Something to cheer about – BG buys new bleachers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green fans have something to cheer about – and soon they will have something new to sit on while doing so. The board of education voted Tuesday evening to spend $542,000 for new bleachers in the football stadium. A section of the current bleachers was deemed unsafe last year after serious rusting was discovered. The board voted to spend an extra $14,000 to add slip resistant decking. “I think $14,000 is a very good deal compared to the lawsuit from somebody slipping,” board member Ed Whipple said. The district will use its permanent improvement levy revenue to pay for the new bleachers. However, that levy generates $525,000 a year, so general fund monies will also have to be used for the bleachers. District treasurer Rhonda Melchi cautioned the board that the permanent improvement funds may be needed elsewhere. The $542,000 pays for new bleachers on both the home and visitor sides, handicapped accessible restrooms and pays for the old bleachers to be torn down and taken away. Kent Buehrer, the engineer on the project, said the bid actually came in 11.3 percent below estimate. Also at Tuesday’s board meeting, Kenwood Elementary…


Wood County voters support Kasich and Sanders; Reger wins Republican primary for judge seat

By BG Independent News Wood County voters joined the rest of Ohio in helping hand Ohio Gov. John Kasich a win in his race for the Republican presidential nomination. On the Democratic side, Wood County voters gave more support to Senator Bernie Sanders, though Hillary Clinton captured the state overall. Of Wood County’s 89,280 registered voters, 36,640, or 41 percent, cast ballots for the primary . Here is how Wood County voted in the primary election. DEMOCRATIC BALLOT President (delegates-at-large and alternates-at-large to national convention) Hillary Clinton: 6,108 (45.76%) Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente: 75 (0.56%) Bernie Sanders: 7,165 (53.68%) United States Senate Kelli Prather: 1,628 (13.47%) G. Sittenfeld: 3,006 (24.86%) Ted Strickland: 7,456 (61.67%) Fifth U.S. Congressional District James Neu Jr.: 9,346 Justice of Ohio Supreme Court John P. O’Donnell: 8,383 Justice of Ohio Supreme Court Cynthia Rice: 8,584 Second Ohio Senate District Kirk W. Halliday: 8,473 Third Ohio House District David Walters: 8,585 Sixth District Court of Appeals Jack R. Puffenberger: 8,278 Sixth District Court of Appeals Mark L. Pietrykowski: 8,697 Wood County Common Pleas Judge Steve Long: 8,569 Wood County Commissioner (term commencing 1/2/2017) Edward A. Kolanko: 7,902 Wood County Commissioner (term commencing 1/3/2017) Joel M. Kuhlman:…


Musical specters come to life in string quartet concert on campus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Spektral Quartet lived up to its name when it performed a Music at the Forefront concert Monday at Bowling Green State University. The Chicago-based quartet summoned plenty of specters with its ghostly, translucent sounds. The program included two pieces, Hans Thomalla’s Bagatellen and the formidable Third String Quartet by Beat Furrer. Both robbed the graves of bygone composers to create pieces that entranced and intrigued listeners. Little of the music was made using traditional violin sounds. Both pieces called for the virtuosity of unlikely techniques. The string players – Clara Lyon and Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, and Russell Rolen, cello – summoned snaps, crackles and pops from their instruments. Those sounds, though defying conventional notions of tunefulness, were strangely captivating. In Bagatellen, made up of nine brief episodes, Thomalla used odd bits of classical quartets by Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn to construct the piece. Not recognizable melodies, but a scale, or a harmony part or a trill. These wafted through the work. Thomalla exploited silence, and near silence, and the hint of silence, and very, very soft sounds to draw listeners in. At one point, the musicians bowed their instruments without…


BG School District at crossroads … community input sought on building options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District is at a crossroads. Though there are twists and turns with each route, the three basic directions lead to renovating, replacing or doing nothing with its school buildings. One of the possible destinations ahead is consolidation of the three elementary schools in one new building. During the first of many meetings expected to stretch over a year or more, Superintendent Francis Scruci explained to a crowd Monday evening that he doesn’t want to take one branch of the road, if local citizens want to go another direction. “The process starts tonight,” Scruci said to the cafeteria full of parents, staff and citizens. “This is one of many conversations and we need to hear from you.” The superintendent tried to summarize the 341-page school building survey received last month from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. The survey looked at 23 systems – such as heating, electrical or lighting – at each of the five school buildings and attached renovation and replacement dollars to them. The survey found Conneaut Elementary to have the greatest needs, followed by Kenwood Elementary, the High School, Crim Elementary and then the Middle School. If…


BGSU launches Optimal Aging project with $1 million from Med Mutual

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University has a new $1 million baby – an initiative to help older area residents age more gracefully. Officials from Medical Mutual of Ohio, which made the $1 million donation, and BGSU officially delivered the new project at a press conference Monday morning at the College of Health and Human Services. That’s where the Optimal Aging Institute will have its offices. Its services, though, will be offered throughout the area, wherever older folks want and need help make their lives easier, healthier and fuller. In announcing the project, Health and Human Services Dean Mary Huff said: “Optimal aging is defined as living at one’s highest potential, whether or not we are living independently and in excellent health, or coping with a chronic illness or disability. Optimal aging is a focus on what is possible, not on the impossible.” The initiative, Huff said, will have three major goals: • It will create and expand programs and activities for middle-age and older adults. • It will assist those doing research in aging and assist those needing supportive services for themselves or others. • It will educate and train students, service providers, health care…


Local Republicans rally around party – with no mention of Trump

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nearly 400 area Republicans were given their marching orders Saturday evening – make phone calls, knock on doors and vote. But they weren’t told which candidate to cast their ballots for in Tuesday’s primary, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s name never mentioned during the speeches at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. While it may have been left open which candidate to support, it was made very clear who to defeat. Keynote speaker Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz hammered the Democrats for failed actions in Benghazi, dishonesty by the IRS, and blunders by the Secret Service. “Everyday I feel like I’m in a cesspool fighting against people who don’t care about doing the best for the people of America,” Chaffetz said Saturday evening at the dinner. Chaffetz, who believes in limited government and was in the spotlight recently for taking on Planned Parenthood, urged fellow Republicans to take a stand in next Tuesday’s primary election in Ohio. “This is ground zero. What you do really, really matters,” he said. Neither Latta or Chaffetz mentioned Trump during their prepared remarks. When approached before their speeches, Chaffetz said he supports…


Horizon Youth Theatre takes its show on the road… a necessity shared with others in BG thespian community

Horizon Youth Theatre is a troupe on the move… by necessity. The troupe is now in its 19th year of giving local children and teens the chance to be drama kings and queens, and it continues to be nomadic – at Otsego Elementary for its Festival of Shorts April 8, 9 and 10; holding drama classes at St. Mark’s in Bowling Green also that month; and in June presenting “Honk!” at the First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green. The location for the summer workshops is still a question mark. The troupe has had many homes over its lifetime from the soon-to-be-demolished theaters in University Hall on campus to whatever space has been available at the Woodland Mall. In a recent conversation a group of board members – President Karen Walters, Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, Alisa Suelzer and Haley Wilkins – said despite that peripatetic existence the troupe continues to provide theater experience to dozens of children. Since children participate in different ways, drama club to the full-blown productions, putting a precise number on how many children it serves is difficult. And the troupe is always recruiting. Still Walters estimated the participation has doubled in the last three years. “Our goal is…


One-room school to move to historic farm

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Old-fashioned math helped convince Wood County Park District officials that the historic one-room Zimmerman School should move to the historic Carter Farm. After many discussions about moving the school north of Bowling Green to the farm down the road, the park board voted Tuesday to go ahead with the project. Bids for moving the one-room school and for making repairs if it is left at its current location helped with the decision. The total cost for moving the structure is estimated at $73,950. Coupled with additional project costs like moving restrooms, sidewalk construction and demolishing the old foundation, the cost is set at $88,590. The cost for leaving it at the corner of Nelson and Carter roads is estimated at $118,510. That cost includes replacing the old foundation, putting in a wider culvert, adding more parking and moving restrooms. The board decided moving the old school made sense financially, and for park programming. By moving the school, the district officials hope to save money and make the historic farm and one-room school a more all-inclusive learning experience for visiting families and school children. The parking area at the Carter Farm needs expanding,…


Traditional Irish music knows no season for Toraigh an Sonas

With St. Patrick’s Day just days away Toraigh an Sonas has a busy week ahead. On Saturday, the group of musicians, under the direction of Bob Midden and Mary Dennis, will perform at The Blarney Pub, 601 Monroe St. in downtown Toledo from 2 to 5 p.m. Then on Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. the party moves to Dzia’s Irish Pub, 5131 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo. On Wednesday, the eve of the saint’s day itself, Toraigh an Sonas will hold forth at Logan’s Irish Pub, 414 S. Main St., Findlay. These are the musicians’ regular haunts, as is Stone’s Throw in Bowling Green, where they have played from time to time. St.Patrick’s Day also marks the anniversary of the 1993 debut of the Bowling Green Band Paddy’s Night Out, the forbearer of Toraigh an Sonas. Midden said that after members of that band moved away he and Dennis formed the band Toraigh. Midden, who says he has some Irish blood, took traditional Irish music to heart. It’s not just the lilting melodies and toe-tapping rhythms that captivate him. “It’s more based on a sense of community and bringing people together,” he said. “The tradition isn’t based so much on performance…


Study shows fewer teens smoking, drinking…but other troubling trends emerging

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Fewer Wood County teens are drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana or cigarettes. And fewer are taking swiped narcotic painkiller prescriptions. But other troubling trends are emerging. Like Wood County teens’ rate for narcotic use that is still higher than the nation’s, more teens turning to electronic cigarettes and more reporting suicidal thoughts. Bill Ivoska reported the results of the annual youth surveys of more than 8,000 local students this morning. With the support of the Wood County Educational Service Center and the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, Ivoska has been conducting the annual surveys in all the county school districts since 2004. “The rates of substance abuse in Wood County were higher than they were in the nation,” when he started 12 years ago, Ivoska said. But since then, the surveys have shown a steady drop in drug and alcohol use among teens – faster than the decline seen nationally. “We have had tremendous improvements in the reduction of substance abuse among adolescents,” Ivoska said. The drop in the use of cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol and binge drinking have been drastic, he said. “We are declining in all…


BG Council discusses revitalization, rezoning and green space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council voted Monday to help revitalize the East Side of the city, to rezone acreage on the north side for a senior residential facility, and to explain the delays for action on green space in the center of the city. Council unanimously voted to contract for services to develop a strategic revitalization plan for the northeast and southeast neighborhoods in the city. “We’ve been talking for a very long time about improving the neighborhoods” on the East Side, council president Mike Aspacher said. “This will provide the tools for us to make real progress in 2016.” Aspacher warned, however, that the work will take time. “I’m thrilled to see that we’re moving forward,” council member Daniel Gordon said, adding that residential neighborhoods are the “core fundamental issue gripping Bowling Green.” Also on Monday, council approved changing the zoning for the recently annexed 31 acres at the northeast corner of Haskins and Newton roads. The property is across Newton Road from the city’s community center. The acreage was changed to institutional zoning to allow for the building of a senior living facility by HCF Inc. The new facility will replace…


Music of now intersects with classics in Spektral Quartet concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No matter the venue, the Spektral Quartet can always be found at the intersection of contemporary music and the storied sounds of the string quartet tradition. On Monday at 8 p.m. the Chicago-based string quartet will play a Music at the Forefront Concert, presented by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. The concert will be in Bryan Recital Hall on the campus. The quartet, said violinist Clara Lyon, is interested in “creative ways of programming traditional repertoire at the same time as being part of the conversation about what’s next.” In some instances that means they will play a string quartet by Beethoven or another classical master on the same program as a newly minted composition. At Bowling Green, however, Spektral Quartet – Lyon and Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, and Russell Rolen, cello –is performing two contemporary pieces by Hans Thomalla and Beat Furrer. Both composers, Lyon said, are “heavily influenced by what people would call more traditional classical music, western art music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Both have an encyclopedic knowledge of that musical material, borrow from it occasionally and are very aware of…


Victory Inn owner’s plan for new hotel rejected

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For nearly five years, Bowling Green officials tried to get Victory Inn to clean up its act. The hotel, at 1630 E. Wooster St., was frequently the source of complaints about bedbugs, plumbing and electrical problems, the lack of smoke alarms and cleanliness violations. After years of wrangling with the owner, Jamal Garmo, of Michigan, the hotel was demolished last October. Wednesday evening, Garmo was back in Bowling Green to talk about his plans to build a new hotel on the old property. But he needed approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, since the hotel he is proposing exceeds the city’s height and story limits. By a vote of 3 to 2, the board rejected Garmo’s request. Voting against were Robert Waddle, Jonathan Jakubowksi and Chris Ostrowski. Voting in favor were Hobart Johnson and Julie Burton. After the meeting, Waddle said the rejection had nothing to do with Garmo’s hotel history in Bowling Green. “All we were considering was the height and number of floors,” he said. City Prosecutor Matt Reger said the zoning ruling was based on the proposal not meeting city requirements, not with Garmo’s past problems. Reger…


Ohioans to play a big role in presidential primary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Ohioans watch primary election results roll in from around the nation, they may be wondering if their votes will count for much during Ohio’s primary next Tuesday. Absolutely, say three local political science professors. “It’s definitely not too late to play a significant role in the primary,” said Melissa Miller, of Bowling Green State University’s political science department. Though it’s not Super Tuesday, next Tuesday offers candidates a chance to pick up some big delegate counts. Primaries will be held in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. Both Ohio and Florida are being watched closely, not just because each has a Republican home candidate, but also because both are winner-take-all states. So whoever wins Florida walks away with 99 delegates and whoever wins Ohio takes home 66 delegates. With that in mind, Nicole Kalaf-Hughes, also from BGSU’s political science department, is expecting a big voter turnout in Ohio. “I would hope so,” she said. “I think people are really tuned into the election here.” If Donald Trump were to lose to Kasich in Ohio and Rubio in Florida, he would have to work even harder to get enough delegates to…


BG High welcomes area bands for adjudicated event this weekend

About 1,800 musicians from around Northwest Ohio will gather Friday and Saturday at Bowling Green High School to test their mettle in the Ohio Music Education Association’s band contest. So in addition to making sure they’re all tuned up and ready to perform their best, band director Bruce Corrigan, colleague Jeremy Sison and their charges as well as their parents, will also be on duty playing host to their counterparts from 34 bands in a six county area. It’s a big job, Corrigan said. Each band has to have a home room assigned. And then six spaces have to be set up to accommodate full bands – two rooms for warm up, two rooms for sight reading, and two spaces for performance. All those spaces must be fitted out with music stands, percussion instruments, and chairs. The high school borrowed music stands and percussion equipment from the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts, which is conveniently on break this week. Corrigan said other area band directors offered to help, but he said he didn’t want to inconvenience them when they were preparing for the event. The host band, Corrigan said, is responsible for handling all the paperwork involving…