New website emphasizes ‘Clear Choices; Clean Water’

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Sylvania is one of the 24 northwest Ohio partners and part of Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government’s Stormwater Coalition. The coalition has launched a new website to show how to make Lake Erie water clean and safe.

A clean Lake Erie is a huge issue for both the environment and the economy. And, it’s a big health issue as well, since the lake supplies drinking water to millions of Ohioans.

Those are some of the reasons for developing the new website and a program called “Greater Toledo Lake Erie’s Clear Choices, Clean Water” for people of all ages. This is an interactive, web-based initiative that focuses on everything from native plants and rain gardens to getting kids involved in the effort to keep the lake clean.

“Through our website, people can learn about the importance of planting rain gardens cleaning storm drains and cleaning up after your pet. We also focus on the importance of volunteering in your community,” noted Kari Gerwin a water quality planner for TMCOG.


and learn how to plant a rain garden to soak up stormwater and nutrients and how you can reconsider how you treat your lawn.

“Lake Erie has about $13 billion impact annually to Ohio’s economy, so it’s not only your drinking water but it’s a place where people recreate. They go fishing and boating and spend a lot of money in the process. About one-third of Ohio’s tourism dollars come from Lake Erie so we all have an obligation to be stewards of our lake and the Lake Erie watershed,” said TMCOG President Tim Brown.

Meet the three small business finalists and cast your vote!

–by Jennifer Ruple

The finalists are Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles, Head Over Heels and Element 112. Vote for one of these Sylvania-area small businesses and give them a chance to win an advertising package with the Sylvania AdVantage and Boomers & Beyond worth over $3,000 and a $250 Visa gift card from GenoaBank. Cast your vote at


Laurie, Steve and Steve Weaver Jr. are the owners of
Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles.

Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles
6600 W. Sylvania Ave.

Owners since 2010: Steve Weaver and Steve Weaver Jr.
Year established: 1996

For the father and son duo of Steve Weaver and Steve Weaver Jr., Charlie’s is all about giving their customers a great dining experience. The restaurant is a family affair with Weaver as front of house manager, Weaver Jr. as Chef, and mom Laurie as head server. “We are a true family run, locally owned business, and my job is to make sure the customer is happy and the food is right when it walks out the door,” said Weaver.

What makes your business unique?
Charlie’s Homemade Pizza, a multi-year trophy winner at the annual Pizza Palooza competition, took First Place in the People’s Choice category and Second Place in the Judge’s Choice category in 2016. “Our pizza is like no other. When you ask for a topping, you get a topping,” laughed Weaver. “We make everything from scratch. Our Alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, our lasagna – they’re all freshly made. Our veggies are very fresh and are from local suppliers. In the summer, we go to the farm and pick our own. It’s the little things we choose to do those other restaurants don’t,” he added.

Who or what inspired you to create your business?
“Ultimately my dad inspired me. Being involved in a family business was something I always wanted to experience myself. My goal is to see the business grow in an environment in which people enjoy coming to. We want folks to leave with a smile on their faces and full stomachs.”

Charlie’s is a popular go-to for donations and fundraisers. “We support our local schools by hosting fundraising events where we donate a portion of our sales. We also cater many events for community organizations and donate gift certificates for special events and golf outings. It’s imperative to us to be involved in the local community, and we look forward to serving it for years to come,” explained Weaver.

What is your definition of success?
“Of course, you always want your business to grow. As my former supervisor once said, ‘You either grow or you go,’” said Weaver. “But at the end of the night, when you see a bunch of people having fun, having a good meal and enjoying their evening, that is success.”



Sue Gehring established her salon, Head Over Heels, in 2008.

Head Over Heels
3723 King Rd., Suite 300

Owner: Sue Gehring
Year established: 2008

Head Over Heels owner Sue Gehring takes great pride in that her hair, nails and massage salon is a “green business.” “What our clients like about us is that we are totally green. The color line we use is hypoallergenic, dermatologist recommended, and yogurt based. Not only is it healthy for the client, but it’s also healthy for the technician applying it.”

What makes your business unique?
“We love being involved in the community, and we get out there as much as we can,” said Gehring. “Every year we adopt a family through Children’s Services. They provide a wish list of things that the family would like for the holidays, and we do everything we can to get it for them. “We were honored to be asked to be part of the survivor’s tent at the Race for the Cure. Our team did pink hair with chalk paint for thousands of people that day.” The team has also collected women’s products for The Family House, and hosted bake sales and pin sales to raise funds for the American Heart Association.

Gehring believes her business is unique because her team is unique. “We get along very well. We’re like family. Everyone helps each other.”

Who or what inspired you to create your business?
“I’ve worked at a couple of establishments that really didn’t put their clients first, and they didn’t have respect for their staff. It’s important to let the team know how much you value them. You get such a commitment from your staff when you do that. It was about finding a place and doing it my way,” explained Gehring.

What is your definition of success?
“It’s just about being happy with your life and enjoying every day. To me, it’s not about money. It’s about having a wonderful husband, three wonderful girls, two sons-in-law, seven grandkids, and a group of people I love to work with,” said Gehring. “I’ve hired a lot of girls right out of school. I almost feel like the proud mom when I see them grow and develop their skills. When I see that happen, I feel successful. We have many happy clients, and that alone makes me feel successful.”



Chris Nixon is owner and chef at Element 112.

Element 112
5735 N. Main St.

Owners: Chris and Madeline Nixon
Year established: 2012

Chef and owner of Element 112 Chris Nixon loves it when he sees one of his dishes featured in another restaurant. “I think it’s great!” he exclaimed. Since 2012, he and his team have worked to change the perception of food in the Toledo area, which was the original concept when opening the restaurant. “When you cook for an experience it’s way different than cooking to fill people up. We ask ourselves, ‘Are we cooking for an experience?’”

What makes your business unique?
“I would like to say it’s about our food, but it’s actually about our people. They were all hired because they are passionate about what they do. We have managers who work in all different areas. For example, we have someone testing recipes, someone who makes sure the food is correct, someone who makes sure the patio is ready to open, managers for the gardening and farm efforts, and one just for private events. All of these people are doing something that adds something to a plate. They are all elements on a plate. Even the person who makes the butter makes the extra effort. I love that, and the butter’s really good,” he laughed. “When you become a chef, you find out it’s not just about cooking. My job is to help these people do their jobs. In the end, I am just a support system for my staff.”

Who or what inspired you to start a business?
I had wanted to do a restaurant since I was 15,” he offered. Nixon said he received inspiration and support from John Meier and Greg Geswein, both retired Libbey Glass executives. “I was working in Coldwater, Mich. at the time, and John and Greg and Brian Chambers, my uncle, and my mom, Michele Nixon, was the group that came up with the concept for the restaurant and got me here. I was thrilled to have this group to back me up.”

What is your definition of success?
“We talk about trying to do just a little bit better every day. Show up every day and do one thing better, for instance, hone your knife skills, or take better care of your tools. After doing this for 365 days, you are going to be pretty good at a lot of things,” explained Nixon. “You add a little to yourself each time. That is all we are trying to do.”



Be a happy camper… Family fun in the outdoors

–by Mary Helen Darah

Camper, Jim Scheib, scans the horizon for the perfect campsite.

It’s hard to believe that three and a half decades have passed since my family’s fateful Friday the 13th camping experience. It’s even harder to believe that I wasn’t thrown into therapy over what some of the more negative members of our posse still refer to as our own personal “Survivor episode sans Prozac.” Yet, I have found one thing to be true about those who “hang” in the outdoors. Campers cope and cope we did.

Three families naively headed to Pokagon State Park with the intention of having some fun and frolic.

My family had a Holiday trailer we towed behind our station wagon complete with faux wood trim. The Wrays, whose four ultra-athletic children made the rest of us kids feel like talentless freaks, set up tents with the efficiency of circus employees. The Baumann’s had a pop-up camper that Mrs. Baumann, with great diligence and determination, made downright homey.

We parked our Holiday trailer in a lovely spot overlooking the lake. I honestly don’t recall who was first to notice its slow descent down the hill toward the lake, but I do remember the chaos that ensued. My brother, believing he had super human powers, tried to pull off a “Superman” impersonation as he clung to the hitch of the trailer in a valiant attempt to stop its downward progression. My mom yelled for my brother to let go. As he came to his senses, my Dad jumps in moments later and attempted the same feat but quickly released his grip from the hitch and helplessly watched the descent of our camper. Astonishingly, instead of continuing down the hill and plunging into the watery depths of Lake James, it came to an abrupt stop after traveling only three additional feet. A little dogwood tree had saved the day.

My mom was the first brave soul who stepped inside our home away from home to assess the damage. All seemed to be unscathed except the cabinet drawers had been forced open, making it look as if we now had a poltergeist. Unfortunately for my dad, his underwear drawer was located directly under the fridge door. The contents of the fridge, including a large pot of chili that was to be our dinner, was now in his Jockey briefs. My dad was forced to go “commando” the rest of the weekend.

Things eventually simmered down to a mild mania. We settled once again at the picnic table and played board games. Though it was very difficult to concentrate due to the aroma of a slow-cooking casserole wafting in our direction, made by Mrs. Baumann. Knowing that I was most likely going to be on the receiving end of chili from the underwear drawer, I set about trying to score an invite to the Baumann camp. I was successful in my mission. We anxiously waited at the table as Mrs. Baumann emerged from the pop-up trailer with her culinary delight. Mrs. Baumann was the most ladylike woman I had ever met. It was quite surprising to hear her say an unfamiliar word when she tripped on a small rock, causing noodles, chicken and cheese to take flight and land in the gravel. With bloodied knees, and still clutching her spoon, she scooped up the casserole back into the Pyrex dish and proceeded toward us. She slopped big heaps of the carnage on our plates. Looking as if she were possessed by demons and refraining from eye contact, she chanted over and over “Don’t say a word! I mean it girls. Don’t say a word!” My friend Kari, who was the bravest of the bunch, took a bite. Two seconds later, she spat out a small piece of gravel which caused an outburst of laughter from us kids.

Meanwhile, at the Wray family camp, the canned peach-hating boys, were throwing their unwanted fruit over their shoulders into the woods when Mrs. Wray turned her back. We found out later that evening that skunks are quite fond of peaches.

That night, even though many of the adults thought that we shouldn’t press our luck, we had a campfire. We burnt marshmallows, sang songs and reminisced about our day in the great outdoors. As I looked around, I saw three families who were in fact “bonding,”often through coping. It is a weekend that I shall always cherish. However, to this day, I’m not a big fan of chili or noodle casserole.


The Snow Queen: Ballet Theatre of Toledo maintains its high standards

by Lindsay Smith

The beloved Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Snow Queen” burst into life with Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s latest and innovative production March 18-19 at Trinity Church in downtown Toledo.

Choreography was by Sylvania resident and BTT’s own Nigel Burgoine, who has established himself not only as the artistic director for BTT but as an innovative and adventurous choreographer. Hopefully this Toledo Treasure will not be lured to other pastures!

Again the Company seems to grow and develop its professionalism and rises to every challenge with each new production it presents, and the Snow Queen, composed by Alexander Glazunov, was no exception.

And how fitting that this production, superb in every aspect, was dedicated to the memory of the late Dorothy Mackenzie Price who supported BTT since its inception some 12 years ago.

Whether on tour, or at established theaters such as The Valentine, or in this case the wonderful atmospheric Trinity Church with its stained glass adding to the stage effects, the company’s standard of professionalism never varies.

Stand-outs in this production were Hannah Pruiett as Gerda. Her fouettes turns were strong and exceptionally well-presented.

Hannah Pruiett as Gerda

Evan Long as Kai displayed technically the qualities of a professional dancer – his relevés in A La Seconde were sensational and his attitude pirouettes were flawless. His acting ability surpassed what a 13-year-old dancer should be able to accomplish!

Evan Long as Kai

Hannah Gerken as the guardian of Gerda portrayed her role most expressively and Regan Simon as the Snow Queen brought out the assertiveness of the character. Also showing great characterization was Rebekah Schmitz as the enchanted lady and Mackenzie Abodeely floated through her princess variation and had a handsome partner in Jared Davis.

Bringing humor and strong technique to the production were Jacqueline Weaner and Emma Hennessy as the robbers. There is no doubt that BTT’s strength lies in its ability to groom and develop up and coming dancers for principal roles.

In addition, the setting at Trinity Church gives the audience the advantage of being very close to all the dancers. In a lesser company this could have been to the disadvantage of the audience.

As I have mentioned in previous review, when it comes to BTT, the dedication of the principals and costs shows through, and illustrates there is nothing wrong with our youth when given the challenge to perform in the discipline of dance.

This latest production shows BTT going from strength to strength, due, in this critic’s opinion, to the fact that it is not tempted to diversify with other dance forms, but relishes in the challenges involved in specializing only in the art of classical ballet.

For information about instruction or performances for the Ballet Theatre of Toledo,
please visit:

Lindsay Smith is a former career diplomat with the Australian Government, having served as Counsellor (Culture and Information) in various postings including Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, United States and the South Pacific.


Smart tech used by St. Joe’s to stop flu

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff


From the thousands of applications for Kinsa’s FLUency program, St. Joseph School Sylvania has been given Smart Thermometers donated from Kinsa, a health technology company headquartered in California, for early detection and containment of the flu.

As schools everywhere battle the end of this year’s flu season, St. Joseph School Sylvania has had a little help from Kinsa in beating the bug this year and keeping more kids healthy with the assistance of Kinsa Smart Thermometers. Just one year ago, St. Joe’s closed its doors for three days due to a flu epidemic. This may have contributed to why St. Joseph School was selected as one of just 500 schools nationwide to participate in Kinsa’s FLUency school health program. As part of the program, all SJS families have received a free Kinsa Smart Thermometer, normally priced at $19.99 retail. This has allowed those opting to participate, to see anonymous information about symptoms and illnesses going around the school.

“The flu is disruptive to learning, challenging for parents who must find childcare, and hard on schools that are already struggling with strapped resources,” explained Kinsa founder Inder Singh. “In addition, to the disruption, it is heartbreaking for both parents and students. Since the thermometer is the first thing a parent uses when their child falls ill, we designed Kinsa to be smarter, capturing symptoms and providing guidance on what to do next.”

“Our priority is keeping our students in class learning,” explained Carol Lindsley, assistant principal of St. Joseph School Sylvania. “With this innovative program, we hope to contain the spread of illness, increase attendance, and continue giving our students the education they deserve.”

To learn more about the Kinsa Smart Thermometer visit:

Academic Excellence Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inducted

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

L-R: Daniel Norris, Sarah Smith-Barczak, Stephen Leslie, John Crandall, Dr. Susan Kaminski Faja and Peg Eding were honored on March 17 at the Academic Excellence Foundation’s Hall of Fame dinner.

John Crandall was presented the 2017 Legacy Award and Peg Eding was named Educator of the Year at the Sylvania Schools’ Academic Excellence Foundation’s Hall of Fame dinner on March 17 at Sylvania Country Club.

Crandall, a 1955 Burnham High School graduate, is a former member of the Sylvania School Board and is currently a Sylvania Township Trustee. Eding is the reading intervention specialist at Stranahan Elementary School

They were joined by Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Honorees Daniel Howard Norris, Burnham High School class of 1951, who earned a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Tennessee; Sarah Kathryn Smith, Northview 1994 graduate and coordinator of National Media, VIP, and Disney Vacation Club Events; Dr. Susan Kaminski Faja, Northview 1994 graduate, who received a Fellowship from Boston Children’s Hospital and is a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; and Stephen Andrew Leslie, Northview 1984 graduate, an associate dean at James Madison University, and is the department head and professor in Department of Geology and Environmental Science.

Sizzle Simmer Sauté Sylvania 04.04.17

Hop to it… Set the Table for Easter
–by Jennifer Ruple


Jennifer Ruple







Spring has sprung, and it’s time to adorn your buffet and dining table for Easter entertaining. For inspiration, look no further than the farmstead. A few colorful, garden-themed accessories will deliver a bright and festive backdrop with a touch of whimsy, perfect for children and adults alike, not to mention Peter Cottontail.

Try these ideas when designing your holiday table:

Farmers Market Basket

Farmers Market Basket
Skip the jelly beans and Peeps, and fill a rustic Easter basket with moss-covered eggs; faux veggies such as cabbages, radishes, and lettuce leaves; and toss in a few burlap-wrapped carrots.

Create the base for the arrangement by stuffing crumpled newspapers into the bottom of the basket. Arrange veggies and eggs on the top, then tuck handfuls of Spanish moss between veggies to fill in holes and hide the newspapers.
Sources: moss eggs, Hobby Lobby; carrots, Pier 1 Imports; basket, Pottery Barn.


Very Veggie Napkin Rings

Very Veggie Napkin RingsAdd a little “carroture” to your napkins. To create napkin rings from recycled paper towel tubes, make a vertical cut through the entire length of each tube, then cut the tubes into 1½ inch pieces.

Lay each tube piece on a 6-inch piece of burlap ribbon. Bring the sides of the ribbon up and around the tube and secure with hot glue. Overlap ends of tubes and glue together. To hide the seam, hot glue on silk flowers, mini cabbages, twine-wrapped carrots or other veggies.
Sources: burlap ribbon and mini carrots, Hobby Lobby.


Farm-Fresh Decorating Accents

Green Accents
Add some texture to your table by arranging a few potted plants, mosses or grasses between serving dishes. Whether you prefer fresh or faux greenery, it’s your choice. There’s no wrong way.
Source: faux grass pots and ceramic pots, IKEA.


Garden Bunnies Centerpiece

Garden Bunnies Centerpiece
Fill a large box, bowl, tray or basket with crumpled newspapers to give your display some height. Cover newspapers with Spanish moss. If you want to add candle holders into the arrangement, place them in before the newspapers. Just be sure to use battery-operated candles for safety.

Arrange Easter decorative items such as bunnies and chicks, carrots, and Easter eggs over the moss. An oversized twig birds nest was tucked into the arrangement for additional texture. Fill in any empty spaces with additional moss.
Sources: Designer Carol Alexander; wooden box, The Butter Barn; bunnies, Pier 1 Imports.

More Farm-Fresh Decorating Ideas:

  • Serve water and juices from vintage milk bottles.
  • Line a galvanized bucket with a plastic insert and use as an ice bucket.
  • With garden twine, tie a new gardening spade onto the bucket handle to serve as the ice scoop.
  • Corral silverware in terracotta flower pots.
  • Use recycled grocery store berry containers to hold cut veggies, crackers or nuts.
  • White or neutral-colored serving dishes allow the food to take center stage.
  • Drape a moss-covered runner over the buffet to brighten the background of your display.

Jennifer Ruple is the author of the blog

City Council Approves Sylvania Library Expansion

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough welcomes Toledo Lucas County Public Library Deputy Director Jason Kucsma and Director Clyde Scoles to the March 13 City Council meeting to approve a special use permit for the renovations for the Sylvania branch library.

Sylvania Community to be ‘Bookended’ by Modern Libraries
An enthusiastic Sylvania City Council approved a request by the Toledo Lucas County Public Library to amend the building’s special use permit, allowing for the expansion and renovation of the Sylvania Branch Library. The 18,170-square-foot Monroe Street building was constructed in the 1950s and has not had a major update since 1989.

The expansion will add 4,090-square-feet, bringing the total square footage to 22,260. The design will focus on improving the entry-way experience, create a highly engaging and interactive children’s area, and add a glassed enclosure with fireplace to the back of the building. Overall renovations will update and expand the meeting spaces, create flexible study rooms, add a makerspace, technology and business center, and introduce a laptop bar, and vending café. The collection size will not change, though efforts will be made to improve visibility, access, and popular material displays.

“We pay a great deal of attention to how Sylvania customers use this library and our intention is to enhance their experience and improve upon how they already use this space,” said Clyde Scoles, director of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, adding “each of our library locations is unique, and we’re very conscientious of maintaining these identities. In every way, this expansion and renovation will reflect a balance of modern and traditional.”

Council member Mark Luetke complimented the Library for listening to public comment and praised the design and its use of space, while Councilman Doug Haynam spoke of his appreciation for the Library’s presence in Sylvania – both the addition of the King Road Branch and the remodeling of the Sylvania Branch – calling the Library a “visionary in the community and a proponent of community health and quality of life.”

The exterior is meant to be a modern complement to the traditional brick and archway aesthetics of the downtown Sylvania area, with the glass additions creating a naturally bright, light-filled interior space inviting people walking or driving to see what’s happening inside.

“The city is very excited about having two libraries in the community – one near each high school,” said Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough. “We’re very fortunate.”