BGHS ’78 grads show their class with new bobcat statue

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Poised to lift the white shroud from the object set in front of Bowling Green High School, Bill York paused to note that he’d been promised “this is not just another class of ’78 prank.” The class, known in the years since they graduated as the worst class ever, has set about turning over a new leaf. “We’re trying to establish a new reputation as the most giving class,” York said. That spirit was represented when the object, a large bronze statue of a bobcat, was unveiled. For Principal Jeff Dever, it will be “a tremendous thing for kids to come to school and see that.” And yes, he heard, the stories about the class as “the worst class that came through these doors.” What he knows is that the class has been “very generous.” “They handled this from start to finish,” he said. The project was spearheaded by Bill York. Classmate Mike Hammer, the city superintendent of public works, enlisted help from city workers to get the base of brick and concrete constructed. York said that after the class held its 35th reunion, some of the organizers talked about creating a more permanent structure. In 2014, the Bowling Green High School Class of 1978 was created. In 2015, the foundation awarded its first scholarship for $1,000 and donated a couple benches that sit outside the school. This year a $2,500 scholarship was awarded, and the bobcat was purchased and placed. The idea for the bronze mascot came from members of the class, York said. They wanted something “unique” and enduring. It should be…

BG School District considers building options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green school officials are facing four major decisions – and none of them are easy. Does the district want to fund building projects locally or use some state funding? Should the district consolidate the elementary schools or stick with neighborhood buildings? Should the district renovate, construct new or do nothing with its buildings? And lastly, how can they get the word out to more people in order to get more educated input. “We want to know what our taxpayers are thinking,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said during another public meeting Thursday about building options. The options are many, but none will move quickly. The earliest the district will put a levy on the ballot is May of 2017. “I like May elections,” Scruci said. “I’ll tell you why. People tend to be a little more positive.” And the earliest a new school might be constructed would be three years after getting the approval from the school board. The most expensive option calls for the consolidation of the three elementaries into one central building, and major renovations to the high school. That option has a price tag of $54 million. It’s unsure how much millage that would require, but if that is the option selected, the district would not piecemeal it over different elections. “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it,” Scruci said. A less expensive option calls for a new Conneaut Elementary, and renovations to Kenwood, Crim and the high school – estimated to cost $44 million. But that brings up the question, “how much good money do we put…

Park district’s historic farm looking to grow

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Deer and raccoons have long been residents of the Wood County Park District. But chickens and goats? “Welcome to the farm,” Tim Gaddie, historic farm specialist with the park district, said to the park district board members Tuesday as they held their monthly meeting at Carter Historic Farm. The farm, located on Carter Road north of Bowling Green, is unlike any other park site in the district. The site is intended to take visitors back to the 1930s, when area farms were on the verge of big changes. “It was a big transition from hand powered and animal powered farming to machine-based,” Gaddie said. The historic farm programs focus on skills that families of the era relied on for survival – food preservation, vegetable and herb gardening, rug making and woodworking. Family campfire programs are also offered. This week, a group of kids aged 7 and 8 are attending farm camp there. Next week, 9- and 10-year-old kids will be learning at the farm. But Gaddie would like to do more to make Carter Historic Farm a working farm. Last year, chickens were added to the farm, with many of the eggs being used for programming. Soon, he would like to add some goats, then gradually work his way up to sheep, dairy cows, a draft horse and mules. Gaddie can picture a time when the sheep on the farm will be sheared to create yarn that will then be used for weaving. To accomplish these goals, Gaddie is trying to grow farm volunteers. “We’re working on building the volunteer base to…

Community invited to discuss school buildings

The Bowling Green Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m. at the Middle School Library, 1079 Fairview Ave., Bowling Green.  This is a Community Focus Workshop of the Board, with the purpose of the meeting to provide an update and solicit feedback about the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee (OFCC) Master Plan report. No action is expected to be taken.

Back to School Fair offers help to local families

United Way in Wood County is hosting the Wood County Back to School Fair in conjunction with the Salvation Army Tools for School program. The event will be held from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Woodland Mall, 1234 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. Local organizations will provide information about the services and opportunities available to local students and their families including out of school programming, health care options, rent and utility assistance, early intervention services and more. Participating agencies include Girl Scouts, WSOS Head Start, Help Me Grow, Home Energy Assistance Program, HomeNet and Fatherhood initiative, The Cocoon, Boy Scouts, Children’s Resource Center, Wood County Health District, Wood County WIC, Wood County Educational Services Center-STARS program, and Wood County Hospital. The event is free and open to the public. Individuals interested in volunteering to plan the event, seeking more information, or wishing to make a donation should contact United Way in Wood County at 419-352-2390.

BGSU alumni back on campus & still eager to learn

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Lou Katzner was facing a class of unfamiliar student faces. That’s not unusual for the philosophy professor who has taught at Bowling Green State University since 1969, except this class included a couple students who graduated well before he started teaching here. The seven students in the class were part of the inaugural BGSU Alumni College. In her greeting to the several dozen students enrolled, President Mary Ellen Mazey said she looked for the program to grow over the years and reach more of the university’s 175,000 alumni. And she hoped their experience on campus would get them to consider how they can help future generations of Falcons. A major focus of the current fundraising campaign is scholarships, she said. And, in detailing all the building renovations underway, she said donors can have their names attached to a building or space within a building. Katzner wanted to explore the more intangible aspects of higher education. He led the graduates in a discussion of “What is the Value of a College Education?” The students ranged from Barbara Palmer, a 1954 graduate, to Sean Taylor, a 1998 graduate. At the conclusion, Katzner said: “The most important thing you can take away from college is how to learn.” That proved true for those in the class who’d made career shifts over their lives. Carolyn Christman, who graduated in 1985, has gone from being a school music teacher to a Methodist missionary. Dina Horwedel graduated in journalism in 1986 and then got a law degree. Her career has taken her around the world. Now she works for the…

BG Schools wants citizen input on buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District wants to hear from its residents. Do citizens want to renovate the existing buildings? Build new schools? Consolidate the three elementaries? And how much are they willing to support? “We can kick the can down the road and ignore the issues,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said to a meeting of about 40 parents and teachers Tuesday evening. But the problems are only going to get more expensive to resolve, he warned. Scruci said he will talk to any group about the options. He will meet with them anywhere they want – in offices, coffee shops or in neighborhood living rooms. The district is also conducting an anonymous survey on school facility and funding options. That survey can be done at The audience members who took the poll on the smart phones Tuesday evening showed a clear preference for building new rather than renovation, consolidation of elementaries, and local funding rather than state assistance. Scruci is hoping that residents will attend meetings and listen to the options before making up their minds. “I have people who have not come, but have all the answers,” he said. “We really want our community to be informed.” “We want to come up with something this community wants to support,” he said. Earlier this year, the district received the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission survey which looked at 24 systems – such as heating, electrical or lighting – at each of the five school buildings and attached renovation and replacement dollars to them. The survey found Conneaut Elementary to have the greatest needs, followed…

Public invited to discuss BG school buildings

The Bowling Green Board of Education will hold a special meeting to discuss school buildings on Tuesday, June 28, at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library, 1079 Fairview Ave.  This is a community focus workshop of the board, with the purpose of the meeting to provide an update and solicit feedback about the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee (OFCC) Master Plan report. No action is expected to be taken.

BG school district hires new athletic director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Jonas Smith served as athletic director for Dayton Public Schools, where he oversaw seven high schools and a $3.6 million renovation of the district’s Welcome Stadium. But something was missing. Smith is hoping to find that missing piece at Bowling Green City School District. “The last several years, I’ve missed being around kids,” Smith said. Tuesday evening, Bowling Green’s board of education hired Smith as the district’s new athletic director. Smith said he was attracted to the “very welcoming” community, the good schools, and the potential to build relationships. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said he was attracted to Smith’s 20 years of experience overseeing a large program, his reputation in the state, his winning record at Dayton, and his success securing corporate sponsorships for the renovated stadium. “It’s what he brings to the table,” Scruci said. Smith will receive an annual salary of $90,000. “I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for,” Scruci said. Smith was accompanied to Tuesday’s school board meeting by his wife, LaDonna, and their two sons, ages 15 and 11. He was also joined by a former school superintendent and mentor, who flew up from South Carolina to be present for his hiring. Smith knows time to prepare for his new job is ticking away, with fall sports starting on Aug. 1. His philosophy for school athletics is “7-12,” he said. The head coaches at the high school level should have a hand in their sports from seventh grade on up. The fundamentals should be stressed at the middle school level, so the athletes…

ACT*BG’s role in staging Amazing Race appreciated

From BRUCE CORRIGAN On behalf of the Bowling Green High School Bobcat Bands, I would like to thank Drew Headley, Nick Peiffer, and the entire ACT*BG committee and the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the Amazing Race held on May 13. Their efforts planning, organizing, and advertising for this event were phenomenal. On a yearly basis, our band parents and students raise thousands of dollars to support the needs of our Bowling Green students. We have had at least 17 fundraisers this past year alone to raise money for a band trip to Florida in December. ACT*BG took care of nearly every detail of this event and raised $1,800 for the Bobcat Bands. This is greatly appreciated by the many parents and students that have been working to raise funds throughout the year! ACT*BG is an impressive group that continues to find ways to make Bowling Green a better community. They have raised funds for various causes in recent years. Additionally, they have found fun and creative ways to bring together people in the community while raising funds. The participants in the Amazing Race clearly had a blast taking part in the activities throughout the evening. In recent years our schools have had a theme of Bobcat Proud. Personally, I am feeling BG Grateful for the members of the ACT*BG committee and the Chamber of Commerce for their contributions to the Bowling Green community.

Scruci’s first year focused on listening and talking

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Francis Scruci is no shrinking violet. If parents don’t know what is going on in the district, there’s a good chance they haven’t been listening. In his first year as superintendent of Bowling Green City School District, Scruci has made the most of high tech and low tech communication to find out what citizens want, and to tell them what is going on behind school walls. “One of the things I heard was that the communication was really lacking,” Scruci said about the initial comments he heard from local citizens. “What I’m hearing now is people know what’s going on in the schools.” For those who prefer face to face conversations, Scruci holds frequent group chats at local coffee shops. For those who prefer social media, Scruci sends out videos every Friday giving parents and students updates. “I think we get more out of that than if I would send out emails,” he said. The superintendent is not above pulling silly stunts and jamming to music on the videos – that’s as much for the students as the parents. “I want our kids to know that I have a personality. They see I can laugh at myself. They see they can approach me.” When he arrived in Bowling Green last year, Scruci quickly attained status among students by being present at nearly every school event. And in many cases, he was more than present. At the first football game last fall, he climbed up the director’s ladder and took a turn conducting the marching band. When the elementary students started a new…

Mustang designer enters Boys State Hall of Fame

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Ford Motors wanted to perk up its product line with a car that would appeal to young drivers, they turned to Gale Halderman, the company’s chief designer. He came up with a classic, the Mustang. Buckeye Boys State revved up its Hall of Fame Monday when it inducted Halderman, who turns 84 Tuesday, into its Hall of Fame. Halderman attended Boys State in 1949. He went on to attend the Dayton Institute of Art, and decided he wanted to design cars. He joined Ford as a 21 year old, and spent the next 40 years with the company. He described himself as “just a farm boy who liked to draw cars.” At Ford, the former farm boy designed trucks and tractors as well as the Mustang. Since retiring he’s turned the barn on his family farmstead into a car museum featuring a number of vehicles he designed. Halderman said he gained much during his week at Boys State that served him well in his career. As a member of the newspaper staff, he learned to work with people, even people he didn’t necessarily like. “But you don’t need to tell them,” he said. “You’ve just got to work with people in any career you choose.” Halderman wasn’t the only speaker who recalled the lessons learned from Boys State. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said those lessons in the hands-on civics program have served him well in his career in government and university administration. He attended in 1956. “I can firmly state my Boys State experience has never left me.” Edwards said he would…

Buckeye Boys State convenes at BGSU

More than 1,200 young scholars from throughout Ohio will be at Bowling Green State University Sunday,June 12, through Sunday, June 19, for American Legion Buckeye Boys State. Students learn about city, county and state government by creating a mock government. City, county and state officials, along with American Legion volunteers, typically take part. Participants at Buckeye Boys State are also eligible for the BGSU Buckeye Boys State Achievement Scholarship. The automatic $1,000 scholarship for Boys State participants is renewable yearly and may be combined with other university scholarships. Buckeye Boys State was founded in 1936 and has been held at BGSU since 1978. In a letter this week to staff and faculty President Mary Ellen Mazey stated: “We’re committed to doing everything we can to continue this great collaboration.” She continued: “Buckeye Boys State and the dozens of summer conferences and camps we host give us the opportunity to showcase our campus and provide prospective students and their families with a taste of the BGSU experience. Our incoming freshman class includes 68 alumni from last year’s Boys State.

Ohio Humanities Presents Ohio Chautauqua in Rossford

From ROSSFORD CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU   History comes to life  in Rossford June 28 through July 2 when Ohio Humanities brings its  Ohio Chautauqua 2016 tour to Rossford. The theme for 2016 is “The Natural World” featuring chemist Marie Curie, Iroquois leader Cornstalk, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, President Theodore Roosevelt, and zoologist Dian Fossey. Building on the 19th-century tradition established on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake, Ohio Chautauqua is a five-day community event that combines living history performances, music, education, and audience participation into a one-of-a-kind cultural event the entire community will enjoy. Daytime activities feature stimulating adult programs and hands-on workshops for youth hosted at the Rossford Library, 720 Dixie Highway. Each evening, family, friends and visitors gather as live music fills the air in Veterans Park at the Marina, 300 Hannum Avenue with convenient parking and buses from Rossford High School. Then, a talented performer appears on stage, bringing a historic figure to life through personal stories and historic detail. This enriching and delightfully entertaining experience is perfect for every generation. With its warm, nostalgic vibe, this truly unique experience is sure to open minds and start conversations. A daily schedule can be found online at or Sponsors of Ohio Chautauqua 2016 in Rossford, Ohio include Ohio Humanities, the Rossford Convention & Visitors Bureau, ProMedica Bay Park Hospital, Lake Erie Living Magazine, Welch Publishing, Wood County Cultural Arts Grant, TARTA, Northwestern Water & Sewer District, the Rossford Business Association, Meijer Rossford, Costco Perrysburg, Camping World, the City of Rossford and the Rossford Library. Daytime Programs Rossford Public Library 720 Dixie Highway, 
Rossford. Programs for youth begin…