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Published: Monday, 6/23/2014 - Updated: 1 month ago

Five Things You Might Have Missed: 6-23

Top articles from this weekend‘‍s editions of The Blade

BLADE STAFF
Scott Ferris of the Lucas County Land Bank inspects 2806 Fulton St. Once a dream property with a fireplace, three bedrooms, and hardwood floors, the house has been stripped and smells of water damage and urine. Scott Ferris of the Lucas County Land Bank inspects 2806 Fulton St. Once a dream property with a fireplace, three bedrooms, and hardwood floors, the house has been stripped and smells of water damage and urine.
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1. Blight blame game heats up between city, housing court

The century-old home at the corner of Fulton Street and Kenilworth Avenue at one time was a Realtor’s delight — with a fireplace, three bedrooms, and hardwood floors.

Now, it’s a dump — one of the thousands of uninhabitable, vacant houses scattered throughout Toledo but heavily clustered in poorer city neighborhoods.

Homes such as the one at 2806 Fulton St. — one the Lucas County Land Bank ultimately could acquire — are now in the middle of a political finger-pointing clash between Toledo’s mayor and the city’‍s longtime municipal housing court judge. READ MORE

 

2. Area towns, state lose bet on tech jobs

In mid-2010, C. David Snyder scoured rural northern Ohio towns in search of easily accessible government funding.

The Cleveland businessman peddled promises of job creation and economic vitality in the aftermath of the Great Recession — promises that spurred officials from Bryan, Archbold, Napoleon, and the state to award Mr. Snyder’s information technology start-up, Ruralogic Inc., more than $1.2 million in loans and grants.

Mr. Snyder, who touted his unfettered access to former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration, pledged to create 200 or more IT jobs in Bryan.

The deal sounded like a reprieve from a tepid economic climate, said Dennis Miller, executive director of the Maumee Valley Planning Organization, which processed Bryan’s $350,000, August, 2010, loan to Ruralogic.

Mr. Miller, though, was given pause when Mr. Snyder began shopping the same project to Napoleon and Archbold. Creating 200 or more jobs in each small town would have been difficult, he said.

A Blade investigation revealed that the taxpayer-funded loans granted to Ruralogic for its operations in Bryan, Napoleon, and Archbold have not been repaid, and it’s unclear how most of that money was spent, a review of municipal records shows.

Although Ruralogic, which records show was based in Bryan, included a breakdown of equipment it agreed to buy in its loan contract with Bryan, the company never purchased some of the items on that list. And, despite accepting a $450,000 loan from Archbold, Ruralogic never opened its doors there. Its offices in Bryan and Napoleon are closed. READ MORE

 

Holly Hirzel, 42, Sr. Project Manager in Microsoft Studios, a division of Xbox. She grew up working in the family food business, Hirzel Canning Company, in Northwood, and currently resides in Seattle. Holly Hirzel, 42, Sr. Project Manager in Microsoft Studios, a division of Xbox. She grew up working in the family food business, Hirzel Canning Company, in Northwood, and currently resides in Seattle.
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3. Northwest Ohio native helps turn fantasy into reality for Xbox

If you’re a video gamer, chances are Holly Hirzel has your dream job.

Hirzel, 42, is senior project manager in Microsoft Studios, a division of Xbox, where she works with designers, programmers, artists, audio designers, testers, business and marketing folks, user research people, and external brand partners.

What does her job entail?

“For any given part of a game, there are a lot of pieces that have to be coordinated. Depending on where we are in the development cycle, the work can change, but right now I mostly work with a team of 35,” she said in an email interview.

That team is made of the people who brought the world the motion-sensing Kinect, which tracks and translates a gamer’s body movements for onscreen avatars. After the Kinect launched, she said, that group “was tasked to go dream up and execute the next crazy futuristic thing which is still top secret for now. It’s amazing but that will be an interview for a later day.” READ MORE

 

Some forecasters are calling for hotter than normal and somewhat drier conditions this summer, which would be a repeat of some dry spells the Toledo area experienced last year. Summer arrived at 6:51 a.m. Saturday. Some forecasters are calling for hotter than normal and somewhat drier conditions this summer, which would be a repeat of some dry spells the Toledo area experienced last year. Summer arrived at 6:51 a.m. Saturday.
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4. Summer dawns for region with variety of forecasts

Summer officially arrives just after sunrise in Toledo today, and if you’re looking for an excuse to buy a new air-conditioning system or book a two-week stay at a remote cabin near a lake, then heed what the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts it will be like.

That would be “hotter than normal,” and somewhat drier although with a spate of stormy weather in July.

Of course, then you’re trusting a source that also might have had you selling your snowblower back in November, based on its Toledo winter forecast for milder-than-normal temperatures and below-average snowfall.

The National Weather Service outlook for the summer of 2014 in the Great Lakes region, by contrast, is much less exciting. READ MORE

 

 B'nai Israel. B'nai Israel.
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5. Houses of worship tours commence next week

Toledo Area Ministries' annual summer tours of houses of worship features eight facilities in 2014, starting at a Conservative Jewish synagogue Tuesday, ending at an autonomous Church of Christ August 12, and having mainstream and nondenominational churches and different approaches to Christianity in between. “I'm really excited about the diversity of this year's tours,” said Donnajean Stockmaster, TAM's community connections director and interim director of Feed Your Neighbor.

The hour-long visits take place every Tuesday at 11 a.m. and are free, with no reservations needed—just show up at the place of worship. TAM, an ecumenical organization that connects congregations and nonprofit organizations for meeting needs, creating community, and working for justice, as its website says, offers the tours so people can learn more about the beliefs, buildings, church history, ways of worship, and work in the community of different congregations. READ MORE

 



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