Downtown Bowling Green

Scavenger hunt helps international students discover downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Students from around the world got a chance to explore downtown Bowling Green Wednesday afternoon. The international students from Bowling Green State University came from many countries—France, Taiwan, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Netherlands – just to name a few. A scavenger hunt organized by the Four Corners Center had them searching out all the treasures they could find in the downtown. That included the coffee shops, restaurants, gift shops, restaurants, and even the farmers market. Teams of about half dozen students each buzzed about town. Members of one group said they didn’t have time to talk as they hurried off to find Homeworks. Elisa Erbrech, a business student from Strasbourg, France, said, those on her team were too intent on winning to even stop and taste the cookies and coffee the Wood County Library had set out. And they accomplished their mission. The team was the first to finish. Marcia Salazar-Valentine, the director of International Programs and Partnerships, said the idea behind the scavenger hunt was to introduce the students, all of whom had just arrived at BGSU, to the downtown, and to introduce downtown businesses to the students. “The international students are so important,” said Wendy Chambers, the director of the Wood County Convention Visitors Bureau, one of the Four Corners entities.  “We wanted to welcome them to the community.” BGSU enrolls more than 1,000 foreign students. “I think it takes a while because they have so much to do the first weeks,” Salazar-Valentine said. She remembers arriving as an international student in Bowling Green. “I came downtown and learned so much…

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R&R Bath offers natural way to freshen up & relax

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Walking north of the west side of North Main Street in downtown Bowling Green past the restaurants and bars, a sweet and fresh scent tickles the nose. The source is evident a couple doors down at 157 N. Main the home of R&R Premium Bath Products. The new business has been open for several weeks with a grand opening set for May 21. Still someone in need of a last minute Mother’s Day gift may want to stop down. The shop is run by Joseph Heaton and Sarah Bail. The mission of the shop is not only to provide products that make their customers clean, they also strive to keep Mother Earth clean and fresh as well. Heaton said all their products are made from natural ingredients. Many of the products hand-crafted on site. An opening in the shop gives customers a peek into the workshop. Bail, who graduated from Bowling Green State University earlier this month with a Bachelor of Science in ecology and conservation, oversees the materials used. Heaton and Bail moved here from Springfield, Ohio, four years ago when she started her studies at BGSU. “Anything you can imagine using in the bathroom we’ll have it,” Heaton said. Bath bombs, including its original GloBomb, soaps, make-up removers, lotions, bubble bars, fizz sticks, and robes. “Everything we sell here is either made here or made in the United States, all handmade,” he said. That means finding suppliers who have the same quality standards that they do. Heaton said he’s devoted to selling, having started with DirectTV. “I loved bath balms,” he said,…


Irish duo to give listeners a taste of what’s coming to Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even though Irish piper Cillian Vallely has performed before audiences of thousands around the world, he’ll still find time after a gig to sit in at a local jam session, or seisiun. The camaraderie of those spontaneous music gatherings have become a huge part of the propagating Irish music. “You can go all over the world and go into an Irish bar and find people playing this music. There’s a common repertoire,” said Vallely, who grew up in Northern Ireland. “A lot people are not taking it up to be a performer or a top player, they take it up because they like the company.” As a member of Lunasa, called “the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” by the Irish Times, he’s now at the pinnacle of Irish music, but he still likes to sit in. Vallely, on pipes and low whistle, and Lunasa bandmate Kevin Crawford, flute and whistle, will play a free show Friday May 12 at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The concert, sponsored by local Irish group Toraigh an Sonas, is a preview for the full quintet’s performance at the Black Swamp Arts Festival on Sept. 8. There was a time, Vallely said, when the music was dying out in Northern Ireland. Then in the 1960s folk revival brought it back to public attention. His parents were catalysts in helping bring the music back. Though avocational musicians, they founded Armagh Pipers Club in 1966, taught and went on tour. A few years later Cillian was born. “I grew up in this…


BG block party brings community and campus together

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s block party on Saturday met all the qualifications – live music, food, dogs and people of all ages. Spectators sat on straw bales as they watched musicians perform from the makeshift stage, complete with cardboard curtains, in front of the county courthouse. Children played games of giant checkers and got their faces painted. The hungry filled up on Chicago dogs and onion rings. And young and old pedaled along the temporary bike lane along East Court Street. “It’s close to perfect,” said Heather Sayler, city planning director who was in charge of organizing the Court Street Connects event. “We’ve had a constant stream of people since 10 o’clock,” she said. “I don’t think we could ask for anything better.” The block party was the brainchild of the city’s Community Action Plan process. At a series of public meetings, Bowling Green residents were asked what project they wanted to try out first in an effort to improve neighborhoods on the East Side. The block party was top on the list. “This is great,” said Adam Rosa, a principle with Camiros, the consulting firm helping with the Community Action Plan. “It’s amazing how much energy has gone into this. It’s great seeing all the energy.” The goal of Court Street Connects goes far beyond the one-day block party. “When people see changes in their neighborhood, it brings other positive changes,” Rosa said. “It will help with decision making about what we want to do.” Sayler agreed. “This makes people recognize this area could be more,” she said. The event created new and…


Citizens can email ideas for downtown green space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Despite several public meetings about the new downtown green space in Bowling Green, many citizens complained that they weren’t given an opportunity to express their desires for the proposed town square. To remedy that perceived slight, an email account has now been set up to take suggestions. Anyone wanting to submit ideas for the 1.7 acres at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets can now email their suggestions to woostergreendesign@gmail.com. Mayor Dick Edwards said he spoke recently with representatives at Poggemeyer Design Group about the two main elements already planned for the town square – an arched entryway and a pavilion. The exact designs are still being worked on, but will consider the historic character of the area, and will work to preserve as much green as possible.  Other necessities include bike racks, drinking fountains, benches, sidewalk lighting and trash receptacles. There are many other decisions under consideration that will be needed to turn the site into Wooster Green – a town square for the Bowling Green community. First, what are the protocols for using the site? Second, how can at least $300,000 in donations be raised for the space? And third, how can the entire community be engaged in the project? The steering committee for Wooster Green met Thursday afternoon to make progress on those considerations. “We definitely need clarification on when and how the site can be used,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the promotions committee. The green space has already been used for several public rallies, and the steering committee envisions it being used in the…


All of BG invited to giant community block party

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Citizens of Bowling Green are invited to a giant block party on Saturday, April 22. Actually, it’s a party covering multiple blocks and the entire city is welcome to attend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The idea for “Court Street Connects” was born at a Community Action Plan meeting last year. The concept for a block party was top on the list for local residents wanting to bring about positive changes in city – especially the East Side. Court Street was identified as a great location since it is a natural corridor between Bowling Green State University and downtown. But the party is reaching far beyond that one street, said Heather Sayler, the city’s planning director who has been working on the Community Action Plan. “To improve neighborhoods, you’ve got to bring a lot of people together,” Sayler said. “It’s really exciting.” Those coming together to make the block party a big bash include the city, BGSU, Wood County, fire division, police division, parks and recreation department, bicycle safety commission, BG City Schools, Wood County Historical Society, local businesses, library, bookmobile, the Common Good, county solid waste agency, county park district, Wood County Hospital, East Side Neighborhood Group, Habitat for Humanity and more. “It’s all free,” Sayler said, including many children’s activities. Various types of entertainment will be provided from the Wood County Courthouse steps, including acoustic music, theater and poetry reading. There will also be “pop-up art” along the street. Q’dobe will have a food truck on site. The city will also be test driving  bike lanes, which will be…


Pro Musica, Naslada Bistro team up to raise funds for music student enrichment

From PRO MUSICA Naslada Bistro, in downtown Bowling Green, will be hosting a fundraiser for Pro Musica from March 27 (Monday) – April 1 (Saturday). A portion of each bill will be donated to Pro Musica during the weeklong event. All monies raised will be use to fund student travel grants for students in the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. Patrons need to mention Pro Musica when they order. Located at 1820 S. Main Street in Bowling Green, the bistros name mean “lingering over excellent food and sipping quality wine in the company of good friends” in Bulgarian. It is known for its authentic European and American cuisine prepared with the freshest of ingredients. Pro Musica, funded by nearly 250 dedicated alumni, friends, parents and members of the Bowling Green community, sponsors a wide variety of musical events and provides financial to music students for educational travel projects. In addition, the organization provides funding for scholarships and various awards at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts. The organization supports raises funds to support student-initiated educational travel projects to attend workshops, festivals, competitions or master classes, both domestically and internationally. Every dollar Pro Musica raises goes to help students. As a bonus, diners may wish to pair their meal with concerts being offered during the college’s annual Jazz Week events. Concerts include: Tuesday (March 28), Vocal Jazz Ensemble featuring jazz vocalist Kim Nazarian, 8 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall; Wednesday (March 29), Jazz Faculty Group, 8 p.m., Bryan Recital Hall; Thursday (March 30), Jazz Lab Band I with guest trombonist Alan Ferber, 8 p.m., Kobacker Hall,…