Community

Branch of extremist group plans summit in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A summit of the “Oath Keepers” organization could bring a thousand members of the “pro-American” survivalist group to Bowling Green this summer. News of the proposed multi-state summit had several local officials researching the Oath Keepers group today. The organization has been referred to in some national media as having extremist anti-government views, with an emphasis on protecting Second Amendment rights to own guns. But calls to the FBI and Homeland Security by Bowling Green Police Division revealed no criminal behavior, according to Deputy Chief of Police Justin White. During foot patrols at the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green, officers had noticed the new “Oath Keepers Outpost” store being constructed. The mall is the site for the proposed summit on June 10. The store and the summit for the “Not On Our Watch” organization then came to the attention of the “Not In Our Town” organization which supports diversity and fights hate in Bowling Green. “We had concerns directed toward us from campus and community,” said Rev. Gary Saunders, co-leader of NIOT. But little was known about the Oath Keepers. “So we’re going to learn more,” Saunders said. “We would like to find out more and get to know them.” “We’re the folks who stand up for an inclusive and welcoming community,” Saunders said of NIOT. “There’s no question there’s some concern around the group, but we have no basis for making any judgments.” Nick Getzinger, state executive officer to the president of Ohio Oath Keepers, said the public has nothing to worry about. “We’re not crazy people,” said Getzinger, who lives in the Weston area. Oath Keepers is made up of members who have served in the military, civil service, police, fire or EMS services – anyone who has sworn to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, Getzinger said. “That oath has no expiration date,” he said. The group operates as a non-profit organization whose members have pledged to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The Ohio Oath Keepers separated to create their own branch from the national organization, Getzinger explained. Unlike the members who reportedly enflamed the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri, by bearing firearms as they joined protesters, the Ohio group is focused more on helping, he said. “That’s not our objective at all. They are a little more controversial than we are,” he said. “We decided to take on a more civil role.” The Ohio members have formed State Emergency Response Teams and back up law enforcement, firefighters and EMS. “We train them to work as experts in those fields,” he said. “We would be there to back them up to maintain law and order. We’re not like a rouge organization. We are not a militia.” Since Homeland Security abolished civil defense workers, the Ohio Oath Keepers can…


Library not a place that shushes new ideas

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Michael Penrod remembers the doomsday predictions for libraries, with the internet and electronic books rending them obsolete. “Locally, the numbers don’t bear that out,” said Penrod, director of the Wood County District Public Library. It could be because the library is always looking for the next chapter on how to reach out to readers, he said during his annual “state of the library” presentation to the Wood County Commissioners on Tuesday. The library continues to add to its collection of electronic books for people who want to access a good read anytime, anywhere. It offers job coaching and one-on-one help accessing its 24-7 virtual library. And instead of shushing children, young patrons are encouraged to read aloud. This is not a library where new ideas are met with “Shhhhhh.” Last year, the library saw a 3.8 percent increase in borrowing, a 10 percent increase in program attendance, a 25 percent increase in patrons asking staff for assistance, and a 19 percent increase in foot traffic in the building – averaging 4,839 visitors per week. Borrowed books, ebooks, audiobooks and other items totaled 602,463 last year. The most growth was seen in borrowing of electronic books. When first hired at the library, Penrod recalled thinking he would spend a couple years at the library before moving on to something “bigger and better.” “Bigger and better is here,” he told the commissioners. Penrod said he had just received calculations from the state showing return on investments at the library. For every $1 invested at the library, the community gets $4.14 in return, he said. The library is always looking at new ways to get people in the door. The library held 1,326 programs and events last year, attended by 25,025 children and adults. The site now has a job coach who helps people write resumes. “We just don’t provide a book,” he said. “We are providing a human.” Commissioner Joel Kuhlman complimented the library on its children’s programs, adding that his kids love going to the library. “Your youth programs are great,” he said. Penrod said the kids activities sometimes look chaotic, but they are designed to get children hooked on reading and learning. “We are noisy and loud and dirty,” he said, noting the benefits of having an outdoor courtyard at the library. “We can literally hose the kids off.” Penrod said the library spends 17 percent of its funding on new materials. The national average is 11 percent. More than 21,000 items will be added to the library’s collection next year. To make room, the staff “weeds” out outdated items, he said. Many of the old magazines and outdated books are given to daycare centers or secondhand book stores, “so they aren’t going in the dumpster,” he said. Penrod praised Wood County…


Kenwood closed again Thursday; water test results not complete

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Kenwood Elementary School will be closed again Thursday since complete test results are not back on water at the school. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci closed the school on Wednesday due to discolored water at a drinking fountain in the school. Initially it was believed the greenish colored water was due to a back flow valve failure. However, Scruci said this evening that the water problem appears to more likely be the result of the older pipes in the building going unused over spring break. The pipes went unused for 10 days during break. After being run, the water was clear this morning, Scruci said. Tests conducted this morning showed the water being fine but the full scale contaminant test results will not be available until after noon on Thursday.  Therefore, Kenwood Elementary will be closed again Thursday. All other schools in the district will be open. “Our first responsibility is to keep our students safe,” Scruci wrote in an email to parents.  “I am not willing to take any unnecessary risks and want to err on the side of caution.” Water samples were taken to a testing site in Toledo from Kenwood school and other schools in the district for baseline data. Initially the testing facility said the results would be complete in eight to 10 days, but Scruci said it was made clear that was unacceptable. “We cannot wait eight to 10 days,” he said. The district has one more calamity day left due to few snow days this past winter, but Scruci would really like the students back at their desks. “We certainly want to get them back, they start testing next week,” he said. The district received no reports of children sickened from the water earlier this week. “I think that it’s fine, but until I’m 100 percent certain that’s the case, and there’s nothing in there that will harm the kids,” school will remain closed, Scruci said.


BG shifts gears to map out bike routes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   City Engineer Jason Sisco was troubled by the lack of bike route rules in the Complete Streets concept. “Engineers, we like standards,” he said. So Sisco shifted gears and did the next best thing – talked to people who frequently bicycle on Bowling Green streets. The city’s Bicycle Safety Commission met with Sisco Tuesday evening to work on the Complete Streets project, with the goal of making transportation safe for all modes of traffic. The commission discussed two main topics in order to create a new map designating bike routes around the city. First, which streets should be designated bike routes? “We can’t build bike paths everywhere,” Sisco said. And second, what type of accommodations should be made for bicyclists on those streets? The options include bike paths, which are paved areas separate from the roadway; bike lanes, which are lanes specifically for bikes along the edge; or sharrows, which use paint on the pavement to remind motorists to share the road with bicyclists. Sisco presented four different maps that already designate various “bike routes” across the city. The Complete Streets concept is intended to take that a step further and make the streets safer for cyclists. The new map will focus on getting cyclists to destinations, like schools, parks, the university, and shopping. “Let’s try to do something that makes sense and is attainable,” Sisco said. The routes will be designed to get a 10-year-old to school, a family to the park, and a college student to classes, suggested Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley. Many roadways in the city have no berm for bicyclists. Sisco cautioned that provisions for cyclists will encroach on some sacred cows for many city residents. Making room for bikes means taking room from front yards, street parking or trees. The easiest way to free up space on some roadways would be to get rid of the street parking. “But it’s going to make people mad,” Sisco said. “We can’t accommodate every interest at the same time.” The commission members asked that possible solutions not be scrapped just because they don’t fit perfectly. For example, even though some streets won’t have room for a standard three-foot wide bike lane, even a one-foot lane would make cyclists more comfortable. “We can do some narrowing,” Sisco said of the car lanes, which would allow shoulder space for bikes. Sisco asked for an estimate of how many people in the community bicycle to work. “You have your diehards,” who cycle in any weather, Otley said. Then there are fair weather bikers. Commission member Rob Kleine said it was the “chicken and egg” dilemma. “If access were easier and people felt safer,” more would cycle, he said. “If you build it, they will come,” said Eileen Baker, a member of…


Kenwood Elementary closed Wednesday due to discolored water

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Discolored water in a drinking fountain at Kenwood Elementary School has resulted in the school being closed Wednesday. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said this afternoon that the water fountains were all shut off after greenish colored water was noticed. City utility workers were called, tested the water, and found no bacteria in it, Scruci said. As a precautionary measure, a water testing company was called, but was unable to get to the school today. “We have the company coming tomorrow to ensure that the water is without question safe,” Scruci said. Boiler technicians and plumbers are also working on the issue to identify and correct the original cause for the discoloration, he added. Because the water was clear on Monday, it is believed the problem was caused by a boiler backflow valve malfunction. “We believe that we know the cause of the problem but until we are 100 percent certain that the water in the building is safe, we cannot put students and staff at potential risk,” Scruci wrote in an email to parents. Scruci is hopeful the school will be open again on Thursday. But that will only take place if he can be assured the water is safe for students and staff to drink, he said. “If they can’t guarantee me tomorrow that the water is safe, I will cancel school again,” Scruci said. Since the school district did not use all its snow calamity days during the mild winter, the elementary has some “wiggle room,” he said.  


BG mayor honors those who make community better

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green recognized a roomful of people who have made life better for others – whether it be families with autism, people seeking fair housing, or a woman who put her all into a small business for four decades. The council chamber was overflowing Monday evening with people who were being honored for contributing to their community. Mayor Dick Edwards recognized Barbara Rothrock for her constant dedication to small business in Bowling Green. Rothrock is retiring as owner of the “much loved and respected” Calico Sage and Thyme store. Rothrock was praised for leading by example, with 40 years of “grit, grin and outright perseverance.” When called up to the podium, Rothrock continued her push for local businesses. “Small business is important,” she said. “Support the businesses you love.” Edwards also recognized April as Autism Awareness Month and honored local families who are “living with the realities of autism and who are helping ever so many others deal with autism.” The mayor called to the podium Mary Murray, a “trailblazer” in the area of autism at Bowling Green State University, and the John Titus family. With his arm around young Ian Titus, who would one day like to be mayor himself, Edwards read a proclamation for autism awareness. Edwards also recognized Fair Housing Month in Bowling Green, calling up members of the Human Relations Commission. “Apart from its symbolic value, it is an important reminder about the basic provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968,” he said. Also at Monday’s meeting, city council: Learned from Utilities Director Brian O’Connell that plans to sell Bowling Green water to Waterville have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is hoped the project can be completed by the end of the year. Heard the city’s Bicycle Safety Commission is meeting tonight at 6 with the city engineer to talk about the Complete Streets program. Learned from Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley that the summer program brochure is now online. Otley also reported the first community focus group on the city’s parks and recreation department will be Wednesday at 7 p.m., in the community center.


BG Council backs 2-mill park levy, but some worry about asking voters to pass more millage

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council took a unified stance Monday on the parks and recreation levy planned for the fall ballot – but only after an hour of debate. Some wanted a more cautious approach, while others believed Bowling Green voters could be counted on to pass additional millage. No one on council questioned the need for a 2-mill levy for parks and recreation, but at least two members wanted the millage split into two levies that add up to 2 mills. Their concern was the devastating effect if voters didn’t pass the additional millage. Both Bob McOmber and Bruce Jeffers spoke in favor of two smaller levies. “I think it has a very good chance of passing that way,” Jeffers said. But when a motion was put forth to accept the parks and recreation board’s recommendation for one 2-mill levy, both McOmber and Jeffers supported the motion. “I don’t want anyone to use a split vote on the levy as ammunition,” McOmber said. McOmber said he was aware his stance would be “unpopular,” however, his fear is that voters will easily pass a renewal but may balk at the additional millage. By offering two levies, the parks could at least count on the existing levy amount continuing. “If the renewal dollars go away, they are facing a disaster,” McOmber said. Park levies in Bowling Green have traditionally been well supported, but they have also normally been on spring ballots. McOmber pointed out that since the present levy ran out in 2015, there is no wiggle room if this levy fails. There will be no second chance in the fall. If that were to happen, the park district would lose 30 percent of its budget, or $638,000 annually. “That goes away because the current levy expired,” he said. “It will be zero.” But while McOmber and Jeffers preferred a more cautious approach, others felt confident that the parks and recreation department can convince citizens of the need for 2 mills. “It is an easy story to tell,” Council member Mike Aspacher said. “It’s going to be important to get out there and sell the message.” Aspacher noted that Bowling Green citizens have traditionally shown how much they value their parks. “There is that very strong history of the community supporting the parks.” Council member Sandy Rowland said the levy committee initially talked about asking for 2.4 mills, but realized that would be asking too much of voters. “Today, we need no less than two full mills,” Rowland said. “Going for a lesser amount is simply trying to fool our public.” Rowland admitted that it isn’t pleasant asking for more tax revenue, but it is necessary, she said. “This is not any easy decision. I told people I wouldn’t vote to raise taxes,” Rowland…


BGSU student metals and jewelry on display at Wood County library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Student Metal Arts Council from Bowling Green State University’s School of Art is “Forging Ahead” with an exhibit at the Wood County Public Library. The “Forging Ahead” exhibit features about two dozen works of jewelry and metal art in the library’s display window. The exhibit opened Saturday and continues through April 15.                   The exhibit is part of the effort to teach students in the arts professional skills, said Andrew Kuebeck, the faculty advisor for the council. Those efforts include an entrepreneurship class specifically for visual artists taught by Gene Poor. The exhibit was organized by the council’s treasurer Michaela Monterosso. For her the library was a natural venue for the show. Back in her hometown of Terryville, Connecticut, she would place her work in the local library. “I’d put my piece there and there was so much traffic going in and out of the public library that I got a lot of commissions, so I decided it would be a good opportunity for the Student Metal Arts Council.” The show was open to all who submitted work. “It’s meant to be an encouraging event,” she said. Monterosso wanted to give her fellow students a no-stress chance to display their work. “It’s good for their resumes,” she said, “and good for mine.” The council awarded first prize in the show to Katelyn Turner’s “Mother of Pearl” and second place to Diana Bibler’s “The Hero.” It promotes the council and the work being done on campus by jewelers and metalsmiths. Monterosso was attracted to BGSU by both the reasonable tuition – East Coast art schools are very expensive, she said – as well as the chance to study with Tom Muir, an artist with a national reputation. She incorporates glass in her work, so he was also encouraged by the opportunity to work with Joel O’Dorisio. The work on display uses a variety of materials and techniques such as felting and beading in conjunction with traditional approaches. The Student Metal Arts Council’s mission is to promote artistic improvement and provide opportunities for networking. Students also have the option to participate in events including SOFA (an art and design fair in Chicago), sales at ArtX and the Student Union and trips to the Toledo Museum of Art.          


Downtown businesses to be surveyed for green certification

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s downtown businesses will soon have a chance to prove how green they really are. For two years now, Lucas County has had a sustainability program in place for businesses, according to Holly Myers, environmental and sustainability professor at Bowling Green State University. Myers and her students would like to bring that “green business” program to downtown Bowling Green. Last week, Myers and three students presented their ideas to the City-University Relations Commission, which endorsed their concept. To start the process, the businesses will be surveyed. To qualify as a green business, an operation must adhere to the values of environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and quality of life, Myers explained. The survey covers the following topics: Waste reduction and recycling, with points for recycling items, electronic billing and printing double-sided copies. Green purchasing, with credit given for buying products in bulk, buying from local vendors and using recycled items. Energy conservation and efficiency, with points for using energy efficient lights, shutting down computers not in use, and participating in the city’s Efficiency Smart Energy Conservation Program. Alternative transportation for planning delivery routes, using hybrid fuels or employee ride sharing. Water conservation and pollution prevention for planting drought-resistant plants, using low-flow toilets or tankless water heater. Staff training and public awareness for offering customers green service options, or asking customers if they want a bag (to promote use of fewer bags). Community involvement by participating in local charitable events, offering volunteer opportunities to employees, or making annual donations to charity. Certifications or awards for safety or other efforts. Businesses that do well on the survey will be awarded sustainable businesses certifications. “We really think we can make some changes, recognize businesses for what they are doing,” and maybe convince them to do more, Myers said. The downtown program will be a pilot for the rest of the community. “It’s a great way to continue the leadership Bowling Green has shown over the years in adopting sustainability policies,” said Barb Ruland, a member of the city-university commission.    


BG police uniforms stolen from dry cleaners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Police Division is asking for the public’s help in solving who stole police uniforms from a local dry cleaning business. “We have no suspects at this point,” Police Chief Tony Hetrick said this morning about the two Bowling Green police uniforms which were stolen Friday night during a breaking and entering at Long’s Dry Cleaners, 345 N. Maple Street, Bowling Green. Multiple items were stolen including two different styles of uniforms worn by officers of the Bowling Green Police Division. Other city uniforms were also at the dry cleaners since the city contracts with that business to clean employees’ uniforms. But the police uniforms were the only ones stolen, Hetrick said. “It would make me believe they knew what they were after,” Hetrick said this morning. “We’re quite concerned about this,” the chief said. “Why would you take uniforms unless you are planning on impersonating an officer.” Two uniforms were taken, one the current style with navy shirt and french blue pants, and the other being the new style with navy shirt and pants. The stolen uniforms have police patches on the arms, however, they did not contain a badge or name plate. So the police division is advising that anyone interacting with someone in a Bowling Green police uniform should make sure the person is wearing a badge, which depicts the BGPD building on it, and the officer’s name plate. All officers are required to carry division identification as well. Hetrick also said most uniformed officers use marked patrol cars. Anyone who may have information related to this crime is asked to contact BGPD or Detective Brian Houser at 419-352-1131 or Wood County Crime Stoppers 419-352-0077.  A reward may be offered if the information leads to a conviction. “We do value the help of the community,” Hetrick said this morning, asking that citizens call in even “the smallest detail” which could help solve the case.    


Little girl makes waves saving rare dolphins

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Standing on a step stool to reach the podium, the 9-year-old told how she has taken on a nation’s prime minister and a local corporation to try to save dolphins on the other side of the globe. Calista Wilkins, a fourth grader at Otsego, has been working two years to preserve Maui dolphins, the smallest of its species, that live off the coast of New Zealand. On Thursday, Calista shared her story with the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. The serious little girl with long blond hair is not intimidated by leaders whose words praise the preservation of the dolphins, but whose actions do the opposite. Her efforts have earned her a grant from Jane Goodall’s organization to continue her dolphin-saving work. Calista was also at ease speaking to the group of Kiwanians, trying to engage them in the presentation. She showed slides of New Zealand, where the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed, and asked if anyone was familiar with the small statured characters called hobbits. “The Maui dolphins are sort of like that,” she said. Though Calista has never been to New Zealand, and has never seen the Maui dolphins, she confidently explained their plight. The rare dolphins number only about 50, and risk becoming extinct by 2030 if nothing changes to reverse their fate. The black, white and gray dolphins have rounded noses, dorsal fins shaped like Mickey Mouse ears, and like to swim in groups close to the shores of the northern portion of New Zealand. Calista showed photographs of the small dolphins, including one called “Scratchy,” named so because of the scars left on his body by fishing nets. Scratchy was lucky, since the fishing nets are responsible for killing many of the Maui dolphins. Since the dolphins live close to the shore, the New Zealand government has declared a safe green zone lining the coast. However, many continue to fish in the protected areas, and the government does nothing to stop them, Calista said. The Maui dolphins aren’t the intended catch, but they often get swept up in the same nets as the fish. And since the dolphins can only remain underwater for 2 ½ minutes without breathing, they perish. “Fishermen gut dolphins so they sink to the bottom, so they don’t get in trouble,” Calista said. From her step stool, the 9-year-old criticized the New Zealand government for adopting a slogan of “100% Pure New Zealand,” but failing to live up to the name. “They are not enforcing the fishing laws,” she said. The Maui dolphins do not repopulate quickly, having just one calf every two to four years. The slow breeding leads to slow recovery. “It will be the first dolphin to go extinct because of humans,” Calista said. “The government doesn’t care and…


National Walking Day on April 6

American Heart Association Walking Day is Wednesday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the BGSU Perry Field House. Celebrate National Walking Day with BGSU, Wood County Hospital, the City of Bowling Green, and Wood County employees. Lace up your sneakers and improve your odds of living a longer, healthier life by joining us for a Poker Walk! Enjoy a healthful bout of exercise with your colleagues, healthy snacks, raffle prizes, and giveaways. POKER WALK – No prior knowledge of poker is needed to participate. Rather than winning based on skill or speed, the top individuals who collect the best poker hand while walking at the Perry Field House track win great prizes, such as a Fitbit®! The Golden Sneaker Award will be awarded to the employer with the highest percentage of walkers. SPIRIT CONTEST- The participating individual or group (office, colleagues, friends, etc) demonstrating the most enthusiasm and spirit wins a free chair massage (up to one hour) for their office or work area walkers. CELEBRITY WALKERS – Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, President, Bowling Green State University; Mayor Richard Edwards, City of Bowling Green Mayor; Dr. Sidney Childs, Interim Vice-President, Division of Student Affairs; Dr. Nicholas Espinoza, Director, Falcon Health Center; Dr. Marie Huff, Dean, College of Health and Human Services; Craig LaHote, Doris I. Herringshaw and Joel M. Kuhlman, Wood County Commissioners; Andrew Kalmar, County Administrator; Stan Korducki President, Wood County Hospital; Lori Tretter, Municipal Administrator; Monica Moll, BGSU Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety; Viva McCarver, Chief Human Resources Officer.


Students to clean up reputations and neighborhoods at same time

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BGSU students often get trashed for not being good neighbors to full-time city residents. In an effort to clean up their reputations and their neighborhoods at the same time, an Adopt a Block program is being started with the help of the City-University Relations Commission. Danielle Parker, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government at Bowling Green State University, said the program will help students connect with the community. “This is a new and exciting way for students to give back, besides dropping off some canned goods and walking away,” Parker said. The program will work somewhat like the larger scale “Adopt a Highway” effort. Ten “blocks” have been established by the City-University Relations Commission. Student groups will be asked to adopt an area then head out once a month and pick up trash in the medians. The trash will then be disposed of in the dumpsters behind the city fire station and electric division on Thurstin and Court streets. The 10 “blocks” up for adoption are: North Enterprise from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Summit from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Prospect from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. East Court Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Pike Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Ridge Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Merry Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Reed Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Area bordered by Wooster, Biddle, Clough and South College. Area bordered by Wooster, South Enterprise, Clough and South Prospect. “Students will go out and take care of that block,” Parker explained to the City-University Relations Commission Tuesday evening. Each student group will have a community member contact, according to Julie Broadwell, a member of the commission. A “soft launch” of the program is planned for April, with the official start to be this fall when students arrive back to campus. If the program proves successful, with students showing commitment, the city could create signage recognizing the work of the cleanup organizations, according to Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. “It’s important that citizens see student organizations are picking up trash. You get beat up all the time for trash,” said Rev. Tom Mellott, a member of the commission.


Scooby Doo, Chief Wiggum, Professor Snape get votes for Wood County sheriff

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some people take voting very seriously. Others, not so much. Some apparently see it as an opportunity to show their creative side. In the primary election earlier this month, Wood County residents voting on the Democratic ballot were given the chance to fill in a write-in candidate for sheriff. Retired deputy Ruth Babel-Smith was running as a write-in candidate, but many voters were thinking way outside the box. Some voters at least stuck with people with law enforcement experience – however questionable it might be. Getting one vote each were Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy from Mayberry RFD; Chief Wiggum, the lazy incompetent police chief in The Simpsons, and Roscoe P. Coltrane, the corrupt sheriff from the Dukes of Hazzard. “I was just disappointed Boss Hogg didn’t get it,” said Mike Zickar, of the Wood County Board of Elections. A few cartoon type characters garnered single votes like Alfred E. Newman, of Mad magazine covers; Fred Flintstone, of the prehistoric town of Bedrock; and Scooby Doo, the canine with the mystery solving gang of meddling kids. Mickey Mouse got 4 votes – 5 if you count the voter who just wrote “Mickey.” Garnering one vote was Disney’s Sheriff Callie, an animated cat who rides a blue pony enforcing the “Cowpoke Code” in the Old West. Some voters went big, writing national political figures like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Some preferred to stay local, casting votes for Chip Myles, of Myles Pizza; Daniel Gordon, a Bowling Green councilman; and Jim Weinandy, a local attorney. A few voters put their confidence in celebrity figures who had proven their power on stage or screen, such as Professor Snape, from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts; Jean-Luc Picard, captain on Star Trek: The Next Generation; and shock rocker Alice Cooper. Some write-ins had pizzazz, but seemed to lack any political seriousness, like Hypnotoad, the large toad with oscillating eyes and a droning hum from Futurama; Vermin Supreme, a presidential candidate who wears a wizard hat and long beard, and promises free ponies; and Deez Nutz, a satirical presidential candidate. By the way, Mr. Supreme and Mr. Nuts got two write-in votes each. Some voters preferred the more literate types, writing down George Orwell, author of Animal Farm; Hunter Thompson, of gonzo-journalism fame; and Rosa Clemente, community organizer and hip hop activist. A handful of voters revisited the past, writing down Ross Perot, former sheriff John Kohl, and former sheriff candidate Mark Hummer. A few citizens were noncommittal, just writing “Anyone Else,” “No Ass Hole,” “Nobody” and “Someone who isn’t racist.” Some voters did write in Ruth Babel-Smith’s name, and many came close to it. The variations included Barbara Baden-Smith, Ruth Ann Baker, Julie J. Babel Smith, Ruth Bayless, Ruth Bobel, Ruth Smith and Ruth Smith-Something. Zickar…


Gloria Gajewicz honored for home grown science teaching skills

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green teacher Gloria Gajewicz was inspired through her career by her own teachers, and further by her mother’s pursuit of education. So it is fitting that she should receive an award named for the late Neil Pohlmann, an educator and BGSU professor who left his mark on science education. Earlier this month Gajewicz won the first Neil Pohlman Award given by Bowling Green State University at the spring conference of the Northwest Ohio School Boards Association meeting. Patrick Pauken, director of the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy, said the award “is given in recognition of valuable contribution to Educational Administration and Leadership Studies at BGSU.” Gajewicz is working on her doctorate in the program. The award carries a scholarship. Pauken wrote: “The faculty selected Gloria for the award because of her endless dedication to teaching, learning, and leading in our schools. She is an excellent graduate student, as well, inspiring her classmates with her professional stories of student success. Our classrooms and schools are special places, indeed, with teachers and leaders like Gloria Gajewicz.” Gajewicz has taught science for 20 years, the last 16 at her alma mater, Bowling Green High School where she teaches biology and honors physical science. Finishing her second semester of what she expects will be a four-year process, Gajewicz’s goal is to become a curriculum specialist with her particular interest in science. She said she was inspired to pursue science by the many great science teachers she had in the Bowling Green system. That included Roger Mazzarella, “the wizard of Mazz,” in seventh grade and Bob Rex in eighth. In high school she had Bev Anthony for chemistry and Beth Snook for biology. “I had awesome science teachers all the way through,” she said. And she was pleased that when she started teaching in Bowling Green, Anthony was still on staff so she had “one of my inspirational teachers as a colleague.” “They definitely inspired me to do something in science,” she said. Her inspiration to go into teaching came even closer to home. While she was in high school her mother, Randye Kreischer, went to BGSU to get her education degree. She worked at Woodlane for 25 years. “It was interesting to see her do that,” Gajewicz said. “Having watched her go through that process inspired me to become a teacher.” She got her undergraduate degree at BGSU, and then got her master’s in environmental biology from an Antioch College satellite campus in New Hampshire. “It had an awesome program,” she said. She took a break from teaching and devoted herself to getting her masters, then returned to Ohio. As a teacher she believes strongly in a hands-on approach.  “I use modeling instruction. It really flips things around,” Gajewicz said. Instead of giving students the equation and…