Local groups eye ban on circus animal acts

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A8

No lions or tigers or bears?

Oh, my!

As Seattle prepares to become the first major American city to ban circus animal acts, local animal-rights groups hope to fight a similar battle here.

“I want to start talking to people to see if we can get a law like that in Toledo,” said Mike Nestor, president of Toledo Area People for Animal Rights.

Seattle Mayor Paul Schell has proposed an ordinance that would ban animal acts in any circus that comes to the city. The legislation has at least five supporters on the nine-member council and is expected to pass soon. The law would ban everything from large three-ring affairs to the tiniest flea circus.

Stopping circus acts, along with fur and medical research, has been one of the major issues of American animal activists. In pamphlets distributed at circuses and on the Internet, they describe horrible tales of animals confined to tiny cages for days on end and of animals being beaten savagely to do tricks.

The largest and most famous circus, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, has been the major opponent of the Seattle ordinance, saying that it will cancel all of its performances in the city and those of its sister show, Walt Disney’s World on Ice.

But smaller circuses defend their profession just as vehemently, arguing that animal acts bring joy to millions and are not cruel.

“That ban is ill-conceived and just part of the animal-rights agenda,” said David Rawls, president of the Kelly Miller Circus based in Hugo, Okla. Kelly Miller performs in northwest Ohio most summers, including shows in Bowling Green and Wauseon in 1999.

Mr. Rawls said that because of the enormous expense of many animals – an Asian elephant costs $100,000 – circuses do not treat them poorly. “They’re as well cared for as anyone’s pet,” he said.

“Now, there are some exceptions to the rule, just as with pet owners. But the vast majority are very well treated. We name them after members of our families and our loved ones, and that tells you how important they are to us.”

Circuses face regular inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as local animal welfare inspectors in the cities in which they perform.

The attacks on circuses are occurring as their traditional role seems to be waning. Throughout much of the century, circuses were one of the few sources of entertainment in small towns across America. For weeks, some people anticipated the coming of the big top. The circus’ itinerant lifestyle loomed large in a largely rooted American culture.

But now, with an endless variety of entertainment sources available and higher costs for putting on a big show, circuses are vulnerable.

According to the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, no cities in Ohio or Michigan have banned circus animal acts. But local animal-rights groups, including Mr. Nestor’s, have protested outside of almost all Toledo circus performances in recent years.

If it bans the acts, Seattle will become the first major American city to do so, but several smaller cities, including Takoma Park, Md.; Hollywood, Fla., and Collinsville, Ill., have passed bans. So have hundreds of cities in other countries.

Mr. Nestor said that getting a similar ban passed in Toledo or Lucas County will be difficult for the next several years, but he wants to try.

Doug Porter, the assistant director of the Toledo Zoo, said he would support a ban on circus animal performances in Toledo because standards of animal cruelty have changed in recent decades. “I think there are some wonderful circuses and circus acts, and I would not like to see circuses banned,” he said, “but I think they can do without the lions in cages with whips and chairs.”

He said circus animals kept in confined spaces – as is required by the train and truck travel needed to take the show on the road – can lead animals to develop behavioral problems and turn on trainers or the audience.

Mr. Nestor said other circuses, like the successful Cirque du Soleil, have thrived without animal acts. He said larger circuses like Ringling Brothers generally have better animal-welfare records than smaller efforts.

“Ringling probably has the best reputation of them all, but they’ve still got problems,” he said. Ringling has been criticized by animal activists for a variety of alleged problems, including whippings and the use of electric prods.

But Mr. Rawls insists that circuses are protectors of their animals and that incidents of abuse are rare. He said this sort of ban is just the start of an animal-rights agenda that could lead to ending rodeos and meat-eating. “We’re just the first ones they attack,” he said. “Eventually, their agenda will reach everything involving animals.”

Cathleen Anderson, a city commissioner in Hollywood, Fla., said she is proud that her city is one of the few to ban animal acts. “We’ve been the model for other cities,” said Ms. Anderson, who was a commissioner when the law was passed about 10 years ago. “We won’t let Ringling Brothers in town, and the public has really supported the change.”

Ms. Anderson, who was the main force behind the law, said it was prompted by three small ponies that were left tethered to a post for three days and nights during a downtown street fair. “Those poor animals were suffering, and we discovered that there was nothing the law could do about it,” she said.

The animal-rights movement has been divided by the differing beliefs of its members. Some would be happy with incremental changes in the quality of life for animals, while others want the more wide-ranging changes Mr. Rawls said he fears.

“It’s barbaric what happens to some of these animals,” said Mark Whitt, a local coordinator for Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow, which he describes as “more radical” than other groups. “This goes on outside the eye of the public, but people are starting to realize what’s going on.”

“There’s a wide range of opinion,” Mr. Nestor said. “I don’t really have a problem with animals being kept in zoos, but some people disagree with me on that.”

But Mr. Porter said important differences exist in the way zoos and circuses operate. “We operate in the open, with people examining us all the time,” he said. “Circuses are private and closed off.”

Mr. Porter admits that the Toledo Zoo, as recently as the 1960s, used to force animals to perform for patrons, “things like polar bears on motorcycles.” In that era, some zoo animals were kept in fairly confined spaces.

“But the difference is that zoos have moved on from that,” Mr. Porter said. “We as a society have decided that that’s not acceptable anymore. But the circuses haven’t moved on. They’re doing things just as they’ve been doing them for 150 years.”

Dean of business at UT to leave job, return to teaching

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

In a shift that removes one of the final vestiges of former President Frank Horton’s administration, the University of Toledo has accepted the resignation of Dr. James Pope as dean of the college of business administration.

Dr. Pope will return to teaching with the college’s faculty. Dr. Henry Moon, UT provost, has named Dr. Thomas Sharkey, a business professor, as interim dean.

“We respect Dr. Pope’s decision to focus on teaching, and we wish him well,” Dr. Moon said in a statement.

Dr. Pope had been the only one of UT’s nine academic deans who held the post under Dr. Horton, who resigned on Dec. 31, 1998.

With Dr. Pope’s departure, UT President Vik Kapoor and Dr. Moon will have had the chance to replace all nine academic deans at the university. A search committee will be formed shortly to lead a national search for a new dean, Joe Brennan, university spokesman, said.

Dr. Pope’s resignation will be effective Feb. 1. For the remainder of the spring semester, he will be on administrative assignment to prepare his coursework for the fall, when he will return to teaching.

Reached yesterday at his office, Dr. Pope said he had no comment other than to confirm that the university had accepted his resignation.

Dr. Pope offered that resignation more than a year ago. In December, 1998, he sent a letter to Dr. Kapoor, who was about to take office, offering to resign. “That’s just common courtesy,” he told The Blade at the time. “He’s the new president, and he deserves that courtesy.”

Mr. Brennan said that resignation never was formally accepted or rejected, but that when Dr. Pope asked to return to teaching this week, his previous resignation offer was accepted.

Dr. Sharkey has been with UT’s faculty since 1984. He served as interim dean in 1997 and 1998, when the dean search that eventually found Dr. Pope was ongoing. Dr. Kapoor was one of the members of that search committee.

Before coming to UT, Dr. Pope was dean of the college of business at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, a post he had held since 1992.

Of UT’s nine academic deans, only three have the job on a permanent basis, and all three were named by the current administration: Phillip Closius of the law school, Dr. Laurene Zaporozhetz of the university library system, and Dr. Ronald Fournier of the engineering college. Interim deans run the colleges of business, education, pharmacy, arts and sciences, health and human services, and university college.

Developer plans apartments near campus for UT students

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

A Texas developer has secured land near the University of Toledo and is planning a large “luxury apartment” complex for students.

JPI, Inc., of Irving, Tex., hopes to begin construction on its project, to be called Jefferson Commons, by May. University officials applauded the move, saying they want to see more students living on or near campus.

“We know we currently cannot meet the demand for on-campus housing,” Joe Brennan, university spokesman, said. “This sort of thing can really help enhance the campus experience.”

JPI has made a business of building residential communities for students near university campuses across the country. The company runs 14 Jefferson Commons complexes, most of them in southern cities.

But the company is planning an expansion into more northern cities. Along with Toledo, Jefferson Commons complexes are planned for the Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Missouri.

“We’ve been looking north, and we’ve been examining Toledo for about a year,” said John Dinan, JPI’s senior vice president for development.

The company has signed a contract to purchase an unspecified number of acres along Dorr Street, west of Secor Road. That location would be a short walk from the western edge of UT’s Bancroft Street campus. JPI is doing environmental and market testing to decide whether to go ahead with the project, which would include roughly 200 units. Mr. Dinan said that rents for the units have not been determined.

UT President Vik Kapoor has repeatedly said he wants to make UT a more residential campus, and the university is expected to begin building dormitories in the next few years.

But even though Jefferson Commons would be off-campus, UT officials said they did not view the development as competition for their own plans.

“We welcome it, because it gives students another option,” Mr. Brennan said.

The university has room for 2,883 students on campus. Last year, about 300 students requested on-campus housing, but were rejected for lack of space. Mr. Brennan said about 7,000 UT students live within three miles of campus.

Other JPI projects have included amenities that students find attractive, including high-speed Internet connections, access to office equipment, and washers and dryers in each apartment.

If construction begins in May – and that would require zoning changes and environmental testing to go smoothly – Mr. Dinan said the complex could be open in time for the fall semester of 2001.

The company has tentatively scheduled a neighborhood meeting for Feb. 9 to discuss the project. A site for the meeting has not been determined.

UT plans campaign to beef up enrollment

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

If the University of Toledo is to increase its enrollment, it will have to be done at the expense of other Ohio schools, President Vik Kapoor said yesterday.

“The number of college students in Ohio every year is constant, and it’s going to stay constant,” he said. “So if the University of Toledo is to see its enrollment go up, it will come at the expense of the other universities in the state. And the competition means we have to give a unique, quality education if we want to succeed.”

Dr. Kapoor made his comments at a meeting of the East Toledo Club at Cousino’s Cafe Chez Vin, 2022 Woodville Rd.

The university’s enrollment has dropped from about 25,000 in 1991 to fewer than 20,000 this year. Dr. Kapoor said students pay the university, on average, about $3,000, and the state of Ohio subsidizes another $3,000 per student.

That means the university is losing about $30 million a year because of the enrollment decline.

“Our campus was designed to have 30,000 students, not 20,000,” he said. “We need to reclaim the enrollment we lost.”

He said he plans a more aggressive marketing campaign throughout Ohio to draw more students. He said most Ohioans don’t know of the university’s assets, like its Bancroft Street campus.

“People in other parts of Ohio assume the University of Toledo is in some depressed neighborhood. They don’t know we have such a beautiful campus,” he said.

He said the university will focus on ways to differentiate itself from other Ohio schools, including more aggressive scholarship efforts, better teachers, and better cooperation with local industry.

Dr. Kapoor said the university’s efforts are beginning to pay off; he said applications for the fall semester are up 20 per cent from this time in 1999.

He said the university will match the scholarships the East Toledo Club gives each year to local students if they attend the university. The club gives one or more scholarships every year to Waite High School seniors who have volunteered in the community. Their total worth ranges from $500 to $2,000 annually, Carolyn Hecklinger, club president, said.

Iowa administrator gets BGSU post

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 14

BOWLING GREEN — An administrator at the University of Iowa has been named the new provost and vice president for academic affairs of Bowling Green State University.

Dr. John Folkins was named to the university’s top academic position Monday by BGSU President Sidney Ribeau.

“I am pleased that we have attracted an academic leader and scholar of Dr. Folkins’s caliber,” Dr. Ribeau said.

As provost, Dr. Folkins will be the university’s chief academic officer, overseeing the faculty and the education of students.

“I was very impressed in all of my interactions with the people at Bowling Green,” he said from his Iowa office. “There’s a huge amount of momentum there, and I am thrilled to be part of it.”

Dr. Folkins received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, and his doctorate from the University of Washington.

He has been at the University of Iowa since 1977, when he joined the faculty of the department of speech pathology and audiology. Dr. Folkins became the department’s acting chairman in 1985, taking the job permanently the next year.

In 1993, he was named associate provost for academic review and academic support services. Four years later, he became associate provost for undergraduate education.

Dr. Folkins’s major area of academic research is the neuromotor control of speech movements. He is a past president of the American Association of Phonetic Sciences and former editor of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

The university’s last permanent provost, Dr. Charles Middleton, left in May to become vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University System of Maryland. Dr. Linda Dobb, who had been the university’s dean of libraries and learning service, has been interim provost since then.

Dr. Dobb had been one of five finalists for the permanent post; Teri Sharp, the university’s director of news services, said Dr. Dobb’s new status with the university has not been determined.

Dr. Folkins will start May 1. He will be paid $170,000. Dr. Middleton’s salary was $140,719.

Stadium architect recommended

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

A Lucas County committee recommended yesterday that a team led by HNTB Architects, a Kansas City firm, be put in charge of designing a new Mud Hens stadium.

“They have a real vision of what the Warehouse District can be,” Commissioner Harry Barlos said.

Mr. Barlos heads the 19-member committee that heard presentations from three firms seeking the Mud Hen contract. After 90 minutes of deliberations, the committee ranked HNTB as its first choice, above two other Kansas City firms, HOK Sports and Devine deFlon Yaeger Architects.

For the Mud Hens stadium, HNTB will be teaming up with The Collaborative, a local architecture firm, and Finkbeiner Pettis & Strout, a local engineering firm.

The ranking means that Tom Chema, the county’s consultant on the stadium project, will begin negotiating with HNTB officials on the cost of retaining the company’s services. Mr. Chema said he hopes the two sides will be able to reach a broad agreement on costs in the next five days.

HNTB has designed more than a dozen stadiums around the country; five of its minor-league parks open this spring. Among the new parks are a $14.7 million stadium in Dayton and a $26 million stadium in Louisville. It designed the stadium in Lansing that Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has said he would like the Mud Hens stadium to resemble.

Mr. Barlos said that HNTB’s proposal shows a stronger commitment to integrating the stadium into the Warehouse District.

“They showed a passionate interest in the urban landscape,” he said.

Although the firms were not asked to submit a full stadium design for yesterday’s presentations, HNTB presented conceptual sketches that integrated several Warehouse District buildings into the stadium’s design.

“This project impacts a huge part of downtown and the Warehouse District, two or three blocks in every direction,” said Robert Fessler, the project’s leader at The Collaborative. “We’re very excited.”

Mr. Fessler said his company would be in charge of interior design and landscaping, while HNTB will be lead architects on the stadium structure.

Mr. Chema said a stadium architect is usually paid between 6 and 9 per cent of the stadium’s construction cost. In the Mud Hens’ case, construction is expected to take up roughly $25 million of the project’s $37 million budget. He said that the firm hired probably will be paid “slightly more” than $1.5 million.

But county officials were quick to point out that all three firms made excellent presentations, and if Mr. Chema is unable to reach an acceptable agreement with HNTB, the county would be satisfied with selecting either of the other two.

“We couldn’t make a mistake here, because they’re all excellent firms,” Mr. Chema said.

HNTB is involved in another major Toledo project as a consultant on the design of the new I-280 Maumee River crossing.

The firm has done work on the Mud Hens project before. V/Gladieux Enterprises, the company that owns the Toledo Sports Arena, hired HNTB and The Collaborative to create a development proposal for a new stadium on the Sports Arena site and an arena on Summit Street downtown.

Mr. Chema eventually rejected the Sports Arena proposal in favor of the stadium’s current proposed site, between Monroe, Washington, Huron, and St. Clair streets.

The county commissioners are scheduled to make the final decision on which firm to hire on Jan. 25. Mr. Chema said that after the selection is made, the county will hold several public hearings to get input on the stadium.

Construction is scheduled to start in October, with work completed in time for the 2002 baseball season.

‘New’ century wasn’t really news on Jan. 1, 1900

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A2

They say that newspapers are the first draft of history. In 2100, Blade reporters will no doubt be looking back to today’s paper to see what life was like back before teleportation came along. (And presumably to learn the exact species of this “Y2K bug” everyone was talking about.)

Above is the front page of The Blade’s first edition of the 1900s, and a window into what concerned and consumed the Toledoans of a century ago. Herewith, a tour:

First, the basic changes: There are ads on the front page, on the left and right edges, a practice ended long ago. Today, a typical front page might have five or six stories, along with a few large pictures; the 1900 edition has no fewer than 21.

In 1900, The Blade cost only two cents (and worth every penny, no doubt). And presumably, the eyes of Toledoans were in better shape then than now, because Blade readers had to pore over tiny print to get the news.

Now take a look at the stories of the day:

* Fourth column, at top: “He designates his successor.” Predicting the next pope is always a tough assignment, no matter how many hints the current one may drop. This story doesn’t even bother revealing its source in saying that Cardinal Girolamo Maria Gotti would become pope at the death of Pope Leo XIII.

The source was probably happy to remain anonymous. When Pope Leo died in 1903, his successor was Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, who became Pope Pius X.

* Sixth column, near the bottom: “Griffin denies that he has a ripper.” Could there be a worse accusation than the claim that one has a ripper? Whatever a ripper is?

The brief story uses an old meaning of the word, a piece of legislation “designed to make drastic changes in a governmental agency for purely partisan purposes.” Rippers usually came along when a different party controlled state and local governments, and state officials wanted to punish someone they disagreed with in city hall.

The feared ripper of Rep. C.P. Griffin never seemed to materialize, but plenty of others did in the early years of the century, as state Republicans tried to punish Toledo’s independent mayors, Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones and his successor Brand Whitlock.

* Second column, at top: “Brave work of Britons.” Normally, when newspapers today have little to report on an ongoing story, they might run an article on some other topic instead.

Not so in the old days, as this story attests: “Owing to the lack of news from important points, interest in the war today centers on the comparatively unimportant skirmishing near Dordrecht.” The Boer War between the British and the Afrikaners was going on, and The Blade was going to run a story on it, no matter how “comparatively unimportant” it may have been.

* Fifth column, at top: “Without fuss or feathers.” A story about the opening a session of the General Assembly begs the question: On most days, were there lots of feathers at the Statehouse?

* Eighth column, midway down: “Dynamite and other supplies.” Now we think of Canada as just a friendly neighbor to the north, giver of hockey cross-checks and Alberta clippers. But for Irish-Americans a century ago, it was land waiting to be conquered. Then as now, the Irish were angry about Britain’s control of their home island. The Fenian movement, a precursor to today’s Irish Republican Army, sought to do something about it.

You can learn as much about Toledo circa 1900 by looking at the smaller items on the page. Could there be greater evidence that the language has changed over the last hundred years than the presence of the word “defalcation” of a headline (fifth column)?

At top left and top right is the slogan, “The Only Republican Daily In Toledo.” The Blade was staunchly Republican for its first 121 years, and didn’t endorse a Democrat for president until 1956.

At the bottom of columns four and five, you find something now exiled to the Peach section: jokes. Not particularly funny jokes, mind you – the bit in column five headlined “She Couldn’t Send Him Out” is well nigh incomprehensible – but jokes nonetheless.

With fewer colleges nationwide, the press paid much closer attention to the ones that did exist, which is why the appointment of a new professor at Yale University (eighth column, near the bottom) would be front-page news.

And, try as we might, the press has never been perfect at catching errors. Check out the very bottom of the sixth column, where a woman’s last name is spelled “VanGirder” and “Van Gorder” in the space of three lines.

Finally, notice that there’s nothing on the page to indicate that Jan. 1, 1900, was the start of a new century. Just as a new generation of party poopers are saying last night’s antics should have waited until the start of 2001, The Blade acknowledged a century ago that Jan. 1, 1901, was the first day of the new century. That day’s paper has quite a few allusions to the new era being begun.

If nothing else, Blade reporters a century from now will notice that Toledoans paid more attention to the year 2000 than they did the year 1900.