Summer has now started. That is, if you are a sailor. The Invitational Race for the Mills Trophy is always the first full weekend in June, so Friday night the race took place with more than 170 sailing vessels ranging in size from 22 to 40-plus feet from all over the Great Lakes and Canada.
The race, which runs from Toledo to Put-in-Bay, was started in 1907 by commodore Merrill B. Mills. The yachtsman was a Toledo Yacht Club member since 1898 who wanted to give support to his club after a fire destroyed its two story, three-year-old colonial clubhouse. Commodore Mills donated a silver punch bowl valued back then at $1,000 and inscribed it with “Toledo Yacht Club, for the Annual Long Distance Race” to encourage the art of navigation upon the Great Lakes through yachting contests.
Back to the race, presented by Toledo Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Club, the winner of the 2003 Mills Trophy is Jazzy, skippered by Gerald Frabutt. The race ended in the wee hours of Saturday morning at Put-in-Bay, where a big celebration took place. The event has become a fun time for sailors as well as power boaters, people ready to party, and even a few landlubbers. More important to some folks was the annual send-off party Thursday night at Toledo Yacht Club. The day looked iffy, then gray skies were replaced by sunshine and a spectacular starry night.
A low-key pre-party, hosted by Treu House of Munch and the Mills Race Committee, was held at the base of the flagpole for skippers of 2002 class winners and guests. There, folks gadded about drinking sailors' favorites including Jack Daniels, Budweiser, Mount Gay Rum, and wines from the Lake Erie Wine Alliance. The chatter was only interrupted by the blast of a cannon, signaling that another vessel had arrived. Deep-draft boats too big for the shallow waters docked downtown.
Honorary chairmen were George and Joan O'Connell. Seen were general chairman Ron Soka, race operations chairman Don Wood, principal race officer Bob Filiatrault, TYC commodore John Pozsik, and STC commodore Richard Neville. Seasoned sailor Lee Merkle, who has been in 24 Mills Races, was ready to roll in his Infinity IV 40-foot boat. He said he was delighted to see the community support, including Hickory Farms goodie bags.
Later, as dusk rolled in, parking was at a premium for revelers, many who came just for the good time and had not a clue about sailing. More tame than years past, the crowd of more than 1,000 sipped spirited beverages and downed a few Jell-O shots as The Mickey Rat Band, which included a race sailor, cranked up the volume. Food booths were plentiful too: Gino's Pizza, Rudy's Hot Dog (manned by TYC Auxiliary members), and TYC caterer Carefree Celebrations, which made shish-kabobs and fruit pies. Bill Michael was busy snapping photos as his wife Joan, and Bernie Thompson, co-chairmen of registration, checked-in the sailors. More than 50 TYC power boaters assisted with the race, including Dave Garey, Becky Vincent, and others taking the night shift at the bay to greet racers as they arrived.
Gadders — both sailors and landlubbers — included Tony Fletcher, Ron Reeder, Vicki Kretz, Regan and Cathy Smith, Joe and Leslie D'Arcangelo, Ron Vail, John Wirth, Ron Gabel, Don Mewhort, Bonnie Porz, Cliff Frankowski, Mo Devany, and Jeff Walters.
Charles Russell, a dapper gentleman about town, works nonstop at helping others.
The Heatherdowns branch of the Toledo Lucas County library knows him well. He has contributed time as well as made monetary donations. St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Maumee has gained from Mr. Russell's vast commitment to the congregation. In Mr. Russell's spare time, he collects miniature books, does calligraphy, canoes with the pros, and spends time with his family. Mr. Russell is also a longtime docent for the Toledo Museum of Art. So it is not surprising to anyone but himself that during the docents' season-closing luncheon Tuesday at Sylvania Country Club, Mr. Russell was honored for his tireless efforts.
The sweetheart of a guy with a great sense of humor, who is soon to turn 90, was taken aback when a birthday cake was rolled out and the group sang “Happy Birthday.” Then the real fun began. Former Toledoan and fellow docent Marilyn Donahue, of Newark, Ohio, made Charles blush when she came dressed as Marilyn Monroe.
Mrs. Donahue was lucky enough to have had Charles as a docent mentor, so she came just for the day in his honor. TMA director Roger Berkowitz announced that Mr. Russell had given 70 tours this year — an almost unheard-of feat.
The 4th Annual Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival is just around the corner: June 20-21 at International Park.
In the meantime, jazz aficionados just couldn't wait, so the Toledo Jazz Society hosted a kick-off party Thursday evening at Murphy's Place. There, live jazz by area performers sizzled the soul, while Cajun cuisine warmed the scene. Volunteer wait staffers cavorted incompetently for generous tips to support the society.
Networking with the big shots. United Way's Young Leaders Council members and guests gathered Wednesday at Dana World Headquarters to schmooze with area CEOs and other community leaders. The upscale party was held in a giant heated tent complete with wood floors. Floral bouquets and a string quartet added the finishing touch. Buffet tables laden with delectable edibles tempted many souls, however, most young professionals chose to sip libations as they took the opportunity to mingle with the high rollers.
The YLC is a group of adults 45 years or younger who embrace the United Way mission and express their commitment by contributing $1,000 or more annually either individually or as a combined gift with their spouse.
Guest speaker Mieasha Hicks, the Boys and Girls Clubs' 2003 Toledo and Ohio Youth of the Year, discussed how her life was changed through the United Way. The eldest of eight siblings and reared by her aunts, Miss Hicks is a Central Catholic High School graduate with a 3.5 GPA, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, the student council, and the African American Culture Club. She will attend Bowling Green State University in the fall.
Nearly 100 CEOs, community leaders, and YLC members were in attendance, including host of the evening Joe Magliochetti, chairman and CEO of Dana Corp., and YLC chairman Mark Wagoner, who talked about the growth of the YLC and its activities over the last year. Also on the attendance list were John Meier, Sandra Hylant, Tim Alter, Mike Anderson, Neil Garrison, Tamela Druckenmiller, Bob Mack, Sharon Speyer, Stuart Goldberg, Christy Stone, Bill Sanford, and Keith Walker.