Education

WCESC presents an inspirational evening with LeDerick R. Horne

State Support Team 1, Wood County Educational Service Center, and Wood Lane present an evening at the Bowling Green Community Center with motivational speaker LeDerick Horne. The presentation will be on November 30 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Dolores Black Gym, 1245 W. Newton Rd, in Bowling Green. LeDerick Horne was labeled as neurologically impaired in third grade.  He defies all labels.  He’s a dynamic spoken word poet, disability advocate, and motivational speaker.  His work addresses the challenges of all disabilities, uniting the efforts of diverse groups in order to achieve substantive, systemic change.  He is on the governing board of Project Eye-to-Eye, a national nonprofit that provides mentoring programs.  Learn more at http://www.lederick.com/ Supported by Wood Lane in collaboration with the Wood County Educational Service Center Parent Mentors Jennifer Vanlerberg and Jenny Myers. Registration Deadline is Nov 23rd!  To register call Jennifer or Jenny at 419-354-9010 or send an email to jvanlerberg@wcesc.org or jemyers@wcesc.org   Please include the number of people attending, their names, and the email address and/or phone number of a contact person with their registration request.  Seating is limited, so registration is required.   


Parents told not to just dump kids at football games

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Friday night football games are supposed to be loud and busy and energized. But they are supposed to be controlled chaos – not risky for young students. So at this Friday’s game, parents will not be allowed to drop off young students by themselves. And those who do, will be called to come pick up their children. After the last home Bowling Green High School varsity football game on Oct. 7, Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci expressed some concerns about the “free-for-all” atmosphere at the game. “Parents are dropping kids off at the game” as young as fourth-graders and not accompanying them. “Nobody’s watching these kids,” he said. Throughout the games, it turns into a “mosh pit of kids,” Scruci said. “There’s no supervision. There’s no accountability. We’ve got to tighten up what we’re doing.” Scruci was so troubled about the unsafe situation, that his normal jovial “Friday Message” videotape to students and parents took on a serious tone. “We want you kids to come to the game,” he said in the videotape. “But it’s important that they’re supervised by you, the parents.” When contacted after his video message was released, Scruci said that some changes would be enacted before the last home game, which is this Friday. The policies will continue to the next week if Bowling Green hosts a playoff game at home. Following is the letter being sent out today to school families: Dear parents and guardians, As I alluded to on the Friday Message two weeks ago, we have made some changes for student attendance at our home football game this Friday. This has been necessitated due to…


BG Schools likely to try income tax renewal in May

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In May, when Bowling Green School District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi showed the school board the five-year financial forecast for the district, the budget looked like a rollercoaster. Last week, when Melchi revisited the forecast, it looked more like a game of hide-and-seek – in a heavy fog. But one item was certain – the school district will need to renew its 0.5 percent income tax next year. After that, the forecast gets a little blurry again, but by 2020 the district could be $4 million in the hole unless something changes. “We will need some new revenue sources,” Melchi told the school board. “I’m very conservative. I don’t like to give you a best scenario.” The income tax for the district began in January of 1993 and has been renewed every five years since. It makes up 11 percent of the district’s general fund revenue. “That’s pretty significant,” she said. To place a renewal on the May 2017 ballot, school board members will need to take action at their December meeting. At that point, they will have to decide whether to stick with a five-year tax or ask for a continuing tax. Melchi predicted the district would receive an overall increase in foundation funding from the state. “We do expect to see a little more of an increase over last year,” she said. But doing accurate five-year planning is very difficult for the district, she added. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen.” The cost of supplementing charter schools continues to affect the district. Melchi explained that the state gives Bowling Green $1,907 per student each year. But for every student…


Ordinary citizens honored for extraordinary lives

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They may have looked like an ordinary farmer, teacher, nurse and small town mayor. But the four were recognized for being so much more than that Sunday during the annual Spirit of Wood County Awards presented in the courthouse atrium. Recognized were Dan Henry, Janet Stoudinger, Brian Tucker and Jean Gamble. “So many times, we forget to recognize people who do outstanding things,” said Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw at the beginning of the event. The Spirit of Wood County Awards changed that during the bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance in 1987. And after that, the county commissioners decided to make the awards an ongoing effort to recognize ordinary citizens for doing extraordinary acts. Dan Henry, of rural Bowling Green, was given the Agricultural Leadership Award. Henry, a former industrial arts teacher at Anthony Wayne, worked part time at Riker Farm Seed starting in 1975, said Lesley Riker, who nominated him for the award. Upon retiring from teaching, Henry took over presidency and full-time management of Riker Farm Seed. He is active in the Ohio Seed Improvement Association, is on the educational committee, and is active in Ohio Foundation Seeds and Advanced Genetics. “Dan believes strongly in education,” Riker said. Riker Farm Seed hosts corn and soybean test plots, field days and hosts several hundred FFA members who come to the farm for education on hybrid corn and soybeans. Henry is now working closely with Farm 4 Clean Water, OSU Extension and Wood Soil and Water in hosting demonstration plots for cover crops and how they can help with water run-off and nutrient uptake. “We as farmers are doing something for water…


Gardner disputes ‘tax shift’ as mostly myth not math

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The “tax shift” cited by some in election seasons, is more of a myth than real math, according to State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. “You just hardly ever hear the other side of it,” Gardner said recently. So he decided to provide his own fact checking on the state budget and so-called tax shift. “Sometimes the truth becomes a casualty of the political season. Such is the case in 2016,” Gardner said. Across the state, citizens have been told the “tax shift” has required more schools to place levies on the ballot. Untrue, Gardner said. “In fact, in the past three years, fewer school levies for new operating money have been on Ohio’s ballot than any time in the past 51 years,” Gardner said.  According to the state senator, there have been an average of 42 such levies in the past three years. In 2010, Gov. Ted Strickland’s last year in office, a total of 173 new levies were on the ballot. In every year he was governor, more than 100 new levies were voted on in Ohio. Many people find those stats “unbelievable,” but Gardner pointed out the numbers don’t count bond issues or renewal levies. “There just hasn’t been the need for new operating money for quite some time,” he said, adding that increases in state funding in the past four years have helped many local schools. Of the 38 school districts in his senate district of Wood, Fulton, Lucas, Ottawa and Erie counties, only one district (Port Clinton) has had a net reduction in per pupil state funding in the past four years, and three districts are below the…


BG Schools to arm doors with ‘Boots’ to keep out intruders

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A brutal attack on Rob Couturier’s daughter led the Michigan man to invent a safety system being used in schools around the nation. That system, called the “Boot,” will soon be installed on 344 doors in Bowling Green City Schools. Couturier’s daughter, a petite college freshman, was attacked and almost raped. That was just over six years ago, and he still chokes as he talks about it. “I still remember her face,” Couturier said to the school board Tuesday evening. “She turned to look at me and couldn’t see me. Her face was beat to a pulp.” Couturier knew the perpetrator and located the man shortly after the attack. Couturier tried to break down the door, dislocating his shoulder in the process. He then kicked his way through drywall to get the attacker. He saw the man barricading the door with his boots wedged up against the door. That gave the father an idea. He created the “Boot,” a rectangular-shaped plate of quarter-inch thick industrial steel. With two steel pegs, the plate can withstand 16,000 pounds of pressure and keep doors closed to intruders. But the idea stopped there, with Couturier continuing his job as a school custodian, facilities employee and coach. A couple years later, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Couturier’s daughter called her dad about his invention. “It would have saved every one of those children,” she said to him. “I was so mad, I was only thinking of my daughter,” and not about how his invention could help others, Couturier said. So he resigned his job, sold his summer home, and started working with law…


‘Drive to Save Lives Tour’ to visit local schools

The Wood County Educational Service Center, Safe Communities of Wood County, and The Wood County Prevention Coalition have partnered to bring Cara Filler, an internationally known speaker, to present four school assemblies and one community event entitled, “The Drive to Save Lives Tour: Empowering Youth to Make Good Choices Without Peer Pressure, Alcohol & Drugs.” On October 25 and October 26, as a part of Red Ribbon Week, Cara will present to assemblies in North Baltimore, Rossford, Eastwood and Penta Career Center. Also, from 7 pm to 8 pm, on October 26 th at Bowling Green High School, there will be a community night event that Ms. Filler will speak to which will be made available to all youth and parents throughout the county. “It is imperative that we teach our youth to be conscious of the decisions they make every day, whether behind the wheel, in the classroom, or with their friends,” said Sandy Weichman, Coordinator, Safe Communities of Wood County. “Partnering with Cara Filler will be a wonderful opportunity for our youth, as well as their parents, to hear her story and put her ideas to work in their lives.” “We’re excited to have such an entertaining, powerful, and dynamic speaker such as Cara Filler come to Wood County and come and talk to our students, parents and schools.” added Kyle Clark, Prevention Education Director of the Wood County Educational Service Center. “ We hope her message resonates with the youth in our community so that they may make the best choices for themselves and have a more fulfilling, resilient life.” Recently, the Wood County Prevention Coalition Podcast had the opportunity to interview Cara Filler, as a preview…


Administration stands by high school soccer players’ right to take a knee

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN and DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District has chosen to stand up for the right of its students who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Three members of the girls varsity soccer team recently chose to kneel rather than stand before a game when the anthem was played. “They have a right to peaceful protest,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “Currently our nation is experiencing one of the most trying times in its history,” Scruci said during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. “We have a presidential race that is challenging political parties, genders, ethnicities and the very freedoms that the Constitution protects.” Scruci referred to football player Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, who peacefully protests by taking a knee during the National Anthem. “We have unrest in our communities with violence and people and police officers being shot on a regular basis,” the superintendent said. “We have professional athletes using their popularity to take political and societal stands and using their stage to make those statements in front of the world.” In a video posted by her mother on Facebook, one of the players Caroline Sayer explained why she “took a knee.” One of her fellow players, who is African American, was supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and was “getting a lot of negative feedback.” That prompted the player to say she would take a knee, Sayer said. Other students said they would come to witness her doing it “to get her in trouble.” The player took the knee at the next game, which Sayer was not playing in. “I felt that was so courageous of her,…


BGHS Drama Club staging “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

From BOWLING GREEN HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB  The Bowling Green High School Drama Club will present the classic C.S. Lewis story “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” on Nov. 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and Saturday Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The Drama Club’s interpretation of the four children who enter the land of Narnia through a wardrobe and find themselves caught up in a war between the White Witch and the Aslan, the King of Beasts, features snow and fog, actors on stilts, a giant puppet operated by three actors, music, and masks. In addition to the Drama Club’s cast and crew members, 40 students enrolled in the high school’s Theatre Design course are designing, constructing and painting the play’s major set pieces. Under the leadership of director Dr. Jo Beth Gonzalez and technical director Ryan Albrecht, these students are crafting the oversized wardrobe, the great Stone Table, the Witch’s sleigh, the giant puppet Aslan, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver’s home, and the tree-scape background. Tickets, available at the door, for this family-oriented production are $6 for students and senior citizens, and $8 for adults. Production stage managers are Meagan Worthy and Josiah Brosius. The cast includes: Elaine Hudson, Martin Simon, Claire Wells-Jensen, Michael Martin, Megan Carmen, Bob Walters, Lily Krueger, Rachel Amburgey and Alexis Reinbolt. Also, Moe Kellow, Devon Jackson, Nova Cullison, Thomas Long, Ethan Brown, Olivia Strang, Charlotte Perez, Sydney Adler, Abraham Brockway, Alyssa Clemens, Sophi Hachtel, Jessica Miller, Narnia Rieske, Alexis Roehl and Anne Weaver.


Local candidates face questions at forum

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the nation was preparing for the second presidential debate Sunday evening, Wood County residents filled up seats in a Bowling Green church to listen to local candidates. Though the forum was much less contentious than the presidential debate, there were a few accusations lodged at the local level. The League of Women Voters from Bowling Green and Perrysburg hosted the candidate forum for nine county, state and national races. Questions for the forum were accepted from the audience on note cards ahead of the event. But because there were 17 candidates sharing the stage, only two questions were posed to each. The candidates were all given a couple minutes to sum up at the end. The biggest sparks flew when the candidates for the Ohio House – Republican Theresa Gavarone and Democrat Kelly Wicks – were called to the microphones. The first question asked each to identify their top two priorities. But in response to multiple flyers mailed to local residents and a television commercial accusing Wicks of not paying his taxes, Wicks took the opportunity to set the record straight. “I’m Kelly Wicks and I pay my taxes,” he said.  Several years ago, he missed the deadline for a property tax payment, but paid it as soon as he realized the error, Wicks said. He questioned why his opponent and the state Republican party were spending so much on untruths. “Why is she willing to go so ugly, so early?” Wicks said. “What are you hiding?” Gavarone said she did not review the ads against her opponent. “They were produced out of Columbus and mailed out of Columbus.” She also…


High school teams Bet the Farm in BGSU robotics competition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Robots invaded farm country Saturday. They came with only the best intentions though. Farmland in question was a course set up on the floor of the Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University. The robots were miniature farm tractors tricked out by 17 teams from high schools from around the state and Indiana. The teams came to compete in the fourth Falcon BEST Robotics Game Day… this year the theme was Bet the Farm. The “farm’ in this case was divided into four quadrants, one for each team. The teams had to maneuver their machines through the course to collect and plant corn seeds, harvest corn cobs from racks as well as plant lettuce, and harvest lettuce and pumpkins – all plastic facsimiles. For Laura Dietz, the advisor for the Bowling Green High School team, the event, gives students as chance “to learn engineering process and problems solving.” For the Bobcat team that problem solving involved a working on a last minute adjustment to their robot’s arm. That’s all part of the competition, said Brandi Barhite, a member of the Falcon BEST committee. “If something breaks down you have to make adjustments,” she said. In that, the robotics competition is much like a sports event. That wasn’t the only way. Parents were on hand to cheer on the teams. School mascots added to the spirit. And a couple drummers beat out their cadences between the three-minute rounds of competition. Then there were the trombones and vuvuzelas contributing tuneless blats of encouragement. The 17 teams, Barhite said, were the most since the competition started in 2013. The university provides all the robotic kits. The cost…


Horizon Youth Theatre delivers another winning show with “The Great Cross Country Race”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In “The Great Cross Country Race,” Horizon Youth Theatre again let animals talk and deliver very human lessons. Last spring, “Honk!” was a lesson in humility. This fall’s production for older troupe members is a lesson in perseverance and impulse control. And it’s clear the cast and crew, 28 in all from 13 different schools, have learned their lessons well about how to work together to entertain an audience. Alan Broadhurst’s elaboration on the Aesop’s Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” directed by Cassie Greenlee, is on stage at the Otsego High School auditorium Saturday, Oct. 8, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5. Now there’s really not much to the original tale, a skeleton of a story with a moral tacked on to the end: slow and steady wins the race. The only characters are the plodding tortoise and the over-confident hare. In “The Great Cross Country Race,” the tortoise, Ms. Sloe (Sophi Hachtel) gets a back story as an imported pet from a nearby household who wanders into the woodlands. This strange creature baffles the woodland animals who can’t tell even if it’s alive, or just a rock. They’re too busy arranging for their animal sports games. None of which are competitive because they are so tailored – like grass eating – to the qualities of particular animals. In the course of this we meet a variety of animals: the bunny, Ms. Warren (Amanda Cloeter); the hedgehog, Mr. Spiney (Grace Holbrook); the rat, Mr. Paddle (Isaac Douglass); the squirrel, Mr. Brush (Maddox Brosius); and the crow, Mrs. Dark (Calista Wilkins). Only the cross country race offers…


Scruci explains school delay and closing decisions

(Submitted by BG Superintendent Francis Scruci) Allow me to explain the process that our district follows when making decisions on delays and closings.  At approximately 4:15 a.m. each morning we get out of bed and get in our vehicles to drive the district. Our first bus departs from the bus garage at approximately 5:50 a.m. We do everything in our power to make the decision by 5:30 at the latest. I pull over and send info out on Twitter(@francis_scruci) and Facebook.  When I get back home then I make the all call while submitting the delay or closing information with the TV stations.  I suggest if you want the earliest notification then follow me on Twitter or Facebook. A reminder that our district is the 98th largest district in the State in terms of square miles (118).  My transportation director and I drive the district and divide the area in terms of northern and southern. He and I are in constant communication throughout the early morning drive to determine the safety of putting buses on the road. Because of the size of the district, there could be a different weather condition in one area and in another area it could be totally opposite.  For instance, this morning in the southern part of the district it was clear with just small patches of fog, while in the northern part of the district there was dense fog.  Fog is difficult to predict as it can appear instantly within minutes. This is one of the most difficult decisions that a superintendent makes each day as safety is the priority for our buses, drivers, students, student drivers, and staff.  We try to give as…


‘Bobcat Basics’ to supply students with toiletries, school items

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Like many teachers, Erica Slough often sees students in her classroom who struggle with daily issues that most Bowling Green students don’t have to worry about. They don’t have the basic toiletries, clothing or school supplies they need. So Slough, a high school English teacher, came up with the Bobcat Basics program to provide supplies to students in need. “They do a good job of pretending to be OK. They don’t want to talk about it. But we see kids who are in need and we don’t have anywhere to turn to,” Slough said. “This is a much needed program.” It might be that their families can’t afford to keep supplies of shampoo, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, or notebooks. It may be the family has suffered a job loss, or a disaster such as a fire, or has a more ongoing crisis. “If they don’t have their basic needs met, how are they going to focus on academics?” Slough said. “They are thinking about survival. We want to help them out the best we can.” The plan is to supply the Bobcat Basics program by asking parents to donate items and by working with student organizations to collect donations from businesses. Student groups will also be in charge of keeping track of the inventory and making sure the program is stocked. “It’s set up for students to help students,” Slough said. But that is as far as the students and community will be involved, since the program must be discreet so students in need feel comfortable picking up items. “This is for the teenagers,” Slough said. Students will be approached by their…


BGSU sees slip in student retention rate

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BGSU’s student retention rate slipped this fall, sending officials scrambling to find ways to help students stay at school. It’s not enough for Bowling Green State University to attract new students to come to school. The university has to keep them coming back for more – until they graduate. That’s because universities in Ohio no longer get state funding per student headcounts. Now they get paid if students return to school each year and earn diplomas. So the recent dip in returning students at BGSU was concerning Friday to the BGSU Board of Trustees. Last fall, the retention rate was 77.5 percent. This fall, the rate of returning students had dropped to 75.8 percent – creating a bigger gap between reality and the retention goal of 80 percent. “Obviously, we’re not satisfied,” said BGSU Provost Rodney Rogers. “The goal is 80 percent, so we will continue to work on that.” Retention rates dropped for on-campus students (78.4 to 76.5 percent) and for commuter students (67.9 to 64.7 percent.) Meanwhile, several other universities in Ohio were meeting their goals of 80 percent or higher retention rates, Rogers said. Rates at Ohio University, Ohio State University, Miami University and Kent State were all higher than BGSU, while the University of Toledo’s rate was lower. But Rogers assured that BGSU could achieve the higher rate. “That 80 percent is a very appropriate goal for us,” he said. BGSU Trustees President David Levey questioned how the university would meet the goal. “Everybody’s focused on retention and our numbers are slipping,” he said. “What are we going to do this year?” However, Trustee Dan Keller cautioned the…