Archive for February, 2007
and CNN founder Ted Turner, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, will
be interviewed at the luncheon by Toledo Rotary President Phineas Anderson 11:55
a.m. Feb. 26 at the Park Inn Hotel, 101 N. Summit St. According to a news
release, the interview will address topics that include conservation,
alternative energy, nuclear weapons, the media and Turner’s various
philanthropic activities. Turner will also take questions from the audience,
the release said.
Turner is founder of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the United
Nations Foundation, and the Turner Foundation and is the largest private
property owner in the United States, the release said.
A dinner to benefit the Northwest Ohio Restaurant
Association is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at The Docks restaurants. According
to a news release, the event will begin with a sparkling champagne, martini bar
and hors d’oeuvres presented at the Navy Bistro followed by a quick margarita
at Tango’s Mexican Cantina. Down the river walk, Zia’s will serve antipasti
paired with wines, the release said, followed by dinner next door at the Real
Seafood Co. A live Maine lobster dinner will then be served, the release said,
followed by desserts and cordials.
During the evening, dining guests will also have an
opportunity to bid on silent auction items. Purdue football tickets, several
restaurant packages including reserved tables during the riverfront Fourth of
July fireworks display, hotel packages, golf opportunities and much more will
be available to the highest bidder, the release said.
The event is open to the public with reservations being made
through Real Seafood reservation line, 1-888-456-DINE. Tickets are $100 per
person and limited to the first 100 reservations.
“Elvis donated to so many charities, like the March of Dimes, Boys Club of America, and the Shriners. It was a passion of his. He gave more away than he kept,” said Michelle Rosencrantz, organizer of the Elvis charity concert being held at the Franciscan Center in Sylvania on March 3. “He donated to so many charities, but he never wanted any credit for it. So a lot of people never knew about it.”
Headlining the Sylvania Elvis concert is singer Ronnie McDowell, who scored his first hit with the August 1977 single, “The King is Gone.” Accompanying McDowell is Elvis’s original drummer from 1954-68, D.J. Fontana, gospel legend Donnie Sumner, and local tribute artist Robert Rosencrantz with the Toledo ensemble The Roustabout Show Band.
The event is hosted by the Elvis Presley’s Sweet Sweet Spirit Fan Club, a Toledo organization which seeks to preserve the memory of Elvis’s charitable nature.
“We wanted to carry out his legacy, since he gave to so many,” said Michelle Rosencrantz, president of the fan club. “Elvis cared about helping the needy. He was raised poor, so he would never treat anybody different. He would treat a shoeshine boy as well as he would treat an executive of a big company. We thought, let’s do Elvis’s work for him. Let’s do what he would have wanted us to do.”
As a result, all proceeds of the Elvis concert go to the Little Kids Rock organization, which is dedicated to bringing free musical instruments and music instruction to public school children.
“Elvis’s mom bought him a guitar because she couldn’t afford a bicycle,” Rosencrantz said. “He really wanted a bicycle, but they were very poor. What would’ve happened if she hadn’t bought him that guitar? Little Kids Rock thinks that every child should have a chance to learn to play. Who is that kid out there now, that if somebody didn’t help him, could end up being a legend?”
The fan club’s past charity Elvis concerts have drawn fans from as far away as Scotland. Rosencrantz expects a similar turnout for the March 3 show, especially with the featured celebrity lineup.
“The sound is so phenomenal that people actually think that it’s Elvis,” said Rosencrantz about performers McDowell and Fontana.
“But we’re not saying he’s Elvis,” she laughed. “I mean, there’s only one Elvis.”
Keith Anderson can’t wait to hit the stage.
“We’ve been in the studio for two and a half months, so we’re biting at the bit, the band and I, to get out and play some live shows,” he said.
Anderson was calling from Nashville, where he’s finishing his second disc, which will be released later this year.
“This next record is so important. I’m glad I had the time to really concentrate on it,” he said. “There was a time when you could have two hits and you were going to be around a long time. In today’s world, it’s such a competitive market; you have to continue to deliver and bring great music.”
Anderson’s 2005 debut, “Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll,” pumped out four hits —“Pickin’ Wildflowers,” “Every Time I Hear Your Name,” “XXL” and “Podunk.”
“I write as much as I can from what I’ve lived and what I know, whether it’s a big party song or a love song,” said the native of Miami, Okla. “You need to have real lyrics, and to go along with that, you have to have an amazing melody that captures and gets in your ear and stays there.”
It doesn’t hurt to be a knockout. Anderson was included in People magazine’s “50 Hottest Bachelors” issue in 2005 and named “Ultimate Country Star” by Men’s Fitness magazine.
“One of the first things we do is try to find a gym. That’s part of our rider when we come in to town — ask ahead of time where the local gym is and have a ride to get there,” he said. “Me and a couple guys from the band go every day.”
Anderson will open for Dierks Bentley at 7:30 p.m. March 1 at the SeaGate Convention Centre. Tickets are $34.75 and $29.75.
The Toledo Museum of Art is hosting photographer Michael Nye’s traveling exhibition “Children of Children” into its Community Gallery.
“Children of Children,” which has traveled to more than 50 cities worldwide, is a collection of stories of men and women ranging in age from 12 to 100 whose lives have been affected by teenage pregnancy. Featured are 50 black and white photographs, each accompanied by audio stories told by the individuals in the portraits. Viewers of this exhibit listen to the narratives through headphones mounted by each portrait.
The multimedia exhibit is a catalyst for family, student and community discussions as it explores teen pregnancy and parenting in its full context — without criticism or approval — in a non-threatening setting.
Nye, a former attorney and the husband of poet Naomi Shihab Nye, has been a recipient of a Mid-America National Endowment for the Arts grant in photography, a 2003 Kronkosky Foundation grant and a participant in two Arts America tours in the Middle East and Asia. He has lectured widely in Morocco, India and many museums and universities. “Children of Children” has been traveling for more than five years.
According to Nye, the exhibit’s intention is not to condemn, condone or romanticize teenage pregnancy in any way, but to explore the context of young pregnancy and parenting in our society.
“These photographs and stories are glimpses into much larger, complex lives. Each person carries a separate, very particular history. Whether the early pregnancy occurred in 1918 or today, it is a dramatic, life-changing event,” Nye said.
“Children of Children” is on exhibit through March 11.
Visit www.toledomuseum.org for more information.
Sometimes the last thing you want is to get stuck behind a big, slow-moving truck on a country road. Yet one morning, as we were driving our children to school, this is exactly what happened to my wife and me. At first a little annoyed, we eventually relaxed and accepted that our morning commute would take longer than usual.
Then, suddenly, the truck stopped in the road and flashed its hazards. Before either of us could ask what was going on, we saw the stopped school bus on the other side of the road. While it may have been policy for the truck to stop and apply its hazards for children boarding the school bus, it seemed pretty rare.
These days, most stories regarding trucks on the road are far from positive, so my wife and I were surprised to see a truck driver so cautious for the safety of school children. Noticing the “How is my driving?” sticker on the rear of the truck, my wife grabbed her cell phone. She was so moved by the positive action of the truck driver that she felt she had to say something.
The customer service representative listened as my wife explained how overcome she was by the responsible truck driver. She requested that her appreciation be forwarded to the driver, and the representative assured her it would.
But before hanging up, my wife had to ask, “Do you receive many positive phone calls like this?” The woman replied, “While we do receive glowing reports of our drivers on occasion, unfortunately, most of the calls we receive are for negative reasons.”
The sad truth is that this is the norm in almost any business, and, most likely, even yours. Just think of the time you spend in one work week responding to negative calls. How many of your calls are for trying to make a sale, completing an order, or responding to a complaint?
Compared to these types of phone calls, how much time do you spend communicating with satisfied customers – the ones who love and support your business? These customers certainly deserve more time than you currently give them.
Giving your immediate full attention to a customer with a problem comes naturally. While these types of calls certainly require your time, don’t let yourself be consumed by them.
Instead of spending all your time putting out fires, dedicate a fraction of your week to make a phone call, a visit or a lunch appointment with one of your satisfied customers. Thank them for their continued support and use the opportunity to ask them if there is anything you can do to better serve them.
By showing your genuine appreciation, you are building on the good relationship you have with your customers and strengthening their loyalty to your business. Doing this will also give yourself the added bonus of hearing positive affirmations and positive suggestions from encouraging customers.
Knowing you are doing a good job satisfying customers will lift your spirits and recharge you for even the toughest of work weeks. You will walk into your next sales call with more self-confidence than you could ever muster on your own.
Not only will it make you feel better, it will also help you develop into a stronger businessperson. Being open with your customers will allow you to see how you can serve them better, giving you the chance to strengthen your weaknesses. It will also help you discover your strengths as you hear exactly what has made your customers happy with your service.
You can’t walk around with a sticker on your backside that reads, “How is my service?” So make the effort to call current customers and find out. Spending just a portion of your time with happy customers will build on the good relationships you have already made and help you build more like them.
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales trainer, gives seminars, runs sales meetings and provides coaching for salespeople. For more information, visit www.TomRichard.com, call (419) 441-1005 or e-mail email@example.com.
Presidential candidates from both parties, and others, have proposed a national sales tax be enacted to replace the current income tax. They say a national sales tax would be much simpler than the current system, increase tax fairness and permit a shutdown of the IRS as it now exists.
However, all is not so green in the other pasture. A report by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of Congress says a national sales tax may be a fatally flawed proposal and just as bad as the system it’s designed to replace.
Let’s look at what these sales tax advocates want to do. They claim a tax of 16 to 18 percent could raise all of the revenue now collected by the IRS.
And the rate will have to be higher than that if the tax provides for exemptions. For example, investment outlays, exports and government purchases are almost certain to be exempt.
With these items excluded, a national sales tax becomes, in effect, a tax on personal consumption expenditures. Using this as a base would require a tax rate of at least 32 percent to replace current revenues. And, of course, this does not include any sales taxes that states impose.
What about being taxed on services, which are exempt from most states’ sales taxes? If they enact this national tax, every time the plumber or electrician visits, a tax will have to be paid. The same is true for other services, such as doctor’s visits, haircuts, taxi rides and funeral services.
The government report makes some strong arguments about why this type of tax would be bad, maybe even worse than the current IRS system. It says a national sales tax of 19 percent on everything sold would be required to equal current income tax revenues. Historically, it has proven difficult to impose a sales tax on services at the state level. Imagine trying to collect such a tax at the federal level.
No one making these kinds of proposals has answered: Who is going to collect this sales tax if there is no IRS?
Sales tax advocates suggest the federal tax can be piggybacked onto state sales tax collections. Bad idea. First of all, five states have no sales tax. They would have to put in place sales tax collection procedures they don’t have. The rest of the states would have to add a whole new bureaucracy to collect and remit this federal sales tax.
It’s estimated the extra cost of collecting federal sales taxes will create a new financial burden on states of at least $12 billion.
Some states would exempt items taxed at the federal level and vice versa. In some states, food is exempt. In others, medicine is tax-free. And so on.
Think about the issues of business versus individual taxation. Would businesses get exemptions on the tax if they were to resell the goods? To avoid this double tax, producers, wholesalers and service providers will have to be given tax registration numbers allowing them to avoid paying the sales tax on inputs used in their businesses.
But this creates complications for retailers, as well as easy opportunities for evasion.
And what is to stop people from engaging in sham businesses simply to obtain a tax exemption? According to the JEC report, there will have to be a vast auditing procedure that could make today’s IRS methods tame by comparison.
A national sales tax would give people an enormous incentive to consume as much as possible before the tax takes effect, drawing down savings and even going into debt to buy everything they could possibly need in the future.
Having done so, consumption after the tax takes effect will collapse, at least for a time. This could cause a recession.
What about payroll taxes? If the Social Security payroll tax is not eliminated along with the income tax, the IRS would still be required to collect it. If the payroll tax is eliminated, a drastic revision of the Social Security benefits system would be required, since benefits are currently linked to taxes paid, which, in turn, are linked to earnings.
Everyone agrees our current tax system stinks. Other possibilities, like a national sales tax, might be even worse.
Troy Neff is managing director of Advanced Retirement Solutions. He also hosts “The Troy Neff Show” each weekday 6 to 9 a.m. on WCWA 1230 AM. He may be contacted by e-mail at Troy@TroyNeff.com.
Juggling responsibilities as CEO of a seven-hospital health care system while also serving as executive vice president of its parent organization may seem overwhelming, but there is one thing that helps Steven Mickus fulfill a role that goes on “all day long” — the power of prayer.
“I pray regularly about all the things I do,” Mickus, president of Mercy Health Partners, who last month was named divisional president of the new Northwest Ohio Division of Catholic Healthcare Partners, said. “I’m thankful for the strength the Lord gives me and the intellect, interpersonal skills and high energy to do my job.”
Mickus, who began his career with Mercy Health Partners in 1995 as chief operating officer at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, now oversees 13,000 employees in Toledo, Lima and Lorain for Catholic Healthcare Partners.
Originally from New Jersey, Mickus got his start in hospital administration when he graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University and went on to complete a two-year residency at Borgess Health in Kalamazoo, Mich. He then completed a baccalaureate degree with a concentration in finance from Nazareth College, where he would later go on to teach courses in economics and labor management.
Mickus has also taught classes for professionals in the health field through the Chicago-based American College of Healthcare Executives.
Bringing three different branches of Catholic Healthcare Partners together under one person’s leadership helps standardize good health care practices in a world where health care is becoming “more and more complex,” he said.
“Suddenly we can see where we can coordinate our efforts and that leads to better efficiency,” Mickus said.
If not for efficient systems, Mercy Health Partners and the Catholic Healthcare Partners would not be able to provide one of the most essential services — free care to those who cannot pay.
“We do what people need without regard to if someone can pay or not,” Mickus said. “We set up clinics in neighborhoods, we hold free blood pressure screenings. Unless we’re operating efficiently we can’t afford to do the most important things we do.”
It’s this mentality that makes Mickus so well suited for his new position, said Jeff Hardesty, an instructor at Owens Community College who has known Mickus for 10 years through their church, Sylvania’s Westgate Chapel.
“He graciously accepts responsibility,” Hardesty said. “He says, ‘I can do this and I should do this.’ That’s great leadership, because he’s not reactive — he’s proactive.”
Those leadership abilities have helped Mickus spearhead many innovative projects during the past few years for Mercy Health Partners, including investing in a surgical robot called DaVinci, which surgeons can use to operate on patients.
Mickus is also overseeing the creation of a heart pavilion where “open-heart surgeons can work side by side with cardiologists with patients,” using the latest technology in extra-large operating rooms. There are also plans to build a cancer center in the next year.
Tom Welch, a cardiologist at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center who has known Mickus for about 20 years, said it is Mickus’ intelligence and confidence that allow him to pursue such high goals.
“He’s articulate, he’s a great speaker who exudes so much confidence,” Welch said. “And he’s reliable. He tells the truth.”
Mickus said his new role leaves room to improve.
“I’m looking for the preferred state, how to do things better. With Catholic Health Partners, we’re trying to care for more than just a physical ailment, but also solve spiritual and emotional problems,” he said. “That’s what makes this an outstanding career.”
Stan Joplin’s story has been told over many campfires this year. After years of failed expectations and dwindling attendance, a remarkable run at the end of the 2006 basketball season led to Joplin’s contract renewal. This year, the Toledo Rockets have continued their surge from last year in front of several thousand fans.
Equally impressive from the first 10 years of Joplin’s era is a facet of the game that has no impact on the score, but rather the bitterness of the fans who one day would be sports bloggers: halftime entertainment.
In the past, UT’s halftime shows would consist of either little girls twirling batons or little girls twirling batons. In the rare exception the halftime entertainment wasn’t little girls twirling batons, it was either a pickup basketball game between two elementary school basketball teams or other little girls twirling batons.
This year the halftime entertainment has gone from elementary to … whatever the opposite of elementary is. (Montessori?)
The UT athletic department didn’t disappoint with its first performer of the year. In its home opener against UNC-Wilmington, UT brought in a contortionist known only as Rubberboy. Once he shimmied himself through a toilet seat, it was clearly a metaphorical omen for where the halftime entertainment quality was heading.
Since Rubberboy squeezed through Savage Hall, and our hearts, UT booked several novelty acts, all of which have previously performed for several NBA crowds:
• The Stickman, a dude balancing a spinning basketball on a 40-foot pole and taking a 3-point shot with it.
• The Jabali Acrobats, a troupe of tumbling, flame-avoiding Kenyans.
• The Skyriders, a trampoline trick duo.
• Red Panda Acrobat, a woman flipping bowls onto her head while operating a rather tall unicycle.
• The Piano Juggler, a man who juggles balls downward onto a special keyboard, playing classic songs.
• Quick Change, a man and woman shifting between outfits like nobody’s business.
The UT basketball experience has certainly improved. Well, usually. In the game against Northern Illinois, Quick Change lived up to its name and canceled at the last minute, forcing Savage Hall to bring its B-game, which was nothing more than some man wearing a UT fleece singing a tune from “Phantom of the Opera.” Perhaps that night was the only time I ever prayed for twirling batons.
Matt Sussman runs the sports blog The Futon Report at www.futonreport.net.