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Pianist to ‘Soothe’ with new disc, book at Barnes & Noble appearance

Jim Brickman didn’t realize how comforting his music could be until two years ago when he hurt his knee and needed an MRI. The technician cued up two of his discs, No Words and By Heart.

Brickman

Brickman

“I never listen to something after I’ve already recorded it because then it’s out of me. I’ll play it in concert, but I don’t listen to the recording,” he said. “There were a couple songs that I thought were beautiful.”

Noting the irony, he said one that caught his ear in the machine was called “Open Doors.”

While fans have escaped through his music for three decades, it was the first time he found solace in his serene sound.

That one-hour test made Brickman recognize it was time to admit it: He was a stress junkie.

It’s true. The man with the tranquil blue eyes who looks laidback on dozens of CD covers and appears calm in concert said he used to freak out almost daily — until he made finding tranquility a priority.

His new project offers a soundtrack to relax to and advice on how to create quiet moments in stress-filled lives.

Brickman will play selections from Soothe — Music to Quiet Your Mind & Soothe Your World Volume 1 and read from a companion book, Soothe — How to Find Calm Amid Everyday Chaos, Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble University Bookstore at the Gateway. Fans are advised to arrive early for the appearance, which will include an autograph session and photo opportunity.

Wind chimes gently ringing, birds softly singing, and waves caressing the shore herald his shimmering piano playing on “Fly,” the opening track of the new CD. You can almost feel the balmy breeze and smell the salty air.

Soothe“For ‘Fly,’ if you really listen to that song, it’s the most melodic on the album,” he said. “It was a melody that I felt soared, and it was about that you could find your dreams and you could go after anything you want… I felt it was a very positive and hopeful message.”

Since his 1994 debut, the Cleveland native has sold more than seven million records with songs that inspire, heal and comfort. He has collaborated with a long list of stars, including Martina McBride, Collin Raye, Jane Krakowski and Lady Antebellum. Brickman’s bright key work radiates feelings of love and peace.

“I really do believe in accomplishing whatever you set your mind to do,” the songwriter and author said. “Because once you do and you see that’s possible and that it works, it changes the way you look at the world.”

To help gain control of his hectic life and share that message with others, he contacted professionals he featured on his syndicated radio show, “Your Weekend With Jim Brickman,” heard locally on 101.5 The River, to offer advice in the 192-page book. Chapters cover how to soothe your mornings, kingdom, family and relationships.

“I feel like almost everything in the book is relatable to most of us, especially for aging baby boomers, but especially the sleep [chapter]. Everybody I know is sleep-deprived or an insomniac; nobody says, ‘Oh, I sleep great every night,’” he said and laughed. “What I started to do at night and in the morning is treat that differently and try to get better and more restful sleep.”

This means putting away electronics. A little lavender doesn’t hurt either.

“There’s so much stimulation all the time — it’s stimulation every second that you pick [the cell phone] up,” Brickman said during a call from his Cleveland home. “And then when you go to sleep at night, it’s a similar kind of thing because a lot of us take the computer to bed or are stimulated by TV or radio, and it’s hard to fall asleep when you’re stimulated by the electronics all the time.”

Those who unplug and unwind with the pianist on UT’s Main Campus may be treated to a spirited version of his first hit from 1994.

“‘Rocket to the Moon’ is actually about escape and it’s about an idea about taking a break from your life,” Brickman said. “Wouldn’t it just be fun to escape and come back and go right back into your life where it is? So many of us are in such desperate need of alone time or just me time as I call it. It’s very rare; not many of us have that in our lives.”

Hear how tree helped heal Oklahoma City at April 29 talk

Despite being across from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, an American elm remained standing after the April 19, 1995, blast that devastated more than 16 city blocks.

Hear how this American elm was saved after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and has become known as the Survivor Tree at a talk Wednesday, April 29.

Hear how this American elm was saved after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and has become known as the Survivor Tree at a talk Wednesday, April 29.

Although nearly destroyed and covered in debris, the tree was saved thanks to efforts made by the community and the Oklahoma Forestry Services, which turned the American elm into a memorial site for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Mark Bays, urban forestry coordinator at Oklahoma Forestry Service, will tell the elm’s story and how it became known as the Survivor Tree Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in Snyder Memorial Building Room 2100.

“It’s just amazing how they saved this tree from complete destruction and how they brought this tree back to life, and not only that, but the steps they took to preserve it,” said Craig Schaar, forestry inspector of the city of Toledo. “They had to put underground irrigation in for it and create an aeration system for the tree roots. They also have a patio-like area around the tree, so they had to create an infrastructure so that the tree would survive. The tree was originally surrounded by a parking lot, so they had to bring in special soil and create an environment for this tree to actually grow.”

Bays

Bays

Since the beginning, Bays has been directly involved with bringing the community together to save and preserve the tree.

“When the bombing happened, there were limbs blown off the tree, car parts embedded within the tree itself; you can actually see pictures where a car was wrapped around the tree trunk. Arborists would look at this tree and say, ‘Let’s just take it down,’” Schaar said.

“Bays saw all this and said, ‘You know what, we need to save this tree,’ and he decided to take it upon himself to get public support and politicians to save this tree,” Schaar said.

In conjunction with the presentation, a special tree planting was held April 24. A burr oak purchased by the Toledo Urban Forestry Commission was planted outside the Ritter Planetarium.

“The planting of this new tree on our campus recognizes both the significance of Arbor Day and Earth Day on our campus, but also this inspiring story on the importance of trees in urban communities and to those that live and work in a city who will be able to experience and admire these for many years,” said Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT professor and chair in the Department of Geography and Planning, and chair of the President’s Commission on the River.

The free, public presentation is sponsored by the Toledo Urban Forestry Commission Inc., Findlay Shade Tree Commission, the UT Department of Geography and Planning, and the University of Findlay.

For more information, contact Schaar at craig.schaar@toledo.oh.gov or 419.936.2669.

UT to celebrate opening of Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute

As a response to the more than 29.8 million people worldwide trapped in modern-day slavery as victims of human trafficking, The University of Toledo Board of Trustees voted in November to establish the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

A ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony will take place Tuesday, April 28, at 2 p.m. in Health and Human Services Building Room 2638.

Scheduled speakers for the event include John Carey, chancellor for the Ohio Board of Regents; State Rep. Teresa Fedor; Dr. Nagi Naganathan, UT interim president; and Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work, institute director and an international expert in the fight against human trafficking.

“This institute will increase UT’s prominence as an international leader in the effort against human trafficking,” Naganathan said. “We are proud to have someone of Dr. Williamson’s caliber as an expert in this area at UT, and this initiative will further highlight her work.”

The mission of the institute is to respond to human trafficking and social justice through teaching, research and service. Programs will be established to help victims become survivors and for survivors to become “thrivers,” individuals who have completed the healing process and established stable and productive lives.

“This institute will build upon and extend the efforts of Dr. Celia Williamson to publicly address and help alleviate the evils of human trafficking regionally, nationally and globally through a multi-faceted blend of teaching, impactful research and targeted community partnering,” said Dr. Thomas Gutteridge, dean of the College of Social Justice and Human Service. “My thanks also to everyone involved in this initiative for their commitment to helping the institute become a major force in further reducing human trafficking and its impact upon those enslaved by this system.”

One of the key areas of focus for the institute will be educating practitioners to serve on the front lines of efforts to combat human trafficking and assist victims. Educational activities will focus on a wide range of professions, including social work, criminal justice, law, medicine, psychology, education, counseling and public health.

“I applaud The University of Toledo for providing the leadership necessary to establish the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, which will provide research, education and outreach to combat this issue,” said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey. “I look forward to having all of Ohio’s colleges and universities collaborate with the Institute to further strengthen our efforts across the state in the fight against human trafficking.”

After receiving a Jefferson Award earlier this year for her work, Williamson addressed the broad impact that human trafficking has: “Human trafficking affects more than just the victims, it affects the whole community.”

The institute also will work to advance the body of knowledge on human trafficking issues and track effective solutions to these problems.

Research society to discuss minorities in science careers April 28

Take part in a discussion this week focusing on minority representation in the science career field.

The University of Toledo’s Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society will host a science café Tuesday, April 28, at 5 p.m. in Student Union Room 3018.

A panel of professionals will lead the discussion, “Are There Still Minority and Gender Representation Issues in Science Careers?”

Dr. Defne Apul and Dr. Youngwoo Seo, UT associate professors of civil engineering; Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, associate professor of medicinal and biological chemistry and director of international pharmaceutical sciences graduate student recruitment and retention in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Jennifer Rubin, a University of Michigan doctoral student in psychology and women’s studies, will host this week’s discussion.

Refreshments will be available at the free, public event.

For more information, click here.

‘The Relevant University’ to air April 28

Tune in to “The Relevant University” Tuesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. on AM 760 WJR.

Relevant U logo 2014Athletic training and sports medicine at the collegiate level will be the topic of this month’s program.

Mary-Bec Gwyn, UT associate vice president for branding and creative services, will be joined by Brian Jones, UT assistant athletic director for sports medicine, for the show.

Their guests will be:

• Rex Sharp, associate athletic director for sports medicine at the University of Missouri;

• Dr. Sally Nogle, head athletic trainer at Michigan State University;

• Dr. Chris Ingersoll, professor and dean of the UT College of Health Sciences; and

• Dr. Roger Kruse, a board-certified family and sports medicine physician in Toledo.

The University of Toledo and Detroit’s WJR Radio produce the monthly, hourlong program that explores the critical role higher education plays in our world.

Listen at utoledo.edu/therelevantuniversity, WJR 760 AM or wjr.com.

Faculty: Learn how to customize class materials April 29

The Barnes & Noble University Bookstore will host a presentation on XanEdu Publishing Wednesday, April 29, at 4 p.m. in Student Union Room 2591.

XanEdu“XanEdu is a publisher for faculty that allows them to custom create material for their courses,” said Colleen Strayer, general manager of the UT Barnes & Noble.

The presentation will cover several topics, including XanEdu’s do-it-yourself customization platform, controlling the price of course materials, digital course packs and more.

“It allows faculty to totally customize the course material to look the way they want and gives them control in areas that normally publishers don’t,” Strayer said. “There are a lot of faculty on UT’s campus that already use XanEdu because it allows them to control the cost of their course materials.”

Robert Cook, a XanEdu representative, will speak at the presentation and be available for questions afterward.

All attendees will be entered to win a Barnes & Noble gift card. The three winners will be announced at the end of the presentation.

No RSVP is required. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact Strayer at sm573@bncollege.com.

Service recognition awards slated for May 5

The Employee Service Recognition Program will be held Tuesday, May 5, at 3 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium.

UT-5yr-pinEmployees celebrating anniversaries will receive pins that feature the number of years they have worked at UT.[/caption]More than 1,300 employees will celebrate 18,360 years of combined service at the University.

“It’s important to come together and commemorate these milestones,” Jovita Thomas-Williams, vice president and chief human resources officer, said. “The University is a special place to work, and it’s nice to thank the employees who make it feel like home for so many — students, patients and their peers.”

Interim President Nagi Naganathan will speak at 3:15 p.m. to start the celebration. A reception will start about 4 p.m.

Those who have worked at the University five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years will be recognized with service pins and awards during the ceremony.

Employees are encouraged to go to http://utole.do/serviceaward2015 to see the list of those who will be recognized. If you believe you should be on the list, email humanresourcesdepartment@utoledo.edu and include your Rocket number and hire date to be verified.

South Dining Hall to close April 24 in the afternoon

The South Dining Hall in the Student Union will close beginning at 2 p.m. Friday, April 24, for the remainder of the academic year as maintenance crews begin work to repair piping beneath the floor.

Other food court eateries in the Student Union will maintain regular business hours through the end of the semester.

Staffing will be increased to handle additional volume in both Rocky’s Grill and the Horton International House.

Staff members to be honored April 29

Five employees will receive the 2015 Outstanding Staff Award Wednesday, April 29.

The ceremony will begin at noon in the Radisson Birch Room.

Up for grabs: $1,000 and a plaque for each winner.

In addition, the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award will be presented.

“Shining the spotlight on loyal employees who have accomplished so much and are committed to improvement and innovation is always a heartwarming experience,” Jovita Thomas-Williams, vice president and chief human resources officer, said. “Employees make everything run smoothly at the University and should be recognized for their dedication.”

Celebrate National Astronomy Day April 25 at Ritter Planetarium

Explore the mysteries of the universe at The University of Toledo’s fourth annual Astronomy Day.

Ritter Planetarium logoThe free, public event on Saturday, April 25, will feature shows in Ritter Planetarium and UT astronomers sharing their latest research using the Discovery Channel Telescope.

“Astronomy Day is an opportunity for us to invite young people to campus to learn about our solar system and to thank the community for their support of our programs,” said Alex Mak, UT associate planetarium director.

Shows featured during Astronomy Day will be:

• “The Case of the Disappearing Planet” at 1 p.m. Join Skye Watcher as she explores what happened to the ex-planet Pluto and tracks down clues that stretch back hundreds of years.

• “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity” at 2 p.m. Narrated by actor Liam Neeson, this production features high-resolution visualizations of cosmic phenomena, working with data generated by computer simulations, to bring the current science of black holes to the dome screen.

• “Scanning the Skies” at 3 p.m. This documentary produced by the Discovery Channel looks at the rich history of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., and the decision to build a new state-of-the-art observatory in the Coconino National Forest.

Following the final documentary, UT astronomers will talk about using the Discovery Channel Telescope and share a few images they have taken. Astronomy Day will conclude with a live feed from the telescope.

Throughout Astronomy Day, guests also will have the opportunity to tour the Ritter Planetarium’s one-meter telescope and use it to view Venus, weather permitting. And members of the Toledo Astronomical Association will be available to answer questions about telescopes and provide solar observing, weather permitting.

For more information about Astronomy Day and Ritter Planetarium, visit utoledo.edu/nsm/rpbo.