Thursday, Sep 29, 2016
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Mayor gives up his seat to youth

Bell welcomes Whitmer senior to his office

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Dallas King, 18, right, sits in Mayor Mike Bell’s chair Tuesday at One Government Center in Toledo. The Whitmer High senior, who has cerebral palsy, recently made a a PowerPoint presentation for his classmates about his skydiving adventure.

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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Dallas King seemed pretty comfortable Tuesday in the mayor’s chair.

Mr. King, 18, a senior at Whitmer High School, has cerebral palsy. But that doesn’t stop him from jumping out of planes and having as much fun as possible, or even joking with Mayor Mike Bell in the midst of a re-election campaign. Mr. Bell may be fighting hard to keep his mayoral seat, but he wasted no time in offering the chair to Mr. King, showing off the view from the 22nd floor.

Mr. King was interested in the mayoral race, asking Mr. Bell how long he takes to prepare for debates and if he ever gets mad at his opponent, councilman D. Michael Collins. The mayor told him he doesn’t get mad, though sometimes frustrated. He then joked about body-slamming Mr. Collins during the debate, drawing laughs from his guests.

They talked about their trips to Washington and about Mr. King’s love for computers. After skydiving about a month ago, Mr. King made a PowerPoint presentation for classmates, which caught Mr. Bell’s attention, school staff said.

The pair chatted for about an hour, with mother Diana Dombeck; shy younger brother Joel; Washington Local Superintendent Patrick Hickey; intervention specialist Sabrina Wilson; classroom aide Melissa Begin, and Mark Armstrong from the Ability Center in tow. Mr. Armstrong arranged the skydiving trip for Mr. King and has taken him water skiing.

“I’ll try anything,” Mr. King told the mayor.

Mr. Bell gave Mr. King a pin with the seal of the city, a “mayoral coin,” and posed for pictures. Mr. King told the mayor that skydiving was the best experience of his life, though after the visit, he said meeting the mayor was better. He even pledged to vote for Mr. Bell.

“Well, heck,” Mr. Bell said. “I got one vote.”

Known for a mohawk that he dyes a new color about once a month, Mr. King said he plans to shave off the hair because he “wants to grow up and get a job.”

Mr. King told Mr. Bell he should swap places and go to school for him and let him take over as chief of the city.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.

This video shows Dallas King on his skydiving trip.

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