Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) released its March FAS-FAX report April 26, delivering good news/bad news to Toledo’s daily newspaper.
The Blade reported a 144,394 circulation for its Sunday edition, with 22,794 online editions included in that number. That is an increase from March 2009’s reported Sunday circulation of 135,567. However, The Blade’s individual paid Sunday circulation dropped 10,225 from March 2009.
The report covers daily papers’ circulation averages from Oct. 1 to March 31.
The Blade has faced a decline in circulation since 2004. Sunday circulation has dropped 58,897 since December 2004’s Sunday circulation of 178,274, with the electronic edition numbers are subtracted.
ABC’s FAS-FAX reported 119,377 individually paid circulations for the Sunday Blade in the March 2010 report; in March 2009, it reported 129,602 circulation.
The Blade reported its Sunday electronic circulation jumped from 3,871 in March 2009’s FAS-FAX report to 22,794 editions in March 2010’s report. A total increase of 18,109 Sunday electronic editions was experienced between September’s FAS-FAX reported 4,685 editions and March’s report.
According to Kammi Altig, ABC communications manager, there are two types of online editions: a replica edition, usually a direct PDF copy, and non-replica. As long as a person is paying at least a penny and it is optional, the electronic edition can be counted into paid numbers.
The Blade charges $9.98 a month for its online edition for seven days a week. For one penny more, The Blade provides its e-edition seven days a week and delivers the Sunday edition in print, a “cost” of one-fourth of one cent for the Sunday paper during a four-week month.
Circulation of U.S. daily papers is down 8.74 percent from March 2009, according to ABC’s most recent report.
Richard Fuller, director of circulation at The Blade, did not return calls for comment.
Archive for April, 2010
Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) released its March FAS-FAX report April 26, delivering good news/bad news to Toledo’s daily newspaper.
The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees announced April 30 that it does not support Issue 3.
The chamber chose to not support the Toledo Public Schools levy because if passed it”will not address the systemic financial issues that are currently paging the district and which will continue to affect the district‚s budgets in the future,” according to a press release.
The chamber said the levy will harm the job climate by increasing the overall tax burden.
The chamber is concerned for the difficulties that face the district, but believes the necessary decisions need to be made by TPS to address the growing deficits projected over the next four to five years. The chamber believes further cuts in state funding face TPS and the district should face the reality of their budgetary concerns.
Some candidates running for Lucas County Republican Party (LCRP) Central Committee on May 4 have criminal histories or do not live within the precinct they are running for, according to Jeff Simpson.
“We felt it is necessary for the voters to know who is running and have a clear image of their candidates,” said Simpson, who is one of two men claiming to be chairman of the executive committee of the LCRP.
During an April 30 press conference, Simpson said the candidates in question were recruited by the Jon Stainbrook “faction;” Stainbrook also claims to be the executive committee chairman of the LCRP.
At least eight candidates have criminal backgrounds Simpson said he feels comfortable disclosing. The criminal backgrounds include convictions of theft, preparation of marijuana for sale, possession of cocaine, gross sexual imposition and manslaughter.
“You have to wonder who [Stainbrook’s] bringing in. Are these the type of people who Republicans will identify with when they make their vote on Tuesday?” Simpson said.
Simpson said his background checks were conducted just on Stainbrook recruits and focus on the last 10 years unless it was a “shocking” type of crime.
“We’re questioning the judgment and screening process that Mr. Stainbrook used in recruiting his precinct people,” said Paul Hoag, central committee chairman for the Simpson faction of the LCRP.
Simpson said he did not run background checks on candidates running for LCRP Central Committee that are associated with his faction.
“No. 1, most of these people I’ve known for years. No. 2, out of our precinct people who circulated their petitions, 98 percent circulated them themselves. Of these (Stainbrook) precinct people 99 percent of their was circulated by four people, not themselves,” Hoag said.
Despite one known felon in his faction, Simpson said there is a difference between the types of crime.
“I think there’s a difference, a line between something that happened a long time ago and something that happened more recently. A line between things are more small time and a line between things that are very very shocking,” he said.
Simpson hosted his press conference outside the vacant home of a precinct 17G candidate for the LCRP. The home has a sign stating the property is managed by RE/MAX.
The former home of the central committee candidate is currently owned by a bank. The house is one of three addresses for central committee candidates that Simpson said are not inhabited by the candidate.
Stainbrook could not be reached for comment.
Hal Sparks is a modern renaissance man. He has such a wealth of experience in so many areas — comedy, acting, music and more — that it’s enough to make anyone envious. And a conversation with him reveals a man who feels compelled to keep many plates spinning at once, for both emotional and professional satisfaction.
His hilarious stand-up is what brings him to Toledo — he’ll be appearing May 2 at Connxtions comedy club. But the length and variety of his resume is incredibly impressive: Actor in several big movies and TV series, including the hit Showtime production “Queer as Folk.” Host and cast member of several reality series. Leads his own heavy metal band, Zero 1. Trained at Second City in Chicago. Regular guest on VH1′s “I Love…” shows. And on, and on.
This kind of diversity is rare in modern entertainment, as Sparks himself admitted in an interview. “You don’t get a lot of chance at variety in Hollywood. They really actively work to not let you do that. It’s far too confusing for publicists and agents to try and fit a well-rounded artist into a category and sell them. So they’d much rather you just do one thing.”
But Sparks treasures his penchant for doing things differently. “I actually love the fact that I really can’t tell where somebody likes my work from when I first meet them. It’s funny when people come up and go, ‘I love the show, your show is so great,’ and I literally have to go, ‘Which one?’”
Sparks clearly looks forward to such questions during his stop in the Glass City, though this isn’t his first experience with the area.
“I’ve been through Toledo as a kid, especially because I have a lot of family in Ohio, like in Cleveland,” he said. “I was born in Cincinnati. So, we’d do a lot of rolling around the state. This is my first time performing in Toledo, though.”
Sparks brings over 20 years of stand-up experience to his show, but to many audiences, he’s probably most famous for his role as Michael Novotny on “Queer as Folk.” The character is far removed from Sparks’s real-life demeanor, which he says occasionally surprises attendees.
“‘Queer as Folk’ fans will show up, expecting to see my character. And when they see my personality, and it’s so diametrically opposed to who he is — and I don’t mean strictly in terms of sexuality, I mean manner and how I talk, how I gesture, and all that — that it’s kind of a shock to their systems on occasion. And it takes about five minutes for them to do a reset, you know.
“But other than that, it really hasn’t effected my stand-up, because it’s a different animal entirely.”
Sparks finds the differences between the many facets of his career crucial to his personal success, and said that everything he does uniquely helps to satisfy him, both creatively and emotionally.
“Stand-up is the honest expression of yourself. Acting is the channeling of emotional truth through another person’s personality. And so, really, they could not be more different,” he stated.
He elaborated that every individual creative endeavor has its own roots in an emotional impulse. His band, for example, “gives me an honest outlet for certain emotions that aren’t appropriate for stand-up. And so, I can use stand-up for what it’s really meant for, which is social commentary and the dealing of momentary irritations that you would experience. I think true rage and true sorrow really don’t belong in stand-up, they don’t work really well there.”
And what can an audience expect out of a Hal Sparks comedy performance?
“The question has always been, is my stand-up more brilliant than funny, or more funny than brilliant? I guess that’s a question they’ll have to answer for themselves,” he joked.
“In all honesty, I’m the kind of performer that I feel like I owe the audience a show. And so, I work hard to deliver a really funny show.”
Email Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.
The Children of Liberty is hosting an Ohio MayDay, focused on “promoting liberty,” May 1.
Keynote speakers for the event are Joseph Wurzelbacher “Joe the Plumber,” Bill Wilson of Freedom Consultants Inc., Gary Rathbun of Private Wealth Consultants LTD and Kimberly Fletcher from Homemakers for America. Political candidates Rich Iott, Barbara Sears, Jack Smith and Jeremy Swartz are also attending and will answer questions.
Breakout sessions for the event cover the U.S. Constitution, social networking, economics, legal actions against the health care bill and media relations.
MayDay is at the Park Inn Hotel, 101 N. Summit St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets for the event are $20. To register visit, http://tiny.cc/1cuqg.
The Center of Hope Family Services (CHFS) hosted “GLAM 2010,” a luncheon and style show, to raise money for its Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School.
Freedom School, which has operated in Toledo since 2007, provides a literacy-focused summer and after-school curriculum. The school has successfully helped more than 150 individuals ages 5 to 14 years old.
According to a news release, children who attend CHFS Freedom Schools score higher on standardized reading achievement tests and improve their reading skills more than children not enrolled in the after-school program. Additionally, parents have reported their children having a greater love of learning.
“GLAM 2010” featured prizes for the most glamorous, unique, elegant, fabulous and best vintage hats worn.
The luncheon took place April 24 at the Toledo Botanical Garden Terrace Room, 5403 Elmer Drive.
To make a donation, contact CHFS at (419) 241-4345 or online at www.cohfs.org.
All candidates running for office want you to believe that they are better than their opponent. They stress their positives and, when possible, their opponent’s negatives. This also means every campaign season claims are made that a candidate or their campaign is being misleading.
Ohio does have election laws, but the only way action can be taken is if someone files a complaint.
The complaint process through the Ohio Elections Commission requires written documentation citing the section of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) alleged to be in violation. It also requires copies of all materials in question before a probable cause hearing is held and demands, “The burden of proof for any complaint rests with the party bringing the complaint.”
This is why many times candidates or campaigns will make accusations via news releases instead of opting for the complaint process, which then places the media in the position of deciding if it should or should not be covered.
If a person is found to have filed a “frivolous complaint,” action can be taken against them and making false accusations when a complaint is not filed could result with a complaint filed against the accuser.
Most complaints are filed by someone who has a political interest where a candidate or issue they are in support of is the one being “harmed” by the actions of another.
What does this mean to the average voter? We have a system where political insiders are policing political insiders.
The ORC is clear on the topic of what is against Ohio law. One example, 3517.21, with two of the most common problem areas:
“No person, during the course of any campaign for nomination or election to public office or office of a political party, by means of campaign materials, including sample ballots, an advertisement on radio or television or in a newspaper or periodical, a public speech, press release, or otherwise, shall knowingly and with intent to affect the outcome of such campaign do any of the following:
“(1) Use the title of an office not currently held by a candidate in a manner that implies that the candidate does currently hold that office or use the term “re-elect” when the candidate has never been elected at a primary, general, or special election to the office for which he or she is a candidate;
“(10) Post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”
An informed voter is the best weapon against misleading campaign material. Those who use misleading material do so because they assume you are uninformed and they know that even if a complaint is filed, chances are they reached more of you with the misleading information than will find out about a complaint or action taken.
While the complaint process exists to discourage violations of Ohio law, you are the first line of defense.
As an update to the April 25 column, “Exploring state, local issues,” on Lucas County ballot issues for the May 4 primary election, the Toledo-Lucas County League of Women Voters has endorsed Issue 4, which is the Springfield Local Schools proposed additional levy for 3.9 mills.
That action had not been taken when the column went to press.
Toledo Free Press contributor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog Glass City Jungle.com.
Often, when we are shopping for meals, citizens will jokingly ask what we are having tonight. Upon hearing the evening menu, they usually reply, “That sounds great. What time?” We are amazed that some citizens assume we receive a daily stipend from the city for our meals.
Each morning all firefighters on duty will throw in about $10 of their own money for the day. The amount varies depending on the eating habits at that station. That money gets you two or three meals with any money carried over for future meals.
Additionally, every payday, firefighters pay into a house fund averaging $10. House fund is set by a vote at each station and is used to buy food items like coffee, station furnishings like chairs, and pays for bills like the phone. The city only provides a station, rigs and their equipment, a stove, a refrigerator and general maintenance. Everything else has been brought in or purchased by firefighters. This system of necessity allows us to buy the things we need and prefer.
Basically, the station is like any other household in that we have a budget and try to live within it. If guys want Starbucks coffee instead of Maxwell House, we have to increase the house fund or they have to buy it themselves. The same holds true for daily food budgets. Crews must spend their money wisely to build funds for special occasions or holiday meals.
We understand some people get frustrated when they see us at the store buying steaks when they may be buying hamburger that day. It seems that is when we hear from them, “I’m sure glad my tax dollars are going to buy you guys steaks tonight.” What they didn’t see was all the sloppy joes and mac and cheese eaten to build that surplus to afford fine meats.
All firefighters must cook. Some cook more, some cook less. It behooves one to know at least two or three meals. The cook pockets the money collected along with any money left in the clutch. We do this so we are ready to go to the store on the way home from a run or when we return from fueling up. There is no certainty we will get to the store; we are not put out of service to shop.
Once we are at the store, we may or may not complete our shopping. Crews shop in district whenever possible and respond to emergency calls received by radio. This is why you occasionally see firefighters running from the grocery store to the farthest parking spot in the lot. Due to citizen concerns, one of the great ironies of the Toledo fire service is that fire rigs cannot park in the fire lane.
Once we get the food to the station, the trick is to prepare the meal. Slow-cooked meals and meats cooked on the grill seem to work well. Due to run volume, it could take several attempts to complete of food prep. Some stations have the luxury of having multiple rigs assigned. This occasionally allows for cooking duties to be assumed by another. This is great most times.
One time a firefighter was preparing a tuna casserole when a run came in. The run was for the life squad and not for the engine. A member of the engine crew assumed food preparation duties. His interpretation of the instructions passed on to him was not quite right. The dish was renamed tuna casserole without the “c” because of the odd taste and texture.
Another time we had some burgers on the grill. We got a chest pain run and we just turned the grill off and left them in there.
Upon our return an hour later, the attempt to re-light the grill found several mice gorging themselves. Needless to say, it was pizza that night.
Sometimes, no matter your best plans, runs will interrupt to the point where a vote is made to scrap the meal until next workday, put it in the refrigerator, and order Chinese. Clichés have an element of truth. Getting a run just as you’re sitting down to eat happens.
If it’s a major fire, you’re not coming back for hours.
We understand many of us look like we haven’t missed too many meals, but please, rest assured; no response to your emergency has ever been delayed because we are eating, and you have never spent a dime to feed us.
Here are two of our favorite firehouse recipes.
Here is a recipe for grilled salmon that is easy and pretty much foolproof. Some people do not like their fish to taste too fishy and this little trick helps. Soak the salmon fillets in ginger ale for about four hours in the refrigerator. To prepare the glaze, take a half can of frozen orange juice concentrate, 3 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon chopped ginger and bring to a boil. Let the glaze cool. When ready, heat the grill to medium and place the fillets skin side down. Close the lid and do not open.
After 10 minutes open lid and spread glaze over the fish. Do not flip fish just close the lid for another five minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the size the fillets have been cut to. The times used here reflect 6-8 ounce portions. The fish is done when it flakes with a fork. When removing the fish use a metal spatula and separate the meat from the skin. The skin can be left on the grill to burn off.
Crockpotted roast beast
4-pound boneless chuck roast
Lawry’s seasoned salt or dry steak rub
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup sliced onions
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Several bay leaves
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups of carrots, coarse cut
Heat oil in large skillet. Rub roast with chosen dry seasoning. Brown the roast, being sure to sear all sides of it. Put the roast in a slow cooker. Throw in bouillon cubes, onions, garlic and bay leaves. Pour in mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce and a can of vegetable broth over the roast. Cook at high for several (five to six) hours, then turn to low, adding some carrots about two hours before planning to eat. Good with mashed potatoes or rice.
Michael Nicely has been a firefighter for 18 years. He is a paramedic and certified in confined-space rescue. Tom Bartley has been a firefighter for 10 years. He is an EMT, registered nurse, rescue diver and is certified in confined space rescue.
I have yet to yell at any kids to get offa my lawn or aim my bifocals at the AARP magazine, but I am increasingly aware that my pop culture references are aging as the years pile up behind me like discarded fiddlehead roots at the feet of William Howard Taft.
The April 25 Elton John concert at HunCen was an inspiring three hours; watching the 63-year-old musician pound on his Yamaha piano and run through two dozen songs as the audience worked to keep up was invigorating. I would charitably guess John has played “Crocodile Rock” live about 6,000 times, but he zipped through it at the concert as if he were still discovering new twists and nuances in the pop song.
During “Crocodile Rock,” the Jumbo Tron displayed me and the young woman I was with bopping and singing “na-na-na-na-na.” I did not see us on the screen, but yes, I appreciate the irony of being my size and being displayed on the Jumbo-Tron, and yes, I assume the degree to which I looked silly was proportionately Jumbo Tronned to the degree of blissfully ignorant fun I was having.
The best text or Facebook comment I received about the moment was from the Metropark’s Scott Carpenter, who wrote, “I leaned over to my wife and said, ‘Christ, that guy’s everywhere!’”
The coolest thing about the concert was found in the HunCen lobby. For $25, the company simfyLive provided a flash drive and Web link, http://simfylive.com/, with the April 25 Toledo show in full.
Way to hit the bootleggers in the mouth, Elton!
The soundboard-quality MP3 files captured the entire Toledo concert, including John’s minimal between-song comments. My date and I climbed into our Dodge Caravan, plugged the simfyLive flash drive into the dashboard USB port, and re-experienced the concert highlights on our way home.
I know it’s not like the first caveman discovering fire or Ben Franklin connecting the dots about electricity, but really, how awesome is that? We saw a concert, picked up a tiny device that plugged into our car and took the concert home with us. Perhaps younger, more tech-savvy people aren’t awed by this development, but I am.
The next day, I met Columbia Gas of Ohio Community Relations Manager Chris Kozak at the Downtown Jed’s at the Yard to talk about coverage plans for this summer’s Smoke on the Water Ribs for the Red Cross, which will feature Mini-KISS, Gin Blossoms and a very hip and cool country act to be named within the week.
Jed’s does two things very well; it combines cheeses, sauces, chicken chunks, various toppings and potatoes into plates of tasty, heart-clogging dishes that make suffering through the occasional Jumbo Tron joke worth it, and it hires hottie waitresses, several of whom dress like ZZ Top is in town to audition video vixens.
Kozak and I were seated in the central area of Jed’s, in front of a giant wall mural featuring several rock stars. It shows Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bono, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Elton John, Mick Jagger and … some long-haired guy wailing into a microphone.
As a proud, lifelong fanatic for rock ‘n’ roll music, and a student of its history, I was taken aback that I could not identify the singer. Kozak, a fellow music lover, stared at the mural with me and we made a few guesses. Bob Seger? Kurt Cobain? Metallica’s James Hetfield? None of those seemed right.
The next time our waitress dropped by, we asked her who it was.
“I don’t know any of them,” she admitted with cheer. “I was born in 1983.”
Well, hand me a truss and call me “granddad,” you little fetus.
In 1983, I was halfway through high school, listening nonstop to The Police album “Synchronicity,” playing football for Libbey High School and trying to reconcile what I knew about women with what I knew I did not know about women. And while I was in that 17th year of life, unto the world our Jed’s waitress was just being born.
“You know,” I told her, speaking slowly so my dentures wouldn’t fall onto my plate of Bacon Double-CheeseBalls, “Mozart was alive in the 1760s, but you know who he was, right? Jesus Christ was born more than 2,000 years ago, but you’re familiar with his work, right?”
Our patient and good-natured server smiled and said she would ask other staff if they knew who the long-haired singer was. At one point, one of her co-workers joined us to ask who the other musicians on the wall were.
I pointed at Hendrix and said, “That’s Prince.” Gesturing to Joplin, I said, “That’s Crystal Bowersox,” but before I could identify Bono as Buddy Holly, the ladies caught on that we were teasing them and we supplied the real names. And as we went through the hall-of-fame litany, it was clear they had no idea who those people were.
It’s really not fair of them. I know who Justin Bieber and Rhianna are; they should know who Elton John and Mick Jagger are.
Eventually, a man came out from the kitchen and informed us that the mystery man was Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, and while he acted like it was obvious as 2+2, the face on the mural doesn’t look like Vedder any more than I looked like a cool young hipster singing “Crocodile Rock” on the Jumbo Tron.
It’s not just a generation gap; it’s aging like a candle in the wind, and while I’m still standing, I’m a lot less rocket man and a lot more madman across the water, especially through the eyes of a waitress born when I was in high school. And I guess that’s why the call it the blues.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forty-some years is much too short of a lifespan, but that is the age of the former United Way building that will soon face demolition.
While it is a shame that the resources and plans of the original building will end in such disappointment, it was absolutely the right decision for city council to vote April 27 to allow the agency to follow through with its demolition plans.
While Toledo Free Press has, from Day 1, sided with United Way in fighting for its right as a private business to determine its private property rights, we do not dance in celebration of the actual demolition. We understand there are people who are invested in the building and its short history, although none are apparently invested enough to find the capital required to save the poorly designed and poorly maintained structure.
We have full confidence that United Way’s board of trustees and its President and CEO Bill Kitson, have learned that there must be full attention paid to keeping the new building in its best shape, even though it is powerfully tempting to dedicate every available dime to a community in great need.
Only one present member of City Council, Joe McNamara, voted to block United Way’s plans, and while we will credit him for his consistency and steadfastness on this issue, we will again remind the voting members of the business community that McNamara chose to stand in opposition to private business, private property and — in the face of the overwhelming evidence that the old building was an expensive drain on community resources — common sense. We respect McNamara as a smart man, but his dedication to this cause is a red flag that will not be forgotten.
There were some expected sour grapes. Fred Kutz, who filed the sole appeal that kept this decision from being made more than a month ago, told The Blade “corporate America wins and the taxpayers lose,” seven words dripping with as much misinformation as anything uttered this side of a Snopes search. United Way is a private business, but it surely does not consider itself part of corporate America, and there are no taxpayer dollars involved in maintaining or demolishing the structure.
Regardless of such inanity, the two-year quest looks to be finished and United Way can proceed with its plans.
It is a loss far outweighed by the gains to be counted by one of our region’s most vital and important philanthropic agencies.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Cameron Gardner is an openly confident young lady. The sleek 5-foot, 10-inch Perrysburg senior and University of Cincinnati signee has the right to her confidence. She’s likely to be Northwest Ohio’s fastest prep girls sprinter this spring.
The butterflies still flutter when she sets herself on the starting blocks.
“Oh, I get nervous,” she admitted, “but that disappears when the starting gun goes off.”
As a junior, Gardner placed sixth in the 200-meters at The Ohio State Track & Field Championships Division I meet. She finished just outside the final heat of the 100 meter dash in 11th place.
A two-time state qualifier in the 100, she owns 2009 Tiffin district titles in the 100 and 200 and is the defending Northern Lakes League (NLL) champion in the 200. She was the NLL 100 titlist as a sophomore.
Coming off a sixth place finish and personal best time of 7.82 seconds in the Division I 60-meter dash finals at the Ohio State Indoor Track & Field Championships in late March, Gardner bested all other competitors from this corner of the state during the winter.
And she doesn’t even like the 60.
“I hated it,” Gardner said with a laugh. “There’s not enough room to race my kind of race. I like the 100s because I like catching people down the stretch.”
Her personal bests in the 100 (11.88 seconds) and 200 (24.20 seconds) are both times Lady Jackets coach Kevin English believes Gardner will lower considerably by season’s end, suggesting she’ll match or better her top 100 time and get into the 23s in the 200.
“She works hard on her block starts, makes sure her first 50 meters are strong, feels out the competition the middle meters and then through the final 50-60 she can turn on and blow people away,” English said.
And, baby, she was born to run.
Gardner’s father, Ricci, recent director of economic development for Toledo and a 2009 finalist to become Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority president, was an All-American sprinting star at Tennessee in the 1970s. He barely missed qualifying for track & field’s biggest stage at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Daddy’s girl wants to follow in his steps or better.
“I want to fill his shoes and make it to Olympic trials someday and hopefully qualify,” Gardner said. “Now that I know my ability, I want to work on making it great.”
In addition to her solo efforts, Gardner anchors the Jackets’ 4 by 100 and 4 by 200 relay units along with Andrea Wismer, Alyssa Goins and Kirsten Goins. Both have the potential to be Columbus-bound in June. Distance star Kaitlyn Llewellyn and the 4 by 800 relay team are other strong possibilities for state qualifying.
“We all want to go to state as a team,” said Gardner.
Yet despite her impressive results, Gardner still carries a sour taste in her mouth. The past three years she took a perennial backseat to former sprinting standouts Meshawn Graham (Bowsher) and Erika Schmidt (Anthony Wayne).
“She does get nervous against other top sprinters and eventually she let the nerves get to her and it affected her (past) performances,” English said.
As a league foe, Schmidt particularly frustrated Gardner. Last year, Gardner edged Schmidt in the 200 but was edged by her in the 100, a reversal of the results in those two races when Gardner was a sophomore in 2008. Schmidt had the slight upper hand at the 2009 Amherst regional meet in both events, but the win in the NLL 200 last season was a confidence-builder.
“After the 100 I was really frustrated,” said Gardner, “but people kept coming up to me and telling me ‘you’re going to win the 200’ and I did. It was the best feeling to prove Schmidt wasn’t the only sprinter who could win.”
With Schmidt gone to Penn State University and Graham (2008) to the University of Michigan, the door is open for Gardner to make her mark.
“I still feel like I need to prove to everyone that I’m for real,” said Gardner, “but now I have the target on my back and that will make me work hard not to be passed by anyone.”