Archive for August, 2007
Library director declines Utah job
The director of the Toledo-Lucas County Library system will not leave his position for a similar jo b in Salt Lake City. Clyde Scoles, the Toledo-Lucas County system’s director since 1985, said in a phone message he decided not to assume the position as head of the Salt Lake City Public Library system, despite reports of him being the lone finalist for the job. Scoles traveled to Utah to meet with library officials there last week. “They’re going to go on with their search,” Scoles said in the message. Scoles said he was not disappointed with the outcome because the decision was a mutual one between him and the Salt Lake City search committee. He said issues that led to his decision to stay in Toledo, to name a few, were the small size of the Salt Lake City system’s budget and the difficulty surrounding relocating his family. “Quite frankly, I’m just glad it’s over with,” Scoles said.
Dancer wins 1st place at fair
Rebecca Gerken, of the Girl Scouts of Maumee Valley Council, Baja Point Service Unit, Troop 230, won first place in the dance category of the Girl Scout Talent Competition at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. She danced an Irish soft shoe dance called a reel to the music of Kinsha and was awarded a plaque highlighting Ohio history and a monetary prize. Gerken, 14, will be starting her freshman year at Notre Dame Academy.
Daniel J. DeFriece has been ordained as the music pastor at Monclova Road Baptist Church. DeFriece was born and raised in the Toledo area. He and his wife Jennifer live in Whitehouse along with their three children. DeFriece’s father served as pastor of several churches during 32 years in the ministry.
Owens Community College is expanding access to higher education by offering on-site academic classes at The Source Downtown and at several Toledo-Lucas County Public Library branches. Fall semester classes officially begin Sept. 4 at The Source and started Aug. 20 at the library locations.
Owens opened a new Learning Center at The Source, Lucas County’s one-stop employment center located at Monroe and 14th streets. The center includes five classrooms, two computer labs and offices for advising, registration and support services.
“Owens is committed to providing students with access to enriched learning opportunities,” said Christa Adams, president of Owens Community College.
“The Source mirrors Owens’ educational mission of serving the surrounding communities through quality academic programs and services. This new initiative is an investment in meeting the education and training needs of Northwest Ohio’s citizens and preparing them for career opportunities in today’s competitive work force.”
The Source will provide opportunities for citizens to connect education and training to employment. Students can take advantage of the employment services while attending classes, said Leigh Guerra, a quality assurance manager at The Source.
“Lucas County is excited to partner with Owens Community College to bring more educational opportunities to downtown Toledo at The Source,” said Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.
Commissioners Pete Gerken and Ben Konop also support the academic classes being offered at The Source to bring more people Downtown and to prepare job seekers with additional educational opportunities to prepare them for employment. .
More than 250 students were registered for classes offered by Owens at The Source, some of which are filled for the fall semester. Those classes include college courses in astronomy, health science, mathematics, public speaking and English classes in composition, college reading and writing.
Additional courses that are directly related to 130 career paths include business professionalism, business law and contemporary business, economics, office administration, information technology, being a supervisor and skilled trades.
“We have a very diverse group of students,” said Lita Graham, an enrollment service representative for Owens at The Source. “Most adult learners are nontraditional students that have included some homeless people and prison releases.”
One student, Kimberly Murphy of Toledo, saw the signs about Owens programs at The Source on TARTA buses and called to inquire about the classes offered there. Murphy received her GED in 2006 and is considering a career in general hygiene.
The Owens location at The Source was an advantage for Murphy who depends on public transportation. Murphy met with Graham at The Source and registered as a full-time student for the fall semester. Graham also helped her to apply for financial aid.
“The colleges around here do a great job of outreach in the community,” Graham said.
Also beginning this fall, Owens is offering its first-ever on-site academic courses at several branches of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Owens students will be able to pursue any of the more than 160 e-learning courses at branch libraries in academic areas such as accounting, art, business, English, psychology and speech among others.
The e-learning courses include astronomy, composition, introduction to literature, world civilization, modern college mathematics, introduction to college algebra and trigonometry, general and life span psychology, as well as climate and weather.
The Owens academic courses are available to residents at library branches in Oregon, Holland, Maumee, Sylvania, Waterville, and the Heatherdowns, Mott, Reynolds Corners, Sanger and South branches in Toledo. The fall semester classes began Aug. 20.
“This partnership allows students to take college classes in their own neighborhoods,” said Clyde Scoles, director of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. “The libraries will benefit from increased attendance and Owens serving its mission by extending its outreach to more students. It’s a win-win situation.”
Within the past year, Owens established a partnership with Toledo Public Schools and offered its first-ever college courses at the new Rogers High School in Toledo.
Owens also announced the creation of three new fine and performing arts certificate programs that begin this fall semester. The certificate programs in music business technology, commercial photography and interior design are part of the college’s academic curriculum.
Toledo Free Press will host a debate for candidates running for the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 inside the McMaster Center at the Main Library of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system.
Other media outlets partnering with the newspaper will be FOX Toledo, WUPW-TV 36, WTOD-AM Supertalk 1560 and Glass City Jungle, an Internet blog site that focuses on local news run by Toledoan Lisa Reneé Ward.
Five of the six declared candidates have confirmed their participation in the event. Former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking his participation at press time.
Two seats on the five-member board are up for grabs on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Richard Brown, 33, an auditor with the City of Toledo, said in a prepared statement his work as a financial management professional could help a district that is facing financial challenges.
“This forum will give voters the opportunity to learn more about our experience and our vision for the district’s future,” Brown said.
Freelance graphic/Web designer Cheryl Catlin, 46, said she looks forward to discussing crucial issues that face the school district and talking about her campaign platform.
“Our community needs to have a conversation about what quality education looks like, and we need to to ensure the future for our children,” Catlin said.
Harold Mosley, a patrolman in the Toledo Police Department’s special victims unit, said he hopes to demonstrate to the public why his professional experience makes him the best choice for the board.
“I think the debate provides us all with a forum for people to see us side by side and hear what it is that we can bring to the table,” said Mosley, 50. “Based on the debate, they should be able to make a well-informed decision as to who they might vote for.”
Chris Myers, 32, Webmaster for the University of Michigan School of Education, said it is important voters familiarize themselves with the candidates before making their picks for the board. Myers unsuccessfully ran for the board in 2005 under the “3 for Change” platform along with current board members Darlene Fisher and Robert Torres.
“Toledo needs good school board members to have good public schools,” Myers said. “I want to be up there because I want to give voters the opportunity to hear my ideas and suggestions to improve the school system.”
Lisa Sobecki, 40, is a full-time mother and chairwoman of the Toledo Public Schools Parent Congress. She said in a statement her experience as the parent of a child in the TPS system makes her a qualified candidate.
“I understand the challenges our district faces and I recognize the need for concerned citizens to respond to those challenges,” she said. “I look forward to bringing my message for change to this forum.”
The Oct. 22 debate will be a free event, but tickets will be required for entry. Details on ticket availability will be announced in early October. Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller and FoxToledo anchors Laura Emerson and Karl Rundgren will moderate the debate, which will be hosted by WTOD morning show host Tom Watkins.
“Every one of the participating candidates immediately committed to the debate,” Miller said. “They recognize how important it will be to distinguish themselves to the voters.”
Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary defines pressure as “the burden of mental or physical distress especially from grief, illness or adversity.” Athletics are all about pressure. Pressure comes in different forms, in differing amounts from different sources. Some try to hide or even wilt from pressure, others actually seem to thrive on it.
Simply put, if you don’t like pressure, playing or coaching sports is not for you.
Something happened last season in MAC football that hasn’t happened since 1987. Both the Toledo Rockets and the Bowling Green Falcons finished with losing records.
How long ago was 1987? Teams could have ties. The President of the United States was someone not named Bush or Clinton. UT’s coach was Dan Simrell. BGSU’s coach was Moe Ankney. The MAC did not have divisions, the champ was Eastern Michigan followed by Kent State (the only two MAC teams with winning records in 1987), and this columnist was still in college, broadcasting for the UT campus radio station which didn’t even have an over-the-air signal and was only available in the dorms and to five other people who had “cable” radio.
You can’t see, smell or touch pressure, but pressure is part of everyday life for a coach, even more so when coming off a losing season.
The pressure has been turned up a notch this season at both UT and at BGSU.
Coaches aren’t comfortable talking about pressure. Most coaches begrudgingly acknowledge that it exists.
“That’s part of coaching, that’s part of athletics,” said UT football coach Tom Amstutz. “You always want to do your best. I’m the same coach after a championship season or after a struggle. You can’t hang on to either one of them, so you have to work your way toward the next season.”
Greg Brandon, BGSU’s football coach, doesn’t even admit to game day pressure.
“I think a lot of it is self-imposed,” Brandon said. “Pressure is in the preparation. I always feel crunched for time during the week because I want to give the coaches and the players the best chance to win. I don’t want anyone to be surprised during the game.”
Ask a coach if there is added pressure for the upcoming season, you may as well ask them if they have seen Bigfoot riding the Loch Ness Monster on top of a flying saucer.
“No, not at all,” Amstutz said when asked if there was added pressure this season. “I’m real excited about the season. It’s been a lot of fun and actually I’ve had some of the most fun two-a-day practice sessions ever this summer.”
Fun? Pressure? Really? Even when asked to define pressure, Amstutz scrambled for the words.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “Maybe it’s like when I flip over and I’m wide awake at 3 in the morning? Something like that? That comes every year. That’s part of coaching.”
Now you’re getting warm, Tom.
Brandon doesn’t admit to added pressure either.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “Everybody knows that [last season] was an aberration. We were victims of our youth. We had eight road games last year and only won four games. We could have won six with a few different bounces, and we’re a little salty about that.”
Salty? At least that’s a small admission. Fun is when you win. Pressure is when you lose. Both coaches need this season to be more fun than last season. If not, the 2007 season could see something mounting that neither coach wants to admit.
Norm Wamer is program director of Sports Radio 1470 “The Ticket” WLQR-AM and co-hosts “The Front Row” weekday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m.
The month of August doesn’t play nice with the Detroit Tigers. It never has, to be honest. Prior to 2006, it marked the time when, by all reasonable logic, the Tigers were done competing and in full rebuilding mode. Even last year Detroit had a 13-16 record in August. This year, it’s no different. Another losing month.
But August wasn’t a total downer for Detroit in its pennant-winning season. Mired in similar slumps, one particular game stood out, and to this day is still infernally stuck in my head, much like an Ace of Base song. In both cases, sharing this thought with another sane human being will cause the person to look down upon me, which might explain why my dates don’t go well.
“Matt, dear, what are you thinking about?”
“Oh, just the game the Tigers played on Aug. 30, 2006, at Yankee Stadium, where they won 5-3. With two outs in the ninth inning, Craig Monroe hit a three-run home run to beat the Yankees. Jason Grilli got the win, and I remember that detail because of how rarely it occurs. Detroit was able to prove to itself that it can beat a championship-caliber team late in the season.”
(FYI: Paying for a meal that you know will lead nowhere is rather unsatisfying.)
We can only speculate how 2007 will unfold, but if the Tigers can pull themselves out of this August quicksand, the turning point might have been Aug. 26, also against the Yankees.
The Tigers entered the day having lost 22 of 32 games. Jeremy Bonderman was confusing the first inning with batting practice. Nagging injuries were mounting up, and at one point, about five guys on the team had the flu. Three nights prior, Joel Zumaya — whose return was supposed to solve the bullpen woes — lost a crucial game in extra innings to their main competition, the Cleveland Indians.
General Manager Dave Dombrowski was juggling pitchers from Detroit to Toledo in hopes of finding some combination that could retain a late lead. And he found a young kid in Erie named Jair Jurrjens — a man whose name is so absolutely fun to say, I’m saying it right now as I’m typing, and likely muttering it to myself as you read this line. Jurrjens started this pivotal game on Aug. 26.
In the second inning, Jurrjens felt a tweak in his shoulder after he heaved a pitch to Jason Giambi, who knocked the ball out of the park for a solo home run. He had to exit the game, putting a burden on the bullpen to keep a two-run lead over a seven-inning span. For a brief moment, Tiger Nation felt the baseball gods were against them and that, given the luck, this was not their year. But then the bullpen did something so out of the ordinary, it warranted this column: They won the game.
With 7-2/3 innings of work split between four pitchers, only one mistake (a three-run homer) was enough to propel the Tigers to a 5-4 victory. The next day, a 16-0 throwdown of the Yankees gave Detroit its first series win since the All-Star break.
Work still needs to be done, and questions need to be answered. Can the Tigers get healthy? Can they find a solid No. 3 hitter until Gary Sheffield feels better? Can they stop losing games to the Royals in the second half? These are questions I always pose a girl before I ask her out.
Visit Matt Sussman’s sports blog at www.futonreport.net.
For those of us who have grown up in Northwest Ohio, the annual trip to the apple orchard is a fond memory, one that we pass down from one generation to another. Most of us have driven by the many roadside stands and purchased picked-that-day sweet corn and tomatoes. However, how many of us know that in Northwest Ohio, our farm neighbors are growing a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables?
Locally, we have a multitude of family farms growing a huge variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. How do we know who they are and what they grow? How do we, as a community, encourage our favorite grocery store and restaurant to carry locally grown produce and why is it important?
The Ohio Department of Agriculture reports that agriculture is Ohio’s No. 1 industry, contributing to more than $79 billion worth of economic activity each year. There are a number of resources available to identify farm markets and pick-your-own operations. Among them is a Web site, www.ourohio.org, that allows one to search for local produce, and in addition gives information on what is available seasonally. Ask your friends and neighbors who they are aware of. Many of us have grown up hearing names like Mike Parran, the Sadowski family, the Bench family, and the Keil family.
These families have been farming and putting food on our tables for many generations. Call or visit them and ask what local grocery stores, restaurants or distributors they sell to. Better yet, visit them.
Although we all know about corn and tomatoes, how many of us are aware that in season right now are beets, cabbage, eggplant, peppers (sweet, bell and hot among them), zuchini, yellow squash and many more. Soon, we will be enjoying apples, butternut squash, acorn squash and pumpkins, which, by the way, you can pick on your own.
The most effective way to promote buying and enjoying locally grown produce is to ask the produce manager at your grocery store what they carry that is truly homegrown. Ask which farm the produce comes from. Make some suggestions regarding what you would like to buy and where they will find it. We can do the same thing at our favorite restaurants. Most restaurants and grocery stores encourage comments and suggestions. The next time you patronize the place where you made the suggestion, ask if they have made any progress. You will be pleasantly surprised at the result.
Finally, talk to your family and friends. Tell them where you have found locally grown produce, where they can buy it and what restaurants use it. Better yet, the next time you vist Sadowski’s, Keil’s, Bench’s, or Parran’s, take a friend with you.
Shelly Okun is vice president and a fourth-generation member of family-owned and operated Sam Okun Produce Co. in Toledo.
Justice has been served for the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl more than 27 years ago with the conviction of Father Gerald Robinson in May 2006, but a relative of the victim and a victim’s advocacy group continue to pursue a cause in the aftermath of the case.
Of the streets signs surrounding Fifth Third Field that honor local leaders who stand out in Mud Hens history, two bear the name of Monsignor Jerome Schmit, a Catholic priest who dedicated his life to the church and sports in the community. But according to Lee Pahl, nephew of Sister Pahl, and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Monsignor Schmit also interferred with the murder investigation of Father Robinson.
They want the signs removed.
“We are concerned any time a clergyman is given accolades when he is involved in wrongdoing,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP president. “And we believe that Monsignor Schmit was on the wrong side back in 1980 when Monsignor Schmit made the decision to try to help the priest defend himself. We think Monsignor Schmit should have been trying to help the police uncover who the murderer was of the nun, and we think he should have been reaching out to the family.”
Blaine referred to testimony at Robinson’s trial by two retired Toledo Police investigators, Detective Arthur Marx and Lt. William Kina, which suggested that Monsignor Schmit used his influence as a community leader to halt Robinson’s interrogation and, ultimately, the investigation itself. Marx testified that retired Deputy Chief Ray Vetter ordered all police reports in the case to be turned over to his office. Both witnesses said Vetter and Monsignor Schmit interrupted the interrogation, and Robinson subsequently left accompanied by the priest.
Pahl, who closely followed the trial of his aunt’s murderer, said he believes Vetter’s seizure of the documents “was not standard procedure.” And while he wishes there was more solid evidence of Monsignor Schmit’s role in the investigation, he still “takes seriously what someone says under oath.”
“They testified; I was sitting in the courtroom. I was there just about every day, and they testified under oath that that actually happened,” Pahl said. “Vetter as well, but he didn’t admit that this happened. But he really didn’t deny it either, the way I took it.
“There were three copies [of the police reports]; one of them was supposed to go to Vetter, but the other two were supposed to go to other places. And it’s just a funny thing that all of those reports are missing.”
Accusations against Monsignor Schmit never arose until after his death at age 86 in 1997. During his career with the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, he served as youth director, assistant director of Catholic Charities and pastor of St. Patrick Historic Church. He also oversaw the Catholic Club and restoration of the Westminster Gym. He created the Catholic Youth Organization with an initial budget of $27 and played a pivotal role in bringing back the Toledo Mud Hens when the Lucas County Recreation Center opened in 1964.
“We’re not saying anything about the other good works that Monsignor Schmit may have accomplished in his lifetime,” Blaine said. “The problem is is that his involvement, which is not even under dispute, clearly assisted Father Robinson in having over two decades of not being in jail. And we just think that it’s wrong.
“We’re not suggesting that what Monsignor Schmit did was illegal; we’re not suggesting that he should have been criminally prosecuted for his actions. We’re not suggesting that he should have received any punishment. All we are suggesting is that we not hold him out as a hero by dedicating a street to be named after him, even if it’s in an honorary way.”
Legal point of view
Despite SNAP’s claims that Monsignor Schmit interfered with the murder investigation, Frank S. Merritt, UT professor of law, addressed whether one could interfere without committing a crime. He said he believes it’s perfectly logical to assume Father Robinson revealed no information of use to the investigation to Monsignor Schmit. However, he emphasized, no one probably will ever know.
“Now, you can make the claim that Robinson told Schmit something, and Schmit didn’t pass it on — on the surface there’s no priest-penitent privilege there,” Merritt explained. “So Schmit, if he hid [something], could be said to be interfering with an investigation, but I don’t see any facts suggesting that.”
Nevertheless, Pahl and SNAP are pressing city leaders and raising awareness, not only in Toledo, but throughout the country. In Jasper, Ind., a bishop recently called for the removal of all photos and rescinding of all honors given to a deceased priest because of allegations of sexual abuse arising after his death. A Catholic college in Davenport, Iowa removed the name of another priest accused of molestation while he lies in his grave.
If successful, the drive to remove the “Msgr. Jerome Schmit Way” signs likely would be the first case of a priest dishonored for interfering with a murder investigation.
Pahl said he sent letters in June to Mayor Carleton Finkbeiner, Mud Hens Vice President and General Manager Joe Napoli and Toledo City Council members Michael Ashford and Rob Ludeman. He also wrote Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, asking him to send a letter of support to Toledo City Council in favor of removing the signs.
So far, only the mayor responded in a letter saying, “I don’t believe that it’s fair to prosecute a human being after he is deceased. I have empathy for you and your family. However, to now judge Monsignor Schmit does not correct the original situation.”
In May, the mayor responded to a letter from SNAP, writing, “This matter should be taken up with the Mud
Hens Board. The City of Toledo is prohibited by Section 79 of the Toledo Municipal Code from involvement with the ball park.”
Section 79 essentially states that development within the Marina District requires voter approval, according to Merritt. City Council originally passed an ordinance dedicating sections of Washington, Huron, St. Clair and Monroe streets in honor of Gene Cook, Ned Skeldon, Monsignor Schmit and Henry Morse, respectively. Merritt said he thinks perhaps Finkbeiner misunderstood.
“The only thing that Carty can say is that, ‘it’s City Council; it’s not me,’” he said. “He can certainly propose legislation, so it’s not out of his hand by any means. The city may have done it on request of the Mud Hens or the county, but it’s still a city act.”
Finkbeiner was on vacation at press time and could not be reached for comment, according to Brian Schwartz, the mayor’s executive assistant and public information officer.
Pahl, too, questioned the mayor’s response, saying if the ordinance authorized the placing of the signs, the city could pass additional legislation to remove them. He also questioned the Mud Hens lack of response to his letter, wondering what would compel the organization to ignore his request and take no action to remove the signs.
“I would think that the Mud Hens would want to [take the signs down], and I understand all Monsignor Schmit did for the Mud Hens organization and so on. But if you cover up a murder investigation, I think maybe that kind of trumps the good maybe he did for baseball,” he said.
“The Mud Hens are really a great organization, and they’re a very positive influence on Toledo, and I don’t think anybody really wants to drag them through the mud, so to speak. But I would think … they would take a look at this and say, ‘Hey, maybe we don’t want those signs up there.’ ”
“I’m gonna let people, for a while, let their conscience work on them for a little bit or be their guide and see what happens. I’m not going to drop it.”
Mud Hens VP Joe Napoli declined to comment on the issue.
Selling is not about you, selling is about your prospect. When you leave a voicemail, does it many times sound like, “Let me tell you a little about my company,” or, “Let me tell you a little about my product?”
Your prospect cares about neither your company nor your product, but rather about solving his or her business problems. For someone to be successful in sales, they need to be able to walk in the shoes of their prospect. They need to be able to visualize the issues, problems and challenges that this company might be experiencing.
For example, if you are calling on a construction company and you have sold your solution to another construction company, what problem did your solution solve or improve? How about the wholesale distributor that you sold your solution to? What benefits did they derive from your solution? How about the manufacturer?
If you know why these customers bought, then you know some potential hot buttons to grab the attention of your new prospect. You also add credibility to your story that you can help them because you have already helped other companies in their industry. Industry expertise and experience go a long way in opening doors and getting the business.
Take note that I referenced your solution, not your product or service. If you are selling a product or service, you are selling a commodity that may be available by multiple product or service companies. However, if you are selling a solution, you are selling the capability to solve your customer’s problems, issues or challenges. You are helping that customer improve his or her quality, cut costs, improve customer service, etc. Sometimes this is simply a state of mind or attitude. What you have to sell may not change, but how you position it with your customer will change the perception and importance of your product/service — your solution.
Voicemail in sales unfortunately is very prevalent. So let me ask you: Which voicemail is going to get your attention if you were the prospect? Which voicemail has a higher probability of a return call?
Some of you are asking yourself, “What problem or issue did I solve when I sold that copier, service contract, etc. to the XYZ Company? First, if your answer is they needed a faster copier, I am not communicating effectively. If that is the case, the follow-up question is why? What business problem did they need to solve?
Secondly, if you have to ask that question, you also need to re-evaluate your sales approach to determine if you are really taking an approach to solve your customer’s challenges or if you are simply taking the order.
I heard a neat saying a long time ago and I am going to modify it slightly for sales. “Your customer cares how much you know when they know how much you care.”
Don’t just sell your product or service, but rather care enough about your customer to help them solve problems with your solution. Why not walk in their shoes for a while?
Roger Bostdorff is the President of B2B Sales Boost, LLC. For more information about B2B Sales Boost, visit www.b2bsalesboost.com.