“Smoke Signals screening, food in the trenches on tap at library

Thursday, April 13 Community Reads presents the award-winning film, “Smoke Signals,” based on Sherman Alexie’s short story collection, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven.” The PG-13 film, with screenplay by Alexie and featuring Adam Beach, Evan Adams, and Irene Bedard, will be shown in the second Floor Meeting Room at 10 a.m., with an encore presentation at 6:45 p.m. Ever wonder what American dough boys ate in the trenches of World War I? Saturday, April 15, come hear author and food historian Nathan Crook (“A Culinary History of the Great Black Swamp”) talk about the good, the bad, and the unusual food that fueled the front for U. S. soldiers during the Great War. The library will be closed Sunday, April 16, and will resume regular hours on Monday, April 17. All programs are free and open to all. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104,

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What’s for lunch? Meatloaf wrapped up in red tape

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Meatloaf and turkey were on the menu Thursday for the 550 Meals on Wheels recipients in Wood County. The side dish – a big helping of red tape from the state. The Ohio Department of Aging created a new rule for all home-delivered meals supported by the state, requiring the recipients to sign for the meals each time they are delivered. That may not seem like a problem, but to those who deliver the meals and to those who receive them, it’s a bit of needless bureaucracy that clogs up a pretty efficient system. Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, said the signature requirement adds time to the delivery routes, compromises the temperature safety of the food maintained by hot and cold packs, and makes some seniors uncomfortable that they need to sign for their meals each day. But State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said he is working to remove bureaucracy from the Meals on Wheels menu. Prior to the new rule, many seniors looked at the Meals on Wheels system as a dinner being dropped off by a neighborly volunteer, Niese said. Now it feels more like public assistance, she said. The rule is specific, stating that the meal recipient must sign – not a family member or caretaker. “It has to be the meal recipient,” Niese said. And that poses some other problems. “Some of these folks are pretty frail,” Niese said. Some seniors prefer that meals just be dropped off by volunteers if the seniors are sleeping or in the restroom. But that…

MLK food drive canvasses BG neighborhoods

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Can” vass Food Drive matched last year’s haul of food and other necessities despite being short-handed. The drive coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project, could have use three times the crew of volunteers to cover all the neighborhoods in the city. Still, Amy Jo Holland, Brown Bag founder, said those people reached were generous. Very few reached said no. The drive gather between 60-70 boxes of food. By late afternoon those goods, non-perishable food, hygiene items and paper goods were being boxed up to be distributed by the six organizations that will share the bounty. In addition to Brown Bag, the other organizations benefitting are: First United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Broken Chains, St. Thomas More, and BG Christian Food Pantry.  Each will receive 10 to 12 boxes. That should be enough for a couple months, she said. In divvying up items, Holland said, attention is paid to the kind of service provided. Broken Chains, she said, works with the homeless, so it received all the trial size hygiene items and single serving and ready to eat food items. Homeless folks don’t have can openers, she noted. Larger, bulk foods went to St. Mark’s and First United Methodist because they serve meals. Holland said 60 volunteers showed up to work. Some stayed on for more shifts than they had signed up for. Next year, she said, Brown Bag may extend the drive, which ran on Saturday and Sunday, to Monday. That way they could better coordinate with Bowling Green State University’s Martin Luther King Jr….

Center for Innovative Food Technology to host seminar on food trucks

Submitted by the CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE FOOD TECHNOLOGY Food transport, service and catering requirements will be the topic of discussion at a seminar hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK). Four experts, who specialize in working closely with mobile food companies, food service operations, caterers, and other similar entities, will address the various regulations for obtaining and maintaining licenses, food safety rules, inspections, and numerous other aspects of the industry. A growing trend within this area is the growth of food trucks.  According to a 2015 IBISWorld survey, revenue in the food truck business industry has increased 9.3 percent from 2010 to 2015, with more than 5,000 food truck businesses throughout the U.S. employing 14,000 people. Featured speakers include Brad Sherrick and Jerry Bingham from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, and Jillan Bodey and Julie Nye from the Wood County Health District. These processing procedures will be explained within the NOCK – a kitchen-based setting that educates and advises entrepreneurs interested in starting a food business.  Food-related business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and those who are producing a product to sell at markets and/or other retail establishments are encouraged to attend. The cost is just $25/person or $20/person for group of two or more (pay online, or cash/check at the door) which includes great networking opportunities and light refreshments.  Advanced registration is preferred.  The NOCK/AIF is located at 13737 Middleton Pike (St. Rt. 582) in Bowling Green, Ohio.

MLK food drive needs help to reach all corners of BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News More volunteers are needed so the annual BG Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Food Drive reach out to more households throughout Bowling Green. The drive to collect non-perishable food and hygiene items will be held Saturday, Jan.14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 15, noon to 4 p.m. The drive is being coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project working out of Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green. According to Amy Jo Holland, of Brown Bag, said last year about 100 volunteers were able to canvas about two-thirds of Bowling Green. About 70 boxes of food was collected and was distributed to six area food pantries. The aim this year is to have enough people to reach all neighborhoods. In a Facebook post the organizers wrote: “We have had a wonderful response in previous years and hope to set a record with this year’s endeavor. As many of you are aware, there is a dire need for food donations in our area; we have a large number of food insecure people, and the area food pantries are extremely low on supplies.” They are asking residents to have their donations ready, so that volunteers can reach as many Volunteers will also collect monetary donations. Checks should be made out to:  Brown Bag Food Project. Those donations will be divvied up among participating pantries. Volunteers will meet at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. at the beginning of their chosen shift on either Saturday or Sunday. Shifts are two hours long. To sign up, go to:  

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…

Hirzel Canning blends tradition & innovation in products packed with the flavor of Northwest Ohio

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Prohibition knocked Carl Hirzel’s upstate New York brewery out of business, he turned his knowledge of fermentation toward making another product. “He took his technology for making beer and turned it to making sauerkraut,” said his great-grandson Steve Hirzel. By then Carl and his wife, Lena, had joined his brothers in the Toledo area.  “The company literally started in the kitchen,” Hirzel said. Hirzel Canning & Farms continues in operation 93 years later with a fifth generation moving in to keep the firm moving forward. And the company still makes sauerkraut, originally sold under the Deer Lodge brand now as Silver Fleece. Business is good for the tart fermented cabbage, Hirzel, president of Hirzel Canning, told the Bowling Green Exchange Club Tuesday. The company is still looking toward fermentation as a way to develop other products for an increasingly fickle consumer. Hirzel said company’s success is rooted in the Great Black Swamp. “In our backyard we’ve been given a garden to grow our crops. … Half of products we get are within 10 miles of the facility.” Those products now are centered on tomatoes, which the company turns in salsas, pasta and Sloppy Joe sauce and tomatoes in various forms from crushed to whole, in cans and cartons. “Anything you can think of doing with tomatoes we do,” he said, “except paste.” The varieties of tomatoes grown locally are not suited to making paste. They are more like what people would pick from their gardens. They don’t need a lot of processing on their way to the consumer. “We want to heat it…