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Published: Sunday, 6/4/2006

Toledo needs to cash in on Lake Erie

Seven bite-size Lemmon Drops to nibble on while waiting for Tom Cruise's next publicity blitz:

  • One of the reasons why I consider Toledo to be an underachieving city is its distant relationship with Lake Erie.

    Not that we are Cleveland, whose identity is linked to the lake, but we're close enough.

    Let me give two examples of "outsiders" (a topic discussed in this space two weeks ago) seeing Toledo and Lake Erie as one.

    In 1997, my wife accepted a job offer from The Blade. Living in California at the time, we looked at a map for places where we might like to live. Lake Erie was like a magnet our eyes were drawn to the big body of water. As a result, Reno Beach made the short list.

    Yes, Reno Beach.

    It might as well be a million miles from Toledo. Nine years later, we have yet to set foot in the lakefront community.

    The other example is from 2004, when my brother and his family, who live near Indianapolis, drove here for a visit. They arrived ahead of schedule and, with my wife and me at work, they had an hour to kill.

    What did they do? They looked at a map and headed to Lake Erie.

    Again, we're not Cleveland. But the lake does provide us with a built-in marketing tool to attract tourists.

    Thus, I was heartened by this recent front-page headline: Toledo to build cruise ship terminal.

    Developing Toledo into a port of call for Great Lakes cruise lines is a natural.

    For cruise passengers, Toledo has the potential to be a favorite stop which, of course, has powerful word-of-mouth advertising implications. First, the ship will sail under a spectacular structure, the new I-280 bridge, and then it will dock at the Marina District, which could be a happenin' place by then.

    In the coming years, assuming the Marina District evolves into something special, as promised, we could be in for the best of (mari)times.

  • Maybe I've listened to the narrow-minded, nitpicking naysayers of local talk radio for too long, but Toledo doesn't strike me as a "community with pride" as the new gateway signs proclaim.

  • I'll go first. Rob Ludeman, George Sarantou, Michael Ashford, Ellen Grachek, Phil Copeland, Wilma Brown, Frank Szollosi, and Betty Shultz.

    OK, your turn. Name the remaining four members of the ever-changing Toledo City Council.

  • A belated congratulations to Michael Raczko and Joe Wonsetler, both of Swanton, and George Bullerjahn of Bowling Green for their contributions to Lake Superior State University's annual Banished Words list.

    Mr. Raczko submitted "Breaking News." (Television stations have diluted it to the point where "now they have to interrupt my supper to tell me that Katie Holmes is pregnant," Mr. Raczko said in his nomination.) Mr. Wonsetler and Mr. Bullerjahn made the list of 17 with "Talking Points" and "Designer Breed," respectively.

  • Tell me again how Toledo, Ohio, benefits from having a Sister City relationship with Toledo, Spain. (I mean, to send a 20-member delegation to Spain to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Sister Cities Agreement is reminiscent of the pomp-and-circumstance excesses of a bygone era.)

  • It will be hard to top May for high-profile guilty verdicts and/or pleas: Bob McCloskey, Gerald Robinson, Ken Lay, and Tom Noe.

  • You did northwest Ohio proud, Sam Hornish, Jr. (Love those sideburns, by the way.)



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