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 place. While this may seem ironic that our top story was written by neither McLaughlin nor Dupont, I don’t see it that way. Zibbel Media, operated by John Roberts-Zibbel and Roberts-Zibbel, is as much responsible for launching and maintaining the BG Independent enterprise as McLaughlin and Dupont, and I’m happy to have this recognition of that contribution. Some people were celebrating the holidays by pulling their last Myles pizza out…

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 up really quickly, sterilize it and put it in the package,” Hirzel said. That’s the difference between the more than 60 products sold under the Dei Fratelli label and its competitors’ products. Working closely with area growers, some who have been associated with the companies for four generations, the company aims to be “picking it when it’s vine ripe, and then putting it in the package right away. You talk…

Thanksgiving feast feeds 600 guests in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The menu included 30 roasted turkeys, countless industrial sized cans of mashed potatoes and green beans, and of course, plenty of pumpkin pie with whipped cream dollops on the top. This Thanksgiving dinner was no place for timid cooks – not with 600 famished guests invited. As the guests filed by, their plates were heaped with the turkey and generous helpings of all the trimmings. “It’s just like a real Thanksgiving,” said Lynn Eck, who has coordinated the Community Thanksgiving Feast at the Bowling Green Community Center for the last six years. The meal, donated by members of Grace Church and Christ Church in Bowling Green, has been an annual tradition now for 25 years. The dinner welcomed the hungry, the lonely, the old and the young. “There are a lot of familiar faces,” Eck said as she looked out from the busy kitchen at the line of guests. “For a lot of people, this is their Thanksgiving.” “For me, it’s my favorite day of the year,” Eck said. “It’s like having your whole family over – a really big family.” The thought of serving 600 turkey dinners would be enough to make some cooks collapse. But for Eck, cooking mass quantities has become second nature. “By this point in the day, it’s like a well-oiled machine.” Planning for the community feast begins in October, with requests for help going out to each congregation. “They always step up,” Eck said. But others in the community also take their turns serving up the turkey and trimmings. “People hear about it and want to help,” she said. People like Jason Miller, who volunteered this year to take tickets and hand out plates. “It’s really good to give back to the community,” Miller said. “You see so many people who come through who just want a hot meal. It’s really fulfilling to me.” Out in the gymnasium, the tables were filling up with guests. Dorothy Bookman, of Perrysburg, brought six family members to the feast….

Sweet things to taste, hear, & read on tap at library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Concerts, a holiday cookie bake-off and tasting, and an author visit help usher in the season at Wood County District Public Library (251 North Main St., Bowling Green). Give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, and stop by the library for these programs. Tuesday, November 29, 7 pm. Students in piano studies at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts return to the WCDPL Atrium for another virtuoso concert. This last concert in the BGSU Fall Concert Series at the library features selections from the work of nine master composers, including that of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms, as well as the work of Alexander Scriabin, Gabriel Fauré, Alberto Ginastera, and Sergei Prokofiev. Sunday, December 4, 2 pm. The Great Holiday Bake-off takes place in the Library Atrium. Bakers and cookie tasters are needed! Tasters are invited to come and sample cookies, then vote on their favorites. To enter the bake-off, bakers are asked to bring 2 dozen cookies and their recipe. Multiple cookie entries are accepted, how ever bakers should a recipe for each type of cookie type. For purposes of determining contest winners, bakers will be divided into 2 categories: 12-years-old and younger and 13-years-old and older. Saturday, December 10, 1 pm. Meet the Author, Tom Lambert. 1st Floor Meeting Room. Imagine acquiring a house guest known to you only as “Earl”. All the evidence before you suggests that Earl in fact may be America’s beloved—albeit long dead–humorist and author, Mark Twain. Who is this person really? That’s the question bedeviling Tom in Living with Earl. Tom Lambert, a life-long resident of Bowling Green comes to WCDPL to talk about his debut novel, Living with Earl. Book signing to follow Mr. Lambert’s talk. These programs are free and open to all.For more information, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5050 and find details at  

Brown Bag Food Project has a place of its own

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project has moved into its own place. The project, which provides emergency food and other supplies to people in crisis, has taken up residence at 115 W. Merry St., Unit B, in Bowling Green. It had been operating out of the home of founder Amy Jo Holland’s mother. Now Brown Bag will start holding regular hours for people to drop off food and other household items and for people in need to pick up deliveries. The office will be open Monday and Wednesday, 5 to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Holland said people can still call at other times. The number is 419-960-5345. Brown Bag provides five-days of food and sanitary products. The idea is to step in at a time of most need and to direct families to get more permanent assistance. People can only use the service once in a six-month period. According to the project, about 15 percent of people in Wood County experience food insecurity.   Holland said the project assists about 200 people a month. Gwen Andrix, member of the board, said they get a couple calls a day. Holland started Brown Bag last year when she realized that some of her co-workers at WalMart didn’t have enough to eat. The project received its tax-exempt status in June. “It was always part of our dream to get a place,” said Andrix. The project got some donations that allowed it to have a capital budget and start looking for a place this summer. The West Merry Street location is just about perfect, she said. The building is just outside the downtown area, a block off North Main Street, near Newman’s Marathon. “It’s easy to find,” Holland said. The space seemed a little tight at first, but the board made it work. The office furnishing were all contributed by Bowling Green State University’s Office of Sustainability.  “They were very generous,” Amy Jeffers, another board member, said. The shelving was either donated…

Pizza Pub 516 ready to cook up good times for diners at former Myles site

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The smell of pizza in the oven is in the air again in the vicinity of 516 E. Wooster St. in Bowling Green. On Wednesday, Jay and Paula Williams opened the doors of the Pizza Pub 516 in the former location of Myles Pizza, which closed about a month ago. Fans of the iconic eatery will likely feel right at home in the shop’s new incarnation, and that’s by design. Paula Williams said that they will maintain the atmosphere and many of the signature items, while adding their own touches. The Williamses have experience taking over a favorite local dining spot. Three years ago, they bought Trotters Tavern in downtown. The key to taking over a beloved restaurant, she said, is understanding the community. “We’re going to try really hard to make sure that everyone in Bowling Green feels welcome, and know that they’re going to get a good pie in a friendly atmosphere.” She said they hope to grow the dining room business. “We’d like people to think of us when they think about where they’re going to go the watch the game. They can order a pizza and garlic bread and sit down and watch a sporting event with their friends.” The pub will continue to offer the same style of thick crust that Chip Myles offered for 39 years. They’ve also added a thin crust as well as a gluten free crust. The thick and thin crusts are made in house. Myles has refused to sell the recipe for his pizza sauce and the name. The Williamses tried to buy “the whole package,” but when they couldn’t, they went ahead and purchased what they could. Pizza Pub 516 aspires to continue to be the kind of place where someone stopping by to pick up a pizza will likely to meet friends. Regular customers will also find familiar faces among the staff. Williams said they hired everyone from Myles Pizza who was interested in joining the new venture. “The family we inherited”…

CROP Walk on Oct. 23 in City Park to help hungry

(Submitted by Bowling Green First Presbyterian Church) Each year, Bowling Green area residents join the CROP Hunger Walk to raise funds to end hunger in their community and around the world. On Oct. 23, at 1 p.m., in Bowling Green City Park, the walkers will raise money and awareness one step at a time. A quarter of the money raised will stay locally for Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry. Walkers will meet in the Kiwanis Shelter.  There will be pizza, live music and activities. The CROP Hunger Walk is an interfaith event that builds community while also making a difference locally and globally. The walk is open to anyone. The walk impacts individuals and families in more than 30 countries. In many developing nations, people walk as many as six miles a day to get food and water. One in nine people worldwide lack access to clean water and a healthy diet. In walking as they walk, our steps take on meaning. We walk to be in solidarity with their struggle. In the last 25 years, CROP Hunger Walks have raised more than $300 million to help people struggling to feed their families – both around the world and around the corner.

The day the pizza died

By ELIZABETH ROBERTS-ZIBBEL BG Independent News Yesterday by lunchtime, my Facebook newsfeed was more united and emotional than I’d seen it since David Bowie unexpectedly passed away in January. More than fifty people had shared links, posts, and personal lamentations that the building housing Myles’ Pizza Pub for 39 years had been sold, and that the recipes and memorabilia that made it legendary would be leaving with its founder Chip Myles, who is retiring. The end of Myles’ Pizza Pub as we know it will be Sunday, October 2. In July, rumors of the restaurant’s closing led to lines out the door, so now that the news is official, pizza chaos has broken out. Yesterday my friend Erin Holmberg commented that right after she heard, she began trying to call and got through after thirty frantic minutes. “Just ordered 4 large pizzas to freeze… the wait time is 3 hours. Pizza panic!” We hadn’t seen anything yet. My husband and I tried to call soon afterward and they had already stopped answering the phone. At 6:30, my friend Scott Marcin quipped on Facebook “Who the hell cares about the debate tonight. Myles Pizza is closing for good Sunday! We got a national crisis on our hands right here in BG.” Myles’ Facebook page and Twitter feed have been posting policies and updates regarding their last week, including the limited menu, predicted wait times, and hours they will be open. You can read the full post here, but some highlights: Pub will open at 11 am and they will stop taking orders at 4 pm  Orders must be placed in person at the restaurant. Internet orders have been turned off and phones are off the hook. No timed orders, orders for another day, or reservations Orders are limited to 3 pizzas When I walked by at 10:30 this morning, a car pulled up and a man yelled out to me, “Hey! They open yet?” I replied that the front door was open, and asked how the two men inside the vehicle…

Ohio’s cottage food rules focus of seminar, Sept. 26

From CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE FOOD TECHNOLOGY Implications to recent changes in Ohio’s cottage food laws will be the topic of discussion at a seminar hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK). Dennis Delong, R.S., food safety specialist, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), will discuss the new regulations and its relevance to local food producers. The new regulations primarily address the criteria and definitions for cottage food operations, labeling, sampling, food items allowed and prohibited.  Cottage food producers are prohibited from producing potentially hazardous foods.  They are allowed to produce the 20 items listed in the cottage food regulation. Ohio regularly ranks in the top 10 for most farmers markets in the nation, and Delong will also explain changes for such venues including what can and cannot be sold at farmers markets. 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. Visit to register and pay online, or contact 419-535-6000, ext. 140 or