Owens Community College and Washington Local School District are partnering to give students an opportunity for free college education.
The Success Program is coordinated through Owens Community College Foundation and graduating Whitmer High School students are eligible to apply.
“They graduate from high school and fill out a financial aid form, if they receive a Pell Grant and register at Owens Community College, then the Owens Community College foundation covers the remaining costs of tuition and fees for up to three years. It bridges the gap between the Pell Grant financial aid up to cost,” said Ann Savage, president of Owens Community College Foundation.
This is an expansion of the Success Program, which was launched in 2008 at Woodward and Findlay high schools and then expanded to all high schools in Toledo Public Schools district, Savage said.
Fifteen high schools have partnerships with the program.
“We are doing our program through fundraising through the community,” Savage said. “We have now raised enough to add Washington Local,” Savage said. “The donations we received that allowed us to make this expansion was from the president of our college … Christa Adams.”
To apply, students must complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid and also receive some grant funding. They must be graduated from high school and enroll full time at Owens. Three years will be given to the students to complete the Success Program for an associate degree.
So far, the college received 570 applications from Toledo Public Schools, up from 231 enrollments in 2008.
“So we had a substantial increase from Toledo Public Schools. We certainly think it’s going to be good,” Savage said.
“I think that [students] are going to be very very excited. This helps with costs for education for parents and students,” she said.
Students who enroll in the program will be able to attend The Summer Bridge to Success Program, which will help them adjust to college.
For more information, visit www.owens.edu.
Archive for May, 2009
Owens Community College and Washington Local School District are partnering to give students an opportunity for free college education.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
In love with love. Connections with the world and others intensify this week. High ideals and visions of perfection permeate conversations on Tuesday. After Wednesday, the availability of resources will determine the shape of the future; pick your battles carefully.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Gut instincts. Beneficial conversations and exchanges with women start the week on a good note. Pay attention to events midweek, as a catalyst for major life changes this summer may be revealed. Areas of your life running on auto-pilot need reconsideration now.
Gemini (May 21-June 21)
Tangled up in blue. Memories of the past float to the surface, or past injuries ache. Tuesday is your lucky day; big and little blessings help motivate you to pursue your visions. Re-organize and repair things to make life run more smoothly over the weekend.
Cancer (June 22-July 22)
Venus of Willendorf. Access to people and resources is boosted this week. Powerful personalities push hard for changes midweek and may not welcome opinions. Hidden errors come to light on Friday. A can-do attitude helps you sail past obstacles.
Leo (July 23-August 22)
Transcendental meditation. Friends near and far are buzzing with news and offers as the week begins. A special skill or knowledge base becomes available midweek. Chance meetings can lead to friendship or romance and to unexpected yet valuable advice.
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Still waters run deep. Elusive arrangements or agreements with others finally fall into place. You’re able to proceed to other tasks and goals in good spirits. As the weekend arrives, there’s a sense of connection and continuity between different generations.
Libra (September 23-October 22)
Ace in the hole. Relationships and past agreements are a source of benefits and generous offers as the week begins. After Wednesday, edit out unneeded items and beautify personal space. Weekend visitors will admire your elegant home décor.
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Here comes the judge. If you’ve been procrastinating about making a call or handling a distasteful task, do it on Tuesday for best results. Loved ones are eager for you to make money or property decisions, but the time may not yet be right. Trust your instincts.
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
Love rain on me. People share awesome ideas, tips and suggestions as the week begins. Luck comes from many directions on Tuesday and may lead to improved finances. The weekend is a good time to make deep emotional connections with others.
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Seeking answers. Major milestones for you and loved ones mark early June. A spouse/partner makes a huge breakthrough midweek. Delays cause upsets on Friday. You’re ready to enjoy activities with kids and family as the weekend arrives.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
Leap forward. This is your week for travel and adventure. Your household or family is in the midst of happy chaos, taking action on long-planned moves. The weekend leads you to mind-expanding experiences or to seeing things with an altered perspective.
Pisces (February 19-March 20)
Baby dragons. Planning dates and journeys with others is highly favorable as the week begins. You may gain access to coveted tickets or entrée to an exclusive event. Family responsibilities keep you hopping as the weekend arrives; delegate when possible.
Headlines in the Indianapolis Sunday Star were almost gruesome in nature.
One that definitely was an attention-grabber declared: “Throng Sees Necks And Marks Broken.” Another stated: “Three Lives Pay Price For Closing Auto Races.”
It obviously wasn’t a recent edition of the newspaper that chronicled every wheel of fortune and those of misfortune at the infamous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fondly christened the, “Brickyard.”
No, the dateline read: “Indianapolis, Sun., August 22, 1909.
Lost among the most recent headlines that enshrined Helio Castroneves among the Brickyard’s most prominent and popular heroes following his third Indy 500 victory on May 24, was the Brickyard celebrating a centennial.
An excerpt from that 100-year-old newspaper given to me years ago and quickly enshrined under glass acknowledged: “More than 30,000 people saw the races at the Speedway yesterday in which necks and records were broken at a dizzying pace. Greater skill and endurance of brave men have never been exhibited on a race track in this or any other land, this side of Mars.
“The prices were paid for such hazardous sport and the rewards reaped. The track is now baptized with the blood of the heroes who fearlessly faced the speed conflict — the world is given cause to open its eyes wider at what steel creations can accomplish when brave men urge them to the limit of their power and manufacturers have learned costly lessons, but precious ones, extracting from the grueling performance of their pilots.”
Three people were killed, a riding mechanic and two spectators, with many other participants and spectators seriously injured during a three-race Indy inauguration. The 300-mile feature race stopped before its conclusion because of all the mayhem.
This isn’t to chronicle devastation but to review history. Indy 500 drivers May 24 could only speak of the traditions that are the Indy 500 in explaining the Speedway’s history and why the Indy 500 proved once again to be “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing.”
There were times in recent history when that illustrious characterization was in jeopardy, thanks in large part to NASCAR’s breakneck speed in growth, which has threatened to pass the popularity of Indy-car racing in its own citadel at the corner of Georgetown and 16th.
Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, split Indy-car racing in half in 1995, forming the Indy Racing League to compete with the existing CART series. George held the Brickyard hostage, demanding the keys to major open-wheel racing in the United States.
George’s vision was to take Indy-car racing back to its roots with races on only U.S. soil, only on oval tracks and only with American-born racers who would primarily filter from the ranks of sprint car and midget racing. It was also to send away the few wealthy teams, such as Penske Racing, that controlled the sport that George felt was his to rule through his ace in the hole … The Indy 500.
When Castroneves won his first Indy 500 in 2001 and climbed the fence in front of the main grandstands to wave to the fans, a wire-service photo showed some fans waving back with the middle digit of their respective hands, a sign they weren’t willing to accept another foreigner winning their race.
Since 1996, 11 of the 14 Indy 500s have been won by foreign-born drivers, Castroneves on May 24 becoming the fourth in a row. Two-thirds of May 24’s starting 33-car field was made up of foreign-born drivers. Penske Racing, one of the three wealthy teams that continue to dominate Indy-car racing, won for a record 15th time. Seven venues on the 17-race IndyCar schedule are not contested on traditional oval tracks and three will be hosted outside the United States, including one in Japan.
All of the top teams left Indy in a huff and a few puffs in ‘95. The “U.S. 500” was organized in 1996 at Michigan International Speedway on Memorial Day weekend in defiance of the Indy 500. It was to become a tradition. It was a tragedy, lasting one year.
CART teams, led by Ganassi Racing, started to filter back to Indy in 2,000 at the advice of major sponsors who needed the exposure at all costs with open-wheel racing quickly coming apart at the welds and fan interest and TV ratings running dangerously low.
CART tried to rebound as Champ Car in 2003, but revenue dwindled, bailouts and stimulus money were still things of the future, and it was finally absorbed by the Indy Racing League last year.
The moral of the story is that George won, compromising all of his principles without much pain.
Castroneves’ extremely popular victory before an energized packed house reaffirmed that the Indy 500 remains, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” its entertainment value overriding any bumps in the road, principled or otherwise as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has done for 100 years.
The Friendly Center is striving to empower families through its new Zoë Project, a family mentoring program.
For too long, the center has just provided food and clothing, but not given families the opportunity to improve to the point where they don’t have to return to the North Toledo center, said Executive Director Morlon Harris.
In addition to the Zoë Project, The Friendly Center is taking on the challenge of feeding the rising population of the newly unemployed. These are the people who usually just want a hand up, not a hand out, according to Sheila Wheeler-Brubaker, basic needs manager. The center received a $3,000 grant through the United Way, which received $200,000 through the American Reinvestment Act, to make this extra food possible.
“People I have never seen before, people driving nice cars and well-dressed, who have never ever had to seek services before, are coming to us,” Wheeler-Brubaker said. “It is very, very sad … it’s people who have worked their whole lives.”
Food is available at the center at 1324 Superior St. between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Special extended hours for newly unemployed people working on job résumés or going to interviews during the day are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays.
“Of course, we aren’t going to be able to prevent neighborhood folks to come … but we just want the newly unemployed people to know about this,” Wheeler-Brubaker said.
While proof of unemployment is preferred, it is not necessary, she said. The center also will provide emergency food to families three times per year.
Harris said providing food and clothing in this down economy is essential for the well-being of the community, but so is giving “neighbors” the chance to get back on their feet. The staff refers to the people it helps as “neighbors” because the center’s target ZIP codes are 43604, 43608 and 43611.
“They are neighbors from the surrounding neighborhood, around the corner, up the street, and so they are in a sense, people that we know and people who are familiar with The Friendly Center.”
The closeness with its clients is one of the reasons the staff started rethinking what it does, Harris said. Hence, the Zoë Project.
“Its goal is to assist our neighbors in achieving their dreams for their families and to improve their lives in the sense of financial stability, work force development and education-wise,” Harris said. “We want to help curtail them coming to The Friendly Center for food and what have you, and to empower them to make money or to look into other resources to help them become stable.”
A family could be considered a parent and a child, husband and wife or an individual who wants to do better, but doesn’t have the necessary resources to take the first step, he said.
Normally, clients are lacking job skills or education. Most are in poverty.
“Our beginning process is to do an assessment to find out where they are and what type of support they need,” Harris said. “Then, we still help them with basic needs of food and clothing, but we take them further in working with them in the sense of ‘Do you have a bank account? What is your credit score? Are you able to gain a GED? And if you aren’t, what needs to happen for you to get your GED?’ ”
Harris likened the process to a funnel. At the top of the funnel is everyone who comes to the center for resources.
The more they come, the more likely the staff will talk with them about other ways to help them return or graduate to self-sufficiency,” he said.
“Ever since I have been here, which was October 2007, we have always been busy,” Harris said. “I think we are much more busy because of the down economy.”
The nonprofit Friendly Center has a yearly budget of $600,000, and helps approximately 1,000 families per year.
For more information, call (419) 243-1289.
With several recent high-profile crimes and the lingering memories of the 2005 riots, many North Toledo residents are tired of the bad rap their neighborhood has.
So the neighborhood community development and advocacy group United North had an idea — along with the work the group does to improve housing, safety and bring businesses to the area — why not try to change the neighborhood’s name?
More than 100 neighborhood residents met on May 20 at the Chester A. Zablocki Senior Center, 3015 Lagrange St., to talk over potential new monikers. Proposed names included Polaris One, Polaris Flats, ONE (Old North End) Village, Polaris Circle, Skyway North, Toledo Heights, United North Village, Rainbow North, ONE Village Circle, and United ONE.
People brainstormed about names and the neighborhood’s past and future. Emilio Ramirez, principal of Woodward High School, said whatever name is chosen, United North will make sure it isn’t already trademarked and will test it with the media.
Ramirez emphasized United North is interested in more than just a cosmetic name change.
“This is a piece of everything we’re trying to do here,” he said.
United North is working on a number of projects, such as financial assistance for business startups, a mural project for youth, and getting funds for repairs and renovations to homeowners as part of a “curb appeal” project. United North is made up of two community development groups, Lagrange Development Corp. and NorthRiver Development Corp. After having worked together for more than a year, the groups are formally merging.
“Now that both neighborhoods are working together as one community, Lagrange or NorthRiver doesn’t describe the geographic area,” according to a United North statement about the name change. “Choosing the right name is critical to celebrating the community’s history while laying the groundwork for a successful future.”
Important to the change is replacing the word “north,” Ramirez said. “North End has a negative connotation. You think of North End riots, North End fights, North End burglaries.”
United North’s Executive Director, Terry Glazer, added, “A new name shows a new direction.”
Opinion was decidedly mixed among the residents at the meeting.
Angel Place resident LaToya Carter said she prefers Skyway North.
“It sounds really nice,” she said.
Allean Williams, who lives in the neighborhood, said she liked the name Polaris Circle. Still, she said, it may take elderly people a while to get used to the name change. Can people who have known the neighborhood as “North Toledo” their whole lives suddenly change because of a re-branding campaign?
Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara said he thinks it’s possible.
“You’ve got all the community leaders in this neighborhood in the room,” he said at the May 20 meeting, “If they agree to use it, it will catch on.”
Stephen Corzette, who is new to North Toledo, said he liked all the names presented at the meeting, but he added, “No matter what we do, it’s still going to be the North End.”
Several projects are under way to put Northwest Ohio on top of the intermodal throne.
“We have to take advantage of our location,” said Michael Stolarczyk, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “Toledo is in a better position to provide intermodal services because of its location and different forms of existing transportation.
“Toledo has always built and shipped products — intermodal is not new here,” he said. “We need to find a model that works for us and our business partners.”
Stolarczyk said intermodal transportation involves the shipment of freight in a container or vehicle using multiple modes of transportation like air, rail, ships and trucks.
The method reduces handling costs, can improve security, reduce damage or loss and may allow for quicker transport, he said.
The port authority and Midwest Terminals are developing the 180-acre Ironville site on the east bank of the Maumee River to increase the amount of goods shipped by sea. Work has begun on the $18.2 million project that will include public grain bins with conveyor systems, in addition to a Norfolk Southern rail loop and concrete service road.
The port authority has received a $5 million Job Reality Site grant and $7.5 million in stimulus funds from the state of Ohio. It also applied for $2.9 million in federal stimulus funds. MidWest Terminal has committed $1.6 million toward the project.
The port authority will also receive $21 million in federal stimulus funding for two other projects. It was awarded $15 million for the modernization of the Toledo Shipyard operated by Ironhead Marine Inc. The improvements will prepare the facility for future business.
Another $6.8 million was awarded for the purchase of a new high-speed crane and reach stacker for the Port of Toledo. The crane will handle twice the workload as the current cranes in the seaport with the ability to move 20 to 35 containers and 40 swings for bulk material per hour.
Last summer, the Port of Toledo signed an agreement with Melford International Terminal in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for development of a new cargo container shipping facility. Melford’s is planning the Atlantic Gateway Initiative project for container shipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes.
“We can start moving containers before Melford,” Stolarczyk said. “We need to find partners in Halifax, Montreal and Thunder Bay in Canada to move containers on barges.”
Toledo is looking to work with Canadian ports because of restrictions established by the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Also known as the Jones Act, it restricts the movement of goods or passengers between U.S. ports to U.S.-built and -flagged ships.
“If we could ship 12,000 containers a year or 1,000 a month, it would be unbelievable for this area,” Stolarczyk said.
“We want to create a supply chain where we get touches of cargo in the middle,” he said. “The supply chain needs to evolve and that’s hard to achieve. It has to be a collaborative effort.”
Several projects at Toledo Express Airport are also under way, including the expansion of cargo facilities to make the airport more competitive for national and international business, according to Paul Toth, interim airport director.
Schenker Logistics, parent company of Bax Global, is investing $1 million to expand a cross-dock facility for loading and offloading trucks and expanding the U.S. Customs facilities at the airport. The Lucas County Improvement Corporation has applied for $7 million in federal funding for the projects, Toth said.
Dear union leaders and decision makers:
It’s not breaking news that union membership is in the dumps. Your early 1950s membership roles consisted of 32 percent of the nation’s working population. The year 2008 saw that number jump a few tenths above 2007’s level to a paltry 12.4 percent. The union heydays seem to be past, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
The mentality of union workers versus nonunion workers is poles apart, according to a recent Rasmussen survey. Nearly half of union workers believe that most workers want to join a union, and only 18 percent of those surveyed disagreed with the statement. However, when polling nonunion workers, the numbers are flipped with 56 percent disagreeing with the statement that most workers want to join a union and 14 percent of nonunion workers are on the other side.
But it gets worse. Your popularity among nonunion America is in the gutter, worse than President George W. Bush’s basement approval ratings. Nine percent of nonunion workers want to join a union, with 81 percent firmly on the other side of union membership. Unions just aren’t that popular among nonunion America — 87 percent of the American work force.
Mr. Union Decision Maker, it’s time for you to do something, and with Toledo’s mayoral race warming up, the time has come.
I am not anti-union, but this 87 percent of nonunion workers presents a tough challenge. What can you do change that huge block of people’s minds? The UAW seems to have found the right approach.
Forget that 87 percent.
In 2008, the UAW spent more than $13 million on political elections, with nearly $5 million going directly to Barack Obama’s campaign. This is a legal and wise business move, and local union leaders should need no motivation to make these smart decisions and follow the UAW’s example.
The union picture is bleak nationally, and locally, Toledo government unions are getting the shaft, thanks in part to the “endorsed Democrat,” Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. The social importance of a union doesn’t matter to Finkbeiner exemplified by the Toledo Police Department’s union, the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association, (TPPA) being forced onto the chopping block first because it became popular to “save” the city’s budget via layoffs.
Political contributions supposedly come without strings attached, but would someone give millions to a candidate and expect nothing in return? After receiving a huge chunk of cash, would a candidate feel obligated to the financial supporter in any way?
Coincidentally, contributions to Finkbeiner’s political campaign, not the union’s social importance, forecasted which government union would get cut the most. Originally, the mayor wanted to cut police and fire, but a court restraining order based on the manning requirement for the fire department presented a legal roadblock, so only police were laid off. The TPPA contributed $500 to the mayor’s 2005 campaign, while the Toledo Fire Department’s union contributed $5,000. Apparently, these contributions weren’t enough. The Ohio American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) contributed $7,500, and their local unions have avoided layoffs so far, beyond a handful of members that were unable to transfer to other positions when the layoff axe fell. The Teamsters, who reached the platinum level by contributing more than $10,000 in 2005, have also avoided layoffs.
Unions need to make mammoth contributions to the mayoral race. To avoid cuts to union membership, Toledo government unions need to contribute. Government unions need to cut checks larger than $500 or even $5,000. Large campaign contributions and court orders have evolved into the only way to preserve jobs from budget-cutting politicians.
Government unions are in a unique position. You can contribute to the man who will one day have an important role deciding whether you take a cut or whether you can hire. With the ability to contribute monstrous sums legally, why hold back?
E-mail columnist Tom Morrissey at email@example.com.
A May 31, Chamber Music Toledo concert will feature a piece written on commission exclusively for Toledo Clarinets.
The 3 p.m. performance at the Maumee Indoor Theatre will feature Toledo Clarinets, a quartet of local clarinetists. This performance will feature rarely heard works from North and South American composers and arrangements from local composers.
The ensemble, comprised of Georg Klaas, Jocelyn Langworthy, Shannon Ford and Kevin Schempf, will play select songs from its soon-to-be released Toledo Clarinets CD.
The concert will begin with the performance piece from composer Sean Osborn, titled “Quartet for B-Flat Clarinets,” composed of four movements based on traditional folk melodies.
Klaas and Langworthy, principle and associate principle clarinets in the Toledo Symphony, will follow these movements with a performance of seven duets from composer Alec Wilder.
The first half of the evening will conclude with a performance of Chamber Music Toledo president and composer Greg Kostraba’s arrangement of “Lyric Quartette” by William Grant Still.
After the intermission, the quartet will perform “De Profundis,” a piece from Oberlin College composer Christopher Dietz, written on commission exclusively for Toledo Clarinets.
The performance will close with arrangements from Harold Arlen’s “Stormy Weather,” and tangos from Astor Piazzolla and the “Sonatina for Clarinet Choir” by Jerome Moross. Elliot Ross and Lesli McCage will join the Toledo Clarinets for this final three-part piece.
Tickets are $8 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 for students and $1 for students K-12 and are available by calling (419) 246-8000 or at the door on the date of the event.
Soraia Taha struggled in her younger days, but never gave up on making Toledo a home for her daughter.
Taha fell in love with America when she was an exchange student in Appleton, Wis., in 1979. However, she would have to return to Brazil after one year and she was disappointed.
“I had just fallen in love with this country,” Taha said. “There was nothing here I didn’t like, except maybe the cold. I prefer the hot weather in Brazil.”
She finished her four-year mathematics degree in Sao Paulo, never able to get the United States out of her mind.
“I was really lost,” she said. “I wanted to come back, but I had no way.”
That was until a young child and his father, who owned a business called Open Pantry in Toledo, visited Brazil looking for a translator. She offered her services and they accepted.
“I think they probably thought I wasn’t coming,” she said. “They were probably like, ‘oh yeah, sure, ok.’”
She started working at Open Pantry immediately, and to make a little extra, she took a second job at a local carryout.
“Guess what, though?” Taha said. “I couldn’t make it. Even though I was working day and night at two markets at the time, I had a small amount of money.”
Facing reality, she was prepared to go home. As one last effort, she took and passed the U.S. Postal Service test.
“I was not nervous at all taking the test because I thought I was going home,” she said. “When they got back to me and said I scored 100 percent, I was in shock.”
She started working for the postal service, and, in 1995, had her daughter Stephanie. It was difficult to raise a child as a single parent.
“I was 34 and a single mom,” she said. “[The father] had left me when I was seven months pregnant to remarry his ex-wife.”
Taha said they have since become good friends and he’s been a great father.
“He’s very precious because he is very handy,” she said, laughing. “That’s one thing — if your ex is handy, you can’t turn him away.”
After a few more years at the post office, Taha left to become a day trader.
“Big mistake,” she said. “Big lesson, though.”
After Sept. 11, the stocks went down, and Taha lost everything.
She started cleaning offices, houses and anything that came along. She also got a job as a waitress at The Beirut restaurant.
“I would work there until 10:30 or 11:30 p.m. at night, then clean the parking lot for a couple hours,” she said.
“To me, work, no matter how much they pay, is money,” she said. “No matter how much it is, it’s extra.”
While she was still waitressing and cleaning, she decided to become a real estate agent in 2004. Yet, she still took on more.
“I didn’t want to wait until I needed the money,” she said. “I always work. I do anything I can, so I don’t ever have to be short on money.”
It was at the Beirut where she met Corrine Joseph. The two of them realized they were neighbors and became close friends.
“If you were to give her an A, B, C, D, she would be a double A-plus,” Joseph said. “She is first class and a wonderful person. She would do anything for anyone.”
Taha said she loves life, even its ups and downs.
Today, she is no longer in real estate, but still cleans, while running a business from her home. She continues to help others, too.
“You know how bad I feel when people say, ‘Soraia, can you watch my [elderly] parents?’ It’s heartbreaking to say no, no matter what kind of job it is.”
Taha said she’s dedicated herself to Toledo, and through it all, she is grateful to be here.
“I went through a lot, but it was all worth it,” she said. “If you ask me what I still need, it’s nothing. I’ve got it all.”