children

Grandparents find support raising their grandchildren

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The seven strangers sat around the table, not sure where to start. They had at least one common bond – they were all grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren. The reasons varied. Some parents relinquished the rights to their children because of addictions to drugs or alcohol. But regardless of the reasons, the grandparents – who thought their days of daily parenting were done – were now raising another generation of their family. Last week was the first of monthly support group meetings being held for “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” at the Wood County Educational Service Center. Most of the grandparents started their stories by apologizing for feeling lost or complaining about their unexpected return to parenting. Felicia Otte, a school and community based prevention specialist liaison with the educational service center, told the grandparents to stop apologizing. “You have every right to feel that way,” Otte told them. That opened the floodgates, relieving the grandparents from guilt, and allowing them to speak freely about their struggles with those who knew exactly what they were talking about. (Because none of them wanted their grandchildren to be embarrassed, they asked that their names not be used.) One grandma talked about raising four grandchildren. One has attention deficit problems, and the specialists haven’t found the right medications to work for him yet. “I get a lot of phone calls from school,” she said. Another woman has found herself in the “sandwich” generation. At the same time she is raising three grandchildren, she is also struggling with the fact that her own mother is slipping and needs to be placed in assisted living. Then was the woman who has raised her teenage grandson since he was a toddler. She was able to offer words of encouragement and support to those just starting the journey. The only grandfather of the group just recently had two grandchildren move in with him per a court order. “It could be till next week or it could be forever,” he said. Another grandma told of taking in her two grandchildren off and on for years. It was just over two years ago that she realized the children were often home alone and taking care of themselves – so she stepped in. Her story got even…

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BG twins rescue toddler from deep end of hotel pool

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The 6-year-old twins are unlikely heroes. The two blond boys, in their matching swimsuits, rescued a toddler who jumped in the deep end this past weekend at a hotel pool in Florida. The twins – Bryant and Peyton Switzer – who are taking swimming lessons this week at Bowling Green city pool, talked about the rescue before their class started on Tuesday morning. “Pretend over here is the shallow end,” Bryant said pointing to the city pool. “She was just playing in it.” But then the 3-year-old took off her water-wing flotation devices and jumped in the deep end. The boys were old enough to realize she needed help. “He jumped in and put his arm around her,” Bryant said of his brother, Peyton. “Then he gave her to me, and I got her out.” The little girl was frightened, but the twins stayed calm. “She was a little scared when she was in the deep end,” Bryant said. The boys’ mom, Amy Walters, of Bowling Green, said they had gone to Orlando, Florida, for a work trip. The twins were in the hotel pool with Walters’ fiancé, D.J. Dieter, when the incident occurred. “She had seen the big boys playing and splashing around,” and apparently wanted to join in, Walters said of the little girl. “They didn’t even think twice. They went into action,” Walters said. “We’re very proud of them.” The toddler’s mom expressed her thanks to the young heroes. “The mother was extremely grateful,” Walters said. The boys, she said, are very comfortable in the water. “They are little fish. They’d live in the water if you’d let them,” Walters said. Mia Schempf, the twins’ swimming lessons teacher at BG city pool, said the boys are strong swimmers for being so young. “They are super smart kids,” she said. It just happened that last week, one of their classes focused on water safety. “We teach them safety in and around the water,” Schempf said. “It’s awesome they were able to save someone.” After Monday’s swimming class, the boys’ bravery was recognized by State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who presented Bryant and Peyton with certificates honoring their heroism.


Two visions of Wonderland presented by area youth theater companies

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Wonderland, it seems, is the place to be this weekend. The imaginary land comes to life on both sides of the Maumee as the Horizon Youth Theatre stages “Dorothy in Wonderland,” directed by Allison Kulbago, at the Otsego auditorium while the youth wing of the Waterville Playshop stages “Disney Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” directed by Shauna Newbold, in the Maumee Indoor Theater. The HYT show runs Thursday, June 21, Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. (click for information) “Alice” runs Friday, June 22,  and Saturday, June 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m. (click for information) And, yes, that is Dorothy who lands in Wonderland courtesy, of course, of yet another tornado. The conceit of the HYT production of the Brian Taylor script is that Dorothy (Terra Sloane) and her friends Scarecrow (Calista Wilkins), Tin Man (Thomas Long), the no longer Cowardly Lion (Nash Valantine) and Toto (Lila Stover) get blown into the middle of Alice’s adventure. They have to draw on the virtues, courage for the lion, for example, bestowed on them by the Wizard to cope with this new strange place and its crazy characters. Don’t fear, Alice (Sophia Nelson) is here as well as all the usual unusual Lewis Carroll characters. That includes the Mad Hatter played by M Clifford as a hipster clown, making the most of a few scenes. The script offers plenty of cameos, with even chorus members having names, or at least numbers when they’re part of the deck of cards. Dorothy is charged with defeating the queen of hearts played with haughty majesty by Isaac Douglass. Glinda (Ann Weaver) floats in from Oz to help. She and Alice share the most touching song “Just a Girl.” Interesting that in a show with so much action, to the point of being antic, that this ballad and the first act closer “Will We Ever See Home Again” are the songs that register most. Like “Dorothy,” “Disney Alice in Wonderland Jr.” uses recorded tracks instead of live music. In the case of the Disney musical, those are jazzy big band numbers that really drive the action. With high concept costuming and make up, “Alice” hits the stage like the animated movie come to life with the neighborhood…


Preschoolers celebrate crowning achievement in reading

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ken and Pam Frisch did their part to help their granddaughters earn their crowns. The granddaughters, Sophia Kulik, 3, and Savannah Kulik, 4, are among the 23 preschoolers who have met the mark in the Wood County Public Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge. The Frisches said they read to the girls, and then logged in the number of books. They were so impressed with the program that they stepped up to help fund it through their Frisch Family Fund. Both have backgrounds in teaching, “so reading has always been important and pretty special,” Pam Frisch said. “The library has been an important part of our family,” Ken Frisch said. Their daughters volunteered as teenagers, and now their granddaughters share that connection. Saturday, the library celebrated the first year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. As part of the festivities, the children who’d reached the goal received cardboard crowns. Cassie Greenlee, who works in the Children’s Place, said 23 have met the goal. Julia Kulik, Sophia and Savannah’s mother, said the girls earned their crowns last summer. They started in May, and by August they’d notched 1000 books. “It was a lot of reading,” she said. “They love it.” The girls go to story times at the library. “Everyone in the children’s department is so great and so supportive.” Sophia will pile up picture books to her waist when she wants to read, her mother said, and that’s all the time. The grandparents said the girls go through phases in what they want to read. Right now Sophia is captivated by dinosaurs. But “we’re equal opportunity readers,” Pam Frisch said. The two-hour celebration featured a number of schools, programs and agencies that support children. Most had dinosaur-themed activities in honor of guest author Shari Halpern, whose “Dinosaur Parade” will be given to each child who signs up for the 1000 Books program. Halpern got her own start as an author-illustrator when she was a child. She enjoyed drawing and coloring. “I loved getting a new box of crayons.” She was always making things for school projects or her dollhouse. Going into art “was a given,” she said. Becoming a children’ book illustrator was her goal from the time she learned in college that it was a career opportunity. Halpern…


Wacky Olympics & more as parks & rec summer programs begin

From BOWLING GREEN PARKS & RECREATION Bowling Green Parks and Recreation summer programs kick into gear this week. WACKY  SUMMER OLYMPICS WEEK Boys & Girls, Age 6-12 June 11-June 15  8:00AM–12:00PM $61 Resident $70 Nonresident PRESCHOOL WACKY  SUMMER OLYMPICS WEEK Boys & Girls, Ages 3.5-5.5 June 11-June 15  8:30AM–11:30AM $51 Resident $60 Nonresident Campers will get to compete in some traditional and also some  nontraditional wacky games and contests.  Sure to be fun for everyone involved!  NOTE:  Parents and non camper families are invited and encouraged to come participate in our Family Fun Wacky Olympic Picnic hosted by BG Parks & Recreation Staff on Thursday, June 14th from 6:00pm to 7:00pm.  Families can bring their picnic dinner and participate in some fun and wacky competition against other participants. 5 DAYS OF FUN AFTERNOON DAY CAMPS Boys & Girls, Age 6-12 June 11-June 15  1:00PM–5:00PM 61 Resident $70 Nonresident Have your child get to experience a little of everything that Bowling Green Parks & Recreation has to offer in this weekly afternoon camp offered at City Park and get to enjoy plenty of supervised fun at the BG City Pool and Waterpark (weather permitting).  Each day of the week has a different theme.  Kids will report to the Veteran’s Building each day and go to that day’s activities from there as a group. MONDAY FUNDAY  AT THE BG CITY PARK Activities include camp games & ice breakers and  supervised pool & splash pad play (weather permitting).   In case of  inclement weather, the kids will play games and do  arts & crafts projects at the Veteran’s Building. TERRIFIC TUESDAY AT THE VET BUILDING Kids will learn about the importance of health and   wellness and get some guidance on making healthy choices, and participating in some fitness focused   activities as well as get to play various games. WET & WILD WEDNESDAY AT  THE BG CITY POOL & WATERPARK Supervised pool & splash pad play (weather permitting).   In case of inclement weather, the kids will play indoor games and  watch a movie at the Vet building THRILLER  THURSDAYS AT THE VET BUILDING Kids will decorate cupcakes & cookies according to a theme and get to watch a movie while they enjoy their snack as well as get to play various sports and games. FRIDAY FUNDAY AT THE BG CITY PARK & POOL Kids will play…


1000 books program gets new readers off to royal start

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Some local royalty will be crowned on Saturday. About 20 local preschoolers who have “read” 1000 Books before Kindergarten will get crowns of their own as part of the celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wood County District Public Library. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program was launched last year, and it’s been a success, said Children’s Librarian Maria Simon. About 800 children are enrolled, with more being signed up each day. She hopes more will join on Saturday, moving the library closer to the goal of having 1,000 participants. The program encourages reading 1,000 books before children enter school. That’s not 1,000 different books. These are toddlers, and they may want to hear the same book over and over again, and then yet again. A book read aloud to a group by a child care provider or library staff member counts as well. Simon said she intentionally kept the record keeping simple. Just tally the books, without worrying about titles or minutes spent reading. Everything can be done online at wcdpl.readsquared.com. Every child who is enrolled gets a free book, and then they get stickers along with way to celebrate each 100 read. When they get halfway through, they get to pick a book from the library’s collection, and a bookplate noting their achievement is put in the book. At 1,000 they get a crown. For the inaugural year, the children received a book by Denise Fleming, who was the special guest author at last June’s kickoff celebration. Starting in Saturday, the children will receive Shari Halpern’s book “Dinosaur Parade.” Halpern will give a presentation at 11 a.m. Saturday and then sign books. Simon said both Halpern and Fleming were very supportive and enthusiastic about the program. Some of the older participants do enjoy seeing their numbers go up and up. But for most the biggest benefit of the program is the time spent with parents, or grandparents or childcare providers reading. And to get a 1,000 books read, it takes all of them. One child told, Simon that if it wasn’t for his two grandmas, he wouldn’t have read all those books. Simon said she enjoys watching children develop their taste. They get to explore the library’s large selection of picture books. They find characters…


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 started out as a teacher, and Gavarone as an attorney and part-owner of Mr. Spots – which seemed to impress the students. Gardner stressed to the students that they are the bosses of state legislators. “If you live in Wood County, that means you’re our boss,” he said. “We listen to you.” Both talked about…