THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Image
Morning. Noon. Or night. It’s I-told-you-so-time in the community of Antwerp.
Gone is the daily parade of thousands of growling tractor-trailers cutting tight corners in this Paulding County town where today new businesses sprout like economic development directors’ dream scenes.
Without the highway hubbub, Antwerp is in its happy place, just as many predicted.
“Antwerp is safer and quieter,” said Village Administrator Sara Keeran. “It’s really wonderful without all those trucks. We are happy. The community is happier.”
For many years, the village was highway high-strung, stressed by safety concerns as pedestrians darted and dodged near bumper-to-bumper truck traffic wheeling along U.S. 24.
On Oct. 29, 2009, when the new U.S. 24 opened, Antwerp was bypassed, left behind in rear view mirrors as drivers trucked on down the new road. READ MORE
BLADE ILLUSTRATION/JEFF BASTING Enlarge
Once people are finished deliberating over which deductions they can claim, they can start dreaming about how they’re going to spend what is often a fat refund check from the federal government.
Through late March, the Internal Revenue Service said it had doled out more than $206 billion in tax refunds, with the average check coming in at more than $2,800.
For many, it’s the largest chunk of cash they’ll get all year. It’s only human nature, experts say, for that to lead to some temptations.
“You get 20 bucks, you’re not thinking all the things you can buy with it,” said Gbenga Ajilore, who is an economics professor at the University of Toledo. “But you get a $2,000 check, that opens up the possibilities of things you could conceivably buy.”
Still, most Americans say they don’t plan to splurge on new iPads or rare wines. Instead, they’re focusing the extra cash on lowering debt, fattening their savings accounts, or simply paying household bills. READ MORE
THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Image
The Dialogue to Change program is moving out of the talking phase and into the much more daunting and complicated area of trying to make a difference in Toledo’s race relations.
About 100 people have met for seven weeks, getting to know each other and discussing racial bias in the community.
The goal was for each of eight small groups, of seven to 12 people, to design and implement action plans for tackling racism and starting to dismantle it.
The Dialogue to Change process is a companion effort to the “Changing Minds and Changing Lives: Combating Racism” speaker series, sponsored by the Toledo Community Coalition and The Blade.
As each group took turns Saturday presenting its findings and recommendations at the J. Frank Troy Senior Center, several common themes emerged, said the Rev. Karen Shepler, a coalition member working to coordinate the meetings. READ MORE
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Image
During his first 100 days in office, Mayor D. Michael Collins shepherded the city through a community tragedy, oversaw the response for several major snowstorms, hammered out an austere budget, and made good on a politically charged promise to reopen the west side police substation.
“The roller coaster didn’t stop,” the mayor said, describing his time in office so far.
Winter dumped more than seven feet of snow on the city.
Water main after water main burst, flooding streets and cracking pavement. In the midst of fighting the winter weather, the city dealt with the deaths of Stephen Machcinski, 42, and Jamie Dickman, 31 — Toledo firefighters killed fighting a Jan. 26 blaze.
Since their funerals, the firefighters’ deaths are usually the first thing Mayor Collins recalls when asked about his time in office. He fought tears Friday describing the eulogy he delivered for the men when thousands packed the SeaGate Convention Centre to pay final respects.
“It’s an emotional story,” interjected Chief of Staff Bob Reinbolt — giving the mayor three seconds to compose himself and move on with the story.
“That was without question, one of the most difficult things,” Mayor Collins said. READ MORE
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Image
Brandon Castillo of Milan, Mich., stared out at the 120 acres of mostly vacant land at Fallen Timbers Battlefield in Maumee.
More than 200 years ago the United States military had relentlessly attacked and killed hundreds of American Indians on the site to claim the land and turn Ohio into a state, according to historians.
On Friday, Mr. Castillo and 14 General Motors co-workers were planting 700 trees to replace thousands of ash trees killed by the deadly emerald ash borer in recent years.
“I look out at this whole area and there’s a kind of sadness,” said Mr. Castillo, a member of the Navajo tribe. “It bothers me that people are not aware of what really happened, or what happened after the fight.”
According to Mr. Castillo, 31, and park historians, the U.S. military was defeated twice before gaining victory in 1794.
They forced the American Indians to sign treaties that stated they willingly gave away all rights to their land, and then were banished forever.
The tree planting is part of an effort to replace 20,000 ash trees devastated by emerald ash borers, metallic green-colored, thumbnail-sized beetles from Asia that feed exclusively on ash trees. READ MORE
THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Image
Summer days call for road trips, outdoor play, and, for many children nowadays, more time on the Internet.
The Sylvania School District is preparing parents for their children’s increased social media and online time by hosting a day of Internet and online safety education. Sylvania Parents Digital Citizenship Training is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on May 29 at Northview High School Performing Arts Center, 5403 Silica Dr.
The event is a preview to a new school subject being taught next year: Digital citizenship. READ MORE