Archive for December, 2007
It seems that every year I find myself actually musing over something calendric, or would that be calendrial… calendrical? Supercalifragilistic… oh, sorry.
This year, I overheard an argument at a local bookstore over a calendar. This fellow had bought a new calendar and had, apparently, began to mark days of personal significance before he realized there was something not quite right.
“Sunday’s in the wrong place,” he complained.
Most of us never think about our calendars at all, with the exception of buying one each year, and even then, we think about the art work (kittens or bunnies?), but a few calendar makers have started to produce calendars that reflect the way the week really is. I got a “Monday first” calendar myself a couple of years back.
As for our friend, the store was unwilling to return his money. The calendar was accurate, if unorthodox.
Our week starts Monday, but the traditional calendar runs from Sunday to Saturday. Christians adopted Sunday, first day of the week, as their day of rest. Combined with the Jewish Sabbath, we get two days off… that, my friends, is progress!! But that meant the New Testament and Old Testament weekends were bookends, putting the beginning of the week in the middle.
But any attempt to move the weekend to the end of the week is going to leave many of us as confused as our friend in the bookstore. How dare they move the end of the week to the end of the calendar?
For me, it isn’t the week’s order that bothers me as much as the names of the days.
Naming days actually dates back to the Egyptians, who named the 5 spare days slapped at the end of the year (each month had 30 days), so the seven day week needed 2 more names. The first two days are obvious—Sun and Moon, then Norse Gods: Tiw (War) Woden (Odin, the chief) Thor (Thunder) Freya (Goddess), and Saturn.
Saturn? Whether you mean the Roman god of agriculture, our sixth sister planet, or a car, could somebody tell me how it ended up in an Anglo-Saxon Calendar? Why worship pagans anyway. Name the days after what they represent NOW. Grumbling (Monday), Hump Day (Wed), College ID (Thursday), TGIF, Day Off (Saturday), Football (Sunday). Sure, people are going to complain… I just gave you 52 grumble days a year… sheesh!
And, hey, while we’re making changes…
I’m sure Julius Caesar, Pope Gregory XIII, or the guy who wrote his Bull (no, really, that’s what the Roman Church calls them) had perfectly reasonable reasons to start the year on January 1, but I cannot find one, and I think it would make better sense to start the year the old fashioned way—on the first day of spring. Until 1752, England and their American colonies began their year on March 25.
We should get right on this. When Julius Caesar established his new calendar, the resultant shifting made 46 BC over 400 days in length. This “year to end all confusion” became more accurately known the year of confusion. For us, with 2008 being an election year…
The University of Toledo’s Department of Theatre and Film is going back for seconds with the return of acclaimed playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ Pulitzer Prize winning drama Topdog/Underdog.
On January 5 and 6 they will being hosting encore performances in the College of Performing Arts’ Studio Theatre with all proceeds going toward taking the production on the road. Director Sylvia Carter’s cast and crew were recently selected to appear at the Region III. 40th Annual Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which will be held in mid-January.
The play, which features actors Tyree Troutman and Danny Ledsinger, first made its way to UT’s stage back in October. Troutman is currently a senior, while Ledsinger graduated with a communications degree in 2006. Troutman previously appeared in director Cornel Gabara’s production of Sam Shepard’s Action, while Ledsinger was in UT’s production of Bill Lancz’ The Jewelry Store.
“I first saw the show in Chicago a number of years ago and when the University approached me about bringing it to Toledo I knew it was something that I really wanted to direct,” Carter said.
Parks’ intimate tale of sibling rivalry first ran off Broadway in 2001, with the leads being played by Hollywood Actors Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright. True to its name, the play started off as an underdog with poor ticket sales. It later received an extended Broadway run in which Cheadle was replaced by Mos Def.
Parks, who has written a number of other plays, is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. She has also worked as a screenwriter, most recently doing uncredited work on producer Oprah Winfrey’s “The Great Debaters” starring Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. She also wrote 2005 television adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.
The response to UT’s first run of the play was excellent, generating a string of sold out shows and highly positive feedback. According to Carter, the largest challenge was the size of the cast.
“This play is really a conversation piece—it’s all on the actors shoulders to keep things interesting and they do a wonderful job with the material”.
Both shows will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 and $5 for students. They may be purchased by calling (419) 530-2375.
For more information visit www.utoledo.edu.
The Porter family gathers for dinner every Sunday. If you can make it, you do. If you can’t, come next week. It wouldn’t be easy to make the Sunday tradition if John and Karen Porter and their seven children — five on their own, two still at home — hadn’t remained living in the Toledo area.
But Toledo is where they remain for now.
“It is home,” said 31-year-old Mike Porter, who lives in the city of Toledo with his wife Jill and their family. “I never really felt like trying anywhere else out. I don’t know if I could be away from my family.”
Second-born Mike is an independent distributor of Little Debbie snacks. He admires his mother, Karen, who is a stay-at-home mom, and father, John, who is a manager at Kroger, for keeping it together for 35 years.
The sentiment seems to be the same among the siblings, who range in age from 14 to 34, as they salute their parents on their Dec. 28 wedding anniversary. They thank their parents for the joys of a large family, and for showing them the best of Toledo.
“When we were little, we lived close to the rec center, where we went swimming,” said 29-year-old Meredith Porter, who lives in Bowling Green. “We went on trips to the zoo; we didn’t go on big trips. There was plenty around here to do.”
Third-born Meredith teaches and researches for Bowling Green State University where she earned her doctorate in sociology. She is getting married in May.
“I always knew that I have to be with someone who understands how close I am to my family and who wants a family,” Meredith said.
The Porter clan was destined to be large because all mother Karen wanted to do was raise babies, Mike said.
When she and John got married Dec. 28, 1972, their first-born, Vince Porter, was already on the way.
“I really admire my parents,” said 14-year-old Cate Porter, the youngest of the seven and a student at Gateway Middle School.
The Porters raised their family in South Toledo, in the Maumee school district. They moved to Maumee six years ago. Vince lives next door.
“I didn’t appreciate growing up in a big family,” joked 34-year-old Vince, a real estate agent.
Vince and Mike are both divorced and remarried. They know staying together for 35 years is no small feat.
“I made a conscious decision to stay in the area,” said Vince, who was in the Army and lived in Hawaii for a few years. “I get a little claustrophobic once in awhile, but our family is so close, I would feel like I was leaving part of me behind if I left.”
Sixth child Maggie Porter lives at home with her parents and Cate. The 22-year-old is studying early childhood education at BGSU.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said of her big family.
Maggie remembers how their parents surprised them with the news of Cate at Christmas: baby clothes wrapped under the tree.
Unlike the rest of his siblings, 25-year-old Nick Porter, the fifth child, is considering moving away. Nick has a bachelor’s in education.
“For so many years I have taken my family for granted,” Nick said. “It wasn’t until the last few years that I have begun to understand and appreciate how special and unique my family is: seven brothers and sisters separated by 20 years that all still live in the Toledo area and come together every Sunday for family dinner.”
The youngest of the brothers, Nick said he felt like the odd one, always putting his friends ahead of his family.
Fourth child and 27-year-old Chris Porter works for Pepsi as a merchandiser.
“My mother is a saint,” Chris said. “What I have learned from her is being able to be available to anyone at anytime — I came to be this way by watching my mom put others before herself [for] as long as I can remember.”
If and when Nick moves, he said he knows that’s when he will truly appreciate his family.
“My father is the hardest-working, most selfless man I have ever met — everything he has ever done in his life has been for my mother and us kids. Every time the family gets a new car, he gives it to my mom and he takes the one she has been driving,” Nick said.
He blames his mom for not having a girlfriend for more than one month.
“Every girl I meet is compared to her, and thus far, no one has compared,” Nick said.
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is Toledo Free Press Newsmaker of the Year for 2007, but several other people were discussed for their impact. Here is an alphabetical listing of the other finalists for this year’s designation.
• Allan Block, Block Communications chairman, helped his family’s newspaper weather strikes by eight unions he described as “contentious.” Four months later, he laid blame on unions for an exodus of manufacturers from Toledo. The Blade lost circulation and advertisers during the strikes, according to Communication Workers of America, locking out employees for most of the duration. Unions, such as Toledo Newspaper Guild, agreed to wage cuts, more workdays, longer hours and commission for advertising representatives in exchange for future pay raises if profit goals are met.
At a meeting of local economic developers, Block said “Toledo is in ‘terrible shape,’ ” according to The Blade, and proposed a “Toledo Guarantee” concept, calling for labor to “promise that businesses will make a fair profit.” Block also appeared in a series of ads touting China as an economic model.
• Developer Larry Dillin was a case study in multitasking. The Dillin Corp. president faced adversity all year against a series of barriers in closing the deal to launch the Village at Southwyck and all but finalizing the $320 million Marina District project.
Toledo City Council approved $7.8 million in taxpayer money — just in time for Christmas — for Dillin to redevelop the comatose South Toledo mall. Along the waterfront, he put up $25 million for prime property as part of the Downtown master plan for revitalization.
• Jack Ford managed to make headlines by trying to not make headlines. He ran a successful bid for Toledo School Board virtually on reputation alone.
The former Toledo mayor won the majority of votes in a campaign so laid-back, it was almost subliminal. Such confidence defied logic for many in the media, who continually questioned his low-profile approach. Since, Ford has perked up, talking to the media about his kidney problems, chatting over coffee on local TV with his wife, Cynthia, and applying his experience to resolving issues affecting TPS.
• The late Ohio Rep. Paul Gillmor departed this life far too soon for his constituents, after representing most of Northwest Ohio in Congress for nearly 20 years. Ohio lost a “favorite son,” according to one colleague, as a result of an accident in September at the 68-year-old’s suburban Washington, D.C., apartment.
Gillmor had visited areas damaged by flooding and attended a series of town meetings a week before the tragedy. Yet his influence lives on.
“Paul never lost sight of the reason he came to Congress — to serve this great institution and his constituents with dedication and distinction,” House Republican Leader John Boehner, also of Ohio, said in a statement.
• UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs encountered myriad issues during 2007, causing growing pains for the university while adjusting to the merger.
The school underwent scrutiny for athletes possibly involved in betting schemes, a lawsuit for unlawful discharge, threats to pull ProMedica educational programs for medical students and alleged improprieties by staff charging perks to the university.
Under Jacobs, the university persevered in part by juggling damage control while investing in Toledo’s economic welfare. He moved to the forefront by adocating efforts to spur the local economy, such as reshaping Toledo’s image. He has overseen the UT/MCO merger with mostly positive appraisals.
• Fifteen-year-old Robert Jobe’s trial for the murder of Detective Keith Dressel wrought tragedy and controversy. Essentially, two lives were lost in the aftermath, and no level of justice exists to compensate the Dressel family. Dressel should and will be remembered for his sacrifice, and Jobe will serve 18 years to life for his crime.
“I guess with all bad things come good things,” Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre told Toledo Free Press. I never in my tenure with this police department have seen a community come together the way they did.”
• Ben Konop swore in as a freshman county commissioner and left the starting gate at full stride in 2007. He left his fingerprints on several proposals implementing checks and balances, supporting the arts community and trying to draw new business to town — all while adopting a D’Artagnan-like swagger in the media.
He called Lucas County Improvement Corp. on possible ethics violations, suggested naming a poet laureate and, along with his fellow commissioners, pledged to live on a food budget of $21 per week. One of the wheels fell off his cart, however, when his insurance policy lapsed nine days before an accident involving his brand-new Mercury Mariner.
• Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez spent 2007 pursuing her goals during her first year in office. The Democrat ousted the longtime incumbent, Republican Larry Kaczala, by a margin that surprised many.
Lopez ran on a platform of revamping the system for evaluating property taxes that is “not working for citizens” adding that residents have been “overtaxed.” Voters appear to have liked her ideas and gave her an opportunity to implement them, which seems to be the case.
Last year she unveiled the new Tax Distributor and Levy Estimator online programs that allow county residents to access their tax and levy information on the auditor’s Web site.
“People are always asking how their tax dollars are being spent. Our number-one goal was to make sure that taxpayers are informed about what their taxes are going for by amount and percentage,” Lopez told Toledo Free Press.
• Toledo School Board candidate Chris Myers and author Lisa Reneé Ward represent two of the many blog and discussion board owners who give Web surfers a place for their 2 cents: Ward at www.glasscityjungle.com and Myers at www.swampbubbles.com.
They share a spot on the short list for their efforts to focus on the political climate of the Toledo area and encourage intelligent discussion of the issues that face the average Joe. Myers’ site asks, “What will bubble up today?” referring to the spontaneity with which issues arise. Ward’s touts “Because local politics can be a jungle out there …”
Myers, who lost his bid for school board but remains a TPS educational advocate, announced plans to launch two new blog sites in February, www.GreatOpenSwamp.com and www.Governmentfor.us. He also owns and operates the TPS-oriented www.ideasfortps.com and www.tpssearch.com, which addresses the superintendent search.
Ward, who writes weekly for Toledo Free Press, authored “In Memory of … The Loved and the Forgotten of Ohio,” a book inspired by research of her father’s family, and runs a blog at www.liberalcommonsense.blogspot.com.
• Although his “Recall Carty” campaign failed, political advocate Tom Morrissey demonstrated the role intended for citizens of a democracy: to get involved. At 22 years old, he led efforts to wield the people’s power, an achievement in a society largely afflicted by political apathy. Falling a couple hundred signatures short of the 20,000 required to make the ballot, he burned the petitions, he said, to protect the signers from any possible retaliation.
• Brian Schwartz drew a lot of media attention in 2007, and because he is a spokesman for Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, it’s easy to say, “Well, that’s his job.”
But on at least two occasions, Schwartz was the news. After a public press conference where he refused entry to WSPD reporter/talk show host Kevin Milliken, he told Toledo Free Press, “WSPD has so violated standards of decorum that come with the inalienable right to a free press that we have to take this action.”
Not only did Schwartz find himself on the frontlines for the mayor, he made unwanted news when WTOL-TV ran a story on his posting to local blog sites, which led to a moritorium on that activity.
The year 2007 was a year of national and international recognition for Toledo’s quality of life and a year that saw us develop and refine our vision of what our local economy will be in the 21st century.
June 18 was a symbolic day in Toledo’s history. That day, we knocked down the smokestacks from the old Toledo Jeep Plant. The fall of those smokestacks is metaphorical of Toledo’s transition. Once, we were a great manufacturing city where smokestacks abounded. Now, many of those manufacturing jobs are gone, and Toledo has started the transition from smokestacks and pollution to a city of clean technology and alternative fuels. This new industry — one based in cleaning up and preserving the environment — is our economic future.
The City of Toledo’s partner in pursuing this vision of Toledo’s economy is the University of Toledo. Under the leadership of Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, UT has dedicated its resources to assisting the city and being an integral part of our future. The University of Toledo’s Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator and the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization are setting the pace nationally for research in this developing industry.
Toledo’s emergence onto the international stage in the industry of clean technology was noted in the May 26 issue of The Economist. Toledo was mentioned along with high-tech giants such as Austin, Texas and Boston, Mass. The success of Xunlight Corporation in Toledo was noted in an article in Newsweek and recently in the Wall Street Journal. Xunlight emerged from UT’s Alternative Energy Incubator and serves as a model of how intellectual capital is turned into economic development. Xunlight employs 25 people in the manufacturing of thin film, silicon-based solar cells, and is expected to grow dramatically.
Ground has been broken and construction has begun on the City of Toledo Cogeneration Plant at the Hoffman Road landfill. This plant will utilize the methane gas emitted from the landfill to produce electricity and power the new sewage treatment plant on Summit Street.
In addition, a cogeneration plant that will utilize steam generated at the new U.S. Coking plant at the Port of Toledo will allow Toledo to generate its own power for use here locally and reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuels.
This wonderful city, once known for its smokestacks is becoming known for its environmentally conscious manufacturing technology!
It was also a good year for our traditional industries. General Motors broke ground on a $1 billion expansion and modernization of its Alexis Road transmission plant. While GM closed plants across the country, they invested in the future of Toledo. Chrysler supplier and builder of bodies for the Jeep Wrangler, Kuka, was honored as “Company of the Year” by Kuka International for being the most productive plant in the international Kuka family. This $900 million plant opened in 2006 and cannot keep up with the demand for the very popular Jeep Wrangler Limited.
One of the most effective marketing campaigns for our city is being carried out by Chrysler and Jeep. Their advertising slogan, “Fun Manufactured in Toledo, Ohio!” runs in a number of national and international publications and speaks highly of Toledo.
It was all of this and other successes that led fDi Magazine — published by the Financial Times of London, to declare Toledo “The Most Business Friendly City” in North America in our population category and one of the “Top 10 Cities of the Future.” With an economy based on new and developing technology, we are a city with a bright future.
Our reputation not only grew because of our new economy, we were recognized several times this year for our outstanding quality of life. In February, we were recognized as one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by America’s Promise — The Alliance for Youth. To have a bright future, we have to retain and attract young professionals. Making Toledo a great place to grow up is a step in that direction.
In September, the National Conference of Mayors recognized Toledo as having one of the Top Five Best Tasting Drinking Water in America. Free and easy access to the world’s largest supply of fresh water is why Toledo was founded and it is an invaluable part of our future. As Sunbelt states and the South struggled with drought conditions and severe water restrictions, Toledoans enjoyed high-quality water at a very reasonable price.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, several civic leaders traveled to London to present Toledo’s case for being named the world’s “Most Liveable City” in our population category. Toledo finished third and was the only North American city in our population category to be honored. We, as Toledoans, know how great it is to live in a city like Toledo. Now, the world knows that this city on the shores of Lake Erie is one of the most liveable communities in the world.
The trip and the award would not have been possible had it not been for the outpouring of community support we received. We accepted more than $40,000 in corporate and private donations to pay for the expenses associated with the trip. That generosity from the people of Toledo strengthened my faith in this city’s pride and character. Thank you to all who helped Toledo win this distinguished award.
The year was not without its sadness and tragedy. On Feb. 21, Detective Keith Dressel, a proud police officer, husband and father, was gunned down in North Toledo as he and two other detectives broke up a drug deal. The pain and suffering of the Dressel family and his colleagues in the Toledo Police Department were tremendous. However, the outpouring of sympathy and support for the Dressel family and the Toledo Police Department warmed our hearts and helped us get through that difficult time.
Toledo is a city of unlimited potential. Our city has quality neighborhoods, good schools, a great location and caring men and women. With a transforming economy, a downtown renaissance, and an increasingly excellent quality of life, I’ve never been more optimistic about Toledo’s future.
Carty Finkbeiner is mayor of the City of Toledo. He may be contacted at (419) 245-1001.
• A spokesman for Bryan-based Ohio Art Company said its toy products are tested by independent certified laboratories to meet U.S. Toy Safety Standards. Ohio Art makes the Etch-A-Sketch, Betty Spaghetty dolls, K’s Kids products, Doodle Dog, Magna Doodle and Plasticine reusable molding clay for children. The spokesman said all the company’s toys are assembled or manufactured in China.
Approximately 70 percent to 80 percent of all toys sold in the United States are made in more than 14,000 toy factories in China. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted 61 toy recalls in 2007, 19 of which are listed under “Toy Hazard Recalls” on the commission’s Web site, located at www.cpsc.gov. More than 21 million toys were recalled this year for lead paint or content, tiny magnets or parts that could be swallowed, or other potentially serious problems.
• Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop announced plans to name the county’s first-ever poet laureate. The position’s duties include opening public ceremonies and offering public readings and workshops through UT and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system. UT professor Joel Lipman was chosen for the position.
• Toledo Public Schools Board of Education member Darlene Fisher said the timeline for a plan to transform one of the district’s poorest and lowest-performing elementary buildings into a teacher-led academy by the next academic year may be too aggressive to implement necessary legal and contractual changes to meet the proposal’s start date. The plan calls for one of the district’s high-poverty elementary schools that has failed to meet state and federal academic performance standards to be turned into a teacher-led academy that operates using research-based instructional and support strategies. The plan, which was created by the Toledo Federation of Teachers and presented to the board Nov. 27, might have to wait until as late as March before necessary steps are taken to make it viable, Fisher said.
• Retired management consultant Jerry Jakes organized an effort to save COSI Toledo, the Downtown science and technology museum. Jakes said COSI could be saved if each family in what he labels “Lake Erie West” donated $5. The 76-year-old Sylvania resident asked households to help raise $1 million before the museum closes Dec. 31. Jakes encouraged families in Bowling Green, Perrysburg, Sandusky and even Monroe, Mich., to send money in addition to donations from Lucas County residents.
• Columbia Gas of Ohio said it would relocate its Northwest Ohio headquarters from Downtown Toledo by June as part of an environmental study that could last one to three years. Columbia Gas of Ohio will move 135 employees based out of its offices at 333 S. Erie St. to a location to be determined while company officials test coal tar residue that was stored underground on the property while it operated as a manufactured gas plant from 1887 to 1918. In response, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner issued a statement that said “Word War III” would break out in Columbus and Toledo if the company opts to relocate a temporary or permanent facility outside Toledo’s city limits.
• The United Way of Greater Toledo increased its campaign total 7 percent for 2007, raising $14.55 million — nearly $1 million more than 2006’s total.
• A fire started by candles claimed the lives of a mother and three children in a West Toledo home. The woman’s fiance escaped the fire.
• A pregnant Ohio attorney who admitted that she fabricated her kidnapping left her family behind because she “experienced a meltdown,” her husband said Dec. 11. She never was abducted outside the city’s juvenile court building or forced into a vehicle, said police Capt. Ray Carroll. Instead, she drove by herself to the Atlanta area, where she was found three days later outside an amusement park, investigators said. Karyn McConnell Hancock, 35, a former city councilwoman, had been having psychological issues for several years, her husband said Dec. 11. “She experienced a meltdown and attempted to handle those matters without the assistance of professional help,” said Lawrence Hancock. “Karyn elected to leave everything because she felt that she was unable to continue.” Police said Dec. 11 she recanted the story Dec. 10 after meeting with investigators for about eight hours. Hancock was charged with making a false police report, said Police Chief Mike Navarre. All she said was that she was tired and wanted to get away, said police detective Vince Mauro. She is six months pregnant with her second child. Hancock’s father, C. Allen McConnell, is a Toledo Municipal Court judge, and her husband is bishop of Final Harvest Church.
• Lucas County voters passed three of four levy renewals on the Nov. 6 ballot. They approved levy renewals for the Toledo Area Regional Transit Service, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system and Toledo-area Metroparks, but opted for the second-straight year not to use public dollars to fund operating costs for COSI Toledo.
• In Toledo City Council races, voters chose Tom Waniewski over Marty Skeldon in District 5, D. Michael Collins over Molly McHugh Branyan in District 2, Michael Ashford in District 4 and Lindsey Webb in District 6.
• In the race for the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education, Democrats Jack Ford and Lisa Sobecki were easily elected to the five-member panel over Democrats Cheryl Catlin, Ted Jobe and Harold Mosley, and Republican Chris Myers.
• Voters in Toledo passed Toledo Charter Amendment 22 by an 82 percent margin. The passing of the amendment means current and future mayors will have to submit a balanced budget by Nov. 15 and post it online.
• Toledo’s Inverness Club was selected as host course for the 2011 U.S. Senior Open by the U.S. Golf Association. Inverness Club hosted the 2003 Senior Open, the last major USGA tournament to take place at the course. The Senior Open typically takes place at the end of July.
• Officials from CitiFest said their organization and Toledo’s annual Thanksgiving Day weekend parade might be in jeopardy after it was revealed CitiFest’s account at Fifth Third Bank was overdrawn by $40,000. CitiFest Board of Trustees Chairman Brian Epstein blamed the overdraft on the Erie St. Market’s operational losses. CitiFest and the Erie St. Market had a joint bank account. Despite Epstein’s claims that CitiFest’s dire financial straits had been known since early 2007, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said he was not made aware of the situation until late October. Finkbeiner called for an independent audit of CitiFest and the Erie St. Market to determine how the overdraft happened. According to the CitiFest board’s July 19 meeting minutes, CitiFest had a positive net income from January through June —$113.52 — while the Erie St. Market had nearly a $72,000 loss for the same period.
• Tim Schramko, a UT business professor, began his time as interim director of the Lucas County Improvement Corp., while the agency conducted a search for a full-time replacement to head the organization.
• Toledo, along with the cities of Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Elyria, Lorain, Mansfield and Youngstown, and state and federal law enforcement agencies, formed a consortium to combat trafficking of firearms and reduce gun-related crime and violence. Funded through a $5.8 million grant awarded to the City of Cleveland by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Northern Ohio Violent Crime Consortium will focus on prevention and enforcement efforts throughout the region.
• CitiFest announced Toledo’s annual Thanksgiving Day weekend parade would go on as planned, but CitiFest would dissolve its day-to-day operations Dec. 7 and lay off its employees. The CitiFest board said it would explore other options to operate as a private, independent and separate entity.
• Toledo Free Press was honored with two first-place Women in Communications Crystal Excellence awards and two second-place Crystal Merit awards Nov. 14. TFP Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller won a first-place award in opinion writing and former intern Tony Gonzalez won a first-place award in the student category. TFP’s Mud Hens special section won a second-place award in the special section category and Miller won a second-place award in the feature story category.
• Derek Merrin, the 21-year-old mayor-elect of Waterville, said his main views were protecting tax dollars, eliminating wasteful spending and not raising taxes.
• Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner signed a letter of intent for the city to purchase the vacant Dillard’s store and its parking lot at the Southwyck Shopping Center for $1 million. His plan is for developer Larry Dillin to buy the property from the city within 30 days for the same amount.
• Toledo is named the most-liveable city in North American cities with populations of 250,000 to 700,000 people at the 2007 International Awards for Liveable Communities that took place in London. Toledo finished third in the world, losing to first-place Malmo, Sweden and second-place Lyon, France.
• The leaders of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lucas County Improvement Corporation, Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, the Regional Growth Partnership, UT Science and Technology Corridor and representatives from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the Ohio Department of Development and the City of Toledo Department of Development presented at the Nov. 30 Meta-Plan workshop, which took place to identify opportunities for coordination and collaboration among their organizations. Dan Johnson, UT president emeritus and one of the event’s organizers, said the session was “historic” because it was the first time leaders from Northwest Ohio’s main economic development agencies met under one roof to share their organizations’ missions and goals and identify unifying themes to advance regional economic development.
• The arts and cultural industries are an economic driver, generating more than $2.4 billion in economic activity in the Northwest Ohio region, according to a study conducted by the Center for Regional Development at BGSU. Arts and creative industries also help to generate 33,000 jobs, $97 million in local and state taxes and $150 million in federal taxes, the study found.
• One of baseball’s most-storied broadcasters was in Northwest Ohio Oct. 11 for the United Way of Greater Toledo’s third annual “Community Building Event.” Ernie Harwell, the former voice of the Detroit Tigers, spoke at the fundraiser at The Pinnacle in Maumee. He shared several stories from his lengthy career in baseball at the event.
• The Lucas County Auditor’s Office made it easier for residents to see how much they are paying in property taxes, what those taxes are going toward and how proposed levies would affect their tax bills if passed. Auditor Anita Lopez unveiled the new Tax Distributor and Levy Estimator online programs, which are found online at
• More than 30,000 people visited the Toledo area’s newest shopping village for its Oct. 3 grand opening, an official with the company that owns the property said. General Growth Properties Inc. opened The Shops at Fallen Timbers Oct. 3 in Maumee, introducing visitors to the 1-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment center, featuring a Main Street lined with shops leading to a lake and boardwalk encircled with dining and entertainment options.
• Principal officers of CB Richard Ellis/Reichle Klein and Michael Realty Company signed a letter of intent to merge, spokesmen from both real estate firms said, in a move that will create the largest organization of its kind in the Toledo area.
• Fifth Third Bank took the first step in establishing its new home in Downtown Toledo by opening its newest banking center in the lobby at Fifth Third Center at One SeaGate Oct. 9.
• Comedian Drew Hastings filmed a television special for Comedy Central Oct. 19 at the Valentine Theatre in Downtown Toledo. The approximately one-hour performance is tentatively scheduled to have a simultaneous cable airing and DVD release in early 2008.
• A nonscientific sampling of similar-size venues in other mid-level markets found prices for Lucas County’s new multipurpose sports arena to be comparable with premium seating charges offered at those arenas. The new Lucas County arena, which will seat 8,000 to 10,000 people, depending on its use, will feature 20 luxury suites with seating for 12 individuals. Leases will cost $40,000 for just hockey and arena football contests or $55,000 for all events in the building. Lease prices include 12 tickets for each event that falls within its respective agreement, but do not include food and beverage fees.
• Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop was selected Oct. 24 to chair the search committee for a new CEO for the Lucas County Investment Corporation. The organization’s former CEO, Shawn Ferguson, resigned earlier in the week, reportedly on the eve of an expected job termination.
• Six candidates looking to fill two seats on the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education participated in a debate hosted by Toledo Free Press and WUPW-TV Fox Toledo Channel 36. Democrats Cheryl Catlin, Ted Jobe, Harold Mosley, Lisa Sobecki and Jack Ford attended the debate, which took place in the McMaster Center at Main Library Oct. 22, along with Republican Chris Myers.