Downtown Bowling Green

“Clean Sweep” of Downtown BG set for July 16

Submitted by DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN A “Clean Sweep” service project is schedule in the Downtown Bowling Green Special Improvement District with the President’s Leadership Academy on Saturday, July 16, as a service project.  The group will be removing litter and pulling weeds in the blocks from Clay Street to Lehman both on Main Street and the side streets that encompass the downtown area.   Republic Services will be furnishing t-shirts and work gloves for the volunteers and the Black Swamp Arts Council will be loaning their brooms and dustpans. The Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) is a four-year leadership development program that engages scholars in classes, workshops, experiential learning, and community service activities. The curriculum focuses on specific outcomes, with each year’s experience building on those of the previous year. Newly accepted students begin their leadership academy experience in July with an intensive four-week summer program that allows them to experience college life firsthand. Students take college-level courses, read selected leadership texts, participate in seminars and community service events, and take part in various cultural, educational, and experiential learning excursions on the weekends.  Downtown Bowling Green is a non-profit organization that is in place to manage the needs of the merchants and property owners.  Service organizations are always welcome to help in projects like this one as well as for any of the events held downtown including the Farmers Market, Classics on Main and Winterfest.   If you would like more information about these opportunities or would like to sign up for a volunteer shift please email with your name, email, phone number, and volunteer opportunity shift in question. You can also call Downtown BG at (419) 354-4332 or stop by our office at 130 S. Main Street.

BG asked to be patient on green space decision

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents were urged to be patient as the city deliberates on the future of the gray area known as the downtown green space. On Tuesday evening, Mayor Dick Edwards said he expects the city to make some decisions within the next two months on the open 1.7 acres at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets that formerly housed the junior high school. Edwards noted that the 15-member Green Space Task Force completed its work more than nine months ago, after “very intensive study efforts.” That group suggested that the location be preserved as a green space and gathering area for the community. “I don’t want to see the work of that task force slip away or be forgotten,” the mayor said. The task force, led by Eric Myers, addressed the four points they were asked to study: Develop and recommend a conceptual plan for the space. Review the history of the site and prior recommendations for possible use of the space. Consider design elements that require minimal operating costs in keeping with the history of adjoining properties. Recommend a plan that lends itself to private fundraising efforts. In the nine months since then, City Council’s Public Lands and Building Committee looked at the possibility of a new city office building sharing the acreage with a green town square. “Council and the administration have been engaged in a process that reflects the weight of the topic and the value of the land as well as the varying opinions from many members of our community,” Edwards said to council. The mayor said that out of respect for that process, he has tried to listen quietly to public debate. “At the same time, it’s been no secret that I strongly favor the retention of the 1.7-acre green space as green space given its integral spatial relationship to our historic downtown and the adjoining historic church and neighborhood,” Edwards said. “I see great value in what it means to be a vibrant and healthy community to have a small space where people can gather and enjoy, and where adjacency to the downtown is possible,” he added. That doesn’t mean he is unaware of the need for a new city office building. “I am reminded each and every day that the current municipal building has long outlived…

Easement granted for Brathaus expansion

By DAVID DUPONT BG INDEPENDENT NEWS The Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities approved an easement that will allow Brathaus on East Court Street to expand. Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said that Doug Doren, who owns the bar, wants to extend the bar, but that would place a building over a manhole. The city would redirect the sewer, which now heads north toward Oak Street, to connect with the line down South Main Street. While digging, O’Connell said, the city will bury the utilities lines. That will allow it to take down a large laminant utility pole across the street from Brathaus on East Court. O’Connell said that the estimate for doing the work was more than Doren had anticipated, so the expansion may be delayed until spring. O’Connell said he would discuss the project with the owner. O’Connell suggested that the city share the expense of the project by assuming the cost of burying the electric lines, which is not essential for the bar expansion to proceed. That work would benefit the city, he said. Doren controls most of the neighboring properties, but the Gavarone family, which owns Mr. Spots, would have to agree. In voting for the easement, board member Bill Culbertson said: “It’s a good idea. It cleans things up.” The board also approved an easement for a water line to cross the parking lot in front of the Dairy Queen. That line now dead ends where Grant Street bumps into the railroad tracks. That causes concerns for water pressure in the case of a fire. That line will now connect with the line that runs up East Wooster Street. That would also enable further improvements if the six-inch line that now runs down Enterprise Street is upgraded to an eight-inch line. Answering a query from Mayor Dick Edwards, Daryl Stockburger, assistant utilities director, explained that one of the wind turbines is not operating because the city is waiting for parts for a gearbox. Wind turbine parts, he said, come from around the world, and the turbines, now 15 years old, are requiring more maintenance. Some suppliers are no longer even in business. Also repair crews must be dispatched from New York or Minnesota.  

Closing time for Jed’s but downtown still open for business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jed’s, home of chicken Fireballs, has flamed out in downtown. Still the owner of the Millikin Hotel building on downtown Bowling Green’s Four Corner is confident he’ll find a new tenant for the former Jed’s space. The sports bar and grill closed for business on Monday. A call to the owners has not been returned. Bob Maurer, who owns the building, said all he knows about why the business closed is “just economics.” The Jed’s restaurant in Perrysburg remains open. “Any time you lose a tenant you want to know what happened, what you could have done to avoid it,” Maurer said. “It’s a good spot. Somebody’s always looking,” he said. “Some people’s problems are another person’s opportunity.” He expects that given there’s been a restaurant in that spot for well over 10 years that another eatery is the most likely option. Maurer expects to have it filled in “four to six months.” Overall Maurer said downtown Bowling Green “is doing extremely well.” He said that compared to Fremont or Napoleon, or even Findlay, Bowling Green’s downtown is thriving. He praised Mayor Dick Edwards and Sue Clark, the executive director of the Community Development Foundation, for their efforts. The Jed’s space in the second vacancy to open up on the Four Corners in the past two months. The Mosaic Consignment shop, which sits kitty-corner from the former Jed’s, closed in May. But that space is already undergoing renovation as another business prepares to occupy it.    

Library offers variety of adult activities

A tour of downtown Bowling Green highlighting the city’s historic past, coloring for adults, job coach sessions, and book discussions are among the programs being offered for adults at Wood County District Public Library in BG. Saturday, May 21 Join WCDPL’s Local History librarian Marnie Pratt and Kelli Kling of the Wood County Museum at 10 am and discover downtown BG’s historic past with a “Business in Boomtown Walking Tour.” The tour leaves promptly at 10, rain or shine, from the Carter House parking lot. Light refreshments will be served in the Carter House at the tour’s conclusion. Registration required. Call 419-352-5050. Monday, May 23 Coloring It’s Not Just for Kids. Come, join friends and neighbors who have rediscovered coloring—a relaxing and creative pastime for adults. Coloring sheets ad colored pencils provided, but feel free to bring your own supplies. “Coloring: It’s Not Just for Kids” takes place in the library’s newly renovated 2nd Floor Meeting Room starting at 7 pm. Tuesday, May 24 Just the Facts, the library’s popular nonfiction book group led by Anne Render discusses Going Clear by Lawrence Wright at 10:30 am in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Thursday, May 26 Meet with retired HR expert Frank Day from 9:30 am – 12 pm for a half-hour, personalized “Job Coach Session.” From polishing resume to reviewing job skills to filling out online forms: Mr. Day will you help brush-up where needed to stand out in today’s job market. To book a 30 minute session, call 419-352-5050. 2nd Floor. 10 am. Coffee Talk book group meets at 10 am in the library’s new 2nd floor meeting room. The group, led by Kristin Wetzel, will discuss Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash. 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Sunday, May 29 & Monday May 30 WCDPL will be closed in observance of Memorial Day Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30. Wednesday, June 1 Deb Born leads the Read for Inspiration book group in a discussion of To Win Her Favor by Tamara Alexander. The group meets at 10:30 am on the 2nd Floor. Friday, June 3 Discover the top 5 free apps for Library Apps for Tablets at 10:30 am in the 2nd Floor TechLab and get your summer reading off to a great start. Performers wishing to participate in the library’s BG’s Got Talent extravaganza should sign-up by 6 pm today. For…

Community ride promotes need for improvements for bicyclists

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Thursday’s community bike ride is more than a pedal to the park. The organizers have some serious points to make about the need to make Bowling Green a better place for bicycling.               The second Community Ride will begin Thursday at 5 p.m. at the fountain in front of the Administration Building on the Bowling Green State University campus.  The riders will head west toward downtown, traveling eventually to Main Street, before reaching their destination, the green space at the corner of Church and West Wooster streets. The first ride came after Lily Murnen, president of the Environmental Service Club, was talking to Rick Busselle, a BGSU faculty member and bicyclist. Busselle was upset by a couple incidents. A student was struck while bicycling near the CVS on East Wooster Street, and then was ticketed for riding on the sidewalk. Busselle himself took a spill while trying to navigate past that spot. His accident occurred in part because he was unsure at what point cyclists were allowed to ride on sidewalks. The city lacks both clarity in the rules governing bicyclists and the bike lanes needed to make riding in the city safer, he said. Yet, the city officials didn’t really seem to think it was a problem. He and Murnen discussed a mass bike riding event. These can involve a large group of bicyclists taking over the streets and, at times, violating traffic laws. Instead they decided that it would be best to have the bicyclists adhere to the rules of the road, which in some instances may cause a greater inconvenience to drivers. People, Murnen said, feel safer navigating the city’s streets in groups. Murnen was in charge of putting together a list of events for Earth Week, so she decided a community ride would fit right in. The first ride attracted 25 riders, despite a change in the day of the ride. Murnen said the ride attracted “a really nice mix” of students, faculty and community members. The 25-minute ride went west on Wooster, turned right onto North Grove, left on Conneaut, right onto Fairview, right onto West Merry, right onto North Main Street and then proceeded to the Four Corners, where the group took a right onto Wooster and then a left on South Grove and the green…

Protest: Too many students don’t feel safe on campus & downtown

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The social media reaction after an alleged assault on campus this weekend literally added insult to injury. About 70 students gather Friday at noon to protest what many believe was an anti-gay act, and the social media outburst of homophobic and sexist comments that followed. For Luna, a BGSU student who uses one name, this “exposed the attitudes that people really have.” Those are “very unwelcoming, very uncomfortable.” Luna told those people assembled in the University Oval that: “Here on Bowling Green campus there’s been a severe lack of acceptance, tolerance and civility. … We learn to navigate a world that would rather erase us, but we shouldn’t have to. We as a community need to hold each other accountable. If we begin to hold each other accountable, we can begin to move toward true acceptance, true tolerance because everyone deserves to feel safe on this campus. Everyone deserves to feel safe downtown. … No one should feel unsafe in their own home.” The incident reportedly happened in the early morning hours Saturday. It was first mentioned on the Twitter account BG Crushes, and said four members of a fraternity had attacked a person believed to be gay. However, nothing was reported to neither city nor campus police. Instead the rumor mill began to churn, and the vicious commentary erupted. The university’s dean of students issued a statement saying the university was seeking any information on the assault. BGSU Police Chief Monica Moll was on the scene of Friday’s protest to try to find out what she could. The Bowling Green City Police are investigating an assault at 2 a.m. Sunday in the 100 block of North Main Street when a group of men and women, both black and white, accosted an individual. One suspect struck the victim.  ( Moll said she didn’t know if this was the assault, or if there was a second incident. In any case she said the comments on social media “are something we should be out here to be upset about.” Beatrice Addis Fields said that she and others have heard was “a lot of rumors.” “We’re focused on people’s feelings and people are feeling uncomfortable,” she said. Many people are not comfortable on campus or downtown. She said her mother lived in Bowling Green in the 1970s and when she talks to…

BG looks at plan to put city building and town square in same space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With the click of a power point, half of the green space planned for the city’s “town square” was gobbled up by buildings. The site analysis presented to Bowling Green City Council Monday evening showed a new city building and the current green space cohabitating on the 1.6 acres which formerly housed Bowling Green Junior High School at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. The 35,000-square –foot building left vacant 35,000 square feet of open green space – turning the “town square” into a “town triangle.” “Our charge was to integrate a beautiful building with a beautiful green space,” said Bill Steele, of Poggemeyer Design Group, which did the study. The plan wasn’t intended to be a building plan but rather a spatial concept to show if the two purposes could be happily wed on the site. “Is it possible for these two entities to co-exist on the site?” Council president Mike Aspacher said. To help envision the possibilities, the plan included office space, a glass atrium facing the green space, an overhead canopy which would create a natural amphitheater for music, theater or speaking programs, plus a building with public restrooms and storage for tables and chairs. “There were certain things we felt were worth saving,” Steele said, such as views of First Presbyterian Church and the historic house next to the site on West Wooster. On the remaining green space could include design elements planned by a task force for the site, such as a statue, gazebo, brick pavers area by the canopy, and walkways crisscrossing the grass. “The building is a background for the landscaping,” Steele said. The parking lot for the city building would be just south on South Grove Street, where the former Central Administration Building stood. The good news to green space supporters is that the park-like area could be made soon and not be disturbed when and if the city came up with money to construct its office building. “People are anxious to see a green space developed quickly,” Council member Bruce Jeffers said. “This allows us to go ahead.” The bad news is that half of the green space will be taken up by building. That did not sit well with many in the packed council chambers – some who had spent several months coming up…

BGSU student metals and jewelry on display at Wood County library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Student Metal Arts Council from Bowling Green State University’s School of Art is “Forging Ahead” with an exhibit at the Wood County Public Library. The “Forging Ahead” exhibit features about two dozen works of jewelry and metal art in the library’s display window. The exhibit opened Saturday and continues through April 15.                   The exhibit is part of the effort to teach students in the arts professional skills, said Andrew Kuebeck, the faculty advisor for the council. Those efforts include an entrepreneurship class specifically for visual artists taught by Gene Poor. The exhibit was organized by the council’s treasurer Michaela Monterosso. For her the library was a natural venue for the show. Back in her hometown of Terryville, Connecticut, she would place her work in the local library. “I’d put my piece there and there was so much traffic going in and out of the public library that I got a lot of commissions, so I decided it would be a good opportunity for the Student Metal Arts Council.” The show was open to all who submitted work. “It’s meant to be an encouraging event,” she said. Monterosso wanted to give her fellow students a no-stress chance to display their work. “It’s good for their resumes,” she said, “and good for mine.” The council awarded first prize in the show to Katelyn Turner’s “Mother of Pearl” and second place to Diana Bibler’s “The Hero.” It promotes the council and the work being done on campus by jewelers and metalsmiths. Monterosso was attracted to BGSU by both the reasonable tuition – East Coast art schools are very expensive, she said – as well as the chance to study with Tom Muir, an artist with a national reputation. She incorporates glass in her work, so he was also encouraged by the opportunity to work with Joel O’Dorisio. The work on display uses a variety of materials and techniques such as felting and beading in conjunction with traditional approaches. The Student Metal Arts Council’s mission is to promote artistic improvement and provide opportunities for networking. Students also have the option to participate in events including SOFA (an art and design fair in Chicago), sales at ArtX and the Student Union and trips to the Toledo Museum of Art.          

Downtown businesses to be surveyed for green certification

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s downtown businesses will soon have a chance to prove how green they really are. For two years now, Lucas County has had a sustainability program in place for businesses, according to Holly Myers, environmental and sustainability professor at Bowling Green State University. Myers and her students would like to bring that “green business” program to downtown Bowling Green. Last week, Myers and three students presented their ideas to the City-University Relations Commission, which endorsed their concept. To start the process, the businesses will be surveyed. To qualify as a green business, an operation must adhere to the values of environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and quality of life, Myers explained. The survey covers the following topics: Waste reduction and recycling, with points for recycling items, electronic billing and printing double-sided copies. Green purchasing, with credit given for buying products in bulk, buying from local vendors and using recycled items. Energy conservation and efficiency, with points for using energy efficient lights, shutting down computers not in use, and participating in the city’s Efficiency Smart Energy Conservation Program. Alternative transportation for planning delivery routes, using hybrid fuels or employee ride sharing. Water conservation and pollution prevention for planting drought-resistant plants, using low-flow toilets or tankless water heater. Staff training and public awareness for offering customers green service options, or asking customers if they want a bag (to promote use of fewer bags). Community involvement by participating in local charitable events, offering volunteer opportunities to employees, or making annual donations to charity. Certifications or awards for safety or other efforts. Businesses that do well on the survey will be awarded sustainable businesses certifications. “We really think we can make some changes, recognize businesses for what they are doing,” and maybe convince them to do more, Myers said. The downtown program will be a pilot for the rest of the community. “It’s a great way to continue the leadership Bowling Green has shown over the years in adopting sustainability policies,” said Barb Ruland, a member of the city-university commission.    

New music trio Bearthoven rocks to a different beat

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The ClaZel hosted a Music at the Forefront concert Monday night. It might as well have been a rock show. The new music trio Bearthoven vaulted the divide between avant art music and progressive rock. Ditch the expanse of scores on the music stands and the Brooklyn-based trio could perform at a rock festival. Bearthoven – Karl Larson, piano, Pat Swoboda, bass, and Matt Evans, percussion – arrived in Bowling Green (where Larson earned his doctorate) at the tail end of a short Ohio tour. The tour, which included a concert in Columbus, a house concert in Cleveland, and residency at Otterbein College, was to showcase the most recent additions to the trio’s repertoire, three works commissioned by the Johnstone Fund for New Music. Those filled out half the six-piece program. Each set was organized like the side of an LP with a soft, atmospheric soundscape, sandwiched between louder, more rhythmically insistent blasts. Bearthoven’s show opened with Ken Thomson’s aptly titled “Grizzly.” With its antic pulse and reiterated song-of-the-circuitry figures, it evoked a more urban predator. Fjola Evans’ “Shoaling” took listeners to another place altogether. Swoboda’s arco bass summoned the image of a whale rising from an icy sea. The piece opens extremely quietly, builds in tension, and complexity, and volume, then rolls back to near silence. It moves at a near geologic pace. In the end it fades into the silence of the venue’s ventilation and a car whooshing past outside. As if to answer the car’s roar, Charles Wilmoth’s “Silver Eye” opens with a bash, a complaint, even? Evans pounded the driving hard rock rhythms underneath while Larson splattered clusters and runs on top. How many new music compositions include a nod to “Wipeout”? “Silver Eye,” though, was more metal than surf rock. Opening the second half, Brooks Fredrickson’s “Undertoad” marched to a different rock beat. Evans laid down an akimbo shuffle beat under the unfolding minimalist figures. The piece was the first Bearthoven commissioned and it shows how this blur of rock, jazz, and new music is woven into the band’s DNA. Adrian Knight’s “The Ringing World” is one of the Johnstone commissions. (The Wilmoth and Evans pieces are the others.) The whistling arco bass against shimmering vibes and piano textures (not unlike the way Miles Davis used layers of electric keyboards and guitar on “In a Silent Way”)…

Cold cooperates with Winterfest…but vandals send ice sculptures packing to park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After an atypical winter of almost balmy temperatures, cold weather will cooperate by returning for this weekend’s annual Winterfest in Bowling Green. But while the chilly temperatures will accommodate winter activities, it appears the downtown is just too hot for the ice sculptures that normally decorate Main Street during the annual event. The decision was made this year for the bulk of the ice carvings to be exhibited in City Park. The change was made due to the cost of protecting the sculptures from vandals who have knocked over the ice art during the night previous years. “Anytime we’ve had them up downtown, we’ve lost one or two,” said Wendy Chambers, head of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. Because of the frequency of the vandalism in the past, the city police have provided extra protection for the carvings. In 2014, the cost for two patrolmen during the nights of the Winterfest was $666, according to Police Chief Tony Hetrick. To avoid that cost, last year the police division put two cruisers in the downtown area, and trained volunteers to secure the sculptures, at no charge. But asking people to watch the carvings during the icy hours of the night proved too much for the volunteers, Chambers said. “It’s tough to get volunteers to stay out in those temperatures all night,” Chambers said. And since the ice sculptures are used as a fundraiser for the BG Skating Club, paying for protection was seen as counterproductive. So instead, this year the carvings will be displayed in City Park. But organizers don’t see the move as having a chilling effect on the Winterfest. There will still be a few ice carvings at the courtyard downtown and BGSU Ice Arena. “Spreading them out around town is not a bad thing,” Chambers said. Other events will be spread across the city from the ice arena and the community center, to the library and City Park. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, a chili and soup cook-off, Frostbite Fun Run, youth snow games, Snow Globe Adult Bubble Soccer, family nature hike, Red Cross Fire & Ice Event, and Snow Science with Imagination Station. The downtown will remain a focus of the weekend event. “There’s still a lot of activity going on in the downtown,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said….