Winter marked by Jeep shooting, Zoo firingWritten by Staff Reports | | email@example.com
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.