children

Courthouse tour lays down the law for BG students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There was a bit of disorder in the courts  Monday as Bowling Green sixth graders got a close-up view of “Lady Justice.” They sat in on a court case, they offered ideas for new laws, and they met with the sheriff. And as a bonus, they learned a bit on how the county handles emergencies. The kids were awestruck by the court proceedings, and suitably impressed by the grand Wood County Courthouse. But kids being kids – they sometimes found a different focus than the intended. For example, as architect Heidi Reger pointed out the intricate stone work on the front of the 1896 courthouse, she asked the students to find the faces and animals carved into the stone. “They liked to tell a lot of stories in the stones,” she said. But during one group’s tour, Reger had some competition from above when one of the Peregrine falcons roosting in the courthouse clock tower snatched a bird for breakfast. It wasn’t long before a burst of feathers came floating down from the clock tower. Once inside the courthouse, the students got to listen to cases presented to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. The lesson there might have been that real court cases aren’t necessarily as exciting as those portrayed on television. But the students sat respectfully with little fidgeting as a case was argued about who was responsible for paying for roadwork and causeway maintenance for Johnson Island. Though the legal arguments were tedious, technical and long-winded, the students sat quietly. One court constable suggested that the sixth graders were likely intimidated by the panel of three robed judges, or by the ornate courtroom with its stained glass ceiling. After sitting through the governmental arm that rules on the law, the students heard from state legislators that make the laws. State Senator Randy Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, both R-Bowling Green, talked about their routes to the statehouse. Gardner…

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BG students to join National School Walkout against gun violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Alyson Baker is sick of hearing about students being slaughtered in their schools. She’s not alone, so Baker and other students at Bowling Green High School are organizing a walkout to coincide with the National School Walkout on March 14. “It has a lot of us really shaken,” Baker said last week. “We’re scared and we’re fed up. We don’t want to see anybody in schools hurt because of gun violence.” The National School Walkout is planned for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. on March 14, to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than Tweet thoughts and prayers in response to gun violence in schools and neighborhoods. The walkouts are based on the following beliefs: Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school. Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence. Students want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of them will vote this November and many others will join in 2020. Bowling Green’s walkout will be held on the front lawn of the high school. The public will be able to join in the event. Organizing the Bowling Green High School walkout are seniors Alyson Baker and Luther Shinew, and sophomores Keanu McClellan and Jadyn Lundquest. The local youth are being inspired by their fellow students in Parkland, Florida, who have responded to the shootings at their school with eloquence and ideas. “I’ve been to protests before, but I’ve never really led a protest,” Baker said. “It’s just so important. Now’s the time to talk about gun control.” The National School Walkout makes the following demands…


Daddies and daughters put on their dancing shoes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Ben Otley tried to brush up on his Macarena dance moves Friday. But in the end, it didn’t really matter if his arms went up when they should have gone down, or if his hips went right when they should have gone left. It just mattered that he was there at the annual Daddy Daughter Dance at the Bowling Green Community Center. “It’s just a great time to spend with my girls to make memories,” Otley said as he waited for dinner with his daughters, Reagan, 12, and Maggie, 8. Maggie took off across the dance floor to show her ballet and gymnastic skills. Her dad opted to sit out that trial. “If I did, I’d have to go the hospital,” Otley said. Both girls had already posed for photos with their dad, and were waiting for a chance to dance. “Some of the girls don’t want to have their dads on the dance floor,” Reagan said. But it appeared Otley’s dance card would be full for the evening. As the 75 dads and daughters gathered in the gymnasium, the room filled with little girls in glittery dresses, sparkling shoes, and fancy hair buns. At one table, Michael Abraham and his daughter, Angellica, 8, tried to put beads on a string to make a bracelet. “I wanted to spend time with my dad,” Angellica said. “He works all the time.” Abraham, who works as a quality engineer at Jeep, was struggling to complete the bracelet, while Angellica was looking forward to dancing with her dad. “I usually step on his feet,” she said with a grin. In the kitchen, George Nicholson and his crew from Campus Pollyeyes were making pizza, pasta, breadsticks and salad for the annual dance. “They ask me to do this every year, and it’s a lot of fun,” Nicholson said. This was the second year for Beau Holley and his daughters, Morgan, 6, and Erika, 8, to attend…


BG district scrutinizes safety after Parkland shooting

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In response to growing violence at schools across the nation, Bowling Green City Schools had each classroom equipped with a “Boot” last year. The “Boot” was created by Rob Couturier, of Michigan, after his daughter was the victim of a violent attack. The “Boot,” is a rectangular-shaped plate of quarter-inch thick industrial steel. Secured by two steel pegs, the plate can withstand 16,000 pounds of pressure and keep doors closed to intruders. The safety mechanism has been installed in more than 100 public schools and 18 private schools in the region. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci rests a little easier knowing every classroom in the district has a mechanism to keep an intruder out and keep the students safe inside. However, Scruci also realizes nothing is completely safe. “Anytime we’re talking about student safety, there is always more you can do,” Scruci said Thursday, the day after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed at 17. “We want to make sure kids are safe. But we can’t with 100 percent certainty,” he said. “We don’t have the resources to make them as safe as possible.” But in the case of the Parkland shooter, who reportedly went door to door to classrooms, the “Boot” would keep him from entering rooms. “That’s the beauty of the ‘Boot.’ He’s not getting in there,” Scruci said. In addition to the “Boot” on classroom doors, the Bowling Green school district also relies on students and staff to point out troubled students, hold training drills at the school, and work with local police on responding to threats. By law, every school must hold a lockdown drill at least once a year. “We just had a meeting and discussed that we need to do it more often,” Scruci said. “We don’t ever want to think this is a new normal, but we want people to be prepared.” Of course, the school district can’t prepare for every possibility, he…


Service award helps Mariana Mitova rally support for sports program for kids with special needs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Receiving the Faculty Senate’s Community Involvement award wasn’t just a boost for Mariana Mitova. It was also a boost for the causes she espouses, especially RallyCap Sports. Mitova, who teaches in Bowling Green State University Apparel Merchandising and Product Development Program, said that in addition to being a personal recognition – “the glass plaque is proudly displayed in my office” – being honored last year has greatly benefited RallyCap Sports. The program, which was founded by alumnus Paul Hooker, offers the chance to be active in sports to young people with special needs. BGSU was the first campus to host the program.  (click for related story.) Mitova is the BGSU chapter advisor, and her son, who is blind, is a participant. Mitova told Faculty Senate Tuesday that her recognition has increased awareness about the program, donations have increased to RallyCap, and more faculty became interested. They then promoted it to other families who may benefit. Her receiving the award is being used by this at national headquarters who are trying to find campus advisors at the 12 other RallyCap locations. Mitova said she used the monetary award to host a dinner for 22 core student volunteers. (More than 1,000 students volunteer putting in more than 5,200 volunteer hours.) Those broader effects, said Mitova, are the reason faculty members should take seriously the calls for nominations. If Associate Dean Mary Murray had not nominated Mitova this would not have happened. She conceded faculty get a lot of emails, and it’s easy to delete them. Mitova said she deleted the first two calls for nominations herself. “Guilty as charged,” she admitted But after being asked to address senate, “I started thinking more about what would have happened if Dr. Murray hit the delete button,” she said. “Instead she took the time to solicit support, write the nomination letter, and submit the nomination package.” That time is valuable, Mitova said. “However, she thought this nomination is worth…


BGMS teacher inspires students in class and on court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This was no hum-drum history lesson. This was the story of the Boston Massacre told through hip-hop. Under attack by a mob of angry colonists, the British soldiers shot and killed several men – setting a spark for the American Revolution. This was a history lesson from 1770 set to a 2018 beat by a Bowling Green student inspired by her eighth grade social studies teacher, Mandy Pasley. Pasley, who has taught at Bowling Green Middle School for 19 years, was honored Thursday as an inspirational educator of the year by the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. She played the Boston Massacre recording to the club to show the creativity of her students. “Mandy’s one of our best educators,” Middle School Principal Eric Radabaugh said after Pasley was given her award. “Her passion for students is what drives her to be the best.” But Pasley, who also coaches the varsity volleyball team, passed on all the credit to her parents, her husband, her “kids” at home and in the classroom – but mostly her favorite teachers who left lasting impressions on her life. “I was blessed to have some of the best teachers I’ve ever been around,” she said. Pasley, who grew up in Bowling Green, fondly remembered her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Daly. “She was way ahead of her time,” using problem-based strategies that are popular in today’s classrooms. Some lessons stuck with Pasley, like the day the class made gingerbread men, then arrived at school the following day to find the cookies had disappeared. The students had to solve the clues to find the missing gingerbread men. Then in third grade at Crim Elementary, Mrs. Sullivan was her sweet, kind teacher with very high expectations. “We never wanted to disappoint her,” Pasley recalled. But one day Pasley and her friend did disappoint their teacher, when they wrote a secret note to a boy in their class. Pasley felt horrible, and Mrs. Sullivan…


Elm on Conneaut hill has to go so sledders will be safe

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For an unknown number of decades, the towering elm tree on Conneaut hill provided shade in the summer and something for sledders to swerve around in the winter. But on Monday, yellow “caution” tape was stretched around the hill, warning sledders to stay away. It’s not like Bowling Green has many sledding options for kids on snowy days. But on this rare occasion, the snow on the hill was not lined with new ruts from sleds going down and little feet climbing up. The stately elm, it appears, will have to go. And since sledding will not be allowed while the tree stands, the elm will have to go soon. “A very large crack has developed in the tree,” Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter told City Council on Monday. “This large part of the tree is separating from the rest of the tree.” The giant tree was examined by Bowling Green’s city arborist and by an Ohio Department of Natural Resources arborist. The two came to the same conclusion. “We couldn’t have children on that hill with that tree there,” Tretter said. So the tree will come down this week, she said. Not only will that allow children to keep sledding this winter, but the best time to take down a tree of this size is when the ground is still frozen, Tretter added. The city has tried for years to stretch out the life of the shapely elm tree. Years ago, some limbs were braced together in order to shore up the aging tree, according to Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett. But that was only a short-term fix. No one has been injured by falling branches from the tree, Fawcett said. The city faced some options – with none of them being pretty. First, cut down the elm. Second, close the park. Third, aggressively prune the tree, removing about two-thirds of the tree and making survival very difficult. To make the loss…