BG Schools likely to try income tax renewal in May

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In May, when Bowling Green School District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi showed the school board the five-year financial forecast for the district, the budget looked like a rollercoaster. Last week, when Melchi revisited the forecast, it looked more like a game of hide-and-seek – in a heavy fog. But one item was certain – the school district will need to renew its 0.5 percent income tax next year. After that, the forecast gets a little blurry again, but by 2020 the district could be $4 million in the hole unless something changes. “We will need some new revenue sources,” Melchi told the school board. “I’m very conservative. I don’t like to give you a best scenario.” The income tax for the district began in January of 1993 and has been renewed every five years since. It makes up 11 percent of the district’s general fund revenue. “That’s pretty significant,” she said. To place a renewal on the May 2017 ballot, school board members will need to take action at their December meeting. At that point, they will have to decide whether to stick with a five-year tax or ask for a continuing tax. Melchi predicted the district would receive an overall increase in foundation funding from the state. “We do expect to see a little more of an increase over last year,” she said. But doing accurate five-year planning is very difficult for the district, she added. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen.” The cost of supplementing charter schools continues to affect the district. Melchi explained that the state gives Bowling Green $1,907 per student each year. But for every student who chooses to leave Bowling Green for a charter school, the state takes $6,000 from the district to give to the charter school. Expenses are also up, with the district adding 12.35 staff positions due to increasing enrollment and a growing special needs population. “There have been factors that have forced us to make those decisions,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said. The annual budget is also greatly affected by the number of paydays each year. This year has 27, compared to 25 last year, which makes a big difference, Melchi said. That and the phase out…


Tom Muir wins the championship belt for best buckle

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Making a belt buckle is not as simple as it seems, and it has taken master jeweler and metalsmith Tom Muir decades to get around to the task. Muir, who has taught in the Bowling Green State University School of Art for 25 years, said as a graduate student in the early 1980s he did try his hand at it. “But it never worked out quite right.” Even as he pursued other work that landed him recognition as one of the nation’s top jewelers, including an ornament on the White House Christmas tree in 1993, the challenge of making a belt buckle was in the back of his mind. Recently a technical and aesthetic considerations aligned, and he started creating belt buckles. And those are some buckles. One just won the World Champion Belt Buckle Competition. What’s the prize? A $250 in cash and a belt buckle, of course. Buckles are often awarded from traditional masculine activities, such as hunting and fishing and more recently barbecuing, Muir noted. (Making belt buckles may not be so gender-specific – one of Muir’s former students, Marissa Saneholtz, a BGSU and Bowling Green High graduate, received an honorable mention in the competition.) An avid amateur naturalist, Muir has been using forms from nature in his most recent work. He made one designed like a pig’s snout, a nod to competitive barbecuing.  In the case of the winning entry, he used the snout of a star-nosed mole for the buckle. In a statement for an exhibit Naughty Narrative (another former student from Bowling Green, Andrew Kuebeck, curated the show) Muir explained the attraction of the mole’s nose. “This busy, inscrutable animal living in fertile darkness makes a marvelous emblem of the human unconscious or dream life.  And its nose combines in a single form the tender vulnerability of a revealed secret with a plethora of foldings in which a sensual mystery appears to dream.” The artist sees even more. The soft, fleshiness of the snout evokes human genitalia, male and female. That’s played up by the placement of the buckle just about the groin. For men, this makes the buckle, like other adornments, a symbol of the wearer’s social status. The showy quality of…


Ordinary citizens honored for extraordinary lives

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They may have looked like an ordinary farmer, teacher, nurse and small town mayor. But the four were recognized for being so much more than that Sunday during the annual Spirit of Wood County Awards presented in the courthouse atrium. Recognized were Dan Henry, Janet Stoudinger, Brian Tucker and Jean Gamble. “So many times, we forget to recognize people who do outstanding things,” said Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw at the beginning of the event. The Spirit of Wood County Awards changed that during the bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance in 1987. And after that, the county commissioners decided to make the awards an ongoing effort to recognize ordinary citizens for doing extraordinary acts. Dan Henry, of rural Bowling Green, was given the Agricultural Leadership Award. Henry, a former industrial arts teacher at Anthony Wayne, worked part time at Riker Farm Seed starting in 1975, said Lesley Riker, who nominated him for the award. Upon retiring from teaching, Henry took over presidency and full-time management of Riker Farm Seed. He is active in the Ohio Seed Improvement Association, is on the educational committee, and is active in Ohio Foundation Seeds and Advanced Genetics. “Dan believes strongly in education,” Riker said. Riker Farm Seed hosts corn and soybean test plots, field days and hosts several hundred FFA members who come to the farm for education on hybrid corn and soybeans. Henry is now working closely with Farm 4 Clean Water, OSU Extension and Wood Soil and Water in hosting demonstration plots for cover crops and how they can help with water run-off and nutrient uptake. “We as farmers are doing something for water quality,” Riker said. “I don’t know what we could do without him,” Riker said about Henry. Janet Stoudinger, of Wayne, who passed away in January, was recognized with the Self Government Award. Tom Bentley, who presented the award, said it was fitting that the ceremony was being held in the Alvin Perkins Atrium, since there was so many similarities between Perkins and Stoudinger. “He gave back a lot more than he took in – the same as Jan,” Bentley said. Stoudinger held positions as a teacher, coach and mayor of Wayne. “Jan taught us a…


Panel to take aim at gun violence in America

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   An NRA firearms instructor and the founder of a coalition against gun violence will sit on a panel together to discuss the number of shootings in the U.S. The result, organizers hope, will be a balanced discussion showing that wanting to end so much gun violence in America is not anti-gun. “I come from a gun family,” said Tom Klein, of Bowling Green. As a child, he often went hunting and skeet shooting with his father. “I grew up with guns.” But Klein’s appreciation of guns doesn’t equate to an understanding of gun violence. “The shootings are just too many to neglect,” he said. So Klein and others with similar concerns have gathered people with different backgrounds to examine ways to end gun violence. Klein said the topic came up at his book club at St. Timothy’s in Perrysburg, so the group decided to bring together a balanced panel to discuss the topic. The panel discussion is planned for Thursday, Oct. 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Wood County District Public Library atrium, 251 N. Main St., Bowling Green. The public is welcome to attend. The panel will represent diverse backgrounds – an NRA firearms instructor, a public health professor, a sociology and criminology professor, and a woman who founded the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. “I think we’ll have a balanced experience,” Klein said. Toby Hoover, the coalition founder, has the perspective of someone who lost a family member to gun violence. Her husband was killed by an armed robber in a hardware store. “I bring the perspective of being a survivor of a victim,” she said. “This is very personal for me.” Hoover has worked on legislation and founded the coalition in 1996. “I hope that when people leave, they don’t feel helpless,” she said. “There’s a lot of work being done.” Changes cannot only occur at the legislative level in Washington or Columbus, but also in local neighborhoods, Hoover said. “There’s lots of stuff being done.” “We live in a country that’s pretty afraid. We’re in an election that makes people afraid.” Hoover hopes people leave the panel discussion realizing there are actions they can take other than arming themselves. “We’ve normalized…


Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro a labor of love

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News You wouldn’t expect an enterprise named Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em would have its roots in romance. But the idea for Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro goes back when the owners Jon and Kayla Minniear were first dating. The couple shared a love of gaming and anything retro. “When we first started dating, we started collecting old Nintendo, and then we started collecting other stuff. … A lot of this is our duplicate stuff,” she says gesturing back to the shop. “We always talked about this, opening a storefront, back when we were dating.” They were also inspired by friends in their gaming community who operate similar stores. That dream will be realized Monday when Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro opens at 192 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. The storefront formerly occupied by Mill Jewelry.  “My grandparents bought their wedding bands here,” Kayla Minniear said. “They’re super excited we got this space.” The store has been in the works for a while. Kayla Minniear, the daughter of Caroline and Ted Lippert of rural Bowling Green, cut back her hours at WYSZ six months ago to concentrate on sales at conventions and flea markets while they looked for a space. When the store front in downtown became available, they jumped at it. It’s hard, she said, to find a place with enough room and in such a prime location.  The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em name seemed perfect for a retro game and toy shop. As they collected, and traded, going to sales and online, they accumulated duplicates of many of their favorites, and they dreamed about opening a store stocked with the kind of toys and games they and their parents grew up playing. Minniear, a 2011 Eastwood graduate, said used equipment is nothing new to her. She never had a new game system when she was a kid. “So I played a lot of my Dad’s.” So she likes the feel of those vintage games. “I feel like they’re more family friendly. So many of the new popular games are rated M,” she said. “With the old-school games, kids could play the same games as their parents.”…


Dogs displaced by flooding looking for homes here

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Hurricane Matthew swept through South Carolina earlier this month, it displaced more than people. The flooding sent more than 10 dogs packing from an animal shelter in hard-hit Horry County to a shelter here in Wood County. Five of the dogs have already been adopted from the Wood County Humane Society in Bowling Green, but the others are still in need of “forever homes,” according to April McCurdy, behavior and training coordinator at the local shelter. As an emergency placement partner with the U.S. Humane Society, the Wood County Humane Society was contacted to see if it had room for any of the dogs at the South Carolina shelter. The dogs needed to be cleared out to make room for dogs displaced by the flooding. The local humane society officials offered space, and then traveled to Pennsylvania, where South Carolina workers were transporting dogs to meet up staff from five different shelters. They brought more than 60 dogs to divide up for lodging. “We told them we could pretty much take anything,” McCurdy said, noting that some shelters have breed or size restrictions. “It makes more work, but it’s all worth it in the end.” The Wood County Humane Society Shelter, on Van Camp Road, has 12 kennels and already had eight dogs at the time. Fortunately, the dogs were compatible with each other. “The dogs all managed to get along together,” McCurdy said. “So we could pair them up.” A few of the dogs seemed a little traumatized by the long trip, but are doing well now. “Some of them were nervous at first,” she said. “They wouldn’t walk on a leash, so we had to pick them up and carry them around.” The transplanted dogs are all between 4 months and 7 years old. The local shelter did not accept any cats from South Carolina since there are already about 50 here. “We’re always full” with cats, McCurdy said. One displaced dog had heartworm, and has already been placed in a “foster home” until he has recovered. The local humane society is sponsored by Purina, so it gets a discount on food. But donations are always welcome, especially at times like this when additional…


Purged voters being given second chance in Ohio

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 3,400 registered voters in Wood County were purged from the voting rolls last year. But some are now being given a chance to vote this year. Following a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, 3,424 registered voters were dropped from Wood County’s voters list in August of 2015. However, last month, a federal appeals court found that Ohio’s process for maintaining its voter rolls violates federal law. And on Wednesday, a judge ruled that Ohio voters who were improperly removed from registration lists can cast ballots in the presidential election. “I confidently predicted this was unconstitutional. Their votes will count,” said Mike Zickar, a member of the Wood County Board of Elections. The ruling means if a person shows up at the polls and believes they are registered to vote but they are not on the official list, they will be allowed to vote by a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is a paper ballot that is held in a sealed envelope with the voter’s identification. If the identification information is verified by the elections board staff over the next 10 days, the provisional ballot is counted. It’s unfortunate the ruling came so late, and that the people will have to vote by provisional ballots, Zickar said. “But to me, it’s just exciting that no one is disenfranchised.” The provisional voting process for people not on the voter rolls has been an accepted practice in Ohio, according to Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “That’s the hard and fast rule the state has created,” he said. The local board of elections has yet to encounter anyone during early voting who believes they were registered but had been purged from the list. “Typically, we find very few inactive voters tend to actually vote,” Burton said. “I will be shocked if it’s a meaningful number in the end.” But Burton assured that ballots from purged voters will count. “Obviously every vote counts,” he said. “If they were taken off during one of the purge processes and they are at their same address, their vote will be counted.” Last year, the state’s directive ordered county boards of election to wipe voters…


‘Tis the season for music of our time

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The New Music Festival at Bowling Green State University is a fall ritual. Just before Halloween, BGSU becomes the center of the contemporary music universe. Maybe that’s why this year’s event started on a macabre note – the opening of “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner.” The art installation transforms the Bryan Gallery in the School of Art into a village of the dead. The conceit of the work by the Poyais Group is that folk artist Mary Elizabeth Kramner created these tents as a recreation of her German village, each structure representing how a former inhabitant died. The viewer wanders about this village of the dead in darkness. The tents illuminate at odd intervals, and small organs set among the tents emit mournful chords. The viewer is suspended between life and death, between reality and fantasy. The mystery seeps into the bones. Yet festival, hosted by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music,  celebrates the music of living composers. Presenting the expected is not in the festival’s mission statement. In another seasonal coincidence, this year’s featured composer is Dai Fujikura, who told the audience at the Composer Talk, that he was influenced early on by the musical scores of horror films. He was about 10, and growing up in Osaka, Japan. This was the music he loved to listen to. He was also drawn to composition because he was a mischievous piano student. He said if he didn’t like a measure of music, even by Beethoven, he would change it. And why did Haydn have a measure of rest? He would just ignore it, much to the displeasure of his piano teacher.  “She was right,” he concedes now. The Composer Talk is a staple of the festival, its keynote address. But every featured guest composer presents it in a different way. Sometimes they delve deep into the intricacies of their scores; sometimes they wax philosophical; and sometimes, as was the case with Frederic Rzewski 10 years ago, they perform. Fujikura’s talk was actually an interview with Kurt Doles, the executive director of the MidAmerican Center. The composer told Doles, and the audience, that he didn’t like watching the horror films, but loved listening to the music. His favorite score…


Not In Our Town renews commitment against hatred

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It wasn’t that long ago when Bowling Green was faced with a decision – quietly ignore racist acts in the city, or face them head-on and declare those acts unwelcome in this community. The community chose the latter. They formed a Not In Our Town movement dedicated to fighting hatred and discrimination. They confronted racial graffiti that had been written on sidewalks, racist tweets that were made about university students, and a local man with ties to known hate groups who was arrested. Rather than bury their heads to the ugly acts, city and university leaders came together to face the hatred and show it would not be tolerated in Bowling Green. The effort took off, engaging more than 12 community organizations and collecting nearly 50,000 pledges from students and community members who understand that hate hurts the entire city and campus. “Out of something bad, came something good,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. On Thursday, those people came together again – this time to celebrate their success and recommit to their cause. This gathering was much different than the early meetings of the fledgling organization. Those were days of doubt and skepticism that community and campus leaders were serious about taking on blatant and covert racist. Now, nearly four years later, the celebration was festive, with cheers, cookies and congratulations. The event included statements read from students who helped start the movement – who are now out moving other communities to do the right thing. One graduate wrote that Not In Our Town changed her life. “I continue to fight for inclusion and diversity to this day,” she wrote. Amanda Dortch, president of the Undergraduate Student Government, said when she and other students graduate, they will take what they have learned with them. “To stand up against hate, against injustice,” she said. “That is what we learned here in Bowling Green. To make the world a better place.” But despite the successes, Bowling Green Not In Our Town members are well aware their work is not over. They got a reminder of that earlier this month when a racial slur was painted on the “spirit rock” near Kreischer Quad on the BGSU campus. Mayor Dick…


BGSU cast delivers heavenly performance of “Evelyn in Purgatory”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nothing is as it seems in the “rubber room.” That’s a room, one of many actually in the New York Public School’s reassignment centers. If you are a teacher who runs afoul of authority, you are sent here while your case works its way through the twisted bowels of the city and union bureaucracy. That can take months. And during that time teachers sit, for work days on end, supervised by a proctor who reports if they are late or absent, left to their own devices, though still subject to the whims of the bureaucracy. That’s the purgatory that Evelyn Reid (Laura Hohman)  arrives in when a student, known to be a liar, reports that she saw the teacher making out with a track star. Evelyn joins the other disaffected denizens of the room. How this bright, young and ambitious teacher changes the dynamic of the room unfolds in “Evelyn in Purgatory.” The Topher Payne play, directed by Cynthia Stroud, opened Thursday  in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in Bowling Green State University’s Wolfe Center for the Arts. The show continues with performances: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday, at 2 p.m.; Oct. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m.; and Oct. 29 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at:  http://www.bgsu.edu/arts-and-sciences/theatre-and-film.html. The script mixes sharp humor and close character observations with drama that darkens along the way. There’s an undertow of unease, not unlike a “Twilight Zone” episode. All this is presented on minimal stage and realized with vivid acting that brings characters, who could lapse into stereotype, to life. Stroud makes sure the audience senses, but never personally experiences the ennui in the room. The room is a soul sucking place. The inmates spend a lot of time in close quarters yet closed off from each other. Evelyn’s arrival changes that. Her energy and eagerness, seem a bit naïve, yet insinuates itself in this place where there is a hierarchy of who sits where. At the top are the caustic English teacher Roberta Burke (Nicole Tuttle) and bullying coach Fred Disalvo (George Ramirez). As the play starts she’s on her third stint in the reassignment center. Better here than in a classroom. She’s fed up with…


Tax charges dog both candidates in race for Ohio House

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN and DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Theresa Gavarone’s attack ads accusing Kelly Wicks of failing to pay his taxes neglect to mention that a family business she is affiliated with is guilty of a similar offense – for even more money. According to the Wood County Clerk of Courts, Gavarone’s business, Lex Loci, was issued a tax lien by the state of Ohio in 2008. “It’s important to set the record straight here: Rep. Gavarone is mudslinging her way through this campaign, when in fact her own family business failed to pay their taxes,” said Aaron Fisher, executive director of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus. “It just doesn’t add up.” Wood County Clerk of Courts records show that one of the businesses owned by Jim and Theresa Gavarone, Mr. Spots, was delinquent in withholding taxes by $864.61 in 2008. A lien was placed on the property by the state at that time. The campaign for Gavarone, a Republican who is currently filling the remainder of the state representative term for Tim Brown, has sent out multiple mailers and is running a television ad accusing Wicks, a Democrat, of failing to pay his taxes. The issue was also raised in a push poll done last August. In the poll, residents were asked their reactions to suppositions about both candidates in the race. Most questions about Wicks were negative. Two of those issues, including the tax issue and Wicks’ support for accepting federal dollars to explore developing passenger train service in the state have figured heavily in the Republican campaign materials. The most recent mailer, this week, states that Wicks “Didn’t pay his taxes. Shouldn’t be in charge of ours.” The ads fail to mention that Wicks missed a mid-year deadline for personal property taxes totaling $148.04 at his business, Grounds For Thought, in downtown Bowling Green. Wood County Treasurer Jill Engle said Wicks filed a tax return in April 2002, and paid half of the taxes owed with the return. The other half was then due in October 2002. The remaining amount, $148.04, was paid on April 21, 2003. The Wood County Auditor’s Office automatically placed a lien on the property in January 2003 when the mid-year deadline was missed. Wicks has said he…


Project Connect provides help with a lasting effect

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Project Connect Wood County is more than a one-day event for those who use its services. The goods and services received can make life better for months, even years, to come. Kathy Hunt and her friend Susanna Herman both use the eye glasses service. Some of the toiletries in the bag that Hunt received will last her months, she said. And she’s planning ahead to the holidays, she was able to put in her request to the Salvation Army for a Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. Even the massage, her favorite part, has a lasting effect. “It works out kinks, align my head it just relaxes you,” she said. She can still feel the effects a month later. “It just makes it so much easier. It’s one of those things worth waiting for.” And she’ll have to wait because being on disability, she certainly cannot afford to pay for regular massages. Hunt has been attending all four years Project Connect has been held. Project Connect is aimed at those homeless or in danger of being homeless. It’s goal is to link up people with needed services, provides dental and eye exams, health screenings services on that day and hot meals. “You get the squares,” Hunt said, as she ate a breakfast of strawberry yogurt and a banana. “They always have great food.” Project Connect was held Wednesday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green. An estimated 300 households received assistance, said Jamie Brubaker, of United Way-Wood County. Project Connect runs on volunteers, about 250, she said said. Hunt planned to spend the entire day there. She makes a point of visiting as many booths as possible because there’s always a new service and information available. Plus, she sees a lot of people she knows. She and Herman are such big supporters they make a point of encouraging others to attend. Hunt distributes flyers throughout their apartment complex. Both have cars so they brought people with them. “As a community project, it’s super,” Hunt said. “Every little bit helps,” Herman said. The eye glasses are a major saving, and she also got herself a new coat. Everyday items such as light bulbs are welcomed. “They’re expensive,” she said. One of…


Gardner disputes ‘tax shift’ as mostly myth not math

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The “tax shift” cited by some in election seasons, is more of a myth than real math, according to State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. “You just hardly ever hear the other side of it,” Gardner said recently. So he decided to provide his own fact checking on the state budget and so-called tax shift. “Sometimes the truth becomes a casualty of the political season. Such is the case in 2016,” Gardner said. Across the state, citizens have been told the “tax shift” has required more schools to place levies on the ballot. Untrue, Gardner said. “In fact, in the past three years, fewer school levies for new operating money have been on Ohio’s ballot than any time in the past 51 years,” Gardner said.  According to the state senator, there have been an average of 42 such levies in the past three years. In 2010, Gov. Ted Strickland’s last year in office, a total of 173 new levies were on the ballot. In every year he was governor, more than 100 new levies were voted on in Ohio. Many people find those stats “unbelievable,” but Gardner pointed out the numbers don’t count bond issues or renewal levies. “There just hasn’t been the need for new operating money for quite some time,” he said, adding that increases in state funding in the past four years have helped many local schools. Of the 38 school districts in his senate district of Wood, Fulton, Lucas, Ottawa and Erie counties, only one district (Port Clinton) has had a net reduction in per pupil state funding in the past four years, and three districts are below the rate of inflation in state aid. A total of 25 districts have received greater than triple the rate of inflation increases in new state funding. Local school districts did lose state funding between 2009 and 2012. According to Gardner, the national recession affected Ohio’s budget and support for schools. Strickland’s last budget cut state revenues to local schools for two years – the first time that had happened in Ohio history – and Governor John Kasich’s first budget experienced similar reductions, Gardner said. “In fairness, for the most part, state aid has not been a partisan issue…


Library board strategizes about strategic plan

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Wood County Library Board is starting to consider revamping its strategic plan in hopes that it helps get a levy passed in November, 2020. The plan would set the library’s course through 2019. Three years ago when the library refreshed its plan, it used minimal outside help. A consultant helped do a community assessment. But at this week’s meeting, board members and Library Director Michael Penrod discussed whether they may want to do a more far-reaching process this time. “Now may be the time,” said board member Chet Marcin, “so we can build toward the levy. If we wait until the year of the levy, you don’t have time to implement it.” Becky Bhaer, board vice president, said she often questioned the use of consultants and wondered if the board could handle the job itself. Some of the data collection can be done in house, Penrod said. After all, they are librarians. Still doing a community survey requires skill in what questions to ask and how to pose them. “I don’t ever want to our strategic plan lightly,” said Board Chair Brian Paskvan, “We are doing well, and we want that to continue.” Much change is afoot in the library world, he added. “We need to look at that to make sure we’re moving forward.” Penrod said he’d do further research into who may be available to hire and at what costs. The board also approved a new dental plan for its employees. The cost of the plan is going up 3 percent to $11,734, of which the library will pay $7,292, or $213 more than last year. The library pays 80 percent of the premium for 17 employees. It does not subsidize the premiums for family members. Also, adult services librarian Michele Raine reported that photographs of events surrounding Bowling Green’s 150th and 175th anniversaries are now available on ohiomemory.org. The photos were donated by Jim and Joan Gordon, and most were taken by Jim Gordon. Raine said to make them more accessible, staff is in the process converting them so they can be posted in an album on the library’s Facebook page.  


BG Schools to arm doors with ‘Boots’ to keep out intruders

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A brutal attack on Rob Couturier’s daughter led the Michigan man to invent a safety system being used in schools around the nation. That system, called the “Boot,” will soon be installed on 344 doors in Bowling Green City Schools. Couturier’s daughter, a petite college freshman, was attacked and almost raped. That was just over six years ago, and he still chokes as he talks about it. “I still remember her face,” Couturier said to the school board Tuesday evening. “She turned to look at me and couldn’t see me. Her face was beat to a pulp.” Couturier knew the perpetrator and located the man shortly after the attack. Couturier tried to break down the door, dislocating his shoulder in the process. He then kicked his way through drywall to get the attacker. He saw the man barricading the door with his boots wedged up against the door. That gave the father an idea. He created the “Boot,” a rectangular-shaped plate of quarter-inch thick industrial steel. With two steel pegs, the plate can withstand 16,000 pounds of pressure and keep doors closed to intruders. But the idea stopped there, with Couturier continuing his job as a school custodian, facilities employee and coach. A couple years later, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Couturier’s daughter called her dad about his invention. “It would have saved every one of those children,” she said to him. “I was so mad, I was only thinking of my daughter,” and not about how his invention could help others, Couturier said. So he resigned his job, sold his summer home, and started working with law enforcement and other security experts on fine-tuning his invention. His mission became keeping kids safe in the event of an intruder. His business, called The Lockdown Co., started making the “Boots” by hand, and has since installed safety equipment in more than 100 public schools and 18 private schools. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci recently saw Couturier make a presentation on the safety equipment, and immediately asked the inventor to walk the local school buildings with him. In addition to arming each door with the “Boot,” Couturier said the rooms need to be labeled more…