DecemberWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
• 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.