Sherman Alexie shows pure power of storytelling

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Readers familiar with Sherman Alexie probably weren’t expecting him to sit back in a leather chair and stoically read from his novels. But they may not have been expecting him to slaughter so many sacred cows. “You have billboards of me,” Alexie said to the sold out crowd at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center, Thursday evening. “I saw it and I wanted to put a Bible verse up.” Not a real verse, but something like “Jason 99:12” just to mess with people. He warned that he wasn’t a typical Native American. If the audience was waiting for him to thank them for welcoming him here, they could just keep waiting. “You f—— stole everything in Ohio,” he said. He poked fun at pompous professors, conservative Christians, white Americans who are anti-immigrant, and ultra protective parents who won’t get their children immunized. “This is from a person whose entire race was almost wiped out by smallpox,” he said. “F— you.” He also warned the audience wanting autographs after the program to avoid one particular topic of conversation. “Later a lot of you are going to come up and tell me you’re part Indian,” he said. “There’s no such thing as being a part-time Indian.” But the author also poked fun at himself. This was Alexie’s second visit to Bowling Green, the first being 17 years ago when he spoke at BGSU.  On Thursday when the woman who hosted his previous visit raised her hand in the crowd, the author asked, “Did we make out? I used to be a pretty literary wonder boy … Now I’m 50.” Alexie, who grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, writes poetry, short stories and novels, many of them based on his own experiences. One of his best known books is “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” a collection of short-stories which was made into the film “Smoke Signals.” His first novel was “Reservation Blues.” The author’s visit to Bowling Green was sponsored by the Wood County District Public Library as this year’s Community Reads focus. In his semi-autobiographical “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” Alexie writes about being so poor that it couldn’t be romanticized. Sometimes sleep was the only thing his family had for dinner. He tells of living on the reservation located “one million miles north of Important and…


Luckey cleanup could take $244 million and 12 years

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG  Independent News   Cleaning up the contaminated beryllium site in Luckey is expected to cost $244 million and take up to 12 years to complete. “It will be one of the larger in the nation,” David Romano, deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, said of the Luckey project. Removal of contaminated soil and possibly structures from the 40-acre site is expected to start late this year or next year. Representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the cleanup, met with the Wood County Commissioners on Tuesday. The cleanup of the site at the corner of Luckey Road and Ohio 582, is part of the federally funded Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. Between 1949 and 1958, the Luckey site was operated as a beryllium production facility by the Brush Beryllium Company (later Brush Wellman) under contract to the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1951, the site received approximately 1,000 tons of radioactively contaminated scrap steel, to be used in proposed magnesium production at the site. The Corps of Engineers has identified beryllium, lead, radium, thorium, and uranium as problems in the soil. The cleanup calls for the excavation and off-site disposal of FUSRAP-contaminated materials. The excavated soils will be shipped off-site for disposal at a facility licensed to take such hazardous materials. Groundwater wells near the site are being sampled annually for beryllium, lead, uranium and gross alpha/beta until sampling results show a progressive trend that indicates safe drinking water standards have been met. During the site soils remedial action, more frequent monitoring will be conducted. The cost estimate of $244 million is much higher than the original estimate of $60 million to clean up the site. The cost increase is attributed to: An increase in the estimated volume of contaminated soil. Extending the projected contaminated soil footprint beneath at least two unoccupied site buildings, which would require removal to fully address the soil contamination. Re-examining and increasing the cost for several work items based on lessons learned from other FUSRAP remedial actions and updated cost data. A public meeting was held last month to explain the cleanup plan to neighbors of the site. Romano said several public meetings are expected to keep the public up-to-date as the plan progresses. “So we move through the project in a very transparent way,” Romano said. Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw…


More changes in store for BGSU campus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News After spending the last few summers bringing new life to the two original buildings on the Bowling Green State University campus, next summer will see two 1950s vintage structures bite the dust. Steve Krakoff, the vice president for capital planning and campus operations, told Faculty Senate Tuesday that the work tearing down West Hall and the neighboring Family and Consumer Sciences building will begin as soon as classes are over. That work will be completed by the time students return to campus. The demolition will require some work on Founders Hall which is connected to the two doomed structures. Both buildings were rendered redundant by upgrades that have been Krakoff’s focus in the past years. West Hall was no longer needed once the former South Hall was renovated and expanded into the Kuhlin Center, which houses the School for Media and Communication Renovations to the Health and Human Services Building after the Falcon Health Center opened, and to Eppler, meant there was no longer a need for Family and Consumer Sciences. But the campus isn’t just on the eve of destruction this summer. Work on the renovation of University and Moseley halls will be completed, so those 100-year-old structures will open in the fall semester. Krakoff said those who taught in those buildings in the past will find the new space “unrecognizable.” He expects “a lot of positive shock.” While upgrading the buildings, the university has maintained distinctive architectural features. And less dramatic, but essential, projects will take place across campus. Krakoff said that the conversion of all BGSU’s 145 classrooms into active learning spaces is continuing. University Hall will have six, and eight classrooms will be converted into seven active learning spaces in the Education Building. After this summer 90 classrooms will have been upgraded. He expects those renovations should be completed within three years. Few if any university this size will then have the same kind of up-to-date classroom inventory. Those changes have created expectations. Joseph Chao of Computer Science wondered when work on Hayes Hall would begin. John Fischer, vice provost of academic affairs, said Hayes was one of the next buildings. Provost Rodney Rogers said student expectations are also up. “As we move toward more active learning classrooms, it’s amazing how student expectations begin to shift,” he said. “So they begin to assume that there will be new and active…


People of different faiths bust barriers to peace

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   People of many faiths busted some myths that stand in the way of peace, during the third annual Interfaith Breakfast in Bowling Green Wednesday morning. More than 250 people gathered for food, fellowship and to break down walls that have been built between faiths over centuries. “If ever there were a time for a candle in the darkness, this would be it,” said Rev. Lynn Kerr, of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. “The more we learn from one another,” she said, “peace is possible.” Speakers from Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Native American, Buddhism and Christianity tried to bust myths surrounding their faiths. Rehana Ahmed, a member of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, was born and raised in Pakistan where she attended a Catholic school. That glimpse of another faith gave her an understanding of others. “That has made me a better human being. At the core, we are all the same. What hurts me, hurts other people.” In her job at Sky Bank, Ahmed told of a customer asking her to do something she was not legally able to do. She remained quiet as he spewed several four-letter words at her. But when he told her to go back where she came from, Ahmed asked him if he was a Native American. “You and I can go back on the same boat,” she said to him. “These are trying times for all of us,” Ahmed said. “Let’s ask questions before we make a judgment.” Srinivas Melkote, who is a Hindu originally from India, addressed the immigrant stereotype first. “I’m not a drug dealer,” he said. “I don’t murder people.” After living in Bowling Green for decades, Melkote still gets questions about how often he gets to go home. Every day after work, he responds. Though the oldest continuous religion, Hinduism is misunderstood by many. “It’s extremely tolerant,” and is based on reaching higher knowledge, he explained. Cows are considered sacred, since they give milk like mothers. But other common myths are false, such as Hinduism requiring vegetarianism, subservient women, and the caste system. Joseph Jacoby, a member of the Temple Shomer Emunim, busted myths about Judaism in rhyme. Not all Jews are doctors, control government, rule Hollywood, or have big noses, he said. Jews make up just 2 percent of the U.S. population and 1 percent of Ohio’s population. Many came to the…


210 pinwheels-for each child abuse & neglect case in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Each of the 210 spinning pinwheels decorating Wooster Green represents one case of child abuse or neglect investigated in Bowling Green last year. “The number jars our senses,” Mayor Dick Edwards said Tuesday morning as the pinwheels whirled in the wind at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. “I know all of us feel sad to see that number up there,” he said, referring to the sign noting the 210 cases last year. The pinwheels stand as a visual reminder, the mayor said. “Children are Bowling Green’s most valuable and precious resource. This must be remedied.” The pinwheels at Wooster Green represent only those cases in Bowling Green. For the first time, Wood County Children’s Services will be posting pinwheels throughout the county, to let people know that child abuse and neglect happen everywhere. “This year we decided to take pinwheels on the road,” said Maricarol Torsok-Hrabovsky, of Wood County Job and Family Services. They have already been posted in Lake Township, Northwood, Rossford and the Eastwood area. In all, there will be 894 pinwheels planted in the ground. “Child abuse, unfortunately, in Wood County is on the rise,” said Dave Wigent, director of Job and Family Services. Child abuse investigations increased in Wood County by nearly 25 percent in 2016 – a jump never seen before by the staff at Children’s Services. The number of cases went from 718 in 2015 up to 894 in 2016 – meaning 176 more child abuse investigations. Cases of abuse were reported in every community in the county. The increase is being attributed to more people reporting child abuse or neglect cases when they see them, and to the rising opiate epidemic. The number of physical abuse cases investigated in 2016 was 224, the number of sexual abuse cases was 142, the number of neglect cases was 439, and the number of emotional abuse cases was 19. Drugs were involved in 212 of the cases. Wigent said the numbers so far this year are looking even worse. “Now is not the time for us to slow down,” he said. Wigent thanked the Bowling Green police, city prosecutor and city administration for their help in handling  the cases. “I appreciate all the good works of Jobs and Family Services,” Edwards said. “They try to make a difference in our community.” Following is a…


Visiting musician Doug Yeo brings ancient sound of the serpent alive at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News After two hours of discussing the fine points of trombone playing – articulation, dynamics and the like, Doug Yeo left the student trombonists at Bowling Green State University with message. “We live in a messed up world,” the visiting artist said. All they had to do was look out the door to see that. “What you do with trombones … matters.” When people come to a concert, whether a student recital or a performance by a major symphony orchestra, the performer doesn’t know what brings them to listen. They may have just lost their job or a loved one. They might have just gotten engaged. “You don’t know what their story is, but you’re playing for them and what you play can change their lives. They’re giving you something they’ll never have back, their time.” And it’s up to the musician to make that time they spend together worthwhile. “What you do,” Yeo said, “really, really, really matters.  … I’ve been to concerts, and my life has changed.” That’s not just hearing star soloists, sometimes it has been a recital by one of his own students. Yeo has been making a difference for listeners for decades. That included 27 years as the bass trombonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since 1994, though, he has also performed on the serpent, a musical instrument dating by to the 16th century, and prominent through the 19th in military bands. His visit to BGSU s to mark the donation and renovation of a serpent given to the College of Musical Arts by Glenn Varney, a professor emeritus of marketing. The serpent had belonged to his wife, Ruth, having been passed down to her by her grandparents. The visit will culminate Thursday with The Ruth P. Varney Serpent: A Conversation and Concert Led by Douglas Yeo at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Center, with a reception following in the Kennedy Green Room. The Varney serpent dates back to the 1830s. When it was purchased Ruth Varney’s grandparents were told it was last played during the Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century. Not surprisingly for an instrument at least 180 years old, and hadn’t been played in more than 100 years, it was in rough shape when it arrived in the office of Jeffrey Showell, then dean of the College…


At-large council candidates make pitch before primary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Eight candidates for two at-large seats on Bowling Green City Council tried to convince voters Tuesday evening that they were the best pick for the job. People of Engagement Bowling Green held a candidate forum at the library for candidates from the Democratic, Green and Independent parties. The primary election on May 2 will narrow down the at-large race to a maximum of two candidates from each party. Since only one Republican filed, voters will be given the choice of ballots for the Democratic Party, the Green Party, or for issues only. Filing for the two available at-large city council seats are the following candidates: Democrats: Holly Cipriani, Mark Hollenbaugh, Robert Piasecki and Sandy Rowland. Green Party: Helen Kay Dukes, Beverly Ann Elwazani, Carolyn S. Kawecka and Rosamond L. McCallister. Independent: Nathan Eberly. Republican: Gregory W. Robinette. The candidates at the forum were asked four questions, the first being why they want the four-year commitment of serving on council. Rowland, a Realtor who is beginning her sixth year on council, said the job requires a lot of juggling. Earlier this week, council dealt with labor negotiations, a resolution for immigrants, and city finances. “I have become deeply involved in many aspects of City Council,” she said. “I want to continue with the knowledge I have.” Cipriani, an academic advisor at Bowling Green State University, came here to get her college degrees, then “I fell in love with Bowling Green.” Her jobs have always been in the realm of public service, some requiring her to seek out citizen concerns. Dukes, a retired minister, would like to help citizens have a bigger voice. “I have loved Bowling Green since the 1940s. I’m the old lady in this group,” she said. “I would like to be a part of something important in Bowling Green.” She also pushed the benefit of having another party represented on council, and more women, since Rowland is currently the only female member. Eberly, a financial representative and advisor for Modern Woodmen, said he is running as an Independent  because as a council member he would be serving all city residents. “I don’t see local issues as partisan,” he said. “We’re not representing a political affiliation. We’re representing all the citizens of Bowling Green.” Elwazani, a parent who previously worked in behavioral health services, said she was horrified at the thought…


Winter session is coming for BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In moving to a new calendar with shorter sessions, Bowling Green State University is not entering uncharted waters. In his review of the progress on adopting the new calendar John Fischer, vice provost for academic affairs, said that BGSU was behind the curve as one of the last public institutions in the state to cling to the 16-week semester. The University of Toledo is switching this fall. BGSU is planning to implement the new calendar in fall, 2018. The Board of Trustees accepted the new calendar in concept at its last meeting. No other approvals are needed. Still that doesn’t mean the university can simply cut and paste what its sister institutions have done. Fischer said when they surveyed to see how other universities have handled particular issues, they got a variety of answers. And there are a lot of issues as demonstrated by the questions posed by members of the senate. The new calendar would have a 14-week semester in fall and spring, with one week of exams. That trims one teaching week. Fischer said that BGSU now exceeds the required number of “contact hours” required by the state. This will bring in line with state regulars. The current schedule has 2,370 contact minutes a semester, 2,250 of which are in class meetings and 120 minutes for an exam. The new schedule would be a total of 2,250 contact minutes with, 2,100 for class meetings and 150 in an exam period. Fischer said that the longer time devoted to exams will make that period even more important. He said Provost Rodney Rogers, who was in attendance, often asks students in line at Starbucks, what they are doing for exams. While many are taking exams or other appropriate semester concluding activities, some report that they are leaving before exam week because they “negotiated” to get out of exams. Making best use of that period will become all the more important. “We are teaching even when we are assessing,” he said. The new schedule will allow for the creation of a three-week winter session. How that session would work prompted most of the questions. Students will not be required to be enrolled for classes during that session, Fischer said. That was the overriding concern of trustees. At Miami, which has had the schedule for a number of years, 5,000 students participated in the winter session,…


BG City Council condemns unjustified deportations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Words matter – especially when they make up the title of an official resolution. Bowling Green City Council revisited its “welcoming and safe community” resolution Monday evening – this time with new wording and unanimous support. Though the body of the resolution had only one minor revision, the major change was the title rewritten to explain exactly what was intended. The resolution proclaims “Bowling Green as a welcoming and safe community for immigrants and condemning any discrimination, harassment or unjustified deportation of immigrant residents of Bowling Green.” “I’m very happy with the language that we have here,” said council member Daniel Gordon. Though the issue of illegal immigrant deportations is national, the city wants to take a stand, he said. “Council does not support seeing their families ripped apart.” Monday was a lesson that not only words matter, but so does communication. When the resolution first came to council last month, some members knew nothing about its intent and couldn’t discern its purpose from the title. “I found it very confusing,” council member Bob McOmber said. The vague title read as if it was intended to be an “all encompassing welcoming resolution.” So last month, when citizens in the council chambers asked that the LGBT community and people with disabilities be added to the resolution, McOmber agreed. When it came time for a vote on the original resolution, McOmber suggested that the wording be more inclusive. So the issue was tabled for further discussion. “I now know the real purpose is to do something for immigrants and refugees,” he said Monday evening. But that raised another concern for McOmber, who didn’t want city council to take a position on the national debate. “I was afraid we were taking some position on undocumented immigrants,” he said. “I don’t think it’s city council’s job to figure that out.” So the wording was tweaked to say council was opposed to “unjustified deportation” of immigrants. Gordon said the resolution was written specifically with the immigrant population in mind, and wasn’t intended to encompass all marginalized groups. The city recently passed an anti-Islamaphobia resolution, and already protects the LGBT community under a city ordinance. With the revised wording, council passed the resolution unanimously Monday evening. “We want to present a united front,” Gordon said. Council member Scott Seeliger supported the resolution, but stressed that it should not…


BG faces tough options to increase city revenue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Stagnant revenue and increasing expenses have Bowling Green City Council looking at ways to bring more money into the city’s general fund. Some of the options include canning city provided garbage collection, trimming the city arborist, reducing police and fire staffing, or increasing taxes. The city’s gains in income tax revenue have been eaten away by state and federal funding cuts in the past decade. The budget for 2017 lists revenue of $14,996,197 and appropriations of $15,623,253 – which means it is cutting into the balance by $627,056, and is not sustainable. So on Monday, the council’s finance committee listened to options – some more painful than others – from Brian Bushong, city finance director. “Some are more appealing than others,” Bushong said. Though the task is unpleasant, action must be taken, stressed council member Bob McOmber, chair of the finance committee. “This might even be the most important decision we make this year,” he said. “We must address it before it becomes a crisis,” McOmber said. As he presented the status of the city’s finances, Bushong had a request of council. “Don’t kill the messenger. I’m the messenger,” he said. The city’s overall revenue continues to be flat, as costs continue to escalate. While income tax revenue is up, the city continues to take hits from interest revenue, intergovernmental fund cuts such as estate tax losses, and the end to its cable franchise income. Local government funds shrank from 18 percent of the general fund a decade ago, to 7 percent now. “We’re just trying to replace the money the state and federal government have taken away from us,” McOmber said. The local government fund loss was about $600,000 annually, the loss of the cable franchise fee was about $300,000 a year, and the loss of estate tax averaged about $700,000 a year. McOmber added that there is no guarantee that the state won’t come knocking for the other half of the local government funds that they didn’t take before. “We hope we’ve hit bottom with the intergovernmental transfers,” he said. “There are further threats on the horizon.” So Bushong presented eight ideas for generating revenue for the city general fund: Redistribution of the city income tax. This would not be a tax increase, but would require a public vote since it would switch how the funding is used. This would…


BGSU taps state grant to get ideas flowing at Collab-Lab

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A state Third Frontier grant will help Bowling Green State University launch new research, teaching and commercial ideas. The money comes part of $8.7 million in funding that’s half state money and half matching funds from the institutions. The money was awarded  to NextTech, a collaborative organization comprised of BGSU, Mercy Health, ProMedica, and the University of Toledo, which is the Entrepreneurial Service Provider for Northwest Ohio. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for research and economic engagement, said the university’s share is about $707,000, half from the state, half from BGSU. That money will help to create the Collab-Lab, a new initiative to help faculty staff, and students work together to create new ideas. The lab will be in the first floor of Jerome Library, across from the elevators. Now there’s a technical support lab and a classroom in the space. That area, said Jerry Schnepp, the lab director, will be gutted to create a 2,000-square foot lab. Work begins May 10 and the lab will open of the start of the fall semester. The library as the intellectual heart of campus is the right place for the lab, Ogawa said. Though the space itself isn’t open, the initiative is already getting the ideas flowing. Schnepp said he’s been approached by faculty members who have ideas but need other skills to bring it to fruition. Workshops have been held to bring together faculty members, who have ideas to share, with other colleagues. One of the matches was someone from Women’s Study who has a store of oral histories with a librarian who had a knowledge of metadata that can be used to make the information in the interviews more accessible. Schnepp said he hopes the lab draws in people from a wide range of academic areas. The lab will be intended to get ideas started, not necessarily bring them to fruition. If a product needs further development that work can be done at the University of Toledo’s Launch Pad or Pro Medica’s business incubator. Together all the partners form an ecosystem for innovation, Schnepp said. The Collab-Lab is a good fit for BGSU, Ogawa said. BGSU has neither an engineering nor medical school. Those fields typically generate a lot of ideas for technology. What BGSU offers is “not as natural a link to the business sector,” he said. “The question is how do we…


Muslim students build bridges with BG community

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some bridges were strengthened Sunday between local Muslims, Christians and Jews. The ravine between Muslims and other faiths in America has grown during the past year – emphasizing the differences rather than the similarities between people of varying faiths. So on Sunday, Muslim students from Bowling Green State University, asked the community to join them for a “Meet the Muslims” gathering at the Wood County District Public Library. “This is how it starts,” a Muslim student said, pointing out that both Islam and Christianity  promote love for others. “We are all brothers and sisters in humanity. It’s on us to get to know one another.” Adnan Shareef, president of the Muslim student group, said that stereotypes are allowed to fester and grow if nothing is done to stop them. “All of us are affected by stereotyping,” Shareef said. “Unless we communicate and interact with people. Through interaction, stereotypes can change.” In the current political climate in the U.S., the community gathering was a serious undertaking for students of the Muslim faith. “It takes a lot of courage,” said Marcia Salazar Valentine, executive director of the BGSU International Programs and Partnership. But the students were not alone, reminded Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon. “Events like this today are needed now more than ever,” Gordon said, speaking of the “venom of Islamaphobia” being spread since the presidential campaign and election. He spoke of the growing number of hate crimes targeting Muslims, and the travel ban executive order signed by President Donald Trump. “This is not our America,” Gordon said. This has become a nation where hateful campaign rhetoric is turning into national policy. This isn’t the first time refugees have been turned away at America’s borders, he said. In 1939, many Jewish refugees coming into America were refused entrance. So Trump’s signing of his travel ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day was particularly hurtful, Gordon said. “America, after all, was built by immigrants and refugees,” he said. “We need to stand together.” Bowling Green City Council has taken action to stand up for Muslims, with the passage of a resolution condemning hatred toward Muslims and proclaiming that silence in the face of intolerance is not acceptable. “This is the heart of who we are,” said Gordon, who presented members of the BGSU Muslim Student Association with a framed copy of the city resolution. Fatima…


Arts earn applause & money at Bravo! BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The creativity at Bravo! BGSU Saturday night couldn’t be contained. It spilled out into the hallways, where artists mingled with guests, and the work of the arts happened up close. This was a show and a party all in one, and everyone was a member of the cast. Bravo! BGSU was started three years ago as a way to raise money for arts scholarships. Lisa Mattiace, the president’s chief of staff, said that 285 tickets were sold, 50 more than last year. The event raised an estimated $85,000 for scholarships, and about $15,000 more. Mattiace said she was pleased to see so many new faces. Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey said she hopes the event continues to grow, and becomes recognized as the premier arts event in the area. On Saturday night, performers showed the investment in the arts was well-placed. As guests arrived at the Wolfe Center, they were greeted by the drumming of the Kazenodaichi Taiko ensemble. Inside a tableau of the arts was set up on half the lobby’s grand stairway. The mannequins representing the different disciplines were the only things not moving. Guests milled around tables laden with savory food, as waiters moved about offering tiny cupcakes and truffles. The event got under way with a blast of horns and a swirl of color as the Afro-Caribbean ensemble marched in. From there guests dispersed throughout the center where they found attractions behind every door and around every corner. Benji Katz was performing his poetry accompanying himself on guitar. Baylee Sheets was doing theatrical makeup. Paul Verdell was painting a hip-hop inspired portrait with oils. Katelyn Turner stood ready to talk about the quartet of art dresses she had created. Also in the lobby Zach Nyce held forth on the piano, displaying his jazzy side. Sometimes singers would gather around to share an impromptu song. Joel O’Dorisio, art instructor, interacted by live video stream, with artisans working in the glassworks across the way in the School of Art. Tonight they were busy popping corn in a large goblet fresh from the furnace and making grilled cheeses to share with the guests. The Department of Theatre and Film gave a peak of coming attractions – the film “Well-Born” and the spring production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” The mock up for the scenery was on display in the scene shop. University scenic designer Kelly…


Wood County health ranks 8th of Ohio’s 88 counties

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The good news is Wood County’s health ranking is 8 among Ohio’s 88 counties. But the bad news is Ohio’s ranking is 46 out of the 50 states. That means Ohioans as a whole are living less healthy lives and spending more on health care than people in most other states. The Health Value Dashboard examines each state’s health outcomes, spending, change over time, and inequities. Ohio’s challenges include high numbers of adults smoking, drug overdose deaths, infant mortality, food insecurity and average monthly marketplace premiums. Ohio’s strengths include fewer adults without health care because of cost, fewer heart failure readmissions, less youth tobacco and marijuana use, and lower unemployment rate. The health rankings, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, look at individual counties. The following factors were noted for Wood County: Ranks 5th in Ohio for length of life. Ranks 11th in Ohio for quality of life. Ranks 8th for health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections and teen births. Ranks 62nd for physical environment, with the primary factor being drinking water violations. Ranks 21st for clinical care. While the number of uninsured citizens in Wood County is lower than Ohio’s average, the number of preventable hospital stays is greater. Wood County has fewer primary care physicians and mental health providers per person than most Ohio counties. Most notable is the number of dentists, with the state averaging one for every 1,690 citizens, but Wood County having one for every 2,880 residents. Ranks 9th for social and economic factors, such as high school graduation rates, some college, unemployment, children in poverty, income inequality, children in single-parent households, violent crimes and injury deaths. Other neighboring counties were ranked as follows: Lucas County, 69; Henry County, 11; Hancock County, 14; Sandusky County, 33; and Seneca County, 53. Improvements for Wood County were seen in the length of life category, and the clinical care category. However, Wood County remains lower in the ranking for dental care availability. “That confirms our long held belief that we are lacking dental care in Wood County,” said Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The county health district is in the process of building a dental clinic attached to the existing county health clinic. Wood County also saw a drop in its ranking for “physical factors”…


Mike Kuhlin puts a face on philanthropy in class taught by BGSU president

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The students in Matching Faces with Places are all in their first year at Bowling Green State University. The teacher for the class wants them to start thinking now of their life after graduation, when she hopes their BGSU education will be serving them well. At that point the professor, President Mary Ellen Mazey, hopes they will remember the university and give back. In the class, co-taught with Lisa Mattiace, the president’s chief of staff, the students meet models for that kind philanthropy. At a recent class they were seated in a second-floor classroom in the Michael and Sara Kuhlin Center, and their guest speaker was Mike Kuhlin, for whom the building was named. It was, he told the students, Mazey who insisted the building name use “Michael.” And it was Mazey’s inspiration that led to the donation that put his and his late wife’s name on the state-of-the-art home of the School of Media and Communications in what had been South Hall, widely considered one of the dumpiest buildings on campus. That was before a $24 million makeover. Kuhlin, a 1968 graduate in journalism, said for many years, he’d not had much contact with the university. After working for a few years for the university in the placement office and doing graduate work in higher education administration, he went to work for Ohio Bell, and continued with the company through a series of mergers. He ended up retiring as Ameritech’s director of corporate communications. Over many of those years, he told the students, he questioned the direction of his alma mater. As in business, Kuhlin said, “staying the same wasn’t good enough. That’s what this university did for a number of years.” That changed when Mazey took over the reins six years ago. He saw progress on addressing infrastructure issues. The university also started reaching out to alumni it had lost touch with. Kuhlin came back to the fold. “This happened because this place got better.” Mazey said when they met two years ago, she was amazed at how much he knew about the university. His store of knowledge was “phenomenal. “You want to know what you’re getting into,” he said. “This university has gotten better since Mary Ellen has come. And the team that she’s put together is making this institution recognized in so many different ways that it never was before….