Standing Rock is more than a stand off, it is a movement, local woman believes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The standoff in Standing Rock, North Dakota, between Lakota and their allies from other Native American tribes is at once a continuation of the struggles between indigenous people and European settlers and their ancestors as well as a promise for a more sustainable future. Anita Jane Britt, of Bowling Green, came back from a recent stay at the Sacred Stone camp on the Standing Rock reservation, convinced of this.  “This is a historic gathering of 556 tribes. I believe this is really a pivotal point in our history. I believe this experience offers a lot of healing to people.” Water protectors, Native Americans and their allies, have gathered to stop the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline going through native land, considered sacred. The pipeline would run under the Missouri River, where any break would pollute the water source of the Standing Rock Lakota. Militarized security forces have arrayed against them. Even as this confrontation continues plans for a more permanent center are underway. “As you kind of go throughout your day you see a whole community growing,” Britt said.  An ecologically sustainable village is being built, including a kitchen, a straw bale school house and what is planned to be “the largest yurt village outside of Mongolia.” Britt, 22, studied Native American history and literature at Bowling Green State University. A graduate of the School of Art, she studied printmaking.  “My art work is largely research based and explores human connections to nature through emotions. Native American religion and mythology informs that very well.” Family lore, she said, has it that there is a Seminole ancestor in her bloodline. This tie to Native Americans is common among those of Scotch-Irish ancestry from the Appalachia. It’s problematic since some settlers claimed native, usually Cherokee, blood so they could make land claims, she said. Sometimes the intermixing was a result of rape or forced marriage. Britt was just returning from a stay in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, when she heard about the action at Standing Rock. She went to Columbus to protest the state’s sending state troopers to assist the forces backing the pipeline company. While there she met two women who had collected supplies, and needed help delivering them. Britt volunteered. She headed out on Election Day arrived the next morning and stayed until Sunday. “There’s something about the nature of this camp. It’s a vortex so many people from different time zones. The days really expanded.” She stayed at the Sacred Stone camp. That area is not part of the direct actions, in which water protectors confront the pipeline forces, the DAPL military, as Britt refers to them. The camp is a foundation of the action. From there donations are coordinated and supplies are divvied among the other camps. The sacred fires that burn elsewhere in the camp were lit…

Dave Horger goes for knockout against cancer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It seems fitting that Dave Horger envisioned his cancer as a heavyweight boxer beating him to a pulp in the first round. The name of his opponent in the ring – multiple myeloma. It’s also fitting that Horger, the radio voice of local news and sports for decades here in Bowling Green, would pull a rope-a-dope on his opponent and then come out swinging. Horger, with WFOB radio for 27 years then the 88.1 morning show for another five years, had become the beloved voice of Bowling Green. He was the voice of local news in the mornings and play-by-play sports at night. He grew up in East Liverpool, on the other side of Ohio, listening to Bob Prince broadcast the Pittsburgh Pirates. Because of the time zone differences, once the Pirates were done playing, he and his dad could sometimes catch the last couple innings of Harry Caray announcing the St. Louis Cardinals. “I remember thinking, I could do this,” Horger said of doing play-by-play on the radio. “I never felt it was a talent as much as it was a knack.” It was a knack that Horger soon proved he had. In 1971, he started hanging out at the East Liverpool radio station. He would grab news off the Associated Press machine, get some sports copy and some records and give it a whirl. “They were kind enough in the evenings to let me go in and use their production room. I’d do my little show that nobody was hearing but me,” he said. He would then play it back, reel to reel, “so I could hear how bad I was.” One night, he was playing around, introducing the Carpenters’ song, “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down,” – which by the way, he was not a big fan of. But one of the radio executives liked his voice and his style. “That’s just what we want for a disc jockey at night,” he said. To this day, Horger is sure the radio station just wanted to avoid the hassle of interviewing for the job. From there, Horger went on to combine his two loves of sports and radio. He covered BGSU football and basketball from coast to coast. “Just to be a part of game day, it was fun,” he said. He remembers well the personalities he covered over the years – Gary Blackney, Urban Meyer, Jim Larranaga and Dan Dakich. After Fran Voll came to coach women’s basketball, Horger started covering that too. One of his favorite games was during his first year of doing play-by-play, when BGSU men’s basketball hosted Michigan State, which was one of the top five teams in the nation at that time. Anderson Arena was jam packed, and “BG just blew them off the floor,” Horger said….

How to survive … and even savor … the holidays

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Somewhere in the last few decades, our holiday seasons morphed from magical into manic. The movies reflecting our feelings toward the holidays turned from the simplistic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas” to the frantic “Christmas with the Kranks” and “Christmas Vacation.” So earlier this week, the Unitarian Church in Bowling Green hosted a program on “10 tips to surviving the holidays.” The tips were presented by Erin Wiley, a licensed professional clinical counselor. Her first bit of advice – make good choices on simple subjects like sleep, exercise and eating. “Our society encourages people to push it to the limit,” Wiley said. But sometimes those excesses take a toll on our bodies. During the holidays, people tend to get less sleep, eat much more sweet stuff, and have less time to exercise. Those traveling during the holidays may want to make sure they keep up on rest – even if it’s brief catnaps. “I’ve perfected the science of napping,” Wiley said. And find your “sleep number” – not the softness of your mattress – but the number of hours you need each night to be at your best. For most people, that number is somewhere between six and eight hours. Second, manage your expectations. Disappointments occur when we have unrealistic ideas of the holidays being perfect. “We expect certain things and when we get less than we expect it sets us up for a lot of anger and frustration,” Wiley said. Thanksgiving the Christmas this year may be more “emotionally turbulent” than usual, due to the strong and diverse feelings held about the presidential election this year. Wiley advised that people be prepared for some tension. When disagreements get heated, take charge. “Be the peacemaker,” she said, suggesting the use of food to soothe the conflict. “Who wants brownies?” may be best response when conversations about fracking begin, Wiley said. Above all, don’t expect perfection in the food, your family, or gifts. “Let it go,” she suggested. Third, practice moderation in this season of excess. Set aside one day for Christmas shopping, rather than trying to hit every sale. Don’t spread yourself too thin over every holiday event, even if you are a Christmas “junkie.” And one piece of pie will probably do – save the leftovers to enjoy another day. “You do not need to eat it all in one day,” Wiley advised. Fourth, practice mindfulness. Try to ignore all the distractions and enjoy the moment. Consider limiting your use of electronics, or maybe even shut them off for a while during the holidays. Fifth, drop the guilt of the season. Don’t let the “shoulds” ruin the holidays. You don’t need to go to every holiday gathering. You don’t need to buy gifts for everyone. “We let other people’s expectations for us weigh us…

Schurk wraps up BGSU career as librarian of “the cool stuff”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Talking to Bill Schurk is a trip down memory lane, and that lane leads through the byways of Cleveland, especially its libraries and thrift shops, as well as through byways of American popular music. Schurk is set to retire at the end of the year after almost 50 years of service as a librarian and archivist at Bowling Green State University’s storied sound recordings archive and popular culture library. He arrived just as BGSU turned its attention toward popular culture – “the cool stuff,” as he said they called it then. His job interview, he said, revolved more around jazz recordings than any library pursuits. Of course, he was already a known quantity having worked in the library as an undergraduate. And while Schurk career path wasn’t straight, it seems in retrospect to have been pre-ordained, bringing together his love of librarianship and his passion for collecting the arcana of popular culture. If you need information on an obscure popular song, he can find it for you, and then tell you all about the B-side. That all stems back to his childhood. He remembers collecting stuff as far back as age 5. There were magazines, bottle caps, stamps, even cigarette packs. His family had an old wind up record player, and he controlled that. He knew all the gift shops and thrift stores, where he could get the best buys. “I know how to acquire things,” he said. His parents, he said, were supportive, allowing him ample space in the house to store his treasures. Schurk’s first library job was at the Cleveland Public Library when he was in junior high school. Since then he always found himself working in some sort of library. Those ranged from a variety of positions in the Cleveland Public Library, including in the library for the blind. But it also involved working in the tool crib of a General Motors plant during his ill-fated stint as an engineering student. That, too, he said was a kind of library. And later back working in a Cadillac plant in Cleveland, he managed the room that stored the blueprints, yet another kind of library. It was while working at the Cadillac plant that he decided to go back to college. The Vietnam War Era draft was starting to breathe down his neck, and he saw even engineers getting call up. So he decided student deferment would be a good idea. Through a friend he met a young woman who attended BGSU. They hit it off. Schurk remembers the precise date of their first social engagement, Dec. 27, 1962, a church outing to go toboggan riding. He has a photo and knows most of those in it, and he remembers the bruises they suffered. That sold him on BGSU, and he and Bonnie married in 1968. All…

Thanksgiving feast feeds 600 guests in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The menu included 30 roasted turkeys, countless industrial sized cans of mashed potatoes and green beans, and of course, plenty of pumpkin pie with whipped cream dollops on the top. This Thanksgiving dinner was no place for timid cooks – not with 600 famished guests invited. As the guests filed by, their plates were heaped with the turkey and generous helpings of all the trimmings. “It’s just like a real Thanksgiving,” said Lynn Eck, who has coordinated the Community Thanksgiving Feast at the Bowling Green Community Center for the last six years. The meal, donated by members of Grace Church and Christ Church in Bowling Green, has been an annual tradition now for 25 years. The dinner welcomed the hungry, the lonely, the old and the young. “There are a lot of familiar faces,” Eck said as she looked out from the busy kitchen at the line of guests. “For a lot of people, this is their Thanksgiving.” “For me, it’s my favorite day of the year,” Eck said. “It’s like having your whole family over – a really big family.” The thought of serving 600 turkey dinners would be enough to make some cooks collapse. But for Eck, cooking mass quantities has become second nature. “By this point in the day, it’s like a well-oiled machine.” Planning for the community feast begins in October, with requests for help going out to each congregation. “They always step up,” Eck said. But others in the community also take their turns serving up the turkey and trimmings. “People hear about it and want to help,” she said. People like Jason Miller, who volunteered this year to take tickets and hand out plates. “It’s really good to give back to the community,” Miller said. “You see so many people who come through who just want a hot meal. It’s really fulfilling to me.” Out in the gymnasium, the tables were filling up with guests. Dorothy Bookman, of Perrysburg, brought six family members to the feast. “The more, the merrier,” she said. “I like the people here, the community.” Across from her was Sandra Uhlmann, of Bowling Green, whose favorite part of the meal is always the pumpkin pie. At the next table, Daniel Stump was finished with his meal. “It was filling,” he said. “It’s good food, and the people care.” And besides, Stump added, “I didn’t want to cook.” Cindy Weaver, of Bowling Green, said this was her second year she attended the community feast. This meal, she said, is her official Thanksgiving. “I just like all of it,” Weaver said. “It’s wonderful. It really touches your heart.” As guests left with full bellies, Teresa Ireland said they also left with warmed hearts. “I feel God working in mysterious ways,” Ireland said. “They leave saying, ‘thank you.’”    …

BG Council debates building height rules

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It was a tall order. By a split vote, Bowling Green City Council tidied up building height requirements … for the most part … Monday evening. Council was unanimous in its support of dropping the dual requirement for maximum height and number of stories limitations for new buildings. The change is intended to alleviate some confusion caused by the city’s current zoning rules which pose limits on the number of stories and the height of buildings, explained Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler. But the five of the seven council members felt more comfortable keeping the dual limitations for the recently created B-5 zoning category. Architect and city planning commission member Kris Phillips explained that limiting the B-5 building height to 30 feet is essentially limiting it to two stories. But Mark Hollenbaugh, also on the city planning commission, said terms like “highly improbable” still left room for a third floor – which B-5 zoning was not intended for. The building heights conversation brought up other zoning issues looming before the city. Sayler said she often hears from city residents about their desire to attract more business to the city – such as a Target store. But that type of growth is less likely with some of the zoning restrictions in place. “We cannot attract any more amenities,” without adding the population to support them, she said. Council may want to consider allowing higher building heights in “mixed use” zoning areas, Sayler said. Some on council seemed to agree. “People might change their mind and feel that’s OK,” Council member Bruce Jeffers said. But it all depends on perspective. Density is good for business, but bad if it’s right next to a person’s home, he said. “When is density good? When is it too much?” he said. Sayler also reminded council about the Community Action Plan being worked on with a consultant. In order to make the city attractive to developers, the city may need to be more flexible and not discourage mixed-use buildings. Phillips said the city needs to consider not only density issues, but also how to allow developers to create attractive buildings. The current restrictions may be too strict and limit builders to flat roofs on structures. More people will be attracted to the community, Phillips said, if the city is “creating buildings that are more aesthetically pleasing.” Jeffers said the city seems to be “twisting ourselves in knots” to make sure no structures exceed two stories – when maybe instead the city should be discussing allowing three stories in the future. Council member Sandy Rowland asked about adequate parking for mixed-used sites, with commercial on the ground floor and residential above. Sayler said planning trends are pointing toward the need for less parking in the future. The building heights issue came up earlier…

Pipeline protesters pack BG Council meeting

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council chambers overflowed into the hallway Monday evening as people urged city leaders to not buckle to a pipeline company. More than 20 speakers implored City Council to continue their commitment to green energy, rather than take steps backward in their environmental efforts. Once the meeting room exceeded its 66-person capacity, Fire Chief Tom Sanderson had to ask 40 others to listen to the meeting on the hallway speakers. “I think this is a moment in our history” when Bowling Green has the opportunity serve the greater good, Laura Sanchez told council. Monday was the second reading of an ordinance to grant Nexus Pipeline 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. The third and final reading will be given on Dec. 5, when city council will vote on the ordinance. The proposed 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. One by one, citizens stood up Monday evening and asked the city to fight the pipeline plans. Lisa Kochheiser said the pipeline would intersect with a fault line, run near a quarry where blasting takes place, and be dangerously close to the city’s water reservoirs. “This scenario is a recipe for disaster,” she said. During a council meeting earlier this month, pipeline protesters were told that fighting the pipeline would ultimately cost the city money in legal fees, and do nothing to stop the natural gas line. But on Monday evening, Aidan Hubbell-Staeble urged council to look beyond the monetary costs. “I would hope council does what is right for the community.” Some of the speakers traveled from other communities fighting the same pipeline on the other side of the state. Rev. Sharon Kiesel, from Medina, said physicians in many states have called for a ban on fracking.  Kiesel talked about “shale gas syndrome” causing many illnesses, and fracking wastewater being injected into wells. “You have an opportunity here to defend yourself,” she said. “This is a huge moral issue. It puts profits over people’s health and safety.” Tish O’Dell, from Broadview Heights, said pipeline companies look at communities “like Monopoly cards” they can acquire. “They don’t care about the people in the communities,” O’Dell said. “You don’t have to make it so damn easy for them either.” Paul Wohlfarth, of Ottawa Lake, Michigan, said Nexus pipeline officials have not been forthright about their plans. They are allowed to bury pipelines within 10 feet of a home, but…

Winterfest looking for help creating new logo & name

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This weekend provided the first blast of winter weather, but planning for next February’s celebration of the season BG Winterfest is already well underway. Wendy Chambers, director the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the committee is looking to improve the event, and that takes advanced planning, as well as fresh branding. Winterfest is holding a contest for a new name and a new logo.  The date for submissions is Thursday, Dec. 1. For details visit: Contact Chambers at or visit the Winterfest Facebook page “We’re stepping everything up a notch,” Chambers said. “That’s why we felt it was appropriate to do the logo and renaming contest.” Winterfest has been presented for about a decade, and it’s still a work in progress. When it started, it was a new concept in the area, Chambers said. Now a number of similar events have sprung up.  “So we said ‘let’s do something to set ourselves apart.’” The 2017 event will have some notable expansions. Bowling Green State University has scheduled the 50th anniversary of the ice arena so it coincides with Winterfest. That means Falcon hockey will be added as an element of Winterfest. There’ll also be high school and university alumni hockey on tap over the weekend. And Olympic gold medal winner Scott Hamilton and Alissa Czisny are expected to return home to Bowling Green for the festivities. Also, this year the committee wants to have more happening in the downtown. “It was the missing component,” Chambers said. A tent with beverages and ice carving demonstrations will be set up in the Huntington parking lot at the corner of South Main and Clough streets. As night approaches, visitors can then avail themselves of the eating and entertainment options downtown. Businesses and organizations will have the opportunity to suggest themes for these four ice sculptures made on the Saturday of the festival. An object would be preferable to a logo for this purpose, Chambers said. Businesses and organizations can also sponsor ice sculptures that will be carved beforehand and installed in the Huntington parking lot. While some prefer the sculptures line Main Street that’s too much of a security concern, she said. The revenue raised will go toward supporting downtown flower plantings and holiday decorations.  Some related to the university will be located near the ice arena on campus, and possibly one will be installed in the atrium of the Four Corners Center. The festival’s usual slate of events, including skating, the Frostbite Run and the chili cook off will be held in the city parks as well as some winter games. Chambers said other features are in the works.  

County businesses to get help fighting drugs in workplace

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years local manufacturers have reported difficulty with drugs in the workplace. Employers have said they have trouble filling some positions due to applicants failing drug tests. Companies have struggled with how to handle employees who show up on the job high or intoxicated. So Wood County is going to try a different approach. A $20,000 grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will help start a program working with local employers on the issue. Chris Streidl, manager of clinical programs and quality improvement for the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, presented information on the program recently to the Wood County Commissioners. The goal of the program will be to connect with local employers to provide training and resources so they can recognize substance abuse and respond appropriately, Streidl said. The program will help employers decide how and when to get help for an employee, or how and when to sever the relationship with that employee. Businesses will also learn to develop policies to protect both themselves and workers. The legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio makes it even more difficult for businesses to be drug-free, Streidl said. “Finding people to fill positions has been difficult. It’s been an issue in our community,” he said. The program will be designed to meet the needs of Wood County businesses. “It will be tailored to our community. It won’t be cookie cutter,” Streidl said. Streidl asked for the county commissioners’ support – not financially – but in getting the word out to area businesses. “We want to make sure we get this to everyone who can benefit,” he said. “We want to make it accessible to all businesses, big and small.” A final needs assessment will be conducted as part of the grant. Streidl said he expected the first meeting of those involved in the program will be held before the end of the year.  

Campus parking office offers chance to pay tickets with playthings for kids

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Parking Services at Bowling Green State University wants to replace some of the annoyance of getting a parking ticket with some holiday cheer. Parking services has launched its inaugural Toys for Tickets campaign. People who get most types of parking tickets on campus can pay up with a new toy of similar value as a ticket. Participants need to provide a receipt with the toy. Those toys, said Aaron Kane, manager of parking services, will be donated to Wood County Children’s Protective Services and Wood County Children’s Resource Center. Some serious offenses, he said, are exempt from the tradeoff. You can’t trade toys for the $250 tickets for having a forged permit or for parking in a handicapped space. The Toys for Tickets applies to tickets written between Oct. 1 and Dec. 9. People don’t have to get a parking ticket to participate. Kane said he’s always looking at how other agencies conduct their operations and saw one city that did something similar as a food drive. (The Wood County Public Library has a food for fines program during the holidays.) The toy drive was inspired by the University of Cincinnati. Kane credited Ashley Allen from his office and Amber Stark from Marketing and Communications for coordinating the effort. Within a few days, Kane said, gifts started accumulating under the tree in the Parking Services office in the College Park Office Building. In the first days of the drive more than 30 toys had been donated. He said his office issues about $30,000 in tickets in the time frame covered by the drive. That includes, he said, those tickets not eligible for the promotion. Still, “there’s potential there.” The drive, Kane said, is part of a top-down encouragement of efforts that benefit the community. “That’s what we strive for,” Kane said, “positive community relationships.”          

Community on parade as BG ushers in holiday season

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The theme of Bowling Green’s Holiday Parade was Lights, Cameras, Angels. Well, Saturday morning wasn’t the best day to be donning angel wings, as the Wood County Library contingent found out. They were book angels, each celebrating a favorite story. But the icy wind caught their cardboard wings and twisted them out of place. But the blustery weather, a sudden blast of winter after Friday’s unseasonable balminess, didn’t dampen the spirits of those walking down Main Street, nor the spirits of the bundled masses, including candy collecting kids, lining the parade route. The Holiday Parade puts the community on revue. You have to wonder with so many people marching, how many are left to watch the parade. The parade features the panoply of the community from youngsters in childcare to senior citizens. Those who keep us working like Lubrizol and Rosenboom and those who entertain us like the Horizon Youth Theatre. As expected there were twirlers braving the weather with skimpy costumes and frozen fingers, and marching bands that blasted out brassy renditions of holiday favorites. Frieda and Freddy and the cheerleaders represented Bowling Green State University, and a large Not In Our Town group represented town-gown cooperation. Professionals showed a more playful side. The dental practice of Phipps, Levin, Hebeka & Associates, put on their brightest smiles and won honors as the best float for their efforts. Other winners were: Best of Show:  Julie’s Dance Studio Most Unique:  Jerome Rollers Best Youth:  The Beat Dance Company Best Live Performance: High Society Baton Corps All this led up to the arrival of Santa Claus, who was carried on a sled by the team of horses not reindeer. The predicted precipitation had held off until then, though just a few minutes after the parade ended, there was snow in the air. The holiday festivities got underway the night before with temperature in the 60s, when Mayor Richard Edwards flipped the switched to light the tree in front of the Wood County District Library. This, he said, later was the beginning of the holiday season, and he was optimistic it would be a good one for the city. Wendy Chambers, of the Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “people are ready to spend money.” And the Shop Small campaign slated for the weekend after Thanksgiving is an effort to share some of that wealth with the downtown merchants. The next morning businesses that sold hot beverages were already feeling some of that holiday cheer.                  

BG master plan for parks to be reviewed

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green will soon get a walk through the park master plan. When the city planning commission meets next month, it will schedule a hearing for the park plan in January. The master plan was completed after a series of public forums was held earlier this year to collect community input on the parks. Park and Recreation Director Kristin Otley has described the five-year master plan as a “living, breathing, fluid document.” The goal is to “focus on maintaining and taking care of our parks, programs and facilities, while being aware and open to new opportunities,” she said. The plan identifies needs at the 11 parks, at all the buildings, and with the programs. Some of the bigger, more visible projects include a renovated or new Veterans Building in City Park, a completed trail from the community center to the middle-high school complex, and a speed slide at the aquatics center. ADA issues will continue to be addressed in all the parks and facilities. Lighting upgrades will be made where necessary, and rental policies will be reviewed. Efforts will be made to upgrade online registration, create a land acquisition policy, and create a book of donation opportunities. The parks and recreation board on Tuesday also heard updates on the Zombie Mud Run planned Sunday at noon in the new obstacle course by the community center. As of Tuesday evening, 135 people had signed up for the event, with ages ranging from 5 to 74. Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator, said modifications may be made to wet areas of the course if the weather is chilly on Sunday. The obstacle course has been made possible with donations from several organizations and businesses, he said. Several school and Scout groups have also helped with the project. “It’s been an awesome community collaboration,” Kovacevic said. Participants will run through the 1.5-mile obstacle course wearing flag football belts. Along the route, they will encounter obstacles, mud and, of course, zombies. Kovacevic promised natural and man-made obstacles that the runners will have to hurdle, crawl through, climb over and run through – with plenty of water and mud along the way. And as the name implies, there will also be “zombies” along the course trying to pull the participants’ flags and “infect” them. To successfully finish the race, a runner must navigate through the obstacles and past the zombies to the finish line with at least one flag still intact. “If they make it, they survive. If not, they’re infected,” Kovacevic said. Revenue from the Zombie Mud Run will be directed toward further development of the new obstacle course trail and toward the BG Parks & Recreations Camps for Kids program, which helps subsidize programs for youth and families in need. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the parks and recreation board talked about the…

BG peace march makes statement of unity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On the heels of a very divisive election season, nearly 400 people marched for peace and unity in Bowling Green on Friday. They came pushing strollers, riding bicycles, walking dogs and carrying signs with slogans like “We shall overcome” and “Librarians for peace and justice.” The march, organized by Not In Our Town, started downtown and ended in front of the student union at Bowling Green State University. City officials walked next to students and faculty. University officials marched next to families and public school leaders. Matt Lavery, who recently moved to Bowling Green from Florida, joined in the march. “When I heard about this initiative, I thought it was the project to join up with,” Lavery said. “I think it’s too easy for people to focus on our differences, rather than our similarities. And if we’re not in this together, what’s it all about?” At the front of the march, carrying a section of the Not In Our Town banner, was Rev. Gary Saunders, who said the event gave people a positive way to stand up against hateful behavior. “This is drawing together what we think is the best voice of Bowling Green,” Saunders said. People from other communities also joined in, like Christina Kern from Cygnet. “We’re from small towns, and we don’t have a voice there. And the violence is just too much,” Kern said. They came seeking peace for those parts of the population who were further marginalized by the election. “I’m here in solidarity,” said Nancy Patterson, voicing support for women, the LGBTQ community and Muslims. Patterson was a Fulbright Scholar in Morocco, and later had a Muslim Moroccan student live with her family while she studied at BGSU. “I’m here because I’m afraid and I needed some hope,” Patterson said as the march concluded on campus. “This feels like hope and healing.” Many students also joined in, like Aurelian Greeno. “I want to make sure our community stays safe and everyone is allowed to be who they are,” Greeno said. Also leading the march were Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards and BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “The turnout was beyond what I hoped,” Mazey said. “It’s about celebrating our diversity. You could see the diversity among the group.” And the point is inclusion for all, Edwards said. “It’s about stomping out hate in any form.” The community and campus were rocked last week when two racially-motivated attacks were reported by students, one on Crim Street and the other on campus near the student recreation center. After investigations by city and campus police, both cases are thought to be bogus. “The incident didn’t happen as it was reported,” Thomas Gibson, BGSU vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said of the on-campus report. In the other case, city police have charged…

Library director & others get pay hikes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Wood County Library board handed out praise and pay raises at its meeting earlier this week. Both Library Director Michael Penrod and Fiscal Officer Linda Joseph received 3-percent increases as part of an overall $32,814 merit package for staff salaries. The raise brings Penrod’s salary to $83,338.58. Joseph’s raise brings her hourly rate to $27.51. Joseph works 22.5 hours over three days a week. Trustee Jane Robb said of Joseph, “I don’t know how you pack a full-time job into 22 hours.” Board President Brian Paskvan said her work was so good, “I actually look forward to the auditor’s call.” Trustee Nancy Buchanan told Joseph: “If you need more time, take it.” Trustees also had high praise for Penrod. “You’re always ahead of the game,” Robb said. “We know you’re not paid what you deserve,” Paskvan said. “But we look forward to rectifying that at some point in time.” In approving the merit pool, Paskvan expressed similar sentiments. “We’re still making up for those very difficult times. We’re very careful. We want to give you something to work with to compensate people appropriately.” “They are a great staff,” Penrod said. “I can honestly say of the 40 people we have here, I would rehire all of them.” In another financial matter the board approved the health insurance plan for the coming year. The plan through Paramount will cost the library 8.81 percent more this year. Employees cost will rise to $45 a pay period from $41. This covers almost 22 percent of the $5,380 annual premium. Ben Otley, of First Insurance, explained what the library’s options were. The library has, under current law, one more year in a transitional plan before it has to offer insurance in full compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Such a plan, Otley said, would cost 49 percent more. But, he said, some changes in the ACA are expected and there’s a likelihood the library could at least get another transitional year. “But don’t hold me to that,” he said. For the future the library could consider joining other entities in seeking insurance in an effort to keep costs down.    

How to feast at Thanksgiving and avoid foodborne illnesses

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Thanksgiving is a time for family, feasting … and foodborne illnesses. The holiday is ripe for spreading sickness, with stuffing made inside the turkey, a lot of hugging, and leftover food sitting out for hours as people nibble their way to the next meal. So the Wood County Health District is offering advice on how to celebrate the holiday and remain healthy. The health district is accustomed to keeping an eye on kitchens – with 750 licensed food operations in Wood County. Last year, the district investigated eight foodborne illness outbreaks, when two or more people reported symptoms. So far this year, the district has investigated four cases. Many times the public never knows about the reports – since more than 90 percent of the time the source cannot be proven. “It’s not always clear cut,” said Pat Snyder, communications manager at the health district. “There’s not a need to worry the public,” unless some information can be released that will protect the public from getting sick. Oftentimes, when people get ill they blame it on the most recent food they consumed. But the reality is, foodborne illnesses can make a person sick in as quickly as 30 minutes, or take as long as 30 days to take effect. “Many times when people call in, they believe it was the last place they ate,” said Amy Jones, director of health promotion and preparedness. But usually, it’s not. “Sometimes, it’s very difficult.” Finding the culprit can be like a puzzle. And quite often, some of the pieces are missing. In a perfect case, the health district would be able to identify poor sanitary conditions at the restaurant where the food was prepared, collect some of the suspect food, and gather the necessary specimens from the victim’s stool or vomit. But it’s rare when all the pieces fall into place, said Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist. “We may never know what caused it,” Rittwage said. The suspect food is often gone by time the illness is reported, according to Kelly Bechstein, assistant director of environmental health. “Chances are by time a person calls us, they don’t have that food anymore.” There have been a couple investigations that have netted the culprit. Jones recalled a case in 2006 when a local family became ill with e-coli. As Jones was driving to work, she happened to hear a story on the radio about contaminated spinach making people sick in other areas of the country. She called the local family and asked if they had recently eaten spinach. They had – and they still had a partial bag in their refrigerator. So Wood County became part of the national e-coli outbreak. “Sometimes it’s just putting a puzzle together,” Jones said. Another time, several people reported illnesses but had not eaten at the same place….