BGSU enrollment on the upswing (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News New facilities are translating into more faces on the Bowling Green State University campus. BGSU officials announced today that 15 days after class started, that enrollment on the Bowling Green campus is up 4.4 percent to 17,4649. The headcount for both the Bowling Green and Firelands campuses is up 640 students, or 3.3 percent, from last year, and almost 1,000 more than two years ago. That was helped by a freshman class that is larger than last year’s and, according to Cecilia Castellano, vice provost for strategic enrollment planning, the most academically prepared ever. Those 3,542 students have an average grade point average of 3.42 with an ACT score of 22.8. Retention of those students who entered last fall and are back this fall is just under 76 percent. That’s lower than last year, by about a percentage point. But because the class was bigger, the sophomore class is larger than last year’s. One reason students are attracted to BGSU, she said, is the new facilities. “I would say overall our new facilities and renovated facilities are continuing to attract students because it really aligns with our quality and innovative programs,” Castellano said. “The facilities are just strengthening what’s taught.” That means more students in architecture and environmental design, which is housed in a brand new home that used to be a warehouse. It means a modest growth in media and communications majors with the opening of the new Kuhlin Center. Castellano expects even more growth in those programs next year. The building wasn’t open when this class of students was touring campus, but those prospective students looking to enroll in fall, 2017 are “floored” by the possibilities of the new building. Overall the sciences, including the university’s new forensics science program, business majors and education majors are also seeing growth. First and second year science instruction will get a boost when the renovated Moseley Hall opens a year from now. And a new home for the College of Business is in the planning stages. The College Credit Plus program…


Wendell Mayo brings his “lonely ones” into the spotlight

By DAVIDDUPONT BG Independent News Writing stories can be a lonely job. Maybe that’s why fiction writers populate their stories with so many lonely souls. So when award-winning fiction writer Wendell Mayo took the stage last week in what was billed as the first in the Spotlight on the Arts series, his theme was All My Lonely Ones. But as a professor in the Bowling Green State University Creative Writing Program, he’s certainly not alone in his pursuit. Eschewing the usual introduction, he spent the first few minutes of his presentation singing the praises of BGSU Creative Writing Program. And as a former engineer, he did it with a string of numbers including 415 books published by graduates of the program and 226 awards bestowed on their work. And that includes the big one, a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, for Anthony Doerr. The program’s importance, though, is unquantifiable. “What we do here is bring authors from all over the world out of isolation,” he said. Together they share insights and learn the craft of writing.  Mayo said he started writing in the 1980s when he was living in the San Francisco and commuting by train to his job as a chemical engineer. There surrounded by people, his first lonely ones first stepped out onto the page. Mayo then presented four examples of his own craft. “I introduce you to some of my lonely ones.” Mayo offered a few words telling how each story came about, each a fictional elaboration on a real world situation, an example of how germ of inspiration from daily life can be spun into a fictional construct. Then he stepped aside as the stories were read by either F. Daniel Rzicznek or Jackie Cummins. The first story, from early in Mayo’s career, grew out of a mystery about his mother. When his father died, she started signing checks including “Soledad” as part of her name. The checks bounced. He wondered where the name came from. In the story, it is the character’s mother who had died, and the narrator goes to…


Police & firefighters to be thanked with barbecue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sometimes a good barbecued dinner says “thank you” like nothing else can. So next Sunday – the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks – local police, fire and sheriff employees will be thanked for their service to the community with a free barbecued chicken dinner in Bowling Green City Park. The dinner is being offered by Modern Woodmen as part of its Everyday Hero initiative. “This year marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Modern Woodmen’s Be an Everyday Hero project remembers and honors those lost … and recognizes the brave first responders, military members and others who continue to serve our community every day,” said D.J. Deiter, managing partner with Modern Woodmen. A couple hundred police, fire and sheriff employees and their families are expected to attend the barbecue in the Veterans Building at the park. “I thought it was important to invite their families as well,” Deiter said. This is the first time the local first responders will be honored this way. Deiter said now is an important time for the community to show its appreciation for law enforcement and firefighters. “With all the negativity that’s going on against the police, we wanted to do something special for them,” he said. The dinner will give first responder families time to sit down to eat and socialize together. As of last week, nearly 200 were signed up for the barbecue. “Every department has been very gracious,” Deiter said. “I’m not a military person myself,” though several of his family members have been in the service, Deiter said. “I’ve always had a great deal of respect for what they do. We should do whatever we can to say thanks and show we appreciate them.” This will be the second time in a few weeks that Modern Woodmen has recognized local law enforcement. Bowling Green Police Officer Robin Short was recently given the Hometown Hero Award for working with children in the community. Short was honored at a Bowling Green High School football game, and given stacks of…


Bus driver shortage to affect BG students again this week

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After last week’s plea for bus drivers by Bowling Green City Schools, 14 people contacted the district to express interest in transporting students to and from school. But people have to go through training and background checks before they get behind the wheel of a school bus – so the school district is short on drivers again this week for some of the 1,700 students who rely on bus transportation. “Remember that it is a process from being interested to getting certified, but if everything goes well by the end of the month things should be in better shape. We will still continue to search for additional drivers,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said Monday evening in an email to parents. “With that being said, this week we still face a shortage of drivers,” Scruci wrote. So this week, the following routes will be affected: Bus #22, Tuesday morning and afternoon. Routes that will be delayed will be 8, 18 and 21. Bus #3, Tuesday Routes that will be delayed are 2 and 17. Bus #22, Wednesday Routes that will be delayed will be 8, 18 and 21. Bus #22, ThursdayRoutes that will be delayed will be 8, 18 and 21. Any time a driver can’t be found for one route, it affects other routes that have to compensate for the missing driver. That means some students are getting to school and returning home late. The district has 21 full-time drivers and 11 substitutes. The problem is that 23 full-time drivers are needed, and seven of the subs have other jobs. “They are substitutes for a reason, because they don’t want to work full-time,” Toby Snow, interim co-director of the school transportation department, said last week. The shortage isn’t just affecting regular bus transportation to and from school, but also the shuttling of athletic teams to competitions. The district is also responsible for transporting students to and from non-public schools and Penta Career Center. Bowling Green isn’t alone with its driver shortage. “We’re experiencing the same issues that a lot…


On this Labor Day, it’s laborers that the region is lacking

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On this Labor Day, as many of the nation’s workers take a day off from the job, the Northwest Ohio region is facing new type of labor problem. This region is short on workers. Help wanted signs and ads linger longer now as employers struggle to find people to fill openings. It’s no longer that workers aren’t trained for the job openings – it’s that there just aren’t enough workers to fill them. “There are gaps in the workforce, as we all know,” Carolyn Rodenhauser, talent acquisition manager for the Regional Growth Partnership, said last week during a meeting with the Wood County Commissioners. In recent years, the big labor issue was the lack of people trained for the right jobs – truck drivers, welders, mechanical and industrial engineers, and other skilled manufacturers. But that is no longer the case, according to Mike Jay, director of strategic networks with Regional Growth Partnership. The region responded to those shortages by setting up training opportunities, so people have the necessary skills. “Now it’s we don’t have enough bodies,” Jay said. Part of the problem is the exodus from the Northwest Ohio region by high school and college graduates. Chase Eikenbary, regional project manager with JobsOhio, suggested that retention could be improved if graduate tracking data is collected, possibly by Bowling Green State University. “How do we keep them here,” Rodenhauser said of students after high school or college graduation. “Ideally, that helps all of us if they stay in the region.” Efforts are being made to attract more workers to the region, then streamline the process to get them into the system. Rodenhauser said she has been working with Mary DeWitt, of Wood County JobSolutions, to come up with answers. “How can we make the system in Ohio better – that’s the goal,” Rodenhauser said. “Getting more people in the funnel, better trained – so that we can expedite things when we get a major employer.” Also at the meeting with the county commissioners, the Wood County Economic Development…


Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg offers place for book lovers to congregate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Like most booklovers, Denise Phillips can name her favorite bookstores. In Chicago, where she and her family lived until moving to Perrysburg five years ago, there is the Book Table. In Ann Arbor, where they’ve made regular trips in the past several years, there’s Literati. But until earlier this summer, she didn’t have one close to home. So Phillips, and her husband, Brian, took initiative and opened Gathering Volumes at 196 E. South Boundary in Perrysburg. “We’ve been searching for an independent bookstore,” she said. One that sells new books. Used bookstores are plentiful. “I think a bookstore is such a community hub,” Phillips said.  “You just feel at home, no matter if you’ve ever been there before.” With a stock reflecting local customers’ interests, book clubs geared to popular genres, and events featuring area authors, that’s just what she envisions Gathering Volumes to be. The store marks a career switch for her. She was a project manager for an information technology firm. When her father died, Phillips said, “I decided I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing, and this was something that was always there for me.” So two years ago she started researching the book trade. And she tapped the expertise of those who ran the kind of bookstore she loved. “The owners of independent bookstores were incredibly helpful and lovely.” The demographics of the Perrysburg area, with higher than average number of college graduates and lots of families with kids, was a promising market. Phillips knows it’s a gamble. “It’s a huge risk,” she said. “There’s no guarantee it will be here in three years.” It was a bet, though, her family was willing to place. With a small business loan, some savings and help from family the business was launched. Her own two children Isaac, 7, and Mackenzie, 10, are two of the stores biggest fans, preferring to come to the shop after school rather than go home. Mackenzie will even “play” bookstore with friends. “I don’t think the bookstore will replace the income…


Juvenile offenders garden harvests more than food

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The community service garden being grown by juvenile offenders is helping kids clean up their lives as they get their hands a little dirty. The Wood County Juvenile Court garden, now in its fifth year, is harvesting benefits for the youth, local food pantries and families in need of fresh vegetables. As of last week, this year’s harvest was up to 3,140 tomatoes, 2,000 banana peppers, 750 mini bell peppers, 58 zucchini and 35 squash. But more importantly, the community service work garden is planting seeds in the youth working it. “It’s the ‘teach a kid to fish idea,’” said Ronda Downard, who cultivated the gardening idea with Lora Graves, both co-directors of the juvenile probation department. “It’s educating them as they are doing something for the community,” Graves said. For years, the juvenile court’s community service program offered offenders a chance to put in their hours by picking up trash. But the value of that was pretty limited, said Wood County Juvenile Court Judge Dave Woessner. “This has a benefit that reaches out to a lot of learning,” the judge said of the garden. So every Saturday, spring through early fall, juvenile offenders who were ordered to pay fines, court costs, or restitution, show up at the garden next to the juvenile court and detention center, to put in their hours. These are kids in trouble for offenses like truancy, unruly behavior, theft, underage consumption, drug offenses and delinquency. More than 80 youth have worked on the 40-foot by 32-foot garden so far this year. “A lot of these kids had never been in a garden,” Downard said. “They had no idea when they saw the food, where they came from,” Graves said. But the youth quickly picked up skills and voiced their preference for gardening over picking up trash. “They are a lot happier doing it than trash work ,” Graves said. “Even when we had them shoveling manure, they were happy.” As the season progresses, the youth feel success being able to reap the…


Music with a political message on the side

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The taco truck invasion came to Bowling Green last night. Earlier this week a supporter of Donald Trump’s campaign warned that of Hillary Clinton was elected there would be an influx trucks.  Since then social media has been full of mocking references to the remark. So Next Gen Climate, a group mobilizing young voters to vote for politicians in favor of taking action to combat global warming, brought a taco truck to downtown Bowling Green and was handing out free tacos and other food items. They also offered to register voters. Among the most enthusiastic was Kirsty Sayer, a native of South Africa, who recently became a U.S. citizen. She happily posed with her voter registration form and a sign that declared “Stop Trump, Vote Climate.” The taco truck was there in conjunction with a Concert for the Climate held across the street at Grounds for Thought. The concert was billed as a mix of activism and music. As promised the music took the upper hand. Singer-songwriter Justin Payne, encouraged people to register to vote during his set. “That’s as much as you’ll hear me say about politics in public,” he told the audience. Dustin Galish, who is a field organizer for Next Gen and the leader of the band Tree No Leaves, urged those in attendance to vote for candidates who support environmental causes. They need “to make sure the environment didn’t suffer because you didn’t vote.” And with that he turned over the spotlight on the first act Tim Concannon, who evoked an earlier generation of activists with a rendition of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.” He also made the only explicit pitch for a candidate, singing a song in support of Kelly Wicks, the owner of the coffee shop and a Democratic candidate for the State House. Certainly Mechanical Cat, a musical project of John Zibbel, wove environmental messages in his intergalactic tales about a visitor from the planet Trifenderor. (Zibbel is a BG Independent business partner.) Otherwise the mostly college age crowd of…


Campus Fest, BG Independent and the acoustic typewriter

By ELIZABETH ROBERTS-ZIBBEL Zibbel Media/BG Independent News On Thursday, the staff of BG Independent News sat (and stood) at a table near the Education Building in the middle of the bustling, somewhat controlled chaos of Campus Fest. John, always full of ideas, had suggested finding an old typewriter to display, and if it worked, we could have students type on it and we’d compile their thoughts in a BG Independent piece. The four of us were discussing this via text, our primary means of communication. David seemed the most likely to have one, but he responded, “I don’t know if I have an operating acoustic typewriter.” But David did have one, though the ribbon was nearly worn out. It had belonged to his 94-year-old mother-in-law, Vi Brown, when she was a graduate student at the University of Michigan in the 1940s. As we handed out our blue bookmark us bookmarks and chatted with people and squinted into the sun, we offered students the chance to type a sentence or two about their hopes for the coming year. John optimistically started us off with “I am looking forward to a great year. _John Z” The first brave volunteer typed “to have good grades.” Next was a professor. “All my students will use APA and earn awesome grades. -Dr. LLM.” “Get a better GPA,” and “have a good semester” were next, followed by the more expansive “to be successful in all i do” (complete with lower case I). David, always thinking, realized we’d have a problem if we couldn’t read the sheets later and began scribbling what was being written into his reporter’s notebook. The typed words were becoming increasingly difficult to decipher. The next several lines, however, didn’t make it into his notes: i lik chicken hoping to graduate from el chooo to be the best i can be omg i love this hello. I would love to think that someone was hoping to graduate from elf school, but decoding these thoughts isn’t made any easier by the fact that when typists realized the keys were…


BG to try for medical marijuana moratorium

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Earlier this year, state legislators approved a medical marijuana bill, making Ohio the 25th state to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes. But when House Bill 523 goes into effect next Thursday, city officials hope to have their own medical marijuana restrictions in place. On Tuesday, Bowling Green City Council’s agenda shows the first reading of a resolution imposing a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana cultivation, processing and retail dispensary facilities in the city. When the legislation was passed in June, the state cautioned it could take up to a year to be fully implemented. “Like the state, the city of Bowing Green also needs time to work on its regulations as they relate to medical marijuana,” the resolution explanation states. The city resolution would impose a year-long moratorium on medical marijuana growth, processing and sales. The moratorium will also cover the submission, consideration and approval of all applications for special permits, use permits, building permits and other permits from the planning or zoning departments for cultivating, processing or retail dispensing of medical marijuana. House Bill 523 includes a provision allowing municipalities to adopt resolutions to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors or retail dispensaries licensed under the new law. The city planning department will be directed to begin research and come up with recommendations “necessary to preserve the public health, safety and welfare through regulatory controls for medical marijuana growing, processing or sales.” The resolution is proposed to go into effect immediately as an emergency measure and to be in place prior to House Bill 523 going into effect on Sept. 8. “Note that implementing this legislation is not a long-term decision for the city,” according to the legislative package that went out to all council members for Tuesday’s meeting. “It simply provides the time that we need to fully vet this issue. As stated, there are many issues the city needs to consider related to this matter. If this is not passed, there will be no regulations on Sept. 8 and could be…


Brown Bag Food Project seeking new home

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project needs to move out of mom’s house. The charity which provides emergency food and other essential items to those who find themselves in crisis has been storing its inventory in Peg Holland’s garage and spare room. Holland is the mother of Amy Jo Holland, the founder of the Brown Bag Food Project. The project was founded last year. It received its tax deductible status in June, 2015. Amy Jo Holland created it when she learned that some fellow workers at the local Walmart didn’t have enough to eat. From that act grew a project that now feeds about 200 people a month. The Brown Bag mission is to help people get over an emergency so they can seek more permanent help. They provide both non-perishable and fresh items as well as personal hygiene items and toiletries including diapers. Given that the calls can come at any time, Brown Bag has to have items on hand. Right now that’s at Peg Holland’s house. The inventory is outgrowing the space, and the lack of a real home is also hindering the operation. Amy Jo Holland said having a local space would allow them to purchase food from places like Northwest Ohio Food Bank at a much lower price than they can buy it retail. With the winter much of what is in the garage would have to move indoors, and Peg Holland doesn’t know where she’d put it. Peg Holland, who is on the project’s board, said they’ve been offered commercial shelves. Those shelves, her daughter said, would be great because they would allow volunteers to only handle the items once, instead of packing and unpacking them. The project has also been offered another refrigerator, which is does not have room for. There’s also an issue of safety and privacy for Peg Holland of having strangers whether picking up food or volunteers coming in and out of her home. A new warehouse would give the project a place where people could come to pick up their…


Study looks at water options besides Toledo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County needs water from the Maumee River or Lake Erie, but there may be a way to cut out Toledo as the middle man, according to the Water Source Evaluation Study commissioned by the Wood County Economic Development Commission. The study, presented to the Wood County Commissioners earlier this week was intended to ensure good water, at good rates, and give the county control over its own destiny, according to Jack Jones, of Poggemeyer Design Group which prepared the study. The study accomplished its intended goals by not only identifying water options for Wood County, but also by showing Toledo that viable alternatives exist. But as with anything as complicated as supplying water to a region, “the devil’s in the details,” which have yet to be ironed out, Jones said. The study identified three options for water in the northern part of Wood County, which now gets Toledo water distributed primarily by Perrysburg or the Northwestern Water and Sewer District. Those options are: City of Bowling Green’s water system with expanded reservoir space. Maumee River regional water plant with an intake and reservoir. Maumee River/Lake Erie Bayshore water intake, with a regional water plant and reservoir. Working with Bowling Green’s water plant “has the best implementation potential,” the study stated. The city water treatment plant is a state-of-the-art existing operation that already uses membrane treatment technology. A future reservoir is already being considered, and land has already been purchased for a plant expansion, the report said. All of the options would involve building a huge reservoir, possibly between 200 and 400 acres. Jones mentioned that some regions also use such large reservoirs as recreational sites. Wood County customers have long questioned the price of Toledo water, but also began to doubt the quality after the water crisis in the summer of 2014, when people were warned to not drink water from Toledo due to the algal blooms. “The Wood County Economic Development Commission believes the national attention on the water crisis brought into question the potential…


Science – not politics – needed to save Lake Erie

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Protecting the health of Lake Erie can be an emotional issue – but the Wood County Commissioners were advised Tuesday to stick to the science. Bob Midden, a biochemist at BGSU, asked to speak to the commissioners about the health of Lake Erie. He encouraged them to ignore the politics and focus on science when deciding what to do. “Science can play a very valuable role in addressing these things,” he said. But politics often get in the way, and make decisions suspect. “What’s more important is to find a way to reduce algal blooms,” Midden said. In the last month or so, the county commissioners have heard a request from environmentalists that they join other elected officials in the region seeking an “impaired designation” for Lake Erie. And they have heard from a local farmer requesting that they let the agricultural community continue to make improvements rather than adding more regulations. Midden did not push for either approach, but instead suggested that the commissioners look at strategies that have worked elsewhere. Do voluntary measures work, he asked. “This is a complex issue,” he said. “But also a very important and very urgent issue. We’ve got a lot at stake.” At stake are the economics of both the lake and agriculture. “We don’t want to sacrifice one for the other,” he said. Also at risk is the health of humans and animals. Midden said ingestion of the algal blooms can cause liver damage, gastrointestinal problems, and death to humans and animals. “It can kill people,” he said. And long-term exposure may cause cancer. Midden warned that a lack of action will lead to disastrous results. “We’ve got to get it under control,” he said. “You can consider Lake Erie to be a cesspool eventually if we don’t do anything.” The commissioners have seen people point fingers at farmers for the problem, and farmers point fingers at overflowing sewer plants. Again, Midden suggested that the commissioners look at science for the answer. “I’m an evidence guy,” he said….


Wood County jail now taking in Toledo inmates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Starting Thursday, Toledo will be paying Wood County Justice Center $50,000 a month to save 25 beds at the jail for inmates from Toledo. A deal was struck late Tuesday night, resulting in Toledo sending anyone being sentenced for misdemeanors under the municipal code to be housed at the Wood County jail, located on East Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, explained that Toledo officials turned south to this county for a solution to its inmate issues after an ongoing feud over charges to the city from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker. The city of Toledo missed a July 1 deadline to pay a $1.3 million quarterly bill for its share of beds at the regional jail. By intentionally failing to pay the bill for 228 of the facility’s 638 beds, the city set the scene to withdraw from using the regional jail. The jail agreement reportedly stated that entities that default on payments longer than 60 days will not be able to house inmates there. Wasylyshyn said Toledo’s failure to pay the bill at Stryker does not worry him. “Toledo will pay up front,” Wasylyshyn said Wednesday. So when the first Toledo inmate arrives at Wood County’s jail, Toledo will turn over a $50,000 check. That amount will guarantee the city 25 beds at the jail for the month. “I know they are going to pay it, because they are paying it in advance,” he said. On top of the monthly $50,000, Toledo will also pay Wood County $65 per day for each inmate and a $40 booking fee per inmate. Toledo will also pay for transportation costs to the county jail. “It’s a very good thing for Wood County,” Wasylyshyn said. “It’s a good thing for Toledo and for Lucas County,” since that county does not have room for the additional Toledo inmates. “It’s a good thing for the citizens of Wood County, who I answer to,” Wasylyshyn said. That’s because Wood County recently spent $3 million on…


Lily Parker blossoms as Black Swamp Arts Festival volunteer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When a 9-year-old Lily Parker first showed up to volunteer at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bill Donnelly, who coordinates artist hospitality, sent her out with an adult to deliver water to exhibitors. Twenty minutes later, he said, she was back. “I was glad she had lasted that long.” Little did he know that this was just the start. The 14-year-old Bowling Green High School freshman has continued to volunteer at the festival – and for other community events. Donnelly said that first year: “At Lily’s suggestion, they loaded coffee vats, PB&J, bread and silverware onto the … delivery wagon and rolled back out with their hospitality upgrade. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. … Lily has been a go-to volunteer for me for six years. I admire her initiative and hard work, her character, and her passion for the festival.” That passion has been passed down to her through her family. Her grandfather Tom McLaughlin Sr. exhibited in the first show and chaired the visual arts committee during the early years. Both her mother, Penny Parker, and her father, Tom McLaughlin Jr., were volunteers. Her father, who died earlier this year, was a stalwart on the performing arts committee, and a regular presence backstage. Lily said it will be hard this year without him there. She shows a photo on her phone with her and her father and music legend Richie Havens backstage in 2006. Lily’s stepfather, Dave Shaffer, chairs the festival committee. “This is something I always really liked doing,” she said. She’s one of about 1,000 volunteers it takes to stage the annual event. The festival depends on people to assist with every aspect. Those wishing to volunteer should visit: http://www.blackswampfest.org/volunteer/ How much will Lily work festival weekend, Sept. 9-11? “Probably as much as I can, as much as they need me.” She expects on Friday she’ll head out with Donnelly to do shopping to stock the hospitality area for artists with fruit and baked goods. Then at 5 a.m. Saturday she’ll join the…