Downtown Bowling Green

Arts beat: NRBQ right at home at Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Anyone who doubts that Howard’s Club H is having a revival as a music venue wasn’t at Saturday night’s NRBQ show. The venerable rock quartet was right at home in the stylish grit of the venerable club. And the sound system did justice to the band’s mix. NRBQ responded with 100 minutes of effervescent groove-based music delivered with a sly smile. The band opened with founder Terry Adams’ ”Rhythm Spell” and wrapped things up with Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm” as an encore. That was fitting because there was plenty of rhythm on display between the two. Whether they were sunny rock, the blues, or mambo, the beat was the thing throughout the night. The set bounced with little time between numbers from one highlight to another – the NRBG standard “Me and the Boys” or a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” among them. The show had its odd turns, as when the Adams summoned drummer John Perrin from behind his set to sing a number, supposedly for a woman in the audience. He ambled to the front of the stage and consulted with bassist Casey McDonough and guitarist Scott Ligon about what to sing. Then they eased into Roger Miller’s hit “King of the Road.” Adams took his place behind the drum set, He treated those drums far gentler than he did his two keyboards, which he treated like percussion throughout the night, slapping, punching, and then executing flowing runs. That’s the secret of NRBQ. Why after 50 years and shifts in personnel – Adams is the only founder and long-time member – the band is something more than the best bar band in the country. The repertoire is true to the sounds you’d expect from a band planted in the 1960s – before it seems anyone on stage except Adams was born. The celebrates the pop music of that time and the various Americana sounds that inspired it. They’re not afraid to play a novelty tune like Adams’ “Yes I Have a Banana” from the new EP “Happy Talk” that responds to a novelty tune from the 1920s. Adams is a musical subversive. He brings the joyous anarchy of an overgrown teenager to the mix, and a sophistication of someone whose influences include jazz mystery men Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk. He demonstrates how those seeming musical poles are all part of the same musical culture. Given this year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Monk, another musical subversive, Adams had promised to play one of the jazz icon’s compositions. He fulfilled that promise early in the show with a tender reading of Monk’s walking ballad “Ruby My Dear.” That was proof enough that Adams may play in a rock band but he is one of the best interpreters of…


The music plays on at the Clazel

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The new operators of the 91-year-old Clazel in downtown in Bowling Green are not looking to teach the old venue new tricks. This summer Darrin and Cierra Karcher, of Findlay, purchased the Clazel business from Ammar Mufleh, who retains ownership of the building and property. The vision for the venue spelled out by John Carroll, the general manager, follows along the lines of what Mufleh did from the time he purchased the old theater in mid-2008. He ran the club nights on Fridays and Saturdays until last December when he stopped them out of concern for the wear-and-tear on the theater and his staff. Now the late night lights and DJs are back. Carroll worked security and on other projects for the Clazel since 2011. “I have a lot of respect for the building and definitely want to make sure it’s taken care of.” The Karchers, Carroll said, who own several bars in Findlay and Upper Sandusky, were interested in branching out. This will be the first night club the couple will operate. The Clazel continues to be available for weddings, corporate meetings and parties, and fundraisers.  “The big one being Fire and Ice,” a February benefit for the American Red Cross, Carroll said. Working with A.L. Entertainment, the owners are also bringing back regular live music to the Clazel. Carroll said that the Columbus-based jam band ekoostik hookah was interested in hosting a holiday show at the venue. That show will be Friday, Dec. 8 and also feature Tropidelic, Rustik Waters, and Tree No Leaves. Leading up to the December show, the club is hosting a series of concerts featuring bands who play “in a similar vein” to ekoostik hookah. Some of these bands, Carroll said, have opened for ekoostik hookah or worked with them in other places. The next show will be Thursday, Nov. 2, featuring Vibe and Direct, followed by a Nov. 16 concert by Funk Factory. The idea is to give a platform for local and regional band, and put a spark back into Bowling Green’s local music scene, Carroll said. “The ultimate goal is to make the Clazel a destination for regional music,” Carroll said. He sees the venue’s efforts as complementary to what’s happening at Howard’s a block away. Together they can offer a full weekend of music. So far the reception has been good with performers expressing interest in working there. The old theater will continue its relationship with Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, which occasionally presents concerts in the venue. The most recent was last Thursday as part of the New Music and Arts Festival. Carroll, a 2009 BGSU graduate in criminal justice, will be the local face of the business. He ran the Phone and GameSource store across the street. That business has now shifted its inventory…


Expect the unexpected when NRBQ plays Howard’s Club H, founder Terry Adams promises

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back in 1966, a teenage Terry Adams used to push his piano into the bedroom and jam with brother, Donn, and a few other musical friends. A half century later Adams is still pushing his keyboards across the country playing concert halls, clubs, and bars with that band born in the outskirts of Louisville. NRBQ – originally for New Rhythm and Blues Quintet, and then Quartet – purveyors of off-kilter, off-beat pop rock is heading to Howard’s Club H, Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Click to purchase. A few home recordings mark the launch of a band that has persisted over the years, reaching music lovers ears in concerts, recordings, and the soundtrack of “The Simpsons,” where their loving irreverence was a perfect fit. In a recent telephone interview, Adams said “you don’t want to lose the reason you got into it.” “Music affected me when I was a young guy. Listening to it gave me something I couldn’t get anywhere else. It showed me the world, gave me insight into living. You can have times when you need a true friend and the music really reaches you. It’s there for you.” He started “messing around” on piano around sixth grade. “I didn’t know I was going to be a musician. I just loved listening to it, and slowly I realized I was making it myself, and I never turned back.” At the beginning during those bedroom sessions, “we just started playing music. Whatever we wanted. Different guys would stop by, and we realized we kind of had something.” Louisville, he said, didn’t seem to them to have much of a music scene. They had to seek out the sounds. Back then, he said, music lovers thought nothing of liking The Beatles and Sun Ra. That openness has remained. The band’s originals and covers run the range ofAmerican music from classic country to surf pop, and everything between and way out beyond the fringe. Adams is a jujitsu master of the keyboard. He makes his home at the intersection of Little Richard and jazz icon Thelonious Monk. Given this year is the 100th anniversary of Monk’s birth, Adams said he expects the band will pay tribute. Adams’ love of Monk goes back to his early teens. He’s recorded a full album of tributes “Thelonious Talks.” Not that he can tell you for sure what will be on any given set. “It just happens,” he said. The band steps on stage not even knowing what the first song will be. “It can be risky,” Adams, who calls the tunes, said, “but for the most part it’s the only way to play music for me. You can tell what’s right for the moment when you’re there. You can’t really predict it the night before, the day before….



New WBGU-TV show captures sound, atmosphere of Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Dive is a moniker that Howard’s Club H wears proudly. While owners Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly have made a number of cosmetic improvements to the Bowling Green establishment, the essential gritty rock ‘n’ roll essence of the place remains. Joe Goodman, of WBGU-TV, recognized that spirit as soon as he came in. The graffiti, the concrete floors and the smell of well-aged beer, he said, “reminded me of all the places I loved in New York City that I was missing. … It’s where real rock is born. This is where people cut their teeth.” So the television producer started thinking about how he could share this place viewers. Working with bands and the owners, he brought in a crew to film. The result is “Live at Howard’s.” As the posters declare “the dive comes alive on WBGU-TV” on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 11 p.m., and in that time slot every week for the next nine. The shows will then be rebroadcast early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 a.m. The show’s premiere will be celebrated with a party at the club where the first episode will be shown. Goodman said the aim is for “Live at Howard’s” to be “a little manic, energetic” in keeping with the vibe of the gritty club. The aim is to feature up-and-coming bands both local and regional with a mix true to the club’s usual lineups. The first show features Howard’s regulars Tree No Leaves. The band headlined a show last December, when the first taping was done. Technical difficulties marred some of the taping. When Feehan heard about it, he came in to make sure that wasn’t repeated. He wanted to show to fly. He’s impressed with Goodman’s work on the project. “This guy really has a vision for it.” The episodes were all produced locally by the WBGU-TV staff and Bowling Green State University students. Goodman said “Live at Howard’s” is meant to harken back to the late night programming he found on public TV that introduced him a new alternative bands. That’s a role public TV should play again. For Feehan, having the local PBS affiliate take notice of the venue affirms his and Zmarzly’s goal to revive the club as a top venue for music, built on area acts while casting a broader net. The premiere of “Live at Howard’s” is on Thursday leading into Homecoming Weekend at Bowling Green State University. The club has booked shows to encourage the people in town for Homecoming to check out the club. Mark Mikel, a veteran multi-instrumentalist who has been touring, writing and recording since the late-1970s, will perform a tribute to Black Sabbath in honor of Friday the 13th. He’ll perform at 8 p.m. followed by the popular local band Corduroy Road. On Saturday, Oct. 14, another veteran Toledo…


Sugar Ridge Brewery opens up in historic downtown BG location

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Sugar Ridge Brewery the beer isn’t relegated to the tap, it finds its way into every course on the menu. Mike Mullins, the owner and the brewer, said the restaurant’s chef J.R. Hernandez “incorporates it in everything” – the sauces, the brines, even the desserts. Sugar Ridge Brewery opened at 109 S. Main St., earlier this month during the Black Swamp Arts Festival. A ribbon cutting will be held to celebrate the new eatery Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m. Contact the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce to RSVP at MarissaMuniz@bgchamber.net or (419) 353-7945. Mullins opened on Dixie Highway in October, 2010. He operated it there until he closed it two years ago in preparation for opening the Bowling Green restaurant in the old Millikin Hotel. The new microbrewery was a long time coming. The walls had been covered in plaster and dry board and the tile covered with carpet. Mullins put a lot of “elbow grease and sweat equity” stripping the place to brick and mother of pearl tile. That renovation was done “one brick at a time” exposing the historic hotel’s original interior. Mullins started as a chef. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, he worked in Columbus as a sous chef at the One Nation and then as an executive chef two top restaurants in Charleston, West Virginia. He started brewing back in 1992. “I just always wanted to brew beer and see how it would turn out.” He has seven varieties on tap. Many of the names are a tip of the tap to nearby locales. The Falcon Ale is an American Amber Ale. Rossford Red is a Belgian-style pale ale. Sylvania Stout Mark Daniels is a foreign extra stout.  Not available currently is Perrysburg Pale Ale, a strong English ale. That was the first beer he brewed. He has a dozen varieties registered with the state, though he has more that can be added as soon as he fills out the paperwork and pays the fee. Customers can sample a variety of beers with four- or six-taste flights. Or they can bring a growler if their favorite brew home. Because he operates with a brewer’s permit he can only sell alcoholic beverages brewed in house, though he’s pursuing a license to add wine sales. The food is designed to showcase the beer. Hernandez was trained at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. He also apprenticed at Cohen and Cooke, a restaurant that occupied the space a couple of tenants ago. The Bowling Green High graduate, is a fourth generation cook, Mullins said. The menu includes a chorizo burger using his family’s recipe for the sausage. He can work in 22 different cuisines and brings those together in a fusion of approaches and flavors. The menu will change with the season….


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 and felt so welcomed.” She wanted others arriving here to have the same experience. This was also a way for students to get to know each other. When the teams were put together, students could not be on the same team as someone else of their nationality, she said. For Erbrech’s teammate, Aura Elabd, from Vienna, Austria, the scavenger hunt was a success. She especially like finding out about the coffee houses, Flatlands and Grounds for Thought, and gift shops. She spoke German with Amy Craft Ahrens, the proprietor of For Keeps, and was enchanted by the scents of Calico, Sage and Thyme. She’s sure to return to shop, she said. Both Elabd and Erbrech were struck at first by how small the downtown was—both come from large cities. Both they also found a lot. “You can get everything here,” Elabd said. And she said, unlike Vienna, the people here were very friendly. Elabd, a Fulbright scholar in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, said she’s also interested in traveling to outlying areas. She’s already discovered Grand Rapids. “I liked it very much. Such a vintage town.” Chambers said the businesses were all excited to welcome the students. Other groups of first-year students were…


For Keeps throws a party to mark 20 years of peddling life’s fun, non-essentials

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Amy Craft Ahrens is celebrating 20 years of running For Keeps in downtown Bowling Green, and she wants her customers to have a piece of the action. That’ll be especially true for one lucky customer in particular. As part of the celebration, the shop is holding a party under a tent Saturday Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop is handing out puzzle pieces. One of those pieces will complete a puzzle on display in the party tent. The person who gets the piece will receive a $250 gift card. Another 50 prizes will be given out as part of puzzle game. Craft Ahrens said that every year she has a sale to mark the anniversary of the opening of the store, but this year being a milestone she decided to expand the celebration. There’ll be cookies from the Cookie Jar, in keeping with Craft Ahrens’ shop local philosophy. Mimosas until their gone and beer, wine and soft drinks. Grab bags for $1, $3, $5 and $10 containing “a hodgepodge of goodies” worth at least twice the price. Customers can participate in a trivia contest about the store with questions such as how many women named Amy have worked there. And there’ll be goats. Craft Ahrens fancies goats, and when she was in Boston to run in the marathon earlier this year, the hotel she was staying in had goats, so she thought: “Why can’t I?” The sale will run from Friday through Sunday. Balloons will be strewn about the floor, and inside will be a tag denoting a discount from 10 to 30 percent, on merchandise, and this year cash rewards. All this to celebrate a space that was planned to be an extension of ACE Hardware next door. Craft Ahrens said that her father, Floyd Craft, who owns ACE and Ben Franklin, bought the building in 1996. Like so many downtown storefronts it had a number of incarnations, the most recent as an Eagles Club. Craft gutted the space. When the drop ceiling was removed it revealed an embossed tin ceiling and a balcony that no one had known was there. Craft was able to locate the tiles missing from the ceiling. Craft Ahrens liked the space and asked her dad what he intended to do with it. He told he was going to cut a doorway on the north wall and use it as an extension of the hardware store. Craft Ahrens, who was working in a gift shop in Chicago, thought such a distinctive space had the promise to be something more. “I thought there was room in Bowling Green for another gift shop,” she said. “So six months later I came back and started filling it up.” Being in retail is in Craft Ahrens’ blood. She was 9 when her family…


Long-awaited design selected for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The public spoke – at least 272 of them – and overwhelmingly supported the more meandering, less symmetrical plan for Wooster Green. So on Thursday, the Wooster Green steering committee made it official and voted to go with Option 2 for the 1.2 acres of green space where the junior high used to sit at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. “You’ve listened to the public. You made a decision. Now we can move forward with a plan,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said to the group. Following a public meeting about the green space plans and a week of two possible designs being displayed in the library, the steering committee received 150 online reactions and 122 written surveys on the designs. Option 1 was a more symmetrical design, with the walkways forming an “X” on the site. Option 2 was a more casual look, with a meandering path. “There was clearly a preference for option No. 2,” said Bob Callecod, who is co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee with Ann-Marie Lancaster. Comments on Option 1 referred to the plan as too formal, boring, and having too many sidewalks, Callecod said. Comments on Option 2 used words such as “pleasing, relaxed and organic,” he added. “They liked it because of the gentleness of it,” Callecod said of the plan with curved walkways and more open green space. “I think we got reasonably good participation,” Lancaster said of the community response. “People want to preserve a lot of the green space, and minimize the amount of concrete. Those were two driving factors in this design.” Some residents asked questions on the surveys about restrooms, water fountains, trees, benches and parking. Those were not included in the initial plan because the design was just looking at the placement of three major components – an arched entry, a display area for a sculpture, and a gazebo-like structure. The space will include tree-lined streets, other landscaping, bicycle racks, benches, streetlights and trash receptacles that match the style used downtown. Plans also call for places where people can plug in to charge their handheld devices. Restrooms and water fountains are not included in the plans because of the expense. One survey questioned how the city can afford building Wooster Green. Donations and grants will be sought for the project, with no city money going toward the construction of the site. The estimated cost of Wooster Green is $300,000. Though the biggest hurdle of the major design is now complete, the type of gazebo or pavilion being considered was still a matter of contention on Thursday. The steering committee has been using the word “pavilion,” but using a structure that looks more like a gazebo in its drawings. That led to two citizens, Jennifer Karches and Todd Childers, to…


BG named one of Ohio’s best hometowns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As editor of Ohio Magazine, Jim Vickers is accustomed to visiting communities throughout the state. But during a recent stop in Bowling Green, Vickers was struck by three features of the city – the energy from the university even though most students were gone for the summer, the healthy downtown, and the beautiful Simpson Garden Park. Bowling Green left such an impression, that the city was named one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns by Ohio Magazine. The 12th annual Ohio’s Best Hometowns issue of the magazine recognizes four communities in addition to Bowling Green: Marietta, Milford, Mount Vernon and Wooster. Bowling Green beat out other communities because of its vibrant college town atmosphere, strong sense of community and shared vision for the future. “I was in Bowling Green for the site visit,” Vickers said, so he had first-hand knowledge of why the city ranked so high. “Every year we look for towns that exemplify a strong community.” They checked out the campus. “It’s a vibrant college town, even in the summertime,” he said. “There’s an energy there.” They went downtown. “The health of the downtown really struck us. There’s a lot of work that goes into a downtown that works.” And they visited Simpson Garden Park. “That was a true community effort,” Vickers said. “That wouldn’t have happened without the community bonding together.” City officials were pleased that Bowling Green was awarded the honor. “It helps to continue and foster the community that we all know Bowling Green is. There’s a strong sense of community here,” said Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett. “It’s nice to have some affirmation of all of the good work everyone does around here.” Fawcett mentioned teamwork of the university, city school district and city government. “It takes everyone to make Bowling Green the community it is.” This is the second time Bowling Green has been named one of the state’s best hometowns by Ohio Magazine. The last time was 10 years ago, said Wendy Chambers, executive director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I was so proud of showing all the things that happened in the last 10 years,” Chambers said. The magazine representatives met with Mayor Dick Edwards, toured the Ben Franklin store downtown, talked with BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, and learned about the creation of the Four Corners offices. They also toured the Dream Cars museum, the Wood County Historical Center and Simpson Garden Park. They learned of the Not In Our Town movement, the community action plan, and teamwork by the hospital and university. “They got to see the best of everything,” Chambers said. While the nod by the magazine is a boost to the city’s spirits, it’s also great advertisement for people looking for a place to put roots. “I think this brings us to the…


Closing time at Ginny’s Inspired Fashions is bittersweet

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For stylish women, Ginny’s Inspired Fashions in downtown Bowling Green let them dress to a T, from socks for their toes to hats to top off their assemblage with outerwear and underwear for parts in between. The shop, though, was more than a place to find what to wear to go out and have a good time, but a destination in itself, a gathering spot, founder and owner Ginny Stewart said. A place to share stories, drinks, laughs, and, now that Stewart has announced she’s closing, tears. “I’m going to cry,” one customer declared as she walked into Ginny’s Tuesday. Just a few racks of dresses, tops, and skirts remained. The supply of headwear was thinning out. Stewart wrapped purchases in Christmas paper, and she had no more bags. Though Stewart originally said she’d stay open until late in July, it now looks like Friday, July 14, will be her last day. Stewart said after seven years she’s retiring. “My husband (Scott) is going to be working fewer hours in the next year, and we want to spend more time doing the things we’ve talked about doing. I want to spend more time involved in the social causes that matter to me, and I want to give more time to the schools.” Stewart is in her first term as a member of the Board of Education. The district has a bond issue to fund a major building project on the ballot in November. She announced the news of the shop closing in an email to customers late Friday night. But, she said, word started circulating at Grounds for Thought during the day Friday, and since then she’s had a steady stream of customers in to buy the last few must-have items, and mementoes of the shop. Barb Bettinger was there to pick up a few more baubles. She miss the selection of jewelry, and she’ll miss the proprietor’s personality even more. “Definitely friendly.” Stewart started selling hats seven years ago in a space in the rear of Coyote Beads. Stewart said she always loved hats, and they were coming back into fashion in a big way both for men and women. Then came a request for other apparel to go along with the hats. After six months she moved across the street to 133 S. Main St. to open her own storefront as BG Hats and Apparel. Two weeks after opening, a fire in an apartment above the shop, closed her down. Stewart was undeterred. She reopened. The name was later changed to Ginny’s Inspired Fashions – too many people thought the BG meant it sold Bowling Green State University apparel. The shop represented a return to retail for Stewart. She had worked for nine years as the organizational development manager at Phoenix Technology. When she and several others…


Ginny’s Inspired Fashions closing

After seven years of helping Bowling Green look classy, Ginny Stewart has announced that she is closing Ginny’s Inspired Fashions by the close of July. Saturday marked the beginning of what she’s calling a retirement sale, and at mid-afternoon customers were lined up to purchase goods at as much as 70 percent off. Stewart said she’ll close when she no longer has enough stock. What remains will be donated. Stewart said that this was the right time to step aside. In an email to customers, she wrote she was looking forward to spending time reading, spending time with family, including her husband, Scott, and friends, and working for causes she believes in. Stewart is a member of the Bowling Green Board of Education. The shop got its start inside Coyote Beads selling stylish hats for men and women, before moving across the street to its current 133 S. Main St., location, where she did business at first as BG Hats and Apparel selling an expanded range of men’s and women’s fashion items. Not long after she opened her doors there, however, a fire in an upstairs apartment closed the shop for a number of months. But she reopened, and later changed the name to Ginny’s Inspired Fashions.    


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 pointed out that some citizens expressed concerns about the loss of too much green space in the original plan for the square. “We’ve tried to back off,” he said. Steering committee member Michael Penrod said he preferred the more formal look of the symmetrical plan, but he also liked the idea of less of the site being paved over. He questioned whether residents would like the “more Victorian” look of the task force plan, “or do we have enough nods to history” with the pavilion and the arched entrance. Edwards said some residents have suggested that no walkways be paved on the square. But as a public facility, “we have to be sensitive to ADA,” so the site is accessible to people with disabilities. The mayor asked that the steering committee submit comments to Sonner within the next week, so the three designs can then be shown to the public for input. Sonner said he will make 3-D models of the designs. It was suggested that a public presentation be made on the options, then the models be put on display for awhile in the Four Corners facility so citizens have time to view them. It’s very important that the community have a chance to…


“This coming holiday season, we will gather together around a smaller tree that can serve as BG’s tree for another 30 years of memories” — Michael Penrod

The annual lighting of BG’s Community Holiday Tree has been a tradition for just over 30 years and the Wood County District Public Library is proud to host BG’s Tree. Because it is important to the Library that the tree remain a vital part of the holiday season for Main Street for many years to come, we have worried about the health of the tree for more than a few years. Branches have died, or lost many of their needles, and the tree is swaying more and more with every strong windstorm. Recently, the Library checked with an arborist who, when examining the tree in detail last week, found indications of a disease that causes branches to die from the ground upward. While the tree many live for a few more years, we do not want it to get into such a poor condition that it no longer looks nice as the community’s tree. BG deserves a beautiful tree filled with holiday lights. We also do not want to purchase a lot of expensive decorations for a large tree and then have to replace the tree with a smaller one. Therefore, after much deliberation – and reluctance – the Library has decided that it is better to replace the current tree with a new, healthy one that will be able to serve as BG’s tree for many years to come. Later this Spring, we will work with the City to plant a new tree in the same location. This coming holiday season, we will gather together around a smaller tree that can serve as BG’s tree for another 30 years of memories. ~Michael Penrod WCDPL Director


Community tree has seen its last Christmas; new tree will be planted in place

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Downtown Bowling Green will be getting a new community Christmas tree, and it’ll be delivered well before the winter holidays. At Monday’s Library Board of Trustees meeting, Library Director Michael Penrod said he had asked city arborist Grant Jones to take a look at it. The arborist found clear signs disease. The 50-foot Colorado blue spruce’s days are numbered. Once the disease sets in, Penrod said, it cannot be reversed, though it’s hard to tell how long the tree would last. Conceding the tree’s uncertain future, the library board voted to have the tree removed and replaced as quickly as possible. Jones, Penrod said, felt a new tree, likely about 12-foot-tall, could be in place within weeks. It would cost the library about $3,000-$4,000. Penrod said he’d already been approached by Mary Hinkelman, the director for Downtown Bowling Green, to discuss the future of the tree. Downtown BG owns the ornaments that decorate the tree, and the years of stringing increasing lengths of lights to cover the tree has taken their toll. A couple ceremonial tree lightings, have suffered temporary blackouts. Faced with replacing the lights, she wondered how many Downtown BG would have to purchase. She said this afternoon, after being informed of the library board’s decision, that she’s hoping to be able to use the LED bulbs which are in good shape and expensive to replace with whatever replacement wiring is needed. She won’t know how much that would be until later in the year when the decorations are pulled out of storage and inspected. Penrod said Jones advised planting the tree this fall. The library will leave it up to the arborist to select the best tree, and then just write the city a check. Anything taller than 12 foot, he said, would probably require more watering and feeding of nutrients. A smaller tree could be surrounded by smaller portable trees to add to the festive atmosphere during the holidays. The decision was not an easy one for the board. Ellen Dalton wondered if they couldn’t just wait a year to let the community adjust to the idea. But Chet Marcin said his experience is once a tree starts to die, it dies quickly. Board President Brian Paskvan said he didn’t want to end up with a 50-foot-tall Charlie Brown tree. Nancy Buchanan said she was afraid a wind storm would topple the tree. Penrod said it is largely sheltered by the surrounding buildings. Still during recent storm, he said the tree was swaying noticeably in the wind. The decision was unanimous. Members of the staff suggested that some ceremony to mark the planting of the new tree could be held. The tree was first planted in 1987 after a drought killed the original which had only been in place for about year. (See http://bgindependentmedia.org/o-tannenbaum-bgs-community-tree-a-festive-downtown-fixture/) More…