Articles by David Dupont

Contemporary comedy at Clazel puts Players in a different light

   By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Christopher Durang’s comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” has made a quick turnaround from the Broadway stage to the stage of the Clazel in downtown Bowling Green. The Black Swamp Players will present the 2013 Tony winner for best play Nov. 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Tickets available at Grounds for Thought and online at  Seating will be at tables for eight. The play’s quick trip from being a Sigourney Weaver star turn to featuring a cast of Players newcomers and regulars started when Deb Weiser read about the new comedy in the New Yorker. It struck her as a fun show to stage, so she pitched it to the Players’ board. The play seemed a good fit as well for the Clazel. Some of the language is more appropriate for the night club setting than the Methodist church basement where the Players usually work. Besides, the First United Methodist stage is occupied this month with the church’s own production of “Godspell!” Last year when the Players faced the same dilemma, they took an evening of one acts on the road, staging them in three different spots around town, including the Clazel. This year the show will stay put in the downtown venue. The ticket includes a buffet of hors d’oeuvres, dessert and coffee. And the Clazel’s bar will be open. Doors open at 7 p.m. This week the cast was busy off-site rehearsing for opening night. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is in a way a modern sendup of a Chekov play. Multiple references are made his characters and his work. They serve as dramatic tchotchkes, cute but not necessary for appreciating the finely tuned comedy. The play, directed by Weiser, finds two adopted siblings Vanya (Lane Hakel) and Sonia (Deb Shaffer) bemoaning their lives in the old family home where they’ve lived their entire adult lives. Sonia remembers being brought to…

Author tells BGSU the best answer ends with a question mark

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Warren Berger travels around telling people they should ask more questions. In some circles that could get him labeled as troublemaker; elsewhere, he’d be considered an innovator. As a journalist Berger asks questions for a living, and he’s made them the focus of his work. His book “A More Beautiful Question,” is the common read for Bowling Green State University this year, and the self-described “questionologist” visited campus Wednesday to further proselytize about the importance of questioning. Asking questions, he quipped, “has allowed me to go without a job for 25 years.” Trained as a journalist at Syracuse University, he chafed at the notion of working in a newsroom where his inquiry would be subject to assignments handed out by an editor. So he ventured down the route of independent journalist. And while he asked questions that whole time – “as a journalist questions are the only tool you have,” it has only been in the last few years that the full import of the subject has revealed itself to him. He learned that questioning is not always valued. It challenges the status quo. And over time, people ask fewer and fewer questions. “If you ask questions you can be seen as disruptive,” Berger said. That’s especially true of students in inner city schools. But people are born to ask questions. It starts at age 2, he said, and peaks at about age 4. “A 4-year-old girl is the ultimate question-asking machine,” he said. She averages 300 a day, and boys that age are not far behind. Though questioning falls off afterward, creative people continue ask them, and those questions, he discovered, have shaped our world. The genesis of innovation, whether the internet or Airbnb, the cell phone or Gatorade, is a question. It starts with why? – to understand the problem. Then what if? – to generate ideas. And then how about? – to start solving the problem. These questions unleash a steady…

Middle ground hard to find in discussion over gun violence & gun rights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Tom Klein opened the panel on gun violence Thursday night with a caveat. The panel, organized by a group of local residents concerned about gun violence, wasn’t as balanced as they had hoped. They planned to have two representatives from those advocating the broadest gun rights, instead the panel had one, Michael Temple, a part-time NRA instructor.  The NRA put the kibosh on the appearance of another representative, and the organizers’ attempts to find someone else proved futile. So Temple was joined by Toby Hoover, founder of the Ohio Coalition against Gun Violence, and three academics who study aspects of gun violence. Before the panel really got underway, though, it became evident that the beliefs in the audience of more than 120 would provide a counter to those of the majority of the panel. Where’s the American flag, a man up front called out. Why no Pledge of Allegiance? That us-versus-them attitude burst into full view after the panel had its say and the floor was open to questions. The organizers were hoping for a dialogue not a debate. If there was any middle ground to be found in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library where the panel was presented, it was over the benefits of training. Gun owners touted the value of training as did members of panel. But still they didn’t feel because some people didn’t bother get training or practice was no reason their rights to own a gun should be denied. But those on the panel pointed out the limits of training. Even police who train and practice only hit the target 25 percent of the time. And Phil Stinson, of BGSU who studies police shootings, said he’s struck by how many times in the incidents he looks at that police do not follow their training. He said later that he suspects Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, either from trauma experienced as a police officer or during military service, played…

Library posts photos of BG’s Tomato Festival

Submitted by the WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY With the Bowling Green Holiday parade just a month off, take time to look back at parades from an earlier time. In August of 1938 and 1939, Bowling Green hosted a first and second Tomato Festival. The Wood County District Public Library has just posted 64 photos from the Jim and Joan Gordon Collection of the two festivals at: Photos feature marching units, floats from local businesses and the contestants for the crown of Tomato Queen.  

BGSU makes list of green colleges

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS BGSU is among the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to the 2016 Princeton Review Guide to 361 Green Colleges. The review chose the colleges for the seventh annual edition based on data from the company’s 2015-16 survey of hundreds of four-year colleges concerning their commitment to the environment and sustainability. BGSU scored 90 on the 100-point scale. Except for the top 50 schools, colleges are not ranked in any order. The ranking provides a good reference for prospective students. Environmentally conscious, college-bound students increasingly seek schools compatible with their beliefs, said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher. “I’m so very proud that our sustainability efforts have been recognized by the Princeton Review guide,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, who in 2012 signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, lending BGSU’s support to the effort to promote climate neutrality and sustainability. “Students, faculty and staff have all taken leadership roles in moving us toward our goals and making us a more environmentally aware and responsible institution.” The profiles in the Green Colleges Guide include “Green Facts” about the schools with details on such things as the availability of transportation alternatives and whether the school employs a sustainability officer. They also provide information about each school’s admission requirements, cost and financial aid and student body statistics. To be included in the guide, schools must submit an exhaustive report. “It’s quite detailed in so many areas,” said Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, campus sustainability manager, adding that it goes far beyond most people’s basic concept of recycling as a sustainability marker. People might be surprised to know that, in addition to the obvious criteria like sustainable practices in the operations area, the green guide also places a strong emphasis on academics, Hennessy said. “They look at the courses offered and ask ‘What are you teaching your students about the environment and sustainability?’ What opportunities are available to them outside of class?’…

BGSU earns place on Community Service Honor Roll

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University has a strong history of community engagement – and as part of the BG experience, emphasizes learning in and out of the classroom. Much of that outside-the-classroom learning takes place during service-learning and community service opportunities. Because of this commitment to community service and service learning, the University has once again been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, published annually by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The honor roll recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships. The application for these awards was submitted by the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement, which works to create a vision, infrastructure and programs to drive high-impact community and civic engagement priorities in service to the public good. These awards are for activities in the 2013-2014 academic year: 2015 Honor Roll General Category – with Distinction 2015 Honor Roll Economic Opportunity Category 2015 Honor Roll Education Category The programs highlighted in the application for General Service were the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Challenge, When You Move Out Don’t Throw it Out and Bowling Green Alternative Breaks. The programs highlighted in the Economic Opportunity category were the Free Tax Preparation Program, Project Connect Wood County and the Wood County Re-Entry Coalition. The programs highlighted in the Education category were BGSU America READS, Educators in Context and Community and STEM in the Park. Last year, nearly 9,000 BGSU students participated in service-learning and/or community service projects, serving several thousand hours.

BGSU arts events calendar through Nov. 9

At the galleries – “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramer,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit, a collaboration with the New Music Festival, claims to be a recreation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kranmer’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Oct. 27–Creative writing M.F.A. students will read from their work at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Oct. 27–The International Film Series continues with the 2012 German film “Oh Boy (A Coffee in Berlin),” directed by Jan Ole Gerster. A young man in the dreamy process of losing everything he has wanders through Berlin to the accompaniment of comedic mood music. His contemporary angst plays out on the black-and-white background of a city with a dark past. It’s never been so difficult to get a cup of coffee in a huge city. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free Oct. 27 – A performance of “Evelyn in Purgatory,” an award-winning dark comedy by Topher Payne, will begin at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theater located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased form the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171, or visit Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students and children. All tickets the day of the performance are $20. (See story at Oct. 28–The exhibition “Criminal Justice?” opens in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center with a 5:30 p.m….

Barbara Waddell worked for fairness at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Barbara Waddell was 14, her mother was passed over for a promotion. Her mother worked in a union shop in the Toledo area, and the job should have gone to her because she was next in line in seniority. She was the only woman of color on the line, and the job went to a white woman with less seniority. The union did nothing. The company did nothing. When she got home she was upset and shared her disappointment with her daughter. Waddell remembers her reaction.  “That’s not fair. They can’t do that. …. I was just incensed that this could happen to her.”  So they wrote a letter. They said they were going to retain an attorney. Of course, Waddell said, they didn’t know the family didn’t have money to hire a lawyer. “They got the letter, and she got the position she was entitled to based on their own rules and policies,” Waddell said more than 40 years later. Her belief in fighting for justice was already well developed as a teenager.  “There are so many people who don’t have a voice to speak for themselves, and if there’s ever an opportunity to be that voice I want to be that person,” she said. After 28 years of putting that philosophy to work at Bowling Green State University, Waddell is retiring at the end of the month as chief equity and diversity officer. In that time she has been instrumental in promoting diversity and diversity training on campus and beyond. “I think diversity and inclusion has been part of my DNA.” Waddell grew up in Toledo. She opted to attend Start High School, instead of her neighborhood Scott High. Graduating in 1978, she went on to college to become an elementary school teacher. Then she came home to Toledo, married her childhood sweetheart Perry. When their son was born, she stayed home with him. About the time he was 3 she…

Downtown BG dumpster corrals get a facelift

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Great things are happening in Downtown Bowling Green as a summer-long project is nearing completion.  This summer, it was approved by the Board of Directors for the Special Improvement District to work on the dumpster corrals that were constructed as a part of the Heritage 2000 project.   These corrals house dumpsters that are used by all the businesses and residents in the downtown and over the last 16 years have seen a lot of use and abuse.  The project included replacing all broken or deteriorating wood, repairing original doors and any other structural problems.   This work was completed by the local small business Lewallen Construction.  “Justin Lewallen was excited for the opportunity to work with our Downtown and gave us a very competitive quote, making it possible to move ahead with the project.  The work completed was to specifications and finished on time.” per Mary Hinkelman, managing director for the Downtown.  “We have our maintenance people prepping the metal work at this time and the final portion of the project, the painting will be completed October 25th and 26th.”   The painting is being completed as a part of a Day of Caring project organized by Sue Clanton, area director for the United Way. The Downtown has also received generous donations from the businesses Newlove Realty, Finders Records, Randall Roberts, CPA, Ace Hardware, Greenbriar, and Homeworks Decorating Center for the painting project. Downtown Bowling Green is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to preserve and promote the historic heart of the city and create civic pride and community through opportunities for citizen involvement.  The Downtown Foundation’s annual campaign will begin in November. To make donations toward holiday decorations or flowers, contact 419-354-4332.

Cheney reappointed to water & sewer district board

By NORTHWESTERN WATER & SEWER DISTRICT John Cheney, long-time resident of Henry Township, was reappointed to the Northwestern Water and Sewer District board effective January 1, 2017. Mr. Cheney is the longest-term board member of the District’s nine-person board of directors.  He was first appointed to the planning organization looking to form the District in 1992. He will start his 25th year with the District when his new three-year term starts in 2017.  He has served as an officer of the District on several occasions in the past. As one of the nine board members of the District, he is appointed as one of three Wood County Commissioner board members, joining three others appointed by the Wood County townships and three other from Wood County Municipalities.   Board members are responsible for the overall operations of the District, who now serves over 19,000 accounts in the region with approximately $200 million in assets with 65 employees. “We’ve come a long way during my tenure here with the District and it’s been a gratifying experience serving all ends of the County,” says John Cheney.

Campus party activists expect Clinton win, look to future

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There’s little enthusiasm for Donald Trump on campus, and the leader of the student Democrats is working hard to make sure students express their antipathy for the Republican nominee where it counts – the ballot box. With voting underway, so are get out the vote efforts. “Early voting is really, really, really important,” said Aidan Hubbell-Staeble, of the campus Democrats. A Republican student leader Collin Claywell, who directs U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s campus outreach operation for Northwest Ohio, said a week ago he wasn’t sure who he’d vote for. He sees the enthusiasm gap on both sides.  Many Democrats’ view is, he said, “I guess I’m with her.” That’s especially true of those who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary. Meanwhile young Republicans who are supporting the party nominee are doing so reluctantly. “They’ll stick to their party, their ideology,” Claywell said. “I totally understand that … to some extent.” Yes, some students wear Trump-Pence paraphernalia, but they are a distinct minority. The aversion of the majority of students to Trump may be discouraging others from displaying their support. Where he sees more enthusiasm is those who are supporting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. He’s attracting students mostly from the most conservative students, but is also drawing some disaffected Sanders supporters.  He hears little about Green candidate Jill Stein. Most of the environmental activists on campus, he said, seem to be backing Clinton. Dislike of Trump is driving some of the support for Clinton, Hubbell-Staeble said. “A lot of people really recognize that there’s a big difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump because a lot of hateful things Donald Trump has said. They reject that. A lot of it is they’re whole heartedly rejecting the hateful things Donald Trump says.” But students also feel she’ll do more to address the cost of college and issues related to policing. While Trump wants to reinstate stop-and-frisk policies, Clinton wants citizens review boards. And students…

Tom Muir wins the championship belt for best buckle

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Making a belt buckle is not as simple as it seems, and it has taken master jeweler and metalsmith Tom Muir decades to get around to the task. Muir, who has taught in the Bowling Green State University School of Art for 25 years, said as a graduate student in the early 1980s he did try his hand at it. “But it never worked out quite right.” Even as he pursued other work that landed him recognition as one of the nation’s top jewelers, including an ornament on the White House Christmas tree in 1993, the challenge of making a belt buckle was in the back of his mind. Recently a technical and aesthetic considerations aligned, and he started creating belt buckles. And those are some buckles. One just won the World Champion Belt Buckle Competition. What’s the prize? A $250 in cash and a belt buckle, of course. Buckles are often awarded from traditional masculine activities, such as hunting and fishing and more recently barbecuing, Muir noted. (Making belt buckles may not be so gender-specific – one of Muir’s former students, Marissa Saneholtz, a BGSU and Bowling Green High graduate, received an honorable mention in the competition.) An avid amateur naturalist, Muir has been using forms from nature in his most recent work. He made one designed like a pig’s snout, a nod to competitive barbecuing.  In the case of the winning entry, he used the snout of a star-nosed mole for the buckle. In a statement for an exhibit Naughty Narrative (another former student from Bowling Green, Andrew Kuebeck, curated the show) Muir explained the attraction of the mole’s nose. “This busy, inscrutable animal living in fertile darkness makes a marvelous emblem of the human unconscious or dream life.  And its nose combines in a single form the tender vulnerability of a revealed secret with a plethora of foldings in which a sensual mystery appears to dream.” The artist sees even more….

New interdisciplinary major focuses on how society is organized

By ALYSSA ANN ALFANO BGIN Student Contributor Choosing a major can be a tough decision for college students, but now, BGSU has a new major that might provide more opportunities. Students can start enrolling in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL) as their major in January 2017. Kevin Vallier, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at BGSU and one of the contributors in putting this major together said that “the PPEL major was inspired by similar programs at other universities, especially Oxford, which has had a PPE program for nearly a century. But in the last two years, 25 new programs have sprouted around the United States.” Vallier believes that the unique interdisciplinary focus of PPEL is what interests many students. According to Vallier, the benefits of enrolling in this major take on two forms. One benefit is that PPEL equips students to “think about the big questions about how societies should be politically, socially, and economically organized.” He believes that this will better prepare students to ask questions such as what the government should do and how the economy should function. The second benefit, according to Vallier, is vocational. Students are permitted to choose the direction they will go within the major so that they are focusing on areas in which they have career interest. Vallier explained that the template for the coursework was inspired by other large public universities, but that “the heart of the coursework” is designed to give students the basic tools of philosophy, political science, economics and law so that they can integrate these tools to other core courses within the major. In addition to benefits obtained by coursework and the tools gained from this major, the PPEL program sponsors a PPEL club that meets every other Wednesday in order to discuss political events and broad questions about political policy. A great deal of time and paperwork has gone into getting this major started because, as Vallier said, “BGSU attempts to be as careful as it can…

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro a labor of love

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News You wouldn’t expect an enterprise named Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em would have its roots in romance. But the idea for Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro goes back when the owners Jon and Kayla Minniear were first dating. The couple shared a love of gaming and anything retro. “When we first started dating, we started collecting old Nintendo, and then we started collecting other stuff. … A lot of this is our duplicate stuff,” she says gesturing back to the shop. “We always talked about this, opening a storefront, back when we were dating.” They were also inspired by friends in their gaming community who operate similar stores. That dream will be realized Monday when Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro opens at 192 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. The storefront formerly occupied by Mill Jewelry.  “My grandparents bought their wedding bands here,” Kayla Minniear said. “They’re super excited we got this space.” The store has been in the works for a while. Kayla Minniear, the daughter of Caroline and Ted Lippert of rural Bowling Green, cut back her hours at WYSZ six months ago to concentrate on sales at conventions and flea markets while they looked for a space. When the store front in downtown became available, they jumped at it. It’s hard, she said, to find a place with enough room and in such a prime location.  The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em name seemed perfect for a retro game and toy shop. As they collected, and traded, going to sales and online, they accumulated duplicates of many of their favorites, and they dreamed about opening a store stocked with the kind of toys and games they and their parents grew up playing. Minniear, a 2011 Eastwood graduate, said used equipment is nothing new to her. She never had a new game system when she was a kid. “So I played a…

‘Tis the season for music of our time

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The New Music Festival at Bowling Green State University is a fall ritual. Just before Halloween, BGSU becomes the center of the contemporary music universe. Maybe that’s why this year’s event started on a macabre note – the opening of “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner.” The art installation transforms the Bryan Gallery in the School of Art into a village of the dead. The conceit of the work by the Poyais Group is that folk artist Mary Elizabeth Kramner created these tents as a recreation of her German village, each structure representing how a former inhabitant died. The viewer wanders about this village of the dead in darkness. The tents illuminate at odd intervals, and small organs set among the tents emit mournful chords. The viewer is suspended between life and death, between reality and fantasy. The mystery seeps into the bones. Yet festival, hosted by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music,  celebrates the music of living composers. Presenting the expected is not in the festival’s mission statement. In another seasonal coincidence, this year’s featured composer is Dai Fujikura, who told the audience at the Composer Talk, that he was influenced early on by the musical scores of horror films. He was about 10, and growing up in Osaka, Japan. This was the music he loved to listen to. He was also drawn to composition because he was a mischievous piano student. He said if he didn’t like a measure of music, even by Beethoven, he would change it. And why did Haydn have a measure of rest? He would just ignore it, much to the displeasure of his piano teacher.  “She was right,” he concedes now. The Composer Talk is a staple of the festival, its keynote address. But every featured guest composer presents it in a different way. Sometimes they delve deep into the intricacies of their scores; sometimes they wax philosophical; and sometimes, as was the case with Frederic Rzewski…