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Toledo an International City? Why Not?

It's still pretty quiet in the Marina District. I've been down there a few times this past year. Mostly what you hear is the gulls squawking. We only get occaisional word of exciting plans for the development of the site by its new Chinese owner/investors, Dashing Pacific.

I have faith that this development will happen. Too many good people - led by Mayor Mike Bell - have put too much on the line for this to be all smoke, no fire. It would be nice to actually see something though. And not just at Marina District. The restaurants at The Docks seem to be doing OK. And a different Chinese investor group has purchased one of our struggling dowtown hotels. Plans for business development of the hotel sound like good news too. Now we need some business to develope.

The Chinese still have some selling to do to the Metro Toledo community. People want to see something new from our new partners. Or even something old.

Almost 25 years ago, The Toledo Zoo had, on loan from the Wolong Natural Reserve in China, two Giant Pandas - Nan Nan and Le Le. Our zoo was one very few, worldwide, to have the privlege of housing China's precious Pandas. i remember the sense of community pride.

So there has been an international connection between Metro Toledo and China before. Nothing much happened with that after the Pandas left in November, 1988. But maybe, if things go well, we'll have a return of the Pandas someday. That would be very cool.

Not Open Sunday Night? I Keel You

Whatta ya mean you're not a MyMetroToledo member yet? 

I keel you!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Sunday I went with wife and friends to the Jeff Dunham show at the Huntington Center. Very funny stuff. Dunham is famous for his talent as a ventriloquist. 

Jeff's characters, Walter, Peanut and Jose Jalapeno (on a stick) are the stars, but Dunham is a great story teller and stand up comic independent of the Dummies. And Achmed The Dead Terrorist is just wrong; good wrong, edgy wrong, push the envelope wrong but kinda patriotic wrong. Good stuff.

So the show was great and The Huntington looked about 95% full for the Sunday afternoon show. I have heard that the Hunt is grabbing these top shows by accommodating the schedules of major touring artists and "fitting in" their travel schedules. Hence a 5PM Sunday gig. 

We'll take it.

My only complaint was when we left the show at about 7:30. We we walked the block to Pizzapapalis and had some dinner. They were packed - try the flatbread pizza. But too many downtown, destination restaurants were closed. The Blaney had a sign in the window stating, "Open Sundays for special events". I think the Dunham concert qualified. 

I'm not blaming the businesses that are trying to make a go of downtown Metro Toledo. I know it's a balance, and you need bodies to make a business work profitably. But until we can have more after-event options open to visitors downtown, the draw will be limited. I think the Blarney, and others, missed an opportunity Sunday.


Deer Hunting and Cardinal Shooting Season

Today is opening day for gun Deer hunting in Michigan. Ohio archery deer season started in September and main white-tailed gun season opens November 28. 600,000 hunters are expected to take part in the Michigan hunt. I don't have numbers for Ohio, but the count will be high.

There is no shortage of white-tailed deer in either state. If you walk the Toledo area Metro Parks, as I do, you know there's no shortage in the heart of Metro Toledo either. It's a rare day when I don't see deer at Wildwood Preserve or Side Cut Park

The easy, close access to wildlife makes for great photo opps. That cardinal in the pic was very cooperative last March. So was a red fox on that same day, though the picture I took didn't turn out well.

Anyway, take advantage of your Metro Toledo hunting opportunities. Choose your weapon.

UT Gets a New Coach: Hope is He’s Like the Old Coach

The University of Toledo announced, yesterday, the hiring of Tod Kowalczyk as head mens basketball coach. Kowalczyk replaces Gene Cross, who resigned the post a couple weeks ago.

I wonder if- and hope that – the fact this hiring happened on Easter week has meaning. UT basketball needs resurrection. The 2010 Rockets just wound up a 4 and 28 season; the worst in the program’s history. That just isn’t acceptable.

I’m gonna get all “old timer” on you now. I remember when basketball on Bancroft was different. But back then it was TU basketball. And Bobby Nichols was the coach. He was always the coach.

From 1965 through 22 seasons as head man at the old Fieldhouse. Nichols’ teams won 377 games. The Rockets had winning records in 20 of his 22 seasons including five straight 20 win seasons in the late 70s and early 80s.  Bobby has the best record in Mid American Conference basketball history.

Winning used to be the norm. It was expected, not hoped for. And that was when the facilities were not great. Now, with Savage Arena, and all that makes up that beautiful Metro Toledo campus, it’s time for the resurrection of TU UT Basketball.

You’re up Coach Kowalczyk.

Kick Starting 2011 with Last Call for the Lights at the Toledo Zoo

I think that my favorite place in My Metro Toledo is the Toledo Zoo. I have been going there longer than I can remember. It never gets old for me.


Nana was my maternal grandmother. She was a Zoo member for all of my life with her. My cousins and I were the beneficiaries of that membership. We went to the Zoo alot.


I have a couple of books about the history of the Toledo Zoo. When I revisit them, I am reminded of a tackiness that old zoos had. The accommodations for wild animals were crude. Probably cruel. But I don't believe purposely so.


I love the old buildings built during the great depression by the Works Progress Administration of FDR's New Deal. Those buildings are the character of the Toledo Zoo.


But the new stuff is great too. The Arctic Adventure, African Savanna and Hippoquarium are world class. The Toledo Zoo's Lights Before Christmas are still new to me, though 2010 was the 25th years for the Metro Toledo holiday event.


We have a terrific Christmas lights photo album at the My Metro Toledo Flickr page and a slide show video - with Vince Giraldi accompaniment - at the My Metro Toledo Youtube channel. I hope you enjoy.


Happy holidays!


Phot credit: BethAnne Heisler - MyMetroToledo.net