Demolition permit sought for former Pharm store

After years of sitting vacant, there is some action at the former Pharm store on North Main Street, in Bowling Green. The plan isn’t to renovate the site – but rather tear it down, according to Heather Sayler, planning director for the city of Bowling Green. The owner of the old Pharm site, at 1044 N. Main St., has requested a demolition permit from the city. Future plans for the site, just north of the Dollar Store, and south of Parkview Drive and Huntington Bank, have not been submitted to the city. The owner of the property, Isaac Property Holding Co., of Bryan, was not available to answer questions about plans for the site. The store has been vacant for about a decade. Prior to it being used as the Pharm, it was a FoodTown grocery store. According to Sayler, over the years businesses have expressed interest in the building, but nothing transpired. “They never seemed to pan out,” she said. “A lot of it probably has to do with the condition of the property.” The demolition permit is still waiting for the city’s approval.


BG helps citizens lacking housing, transportation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green has used just over $700,000 in grant funding to help local residents make housing repairs, pay for housing for homeless, and help those most in need with transportation. The funds, from the Community Development Block Grant program, are used by the city to help low and moderate income citizens who lack adequate housing and transportation. “The value is remarkable,” said Tina Bradley, the city’s grants administrator. For example, earlier this month, the program helped install a furnace in a home where the old furnace broke down right before winter hit. “A family who would have been without heat, we were able to meet that need,” Bradley said. In the past year, the CDBG program, assisted by the Business Revolving Loan Fund, assisted low and moderate income families by using $701,640 to pay for: 17 housing repairs. 84 more adults (elderly and disabled) were issued B.G. Transit ID cards, providing them with access to half-priced fares. 129 people who were homeless were transitionally housed. 7 jobs were created/retained as a result of Business Revolving Loans. Fair Housing education and outreach. Bradley explained that the housing repairs include items that involve health and safety issues, for families of low and moderate incomes. The transit cards help elderly and people with disabilities to get to destinations such as grocery stores, medical appointments and social events. The transitional housing is provided by partnering with the Salvation Army. “They do most of the heavy lifting,” Bradley said, by working to arrange up to two weeks lodging at local hotels. During that period, the people are hooked up services such as Wood County Department of Job and Family Services to help with job and home searches. The transitional housing requests are often greater than the funds available, Bradley said. “We always exceed that number. There’s tremendous need,” Bradley said. “We plan to keep doing it.” The Business Revolving Loan Funds require participating businesses to create or retain one job for every $50,000 loan. The jobs employ people of low and moderate income. “Sometimes they create even more than that,” Bradley said of the jobs program. Fair housing education and outreach is also part of the CDBG program. “We are the point people over here if someone has a concern that is fair housing,” she said. Unlike other communities, which lose funding because of not meeting grant requirements, Bowling Green makes sure to make deadlines. “We have never been untimely,” Bradley said. However, the funds fail to pay for all the needs. “We’ve been able to spend our money down. Sadly, there are still people who have needs.” For those needs not met, Bowling Green officials try to fold the requests into the next year’s grant program or look for other funding resources. To learn more about CDBG programming, contact Grants Administrator…


Community lifts voices in First Presbyterian “Messiah” sing-along

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The season’s first snowstorm couldn’t stop music lovers from gathering Sunday to sing-along to holiday music for the ages. A sing-along performance of G. F. Handel’s “Messiah” drew a few dozen to the First Presbyterian Church to listen and sing-along on the choruses. They were joined by the church’s chancel choir, soloists, organ and an 11-piece orchestra. Inside they all found the warmth of the festive atmosphere, and beloved strains of music. As musicologist Christopher Williams, who was singing in the choir, noted in his introductory remarks, “Messiah” is associated with both the Christmas and Easter season. That means its strains, especially the climatic “Hallelujah” chorus, are familiar both to listeners and to singers. The sing-along is intended to bring those two groups together in a spirit of harmony and in literal harmony. The Rev. Gary Saunders, the church’s co-pastor, said that the event fit well into the church’s belief in fostering community and creativity. Josh Wang, the church’s choir director, credited co-pastor Mary Jane Saunders with first suggesting the church stage the performance. She had attended such performances in the past and felt it would work in Bowling Green. Wang, in his first year in his position, was already contemplating a program for the Christmas season, and this fit the bill. “It’s so popular, really beloved music,” he said. So many people have sung it and having them sing the choruses “makes it a more meaningful experience for everyone.” Also, the sing-along makes the event more casual than the usual concert presentation. Not that the soloists, choir and orchestra were casual about preparation. “It was wonderful to be part of something this big,” said Nancy Hess, a member of choir. She enjoyed the challenge of preparing the music. “Obviously we strive for accuracy, and as good a performance as we can,” Wang said. The performance included almost all of the oratorio’s first section, and “The Trumpet Will Sound” and the “Hallelujah” chorus from the final section. Among the soloists was professional singer Diane McEwen-Martin, whose families has long ties to the church. “I was baptized here.” She sang the mezzo-soprano solos. She has performed “Messiah” before, but not all that many times. She explained that she started her career as a mezzo-soprano before shifting up the vocal register to soprano. Her voice, she said is not suited to the high florid soprano lines in “Messiah,” but people forgot she still had a lower register, so she didn’t get that many opportunities to perform the oratorio. McEwen-Martin was happy to be back singing the familiar mezzo-soprano solos, as well as “But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming,” an aria for bass that is frequently sung by a mezzo. This was her first opportunity to sing the solo, McEwen said. The other soloists – Rachel Cammarn, Joseph Amstutz,…


Yemeni family fought to make it to U.S….now worried if they are safe here

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Mohammed Al-Dailami gave up his career and all his possessions to get his family out of war-torn Yemen. Now he worries that he has brought his wife and children to a country where they are not wanted. Al-Dailami, who created a language center and taught English in his homeland of Yemen, was one of 19 teachers selected from around the world to be part of the Teaching Excellence and Achievement program at BGSU in 2014. It was that visit to Bowling Green that convinced him that this would be a good place for his family. It also convinced BGSU that Al-Dailami would be a good fit for the English as a second language program here. So Al-Dailami was asked to teach and take classes here starting in the fall of 2015. It seemed like a perfect way to continue his education and to get his family out of Yemen, where bombings by nearby Saudi Arabia were making life very difficult. “The situation has gotten worse and worse,” Al-Dailami said. Saudi Arabia is bombing everything, “from humans and rocks, as they say in my country.” The American Embassy was shuttered, the airport in the capital city of Sanaa was destroyed and the seaport was closed. “They tried to destroy anything vital to the people.” There are no jobs, no electricity, no water and almost no gas. Al-Dailami had to wait three days each time he needed gas. “Life had stopped,” he said. “The middle class had become poor.” Despite peace talks, the bombings by Saudi Arabia forces continued. “We have a lot of oil in our country. They don’t want us to find it,” Al-Dailami said. “They are killing us.” But now that Al-Dailami, his wife (an Arabic language teacher in Yemen) and three daughters (ages 10, 6 and 3) are safely in the U.S., he worries about the hatred stirred by President-elect Donald Trump toward Muslims from other lands. “I don’t know what makes people hate so much,” Al-Dailami said. “I am a human being.” He fears Trump’s characterization of Muslims as terrorists. “My life, my wife and my kids are in danger again,” he said. “I hope that this is not true.” That is a tough realization, considering Al-Dailami and his family gave up everything they had worked for in Yemen to come to America. He remembers nearly every detail of the horrific journey his family endured to reach Bowling Green. Al-Dailami was told that when the Sanaa airport was repaired for flights, he would need to act quickly, leave everything behind, and be willing to spend his life’s savings on the journey. “You need to prepare yourself and your family in one night,” he said he was told. “It was the matter of saving the life of my family.” When they arrived at the airport,…


BGSU students musical mastery on display in 50th Competition in Musical performance

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When musicians stepped onto the stage of Kobacker Hall late last week to perform in the annual Competition in Musical Performance, there was not much of an audience. A panel of five judges from outside BGSU sat in the center of the hall. Maybe a few more people, friends and fellow musicians, sat toward the back. The stage was starkly lit, and the only company performers had on stage was an accompanist and maybe a page turner for the accompanist. The performers themselves had no pages to turn, no sheets of music to hide behind. They and their practicing over the past few months stood exposed. Every year for the last 50 years, Bowling Green State University undergraduate and graduate students have stepped forward to exhibit their musical mastery. This year 69 student musicians competed for four awards, two each for undergraduate and graduate. They performed Wednesday through Friday with eight finalists returning on Saturday. “This is definitely the ultimate test of everything they need to achieve artistically,” said Nermis Mieses, BGSU professor of oboe who coordinated this year’s event. Each undergraduate performer must play up to 15 minutes of music for their instrument or voice and band or orchestra.  Each graduate student can play up to 20 minutes. The music must be memorized. The competition is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists. This tests the student’s discipline and artistry, as well as “how they handle themselves when they are performing,” Mieses said. Saxophonist Piyaphon Asawakarnjanakit said the most important thing about a competition is it forces the musician “to work more and more.” The first-year graduate student from Thailand said he knew he would participate as soon as he heard about the competition. After his Thursday afternoon performance he conceded he made a few mistakes, still “I’m happy to play my music.” Flutist Aldulfulyne Padmore, another first-year graduate student, came away happy with her performance. “I think I did very well,” she said. “It’s the best I’ve played the piece.” She said she decided to play the concerto by Otar Gordelli because she had studied it before.  She knew she wanted to participate in the competition as a way of adjusting to the greater demands of graduate study. Using a familiar piece allowed her to focus on the nuances and musicality more than just the notes. And Padmore likes the concerto because it alternates between “schmaltzy” passages and jazzy passages that sound like Gershwin. Her teacher Conor Nelson interjected that Padmore achieved such a high level of performance while working 27 hours a week for food service at the university. Nelson said the competition is “an incredible opportunity for students to have feedback from outside judges.” He said “it forces you to prepare in all sorts of new ways and potentially can lead to success in other competitions.”…


Wood County land use plan to steer development

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s land use plans get more colorful as the county continues to try steering development toward the best areas for growth. “It may not happen overnight, but it’s coming,” said Wood County Planning Director Dave Steiner. And the county wants to see that growth going to areas with the roads, waterlines and sewer lines to handle it – while maintaining the agricultural and natural areas that are also important to the county. Last week, the county planning commission unveiled the draft of its latest land use plan. The plan takes into consideration the latest census information, demographics and development. “I didn’t want to work off the old one at all,” Steiner said during an open house on the plan held at the county library. The county had outgrown the last land use plan, which had been adopted in 2007. “There were a lot of changes that hadn’t even taken place yet,” like the CSX intermodal hub near North Baltimore. “I wanted something more substantial.” The plan also looks at “reinvestment areas,” where previous development has “fallen by the wayside” and may need a jumpstart with brownfield development, Steiner said. And the plan defends agricultural areas that are still vital to the county’s economy. “We’ve designated a chunk where we don’t want anything,” he said. “We want to protect agriculture.” The guiding principles of the land use plan are as follows: Support sustainable land use and development patterns, and identify and protect natural and environmental resources. Protect prime agricultural land and support agricultural production. Target economic development areas to support and attract employment generating uses. Identify sensitive natural areas for protection, possible areas for recreation in coordination with these natural areas, and historic or cultural sites to protect. Make efforts to promote redevelopment and reinvestment in areas with existing infrastructure and services and strategically manage the outward expansion of suburban development particularly in townships with the greatest growth pressures. The land use plan, developed by McBride Dale Clarion from Cincinnati, will next go before the county planning commission for review, then finally to the county commissioners for approval. The plan is available for public viewing at the county planning commission, at the county commissioners office, and online at http://planning.co.wood.oh.us. Emily Crow, who helped develop the land use plan, said Wood County was different than other clients because of its size. “Unlike a lot of communities that have a lot of what Wood County has, Wood County is very big,” she said. The land use plan can be used by other governmental entities in the county to help steer growth as well, Crow said. “There was a very conscious effort to create a tool that the townships can use and the smaller villages can use.” Because the plan is more detailed than those in the past, it gives…


BG doesn’t want mini cell towers popping up all over city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials want to keep small cellular towers from cluttering up city properties. But Ohio is considering legislation that would allow companies like AT&T to erect mini cell towers on municipal buildings, water towers, even utility poles. Small cell towers are being erected to fill holes in cell companies’ coverage and ease network congestion. State legislators passed the cell tower provision as an amendment piggybacked on a completely unrelated bill on pet stores. The bill is now waiting for Gov. John Kasich’s signature. Both Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards and Utilities Director Brian O’Connell talked about the issue last week evening during city council meeting. The mayor had contacted State Senator Randy Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, both R-Bowling Green, to voice his concerns about the amendment. Gardner voted “no” on the bill, and was the only Republican in the Senate to do so. Gavarone voted “yes” on the bill. The cell tower portion of the legislation, pushed primarily by AT&T, would give cellular companies the ability to place mini towers on any structures in municipal right-of-ways. “We would have very little review,” O’Connell said. “Our ability to deny is very restricted.” City Attorney Mike Marsh also expressed his concerns about the amendment. Cell companies could place towers on top of telephone poles, city buildings, water towers and other structures with little input by the city. “This would take our ability away” to control outside items placed on city property, he said. And it is unclear if the city may be responsible for maintenance and repair of the mini cell towers, the mayor said. Edwards said the bill was rushed through the lame duck legislative session. “It didn’t go through any legislative process.” The mayor said he and other municipal leaders in the state are noticing more and more legislation chipping away at the rights of cities and villages. “This is another case,” Edwards said. “We want to protect neighborhood and community interests.” In other business at Monday’s meeting: Council approved an ordinance allowing motorists to back into downtown metered parking spaces where kiosks are located, as long as their vehicles’ license plates are visible from the lane of travel. Backing in vehicles is still prohibited in lots with parking meters. Council approved plans for electric and sewer improvements that will allow the expansion of Brathaus bar, 115 E. Court St. Council heard from a new city resident who uses a wheelchair, who said she has almost been hit by cars a couple times in crosswalks, and said she has difficulty navigating uneven sidewalks in the city. Mayor Dick Edwards talked about some tensions on BGSU’s campus after the recent election. He reaffirmed the work of Not In Our Town. “The city is fully committed to making our community as welcoming as we can.” Edwards…


BGSU trustees approved software engineering major

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University hopes a new software engineering major will compute with new students. The University Board of Trustees approved the new major Friday. The new major will equip students to enter an expanding job field. When the measure was considered by Faculty Senate, Professor Robert Dyer said that the openings were growing by 17 percent a year. In introducing the new major, Provost Rodney Rogers said it aligned with areas of strength that already exist within the university. President Mary Ellen Mazey said it also fills a niche. When talking with prospective students about what they’d like to see at BGSU, engineering is the top request. Now, BGSU will have a software engineering program as part of its offerings. The Department of Computer Science, which is within the College of Arts and Sciences, already has a specialization in software engineering that was established two years ago. This will be only the second such program in the state, Rogers said. He knows of at least one student now studying out of state who plans to transfer to BGSU. David Levey, chair of the trustees, asked how faculty would be hired for the new program. Rogers said that the department has a strength in software and has hired one professor in each of the last four years. The specialization now enrolls 17 students, according to the proposal. The university expects to enroll 50 students in the new major in the first year and have 200 within the first five years. “It’s a very rigorous program,” Rogers said. The major must now be approved at the state level. The possibility of another new major related to engineering was mentioned when the trustees approved the naming of the Stephen and Deborah Harris RIXAN Robotics Laboratory. The lab, which now under construction, will allow the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering to go ahead with the creation of a degree in mechatronics, an interdisciplinary field that combines electronics with a number of other engineering disciplines. Also, the trustees approved changing the name of the aviation program from Bachelor of Science in Technology to a Bachelor of Science in Aviation. This will be consistent with industry practices, Rogers said. When the matter was approved by faculty senate, Carl Braun, the liaison for the aviation program, said that often graduates have to explain their degrees to prospective employers.  Students and graduates have been requesting the change. Rogers also reported to that applications and students who have been accepted to the university for the fall, 2017 class, are both up by 2 percent from the same time last year. More students have also made housing deposits. Applications for transfer students are running a little behind. Rogers also expressed confidence that the university will meet its goal of retaining 80 percent of the students who entered the university…


Honoring donors name of the game for BGSU trustees

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University has momentum in its quest to have facilities, whether a building or a room, named for donors. On Friday, the university’s Board of Trustees approved the naming of five facilities, small and large. President Mary Ellen Mazey credited Michael Kuhlin’s donations that resulted in the Michael and Sara Kuhlin Center with getting the ball rolling. Mazey said that will continue into next year. Shea McGrew, vice president for University Advancement, said after the meeting that he expects to have some of the million dollar donors behind the planned renovation of Hanna Hall into a new home for the College of Business present when the trustees convene in February. McGrew said that the naming of facilities approved Friday represented a total about $3.4 million in gifts. Mazey said it is important to have the trustees not only approve the naming of facilities, but to also recognize the donors at their meetings. All but one of the donors were present for the trustees meeting. Stephen Harris, who with his wife, Deborah, provided the funds for a new robotics lab, died very recently. McGrew said he hoped Deborah Harris will be able to attend the February trustees meeting. The Stephen and Deborah Harris RIXAN Robotics Laboratory will allow the university to go ahead with a degree in mechatronics, McGrew said. The lab is now under construction. The patriarch of a family of “rink rats,” Scott Slater will have his contributions to the university recognized in the Slater Family Ice Arena. Slater has long been a supporter of hockey at the university, providing crucial support when the program was threatened with discontinuation. In addressing the board, he said education was valuable as are athletics “which build character.” “When you have both of them you have a great chance to successful in work,” he said. Slater said he hoped that the work funded by his donation will “give the old lady a new heart” and insure the arena will be viable for another 50 years. Steve Krakoff, vice president for Capital Planning and Design, said the university is working with a design firm that specializes in ice arenas to determine what renovations the facility needs. The university library’s Sound Recording Archives will be named for Bill Schurk, the librarian and archivist responsible for building up the internationally recognized collection. Schurk said he knew as an undergraduate he wanted to return as a librarian. He said he was told about the new audio library in planned for Jerome Library, which was then under construction. As he was walking to class he looked up at the library on progress and decided this is where he wanted to be. “I’ve become engulfed in this university. This university has become part of my life.” Schurk is retiring this month after 50 years of service…


Brown back in BG as new city prosecutor

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Hunter Brown made the decision early on to use his law degree to serve the public. “I’ve always liked the idea of working for the good guys,” said Brown, Bowling Green’s new city prosecutor. When Brown moved into his office at Bowling Green Municipal Court on Monday, there was something very familiar. It wasn’t just that he had worked as prosecutor in a college town before. It wasn’t just that he graduated from BGSU and interned at the local court during law school. It was all that, plus that he was born and raised in the community he was now working for as prosecutor. “I’m about as local as you can get,” Brown said. “This is the community I’m from. It gives me a chance to help out the community.” Brown, who now lives in Toledo, has taken the seat formerly held by Matt Reger, who was recently elected Wood County Common Pleas Court judge. Reger held the city prosecutor’s job for 20 years. “The hard part about leaving is we’re a family out there,” he said. But Reger added that he leaves knowing the office is in good hands. “He’s from Bowling Green. He knows the community. He knows the people,” Reger said of Brown. And he knows how to work in a college town, since he has spent the last three years as city prosecutor in Tiffin. But when he took over this week, Brown said he quickly realized some differences. “This job is bigger. The caseload is bigger,” he said. “It’s something I’m excited to tackle.” According to Reger, the municipal court sees up to 13,000 cases a year, with the city prosecutor’s office handling as many as 4,000 of those. The court’s jurisdiction covers most of Wood County except for Perrysburg and some villages. The types of cases heard in this court have a lot of similarities to those in Tiffin – another college town. “A lot of them are alcohol related,” Brown said. Heroin is also a big concern here as well, and the new prosecutor said he hopes to continue the Vivitrol program already in place here to help opiate addicts break their addictions. Brown said he plans to spend some time getting to know the community again, learning the issues that Bowling Green residents and officials are concerned about. “Those will be my concerns, too,” he said. Brown said he is hoping for a seamless transition for those using the court. “Matt has an open door policy. That’s what I’d like to continue. I have a lot of respect for the way Matt handled the job.”      


Weekend shows celebrate Howard’s Club H musical legend

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly bought Howard’s Club H earlier this year, it was with the intent of reviving the venerable night spot as a top local music venue. The fruits of those ambitions will be evident this weekend. Blues rocker Michael Katon, who played the club regularly from 1982 through the early 2000s, will return for a show Friday. Then on Saturday at 10 p.m. a crew from WBGU-TV will be on hand to tape a triple bill of younger acts – Tree No Leaves, Indian Opinion and Shell. “Howard’s has always been a music venue, a place to hear live music with a bar to go with it,” Feehan said. “We want to foster a community as much as we can. That’s what’ needed in this day and age.” And that’s what Howard’s was in its heyday. The bar traces its genesis to 1928 when Fred Howard opened a candy shop where the Wood County Library now sits. Legend has it, Feehan said, that the candy store also fronted a speakeasy that was popular with college football players. When Prohibition ended, Howard’s became a bar. The details of that and other stories are hard to pin down, he said. That’s part of the fun. “After we took ownership, then we realized what we had,” Feehan said. People would walk through the door, and share lore of the club, which moved across the street in the early 1970s. “We almost felt more like curators than owners.” Both Zmarzly and Feehan experienced that history as teenagers playing in bands at Howard’s. Feehan played piano with the Madhatters and Zmarzly is still active as a drummer and guitarist in AmpWagon. Feehan remembers crossing paths with Katon back in the 1980s. After a hiatus of more than 10 years, Katon returned to the club during this year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. He played a late night Saturday show at the club before closing the festival on the Main Stage. He was glad to be back, Katon said, in a telephone interview. Howard’s was packed just as it was in the old days. Katon, who tours extensively in Europe, said he’s played clubs in England that hosted Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Black Sabbath, and The Animals. Those clubs had a well-worn, lived in feel. “Same with Howard’s,” he said. The BG club is one of his favorite places to play. He even said he’d buy it and play there all the time, before reflecting on just how hard it is to run a club. “I hope some of the kids coming in appreciate something funky and lowdown. …The funkier the better in my book,” he said. That’s true of his high-powered blues rock sound as well. Howard’s is similar to the clubs where he first heard the blues and then where…


Wood County legislators split on ‘heartbeat bill’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s legislators split on the “heartbeat bill” that now sits on the desk of Ohio’s governor. If signed by Gov. John Kasich, the bill would become one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. State Sen. Randy Gardner voted for the bill, while State Rep. Theresa Gavarone bucked the majority in the party and voted against it. Both legislators are Republicans from Bowling Green. The bill would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That could be as early as six weeks into the pregnancy – before some women are even aware they are expecting. The ban would make an exception if the mother’s life is in danger – but not in cases of rape or incest. The “heartbeat bill” has been tried before in Ohio, but prior to this week failed to get past the state senate. However, State Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican, said the twice-defeated bill came back up again because of Donald Trump’s presidential victory and the expectation he will fill Supreme Court vacancies with justices favoring stricter abortion bans. The abortion restrictions were tacked onto an unrelated bill about child abuse and neglect. The bill, with the “heartbeat” portion, passed the Senate by a vote of 21 to 10. “I respect this is a difficult issue for many people,” Gardner said on Wednesday.  “For those who believe the unborn with beating hearts are indeed children, the bill’s intention is to defend innocent human life.” Gardner added that most of the comments received in his office on the bill have been in favor of the legislation. “The vast majority of emails, letters and phone calls to my office on this issue have been in support of the bill,” he said. The bill passed in the Ohio House by a vote of 56 to 39. Seven Republican representatives broke with the party and voted against the bill. Gavarone was one of those to vote “no.” On Thursday morning, Gavarone said she voted against the “heartbeat bill” because it does not allow for exceptions in cases of rape or incest. “That was an important consideration for me,” she said. Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion, states were permitted to restrict abortions after viability — the point when the fetus has a reasonable chance of surviving under normal conditions outside the uterus. The ruling offered no legal definition of viability, saying it could range between 24 and 28 weeks into a pregnancy. Ohio’s “heartbeat bill” breaks from that Supreme Court ruling. “Politicians in the Ohio State Legislature just passed one of the most extreme abortion bans in the entire country,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “After years of passing anti-abortion laws under the guise of…


English Department & General Studies Writing to merge at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Faculty Senate at Bowling Green State University moved to join together units that no one quite remembered the reason for splitting in the first place. The senate Tuesday voted to merge the General Studies Writing program, which teaches the basic writing courses mostly to first-year students, with the English Department. After a presentation by Lawrence Coates, who chairs the English Department, and Lee Nickoson, director of General Studies Writing, Rebecca Mancuso, of history, noted she was always “mystified” why the two were separated. The split occurred on 2003. “Are there any drawbacks?” she asked of the merger. Only a need for a larger meeting room, said Nickoson. Offices for both units are on the second floor of East Hall. Each unit has about 30 faculty members, Coates said. Faculty members in both units approved the merger. Coates said that the merger will allow those now teaching in the General Studies Writing to teach courses other than writing. Now even though they may have background in other disciplines within English, they can only teach those courses in special circumstances. “We look forward to having that expertise freed up,” Coates said. Conversely, it will allow some English Department faculty to teach first year writing, Nickoson said. As envisioned, the merger will mean that writing courses will be extended throughout the curriculum, and into courses for upperclassmen. Some administrative changes will be required. These will result in cost savings of a few thousand dollars. The Board of Trustees will have final approval on the change.


BG Council asked to steer clear of roundabouts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   One citizen asked Bowling Green City Council Monday evening to put the brakes on plans for roundabouts in the community. “I don’t like roundabouts,” said Bud Henschen. “I don’t see any good with them.” And if the city really wants a roundabout, it should try one out in a place less likely to cause congestion, he said. The rotaries don’t belong at the busy intersections of Interstate 75 and East Wooster Street, he said, where traffic is bound to back up. Henschen’s concerns were based on City Council’s second reading Monday of an ordinance authorizing ODOT to put two roundabouts at the I-75 intersections on Wooster Street in 2018. The work will include upgrades to the intersections with 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. That brings up Henschen’s second complaint about roundabouts – the cost. “Taxpayers of Bowling Green are saturated with taxes,” he said, listing off possible plans in the community for a new school, new city building – and now roundabouts. “Some place it’s got to stop. You’re going to tax people right out of this community.” Henschen said big rigs won’t be able to use the roundabouts, and working people will leave the community. But council member Sandy Rowland responded, saying studies show roundabouts to be much safer, to cause less traffic congestion, and to cost less than standard intersections which require traffic signals. The city is also considering two other possible 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. The city administration has posted the following information on roundabouts on the city website in an effort to answer common questions about the rotaries. Roundabouts are designed to be safer and more efficient than a traditional intersection.  The design of the roundabout creates a low speed (20-30 mph) environment and prevents high angle crashes such as “T-bone” crashes.  Low angle, low speed crashes tend to be less severe than higher angle, high speed crashes. Roundabouts are more efficient. Vehicles are able to move more quickly through the intersection because of the “yield at entry” – drivers only have to watch for traffic from the left, and if there is an adequate…


Faculty will write next chapter in plan to reduce textbook costs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate opted not to take action on a resolution calling for a goal of cutting student textbook costs by 50 percent. Instead the senate at the urging of Jim Evans will leave it up to an ad hoc committee to come up with a proposal, and then will act on that proposal. That’s the way the senate procedure should work, Evans said. He argued that the resolution before the senate, which had been tabled in November, would be an “insult” to the members of the ad hoc committee because it spells out what they should decide. That resolution called for the committee to report to the full senate by next May, and there was no indication that the timeline would change. Everyone in the senate, everyone at the university, Evans said, wants lower textbook costs. The senate should allow the committee to study the issue and deliver a resolution based on what they find. The decision should be based on “facts and data” not “hearsay,” which is how he characterized what was in the resolution. Anne Gordon asked why the resolution insisted that BGSU lead the state in reducing textbook cost. “That seems to me to be part of the agenda of moving so quickly,” she said. “Why is taking lead in this issue so important?” Allen Rogel said it was important for the senate and the university to present options before “we get something rammed down our throats by the legislature.” Provost Rodney Rogers noted in his remarks that the BGSU Board of Trustees will be discussing textbook costs. At November’s meeting when the resolution was first presented, the initiatives BGSU is already taking were spelled out. Those included the bookstore’s BGSU Choose program through which students can comparison shop for books. Also, the library buys copies of some of the most in demand textbooks and makes them available at the reserve desk. David Jackson said “faculty have little control over what private corporations charge for textbooks.” Michelle Heckman, said the Math Emporium was able to negotiate getting materials for 60 percent less when it bypassed the bookstore. The motion to delay consideration of the resolution until the ad hoc committee delivers its report passed 45-21.