BGSU sees slip in student retention rate

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BGSU’s student retention rate slipped this fall, sending officials scrambling to find ways to help students stay at school. It’s not enough for Bowling Green State University to attract new students to come to school. The university has to keep them coming back for more – until they graduate. That’s because universities in Ohio no longer get state funding per student headcounts. Now they get paid if students return to school each year and earn diplomas. So the recent dip in returning students at BGSU was concerning Friday to the BGSU Board of Trustees. Last fall, the retention rate was 77.5 percent. This fall, the rate of returning students had dropped to 75.8 percent – creating a bigger gap between reality and the retention goal of 80 percent. “Obviously, we’re not satisfied,” said BGSU Provost Rodney Rogers. “The goal is 80 percent, so we will continue to work on that.” Retention rates dropped for on-campus students (78.4 to 76.5 percent) and for commuter students (67.9 to 64.7 percent.) Meanwhile, several other universities in Ohio were meeting their goals of 80 percent or higher retention rates, Rogers said. Rates at Ohio University, Ohio State University, Miami University and Kent State were all higher than BGSU, while the University of Toledo’s rate was lower. But Rogers assured that BGSU could achieve the higher rate. “That 80 percent is a very appropriate goal for us,” he said. BGSU Trustees President David Levey questioned how the university would meet the goal. “Everybody’s focused on retention and our numbers are slipping,” he said. “What are we going to do this year?” However, Trustee Dan Keller cautioned the board to not over-react to one slip in the retention rate. If the one-year blip turns into a trend, then it will be time to worry, he said. Rogers and Tom Gibson, vice president of student affairs and vice provost, explained that several efforts are already underway to improve the rate. “The two of them are taking this very, very seriously,” Keller said. Among freshman, the highest risk groups for non-returning students are commuters, first-generation students, and Pell-eligible students. “For each of these, we have strategies in place,” Rogers said. “We’re very much focused on these sub-populations.” “We’re seeking to better understand their needs,” Gibson…


Ice Arena investment skates by BGSU Trustees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Six years ago, the Falcon hockey program was teetering on the edge of the BGSU budget chopping block. But today, the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to spend $2.7 million to keep the operation on ice. The money will pay for a new ice plant and replacement of the concrete floor under the main and auxiliary ice at the Ice Arena on Mercer Road. There was no debate about spending the money – with it being noted that the BGSU hockey team is ranked 14th in the nation this year. The concrete floor and ice plant are original to the Ice Arena, which was built in 1967. The facility saw its first upgrade in 1989 with expansion of the seating area, then in 2001 with some office and lounge space being added. In 2010, some roof, gutter, restroom, humidity and lighting changes were made, and later the parking lot and sound system were improved. There were upgrades to the locker rooms, concession area and awnings added out front. And this year, hockey fans will notice a new video score board in the arena. The ice plant and concrete will have to wait until next summer to be replaced, so the work doesn’t interrupt hockey season. Sheri Stoll, BGSU vice president of finance, stressed the need for the improvements. “Our operating costs will increase significantly” if the work isn’t done, she told the trustees. Though the university is prepared to pay for the projects, Stoll said donations are always welcome. “We’d be happy to accept any private donations for this,” she said. Also at Friday’s meeting, the BGSU Trustees approved $9.4 million in improvements to the East Campus and central electrical load centers. Stoll described the project as “mission critical.” The work will remain “invisible” to the public, but failure of the 60-year-old electrical load centers would be “extremely” bad, she said. Stoll said the state is expected to pay for $7.2 million of the project, $750,000 would come from residential life funds, and $1.5 would be long-term debt. The trustees also approved a $3 million ductwork project in the Moore Musical Arts Center, which would improve humidity levels and qualify the building for a “Steinway” designation. The work will require that no staff…


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: www.rcsbgsu.org. 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 feel left out. They feel part of the team.” Cicely Watkins said her sons “tried traditional sports and they were very discouraged. They hated sports.” One has cerebral palsy and all have sensory processing issues. Now they will gladly talk about all the sports they play at Rally Cap, and how good they are at them. Shelley Davis said her daughter who participates has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, with symptoms similar to autism, and low IQ. Her daughter proudly displays all her Rally Cap trophies. “They’re discounted at school, but not here,” Davis said. That the program is run by students makes it all the more appealing the mothers said. “You can tell the students…


Fewer BG residents stashing trash in recyclable bins

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is trying to use the carrot and not the stick to teach residents about the new garbage rules. But it turns out they are also having to explain that carrots and sticks belong in the trash, not in recycling. The problem came to a head a few weeks ago, when the Wednesday recyclable collection route on the east side of the city consisted of 35 percent trash, according to Ken Rieman, of the Bowling Green Recycling Center. It was believed that the increase in the garbage in recyclable bins was an unintended consequence of the new city ordinance requiring that garbage bins be closed when being picked up. Rieman surmised that residents with overflowing trash bins were stashing the trash in the recyclable bins instead. However, as of last Wednesday, the trash in the recyclable bins had dropped to 20 percent from the peak of 35 percent, Rieman said. “It appears the city education efforts have had some success,” he said. Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said the 35 percent was “an alarming rate.” So the city started a strong education push for residential areas close to BGSU, where it was thought that students might not realize the difference between the green garbage bins and the blue recycling bins. Bright green stickers are being placed on bins that are being used improperly. However, if the education isn’t enough, the city can cite citizens for putting trash in their recycling bins. “Obviously, that is a last resort for the city,” Fawcett said. “We’d rather work with them than fine them.” The new rule requiring the lids to be closed on garbage bins was to prevent pyramids of trash from becoming litter in neighborhoods, and to prevent the garbage bin lids from being broken off by the automatic arms that pick up the bins and dump them in the truck. In cases where city residents need extra space for garbage, additional bins may be acquired from the city public works office, Fawcett said. “The city is willing to work with people. You just need to reach out to us and tell us what you need,” he said. Though the amount of trash in recyclables has dropped in recent weeks, Rieman pointed out that 20 percent trash is still…


BG solar project faces scrutiny over hiring practices

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A shadow of doubt has been cast over the hiring practices at the massive solar field being built northeast of Bowling Green. Claims have been made that the project is not adhering to the requirement that 80 percent of those employed at the site be Ohio residents. That percentage was a primary factor in the Wood County Commissioners approving a tax abatement for the project. And concerns have been expressed by city officials that there was an expectation that the project would pay prevailing wages. Officials from the electric subcontractor at the site, Blattner Energy, and the contractor for the project, NextEra Energy, both strongly defended their compliance with the 80 percent rule. However, they also clarified that the project has no requirement to pay prevailing wages. The giant solar project has been welcomed as good for the environment and good for the area’s reputation since it will be the largest solar field in Ohio. The project is located on 165 acres owned by the City of Bowling Green at the southeast corner of Carter and Newton roads. The solar array will consist of 85,680 panels that will track the sun from east to west everyday for maximum power generation. But from the beginning, the solar project stirred up a bit of controversy. The Wood County Commissioners initially refused to grant the requested 30-year tax abatement for the $43 million project until their questions were answered. The tax abatement request for the solar field was unlike those that normally come before the commissioners. First, the amount is massive, giving a tax break of $7.3 million over just the first 15 years. Second, the abatement duration is 30 years, compared to the customary 10 to 15 years. Third, there is no ongoing employment, which is the basis for most tax breaks. Construction of the solar field will employ about 85 people from July 18 to Dec. 31. And while 80 percent of those people are required to be Ohio residents – there is no requirement that they come from Wood County. Fourth, regular tax abatements require that school districts be “made whole” by the business getting the tax break, but this agreement does not. The company will pay some money to local taxing authorities “in lieu of” the…


3B’s “Young Frankenstein” laughs off Halloween spooks

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Get a jump on Halloween with shrieks of laughter rather than shrieks of fear. The folks at 3B Productions will present the musical stage version of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” this weekend with shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2:30 at the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St., Maumee. Joe Barton, the show’s director and a founder of the troupe, said the inspiration to stage this Mel Brooks classic came from last fall’s Halloween-themed show, “The Addams Family.” Seeing Randy “Beef” Baughman as Lurch, he and others thought he’d make a great Frankenstein’s monster. Perfect casting, aside from the challenge of finding a tux that fits him. In “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks imagined Frederick Frankenstein following in his grandfather Victor’s footsteps and creating a monster of his own. Brooks, as was his wont, turned the horror of the original and its multiple retellings, on its head and into a relentless comedy. “There’s not sad moment in the show,” Barton said. “Even the love songs are comedic.” Baughman’s son, Will, was cast as Frederick. They’ve shared the stage before, most recently in a very different seasonal musical. In spring Will Baughman played Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” while Randy Baughman played the high-strutting high priest Caiaphas . “Young Frankenstein,” Barton said, gives the younger Baughman a chance to play a lighter, comic role. “It’s fun to watch them work together,” the director said of the father-son duo. With Janine Baughman, Randy’s wife and Will’s mother, as musical director the show as much a family affair for the Baughman’s as it is for the Frankenstein’s. Brooks did a seamless translation of his hit movie to the stage, adding a few musical numbers. Usually when doing a show that has a movie version, Barton advises against watching the film. Actors can pick up the tics of the screen performers. But in this case he told them to go ahead because he wanted to capture the anarchic energy of the original. Brooks wrote all the songs, music and lyrics, except for Irving Berlin’s “Putting’ on the Ritz,” which is used in the show’s tap dance scene. That move from screen to stage requires some stage magic to pull off effects like the operating table that…


BG parks and rec sets course for next five years

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The five-year master plan for the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation is not “sexy.” But what it lacks in sex appeal, it makes up for in substance. Much of the plan focuses on maintaining the current parks – paving parking lots and fixing roofs. Nothing too flashy. Woody Woodward, executive director of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, complimented the park and rec board Tuesday evening for its new plan. “It matters. It helps set a course for you for the next five years,” Woodward said. He disagreed with the description that the plan lacked pizzazz. In fact, the plan has a quality that several communities neglect. “This plan gives you some time to breathe,” and take care of what the city already has, he said. “We spend so much time thinking what the next thing is, that we forget to take care of what the last thing was.” “It ensures that this community has the facilities necessary to make lives better,” Woodward said. The master plan was completed after a series of public forums was held earlier this year to collect community input on the parks. The forums were led by Shannon Orr, political science professor at Bowling Green State University. Orr said she has led forums many times in the past, but encountered something unusual at the park and rec meetings. “I’ve never run a forum where people were so enthusiastic and positive,” she said. The participants praised the friendliness of the park staff, variety of programs, reasonable prices, and clean facilities. “I hope you appreciate how unusual that is,” Orr said. “What really came out of these forums is how the community feels about parks and rec.”   The forums covered youth programs, nature parks, garden parks, active parks, fitness and aquatics. Three items repeatedly asked for by residents were an indoor pool, a walkway to the community center, and more activities for ages 12 to 16. Park and Recreation Director Kristin Otley presented the five-year master plan, explaining it is a “living, breathing, fluid document.” The goal is to “focus on maintaining and taking care of our parks, programs and facilities, while being aware and open to new opportunities.” The plan identifies needs at the 11 parks, at all the buildings, and with…


Face It exhibit at BGSU takes intimate look at portrait photography

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Photographic portraits have always had their allure. Think of those ghostly images staring back at you from 19th century daguerreotypes. Viewers will find the contemporary descendants of those models in Face It: Reimagining Contemporary Portraits now on exhibit at the Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Building on the Bowling Green State University campus. Recently this reporter was treated to a tour of the show accompanied by the three curators and two photographers who have work in the exhibit. The seed for Face It was planted with a passing remark by Jacqui Nathan, the gallery director, to Lynn Whitney, who teaches photography at BGSU. How about a portrait show? Nathan asked. That casual suggestion took a couple years to gestate, but with the help of art historian Andrew Hershberger it has now come to fruition. Photo portraits are “very common,” he said, “Very familiar.” We carry them around with us in our wallets, on our telephones. We have identification cards with portraits on them. And we treasure them. In the event of a disaster, after family and pets are safe, people will grab the family portraits. “Arguably this is most common type of photography ever,” he said. “Yet they remain mysterious.” Back in the days of daguerreotypes, “people were frightened of these portraits,” Hershberger said. “The kind of impact portraits can have is pretty dramatic.” That pull is evident in Face It, whether it is the tightly cropped images of photographer Nicholas Nixon and his wife, who in a couple images peers surreptitiously out at the viewer or Greg Miller’s photos of children waiting for the school bus in Connecticut. Those photos were taken near Sandy Hook not long after the horrific school shooting there. Hershberger quotes Miller as saying: “How can anyone not see children, all children, as their own, as nieces and nephews, or even as themselves?” In putting together the show, the curators drew mostly on contemporary works with a few iconic images to set the stage. Three portraits on loan from the Toledo Museum of Art include a portrait of a pastry cook from 1928 by August Sander. Sander’s work inspired that of Daniel McInnis, who teaches at BGSU. A Metropolitan Museum of Art retrospective of Sander’s Face of Our Time series, which included…


The day the pizza died

By ELIZABETH ROBERTS-ZIBBEL BG Independent News Yesterday by lunchtime, my Facebook newsfeed was more united and emotional than I’d seen it since David Bowie unexpectedly passed away in January. More than fifty people had shared links, posts, and personal lamentations that the building housing Myles’ Pizza Pub for 39 years had been sold, and that the recipes and memorabilia that made it legendary would be leaving with its founder Chip Myles, who is retiring. The end of Myles’ Pizza Pub as we know it will be Sunday, October 2. In July, rumors of the restaurant’s closing led to lines out the door, so now that the news is official, pizza chaos has broken out. Yesterday my friend Erin Holmberg commented that right after she heard, she began trying to call and got through after thirty frantic minutes. “Just ordered 4 large pizzas to freeze… the wait time is 3 hours. Pizza panic!” We hadn’t seen anything yet. My husband and I tried to call soon afterward and they had already stopped answering the phone. At 6:30, my friend Scott Marcin quipped on Facebook “Who the hell cares about the debate tonight. Myles Pizza is closing for good Sunday! We got a national crisis on our hands right here in BG.” Myles’ Facebook page and Twitter feed have been posting policies and updates regarding their last week, including the limited menu, predicted wait times, and hours they will be open. You can read the full post here, but some highlights: Pub will open at 11 am and they will stop taking orders at 4 pm  Orders must be placed in person at the restaurant. Internet orders have been turned off and phones are off the hook. No timed orders, orders for another day, or reservations Orders are limited to 3 pizzas When I walked by at 10:30 this morning, a car pulled up and a man yelled out to me, “Hey! They open yet?” I replied that the front door was open, and asked how the two men inside the vehicle felt about the closing. “Sucks,” the driver said simply, shaking his head. “We just drove over an hour to get here,” said the other guy, who didn’t want to give his name.   An hour later, a line extended out the door and into the…


Students pack the house to watch Clinton-Trump debate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump arrived on the stage at Hofstra University Monday night, a clear winner was evident at Bowling Green State University. The organizers of a debate watch party brought in a standing room only crowd that had them bringing in stacks of chairs into the designated room in the student union, and then redirecting some students down the hall to an overflow room. The pizza? Gone in minutes. About 200 students were drawn to the first faceoff between the major party candidates. The banter back and forth was evident as they waited for the telecast to begin, as were the Trump-Pence and Love Trumps Hate signs. Once the debate started, though, the students were quiet. Some exchanges drew laughs as when early on Clinton turned to her opponent and said: “Donald, it’s great to be with you.” And the Republican smirked in response. The largest applause came when Clinton retorted after Trump criticized her taking time off the campaign trail to prepare for the debate that: “I’m prepared to be president. I think that’s a good thing.” The crowd grew more vocal as the debate neared its conclusion including one Trump supporter who shouted that Clinton “was a pig.” Then as soon as the event was over they headed for the exit. A few did linger long enough to comment on what their reactions to the debate were. Flint Porter said the debate confirmed his negative view of the two major party candidates. “I thought it was ridiculous,” he said. “Both candidates proved they were not eligible candidates to be running for president. They made a mockery of our country in their debate. Instead of talking about how to make our country better, they just argued and bantered back and forth, and I don’t think that’s appropriate when we’re trying to move our country forward, when we’re in a state of emergency.” Still Porter intends to cast a ballot for someone other than a major party candidate, though he declined to say for whom. “I think it’s important to exercise your right to vote because many people have fought for our right to vote,” he said. “Especially for me as an African-American, a lot of my ancestors fought for that.” Christian Thomas was not…


Little boy honored for big act of heroism

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Eight-year-old Conner Beck was an unlikely hero. He’s a little guy, who’s not much for words. But earlier this year, Conner was big on action at a time when it really counted. Conner and his dad, Aaron Beck, were on their way home to Bradner after attending a BGSU hockey game in February. It was dark, around 9:30 p.m., when his father started slowing down on U.S. 6. He told Conner, who was sitting in the back seat, that he didn’t feel well and was going to pull over. But as he was in the process, Beck blacked out due to intense abdominal pain, and went left of center into a ravine just past the Luckey Farmers site on Route 6. The pickup truck then went up out of the ravine and landed on the railroad tracks about 30 feet from the roadway. Though scared and unsure what was happening, Conner unhooked his seatbelt and crawled to the front of the pickup. He turned on the emergency strobe lights, which he had seen his dad do many times in his role as a Bradner firefighter and EMT. The father and son located Beck’s cell phone, and called 911. His father was unable to talk, so Conner told the sheriff’s dispatcher exactly where the truck was and asked that they send Bradner EMS. The dispatcher called CSX to stop trains heading that way, and Conner convinced his dad that he needed to get out of the truck since it was sitting on the tracks. Then Conner walked to the edge of Route 6 and waved his arms to try to get help for his dad. Motorists honked their horns, but no one stopped to help. Bradner EMS arrived on the scene and took Beck to Wood County Hospital, where he remained for three days. Since then, the father has listened to his son’s 911 call to the dispatcher. “It was pretty intense,” he said. Beck remembers little from that night. “I could hear him screaming,” the father said. He remembers Conner getting him away from the railroad tracks and taking care of him until help arrived. Conner, now 9 and a third grader at Lakota, was honored Saturday evening during a Cub Scout camping event on the grounds…


STEM in the Park makes learning loud, messy & fun

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Learning can be pretty loud and messy. Just ask the kids covered in foam bubbles. Or the kids making concrete. Or the ones building rockets. For the seventh year in a row, a whole lot of learning masqueraded as fun at STEM in the Park at Bowling Green State University on Saturday. “We want to make learning fun and we want to spark interest in the STEM fields” of science, technology, engineering and math, said Jenna Pollock, coordinator of the event organized by the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education. An estimated 5,000 grade school kids, their parents and volunteers showed up to play. All the events were hands-on, with the messier ones relegated to the outside. There was a “Cootie Camp,” where kids could enter a black tent to get a peek at the germs covering them. There was a giant foam machine shooting foamy bubbles all over kids. There was a sloth and a vulture from the Toledo Zoo. And yes, before you ask, this is education – just in a sneaky form. “We do make it fun,” Pollock said. “They are learning without thinking they are learning.” One outside tent was devoted completely to water issues. Children – and in some cases, their inquisitive parents – got to use a remotely operated vehicle, similar to those used by oceanographers to study shipwrecks and coral reefs that are too deep for divers to venture. “They go places man cannot,” explained Matt Debelak, of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Another display showed kids about erosion in watersheds. Powdered hot chocolate represented the dirt, powdered Kool-Aid represented pesticides. As the young scientists sprayed water onto the “terrain,” they could see how rain sends soil and pesticides into waterways. At a nearby display, dirt and roots were turned into a lesson on how plants can hang onto nutrients and water. “They are really into shaking the jars of dirt,” said Jessica Wilbarger, of the Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District. “They’re really impressed when the water reaches to bottom,” following along roots that extended about two feet deep. One of the hot spots of the STEM event was the foam pit, where an endless stream of bubbly foam was shooting out at kids. Jodi Recker, of Spark…


Hollywood star America Ferrera tells students: The stakes are high in this election

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News TV and movie star America Ferrera knows what a lot of immigrant kids are going through these days. When she was 9 and living in California’s San Fernando Valley, the state’s voters were considering Prop 187 which would have barred all undocumented immigrants from receiving any public services including education. That was the first election she remembered. Now in the midst of another campaign with high stakes, Ferrera is touring the country to encourage people to register to vote, and then cast ballots for Hillary Clinton. She stopped by Bowling Green State University Sunday morning to give a pep talk to several dozen students preparing to go out and canvass the neighborhoods around campus. The community Ferrera lived in was diverse. She was a first generation America. Her parents came from Honduras. “My friends were first generation all kinds of things,” she said. Their parents came from Vietnam, China, Latin American countries, and Arab countries. At home they ate different kinds of foods and their parents “yelled at us in different languages,” Ferrara said. “But when we went to school we were all Americans because we pledged allegiance to the flag.” They all thought of themselves as “true-blooded Americans,” and “we all deserved justice and to be treated in the same way.” But in 1994 with Prop 187 on the ballot children were being questioned and taunted and threatened. Ferrera hadn’t experienced any of that but her mother took her aside to warn her and tell her if anyone ever questioned her to know: “You didn’t do anything wrong. You belong here.” For the first time in her life, Ferrera felt different from her peers. And she knows now with the overheated anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of the Donald Trump campaign, families are reporting the same kind of harassment. Kids are told: “My dad says when Trump is president, he’s sending your parents away.” Young Arab-Americans wonder: “What does a ban on Muslims mean for them and their families?” Blacks wonder: “What does a nationwide stop and frisk mean for our lives?” “The stakes have never been higher,” she said. In introducing Ferrera, Kandann Coleman, the president of the Latin Student Union, which sponsored the visit, said the same thing.  “Politics really do matter especially to people of color.”…


Policing expert: Releasing shooting videos is problematic

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In the wake of fatal police shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, citizens are again demanding that police release the videos of the incidents. In Charlotte, where demonstrations have been violent at times, protestors have chanted “release the tapes” of the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. (Police Saturday decided make available two videos from police cameras.) Phil Stinson, Bowling Green State University professor in criminal justice and leading expert on policing, said he understands those calls. “I can fully understand from a point of public policy why these videos need to get out for transparency.” However, “if I was a prosecutor I would not want these videos out before trial, certainly not before the investigation was completed,” he said.  “It really does hamper the investigations when the videos get out quickly.” Not releasing the videos “suggests that they’re not necessarily hiding something, but they are pursuing the investigation.” What troubles Stinson is the some of the videos “show law enforcement officers acting in ways not consistent with their training.” Often, he said, “the narrative provided by the officers on the scene and those involved in the shooting are inconsistent with the video evidence. Either they’re lying or their recollections are flawed, which is not surprising given people are not very good at remembering things.” Stinson said it’s probably a combination of those two factors, false reports and mistaken perceptions. “An officer may believe there was an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or deadly force, but they could have been mistaken.” Whether the shooting is justified comes down to whether that fear “is objectively reasonable,” whether an officer acting according to their training would perceive that threat. Stinson would like to see the use of independent prosecutors for these cases. Anyone from the state attorney general’s officer down to the local prosecutor has some level of conflict of interest because of their dealings with police officers. “It just takes away the public concern of bias and lack of impartiality,” Stinson said. “These are ugly cases and I don’t think they are going to stop,” he said. He’s been studying police shootings for 12 years, and the numbers are consistent, about 1,000 people are shot and killed by on-duty police officers every year. “It’s business as usual.”…


BG Tree Commission gets to root of tree issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Tree Commission gathered for a meeting last week under a tree dedicated to a former member, Walt Ferrell. The tree, a three-flowered maple, was planted in the city’s arboretum located to the west of the city’s fire station on Pearl Street. The plaque at the base of the tree honors Ferrell, a 10-year member of the city tree commission, who graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. “He was a good man,” said Bob Manley, a member of the tree commission. As they stood under the young tree, the commission continued its monthly meeting with the city’s arborist Grant Jones. They discussed the stress that the summer’s hot, dry conditions placed on trees – especially young trees trying to get established. “A lot of those really struggled,” Jones said. The city is currently doing a lot of pruning of trees for overhead power line clearance, and some trees are being removed in the area of Madison and Lorraine streets due to work on water and sewer lines. Jones assured tree commission members that the city was planting more trees that it was removing. Approximately 120 trees were planted in the spring, and another 88 are planned for this fall. The group also discussed the city’s new efforts to give tree roots a little more wiggle room by using a sidewalk surface that is rubbery and moves a bit rather than cracks from root pressure. The tree commission also discussed educational efforts in the city. Jones recently held a diagnostic program to help city residents determine if their trees were healthy or suffering with problems. Another program is planned on Oct. 8 that will focus on soils. The workshop will look at the difference between sandy and clay soil, and organic matter compaction. “Hopefully, we’re going to be able to be outside for it,” Jones said. Another seminar is planned in November on using leaves for mulch. The program will be modeled after a town located north of New York City, where the community follows the “love ‘em and leave ‘em” approach to leaves. Rather than having the city pick up leaves, residents are encouraged to use them as mulch. Landowners are instructed how to mulch leaves with their mowers, Jones…