Downtown Bowling Green

Irish duo to give listeners a taste of what’s coming to Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even though Irish piper Cillian Vallely has performed before audiences of thousands around the world, he’ll still find time after a gig to sit in at a local jam session, or seisiun. The camaraderie of those spontaneous music gatherings have become a huge part of the propagating Irish music. “You can go all over the world and go into an Irish bar and find people playing this music. There’s a common repertoire,” said Vallely, who grew up in Northern Ireland. “A lot people are not taking it up to be a performer or a top player, they take it up because they like the company.” As a member of Lunasa, called “the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” by the Irish Times, he’s now at the pinnacle of Irish music, but he still likes to sit in. Vallely, on pipes and low whistle, and Lunasa bandmate Kevin Crawford, flute and whistle, will play a free show Friday May 12 at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The concert, sponsored by local Irish group Toraigh an Sonas, is a preview for the full quintet’s performance at the Black Swamp Arts Festival on Sept. 8. There was a time, Vallely said, when the music was dying out in Northern Ireland. Then in the 1960s folk revival brought it back to public attention. His parents were catalysts in helping bring the music back. Though avocational musicians, they founded Armagh Pipers Club in 1966, taught and went on tour. A few years later Cillian was born. “I grew up in this house full of instruments. Several days a week some kind of musical activity was going on.” He started on the tin whistle, then graduated to the pipes. He tried the fiddle “but it felt alien to me.” As a teenager he drifted away a bit. He was active in sports. He played flute in orchestra and saxophone in school combos. “But I always loved the music.” Still “it was down my list of priorities.” It was in his late teens “when I started getting really addicted to it.” “Once you get more into it, it’s amazing music. I just wanted to play it all the time,” he said. While having a push from the family helped, in the end “you have to do it on your own.” He has four siblings two of whom, Caoimhin and Niall, who joins him in Lunasa, became professional musicians. In his 20s, he said, “I’d go out to bars play every night” A bar would typically hire a couple more accomplished players to keep the session grounded. These sessions, Vallely noted, are a fairly recent development. Typically before the 1950s, musicians would mostly play solo and for dancing. Now he doesn’t get out as much with family and other responsibilities back home in New York. But he expects to do some jamming during the current Midwest swing that will bring the duo to Bowling Green. The music he and Crawford play as a duet is simpler than on their Lunasa gigs. Their sets are filled with traditional tunes, as well as contemporary tunes. Both of them also write original music for Lunasa. What Vallely writes for the quintet “would be slightly more contemporary sounding…

BG block party brings community and campus together

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s block party on Saturday met all the qualifications – live music, food, dogs and people of all ages. Spectators sat on straw bales as they watched musicians perform from the makeshift stage, complete with cardboard curtains, in front of the county courthouse. Children played games of giant checkers and got their faces painted. The hungry filled up on Chicago dogs and onion rings. And young and old pedaled along the temporary bike lane along East Court Street. “It’s close to perfect,” said Heather Sayler, city planning director who was in charge of organizing the Court Street Connects event. “We’ve had a constant stream of people since 10 o’clock,” she said. “I don’t think we could ask for anything better.” The block party was the brainchild of the city’s Community Action Plan process. At a series of public meetings, Bowling Green residents were asked what project they wanted to try out first in an effort to improve neighborhoods on the East Side. The block party was top on the list. “This is great,” said Adam Rosa, a principle with Camiros, the consulting firm helping with the Community Action Plan. “It’s amazing how much energy has gone into this. It’s great seeing all the energy.” The goal of Court Street Connects goes far beyond the one-day block party. “When people see changes in their neighborhood, it brings other positive changes,” Rosa said. “It will help with decision making about what we want to do.” Sayler agreed. “This makes people recognize this area could be more,” she said. The event created new and strengthened existing relationships between neighborhood groups, the city and students. “These partnerships will be great,” Sayler said. The event also served its purpose of bringing campus and community together – with all ages attending the block party. “That’s been really cool to see,” Rosa said. For example, the event brought Karen Walters and some young thespians from Horizon Youth Theatre to the event. After performing in front of the courthouse, they checked out the chairs made by BGSU students from recycled wood pallets, they tried out the bike lane, and got some free bike helmets. “I think it’s a nice idea to celebrate the connections” between the campus and community, Walters said. “We have so many advantages in town because of the connections, so it’s nice to celebrate that.” On the other side of the courthouse lawn, three BGSU students were checking out information on county parks and on sustainable energy. “I think it’s cool,” said Logan VanDyke, from Hicksville. “It’s nice to have something to do here that’s not the usual – and doesn’t involve alcohol.” The students were particularly interested in the bike lane painted on Court Street for the event. “I think the idea of a bike lane is really cool,” Becca Hunt, of Youngstown, said. “Maybe I’d get a bike if there were bike lanes in town.” Matthew Taylor, of Youngstown, was glad student artists were involved in the block party. Across the street, several artists displayed their artwork for sale. “Arts aren’t always a part of the community,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to see that as a part of the community here.” On the street in front of the courthouse, youngsters Asher and Amelia Martin…

Citizens can email ideas for downtown green space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Despite several public meetings about the new downtown green space in Bowling Green, many citizens complained that they weren’t given an opportunity to express their desires for the proposed town square. To remedy that perceived slight, an email account has now been set up to take suggestions. Anyone wanting to submit ideas for the 1.7 acres at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets can now email their suggestions to Mayor Dick Edwards said he spoke recently with representatives at Poggemeyer Design Group about the two main elements already planned for the town square – an arched entryway and a pavilion. The exact designs are still being worked on, but will consider the historic character of the area, and will work to preserve as much green as possible.  Other necessities include bike racks, drinking fountains, benches, sidewalk lighting and trash receptacles. There are many other decisions under consideration that will be needed to turn the site into Wooster Green – a town square for the Bowling Green community. First, what are the protocols for using the site? Second, how can at least $300,000 in donations be raised for the space? And third, how can the entire community be engaged in the project? The steering committee for Wooster Green met Thursday afternoon to make progress on those considerations. “We definitely need clarification on when and how the site can be used,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the promotions committee. The green space has already been used for several public rallies, and the steering committee envisions it being used in the future for events like Friday afterwork gatherings, concerts, perhaps farmers’ markets or flower shows. But decisions must be made on whether the space can be used for such events as weddings, the mayor said. “A site like this has tremendous potential for the businesses,” Callecod said. The mayor suggested that other communities with similar sites be consulted. Money is also an issue, with a goal set to raise at least $300,000 through donations. More will probably be required to meet needs as they arise at the town square. “We should set something aside for future needs,” said Sharon Hanna, chair of the fundraising committee. Several groups in the community will be approached for donations, then letters will be sent to residents throughout the city. “We want everybody to take some ownership of this project,” Hanna said. Donations will all go through the Downtown BG Foundation, not the city, the mayor stressed. The Wooster Green Steering Committee includes: Dick Edwards as chairman; Dick Newlove and Nadine Edwards as honorary co-chairs; Mike Aspacher as non-voting representative of City Council; Bob Callecod and Ann-Marie Lancaster as co-chairs of the publicity/marketing committee; Jeff Crawford representing the city parks and recreation board; Sharon Hanna as chair of the fundraising committee; Lloyd Triggs and Lori Young as co-chairs of the design committee; Larry Nader, a neighbor of the site, and Michael Penrod, director at Wood County District Public Library.

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 is also intended to highlight the assets of the neighborhood – historic homes, the grand courthouse, Trinity United Methodist Church, businesses and the corridor between downtown and BGSU. Court Street Connects is “designed to celebrate our unique town-gown relationship while bringing attention to the neighborhood between BGSU and Downtown. Residents and stakeholders have envisioned Court Street Connects as a key part of the Bowling Green Community Action Plan,” the city has stated about the event. “The event will engage residents in thinking about public and private improvements that can occur on and around the important Court Street corridor while utilizing an approach to neighborhood building that focuses on short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions and policies to catalyze long-term change.” Court Street Connects will include activities for all ages including these and more: A rideable on-street demonstration bike lane to try out with your personal bicycle or borrow a BGSU Orange Bike Music, entertainment, free yoga, food trucks, and free raffles Bicycle safety education & a limited number of free bicycle helmets Tours of the historic Wood County Courthouse and other historical buildings Kids activities, including face painting and a bike parade Representatives of local organizations promoting sustainability and community assets The Wood County District Public Library Bookmobile Fire Station open house and safety demonstrations Police bike patrol officers and bike…

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. For further information, and how to purchase tickets, visit

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 microphone, saying all short people were the same height to him. At which point bandmate Anne Kidder, started singing “we are tall and short, together” with the audience spontaneously picking up the tune and continuing even after Kidder had stopped singing. From then on, the singing grew more enthusiastic, even as some of the lyrics were tough on the tongue or the music was in 5/4 time and the audience was supposed to clap on the fourth and fifth beats. The sound ranged from Don Scherer’s seismic bass to the jangle of percussion. The GRUBS for the occasion loosened their prohibition against non-ukulele instruments and employed guitars and Sheri Wells-Jensen’s banjo. That was a fitting choice given banjo was the instrument of activist and folk singer Pete Seeger, whose songs and spirit infused the gathering. The repertoire included the lesser known verses of such standards as “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.” Some obvious choices were included such as “If I Had a Hammer,” “We Shall Overcome” and “Blowin’ in the Wind,” but there was the unexpected choice as well. Jason Wells-Jensen said only on studying the lyrics did he realize that Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit “Bad Moon Rising’” was in its way a protest song, warning of danger ahead. He mentioned that while many in audience…

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 for the site to be used solely as a town square. Both the City Planning Commission and the City Council approved a design for the space and the steering committee is determined to keep that design, Myers said.  Included in the design are gateway entrances at the corners on West Wooster, a central floral area and a gazebo. The gazebo will work as a speaking platform that could be used in future community rallies, Myers said. The area will also be available for many other community uses, such as Friday afternoon gatherings and bandstand performances. The task force’s plan also calls for a multi-purpose commons space with wide walkways leading to a large gathering space. The space would include street lighting that would match the rest of the downtown lights, benches, shade options of either sails or umbrellas, a defined brick entrance on the northeast and northwest corners, bicycle racks and trees. It is estimated that the cost of the completed project is between $250,000 and $300,000. The city has already spent $497,401 on the site, with almost all of that used to demolish the former junior high. From here on out, it will be the community’s job to pay for the gathering place. No city money, other than in-kind work, will be used to build the site, Myers said….

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 bars close, he said. Eventually, the chief would like to have cameras in all the city’s downtown parking lots. “We’ll hopefully expand cameras in those lots as they are updated,” he said. The city is careful to position the cameras so they cannot record neighboring residential properties, the chief added. In the past, the city has had cameras in the city lots behind the Clazel and behind Finders, on South Main near SamB’s, at Court and Main, and at Prospect and Wooster. However, all were removed when they became obsolete. The only remaining ones are at the four corners. The new cameras will be from Habitec, which are used at the Wood County Courthouse. The cameras have lasted quite a few years at the courthouse, and Hetrick is hoping they do well in outside weather conditions. “They’re not supposed to be that delicate,” he said. Ultimately, Hetrick would like the city to install cameras at other areas with frequent incidents. However, the city currently does not have the fiber network needed throughout the community.    

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 celebrating the holidays by pulling their last Myles pizza out of the freezer. The opening of Pizza Pub 516 in the location with a clear intent to update the place while maintaining much of the Myles character was also of interest, placing 18th on the list. Roberts-Zibbel also wrote another top 30 story, “Sign of the times,” about a lone, masked, disgruntled protestor who camped out in front of the Bowling Green Police Station on a sizzling hot day last summer. She also had a hand in the story that drew the second most traffic, the obituary for Jordan Powell, a young man who died far too soon. His family had few resources, and though we weren’t running obituaries in May, we decided to post it. It was sad, yet gratifying, because it showed the value of the service we are providing. Schools always draw interest, and that three of the top 10 stories are school related is not surprising. The third was clicked story was  “BGHS accommodates transgender students,” followed at fifth by “Administration stands by high school soccer players right to take a knee.” Both stories touched on issues that roiled the nation as a whole this year. Yet also up there in eighth was one of those mundane issues that mean so much to families: “BG school…

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 on the Main Stage. He was glad to be back, Katon said, in a telephone interview. Howard’s was packed just as it was in the old days. Katon, who tours extensively in Europe, said he’s played clubs in England that hosted Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Black Sabbath, and The Animals. Those clubs had a well-worn, lived in feel. “Same with Howard’s,” he said. The BG club is one of his favorite places to play. He even said he’d buy it and play there all the time, before reflecting on just how hard it is to run a club. “I hope some of the kids coming in appreciate something funky and lowdown. …The funkier the better in my book,” he said. That’s true of his high-powered blues rock sound as well. Howard’s is similar to the clubs where he first heard the blues and then where he started playing. His older brother, a member of the legendary Ann Arbor band The Prime Movers, would bring him to visit. The 13-year-old Katon would sit at the bar under the eye of the bartender while the band played. Top blues artists who were passing through town would stay at the band’s house. When he told one musician that he liked Eric Clapton, Katon was instructed to check out all the bluesmen that inspired…

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 in front of the Wood County District Library. This, he said, later was the beginning of the holiday season, and he was optimistic it would be a good one for the city. Wendy Chambers, of the Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “people are ready to spend money.” And the Shop Small campaign slated for the weekend after Thanksgiving is an effort to share some of that wealth with the downtown merchants. The next morning businesses that sold hot beverages were already feeling some of that holiday cheer.                  

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.