Doug Gray of Franklin, Ind., leads a birding-themed guided walk at Swan Creek Metropark. Most of the Biggest Week in American Birding’s sites are in Ottawa County, but Lucas County businesses also are seeing a boost.
Bird-watching is big business in northwest Ohio.
The 2014 Biggest Week in American Birding event — which runs through Thursday — is expected to generate more revenue than last year’s estimated $20 million to $30 million, northwest Ohio tourism officials said. And although the bird base is largely concentrated in Ottawa County, business is booming in the Toledo area, too.
Many hotels throughout Lucas and Ottawa counties are reporting that they are at full capacity, and many other businesses, such as restaurants and gas stations, are noticing increased traffic as thousands of people over the past week began flocking to the area to bird-watch at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory along State Rt. 2.
More than 60,000 people — from 46 states and 13 countries — attended the 2013 event. READ MORE
Sharon Wammes owner of the Cookie Lady, rolls chocolate chip cookie dough in the kitchen of her Maumee store. She opened her first shop in Fremont and added the Maumee site in 1997. She says she bases her business on her mother’s recipes.
For seven years, Sharon Wammes would bake cookies in her Fremont home and take them to a local flea market each weekend where bargain hunters would gobble them up.
“People would say, ‘I wish I could get your cookies more than once a month,’ ” she said. “But I was not wealthy, and I thought opening a business was just for wealthy people.”
In 1989, Ms. Wammes finally rented a tiny space in downtown Fremont where she opened The Cookie Lady, a specialty-food store selling her homemade cookies. Back then, Ms. Wammes had to convince customers that a store selling only homemade cookies was worth their time and money.
Today, though, she might have found it easier to start her business.
Specialty-food retailing — including niche stores where the owners sell just one type of product — is on the rise.
Sales of specialty foods reached a record $88.3 billion in 2013, according to the New York-based Specialty Food Association. That’s a 47 percent increase from 2008, when sales were $60.1 billion. READ MORE
The Colts have selected Ohio State offensive lineman Mewhort with their first pick in the NFL football draft. The 6-foot-6, 309-pound Mewhort was taken No. 59 overall Friday.
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Jack Mewhort had reached his most fantastic of dreams, only to feel like he was dreaming all over again.
The scene on the television in the former Ohio State left tackle’s Sylvania home Friday night did not seem real.
"It was like I was watching in the third person from a dream," he said.
Mewhort already knew the Indianapolis Colts would select him with the 59th overall pick of the NFL draft. Gathered in the living room with his parents and two sisters, an Indianapolis area code had popped up on his phone about 10 minutes earlier. He spoke first with Colts owner Jim Irsay, who then passed his cell around to team officials — including special assistant and fellow St. John’s Jesuit graduate Rob Chudzinski.
Already, Mewhort had watched his father, Don, break down.
"Just lost it," he said. "Big softie."
Yet as the family watched former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison officially announce the pick at Radio City Music Hall, the emotions returned in full. READ MORE
John Irish, left, Dan DeAngelis, and Gina Kaczala leave after the committee members presented their recommendations on Friday. Ms. Kaczala says she will try to convince the secretary of state to give her more time on the job.
The transparency committee appointed by Secretary of State Jon Husted to investigate the dysfunctional Lucas County Board of Elections on Friday recommended a nearly wholesale housecleaning, sparing only John Irish.
Under the committee’s recommendation, Democratic board member Ron Rothenbuhler and Republican members Jon Stainbrook and Tony DeGidio would be removed from the board, along with Republican Director Gina Kaczala and Democratic Deputy Director Dan DeAngelis.
Committee chairman Scott Borgemenke, a former Republican assistant secretary of state, announced the recommendations at the end of a six-hour hearing — the fourth convened in the last month.
The committee also recommended a full retraining of the staff. READ MORE
As Bowling Green State University’s spring semester came to a close Friday, the university’s Board of Trustees looked to the future, with construction projects, new programs, a capital campaign, and new fees for students.
The board approved a series of either new fees or increases of current fees that Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll said will raise about $1.7 million next year. The fees are in a variety of areas: Some, such as counseling and career development, will be administered to all students, though at varying levels, while others only apply to students who use a program, such as a learning community.
Usage of many of those programs has grown over the years, Ms. Stoll said, making the fees necessary. Some of the fees are on a scale based on what class a student is in. For instance, sophomores are charged $13 a semester for the counseling services, while freshmen are charged $8 a semester. That’s based on historical usage, Ms. Stoll said. READ MORE
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