Victory Inn owner files appeal over zoning denial

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The owner of the defeated Victory Inn in Bowling Green has filed an appeal, saying the city improperly denied him a variance to build another hotel. The proposed new hotel would be at the same location, 1630 E. Wooster St., as the Victory Inn, which was frequently the source of complaints about bedbugs, plumbing and electrical problems, the lack of smoke alarms and cleanliness violations. After nearly five years of wrangling with the owner, Jamal Garmo, of Michigan, the hotel was demolished last October. Last month, the Zoning Board of Appeals listened to Garmo’s new plans to construct a new hotel. Garmo needed approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, since the hotel he is proposing exceeds the city’s height and story limits. By a vote of 3 to 2, the board rejected Garmo’s request. The appeal, filed by Bob Spitler in Wood County Common Pleas Court, stated the board’s denial was “unconstitutional, arbitrary, capricious and an unreasonable exercise of discretion.” The appeal continued to state the denial posed an “unreasonable hardship” against Garmo. City Attorney Mike Marsh said Friday afternoon that the appeal was likely filed just in case it was needed, since it was required to be filed within 30 days. Marsh added, however, that Spitler notified him that new hotel plans would be coming. “I heard they were working on revised plans that would comply with the zoning code requirements,” Marsh said. “If that happens, then everybody is happy.” In May, Garmo presented his request for a variance to allow construction of a 107-room hotel on the eastern portion of the seven acres that previously housed Victory Inn. The proposed hotel was 65 feet tall, five feet taller than allowed, and five stories high, one story higher than allowed in B-2 general commercial zoning. The proposed hotel would have been a relatively new Hilton product called Home 2, which offers extended stays. After having his variance request turned down, Garmo expressed his displeasure with the zoning board of appeals. “Five stories is a signature from the highway,” Garmo said, adding he originally wanted the hotel to be six stories. “I’m very disappointed, very disappointed,” he said, telling the board the hotel would have been a $10 million investment in the city. “This would be a Taj Mahal in the city – the best thing ever going to happen to your city.” Garmo was assured by the board that the city is not opposed to a new hotel, but it must meet requirements. There are multiple times every year when the hotels in the city are packed, some members of the board noted. On behalf of Garmo, Andy Andre, of Bud Design & Engineering Services Inc. in Grand Blanc, Michigan, explained to the board that Hilton was insistent on…


Prince maintained artistic integrity throughout his career

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jeremy Wallach was a teenage musician when Prince hit the scene. As a keyboard player he was captivated by the sounds Prince elicited from his keyboards. The attack was funky and percussive, and Prince made the most of the distinctive qualities of the electronic instruments of the time. They were firmly rooted in the funk traditions, but difficult and definitively Prince. Now a scholar who studies Indonesian rock and pop music, Wallach has seen the global reach of Prince’s music. When he hears a Chinese guitar player solo over a rhythm ‘n’ blues groove that manages to incorporate elements of traditional Chinese music, he hears the influence of Prince. The Minnesota funk master respected no boundaries, he didn’t set any for himself and certainly didn’t care about any limits others tried to place on his music.                 When his record label pressed him for new and bigger records following “Purple Rain” he rebelled. He famously changed his name to a symbol, and was referred to as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” All “because he didn’t like the way the industry was treating him.” Wallach, who teaches in the Pop Culture Department at Bowling Green State University, said Prince never returned to his days of being “a commercial juggernaut” the way he was in the 1980s and 1990s, but he continue to create. “I hope 50 years from now people will listen to his entire catalog as masterpieces of American music, both his best known stuff, and his lesser known stuff. … I do hope music scholars will appreciate his later work.” Wallach said he senses people are beginning to start to appreciate the entire span of his work. True, Prince’s most innovative period was in the 1980s and 1990s. His late work “wasn’t as innovative. It didn’t have the shock of the new.” Still Prince explored his own sound, and he was still experimenting. He defied genres and defied limitations. He tossed together elements of rhythm ‘n’ blues with rock. He experimented with hip hop. And he was always funky. That defiance of industry expectations was a reason he was so “beloved” within the African-American community. “He was speaking for a community that was very boxed in,” Wallach said. “He stands up for himself, and the music he produced, and by extension the tradition it represents.” That included a song “Baltimore” prompted by the death of Freddie Gray, and the deaths of other blacks in encounters with police. As to commercial success, “maybe he wasn’t interested in bigger sales.” Given his early success, he may well have been financially set. “It was the record companies that pressured him to produce high sales and he resisted that,” Wallach said. Instead Prince remained living near his native Minneapolis…


BG residents want indoor pool, more fitness classes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents jumped right into swimming and exercise discussions at this week’s park focus group – bringing to the surface again the idea of an indoor pool at the community center. Local residents love their swimming. So much that they would like to do it year-round. “They do understand when they say that, that it’s very expensive,” said Kristin Otley, director of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation. Those attending the public forum also had other suggestions for the pool: Flip flop the lessons, so older kids have the early morning classes when the air is the chilliest. The pool is heated, but cool mornings make it seem chillier, Otley said. Make better use of lap lanes which are underutilized. Offer weekend swim lessons. Add a fitness program at the pool for older children. Add an indoor salt water therapy pool. Residents also brought up the possibility of creating a premium pass for the community center, and working out a deal with the Bowling Green State University Recreation Center, to allow members to use the indoor pool in the winter. “People were interested in that,” Otley said. The public forum also focused on the community center and programming offered there. Residents said they were interested in youth and family fitness classes, including parent and child yoga. Others suggested offering fitness classes for parents and children, at the same time but in different areas of the center. It was mentioned that an obstacle trail behind the community center was being considered. “People seemed to like that,” Otley said. Some other suggestions included: More fitness classes for seniors. Another “True Fit” class. Kick boxing program. Offering 5 and 10 kilometer races, and mini triathlons. Those at the forum pointed out the reasonable costs of the pool and community center, the qualified staff, the well maintained facilities, and cleanliness of the sites. This week’s park forum was the third in a series of five to get citizen input for the strategic plan. Two more focus groups are planned – with each one targeting a specific topic. The comments will be restricted to the topics for each forum, which are: May 11: Active parks (City Park, Carter Park, etc.) May 18: Future directions. All the meetings will be held at the Bowling Green Community Center, beginning at 7 p.m. Free child care will be available. Anyone interested in a particular topic, but is unable to make it to that meeting, may email comments to the focus group moderator, Shannon Orr, from Bowling Green State University at skorr@bgsu.edu.  


BG sees steady economic growth in 2015

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green industries invested more than $50 million in machinery and facilities last year. “Our companies keep reinvesting in themselves,” Sue Clark, executive director of Bowling Green Economic Development, said Thursday during the annual meeting of the organization. “It was a steady year of growth.” And while adding machinery, they also added jobs – with there now being more than 4,000 manufacturing employees in the city. “We now have more employees in the manufacturing sector than the university does,” Clark said. The largest investment was made by Phoenix Technologies, which added equipment to its East Poe Road plant. The addition of the new plant process means that a plastic bottle dropped off at the nearby recycling center can be washed and ground up at the Poe Road plant, then trucked to the Fairview plant where it is pelletized, then trucked to Southeastern Container on North Main Street where it can be reinvented into a new bottle. The full circle process in one city for plastic recycling is remarkable, Clark said. “We’re very proud of that.” The city is also seeing some commercial growth, with a Fairfield Inn being constructed and Kroger being expanded. The economic development office made a move itself to 130 S. Main St., along with the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Downtown BG. Also in 2015, the city “survived another year of construction on I-75” and weathered the peaks and valleys of the auto industry, Clark said. But there are difficulties, she told the audience. “While I paint a rosy picture, we’re not without our concerns,” she said. “Finding good employees is at the top of our list.” During annual meetings with local employers, a common concern expressed is the inability to find skilled trade workers. According to Clark, this problem has kept some manufacturers from expanding in Bowling Green. “While we are a university town, we still value plumbers, electricians, die makers and machinists,” she said. And like any presidential election year, there are uncertainties ahead – perhaps more this time around, Clark said. “We’re not sure what the next four years will be like,” she said. “There are some candidates with some really unusual and different ideas.” Also at the meeting, Clark presented the annual Economic Development Recognition Award to Rex Huffman of the Wood County Port Authority. Huffman and the port authority have assisted the city in its efforts to attract and retain business. “He always thinks outside the proverbial box,” she said of Huffman. “He’s been a valuable tool in my economic development toolbox.” Clark recognized Huffman’s ability to bring people together to make things happen, and promote teamwork. “He’s a very valuable player in the arena of economic development in Bowling Green and Wood County,” she said. “He…


Earth Week opens with Creation Care Celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Creation Care Celebration, which marked the beginning of Earth Week activities in Bowling Green, focused on the possibilities. Honored by the Black Swamp Green Team, the event’s sponsors, were those who were already making a difference locally, and statewide. The keynote speaker spoke about what churches could do to preserve the environment. And a series of workshops were offered on household options for taking action. Stumbling blocks were mentioned – the state’s renewable energy standards are on hold. But the two state legislators in attendance State Senator Randy Gardner and State Representative Tim Brown, both Republicans said they were in favor of lifting the hold on them and letting them take effect. The keynote speaker Greg Hitzhusen of Ohio State University’s School of Environment & Natural Resources, spoke of a pastor in Idaho who took the initiative to put saving the environment at the center of his church’s mission. He discovered, Hitzhusen said, less resistance than he expected. Now 10 years later he’s experiencing fierce backlash to his efforts. “How do we overcome these obstacles?” Hitzhusen wondered. The speaker, who is involved in the Interfaith Light and Power movement, focused his talk on what works. “Build on your strengths,” he said. That means finding what expertise is within the congregation that can spearhead efforts. The United Church of Christ in Sylvania used the expertise of Al Compaan, a leading researcher in photovoltaics, to initiate a solar project. “Do what makes sense for your community,” he said. Even simple measure can help. Saving money on energy can help a church keep its doors open and support its other missions, he said. “When we learn about energy savings in our houses of worship,” he said, “we can learn to save energy in our households.” But he faced his own obstacles in pursuing his vocation of blending faith with environmentalism. Raised a Presbyterian, he had a beloved pastor warn him about the “blue demon.” The pastor was concerned that concentrating on environmental ministry would lead to “the temptation toward nature worship.” Hitzhusen went to Yale, the only school where he could blend his two passions. Later he planned to travel to Colorado where the pastor now served to discuss the matter with him. On the day he arrived, he learned the minister had just died. Hitzhusen attended the service and he noticed the Bible open to the eighth chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The passage is often cited at Christian funerals. Hitzhusen’s eye slipped lower in the chapter where it speaks of “the entire creation is groaning.” Hitzhusen took this as a sign that he was headed in the right direction. The celebration, held at Peace Lutheran Church, also included honoring those helping the city move in the right direction. The City of Bowling…


BGSU’s “Noises Off” brings on roars of laughter

By DAVID DUPONT By BG Independent News The actress playing the housekeeper in “Nothing On” is struggling during the dress rehearsal. The play is about to open and she’s still trying to learn her lines. Some of what comes out of her mouth, allows the director, does have a ring of familiarity. The actress says, her brain is like a slot machine—she’s not sure what’s going to pop up, two oranges, a lemon or even bananas. “Nothing On” is a play within the play “Noises Off,” and by the time we get out final shout out to sardines, it’s all bananas. The classic theatrical farce “Noises Off`” opens tonight at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Bowling Green State University’s Wolfe Center for the Arts. It continues Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students. All tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Visit bgsu.edu/arts or call the box office at 419-372-8171. Directed by Geoff Stephenson, “Noises Off” is a well-oiled piece of comic chaos. The show is full of fainting, pratfalls, dropping trousers, stuck doors, and multiple servings of sardines that appear and disappear as if they had a will of their own. The play opens during the dress rehearsal of a touring company’s production of “Nothing On,” a British bedroom farce. Dotty Ortley (Ashli York) who plays the dithering maid is, well, dithering, speaking her lines and musing aloud on what she should do until interrupted by the director Lloyd Dallas (Jared Dorotiak). Dallas is a genius, at least in his own mind. He’s not above comparing himself to Yahweh of the Old Testament, though in his dalliances with the youngest women in the company, he’s more like a Greek god. One by one we meet the cast as they crash or wander on to make their entrances. First to arrive are the pair Garry Lejeune (Zach Robb) and Brooke Ashton (Madi Short). They play a couple stopping by the house for a dalliance. Lejeune is also married to Dotty and is quite perplexed by the state of affairs and Dallas’ direction. Brooke, on the other hand, is oblivious to everything. Her idea of acting is flaying arm gestures to punctuate her lines. Next on are Freddy Fellowes (Austin Packard) and Belinda Blair (Micala Behrens) playing the couple who own the home but for tax reasons live in Spain. Fellowes needs reasons for his character’s actions. Why does he carry the box out of the room? That it needs to be out of the way for a bit of business later is not good enough. So the director deftly improvises a bit of nonsensical motivation that Fellowes happily accepts. Blair is something of a steadying influence amid all this, though being steady…


BYOB – shoppers urged to bring your own bags

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s the ugly sign of spring – the flimsy plastic bags blowing on trees and bushes. “I bet if you looked out your window wherever you are, you would inevitably see a bag in a tree,” said Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar. But we Americans like our plastic bags. It’s estimated we use 6 billion a year to carry home our groceries and other items. Though some are reused to line wastebaskets and pick up after pets, the vast majority are thrown out. During a visit to the Wood County Landfill, the county commissioners noticed the screens around the landfill caked with plastic bags. “It was incredible. There were bags in every tree, in every bush,” Kalmar said. So the commissioners asked the Wood County Solid Waste District to help the region clean up its act. And that has led Amanda Gamby, environmental educator with the county, to start a campaign called “Got Your Bags?” “We’re finding them in pretty large quantities when we go out to pickup,” Gamby said of the plastic bags. “It’s a horrible litter problem,” Kalmar said. “Everybody uses them, but we have to do better.” So local residents are being asked to either take their own reusable bags to stores, or bring their used plastic bags back to the stores to be recycled. If recycled, the plastic can have a new life as composite lumber, pallets, containers, crates or pipes. In talking to local residents, Gamby has found that they don’t object to bringing reusable bags to the grocery store – it just hasn’t become part of their routines. “It’s not that they don’t want to use the bags, they forget them,” she said. So Gamby has been handing out “Got Your Bags?” decals to put on car windshields to remind shoppers to either take their reusable bags or return their used plastic bags since most stores have bins to recycle them. Most local stores also sell the reusable bags at the registers for very cheap prices. Gamby suggested that shoppers could also make a difference by asking that some items not be bagged. “You can say, ‘don’t put my milk in a bag.’” And local stores will be approached about having baggers put more items in each bag. As another reminder, the solid waste district just held a billboard art contest. The winning student’s art will be asking motorists along Ohio 25 north of Bowling Green if they’ve “Got Your Bags?” On Wednesday, Gamby had a table set up at the Bowling Green State University Eco Fair. She wasn’t the only one asking people to reduce use of plastic bags. Nick Hennessy, campus sustainability director, was actually wearing a suit made of 500 plastic bags. Matthew Cunningham, a BGSU senior, said a trash audit on campus…


BG considers increased cemetery fees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green wants to dig itself out of its losing rate system that doesn’t cover expenses at Oak Grove Cemetery. So on Monday, council gave first reading of new regulations for the cemetery, which sits north of Bowling Green State University. The goal is to set rates that more reflect the actual cost to maintain the site. “It would get us closer to that,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett explained. “But even the proposed changes wouldn’t get us to that point.” The city is taking care to keep the rates lower for city residents, with no price change recommended for the purchase of a plot for an adult resident. “We are giving the benefit to city residents,” Fawcett said. Some of the rate changes include: Grave lots for adult non-residents will increase from $425 to $850. Infant grave lots will increase from $115 to $150 for residents and $130 to $250 for non-residents. Adult internment for adult residents will increase from $350 to $600, and $460 to $800 for non-residents. Infant internment for residents will increase from $150 to $200, and for non-residents from $200 to $300. Rates are also set to increase for weekend burials, holiday burials, cremation burials, disinternments and reburials. Some of the other changes in the cemetery regulations include: Total height of new monuments may not exceed 36 inches. Any violation may result in the city issuing an order to remove. Prohibited items around the graves were expanded to ban mulch, glass objects, solar powered lights, wind socks, pinwheels, mailboxes and stepping stones. No grave blankets or flower containers may be placed where they impede mowing or maintenance. No shrubbery or rose bushes may be planted on lots. No trees or shrubbery will be planted in the cemetery except by the city. No additional graveside benches will be permitted after June 15. Existing benches may remain and are encouraged to be placed in a position that promotes ease of maintenance. The cemetery will be open to the public a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset. Disinternments are only permitted Monday through Thursdays of non-holiday weeks. Indigent burials may only be done with prior authorization of the municipal administrator. Approximately 400 plots remain available in Oak Grove Cemetery. Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter told council she would send them information on other comparable cemetery rates. In other business, Public Works Director Brian Craft said the recent snow storm kept city crews busy, with seven plows on the road at once, and many calls coming in about limbs and wires down. Craft also announced that this summer a turn lane will be added on East Gypsy Lane Road at South Main Street. He gave updates on other projects, noting that the Clough-Third Street waterline work is continuing,…


River House Arts takes up residence in historic Secor building

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News River House Arts, an art gallery that has enlivened the area art scene for six years, has now taken up residence on the left bank … of the Maumee River in the Glass City. Paula Baldoni who owns the business with her husband, William Jordan, said that move from the house on the river in Perrysburg to the sprawling new space in the Secor Building at 425 Jefferson Ave. has taken more time than anticipated. But even as Jordan works on the floors in the 9th floor office space, the gallery is ready to open its newest show, “Immigrants, Outcasts, and Other Heroes,” oil paintings and drawings by Cuban artist Augusto Bordelois. The show of more than two dozen works opens with a reception Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. The show continues through June 4. For details visit: http://www.river-house-arts.com/#!immigrants-outcasts-and-other-heroes/cbtc The exhibit is well in keeping with what River House Art has been about all along. Its exhibits have featured forgotten American masters such as Clay Walker featured in the gallery’s first show in November, 2009; international artists such as Mexican painter Veronica Leiton, creator of surreal abstract cityscapes; important contemporary Americans such as Swinomish and Tulalip photographer Matika Wilbur, who is using fine art photography to produce powerful and positive images of contemporary indigenous people; and local artists both young, jeweler Amy Beeler, and more established, photographer and digital artist Lou Krueger. Bordelois, Baldoni said, has been living in Cleveland since 1999, but he regularly returns to Cuba. His paintings are bold, with robust, heavyset figures. They lounge in the tropical heat, or at least it looks like that. One painting is actually a homesick Cuban on the beach of Lake Erie, Baldoni said. “Each painting has an incredible story.” And they are full of mythological images. While they are full of color and wit, they also have an emotional heft to them. The show will be displayed in the ground floor gallery with windows looking out at the Huntington Center. Paintings will also be on display at the Registry Bistro which is the gallery’s neighbor in the 110-year-old former hotel. This space is just part of what Baldoni and Jordan are leasing. They also have storage and an office on the ninth floor. They will also curate other spaces in the building including the sixth floor lobby outside the Toledo Opera offices. “We wanted to be in downtown,” Baldoni said. River House operates an art leasing program for corporate clients. They can find art, especially regional art, to decorate their walls. They sell both regional art and estate art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Secor space offers more space for the art. “We wanted to be closer to our clients,” Baldoni said. This also brings them closer to many of…


Whipple resigns; BG school board needs new member

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Ed Whipple got his first teaching job, teaching English and French in Chicago Public Schools, he didn’t think too highly of the board of education. “You remember Welcome Back Kotter?” he asked. “I was Kotter. I had the Sweathogs.” But times changed, and so did Whipple, who has come to appreciate that school boards perform a valuable service. And now times are changing again, and Whipple submitted his resignation Tuesday evening from the Bowling Green Board of Education. He will be moving back to Salem, Oregon, where his life in education first began. Whipple practically grew up on the Willamette University campus, where his father was alumni affairs director.  His father later became the school’s first vice president of student affairs in 1967 – the job Whipple will be filling on June 1. But that means Bowling Green Board of Education now must find a person to fill Whipple’s seat here. “He did a fantastic job,” Board President Paul Walker said. Whipple’s resignation was accepted, “reluctantly” and “begrudgingly” by fellow board member. “It’s been a great honor and privilege to serve as a board of education member,” he said. “I thank you for the opportunity to serve.” Whipple, who was vice president for student affairs at BGSU, said as his son went through school in Bowling Green, he was pleased with staff, school leadership and the community support. “I’ve been so impressed.” Superintendent Francis Scruci said Whipple’s leaving is a hard hit for the board. “It is a tremendous loss to our district,” Scruci said. “Those are big shoes to fill. He’s as good a board member as I’ve ever been around.” Whipple’s departure means just two of the remaining four board members have much experience. Paul Walker and Ellen Scholl have served multiple terms, but Jill Carr and Ginny Stewart are new to the board this year. “There’s something to say about the experience piece,” Scruci said. “This is a critical appointment because we’ve got some important issues coming up,” like teacher negotiations, facility discussions, and a levy to pass, Scruci said. “There’s some difficult things coming forward.” The process to fill the vacant seat begins Wednesday. “We don’t know the kind of interest to expect,” Scruci said. “It’s an open process to anybody.” Those interested in being appointed to the board must submit a letter of interest addressing the following issues: Reason for interest in joining the board. Qualifications and experience that would add value to the board. Most pressing or important issue facing Bowing Green City Schools. To be eligible, an applicant must be a registered voter and reside in the school district. Letters of interest should be sent to: Bowling Green City Schools Board of Education; Attention: Paul Walker, president; 137 Clough St., Bowling Green, OH 43402….


Fire will bring new life to park prairie

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Earlier today, the bright orange flames devoured the tall prairie grasses and left behind several acres of charred ground.  But in a matter of days, life will start bursting through the blackness. “Within three or four days new life pops up,” said Cinda Stutzman, natural resources specialist with the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. As Stutzman watched the prairie burn in Wintergarden Park on Tuesday, she talked about the reason for the occasional controlled burns. “We are trying to minimize the amount of woody plants and invasive species,” she said. And that will help flowers germinate and grow in the prairie area. Without the burns every one to three years, the blackberry and sassafras plants take over, she said. The fire crew was led by Tim Mason, who has been doing controlled burns like this since 1970. To get rid of the woody plants, the crew was doing a backburn, followed by flash fires up the sides. “The fire has to work backward,” Stutzman said. Once new life starts returning, there should be sunflowers and a variety of other wildflowers in the meadow. “There will be lots of great wildflowers that are great for pollinators and butterflies,” she said. The meadow was designed with pollinating plants in mind. “The grasses are the backbone of the meadow,” and the flowers are the mosaic, Stutzman said. “The majority of the meadow has been reintroduced with a grass and flower mixture.” The acreage of the entire Wintergarden Park is about 100 acres, with approximately 30 of that being field and meadow. “I’ve been working pretty hard on this meadow for 15 years,” Stutzman said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to work on this meadow.” Now all the public has to do is visit Wintergarden and enjoy the rebirth of the meadow. “I hope the people of Bowling Green come out to see their flowers and butterflies this summer,” she said.  


Wood County Library sets limits on unattended children

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The library is a great place for kids, a safe space for kids, but it’s not a day care center and the staff members are not babysitters. The Wood County District Public Library approved a policy Tuesday that clarifies just how employees will deal with unattended children. The policy, said Library Director Michael Penrod, was drawn based on guidelines from Child Protective Services. The library staff needs to know, he said, what to do if they have a 6-year-old running around and the parent is two miles away at home. Penrod said that in discussions with parents, staff has been told that there are no guidelines. Now there are. From birth to age 7, the parent or guardian, must be “in the immediate vicinity.” There was some discussion whether that should be more precisely defined, but Penrod said short of getting measuring tape out, that may prove to be too restrictive. “You’ve got to be able to see them,” Board president Brian Paskvan said For children 8 or 9, Penrod said, the parent needs to be in the building. Those 10, 11 and 12 years old can use it on their own. Here the issue becomes transportation. “If a child is not able to leave the library without an adult, they should not be in the library without an adult,” Penrod said. Also, if a child needs to wait for a ride at closing time, the staff will call the police to provide transportation if the ride hasn’t arrived within 15 minutes. Penrod said there have been instances when a staff member has had to wait 45 minutes for a parent to pick up their child. If a sibling is watching the children, that child must be at least 13 and know they are responsible. Teens over 13 can use the library on their own, and are treated as adults and are expected to act as adults. The board also set rates for the meeting rooms in the library, including the new one on the second floor. The biggest change is that fees will now have different rates for individuals and for-profit entities and non-profit groups. The fee will be $75 for three hours for individuals and for-profit entities with $20 for each additional hour. The rent for an entire day of at least six hours will be $300.The fee will be $20 for non-profit groups for three hours and $10 for each additional hour, and $100 for a full day. Renters will be charged $150 if the event requires staff to be there earlier or later than regular operating hours. The fee to use the Carter House, which is across Church Street from the library, will increase from $100 to $125. Penrod said the rate is reasonable enough that there is no price…


BG high’s “Footloose” is about more than fancy footwork

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This is not just some footloose and fancy free musical. The stage musical version of “Footloose,” a story told twice on the big screen, touches on some serious issues, said Jo Beth Gonzalez, who directs the theater program at Bowling Green High School. “There’s domestic violence,” she said, “loss of family, and death. … I actually think the stage play is richer.” And, of course, lots of dancing. It is, after all, called “Footloose.” “It’s a big dance show,” Gonzalez said.                     The musical will be on stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at the center’s box office Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The dancing is one of the reasons senior Logan Brown wanted to audition for the lead. He loves to dance and used to perform with his sister Lauren. Brown was excited that he would work with Bob Marzola, who is serving as choreographer. Brown has been in all the musicals during his high school career, he said.  He’s said he was “super excited” to be taking on the role of Ren Mac Cormack, a teenager from the east who ends up in a southern town where dancing has been banned. He’s an outsider “with daddy issues,” Brown said. He’s more than willing to push back against rules “that don’t make any sense.” “You just need to have fun with it,” Brown said. “There’s a lot going on.” When it was selected last spring, the musical team was in transition, Gonzalez said. Shawn Hudson was ready to take a sabbatical, so they would have to work with a new musical director. The technical director Carmen Rowlands was also leaving, and they didn’t know who would replace her. Ryan Albrecht, with lots of theater experience at the university where he studied and in community theater, was hired. But at the time, that slot was an unknown. Also, part of the production team are Jeremy Sison,  orchestra director, Beth Vaughn, vocal director, and Sarah Caserta, producer. Also the theater students were undergoing a transition with a lot of seniors graduated. So the team opted for a simpler show without flying or major technical challenges. Gonzales said the cast is on the younger side, but have picked up what they need to do quickly. Also in the cast are: Grace O’Hare, Micah Smith, Claire Wells-Jensen, Maddy Utz, Mo Kellow, Drew Kelly, Kyle Nelson,  Jani Shope ,  Mikayla Trimpey, Elaine Hudson , Rachel Amburgey, Tyler Cook ,  Jeremiah Williams, Michael Martin, Taylor Barnette-Clifford,  Allie Larson, Tucker Pendleton, Allison Swanka, Hudson Pendleton, Natalie Carty, Micah McKanna, and Chris Brickner. Also: Sydney Adler, Stephanie Bell, Sophia Bird, Alyssa Clemens,…


BG looks at plan to put city building and town square in same space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With the click of a power point, half of the green space planned for the city’s “town square” was gobbled up by buildings. The site analysis presented to Bowling Green City Council Monday evening showed a new city building and the current green space cohabitating on the 1.6 acres which formerly housed Bowling Green Junior High School at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. The 35,000-square –foot building left vacant 35,000 square feet of open green space – turning the “town square” into a “town triangle.” “Our charge was to integrate a beautiful building with a beautiful green space,” said Bill Steele, of Poggemeyer Design Group, which did the study. The plan wasn’t intended to be a building plan but rather a spatial concept to show if the two purposes could be happily wed on the site. “Is it possible for these two entities to co-exist on the site?” Council president Mike Aspacher said. To help envision the possibilities, the plan included office space, a glass atrium facing the green space, an overhead canopy which would create a natural amphitheater for music, theater or speaking programs, plus a building with public restrooms and storage for tables and chairs. “There were certain things we felt were worth saving,” Steele said, such as views of First Presbyterian Church and the historic house next to the site on West Wooster. On the remaining green space could include design elements planned by a task force for the site, such as a statue, gazebo, brick pavers area by the canopy, and walkways crisscrossing the grass. “The building is a background for the landscaping,” Steele said. The parking lot for the city building would be just south on South Grove Street, where the former Central Administration Building stood. The good news to green space supporters is that the park-like area could be made soon and not be disturbed when and if the city came up with money to construct its office building. “People are anxious to see a green space developed quickly,” Council member Bruce Jeffers said. “This allows us to go ahead.” The bad news is that half of the green space will be taken up by building. That did not sit well with many in the packed council chambers – some who had spent several months coming up with a “town square” plan for the entire site. “Once green space is given away or used up, it goes away forever,” said Jim Bissland. Bissland said the city office building will dominate the space, which was too precious to waste. He said he wanted to “defend this land on behalf of all of the people,” which was met by applause from other citizens. Council member Theresa Charters Gavarone suggested a public hearing be held…


Singers come from near & far to honor Jim Brown

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Those who knew Jim Brown will go the distance to honor his memory. Linda Gullufsen, who will direct the singers at a memorial for Brown Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, now lives in Tennessee. Others, such as Brandy Tell Mann who is now living in Youngstown, are traveling from far corners of the state. Others are coming from the East and West coasts and places in between. Gullufsen said that one singer arrived at the first rehearsal with an apology. She’d flown in from New York, but she was not able to come to the memorial service. Was it all right if she participated in the rehearsal? She wanted to do at least that to pay tribute to her former choral director. “That speaks volumes about the man being honored,” Gullufsen said. “He was revered enough in his life that they would make any sacrifice they could to be part of this choir,” she said.  And everyone comes with a story. Of course, many others are coming from Bowling Green where Brown was the high school choral director from 1966 to 2004 and an active member on the arts scene.“He was Mr. Music in this community,” said Ed O’Donnell who coordinated the music for the memorial service. Last Friday a handful of singers got together for more rehearsal on the music that will be sung. The four pieces, three sung by the full choir, were all chosen because they were closely connected to Brown. “Sing Me to Heaven” by Daniel Gawthrop is the most difficult piece and will be sung by alumni of Brown’s Yuletide Singers as well as alumni of the high school madrigals who sang it before. Brown had the piece performed at his mother’s and father’s funerals, Gullufsen said. Gullufsen, who worked with Brown as the junior high choral director, said the traditional Irish tune “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” has a special place in the history of the Madrigal Singers. She remembers the madrigals performing in a freezing cold church in Estonia while on tour. They could see their breath as they performed. “Alleluia” by Randall Thompson was “his favorite piece of choral music,” Gullufsen said. Brown learned it while on sabbatical and working with choral music legend Robert Shaw. “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah” is the piece he always closed his high school Christmas concerts with, inviting alumni of the choir to come on stage and others in the audience to sing. That tradition will be followed at the service. This is a “one-time opportunity for this community of voices to honor their mentor, teacher, friend,” Gullufsen said. “It’ll never come again.” Mann said growing up in Bowling Green and wanting to sing Brown’s tutelage was “really pivotal.” What she learned…