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Ryan White Program to share local mother’s story during July 25 forum

The Ryan White Program at The University of Toledo Medical Center is encouraging families to openly discuss HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

The program’s support group, Young, Gay and Empowered, is sponsoring a free, public forum titled “A Mother’s Story” Monday, July 25, at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1201 Madison Ave.

HIV July 25 forumAccording to the Lucas County Health Department, the number of HIV/AIDS infections among young people ages 15 to 24 has significantly and consistently increased during the last eight years. This age group accounted for 42 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in 2014.

“The largest growing demographic for new HIV infections is young African-American men and men of all races and ethnicities who have sex with other men,” said Richard Meeker, manager of fundraising and special projects. “We need to encourage these young men to talk to their families and seek the care they need to live healthier lives.”

Kennyetta White, minority outreach coordinator, agreed saying many young people face social stigmas that keep them from seeking help.

“It is our goal to reach beyond these stigmas to encourage young men to get tested and if they are diagnosed with HIV, link them to support and health services and retain them in the support program long term,” she said.

Toledoan Toni Epperson will serve as keynote speaker. She will share the story of her son, David, who kept his HIV diagnosis a secret until it was too late.

“We had a close relationship, and I thought he would tell me anything,” she said. “What I later learned was he was too afraid to come forward. He thought he would be shamed for his diagnosis and wanted to protect me from that. My son’s secret killed him.”

Epperson said she wants to tell young men that their lives matter and they don’t need to die needlessly.

“There is help out there,” she said. “I want them to know they are not alone and that they do not have to go through what David went through. I want them to know I care.”

UT to host International Youth Academy July 24-Aug. 6

The UT Center for International Studies and Programs, in conjunction with Toledo Sister Cities, will welcome students from around the world for the 2016 International Youth Academy, which will take place from Sunday, July 24, through Saturday, Aug. 6, on Main Campus.

This summer’s program will host 32 students:16 from Pakistan, 10 from Japan and six from China.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“The high school students have the opportunity to experience campus life by residing in one of our residence halls and engaging with The University of Toledo students,” said Sara Clark, director of global initiatives in the UT Center for International Studies and Programs. “We have two full weeks planned; program highlights include targeted English second language instruction and development of cultural awareness through outings to Toledo Mud Hens games and the Toledo Art Museum, to name a few. 

“We are pleased to continue this partnership with Toledo Sister Cities International,” Clark said. “There is no better way to showcase what our city has to offer than allowing young people to experience it firsthand.”

A cultural program for high school-aged youth from around the world, the International Youth Academy allows participants to improve their conversational English while having fun, developing new understanding of teens from different cultures, and gaining lifetime friendships.

“The University of Toledo and Toledo Sister Cities International have a long-standing relationship; this relationship has evolved into a partnership to implement the International Youth Academy program,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, UT assistant vice provost for international studies and programs. “This program provides us the opportunity to showcase the city of Toledo, as well as The University of Toledo. The city of Toledo has a great wealth of opportunities to offer the international community, and this program allows us to gain exposure in the international arena.” 

“Toledo Sister Cities International is proud of its nationally acclaimed alliance with The University of Toledo’s Center for International Studies and Programs,” said James Hartung, vice president of the Toledo Sister City Board of Trustees. “In my mind, there is no greater pride than the pride I ascribe to our UT/Sister Cities co-sponsorship of the International Youth Academy. Our shared commitment to creatively foster the development of a corps of young citizen-of-the-world diplomats through the International Youth Academy exemplifies the synergy between UT and Sister Cities.”

The International Youth Academy is a cultural two-week program that enriches high school students’ global awareness and English language. The program is designed for students to share their thoughts and experiences with teenagers from other countries. American youth diplomats work side by side with students to assist them with English, learn about the students’ traditions and culture, and share interests. English classes, language games, cultural activities, field trips and hands-on team-building events all aid in improving students’ conversational English.

For the second year, The Blade is supporting the International Youth Academy. The Blade staff will provide education on the concept of free press and teach interviewing and reporting skills. 

Events coordinator zooms in for Art on the Mall

It’s not unusual for Michele “Mickey” Ross to hop in her car, Canon XSi riding shotgun, and go for a drive. 

That’s how she found a small, dilapidated dwelling and gas pump one snowy day in Sylvania. And on a fall jaunt through Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse, she spotted horseback riders on a leaf-covered trail.

Michele “Mickey” Ross displayed some of her photography that she will have in frames, on coasters and notecards, and as prints at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31.

Michele “Mickey” Ross displayed some of her photography that she will have in frames, on coasters and notecards, and as prints at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31.

“I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time,” the events coordinator in the Special Events Office said. “A lot of photography is patience and sometimes luck. You have to be willing to just sit and observe — especially with nature. You can see so much more that way.”

Armed with her camera, Ross captures places many area residents are familiar with and frames them in a new way.

“You can go to the same park every day and see something different each time; it’s just how you’re looking at things, whether it’s a bird or a turtle or a frog or flowers,” she said. “Nature changes so rapidly that there’s always something different to look at — always.”

Michele “Mickey” Ross took this photo titled “Ice Tree” at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Michele “Mickey” Ross took this photo titled “Ice Tree” at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Her favorite locales to wander and shoot include area parks, gardens and the Toledo Zoo.

At the zoo, she caught a cormorant careening its neck to preen with an orange autumnal sky reflected in the water, as well as a regal eagle perched by evergreen sprigs. After an ice storm, she ventured carefully to Olander Park in Sylvania and clicked in the cold; the result was a stunning image of a tree encased in a shimmering frozen glaze.

“It’s almost cathartic. I get lost when I go out and photograph. I can be out for hours and not even know it because there’s so much to look at and so much to see,” Ross said.

She’s had an artful eye for years.

“I’ve always loved taking photos,” Ross recalled. “But I think I was getting frustrated because it seemed like I was in a rut.”

So four years ago, she joined the Toledo Camera Club and the Photo Arts Club of Toledo. That’s when she got serious about her passion.

“The clubs have challenges and assignments, and it makes you get out there and think,” Ross said. “Members critique the shots each time, and I think that’s helped me grow and progress as a photographer because it’s given me things I never would have thought of to do.”

“Bald Eagle” was photographed by Michele “Mickey” Ross at the Toledo Zoo.

“Bald Eagle” was photographed by Michele “Mickey” Ross at the Toledo Zoo.

And she’s had the chance to work with some surreal subjects, including a fairy statue submerged in an aquarium filled with a carbonated drink — a sprite in Sprite.

“I won a few awards at the photo clubs, and I thought, you know, maybe I can try to sell the photos and see what happens,” she said. “And my family encouraged me, too.”

In 2013, the UT graduate who received a bachelor’s degree in 1976 returned to her alma mater and made her debut at Art on the Mall.

“It was cool because I actually did pretty well, and I was surprised,” she said. “I had never done an art show before, it was my first one.”

Last year, Ross introduced a new item to showcase her photography: coasters.

“I was trying to come up with something that was a little more cost-effective for the normal person to buy,” she said. “I got online, looked around, and I saw coasters.”

“A Day at the Park” was taken by Michele “Mickey” Ross at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse.

“A Day at the Park” was taken by Michele “Mickey” Ross at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse.

Pretty and practical, but finding a process to produce the coasters took some time.

“Through my own process, I finally found a way to get it to work so that it wouldn’t be tacky and it wouldn’t look tacky,” Ross said and laughed. “And it would be water-resistant so it could be used as a coaster.”

No surprise, her coasters featuring UT photos proved popular her second year at Art on the Mall and sold quickly.

Ross does take requests. Folks who stop by her booth have asked for shots of Toledo landmarks, including Tony Packo’s, the Rosary Cathedral, and Fifth Third Field and all things Mud Hens, as well as lighthouses, trains and various animals.

“There are a lot of things here in the area to focus on that people look at and say, ‘Oh yeah, I know where that is.’ In fact, when people come up at the art fairs and shows, they have fun looking at things and saying, ‘Now where’s that?’ ”

Ross will be at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free juried art show will be held on Centennial Mall.

“I know they try to have alumni or people affiliated with UT at the event, and I think that adds to the flavor of it,” she said.

In her office, Ross has a few photos that she has taken, as well as several shots that she is in alongside celebrities who appeared in Centennial Hall/Savage Arena, where she worked for 25 years. 

And there is quote from one of her favorite photographers, Ansel Adams: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

“I don’t have a lot of equipment; it’s expensive. And like they say, it’s not the camera, it’s the shooter. You can make beautiful photographs with anything, even a point and shoot,” Ross said. “I’d like my photos to make people feel good, and I hope that they realize they are not random shots, that some thought was actually put into them.”

Rocket football single-game, away tickets go on sale July 20

Single-game Toledo football tickets and away-game tickets will go on sale Wednesday, July 20, at the UT Athletic Ticket Office.

Rocket football logoTickets are available for all six away games, including the Rockets’ battle vs. Northern Illinois at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago Wednesday, Nov. 9.

To purchase season tickets, single-game tickets or away-game tickets, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, click here, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653). Season tickets start at just $80.

football schedule for web

Art on the Mall juried show coming to Centennial Mall

The 24th annual Art on the Mall will take place Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

Art on the Mall is a juried art show that will have more than 100 booths featuring mediums such as acrylic, glass, jewelry, watercolor, woodwork, photography, oil, mixed media and more. Each booth will have artwork available for sale by cash or credit.

Art on the Mall Poster 2016There will be free parking in Lot 1 South, Lot 1 North and Lot 13, as well as free admission and golf cart shuttles to and from Centennial Mall.

The artists’ work will be juried by representatives from the Dayton Art Institute. Prizes will be given to the top artists, and UT’s Best of Show award will be presented to an artist who is affiliated with the University.

“The quality of our artists’ work is outstanding, and there is something for everyone. We have a diverse and eclectic mix sure to excite art lovers of all kinds,” said Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming in the UT Office of Alumni Relations.

Food and beverages will be for sale from Karen Anne’s Kettle Corn, Opa! Gyros, Java Sensations, K & K Concessions, Jeanie’s Weenies and Let’s Go Nuts. There also will be a children’s area where young artists can make their own creations, as well as a beer garden for attendees 21 and older.

Music will be peformed by UT student groups, Minor Frett and The Cosmonauts throughout the day.

Art on The Mall is sponsored by The Blade, Huntington, 13ABC, Buckeye Broadband, 101.5 The River and Homewood Press.

For more information, contact Abrams-Frederick at 419.530.4316 or ansley.abrams@utoledo.edu.

Rockets offer $15 Community Night Tickets for football home opener

The University of Toledo is thanking area fans for their great support of the Rocket football team by offering $15 Community Night Tickets for the home opener vs. Maine Saturday, Sept. 10.

web community night tixKickoff will be at 7 p.m. in the Glass Bowl.

Tickets must be purchased prior to game day in order to receive the discount. Community Night Tickets may be purchased at the UT Athletic Ticket Office, online at UTRocketsTix.com or by phone at 419.530.4653. There is a minimum of 15 tickets per order.

The ticket office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For questions or more information, contact Kyle England at 419.530.5135 or kyle.england@utoledo.edu.

Football coach to throw out first pitch at Detroit game July 16

UT Head Football Coach Jason Candle will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Detroit Tigers game vs. the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park Saturday, July 16. Game time is 7:10 p.m.

Candle is entering his first full season as the Rockets’ head coach. He was an assistant coach at UT for seven years before taking the reins as head coach last December. He led the Rockets to a 32-17 victory over Temple in his debut as head coach in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 22.

The Rockets will open their season Friday, Sept. 2, at Arkansas State. Their home opener is Saturday, Sept. 10, vs. Maine.

UT Football Coach Jason Candle will take the mound at Comerica Park to throw a baseball, not a football, Saturday, July 16, at the Detroit-Kansas City game.

UT Football Coach Jason Candle will take the mound at Comerica Park to throw a baseball, not a football, Saturday, July 16, at the Detroit-Kansas City game.

UT to teach community about composting July 16 at Stranahan Arboretum

There’s another option for items like coffee grounds, fruit peels, grass clippings and dryer lint besides the landfill.

composting flyerThe community is invited to learn the basics of home composting Saturday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The University of Toledo Stranahan Arboretum, located at 4131 Tantara Road.

Children and adults are welcome to participate in the free educational event titled “Composting Cups.”

Participants will learn how to start a compost pile and create a starter kit to take home.

“Plants need nutritious food, just like people do,” said Pam Struffolino, event coordinator at the arboretum and research operations manager in the Department of Environmental Sciences. “Composting is an example of decomposition, the final stages of the food web. Decomposers, like worms, break down food scraps and grass clippings into new soil and return the nutrients locked inside back into the soil for plants to use. It’s a process that reduces the need to buy commercial fertilizers and creates a more sustainable environment.”

Army to promote UT grad/former UT professor to rank of colonel

An Army ROTC Rocket Battalion alumnus and former military science professor at The University of Toledo will be promoted to the rank of colonel by the U.S. Army in a ceremony at his alma mater this weekend.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Beasley works at the Pentagon on the Joint Staff as director of current operations for the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency. The Joint Staff assists the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the principal military advisor to the president, secretary of defense and the National Security Council.

Beasley

Beasley

“I chose to come back to UT for the ceremony because this is my home,” Beasley said. “My career started here in 1994, and I was promoted to lieutenant colonel here in 2007. It only seems fitting to have this promotion here.”

Beasley’s promotion ceremony will be Saturday, July 16, at 1:30 p.m. in Student Union Room 2584 on Main Campus.

The native of Lambertville, Mich., graduated from the UT Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and geography. He returned to UT from 2009 to 2012 as military commander of the U.S. Army ROTC Rocket Battalion and professor of military science. He earned a master’s degree this year from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at Fort McNair. Beasley graduated from Bedford High School in 1989.

Beasley’s tours of duty include Kosovo in 1999, Iraq in 2006, and Afghanistan in 2004 and 2008.

Beasley lives in Virginia with his wife, Robin, and their four children. This will mark his third promotion ceremony at UT.

“It is a privilege to be able to witness Lt. Col. Jonathan Beasley be promoted to colonel here at UT where he first earned his commission 22 years ago,” said Master Sgt. Johnnie Fields, UT senior military instructor. “We are honored to celebrate his achievement. It gives great credence to his leadership abilities and potential, as well as to everything that the UT ROTC program represents as a way to instill discipline and leadership skills. Our focus is education and commitment to serving our country.”

The highest ranking alumnus of the UT ROTC program is retired Maj. Gen. David W. Foley from the commissioning class of 1970. More than 2,000 lieutenants have been commissioned through the program since 1947.

University Hall tower to be reinforced with steel

The iconic tower of University Hall is being reinforced with structural steel to ensure the integrity of the 85-year-old structure.

W.R. Meyers Co. of Napoleon, Ohio, will use a helicopter crane to deliver the steel beams into the tower Friday, July 15, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. University Hall will be evacuated by 4:30 p.m. prior to the start of the work.

helicopter3If it rains, the project will be moved to Saturday, July 16, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

“The helicopter crane helps deliver materials to hard-to-reach places, making these types of projects faster and safer,” said Jason Toth, associate vice president for facilities and construction. “This structural steel framework being installed inside our iconic bell tower will support the structural concrete to ensure it will greet students for years to come.”

During the delivery of the steel on Friday, University Hall will be vacant, and helicopter landing areas in front of the building and in the field south of the Memorial Field House also will need to remain clear. The helicopter will initially land by Memorial Field House to drop off personnel and equipment and then will use the landing site in front of University Hall, where the steel will be stored prior to being lifted into the tower. In addition, no traffic will be allowed on Centennial Mall during the delivery.

The University worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to be sure that all the peregrine falcons that reside in the tower are able to fly and will be able to leave the area during the commotion.

Following the initial delivery, the four tons of steel will then be permanently installed to the inside tower throughout the month. The project is expected to be complete by Friday, Aug. 12.

University Hall was the first building constructed on the UT Main Campus in 1931 when it was built in 11 months by 400 men. The building was designed by the architectural firm Mills, Rhines, Bellman & Nordhoff Inc. in the collegiate gothic style that has been replicated in buildings across campus.

The tower reaches 205 feet tall and features four clock faces, each 11 feet in diameter, and the chimes that mark the half hours and hours of the day.