Downtown Bowling Green

Firefly Night ready to take flight on Friday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Let the dancing in the streets in downtown Bowling Green begin. After months of planning, the Firefly Nights street festivals are ready to make their debut Friday, June 15, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Main Street. The initiative’s first official event was a 5K run and walk in May to help raise funds for the festivals. Friday Main Street will be closed with stages for music on either ends, a beer garden, vendors and food trucks, kid’s activities, and downtown businesses ready for customers. This will be the first of three one-night festivals planned for the summer. Firefly Nights was the brainchild of a group of downtown women business owners – Stacie Banfield owner of Mode Elle, Kati Thompson of Eden Fashion Boutique, Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads, and Laura Wicks of Grounds for Thought. They’ve been joined by others including Amy Craft-Ahrens, who used her expertise from years with the Black Swamp Arts Festival to help with vendors, and Michelle Elson, who booked the bands. Now the effort is ready to go, abetted by a favorable weather forecast. “I am very excited and a little bit nervous,” said Wicks, “but mostly I am really looking forward to celebrating summer with everyone in downtown BG. I think it is going to be a wonderful party!” Earlier this year when the event was announced Thompson stated the goal: “We want to foster a diverse, neighborly and lively atmosphere in downtown BG. That’s the intent and sole focus.” Main Street will be blocked at the intersection of Court Street to the intersection of Washington. East-west traffic will continue to flow along Wooster Street. Bandstands will be located on either end with altering acts. Performers booked for Friday are, in order of appearance: Boo Lee Crosser, Sam Dell, Chris & Shellby, and Amelia Airharts. Downtown shops are staying open until 10 p.m. Sam B’s, Flatlands, and Qdoba will be serving patrons on the sidewalk and others are encouraging take-out orders. Several food trucks will also be on hand: Eric’s Ice Cream; Poppin George’s Kettle Corn; Roe’s Concessions; and Weenie Dogs Vendors signed up are: All Things Beautiful Bath & Body; Black Sheep Shack; Blanquility; Charming Oak; Exhale and Create; Happy Place Felt Boutique; Gilead Candle Company; Jamber’s House of Color; Krueger Sew Crafty; Michelle Adler; Portrait Art; PreshGoods/WoodStout; Staeble Studio A Photography; The Upstitch; and The Wicked Wire. Firefly Nights will continue July 20 and Aug. 17.  

Peach Peony shop pops up in downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Since graduating in 2012, Ashley Hughes has returned to her old haunts in Bowling Green to shop and eat out. On one trip the Bowling Green State University graduate in tourism and event planning noticed an empty storefront. She didn’t see a vacancy, she saw an opportunity.  Last weekend Hughes opened Peach Peony Co. at 140 N. Main St., just as the shop’s namesake flower were blooming. Hughes reported a good opening weekend, but she won’t pop back up again until June 15 in conjunction with the first Firefly Night event. Hughes sells a variety of crafts and home decor products to appeal to all the senses. She has candles, foodstuffs including jerky, signs, cards and more including her own handcrafted dreamcatchers. While she stocks merchandise that appeals to all ages, her target market is college students and recent graduates. “I saw the opportunity here in BG to tap into the younger crowd,” she said. “They definitely appreciate the handmade quality and shopping small.” She set the time’s she’s open to their needs. Her hours will be coordinated with Flatlands Coffee next door, staying open well into the evening, including until 10 p.m. on Firefly Nights and in the Friday and Saturday of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Hughes knew that she was only going to be open a few weekends this summer, and when she learned about Firefly Nights, that persuaded her to make those the weekends. Starting Aug. 15 she’ll be open every weekend with her grand opening scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25, during move-in weekend. Hughes sometimes organizes her own shows – she had one in Upper Sandusky earlier this month and has another one planned for November. Her recent show included 45 vendors and food trucks. She also sells her wares at fairs around the state, Columbus area this weekend and then Cincinnati. She’s participated in vintage markets hosted by Bowling Green shop Painted Clover. She mixes in some of the merchandise from the shop. Hughes is still adding to her merchandise mix.  She has some screen-printed apparel coming in. The clothing will have Bowling Green and Ohio themes. Hughes was making dreamcatchers while attending BGSU. Her sorority sisters were so enthusiastic that she launched an Etsy shop. “I was always interested in arts and crafts and grew up going to arts and crafts shows,” Hughes said. Now she’s made them her business.    

Firefly Nights appeal granted for liquor at downtown events

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s first Firefly Night led hundreds of people downtown last week. Now the event will give those drawn downtown something to drink. City Council voted Monday evening to grant an appeal for a liquor permit for future Firefly Night events. According to Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett, the state requires city councils to approve selling of alcohol on public property. So the request was initially rejected until council could act. Now it will be up to the state to act on the liquor permit request. Council’s approval was met with applause from those in council chambers Monday evening. Prior to the vote, a pitch for the liquor permit was made by the four women downtown business owners who have organized the Firefly Nights – Stacie Banfield owner of Mode Elle, Kati Thompson of Eden Fashion Boutique, Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads, and Laura Wicks of Grounds for Thought. The organizers created a non-profit group for the purpose of offering food, fun and entertainment in the downtown every third Friday during the summer months of May through August. The first Firefly Night, which was held last Friday, attracted more than 200 participants in a 5K run. The events are designed as Main Street festivals, with the street shut down from Court to Washington streets, with traffic being able to cross Main on Wooster Street. The events offer kids activities, shopping, live music at both ends of the festival, and food trucks in the future, Thompson said. “We’re a group of passionate small business owners,” Thompson said. “We believe a strong downtown can breathe life into a community.” Thirty merchants in the downtown area have signed up to help sponsor the Firefly Nights, she said. “We want to see our businesses grow,” plus attract new ones, Thompson told council members. But without a liquor permit during the monthly events, people will have to remain inside businesses if they want to consume alcohol. The permit would allow people to purchase alcoholic beverages and enjoy the entertainment out in the streets, she said. The plan is for beer and wine to be sold at all of the festivals. Organizers have talked with police and fire officials, who supported the permit request. “We really believe we have something special in downtown BG,” Thompson said, noting that the hundreds of people who attended the “Chocolate Crawl” in the downtown earlier this year expressed interest in the variety of shops in the city. “We have to expose them to all we have to offer,” Thompson said. Council President Mike Aspacher complimented the Firefly Nights organizers for their hard work. “Hopefully this will become a reoccurring event” in future years, he said. Council member Sandy Rowland praised the women for the “courage to take on something this big.” After the vote, Mayor Dick Edwards thanked council for acting quickly on the liquor request appeal. He noted the success of the first Firefly Night last week. “Everyone had a smile – despite the weather,” Edwards said.

Downtown Bowling Green hopes to avoid gas pains at summer events

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Columbia Gas officials gave assurances Monday night that the installation of new gas lines in downtown Bowling Green would not interfere with the summer fun. The $1.3 million project to lay 7,500 feet of plastic pipe is scheduled to begin June 4, and continue until early September. It will extend down Main Street from Clay down to Lehman and Ordway. The existing metal pipes will be replaced by plastic pipes. The project is part of an ongoing effort by Columbia Gas to upgrade its service. The gas service will go from about a quarter pound of pressure to 50 pounds of pressure. “That gives us not only a safer pressure to keep water out of the lines, it allows for homeowners and residents to use more gas appliances,” said Raquel Colon, an external affairs specialist for Columbia Gas. “You’ll have more capacity to have more gas come into your home.” This will include generators for businesses, said Jim Simon, project leader for Columbia Gas. “This project will be a lot of open cut, there’ll be a lot digging, not boring as we’ve done in the past,” Colon said. “What we’re doing is a lot of digging, and it will be a little dirty but the goal is a much safer distribution of gas.” Alex Hann, who is site and logistics chair for the Black Swamp Arts Festival as well as being active in other downtown events, asked about what provisions would be made for the five events already planned. On the downtown calendar are the new Firefly Nights on the third Fridays of June, July, and August, the Classics on Main car show on July 7, and the weekend long Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sept. 7-9 as well as the weekly farmers market. Representatives for all the events were in attendance. Simon said he was aware and sympathetic to the concerns. He lives in Bowling Green and attends the arts festival. “Our goal is to make it as safe as possible.” Hann said he was concerned about tripping hazards as well as conditions that make the area less accessible for those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. Simon said that unlike in the past where the company has completed large sections of project before going back to do restoration, for the BG work they will do either permanent or temporary restoration as they go along. The idea is to leave things as they were before the work. The project is being coordinated with the city which has a downtown streetscape project planned to start in fall. Columbia Gas will patch some areas up, but try to minimize how much will then be ripped out for the city’s project. The gas line improvement extends further south and north than the city plans to go, so those areas will be fully restored. Workers have already been out marking where underground utilities are with color-coded flags and spray paint. “The flags are an indication of what’s under the ground,” Colon said. “The flags are there so we know what’s there.” The markings, however, do not signify where crews will be digging. She advised home owners who have underground sprinkler systems or invisible fences to let the company know to avoid damage. The service representatives will then reach…

BG trims fat off proposed food truck ordinance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some of the leftover crumbs from the food truck discussions were tidied up by Bowling Green City Council Committee of the Whole Monday evening. The ordinance allowing food trucks to operate in the city will be ready for City Council to vote on at its next meeting. The decisions made Monday evening favored making the ordinance the least restrictive as possible – with the understanding that if a problem occurs, council will then handle the issue. But council member Bill Herald, who was head of the committee tackling the food truck issue, brought up several issues that weren’t addressed in the ordinance, just to make sure they should not be included. In most cases, the Committee of the Whole preferred to keep the recipe for food trucks as simple as possible. For example: Trucks in the downtown area Herald noted that the ordinance did not require food trucks in the downtown area to have “visibility triangles.” Council member Sandy Rowland reminded that the goal was to “keep the regulations as free as possible. Those are things we can change as we live through the implementation.” Council president Mike Aspacher agreed that council can “adjust as needed,” when problems arise. If a food truck were to park in an unsafe location, the city will discuss the problem, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said. The city has a history of working with people and coming up with solutions that are agreeable. “We really do try to employ diplomacy,” she said. Hours and days of operation Herald pointed out that the ordinance does not limit food trucks to certain days or hours of operation. Aspacher said the city’s goal is to not place such limits. “My feeling is we should not do so,” he said. Council members Rowland and Bruce Jeffers agreed. Several food vendors have attended city meetings to explain that they only set up on days and times when they can get plenty of customers. Appeals process for those opposed to food trucks The proposed ordinance allows food vendors to appeal if their permit request is denied. However, there is no appeal process for the public if the permit request is granted, Herald said. This addition would allow more freedom to the process, he said. Jeffers agreed. However, Aspacher and Rowland saw no need for the appeal language. “I just feel this is unnecessary,” Aspacher said. Rowland pointed out that the city doesn’t allow the public to appeal other businesses in the community. “I don’t know why we should do it with a mobile vendor,” she said. Herald suggested there would be no harm in adding the appeal provision, but Aspacher stressed that there was no need to complicate the ordinance. Since the issue was at a stand-off, the topic was brought up again during the regular council meeting Monday evening to get more input from other council members. Both Daniel Gordon and Greg Robinette agreed that the appeal language was not needed. Food trucks in residential areas Mobile vendors will be able to park on public streets in neighborhoods. So Herald asked if some restrictions be placed in residential areas. Rowland said she couldn’t imagine a food truck parking in a neighborhood to do business. “If it happens and it’s a problem, we…

Garden Group helps brighten up downtown BG

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN The day started out with lightening, thunder and a deluge of rain as the flowers were being delivered this morning by Sue Wolf and her people.  Over 1000 colorful healthy plants grown especially for Downtown Bowling Green by Wolfs Blooms and Berries, arrived at 6 a.m. Dedicated to the task, they were not able to avoid getting a little soggy.   More than a dozen members of the BGSU Women’s Garden Group meet at Grounds for Thought for complimentary coffee and donuts before starting on the planting of the flowers.  These women, some who are master gardeners, have volunteered to do this annual planting day for many years. They also tend to the pots throughout the season, trimming and dead heading the expired blooms.  They were all happy to be greeted by a few rays of sunshine as they set out down Main St. Mary Hinkelman, Managing Director of Downtown Bowling Green said: “We are so grateful.  So much goes into having the wonderful flowers that we have in our Downtown. We just can’t thank the community of Bowling Green enough for the donations to help us continue this service and our thanks continue to all who are involved in the growing, planting and care of the flowers.” The hanging baskets will be delivered and hung tomorrow to complete the planting project.  Be sure to take a stroll though the Downtown and enjoy the view.  

Firefly Nights set to begin a summer of fun in downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Firefly Nights, a new series of street festivals in downtown Bowling Green, got off to a running start Friday night. About 200 runners and walkers toed the starting line on North Church Street near the library and at the signal marked what organizers hope will be a summer of fun in the business district. The 5K race and one mile walk started at 9 p.m. The participants in fluorescent shirts and glow bracelets. The evening start was meant to set it apart from all the other charity runs, said Stacie Banfield, one the organizers. “We wanted to make it a fun event for kids.” The after-dark start was also fitting given it promoted and raised funds for evening events Banfield, owner of Mode Elle, was one of a quartet of women business proprietors – Kati Thompson, of Eden Fashion Boutique, Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads, and Laura Wicks, of Grounds for Thought – who organized Firefly Nights. Thompson said to get 200 registrants for a first time race was a great response. “A hundred is considered a success.” Banfield said it was exciting to watch the registrations increased as race time approached, Banfield said. That included folks who signed up on Friday night. She and Thompson are optimistic that this is a sign of the enthusiasm for the three scheduled street festivals. The race will help fund three nights of downtown activities set for the third Friday of each month – June 15, July 20, and Aug. 17 – from 6 to 10 p.m. Main Street will be blocked off from the intersection of Court Street to the intersection of Washington with music stages at each end. Four bands will play alternating sets each night. All the bands have been booked, Banfield said. The lineup of talent from Northwest Ohio will be announced on June 1. Thompson said that 30 downtown businesses have signed up to participate and be sponsors. They will have sidewalk sales, a farmers market, and artisans will sell their wares. They are still talking with restaurants about how they will take part. Several will set tables out on the sidewalk. Mary Hinkelman, director of Downtown Bowling Green, was on hand as a participant in the walk. She’s excited by the prospects for Firefly Nights and sees it as a part of a growing interest in downtown activities. The farmers market, which opened for the season on Wednesday, drew a good crowd, and the One-Bite restaurant crawl held during Art Walk has drawn raves from the restaurants. “I see lot of great things happening downtown,” Hinkelman said. “Everybody’s pulling together.”    

Gas line project gets ready to dig into downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News During the next four months, Columbia Gas will be replacing natural gas lines in the downtown Bowling Green area – affecting more than 110 customers and disrupting traffic along Main Street. In an effort to explain the construction project, Columbia Gas officials will hold a community meeting with Bowling Green citizens on Monday, May 21, at 6 p.m., in the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St. The work area is primarily on Main Street, from Clay Street to Ordway Avenue, but will extend down certain side streets, alleys, and into parking lots. The gas line work will begin in early June, and is expected to be completed by October. Cheri Pastula, communications manager for Columbia Gas, said the project is part of many upgrades being done to prevent problems with aging lines. The bare steel lines will be replaced with plastic pipes. The Bowling Green project was moved up to this year, Pastula said, since the city is planning major streetscape work in the downtown next year. “We decided to do it this year before the city does its roads,” so the street work will not need to be disturbed, she said. During the community meeting, Columbia Gas officials will address how the project will affect residents: Columbia Gas contractors will work street by street to install new main lines and service lines up to each customer’s home or building. Gas service will not be impacted until it is time for Columbia Gas to connect the customer to the new gas system at their meter. For most customers, gas service will be interrupted for approximately two hours. Customers will get advance notice of this service interruption. If the gas meter is currently inside, it will be moved outside. Any surface that has to be disturbed will be repaired by Columbia Gas. This includes sidewalks, driveways, lawns and landscaping. Once this work is complete, customers will have a gas system with state of the art safety features. During the construction, Columbia Gas will make efforts to not shut down any streets. However, lanes will be reduced and flaggers will be on hand, Pastula said. “There most likely will be some traffic disruption,” she said. “But we try not to close down the roads.” Columbia Gas of Ohio has invested more than $1.5 billion in communities around the state to replace aging gas lines over the last decade. This is paying off in safety, with leaks reduced by 40 percent, according to the company. Residents can contact Raquel Colon, external affairs specialist for Columbia Gas of Ohio, with questions or concerns at 419-351-8398 or Visit for more information on the construction process.

Downtown BG Farmers Market opens May 16

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Take some time to come out and enjoy an evening at the Farmers Market in Downtown Bowling Green.  The market starts May 16, 4-7 pm and will run through October 10th.  But don’t wait; every week brings new produce, delicious cottage foods, some handcrafted items and music too.   The new Farmers’ Market manager, Samantha Beane has organized an amazing slate of vendors and is excited to start the season.  Huntington Bank has generously allowed us to utilize the parking lot on the corner of S. Main and Clough Streets.  This a wonderful location and it gives the market room to grow.    We’ve been able to bring back the Frequent Buyer program, thanks to the support of Newlove Realty and Thayer Family Dealerships and their partner company AllState Insurance.  Each time a shopper spends $5 at a stand, they get a stamp on their card.  When the card is full the card will be turned in for $5 in Downtown Dollars.  For those not familiar with the Downtown Dollars program, more than 70 Downtown businesses accept them for goods and services.  You can get a frequent buyer card and redeem a full card at the market info booth.  Last year, about $2,000 in Downtown Dollars were awarded to shoppers.  All completed cards that are turned in will be eligible to win $100 in Downtown Dollars through a sponsorship by Banfax Pest Control, a local business serving our area for over 30 years. Live music at the market has really been enjoyed by many.  The tradition continues at The Stone’s Throw Stage from 5:30 – 7pm.   Thanks to The Stones Throw Restaurant for sponsoring the stage and to Tim Concannon for making the arrangements and all the musicians who donate their time to perform from 5:30 – 7 pm.  To start off the season, Tim Tegge & The Black Swamp Boys will be bringing some original folk music to the market! This is a pre-show to the Hump Day Review at The Stones Throw every Wednesday evening. This season we will also have some special events including the Zucchini 500 races and a fun run with the support of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation.  There will also be a bike awareness program and a kids fun night through the Bicycle Safety Commission. A full schedule of all the music and special events at the market will be available very soon on our website at  The schedule will be updated as other special events are added to the season.   As special thanks to Julie Martini and Martini Creative for hosting and updating the website as a part of a sponsorship with the market. The Kiwanis Club has also provided sponsorship monies to the Downtown to make this years market possible.   We will continue to work with our farmers to provide the SNAP program for shoppers and our market is a designated pick up location for the CSA program.  To learn more about this program visit the website for Riehm Farms at    This year’s vendors include Anderson’s Farm Fresh Products, Bella Cuisine, Clay Hill,The Cookie Fairy, COSTCO, Dirty  Feet Farms, English Gardener, Flatlands Coffee, Friends of the Wood County Parks, Garden View Flower Farm, Garry’s Kettle Corn, Great Lakes Custom Sharpening, In Every Season Calligraphy, Just Jammin & Stuff, Kings Berries, Kitten Pants LLC,…

Gazebo is taking center stage in BG’s Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Amish builder Merle Yoder has built many a gazebo – but never one quite like the structure going up now on Wooster Green. “This is definitely bigger than normal,” Yoder said as he climbed down from his ladder. “It’s been challenging.” Yoder and the rest of the crew from Mt. Hope Fence are erecting the gazebo under the curious eyes of pedestrians, dog-walkers, bicyclists and motorists that pass by the Wooster Green at the corner of West Wooster, South Church and South Grove streets. The crew started by setting posts two weeks ago. They hope to have the 28-foot by 28-foot structure done by the end of next week. Yoder, from Sugar Creek, said the open gazebo will have a metal roof and four sidewalks leading to it. As the structure takes shape, it’s been the focus of much gawking – especially when the nimble workers scamper on top of the gazebo. “I’m excited about it. It looks pretty cool,” said Nadine Edwards, a member of the Wooster Green planning committee. The Mt. Hope firm was hired because of its expertise with such projects. “They’ve done gazebos and pavilions all over,” Nadine Edwards said. But this one is different, Yoder said. “This is the first one so big,” he stressed. “I really enjoy the challenge of something out of the ordinary.” Mayor Dick Edwards is one of the many people keeping an eye on the construction. “They’ve been sticking right with it. We’ve really enjoyed working with them,” he said. Once the work at Wooster Green is completed, the gazebo is intended to be used for community gatherings, small-scale musical events, and other events. The official launch of the fundraising for the location is scheduled for June 1, at 4 p.m. Though the campaign hasn’t started yet, city residents and businesses have already helped with the expenses. “People have stepped forward in advance of the public fundraising campaign,” the mayor said. One donor – who will be recognized on June 1 – gave the entire $50,000 needed for the gazebo. Betco has donated the topsoil that will be needed at the site. And Poggemeyer Design Group donated its design skills in honor of the firm’s 50th anniversary. “They elected to do this project pro bono. That’s been enormously helpful,” Dick Edwards said. The goal is to raise a total of $435,000 for the site. While building Wooster Green is expected to cost $350,000, the rest of the money will be set aside for future needs. “We wanted an endowment to help maintain the property over the long haul,” Dick Edwards said. Though the gazebo is the most visible improvement to the site, much of the other work won’t be completed till next year. In 2019, the entry gate wall will be constructed, plantings will be completed, and sidewalks will be installed. “By this time next year, I really hope it’s nearly done,” the mayor said. “This has been a long-involved process. People are all excited.”  

PRIZM brings art collection, including Haitian crafts, to Sam Bs

From PRIZM CREATIVE COMMUNITY PRIZM Creative Community is pleased to announce its  “Sun, Sand, Summer Exhibition” as the newest exhibit in Wood County.  On display thru July the 30th at the Sam B’s Restaurant in Bowling Green the exhibit pays homage to the pleasures of nature, outdoor life, and nostalgia enjoyed with warmer days. On display is a collection of over 150 new pieces, by 24 artists in all medias including jewelry, ceramics, glass, acrylics, oils, fiber, alcohol inks, wood, floral, and paper.  Many featured items would make great Mother’s Day, Graduation or Wedding Gifts this season while supporting local artisans. An informal Opening Reception with free drinks and appetizers and a chance to meet many of the artists will be held on Thursday evening May 10 from 7:30- 9:30 p.m. in the back bar area of the restaurant at 163 S. Main Street in Bowling Green.     New to the exhibit space is a special collection from The Circle of Life project sponsored by Missions International of America located in Perrysburg.   The Circle of Life project is a system in which local artisans and business people have mentored the Haitian people to develop their artistic skills, to make and market products that have given them a never before opportunity to make an annual income to feed their families.    Most of the products are made with recycled paper, but a generous donation to the non-profit has enabled the group to begin to develop leather products as well. These reasonably priced products include innovative jewelry, coasters, key rings, change bowls, pots, and decorative items. Also exhibiting for the first time is several new and innovative artists.   Just graduating BGSU student Regina Hilton is showcasing her beautiful hand crafted ceramics.  Each ceramic mug, and drinking glass or porcelain bowl is uniquely formed and glazed. Regina encourages customers to pick up each item, and select the one that fits their hand the best.  Also new this exhibit is the hot blown glass of retired Toledo attorney Cindy Tesznar who features three different series of her work including sandblasted vases, nautilus swirl designs, and floral vases, and décor items.  Sam B’s is also excited to feature designer floral items from The Exceptional Touch. Having designed custom Christmas trees for The Toledo Club, wedding events and private clients over the years, The Exceptional Touch offers distinctive and timeless floral designs for protected outdoor and interior environments.   Several past guest artists are returning to the gallery space with fresh and innovative work.  Randy Bennett features his nostalgic mixed media work capturing iconic nature and history such as his piece to honor The Midnight Cowboy.  Wendy Jenkins, a local fiber artist features decorative and useable fiber art to brighten your home environment. Artist Darlene Krohn features distinctive works using pen and ink with watercolor, while Photographers J.D. Jensen and David Ridenour feature unforgettable images some printed on metal.  Artist Mary Mascazine who is a master at Marbling introduces some of her newest Jewelry Designs. Perennial favorite artists are back with new stock. Eagle Glassworks features a new technique of embossed glass capturing seasonal silhouettes in stunning colored sheets of glass.     Melanie Stinson and Julie Spitler create beautiful works using alcohol ink on various substrates David Grabarczyk continues to offer quality wooden jewelry and keepsake boxes, while Kate…

Art Walk helps downtown BG blossom (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A Walbridge painter who stepped out for her first Art Walk in downtown Bowling Green won top honors in the annual spring event Saturday. Shirley Frater won the first place Juror’s Award. She said she decided to do the event after exhibiting in the 50+ Shades of Grey Exhibit at the Wood County Senior Center. The second place award went to photographer Flannery Murnen, a junior at Bowling Green State University, and another first time participant in the show. Richard Gullet won third place for his detailed pen and ink drawings. Gullet, who showed his work in Qdoba, also won the People’s Choice award. Emily Metzger’s charcoal self-portrait, shown in Murder Ink Tattoo Company, won second place in People’s Choice, and Gail Christofferson won third place for her art guitars, which were on display at Finder’s Records. Following the event, the judges Sara Busler and Lauren Canavan issued a statement, about their choices. Of Frater’s work they wrote: “Shirley draws inspiration from a variety of materials. These materials include found objects such as medallions, old book pages, napkins and photos. Through the use of these found objects she creates an intricate composition that tells a narrative. The arts pays attention to all the fine details of her work from production to presentation. Each frame is found and repurposed to complement the work enclosed within.” Frater said that exhibiting at the senior center inspired her to show her work more, as well as become more involved in the Bowling Green Arts Council, who co-sponsors Art Walk with Downtown BG. Frater said she was a little concerned that she was in Biggby’s Coffee, which is a block off Main Street. But foot traffic at the shop was good, and a couple of the pieces she sold were to people who had just stopped in a buy a coffee. O f Murnen’s work, the judges wrote: “Through the use of traditional film cameras, Flannery’s work is at the mercy of the moment. Pairing her love of history and talent in photography, she captures images for posterity. One photo captures a quick glimpse of the crowd on the Woman’s March on Washington, while another documents a woman in Cuba carrying clean water, a basic amenity often taken for granted in other countries.” Murnen is not a complete newcomer to the show. She works at Coyote Beads where her photos were displayed, and has worked during Art Walk. Also, while in high school, she participated in Art Walk projects, though she said she never had the time to actually attend. Now a junior at Bowling Green State University, Murnen is a double major in history and photography. The two merge in her work. She shoots film, not digital, and despite what some people think, this is not a waste of time. “There’s a glow in a silver gelatin print that you can’t get from an ink jet print,” she said. “So if you’re looking for real beauty put it in silver. … It’s great to meet people who also have passion for the craft. Film photography doesn’t get its due.” She likes exhibiting as a way to showcase her work but also to draw attention to the photography program at the BGSU School of Art. “The work Lynn Whitney…

Art Walk in downtown BG is a sure sign of spring

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Art Walk is here! It’s a sure sign of spring when the artist come out after the long winter to wake us from the gray and whites of that season to the vast array of colors that will be the focus of the weekend. April 28th, Downtown Bowling Green in cooperation with the BG Arts Council will present the 26th Annual Art Walk. This year, there will be 31 “walking galleries” featured at the businesses that offered space to the local artists. So much wonderful art to take in, but this is not all there is to the Art Walk experience. There is also a Quilt Show and Exhibit, performing artists and a culinary art component. Each of the gallery artists’ work will be judged for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize as well as 3 People’s Choice Awards. Brochures with a listing of each artist and gallery location will be available at participating merchants and the Four Corners Center on the day of the Art Walk. All the galleries and the performing arts are free and open to the public. Art Walk is really a community event as it features 25 local artists, 20 plus quilters, a multitude of performing artists, 14 casual artists and charities in Project Chair-Art-Y, BG local schools as well as BGSU art departments. One of the galleries, located at 157 N. Main St., features BG Elementary school students’ art and a hands-on activities for visitors to partake in. BG High School students will display metal work at Waddington Jewelers and other artwork at Grounds for Thought. The Quilt Exhibit and Demonstrations, located at the Four Corners Center, is another major highlight of the Art Walk. Over 20 quilters will display their work and several will be demonstrating techniques. This exhibit is sponsored by the Busy Thimble and the Black Swamp Quilters and organized by Connie Miller. This year marks the 5th year for this exhibit. A beautiful quilt that will be raffled has been donated by the Black Swamp Quilters. The proceeds of this raffle will benefit the Downtown Foundation Flower Fund. The featured quilt is 70” x120” done in a log cabin pattern and machine stitched with a feather pattern. The donated quilt is currently on display at the Busy Thimble so people to get a peek of this fantastic piece before the Art Walk. On the day of the Art Walk, the quilt will be on display at the Four Corners Center. You can buy raffle tickets now at the Busy Thimble or the day of the Art Walk. Winner will be announced at the After Party. The Art Walk is one of the ways the Downtown Foundation raises funds toward the Flower Fund. Each summer about 1,000 plants are purchased to fill the 43 commercial pots and 38 hanging baskets in the Downtown Special Improvement District. The Downtown Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations to our foundation are tax deductible. Other features at the Four Corners Center are a variety of performing artists, including Julie’s Dance Studio performances, a fine art raffle and Project Chair-Art- y. The fine art raffle will be a donated original art work from local artist Lonnie Rosenberg called “The Box Turtle.” The piece is framed and ready…

Food truck discussion takes sweet and sour twist

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The discussion over food truck rules in Bowling Green erupted into a verbal food fight Wednesday evening. But when it was over, rules allowing food trucks to operate in the city were ready to move on to City Council. On one side of the dispute was council member Bill Herald, who had spent countless hours covering every possible angle of the mobile food truck issue in a 180-page slide presentation. On the other side were council members Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino, who wanted to move along the process, stop reviewing the slide presentation, and instead discuss a one-page food truck permit proposed by Rowland. “We talked about the size of this report,” Rowland said to Herald, referring to council members asking the committee to move along the process. “It’s taken far too long at this point.” While the committee has held eight meetings, they took place over a condensed space of less than two months, Herald said. He stressed that the one-page permit proposal “isn’t as rich with detail,” as his 180-page report. Herald asked his fellow council members to give him a half hour to get through his executive summary of 21 pages. “I think we’ve been thorough. We’ve been comprehensive,” Zanfardino said. “I don’t mean to be argumentative up here,” Zanfardino said, but added that he wanted Wednesday’s meeting to end with a plan that council as a whole could review. Rowland agreed, and pushed for a product that could go before City Council soon. But both agreed to let Herald start through his executive summary. As they studied the slides, Rowland and Zanfardino pointed out unnecessary specifics or redundancies. For example, there was no need to stipulate that the food sold has to be legal, or to identify the type of vehicles allowed. The locations where food trucks would be permitted was narrowed down to not allow the vehicles on Main Street, Wooster Street or any of the sides streets one block off of those. Those restrictions are due to safety on the state routes, which don’t have much spare room. “It’s just not made for it,” Herald said of the downtown streets. Rowland and Zanfardino agreed. “I’m personally trying to strike a balance” between local concerns and mobile food vendors, Zanfardino said. Food trucks will also not be allowed in city parking lots unless for special events. But Rowland said she has identified several locations in town where food vendors could set up. “There are a lot of places where people gather,” she said. On her list was Wooster Green, where food trucks would be allowed in the bus drop off section of South Church Street, at city parks, during Winterfest, during Firefly Nights in the summer, in private parking lots and neighborhood gatherings. Rowland and Zanfardino suggested the city try a pilot program that would allow problems to be ironed out as they arose. “During the trial period, I truly feel the administration and council would welcome conversations with vendors,” Rowland said. At that point in the meeting, the discussion had been going on more than a half hour and Herald’s executive summary still was not completed. So Rowland suggested that the committee shift gears and move on to her short permit proposal. “I’m incredibly opposed…

Food truck talks continue to simmer in slow cooker

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The food truck discussions in Bowling Green may be cookin’ but they are still far from complete. During the seven meetings held so far on the topic, there’s been talk about peeling back the layers of an onion, putting meat on the bone, taking the issue off the back burner, and peppering the ordinance with certain language. Yet, the food truck issue remains simmering in a slow cooker. “It’s just the nature of Bowling Green to be cautious,” said City Council member Sandy Rowland, who is working with council members Bill Herald and John Zanfardino on the food truck regulations. But time is running out if the city wants food trucks to operate in the community this summer. “I think seven meetings is an awful long time,” Rowland said during last week’s food truck meeting. Rowland suggested that an ordinance be drafted by the city attorney and presented at next week’s City Council meeting. But Herald balked at that idea. “We’ve been meticulous, we’ve been balanced,” Herald said, urging his two fellow committee members to resist rushing to the finish line before the ordinance is ready. The varying work styles of committee members became even more apparent last week, with Herald referring to his 168-page report, and Rowland presenting a one and a half page draft permit for food truck vendors. “I’m hoping we can do something to attract them before 2019,” Zanfardino said, with some frustration. “I believe in the benefit they bring to the entire city.” But Zanfardino echoed Rowland’s description. “Bowling Green is very cautious and very slow to move,” he said. During last week’s meeting, like the six before, the council committee members listened to concerns from food truck vendors, brick and mortar restaurant owners, and citizens. Max Hayward questioned why the food truck proposal did not allow vendors to set up anywhere along Main or Wooster streets in the downtown area. He called that an “unnecessarily restrictive rule” that could doom food trucks to failure. Bowling Green is being “needlessly conservative and cautious,” Hayward said. Phil Barone, who owns a food truck and the restaurant, Rosie’s Italian Grille, said hiding food vendors will not work. “Food trucks need to be seen,” he said. But Herald said there is not enough room and too much traffic to allow food trucks in the area of the downtown four corners. “One of the main things we have to be concerned about is safety,” he said. Owner of the Qdoba restaurant on South Main Street downtown, Nadya Shihadeh, suggested that food trucks not be allowed to set up too close to restaurants that are “paying the taxes, paying the rent.” “I would still be OK with food vendors parking out back, but I don’t want it right in front of my store,” Shihadeh said. “It’s been hard to make it in the downtown as a restaurant owner.” Zanfardino said some cities have no distance requirements for food trucks, and others require them to set up at least 1,000 feet away from a restaurant, which is “ludicrous,” he said. Hayward said allowing the food trucks in the downtown will bring customers to the area and help other businesses as well. Citizen Ann Beck said the food trucks could keep local residents from…