BG Schools athletic director resigns after 9 months

The athletic director hired by Bowling Green City Schools last June has resigned after getting an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. As the district begins its search for a new athletic director to replace Jonas Smith, former athletic director Mike Vannett has agreed to fill the position on an interim basis. “He was offered a position that he couldn’t pass up,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said Friday afternoon about Smith. Smith did not reveal what the position was, but said there would be a press conference Saturday announcing his new job. Scruci said he is pleased with the job Smith did in his brief stay at Bowling Green. Smith, whose annual salary was $90,000, believed in putting academics ahead of athletics and believed in being accessible to parents. Prior to coming to Bowling Green, Smith served as athletic director for Dayton Public Schools, where he oversaw seven high schools and a $3.6 million renovation of the district’s Welcome Stadium. Scruci said he was attracted to Smith’s 20 years of experience overseeing a large program, his reputation in the state, his winning record at Dayton, and his success securing corporate sponsorships for the renovated stadium. When hired last summer to replace retiring Scott Seeliger, Smith said he was attracted to the “very welcoming” community, the good schools, and the potential to build relationships in Bowling Green.

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BG lease of city land for golf course questioned

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The golf course in the center of Bowling Green has long been a source of community pride and more recently a source of complaints of privileged use of public property. The city’s lease of the 60 acres to Bowling Green Country Club expires in 2025. The terms of the lease allow the city to terminate the lease anytime after 2015, with two year’s prior notice required. City officials recently received a detailed letter on the golf course lease, suggesting that the city view its options before the 2025 deadline. The request came from Bowling Green citizen Lynn Ackerson, who previously asked questions about the site at a park and recreation board meeting. “Raising the topic of the BG Country Club lease of 80 percent of City Park sometimes causes voices to raise and strong emotions to emerge,” Ackerson wrote to city officials. The nine-hole country club course is one of three golf courses in the city. “The BG Country Club Golf Course is apparently an important part of BG’s history,” she continued. “The semi-private BG Country Club is also perhaps one of BG’s best kept secrets and frankly a mystery to those that are newly aware of this gem and its relationship to our wonderful network of parks.” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards responded with a history of the site, explaining that City Park was the original Wood County Fairgrounds. “The current arrangement indeed goes back that far,” Edwards wrote. The Wood County Agricultural Society sold the land to the city in 1928, with some records indicating that the lease arrangement predates…

Administration stands by high school soccer players’ right to take a knee

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN and DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District has chosen to stand up for the right of its students who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Three members of the girls varsity soccer team recently chose to kneel rather than stand before a game when the anthem was played. “They have a right to peaceful protest,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “Currently our nation is experiencing one of the most trying times in its history,” Scruci said during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. “We have a presidential race that is challenging political parties, genders, ethnicities and the very freedoms that the Constitution protects.” Scruci referred to football player Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, who peacefully protests by taking a knee during the National Anthem. “We have unrest in our communities with violence and people and police officers being shot on a regular basis,” the superintendent said. “We have professional athletes using their popularity to take political and societal stands and using their stage to make those statements in front of the world.” In a video posted by her mother on Facebook, one of the players Caroline Sayer explained why she “took a knee.” One of her fellow players, who is African American, was supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and was “getting a lot of negative feedback.” That prompted the player to say she would take a knee, Sayer said. Other students said they would come to witness her doing it “to get her in trouble.” The player took the knee at the next game, which Sayer was not…

Kids with special needs benefit from challenge of sports through Rally Cap

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The turf room in Field House at Bowling Green State University is full of voices on Sunday afternoon. Lower voices of parents murmur from the bleachers along the wall near the door. Spread across the green before them are the encouraging, sometimes cheering, voices of college students. Rising above it all are the high, happy chatter of children at play. All this is punctuated the sounds of balls bouncing and being kicked. Welcome to a new season of Rally Cap Sports. The program, now in its fourth year, offers individual sports experiences in a non-competitive environment to children with a range of special needs, said Melissa Wilson, a BGSU senior who directs the program. Sunday’s kickoff marked the start of the program’s fourth year on campus. A few dozen kids are spread out around the turf room, each working with two or three college students. This kickoff, Wilson said, serves as an introduction for new participants, and a welcome back for participants from previous years. After Sunday there will be a basketball league this fall as well as a couple dances. For information contact: The program serves children with a wide range of needs, she said. Some are non-verbal, while others have mild learning disabilities. About 70 have participated to date. For all of them, sports in another setting is not a possibility. Jodi Clifford said her children are unable to play sports either at school or in private programs because of a variety of disabilities including bilateral coordination issues. “But coming here they enjoy it. They look forward to it. They don’t…

Park district takes aim at creating archery range

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Briana Witte is aiming for a bullseye with one of the newest programs to be offered by the Wood County Park District. Witte, a woodland specialist with the park district, is heading up the archery program which will include a new range for archers on Linwood Road, near Bowling Green. The archery program came about as a result of town hall meetings held across Wood County, asking local residents about park programs they would like to see. Two of the top requests were kayaking, canoeing and archery. The kayaking and canoeing are now in place, and the archery is on target to be ready soon. Archery, unlike so many other sports can be enjoyed by people of varied ages and skill levels, Witte said. “You don’t have to be in really good shape. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be fast. You just have to be patient,” Witte said. People will be able to use their own bows and arrows at the archery range, or they can use the compound bows purchased by the Friends of the Parks. “These are really nice because an 8-year-old can use it and with a few adjustments, a 50-year-old can use it,” Witte said of the compound bows. Adaptive bows will also be available for people who use wheelchairs or have other particular needs. Crossbows, which are typically used for hunting, will not be permitted at the archery range. Once completed, the archery range will be open from dawn to dusk. It will not be staffed unless there is a class or…

Digby places fourth in 400 meters at Paralympics

AJ Digby, a 2016 Otsego High graduate, finished just out of the medals in fourth at the Paralympics Games this morning (Sept. 15) in Rio de Janeiro. According to, he ran a personal best of  47.34 seconds. On Monday he placed fifth in the 200 meter final.  

Chloe Higgins still a winner to BG

Stacey and Jeff Higgins learned today that their 11 year old daughter, Chloe, did not receive the most votes in the NFL Rush Kid Reporter Contest. As previously reported, Chloe was chosen as one of three finalists in a national kids’ sports writing contest based on her essay about her favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks. The public was able to vote on their favorite story once per day per device. Chloe was the only female finalist. Chloe’s mother Stacey took to Facebook this evening upon learning the results in order to thank everyone for their support. “Jeff and I received the news today that Chloe was not the grand prize winner in the NFL RUSH Kid Reporter Contest. While this is disappointing, she is still a winner to us! We will let you know what game her finalist prize includes when we know. We do wish to sincerely THANK ALL OF YOU that voted, posted, shared. and cheered her on. This has been a great experience even without the grand prize, and we are so appreciative of your support and encouragement. Both our girls are pretty darn amazing and it’s a privilege to have them celebrated by you.” Chloe is certainly still a winner to her family, friends, and all of Bowling Green. According to the NFL Rush website, she will receive a finalist prize of two tickets to a nearby regular season NFL game.