania died from an explosive device while on duty with the 983rd Engineer Battalion, leaving a wife and two children.
Summer TARTA bomb scare, Mud Hens are champs
”Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, the sixth book in the series, created a stir at stores and libraries around town. Thousands of copies were reserved while other readers lined up for a first-come, first-serve crack at buying or borrowing a copy.
The Toledo Zoo hired Michael D. Burns as director of administration in the wake of controversy over the care of some animals. Burns vowed to improve operations through better communications among personnel.
Toledo Public School students prepared to return to the classroom, wearing uniforms for the second year since the district implemented a dress code policy. While many students cringe at the thought, parents generally liked the idea.
A Toledo psychiatrist, Jill Fox, responded to statements by actor Tom Cruise, a Christian Scientologist who is engaged to hometown actress Katie Holmes. Fox said members of the religion historically have tried to demonize her profession, going as far as picketing meetings.
TARTA officials dealt with two potentially dangerous situations when suspicious items appeared in a garage and on a bus. No explosives were found, but in the wake of terrorist bombings on London buses, security levels had been heightened under U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Code Orange alert.
The Andersons officials estimate $10 million in damages to a riverfront grain facility after explosions and fire.
Gang activity in North Toledo prompted resident Thomas Szych to carry a firearm, which police seized after a complaint by neighbors. Szych said occurrences of death threats, graffiti and related problems had increased by local gangs such as Dexter Boyz and Stickney 33.
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross organized volunteers to assist by providing food, water and shelter for victims. Local workers collected donations in food, clothing and cash.
UT Rockets quarterback Bruce Gradkowski prepared for his final season as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. The Sporting News ranked him the No. 10 among college quarterbacks, while ESPN placed him as the 43rd-best player. Gradkowski holds several school records including career touchdowns and career passing yardage.
Mayoral candidates geared up their campaigns with the primary election a month away. Carty Finkbeiner, Don Gozdowski, Rob Ludeman, Martin Okonski, Keith Wilkowski, Opal Covey and incumbent Jack Ford all filed petitions to run for the office.
Mayor Jack Ford and Carty Finkbeiner emerged as the candidates for the mayoral election in November. Finkbeiner led with 36.72 percent of the vote, while Ford, with 26,21 percent, edged Democrat Keith Wilkowski, who received 23.42 percent.
An infant undergoing heart surgery in a Baton Rouge, La. hospital was reunited with his parents after Hurricane Katrina forced evacuations from the area. Six-week-old Dylan Frught spent two weeks away from mom and dad, transferring to Toledo Children’s Hospital, where he remained for about two months.
The Toledo Mud Hens captured their first Governor’s Cup since 1967, sweeping the series against the Indianapolis Indians. The Hens’ regular season record of 89-55 became a AAA best. The team rebounded from a disappointing 2004, earning skipper Larry Parrish Sporting News 2005 Minor League Manager of the Year and the International League Manager of the Year.
The organizers of the annual Rib-Off announced they are moving the event to the Lucas County Recreation Center.
Two local radio personalities made changes in their career paths as Denny Schaffer exited the Toledo market after 13 years, and Johny D took his show to Tower 98 after being fired from 92.5 KISS FM.
Legal battles intensified over Toledo’s Cornerstone Church efforts to win control of local TV station WNGT (UPN-48), which was founded and owned by Marty Miller. A court-appointed receiver approved the church’s plans, but Miller said he was not yet out of options.
The home of Toledo SNAP co-leader Claudia Vercellotti burned down, destroying thousands of documents detailing alleged abuses by Catholic priests.
Fall news dominated by riot, elections
Racial tensions over a Nazi Party demonstration in North Toledo erupted into random violence as rioters damaged vehicles, looted and set fire to a business. Controversy surrounded adequate preparation by Toledo Police, who claimed Nazi demonstrators arrived in the Manhattan-Stickney area instead of Downtown as planned. Mounted police made efforts to control protestors, resulting in several arrests. The riot made national headlines and renewed debate about racial issues, such as profiling and discrimination.
Ron Pizzuti, chairman and CEO of The Pizzuti Companies, announced plans for the Marina District, which include a 5,000-seat amphitheater, 180 public boat docks, a passenger terminal, ice rink, riverwalk, bike path and residential and commercial development properties. Construction began shortly and will continue into 2007.
Toledo experienced an economic decline shared by all major Ohio cities except Columbus, with a shift in development toward suburbs. Lucas County’s population dropped 1 percent during the previous five years, while Wood County increased by 1.7 percent. Officials remained optimistic that growth will re-emerge because of attractive abatements for Downtown development despite the array of obstacles such as small lots and continued ”brain drain.”
The Storm laced up the blades for its 15th season on the ice. The team suffered personnel losses in 2004, but Head Coach Nick Vitucci said he expects to at least match last year’s 41-26-5 record if not improve it.
Carty Finkbeiner defeated incumbent Jack Ford in the mayor’s race in an election fraught with slow returns because of a new system adopted by the county. Finkbeiner won 62 percent of the vote; however, the lag in returns overshadowed his landslide. A system of rovers, traveling from precinct to precinct prevented board of election workers from counting votes quickly. Lucas County was the last in Ohio to submit voting results.
Other results included a 2.5 mil Toledo Public School Levy which passed 57 percent to 43 percent and five state issues reforming political funding and redistricting. All failed except Issues 1, which allows Ohio to borrow $2 billion for technology improvements.
Toledo voters welcomed six at-large city council members, three school board members and five municipal court judges to new terms. Many cast ballots on touch-screen machines implemented for the first time.
Of the Three for Change candidates for Toledo Public Schools Board of Education, Darlene Fisher and Robert Torres are elected, while Christopher Myers misses the cut.
Six local high school football teams advanced to the state tournament. St. Johns, Sylvania Northview, Central Catholic, Sylvania Southview, Rogers and Ottawa Hills high schools were qualified in their respective divisions.
Owens Community College men’s basketball coach Jim Welling announced retirement after the 2005-06 season. Welling coached the Express for 19 years, tallying a record of 525-121 and a host of conference championships.
The Toledo Ice made its American Basketball Association debut, losing 119-109 to the Detroit Wheels.
Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Eugene Sanders announces his resignation, effective Aug. 31, 2006. Board president Larry Sykes announced he would not seek a new term as president.
FirstEnergy Corp. announced the appointment of James M. Murray to the newly created position of president of Ohio Operations.
Central Catholic won the school’s first-ever state football title, defeating Canfield 31-29, after overcoming an 11-point deficit. The championship caps a perfect season for the Fighting Irish.
Nazi Party demonstrators returned to Toledo for a second protest of black gang violence. Toledo Police prepared for the demonstration by limiting the area for protestors and requiring entrants to undergo security screening. A few arrests were made, and some demonstrators claimed excessive force by mounted patrols.
Carty Finkbeiner announced his intention to replace Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre with Captain Jack Smith, district commander of the Scott Park Police Station. Attorneys disputed the action, claiming police chiefs may only be terminated for reasonable cause. Finkbeiner responded that the City charter allows Navarre’s removal.
Toledo City Council approved development plans by Costco Wholesale Corp. to occupy Westgate Village Shopping Center. Westgate Management has remained largely quiet until just before Christmas when Abbell Credit Corp., the Chicago firm that owns Westgate, named retailers that would stay through development. Some shop owners complained that the plaza management forced small business from the area.
The UT Rockets (9-3) defeated the University of El Paso-Texas, 45-13 in the GMAC Bowl. QB Bruce Gradkowski is named MVP. The senior threw five touchdown passes while Trinity Dawson ran back an interception for a touchdown.
”Please keep us safe, Mr. President.”
When you have a mere five seconds to greet and shake the hand of the most powerful man in the world, you have to choose your words carefully.
Those were the words I chose.
It was Oct. 29, 2004 when I met President George W. Bush for the first and only time. He was in Toledo just six days before the presidential election, speaking at a rally at the SeaGate Centre, and I was invited as a front-row guest. More precisely, I was given a standing-room-only position at the bottom of the portable staircase that led to the stage. It was this staircase Mr. Bush would descend when he finished his speech to a frenzied crowd of supporters.
When the President finished waving to the crowd following his remarks, and after a few minutes of posing arm in arm with the First Lady, he moved toward the stairs, roughly 10 elevated feet from where I stood. It wasn’t until he was actually walking down the stairs toward me that I fully grasped the opportunity before me. This wasn’t some rock star or all-star athlete, and I wasn’t some groupie wanting to touch someone famous while shouting, ”We love you, Mick!” I had a realistic chance before me, I thought, to personally greet the President of the United States, and in the middle of the most brutally intense election cycle in modern history, I felt a responsibility to say something meaningful.
When he reached the bottom step, every hand in Toledo seemed to reach toward the president, mine included. Being taller than most, my arm stretched farther than most, and that was the difference. The first hand he shook with the firm grip you’d expect from a Texas rancher was mine, and it gave me an opportunity to lean in and speak directly into his ear. A million thoughts raced through my mind in a single moment, and I had to somehow condense them into a few short words before I lost my grip and he moved on. Suddenly, my mind cleared, and a picture of my two children filled the space. And just as suddenly, my word choice was clear:
”Please keep us safe, Mr. President.”
The President smiled and nodded, as he released my hand and moved to his right to find another, and I thought for a moment he couldn’t hear me above the cheering crowd and the blaring music. But then he paused, and he turned back toward me. The smile was gone. And with a look of sincerity and determination, the president looked me directly in the eye and declared, ”I will.”
Those are the words that keep coming back to me as I listen to daily whining over supposedly illegal wiretapping and eavesdropping on private conversations involving Americans. Those are the words that echoed in my head when President Bush answered the charges.
”As president, I have the constitutional responsibility and the constitutional authority to protect our country,” he said. ”Article 2 of the Constitution gives me that responsibility and the authority necessary to fulfill it.”
The president’s political opponents say he’s trying to obtain unchecked power, and that by exercising his authority to spy on international phone calls and e-mails, he’s violating the Constitution. What they neglect to point out is that President Bush has not only the power to conduct such surveillances, but he has an obligation to conduct them.
Imagine a scenario in which another 9/11 scale terrorist attack is carried out in another U.S. city. Imagine, then, two years later when a bipartisan commission investigating the attack learns that the terrorists were living in America and communicating with their superiors overseas. Imagine phone records and recovered computer hard drives that detail the conversations and the planning of the attack. Then imagine the backlash against the Bush administration for failing to protect Americans by sniffing out the plot.
Would you be satisfied with thousands more Americans dead and with the president’s response of, ”We couldn’t monitor their communication because we didn’t have the warrants in place.”? No, you’d want him impeached for failing to do whatever was necessary to prevent the attack.
The president’s opponents say he’s violating the Constitution and taking away our civil liberties. I say he’s keeping his promise. The one he made to me.
E-mail Frantz at letters@toledofreepress.