Downtown Bowling Green

BG fine tunes three design options for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s downtown green space is taking shape. The question now is whether it should be a formal symmetrical shape or an informal meandering shape. Some pieces of the puzzle are definite – like the stone arched entry, the pavilion, and a gathering area. But just where those pieces fit on the 1.7 acres at West Wooster and South Church streets is still unknown. On Thursday, Troy Sonner, of Poggemeyer Design Group, presented three possible designs for the town square dubbed Wooster Green. The firm is donating its design services to the community in recognition of the business’ 50th anniversary. “We are one step away from a blank canvas,” Sonner said to members of the green space steering committee. The first design was modeled after the ideas of the Green Space Task Force. It includes wide walkways from corner to corner, creating a symmetrical “X” shape with a center area featuring a fountain or statue. The pavilion would be located toward the south of the site. This plan has the most concrete. The second design was submitted by a city resident, and features an open area close to Wooster, a winding walkway, and the pavilion toward the southwest portion of the square. This plan leaves larger open spaces and has less concrete. The third design is a combination of ideas from the task force and the citizen’s plan. It features the pavilion closer to Church Street, has a winding walkway, and much more open space toward the center and south of the square. This plan has the least concrete. Mayor Dick Edwards…

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Music rings out up & down BG’s Main Street

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Music brought people together in downtown Bowling Green Friday night. On South Main Street more than 100 people gathered at Grounds for Thought for “Singing for Our Lives: Empowering the People through Song” a protest song singalong led by three of the four members of the Grande Royale Ukulelists of the Black Swamp. A couple blocks north more than 100 people celebrated the ageless power of rock ‘n’ roll with The Welders, who for more than 30 years have been staging a spring break show at Howard’s Club H. Mary Jane Saunders, co-pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, opened “Singing for Our Lives” at Grounds by explaining her rationale for suggesting the event. Many are feeling stressed and uncomfortable in the current political climate, she said. That’s been expressed in several rallies, most held in the green space next to the Presbyterian Church.             The sing-along of classic songs was offered as an occasion “to have fun together” while not forgetting the cause that has united so many in the community. “Music has the power to empower and to energize us,” she said. Pop music historian Ken Bielen gave a brief introduction to protest music, much of it by simply quoting memorable lines. He recalled that it was gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who urged Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. “When people get together in the right combination, history is made.” He then recalled Country Joe McDonald’s admonition to the throngs at Woodstock singing along to “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die…


BG to see ‘Good Neighbor Guide’ and community festival plans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Next week Bowling Green residents will get a sneak peak at the new “Good Neighbor Guide” and plans for a community festival. An open house on the Bowling Green Community Action Plan will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the atrium of the Wood County Courthouse. Citizens will be able to view and comment on the planning concepts for the city’s East Side. Also on view will be the new “Good Neighbor Guide” with descriptions of various community problem issues, permits, penalties and contact information. The open house, guide and festival were discussed Tuesday evening during a joint meeting of Bowling Green City Council and Planning Commission with the representatives of Camiros, who are working on the city’s Community Action Plan. (A story on the zoning discussion at the joint meeting will appear Wednesday on BG Independent News.) Plans for the Court Street Connects Festival will also be on display at the open house next week. The festival, set for April 22, is to create stronger connections from the downtown to Bowling Green State University. The all-day event will be held on the front lawn of the county courthouse. Its purpose is to celebrate the city’s East Side, with historic home tours, safety demonstrations at the fire station and Earth Day events. The Court Street Connects Festival will also serve to test on-street bikeways from BGSU to Prospect Street, along the south side of Court Street. The bikeway will stay in place for the following week. Volunteers are being sought to help with the April 22 event….


BG green space taking shape as town square

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   While the city was discussing its plans for the green space downtown, the community was already making use of it. During the past few months, the open space that once housed the junior high has been used for community gatherings to mourn victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, to unite against an immigration ban, and to offer a peaceful alternative to a pro-gun march. Those uses fit in perfectly with the plans for the 1.7 acres, according to Eric Myers, chairman of the steering committee for the site. “We would certainly encourage that,” Myers said Monday. “It’s a great use for the space.” Last fall the Bowling Green City Council, with the support of Mayor Dick Edwards, approved the use site at the corners of West Wooster and South Church and South Grove streets as a developed green space.  At that time a steering committee was formed to shepherd the development of the space.  While independent from the city, the group has received support from the city administration, the mayor and council, Myers said. The Green Space Steering Committee members are all volunteers who previously served on the Green Space Task Force. In addition to Myers, they are Larry Nader, Dick Newlove, Michael Penrod, Lloyd Triggs and Lori Young. The steering committee has been meeting since December, primarily organizing a committee structure and developing a plan.  The committee has created a loose time frame for the completion of the project. It is hoped that fundraising for the green space will begin in April, with the possible groundbreaking in…


Benefit to raise funds for Standing Rock Water Protectors

By ELENA ENRIQUEZ Join us on Saturday, Jan 21, from noon until closing for BG Standing With Standing Rock at Howard’s Club H to raise money to bring vital supplies to the Water Protectors who are risking their lives in sub zero temperature so that we all may share a healthy planet. The fight for clean water and life is far from over! Acoustic Stage Matt Ingles noon-12:30 April Freed 12:30-1 Jimmy Lambert 1-1:30 Sarah Connelly 1:30-2 Adamantium Experiment 2-2:30 Justin Payne 3-4 Main Stage Cadillac Jukebox 4-4:45 Getting Out Alive 5-5:45 2nd Mile Society 6-6:45 Moths In The Attic 7-7:45 Wood N Strings 8-8:45 Weak Little Ears 9-9:45 Awesome Job 10-10:45 Split Second 11-11:30 Daniken 12-12:45 Musical interludes between acts on the acoustic stage performed by; Matt Cordy, Barry Johnson ,Boo Lee Crosser, Bruce Lilly, and Zack Wilson. There will also be a silent auction, bake sale and food. $5 entry All proceeds from the event go directly into support for either firewood, or to supplies for the Medic Healer council. Let’s come together, the day after the inauguration, in solidarity as a positive, progressive community. Share passions and ideas, speak from your heart of how to transform this reality and how to grow as a community. We are creating a better, more inclusive and caring world for each other. Stand in support of a healthier planet and those who are peacefully protecting this dream. Mni Wiconi! Water is life! (Related story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/local-woman-joins-effort-to-stop-pipeline-at-standing-rock/)


BG police to install new cameras in downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green will soon be adding some eyes in the sky in the downtown area. New cameras are planned for the four corners and for the city parking lot behind Panera. The installation of cameras is nothing for residents to worry about, according to Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick. “This isn’t anything new. We’re just replacing them with updated models,” Hetrick said. The cameras are not used to catch motorists who are speeding or run red lights. And the vast majority of the footage goes unviewed – unless it’s needed to identify suspects. “We’ve solved some crimes,” such as assaults and robberies with the video, the chief said. Cameras have also recorded fatal accidents and have been helpful with determining how they occurred, Hetrick explained. A camera previously installed by the city at a construction site on the north edge of town recorded an accident in which four people were killed. And an ODOT camera at Interstate 75 captured a fatal motorcycle accident on the overpass. “They do have a usefulness in higher traffic areas,” Hetrick said. The city’s downtown cameras record constantly. The images can be pulled up in police dispatch if necessary. “Typically the dispatchers don’t have time to watch them,” on an ongoing basis, the chief said. The only video in constant view of the dispatchers comes from cameras at the intersection of Main and Wooster streets. “They are great for seeing traffic problems,” Hetrick said. Replacing those obsolete cameras at the four corners will cost $10,500. The new cameras for the parking lot behind Panera, where parking…


Some of the stories that clicked for BG Indy in 2016

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News If you ask those of us involved with BG Independent News, the biggest news of 2016 was that we got this enterprise started and weathered our first year. This has been a great venture that has both challenged and rewarded us, if not enriched us. We pride ourselves on writing the best stories about Bowling Green, its immediate surroundings and area arts and entertainment scene. We’ve been heartened by the fact that we’ve had close to 160,000 users and 600,000 page views since the website was launched in late January. For that Jan McLaughlin and I thank you, our readers. It’s been a great ride. As we start a new year, we thought we’d go back and see just what stories drew the most traffic in the previous one. I decided on a top 30 of the more than 1,700 stories we’ve published. That includes the bylined stories that make up the heart of BG Independent News, but also Community Voices, Opinion, Obituaries and Newsbreak (though not the event listings that get lumped into What’s Happening in Your Community). (See the list of links at the end of the story.) The story that drew the most traffic was “The day the pizza died,” which is by neither of the principle writers. The rumors of Myles Pizza closing had been in the air for well over a year. When Chip Myles finally called it quits, I was headed out of town for a funeral, so Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, from Zibbel Media and an accomplished writer, stepped in and wrote her elegy to the beloved local pizza…