Black Swamp Arts Festival voted best in the state in magazine poll

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival received an early gift as preparations get underway  for the 25th festival next September. The readers of Ohio Magazine have voted the Bowling Green festival as Best Art/Fair Festival in the state of Ohio. The results of the readers poll appear in the January issue of the magazine. “It’s great that it’s a reader appreciation award, a community-based reaction, to what we’ve done,” said Todd Ahrens, who chairs the committee that works year-round to stage the festival. “It’s good for the committee to have validation that the work we do as volunteers has meaning to the community. Bringing arts and the community together – that’s what the festival has been about since the beginning.” The 2017 festival will be staged in downtown Bowling Green Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept.  10. The festival features musicians from around the world, more than 200 exhibitors in three art shows, arts activities for children, and a range of food and beverage offerings. That diversity of offerings is what sets the festival apart, Ahrens said. “We offer visual and performing arts… and then have this youth arts area that blows people away.” The Chalk Walk competition for high school students was started as a way to engage teenagers.  “We continue to find ways to make it something for everybody,” he said. The festival also features a beer garden and a variety of food vendors. “People enjoy the beer garden in particular and being able to enjoy free music with their friends and have a nice community party.” Looking forward to next September, Ahrens said: “I don’t know that there’s this big thing happening for 25th, but there will be a lot of fun things through merchandise and special performances.” Through its future of the festival committee, organizers are looking toward securing the event’s future for the next 25 years. The committee has quietly launched a drive to set up an endowment with a goal of raising $25,000 in its 25th year. The endowment is through the Bowling Green Community Foundation. The endowment campaign builds on its tradition of relying on a broad base of community donors. “Part of what’s great about the festival is it’s all volunteer,” he said. “People really get involved. We have 800 to 1,000 volunteers a year that help put on the festival. It takes a community effort.” This…


Road to climate control just got a lot steeper

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Advocates for climate change efforts already had a rough road ahead – and Donald Trump’s election has made the climb even steeper. But David Holmquist, a regional leader for Citizens Climate Lobby in the Chicago area, is no stranger to fighting against difficult odds. Unlike other climate legislation advocates who work with already converted Democrats, Citizens Climate Lobby takes a different strategy. This group tries to win over resistant Republicans. “If we want to get climate change legislation, we have to have Republicans on board,” Holmquist said Thursday as he spoke with the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. So instead of being argumentative with conservatives, the climate lobby tries to convert Republicans with respect and reason. The group of volunteer lobbyists get a range of reactions from Republicans, from supportive to antagonistic. Holmquist was asked Thursday where U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, stood on that scale. Holmquist said he was uncertain – but wouldn’t tell even if he knew. The Citizens Climate Lobby keeps its efforts with individual legislators confidential, he added. “We have allies and we don’t want to out them” until they are ready, he said. “Our mission is to create the political will for a stable climate,” Holmquist said. “That attitude has allowed us to make inroads with people who don’t agree with us.” The climate lobby group, founded in 2007, has a volunteer force of nearly 40,000 members and supporters. They don’t consider themselves environmentalists, but rather realists. The organization was founded by Marshall Saunders, a businessman who realized that all he had created in Bangladesh would be swallowed by water if efforts weren’t made to counter climate change. Saunders started out trying to persuade average citizens to support the cause. But he realized that was the wrong route when his speech to a group convinced a handful of people to change to energy efficient lightbulbs, on the same day that Congress granted major subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. “He decided he needed to be talking with Congress,” Holmquist said. And that means dealing with less than welcoming Republicans. “There’s virtually no chance we’ll have a Democratic Congress until at least 2022,” he said. But Holmquist said more and more Republicans are open to the idea of climate change legislation. “We do have some hostile meetings,” but they are becoming fewer. “Many of them are looking for…


Former BGSU chief talks about OSU attack response

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Monica Moll, formerly the police chief at BGSU, was on the job about a month at Ohio State University when her new campus came under attack. On Monday, a man plowed his car into a group of people and then pulled out a knife and charged at victims. Eleven people were hospitalized after the attack. Within a couple minutes, the attacker, student Abdul Razak Ali Artan, had been shot and killed by OSU Police Officer Alan Horujko. The incident was resolved in about the best possible manner, said Moll, now the director of public safety at OSU. “We had an officer in the right place at the right time,” she said on Thursday. Horujko had been responding to a report of a possible gas leak in the area of the attack. The officer credited his training for his quick response. “It all went according to planning,” Moll said. The university’s active shooter training and campus alert system are being credited for helping the community maintain order while the scene was secured. The campus is one of the largest in the U.S., with nearly 60,000 registered students. Law enforcement from the region responded, with officers arriving from Columbus police and fire departments, Ohio State Patrol, ATF, FBI, Homeland Security, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and other nearby campuses. OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said his officers train annually to handle active shooters, on defensive tactics and firearms. “The good news is, they have a well-oiled machine down here,” Moll said. The dispatch center was bombarded with reports and questions as the incident unfolded. “They were flooded with calls,” she said. “The dispatchers did an excellent job.” Stone said students and staff have been urged to report problems. “We encouraged people to call us,” he said. That vigilance is even more heightened on campus now. “If you see something, say something.” It wasn’t just the emergency responders whose training kicked in, but also students and faculty who had been trained for a violent incident. The campus offers a training video called “Surviving an Active Shooter.” The training is not mandated for students, faculty or staff, but the video has logged more than 350,000 views. “It really applies to any emergency,” Moll said. A campus alert sent out moments after the attack warned those on campus to “Run, Hide, Fight.” The training had prepared students to…


NEXUS pipeline passes FERC environmental review

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Less than a week from Bowling Green City Council’s decision on allowing a pipeline to cross city property, the project got the blessings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC’s  541-page report released Wednesday found no major environmental issues with the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline project – meaning construction will likely begin early next year. The proposed 36-inch natural gas pipeline would run 255 miles from fracking fields in eastern Ohio, across the state, to Michigan and end in Canada. Along its route, it will pass through Wood County, north of Bowling Green, then go under the Maumee River downriver from the city’s water intake. Once it gets to Waterville Township, a compressor station is proposed. The environmental review concluded: “We determined that construction and operation of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts. Most of these environmental impacts would be temporary or short term during construction and operation, but long-term and potentially permanent environmental impacts on vegetation, land use, visual resources, and air quality and noise would also result from the projects. However, if the projects are constructed and operated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, the mitigation measures discussed in this EIS, and our recommendations, these impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels.” On Monday, City Council will vote on an ordinance granting NEXUS an easement to cross 29 acres of city land located in Middleton Township, about 2.5 miles east of the city’s water treatment plant. Bowling Green officials have maintained that fighting the pipeline will not change the route and will only end up costing the city in court. Bowling Green Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said earlier this week that he has no concerns about the pipeline going across city property. “It’s a federally approved project. They have to meet federal regulations from FERC,” he said. O’Connell said he was comfortable with the pipeline. “We’ve been getting gas here for decades from other parts of the country.” Ultimately, the decision will be up to council on Monday to act on the easement request. But O’Connell predicted that a denial by the city would result in costs. “If they don’t approve it, they’ll take us to court,” he said. The city’s acreage is currently rented out for farming, and has two Toledo Edison electric easements already on it. The NEXUS pipeline would be located adjacent…


Sheriff asked to take messages to Trump team

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A roomful of students and faculty asked Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn Wednesday evening to deliver some messages to President-elect Donald Trump. Public policy should not be based on hatred and fear. Immigrants are not the problem. And African Americans are tired of mourning their dead then being asked by law enforcement to move on. Wasylyshyn, who is acting as a law enforcement liaison with the Trump administration, was asked to meet students and others who had concerns about the direction of the new administration. He was joined on a panel by faculty who presented brief lessons on the values of immigrants, the history of violence against African Americans, and the higher arrest rates for African Americans. Wasylyshyn, who was just re-elected to his fourth term as sheriff, said he suspected he was selected by the National Sheriffs Association to serve as liaison because of Ohio’s swing state status. He is also the incoming president of the Buckeye Sheriffs Association. He set the stage by explaining his philosophy for his office. “I truly look at us as public servants. I serve the public.” The key concerns shared so far during conference calls about the presidential transition effort have been mental health and opiate issues. Local jails have taken over where mental institutions left off, the sheriff said. “We have become the mental hospitals,” often when people stop taking their medications, he said. “We’re a revolving door. We’re saying a jail is not the right place.” The same is occurring with heroin and other opiates, with jails becoming detox centers. “We’re not designed for that.” Wasylyshyn wants to get those messages to the Trump team. But members of the BGSU audience wanted to send some different messages as well. They asked why law enforcement is more likely to give a white suspect the benefit of the doubt about mental health issues, but if the suspect is of color, law enforcement is more likely to jump to the conclusion that he is a thug or terrorist. Wasylyshyn said the actions of the suspect – not the color – determine the response. But not all see it that way. Nicole Jackson, a history professor, said her students desperately want to hear that “things get better” after the Civil Rights Movement. But the reality is not so rosy, she said, listing off name after name of…


BG residents forced to evacuate for wildfires

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Andrew Kalmar had planned to wake up in the Smoky Mountains today, perhaps taking one last hike in the forest before coming home to Bowling Green. Instead, he was walking the track at the Bowling Green Community Center. Kalmar and Cathy Zwyer were among the thousands of people evacuated from the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, area as wildfires tore through the mountains and resort community. The fires are blamed for killing at least seven people and destroying more than 150 buildings. The two had rented a cabin outside Gatlinburg, and had arrived on Saturday. The first hint they had of something amiss came Monday morning when smoke could be smelled in the clear mountain air and bits of ash were falling from the sky. “As the morning went on, the sky turned yellow,” said Kalmar, Wood County’s administrator. When they ate lunch in Gatlinburg, the restaurant staff was clearly concerned. “It was like fog in the streets,” he said. The resort town’s chair lift, tramway and aquarium were closed. Kalmar contacted the park service and was told not to worry, the wildfire was on a mountain 10 miles away from their cabin. Later in the day, Kalmar and Zwyer stopped at a store in nearby Sevierville, where the clerk told them Gatlinburg was being evacuated. When they arrived back to their cabin, the wind had picked up to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. “The wind was just howling,” Kalmar said. “It was just roaring between the trees.” Then after 9 p.m., there was a pounding on their door. They were told the fire had moved quickly and they needed to evacuate. “We packed up as fast as we could,” he said. “I had to clear tree branches from the car.” Kalmar had been using GPS to navigate the area. But cell service and satellite GPS were down, so he did his best to remember how to get out of the area. There were several trees in the road. At one point, the fire was bearing down the mountain as they tried to evacuate. “There were fires on both sides of the road,” he said. So they turned around and tried another route. “We snaked our way through traffic to make our way out.” Kalmar said that Zwyer tried to take photos of the wildfires, but “all you could see is the…


Mr. Lemoncello author has soft spot for Bowling Green & its library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Simon first reaction when she found her name in “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics” was to call out to her husband. The next was to order a cake. Cake after all is the celebratory food of choice at Mr. Lemoncello’s amazing library. “I just about jumped off my chair,” said Simon, children’s librarian at the Wood County Public Library. The author, Chris Grabenstein, didn’t only name the reference librarian at the fictional Alexandriaville Public Library after Simon, he buried another reference to Bowling Green in the book. The GPS coordinates for Blue Jay Extended Stay Motel where the book’s young heroes find a vital clue are those of the Wood County District Public Library. That makes it a stop for those who do geocaching. A few people have already visited the library because of that. Simon said she didn’t realize that connection until after she contacted the author to thank him for using her name. “He enjoys making his books interactive.” Grabenstein has been known to drop references to places he’s been and people he’s met, as well as other books.  One of the challenges the heroes of the book face is a contest to see who can eat pizza and read at the same time, and then pass a comprehension test. The winning team read Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Shlemiel Went to Warsaw and Other Stories.” Another character’s favorite book is “Bud, Not Buddy” by Michigan writer Christopher Paul Curtis. The villains in the Mr. Lemoncello books are those who have precious, overly protective attitude toward libraries and books; the heroes are those who want to share their love of reading widely. Grabenstein is no stranger to Bowling Green. Last year on his way to Michigan on a family visit, he visited to promote his book “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.” He gave a presentation at the middle school, where his skills as a standup comedian were on full display, Simon said. He loved the town, Simon said, asking if it was used in any movies. “When I saw the town, it looked just like I imagined my fictional Ohio town of Alexandriaville might look,” the author wrote in a recent email. “So I now use photos of BG for reference when I am writing Mr. Lemoncello stories.” “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics” is a sequel to “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.” Simon, he added, has been…


‘Adventure therapy’ reaches traumatized kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Traumatized kids aren’t likely to open up and spill their stories to a stranger sitting behind a desk. But nearly all types of therapy – even for children – are cognitive. They require kids to think about the trauma. “Kids are not ready to think about it. It feels so icky,” said Bobbi Beale, chief executive officer of an adventure therapy program near Cleveland. “It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable for them.” So Beale bypasses the cognitive block in traumatized kids and takes the therapy to their level. In adventure therapy, the child is not a spectator. Through games, problem solving and adventure activities, children are allowed to regain some control over their behaviors and emotions. Beale presented the basics of adventure therapy to the Wood County Commissioners on Tuesday, along with Dave Wigent, director of Wood County Job and Family Services. Wigent explained that some Wood County Children’s Services staff are being trained in the program. According to Beale, one-third to one-half of all children have experienced some type of trauma that disrupts their functioning at some point. Adventure therapy engages them and allows them to feel safe – so they can then deal with the trauma. The therapy focuses on strengths – not what the child is doing wrong, but how resilient they are. Adventure therapy allows the child to practice positive behaviors, Beale said. It’s those rehearsals that help the child call upon those skills when needed outside of therapy. This type of therapy promotes a feeling of safety and attachment to others in group therapy. Children who have felt isolated from others become part of positive peer groups. It allows children to get control over their bodies and emotions. And since adventure therapy can be enjoyable and rewarding, it has a better chance of children completing the program, Beale said. So many traumatized children have gaps in their learning, she explained. They may be so focused on survival, that they cannot use their energy for classroom learning. They live in a constant state of “high alert,” which doesn’t leave room for much else. While small gaps in learning can be filled in later, longer trauma creates bigger gaps that become bigger problems as they age. The idea behind adventure therapy is that children are resilient. “Resiliency is the idea that people can come back from bad things,” Beale said. They…


Stepping off on a healthy holidays experience at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As campus returned to life after the Thanksgiving holiday, Bowling Green State University encouraged people, staff, students, faculty and community members, to step into the holidays in a healthy frame of mind. Monday at noontime, several dozen people gathered at Perry Field House to walk around the track. For a portion of that time they hit their stride to holiday tunes sung by the student ensemble Ten40 Acappella, who obliged with a version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the lyrics reworked to encourage healthy habits during the holidays. “Holidays are very stressful times,” said Mary Huff, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “These are times when we don’t think about our own health, but when we should think about our own health is when were more stressed. We tend to overeat and tend to exercise less. So this is a great time to think about our own health physical health and emotional health.” Among those participating were a group of residents from Brookdale assisted living facility in Bowling Green. These are folks who are already exercising every day, said Alisha Nenadovich, Brookdale activities director. Walking in the field house was “a nice change of scenery.” “They loved to hear the a cappella group sing. That was definitely a plus,” she said. After the walk Paula Davis, the director of the university’s Optimal Aging Institute, gave a presentation on how to navigate a healthy path through the holidays. The festive spirit may not last long into another year, but the pounds out on while being festive certainly will. She said people shouldn’t absolutely deny themselves what they like to eat, they should just control how many of those sweet and fatty treats they consume. Don’t fast before the party, she said. Have a healthy snack that includes protein, complex carbohydrates such as whole grain and a couple glasses of water before heading out. That will curb the hunger. Bring something that’s healthy and tasty to share so there’s something nutritious to eat. Then at the party take a small serving of what you crave, and then head away from the buffet. Move into another room, if possible. Camping out close to the food, is a recipe for constant nibbling. And alternate between drinking wine and drinking water. Water is the key to health. Often people confuse hunger with thirst, Davis…


BG may share bar tab for sewer improvements

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities agreed Monday evening to split the tab on sewer improvements that will allow the Brathaus bar to expand. Doug Doren, owner of the bar at 115 E. Court St., wants to expand the existing building to the north. The city has been working with Doren to relocate the existing city sewer that is partially underneath the existing building. The expansion would also be over the sewer, according to Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for the city. O’Connell explained to the board Monday evening that both the city and property owner will benefit from the sewer relocation. Doren will be able to move forward with the building expansion, and the city will have a new accessible sewer that will be within a utility easement. The sewer also serves other customers in the area. Originally, Doren was going to cover the full price tag for the sewer relocation. However, the costs will be higher than first expected. So O’Connell proposed a 50/50 split on the anticipated $50,000 cost. At the same time, the city’s electric division plans to have work performed in the utility easement to relocate the overhead electric lines to underground service. This would allow for the removal of the large self-supporting pole that is located in the sidewalk on the south side of East Court Street, O’Connell said. The cost for the electric work is estimated at $50,000.  The city will pick up that entire tab, since it is the sole entity to benefit from that work. Doren would like to work on the bar expansion in April, so the city plans to complete the sewer and electric work this winter. City Council heard the first reading on this project last week. Second and third readings will be requested at the Dec. 5 meeting, O’Connell said. In other business on Monday, the board of public utilities adopted a resolution supporting the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government’s efforts to provide interconnection of water services in emergency situations. O’Connell explained that he revised the TMAGOC resolution to reflect Bowling Green’s position. “Emergency connections are a good thing. We support that,” he said. However, the resolution was originally written for Toledo and its water customers. The resolution supports a regional water system approach as Toledo moves forward with water plant improvements to the city system….


Arts X reaching for new heights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Erin Garber-Pearson has performed several times at Arts X at Bowling Green State University. The former teacher in the School of Art feels right at home at the festival that brings all the arts on campus together. Her own work blends sculpture, video, storytelling and aerial acrobatics. That’s a perfect fit for Arts X with its mélange of art sales, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, all colored by a certain level of tom foolery. When Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston perform at Arts X as Violet and Fortuna on Saturday, Dec.3, the acrobatic storytellers will take the work to new heights. The work-in-progress “Laces” involves two solo and two duet pieces.  The duets require the performers to fly higher. Working as a solo aerialist is challenging enough but working together requires a heightened sense of communication and trust, Garber-Pearson said.  The duo has been working on the duets for three years. Arts X is “a good time to show” what they’ve been working on. The works fits right in to the theme of Arts X 2016:  “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights.” The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is preceded at 4 p.m. by a holiday concert by the Bowling Green Philharmonia in Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center. Arts X is a free public event. Violet and Fortuna will perform two 20-minute shows, one at 7 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre. They will be joined by dancers from Auxwerks in Ann Arbor. Also BGSU faculty member Montana Miller will perform. According to the university, the former circus aerialist “will present a personal narrative of the truth behind the romantic image of flight based on her 25-year career as a professional aerial acrobat, from trapeze artist to high diver and now as a competitive, world record holding skydiver. She also will perform a piece to convey her journey through movement using aerial rings that she used to fly on 20 years ago.” Violet and Fortuna’s “Laces” tells the 100-year-old story of house in Toledo. Given Garber-Pearson’s work can’t fit it into one box, Arts X is ideal venue. “For me, it’s an opportunity to show my work to a diverse audience interested in the arts. I like it that it’s the whole campus… all the arts coming together for one event.” Garber-Pearson’s involvement in circus goes back to her graduate…


BG headed for roundabouts at I-75 and Wooster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green motorists may want to get ready for a learning curve. City Council heard the first reading last week of an ordinance authorizing ODOT to put two roundabouts at the Interstate 75 intersections on East Wooster Street in 2018. The work will include upgrades to the intersections, such as “two roundabouts to enable continuous and safer traffic flow, pedestrian access across the bridge deck and aesthetic improvements that will be visible from I-75 as well as those entering the community.” ODOT has allocated $750,000 in safety funding for the construction, and has agreed to fund the entire cost for engineering and construction administration. The city will be responsible for the remaining costs. The city is also considering two other roundabouts for the East Wooster Street corridor – at Dunbridge Road and Campbell Hill Road. Surveys submitted earlier this year by Bowling Green residents, about the proposed East Wooster corridor work, showed a great deal of suspicion about the roundabouts. But city officials believe that once citizens realize the safety benefits, and experience the ease maneuvering around them, that most motorists will be sold. Though roundabouts are common intersection features in many parts of the nation, Wood County has been slow warming up to the idea. Efforts to install a couple in northern Wood County have met with great resistance. Bowling Green Public Works Director Brian Craft, who has done his research on the circular intersections, believes the roundabouts would be good for the city for a variety of reasons. First, they are safer. “They are designed to intentionally make you slow down,” Craft said earlier this year. Head-on and high-speed right angle collisions are virtually eliminated with roundabouts. Second, they can save money by not requiring stop signal installation and maintenance. And third, they can help the city meet its goal of making the east entrance to the city more aesthetically pleasing. The center areas of roundabouts are often landscaped. “That’s the front door to our city and it’s the front door to the university,” Craft said. “This would dress up the corridor a little bit.” Also at last Monday’s City Council meeting, Craft was presented with an American flag to fly at the restored veterans monument in City Park. Veterans Dave Ridenour and Steve Benner recognized Craft’s efforts to get the monument restored. When the monument was originally dedicated in…


‘iSTAND’ teaches bystanders to speak up for others

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The scenarios are probably familiar to many people. A man of Latino heritage is complimented on speaking English so well – even though he was raised in America. An African-American woman is told she is pretty for such a dark-skinned girl. A Muslim man is called “Bin Laden” in a joking manner. A gay couple holding hands in public is accused of “flaunting” their relationship. Or someone reacts to something they dislike by saying, “that’s so gay.” Though you may not make those type of statements, the question is, do you stand up against them when they occur? Bowling Green State University uses the “iSTAND” program to help teach people to become “active bystanders” and not stand by quietly when discriminatory statements are made. The goal is to make BGSU a safe environment for diversity. “Disagreeing is OK, but we do it in a respectful manner,” said Maureen Doyle, one of the “iSTAND” leaders. The program, led by student leaders, first brushes up on definitions for the participants. Discrimination is prejudice plus the power to oppress people. Internalized oppression occurs when the people being discriminated against start to believe the prejudicial feelings against them. Even small acts – micro-aggressions – add to the discrimination. And every time someone hears discriminatory statements and fails to stand up to them, they are adding to the problem. “Sometimes not doing anything is doing something, and that can be a problem,” Doyle said. She quoted Ben Franklin, saying “As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.” The “iSTAND” program was born out of the Not In Our Town initiative, which began a few years ago in response to racist acts in the Bowling Green community. The acronym stands for Stop, Think, Act, Nurture and Develop. “In our society we are surrounded with language and behavior that has developed through a history of stereotypes and prejudices,” according to the BGSU description of the program. The “iSTAND” Advocacy Training program was created by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Leadership to help teach participants practical skills for addressing micro aggressions in society and to stand up and advocate for others. Even those people not offended by comments should stand up for the victim and to the aggressor. “If you don’t, who’s going to?” Doyle asked. “Typically, people…


Hirzel Canning blends tradition & innovation in products packed with the flavor of Northwest Ohio

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Prohibition knocked Carl Hirzel’s upstate New York brewery out of business, he turned his knowledge of fermentation toward making another product. “He took his technology for making beer and turned it to making sauerkraut,” said his great-grandson Steve Hirzel. By then Carl and his wife, Lena, had joined his brothers in the Toledo area.  “The company literally started in the kitchen,” Hirzel said. Hirzel Canning & Farms continues in operation 93 years later with a fifth generation moving in to keep the firm moving forward. And the company still makes sauerkraut, originally sold under the Deer Lodge brand now as Silver Fleece. Business is good for the tart fermented cabbage, Hirzel, president of Hirzel Canning, told the Bowling Green Exchange Club Tuesday. The company is still looking toward fermentation as a way to develop other products for an increasingly fickle consumer. Hirzel said company’s success is rooted in the Great Black Swamp. “In our backyard we’ve been given a garden to grow our crops. … Half of products we get are within 10 miles of the facility.” Those products now are centered on tomatoes, which the company turns in salsas, pasta and Sloppy Joe sauce and tomatoes in various forms from crushed to whole, in cans and cartons. “Anything you can think of doing with tomatoes we do,” he said, “except paste.” The varieties of tomatoes grown locally are not suited to making paste. They are more like what people would pick from their gardens. They don’t need a lot of processing on their way to the consumer. “We want to heat it up really quickly, sterilize it and put it in the package,” Hirzel said. That’s the difference between the more than 60 products sold under the Dei Fratelli label and its competitors’ products. Working closely with area growers, some who have been associated with the companies for four generations, the company aims to be “picking it when it’s vine ripe, and then putting it in the package right away. You talk about preserving nutrients and color.” Those growers are essential. “They’re family farmers, local,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have this reliable base.” The company still has a farm at its headquarters in Northwood, where they constantly refine seed varieties to produce the best, most consistent. It’s not uncommon for the company to be testing 30-40 varieties…


Sheriff’s sergeant dies after apparently shooting self in side

Sgt. Alvin Adams of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office died Saturday morning after an apparent accidental discharge of his personal weapon, according to Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. Adams, 56, worked as a jail sergeant at the Wood County Justice Center and had been part of the force for 15 years, Wasylyshyn said Saturday evening. The sheriff said Adams was alone outside his home on River Road in Grand Rapids, when it appears he accidentally shot himself in the side, just above the hip. Adams was able to walk into his house where he told his girlfriend to call for help. He was pronounced dead at Wood County Hospital. Adams was off duty at the time of the shooting. “He will be greatly missed,” Wasylyshyn said.  “Al was very well liked, a very easy going man, well-liked by everyone in the office.” “Our hearts go out to him and his grown children and grandchildren,” Wasylyshyn said. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Wood County Coroner’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation-Crime Scene Unit, is investigating the incident.