2010 Newsmakers: really good, really badWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
People in the news business will tell you there is no such thing as “too much news,” but local readers could be forgiven if 2010 pushed the limits of that viewpoint.
The emotional roller coaster ride that is just rolling to a stop delivered some amazing highs and lows. We watched a local “farmer’s daughter” rise from humble origins to national fame as Crystal Bowersox made an amazing run on “American Idol.” Our friends and partners at FOX Toledo allowed us to share access to the Bowersox journey as the Elliston native brought the best kind of attention to our region. Bowersox dominated the local discussion so strongly that she made the cover of Toledo Free Press more times in one year than just about anyone else has in our six years of publishing (she gets one more for good measure as her “Newsmaker” profile leads the issue of Toledo Free Press Star distributed in this issue).
Other entertainment highlights included the inaugural year for the Huntington Center (also profiled in this week’s Star), which experienced some growing pains by not scheduling enough events to keep all the neighboring businesses happy, but still brought Carrie Underwood, Elton John, The Eagles and scores of other concerts and family events to Toledo. The Toledo Zoo had blessed news with the birth of Siku the polar bear and grim news when longtime elephant keeper Don RedFox was attacked and seriously injured by Louie the elephant.
Tim Beckman led the University of Toledo football team to its first bowl game in five years. The Dec. 26 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field did not have a happy ending for Rockets fans, but that gutsy two-point conversion call that gave the team a brief lead with a minute to go in the fourth quarter summed up everything you need to know about Beckman’s approach to the game and his faith in his team.
The news seemed to bring shock after shock this year; the police shooting death of Linda Hicks; the trial and acquittal of Lucas County Sheriff James Telb for events following the death of inmate Carlton Benton; the missing Skelton boys in Morenci.
The early June tornadoes took seven lives and destroyed homes, schools and businesses in Lake Township, Northwest Ohio, Dundee and Monroe. We have been privileged to chronicle one family’s journey as they rebuild from the tornado with the yearlong “Storming Back” series, in which Associate Editor Brandi Barhite has followed the Blank family from their initial days of survival to their triumphant move back into their rebuilt home.
Attention turned to education as Toledo Public Schools (TPS) struggled with budget woes, two failed levies, closing Libbey High School and the hiring of a new superintendent, Jerome Pecko. Next week, Toledo Free Press will announce a major education initiative partnership with a local nonprofit that will keep TPS issues in the spotlight.
On the political front, we have watched Toledo Mayor Mike Bell settle into his new job, clash over the city’s budget with unions and City Council, trave to China to seek business and brin a more accessible approach to One Government Center. May and November elections saw levies passed and defeated while Lucas County voters ignored the state and nation’s GOP sweep.
But the biggest newsmaker of 2010 was Rich Iott, the former Food Town owner who mounted a major challenge to longtime Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Iott galvanized local conservatives and made the most serious run at Kaptur in her 15-term career, only to see poor campaign management and an international controversy derail his more than $2 million self-financed campaign.
As we look forward to beginning our seventh year of covering local news, we also look back on our own busy year. In March, we launched the city’s only entertainment-themed weekly newspaper, Toledo Free Press Star, which has quickly grown a connection with local artists and performers, such as Jerry Gray, Rachel Richardson, Jim Beard and Dustin Hostetler, while also capturing interviews with national stars such as Usher, Joel McHale, Rob Schneider … and, of course, Bowersox.
For the second year in a row, Toledo Free Press was named best weekly newspaper in our 100,000+ circulation class by the Ohio chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, an honor we aim to defend as best as we can moving forward. That challenge is possible thanks to the small but dedicated team of journalists, salespeople and circulation and delivery folks who work to make our vision a reality. We are also indebted to our advertisers, who make it possible for us to offer a more open, fair and accurate look at local news than most readers are accustomed to.
We thank you for joining us on our 2010 trek, and look forward to seeing what 2011 has in store.
Happy New Year and God bless our city and its people in 2011.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: American Idol, Crystal Bowersox, Don RedFox, Huntington Center, Jerome Pecko, Marcy Kaptur, Mike Bell, Newsmakers 2010, Publisher's Statement, Rich Iott, Tim Beckman, Toledo Free Press, Toledo Free Press Star, Toledo Public Schools, Tom Pounds