Downtown Bowling Green

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 painted on the south side of Court Street, from Prospect Street to Thurstin Avenue. “People want more transportation options,” such as bike lanes, Sayler said. “This is a cheap, low-cost way.” City officials hope to measure the popularity of the bike lanes. “We’re actually going to collect some data.” In addition to the bike lane, the Court Street Connects event…

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, (March 30), Coffee & Classics, 7 p.m., Wood County Public Library and Saturday (April 1), Bravo BGSU! A Celebration of the Arts, 6 p.m., Wolfe Center for the Arts. Bryan Recital and Kobacker halls are located in the Moore Musical Arts Center. The Jazz Lab Band I concert and the Bravo! BGSU!! A Celebration of the Arts event require tickets….

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 Rag.” “I don’t know how you expect the stop the war when you can’t sing any better than that.” And at first the singing at the Grounds event was, let’s say,  dutiful. But humor, another unifier, helped pull everyone in. After singing the Holly Near song that gave the event its title, Jason Wells-Jensen joked about the setting of the…

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. At next week’s open house, the four draft concepts of the Community Action Plan will also be highlighted: Preservation of historic and green spaces. Activation of park and other community areas. Connection of people in the neighborhoods. Evolution of the East Side of the city.

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 the fall. The project is expected to be completed no later than the fall of 2018. “We’d certainly like it before that,” Myers said. The task force presented a plan for the space more than a year ago. Then they waited as council debated whether or not to place a city building on the same 1.7 acres. Public pressure pushed…

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:

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 kiosks were recently installed, will cost $12,000. Since the city’s general fund is tight, the funds are coming from the police trust fund, which is generated from enforcement efforts such as fines. Hetrick hopes to next have cameras installed at the corner of North Main and Court streets. That area has the “highest incidence” of assaults and other issues as…

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 place. While this may seem ironic that our top story was written by neither McLaughlin nor Dupont, I don’t see it that way. Zibbel Media, operated by John Roberts-Zibbel and Roberts-Zibbel, is as much responsible for launching and maintaining the BG Independent enterprise as McLaughlin and Dupont, and I’m happy to have this recognition of that contribution. Some people were…

Weekend shows celebrate Howard’s Club H musical legend

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly bought Howard’s Club H earlier this year, it was with the intent of reviving the venerable night spot as a top local music venue. The fruits of those ambitions will be evident this weekend. Blues rocker Michael Katon, who played the club regularly from 1982 through the early 2000s, will return for a show Friday. Then on Saturday at 10 p.m. a crew from WBGU-TV will be on hand to tape a triple bill of younger acts – Tree No Leaves, Indian Opinion and Shell. “Howard’s has always been a music venue, a place to hear live music with a bar to go with it,” Feehan said. “We want to foster a community as much as we can. That’s what’ needed in this day and age.” And that’s what Howard’s was in its heyday. The bar traces its genesis to 1928 when Fred Howard opened a candy shop where the Wood County Library now sits. Legend has it, Feehan said, that the candy store also fronted a speakeasy that was popular with college football players. When Prohibition ended, Howard’s became a bar. The details of that and other stories are hard to pin down, he said. That’s part of the fun. “After we took ownership, then we realized what we had,” Feehan said. People would walk through the door, and share lore of the club, which moved across the street in the early 1970s. “We almost felt more like curators than owners.” Both Zmarzly and Feehan experienced that history as teenagers playing in bands at Howard’s. Feehan played piano with the Madhatters and Zmarzly is still active as a drummer and guitarist in AmpWagon. Feehan remembers crossing paths with Katon back in the 1980s. After a hiatus of more than 10 years, Katon returned to the club during this year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. He played a late night Saturday show at the club before closing the festival…

Community on parade as BG ushers in holiday season

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The theme of Bowling Green’s Holiday Parade was Lights, Cameras, Angels. Well, Saturday morning wasn’t the best day to be donning angel wings, as the Wood County Library contingent found out. They were book angels, each celebrating a favorite story. But the icy wind caught their cardboard wings and twisted them out of place. But the blustery weather, a sudden blast of winter after Friday’s unseasonable balminess, didn’t dampen the spirits of those walking down Main Street, nor the spirits of the bundled masses, including candy collecting kids, lining the parade route. The Holiday Parade puts the community on revue. You have to wonder with so many people marching, how many are left to watch the parade. The parade features the panoply of the community from youngsters in childcare to senior citizens. Those who keep us working like Lubrizol and Rosenboom and those who entertain us like the Horizon Youth Theatre. As expected there were twirlers braving the weather with skimpy costumes and frozen fingers, and marching bands that blasted out brassy renditions of holiday favorites. Frieda and Freddy and the cheerleaders represented Bowling Green State University, and a large Not In Our Town group represented town-gown cooperation. Professionals showed a more playful side. The dental practice of Phipps, Levin, Hebeka & Associates, put on their brightest smiles and won honors as the best float for their efforts. Other winners were: Best of Show:  Julie’s Dance Studio Most Unique:  Jerome Rollers Best Youth:  The Beat Dance Company Best Live Performance: High Society Baton Corps All this led up to the arrival of Santa Claus, who was carried on a sled by the team of horses not reindeer. The predicted precipitation had held off until then, though just a few minutes after the parade ended, there was snow in the air. The holiday festivities got underway the night before with temperature in the 60s, when Mayor Richard Edwards flipped the switched to light the tree…

Sweet things to taste, hear, & read on tap at library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Concerts, a holiday cookie bake-off and tasting, and an author visit help usher in the season at Wood County District Public Library (251 North Main St., Bowling Green). Give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, and stop by the library for these programs. Tuesday, November 29, 7 pm. Students in piano studies at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts return to the WCDPL Atrium for another virtuoso concert. This last concert in the BGSU Fall Concert Series at the library features selections from the work of nine master composers, including that of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms, as well as the work of Alexander Scriabin, Gabriel Fauré, Alberto Ginastera, and Sergei Prokofiev. Sunday, December 4, 2 pm. The Great Holiday Bake-off takes place in the Library Atrium. Bakers and cookie tasters are needed! Tasters are invited to come and sample cookies, then vote on their favorites. To enter the bake-off, bakers are asked to bring 2 dozen cookies and their recipe. Multiple cookie entries are accepted, how ever bakers should a recipe for each type of cookie type. For purposes of determining contest winners, bakers will be divided into 2 categories: 12-years-old and younger and 13-years-old and older. Saturday, December 10, 1 pm. Meet the Author, Tom Lambert. 1st Floor Meeting Room. Imagine acquiring a house guest known to you only as “Earl”. All the evidence before you suggests that Earl in fact may be America’s beloved—albeit long dead–humorist and author, Mark Twain. Who is this person really? That’s the question bedeviling Tom in Living with Earl. Tom Lambert, a life-long resident of Bowling Green comes to WCDPL to talk about his debut novel, Living with Earl. Book signing to follow Mr. Lambert’s talk. These programs are free and open to all.For more information, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5050 and find details at  

Downtown tree lighting will be Nov. 18

The Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held in downtown Bowling Green, Friday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St. The Bowling Green High School Madrigals will start singing at 6:50 p.m. After the tree lighting, Madrigals will present a holiday concert in the library’s atrium. Doughnuts and hot chocolate will be served.

Downtown BG dumpster corrals get a facelift

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Great things are happening in Downtown Bowling Green as a summer-long project is nearing completion.  This summer, it was approved by the Board of Directors for the Special Improvement District to work on the dumpster corrals that were constructed as a part of the Heritage 2000 project.   These corrals house dumpsters that are used by all the businesses and residents in the downtown and over the last 16 years have seen a lot of use and abuse.  The project included replacing all broken or deteriorating wood, repairing original doors and any other structural problems.   This work was completed by the local small business Lewallen Construction.  “Justin Lewallen was excited for the opportunity to work with our Downtown and gave us a very competitive quote, making it possible to move ahead with the project.  The work completed was to specifications and finished on time.” per Mary Hinkelman, managing director for the Downtown.  “We have our maintenance people prepping the metal work at this time and the final portion of the project, the painting will be completed October 25th and 26th.”   The painting is being completed as a part of a Day of Caring project organized by Sue Clanton, area director for the United Way. The Downtown has also received generous donations from the businesses Newlove Realty, Finders Records, Randall Roberts, CPA, Ace Hardware, Greenbriar, and Homeworks Decorating Center for the painting project. Downtown Bowling Green is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to preserve and promote the historic heart of the city and create civic pride and community through opportunities for citizen involvement.  The Downtown Foundation’s annual campaign will begin in November. To make donations toward holiday decorations or flowers, contact 419-354-4332.

Bowling Green Trick-or-Treat information

Downtown BG’s annual trick or treat will take place Thursday, October 27 from 4:00-6:00 pm. Participating businesses will display an orange pumpkin sign. For information call Downtown Bowling Green office at 419-354-4223. The City Halloween Trick or Treat will once again take place on Halloween night from 6:30-8:00 pm. Citizens handing out treats should indicate participation by turning on porch lights. Those driving during the evening of October 31 are asked to drive slowly and with caution being mindful of the large number of pedestrians that evening.

Orange is the New Black stars to visit BG on behalf of Kelly Wicks

Submitted by the Kelly Wicks Campaign BOWLING GREEN, OH – Kelly Wicks, Democratic State House Candidate for District Three, will be joined Saturday, October 15, by stars of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black Taylor Schilling and Kate Mulgrew. Schilling and Mulgrew will speak at Wicks’ coffee shop, Grounds for Thought, at 1:00 p.m. about the importance of electing Kelly Wicks, and Democrats up and down the ballot, in November. Schilling and Mulgrew will encourage those in attendance to get involved in the campaign, and to canvass after the event on behalf of Kelly Wicks. Wicks said, “I’m thrilled to be joined by Taylor and Kate to talk about how important this year is for Democrats here in Wood County. I’m excited about the energy they will bring to our community.” The event is open to the public and free of charge.