children

Anti-abortion protesters picket outside BGHS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As students left Bowling Green High School on Wednesday afternoon, they were met by anti-abortion protesters with graphic photos of aborted fetuses. Principal Jeff Dever said the protesters showed up with no notice to the school district. “I didn’t want those people there, especially with the kids,” Dever said this morning. “Some kids were afraid to go past them.” However, the six protesters stayed on the sidewalk along West Poe Road – “which is a public space,” he said. Bowling Green police responded, and along with Dever, talked with the protesters and advised them to stay off school property and not go past the public sidewalk. Dever said he asked one of the protesters why they would want juveniles to see the graphic images. The protester reportedly told Dever that he first saw such photographs of abortions when he was 6 years old. “Shame on your parents,” the principal said he responded to the protester. The anti-abortion group was reportedly at Bowling Green State University earlier in the day, then moved over to the high school in time for school dismissal. There remained there from about 2:15 to 3 p.m. “The bad thing was it scared the kids. They were spooked about walking through,” Dever said. “It kind of stunk. They shouldn’t do that.” Some other students were angered by the protesters, the principal said. “We had kids who wanted to argue with them.” According to Dever, this is the first time anti-abortion protesters have taken up space in front of the school. He’s hoping it’s the last. “I don’t want schools to become battle grounds for national issues,” he said. “It wasn’t healthy yesterday.” The anti-abortion group outside the school Wednesday is reportedly going across the country, visiting university campuses and public schools. “Unfortunately, we became their target,” Dever said.


Two views on Melrose – Great news for Wood Lane kids; new concerns for neighbors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After decades of providing homes for adults with developmental disabilities, Wood Lane is working on its first home for children. The home, at 1022 Melrose St., Bowling Green, will be home to four children whose families need assistance in caring for them. “It’s new for us, but it’s something that everyone connected with our program knows we need,” said Brent Baer, superintendent of Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “In the last year, not a week has gone by that I haven’t heard that we can’t wait,” to offer homes for children, Baer said. The board’s housing plan originally planned for a children’s home to be opened in 2019-2010. Then the house on Melrose became available. “What a great place to grow up,” Baer said. However, some neighbors on the quiet Melrose Street, that borders Wintergarden Park, are wondering how this new home will affect their neighborhood. Wood Lane had initially planned to use the Melrose home for the Horizons program, as a home for adults with unforeseen homelessness or behavioral difficulties. But the Horizons program home will instead be located near Portage. “The owners live next door and they contacted us because they want us there,” Baer said. That gave Wood Lane an opportunity to open its first children’s home on Melrose Street. “There were cheers and claps from the staff,” when Baer told them a home for children could be opened sooner than expected. “These individuals and their families are in desperate need of this home. Their needs are just too much for one human being to keep up with.” The staffing for the maximum of four children will likely be two workers during waking hours, and one at night. During the school year, the children will attend Wood Lane School or other local schools. Wood Lane Residential Properties has 26 homes in Wood County for people with various levels of developmental disabilities. In addition to the Melrose Street home in Bowling Green, the residential properties program is also currently working on two more homes in Perrysburg, according to Jessica Miller Blakely, chief executive officer of WLRP. Unlike Bowling Green, the city of Perrysburg requires such group homes to acquire a special use permit. “Each community is unique in their zoning,” Blakely said. In the case of the two Perrysburg homes, there was some neighborhood opposition, but the city approved…


Have to deal with guts to get glory of jack-o-lanterns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Breanna Serrato reached into the pumpkin and pulled out the guts, she got a huge grin on her face. “I love it, actually, getting messy. The squishiness of it,” the 17-year-old from Bowling Green said. Not everyone shared those feelings. At a nearby picnic table, Jessica Nekoranec, of Risingsun, grimaced as she scooped out the juicy innards. She was enjoying the carving, but the “sticking your hand in – not so much,” she said. Nearly 40 people picked out pumpkins Thursday evening for the annual jack-o-lantern making sponsored by the Wood County Park District. The pumpkins were carved at a shelter house on the Wood County Historical Center grounds, where they will be put on display for the annual Folklore and Funfest this weekend. Some came armed with their own carving equipment, accessories and definite ideas for their pumpkin art. Others just let the spirits take them. With spooky music playing in the background, the carvers got to work. “I thought at home what I’m going to do before I got down here,” said Pam Douglas, of Portage. Her plan was to turn the pumpkin into Mickey Mouse, with two Folger coffee can lids acting as the big mouse ears. “He may not end up looking like Mickey Mouse, but that’s my plan,” she said. Mary Grzybowski, of Bowling Green, won last year for carving a cat. She was hoping to repeat that winning design. “I had an idea, but it’s not turning out right,” she said. Grzybowski wore her gardening gloves for the task – more out of habit than due to the gooey guts. “I’m a gardener, nothing bothers me,” she said. Sheila Kratzer, of Bowling Green, had no grand plans for her pumpkin. “Just your basic jack-o-lantern,” she said. But she was hoping for good placement on the historic center grounds for the Folklore and Funfest. “You don’t want to be by the outhouse,” she said with a smile. Kratzer’s friend, Monica Bihn of Bowling Green, was struggling with her pumpkin design. So Kratzer offered a bit of advice. When all else fails, “go Frankenstein.” At the same picnic table, BGSU student Michael Borowski had just finished cleaning out the stringy, seedy guts. If awards were given for the insides, he would have won the spic and span prize. But the outside remained a mystery. “I’m still trying…


Horizon Youth youngsters tune into absurd comedy with “Magic Harmonica”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The stage manager in Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales” has problems keeping her cast in line. They always want to veer away from the script. Officious, and controlling, the stage manager played Kaitlyn Valantine is not above yanking one narrator for another when they displease her. What she can’t control is the way the playwright Janet Layberry also has a mind of her own. These four one-act plays within a play all employ the tropes of fairy tales, but do so in absurd and comic ways. “The Magic Harmonica” is on stage at the Otsego High auditorium Thursday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5. Visit www.horizonyouththeatre.org/product/harmonica. The play uses the troupe’s younger cohort of actors, ages 6 through 12, but there seem few concessions to age. The humor is at times intentionally juvenile, often involving grade school word play. Nobody delivers those jokes better than an actual grade schooler. Sometimes the humor seems pitched to the parents, as when Michelle (Calista Wilkins) in “The Woobly Fiasco” tells the enchanted prince carrying an outsized sword: “People haven’t used swords for ages, now they have … lawyers.” And then there’s the jester played by Liam Rogel who trades in absurdist non-sequiturs. Each story has lessons here but they spare us the morals and never let messages get in the way of a good time. The first of the four plays, “You Call That a Bedmonster?” is a typical fairy tale set up. Here we have a princess (Addie Smith) upset by a monster, except what troubles her is that this monster, Humphrey (Jonah Truman), has disappeared. She dispatches her guards (Cordelia Webber, Emily Coan, Calista Wilkins, and Paige Suelzer) to find him. They return with all manner of beasts but not Humphrey. Though the animals sometimes stick around to entertain her, Princess Julia will not be pleased until Humphrey is back at home under her bed, grabbing her ankles. The second play, “The Magic Harmonica,” takes place outside a castle and revolves around two bored guards (Brianna Dunham and Drew Thomas), who long for a break in their dull routine. The harmonica given to one guard by a peddler (Emma Kate Holbrook) grants their wish, though, one sleeps through the whole adventure. So we get a wizard (Nash Valantine) and sorcerer (Liam…


BG students make the most of manufacturing day

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There were robots scooting across the floor, fresh packaged green beans and a guinea pig named “Lil Poundcake” – all part of National Manufacturing Day. Nine Wood County manufacturers set up shop in the Bowling Green Middle School on Friday to show students that manufacturing could be a great career choice. “We want to get this age to consider a career in manufacturing,” said Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Economic Development Foundation. “When you start in high school, they already have preconceived notions. So you have to start earlier.” This is the first time the middle school has held a manufacturing day, said Jodi Anderson, secondary curriculum coordinator. “There is a crisis in manufacturing for skilled workers,” Anderson said. Friday’s event was intended to help students see that “old school traditional factories” are not the same as today’s manufacturing. Clark agreed. “We need young people in the pipeline” for manufacturing jobs, she said. Many students have archaic ideas of manufacturing jobs. “This is so kids see what modern manufacturing looks like,” Anderson said. “It’s changed drastically.” This manufacturers’ fair had students using virtual reality goggles and turning soap different colors. “I think some of them are surprised,” Anderson said of the students. The manufacturers set up in the gymnasium showed how their professions needed science, problem solving and creative thinking. Apio, the fresh produce processor, showed students how to test the bags of fresh green beans for oxygen and carbon dioxide. “Beans breathe just like we do after they are picked,” Ginger Povenmire, of Apio, said as she showed how to measure the gases in the bags of beans. At another table, students were donning virtual reality goggles used by Rudolph Libbe on construction projects to help people visualize the final product. “It’s easier than an end user who can’t read 2-D drawings,” said Trent Mahaney, virtual design and construction manager for the company. Employees from Lubrizol taught some lessons on hydraulics, air pressure and fluid flow, using a series of water tanks to see which fills up first and how the water flows. The company threw in an added attraction of goldfish in one of the tanks. “We put goldfish in there because we thought they were cool,” said Matt Paquette, Lubrizol plant manager. “They come over here to see the fish and they end up learning something.”…


Youth arts area at festival stirs young imaginations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The juried artists selling their crafts at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Saturday likely had no idea what they were missing by not incorporating plastic spoons, duct tape and pipe cleaners into their artwork. “I’m making a super hero board game,” said Max Cragin, 11, of Bowling Green. His game, called “Wonder Woman Island,” looked a bit like the colorful winding path of Candy Land – but with more treacherous pitfalls along the way. Some of the perils along the pathway included “Get blown up and die,” or “Get clawed” at the black panther cave, or “Get zapped” by lightening. The Kiwanis Youth Arts Village at the Black Swamp Arts Festival again let the imaginations of children run wild. Using empty toilet paper rolls, buttons and beads, they became artists in residence. While the other end of the Black Swamp Arts Festival featured accomplished artists, the northern most block of the festival let unjuried artists do their own things. To be honest, some weren’t exactly sure what they were creating. “I’m making, hmmmm, I don’t know. Something cool, I probably will like,” said Lily Wilson, 8, from Oak Harbor. She and her sisters, Zoe, 6, were taking pieces of cardboard and duct tape and constructing buildings. Others were more certain in their handiwork. “I’m making a toy sword and a back scratcher,” McKenna Seman, Bowling Green, said as she proudly displayed her work. She huddled over a table of treasures with Hope Seman, Madison Cowan and Bella Karlovec as they turned popsicle sticks, beads and foam shapes into all types of creations that older minds might have difficulty envisioning. Some knew this was just the beginning of their artistic careers. Like Berkeley Clay, 5, who was putting the finishing touches on her hand drawn purple diamond, complete with “little pointy things.” “I’m going to bring it home to give it to my friend,” said Berkeley, from Ottoville. “I’m going to be an artist when I grow up,” she said. “Artists get to draw new things.” Further down the block, kids in plastic hardhats were combining art and construction. With the help of construction management students from Bowling Green State University, the kids were turning blocks of wood into cars, houses, airplanes and people. “We’re trying to make the best creations we can,” said Andrew Morris, a BGSU student who was helping a…


Public library offers programs for middle school students

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The ood County Distruct Library is launching its fall series for middle school students. Weekly Tween/Teen Coding & Creative Writing Clubs The library offers two tween/teen after school club opportunities on alternating Mondays from 4-5 p.m. Youth ages 10 and up are encouraged to explore and participate in both the Coding Club and Wordplay Creative Writing Club. No previous experience is required for either group. The Coding Club investigates computer programming with several Sphero robots, as well as guided coding practice through Code.org for students who would like to experiment with more in-depth coding. Wordplay is a new creative writing group, where students will play word games and consider writing prompts as they learn about how to craft stories through their writing. The two groups meet Mondays from 4-5 p.m. in the Children’s Place, alternating weeks. Coding Club meets September 11 and 25, October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20, and December 4 and 18. Wordplay meets September 18, October 2, 16, and 30, November 13 and 27, and December 11. Middle School Book Group The middle school book group, “Pizza and Pages,” meets for the first time this school year on Tuesday, September 12, at 2:30 p.m. in the Bowling Green Middle School’s Media Center. “Pizza and Pages” is a partnership between BGCS and WCDPL and is open to all area 6th-8th graders. The Children’s Place of the Wood County District Public Library has multiple copies of the pre-selected books available to check out. This September, youth can choose one or more of the following “Middle School Experience” titles: Posted by John David Anderson; Ungifted by Gordon Korman; and The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan. Posted by John David Anderson is the story of Frost and his friends who start communicating through sticky notes left all over the school when cell phones are banned. Soon other kids start following their example, triggering a wave of bullying activities in the wake of a new girl’s arrival. Ungifted by Gordon Korman is the story of Donovan, whose thoughtless prank accidentally destroys the school gym during the Big Game. In the aftermath, he is mistakenly sent to a school for gifted students and has to learn how to be one of them. The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan is the story of scientist-in-the-making Madeline Little, starting sixth grade and learning that middle school is nothing like a perfect lab experiment–and that she now has to find the cure for her newly messed-up life. The discussion…


1,000 backpacks to help kids start back to school

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Angela Jones, of Weston, had no idea how she was going to afford school supplies for her six children this year. She found the answer with a little help from local agencies, businesses and churches. Mary Jane Perez, of Perrysburg, agonized over those same concerns for her five grandchildren. She estimated it would cost at least $300 to get the grandchildren started in school. “It’s very expensive right now,” Perez said. But her mind was eased a bit Wednesday as she carried out five new backpacks loaded with school supplies. Her grandchildren tried them on and checked out the contents. “I picked mine out,” her youngest granddaughter said, showing off her pink camo print backpack. Jones picked out bookbags for her children, and said each child had also gotten vouchers for new shoes to start off the school year. Her worries, however, were not over. “I don’t even know how I’m going to get them clothes this year.” More than 500 backpacks were ready for families to pick up Wednesday at the Back to School Fair at Woodland Mall, organized by the Salvation Army and United Way. The fair was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. “At 1 o’clock they started showing up,” said Sue Clanton, director of United Way of Wood County. Half of the 500 bags were gone in the first hour, she said. “School supplies are a huge thing for families.” Earlier this week, an additional 500 backpacks, stuffed with school supplies were given out by Wood County Job and Family Services to families who could show financial need. Sixty vouchers were also given to children to go shopping for new shoes. Kids were also given socks, hats and gloves for colder weather. Those backpacks also had some hygiene items tucked in, like soap, shampoo and toothpaste, said Shannon Fisher and RoxAnn Neifer, both of Job and Family Services. “A lot of the schools were telling us kids are coming to school without using hygiene products,” Neifer said. “They were ecstatic,” Neifer said about the children’s reactions as they opened up the backpacks. “There was one girl really excited about a toothbrush,” Fisher said. Fisher estimated it costs about $100 to fill an average school backpack. “And that’s just general supplies,” she said. That’s why local organizations try to help families send their children off to school with the…


‘Making It’ camp builds kids’ interest in manufacturing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Their assignment was serious: Design a glider that can carry a spectrometer over Lake Erie to identify algal blooms before they reach dangerous levels. Their supplies were not so serious: A shoe box, cardboard, duct tape, popsicle sticks, yarn, aluminum foil, Saran wrap and pennies. The young engineers were middle school students, mostly from Bowling Green, who signed up last month for a five-day manufacturing camp, called “Making It.” The camp was designed to help Wood County students learn about manufacturing, teamwork and local production facilities. In addition to spending one day engineering gliders at Bowling Green State University, the students also visited manufacturing sites in Wood County, including Owens-Illinois, Home Depot, Lubrizol and Northwood Industries. Students toured each of the sites to get a better picture of what modern industries look like. Penta Career Center also hosted an advanced manufacturing lab using robotics. The goal was to show students that manufacturing no longer means repetitive, thoughtless processes. In many cases, it involved high-tech engineering skills. “This is some really good hands-on experience,” said Maria Simon, of Wood County District Public Library, which was one of the camp sponsors. “It’s not just ‘Let’s make a glider.’ But let’s make one that does what we want it to do.” As the students struggled with their gliders, they heard from two NASA engineers from the Glenn Research Center, Nicole Smith and Eric Reed. “I hear you guys are going to be doing some pretty incredible stuff this week,” Smith said. Both women work with the Orion spacecraft in Sandusky. Smith is an aerospace engineer. “That actually does make me a rocket scientist. You can make all the jokes you want,” she said with a grin. Reed works on the vacuum chamber and contamination control for the spacecraft. “Our technicians won’t be eating cheeseballs,” Smith joked. Both women talked about the thrill of being part of a project that will help humans reach Mars. “We are pushing beyond what we’ve ever done before,” Reed said. “This is why I went to school,” Smith said. They encouraged the students to not give up in school – even when it gets really tough. “I got Cs in physics. I’m not going to lie,” Smith said. “I failed the first physics test I took in my life,” Reed said. “Don’t give up. It’s pretty tough stuff, but it’s…


Library crowns first Royal Reader

The Wood County District Public Library has crowned its first royal reader. Anneliese Lawrie, the 4-year-old daughter of Josh and Kelly Lawrie, of Haskins, has had 1,000 books read to her since early June. The feat was part of the library’s initiative to get kids to read or have read to them 1,000 books before they enter kindergarten. Shea Cunningham-Darabie, who operates the daycare Engaging Young Minds where Annaliese was cared for, said it took “a community effort” to achieve the goal. Cunningham-Darabie said that she reads picture books an hour a day to the children, and then she’ll read a chapter book during their quiet time. Anneliese also read to at home, she said. Her parents told Cunningham-Darabie that at night Anneliese would tell them how many books she wanted to read and set them out. “She was very self-motivated. She loves books.” The books she heard read at story times at the library’s Children’s Place also counter toward the 1,000. Cunningham-Darabie said about a month into the program, she realized that Anneliese’s totals were adding up. Cunningham-Darabie was interested in having her achieve the goal before she relocates to Michigan. Cunningham-Darabie is moving to Pinckney, Michigan this weekend. She said the move is bittersweet as she keep getting greetings from former charges, the oldest of whom are now juniors in high school. While the 1,000 books before kindergarten initiative was launched in conjunction with the library’s summer reading program, which has now wrapped up, it will continue year round. So far 464 youngsters have registered to participate. “That’s what I’d like to do,” said Children’s Librarian Maria Simon, “get children involved in reading.”  


Here’s the scoop – cops meet with kids over ice cream

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than a year now, Bowling Green Police Division has been meeting citizens over cups of hot coffee. On Friday, they tried something different – meeting them over bowls of ice cream, with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top. “This is bigger than the Coffee with the Cops,” said Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick as he looked out over the room at the Wood County District Public Library, full of children eating ice cream and wearing police badge stickers. “We’re making you all honorary policemen today,” the chief told them. Police officers posed for photos with kids holding their bowls of ice cream. They answered questions about their jobs. Deputy Chief Justin White said he did not get the usual, “Have you shot somebody” question today. In fact, most of the questions were not about the two-legged officers, but about their four-legged canine officer named Arci. “He’s going to make an appearance,” assured Hetrick. The goal was to make the kids more comfortable around police officers in their community. “We’re here to help,” said Lt. Brad Biller. “The police officers in the community are here to serve them, not to be feared by them.” The officers have visited the library in the past to read to kids, but this visit was a little different. “We’ve invited the police officers before, but we’ve never thought of combining it with ice cream,” children’s librarian Maria Simon said. “What a great idea.” The ice cream, combined with the location, drew in a different and larger crowd, Lt. Dan Mancuso said. “We were trying to get other people,” not just the normal coffee crowd, Mancuso said. “It’s summertime, kids like ice cream.” And the long-term benefit may be more than the bowl of ice cream. “So if there are problems, they feel comfortable coming to us.” The hit of the day proved to be Arci, the Belgian Malinois canine cop. His handler, Sgt. Gordon Finger, said Arci is trained for several different jobs like sniffing out narcotics, tracking people, searching for missing people, and apprehending people. Arci, who responds to commands primarily in Dutch, loves to work, Finger said. “Work is his life’s blood,” he said. “His favorite part of the day is when he sees me getting ready for work.” “When I take a shower, he’s standing staring at the door, waiting for…


Levy renewal to protect against child, elder abuse

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the numbers of child and elder abuse grow in Wood County, so does the need for county residents to support the levy renewal that provides funding to protect those vulnerable populations. On Tuesday, the Wood County Commissioners signed a resolution putting the 1.3-mill child and adult protective services levy renewal on the November ballot. The millage, to be collected for 10 years, will raise an estimated $3.7 million annually. The levy renewal effort comes at a time when the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services is seeing record numbers of child abuse investigations. It’s expected the county will investigate at least as many cases as last year – when the numbers jumped 25 percent to 894. “We anticipate having about as many as 2016, which set the all time record. Maybe a little higher,” said Dave Wigent, director of the county Job and Family Services. In addition to the increasing number, the county is also seeing an increase in the severity of the abuse cases – requiring that more children be placed in foster care. The overall increased cost of Children’s Services last year was about $500,000, Wigent said. So losing the levy funds that the county has relied on since 1987 would cripple the ability to provide child and adult protective services, he added. “It would be catastrophic for our child welfare and adult protective services,” Wigent said. The levy revenue makes up 90 percent of the adult protective services budget, he said. And loss of the levy would mean reductions in Children’s Services staff. “That would be at a time we are seeing record cases,” he said. Wigent stressed that the levy is not new money being requested of taxpayers. “It’s not a new tax,” he said. He also reminded that over the 30 years of the levy, there have been six times when the county has decided to not collect the full amount since it has not been needed. “We only take the money we need,” Wigent said. Wood County Job and Family Services may be the only department in the state to do that, he added. During the last 10-year period, there have been two years when the levy millage was not collected at all, and two other years when just half of the millage was collected. Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said earlier this…


Girls sink their teeth into STEM … and sharks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The slimy, smelly spiny dogfish sharks were placed on the lab tables in front of the young girls. “Ewwwww,” one girl said squeamishly. “I can never eat gummy sharks again,” another girl said. This was the moment they had been waiting for at Tech Trek week – shark dissection. They were armed with gloves, scalpels and scissors to open up the gray sharks native to Australia. Some were a little timid about slicing into the sharks. “Oh my goodness,” one girl said with apprehension. Others were ready to explore. “I call dibs on making the first cut,” another said with glee. The shark dissection class Wednesday at Bowling Green State University’s Tech Trek week was just one of several sessions to help the participants realize that their female gender should not keep them from careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The fifth annual Tech Trek, supported by the American Association of University Women, is intended to make STEM educations and careers more accessible to girls. The program is only open to girls, so they are encouraged to pursue their STEM interests in an environment free from stereotypes, and given the chance to believe in themselves. Tech Trek is based off of the research titled “Why So Few?” which shows that women enter STEM fields at much lower rates compared to their male peers.  The research also showed that the crucial time to get to girls before they give up on STEM careers is in junior high. “The most critical time to impact them is between seventh and eighth grade,” said Dr. Deborah Wooldridge, professor and director of the BGSU School of Family and Consumer Sciences, who is head of the Tech Trek week. “We expose them to all areas of STEM.” The 55 girls all came to the camp with existing interests in STEM subjects. The camp builds on those interests, and teaches them that their gender should not dampen their enthusiasm or slow their success. “There are lots of subliminal messages out there – that’s just not what women do,” Wooldridge said of STEM careers. Many STEM professions are still male-dominated. “Computer science is tough to break into,” she said. By the end of the week, the girls should have no doubt that they are mightier than the glass ceiling that may have held back earlier generations. “It’s interesting…


Paws down … pet show was the place to be in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Godzilla the guinea pig managed to upstage the dogs performing tricks at the annual Bowling Green Pet Show Wednesday evening in City Park. The guinea pig, with an alias of the “fuzzmeister,” perched on the hand of his owner, Fran Flores, 15. Fran took aim with her finger, said “bang,” and Godzilla dramatically fell backwards and played dead. The judges seemed stunned by the performance, and one said “bang” to test the guinea pig – and once again Godzilla collapsed upon command. The guinea pig stole the show from the dog who waved with his paw, and the other who weaved in between her owner’s legs as she walked, spun in circles and then played dead. The dogs were no match for the furry rodent. More than 60 pets were walked, carried or dragged to City Park for the annual pet show sponsored by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. There were 22 categories for the pets to be judged in, like shaggiest pet, biggest rodent, best dressed pet, and best behaved. No entries competed in the categories of most interesting farm pet, slimiest reptile, or loudest bird. A couple kids did try to win for having pets that looked most like their owners. Sitting on the Needle Hall stage for the competition were judges Tom Sieving, the Bowling Green Police Division’s animal control officer; Joe Fawcett, the assistant municipal administrator; and Melissa Hill, from the Wood County Humane Society. “We don’t take it too seriously,” Sieving said before the competition began. But all the categories weren’t as cut and dry as who had the longest ears – the coonhound or the spaniel. The area in front of the stage was full of people with their talented – or at least lovable – pets. There was Baxter the bulldog, who competed in the categories of cutest boy dog and best behaved. His owner, Jennifer Gutierrez, agreed that Baxter might have stood a better chance if there was a category for longest tongue. There was Minnie the Pomeranian, who strutted her stuff for the best groomed and prettiest girl competitions. She wore two bows on her tiny head. “We just happened to have a grooming appointment today, so it worked out perfect,” said her owner Holly Cordes. In the feline category, there was Queenie the hairless sphynx, shown by T.J. Boonie. Queenie…


Ta-dah moment: Library & circus are compatible

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ta-Dah was the word of the day Friday morning at the Wood County Library. As part of the summer reading program, the Cirque Amongus from Michigan visited the library to give an introduction to basic circus skills – stilt walking tight rope walking, a ladder pyramid, riding a unicycle, balancing, and juggling. A successful, or even unsuccessful, attempt was concluded with a loud ta-dah! Accompanied by the hands flying out to the side. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon started off the morning with a cautionary note by reading the picture book by Elise Parsley, “If You Ever Want To Bring a Circus To the Library, DON’T!” But Simon clearly didn’t heed the book’s message. She welcomed Myrthia Hornshaw and Johan Yamine into the building with open arms. At first they demonstrated each skill, using drawing volunteers from the dozens of children in attendance.  After each skill was shown, the kids were instructed to scream ta-dah! They were itching to go. With the help of the library’s volunteens, the kids – for some walking a recently acquired stunt — then got to try for themselves. That meant riding bikes through the atrium. Tottering on a “high-wire” that was just a few inches off the ground. Tumbling, balancing, working with other kids to form a pyramid on the ladders. And they were the only ones having a blast. Diana Hensley, who as there with her two children, tried her hands with the balance sticks and then she even got on a tiny bike, not afraid to tumble. Hensley said the family frequently takes part in library activities, throughout the year. She appreciates that in the summer there’s something going on just about every morning. The circus program was special. It got kids moving. It involved kids of different ages as well “It’s more interactive,” she said. “It’s a different thing that kids don’t get to experience.” That was why Simon brought Cirque Amongus to the library. The program gives kids a chance to exercise their gross motor, helps them build their self-esteem through learning something new and, most of all, have fun. Cirque Amongus was started 17 years ago by Hornshaw’s brother Sem Abrahams and his wife, Teresa. Hornshaw joined about 10 years ago. The founders are performers as well, she said, as is their son Jon Hash Abrahams, who has appeared on the Steve Harvey show…