Family

BGSU center has spent decade tracking changes in family life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The last few decades have not been easy on the Norman Rockwell portrait of the American family’s holiday dinner. Those neatly delineated generations and family relationships are a thing of the past. The grandchildren may be the products of parents who live together without marriage. Or they may be the children of a same-sex couple. The grown son or daughter still lives at home with mom and dad, who may be contemplating divorce. Grandma has brought along her special friend. They are a committed couple, but live apart from each other, and have no intention of altering that arrangement. All this change, say Wendy Manning and Susan Brown, co-directors of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, may cause some observers to despair. Some take a dim view of the decreasing marriage rate and see it as a sign of the decline of the American family, said Brown. But “if you’re open to a diverse range of shapes a family can take, it has never been better because people can form the types of families they want to form. We’re more accepting of a wide range of family…

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Reading takes flight with launch of 1,000 Book Before Kindergarten

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Reading a 1,000 books to a child before they enter school seems on the face of it a daunting task. Those little ones who attended the kickoff for the Wood County District Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten got five books under their belts just listening to Denise Fleming. Fleming’s book “Alphabet Under Construction” was the free book given to each child signed up for the program. Since it was a day made for gardening, as Fleming declared at the beginning of her presentation, the books she read were inspired by nature. Before started she planted a flower in the hair of Children’s Librarian Maria Simon, and then donned a ringlet of flowers. Then she set about cultivating a love of reading in children. She did it by turning the letters in her name into a parade of creatures and flowers. She offered a simple drawing lesson turning a series of ovals into faces of different ages. She stretched the kids’ imaginations when she asked them what they saw in an oval inside a squiggly circle. It could be an egg, a flower, a flat tire, a pancake with a pad of butter in the…


Mothers turn tragedy into efforts to help others hooked on heroin

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sunday will be agonizing for sisters Kat Cordes and Lori Hanway. It will be the first Mother’s Day they spend without their children who both died from heroin overdoses. “She would have been 24 yesterday,” Cordes said of her daughter, Amanda Haas, who died in March at age 23. “We had a birthday cake for her and let balloons go.” Hanway’s son, Thomas Urhammer died in December at age 35. After years of battling heroin, both cousins lost to their fierce addictions. In an effort to find some hope in their losses, the two mothers have planned a memorial benefit and tribute to their children, this Saturday, at the Eagles Club in Bowling Green. The event will raise awareness and funding for Team Recovery, a group that helps opiate users beat their addictions. “It has to be done. It’s getting out of control,” Cordes said of the opiate epidemic. “It helps me. I feel like if I help one person turn their life around, another parent doesn’t have to go through what I did.” Earlier this week, the sisters took turns talking about their children and their heart wrenching losses as they…


New Cocoon can shelter more survivors of violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The tour of the new Cocoon shelter was personal for some of those getting their first look Sunday at the safe place for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As a counselor, Joan Staib worked with a girl who saw her mom stabbed to death by her father. “I could tell you 60 stories of women impacted by domestic violence,” Staib said as she toured the new Cocoon. Places like this, she said, can help prevent the violence or help survivors deal with the aftermath. “The healing can be awesome,” she said. The tour was also personal for Becca Ferguson. Her mother was the victim of domestic violence, at a time when there were few services to help. “Her attorney told her to get in a car and drive to Florida,” from her home in Georgia, Ferguson said. “Violence toward women is a problem everywhere, including Bowling Green and Wood County,” Ferguson said as she stood in the kitchen of the new Cocoon. “I firmly believe we need safe places everywhere, especially for women and children.” The new Cocoon site, located in the former Elks Club at 200 Campbell Hill Road, will…


Author overcomes learning disabilities to become storyteller

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Patricia Polacco, author and illustrator of more than 100 books, remembers the horror of being forced to read in front of her class. She would clutch the book so hard, her nails would break. “To me, that was like being asked to stand in front of a firing squad,” Polacco told her audience of parents and children Saturday at the Literacy in the Park event at Bowling Green State University. “I could not read until I was 14 years old. I could not write. I couldn’t do math,” she said. “I felt stupid. I felt dumb.” Polacco recalled the unintentional cruelty of her classmates. “The whole class started laughing at me,” when she tried to read aloud. “Please don’t laugh,” she told her audience on Saturday. “You have no idea how much you are hurting that kid.” Polacco’s life turned around at age 14 when one of her teachers finally realized that she was dyslexic and dysgraphic. She was also unable to learn when sitting still – something that wasn’t understood till years later. “In my day at school, I had to sit like a rock.” So Polacco is a big believer…


Michigan author Patricia Polacco Literacy in the Park guest

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University’s annual Literacy in the Park event will feature popular children’s author Patricia Polacco. The Lansing native has written and illustrated more than 115 books for children in addition to being a playwright and penning for adults. She is a much-sought-after lecturer and keynote speaker. Some of her most popular books include “The Keeping Quilt,” “Thunder Cake” and “Thank you, Mr. Falker.” Presented by BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development, Literacy in the Park will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 29, at Perry Field House. The event is free and open to the public. Last year, more than 2,000 people attended the event. Literacy in the Park, which has taken place for more than a decade, promotes the importance of literacy in the lives of children and features more than 40 interactive exhibitor booths and displays. The focus of the event has been expanded to address all of the different ways literacy is important in our lives. In addition to reading and writing activities, families will have opportunities to engage in activities about digital literacy, science and environmental literacy, financial literacy, nutritional literacy, physical education…


Funding defended for programs Trump wants to slash

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   While President Donald Trump’s administration is attacking the value of federally funded community programs, the proof is right here in Wood County. Local officials suggested the administration look at the seniors kept in their homes by the Meals on Wheels program, the children nourished through the WIC program, and the small villages improved through the CDBG program. When Trump’s budget proposal was unveiled Thursday, the winners were the military and border control. The losers were the arts, the environment, the poor, the elderly and the very young. And the cuts weren’t made with a scalpel, but with a guillotine. Local officials who normally make tempered responses to hot button political issues could no longer bite their tongues. When Mick Mulvaney, the president’s budget director, said the Meals on Wheels cuts were justified because the program was “just not showing any results,” the comments pushed Denise Niese past her normally polite poise. “I heard that last night and I was appalled,” said Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging. The local Meals on Wheels program is not as dependent as some areas on the federal funding, but it is vital…