Erie County Auditor Tom Paul's job revolves around keeping county expenditures in check, but when it comes to a good cause, he's willing to reach into his own pockets and lay down the green.
Recently, Paul purchased hundreds of dollars in savings bond prizes to award the winners of the student essay contest sponsored by the Sandusky Club of Black Business & Professional Women.
Paul said buying the savings bonds was a way for him to give back to a community that has helped him and a way to give future generations a head start.
"I believe in the club's mission and in what they are trying to do with the essays and the scholarships," he said. "I am the first person to help the club like this, and it allows them to put more money into the scholarships. It just allows the club to do more good for the community also and especially the younger generation of our community."
Lean green police machine
You all saw the muscle-car photos that ran on our Autos page from the auto show in Detroit, but what I saw when I went to Detroit last week was the number of green cars. Detroit and everyone else is pushing green, green, green. There were hybrids and electrics that looked like race cars (the electric entry from Chrysler featured two spokesmodels guaranteed to gather attention) and the basement display consisted of a driving track in which you could go for a ride in a hybrid or an electric.
Everyone seemed to want to ride in one of the "green" sedans or SUVs but I figured I could ride one of those any day of the week. I told the guy with the sign-up sheet I'd let anyone who wanted to go ahead of me do so, if only I could ride in the little plastic electric "GEM" car belonging to the Detroit Police.
Officer Grimes of the Detroit Police told me the car could do 25 mph, but he knew of one that could do 80 mph. The police use theirs mainly for public relations stuff and, with the help of distorting goggles -- real-life "beer goggles," I guess you could call them -- to teach people what it's like to drive drunk. It's completely street legal, he said -- and I noticed a two-seat version, a pickup truck version and a "bus" version on prominent display in the main level at Cobo Hall.
I wondered at the police car's plastic cabin and the uninspiring plastic "clunk" the door made when I shut it and the claim of one of these things doing 80 mph.
"I think we're each other's side air bag," I told Officer Grimes.
In general, the stripped-down Detroit show, nowhere near as glitzy as in year's past as the auto industry stares into the abyss, seemed to take a page from Cleveland's auto show -- plainer, but more things to do. We'll see what happens at the I-X Center in a month or so.
-- Don Lee
Open 24 hours, but not in a row
I once lived in Philadelphia, Pa., and had a gym membership at a place called 24 Hour Fitness.
The health club closed at about 10 p.m., and wouldn't open the following day until 6 or more hours later.
Let's see ... carry the one, and -- nope. I did the math, and it's not quite 24.
I was pleased to do a story about a new gym in Huron that lives up to its name.
Anytime Fitness is open -- tra-la -- anytime. Its members have key cards (fobs, to be more accurate) that allow them access to the gym at all hours of the day and night.
If only all businesses lived up to this set of principles -- meeting the expectations set forth by their names.
Of course, the exception that proves the rule is Burger King.
I'm glad it's not fit for royalty, because royalty I am not, and yet Burger King I love.