In the United States we actually take the time to celebrate the art and impact of comic books on our culture twice every year. The first Saturday in May, comic book stores around the country celebrate Free Comic Book Day. There are special events, special free comic books handed out only in person on that day, sales, and the like. The lines usually end up out the door and down the block throughout the day.
But then there is a second day. National Comic Book Day is September 25th each year. Like many holidays, there is a lot of debate about when they started, who started them. But the why is not that hard. Telling stories with drawn pictures is not new. It was our first way to tell stories as a species. The oldest known cave paintings were drawn over 64,000 years ago.
The first picture and word comic book as a prototype, “The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck” was released in 1842. But it was the 1930's when comic books took off. The first modern comic book was “Famous Funnies” and released in 1933. In 1938, Superman, one of the oldest, still published characters, made his debut.
In 2015, I took a free online class from the Smithsonian about the history of Superheroes and their impact on their culture. I couldn’t resist for many reasons, but the best was one of the instructors was the absolute legend of modern comic books and superheroes, Stan Lee. And believe me, it doesn’t get much better than to hear one of the people who made this form of entertainment a huge deal, with over One Billion Dollars ($1,000,000,000) per year of just book sales. That doesn’t include all of the merchandise, the movies, TV shows and even the impact they have on our culture.
Now, like my parents, I can tell you that academics were not so impressed with the thought of people studying this phenomena seriously. One of our instructors, Michael Uslan, was the first to get a college to offer credit for the study of the origins, mythology & historical foundation and sociological impact of them. He went to at dean at Indiana University to pitch his class idea, mind you he was a student at the time..
He tells a funny story of an academic panel, including the Dean meeting with him and saying, so young man, I hear you are the one who wants us to teach a class about silly, children’s comic books (yeah, Mom and Dad said something similar to me as a kid). Now Dr. Uslan, asked the Dean if he ever read and enjoyed them. The Dean admitted that like many, he loved the stories of Superman in print, old serial movies, and black and white TV shows. But that had nothing to do with history and mythology.
The young student, later professor, had his in. He asked the Dean why he didn’t think that Superman had a mythological and historical origin. The Dean scoffed. So he the Dean, who confessed that he had read many of those comics cover to cover as a kid. So Michael asked him first to not summarize Superman’s origin for those in the room who hadn’t, but to retell in a few sentences the Biblical story of Moses.
The Dean, not getting the setup, explained how an Egyptian Pharaoh had ordered that the first born of any Hebrew be put to death. To protect their child, Moses’ parents placed him in a wicker basket and sent it adrift on the Nile River. An Egyptian couple then found the basket and raised the child as their own. Moses eventually learned about his actual heritage and went on to become a hero to the Hebrews. And got him to admit that was not only religiously significant to the world’s three largest religions, but a mythological and literary work worthy of college study.
Student, now Dr. Uslan went in for the kill. He asked the Dean as succinctly as he did the Moses story, retell Superman’s origin and story arc. The Dean skeptically started that “The planet Krypton was about to explode, and a scientist and his wife placed their infant son into a little rocket ship and sent him to Earth where he was found by the Kents, who raised him as their own son. When he grew up and learned of his true…”, the Dean stopped, it finally hit him. And he quickly said if he could find a professor to teach such a class he would back it. And so the class came into being.
Now, for me, the appeal, I admit I’ve watched more TV shows and movies than read the books, was the old as time themes of good versus evil. But in the TV and Movie universe my favorite hero has no super powers. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) starting with Iron Man and going into the Avengers movie, as it had been in the comic books, SHIELD was an important part of the government dealing suddenly with aliens, super powered humans, etc.
For the movies SHIELD, the Strategic, Homeland Interdiction, Enforcement and Logistics Division (and if you watch Iron Man, Phil Coulson played by actor Clark Gregg, admits it’s a mouthful to say) is the secret (yeah, every vehicle they have has their logo on it, they have a huge headquarters that would make any US Government Agency green with envy, etc so very secret, agency that keeps the public safe and deals with the mess a bunch of super powered good and bad guys would create.
Phil Coulson is a top agent, one of Director Nick Furry’s top agents, most trusted deputies and former partner. But Phil has no super abilities. He’s just a really good guy, who like me lost a very brave Dad at a very young age. Coulson is willing to and does give his life to stop the villains and protect the every day people.
And you’re saying if you’ve lasted so far, so what does that have to do with being a lawyer who represents injured workers and disabled people Kurt? Well many years ago, a former paralegal came into my office, stared at my collection of pop culture items in my book cases and said, that’s a depressing collection of items, why do you have that in there. And I had my Michael Uslan and the Dean moment.
I asked her why she considered particular ones so depressing. I pointed out Rafiki, from the Lion King, the Battlestar Galactica, and Obi Wan Kenobi. Like me, she was a pop culture nut and said, yeah, the warrior, advisor who has to keep things together against long odds in the Lion King, the last space aircraft carrier battling impossible odds to keep the last remaining 50,000 humans in a rag tag fugitive fleet safe, against a more powerful enemy who wants to and should be able to wipe them out, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the last Jedi, protecting the young children, who are the galaxy’s only hope to end an oppressive empire.
She said, yeah, everyone, and others, are the last ones standing. Standing up for people who would otherwise not be able to stand up for themselves, the ones who have to make impossible things happen to, . . . oh, crap, what we do. Bingo I said, and we got it easy helping out injured workers and disabled people in a state and country whose leaders consider them takers, a drain on profits and the rich.
So, yes, I am a proud geek, but in 2015, the whole team had fun helping out that online class. I had to create a new hero and their super villain arch enemy. Mind you my hero is a kind of Captain America knock off made out of a geeky high school teacher whose wife and young child are innocent bystanders who get killed in the first Avengers movie, Battle of New York but joins SHIELD to protect people. Even our Firm Administrator, Lisa got in on the act. I had to create a new hero, and their arch nemesis, using mythological figures. Lisa insisted she got to help design the nemesis, Electrica, based on the goddess Nemesis from Greek mythology, and when she heard she was the one who retaliated against those who commit crimes against the weak, and bring down the ego maniacs a peg or two, we had to name the character in her honor. The cheesy picture of Electrica (where was the new AI drawing programs then? See what 30 seconds on one can do in 2023 below my cheesy one from 2015) below with my certificate for completing the class with a familiar autograph as the bonus for getting that done.
So, join us in taking a break from standing up for those who can’t on Monday, September 25th and celebrate National Comic Book Day. You can check comics & graphic novels out from our amazing Toledo Lucas County Public Library, watch your favorite TV or Movie Superhero, or Super Villain. No judgement, I have a weird soft spot for the anti-heroes like Jack Sparrow, Deadpool, etc. Even though I’m too much of a boy scout, Chris Evans version of Captain America type.
Maybe drop us your favorite heroine, hero or villain in the comments. And until our next post, where we go back to real world stuff, Excelsior! or if you’re a Captain Marvel/Carrol Danvers movie fan - “Higher, further, faster, baby.”
The right to vote is one of the most fundamental of human rights. Nearly half of the world’s nations are considered a Democracy, including ours. But in the US and especially in Ohio, being registered to vote is not automatic. Reasons people give are anything from not wanting to get picked for jury duty, not believing it will make any difference to vote, and for a few, it’s a religious freedom issue as their faith doesn’t allow them to be a part of the Democratic Process.
In 2012, looking growing numbers of unregistered voters and dropping numbers of voters who actually turn, a group of about 2000 civic organizations in the US, including The League of Women Voters, HeadCount, The Bus Federation (currently Alliance for Youth Organizing), Voto Latino, Rock the Vote, and Nonprofit VOTE helped launch the first National Voter Registration Day on September 25, 2012 By 2022, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the National Association of Election Officials (The Election Center) had endorsed National Voter Registration Day.
My commitment and connection to voter rights work started in 2002. I have been active in campaigns and politics since I was 12 or 13. But using my law license and skills to actually protect voting rights started after a pretty great event in 2002. My wife and I welcomed our second child, James, into the world the first Monday that year. Early voting was not a thing yet in Ohio and Cheri knew she couldn’t get out to a polling place the next day and wanted to vote.
I volunteered to call down to the Lucas County Board of Elections to see if there was any way in the world to get her a ballot as it was too late for even absentee. The very kind staff person assured me it was not just possible, that they had teams that would make it happen. I gave them Cheri’s full name, and necessary info, including what hospital room she was in. Within hours a bipartisan team brought my wife a ballot and she voted it in the afternoon, having given birth to James, without pain medications. So you can see, we’ve made voting quite a thing in my family. In fact, James won’t yet forgive us for one thing. If he had been born even 5 ½ hours earlier, he could have voted in his first Presidential Election in 2020. Instead it will be 2024.
In 2004, with two amazing friends and partners we founded the Lucas County Democratic Promote the Vote Team. Since then we have helped recruit, train and deploy hundreds of volunteers to serve as Democratic Party election observers through Lucas County and in a few elections as far out as 18 counties.
Not long afterward, our team at the Law Offices of Kurt M. Young went a step further. Because I have been busy as a voter protection attorney or now Board of Elections member since 2004, we usually don’t have any appointments scheduled in the office. But some friends with a great organization with a great project they have continued to this day.
Toledo Area Jobs with Justice/Interfaith Worker Justice has for years offered free rides to the polls to any voter in Lucas County who asks. If you call 419-VOTE NOW they will schedule a door to door and back again service from where ever you need them to pick you up, take you to your polling place, wait for you to vote and then take you back. And this is for free. Now, while many of them are Democrats like myself their ranks include all political parties and you could show up wearing a t-shirt or button for a candidate or issue they don’t agree with and they would still take you there. Sadly as I rose in the ranks of the Democratic Party they decided they couldn’t do, what we did for years, which is run that phone number out of our office on Election Days, have our staff volunteer (although many of us still do) as drivers, and we do still financially support them as much as we can.
Voting is a use it or lose it right. So, as National Voter Registration Day approaches on September 19th, please go and check your voter registration. Make sure you are registered under your current name, at your current address. You can check it for any county in Ohio and get the paperwork to register, updated your address and more at: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/
Of if you are one of our Lucas County voters there is an even better page. Got to
https://www.lucascountyohiovotes.gov/voter-information Now I think that is better not just because I am on the Lucas County Board of Elections, but also because it has features others don’t have. For instance, not only can you check your registration, you can confirm your polling place, you can see a copy of what your ballot would look like printed out so you can research your votes. You can get a list of your elected officials and how to contact them.
And, let me just say you can also sign up to work for the Lucas Count Board of Elections. In big election years we hire hundreds of paid workers to do the intense, multiple month worth of getting the elections ready, but we also hire hundreds upon hundreds more to work on Election Day itself. You can go right on the page where you check your registration and sign up right there. Again these are paid positions with paid training.
So, this Voter Registration Day, take a minute, confirm you’re registered and good to go, and get out there and vote. The Democracy you save will be your own.
Very Few of us who were alive will ever forget where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. For me, it was at my office in Downtown Toledo. The news broke somewhere between when I left a parking garage I parked at a block or so south of my office at a former firm I was a partner in and when I arrived in the office.
I walked into our third floor lobby to our staff huddled around a TV in our large conference room. My office was the first by it. Not long after word broke of the plane hitting the Pentagon a client showed up for his appointment.
He was a World War II veteran and I asked him if he wanted to go forward with our meeting. He asked if I did. I said sure, this was my generation’s Pearl Harbor, but we were safe in Toledo and I couldn’t do anything that minute to help anyone.
Later that day, when we finally got everyone to go home, I joined my wife and my two years and four month old daughter. We watched video after video, but one hit me the most and my wife couldn’t get why it, of all the other horrors of the day, hit me the worst.
A man had a camera and was blocks away when one of the towers collapsed. The wave of ashes and debris blew over him as he ducked under a car. The picture below is of victims covered in that. But it wasn’t the sights of the video, it was the sound. Specifically a piercing chorus of sounds.
I have spent decades now representing injured first responders. Thanks to my position on Toledo City Council, I had the honor of chairing the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform Committee of Toledo City Council, and even at an event called Fire Ops 101, got a one day taste of the job. I knew about the emergency locator beacons, being the son and great grand son of volunteer firefighters back then and that the sound was several hundred New York Firefighters in distress all at once. I knew the toll in the those who ran to that danger was going to be staggering.
Within about 24 hours, as I could see the men & women of the 180th Fighter Wing flying a combat air patrol to protect us from any attempt to hit us from Canada, I had an idea what I could do to help. We had a young associate who really wanted to do will and probate work. I am a Navy dependent and but for a really thick set of glasses would have served in the JAG Corps right out of the law school. I therefore new, we were going to be undertaking the most massive deployment of troops in decades. So I contacted the local Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and National Guard units and asked to talk to the JAG officer assigned. As expected, to say they were overwhelmed by the coming task was understatement.
So thanks to a great team of partners, that associate and our support staff, we decided to offer to any local active duty or reserve military personnel a free will and durable power of attorney and discounted ones for their families. And we did hundreds. But within a day of our story hitting local media, firms throughout our area joined us.
A month or so later, I signed up for Trial Lawyers Care, which was started by the now American Association for Justice. Because of the scale of the tragedy of 9-11, with people killed in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia and a web of possible ways to get families help, a clearinghouse was set up with training and insurance to cover us. We would provide free assistance with workers’ compensation claims, social security survivors claims, and eventually claims to funds for those injured on the ground.
That December, my wife and a team from our church got to do something constructive on the ground. She and two others trained as grief counselors went to a church, blocks from Ground Zero in New York and offered prayer and comfort to those working the pile of what was the World Trade Center, the picture with the candle was shot just outside the work area. The team wanted to record and be a little light in that darkness.
Since then, my family and I have been twice to where Flight 93 went down in Shanksville, PA, before our Air National Guard unit, which was drilling and had F-16's ready to launch, could shoot it down. And we visited the Ground Zero Memorial in New York and the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, VA. If you’ve never gone to them, they are truly holy ground. You can almost feel the energy, not of the horrible evil that cost so many lives that day but of the courage and heroism that saved many more.
As the quote from the Roman poet Virgil on a wall at the memorial in New York says “No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time.”. Today we remember those who died that day and over the years since including 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, who ran to the danger instead of from it. And the more than 2,200 civilians the couldn’t rescue and the 50,000 plus they did.
Today is Labor Day. For many of us, this is a day off. The unofficial last day of Summer. The last day to wear white under the "old school" fashion calendar. But in my household, it’s a little bit more.
Before my parents generation, it had been a century on Mom’s side of the family, and maybe more on Dad’s since anyone had gone to college. Grandma & Grandpa Young met in high school, had two kids very quickly, and were stuck in jobs that were not going to feed their families. Grandma & Grandpa Schultz were in the same kind of boat.
But they all ended up in Toledo, working in jobs where for at least a time, they were a member of a union. Grandpa Young worked on the railroad and got good pay and good benefits due to that job. Grandma Young worked as a cafeteria worker in schools, working her way up to running the cafeteria at high school. Grandpa Schultz was a tool & die worker who fixed machinery for Champion Sparkplug and later General Motors. Grandma Schultz was a switchboard operator back in the days when connecting a call really meant plugging wires into a different extension to make the connection.
Thanks to the good pay, and good benefits of those jobs, Grandma & Grandpa Young managed to raise four kids, albeit in a two bedroom house, sending all but my Dad to college. Dad, was depending on athletics to get him in to and pay for college and it almost worked. He was supposed to play football on a scholarship, but injured himself so badly his senior year he couldn’t pass the physical. Later the US Navy helped send Dad to college.
Grandpa & Grandma Schultz raised two kids, got them good educations in high school, Mom couldn’t go to college as Grandpa got laid off at the worst possible moment and she fell in love with Dad and followed him up and down the Atlantic Seaboard to Navy ports and bases as far North as Rhode Island, several times through Norfolk, VA, West to Pensacola, FL and South to San Juan Puerto Rico.
On my Dad’s side, several Aunts became teachers, and joined the teacher’s union. On my Mom’s side, my uncle joined the same local of the United Auto Workers as his dad. In his last year of life Dad was working for the City of Akron Health Department and a member of a public employee union.
So thanks to the good pay and good benefits that labor membership provided, every member of my generation got to go to college. Some chose careers in the trades and work as painters. Both of them have owned their own businesses. Some became teachers and enjoyed good benefits, maybe not always good pay. One cousin went to a top tier dental school and runs his own practice in the area. One helped run an office, another helped run a division of a major corporation, and I got to go to law school and marry a minister. Our kids generation have all gotten a short to try college, and some are working as nurses, etc.
So in the course of just a few generations we went from picking crops for a national soup company, to being teachers, doctors, lawyers, office managers, nurses, and small business owners. Not a transformation you said too often.
When it was my turn to pick an area of practice to work in, my choice wasn’t hard at all. Both Mom & Dad did work in the medical field. Labor and workers transformed our family. So something where I got to help out medical professionals and got to be a voice for workers was natural fit for me.
That’s why for the last 30 years I have been proud to stand in the trenches for workers, handling Ohio Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability claims for those who can not work for a time or ever again. But I also put my time and money where my mouth is supporting Labor through helping unions in actions and with advice on these claims and joining in actions with groups like Toledo Area Jobs with Justice/Interfaith Worker Justice.
If you enjoy things like workplace safety protections, the safety nets of workers’ compensation & Social Security, forty hour work weeks, weekends, etc. know that it was our nation’s labor unions who fought the fights to get us these. And when I mean fights, it was not just metaphor, many men & women died in clashes during strike breaking attempts. You can visit a memorial to one here in Toledo. And on the anniversary of that event we’ll have a post on that on our blog.
But for now, thank you to all who work for a living, doing the jobs that keep us able to enjoy this very blessed society. And thank you to all of the former and current labor leaders and members who gave us these protections and freedoms.
What's the sense of having your own law firm and a blog if you don't get to use it to tell your loving spouse Happy Anniversary on it, and share a few funny wedding stories. So, first Happy Anniversary Cheri and thanks for 26 of the best years of my life and for helping make my dreams of being a voice for the voiceless come true over and over again.
Now, as promised some funny wedding disasters stories. Been a part of weddings as the groom once, best man twice, groomsman several more, and honored family both actual and in our hearts many more times. And the things that can go right are limitless. Seen some amazing moments of joy & beauty.
And Hollywood does get it right about some of the drama too. Two where there was a bunch of drama about one of the couple’s parents coming or not. Had that one go both ways, and had to be part of the circle of love surrounding one where the parent didn’t show up.
Been a part of one where the family of the one was beyond tiny as all of the known member had died. Only to have us as adopted family surrounding them with joy and love. Then a miracle happening a bit later as a gift from the other spouse led to a huge, extended birth family being found.
Been a part of several where the two had long before become spouses and families but the law had to catch up, including joining Cheri as part of the team welcoming the first same gender couples to be married in Lucas County on the day Obergefell came down from SCOTUS. And not long after, getting to meet Jim.
But some of the most fun have been when things didn’t go quite as planned. One where the groomsmen came from around the country, meeting and gathering to get our tuxes the night before, to discover none were the same of three possible styles. Going to the rental store as the police were leading a young man away who had trashed the store because they messed up his prom tux.
I had one of those rare moments where you have the right words come to you as needed as I explained how Bride & Groom, and many of the attendants, were getting their law degrees that week to the manager and the shattered glass table was just a preview of the carnage they would cause if this didn’t get fixed.
And the next day, just minutes before the ceremony, that manger running new tuxes up to me at the last minute, taking the wrong ones away, only to discover that my best man tux with a tie and vest, had a children’s tie that with some creating tying by a groomsman and bridesmaid just managed to be make it under the vest so none was the wiser.
And I almost forgot the Bride whose joke almost took out her groom. The night before at the rehearsal dinner, the Mother of the Bride retold the beloved, family story of her, pre ceremony, having a huge, red punch disaster with the wedding dress, and the save of a family heirloom dress fitting just fine.
My friend’s ceremony was intricately planned down to a list of people carried by me, The Best Man, of whom he was to dance with at the reception. It was at the bride’s family farm house in very small town Ohio.
Just sixty seconds before the big event was to kick off, with the wedding party joining up outside the front of the house and walking together to the back where the ceremony was, several bridesmaids came to tell the groom that disaster had once again hit the family and the bride’s beautiful dress was ruined by a spill and we would need to stall while they ran to see if that old, family dress could be found and would fit.
To say the Groom, who liked to plan out his every detail of life, none of which really worked out the way they were planned, was about to stroke out was an understatement.
But I very calmly reminded him that his bride was the fun loving, free spirit, who freed that from inside him too and that any second she would pop out of the house laughing, with a very much still intact dress. As she did, whispering to the Groom that the only liquids allowed near her before the ceremony were all very much clear.
Of course, the best were the ones we knew about or later learned about from the big day 26 years ago today. And there were several. The day started with the now formally diagnosed ADHD groom realizing that he had indeed missed a to do list item, the scheduled haircut. But a family friend fixed that quickly in my hotel room.
Then, as the ceremony had started the minister, presiding over a politically active lawyer marrying a very connected minister, hence in what we called the Royal Wedding (two receptions, a choir, a harp, a Grammy winning musician playing the first reception), realizing she had forgotten a key element.
Friends of Cheri’s serving overseas as missionaries had arranged for a traditional Lithuanian wedding stole to be knit for us. Later in the ceremony, our minister would tell of the tradition, and wrap it around our arms joining us together symbolically and letting them be a part of the event from afar.
However she forgot it in the car and somehow during the ceremony her husband ran out to the car and got all of the stoles in there (clergy wear various stoles with formal robes and all) and managing to get the right one, with all of them displayed on his arms at the back of the church, delivered with none of us the wiser.
Then there was the couple, we had read selected passages from Song of Solomon. For those who don’t know is very beautiful, and racy if you know what the metaphors are about, love poetry in wait for it, the Old Testament of the Bible. They did an amazing job reading the voices of the two lovers. And we suspected, and later confirmed, it resulted a PG to PG-13 expression of their love right after their performance, in another part of the church building.
But the best was the rings problem. The Maid of Honor brought them to the church as planned and dutifully stored them in the parlor of the very large, not our church as it was too small to have Cheri’s congregation and our friends and family, that served as the Bride and Bridesmaids’ green room.
Just minutes before the exchange in the ceremony, too short a time for even a sprinter to run there and back to a now locked room, the Best Man, leaned across the large aisle to break the news to the Groom sitting with the Bride and her attendants that “Bubba, I ain’t got the rings”.
The Best Man, having informed the couple, who, thanks to a professional contingency thinker Groom, actually had an emergency backup plan that wasn’t given to anyone else, sprung into action. I'm glad I didn't share, as the video is awesome, with my wife's Aunt catching it all. But yes, your lawyer is always thinking OK, but what if X happens, how do I fix this. As I say to many of you when you hire me, let me do the worrying. You pay me to take that on and prevent as much as I can.
After a very quiet, but very large laugh was shared by the groomsmen (again you can see it on the video as the laugher spreads), the three married ones dutifully raced to work their rings off, and the first two were handed to us for the ring exchange.
Not long after, they then swapped their rings for ours at the receiving line at reception one at the church, with few the wiser. Then again having your Grammy Award winning Brother in Law and his very talented later toured and recorded an album of his own Son playing was a good distraction.
I’ve gotten a chance to share those stories with several friends and family as the stress of the coming day built. To give them a needed laugh, and as the intro to my best wisdom.
The wedding is all about the couple. So the only things truly needed are the couple, the officiant to make it legal and/or spiritual, and that license thing. The rest is truly icing on the cake. And some of my favorite memories are the moments that, well, the wheels fell off.
Thank you to everyone who pulled off the Royal Wedding 26 years ago and celebrated the start of this fun journey and to my Beloved for helping us live many of our dreams together, even if like the rings and stole it hasn’t always been as planned.
For our team, nothing beats coming home to a four legged loved one who greets you at the door with a wagging tail. National Dog Day was created to celebrate our four legged best friends, whether they are the family pet, a service dog, law enforcement K-9 or whatever job they have. And also to bring awareness to the problem of stray dogs.
Every year over 3 Million dogs enter shelters and rescues around country according to the National Dog Day Foundation. It’s vital that we get our dogs spayed & neutered and so important to consider helping out these shelters and rescues around the US.
Soon, we will be getting new neighbors across Monroe Street soon with the Lucas County Canine Care and Control will be joining us on 13th Street in the coming year. And the plans for their new home look amazing. We’ll be over to drop off goodies for the dogs and the humans who care for Lucas County’s lost and stray dogs and cats when they get moved in. You can help them out by going to their website and checking out the donate and volunteer pages: https://lucascountydogs.com/donate/ https://lucascountydogs.com/volunteer/
In meantime as we get ready so celebrate our 20th year helping out our clients early next year, we wanted to take a minute to remember our four legged family members at the Law Offices of Kurt M. Young, LLC, both those who have left us and those still with us today.
First, we’ll start with some of the ones we’ve had to hold while the crossed the rainbow bridge, including Lisa’s beautiful pit mix, rescue Chico. Chico was a very good boy, who would come down and join mom from time to time and loved the attention he got from us and the great from his loving dog mom.
And Shadow. Shadow was Kurt’s dog sibling. Rescued by Kurt’s Mom in Shadows last six or so years of life, she would visit from time to time, redecorating Kurt’s office on at least one occasion where he had to run out for a workers’ compensation hearing.
But we’re also blessed with two living dogs who visit from time to time. Ellie is Kurt’s grand dog. And she is a working dog, An Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Kurt’s daughter Rebecca Adopted Ellie in 2020 from a shelter in Michigan, as the worst of the COVID-19 epidemic was hitting. Ellie got certified as an ESA and returned with Becca in the Fall to a college dorm where Becca was an Resident Assistant (RA). Ellie was named an honorary Office Assistant (OA) by the staff and students, as Becca was moving out of the dorm, Ellie got lots of hugs and thanks from students for getting them through the Pandemic.
About four years ago, after their lost dog died, wife Cheri said she was not ready to have another dog, possibly forever. But on a Monday in October 2022, Cheri announced to Kurt and their son she had changed her mind and with Becca’s help she had found a dog to help rescue. Kurt & Cheri met Lucy Tuesday night and she joined the family two days later. She is a mix of a Pug and Shih Tzu called a Pug-Zu. She’s named after Kurt’s distant cousin, and entertainment icon Lucille Ball and is a frequent visitor to the office, although she’s in a bit of trouble since the last time she visited, she stole Kurt’s Grumpy Cat plush and has made it her favorite toy.
Do not fear cat lovers, there is a National Cat day, and Russ Gerney has us covered for that one. But for now, here’s the really good Boys & Girls who make our lives better. If you’ve got a good picture or story about your dog, please share.
By the 1930s, the United States was the only modern industrial country to without any national system of social security: though a handful of states had poorly. For most American workers, retirement during old age was not a realistic option.
Seeing that World War II was coming and that they were going to need a new vehicle to get around on muddy, off road battlefields, in July 1940, Karl Probst, a freelance auto designer in Detroit submitted the BRC or Bantam Reconnaissance Car, which could be built with mostly off the shelf parts. The Army loved the design, but didn’t think the company who originally pitched the idea could handle production. So they asked Toledo’s Willys Overland and the Ford Motor Company to work on the design.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution ended the legal practice of slavery in the United States in 1865. President Abraham Lincoln had previously issued the Emancipation Proclamation which declared “ that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free.". However, real freedom was not achieved that day.
On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and the army announced the 250,000 people who were enslaved were now freed. It slowly, but surely became our Second Independence Day. The day when we as a nation began a process, not yet completely to end and heal the scars of hundreds of years of legal slavery in North America and especially in our country.
July 4th may have been the day when we declared our independence from England, but this is the day we began the process of making all of us free. Celebrations of Juneteenth began primarily in Texas and the South, mostly as an unofficial holiday. Shortening the name June 19th to Juneteenth. My Mother In Law decades ago told me the stories of employers she worked for giving African American employees the day off with pay. She lived and worked in Texas and it was the first US state to make it an state holiday in 1980.
By 2002 that had grown to eight states. Ohio began celebrating it in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2021 when it became a paid holiday. It became an official Federal Holiday on June 17, 2021.
Our office is closed on Juneteenth. In part because all of the agencies we deal with our closed. But it is also is to give our staff a chance to remember that not all of our clients, and some of our families' ancestors as well, may have been declared free on July 4, 1776, but a sizable group of others had to wait until June 19, 1865. And we still have work to do to atone for the sins and repair the wounds of the sin of slavery in our nation.
So we’re closed that day, but we’ll be back standing up for all working and disabled people in Northwest Ohio, and beyond, on June 20th.
If you don’t know, I have a second, very important job. It’s kind of the culmination of over 14 years of prior volunteer work. I serve as one of the four Board Members on the Lucas County Board of Elections.
In Ohio, by design, each Board of Elections is run in a bipartisan way on everything we do. There are four Board Members, two Democrats and two Republicans appointed by our county party’s Executive Committee and confirmed by our boss, the Ohio Secretary of State. The Chair of that Board has to be the opposite party of the Director, who runs the board’s operations on a day by day basis, and they have a Deputy of the opposite party.
Whenever we do anything, register you to vote, change your address, process your request to vote by mail or at an Early Vote Center, or your polling place, and handle and count your ballots on the way back, each and every step requires both a Democrat & Republican to agree that it should proceed. This is how we’re able to tell you that in the last 50 years in Ohio the legitimate voting percentage is at 99.999999% percent and our Board of Elections post election audits and we do a risk limiting audit almost every election, has an accuracy rate that is above 99.99%.
We are trained to overcome any obstacle, and not give up until we do. In my initial training with the Secretary of State’s office we had to do a table top, simulation, exercise. In mine, our largest polling place was destroyed the night before the election due to a gas leak. All of the equipment was gone, the polling place was gone, and no other building was available of that size. It wasn’t pretty, but we got praised for a good handling of that nightmare.
And since then our team, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of everyone who works on elections in this county, has dealt with worse. I was on the Board in 2020 when due to COVID-19 and the rapid spread of it and lack of protective gear, the Governor and Secretary of State tried to shut the Presidential Primary down, lost their court case trying to do so, after telling everyone it would be not held, and our Public Health Director saving us. We would have pulled it off the next day, but likely we would have created a massive COVID-19 hotspot doing it. And that’s just the worst of many tough scenarios in my a little over four years on the Board.
But this year we have one that may top the others. Earlier this year, House Bill 458 changed dramatically the way we do elections in Ohio. And if you’ve not checked out what that means for voter ID and provisional voting you need to. But it also supposedly eliminated August Special Elections. Our bipartisan advocacy group, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, were not happy with most of that legislation, but this is one provision we supported.
It takes months to prepare for an election. And giving us a Primary in May, for four Ohio Counties and possible second Primary in September, and the General Election in November is something we can handle, but having another one is August strains us to the brink. So we were very excited to see that party happen.
But then a coalition of special interest groups, including an out of state billionaire, decided that they didn’t want it to be easy for We the People to over rule our legislature and they demanded that this be done in the spot where an August Election would go. And I’ve already written a long blog on why that is a bad idea. But the General Assembly, Governor and our boss decided to make us do this anyway, costing you over $30 Million statewide for this.
The problem is it is Summer. Many of our usual poll workers are busy doing other things. Also, they know we have a September Election to do, followed closely by the November one, and working a polling place is, not exaggerating here, a 15 hour day. Still others are not going to work as they don’t think the General Assembly should be allowed to do this.
But we have to pull off an election, with or without the folks we normally rely on. So far over 400 have stepped up to serve. Up we use more like 1,300 in an election like this. And we wouldn’t be at the needed 1,300 now for any election, but we’re behind were we want to be.
So, I’m asking you, if you’re a registered voter in Lucas County, to consider signing up to work as a poll worker. We pay you for training and your service. Many professionals, including attorneys like myself can get professional continuing education credits for serving. And it’s a vital job in keeping democracy going. And it’s easy to get started.
You can call (419) 213-4001, which the Lucas County Board of Elections main office number. Or if you are computer savvy, go over to our website, lucascountyohiovotes.gov. Go to the Voter Information page, link will follow, and click on the Am I Registered to Vote option in the center of the screen. It’s a good idea to do that anyway as you can check to make sure you’re registered at your current address and with your current name, and you only have until July 10th to fix any of those.
When you’ve entered your info, we have some good information for you, you can see your ballot so you can think about your choices now, you can check your polling place, request or track an absentee ballot if you’ve requested one, print out the form to request one. Or, second down on the list, become a poll worker. Fill in all the blanks with your contact information both email and phone, and we’ll get with you.
Here’s that short cut - https://www.lucascountyohiovotes.gov/voter-information
Sign up now for August, consider doing it again for September, and November. The Democracy you save may be your own.