Business

BGSU students look for help launching business ideas at The Hatch

From BGSU MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University student entrepreneurs will present their business ideas to alumni investors during The Hatch on Thursday, April 6, vying for funds to launch their businesses in a format similar to the television show “Shark Tank.” The Hatch will take place from 6-8 p.m. in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Registration is required at bgsu.edu/thehatch. This is the fifth year for the event in which alumni investors make equity investments providing real money for students to launch real businesses. To date, more than $500,000 has been committed to student startups. New this year is HatchTonight, like ESPN’s “College GameDay,” except featuring business ideas. High school students, the BGSU community and alumni will watch as a panel of experts analyzes and discusses each Hatchling’s business idea, determines who it thinks will be funded and predicts who will receive the Eggy (fan favorite) award. Hatch Tonight will be presented 5-5:30 p.m. in The Falcon’s Nest on the first floor of the union. The student entrepreneurs, Hatchlings, come to this night after being paired with mentors, mostly BGSU alumni, who have helped coach business ideas, plans and presentations. This event is streamed to Hatch Watch parties across the country and to several countries. The 2017 Hatchlings are: Fatima Camara 10,000 Threads Camara created 10,000 Threads, a clothing line that merges rich traditional African textiles and forecasted fashion styles of Western society. Growing up on different continents made her realize that although African immigrants constitute a large population in Europe and America, there is no substantial effort to market to them in particular. She wants to make a social impact in the African textile industry by providing better job opportunities to the local artisans who will be a part of this journey. Shannon Ebert Workforce Academy Ebert created Workforce Academy, an online learning software that high schools can subscribe to so that they can offer more elective classes to students to help better prepare them for college, careers and the real world. Subjects include areas like personal finance, professional development, career exploration and college readiness. Andrew Hood and Sarah Walter Medication Dispenser The team created a new form of dispensing prescription medicines with the implementation of a new pill canister design. The idea derived from the rising abuse of prescription drugs and the effects on families and loved ones. Their main goal is…


Market holds the key to a sustainable future, Lamb Peace speaker contends

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Speaking on the day that Donald Trump started reversing the country’s commitments to combat global warming, author and entrepreneur Hunter Lovins had some news for him. “The era of fossil fuel is over,” she said. “I don’t care what Mr. Trump does.” Lovins, the founder of Natural Capital Solutions and author of 1 books with another in the works, is a proponent of using capitalist solutions to combat global warning. Tuesday night she took the stage at Bowling Green State University as the Edward Lamb Peace lecturer to promote her views. In his introduction, political scientist professor Mark Simon noted that the lecture series originally started dealing with military threats to world peace. When the Cold War ended, it was determined that environmental issues now posed the greatest threat to world peace. Lovins was the latest in a long line of noted environmentalists to speak. Climate change has already sparked or contributed to conflicts in Darfur and Syria, and driven 65 million people from their homes, Lovins said. That will only get worse as the global temperatures rise. The Middle East is projected to become too hot to live in by the year by 2040. A study funded by NASA found that “total system collapse will be difficult to avoid” if current patterns of resource depletion and economic inequality continue. That means no water, no food, and no money. Lovins cited a survey that found that the eight richest individuals on the planet control more wealth that the bottom 50 percent. As bleak as that picture is, she took a different tack, inspired in part by folk singer Pete Seeger who said: “The key to the future is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” That’s why Lovins was at BGSU. The conventional economic story, shaped in the wake of 1947 by a group of economists and politicians, is that people are “greedy bastards.” Individual choice within a market free of government interference is the best way. This neo-liberal ideology took hold around the world. In the United States it got a boost when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce solicited a report from soon—to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell on how to stem the rise of socialism among young people. That spurred well-financed efforts to create lobbying efforts and think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Before…


County touts high economic development, low unemployment

Wood County continues to see high economic development successes and a low unemployment rate, according to the report presented Wednesday during the annual meeting of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. The report, from WCEDC President Doug Miller, talked about the great success achieved with limited resources. “Over the past several years, we have attracted a number of businesses to Wood County,” Miller wrote in his report. Those newer businesses include Home Depot fulfillment center in Troy Township, the CSX intermodal facility in Henry Township, the Harmon Business Park in Rossford, and the FedEx Ground Hub in Perrysburg Township. “Scores of existing businesses choose to remain in Wood County and have or are expanding,” Miller continued. Those businesses include Phoenix Technologies, Northwood Industries, First Solar, Principle Business Enterprises, Schuetz Container, IMCO Carbide Tool, and Pilkington North America. “As a result, unemployment hovers around an amazing 4 percent,” Miller stated in his report. Much of the credit should go to the spirit of cooperation among elected officials, those appointed by elected officials, and community volunteers, he said. “Feedback we receive from developers and others from outside the area remains positive and often hear that the process is Wood County runs so much better than in other places,” Miller stated. In an effort to work with local communities to meet their needs, Wood County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Wade Gottschalk and other executive committee members often hold informal monthly breakfast or lunch meetings with entities. “The meetings serve as a way for attendees to update others on matters being faced, projects and other general information,” Miller said in his report. “The effect of the meetings is that not only do many of the leaders in the county regularly see others from throughout the county, they get to know them and should an issue arise, can easily and comfortably contact them to discuss the issue. This facilitates fast and efficient communication throughout the county.” The organization sees the four pillars of economic development as its office, the port authority, water and sewer, and transportation. “Partially due to the monthly meetings, these groups know one another and work well together, which further enhances the communication and the economic development process,” Miller wrote. Talks are currently underway, he added, for changing the Rossford Transportation Improvement District into a county wide entity. This would allow the TID to participate in transportation projects county wide. According…


Tractor pullers named corporate citizen of year

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s Corporate Citizens of the Year are typically firms that quietly go about their business – like past recipients Phoenix Technologies, Poggemeyer Design Group and Wood County Hospital. Not so with this year’s winner – the National Tractor Pullers Association Inc. For the past 50 years, the tractor pull has roared into Bowling Green for one weekend each summer. The event creates an awful lot of noise, but also brings in a lot of spectators spending a lot of money in the county. The group started quietly enough in 1962 as a “small group of people with a passion for competition,” said Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw. Since then, the tractor pullers association has continued to grow in size and popularity, attracting participants and spectators from around the world. “It is the largest truck and tractor pull in the world,” Herringshaw said as she presented the Corporate Citizen of the Year award to the group Wednesday evening during the annual meeting of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. The organization was recognized for being able to “put us on the map,” she said. “This is definitely quite an honor,” Mike Erford, president of the organization, said as he accepted the award. “On behalf of all the blue shirts, thank you very much.” Erford reflected on the group’s early “dream and a desire to compete,” that gradually grew beyond expectations. The very first tractor pull was put on at the county fairgrounds by the Wood County Agricultural Society with 40 volunteers. By 1964, it had grown to draw people from many surrounding counties. Bylaws and incorporation papers came in 1970. And in 1975, the National Tractor Pulling Championship had 10 classes and 100 members. But the pull is about far more than making noise. In 1993, the organization was asked if it would raise money for Make-A-Wish families. They started and never stopped – raising more than $1 million so far. “Our organization is extremely proud of the 24-year relationship” with Make-A-Wish, Erford said. Also in 1993, the tractor pull started awarding Super Bowl style championship rings. This past summer, competitors came from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to try for full pulls. “They spend enormous amounts of money in hopes of taking home that ring,” Erford said. During last year’s pull, more than $350,000 was paid out to winners,…


‘State of the County’ paints positive picture

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Despite a few aches and pains here and there, the health of Wood County is quite good, according to the county commissioners who presented their State of the County Address Tuesday morning for the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. Commissioners Ted Bowlus, Doris Herringshaw and Craig LaHote shared the county’s success of having a high bond rating and low unemployment rate. They encouraged area residents to shop locally – helping local businesses and local government at the same time. “Even with the changes to the economy, we continue to remain steadfast in our optimism for the future of Wood County,” Herringshaw said. “Our challenges as county commissioners remain the same – serve the needs of an expanding population, continue to promote Wood County as an excellent place for industrial and commercial development, promote prime farmland, and protect the quality of life that the citizens of Wood County have come to expect.” Herringshaw, president of the board, started by listing some of the county’s priorities as economic and workforce development, public infrastructure, social services, water quality and community safety. “Wood County has remained fiscally strong due to the commissioners’ conservative approach to budgeting, which ensures that there are sufficient resources to cover all of the county’s mandated services for the citizens,” Herringshaw said. Sales tax revenue for the county again hit a record amount, just shy of $21 million last year. However, the state has announced that sales tax revenues will be reduced in July 2017 and beyond, due to the removal of Medicaid equipment from items being taxed. That could result in an annual reduction of about $900,000 to Wood County, Herringshaw said. Gov. John Kasich has replaced the sales tax loss to the state, but has told local governments to deal with the cut, Herringshaw added. Property tax revenue also remained steady in 2016, with a slight increase of $119,000 over 2015. The casino tax revenue has helped to somewhat offset the reductions in the Local Government Fund and investment income. However, the unpredictability of the funding requires the county to be very cautious, she said. The 2017 general fund appropriations totaled almost $43 million, which is a $2.34 million increase over 2016 appropriations. The commissioners added $1 million to rebuild the permanent improvement fund. “Over the years, Wood County has remained fiscally strong due to responsible spending and the cooperation…


Workforce development focus of State of the Region conference

The state of the region today and strategies for preparing a workforce to meet the needs of tomorrow will be the topics of the 15th annual State of the Region Conference. Hosted by Bowling Green State University’s Center for Regional Development, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon March 20 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Levis Commons in Perrysburg. There will be time for networking beginning at 8 a.m. before the start of the program. Mark E. Schweitzer, senior vice president for external outreach and regional analytics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, will give the keynote address on the state of the 19-county region. Schweitzer specializes in the macroeconomic impact of labor market development and identifying factors that contribute to regional economic growth. Discussion by a reaction panel of economic development leaders along with time for questions and answers will follow his talk. The featured speaker for the day is Lauren Stiller Rikleen, a nationally recognized expert on developing a thriving, diverse and multigenerational workforce. She is the author of the best-selling book “You Hired Us, Now Work with Us: Career Success and Building Strong Workplace Teams.” After her talk, a best-practices panel will focus on innovative workforce strategies, featuring Rikleen and representatives from successful companies including Hyland Software, recognized by Fortune 500 in 2016 as one of the top 100 places to work for millennials. For more information, visit bgsu.edu/crd. Guests with disabilities who need special services in order to fully participate are requested to contact Accessibility Services in advance at access@bgsu.edu or 419-372-8495.


The fundamental things apply in the market, even in the time of Trump, analyst says

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nobody knows what President Donald Trump will do. Even the morning after his first address to Congress where his performance was deemed as more presidential, the new president remains an enigma. Yet when all is said and done, Clint Pogemiller, president of MWA Financial Services, believes the fundamentals of investing for the long term apply – a diversified portfolio and patience to stay the course over the long haul. Pogemiller spoke to local Modern Woodmen of America agents and customers last week for a breakfast time market forecast. “Overall 2016 was a very good year,” he said. The market was up 16 percent for the year. That included the “Trump bump” or “Trump jump” with the market rising 7.7 percent since the Nov. 8 election. That election, Pogemiller reminded the audience confounded the experts. They gave Trump a 1-percent chance of winning, and then when he won they predicted the market would tank. Indeed futures trading was off 1,000 points overnight. But then the day after the election, the market rose 257 points. The market has added $3.1 trillion in value since then. “Things are moving at a much faster pace these days,” he said. “You don’t want to react on a short term basis.” This continues the second longest bull market in history dating back to the recovery following the housing bust in 2007. Pogemiller said that even taking into account that bust and the earlier dotcom crash, if an investor had put money into the market in 2000 and just let it stay there, they would have earned back 9 percent. But many people weren’t that patient. “It’s time in the market, not timing the market,” he said echoing a truism used by J.D. Pugh, regional director for Modern Woodmen, earlier in the morning. “We don’t know for sure what Trump will do,” Pogemiller said. But many are anticipating a reduction in tax rates, especially for corporations, increased spending on infrastructure, and lessening of regulations. While the new president and the Republican-controlled Congress agree on a lot, including tightened controls on immigration, there are differences. Trump favors tariffs while congressional Republicans tend to be free traders. And they will like to focus more on fiscal restraint. Pogemiller said the test of the markets will come when we see how many of his campaign promises Trump is able to fulfill. One promise he…


Wood Haven Health Care named a Top Workplace for 2017

Wood Haven Health Care has been named a ‘Top Workplace’ for the second year in a row by the employees who work there. Workplace Dynamics, a survey firm, teams up with The Toledo Blade newspaper annually to select the top 35 to 40 workplaces in the country. Employees nominate their companies, and those nominations along with company surveys are compiled to determine which are the most dynamic and supportive workplaces in the Toledo area. Workplace Dynamics has worked with more than 40 publishers and roughly 35,000 businesses. 4,387 out 7,135 Toledo metro area employees responded to the surveys last year.


Hanna Hall to get new name & purpose as Maurer Center, home for BGSU College of Business Administration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Another century-old property on the Bowling Green State University is about to get a make-over thanks in part to a lawyer who owns a lot of property around Bowling Green. The BGSU Board of Trustees Friday took the first steps to begin the $44.8 million project to convert Hanna Hall in the new home of the College of Business Administration. The trustees approved spending $5.7 million in design and pre-construction services. These services include moving a fiber optic cable. The trustees also approved the naming of the building the Robert W and Patricia A. Maurer Center in recognition of a “transformational gift” of $5 million toward the project. The design work will begin later this year with the 22-month construction phase beginning in 2018. The building will open in fall, 2020. Robert Maurer, who graduated from BGSU in 1965 with a degree in accounting before studying law at the University of Toledo, is a partner in partner of Maurer, Newlove, & Bakies. He and his wife own a number of commercial and residential properties in Bowling Green and the area. Maurer told the trustees that he viewed the gift as “an investment.” He expects that investment will pay dividends not just to the university, but to the city of Bowling Green, the state and even the nation. “We’re proud to be part of it.” Mrs. Maurer also attended BGSU.   The background information on the Maurer Center provided to the trustees states: “The over-arching goal of the building interior is to create an active space for faculty, students, and business professionals to engage, collaborate and grow. Interior spaces are visually accessible to each other, promoting interaction and awareness. Classrooms, labs, offices and collaboration spaces are intermixed on each floor in order to activate each level of the building and encourage informal and spontaneous learning.” “This is just going to be incredibly cool,” said Sheri Stoll, vice president for administration and finance. “This is not going to be your buttoned-down, blue-suited college of business building. Think Pixar, think Disney.” The current College of Business Administration will remain an academic building, said University spokesman Dave Kielmeyer. The university expects to fund the project in part with $16 million in private gifts. Three major donations by alumni were made for major spaces within the building. Peggy Schmeltz donated $2 million dollars for the William F. and Peggy…


Teachers give failing grade to Kasich plan requiring them to do business ‘internships’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Buried on page 1,056 of Gov. John Kasich’s state budget is a proposed requirement that has teachers wondering if they will have to flip patties at burger joints or stock shelves at grocery stores. The provision basically turns teachers into business interns every five years as a new requirement for educator license renewals. The language reads like this: Beginning September 1, 2018, the state board of education’s rules for the renewal of educator licenses shall require each applicant for renewal of a license to complete an on-site work experience with a local business or chamber of commerce as a condition of renewal. Work experience obtained pursuant to this section shall count toward any required continuing education. Each local professional development committee established under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code shall work with its teachers to identify local work experience opportunities that meet the requirements of this section. Some local teachers have taken to Facebook to express their displeasure. They have questioned whether Kasich doesn’t realize they have full-time jobs. They have proposed that the governor should have to spend time working in a public school, or that legislators perform internships in classrooms. Bowling Green City Schools Superintendent Francis Scruci said he is trying to not over-react to some of the more unusual provisions in the budget bill. “I always try to keep my composure,” he said Thursday afternoon. “Whatever is proposed will probably not be the final product.” State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said he suspects the provision may not make it into the final budget bill. “There are always things in the budget that experience the delete button,” Gardner, a former Otsego High School history teacher, said Wednesday evening. Scruci admitted that he is baffled by the “internship” requirement. “It’s confusing to me what the purpose would be. I’m sure in the governor’s mind this makes sense,” he said. Though the details of the requirement are sketchy, Scruci surmised teachers would be expected to perform these internships during the summers. “I guess he’s asking them to give up their summers,” he said. “I think our teachers have enough state mandates and national mandates. I don’t know where they would find enough hours in the day.” The budget bill also has language requiring school boards to have three non-voting members who represent business in their districts. Again, this requirement has superintendents…


Blanchard Valley Health makes management moves

From BLANCHARD VALLEY HEALTH SYSTEM Blanchard Valley Health System recently made several key management changes in order to focus on organization-wide, strategic initiatives. Linda DeArment was named the Director of Physician Services and Recruitment. DeArment will oversee all provider recruiting activities and the Medical Staff Office. Prior to accepting this position, Linda served as the Chief Development Officer of the Blanchard Valley Health Foundation for nearly 10 years. With the transition of DeArment to the Director of Physician Services and Recruitment role, Blanchard Valley Health Foundation associate Marie Swaisgood will assume the position of Chief Development Officer of the Blanchard Valley Health Foundation. Swaisgood has served as a BVHF Development Officer since 2013. In her new role, she will oversee all fundraising activities as well as BVHS volunteer services. “I welcome Linda and Marie to their new roles,” said Scott Malaney, president and CEO of Blanchard Valley Health System. “We are truly fortunate to have such extraordinary associates, volunteers, providers and community members supporting the organization’s mission of ‘Caring for a lifetime.’”


Gardner listens to concerns over state budget proposal

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It will be months before State Senator Randy Gardner has to vote on the state budget. That’s why he spent Saturday morning at Wood County District Public Library listening to citizens. There was a long list of concerns. The room was filled with citizens worried about paying for health care, municipal leaders concerned about taking further funding cuts, and BGSU professors dreading state decisions. “The budget is many months away from my vote,” said Gardner, R-Bowling Green. So Saturday was part of the senator’s first steps. “The first responsibility is to listen,” he said. Gardner said he spent time Friday at a Toledo area hospital with parents of a toddler named Evelyn, who has cystic fibrosis. The state budget includes a provision that will shift the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps into the Medicaid program. It’s those kind of personal stories that Gardner said he needs to hear prior to casting a vote. The 3,512-page state budget is now in House hearings, where it will be voted on in early May. Then it moves to the Senate, where it will face a vote around June 21. Gov. John Kasich will then sign the budget by the end of June, so the fiscal year can start on July 1. The budget includes “hundreds and hundreds of line items,” Gardner said. He cautioned that the governor has the final say on some by invoking his line item veto power. “It’s not all about what the legislature puts in. It’s about what the governor can do,” he said. In response to a question from Bowling Green City Council member Bruce Jeffers, Gardner also explained that even though the Republicans have the majority of the House, the Senate, the governor’s seat and nearly every other state office, that doesn’t mean there is a united front on issues. “We have a lot of differing opinions of how to move forward,” Gardner said. Public school funding is always a battle, and is still being debated. Gardner mentioned Senate Bill 8, which he introduced as a way to help school districts that don’t rank high for the traditional school facilities dollars. Bowling Green City School District is one of those since the perceived wealth of the district makes it unqualified for much building money from the state. While it’s not as much as the school facilities funding, the…


Large farms must meet strict regs, ODA official says

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Commissioners often hear about problems with CAFOs – concentrated animal feeding operations.  So last week, they met with the person in charge of keeping track of those large farms and the manure produced by them. Kevin Elder, chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting, gave the county commissioners an overview of CAFOs in Ohio, including the regulations and the numbers in the state. Wood County has three dairy cow CAFOs and one chicken CAFO. Dairy cattle statistics for Ohio show the greatest number of operations with dairy cows as 39,000 farms in 1950. Those farms had more than 1.1 million dairy cows. “That was back when my grandpa taught me how to milk cows,” Elder said. And that was back when it was common for most farms to have their own dairy cows, Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. “Everybody had cows.” By 2016, the number of farms with dairy cows had dropped to 2,671, and the number of dairy cows in Ohio had decreased to 266,000. Wayne County leads the state in dairy cows, followed by Mercer and Holmes counties. Ohio ranks 11th in milk production and first in Swiss cheese production. Ohio has the most robotic milkers, Elder said, with one dairy in Wood County being robotic. Cows are also producing so much more milk than in the past, with an average per cow output in the past of 4,000 pounds a year, increasing up to 40,000 pounds a year, he said. The only livestock group that has expanded in the last few years in Ohio is poultry. In 1963, the state had 5 million layer chickens and 10.7 million broilers. By 2015, the layers numbered 33 million and the broilers hit more than 80 million. Ohio ranks second in the U.S. for both laying hens and egg production. “Poultry is the only species that has increased in numbers,” Elder said. “Wood County was the highest beef cattle county in the state at one time, now it’s almost non-existent,” he said. Elder explained to the commissioners what qualifies as a large concentrated animal feeding operation in Ohio: 700 mature dairy cows 1,000 beef cattle 2,500 swine weighing 55 pounds or more 10,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds 82,000 chicken, laying hens 125,000 chickens, other than laying hens 55,000 turkeys 500 horses…


BG ready to chill out at Winterfest (updated)

From BG CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU The BGSU Ice Arena is celebrating 50 years with Bobcat and Falcon hockey games, pregame party, post reception, skating show and a visit from Scott Hamilton and Alissa Cziny. Ice sculptures will be on display in the Huntington Bank Parking lot downtown along with our new Chillabration Tent serving beer, wine, snacks and entertainment from 4-11 pm on Feb. 11. The 9th Annual Winterfest held in Bowling Green Ohio is on Feb. 10, 11 and 12 which is always the coolest weekend of the year. This Three-day fun-filled community event features Ice Sculpting Demonstrations, Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, Ice Skating, Chili & Soup Cook-Off, Frostbite Fun Run, Cookie Creations, Youth Dodge Ball, Snow Globe Co-ed Bubble Soccer, Window Youth Art Exhibition, Four Corners Gallery BGHS Art Exhibit and WC Library events to include Home Depot Break It Make It, Hot Chocolate Story time and I Heart Ohio Scavenger Hunt. Schedule of Events (subject to change) Schedule of Events, Feb 10-12, 2017 FRIDAY BGHS Art Show, Four Corners Gallery, 10 a.m. -7 p.m. Youth Dodgeball, BG Community Center, 3:30 p.m. ($8 fee includes pizza) 2 vs 2 Co-ed Snow Globe Soccer Tournament, BG Community Center, 6 p.m. ($15 per team, 3 games guaranteed,  final at 8 p.m.) BGHS Bobcat Hockey vs. Findlay, Slater Family Ice Arena, 7 p.m. (ticket required) Skate with the Bobcats, Slater Family Ice Arena, 8:30-10 p.m. (skate rental available) SATURDAY Ice Carving Demo by Ice Creations, Slater Family Ice Arena, 10 a.m. I Heart Ohio Scavenger Hunt, WC Public Library Second Floor, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. BGHS Art Show, Four Corners Gallery, 10-2 pm 1 mile Frostbite Fun Run presented by BIGGBY, City Park, 11 a.m. (pre-registration w/ fees) Ice Carving Demonstration by  Ice Creations,  Huntington Bank Parking Lot, noon to 4 p.m. Chili & Soup Cook Off, Vet Building at City Park, noon to 2 p.m. ($5 tasting) Cookie Creations for Kids, City Park, 1:30-2:30 p.m. BGHS Art Show, Four Corners Gallery, 2-6 p.m. Break It Make It with Home Depot: Cold Slushy Fun!, WC Public Library,  for all ages from 2-3 p.m. 50th Celebration Pre-Game Party, Slater Family Ice Arena, 3:30-5 p.m. (game ticket holders) Carriage Rides, Four Corners Center, 4-6 p.m. (free) Chillabration Tent offering beer, wine, snacks and entertainment, 4-11 p.m. (tickets at door) BGSU Hockey vs. Mercyhurst, Slater Family Ice Arena, 5:05 p.m. (ticket required) 50th Celebration…


Website Hometown Reads promotes locally sourced books

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Becky Robinson was young, she read voraciously and dreamed of being a writer. Now an adult with three daughters of her own, she cultivates their love of reading and works to help writers connect with an audience. Robinson recently launched a Bowling Green page in her Hometown Reads project. It’s the 43rd page devoted to locally sourced literature. “The vision of Hometown Reads is for local people to discover authors in their hometowns,” she said. The concept is simple.  First go to the home page (http://hometownreads.com/) and find and see a photographic listing of cities from Ann Arbor to Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Places as small as Grants Pass, Oregon to places as large as Los Angeles. Then click on the photo of the county courthouse and that brings you to: http://hometownreads.com/city/bowling-green. (Or of course you can go directly there.) On the page currently are links to half dozen books by local authors. Click on the link and that connects to more information about the book and author. Like what you see?  For most books there’s “Learn More” button takes you to the author’s home page and another button links to Amazon where you can buy the book. (Many of the books are also available locally.) Robinson said usually she wants more books to populate a page before launching it, but she felt there was enough market in Bowling Green to take a chance. She like to see more writers affiliated with Bowling Green State University avail themselves of the service. The service for writers is free. Robinson said at first it was free for the writer’ first book, with a charge for any subsequent volumes, but she is switching to make all listings free. At this point Hometown Reads is a passion project that’s funded by her core business Weaving Influence. That company provides marketing assistance, both online and traditional, for the authors of business books. The Lambertville, Michigan-based entrepreneur founded Weaving Influence in 2012, and she now employs about 30 associates. She launched the business after earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Miami University and a master’s degree in Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College in Illinois. No formal tutelage in business or marketing, she notes. Robinson spent nine years at home raising her daughters. She transitioned back into the workforce doing freelance marketing consultant work for business book authors and working…