Business

Downtown BG Farmers Market opens May 16

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Take some time to come out and enjoy an evening at the Farmers Market in Downtown Bowling Green.  The market starts May 16, 4-7 pm and will run through October 10th.  But don’t wait; every week brings new produce, delicious cottage foods, some handcrafted items and music too.   The new Farmers’ Market manager, Samantha Beane has organized an amazing slate of vendors and is excited to start the season.  Huntington Bank has generously allowed us to utilize the parking lot on the corner of S. Main and Clough Streets.  This a wonderful location and it gives the market room to grow.    We’ve been able to bring back the Frequent Buyer program, thanks to the support of Newlove Realty and Thayer Family Dealerships and their partner company AllState Insurance.  Each time a shopper spends $5 at a stand, they get a stamp on their card.  When the card is full the card will be turned in for $5 in Downtown Dollars.  For those not familiar with the Downtown Dollars program, more than 70 Downtown businesses accept them for goods and services.  You can get a frequent buyer card and redeem a full card at the market info booth.  Last year, about $2,000 in Downtown Dollars were awarded to shoppers.  All completed cards that are turned in will be eligible to win $100 in Downtown Dollars through a sponsorship by Banfax Pest Control, a local business serving our area for over 30 years. Live music at the market has really been enjoyed by many.  The tradition continues at The Stone’s Throw Stage from 5:30 – 7pm.   Thanks to The Stones Throw Restaurant for sponsoring the stage and to Tim Concannon for making the arrangements and all the musicians who donate their time to perform from 5:30 – 7 pm.  To start off the season, Tim Tegge & The Black Swamp Boys will be bringing some original folk music to the market! This is a pre-show to the Hump Day Review at The Stones Throw every Wednesday evening. This season we will also have some special events including the Zucchini 500 races and a fun run with the support of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation.  There will also be a bike awareness program and a kids fun night through the Bicycle Safety Commission. A full schedule of all the music and special events at the market will be available very soon on our website at bgfarmersmarket.org  The schedule will be updated as other special events are added to the season.   As special thanks to Julie Martini and Martini Creative for hosting…


Neighborhood voters say cheers to Sunset Bistro’s request for expanded Sunday liquor sales

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The folks at Sunset Bistro were celebrating election night as early returns showed that the west side eatery had easily won a liquor option for Sunday sales. Owner Prudy Brott, her staff, and customers will still have to wait before they can toast expanded liquor sales with a glass of champagne during Sunday brunch. Brott said that she’s heard it takes from 30 days to three months for the Ohio Liquor Control Board to approve an application for Sunday sales. Tuesday voters in precinct 110 gave the bistro their approval, voting 545-114. Sunset Bistro has only been able to serve beer and a lower alcohol sparkling wine on Sundays. “I’m excited,” Brott said Tuesday night. “And we are too,” chimed in customer Ellen Sharp, who said she’d helped collect signatures to get the option on the ballot. Brott said that it will be good to be able to offer a glass of wine or cocktail on Sunday. She expects that will boost her Sunday business. New Year’s Eve was a dramatic display of the impact the limited alcohol options had on her business. People would call to inquire about reservations and be told the limited alcohol options, then go to celebrate at another establishment, she said. That happens on other Sundays, as well. Sharp, a loyal customer, said she’s been in the same position. Some Sundays when they’ve had guest they’d opt to go somewhere else where they could have a mimosa or a glass of wine. That’s why Sharp helped with the campaign, and being a resident of precinct 110, voted in favor of it. The support from the neighborhood is “quite humbling,” Brott said. She people in the neighborhood as well as the staff got behind the campaign. Brott said she had lawyers tell her that usually restaurants fail in their first attempts to get Sunday sales. So she was very pleased that her request was approved overwhelmingly on the first try.    


BG DECA students’ runoff filtration idea cleans up at international conference

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Two DECA students from Bowling Green poured in on, and scored a second place finish at the International Career Development Conference in April with a pitch for a product to address Lake Erie’s algae problems. Sean O’Donnell and Jake Stucker, both Bowling Green High School juniors, placed second in the entrepreneurship idea contest at the DECA conference held in Atlanta with their idea for a filter that would address the runoff from farm fields that’s polluting Lake Erie. They were the top U.S. team with first place going to students from Ontario. And the pair says they’re not stopping there. “This is a huge market and could provide a future for us and families, and better future for people around the world,” O’Donnell said. They see the technology they are working on as being the foundation for a business. For that reason, they asked for a certain amount of discretion when describing the details of their idea. The have applied for provisional patents. Simply put, it is a filtration system that goes on the end of the piping from field tiles that removes the nitrates, phosphorus, and sediment that run into the Lake. That runoff messes with the lake’s ecosystem and can cause the kind of toxic algae growth that turned off the tap for much of the region during the Toledo water crisis in 2014. O’Donnell and Stucker have known each other since middle school. It was in seventh grade that they learned about the problem facing Lake Erie. But it was more recently when Stucker was having a conversation with a friend that the idea started to hatch. His friend, from Colorado, said she was headed west over winter break to go skiing. He lamented they had nothing so exciting here in Ohio. When she brought up Lake Erie, he said, it was too cold part of the year and toxic in the summer. This got him thinking about what could be done. This became the topic for his and O’Donnell’s DECA project. Trident Filters was born. Both are students in Penta Career Center’s satellite marketing program offered at Bowling Green High School. Their teacher Cara Maxey said the partners launched into the project with rare commitment.  “They worked extremely hard on their own networking,” she said. “They put in the extra time and effort outside the classroom that made the difference.” What they came up was “a real product,” with real world benefits. Usually students come up with “want-based products,” often related to fashion and cosmetics….


BG voters to decide on Sunday sales at Sunset Bistro

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters in a section of Bowling Green’s west side will get to decide one ballot issue next week that won’t cost them a penny – except later when they order a drink while dining out. On Tuesday’s primary election ballot, voters in Precinct 110 will vote on allowing Sunset Bistro to serve wine and liquor on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to midnight. The citizens included in this vote are surrounded by Foxgate, Meeker Street, Wooster Street and Conneaut Avenue. Sunset Bistro, owned by Prudy Brott, at 1220 W. Wooster St., has been open now for three years. The restaurant serves beer, wine and liquor on every other day of the week, but on Sundays can only serve beer and Verdi, a type of sparkling champagne. “We’d just like it to be like the rest of the days of the week,” Brott said. Restaurant employees went door-to-door to collect petition signatures to get the issue on the ballot. “We had such a great response,” Brott said. Customers at the bistro often ask for wine or liquor on Sundays, during the restaurant’s weekly brunch or later during evening dinners. “They want to have a glass of wine or a cocktail,” she said. There have been times when diners have left the restaurant when they find out that wine and liquor are not available on Sundays. And one regular group of diners often goes to one of their party’s homes for a drink then return to Sunset Bistro for dinner, Brott said. The lack of liquor sales was particularly detrimental this past New Year’s Eve that fell on a Sunday. People were reluctant to make reservations, she said. “It limits what we can do here,” Brott said. Even if the voters pass the Sunday sales issue, Brott will still have to apply to the State Liquor Control for the proper license. “It wouldn’t be immediate,” she said. But people have been very supportive. “We serve responsibly, and people love the food,” Brott said.


Toledo Museum celebrates 200 years of Libbey Glass

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART To commemorate 200 years of excellence in glassmaking, the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has organized Celebrating Libbey Glass, 1818-2018. The exhibition will present more than 175 outstanding examples of glass from TMA’s renowned collection as well as objects and materials from the Libbey Inc. archives, including pressed glass tableware, Amberina art glass, Libbey’s world-renowned “brilliant” cut glass (including TMA’s glorious Libbey Punch Bowl), mid-century modern barware and examples of more recent “premium give-away” glasses for companies. Celebrating Libbey Glass will be on view exclusively at TMA beginning May 4 and continuing through Nov. 25 in the Glass Pavilion. “As founders of the Toledo Museum of Art, the Libbey family was instrumental to the advancement of arts education and art appreciation in this region,” said Brian Kennedy, TMA’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director. “It is our honor to recognize the Libbey legacy of innovative glass design, practices and production and to celebrate the Museum’s longstanding commitment to the medium through collections development, exhibition, research and programming.” The story of the Libbey Glass Company began 200 years ago in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established as the New England Glass Works in 1818, the company rose to prominence in the 19th century, cementing its reputation as one of the most successful American producers of fine glass tableware. As the general manager of the company from 1872, William L. Libbey (1823-1883) saw the business through difficult economic times, eventually taking over the firm’s lease to become owner. His son, Edward Drummond Libbey (1854-1925), joined his father as partner in 1880. Promoted to superintendent in 1883 at the age of 29 when his father died, the young Edward faced serious challenges with rising fuel costs and growing labor unrest. In 1888 he made the decision to move the entire operation to Toledo, Ohio, because of the abundance of natural gas and high-silica content sand, as well as its proximity to shipping and rail lines. Continuing its production of both high-end and everyday tableware, the factory thrived in Toledo and in 1892 officially changed its name to the Libbey Glass Company. Its success helped to brand Toledo as “The Glass City.” Throughout its history, Libbey has created a great variety of decorative and useful blown and pressed objects in both colorless and richly colored glass, at times decorated with cutting and engraving. The firm won national and international fame through their extravagant displays at world’s fairs, especially the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, in 1904. The company also made…


Chamber of Commerce: “All of us will benefit from an enhanced, state-of-the-art  school district”

The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to endorse the School Bond issue.  From the business and economic development perspective, there is a strong link between quality schools and local commerce.  We know from first-hand experience that new business, whether it has one employee to 500+, often the quality of the schools factor into the decision to locate or not in our district. We know recruiting and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce is a major factor that determines our economic growth.  A quality district with state-of-the-art facilities is often a priority for new hires who are looking to move into our area. If these new hires stay, they add to growth of our housing, retail, churches, parks and more. All of us who live in the BG School District benefits from that commerce as well.   We also recognize that time is of the essence.  Based on the 4/26/2018 Bowling Green City Schools Tax Analysis, compiled and presented by Rockmill Consulting Firm, the costs of the proposed project will only continue to rise. Mr. Conley noted that since the November 2017 election, the cost of our project has already risen by 4M.  The cost is predicted to continue to increase due to interest rates, inflation, and the rising construction costs. To curb costs, waiting is not an option. And to the current and future Bobcats, our community owes you state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to become the best you can be in a very competitive world.  And for the future, we want you to continue the cycle of investment and commerce in BG, where you too will be assessing the quality of the school district for your own children. The bottom line is this, all of us will benefit from an enhanced, state-of-the-art  school district that is competitive to area school districts. Such a school district is a powerful attraction to new business and the domino effect of strengthening local commerce, the workforce, and the  over-all quality of life…the long term reward far exceeds the cost.   Respectfully, Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce


Money on a mission: Values-based investment pays off

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Companies that pursue policies that help the environment can also help investors’ bottom-line. That’s the foundation of the strategy of Terra Alpha Investment, said Amy Dine, director of advocacy for the company. Dine served as keynote speaker at a Socially Responsible Investing Workshop held Tuesday at Bowling Green State University. Formed three years ago, Terra Alpha Investments uses measures of  environmental productivity to determine which companies it will invest in. This approach is not “a niche,” Dine said, nor a fad. Sustainable investing, she said, represented about 20 percent of all professionally managed funds in 2016, about $8.72 trillion. That’s up, she said, by 33 percent, from 2014, and expected to grow when 2018 figures are reported. Investor putting their money where their values are, is not a new approach, Dine said. It began with investors who wanted to invest their money in companies that aligned with their religious faith, or at least, disinvest from tobacco, liquor, and other “sin”-related firms. That approach, Dine said, foundered some because the returns did not match the market. Still faith-based investing remains strong. The BGSU workshop was co-sponsored by Munn Wealth Management, a Maumee firm heavily engaged in faith-based investing. The second wave of values-based investment was prompted, Dine said, by activists in the 1970s and 1980s, looking for ways to protest apartheid in South Africa, industrial disasters including the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and the chemical release at Bhopal, India, as well as domestic concerns such as brownfield sites. These activists saw having proxy votes as a way to sway corporate behavior. Now the third way uses corporate practices to decide which companies to invest in. This is more than protest, but a realization that those companies paying attention to how they use natural resources, that are diligent about the treatment of those in their supply chain, and that govern in a transparent and for long-term success are just better companies, she said. Chemistry Professor Neocles Leontis, one of those who organized the session, introduced Dine by saying when the coral reef is dying in the south and ice is melting in the far north, these are issues investors need to be paying attention to. Dine said this does not mean only new, cutting edge companies get supported. General Motors is developing a landfill-free plant, where everything is reused or recycled, saving $1 billion in the process. Adidas has a shoe that is made with 95-percent recycled plastic pulled from the sea around the Maldives. FedEx has redesigned its airplanes to…


BG sees big investments by local manufacturers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Steel on the skyline is a beautiful site to Bowling Green officials. “If you drive around, you can see steel going up in a number of places,” said Sue Clark, executive director of Bowling Green Economic Development. “That’s exciting for those of us in economic development.” Clark gave her annual report during last week’s meeting of city and business leaders. Bowling Green added new acreage to Wood Bridge Business Park, plus will be adding a much needed second entrance and exit to the park, this one on Bowling Green Road East. The 100-plus acres added to the business park was the result of teamwork by the city, Wood County, Wood County Port Authority, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Bowling Green City Schools. “These entities pulled together to get things going in record time,” Clark said. In 2017, the city saw its manufacturers invest $48 million in new equipment, and $8 million in construction. “This is a signal to us that our economy here is strong,” Clark said. The city’s manufacturers employ 4,125 full-time workers, and another 75 part-time employees. And half of the 40 companies that responded to a city survey said they have plans to add employees in 2018. However, with many companies hiring, the pool of employees to choose from is a problem, Clark said. “Workforce continues to be a pressing issue,” she said. “We must continue to be innovative in attracting new businesses and persistent in keeping them.” Some of Bowling Green’s economic development highlights last year included: Apio Inc., formerly Greenline, purchased eight acres in Innovative Tech Park to build a 20,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse. This will free-up production space at their current facility on South Dixie Highway, plus add another 30 jobs. The city and BG Economic Development entered into an agreement with Dick Carpenter for 60 acres adjacent to Wood Bridge Business Park, with the goal of expanding the park. A 200,000-square-foot warehouse is being built by Mosser Construction for Ohio Logistics, which is planning 40 acres of new warehousing. A road is being added in the business park to allow entrance and exits on Bowling Green Road East. Penta Career Center purchased two acres in Bellard Business Park and is building a school-to-work training center for high school students. The British company MICC moved into 45,000 square feet in an existing building on Van Camp Road. The largest solar field in Ohio started operation north of the city last year. The first “Manufacturers’ Day” was hosted at Bowling Green…


Genius Garage revs up college students’ careers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Speed is part of Casey Putsch’s life. He drives race cars. He designs race cars. Putsch wants to speed up students’ progress on their career paths by working on vintage race cars. So now he’s devoting his time to Genius Garage, an educational non-profit that supercharges the resumes of college students from Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo by giving them hands-on experience working on automotive and aerospace engineering projects. Speaking Saturday afternoon at an open house to honor volunteers who support the program as teachers and mentors, Putsch said the project is a way to help students in a variety of disciplines to put the theoretical knowledge they learn in class to use on a real world project. Those projects, vintage race cars, prove their worth on the race track, including at the Indianapolis Speedway, with Putsch at the wheel. The project’s newest venture will even take flight. Putsch started Genius Garage five years ago. This year he moved the project to a Quonset hut at 400 Bishop Road in Bowling Green. Saturday the project’s three vintage Indy-style race cars were on display for a crowd of supporters, local business owners, university representatives, politicians, family members, and local residents. Also on view was a World War I Sopwith Camel airplane in the early stages of construction, and a high-efficiency prototype car with a recyclable chassis that Putsch is designing. Putsch said the idea for Genius Garage came after he’d launched his career following his engineering and design studies at Ohio State University. His first educational endeavor involved working with the OSU electric motorcycle project. He also would organize large-scale charity functions. Putsch looked around and realized students didn’t have the opportunities to gain the kind of experience that would set them apart in the job market. Five years ago, he said, he put much of his life on hold to develop the Genius Garage. He had the opportunity to move the project to southern California. Instead he decided to stick with his native Northwest Ohio. The move to Bowling Green was prompted by the need for more space in a central location, convenient for UT and BGSU students as well as possible involvement by Owens and Terra community college students. The project now employs eight on the automotive team, six on the aerospace team, and one student working with Putsch on designing the prototype car. And the project, he said, is “completely repeatable” in other areas. He believes the project will help attract students to…


Student entrepreneurs put their ideas at center stage during Hatch 2018

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hatchling Sara Clark was on the brink of closing the deal. Clark, of Bowling Green, was the last student entrepreneur to present her idea to a panel of alumni investors at The Hatch 2018 at Bowling Green State University Thursday night. Her invention was the Magnahalter, a halter using Velcro and magnets. The new halter would be easier for para-equestrians, and others to put a halter on a horse. The investors though were more interested in the magnetic fastening than the halter itself, and they were putting the money behind that interest. While Clark was looking for $7,600 to produce 100 prototype halters for a beta test, the investors were offering $20,000. But they’d claim 25-percent equity in the fastening technology.   Clark paused. Could she consult with her mentor, Bob Venzel? She turned to where he was standing on the stage before 1,500 packed into the Perry Field House. Then a voice rose from the crowd. There was a bit of commotion. Someone was offering her $10,000 with no stake. That someone turned out was retired banker Ed Reiter. That was the deal she accepted. Investor Earle Malm mused at how the panel of investors lost out to “door number two.” Kirk Kern, who was master of ceremonies, opined Clark might still want to talk to the investors to get input. As Brian Sokol, who has participated in the Hatch since its inception, said at the beginning that though the program was modeled after the TV show “Shark Tank,” this was live, and that opened up the possibilities. Like most of the other seven products presented, Clark, a major in intervention services in the College of Education and Human Development, drew on her personal experience and field of study to come up with her idea. She is a member of the BGSU equestrian team as well as an educator of people with special needs. The Magnahalter would also be of use to anyone with limited dexterity, even if that’s because of fingers numb from the cold. The Magnahalter has already been used by a gold medalist on the USA para-equestrian team, and others on the team have expressed interest. Clark has a patent pending on the halter. This year featured eight proposals presented by 10 students. They were seeking both money and guidance to help their ideas get off the ground from a panel of six angel investors, all BGSU graduates. Malm said The Hatch offered the students experience in presenting their ideas and raising the money to bring…


Food truck discussion takes sweet and sour twist

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The discussion over food truck rules in Bowling Green erupted into a verbal food fight Wednesday evening. But when it was over, rules allowing food trucks to operate in the city were ready to move on to City Council. On one side of the dispute was council member Bill Herald, who had spent countless hours covering every possible angle of the mobile food truck issue in a 180-page slide presentation. On the other side were council members Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino, who wanted to move along the process, stop reviewing the slide presentation, and instead discuss a one-page food truck permit proposed by Rowland. “We talked about the size of this report,” Rowland said to Herald, referring to council members asking the committee to move along the process. “It’s taken far too long at this point.” While the committee has held eight meetings, they took place over a condensed space of less than two months, Herald said. He stressed that the one-page permit proposal “isn’t as rich with detail,” as his 180-page report. Herald asked his fellow council members to give him a half hour to get through his executive summary of 21 pages. “I think we’ve been thorough. We’ve been comprehensive,” Zanfardino said. “I don’t mean to be argumentative up here,” Zanfardino said, but added that he wanted Wednesday’s meeting to end with a plan that council as a whole could review. Rowland agreed, and pushed for a product that could go before City Council soon. But both agreed to let Herald start through his executive summary. As they studied the slides, Rowland and Zanfardino pointed out unnecessary specifics or redundancies. For example, there was no need to stipulate that the food sold has to be legal, or to identify the type of vehicles allowed. The locations where food trucks would be permitted was narrowed down to not allow the vehicles on Main Street, Wooster Street or any of the sides streets one block off of those. Those restrictions are due to safety on the state routes, which don’t have much spare room. “It’s just not made for it,” Herald said of the downtown streets. Rowland and Zanfardino agreed. “I’m personally trying to strike a balance” between local concerns and mobile food vendors, Zanfardino said. Food trucks will also not be allowed in city parking lots unless for special events. But Rowland said she has identified several locations in town where food vendors could set up. “There are a lot of places where people gather,”…


Elder-Beerman – anchor at BG mall – set for closure

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It appears the steady anchor at the Woodland Mall will soon be closing. Bon-Ton is planning to close all its Elder-Beerman stores within the next 10 to 12 weeks. That will leave Bowling Green without a department store, and many employees without jobs. The manager of the Woodland Mall Elder-Beerman said this morning that the store employs between 40 and 50 workers. The news comes as a blow to Woodland Mall, with Elder-Beerman being an anchor at the Bowling Green mall since it opened in the mid-1980s. “This is kind of a shock for everyone,” mall manger Michelle Beaverson said. But the mall is a survivor, and Beaverson isn’t giving up on the anchor store yet. “It’s not over till it’s over,” Beaverson said this morning. There are several bidders in place, that still might save the store, she added. “I hope someone buys them up.” The Elder-Beerman has been a solid draw at the struggling mall. “Their annual sales have been amazing,” Beaverson said. Eric Frankel, of the managing company for Woodland Mall, said this morning that his company is weighing the news. “It’s definitely something we’re concerned about. It’s definitely something we are reviewing,” Frankel said. But he also isn’t ready to give up on the store. “It’s still too early to say what’s going to happen with the brand,” Frankel said, noting the possible resurrection of the Toys R Us stores. “A lot of things are up in the air,” he said. “Nothing’s final. It’s not over till the fat lady sings.” But Bowling Green Community Development Director Sue Clark sees it a little differently – like the fat lady is already singing liquidation. The loss of Elder-Beerman will be a hit to local residents, Clark said. “We don’t have many places that sell professional women’s clothes,” she said. “The demographics of this community match that store. I see it as a loss.” Clark also sees it as tough news for the mall. “I think it’s really very bad for the mall,” Clark said. “They need to come to the realization that they need to invest in the site.” Clark is also concerned about the stores remaining in the mall. “I worry about the merchants out there. They are going to lose some traffic,” she said. The Elder-Beerman has also been a draw to the community, with shoppers coming to the city to shop, then possibly going to lunch or other stores downtown, she added. “I think it brings people into the community,” she…


Student entrepreneurs pitch their ideas at The Hatch

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS In the spirit of “Shark Tank,” 10 student entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to alumni investors during The Hatch on April 19 at Bowling Green State University. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Perry Field House on the BGSU campus. In 2017, The Hatch attracted more than 3,500 attendees and was streamed to watch parties across the United States. “Hatchlings” are paired with alumni mentors throughout the spring semester to develop their business ideas. The field includes two Bowling Green natives: Sara Clark and Isaac Rogers. Participating students and their ideas include: Hannah Barth and Elyse Blau, both juniors, are creating Pop-Up Palace, a play structure that is easily assembled, disassembled and modified to reflect a child’s changing developmental needs. Barth is majoring in inclusive early childhood education; Blau is majoring in early childhood education. Nick Bundy and Jacob Hauter, both juniors, are developing Saflee, a hybrid of a traditional safe and a disaster kit. Bundy is double-specializing in finance and sales and services marketing; Hauter is double-specializing in marketing and business analytics. Sara Clark, a senior, is creating Magnahalter, a horse halter that eliminates buckles and clasps by replacing them with Velcro and magnets. Clark is majoring in intervention along with dual education licensure for K-12 students with mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe disabilities. Olivier Ernst, a graduate student, is developing Suppleo, a supplement dispenser designed for athletic and workout environments. Ernst is pursuing his MBA. Kristen Grom, a senior, is creating Power Play, an app-controlled dog toy that allows owners to control the toy from smart devices. Grom is majoring in visual communication technology. Marikay Mester, a junior, is developing Bloomzoa, an app that makes childhood nutrition fun and interactive while providing educational tools to successfully manage dietary restrictions. Mester is majoring in dietetics. Rachael Poling, a senior, is creating a wearable device that is an early detector of geriatric diseases. Poling is majoring in applied health science. Isaac Rogers, sophomore, is developing Mchezo, a web-based, interactive game for children with chronic diseases. Rogers is majoring in business administration.


BG high senior Emily Wittig has indy book design covered

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At 18, Emily Wittig has already put the faces on more than 100 books. Wittig operates her own business Emily Wittig Designs. A photographer as well as a designer, Bowling Green High School senior creates book cover designs for independently published authors, giving their work a more distinctive look than they otherwise may have. A serious illness helped to launch the enterprise. When she was 11, she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, curvature of the spine, and required surgery. Her recuperation involved a year of no physical activity. A librarian at the middle school recommended she check out Goodreads.com as a way of discovering new books. Through the site, Wittig connected with author Micalea Smeltzer. They hit it off. Wittig loved her “Fallen” series of vampire romances. Smeltzer was 18 at the time. “She was the first indy writer I read,” Wittig said. Their conversations didn’t turn to business until Wittig launched her enterprise a few years later when she was 15. Smeltzer had reformatted the inside of her books, and wanted new covers. Wittig took on the job. Typically self-published authors use templates provided by online publishers. Wittig can offer something distinctive. At first, the designer said, she tried to read some of each book she worked on, but that’s no longer possible. Smeltzer “has pretty good idea for what she wants to do with covers. She can be picky. For her it’s easy to get an initial concept because she has an idea of what she wants.” Smeltzer remains one of Wittig’s favorite writers. She finds herself rereading the “Fallen” books. “I really like her style of writing.” She has covers done for two forthcoming Smeltzer books. But most of the other writers “don’t have anything written or aren’t confident enough to share it. They give me a little synopsis.” And “some people have no idea what might work,” she said. Asked what she’s taken away from her business she said: “I think learning to work with people especially the ones that don’t know what they want. Having the patience to work with people who have different ideas and different ways of doing things, it’s a little tricky even now.” Wittig doesn’t get to read as much now because of her academic schedule. She’ll graduate this May having earned 42 credits at Bowling Green State University. That’s where she’ll continue her career studying Visual Communications Technology, a mix of graphic design, interactive media, photography, and print. She’s already taken a couple courses in her major though most…


The Stacked Deck offers gaming fans a new place to gather in downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Joe Busch was in high school, playing Dungeons and Dragons had a “Cheetos in the basement” stigma attached to it, so he and his friends used the school chess as a cover. Now role playing games and the card game Magic are more popular and accepted. Busch is out in the open with his love for the games as the new owner of The Stacked Deck, a gaming shop in downtown Bowling Green. Busch said he first got into gaming in junior high. Like many others in his generation Pokémon served as the gateway game. He and his friends heard about Magic the Gathering, which was more complex with deeper back story, so they started playing that. Busch said he loved writing and telling stories, so in high school, he started his own Dungeon and Dragons campaign, conducted under the cover of the chess club, and continued through his college years. The New Jersey native, Busch attended Rowan University where he studied journalism. Summers he’d come home and muster his friends and resume the campaign. That’s the appeal of role playing games in the world of fast paced video play. Video games may have good stories, he said, but those tales are created by someone else. “Dungeons and Dragons moves with you,” he said. “It’s writing a story but with a group of five people all contributing. You can do whatever you want. You’re just having fun telling the story together.” Whether engaged in role playing, another board game, or a Magic, the social aspect of people gathering for fun and camaraderie is part of the attraction. From the beginning Busch knew he wanted to do more than sell games and cards, but wanted to have a place where people could play uninhibited without the questioning looks of people wondering what they were doing rolling those strange dice and talking about fireballs. “It’s not like you’re an outsider doing something like that here,” he said. The appeal is broad. “You can have anybody play with anybody.” Fathers bring in their kids to get their first starter deck of Magic cards. He had a man in his 70s stop by. He’d seen YouTube videos about Magic, and was thinking about taking the game up. When Busch went to the bank to set up his business account, the banker was excited because he played Magic. He introduced him to one of his co-workers who was also a fan of the game. This is the kind of place Busch missed when…