1. Battle Lines revisited: Answers hard to find, but streets in Toledo quieter, violence falling
When he was 23 years old, he no longer felt like he belonged. Too many homies dead or locked up. Twelve days after finishing a 90-day sentence at the Correctional Treatment Facility he saw his best friend face down on a central-city parking lot, dead from a single gunshot wound in the back of the head.
Dead at 20 because of a song. Wooty woo la la la.
“That day I stopped messing with everybody. I said I was cool with the gang stuff,” said the member of the Manor Boyz, a Bloods gang, who spoke on the condition of anonymity fearing being branded as a snitch. “I got too many dead homies. Too many brothers in jail.”
His friend died a little more than a year ago, just days before The Blade introduced this gang member — and others — in “Battle Lines: Gangs of Toledo,” a four-day series that aimed to show the perils of life in some of Toledo’s toughest neighborhoods and how gangs here became so prevalent and dangerous.
In the year since those stories, life has changed for each of the people interviewed. READ MORE
An ode to small-chested women everywhere, the winner of the second Tree City Film Festival 50-Hour Film Challenge proves that in the game of love, there is someone for everyone.
The musical Maddie, created by Brent Howard, 24, of Maumee and Sylvania native Sia DuFour, 22, zoomed in on the frantic moment in a young woman’s life, the first date with that special guy. Presented in a melody written by Ms. DuFour, the protagonist, Maddie, obsesses over her not-so-endowed chest while preparing for a date.
Hosted by the Sylvania Community Arts Commission, in March the filmmaking teams, 17 total, were given a genre, pulled out of a hat, and raced to complete a cinematic creation in 50 hours. The teams were required to incorporate into the film the name of Pat Lathrop, a nod to the Underground Railroad in Sylvania, a National Geographic magazine, the line of dialogue “if a tree falls,” and the intersection of Maplewood Avenue and Main Street in downtown Sylvania. READ MORE
One day last week, local grocery store owner Walt Churchill and his wife met some friends for dinner at a local restaurant.
When the check arrived, the owner of Walt Churchill’s Markets in Perrysburg and Maumee was startled.
“I looked at the bill and thought, ‘That much for dinner? Are you kidding me?’ ” Mr. Churchill said. “We could have eaten five meals at home for what we paid. ... I may have to pull back from eating at restaurants.”
But eating more meals at home is also getting more expensive.
The problem, which Mr. Churchill knows too well, is that food prices — at both restaurants and the grocery store — are rising significantly. Caught in the squeeze are consumers, retailers, and wholesale suppliers who are being forced to make some hard decisions as prices climb.
Through March, the price of food is up 1.7 percent during the last year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is running ahead of the general inflation rate, currently at 1.5 percent. READ MORE
A new ride-sharing service that operates somewhat like a taxi service but uses the Internet to match drivers and passengers has begun operations in the Toledo area.
The start of service locally by Lyft was part of a “24 cities in 24 hours” rollout Thursday night by the San Francisco firm, which has now expanded its ride-sharing model to 60 cities — not all of which have welcomed it.
Toledo is the fourth Ohio city where Lyft operates; earlier it began service in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. It also operates in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and as part of Thursday’s expansion, began service in Ann Arbor.
A personal connection, or more importantly, “trust,” is the key to the business model of Lyft, which began in 2012 in San Francisco, and of its competitors, Uber and Sidecar.
Lyft says it creates a bond between driver and passenger by requiring that neither can remain anonymous in the transaction. READ MORE
Grocery bills across college athletics are set to increase, the result of a proposal aimed at beefing up an athlete’s access to food.
Provided this change makes it through all legislative stages of the NCAA — it would be a major upset if it does not — coaches in all sports beginning Aug. 1 of this year will be allowed to serve meals to their athletes in conjunction with practices and no longer just games or events.
Financially, the move figures to crunch money-conscious schools like the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University, whose proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budgets do not take into account additional chicken breasts or baked potatoes. More, there will be extra mouths to feed as non-scholarship athletes are being added to their school’s dime. READ MORE
A blessed event is about to take place in Perrysburg. The late popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized on Sunday in Vatican City, and Perrysburg's Blessed John XXIII Catholic Community, which its founding pastor, the Rev. Herb Weber, says is the newest and fastest-growing parish in the Diocese of Toledo, will get an upgrade of sorts as it changes its name to St. John XXIII Catholic Community.
The new saintly name “might formalize us and people might lose a little bit of the sense of our uniqueness because they're going to start calling us St. John,” Father Weber said. “I've already asked people, please, when you tell people what church you go to, say St. John XXIII. Don't just say St. John. There's nothing wrong with St. John, but we don't want to lose our patron.” READ MORE