Articles by David Dupont

Scavenger hunt helps international students discover downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Students from around the world got a chance to explore downtown Bowling Green Wednesday afternoon. The international students from Bowling Green State University came from many countries—France, Taiwan, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Netherlands – just to name a few. A scavenger hunt organized by the Four Corners Center had them searching out all the treasures they could find in the downtown. That included the coffee shops, restaurants, gift shops, restaurants, and even the farmers market. Teams of about half dozen students each buzzed about town. Members of one group said they didn’t have time to talk as they hurried off to find Homeworks. Elisa Erbrech, a business student from Strasbourg, France, said, those on her team were too intent on winning to even stop and taste the cookies and coffee the Wood County Library had set out. And they accomplished their mission. The team was the first to finish. Marcia Salazar-Valentine, the director of International Programs and Partnerships, said the idea behind the scavenger hunt was to introduce the students, all of whom had just arrived at BGSU, to the downtown, and to introduce downtown businesses to the students. “The international students are so important,” said Wendy Chambers, the director of the Wood County Convention Visitors Bureau, one of the Four Corners entities.  “We wanted to welcome them to the community.” BGSU enrolls more than 1,000 foreign students. “I think it takes a while because they have so much to do the first weeks,” Salazar-Valentine said. She remembers arriving as an international student in Bowling Green. “I came downtown and learned so much…


Jewish Community Relation Council condemns right wing violence in Charlottesville

The domestic terrorism perpetrated in Charlottesville, Virginia, by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK has left so many of us incensed and distraught. It was particularly jarring to those of us who live in northwest Ohio to learn that the driver of the car that plowed into a crowd of protestors, killing one and injuring many others, lives in Maumee, Ohio. Part of the mission of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo is to foster constructive relationships within the Jewish community and among people of all faiths and cultures in order to promote a just, democratic, and pluralistic American society. We join with the many who have already condemned these acts of hatred and violence. We will work relentlessly with other community organizations to keep hatred and bigotry out of northwest Ohio and our nation. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer began this relentless work when he spoke out against the rally and attended a candlelight vigil the following night. He was almost immediately assaulted on Twitter. The tweets accosting Signer, who is Jewish, were explicitly anti-Semitic. Equally anti-Semitic and racist were the chants of the torchbearers, “Blut and Boden” (Blood and Soil), a German phrase prominently used during the rise of the Third Reich. History teaches us that discrimination and marginalization of ethnic and racial minorities leads to the destruction of the fabric of democracy and worse–much worse. In the words of Elie Wiesel: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Signed, Eric Dubow, President, Sue Ann Hochberg, JFGT JCRC Chair


Whitehorse rides into arts fest for Sunday sets

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland started out as musical collaborators playing in bands together and working on each other’s projects. “Our relationship was strictly professional … for weeks,” Doucet quipped. “Our relationship was very close, very intimate early on. We found each other.” That was about 14 years ago, and now Doucet is talking on the telephone with their 3-year-old son in the background. He wants a boat ride, Doucet said. For years, Doucet and McClelland continued on their separate careers as solo artists and “hired guns,” though they worked together as much as they could. Then six years ago, tired of their schedules pulling them apart, they formed Whitehorse, a musical act informed both by their long musical and personal relationship Whitehorse will perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday Sept. 11, at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage and then at 2:45 as the penultimate act on the Family Stage. Reflecting on those early years, Doucet said “our musical lives were very confused.” They were including each other so much in their own bands that when their schedules didn’t allow them to play together, their fans would ask where the missing party was. They also toured together with fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan. Doucet had been backing the star for a while. As McLachlan’s backup singers came and went, he suggested he knew someone. “She rolled her eyes and told me: ‘I’m not hiring your girlfriend,’” Doucet recalls. Then a backup singer left just as McLachlan was heading off on a short tour with Pete Seeger. She relented. McClelland joined the band…


BG residents urged to engage with international students

Friendship Program matches locals with international students” (Community Opinion, August 9, 2017) was an uplifting article to read at a time when so much negativity dominates national news. As a fairly new BG resident (three years in November), I am so impressed by the volunteer spirit in this great, small city. I would encourage all to participate in the International Friendship Program so we can show these students that not all Americans are hateful. My 20+ years of living abroad has shown me that many foreigners form their opinions of the USA and Americans from what they see in movies and in the news. In addition to the approximately 800 International students starting their undergraduate or graduate programs at BGSU this year, there is another 50 or so International students who come about 3 to 12 months prior to matriculation in order to work on their English here. These students come to the official Intensive English Program on campus: ELS Language Centers. Because of their weaker English skills, we are actively seeking volunteers to act as Conversation Partners by coming to classes once a month to speak to these students for about 45 minutes. Students at ELS Language Centers/Bowling Green also face obstacles with housing. With the closure of the Harshman Quadrangle, there aren’t any available dorm rooms for these students. All that is officially left is our Homestay Program. Although it is a much more serious involvement to house an international student for a couple of months or even a year, the rewards are much greater. First of all, there is financial compensation. Secondly, many families and international students…


Black Swamp Arts Festival puts out call for volunteers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival needs a village. That’s what it takes to stage the annual weekend event. It’s been that way for the festival’s 25 years. “It takes everybody,” said Wynn Perry, volunteer coordinator for the festival. The festival draws on a cross section of the community – professionals, retirees, service clubs, churches, school clubs, university students, and more. “They all volunteer.” The Black Swamp Arts Festival will be presented Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept. 10 this year, in downtown Bowling Green. None of the concerts, art show or youth activities happen without willing bodies. The festival uses about 1,000 volunteers on the weekend itself – the all-volunteer committee that organizes it works throughout the year. That’s the sweat equity that’s invested into putting on a community-wide party. With the festival less than a month away, organizers are in serious need of people to sign up, Perry said. Volunteers are needed throughout the festival from Friday morning to help set up the stage and beer garden area to helping get the downtown back to normal on late Sunday afternoon. On Saturday morning volunteers on the dawn patrol help transform Main Street into a vibrant art fair, as more than 150 artists, plus university students, set up booths. In between, help is needed selling tickets, merchandise, beverages, picking up trash, helping kids create art, and monitoring the stage and beer garden area. “Volunteers are a vital part of the Festival,” Todd Ahrens, who chairs the festival committee, wrote in a statement.  From set up Friday morning to take down on Sunday evening, about…


Traffic patterns affected by BGSU Move-In

Bowling Green State University has released a list of streets that will close or be one-way as students move back to campus. Move-in for incoming and transfer students will begin Wednesday, August 16, and will run through Sunday, August 20. During Move-in, it will be necessary to close specific parking lots and modify normal traffic patterns. Parking on campus will also be restricted. Street Closures: Thursday, August 17 Mercer Road between Wooster and Poe will be closed 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 17, & Sunday, August 20 Merry Avenue between Thurstin and North College will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Street One-Way Designations (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) Thursday, August 17 North College from Merry to Ridge, One Way – South North College from Merry to Leroy, One Way – North Ridge Street from North College to Thurstin, One Way – West Alumni Drive from Stadium to Mercer, One Way – West Ridge Street from Mercer to Willard, One Way – West Harshman Drive from Mercer to Lot G, One Way – West Kreischer Drive from Mercer to Lot K, One Way – West  


For Keeps throws a party to mark 20 years of peddling life’s fun, non-essentials

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Amy Craft Ahrens is celebrating 20 years of running For Keeps in downtown Bowling Green, and she wants her customers to have a piece of the action. That’ll be especially true for one lucky customer in particular. As part of the celebration, the shop is holding a party under a tent Saturday Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop is handing out puzzle pieces. One of those pieces will complete a puzzle on display in the party tent. The person who gets the piece will receive a $250 gift card. Another 50 prizes will be given out as part of puzzle game. Craft Ahrens said that every year she has a sale to mark the anniversary of the opening of the store, but this year being a milestone she decided to expand the celebration. There’ll be cookies from the Cookie Jar, in keeping with Craft Ahrens’ shop local philosophy. Mimosas until their gone and beer, wine and soft drinks. Grab bags for $1, $3, $5 and $10 containing “a hodgepodge of goodies” worth at least twice the price. Customers can participate in a trivia contest about the store with questions such as how many women named Amy have worked there. And there’ll be goats. Craft Ahrens fancies goats, and when she was in Boston to run in the marathon earlier this year, the hotel she was staying in had goats, so she thought: “Why can’t I?” The sale will run from Friday through Sunday. Balloons will be strewn about the floor, and inside will be a tag denoting a discount from…


Rally in BG responds to right wing violence in Charlottesville

A couple hundred people  gathered Sunday afternoon on the Bowling Green green space for what is being called a Rally to Protect Freedom. The gathering, organized by BG City Councilman Daniel Gordon is in response to deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted by a march of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. One woman died when a car slammed into a a group of counter-protesters. Media have identified the driver who faces multiple charges as James Alex Fields, resident of Maumee. Those attending the rally carried signs including the messages: Racism is NOT history yet No hate here Justice for all A Great America is not racist, sexist, or homophobic.  


Stars align at BGSU as College of Music welcomes famed guest artists

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts has some special acts in the wings. Lindsay Gross, the college’s manager of public-community relations, can’t help but show her own enthusiasm for what’s in store for the coming academic year – five internationally acclaimed artists who will share their gifts with the community. And all the events related to these residencies are open to public for free. Why wouldn’t Gross be excited? She’s a jazz bass trombonist, and the first guest in September is the American Brass Quintet, a pioneering ensemble that uses bass trombone, not tuba, as its lowest voice. And closing run of guest artists during Jazz Week in late March will be Maria Schneider, the most esteemed living composer for large jazz ensemble. Schneider has won Grammys not only for her jazz work but also for her arrangement on David Bowie’s song “Sue.” And for her collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, who will visit BGSU a week before she arrives. Visits scheduled are: American Brass Quintet, residency Sept.20-22, with a concert Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Jazz guitarist John Scofield, Sept. 30, a master class and concert at 8 p.m. as part of the two-day Orchard Guitar Festival that starts Sept.29. Opera composer Jake Heggie, keynote lecture at 8 p.m. on Oct. 22 and residency Oct. 23-24, as part of the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Mind Series. Vocal superstar Dawn Upshaw, recital March 18 at 8 p.m. and residency March 19-20, as the Helen McMaster Professorship in Vocal and Choral Arts. Maria Schneider, residency from March 28-30, with a concert March…


Drivers urged to be aware of student activity

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today (Aug. 11) that there have been 8 fatal crashes in Wood County compared to 9 at this same time last year. August is back to school month for local school districts and higher education facilities in Wood County. When travelling rural roads, please be attentive to school buses in the area picking up and dropping of their precious cargo. Watch for increased traffic in the area of school buildings and be mindful of the 20 mph school zone speed limit during restricted times. Owens Community College will start its fall semester in August. Watch for increased traffic on Oregon Road for students entering and exiting campus. Students be mindful of congestion in parking lots and be aware of your surroundings. Let’s prevent the high number of crashes that occur in your parking lots. Bowling Green State University (BGSU) will also return beginning August 21. Wooster Street is the main thoroughfare to enter the campus and shows a high volume of crashes from 11 a.m. to 6  p.m. Most crashes occur on Friday but with any event at BGSU, please be aware of the high volume of traffic and travel these areas with caution. Let’s make this back to school season the safest in history!!


Renovated BGSU Traditions buildings get positive reviews

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Tom Gorman came into University Hall looking for his old window. The long-time Bowling Green State University employee and graduate had worked in University Hall a number of years ago, and he visited the now renovated space checking out where he used to sit in a tiny cubicle. The room on the first floor of the 102-year-old building is no longer cramped.  Now home to the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, it is open and full of light. This is the one, or maybe this one is the window, Gorman said, before wandering off to check out the rest of the renovated building and its neighbor Moseley Hall, where he had taken classes. Gorman was one of the employees and community members who strolled through the buildings Thursday during an open house. The public will have another chance to visit the two buildings Saturday (Aug. 12) from noon to 2 p.m. Tours begin at noon and 1 p.m. For her part V. Jane Rosser, the director of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, said she liked having people like Gorman, “folks who know the building, who worked here, students, people who cleaned and folks from other units” drop by to look at the space. “They’ve been very impressed.” Rosser is impressed as well with the office’s new space. In the 10 or so years the center has been in existence, she said, it has bounced from building to building wherever there was empty office space. “All out of the way,” she said. Now the center is located in a place that’s easy…


Molsky’s Mountain Drifters to take the sound of the Appalachians to new heights at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Bruce Molsky first dug into old-time mountain music, he was a college dropout. He’d gone off to Cornell to be an architect and instead he ended up washing dishes in the bar and grille that hosted old-time music sessions. Having started playing folk music in his native New York, he joined in. “The old-time music really resonated with me,” Molsky said in a recent telephone interview. “It still does.” Some 40 years later, the 62-year-old fiddler, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has formed Molsky’s Mountain Drifters with two musicians half his age, but with the same devotion to that evocative mountain sound. Alisson de Groot, who plays claw hammer banjo, and Stash Wyslouch, guitar, are college graduates. Both attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where Molsky, describes himself as “primarily an ear player,” teaches in the Roots Music Department. Now it’s Molsky’s turn to pass on all he learned from the old-timers he jammed with. Molsky’s Mountain Drifters will play two sets at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday, Sept.10. They’ll perform on the Main Stage at 2 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. show on the acoustic stage. Molsky said he’s looking forward to coming to Bowling Green. “I like those kind of festivals that have the public walking around going from place to place and enjoying the town.” The social aspect of the music is part of what attracted him. “As a folk musician you better be the kind of person who enjoys meeting new people,” he said. Growing up in the Bronx, he listened to the radio since he was…


Friendship Program matches locals with international students

BGSU welcomes almost 800 International students to its campus each year. Many are eager to learn about American family life in addition to their university experience. The International Friendship Program matches interested students with local families for informal get-togethers, meals, family functions, outings, etc. There is NO financial or housing obligation associated with this program. You may do as much or as little as your schedules and mutual interests suggest. Some students may only have time to meet with their “family” (which can be a single person, retired couple, widow or widower, etc.) occasionally while others may enjoy more frequent contact. Please consider participating in the enriching experience for both student and family as the need is great. To speak with someone about the program call Bob Segna at 419-308-1906 or Megan Smith at 419-460-4237. Or, email Bob at rjsegna@frontier.com.   From Bob Segna for the International Friendship Program (See related story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/international-fellowship-program-links-students-from-abroad-local-families/)


New BGSU department reaches across campus & the globe

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Globalization of the economy is an unstoppable force at the same time that the study of foreign language in the United States is declining. “Foreign language departments are closing across the country,” said Philip Peek, who chairs the Department of World Languages and Cultures. That’s true in high schools as well. That trend served as the incentive this year, to marry Bowling Green State University’s two language departments, German, Russian and East Asian Languages and Romance and Classical Studies and form World Languages and Cultures. “Everyone realized that if perhaps we joined forces and started working together and looked at it as an overall team approach that we’ll all get stronger,” he said. The merger was a long time coming. At one point in the university’s history the foreign languages were all under one roof, but at some point they split. The reason is a matter of conjecture about faculty butting heads. Peek said from the time he came to BGSU in 1995 people were discussing merging GREAL and ROCS, but only in the last two or three years did it become apparent that this would actually occur. Spanish is, and promises to remain, the dominant foreign language. While almost 80 percent of Americans speak English at home, almost 13 percent speak Spanish. No other language has even 1 percent, though Chinese comes close with 0.9 percent, according to figures provided by Peek from the American Communities Study. Spanish is the language most taught in high schools. At BGSU, the new department offers courses in 10 languages Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian,…


Antibalas to bring surging rhythms of Afrobeat to the Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Martin Perna, founder of the Afro-beat ensemble Antibalas, likes company. “Community is really important to me,” he said in a recent telephone interview. Whether it’s “connecting people as a leader, a facilitator, or just a participant, what we’re able to achieve together is way bigger than any individual could do.” That holds especially true for Afrobeat, an amalgamation of jazz, soul, psychedelic rock, African highlife, and traditional chants and rhythms. The cast of a dozen musicians allows the songs to expand to 20 to 30 minutes. “It allows for the development of a complex story,” Perna said. A pop song may be a tweet, but an Antibalas song with its surging cross-rhythms and jubilant horns is “an in-depth article,” even a novel. That’s evident on the group’s forthcoming album “Where the Gods Are in Peace,” a throbbing exploration of myths for our time. Antibalas will mark the release of the album, which hits the streets Sept. 15, with a show at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. Percussionist and charter member Duke Amayo said he’s excited about the show and the tour because the album speaks about solutions to some of the problems the world is facing rather than just talking about the problems. The band’s publicity says of the album: “Through its battle cry of resistance against exploitation and displacement, Antibalas’ long-form compositions investigate oppression in 1800s America that eerily mirror the current state of the country. Three explosive original arrangements cultivate an urgent call to heal a broken system.” “What we try to do in the music…