Nightlife

Well grounded in the arts, BG coffee shop gets national recognition

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News The one of the first events Grounds for Thought  hosted after the coffee shop’s founding 30 years ago was a concert featuring Indian music on violin and tabla. The beat has gone on ever since. Whether its art created by Wicks’ mother, Sandy, who started the shop with her husband, Jerry Wicks, or art exhibited by community artists from pre-schoolers to elders, the walls and windows have showcased the community’s creativity. Randy Bennett painting in Grounds for Thought during the 2017 Art Walk. The shop has served as a venue for musicians of all styles, from free form improvisations to bluegrass to psychedelic rock. Poets, fiction writers, and journalists have all said their piece in the place.  That support has literally spilled out into the streets — members of the Wicks family were key players in starting and nurturing the Black Swamp Arts Festival, and Laura Wicks, Kelly Wicks’ wife and shop co-owner, was one of a group of downtown female business owners who launched Firefly Nights Summer Festival series last summer. The shop sells used books as well as the newest publications by local authors. It sells used records, as well as new vinyl releases recorded in house by some of its favorite acts. That Grounds is an epicenter of the arts is well recognized locally. Now a national arts group Americans for the Arts has taken notice of what locals have long known, and honored the coffee shop with a 2019 Arts and  Business Partnership Award. The family-owned business is honored along with Nokia, Omaha Steaks, Warby Parker, and Northwestern Mutual. Previous years winners include corporate behemoths Microsoft, Hallmark, Scholastic, and Walt Disney World Resort. The Grand Ukulelists of the Black Swamp (GRUBS) perform. The award recognizes businesses “that have mutually beneficial, innovative, and sustained partnerships with the arts,” the Americans for the Arts’ announcement of this year’s winners stated. “These companies set the standard for excellence and serve as role models for others to follow.” Wicks said he was proud that Grounds was the only company from Ohio recognized this year, not to mention the smallest by far. The award is not just recognition for the coffee shop, he said. “It really speaks to all the…

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Arts beat: The year ends with a welcome & farewell

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The year ended on the arts beat Saturday evening with a hello and a goodbye. On one end of Main Street in downtown Bowling Green, friends and family gathered at Grounds for Thought to bid farewell to Tom McLaughlin Sr. who died Dec. 11. McLaughlin, a Bowling Green native who returned to his hometown to retire, then lived most of his last year in Ireland, soaking in the music and dance, and memorizing the poetry of William Butler Yeats.  In Bowing Green, he was an energetic promoter of the arts, and an artist himself. At the first Black Swamp Arts Festival he won second prize for one of his dollhouses. But as he explained in an interview before the 25th festival , he knew he couldn’t produce enough work to sell at an affordable price, so instead he demonstrated his craft launching the Artist at Work feature at the festival.  Then he worked with Kay Baglione and Jacquie Nathan to chair the visual arts committee. Together they made the decisions that established the festival as a premier show on the art fair circuit. They ended the non-juried show, but also created the Wood County Invitational to insure that local artists had a place at the event. He was a multidimensional character as explained by those who spoke at the memorial. He was presence around town. He walked everywhere, a habit he continued in Ireland. Down the street at Howard’s Club H, local music fans welcomed back Joe Baker to the scene.  He wryly noted he’d been on “vacation,” or as he told BG Independent on a tour of Northwest Ohio hospitals. He’s bounded back from his serious heart issues.  He and the band first played last summer in City Park, but there was something particularly poignant about being back in Howard’s where he’s played for so many years with so many different bands. On Saturday he had his electric guitar in hand. And the crowd was there to support him. Several couples split their attentions with one spouse attending the memorial while another came to cheer on Baker. That included the Bakers. Peg Baker came into her husband’s show late having been at Grounds. Baker’s long-time bandmate Bob Manley,…


Free New Year’s rides offered in Bowling Green

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Wood County Safe Communities will again be providing free rides in Bowling Green on New Year’s Eve from 11 p.m. on Dec. 31 until the last person is home safe on New Year’s Day. In Wood County, 21 percent of fatal crashes involve alcohol compared to 26 percent statewide.  Four percent of all crashes in Wood County as well as statewide involve alcohol. We need to do whatever we can to make sure that these numbers do not increase over the New Year’s holiday. If you are in Bowling Green, call 419-823-7765 for a ride home.  We will provide rides within the city limits of Bowling Green and the surrounding 10-mile area.   Thayer Chevrolet, Wood County Committee on Aging, Wood County Hospital and Wood County Emergency Management have provided continued assistance.  This program would not be possible without the coalition members, local businesses, and volunteers who give of their time to make sure this program is a success.


For 20+ years, Red Wanting Blue has embraced its bar band status with live shows & new songs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Scott Terry of the rock band Red Wanting Blue  imagines  the audience he’s writing sings for, he sees them in venues from coast to coast. It may be the Bowery Ballroom in New York City or the Tractor Tavern in Seattle. It may also any of a dozen venues in the American Heartland including Northwest Ohio. Red Wanting Blue was a regular for years on the local music scene playing Howard’s Club H and Cla-Zel in Bowling Green and more recently the Civic Music Hall in Toledo. That’s where the veteran rockers will perform Friday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show at the club at 135 S. Byrne Road, Toledo are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Every band has a different trajectory, Terry said during a recent telephone interview. For Red Wanting Blue that started more than 20 years ago in Oxford, Ohio. The band — Terry on lead vocal, ukulele, tenor guitar; Mark McCullough, bass and vocals, Greg Rahm, guitar, keyboard, vocals; Eric Hall, guitar, lap steel. vocals; and Dean Anshutz, drums and percussion — cut their teeth in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, as well as their home state of Ohio. “These places are very middle American,” Terry said. “We’re playing for people who work in middle America, and when they go out to cut loose on a Friday night they want to drink and have a good time. They want to listen to music they can relate to and appreciate. We very much wanted to be that band.” That’s the audience they cater to. Red Wanting Blue isn’t a household name, Terry admits. Some people call them a bar band, a term not usually meant as a compliment, Terry said. “But there is something to be said about singing songs that are aimed at people in a bar. Songs that people will be captivated by. It better be melodic. It better be engaging right there in the moment. … That’s the stream we’ve been on. That’s where the river took us.” Over the more than two decades the band has been touring, they have fans who’ve stuck with them. That despite the “oceans of music” that has been produced over that…


Joe Baker celebrates with Howard’s show a year after knockin’ on heaven’s door

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A year ago musician Joe Baker was on “tour” — a tour of Northwest Ohio hospitals. A heart attack on Nov. 29, 2017, sent him first to Wood County Hospital, where he was told it was good he came as soon as he did, at the guidance of his wife, Peg. He headed to St. Vincent’s for surgery. That didn’t go well. He was transferred to Medical Center of Ohio. After an operation that lasted nine days, he didn’t wake up.  During the operation he had a stroke.“I lost all of December,” he said.  Baker, who has been active on the Bowling Green music scene since he came to Bowling Green State University in 1969, wondered about how much he’d lost. “I was concerned I wouldn’t get back,” he said. “I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t raise myself. Those were major hurdles.” On June 24, though, Baker was back on stage singing with his band at City Park. Now Saturday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. the Joe Baker Band will perform at Howard’s Club H in Bowling Green.  The concert is aptly titled Joe Baker’s Home for the Holidays Christmas Jam. His cognition and speech came back fairly quickly, he said. The neurologist told his wife that her husband had “the best kind of stroke.” While peripheral areas of the brain were affected, no major areas were wiped out. Baker got moving again. He still has problems lifting his right arm, so he can’t get it over the body of his acoustic guitar. He discovered he can get it over the body of his electric. Music, he said, has helped him recover. “Even just working this hand and giving it something to do,” he said of his right hand. “I can’t imagine not being able to play. So even if I could just play for myself it was a good thing.” His musician friends visited him while he was hospitalized, he said, though he was “in wonderland” and wasn’t sure where he was. Baker said he’d look out the window and see the awning, and think he was looking at a boat dock. When his friends would walk into his room, he thought they were entering through the bar. Joe…


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.


Tricked-out Firefly Nights will offer plenty of treats for kids & grownups

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Firefly Nights is adding some new tricks to the downtown festival to provide more treats for kids and adults alike.  The Firefly Nights Fall Festival will be held Friday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. in downtown Bowling Green. The festival continues the series of events offered throughout the summer. Now it’ll change colors just a bit to fit the season. For kids that means a costume contest, trunk and treat, pumpkin decorating, and a kiddie tractor pull. For adults that means a farmers market, more music, free yoga classes, and beer gardens on both ends of Main Street. Adults are invited to come in costume as well. The fall festival took shape through parallel discussions by the Firefly organizers and the downtown merchants. Mary Hinkelman, former Downtown Bowling Green director and now Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the concerns about downtown trick or treat were raised by merchants. Downtown trick or treating had outgrown the streets. She estimated about 2,000 children trick-or-treated downtown last year. That many youngsters accompanied by adults jammed the sidewalks, causing safety concerns. The merchants wondered: What if they could block off the street as they do for Firefly Nights? Hinkelman took the idea to the board of directors and they approved. So did the Firefly Nights organizers who were already considering doing one more festival in fall. “I think it was the zeitgeist of the time,” said Laura Wicks of Grounds for Thought. “You know how small towns work — good ideas just grow.” A new partnership was born. Laura Wicks said the idea was: “Why not make it more of a family friendly activity instead of just filling up a bag of candy?” So the Fall Firefly Nights will be held instead of downtown trick or treat, which had typically been on the Thursday before Halloween. In place of children going to door to door to businesses, Thayer Family dealerships is bringing cars downtown, and treats will be doled out from the trunks. Trinity United Methodist, a couple blocks off Main Street, will also hold its trunk or treat event that night from 6 to 8 p.m. In the Firefly costume contest, judges roaming the crowd will select 40 kids…