Closing time for Jed’s but downtown still open for business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jed’s, home of chicken Fireballs, has flamed out in downtown. Still the owner of the Millikin Hotel building on downtown Bowling Green’s Four Corner is confident he’ll find a new tenant for the former Jed’s space. The sports bar and grill closed for business on Monday. A call to the owners has not been returned. Bob Maurer, who owns the building, said all he knows about why the business closed is “just economics.” The Jed’s restaurant in Perrysburg remains open. “Any time you lose a tenant you want to know what happened, what you could have done to avoid it,” Maurer said. “It’s a good spot. Somebody’s always looking,” he said. “Some people’s problems are another person’s opportunity.” He expects that given there’s been a restaurant in that spot for well over 10 years that another eatery is the most likely option. Maurer expects to have it filled in “four to six months.” Overall Maurer said downtown Bowling Green “is doing extremely well.” He said that compared to Fremont or Napoleon, or even Findlay, Bowling Green’s downtown is thriving. He praised Mayor Dick Edwards and Sue Clark, the executive director of the Community Development Foundation, for their efforts. The Jed’s space in the second vacancy to open up on the Four Corners in the past two months. The Mosaic Consignment shop, which sits kitty-corner from the former Jed’s, closed in May. But that space is already undergoing renovation as another business prepares to occupy it.    


Applebee’s restaurant looks at location in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar is interested in making Bowling Green its new neighbor. The casual dining restaurant has requested a variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to allow more parking spots than now permitted at a site at 1175 S. Main St., near Home Depot on the south edge of the city. “The city has definitely been in communication” with representatives of Applebee’s, said Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards. The city’s planning director, Heather Sayler, has been working with an Applebee’s representative to find a location for the restaurant, he said. “They definitely have been showing interest,” the mayor said Friday evening. “They were looking at different sites,” specifically along East Wooster Street near Interstate 75, Edwards said. But the restaurant chain seemed more interested in the South Main Street location, closer to U.S. 6 traffic. Edwards said he knows few details right now, with most of the discussions taking place between intermediaries. “It certainly piques my interest,” the mayor said, explaining that Applebee’s is a standby for some travelers. “As we travel around, we often stop there.” The arrival of an Applebee’s in Bowling Green could end the drought of chain restaurants building in the city. And it could quiet the claims that city officials won’t allow chains to locate in Bowling Green since chains might draw business from locally-owned establishments – a charge that the mayor denies. “There’s been no effort by the city to keep out chain restaurants,” Edwards said. “In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.” “Quite the contrary,” he said, explaining that Bowling Green is stuck in a “peculiar web” between Findlay, Perrysburg and Toledo. “And that’s what they look at,” often overlooking Bowling Green. Edwards also mentioned that the city values its locally-owned restaurants. “We cherish those establishments,” he said. Applebee’s variance request will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 13, at 7 p.m., in the city council chambers at 304 N. Church St. The request seeks a variance to allow 11 parking spaces that will encroach 5 feet into the required 5-foot setback to the north and east.


Jaume Plensa’s sculptures are in just the right place at Toledo Museum of Art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For sculptor Jaume Plensa, the placement of one of his sculptures is as important as the work itself. That’s especially true of his outdoor works. Still he described his visit to Toledo to consult about where to situate the work on the grounds of Toledo Museum of Art almost as a play date. He walked around with a few friends and two gardeners carrying flags. “I loved those guys with the flags.” Amy Gilman, the museum’s associate director and one of those in the group, asked him Thursday night why he decided to place one work, “The Heart of Trees,” up on a hill, instead of on the flat, where the museum had suggested. The world renowned artist said: “A kid loves to change things. If you say ‘down,’ then I say ‘up,’ and it’s not more complicated than that.” “You know my son,” Gilman quipped. The exchange was part of a public conversation held Thursday at the museum as part of the ongoing exhibit Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, which continues outdoors and in the Levis Galleries through Nov. 6. In his introduction, Museum Director Brian Kennedy called Plensa “a most distinguished art practitioner in our world today.” “A very significant part of Jaume’s practice is public sculpture, creating moments for public engagement,” he said. Plensa’s work is on display around the world, including “the most extraordinary work he’s made,” the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Plena said, in placing a work: “You are not thinking about the object in itself but what energy this object is spreading about. … The space is much more important than the work itself.” That was demonstrated in the siting not only of the Human Landscape works but in “Speigel (Mirror)” which sits on the edge of the museum’s 36-acre campus. When Plensa visited to consult on the installation in 2012, he made “important adjustments” to the initial site, Gilman said. She and exhibit designer Claude Fixler had originally envisioned placing “Speigel” on a small rise. But the artist wanted it brought down closer to the street. “I have a certain utopian idea of what is art’s relationship to society,” Plensa explained on Thursday.  “I think art should go to them and embrace the community.” On the hillock, “Speigel” was “in a certain way protected.” He knew museum officials saw the sculpture as a bridge to the…


Fair building to be fit for cattle and catered dinners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Fairgrounds is packed with people for a few days each summer. The rest of the year, it’s pretty much a ghost town. But the fair board has a plan to change that – building a $3.2 million year-round facility made to handle both smelly livestock shows and fancy catered dinners. “We want to put the fairgrounds on the map for year-round use, rather than just six days,” Matt Hughes, of Fair Funding, said to the Wood County commissioners on Thursday. Hughes said the acreage at the corner of West Poe and Haskins roads hosts about 125,000 visitors each year for the county fair. A few days after the fair, the grounds are flooded for the National Tractor Pulling Championships. Other than that, you can hear crickets chirping. But to make the 46,000-square-foot building a reality, Hughes said donations are being sought from every possible source. And Thursday, he made a pitch to the county commissioners as one of those possible sources. “Our hope is you folks would consider a partnership,” he said. “A lot of your population has an interest in the fair,” Hughes said. The fundraising has been going on now about 60 days, with approximately $750,000 secured so far, Hughes said. Those organizing the project are looking for one-time donations, annual contributions, in-kind materials or services and endowments. Hughes told the commissioners the county fairs that are going to still exist in 20 years are those that think beyond the six days of the fair, and plan “beyond bake sales.” He said the commissioners’ help with construction or ongoing maintenance would be helpful. The proposed multi-purpose building will have a dozen 24- by 16-foot garage doors, a catering kitchen, heating and air conditioning so it can be used year-round. The site will be rented out, and will be able to seat 2,000 for dining. To make room of the new facility, the five buildings north of the Fine Arts Building will be torn down. Construction will take six to eight months to complete. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw asked how the same site will be able to host both cattle and catered dinners. “What about the aroma in the air you might not want to have when you have a banquet,” she asked. Hughes said all the garage doors will be open during livestock shows, allowing the odors to…


Trustees boost Mazey’s salary & deferred compensation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees approved a 2.5-percent pay increase for President Mary Ellen Mazey this morning (June 23). Chairman David Levey said that the board, after reviewing her performance earlier in the day, felt the pay increase was merited based on a number of factors. Those included the successful negotiation of a contract with the faculty union – “that’s a pretty big accomplishment,” enrollment of larger and more academically prepared first year students, and more success in keeping students on campus so they graduate. He also cited an “improving relationship” with the university’s foundation. Aside from the union contract, which was approved at the May trustees meeting, all those other factors played a part in the meeting, which was held on the Firelands campus. The increase brings Mazey’s salary to $412,136, beginning in Sept. 1. The board also approved an additional 10-percent payment to her deferred compensation package. That $40,208 is on top of the 15 percent called for in her contract. Those payments are is based on her current salary. Mazey said that the pay increase was a vote of confidence in her performance. Of the accomplishments cited, she said she was particularly pleased that the number of incoming freshmen is increasing. The pay increase, she noted, was in line with the 2.5-percent increase employees not covered by the union will receive. The union agreement calls for a 3-percent increase in the compensation pool for faculty. That increase in compensation figured into 2017 budgets for the campus approved earlier in the meeting by the board. With an increase in state funding, BGSU expects to have revenues of $415.3 million, a 3.1-percent increase, and expenditures of $411.5 million, a 3-percent increase. The budget for the Bowling Green campus will be $288,376,367, a 2.6 percent increase. Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll said that after years of declines the State Share of Instruction is now increasing. The 2017 budget includes a 4-percent increase from last year. On the Bowling Green campus, that $70.7 million accounts for 24.5 percent of the revenue. Student tuition and fees account for 67.6 percent of revenue. That’s an improvement over just two years ago when students’ share was 71.7 percent. The university, Stoll said, benefited not only from more money allotted by the state, but also better performance. State funding is largely based on how many students…


Wood County Landfill running out of room

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Landfill is running out of room even faster than predicted. When 2016 rolled around, it looked as if the existing permitted space at the landfill would last another 11 years. By Tuesday, that remaining lifespan had shortened to eight to 10 years. The news was presented to the county commissioners on Tuesday by landfill staff and consultants. The reason for the faster filling is three-fold. First, the Henry County landfill closed, resulting in much of the garbage from that neighboring county coming to Wood County. Second, as the economy rebounds, the increase in new construction creates more debris, and people tend to buy new items and throw out the old, rather than stretching out their usefulness. And third, improvements at Wood County Landfill are making it more attractive to waste haulers, said Ken Vollmar, landfill manager. The Wood County Landfill received 38,000 tons of trash in 2014, which jumped to 49,000 tons last year. At the current rate, this year’s tonnage may top off over 60,000 tons. The landfill area covers more than 100 acres, with 43 of those in the current footprint approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for dumping. The site has about 60 more usable acres – and depending on the tonnage, the landfill has between 50 and 75 more good years, according to Shawn McGee, of Hull and Associates, consultants to the county. But McGee warned that while the lifespan of the current permitted area is eight to 10 years, the county needs to get working on the expansion now. It takes three to four years for the EPA to review an expansion plan, plus time to do more borings and install new monitoring wells. “We’re getting to a crunch time,” Vollmar said. After the permit is granted, a lot of preparation work needs to be done at the landfill, he said. Vollmar reminded the commissioners of the landfill coming close to running out of permitted space in the early 1990s. The first phase of the proposed expansion would “piggyback” on top of a section already being used. The landfill is allowed to reach a height just over 100 feet. The commissioners were also presented with some costly equipment requests at the landfill adding up to more than $1 million. One of two compactors needs to be replaced, as well as a small loader….


The cosmos is ready for its close up in Eric Zeigler’s exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The universe is on view in downtown Toledo. Or at least photographer Eric Zeigler’s vision of the universe, which includes: Galaxies of 100,000 stars, compressed into one small frame the size of a computer monitor. One of Pluto’s moons, the smear of light as good as anyone will likely ever see it. The rust on a meteorite in an image blown up 36-times its natural size. A computer image of neutrinos – subatomic particles so small 65 billion of them fit into a square centimeter – interacting. The exhibit “Under Lying” is now on view at River House Arts, 425 Jefferson St. The exhibit is open through July 30. For hours call 419-441-4025. The show will be part of Art Loop on July 21. The work, Zeigler explained, comes from his interest in astronomy that was sparked by a class he took at Bowling Green State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Photography in 2008. He’d been taking photos since his early teens, inspired by his grandfather. Above the television in his grandparents’ home was a landscape photo his grandfather had taken. And scattered around the house were copies of Popular Photography magazine. His grandfather, Zeigler said, was interested in optics, and during World War II maintained sights on bombers that flew missions over Germany. Young Eric was fascinated by the data included in Popular Photography. What did the shutter speeds and aperture opening numbers mean? “I was totally addicted to figuring all this stuff out,” he said. He set his family’s new digital camera on manual. That helped him understand shutter speed, but the optics weren’t advanced enough to really vary the depth of field much. Then at about 16, a friend’s family gave him a film camera. It all clicked. The son of a carpenter, who worked with his father, he first attended BGSU to study construction management. “That lasted one day.” Then architecture. Then, since he liked making furniture, he decided to try the School of Art. Zeigler discovered he could take a photography class. That’s when his interest took off. It led him to the San Francisco Art Institute for a Master’s of Fine Arts. Though living on the West Coast the focus off his work remained rooted in Waterville. “The Route 24 bypass coming through Waterville took a significant portion of my parents’ property,” Zeigler…


Perrysburg Musical Theatre lands “Big Fish” in impressive fashion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Staging the musical “Big Fish” is not a small task, and the Perrysburg Musical Theatre is up to it. The story, first a novel, then Tim Burton-directed movie, then a musical, is a sprawling father-son tale that blends uplifting fantasy with real-life drama. At the very big heart of the musical is the hero Edward Bloom (D. Ward Ensign), a small town salesman given to telling grand stories about his life that may be true, at least in some fashion. As he faces death, the world of those stories collides with real life. “Big Fish,” which is making its Northwest Ohio premiere, is being presented Thursday, June 23, through Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. in the Perrysburg High School auditorium. Tickets are $13. Visit http://www.perrysburgmusicaltheatre.org/. “Big Fish” is a great fit for the Perrysburg summer troupe. The show calls for a cast of more than 40, many of them young people. It exudes a sense of community whether in Bloom’s hometown or the circus he works for. The play’s technical demands are a challenge. The plot cuts back and forth between present and past, from a kid’s bedroom and a bewitched forest. The production, led by the creative team of C. Jordan Benavente, Julie Bermudez, Ensign and Nicole Spadafore with set design by Dave Nelms, pulls this off seamlessly. The high point being the daffodil-infused climax of the first act. The show is more than a visual wonder. As well as a large ensemble it demands three strong singing actors for the central parts of the  fantasist Edward Bloom, his wife Sandra (Elizabeth Cottle), and their son Will (Garrett Leininger). All have strong, expressive voices, and solid acting skills. And Cottle and Ensign effectively portray their characters from their teens into late middle age. Ensign needs to embody both the real life father, who can be overbearing, with the hero of his stories, who is resourceful and an underdog. Ensign draws a straight line from the man who was – at least as he tells it – and the man who is. He makes it believable that his wife  is so devoted, despite the fact that he’s frequently absent because he’s a traveling salesman and neglects his household duties. For her part, she seems bemused by his tales. Less forgiving is Will. From a young age (Isaac Bermudez), he’s…


BG school district hires new athletic director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Jonas 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. But something was missing. Smith is hoping to find that missing piece at Bowling Green City School District. “The last several years, I’ve missed being around kids,” Smith said. Tuesday evening, Bowling Green’s board of education hired Smith as the district’s new athletic director. Smith said he was attracted to the “very welcoming” community, the good schools, and the potential to build relationships. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis 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. “It’s what he brings to the table,” Scruci said. Smith will receive an annual salary of $90,000. “I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for,” Scruci said. Smith was accompanied to Tuesday’s school board meeting by his wife, LaDonna, and their two sons, ages 15 and 11. He was also joined by a former school superintendent and mentor, who flew up from South Carolina to be present for his hiring. Smith knows time to prepare for his new job is ticking away, with fall sports starting on Aug. 1. His philosophy for school athletics is “7-12,” he said. The head coaches at the high school level should have a hand in their sports from seventh grade on up. The fundamentals should be stressed at the middle school level, so the athletes will be ready for high school, he said. But he also believes athletics takes a back seat to academics, Smith said. “They are students first, athletes second,” he said. “We’re going to do what’s best for children.” Smith said he will be accessible to parents. “I have an open door policy for parents.” But he also believes in following the chain of command, he added. The new athletic director said he sees a lot of opportunity for the district. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re going to move this district ahead and do what’s right for children.” Also the meeting, the school board hired Eddie Powers to take over as head coach of the hockey team. Powers has served as assistant to retired head coach Dan DeWitt, who…


Bowling Green praised for creating safe place

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Gwen Andrix stood before Bowling Green Council Monday evening and thanked city leaders for making her feel safe in the community. Andrix, a transgender woman, was one of the people behind the vigil held last week after the nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people. She started out last week holding a one-woman vigil at the four corners downtown – holding a rainbow flag in unity with those killed or injured in the shooting. That small symbolic act turned into a vigil attended by more than 300 people last Wednesday in Bowling Green. Andrix thanked city council and the mayor for being present and supportive, and praised the Not In Our Town organization for helping to pull together the vigil. “I feel safe in Bowling Green,” Andrix said. “I’m pretty much accepted. It’s a nice place to be.” In other business at Monday’s meeting, Planning Director Heather Sayler said the city had hired a consultant to work on the neighborhood revitalization plan for the East Side of the city. The consultant, Camiros, will start work in July and has 14 months to complete the plan. The city is paying $98,300 for the project. Mayor Dick Edwards expressed his sadness over the Buckeye Boys State decision to relocate to Miami University after operating at Bowling Green State University for 39 years. “We can only hope that BGSU will be successful in bringing Boys State back to the campus at the end of the five-year contract period,” Edwards said. Also at the meeting: Brian O’Connell, city utilities director, reported the city’s solar field construction is expected to start in early July, with the site being operational by the end of the year. Brian Craft, city public works director, said construction will begin July 18 on a left turn lane from East Gypsy Lane Road onto South Main Street. Businesses in the area are being advised. Craft also reported the meters will be removed after July 4 from the downtown parking lot east of the first block of South Main Street. A parking kiosk will be installed. Anyone interested with the changes may visit the Four Corners Center location on June 28 to get information. The city will have people available at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to answer questions. Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett announced the city fireworks will be held…


BG debates new restrictions for garbage bins

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bob McOmber never expected his job on city council would mean cruising through neighborhoods scouting out garbage bins. “I’ve spent more time than I could ever imagine looking at trash receptacles,” McOmber said Monday evening. He isn’t alone. Fellow Bowling Green council members Daniel Gordon and John Zanfardino have also been driving city streets trying to come up with reasonable rules for garbage bins. The three discussed possible rule changes Monday evening during a Community Improvement Committee meeting before the council meeting. Brian Craft, city utilities director, suggested the rules require all bins to have lids closed when placed out at the curb. Any bin with a “pyramid of garbage” will not be picked up, for two reasons, Craft said. First, when being lifted, the tall trash often spills on the ground, and second, if the lid blows open it can be broken off by the arm that lifts the trash into the truck. Craft also suggested that bins sitting out along the road on non-collection days be picked up by the city, with a citation and $25 fine given to the resident. Just today, the trash crew picked up bins at the curb on East Reed Street after neighbors complained. “The containers were sitting on the curb for weeks on end,” he said. “That’s the hammer to get people’s attention.” Zanfardino asked if civil infractions could be issued rather than the cans being confiscated. But Craft said that response would be too slow for most unhappy neighbors. “A citation doesn’t really correct the problem,” he said. The biggest issue, however, remains unsolved. That is – where can residents store their trash bins on days when they are not being collected at the curb? Gordon said he has received several emails from residents wanting simple language explaining where the bins can be stored. Most agree the cans should not be stored in front of a home. Zanfardino said 16 citizens sent emails to all members of council, with 15 supporting restrictions. Such a response was notable, he said. “When people take the time to address full council, it’s significant.” But McOmber cautioned that if council adopts language banning garbage bins from being visible from the street, more than a couple thousand homes may be affected. Not everyone has a garage large enough for storing the cans. “We’re legislating for the masses,” he…


Bob Mack voices interest in state rep seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Tim Brown’s plan to resign as state representative for Wood County has left a big hole for local Republicans to fill. But Bob Mack, Perrysburg Township trustee, would like a chance at the job. “This all came about rather quickly,” Mack said Monday afternoon. And so far, Mack is the only Republican to state a commitment to run. The party has until Aug. 15 to pick a replacement for Brown to appear on the November ballot. Mack believes he has the qualifications for the legislative position. “I don’t want to do anything in my life unless I’m uniquely qualified to do so,” he said. Mack said he has spent 28 years in the “trenches of commercial real estate.” And he is in the middle of his fourth term as Perrysburg Township trustee. “I understand both the pressures of government funding and needing to make ends meet,” he said. Mack said he also served at least a decade on an ODNR coastal resources advisory commission. Though Mack is not up for re-election as township trustee this year, if he is chosen by the Republican House leadership to fill in Brown’s seat, he will have to relinquish his township position. “I have very mixed emotions,” Mack said. “It gives me a little bit of angst. We always have unfinished business in township government.” But if elected to the state legislature, Mack might be able to continue working on one of those items of unfinished business. One of his goals as a township trustee was to lead the township to a Wood County water service or get a more reasonable water contract with Toledo. “I could still have a voice in resolving water issues,” he said. Brown’s move to the director’s position at the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments will allow him to play a role in the water rates equalization conversation being held now in the region, Mack said. “It’s a phenomenal move for Tim, and even a better move for Wood County,” Mack said. “It’s a big deal.” If elected, Mack said he would continue to work in real estate, which would allow him the flexibility to serve as a legislator. He noted that it is quite common for state representatives to hold “day jobs” in addition to their legislative work. Mike Marsh, head of the Wood County Republican Party, said he…


Kelly Wicks eyes open state representative seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News     Kelly Wicks, a Bowling Green Democrat who ran for state representative in 2012, would like to take another run at the legislative office now that his former competitor, Tim Brown, has left the race. “With the sudden resignation of Tim Brown, it put a whole new spin on the election in November,” Wicks said Monday afternoon. Since Brown, a Republican, announced last week that he was resigning to take the top position with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Wicks said he has been approached by local constituents about applying for the position. “They asked if I would be willing to step up and make another run,” he said. After a great deal of talk with family members, who would be most affected by a campaign, Wicks decided to put his name in the race. “Ultimately, it will be up to the Democratic Central Committee,” he said. That committee will review all the Democratic applications, then make a decision who will appear on the Wood County ballot. Wicks said his strongest qualifications are his willingness to be available to constituents and his experience running a business, Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green. “I think my three decades of private sector work make me a good candidate,” he said. “I would be able to hit the ground running.” Wicks praised Brown’s efforts at the Statehouse, and said he looks forward to working with Brown on TMACOG issues such as high speed rail transportation. State Rep. Tim Brown’s decision to resign from the Statehouse has given the Wood County Democratic Party a glimmer of hope that it has a chance to take the state seat. Wicks is the second local Democrat to make an official announcement of his interest in the seat. The first was Bowling Green Councilman Daniel Gordon. There is already a Democrat on the ballot for state representative, but David Walters, of Bowling Green, has stated he plans to resign his place on the ballot for the Statehouse. According to Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party, the process for finding a replacement candidate will be made in the next few days. The new candidates from both parties for the state representative seat must be filed with the Wood County Board of Elections by Aug. 15.  Any Democrat interested is encouraged to send a resume to…


Scruci’s first year focused on listening and talking

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Francis Scruci is no shrinking violet. If parents don’t know what is going on in the district, there’s a good chance they haven’t been listening. In his first year as superintendent of Bowling Green City School District, Scruci has made the most of high tech and low tech communication to find out what citizens want, and to tell them what is going on behind school walls. “One of the things I heard was that the communication was really lacking,” Scruci said about the initial comments he heard from local citizens. “What I’m hearing now is people know what’s going on in the schools.” For those who prefer face to face conversations, Scruci holds frequent group chats at local coffee shops. For those who prefer social media, Scruci sends out videos every Friday giving parents and students updates. “I think we get more out of that than if I would send out emails,” he said. The superintendent is not above pulling silly stunts and jamming to music on the videos – that’s as much for the students as the parents. “I want our kids to know that I have a personality. They see I can laugh at myself. They see they can approach me.” When he arrived in Bowling Green last year, Scruci quickly attained status among students by being present at nearly every school event. And in many cases, he was more than present. At the first football game last fall, he climbed up the director’s ladder and took a turn conducting the marching band. When the elementary students started a new reading program focused on a cute rodent, he walked around with a stuffed “Humphrey the Hamster” in his shirt pocket. When it comes to parents, Scruci prides himself on being straight forward, and not candy-coating the truth. “There aren’t any hidden agendas. We’re calling a spade, a spade. That’s something I’ve done everywhere I’ve been.” When Scruci and the school board meet on Tuesday at 5 p.m., they will look at that agenda, and discuss progress made on the district’s strategic plan that was adopted last August. “We got a lot of things accomplished in one year. I’m pretty pleased with the amount of progress we’ve made,” Scruci said. “The first year is always a tough year,” he said. Some new superintendents come into districts wanting to take charge. “That’s…


Daniel Gordon to pursue state representative seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   State Rep. Tim Brown’s decision to resign from the Statehouse has set the dominoes in motion. His departure has given the Wood County Democratic Party a glimmer of hope that it has a chance to take the state seat. The first local Democrat to officially state his interest in the legislative seat after Brown’s announcement is Bowling Green Councilman Daniel Gordon. But first, the Democrat currently on the ballot, David Walters, of Bowling Green, has to resign his place on the Democratic ballot for the Ohio State House of Representatives. And Sunday evening, Walters announced his plans to bail. “Tim Brown has been a dedicated public servant to the residents of Wood County for many years and has done a commendable job of representing the best interests of our county,” Walters stated in a press release. “However, like Representative Brown, I feel that my calling now lies away from elected office and so it has become imperative that we put forward a candidate who can continue his legacy of placing the interests of Wood County residents above partisan politics.” And that will make room for Gordon, whom Walters endorsed. “While I remain passionate about the issues affecting Wood County, I feel that there is a person better suited to represent our community than myself. That individual is Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon,” Walters said. But Gordon may be just one of several Democrats eyeing the seat. According to Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party, the process for finding a replacement candidate will be made in the next few days. The new candidates from both parties for the state representative seat must be filed with the Wood County Board of Elections by Aug. 15.  Any Democrat interested is encouraged to send a resume to mikezickar@yahoo.com. Gordon, in his third term as First Ward councilman, said he has been focused on making improvements in Bowling Green, such as the creation of Ridge Park, Complete Streets program, and neighborhood revitalization. However, when Brown announced his resignation, the Democratic party’s search began. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing about this opportunity,” Gordon said. “My goal has always been about making life better for people,” he said. That focus can be transferred to the state level, where Gordon believes he can make an even bigger impact. “I would be honored if they chose me,”…