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Financial stability program helps the new faces of poverty
Written by John Szozda   
Monday, 23 November 2009 09:34

Linda Collins was right-sized in April, 2008 after 31 years with the same hospital. She was single, 53 years old, too early to retire, and forced to look for a new career at the start of what is now called ‘The Great Recession.’

A year later, she’s still looking. She doesn’t answer her phone and the card companies are threatening to take her home.

Collins spent the first eight months of her unemployment looking for a job. No one was hiring, except the hospital that let her go. She said she could have put her name on a hire-back list, but the new position would pay half of what she earned before. She couldn’t get past the bitterness and she knew she wouldn’t be able to pay her bills, so she said no thank you and enrolled in a six-month training program for administrative dental assistant.

Collins graduated in June but she still hasn’t been able to find a job. Nor, has she been able to cut expenses to at least equal the $1,368 a month she gets in unemployment benefits. She asked someone to move into her East Toledo home to share expenses, but that still wasn’t enough and she stopped paying some bills.

Voters toss out nine incumbents, change is coming
Written by John Szozda   
Thursday, 12 November 2009 16:24

Local voters two weeks ago were not in the mood to keep the status quo. They not only threw out nine incumbents, they did it with rare exuberance.

Let’s start with the sweep in Genoa: four incumbents out; two restaurant-bar owners in—Ray St. Marie of Rayz Café and Eric Hise of The Bharmacy. Voters also chose John Lewis and David N. Brown, whose common ground with the other two is putting the brakes on what they perceive to be an over-aggressive police force.

Do they have a case?

Voters thought so. The four winners each garnered between 383 to 431votes while each of the four incumbents only managed between 202 to 246 votes.

That’s a mandate.

Community forum more like a rowdy bar than a coffeehouse
Written by John Szozda   
Thursday, 05 November 2009 17:44

It’s a bawdy, raucous and, at times, a repulsive place. People talk trash, call each other names like ‘retard’ and ‘liberal puke’, dish sarcasm, spread rumors and spew hate.

It was supposed to be more like a coffee shoppe than a neighborhood bar, more a place for erudite discussion, than a place to vent the dregs of a dark mind.

But, that has not been the case with Shout, the community forum on The Press Web site.

Shout is a popular place to see comments from the neighborhood. In the last three months, 2,153 visitors followed two popular ‘threads’, blog slang for topics, and left 174 comments. Oregon politics was the hottest topic.

That’s nothing new. Oregon is a city with a rich history of mud slinging. In the nasty 1991 election, the Democratic party ousted four of its members for their refusal to snap to. Two of them, Marge Brown and Mike Seferian, ran for mayor this election. Brown made amends with the party long ago and has been the endorsed candidate the last three mayoral elections. Seferian never sought to rejoin the fold and last week won the race as an Independent.

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