Saturday, Dec 03, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Tom Henry

'Fossil Fools' drive Toledo to low mark

We passed. But unless it's an incredibly difficult subject, you don't hear many people talkin' up a D+.

It doesn't sound like it should have been all that hard to pull down a better score in the test I'm talking about, either, one in which Men's Health magazine ranked 100 major cities for their so-called green driving habits.

The publicist for this little exercise said in her pitch that Toledoans have a fair number of what she described as - er - "Fossil Fools." That's the magazine's phrase for environmentally challenged drivers, not some geeky insult for the jerks who cut you off in traffic.

OK, on to the ranking: Toledo came in 88th, a D+.

Not exactly the stuff Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner wants to play up the next time he pushes his city's application for the International Awards for Liveable Communities. Last November - if you'll recall - that contest shattered the Glass City's reputation as an industrial wasteland with an inferiority complex and infused it with all the goosebumps and glory that come with being declared the planet's third most livable city.

Uh huh. Not like everyone went Sally Field on us and imitated her 1985 Oscar-acceptance speech, but you get the drift.

I'm not saying this Men's Health ranking has any more credence than any other list. It is what it is: fun if you do well and a pain in the butt if you don't.

For what it's worth, Seattle was No. 1. Arlington, Texas, was the worst. Pittsburgh and Cleveland were 25th and 26th, respectively. Chicago was 51st. Cincinnati was 64th. Columbus and Detroit were 81st and 82nd, respectively. Indianapolis was 93rd.

The magazine claims it drew from a compendium of data about each city and the people who live there. Statistics studied included averages for gas consumption and miles driven per year per vehicle; the size, age, and frequency of tune-ups for area vehicles; a city's pollution levels, based on records of its smog-forming ozone and sooty particles in the air, and the degree by which mass transit is made available and embraced.

It cites the federal government's National Transit Database and its Energy Information Administration, the American Lung Association, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, and a Web-based mapping application called SimplyMap as its sources.

Seeing the Trees From the Forest: The Arbor Day Foundation has updated its pocket field guide for identifying trees, aptly called "What Tree Is That?"

Don't worry. They put more work into the graphics than the title.

The foundation has published separate, 72-page versions for people on either side of the Rocky Mountains.

An online version of the book (arborday.org/trees/whattree) allows visitors to click their way to a match by answering a series of questions. The print editions, which cost $5, can be ordered at arborday.org/Shopping/Merchandise/MerchDetail.cfm?id=14.

Nominations Sought: For Lucas County's Natural Resources Assistance Council. Though not exactly a household word, the 11-member committee is the power broker for local Clean Ohio Fund money.

Since 2000, when voters authorized the fund, more than $400 million in bonds have been sold to finance projects that preserve natural areas and farmland, enhance recreation, and put industrial sites known as brownfields back into use. The program is expected to be up for renewal on the November ballot.

The local council has one vacancy for a three-year term. If interested, contact the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments.

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