BGSU to scale back MLK Day of Service because of winter session

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University’s switch to a winter session will take a toll on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. At the December Faculty Senate meeting, Paul Valdez, associate director for the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement, said that because most students will not be on campus during winter session, it will not be possible to have the Day of Service in the same way. In the past decades, about 800 students would volunteer to work on dozens of community projects throughout Northwest Ohio. Because it is uncertain how many students would be on campus in this inaugural session, the university had to scale back the number of projects offered, he said. Still the university wants to continue to provide people the chance to serve, he said. So the Office of Community and Civic Engagement will help with the organization and volunteer recruitment for the MLK Jr. Day of Service  “Can”vass Food Drive. The Brown Bag Food Project organized the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service food drive. That effort is coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project and is run out of Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green, on Jan. 19 and 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Some volunteers go out into the community, knocking on doors and soliciting donations of food. Others will be at Grounds for Thought sorting out those donations. The food collection is distributed to food pantries throughout the area. Valdez said about 150 volunteers were needed, but there is a chance to expand that number. He said that if there is an outpouring of interest in volunteering, further service day projects may be offered in the future. Interim Provost John Fischer said that the response to winter session has been good. About 1,500 students have enrolled in some type of academic activity, Fischer said. That includes filling up all the slots for trips abroad being offered. Other students are going to conferences with faculty. While others are taking classes. Fischer said that this summer, the university will asking for requests from faculty who want to lead trips during the 2021 winter session. BGSU created the winter session to aligned its calendar with other institutions, including the University of Toledo. Students have the option of taking courses during that period. The session gives them a chance to catch up or get…

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Wood County manufacturing sees $750 million investment this year

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County saw $750 million invested this year in industries making fresh hamburger patties, glass for solar panels, auto parts and more. “That is a record as far as I can tell – and by a lot,” Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission, said Wednesday during a commission meeting. The investments spread from the far north to the far south of the county. West of North Baltimore, the NorthPoint Development Co. announced plans to construct a logistics development near the CSX rail hub. “There’s a lot to be done still,” but the project is progressing, Gottschalk said. And the CSX hub is also expecting to start doing more business, and serving a wider geographic area, he added. In the village of North Baltimore, Continental Structural Products is expanding its auto parts production. “They were slated to close during the recession, and they are now coming back with a vengeance,” Gottschalk said. The plant is on track to rival its highest production back when it was supplying parts for Fieros, he said. And just east of North Baltimore, the Equity Meats plant has made the shift from frozen patties to fresh hamburger patties. Anyone ordering a McDonald’s quarter-pounder in the Northeast U.S. will get a taste. “It’s coming from Wood County,” Gottschalk said. In the northern part of the county, NSG-Pilkington has secured all the necessary local regulatory approvals for its plant in Troy Township. The plant, which will manufacture float glass for the new First Solar plant, is expected to be in operation in 2020. “That’s a big project,” he said. The new First Solar plant in Lake Township is also progressing well. “It’s an absolutely massive facility out there,” Gottschalk said.. In Perrysburg Township, the expansion of the Walgreens distribution center is underway. The project is expected to create 350 new jobs. “It’s a big project and good for long-term,” he said. Retention visits from the Wood County Economic Development Commission have also found operations well at Biofit near Haskins, and Jerl Machine in Perrysburg. The O-I site in Perrysburg is “doing very well” and considering an expansion of its research and development area, with a focus on training. “Changing over from one thing to another is not a simple process,” Gottschalk said. Gottschalk reported to commission members that announcements of more investments in Wood County may…


BGSU trustees approve new resort and attraction management degree

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University trustees gave their stamp of approval to two new programs Friday and set tuition for another. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the creation of a bachelor of science in Resort and Attraction Management at Firelands College, where the trustees met. The program is being developed in partnership with Cedar Fair, the owner of Cedar Point and other amusement and water parks and hotels.  This will be one of two such programs in the country, said President Rodney Rogers. “This puts BGSU in a strong position. These are growing sectors of this economy.” Dan Keller, who chairs the trustees, agreed. “This is an exciting opportunity.” He noted he once made candy apples at Cedar Point. The program will be open to students who have already earned associate degrees from Firelands or any other college. The concept is for them to enter and move through the program as a cohort. The program will be offered in the new Firelands facility in Sandusky. That building includes classrooms, meeting spaces, and housing. The trustees also approved an agreement for the Lake Erie Port Authority to serve as a conduit for funds coming from Cedar Fair to help fund the facility. The program will call for students to complete several co-op and internship programs in the sector as well as complete a capstone project on a problem facing the industry. That project will be reviewed by industry professionals. Professionals will also be called upon to teach courses. Trustee David O’Brien asked about a course in risk management. Fischer said some areas are so particular they will have to taught by those with professional expertise. On Tuesday, Fischer told the BGSU Faculty Senate that the full-time director and faculty member will be hired. They could come from a range of academic disciplines. If all goes well the program will launch in late spring, 2020 with the first cohort doing their first internships with Cedar Fair. Also at faculty senate, Tim Tierney, a representative of undergraduate student senate, asked for more clarity on who will determine the conditions for the internships. Clayton Rosati, of the School of Media and Communication, expressed concern about safety conditions for interns. David Border, chair of faculty senate, said that faculty always have the right to approve or disapprove of internships and co-ops. Fischer also reassured Tierney that it would…


State funding options for schools can be slippery issue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A glimmer of hope has gotten dimmer for one state funding option for Bowling Green City Schools. During a presentation last month, one of the state funding options for school facilities looked promising … until a task force member asked more questions. The Bowling Green district is at least a decade down on the list for funding from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. So when Steve Roka, senior planning manager with the OFCC, met with the district’s finance task force and presented the option of funding through the state’s Exceptional Needs Program, it sounded worth pursuing. However, when Roka answered follow-up questions through email from task force members, the chance for funding anytime soon looked more remote. Roka said during the meeting that ENP funding typically covers only the very worst buildings in the state – such as those with dangerous electric systems. The funding can only be used for new buildings, not renovations. David Conley, the district’s consultant through Rockmill Financial, referred to the ENP as a “beauty contest,” with the ugliest building in the state winning. Roka presented the ENP option as a way Bowling Green could accelerate possible state funding. And many felt that at least one building in the Bowling Green district might be in poor enough shape to be worthy of those funds. “It sounded like we could apply for and get funding in that program,” Conley said. “It sounded good to me, too.” But when task force members asked further questions about the Exceptional Needs Program, the chances of that funding seemed to disappear. One task force member asked about the pending applications, the deadline for submission, and the timeline for a project. Roka responded that there are currently no ENP applications pending review. Roka added that the OFCC is not seeking new applications for the ENP. “Because of the number of districts eligible for funding through our primary program – the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program – ENP applications are not being received by OFCC for the current planning cycle. No determination has been made as to when OFCC will reopen the application process for the ENP program,” Roka wrote. The Exceptional Needs Program funding may have been a stretch anyway for Bowling Green School District. To qualify, a school facility must be in horrendous condition. “The building has to be putting students in harm’s way,” Conley…


BG thanks rugby team for putting city in national spotlight

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The BGSU rugby team fought its way to the top – triumphing over St. Joseph University over the weekend for the national championship and putting Bowling Green in the national spotlight. Mayor Dick Edwards noted the last time a Falcon athletic team won a national championship was in 1984 when the hockey team won after four overtimes. Edwards recognized Roger Mazzarella, director of the BGSU Rugby Club, for keeping the program alive. “What you’ve done with this club …” the mayor said during the City Council meeting on Monday. “It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears.” The rugby club has had to scrape for funding and “fight for your space over there,” Edwards said, recognizing Mazzarella and his son, Tony, who coaches the team. Tony Mazzarella said the championship was the end to an “amazing season” for the team. “We didn’t have our best overall season this year,” Roger Mazzarella said. But the senior-laden team was determined. “The guys were so committed this year.” His dad commented on the St. Joseph team, saying “They weren’t very Jesuit on the field there yesterday.” Council President Mike Aspacher complimented the team’s success. “You certainly made Bowling Green proud,” he said. Also at the meeting, City Attorney Mike Marsh praised the city’s police and fire services. About six months ago, the furnace at his sister’s home blew up, creating a large fire. The firefighters performed heroically, and police stood with his sister in her front yard, in the rain, for five hours. On Sunday, his sister moved back into her home. “I think sometimes we take them for granted,” Marsh said of the accredited police and fire divisions. Also at Monday’s meeting, Edwards read a proclamation declaring December as “general aviation appreciation month.” “I have enormous respect for what you all do there,” for the city, county and BGSU, Edwards said to Wood County Regional Airport manager Mark Black. The airport has been in Bowling Green since the 1940s, helping with economic development and training young pilots at BGSU. Black voiced his appreciation to the city for its support, and said that when pilots land at the airport, he points out local restaurants and businesses for them to visit. Black talked about the expansion of the BGSU Flight Center, which is responding to the national pilot shortage. In other business at Monday’s meeting:…


Rodney Rogers is a man on a mission to lead BGSU forward in difficult times for higher education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Since Rodney Rogers became Bowling Green State University’s 12th president early this year, he has stressed that public universities have a special mission to serve their communities. So it was no surprise when he delivered his first State of the University address Wednesday that  he took that as his theme. Rogers punctuated his address with the exhortation: “That is what a public university does.” Much of the  emphasis of the speech was on what BGSU is doing to accomplish that mission in a difficult period. “There is no question that, today, we live in the most challenging time that higher education has ever seen.” Not only do universities face a demographic shift that will see “a significant decline in the number high school graduates across the state and in the Midwest” starting in 2024, but they also face a loss of public support. “Along the way, and though it was never our intention, I fear, higher education has lost the trust of a large percentage of the public,” Rogers said. Some people question whether the cost, and the resulting student debt, is worth it. Others question the purpose of a college degree. Should students pursue higher education to prepare for a career and drive the economy? Or is the aim of higher education “to produce a broadly educated person” who can participate in democracy and help create “a more just society?” Rogers argued BGSU must do both. “Bowling Green State University needs to act to support a productive society, a good society and a just society,” he said. “If we do that we will regain the public trust,” he said. “We must prepare graduates to live meaningful and productive lives.” Rogers touted the university’s drive to have more students involved in internships, co-ops, study abroad, undergraduate research, learning communities and service learning. He called for an expansion of these efforts. “It is essential that we require every student to complete an interdisciplinary signature project that addresses an important issue.” Rogers also called for greater outreach to post-traditional students.  “We need to reach these new student populations if we want to thrive in the future.” He said the university will create, expand or maintain up to 30 online and hybrid programs to meet the needs of those students including professionals seeking graduate degrees. The university will bring in a large number of post-traditional students when it…


What’s happening in your community (updated Dec. 10)

NEWLY POSTED: BG Bands present holiday concert, Dec. 11  The Bowling Green Band Holiday Concert will be presented Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. in the BG Performing Arts Center. The concert will features the eighth grade and high school bands starting with the BG Jazz Cats of BGHS. The Jazz Cats will perform holiday favorites “Swingle Bells” and “White Christmas” with vocal soloist – Sophia Bird and trumpet soloist Kate Tretter. They all so will perform the big band favorite “Big Noise from Winnetka” with soloists: Sam Myers – trumpet, Nolan Deuel – Trombone, Alan Landgraf – Saxophone, Cameron Brosius-Guitar, Kameron Frankart-Bass Guitar, and Joey Craig- drums. The Eighth Grade Band will bring in the spirit of the season “A Yuletide Festival” and the jammin’ rock style arrangement “Housetop Holiday Jam.” The Concert band selections will include: “And All the Bells Shall Ring!” based on Ding, Dong, Merrily on High and the Ukrainian Bell Carol.   “And Sleep in Heavenly Peace”  which will take you on a whirlwind tour around the world on Christmas Eve. As you listen, we challenge you to recognize the destinations. The Symphonic Band performance will start with The Beatles holiday favorite written by John Lennon, “Happy Christmas.” The Grinch (Hudson Pendleton) himself will make an appearance as BG Middle School teacher, Lane Hakel, will be the narrator and vocalist for “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” The bands are conducted by Bruce Corrigan, Jeremy Sison, and Kayla Gronsky.   NEWLY POSTED: Mrs. Claus to visit library, Dec. 16 Mrs. Claus will visit the Wood County District Public Library to share songs and stories with families in the Children’s Place on Sunday, December 16, at 2 p.m. Don’t forget your camera! Please contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253 with any questions.   NEWLY POSTED: Help Me Grow playdate, Dec. 17 Parents and caregivers with young children are invited to the December Help Me Grow playdate at the Children’s Place of the Wood County District Public Library on Monday, Dec. 17 from 10 to 11 a.m.  This session, open to everyone, offers stories, playtime, and community support resources. For more information, contact the Children’s Place staff at 419-352-8253.   NEWLY POSTED: Toledo Jazz Orchestra performs Ellington Nutcracker, Dec. 15 The Toledo Jazz Orchestra with dancers from the Toledo School for the Arts will present the Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite, Saturday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams…