Articles by David Dupont

Diana Bibler wins People’s Choice Award as NowOH exhibit closes at BGSU (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Diana Bibler’s “Heart Breaking” got some love from visitors to the annual NowOH art exhibit at Bowling Green State University. Bibler’s acrylic painting won the show’s People’s Choice Award. The honor was announced Sunday after the last day of the show’s two-week run. Artists arrived at the galleries in the Fine Arts Center to collect their work. More than 100 ballots were cast for People’s Choice. “Heart Breaking” was an outgrowth of a family calamity. Bibler’s family had a house fire. In the aftermath, a 90-gallon fish tank was neglected and just kept freezing and thawing. They finally just “shoved it outside” where the bright plastic plants froze inside ice crystals. That was the image that inspired Bibler’s vivid abstraction. The title “Heart Breaking” refers, in part to the fire, but was as much inspired by viewer’s reactions to the art. “It reflects the mood you get from the painting,” Bibler said. Bibler, a graduate of Bowhser High School in Toledo, will be in her third year as a 3-D art major at BGSU. Having been encouraged to be creative by her mother, Bibler has known since age 5 that she wanted to be an artist. She’s already won awards for her felted sculpture “Hero.” She entered the painting into NowOH as a way of getting more visibility for her work, and winning People’s Choice, she said, gives her confidence as she moves forward in her career. BGSU Gallery Director Jacqueline Nathan said that was more than in the previous eight shows, and in line with what she saw as an uptick in attendance. “Every day we were open we had a pretty good number of visitors, and they were enthusiastic,” Nathan said. The Ninth Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition exhibit features the work of 56 area artists, from both the university and the community. Entry into NowOH is open to all artists who live in 12 Northwest Ohio counties. All work submitted is included. “This all came as a result of a class in arts administration,”…


The Sheepdogs: Rain or shine rockers

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Sheepdogs proved their rock ‘n’ roll mettle at last year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. They took the stage as the closing act Friday night in a downpour that would have scared off many other artists. The Canadian quintet rocked out in the rain for a hard core crowd of several hundred that danced in the front of the stage, seeking refuge from the storm in the unrelenting backbeat and driving guitars. That’s just part of the deal when you’re a traveling rock ‘n’ roll band, said Ewan Currie, the lead singer and songwriter. “There’s a lot of sweat equity, a lot of travel, a lot of sucking it up… playing 10 shows in 10 days in unpredictable weather. That’s the price you pay for following the dream and playing in a rock ’n’ roll band.” The Sheepdogs will return to the festival this year as the Saturday night closing headliner. Currie hopes for better weather, but is ready to deliver “a good dose of rock ’n’ roll.” “We’ll come out with guns blazing,” he said. The festival runs Friday, Sept. 9. through Sunday, Sept. 11, in downtown Bowling Green. The band hasn’t had any off time since it last passed through Bowling Green. The Sheepdogs have been logging the miles in a tour to promote its latest album “Future Nostalgia.” The BG stop was at the beginning of a tour that will extend into November. That’s running close to 300 shows. “That’s missing a lot of weddings and other mundane life things,” Currie said. That’s being a rock ’n’ roll band. “The touring rock ’n’ roll band in 2016, we’re like the blue collar, working class musicians in a way,” he said. The music gets hardly any air play or coverage. “We’re almost like a boutique commodity.” But this is what Currie, his brother Shamus Currie, who plays keyboards and trombone, and bassist Ryan Gullen nd drummer Sam Corbett dreamed of growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They ditched their school band instruments, and learned…


Medium has a message about the complexity of delivering the news

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News It’s hard to get away from the gaze of the four-sided column of mirrors planted in the entryway of the Kuhlin Center. The artwork, Medium, will have students and professors reflecting on their vocations. Medium is a four-sided pillar with two-way mirrors on each side, and a projector as a hidden presence within. The mirrors will capture on the buzz of activity in the lobby of the center, and scrolling down the center of each mirror will be a randomly selected statement starting with either “we” or “they.” Recently artist Erik Carlson, who created the piece, was in the lobby putting finishing touches on the work in the new home for Bowling Green State University’s School of Media and Communication.  At this point what’s reflected is the mess of construction, ladders, buckets, drop cloths, packing boxes and the like. Assisting him is Nicholas Hanna, a Los Angeles computer programmer. Carlson, whose studio Area C is in Rhode Island, said the concept is to mediate the media experience and have students consider what their role as future professionals is in the process of gathering, disseminating and consuming information. The “we” is those who produce and deliver the news. And the “they” are those who are the subject of the news and the consumers. Smack in the middle will be the “I,” the students and faculty learning and teaching about this process. As they read the statement they can consider themselves on both sides. All the while they will be staring themselves in the face. Carlson said that the concept came about as he thought about what the building would be used for. When he discovered that the University Library had a digital archive of The BG News dating back to 1921, he knew he wanted to tap that rich resource. The archive became one of two sources for those “we” and ‘they” phrases. The other is the closed-captioning for the live feed of whatever is going out over WBGU-TV’s main station. On this Saturday, the…


BGSU graduation set for Aug. 6; Huntington Bank exec to speak

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University will celebrate its 286th graduation Saturday, August 6 in the Stroh Center. The August graduating class includes 965 candidates. Among the undergraduates, 51 will be presented associate degrees and 545 will be presented bachelor degrees. Of those, 78 have received honors for their high grade point averages. The 336 graduate students include 302 candidates for master’s degrees and 34 for doctoral degrees. BGSU students come from all around the world. This graduating class includes 77 international students representing 26 countries. There is also a wide range in overall age, with degree candidates ranging from 18 to 64. Addressing the graduates will be James E. Dunlap, senior executive vice president of Huntington Bancshares Inc., a $73 billion asset regional bank holding company based in Columbus. Dunlap, who attended BGSU, also serves as director of regional banking and The Huntington Private Client Group. He oversees Huntington’s 10 regional presidents and has been with Huntington, formerly known as Huntington National Bank, for 36 years. The summer commencement ceremony begins at 9 a.m.


Gold Star mother tells Democratic convention about how she was inspired by Obama

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Sharon Belkofer, of Perrysburg Township, addressed the Democratic National Convention Wedmesday night, she didn’t feel alone. She could feel the presence of her son, Tom. A lieutenant colonel in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, he died in Afghanistan in May, 2010, when a convoy he was in was attacked. His parents hadn’t even realized he was in Afghanistan. “I could see him smiling with his dimples,” Belkofer said, “and saying: ‘Go get ’em mom.’” And since his death, he and the president she met as a result of the tragedy have spurred her into action. Belkofer, a retired nurse whose two other sons also served in the military, gave a short introduction to a biographical video that introduced President Obama’s speech at the convention. In it she spoke of her encounters with Obama. The first was after her son’s death. At an event at Fort Drum in upstate New York where Tom Belkofer was based, the president asked to greet the Gold Star families. When he gave Belkofer a hug she told the convention audience, “I cried all over his suit. Tom would have been so embarrassed.” After that time, she got to meet the president twice more. Two more hugs. She attended his inauguration. “So warm and kind. So compassionate,” she said. “I was so inspired. Maybe this old lady could still make a difference. I knew my community’s schools needed more resources, so at age of 73 I took a leap of faith and ran for my local school board.” When going door-to-door in cold and dreary weather got tough, she told the convention, “I thought of my son Tom who never gave up and I thought of our President who never gives up. Why should I be any different?” She won the election last fall and received a handwritten note of congratulations from the president. “I don’t think any of this would happen since his death if it wasn’t for losing him,” she said of her son Tom in an interview…


BGSU learning community will be gathering health & fitness data on the go

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Freshmen in Bowling Green State University’s brand new Health, Wellness and You Learning Community will be starting out on the right foot — and hand. They will be wearing FitBit® wristband activity trackers as “researchers on their own lives,” according to founding director Dr. Mary-Jon Ludy, public and allied health. “This is a great opportunity for students to get engaged in research using a technology and topic they can understand.” While the students are learning about diet, fitness, work-life-school balance and related wellness topics in their cohort classes, they will also be gathering data that will be used in Ludy’s long-term Freshman Health Study and by senior nutrition majors for their research course projects. What is learned could guide programming to make the BGSU campus healthier for current and future students. Planned as an academic learning community this year, the goal is for Health, Wellness and You to become a residential community in the 2017-18 school year, Ludy said. Aimed primarily at freshmen in academic majors that do not include an introductory class, the learning community kicks off with freshman 1910 classes taught by faculty members in a variety of disciplines. Each class is capped at 20 students. Following their weekly 1910 class sessions, all participants will meet together for a wellness-related seminar. The learning community’s 1910 curriculum builds on courses that have been offered in the past, with some new ones this year, said Kim Brooks, associate director for undergraduate education. “One of the goals is to build a relationship between students and faculty members that will help them become acclimated and make a successful transition to university life,” she said. There is strong evidence that participation in an academic learning community contributes to student retention, Ludy said. Also, undergraduate engagement in research activities promotes future research involvement — all of which strengthen engagement and hands-on learning. Robyn Miller, human movement, sport and leisure studies, two years ago piloted a fitness-related course that proved popular. She and Karyn Smith, health educator with…


Chip Myles says pizza pub is not closing

Chip Myles of Myles Pizza Pub in Bowling Green took to social media Wednesday to swat down rumors that the restaurant is closing. In a video posted on the pub’s Facebook site, Myles said:  “We are not selling Myles Pizza Pub. I have had the building Myles Pizza Pub is in  for sale for the last couple years but right now we’re still open and we’re still doing business.” As of Wednesday, the restaurant still had signs on its door advertising jobs openings for wait and kitchen staff. In the video, Myles said he was honored by all the “inquiries” about the status of the business. https://www.facebook.com/mylespizzapub/?fref=ts  


Hospital hosting Baby & Toddler Fair

From WOOD COUNTY HOSPITAL Area mothers and expectant mothers are invited to take part in a free Baby & Toddler Fair  Tuesday, Aug. 2, 6 to 8 p.m. in the hospital meeting rooms. The event is being hosted in conjunction with World Breastfeeding week to celebrate mothers and children and to bring attention and awareness to the benefits of breastfeeding. Mothers are encouraged to bring their babies or toddlers to the event. There will be diaper decorating contests, giveaways, safety education, baby wearing, car seat checks and more. There will be an assortment of booth set up with information about many baby related topics. The give always will include breastfeeding supplies, baby care items, Earth Momma Angel Baby supplies, a pack n play, breast pumps, a baby quilt and more. The hospital hosts monthly support group meetings for expectant or nursing mom’s and their infants. The meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month in the meeting rooms at the hospital. No registration necessary. Join Wood Cty Mother’s Circle on Facebook for more information and to be a part of the group. For more information on dates and times of the breastfeeding support group, visit http://www.WoodCountyHospital.org and select “classes and programs” or call 419-354-8900.


Review of BGPD shows very low use of force, few citizen complaints

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There were enough chairs set up in the Simpson building Tuesday to seat every citizen who had filed a complaint against the Bowling Green Police Dvision in the past three years. And there would be room for more. None of them showed up when a visiting accreditation team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.  set up shop to receive citizens’ comments. City Councilman Bruce Jeffers was there. He said the police force is “positively engaged with the community.” In a time when there are so many reports of clashes between police and citizens with violence “going in both directions,” he is “amazed” how the BG officers “deal with large number of partying students … without losing control or using excessive force.” Planning Director Heather Sayler was there as a resident to praise the department, especially the D.A.R.E. program. Fire Chief Tom Sanderson was there to lend his support to Chief Tony Hetrick and the officers. He and his crews see first-hand BG police officers’ ability to de-escalate tense situations, which allows EMS crews and firefighters to feel safe doing their jobs. That camaraderie between the fire and police divisions is not always the case, said Robert Johnson, a retired Illinois State Patrol lieutenant colonel. Also on the CALEA team was Capt. Brad Fraser, from Shelby, North Carolina. Lt. Daniel Mancuso serves as the BGPD’s accreditation manager. That wasn’t the only surprising thing they found in reviewing the BG police’s performance from 2013 through 2015. Over that period, Johnson said, Bowling Green officers never used their firearms, nor did they use their batons. He called that “pretty surprising… given the climate the police operate in.” “This is far better than I expect to see,” Johnson said. “I’m more used to seeing force used more frequently and use of greater force.” In that three-year period, BG police made 8,000 arrests, and used force in 71 of those. Not a single lawsuit related to use of force was filed against the department. In the…


‘Orange Is the New Black’ author to visit BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Piper Kerman, best-selling author of “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” will be on BGSU’s campus Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 to discuss her book and her life story. Kerman will be presenting as part of the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories lecture series sponsored by BGSU University Libraries and its Leadership Council. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the presentation following at 7:30 p.m. A VIP event will begin at 5:30 p.m. All events are hosted in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Tickets for the event are $30 for dinner and $100 for the VIP event and dinner. Tickets are available now at bgsu.edu/libraryevent. Kerman’s book chronicles her 13 months spent in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. In her book she explores the experience of incarceration and the intersection of her life with the lives of the women she met while in prison: their friendships and families, mental illnesses and substance abuse issues, cliques and codes of behavior. Since her release, Kerman has worked tirelessly to promote criminal justice reform. She serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, which provides preventative services for at-risk women, works to create alternatives to incarceration, advocates against practices like shackling during childbirth and offers programs to aid reentry into society. In her professional career as a communications consultant with Spitfire Strategies, she has worked on a number of criminal justice issues, including public defense reform, juvenile justice reform and the legal challenge to the “stop and frisk” laws in New York. She is a member of the advisory board for InsideOUT Writers. Kerman’s memoir was adapted into a critically acclaimed Netflix original series of the same name by Jenji Kohan. The Emmy and Peabody Award-winning show has been called “the best TV show about prison ever made” by The Washington Post. Guests with disabilities are requested to indicate if they need special services, assistance or appropriate modifications to fully participate in this event by contacting…


Perrysburg Township Gold Star mother to introduce president tonight

Sharon Belkofer of Perrysburg Township will address the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night. According to a Facebook post by the Wood County Democratic Party, Belkofer will speak about 9 p.m.  introducing a video that will lead into President Obama’s speech.  “Basically she’s introducing the President,” the Facebook post states. Belkofer’s son Col. Thomas Belkofer died in May, 2010 when the NATO convoy he was traveling in was attacked in Afghanistan.  


Pastors Mary Jane and Gary Saunders honored for working to make BG better for everyone

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News On receiving the I Love BG Award with his wife, Pastor Mary Jane Saunders, Pastor Gary Saunders sounded what could have been the keynote for the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Meeting and Awards Program. “We’re better together,” he said. And that in one way or another was a message that came through in all the award presentations. Fitting for the award that she and her husband were receiving, Pastor Mary Jane Saunders said that when they first moved to Bowling Green to  assume the pulpit at First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green, they “immediately fell in love with the community and wanted to become involved.” “We were called by a church dedicated to justice and inclusion,” she said.  “This church has been supportive, not just supportive but encouraging. It’s because of First Presbyterian that we’ve been able to be active.” Sheilah Crowley, last year’s I Love BG award winner, detailed that involvement in her introduction. They have been leaders in the BG Ministerial Association, the campaign to stop the repeal of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, Not In Our Town, the city’s Human Relations Commission, the interfaith breakfast and the Presbytery of Maumee Valley. Gary Saunders said that guiding “our life journey together” has been a belief that “diversity is an opportunity not a problem.” “To the extent we can grasp that and live it out, we can all step forward together,” he said. After the luncheon, held at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids, Mary Jane Saunders said it was the people who made the couple fall in love with Bowling Green. “There are people who share a vision of wanting the community to be better for everybody, and they’re willing to work for it, not just talk about it.” Not In Our Town embodies that. “It’s a grassroots thing,” Gary Saunders said.  It bubbled up both on campus and in the community.  “It’s a vehicle to gather together and express what our best self is. That’s what Not In Our Town is…


Piano stylist Michael Peslikis plays the music of the American experience

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Michael Peslikis describes himself as a piano stylist. He likes to play a variety of styles and that fluidity has served him well in his more than six decades as a professional musician. He played square dances at a dude ranch when he was 15. Played for silent movies, for musicals. He’s played ethnic music, his own Greek, and  Jewish, Irish, Italian, polkas as well as blues and ragtime – the soundtrack of the American melting pot.  He studied classical composition with Walter Piston at Harvard. This Wednesday Peslikis turns 80 in style. After 65 years as a professional he’s still intent on getting better. He’s flipped back the pages of time to return to the classical masters he studied as a youngster. You can still catch him around the area playing jazz and standards at Degage, serving up tunes for a brunch on holidays at the Hilton Garden Inn in Findlay, and jazzing up hymns at a church service on Sunday at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran in Toledo. Peslikis started out playing in his native Queens, New York. There was a piano in his home, and his father a Greek immigrant businessman had a few friends over to play some music from their native land. The young Michael bragged he could play that music on the piano. They dismissed him. He was undeterred. “I sat down and played it anyway, and they said ‘give him lessons.’” Despite this early display of keyboard skill, his early musical success was as a singer. He sang in an all-city choir. Traveling by train weekly for rehearsals. He assumed he would pursue singing, but he ruined his voice by straining to sing high parts after his voice changed. In high school he formed a small band that played dances. At 15 he got his chance for his first union job, a gig at Thousand Acres Dude Ranch in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. He was actually too young, so he had to get dispensation from American Federation…


Festival’s other stages offer return of Hutchison & other musical delights (Updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival listeners will have one more chance to enjoy Barbara Bailey Hutchison, a singer-songwriter and entertainer extraordinaire. The festival’s performance committee has posted lineups for the festival’s Community and Youth Arts stages for Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11. The festival gets underway with music on the Main Stage and concessions, Friday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. Hutchison, a veteran performer, said last year that she was going to stop touring this year. She was leaving the stage to spend more time as an artist and arts educator. Hutchison played two well-received sets on the Family Stage. Those sets included her original songs – humorous and touching reflections on life, family and religion, covers of other alternative folk songwriters tunes, and a medley of her greatest hits – the jingles she sang for TV ads for Hallmark, McDonald’s and other corporations. The Grammy-winning artist also displayed a ready wit and ability in integrate what was happening on the street in the moment into her performance. Hutchison will play a 11L30 a.m. set Saturday on the Family stage and a noon set Sunday on the Community Stage. The Family Stage will also present Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated artist Tim Kubart. He’s a YouTube sensation as the “Tambourine Guy” on the Postmodern Jukebox. As in the past, festivalgoers will get second, even third, chances to hear Main Stage acts on the more intimate Community and Family stage settings. Top local acts from a ukuleles, Uilleann pipes,  to Japanese taiko drums also are set to perform. Teen fiddler Grant Flick’s trio is both a Main Stage act and a top local performer. He’ll perform on the Community Stage 4 p.m. Saturday following a noon set on the Main Stage earlier in the day. The lineup for the Community Stage, which is located in the atrium of Four Corners Center, is: SATURDAY 11 a.m., Toraigh an Sonas. Noon, Grand Ukulelists of the Black Swamp. 1 p.m., Mariachi Flor de Toloache. 2 p.m., The Rhythm…


Mode Elle Boutique makes presence known in downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Stacie Banfield started off by taking fashion into customers’ homes. Now the business has a home of its own, and in a prime piece of Bowling Green real estate. Mode Elle Boutique opened for business Friday on the northwest corner of the Four Corners in downtown Bowling Green. The shop reflects Banfield’s long passion for fashion. It offers a collection of young contemporary, missy and women’s clothing, accessories and handbags. The emphasis is on fun, affordable and distinctive fashions. Banfield travels to apparel markets Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Dallas to personally select merchandise for the shop. And because she wants her customers each to have her own look, she stocks only a limited number of the same items. The shop offers more than a clothing buying experience. Because of its collaboration with the Golden Vanity Salon, next door on West Wooster, the shop can offer “full styling experience… from top to bottom.” The partnership between Banfield and Golden Vanity owner Haley Reese goes back to the start of both enterprises. Banfield, a 2006 graduate of the University of Toledo with a degree in communications, started Mode Elle as a mobile boutique, “style on demand” in late 2012. She would do home parties and trunk shows for “working women and busy moms.” That business was a way for Banfield to get a foot into fashion with the flexible schedule she needs as a mother. The 2000 Rossford High School graduate and her husband Josch now have two sons Kellan, 7, and Grayson, 4. The family lives in Lambertville, Michigan. Reese worked as an assistant buyer for the enterprise. When Reese opened Golden Vanity a year ago, she had Banfield bring the rolling boutique into the shop for the ribbon cutting festivities. That was met with so much enthusiasm that Reese welcomed Banfield into a corner of the shop to offer her wares as a featured vendor. Banfield also has an online presence at: www.shopmodeelle.com. From the start they talked about the possibility of expanding…