Last July, Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller and Toledo Free Press demonstrated trust in me and executed a vision I had.
The original Military Yearbook concept evolved from my review of those local mug shot magazines, “publications” that exploit personal problems for monetary gains. When I heard about the commercial success those rags generate, I wanted to show the power of print, but I wanted to do so in a positive way.
Instead of showcasing thugs with rap sheets, why not honor those who deserve it most, the men and women of the Armed Forces? My goal for the Military Yearbook was to create a keepsake for and a thank you to all those families who make sacrifices. I have never been so proud to have my name published on a piece of paper as I am with this.
“The Army would make you dig a hole 6 feet deep, and then have you fill it,” is one of the recurring stories I was told by my grandfather, Merlin “Pete” Zunk. He used the story as my introduction into the workforce. I was to do what I was told, the boss is your boss and you follow orders — a lesson I have yet to learn.
I did not serve in the military. My grandfather is the closest relative I have who has. In 1953, on his 20th birthday, he received his draft notice and eventually became a corporal in the infantry. His sacrifices included leaving his bride of 160 days for two years and missing the birth of his first child, finally meeting her 15 months later. My Aunt Cindy turned 60 this year.
His years abroad were spent in Germany, although thankfully not during war. Pete would write countless postcards to my Grandma JoAnn that would take months to arrive. She would answer him every time with updates about their newborn daughter, his family and their friends.
To put this into perspective: How many times are you annoyed when you send a text to your significant other and do not get an immediate response? My grandparents’ “text messages” took weeks to deliver and weeks for a response. They’ve been married for 60 years. Somewhere there is a lesson in that.
The only other things I know about Pete’s time in the service are that he never fired his weapon with intent to kill and somehow the government never paid him the proper amount for his duty overseas. He has always stated he was paid cash monthly while abroad and because his last named started with the letter “Z,” he never received what was promised, but got paid whatever was left. However, Pete is one of the lucky ones. He came home.
My written voice reflects the product of my grandpa’s sacrifice. From the time I was a child there has always been an ongoing conversation about war, politics and civic duties during his visits. From unions to race to Toledo politics, no topic was ever forbidden, no opinion ever spared. Pete’s time in the Army gave him a strong voice, one he earned. These conversations have taught me to not just have an opinion, but a passionate belief. Pete has been the best lifelong political adviser and teacher I never asked for.
My grandfather spent his entire 21st year abroad, marching and digging holes, all in the name of service to our country. During that time, with a shovel in his hand, he discovered how important family is. Every step he marched and each scoop of dirt he removed brought him closer to home. I have never once thanked him for his service; it has just never come up. He doesn’t walk in parades, doesn’t hang out at the VFW and there are no pictures of him in uniform hanging on his walls. He did what he was asked to do, kept his mouth shut and continued with his life.
Yet without his two years of sacrifice, this column would never have happened and I would be a much different person. He has demonstrated every day of my life what it takes to be a man and how to love your family.
Every name and face featured in this Military Yearbook has a story and a sacrifice behind it. I would encourage every reader to learn about at least one. There is so much knowledge and so many life lessons to be gained by engaging those who have served our country.
To each and every one of you who has served this great nation, may I send my deepest thanks.
To my grandfather Pete: Thank you for your service. You and your service gave me my voice.
Happy Fourth of July!
Follow Jeremy Baumhower on Twitter @jeremytheproduc.
Archive for June, 2013
Last July, Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller and Toledo Free Press demonstrated trust in me and executed a vision I had.
Since the inception of our nation, citizens serving in the military, both overseas and at home, have vigilantly and bravely defended the liberties and freedoms on which this country was founded. The unwavering loyalty and sacrifices our veterans and their families have made for our country is the very reasons Americans are able to enjoy the freedoms and rights we cherish today.
Our veterans and their families have honored their commitments to this nation, and whether it is disability, retirement, health and survivor benefits, employment and educational training or other issues important to veterans, we must ensure our veterans receive the benefits they were promised and have rightfully earned.
But many veterans are forced to wait an unprecedented amount of time before their benefits claims are processed. According to a recent report released from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the average wait time for veterans’ benefits claims is over 300 days. In the state of Ohio, I have heard stories from veterans who have had to wait nearly a year and a half for their claims to be processed. With over 800,000 veterans in Ohio, this is unacceptable — our veterans, in the state and throughout the nation, deserve better and more efficient service from the VA. While the VA is aggressively pursuing a plan to significantly reduce the claims backlog, it is imperative that Congress continues to work with the VA to achieve the goal of processing all claims within 125 days, and to streamline the process to guarantee a system that is less frustrating and easier to navigate.
During this tough economy, the unemployment rate among our veterans, particularly those veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, remains to be very troubling. While the national unemployment rate causes great concern for all Americans, recent unemployment reports released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed an alarming unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans. As a member of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, I have worked toward providing common-sense solutions to remove the roadblocks for veterans who have already completed training and have the needed skills for jobs that utilize their military training. I was proud to support the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act, a comprehensive jobs package that included provisions to lower the rate of unemployment among our nation’s veterans. This bill was signed into law, and while some good strides have been made on the legislative side, we must continue to work to find widespread solutions that assist all veterans with the transition back to civilian life and empower them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
While our nation is coping with budget shortfalls, we cannot allow politics to get in the way of one of our fundamental responsibility to care for our veterans. I extend my gratitude and appreciation to all veterans who have answered the call of service to our great country and have fought to defend the values, liberties and freedoms that we as Americans hold so dear – they are true heroes for the sacrifices they and their families have made. However, honoring those who have served must be reflected in more than holidays and homecoming parades; it should be shown in our commitment to upholding our promise of veterans’ benefits and to caring for our wounded warriors and the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. O
Rep. Bob Latta (R) is the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 5th Congressional District. For more information, visit his website at latta.house.gov.
In a world of disposable music and assembly line talent, new records are often overlooked and have a short lifespan. This is not the case when talking about Toledo’s OnceOver. With a more than respectable following of dedicated fans and a reputation for amazing concerts, the Toledo quintuplet is getting ready to amaze with a new record and upcoming shows.
Frontman Steve Dwyer explained that the new album “White Raven” is “a little less ‘tough guy’ hardcore and is a little more technical”. While album “9” was very well-received, “White Raven” is poised to be a very powerful follow-up to the short and very potent “9.”
“It’s still about as heavy as our previous record,” Dwyer said. “It’s a little more aggressive in our changes and guitar work.”
Everyone in OnceOver has a family and a full-time job so adding the responsibilities of writing and recording a new album can be challenging.
“Luckily, we have constant access to a studio” said Dwyer. “We mostly write chunks of songs and we use SoundCloud for writing quick little riffs, whether we’re humming into a microphone or tracking a quick scratch guitar. We usually then get together as a band. With our limited time, we weren’t able to just jam for three hours and wait for something to fly out. We made sure someone already had an idea to work from.”
Dwyer said long-time fans will likely enjoy the new record.
“Really it’s not too far off from our previous stuff. However, it’s more dynamic and melodic than our last record. I think die-hards will immediately notice our progression to using many more electronic textures.”
Dwyer said of the album’s song lyrics, “Most of the songs are about rebirth, realization and perseverance. A couple of the songs are tributes to lost loved ones, but more from the aspect of being honored to have had them in our lives.”
“I stumbled upon a Native American tale about a ‘White Raven,’” explained Dwyer. “It was never supposed to touch the earth because it would corrupt it and turn it black. It eventually got tired and had to land, it got stuck in the mud and turned black and could no longer fly. The spirits decided to give it a second chance and turned it white again. For me, the story was about second chances and rebirth, learning how to let go of old and toxic habits and starting over.”
While “White Raven” is taking the band “longer than expected”, OnceOver is shooting for a fall 2013 release date.
In the meantime, OnceOver is slated to play at Frankie’s Inner City on June 29 along with Tropic Bombs, GOLD and Last Day on Earth. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the cover is $7.
On June 29, TJ Thomas and The Kentucky Strait Band roll into Sneaky Pete’s Saloon at 5348 Detroit Ave. Thomas and his band are known for rocking shows with a healthy mix of classic country, southern rock and original country songs.
According to TJ Thomas, “We play anything from Cash to Haggard, to Brooks, Sheldon and Lynrd Skynrd. We have a professional band with credentials; we know how to work the crowd, how to keep the people entertained.”
Hailing from Ann Arbor, Thomas recently moved to the Toledo area and has already begun to make a name for himself and his band.
“I would describe our sound as country with an edge. We do Motown and rock and roll, but I like to keep it close to country, real country. However, we play clubs so we play some ZZ Top and Skynrd too. We make sure to keep a good mix going,” he said.
Thomas, who has been performing and writing music for 35 years, has also begun to earn national recognition.
“My first real CD came out in November of 2012,” Thomas said. “With the way country has being going, it was drifting away from the way I was writing. But all the old stuff is becoming new again.”
Thomas was recently invited to the Grand Ole Opry and was interviewed by the Grand Ole Opry Internet radio station WSM.
“As a country singer/songwriter, your goal is to play the Opry. I got to go there, play two songs live and they played three songs off my CD. It went really well and they offered an open invitation to me to come back whenever I want. So I’m going back in July,” Thomas said with a laugh.
Even though Thomas is enjoying national attention, local performances are still very important to him and his band of musicians. “Every night, we play to me is the Grand Ole Opry,” he said.
“Whether it’s a little dive bar in a tiny town or a big fair festival. The other thing is I’ve been performing my originals and it’s cool when people start requesting your songs and they’re singing along with the lyrics. You aren’t going to learn the words to a song if you don’t like it.”
Thomas’ first CD entitled “She Dreams of Horses” is available on iTunes and on Amazon.com. For those who are interested in seeing TJ Thomas and The Kentucky Strait Band in person, the upcoming show at Sneaky Pete’s Saloon is the best chance to do so locally.
“We would love people to come out and meet some new friends” said Thomas. “We usually start around 9:30 and wrap around 1:30 in the morning.”
- Swanton: Swanton High School at dark
- Bowling Green: BGSU intramural fields directly West of Doyt Perry Stadium at around 9:45 to 10 p.m
- Defiance: Kingsbury Park at dusk
- Findlay: Hancock County Fairgrounds at dusk
- Hillsdale: Hillsdale county fairgrounds at dark
- Monroe: Sterling State Park
- Perrysburg and Maumee: From Maumee Perrysburg bridge at dark
- Sylvania: Centennial Terrace at dark, around 10 p.m.
- Toledo: Fifth Third Field After Mud Hens Game
- Toledo: Promenade and International Parks at 10 p.m.
- Cedar Point: 10:15-10:30 p.m.
- Fostoria: Foundation Park at dusk
- Lakeside: Off of the docks over the lake at 9:45 p.m.
- Napoleon: Glenwood Park at approximately 10 p.m.
- Port Clinton: Waterworks Park at dark
- Put-in-Bay: The lake off Perry’s Victory Monument at dark
- Oak Harbor: The Bay at Windjammer Park at dark
- Toledo: Fifth Third Field After Mud Hens Game
- Clyde: Clyde reservoir at dark
- Manitou Beach : The Sand Bar on Devils Lake
- Toledo: Fifth Third Field After Mud Hens Game
- Oregon: Oak Shade Grove 3624 SeamanRoad
- Woodville: Marker park at dark
- Luna Pier: Clyde Evans Pier
- Toledo: Fifth Third Field after Mud Hens Game
Out of 30 states tested for water quality, Ohio ranks last, according to a 2013 water quality report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Only 21 percent of samples taken from Ohio waters exceeded national standards for designated beach areas.
“The point of water quality testing is not to look at beach quality in a single day; it’s to give people an overall look at beach quality,” said Rob Moore, senior water policy analyst with the NRDC. “We expected to see a decline in beach advisory issues. The numbers show that the number of beach advisory issues has not declined as expected.”
Ohio tests its water quality four times a week, which exceeds other state standards for water quality testing.
“I want to emphasize that Ohio does a great job at testing its beaches,” said Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Sandy Bihn. “Ohio does a very good job at informing people when it is advisable and when it is not advisable to be on the beach.”
The report released by the NDRC names storm water runoff as the largest known source of pollution. According to Bihn, much of the pollution is a result of agricultural field tiles.
“What took five or six days to make its way into the lake in 1995, now takes one or two days,” Bihn said.
Maumee Bay State Park had 16 advisories or closings in the last year, with 22 percent of samples exceeding state standards for bacterial contamination. Other Toledo-area park results include Port Clinton, where 47 percent of samples taken exceeded state standards, Catawba Island State Park, where 13 percent of samples exceeded state standards, Kelley’s Island State Park, where 8 percent of samples exceeded state standards, and South Bass Island State Park, where none of the samples taken exceeded state standards.
Though water quality has increased significantly since the 1970s and ’80s, Bihn said beachgoers still have to keep an eye out.
“They’ve tested it; they say it’s safe, but this can change in a New York second,” Bihn said. “If people see dirty water, I would suggest that people stay out of it.”
For more information on beach advisories and closings, visit http://publicapps.odh.ohio.gov/BeachGuardPublic/Default.aspx.
Updated with additional comments at 10:30 a.m. June 27
The United States Supreme Court ruled June 26 that same-sex married couples are entitled to the same federal rights as other married couples. Members of Toledo’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied community (LGBTQA) said while they are elated with the decision, there’s still more work to be done.
“Today’s decision is really a historic victory for equal rights. I think the Supreme Court has once again affirmed that America has no second-class citizens,” said David Mann, spokesperson for Equality Toledo.
The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had prohibited same-sex married couples from accessing federal benefits, and also ruled on Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Proponents of the ban should not have been able to appeal previous rulings against the ban, according to the Supreme Court. California is expected to resume allowing same-sex marriage.
Lexi Staples, executive director of the Pride of Toledo Foundation, said, “I’m thrilled the LGBTQA community is becoming more accepted and that fact is being recognized widely. We have a long way to go … but ding, dong the DOMA’s dead!”
DOMA was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Many supporters of DOMA, including Clinton, have since recanted their stances.
Mann stressed that these decisions are not the end of the battle, since same-sex marriage is not legal in Ohio and other states.
“The challenge is while DOMA is still unconstitutional, Ohioans still do not have rights to marriage,” he said.
“There are a number of rights LGBT Ohioans still do not have access to, so I think the battle now comes back to the community.”
Same-sex couples in Ohio who were legally married in other states are now eligible for federal benefits and programs, according to a news release from Equality Ohio. Still, at a state level, Ohio does not have to recognize marriages performed in other states.
University of Toledo law professor Rebecca Zietlow said in a news release, “As the states decide same-sex couples can legally marry, it will be recognized not only in the states where they live, but also under federal law. This is a huge decision and will impact many regarding federal tax and social security benefits.”
Another UT law professor, Lee Strang, said, “If you’re a fan of same-sex marriage you’ve seen some movement in your direction. If you are a fan of traditional marriage, you haven’t seen the Supreme Court mandate same-sex marriage.”
Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio, said in a news release, “We are celebrating today. For same-sex couples legally married and living in Ohio, this is a real game changer. For the first time they can file their federal taxes jointly – of course, they’ll have to file their state taxes individually. This is a huge step in the right direction. It is recognition of loving, partnered families. It allows for the dignity of recognized relationships. We’ve still got work to do for full equality here in Ohio, but today we joyously celebrate.”
On June 26, Equality Ohio hosted pop-up parties in eight cities across the state for the LGBTQA community.
The Superior Street Tony Packo’s was the Toledo party destination. The event was planned regardless of the outcome, but it was a celebration in the end.
“I think it’s a great moment in history and I’m proud to be here to see it,” Civil Liberties Union member Sue Carter said at the party. “I believe in justice for all.”
Carter said she celebrated instantly when she heard the news.
“I ran into the house; I got all my equality flags; I stuck them in my yard,” she said. “I felt like I was watching history being made. This is like women getting the right to vote. I mean it’s huge. It’s an important issue.”
Her husband, Mike Ferner, said now people can concentrate on bigger issues.
“We can move on to other issues like why people aren’t working and why don’t we have health care … and let people live their private lives like they want to live them.”
Ferner is optimistic about Ohio’s future.
“This issue in on the ascendant and there’s just going to be more and more equality,” Ferner said.
Prop 8 was also a topic of discussion at the event.
“I don’t think people can vote away people’s equality,” Carter said. “You can’t just go to the voting booth and say ‘I don’t want this black person to have any rights;’ ‘I don’t want this woman to vote;’ ‘I don’t want these people to be married.’ That’s not what our country’s about. I think this decision will show that you can’t vote away people’s rights and equality.”
Brent Rabie, who’s on the board of directors for Equality Toledo, was at the party after an “eventful” and “exciting” day. When news broke of DOMA being ruled unconstitutional, Rabie said he was “pounding away” on Facebook.
As a gay man, the news hit him personally.
“One day I could get married and get along with that phase of my life like everyone else can,” Rabie said. He added that he sees himself getting married in the future.
–Staff Writer Matt Liasse contributed to this report.
Updated at 3:20 p.m. June 26 with response from bail bondsmen
Angela Steinfurth, the mother of missing 18-month-old toddler Elaina, had her bond lowered to $100,000 with no ten percent option at an arraignment June 26. However, according to multiple Toledo-area bail bondsmen, Angela could walk out of jail now for $5,000.
Angela was originally held on a child endangerment charge with a $250,000 bond, but she was indicted on obstruction of justice. She was arrested June 12 and her pretrial is set for July 24.
“I don’t feel that she should get out,” said Terry Steinfurth Sr., Elaina’s grandfather on her father’s side. “Until that baby is found, I think she should sit. I feel she knows more than what she’s saying.”
Every bail bondsmen surveyed by Toledo Free Press said they would pay Angela’s bond for $5,000 and could set up a payment plan for an additional $5,000.
“If she has family support, she could be already out,” said Shon Hunter, owner of In and Out 24/7 Bail Bonds.
Judge Gary Cook set Angela’s bond with no option to pay ten percent. If a judge sets a bond with no percentage option, the incarcerated person can either stay in jail or find a way to get ten percent of the money to a bail bondsmen as a nonrefundable fee. Once the person pays the fee and gets cosigners and collateral property put up, the bail bondsmen will pay the bond so the incarcerated person can get out of jail. If the released person disappears and does not appear in court, the bondsman is responsible for finding the incarcerated person or covering the bond.
The possibility of Angela being back on the street raises questions concerning her safety given the national attention the missing child has garnered.
At press time, Angela is still in Lucas County Correctional Facility awaiting trial for the obstruction of justice charge.
Elaina was reported missing June 2 when her father Terry Steinfurth Jr. came to pick up his daughter between noon and 1 p.m. at a home on Federal Street. An argument ensued when Angela refused to give him Elaina, according to several witnesses.
Almost an hour after the start of the argument, Angela went in to get Elaina but came out “crying and screaming” that Elaina was gone, according to Steinfurth Sr.
The family began searching the area for Elaina. They called the police when she could not be found.
For Reese Dailey, a song needs more than catchy lyrics and pleasant instrumentation.
“The lyrics need to mean something. A lot of people write songs [in which] the words sound good, but don’t tell a story,” he said.
Dailey, frontman of The Reese Dailey Band, as contributed the song “Live it Up” to the Red Cross benefit CD “Red, White & You.”
Dailey describes his band’s sound as “Americana; there’s a strong influence of Southern rock and singer-songwriter genre. Also, Southern blues. There’s a lot of instrumentation, but lyrics that take people places.”
Besides Dailey, who plays lead rhythm guitar, the band is comprised of Steve Taylor on the bass, Alan Smith on drums and Brian Theiss on guitar.
“Live it Up” is the first song Dailey has contributed to a benefit CD.
“It’s a song I wrote about 15 years ago when I started to record music professionally. That song is a bluesy, rocky song about a period in my life where I was involved with some people who weren’t very good, and then getting into the throes of marriage. The message is to live your life,” Dailey said.
The song is also included on the band’s first full-length CD, “Simpatico.”
“[‘Simpatico’] means of like mind, everyone’s thinking the same thing, on the same page, we all agree. The name comes from my wife and I, who used to consider ourselves the ‘simpatico twins.’ It always had special meaning for us in the old days,” Dailey said.
Reese’s father Pat, a 54-year-veteran of the music business, collaborates with his son on “Live it Up.”
“It’s really exciting to [work with him]. In all the years I’ve been singing, I’ve never done that before. I am also proud of the song that he wrote,” Pat said.
The song represents a departure from Pat’s typically folksy, Put-in-Bay-friendly vibe.
“It’s a little more of my son’s style. He’s a little more of a rock ’n’ roller,” Pat said.
Local band Highbinder donated its track “Frogtown Stomp” to Toledo Free Press’ “Red, White & You” album with profits going to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
“Whenever anything happens, the Red Cross is there and the opportunity to be there for an organization that is always there for anybody else is great,” said vocalist and guitarist Jon Kuhlman.
The four guys and one woman in Highbinder have been playing together since 2002. Andrew Clark sings and plays guitar, Ben Bomlitz is on drums, Adam Keeler plays bass and Megan Fitzpatrick Urich plays violin and keyboards.
“We have opened for some nationals over the years,” Kuhlman said. “We opened up for Jackal to a packed house. In high school we went to see the bands, so to be on the other side of the barricade in front of a packed house was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”
Kuhlman said bands like Pearl Jam, The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles influence them.
“They didn’t stick to one sound,” he said. “If they felt like doing a country song they did it. If they felt like doing a screaming rock song they did. Basically, whatever pops in our heads ends up coming out of our amplifiers.”
Highbinder has performed larger shows as it has grown in popularity. It opened for Whitesnake despite a close call.
“Our bass player stepped out on the barricade and slipped and the barricade bouncer caught him and put him on his shoulders and paraded him around for the rest of the show,” Kuhlman said. “Yeah, it was fun.”
Kuhlman praised the Toledo music community and said Highbinder won’t play in Detroit anymore because it is too “cutthroat.”
“It’s really not like that in Toledo,” he said. “Whenever we book a show, we book the bands that we want to see; we want to hear their music. There is this stigma that if music is not on the radio it’s not good but that is just not true. All the guys on the radio were playing in front of bars at one time.”
The feeling of being onstage keeps the band coming back for more shows.
“It’s kind of an adrenaline thing,” Kuhlman said. “That moment before you get onstage and that adrenaline builds up and we kind of live for it. You get addicted to it.”