Community Voices

Young African leaders visit community garden, discuss sustainability

Submitted by THE COMMON GOOD Members of the Young African Leaders Initiative’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders gathered with local volunteers at the community garden this past Saturday to see an example of small-scale sustainable farming on Saturday. The YALI members took some time to work the garden and harvest some vegetables before coming together to partake in a roundtable discussion about sustainability. The group discussed comparisons of agriculture in Africa versus agriculture here, as well as cultural views and practices embracing sustainability. The presence of different perspectives provided insight on global views regarding sustainability. To catch a glance of small-scale sustainable farming yourself, stop by the community garden located at the Peace Lutheran Church (1021 W. Wooster St. Bowling Green, OH 43402). Take a look at the communication board at the garden or visit for more information.

Library starts automatic renewals for checked-out items

(Submitted by Wood County District Public Library) On July 19, all locations of Wood County District Public Library began automatically renewing materials for library users. Automatic renewals on checked-out items continue until the maximum number of renewals is reached – and patrons won’t have to lift a finger to make them happen. Assistant Director Michele Raine noted, “Auto renewals make it easy for you to enjoy your book or movie for as long as you need, without those pesky one- or two-day overdue fees.” There are some exceptions, such as the library’s “Browsing and Hot Titles” materials, but for the most part, library items will renew four times, unless someone else has requested the material. “Our readers borrow materials from all over Wood County and from many Ohio partner libraries, but as long as the material was checked out from Bowling Green, Walbridge, or the WCDPL Bookmobile, auto-renewals will apply and make it easy for you to enjoy library materials,” said Raine.

BGHS grad commissioned as officer in U.S. Coast Guard

(Submitted by U.S. Coast Guard) U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Sara Ione Pisarski, daughter of Kristina Olinger, Bowling Green, graduated from The United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York on June 17, commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and a licensed Third Mate in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Ensign Pisarski successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Maritime Logistics and Security. As a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy, Ensign Pisarski completed 332.5 days at sea during sea year visiting 25 countries and 5 continents while completing 20 sea projects, an internship at the U.S. Department of State, 3 years of class work resulting in 170 credits, and passing 7 U.S. Coast Guard Third Mate License Exams in 4 days. During her time at The United States Merchant Marine Academy, Ensign Pisarski was a member of the Regimental Band, Acta Non Verba Club, Christian Fellowship Club, Midshipmen Tutor Program, Coast Guard Club and Manage of the Women’s Basketball team. During her First Class year, Ensign Pisarski served as the Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Club. Within the Regiment First Class year, she served a First Rotation Regimental Academic Officer and Second Rotation Regimental Training Officer. Ensign Pisarski is a recipient of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Service Above Self Award, the New York Council of the Navy League Award, and the Crowley Maritime Security Enhancement Award. Following graduation, Ensign Pisarski will begin her active duty commitment with training in New London, CT. She will then proceed to Saint Petersburg,…

Back to School Fair provides backpacks with supplies to kids

(Submitted by United Way and Salvation Army) The Salvation Army of Bowling Green and United Way in Wood County are partnered again this year to provide backpacks filled with schools supplies to families with children in need. The local non-profits are sponsoring the Wood County Back to School Fair from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the Woodland Mall, 1234 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. Sign up will be held on the day of the event. Interested families will need to bring their picture ID, and birth certificates, immunization records, or school paperwork for their children, in order to sign up and receive backpacks. As part of the back to school event, local organizations will also provide information about their services and opportunities available to local students and their families. This information will include out of school programming, health care options, rent and utility assistance, early intervention services and more. Activities for kids and snacks will also be provided. This event is free and open to the public. Participating agencies include YWCA Girl Scouts, Job and Family Services, Wood Co. Child Support Enforcement Agency, The Cocoon, Women, Infants and Children, with many more to come. If you would like to be a vendor or are an individual interested in volunteering, seeking more information, or wishing to make a donation, please contact  United Way in Wood County at 419-352-2390 or the Bowling Green Salvation Army at 419-352-5918.

BG native Genevieve Simon returns for HYT 20th anniversary

SUBMITTED BY HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE When HYT’s board of directors decided to ask a theatre professional alum to speak at the 20th Anniversary Gala and teach a master class, they ran into some brick walls. Sometimes, things work out exactly the way they are supposed to. Genevieve Simon, New York-based professional actor and playwright, and daughter of Wood County children’s librarian Maria Simon, turned out to be more than up to the task. This afternoon, she seemed almost giddy as she prepared to workshop with eleven students at the drama club master class held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. “It’s so amazing, being back here where it all began for me,” she said. Simon is involved in many projects, including leading workshops for kids on the autism spectrum using Shakespeare. The therapy, developed by a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, uses drama games and play; she also hosts other workshops in New York. Simon’s latest project was “Romeo + Juliet + Anybodys” which she authored, and was performed at the Cinci Fringe Festival in June. In his coverage of that event, David Dupont wrote of how much Simon was influenced by HYT. “She credits the troupe’s founder Scott Regan and Gonzalez, who was involved with HYT, with empowering the young actors. ‘It was so important to us having authority and some sort of control over the stories we were telling,’ Simon said. ‘Scott was so good about taking our ideas very seriously.’” Simon appeared to be passing those same techniques on to a new generation of actors today in activities that were filled with fun and laughter. Genevieve Simon…

Living History Day honors Wood County’s WWI past

(Submitted by Wood County Historical Center) The 14th annual Wood County Living History Day is Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m., at Oak Grove Cemetery on the campus of BGSU, Bowling Green. Local residents portray citizens interred in Wood County and local cemeteries to promote local history. 2017 Honorees were chosen because 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering WWI, which is also being honored with an exhibit at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. This event is free and open to the public. “A Joyful Noise” will provide music before the event. Parking is available in the cemetery, as well as on the adjacent BGSU campus. The Wood County Sheriff’s Auxiliary will provide free rides up to the mound where the program will be held.  Chairs are available, although those attending are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. In case of heavy rain, the program will be moved to the First United Methodist Church, 1506 E. Wooster St. The 2017 honorees are: RAY DUDLEY AVERY (1886-1958) – Captain of Bowling Green’s Company H in 1916. Portrayed by Avery’s grandson Marlowe Witt. JONATHAN ELMORE LADD (1863-1930) – School teacher, lawyer, and Prosecuting Attorney for Wood County. Five of his sons served in WWI, with one son killed in action. Portrayed by Peter Fry. ADDIE JENNINGS LADD (1864-1944) – Wife of Jonathan Ladd and mother of Paul Ladd, killed in action during WWI. Addie visited Paul’s grave at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France on the Gold Star Mother’s tour.  Portrayed by Elizabeth Geer-Fry. MARGARET LEHMANN (1875-1954) – Recruited by the American Red Cross to help lead a…

Report on physical activity and nutrition habits complete

(Submitted by Wood County Health District) Wood County Health District has released a study of the nutrition and recreational habits of county residents and workers. The health district will establish an action plan this fall based on the results of its 2017 Nutrition and Physical Activity Health Assessment. This study, available at under Reports and Publications, compares local survey results to state and national data to paint a picture of the health of people in Wood County. While not a random sample that can be generally applied throughout the county, the data provides information that will be used to develop wellness, activity and nutrition initiatives. Responses from the public, when compared to those from community leaders, show a need to better promote existing recreational facilities such as parks and biking and walking trails. This will help decide where additional opportunities may be needed. Other highlights include: More than two-thirds of Wood County adults were either overweight (35 percent) or obese (35 percent) by body mass index. Being overweight or obese can lead to a wide variety of diseases. 56 percent of participants reported consuming two daily servings or less of fruits and vegetables. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of cancer and maintain good health. Parents reported that only 1 percent of their children drank the recommended 10 or more servings of water per day. About 11 percent of school-age children in Wood County drink soda, punch, juice, sports drinks, energy drinks or other fruit-flavored drinks at least once per day in the past…

Black Swamp Players announces its 50th season

From BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players has announced its 50th season. BASKERVILLE by Ken Ludwig, Directed by Ben Forman Performance dates: September 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, October 1 Black Swamp Players is proud to announce that we will be kicking off our Golden Anniversary 50th Season with the northwest Ohio premier of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. A comedic retelling of the traditional Conan Doyle tale, a cast of five actors deftly portray more than 40 characters through a combination of accents, physicality, and quick costume changes. THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER by Barbara Robinson, Directed by Keith Guion along with A CHRISTMAS RADIO PLAY Performance dates: December 1st, 2nd and 3rd In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids – probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem – and the fun – when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on! Radio Play—expect the full radio show audience experience! THE SECRET GARDEN by Norman, Simon, Burnett directed by Cassie Greenlee Performance dates: February 16,17,18 and 23,24,25 This enchanting classic of children’s literature is reimagined in brilliant musical style by composer Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of “Night Mother.” Orphaned in India, 11 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his invalid son Colin. The estate’s many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the “Dreamers”, spirits from Mary’s past who guide her through her new…

Nominations sought for Spirit of Wood County Awards

(Submitted by Wood County Commissioners Office) Nominations for the 2017 Spirit of Wood County Awards are being accepted through Aug. 15.  Commissioners Doris Herringshaw, Craig LaHote and Ted Bowlus encourage residents of Wood County to nominate current or former residents for one of seven awards that will be presented at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22 during a special ceremony in the Alvin L. Perkins Atrium at the Wood County Courthouse Complex. The seven award categories include Agricultural Leadership; Industrial/Economic Development; Education for Civic Responsibility; Liberty through Law/Human Freedom; Religion and Liberty; Self-Government; and the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Nomination forms and category descriptions are available on the Wood County website,, by following the “Spirit Awards” link.  A list of previous award recipients is also posted on the website.  Forms may also be obtained by contacting the Commissioners’ Office at 419/354-9100 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. In celebration of the Bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the Ohio Northwest Ordinance and U.S. Constitution Bicentennial Commission developed the Spirit of ‘87 Awards Program.  The awards were established to recognize and honor citizens at the local level whose daily actions embody the principles set forth in the Northwest Ordinance. Nominations were taken in six different categories directly related to the Ordinance.  Every Ohio community was able to participate in the program and local Spirit of ‘87 Award honorees qualified for statewide recognition. In 1988 the Wood County Commissioners decided to continue with the awards to honor the service of Wood County citizens.  Although the names of some awards have changed over the years, the…

Africa’s future is here and now

By PATRICK MAKOKORO Mandela Washington Fellow 2017 Bowling Green State University The United Nations estimates that Africa is home to some 200 million people aged 15-24 years old and they predict that this figure will double by the year 2045. Participation by the youth in matters that affect them politically, socially and economically is vital because it has a direct bearing on how they live their lives. Africa’s young and emerging leadership is made of people who have a vision of the continent’s future that is expressed through focused passion and skills. Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is playing a role in this by hosting 25 Young African Leaders for a six week intensive leadership development institute. The Young African Leaders Institute (YALI) is jointly sponsored by the Mandela Washington Fellowship ( and BGSU. The YALI are from 19 African countries: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. As one of the young leaders from Zimbabwe attending the 2017 Institute at BGSU, I am very excited to be amongst my colleagues from countries as far North as Mauritania and as far South as South Africa. The various YALI fellows at BGSU have such depth of knowledge on the immediate challenges of African development that when I see their passion and zeal when discussing their countries’ burning issues, I get really excited. My colleagues have inspired me to look at the world through different lenses particularly when addressing issues like poverty, corruption, hunger and disease. A colleague from Guinea-Conakry, Boubacar Diallo,…

Young African leaders to discuss their aspirations in BGSU Ignite Talk, July 10

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Twenty-five young African leaders will share the work they are doing or plan to do in their home countries or share their thoughts on an issue of importance to them at Ignite Talks July 10, at 7 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre in Bowling Green State University’s Wolfe Center for the Arts.  The leaders are participating in the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship program, which engages young African leaders from the Sub-Saharan region who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations and communities. The Ignite Talks are designed to provide a platform for fellows to share the work they are doing or plan to do. The five-minute presentations focus on the overarching themes for this year’s Ignite Talks: empowerment, innovation and servant leadership. The cohort is currently staying at Bowling Green State University, which was selected as an institute partner for the program. The six-week program focuses on civic leadership and engagement and includes activities related to the issue areas of water quality, migration, refugee issues and human trafficking, youth poverty, and women’s, minority and disability rights. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit WHAT: Ignite Talks WHEN: 7-9 p.m. Monday, July 10; doors open at 6:30

Schedel Gardens benefit helps keep library strong

By CLIF BOUTELLE Board President WCDPL Foundation Board On July 20, the Wood County District Public Library (WCDPL) Foundation will be hosting its ninth annual Library Benefit at Schedel Gardens in Elmore.  This unique event raises funds to purchase new books, audiobooks, large print books, picture books, and ebooks for the library. Successfully raising private funds remains critical to the success of the library.  WCDPL exists as a true public-private operation.  Local fundraising allows for expanded service without increasing the burden on taxpayers. Tickets for the evening are $100 each ($75 of which is tax deductible) and are available at the library at this time.  The evening runs from 6pm to 8pm, with garden tours starting at 4:30pm (golf carts available).  Do not worry about high temperatures or bad weather – the event is inside and air-conditioned.  Come enjoy good company in an idyllic setting with delicious hors d’oeuvres and fine beverages (included with the ticket). Live and silent auction items are available, including one-of-a-kind artwork such as Labino glass, an OSU football signed by Urban Meyer, a gas grill with accessories, gift certificates and baskets from local businesses, and much more.  You can review the items at The Library Foundation is extremely grateful for all of the support the community has given the library and this event over the years.  This support makes a difference in the lives of children, new parents, families and all of us by providing new books for learning, exploration, and leisure reading.  We hope to see you on July 20!    

Swartz named medical director of Falcon Health Center

(Submitted by Wood County Hospital) Dr. Jeffery Swartz has returned to his alma mater as the Medical Director of the Falcon Health Center at Bowling Green State University. He comes from Partners in Primary Care in Greensville, South Carolina, where he also served as medical director. Dr. Swartz was born at Wood County Hospital and grew up on a farm just outside of Perrysburg. He’s a 1977 BGSU graduate who earned his M.D. at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo and is board certified in family medicine. He has been in practice for 37 years and has an extensive background in sports medicine and special interest in cardiovascular risk reduction, anti-aging medicine, and patient education. Dr. Swartz is a strong believer in the Collaborative Care approach to family medicine, in which a personal care physician serves as the patient’s advocate encouraging better healthcare. As part of his role at Falcon Health Center, Dr. Swartz will also be providing patient primary and family care and will be available for appointments beginning the end of July. Appointments can be made by calling (419) 372-2271. Of his new home, Dr. Swartz says, “Falcon Health Center is in a unique position to provide high-quality, cost-effective care. It’s centrally located on Wooster Street at South College Drive, and with the extended hours and onsite services, care is more convenient.”

WGTE-FM personality Haley Taylor summer library guest

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main, Bowling Green) offers adults a double-helping of appealing events on Saturday, July 15. First up, author Gwendolyn Hiles and her collaborator, Dick Rogers, talk about Hiles’ book, Jersey Gold, a true story of the Gold Rush of 1849. Hiles and Rogers share stories of fortune, lawlessness, and scandal, and reveal the roles played by unique family heirlooms in creating this exciting story. Catch the Jersey Gold book talk starting at 11 am in the 2nd floor meeting room. Free and open to all. Then, at 2 p.m., members of book groups and readers of all stripes will want to join us in the first floor meeting room for our “Summer Scoop Ice Cream Social.” You’ll get the inside scoop on summer’s coolest reads, enjoy refreshments from our ice cream bar, and hear keynote speaker, Haley Taylor, host of WGTE’s “The Rough Draft Diaries.” Space is limited and registration is required for this program. To register call,419-352-5050. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5050

Water & Sewer District operations team takes top state honors; heads to nationals

From NORTHWESTERN WATER & SEWER DISTRICT The Northwestern Water and Sewer District (The District) announces today District employees, Claud Barringer, Bryan Martikan, Jarred Myers, Tom McGrain and Todd Saums, finished in first place in three events at the Ohio Water Environment Association’s (OWEA) Technical Conference & Expo statewide operations challenge this week in Cincinnati Ohio. The “Ops Challenge” is an intense competition involving timed events in wastewater treatment operations, maintenance, laboratory, safety and collection systems. The District team “Dirty Deeds,” took first place in collections, first in safety, first in maintenance, second place in lab and first place overall in Division 1. The team now advances to the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) national operations challenge in Chicago this fall. The Northwest OWEA also awarded District employee Stac Dibling with the “Awesome Operator Award.” This award recognizes the outstanding work of wastewater treatment plant operators in the region.