Safe Communities: Halloween is not occasion for making nightmares

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities of Wood County has announced that the annual safe driving Halloween National Mobilization is October 3  to November 1, 2018. Each year, thousands of trick-or-treaters flock to the streets on Halloween night Thousands of others head to local bars and restaurants to also partake in the merry-making. Don’t put yourself and others at risk by choosing to drink and drive. To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, Safe Communities of Wood County is teaming up with the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving. Halloween poses a potentially dangerous threat to pedestrians, as more people are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1). In 2016, there were 13 vehicle occupants killed in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night. According to NHTSA, 44 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2012 to 2016 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. Children out trick-or-treating, and those who accompany them, are also at risk, as 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night (2012-2016) involved drunk drivers. Younger drivers are most at risk: The 21- to 34-year-old age group accounted for the most fatalities (46%) in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2016. Halloween is a time for making memories, not for causing nightmares. This Halloween, Safe Communities of Wood County would like to remind everyone to party responsibly and to be safe, while also keeping others safe by refraining from drunk driving.

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Elder Mountain man Corky Laing at a new stage in long career

Last December 23 music fans at Howard’s Club H helped Corky Laing celebrate his 70th birthday. What they were also witnessing, the veteran rock drummer said, was something more. “Basically I was born again.’ Magic happened on that stage. Laing was playing the music made famous by his former band Mountain. He was playing with a couple new musical collaborators, Chris Shutters on guitar and flute, and Mark Mikel, a multi-instrumentalist playing bass, on a stage that evokes everything a rock club should be. Laing felt revitalized. Corky Laing Plays Mountain returns to Howard’s Club H in downtown Bowling Green tonight (Saturday, June 9) at 9 p.m. The show comes as Laing is pulling together touring for 2018 through 2019 for the trio, which he said doesn’t really have a name yet. Corky Laing Plays Mountain is a place holder moniker. The trio has also kicked around the idea of calling itself Pompeii. That name is pulled from a little known release that Laing and singer Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople recorded back in 1976-1978 with a rotating all-star cast. The recording was little known, subtitled “The Secret Sessions,” but when it was released on vinyl by Rouge Records it sold out both pressings. Even though harking back to the old days, Laing wanted it to reflect the present. So the vinyl included a computer card that allowed the purchaser to download four songs by Laing’s Toledo band, including the original “Knock Me Over.”. The trio started when Corky Laing needed a guitar player for a tour. Fellow drummer Kofi Baker recommended Shutters. Laing who has played with “the best of the best” – Eric Clapton and Dickey Betts appear on “Pompeii” – heard a “first division” musician in Shutters. Last year Shutters invited Laing to come visit him in Toledo, and Laing loved what he discovered – a vibrant music scene that had clubs rocking with music. Laing felt he needed a new bass player, so Shutters introduced him to the multitalented Mikel, formerly of the Pillbugs. The drummer was “blown away” by Mikel’s playing. Laing had his trio, and they made their debut in December at Howard’s. But that’s not all that’s occupying the veteran. He’s working with his manager Toija Takala on a memoir, He already has one book out, “Stick It” that chronicles the raucous and raunchy back stage stories fans love. He referred to it as “something of a joke.” This one is different. “It’s the story of a young guy trying to keep in touch with his family.” Laing grew up in Montreal, the youngest of six, including a set of triplets. The household included an aunt and uncle. He played drums to get attention. Starting back when he was 11 and played with the Ink Spots, he wrote letters to his mother. His mother saved all those letters, and he and Takala discovered them in a box. That’s the basis for the book-in-progress, “Letters to Sara.” “Parts in there are confessional,” he said. “It’s a real sincere look at being on the road.” Laing traveled that road for more than 50 years. He likes where it’s taken him. He’s not “dirt napping” like so many of his peers. He has a band that he loves playing with, and music he still loves…

Area musical acts set the stage for Firefly Nights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Michelle Elson won’t play favorites. When asked if she’s particularly excited about any of the action is booked for Firefly Nights, she says, “I’m truly stoked about everyone I could get into the lineup.” The lineups for the three summer street festivals on Main Street Bowling Green nave been announced. Firefly Nights runs 6-10 p.m. the third Friday of June, July and August with music, food, a farmers market, kids activities, and arts and craft vendors. Main Street will be closed from Court to Washington, with east-west traffic still able to cross at Four Corners. Stages will be set up on each end with performers alternating sets. Acts booked to perform in order of appearance. June 15 Boo Lee Crosser Sam Dell Chris & Shellby Amelia Airharts July 20 Vester Frey Dooley Wilson Ryan Roth & The Sideshow Minglewood Labor Camp August 17 A.S. Coomer Craig James Groove Canoe Freight Street Elson got involved when the organizers started asking around for support. She was enthusiastic about the idea and offered to help. She took on booking the music. That assignment was a natural. Elson operates Twin Owls Photography, specializing in photographing bands. She’s started branching out into promotion and booking. And she’s married to a musician. So she has a lot of connections on the scene. “Many of my friends are musicians in the 419,” Elson said. As soon as she started asking around for bands wanting to play Firefly Nights, she got an immediate response. “Everyone was very excited.” She said a lot of regional performers are interested in breaking into the Bowling Green scene. Elson wanted a variety of performers and leaned toward acts that performed at least some original material. “When someone does their own songs the art is coming from their soul,” she said. She’s passionate about music, and to see that same passion expressed by performers “is a great thing.” The June 15 lineup illustrates her pursuit of variety. It opens with Bowling Green singer-songwriter Boo Lee Crosser, who Elson described as “an up and coming musician.” He composes all his own material and has a distinctive delivery to match his original music. Next up will Sam Dell from Bryan. He will play a solo set. Elson described him as a “good old country singer” who will mix a few covers in with his original songs. The duo of Chris Sayler and Shellby Messmer will present more country, though with a more contemporary pop flair. Sayler who had been working with a band has been gigging more with Messmer, who sings and plays bass. Wrapping of the night will be the Amelia Airharts, a classic rock five-some. The all-female band won two rounds of the battle of the bands at Hollywood Casino. Elson felt they’d had the right energy to bring the first night to a climax, and kick what promises to be new summer tradition.  

Firefly Nights set to begin a summer of fun in downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Firefly Nights, a new series of street festivals in downtown Bowling Green, got off to a running start Friday night. About 200 runners and walkers toed the starting line on North Church Street near the library and at the signal marked what organizers hope will be a summer of fun in the business district. The 5K race and one mile walk started at 9 p.m. The participants in fluorescent shirts and glow bracelets. The evening start was meant to set it apart from all the other charity runs, said Stacie Banfield, one the organizers. “We wanted to make it a fun event for kids.” The after-dark start was also fitting given it promoted and raised funds for evening events Banfield, owner of Mode Elle, was one of a quartet of women business proprietors – Kati Thompson, of Eden Fashion Boutique, Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads, and Laura Wicks, of Grounds for Thought – who organized Firefly Nights. Thompson said to get 200 registrants for a first time race was a great response. “A hundred is considered a success.” Banfield said it was exciting to watch the registrations increased as race time approached, Banfield said. That included folks who signed up on Friday night. She and Thompson are optimistic that this is a sign of the enthusiasm for the three scheduled street festivals. The race will help fund three nights of downtown activities set for the third Friday of each month – June 15, July 20, and Aug. 17 – from 6 to 10 p.m. Main Street will be blocked off from the intersection of Court Street to the intersection of Washington with music stages at each end. Four bands will play alternating sets each night. All the bands have been booked, Banfield said. The lineup of talent from Northwest Ohio will be announced on June 1. Thompson said that 30 downtown businesses have signed up to participate and be sponsors. They will have sidewalk sales, a farmers market, and artisans will sell their wares. They are still talking with restaurants about how they will take part. Several will set tables out on the sidewalk. Mary Hinkelman, director of Downtown Bowling Green, was on hand as a participant in the walk. She’s excited by the prospects for Firefly Nights and sees it as a part of a growing interest in downtown activities. The farmers market, which opened for the season on Wednesday, drew a good crowd, and the One-Bite restaurant crawl held during Art Walk has drawn raves from the restaurants. “I see lot of great things happening downtown,” Hinkelman said. “Everybody’s pulling together.”    

Rock show at Alehouse to benefit The Cocoon

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Debbie De Steno never met Cat Lambert face to face. They were Facebook friends who shared an interest in the local music scene. Then Cat was off social media, and Steno learned just a few days after they’d last been in contact that Lambert had been beaten to death by her husband. De Steno and others on the music scene wanted to do something. So De Steno pulled a benefit together at the Alehouse in the Woodland Mall. Music Against Domestic Violence was born with the proceeds going to help Lambert’s family. De Steno decided to make the benefit an annual affair.  So this Saturday (April 21) the fourth benefit will be held at the Alehouse from noon to midnight. The proceeds now benefit The Cocoon Shelter. The benefit is also to raise awareness about domestic violence, an issue people hesitate to talk about. For De Steno seeing the movie “The Burning Bed” was her first exposure to the physical and emotional realities of domestic abuse. The benefit will include a raffle and 50/50 drawing   with kids karaoke from noon to 2 p.m. The kids will turn the mic over to a lineup of local bands. Starting with Bliss at 2, each band will play about a 90-minute set. Other bands in order of appearance will be: Blue Ticks; 16-year-old guitar phenom Brad Tober and the Outsiders; BG high rockers Mindless Matters; Midnight Moses; and closers, AmpWagon. The first year De Steno played with the band Second Wynd, but she finds it too much to run the show and also be part of it. Still her love of music is at the heart of the event. As a kid growing up in New Jersey she picked up the guitar her older sister abandoned. She dreamed of being the next Pat Benatar. She’s been playing music ever since. Just picking up her guitar and picking a few notes helps her recharge. Music takes you away from everyday troubles, she said. “It gives you hope.” And that’s why it so fitting as a way to raise money so “The Cocoon can get resources to help people.”  

Firefly Nights to light up downtown BG this summer (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A group of businesswomen want to light up downtown Bowling Green this summer. After conversations of what can be done to bring visitors to the downtown during the summer doldrums, Laura Wicks, of Grounds for Thought, Stacie Banfield, of Mode Elle Boutique, Kati Thompson, Eden Fashion Boutique, and Gayle Walterbach, of Coyote Beads, banded together to launch Firefly Nights. The summer time series will get off to a running start with a run/walk through downtown on May 18 at 9 p.m. Firefly Nights will continue with evenings full of music, food, shopping and kids activities on the third Friday of each summer month – June 15, July 20, and Aug. 17 – from 6 to 10 p.m. “We want to foster a diverse, neighborly and lively atmosphere in downtown BG,” Thompson said. “That’s the intent and sole focus.” Main Street will be blocked off from the intersection of Court Street to the intersection of Washington. There’ll be music stages at each end featuring area music acts. Banfield said they plan to feature four to six acts each night. The organizers hope to attract some craft booths, and possibly a farmers market. Downtown stores would remain open and could have sidewalk sales. “We’re hoping to get restaurants to provide some kind of dining experience,” Banfield said. “We’re coming off the success of the Chocolate Crawl,” Thompson said. “So many people said they loved being downtown at night and experiencing so many places they didn’t know were here.” That event held in conjunction with Winterfest to benefit United Way of Wood County sold 400 tickets. People cruised through 18 stops to sample sweet goodies. Walterbach said they hope to attract two to three times that many people. “People who are always looking for fun things to do in the summer, so we’re hoping it attracts people not just from Bowling Green but from surrounding communities,” Thompson said. So far the response from downtown merchants has been good, as had the response from the city and Downtown Bowling Green. The Black Swamp Arts Festival has pioneered the way for such events, Walterbach said. The organizers are still looking for sponsors, with sponsorships ranging from $500 to $5000 for a presenting sponsor. Registration for the Firefly run/walk has begun. Click to register . Firefly Nights also needs volunteers. Email to volunteer. With the event still taking shape, more information will be forthcoming.        

Arts beat: A night of song benefits La Conexion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When singer-songwriter Richard Shindell moved to Argentina, his wife’s homeland, he did what you’d expect a singer-songwriter to do: he wrote a song about it … in Spanish. That was one of the songs he sang Monday night at a house concert hosted by Greg and Linda Rich as a benefit for La Conexion. He acknowledged that “Que Hago Ahora” was written in elementary Spanish to an audience that included a number of native Spanish speakers, such as Beatriz Maya, a native of Argentina and executive director of La Conexion. Shindell said he realized just how elementary his Spanish was as he penned the song, so he wove his deficiencies in grammar into the lyrics, one of the few songs ever written that refers to the subjunctive case. It seemed appropriate to have an American living abroad help raise money for La Conexion, which helps immigrants to this area. That coincidence was not the reason he was there. He was there because he’s an expert enough to write a song, in a language foreign to him, and refer to the subjective case. He’s a strong enough writer to pick up an image of a bird flying off in the horizon while a wave crushes a sand castle and turn it into a ballad. He’s a strong enough musician to back his voice with atmospheric strings that provide fills, strums, bell-like resonances, and percussive accents. And Shindell is a good enough storyteller to weave these pieces together into an engaging evening of entertainment When his host Greg Rich, himself a songwriter, referenced the country song “Good Year for the Roses” in one of the three songs in his introductory set,  Shindell opened his set with the song itself. Rich’s song was about how he had mistakenly included this classic breakup tune in the playlist for his and Linda’s wedding reception. “Good Year for the Roses” was playing as they entered. Shindell quipped looking at his own setlist that the theme could very well be songs inappropriate for wedding receptions. He didn’t stint on the heartbreak. Not with “Are You Happy Now?” set on Halloween, when his lover has abandoned him for another man taking the trick-or-treat candy with her. The heartbreak wasn’t only about romantic love. “All Wide Open” tells of a drug addict daughter showing up at her father’s house before Thanksgiving, wanting another chance. Based on the experience of a friend, the situation worked out in the best possible way, Shindell said, though the lyrics leave the listener in doubt. Shindell does write his share of “perky songs,” as his parents describe them. They like those songs, he said, because his darker material makes them think he had an unhappy childhood. “Get Up, Clara” is one of those. It’s a variation on a classic American folk theme of a man on the road with an uncooperative mule but set in the frontier of the Roman Empire. Clara is just one of the many animals that wander through his work. They include “Deer on the Parkway.” The beam of his headlights gleam in their eyes and all their fates hang in the balance as the deer consider the lush, sweet grass in the median strip. Then there’s the “Stray Cow Blues,” about the cow…