Empty Clouds Zen fills a need for Buddhist space in BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Local Buddhist practitioners have moved to higher ground. The loose group, Empty Clouds Zen, had been based out of the Common Good, near campus, for the past couple years, but when that went into hiatus this summer, they were cast adrift.  Simon Morgan-Russell, one of the practitioners, said that posed a dilemma. The practitioners associated with the group — Phil Dickinson, Caroline Dawson Dickinson, and Pete DeWood — at first started inquiring at Bowling Green churches about finding space for 90 minutes a week. And they did find a church that would provide them room, said Morgan-Russell. But as they considered it, he said, they realized “this is a good opportunity to push the boat out because if we were limited to an hour and a half, it wouldn’t allow us each to do our own thing. So we bit the bullet and found this place.” Each leads a different session during the week. This leap of faith has paid off.  Empty Clouds Zen now has its own space, suite 218 on the second floor of the old Huntington Bank Building, above the Four Corner Center, 130 S. Main St. Though on the second floor, it’s actually several flights of stairs up. Each landing has a sign to continue to go further up. Morgan-Russell quipped that from the outside it seems a more fitting location for a detective’s office, inside it looks like anything but. Homey, welcoming with a space for cushions and a small shrine for Buddha. Their neighbors include a massage studio and other with holistic treatment practices. “Having this space gives us more opportunity,” Morgan-Russell said. On a recent Sunday morning the four founders gathered to talk about Empty Clouds Zen after a service of chanting, recitation, and a half-hour of meditation. “A lot of currents led to this moment,” Dickinson said. “Different streams have coalesced into this place. The fact that there are lots of different communities of people who respond to the opportunities we offer shows there’s a need in a Bowling Green for a space like this.” Each of them uses the space. Through those various sessions offered, they attract a variety of people. Some people attend just one session, while others crossover to others. Each of the four has their own meandering path to this place. Dickinson, Morgan-Russell and DeWood practice in the Soto tradition. Dawson Dickinson, who served as the financial developer of Common Good, bases her practice in the   Yogic and Vipassana traditions. Hers is perhaps the most direct. Her mother practiced yoga, so she was introduced to it as a child. She fell away during her teen years only to return when she was in her 20s. She worked in business, but traveling to and living in India made her realize that spirituality would be central to her…

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Citizens honored for making a difference in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County honored its best on Sunday – a farmer who shows his love for the land by putting agronomics ahead of economics, a teacher who pushes his students to achieve goals they never believed possible, and a volunteer who helps connect people with ancestors they never knew existed. The Wood County Commissioners continued the annual tradition of handing out the Spirit of Wood County Awards on Sunday afternoon in the courthouse atrium. The following people were recognized: Mark Drewes for Agricultural Leadership. Robert Pollex for Liberty Through Law/Human Freedom. Charles Cox for Education for Civic Responsibility. Richard Adams for Religion and Liberty. Tom Oberhouse for Industrial/Economic Development. Millie Broka for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Michael Sibbersen for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Ann Harris Householder for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. David Chilson for a Special Spirit of Wood County Award. Drewes, a grain farmer from the Custar area, is a recognized steward of the land who always has a tractor seat to share with people who want to learn about farming the land. “My dad preaches the term agronomics over economics,” said Drewes daughter, Darcy Krassow. Drewes is part of a multi-generational family farm partnership that has farmed in the Black Swamp area since the 1880s. Drewes’ farm model and mission encompass important conservation principles. And he shares his knowledge with others, having been a member of many national and state agricultural associations that work to find solutions to problems. He has been a strong advocate for farm issues and for the people who dedicate themselves to making their living off the land. Drewes has an open door policy at his farm – welcoming anyone to ask questions and discuss farming. He has hosted many crop tours, FFA tours, and bus tours of his farmland. When agriculture needed research on reducing the impact on the environment, Drewes offered up his farm as a research laboratory. He is unafraid of results and willing to lead by example in implementing new practices and technology to better his farm and the environment, according to the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. Pollex, of Perrysburg, served as a Wood County probate/juvenile judge from 1984 to 1998, then as a common pleas judge until retiring in 2016. “He had an impact on generations of juveniles in Wood County,” said current Juvenile Court Judge Dave Woessner. Pollex took a winding road to the judge’s bench. After earning a degree in physics, he worked as a research physicist for Libbey-Owens-Ford. It was there that he invented a device that measures the curvature of glass as it it being heated in a furnace. At night, he went to law school. He then worked in the firm of Charles Kurfess and as a part-time prosecuting attorney. Pollex…

University Choral Society, church choirs to join voices in Festival of Psalms

From UNIVERSITY CHORAL SOCIETY Festival of Psalms will bring togetherBowling Green State University and community singers on  Sunday, October 21 at 4 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. The University Choral Society, conducted by Mark Munson, will open the program with Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” in observance of the 100-year anniversary of the birth of the composer. Graduate student Brad Morris, who is a counter tenor and a voice performance major, will be the featured soloist. The singers will be accompanied by Julie Buzzelli, harpist; Frances Zengel, percussionist; and Kevin McGill, organist for St. Mark’s. Following the “Chichester Psalms,” Mr. McGill will lead the audience from the organ in a community sing of six hymns based on Psalm texts. The hymns will be sung in grand style, complete with creative organ accompaniments and soprano descants. Four local church choirs will join the University Choral Society to close the program. In addition to choristers from the host church and the choral society singers from St. Aloysius Catholic Church, First United Methodist Church, and First Presbyterian Church will share in a performance of César Franck’s setting of Psalm 150. The program is open to the public and admission is free of charge.

In search of peace through religious diversity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some religious voices in the world claim superiority for themselves and vilify all others. “But we know that we are better together,” Rev. Gary Saunders said this morning at the fourth annual Community Interfaith Breakfast in Bowling Green. “Faith traditions are not a battleground to see who wins,” Saunders said, addressing the theme of “Peace Through Religious Diversity.” “We need to stand up for what we know to be true,” he said. “Let us make a commitment to stand strong.” A sponsor of the annual breakfast was Not In Our Town, an organization which stands in support of diversity and against injustice. The keynote speaker for the event, Michael S. Brown, suggested that the community also adopt some “Absolutely In Our Town” beliefs. Brown, president of the Campus Multi-Faith Alliance at BGSU, suggested: Look closely. “You might actually see something you’ve never seen before,” he said. Listen carefully, instead of thinking what you will say next. “We’re a culture of distraction,” but we can change that, he said. Learn deliberately. Don’t fall for the theory that we all share the same beliefs. “We don’t all basically believe the same thing,” so let’s learn from each other. Live wisely, which is the ability to live life well. Lead heroically. “Friends, we should not be bystanders” when racism or other injustices occur, he said. “Everyone can lead.” Leverage strategically, using your time, treasure and talents. “We only have so much time.” Love extravagantly, with an “over the top kind of love,” he said. Brown said many people have a “disconnect between what we believe and how we behave.” People often take the more comfortable route of surrounding themselves with similar-thinking people. “Man, do we love our huddles,” he said. And conversations are often one-sided. “Most of our conversations sound like presentations,” Brown said. Others who spoke at the interfaith breakfast included Rev. Lynn Kerr, Christina Lunceford of NIOT, BGSU President Rodney Rogers, BG Mayor Dick Edwards and BG City Schools Superintendent Francis Scruci. Joe Jacoby represented the Jewish community and Imam Talal Eid spoke for the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. “This event truly shows how we can come together as people and learn from each other,” Lunceford said. Scruci talked about the recent stances taken by Bowling Green students in the face of school violence across the nation. They are targeting far more than guns and mental health issues, he said. “They speak about the kindness and acceptance that has been lost,” Scruci said. Music and artwork was provided by Bowling Green High School students. Food was donated by South Side 6, Nichols and Biggby Coffee.  

Local organist to perform in Fayette

Submitted by ED DULING Ed Duling will be the featured performer at the last concert of the Fine Arts Season on Sunday, March 18, at 3 p.m. at the Fayette Opera House in downtown Fayette, Ohio. The event will center upon hymns (music and words) and other concert and church music of four generations of the Wesleys, starting with the father of John and Charles, founders of Methodism, and extending to Samuel Sebastian Wesley. Coshocton native, Ed Duling, a semi-retired music education professor, is the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green and is nearing 50 years as an organist or choir director in churches in several Ohio areas. He continues to teach part-time for Kent State University’s online MMME program and holds interests in church history, rural life, and sheet music, and local history.  This program will marry two of Dr. Duling’s interests in history and music as he is currently serving as president of the United Methodist Historical Society of Ohio.  This special concert will focus upon the reed organs that have been restored by Don Glasgow, a talented restorer of reed organs, including a seldom-seen three-manual (and pedal) Mason and Hamlin (ca. 1890), salvaged in pieces from a Toledo carriage house, and now powered by an electric blower. Duling will also play upon the 19th-century Alexandre and Sons harmonium, probably built in Paris. This pre-Easter concert will also showcase the histories of the Fayette and the West Franklin United Methodist Churches and will include the pianists and organists for these two area churches. The audience will be invited to sing some of the well-known Wesleyan hymns with organ and piano accompaniment.  Refreshments will be served in the lower level pavilion of the Opera House after the concert. Tickets may be purchased at the door and will cost between $10 and $12.

St. Aloysius holds reverse raffle, March 17

From ST. ALOYSIUS CATHOLIC SCHOOL March will be a busy month at St. Aloysius Catholic School. Not only did it honor the birthday of its patron, St. Aloysius of Gonzaga, the parish will celebrating the Triduum of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday), culminating in Easter Sunday on April 1. The parish will also host its major fundraising event for the year—the Reverse Raffle – on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Ticket sales are already underway for the event, which takes place in BGSU’s Ballroom. Those interested in purchasing tickets can visit All proceeds directly benefit the students of St. Aloysius. Sponsored by the St. Aloysius Parent Association, the annual Reverse Raffle raises funds for St. Aloysius students and building infrastructure. Since 2001, the event has raised over $260,000 for the school. Some of the improvements made possible by past Reverse Raffle profits have included new playground equipment, teacher computers, iPad adaptors, Bluetooth speakers, Instant Alert system for communicating with parents and guardians, library circulation software, and more. This year’s funds will be dedicated to technology and new hallway flooring for the school. St. Aloysius School offers faith-centered instruction for students from preschool to grade eight. It provides not only rigorous academics but also religious studies, weekly liturgical celebrations, and extracurricular opportunities including CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) sports. The school admits students of any race, color or ethnic origin. Supported by the Diocese of Toledo, St. Aloysius is fully accredited through the Ohio Catholic Schools Accrediting Association. For more information on St. Aloysius School, call 419-352-8614 or visit For more information on the Reverse Raffle, contact Nicole Buccalo at More information on St. Aloysius School is available at

St. Aloysius marks Catholic Schools Week

Submitted by ST. ALOYSIUS CATHOLIC SCHOOL An open house, mayoral address and teacher/student appreciations will highlight a week of activities at St. Aloysius Catholic School in honor of Catholic Schools Week on January 28-February 3. “So many good things happen at our school year round, and Catholic Schools Week is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the great successes of our faculty and students,” said Andrea Puhl, principal. “I particularly encourage the public to visit St. Aloysius during our  pen house and experience the education of which we are so proud.” The open house kicks off the weeklong celebration, which will be held Sunday, Jan. 28 from 11:15 a.m.  to 1:30 p.m., following the 10 a.m. Mass; all are welcome. Building tours will be available, as well as presentations for preschool (11:30 a.m.), junior high (11:30 a.m.) and kindergarten (12:00 p.m.). Other activities throughout the week include:  Monday, Jan. 29 Community service projects by various grades.  Tuesday, Jan. 30 Bowling Green Mayor Richard A. Edwards will present a proclamation to the entire school at 2:45 p.m.  Wed., Jan. 31 Students get to dress up as their future profession. Sweet treats will be distributed to locations around the community who help show students the way to success.  Thursday, Feb. 1 Teacher luncheon in gratitude for their service. All-school liturgy and dress-up day.  Friday, Feb. 3 School spirit day, treat at lunch, plus a Catholic Schools Week gift for all. Academic pep rally, followed by 1BookBG kick-off for preschool-Grade 5. More information on St. Aloysius School is available at