Articles by David Dupont

Children’s Librarian Maria Simon on the mend from injuries suffered in crash

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Simon is back to work at the Wood County District Public Library. Though she’s not up to rocking out, the children’s librarian is feeling well enough to return to see the Libraries Rock summer reading program through the end of the summer. Simon was seriously injured June 6 in an automobile accident on I-75. She returned to work with restrictions a week ago. Simon said she was very pleased to be back, even if it’s just part time. She attended the library’s Board of Trustees meeting Monday. She suffered a broken sternum and a concussion, so she said she’s having to limit her contact with the public. “Just a wave is all I need,” she said of well-wishers. She said that the library is a very private place, so many people probably aren’t aware of where she’s been. They may assume she’s been on vacation, Simon said. The accident occurred just south of Cygnet Road in Wood County when the Toyota Prius she was driving struck another car that was driving erratically. While trying to avoid that car she also made contact with a tractor-trailer. She, her husband Marc Simon, Bowling Green State University professor, and her mother, Mary Roemer, of South Bend, Indiana were on their way back to Bowling Green after traveling to Cincinnati to see a show the Simons’ daughter and son were performing. Roemer was very seriously injured who was taken by air ambulance to St. Vincent’s in Toledo. She has now been transferred to a skilled nursing facility in South Bend. So in addition to her own recovery, Simon was monitoring her mother’s care. Simon said she appreciates returning to the library. “I love this place,” she said. “I love libraries. Libraries incredibly healing places, places of order and stability.  There’s answers here.” Answers are hard to come by in the world of medical care where even the experts can be baffled, especially when it comes to concussions and spinal injuries, such as those her mother suffered. That “world is full of care and concern, and definitely love and prayers. That’s very comforting, but it’s extremely scary.” Back in the library “is very comforting and knowledgeable and orderly. And this place is a lot more fun.” Simon said that she especially missed the children. Her injuries knocked her out of action just as the summer reading program with the theme Libraries Rock had started rolling. But her staff “didn’t miss a beat,” she said. “They are rock stars.” She’s even turned to the…

Cousins team up to tell story of family life in the inner city

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Usually book signings don’t include blood pressure tests. Antrone “Juice” Williams, though, always includes the health screening at events he’s involved in. Since he almost died from a stroke while working out back in 2012 he’s been an advocate for stroke awareness. That was the focus of the first book he wrote with his cousin Damien Womack. “A Walking Testimony Stroke Survivor: My Second Chance” was about his recovery, an ongoing process, from his near-death experience. It was meant to be an inspiration and encouragement for others facing this situation, and a warning about the necessity of monitoring blood pressure and other health indicators. The former semi-professional and college basketball player has devoted his life to raising awareness of the dangers of strokes and helping youth. Now Williams and Womack have written a second book “The P.I.L.L.A.R.S.” Originally, Womack said, this was supposed to be part of the first book, the story of how Williams arrived at the gym in Augusta, Maine, where he was felled by a stroke. But the publisher decided, Womack said, it was better to keep the book focused on the inspirational story. “The P.I.L.L.A.R.S.” – that stands for The People I Love, Last and Remain Sacred” – reflects on the families that raised the cousins. While it’s told with love, “it’s more in your face,” Womack said. “It means you’re going to run the gamut of emotions.” The book takes the reader to the inner city streets of Chicago, where Williams grew up, and Detroit, where Womack grew until moving to rural Ohio to be with his father. Each had their strengths. Williams thrived on the neighborhood basketball courts playing street ball. Womack did his best in the classroom. Neither had an easy childhood, coming from working poor families in tough neighborhoods with gangs always off in the wings. Their families were loving, but many of them tried to salve the pains of life with alcohol leading to arguments and break-ups. And, Williams said, there was the shadow of chronic illness that no one wanted to talk about. Williams suffered from a sense of abandonment when his father left his mother, who then had to work long hours to support him. That left him in the care of his grandmother, and feeling his mother had abandoned him as well. Womack’s father had to follow his job to Cambridge, Ohio, when Champion Sparkplug closed its Detroit plant. His parents’ marriage didn’t survive the move, splitting the family. The story is raw, though not without its…

Now OH honors familiar faces on local art scene

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A year ago Aaron Pickens won best of show at the Now OH exhibit with a painting it took him two hours to complete. The painting was a small a landscape painted on location. This year Pickens won Best of Show for a very different piece. “In Da Club” took two years in the studio to complete. It draws on Pickens’ fascination with toys, and serves as a commentary on the contemporary art scene. Pickens said the piece references fashionable trends in painting. In the middle is a small self-portrait that’s slashed by a splash of paint. He also plays with the use of repetition. He also employs social media “love” and “like” icons. These are the tropes he sees in the work that are featured in magazines and are accepted in juried show. “In Da Club” has not been accepted in any juried shows. Pickens said. But the Now OH, is open to all comers from 12 counties in Northwest Ohio. The 11th community art exhibit Now OH opened Friday night in the Bowling Green State University Fine Art Center with a gallery talk by juror Michelle Carlson and the awards ceremony. The show continues through July 28. Gallery hours are: Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The 65 artists who showed work included avocational artists, some who have been at it for decades, and an art professor. The prize winners included names familiar to those who frequent local arts events, such as Art Walk and the Wood County Invitational at the Black Swamp Arts festival. They are stalwarts in those shows, though not necessarily award winners. Painter Craig Blair received the first place in 2D work for his painting “Girl with Balloon.” In her talk Carlson praised Blair’s mastery of spray paint art and the way he used a few simple images – a woman, a balloon, a blimp – to create an evocative effect. Blair said in his 50 years of painting he’d never won an award. He’s been a regular exhibitor at Now OH. “I like the quality of the art especially for a non-juried show,” Blair said. He doesn’t paint to win awards. “I just do it because I like it.” Others seem to appreciate what he creates. “I sell a lot of paintings.” Carlson said the juxtaposition of two award-winning works demonstrates the way the show reflects the diversity of the region. Meghan Kozal’s finely cut wood piece “And Word Became Flesh,” featured layers of what appear to be Arabic script. Carlson praised…

What’s happening in your community (updated July 16)

NEWLY POSTED: Firefly Nights aims to shine brighter, July 20 Firefly Nights will return to downtown Bowling Green, Friday, July 20, 6-10 p.m. with even more festivities. The street fair will present more music, vendors, food trucks, and kids activities. Set to perform are: North Stage: 6:30 p.m.,  Vester Frey; 7:30 p.m., Dooley Wilson; and 9 p.m., Minglewood Labor Camp South Stage: 6 p.m., Flannery Murnen; 7 p.m., Three 2 Many; and 8 p.m., Ryan Roth & The Sideshow. For more details, announcements, and giveaways visit the festival’s website, Facebook page, Instagram account. NEWLY POSTED: Water ski championships come to BG, July 21 & 22 The Ohio State Water Ski Championships welcomes 100 athletes from around the state to compete  at Bees & Skis Lake, 16559 King Road in Bowling Green, Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. This competition is an opportunity for competitors to win the state title and to advance to the Midwest Regional Championships in Wilmington, Illinois. The tournament is hosted by John Gorski and the Barking Shores Ski Club. Skiers ranging in age from 8 – 80 will compete in three events, slalom, trick and jump. In addition to the State Championships, the final Buckeye Buoy Tour stop will be hosted at Bees & Skis Lake on Friday, July 20. A banquet will be hosted Saturday night on site where the Ohio All-Star Team will be announced, junior awards presented and the Distinguished Service Award honoree recognized. Distinguished Service is the highest honor given to a volunteer in the Ohio Water Ski Association (OWSA). NEWLY POSTED: Cronin Buick celebrates opening, July 17 A ribbon cutting and Business After Hours to celebrate the Grand Opening of Cronin Buick GMC at 1099 N. Main St., Bowling Green, will be held July 17. The Ribbon Cutting will be at 4 p.m. with the Business After Hours 4:30-6 p.m. RSVPs are appreciated by contacting Marissa Muniz at or by calling the Bowling Green Chamber at 419-353-7945. This event is presented by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Cronin Buick GMC and the City of Bowling Green.   NEWLY POSTED: Families invited to ‘Rock! Out with the Beetles,’ July 18 Families are invited to join Wood County District Public Library Children’s Place staff and a BG Parks and Recreation naturalist for a special “Rock Out! with the Beetles” program on Wednesday, July 18, 2 p.m. at Wintergarden Park. Enjoy beetle-themed stories, music, crafts and a nature presentation.  For more information, call the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.   NEWLY POSTED: Youth Volleyball Camp at the Community Center, July 23-27 Registration…

Josh Almanson shares his hoop skills with hometown youngsters

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Josh Almanson was just getting ready to launch his professional career, he decided he wanted to share the skills that had gotten him that far with the kids in his hometown of Bowling Green. So the Josh Almanson Basketball Camp was launched. On Monday the 13th camp gets underway at the Bowling Green Community Center. The camp runs Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day for girls and boys who will be entering grades 2-9. Almanson’s pro career lasted nine years starting and ending in Luxembourg with stops between in Germany, France, and Portugal. But every year, he’d bring home what he’d learned along the way. He’s now a middle school assistant principal in Worthington, a suburb of Columbus, where he also serves as athletic director. Almanson, 36, said the camp taught him lessons as well. It gave him an exposure to working with youngsters that fueled his interest in education. Over the years he’s learned that the campers come in full of energy, and his job is to make sure they expend it before they leave the gym at the end of the day. “You don’t want them to go home with some left in the tank,” he said. Children’s first exposure to basketball often comes from seeing game highlights. He wants to show them what goes into creating those spectacular plays. “What happens when they show up to a tryout and practice? Their exposure may be seeing highlights, this looks completely different.” There’s training in the fundamentals, integrated with a lot of game play. “We have different team competitions or individual competitions. We do a lot of skill work and development. That’s kind of the basis, a lot of skill work and a lot of competition.” The camp draws 60 to 80 kids from all over Northwest Ohio. “They have a good time and meet new people.” Depending on numbers they’ll be broken down into several groups based on age. Some of the students come in with relatively advanced skills and already play in leagues. Others are just starting to learn he sport. Almanson works with them all. “We want kids to learn something about basketball and learn something about themselves and have a good time with it.” He said he’s been fortunate in the coaching help he’s gotten to help with the camp. Some have gone on to coach in college. Almanson did coach the first few years he was a teacher, but can’t now that he’s an administrator. He said he’d…

Black Swamp Players to open three-show season with ‘Clue: The Musical’

From THE BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players will open its fifty-first season with a production of “Clue: The Musical.” Based on the 1949 board game of the same name, “Clue: The Musical” is an interactive theater experience that invites audience participation. Like the board game, “Clue: The Musical” concerns the murder of Mr. Boddy and features all of the colorful characters made famous by Parker Brothers, including Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, and Mrs. White. But the musical also allows audience members to randomly select cards that will determine which suspect committed the murder, which weapon was used, and where the murder took place. The show has 216 possible endings. The production will be directed by Melissa Shaffer. Open auditions for the production will be held on the following dates: Sunday, August 12 from 3-5 p.m.; Tuesday, August 14 from 7-9 p.m.; and Saturday August 18 from 10 a.m. to noon. The script calls for a cast of five men and three women of various ages. All auditions will be held at the First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green. Those who want to audition should prepare a two-minute song excerpt and should expect to cold read from the script. “Clue: The Musical”will open on Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performance dates include: Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, November 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.. Both Saturday evening performances will be preceded by a dinner, beginning at 6 p.m., that will benefit the First United Methodist Church. Tickets for the Friday and Sunday performances are $15/adults, $12/seniors and students. Tickets for the Saturday “Dinner and a Show” performances are $25/person and must be purchased one week or more prior to the show. All tickets can be purchased on the organization’s website. Clue: The Musical is the first of three productions to be mounted by The Black Swamp Players for its 2018-2019 season. Clue will be followed by a production of Meredith Wilson’s 1957 Tony-Award-winning musical, The Music Man, which will be performed at the First United Methodist Church in February 2019. Auditions for The Music Man will be held in November. The Players will close their 51st season with the world premiere of an original play by local F. Scott Regan, titled Peanuts and Crackerjacks. Regan’s play will be performed in April/May 2019. Black Swamp Players is nonprofit corporation that exists to provide opportunities for area residents to experience…

Scientists continue to address harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even in an age of satellites, vintage tools have their place in protecting the environment. The research in harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie by scientists from state and government agencies and institutions of higher education is constantly evolving. A new European satellite promises to provide a steady stream of advanced analytics and should allow for the development of 3D models of harmful algae blooms. As scientists monitor the water in Lake Erie and the tributaries that feed it, they also employ a tool that dates back to the middle of the 19th century. As part as a water testing demonstration at the Stone Lab on Middle Bass Island, researchers used the Secchi disc, a basic device that’s lowered into the water to determine how clear it is. The demonstration was part of the seventh Harmful Algae Blooms forecast conference held at the lab. Rick Stumpf, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that this year’s bloom splits the difference between the smaller bloom in 2017 and the more extensive problem in 2016. The severity was rated at 6, on the open ended scale. The worst blooms, seen in 2011 and 2015, were 10 or greater. Last year was an 8. The forecast for algae blooms is based on six different predictive models, all using different methodologies. Scientists can’t say, though, what the chance is that this bloom will turn toxic like the one in 2014 that left 500,000 customers served by the Toledo system without safe water. Stumpf said that scientists are working on developing techniques to forecast the likelihood of toxicity. The blooms, he said, appear to be developing sooner as the lake warms up earlier. They tend to subside in August, but then last year re-emerged on a smaller scale in September. The earlier onset does not mean the bloom will be more severe, he said. Thomas Bridgeman, from the University of Toledo, noted, there’s also been more healthy algae growth in the lake, and  that could compete with the harmful variety. James Kelly Frey, sanitary engineer for Ottawa County, said it was important for those managing water plants to look further into the future as they consider the needs for new technology to address the problem. “We need to able to predict how soon this may subside,” he said. Chris Winslow, the director of Stone Lab, said that given the size of the watershed feeding the lake that’s hard to predict. Methods have been developed and implemented in the agricultural community to…

Turning the game on its head will give American soccer a leg up in the World Cup

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As the sporting world turns its gaze toward Russia and the final games of the World Cup, the United States is on the outside looking in. The U.S. Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the tournament at all after a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago last year. That’s the first time the team missed out on soccer’s biggest showcase since 1990. Yet even then only once did the U.S. advance as far as the quarterfinals. The failure of the men’s team (the women’s team, a dominant force in the world’s game. is another story) has cause plenty of head scratching and advice on how to improve. Most focus on training at the elite levels. Two local men Nathan Richardson and Carlo Celli, both on faculty at Bowling Green State University as well as youth soccer coaches, administrators and parents, have other ideas. Those ideas sprang from their experience here in Bowling Green as well as around the world. Celli is a native of Italy, where he continues to summer, and Richardson’s scholarship has meant stays in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. The result of their passion for the game and frustrations with its state in the U.S. have resulted in a broad prescription in book form, “Shoeless Soccer: Fixing the System and Winning the World Cup.” The book has garnered attention on Fox News and the authors wrote an opinion piece in USA Today. The epiphany came in Bowling Green. Richardson was leading winter training sessions for Bowling Green Soccer Club players at the Community Center. During one practice, one of the young players’ shoe “exploded.” There was no way to fix it, so rather than exclude the boy, Richardson suggested they all play barefoot. Setting fear of stubbed bruised, even broken, toes aside, the kids played on and Richardson realized being shoeless forced the youngsters to play with more care, and with more technique. No toeing the ball with a bare foot, rather they were forced to have the soft touch every soccer player wants to achieve. They were learning without coaching. Another revelation came, said Richardson, when the younger sister of a player showed up and wanted to participate. Richardson always welcomes other players so he let her join. That meant no drills, just a game. As these sessions continued they used different sized balls, even a tennis ball as a way of emulating kids who sometimes had to make their own out of rags. He observed that the youngsters playing on the hard surface…

Toledo Opera casts Shawn Mathey in ‘Magic Flute’

Bowling Green native Shawn Mathey will perform of Tamino, the prince in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” with the Toledo Opera, Oct. 5 and 7 in the Valentine Theatre. Mathey, who has performed in lead roles with major companies around the world, has returned to Bowling Green. He earned his Master of Music from Bowling Green State University, where his wife Sujin Lee teaches, in December. He appeared in “Cavalleria Rusticana” in February, 2016 on campus. With the Toledo Opera he has performed lead roles in “Madama Butterfly” and “Faust.”  

Safe Communities reviews four fatal crashes

From WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today that the Fatal Data Review Committee met on Tuesday, July 10, o review four fatal crashes from the second quarter of 2018. The following fatal crashes were reviewed:  3100 Brown Rd. Northwood  Rt 199 at DeWitt Rd.  I-75 at I-475 entrance ramp  Rt 199 at DeWitt Rd. The following countermeasures were established:  Drive within the posted speed limit  Always wear your seatbelt  Reduce speed in inclement weather  Don’t Drive Distracted  Remain with your vehicle when disabled on the interstate. Call #677 or 911 for assistance Two crashes are pending and will be reviewed in the 3rd quarter.

Fire Marshal looking for tips about suspected arson in McComb

The Division of State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigations Bureau seek tips from the public regarding a residential fire at 235 North Liberty Street in McComb (Hancock County). The fire occurred just before 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2018. The Northwest Hancock Joint Fire District responded to the scene and found the residents were not home at the time of the fire. The second story of the home later collapsed. The investigation is being conducted jointly by the Marshal’s office, the Northwest Hancock Joint Fire District and the McComb Police Department. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire. Anyone with information relating to the fire is encouraged to call the State Fire Marshal’s office at 800-589-2728 or the McComb Police Department at 419-293-3667.

Ben’s drops the Franklin from its name

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The name Ben Franklin is a thing of the past on Main Street, Bowling Green. What that name represented, though, lives on under another moniker, Ben’s. “That’s what everyone calls it,” said owner Floyd Craft. Ben Franklin Crafts has been a fixture in downtown for 42 years, since Craft and his wife, Charlotte, brought their young family to town to buy and operate a Ben Franklin franchise. For many years though, the only connection to the chain has been the name – a privilege Craft had to pay for. Back in those early days the iconic American chain was a going concern. It served as the wholesaler for stores as well as providing business services such as accounting and insurance for store owners. All that changed in 1996 when Ben Franklin went into bankruptcy, the first of a series. While that was fatal for many of the stores, especially smaller, more rural operations that relied on the chain for its stock, the Craft family’s business continued. Craft said Tuesday that he realized soon after opening his store that he couldn’t solely use Ben Franklin as a wholesaler. He said he realized he was paying more to Ben Franklin for some items than his competition Rink’s Bargain store was selling them to customers. Now with Ben Franklin having its third owner since the bankruptcy, Craft decided it was time to change the name. So he notified Ben Franklin that he would not renew, and in June the Franklin disappeared from the store’s front, leaving Ben, a shadow of Franklin, and Crafts. The problem is the name doesn’t mean anything to anyone under 50, Craft said. Maybe a college student’s grandma will know what it is. The new sign was designed by Amy Karlovec, who is known for her many award-winning posters for the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Flanking the name will be icons letting customers, especially younger customers, know what the store sells. That merchandise has changed over the years. The store no longer sells underwear. Changing with the times is what kept Ben Franklin a going concern, shifting stock based on customer demands and the competition. Craft said he was conservative in running the operation making sure to pay off his debt as soon as possible. That helped him weather the tough times. Owning the building is also important. Craft who worked for WT Grant before opening the Bowling Green store, has seen a lot in his 62 years in business from hula hoops to Beanie Babies. Nothing, he…

Bruce Meyer to lead BGSU capital planning & campus operations

Bruce Meyer has been named Bowling Green State University’s associate vice president for capital planning and campus operations, a role he has filled as interim since 2017. In announcing the appointment, President Rodney Rogers praised Meyer for making sure “our capital projects have been kept steadily moving forward.” Rogers added: “He is a longtime member of the executive team charged with implementing the Campus Master Plan and brings to the position thorough knowledge of the University and strong management skills.” In his new position, Meyer will be a member of the president’s cabinet. He will report to Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer.

BGSU president adds two new members to his cabinet

Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers has added two new positions to his cabinet. In an announcement to the campus community, he announced that Jennifer McCary, assistant vice president for student affairs/Title IX officer, will be added to the inner circle of presidential advisors. He cited the “critical issues facing BGSU and other universities and the significance of Title IX to our efforts to promote a campus culture of civility and freedom from harassment and sexual violence” as the rationale for the move. Dr. Christina Lunceford will continue to serve on the body as assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. Because of “the importance of information technology to nearly everything we do at the University today and in the future,” Rogers has named John Ellinger, the university’s chief information officer, to the group.

Toledo Museum of Art recruiting docents

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is opening recruitment for its docent program. Those who have a passion for teaching and sharing the arts with children are encouraged to apply to the upcoming docent training class. Docents are trained Museum volunteers who engage with visitors to facilitate enriched experiences with works of art and create a warm and welcoming Museum environment. These “gallery teachers” encourage visitor inquiry and enjoyment of the arts. The 2019 docent class will include: A calendar year worth of training Becoming a docent gives the opportunity to participate in a thorough training process. Training will take place from January through December 2019 and will include mentorship from experienced docent peers. Training for specific groups Participants will attend classroom and gallery training sessions to become familiar with the TMA collection and gain skills to connect PreK-8 students with works of art. The training program includes specific training for the PreK-8 school tour program. Convenient training hours Training sessions will be held weekdays to coincide when school tours take place. For further information, please visit and attend an information session on Aug. 9, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Applications are now being accepted and interviews will take place late August and early September. Classes will officially begin January 2019.