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 reading program focused on a cute rodent, he walked around with a stuffed “Humphrey the Hamster” in his shirt pocket. When it comes to parents, Scruci prides himself on being straight forward, and not candy-coating the truth. “There aren’t any hidden agendas. We’re calling a spade, a spade. That’s something I’ve done everywhere I’ve been.” When Scruci and the school board meet on Tuesday at 5 p.m., they will look at that agenda, and discuss progress made on the district’s…

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 be remiss as a band alumni if he didn’t “give a shout out” to the musicians in the ensemble, especially his fellow saxophonists. The program continues at Bowling Green State University through Sunday.

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 at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 28: Dan Cutler: Prehistoric People—How Primitive Were They? Wednesday, June 29: Susan Marie Frontczak: Once Upon a Time—Frankenstein Thursday, June 30: Dianne Moran: Animal Researchers Friday, July 1: Chuck Chalberg: Roosevelt as a Hunter & Explorer Saturday, July 2: Susan Marie Frontczak: Storytelling: Science and Engineering through Stories Programs for adults begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 28: Dan Cutler: How the “Skin Trade” Changed Traditional Native Values Wednesday, June 29: Susan Marie Frontczak: Does…

Horizon Youth Theatre offers summer workshops

Horizon Youth Theatre is offering a full slate of summer workshops. Workshops offered week of July 11 from 9 a.m. to noon are: THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE In this Aesop-based script devising class, students have the opportunity to explore the classic fable and write their own spin. Ages: 2nd-5th grade Place: Wood County Library, BG MUSICAL THEATRE Do you love to sing? Dance? Act? Go for your Broadway dreams with this week-long course! All experience levels welcomed. Ages: 6th-12th grade Place: First Presbyterian Church, BG Workshops offered week of July 18 from 9 a.m. to noon are: MUSICAL THEATRE JR. Do you love to sing? Dance? Act? Go for your Broadway dreams with this week-long introductory course! All experience levels welcomed. Ages: 2nd-5th grade Place: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, BG FOCUS ON FILM Explore filmmaking as a storytelling medium as you work in a team environment to craft a short film from concept to screening. Ages: 6th-12th grade Place: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, BG Workshops offered week of July 25 from 9 a.m. to noon are: READER’S THEATRE Students will learn the basic fundamentals such as off stage focus and interpretation of text. Ages: 2nd-5th grade Place: Woodland Mall, BG SHAKESPEARE IN PERFORMANCE Students will gain a working knowledge of Shakespeare’s writing style and language through scene and monologue work. Ages: 6th-12th grade Place: Woodland Mall, BG Register online at:

Memorial Day speaker drops bomb about Boys State … but turns out his coordinates were likely wrong

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A retired U.S. Air Force colonel dropped a bomb on the Bowling Green Memorial Day Program Monday, but it appears the torpedo may have been a dud. During his keynote speaking comments, Col. Scott Manning expressed his sadness that Buckeye Boys State was moving from Bowling Green State University to Miami University after this year’s program. As a high school student, Manning had attended Boys State and decided to return to BGSU for his college education and ROTC. So the loss of the program was a personal loss to him. That bombshell sent some shockwaves through the dignitaries and the crowd at the Memorial Day service. “I’m absolutely astonished if that’s true,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said. Edwards attended Boys State when it was stationed at Camp Perry, convinced the program to move to BGSU in 1978 when he was in the university president’s office, and was later named to the Buckeye Boys State Hall of Fame. The Buckeye Boys State program has been in limbo for a few years, with the primary sticking point being money. BGSU wants more to house the program, Boys State wants the university to consider the value of having 1,300 male high school juniors come to campus for a week of mock government activities each June. “You get the best and the brightest from the state,” Edwards said. The program is not intended to be a money making venture, he said, but it does work as a recruitment tool for BGSU. Until Manning’s announcement, it was believed negotiations for a new five-year conference agreement were still going on. The current agreement expires after the program later this month. “I know negotiations haven’t been going well,” said Dave Ridenour, of the Bowling Green American Legion Post, who also helped organize the Memorial Day program. But after the program was over, Ridenour said that Manning had been given inaccurate information. “He misspoke from rumors.” The coordinates for the bombshell were faulty. “It’s pretty common knowledge that negotiations have not been going well with the university,” Ridenour said….

Overgrown courtyard becomes oasis in middle of BGHS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The courtyard at Bowling Green High School is being transformed into a peaceful oasis in the middle of the classrooms and chaotic lives of students. There in the courtyard is the soothing sound of a waterfall, where koi fish glide back and forth, beautiful flowers and smooth stonework. But it hasn’t always been this way. A couple years ago, biology teacher Josh Iler looked at the courtyard and realized it could be so much more. “The bushes were overgrown, covering the windows,” Iler said. One bush was blocking the door into the courtyard, making it difficult for students and staff to use the area. “They would not come out here,” Iler said of the students. But on Thursday, the courtyard was full of students sitting at the patio tables, taking a breather before their last couple classes of the year. “Now you’ve got to get out here early to get a seat,” Iler said. A couple years ago, Iler decided to use the courtyard as a classroom tool, and turn it into the oasis at the same time. He asked North Branch Nursery to come up with a landscape design for the space. “Get me started and I’ll let the kids figure out the rest,” he said. From there it grew … and grew. The work started on the edges of the courtyard, with the old overgrown bushes being pulled out and replaced with neatly sculpted flower beds. Then recently, the work moved into the center, where the school’s victory bell used to sit before it was moved out to the football field. “There was nothing but a cement slab,” in the center, Iler said. So on a recent Saturday, Iler and his students were joined by Superintendent Francis Scruci to create a koi pond with waterfall. “It got bigger and bigger,” he said, with the help of Select Stone, North Branch Nursery, Midwood and D&D Landscaping. One of those students helping with the project is Jordan Arrington. Though he graduated on Sunday, Arrington came back to school Thursday to talk about…

Some high school students take a pass on free lunch

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Teenagers from poor families in Bowling Green are apparently not taking advantage of the free and reduced priced lunches they are eligible for. School Superintendent Francis Scruci said at a forum for residents of Wards 1 and 2, that while about 30 percent of students in the district are eligible for free and reduced lunches, the number that actually apply at the high school “drops dramatically.” The numbers start to go down in middle school and the decline continues as students get older. Those students, Scruci said, don’t want to be identified as poor. That they don’t get the food they may need because of that is “sad.” The district has done everything it could to make sure those students cannot be identified at the lunch line. Yet a suspicion persists “that everyone’s looking at them and everyone knows.” The percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches varies by elementary school with about 40 percent of Crim students eligible, 30 percent Kenwood and 20 percent at Conneaut. For some students, the breakfast and lunches they eat at school are the main meals they get, Scruci said. He said that many times people who rely on public assistance programs will move to Bowling Green because of the proximity of social service agencies. Scruci was at the meeting to discuss the building prospects for the district’s facilities plan. The district has: two aging elementary schools, and one, Crim, that was recently renovated; a high school that needs extensive work; and a new middle school. District officials plan to take up to 18 months to work with residents to decide how the community wants to proceed. He said he will not put a plan on the ballot that’s cooked up by administrators and school board. “If the community wants to do nothing, we’ll do nothing,” he said. If the community wants to build a new high school or central elementary school, then that’s the direction the district will take. Or if residents express support for renovations then that will be the plan. “I don’t want to…

BG high and middle schools put on lockdown while police search for suspect (updated)

Around 12:30 p.m. today, the Bowling Green Police Department asked Bowling Green High and Middle Schools to go into lockdown mode due to the police tracking a suspect wanted on several felony warrants. The lockdown was lifted before 1 p.m., and police have arrested the suspect. According to an email sent out by BG Superintendent Francis Scruci, the suspect is a white man in his 50s, wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans.  He was being tracked by a K-9 unit and does not appear to have entered the school property but as a precautionary measure the district was asked to lock down the buildings.  A witness had reportedly seen the man on Middle School grounds. Police later picked up the man, Wayne English, 49, of 1052 Revere Drive, Bowling Green, without incident in the 15000 block of Bowling Green Road West. English had a felony warrant for breaking and entering into a home in his neighborhood, according to BG Police Lt. Dan Mancuso. He also had two other warrants from two other counties, according to Police Major Justin White. English was taken to the county justice center.    

BG Schools’ financial forecast a rollercoaster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi showed the school board Tuesday the five-year financial forecast for the district, then showed them an image that best summed up the situation – a rollercoaster. Melchi described some of the changes that have occurred since October. Tangible personal property tax was expected to disappear, but the district was supplemented for two years of that revenue. State foundation funding increased from a 0.28 percent to a 0.31 percent share. While that may seem insignificant, Melchi said it adds up to quite a bit. Of the $5,900 per pupil funding level at Bowling Green, the state will pay $1,829. Property tax collection has increased by $120,000 and the school district income tax is up $129,000. Some savings are being experienced in health insurance costs. But looking ahead, the district is adding two curriculum coordinators, six regular classroom teachers, two special education teachers, one behavioral specialist and one speech specialist. All those figures add up to revenue and expenditure lines that crisscross on their ways up and down on the financial forecast chart. Based on the current snapshot on finances, the district will have a positive balance until 2019, Melchi said.  Then, the district will have to search for more revenue. Also at the meeting, the school board learned about a new literacy task force led by Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for the district. She introduced several teachers who have been working on their own time throughout the year on a program to improve reading programs. All the teachers wore red T-shirts, McCarty said, because “this group is on fire.” Several of the teachers took turns describing different highlights of the literacy efforts. “Compare it to learning to ride a bike,” Stacey Higgins said. First, the teacher holds on as the student pedals, then the teacher runs alongside, and finally the student takes off. Some of the teachers also described what the literacy program is not.  It is not “one size fits all” and not memorization of words. In addition to improving literacy…

Prizes awarded to BGHS senior show artists

Submitted by BGHS Art Department Monday the awards for the Senior Art Show now on display at Four Corners Center in downtown BG were announced. In announcing the awards, art teacher Nicole Myers said: “To be in Senior Studio, students need to have great work ethic, great creativity, be independently motivated and take art all four years. “Student artists complete teacher driven prompts while trying new materials and solving problems that may arise. Each student is responsible for exhibiting their best work from the four years in the Senior Studio Show.” The show is in its 19th year and includes the work 26 seniors, the most ever in Senior Studio history. Participating in the show were: Savannah Artiaga, Hannah Brose, Brittney Bushman, Ashley Cochrane, Rebecca Elsasser, Conner Erdody, Kurt Greiger, Angie Hoffsis, Lydia Kalmar, Maeve Kennedy, Alexandra Knoell, Michael Koldan, Miranda Lentz, Keller Martin, Sydney Mason, Zach McCurdy, Alex Noble, Drew Peterson, Lilly Rakas, Tony Reisberg, Adam Schroeder, Katy Slaughterbeck, Micah Smith, Morgan Smith, Allison Swanka and Rowan Wicks. Awards for a total of $1,000 were sponsored by businesses, organizations and individuals. Award winners were: • PTO Purchase Award, Miranda Lentz, “Another Brick in the Wall,” a pen and ink drawing. • 2-D purchase award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival, Micah Smith for “Cinnamon Teal,” colored pencil drawing. Matt Reger selected this piece for its incredible detail and overall display. Reger selected a second piece as well, Sydney Mason’s “Aquarelle,” acrylic painting. He was drawn to the bright colors and said it is just fun to look at. Copies of Sydney and Micah’s pieces will be displayed on the second floor of the high school. • 2-D purchase award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival, Adam Schroeder for “Pierre the Pigeon,” clay. • Principal’s Award sponsored by Mr. Jeff Dever, which goes to a student with high work ethic, Lilly Rakas. • Outstanding Technical Merit Award sponsored by Ben and Jen Waddington of Waddington Jewelers, Brittney Bushman, “3 Shades of Blue” necklace, an enameled piece made by melting glass on individual pennies and then attaching each with jump rings….

Summit brings women in philanthropy into focus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Learning how to manage money and learning the value of sharing that wealth with others go helping hand in helping hand. For the past 15 years, Auburn University’s Women’s Philanthropy Board has entwined those lessons in programs geared toward elementary school students through adults. Bringing those values together is essential, said Sidney James Nakhjavan, the executive director for the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Auburn. She was the keynote speaker at the Women in Philanthropy Summit Saturday at Bowling Green State University. The summit was convened by the presidents of BGSU, Otterbein University and the University of Findlay. “When you talk in terms of money management, you talk in terms of one thing,” Nakhjavan told those in attendance. “When you talk in terms of philanthropy and building a legacy, you certainly are talking about one thing. When you blend it then you get this powerful force that really effects change within people. …  It becomes this burning passion.” While teaching money management may seem fairly dispassionate, said Nakhjavan every semester she gets “criers.” One male student became apoplectic in a session talking about money management. He was angry because he didn’t realize how much debt he was taking on. He didn’t know what an IRA or a 401K was. He’s not alone. One young woman told Nakhjavan that when she saw 401K on the syllabus, she thought she was going to have to run a race. Another thought United Way was an airline. “They end up being grateful to learn this stuff and empowered to build their legacy,” the speaker said. Since 2001, the efforts, started as Women’s Board for Philanthropy, have been working to increase that learning curve. Seminars for women, started with 100 attendees, have grown to attract 1,000 attendees. The formation of the board was prescient. In 2001 Dean June Henton, of the College of Human Sciences, with colleagues and a donor, attended a conference with the intention of finding how to cultivate a culture of philanthropy among women on the Auburn campus. “What prompted…

BGHS accommodates transgender students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When word came down from the Obama administration today that transgender students should be able to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, it did not send Bowling Green High School into a panic. Principal Jeff Dever said the high school already has taken steps to make transgender students feel safe and welcome – by having a restroom identified for transgender students and by calling students by their chosen names and pronouns. A directive is being sent to school districts throughout the nation today saying that public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. The directive comes with no new legal requirements, but clarifies expectations of school districts that receive federal funding. It is not clear yet if Bowling Green’s separate restroom meets those qualifications, but Dever said it seems to be meeting transgender students’ needs. “What I have heard from students is their greatest angst comes from using the restroom,” he said this morning. “I understand that completely.” For the students, the separate restroom seems to be a sufficient solution. “I haven’t had any complaints,” Dever said. Though the issue of transgender students has long existed at the high school, Dever said it has changed with the visibility of Caitlyn Jenner. “It’s more of an issue here at school now,” he said. “It’s come to the forefront.” That may bring about locker room changes soon. Devers said the school has not designated a transgender locker room yet because none of the current handful of transgender students are on athletic teams. However, with five locker rooms, the school should be able to identify one as transgender if the need arises, he said. The school also tries to accommodate transgender students in other ways. As soon as the student identifies as the other sex, the staff is instructed to use the student’s chosen name and matching pronoun. “I’ve been told anecdotally that we handle it pretty well,” Dever said. “As a public school we have a moral obligation to serve everybody,” the principal…

Kindergarten registration for BG schools on June 7

Kindergarten registration for Bowling Green City Schools will be June 7, from 8:20 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Central Administrative Offices, 137 Clough St. All-day, everyday kindergarten is offered by the district for children 5 years old on or before Aug. 1, 2016. Parents are asked to call for an appointment at 419-352-3576, ext. 4021. Children should be brought to the registration since they will go through a 10-minute screening. Anyone wanting to expedite the registration process may download the forms from the front page of the school district’s website, complete them in advance and bring them to registration. Parents should bring the following documents to the Central Administration Office: Your child’s birth certificate. Your child’s updated immunization records. Your child’s Social Security card. Custody papers (if applicable). Proof of residence (such as current utility bill, rent receipt, etc.) Parent photo ID (such as driver’s license, student ID, etc.) Even if you are missing a couple of the above documents, you can still start the registration process. Questions can be directed to 419-352-3576, ext. 4021, or check out the district’s web page:

Bill Clifford named to BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bill Clifford has been named to the Bowling Green Board of Education. The board voted unanimously this morning to name Clifford to the seat vacated by Ed Whipple. Clifford, a retired Wood Lane superintendent, said this morning that his first goal is just to listen and learn. “I need to listen, even though I have all this experience as a superintendent, I really need to listen and sit back,” he said. Clifford’s top priority for the school district is academic achievement. In order to achieve that, he wants to focus on school facilities, retention of quality staff, and creating opportunities for special needs students. “I firmly believe we need to provide the best possible environment for teachers to teach and for students to learn,” he wrote in his board application. “Second, retaining quality personnel is essential to a quality education. Balancing that need with the realization of our current tax structure will be challenging and well worth brainstorming options that provide for both. “Finally, we need to be acutely aware of the preparation necessary for the successful integration of students with special needs into their community upon graduation.” Clifford was selected among four applicants, the others being Joanna Craig, Barbara Moses and Bryan Wiles. Moses, a retired BGSU professor, ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Clifford will fill the remainder of Whipple’s term, which ends December 2017. The board expressed appreciation this morning to all who sought the seat. “I want to thank all of the people who put themselves up,” Ellen Scholl said. “We felt that Bill was the best fit for this board.” Jill Carr talked about the selection process, which gave each candidate a chance to present their positions. “Every candidate had equal opportunity to express their thoughts.” Ginny Stewart said she hoped the candidates not selected would continue their support of schools. “I want to encourage all…