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Vroom! “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!” announced grand marshal Mike Navarre at the 2003 JA Grand Prix presented by Junior Achievement with title sponsor UAW/Daimler Chrysler National Training Center.
It was downtown Saturday in the Owens Corning World Headquarters parking lot after an invocation by JA board member Jack Altenburger and the national anthem by 11-year-old Tatiana Owens.
Race officials estimated that 10,000 spectators watched throughout the day as engines roared and karts sped by, burning rubber on straightaways and hairpin turns at the top speed of 35 m.p.h. The scene was a mini Indy 500 with checkered flags, grand stands, corporate tents, an infield and all, but minus the rowdy crowd, as this was a family affair with no alcohol.
The race, run by Premiere Karting's Kevin Greer and race consultants ARCA-American Race Car Association in Temperance, boasts a fair race, with strict rules. Each car is manufactured by the same company, two pit stops are required, and before the official winner is announced the kart is torn down to assure that there was no hanky-panky racers could be disqualified for.
Red, yellow, green, blue — just about every color of car was there, each decorated by its sponsor. PHC/Crestline Paving was the top winner, followed by Dana Corp. car No. 4, Maritz Research, and Thread, Inc. Tony Shelbourn had the honors of presenting the winners tall crystal trophies. The Best-Looking Award went to BASF Corp., but TARTA and McElheney Locksmith looked pretty snazzy, too. Meandering around was Dave White, Jr., whose company team was the inaugural winner four years ago. Mr. White said the race “builds camaraderie.” Forty-seven companies sponsored five-person teams, which include the pit crew.
Junior Achievement's purpose is “to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics to improve the quality of their lives.” To accomplish this mission, JA practices and promotes integrity, respect, personal development, enterprising spirit, and teamwork through classroom education in grades K-12, provided by trained volunteers. This race was a fund-raiser as well as a friend-raiser and good example to young people about sportsmanship.
More than 300 volunteers — fed by Fricker's and Marco's Pizza — made the event happen. Event chairman was Mike Burns, event manager was Kathy Gries, and board president is Zac Isaac. Committee chairmen were Sibby Slagle, Patrick Mollenkamp, Judy McFarland, Scott Goodwin, Tim Bublick, Jack Randolph, Matt Bedee, Mark V'Soske, and Kristie Moses. The steering committee included, among others, George Baibak, Bill Bernard, Steve DeDonato, Larry Howe, Jim Nowak, Tom Waniewski, Mr. Shelbourn, and Kevin Greer.
It took all day Friday until 11 p.m. to set up and a half day Sunday to finish tearing down. Six semi-trucks of tires — approximately 2,500 — were used to lay the half-mile track. Two miles of fencing were used, along with oodles of water barrels used as barriers for safety measures. Several board members helped, too, including Rollie Abel, who was a “sweeperette.” He made sure things stayed tidy. Helyn Bolanis tended to the VIP's tent. Mr. Bublick did the fencing. Mr. DeDonato tooled around in a golf cart all day, delivering ice and cold beverages. Mr. Howe ran the race team check-in, starting at 5 a.m. John Rhodes was showing the concept cars. Jack Randolph helped setting up and tearing down but missed the race, since it was his 25th high school reunion.
In addition to swimming, tennis, and golf, Toledo Country Club has taken a creative approach to family fun.
Drive-In Movie Night draws a crowd. Members with lawn chairs and blankets in tow, stake out their spot on the lawn of the driving range. Dusk settles, and the show begins with cartoons and all as parents and children nibble on refreshments from a nearby concession stand.
Children's sleepovers and campouts scheduled through the year give parents a chance to take a break. The younger set eats in the main dining room, while parents dine nearby in the grill room or, better yet, go out for a night on the town. Games and a magician keep the children busy.
Only a handful of them —the youngest ones — go home with mom and dad. By 9:30 p.m., it's movie time with sleeping bags. Boys are in one room and girls in another. Giggling and laughing continues until the wee hours, especially in the ladies room as girls do each other's hair.
And babysitting is offered on Friday evenings.
Jackson's Lounge and Grill on Huron Street in the old Board Room Restaurant opens today. The grand pre-opening was Friday night, and basketball standout Jim Jackson was there.
Mr. Jackson bought the place for his father, James Jackson, who remarked, “I thought about having a nightclub some day, and mentioned it to Jimmy one day, but I never really thought it would happen.”
Also there was Jimmy's mother, Sandra, who has been married to her husband for 38 years.
The cozy atmosphere comes with a tempting lunch menu and evening appetizers. There are a few specialty drinks, too, including two named by the bride of Mr. Jackson, Jr., Shawnee: The Flirtini and the Appletini, both of which are literally foggy concoctions.
The young Mrs. Jackson will be handling bookings for parties, receptions, and meetings in the upstairs full-service banquet room, complete with computer technology. She joked, “And for the right price you can get Jimmy to stop by . . . I'm auctioning him off.”
The place is open for lunch daily. Then Thursday through Saturday the night scene has live entertainment.
Flower Hospital Auxiliary's “Flower Luau” was a delightful Hawaiian adventure Friday in the Franciscan Center at Lourdes College.
Chairman Jean Lovejoy and co-chairmen Carol Barnard and Mary Beth Knake wore real leis from Hawaii, a thank-you gift from the auxiliary for their hard work.
The Hawaiian-themed dinner by hospital executive chef Denny Siebert and dietary head DeWain Emerick fit the mood. It included shrimp cocktail, egg rolls, riblets, mahi mahi, ramaki, cheese and fruits for appetizers. Then, teriyaki sirloin with jasmine rice, chicken kabobs with peanut sauce, polynesian veggies, for the main course with tarts for dessert.
Auxiliary president is Mary Ann Dionyssiou.
Since the point was to make money for the new Comfort Care Unit that supports the hospice philosophy of care, there were silent and live auctions. Dancing was to tunes by the Mighty Meaty Swing Kings.
While engines roared on the Owens Corning World Headquarters parking lot, music filled the air on the riverfront next door at the 2003 Northwest Ohio Rib-Off to benefit United Health Services. It was a good match for both events. Folks could stop by for some ribs, leave to see the JA Grand Prix, then mosey on back for more eats and music. A few hundred volunteers helped at the rib-off. Dick and Sheri Luedtke volunteered all day, then headed home to Waterville, where they scooped ice cream at the Bicentennial Picnic, with an outdoor movie.
Also helping out at the rib-off were Mike Elling and Sandy Hamilton.