BG tries to sweeten smells from sewer plant

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Doug Clark takes it personally when people complain about the foul smells coming from the wastewater plant on the east side of Bowling Green. As superintendent of the Water Pollution Control Plant on Dunbridge Road, Clark is intensely proud of the violation-free operation that treated 2.2 billion gallons of wastewater and stormwater last year. He takes pride in the fact that nearly every step in the treatment is done with biological processes, not chemicals. Improvements at the plant have resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the total solids left from the process – creating a product the EPA has approved for sale to a local landscaper who blends the solids with topsoil and sand. None of the solids are applied to farm fields anymore. The finished liquid product looks like crystal clear water and meets EPA standards as it is sent down Poe Ditch to the Portage River. But there’s one thing that Clark gets prickly about – complaints about the stench from the plant. “It’s pretty amazing,” Clark said as he held up a cup of the clear finished liquid product that was the result of the very complex biological process at the plant. “We get it right a lot more than wrong. Yet the only thing we’re known for is odors every once in awhile.” Clark concedes that the odors are particularly pungent on some days, especially when the wind is coming from the north, sending the smell toward businesses along Dunbridge Road. “Typically, it’s wet heavy mornings when it’s most noticeable,” he said. “It’s those days when you smell it, it’s really bad. There’s no way to know if it’s going to be one of those days.” Though Clark said the staff at the plant does get accustomed to the smells, some days “we do notice it.” The wastewater plant has made several attempts to sweeten the smells emitted. It uses an aerobic digestion process with bacteria that helps consume the waste. “Our job is to provide the best environment for the bacteria to absorb it,” Clark said. “We have done a lot of work” to reduce the odors since Clark took over as superintendent in 2007. To lower the ammonia content, the wastewater is run through filters layered with large rocks, then smaller porous rocks, then root material. That process gets rid of some odors, but “quite frankly, not the most offensive ones.” “We have done just about everything we can,” Clark said. Just about. But now Clark and Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for the city, want to try one more fix. The two recently visited the wastewater plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which uses activated carbon to take out all the remaining odors that aren’t stopped by the aerobic digestion process. “It’s the belts and suspenders part of the equipment that takes care of the odors that get through the biofilter,” O’Connell said. “We’re hopeful it will benefit us the same way.” The price tag to get rid of the annoying smells – $220,000. The money is not in this year’s wastewater treatment budget, but O’Connell said he is looking for other projects that could possibly be put on hold, or funds that could be diverted from other projects. As the city eyes costly improvements…

BGSU grad speakers tell of different paths to success

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Speaking at Commencement ceremonies Saturday morning at Bowling Green State University, ESPN personality Jay Crawford remembered his first college class. It was a speech course that met in South Hall in 1983, and as an exercise the professor asked them to tell the class what they hoped to achieve. The freshman from Sandusky said: “I’m here to be a television sports anchor.” “I had no idea how crazy that sounded, and I’m glad I didn’t,” he told the graduates from the College of Arts and Science. “I heard the chuckles in the back of the room, but I didn’t listen to them.” He cautioned the graduates that for every friend and family member who supports them there will be “many more who will stand between you and what you dream of and what you want the most. Hear those voices but let them fuel you.” So the kid from Sandusky persisted. Armed with a degree in radio, television and film, he went into broadcast. Now the 1987 graduate is at the top of his field as co-host for the midday edition of ESPN’s flagship program “Sports Center.” Crawford has “wildly exceeded the dreams” he had that first day in class at BGSU, he said. Honorary doctoral degree recipient Maribeth Rahe, president and chief executive officer of Fort Washington Investment Advisors, took a less direct route to success. “Career paths are not linear,” she told the graduates. Her mother urged her to go to college to pursue the opportunities denied women of older generations. She graduated in 1970 with a BA in Spanish with a minor in business. She only came to BGSU after first attending Miami University. Rahe’s career sights were not as precisely set as Crawford’s. She wanted to learn Spanish, study abroad and be active on campus. At Miami, she found her choices to study abroad limited. Her sister’s BGSU roommate, though, told her she could study abroad for a full year in Madrid. She transferred and at BGSU got the grounding she needed to pursue a career in finance. “If you like what you do, it does show up in your work and life,” Rahe said. “and if you don’t, seek out another opportunity. … Do not settle for something expedient or what someone else thinks you should do. Trust your own instincts.” Crawford recalled his own graduation 29 years ago. It was the year children television legend Fred Rogers spoke. When the beloved Mister Rogers came to the podium, a student called out a request for the show’s theme song. So Mister Rogers led 2,200 graduates in singing about his neighborhood. “The symbolism of that moment was gripping,” Crawford remembered. Rogers’ speech continues to resonate with Crawford. “The message was to come together all of us as neighbors as friends, as co-workers to interact to enjoy each other company,” he said. Put away your phones when you’re with family and friends, Crawford said. “Share stories. Share laughs. … Don’t lose that part of who we are, we’re all neighbors.” Mister Rogers’ message “works as a mission statement for life: Treat yourself and treat others with respect. Don’t ever forget that.”

Mosaic Consignment Studio in downtown BG to close

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A 60-mile commute and two full time jobs have convinced the owners of a downtown shop to consign the enterprise to their rear view mirrors. Mosaic Consignment Studio will close later this month. Details of the closing are pending. Bill Miller, who owns the shop with his wife, Colleen Miller, said the business was doing fine but “honestly not enough to warrant staying in business.” The couple lives in Trenton, Michigan, and each has a full-time job.  “It got to be a lot to handle,” Miller said. They opened the shop five years ago on the northwest corner of the Four Corners in downtown Bowling Green because of Colleen’s love of fashion. Bill Miller went to graduate school at Bowling Green State University, and they like the city. They were visiting when they saw the space was open. They were surprised there wasn’t already a consignment shop here. Trenton, they said, has three. So they decided to give the business a shot. They’ve enjoyed the business and the shop’s staff and customers. Miller said his involvement is usually outside of business hours. “My wife and the people who work here always glow about the people who come in and the things that come in and out of the shop.” He said in the five years they’ve had some “great people who worked for us.” Still the time had come to close. “It’s a monkey off our backs,” he said. “It’s bittersweet.” Customers bring clothing in to the shop. The items are consigned on a 60-day contract. At the end of that period the consigners can come in to get their share of the sales revenue and pick up what hasn’t sold. Or they can just leave the items in the shop. Clothing left more than 60 days is then sold at a discount. Eventually if it doesn’t sell, it is donated to charity. That’s where anything not sold or retrieved will go when Mosaic closes. The Millers opted not to sell the business and its name. They may want to open the shop up again, Bill Miller said, though probably closer to home. For details on Mosaic’s last days visit:

Here’s some advice – don’t forget Mother’s Day

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Most mothers consider it their duty to pass on wisdom to their offspring. And sometimes, to the annoyance of their children, they repeat that advice to make sure it sticks. Over and over again. So in celebration of mothers and the wisdom they impart, a few people around Bowling Green were asked to share the best and worst advice from their moms. On the younger end of the scale, the advice tended to be more practical. Nine-year-old R.J. Agosti pondered a bit then it came to him. “Well, my mom always tells me to never cross the road without holding an adult’s hand. You could get crushed,” he said. Then he thought a bit more. “When you check out a library book, you should bring it back on time.” Not lifesaving advice, but important just the same. His mom, Cathy Agosti remembered some deeper advice from her own mom. “Always treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s the best advice I got from my mom,” she said. Kevin Guimbellot said his family moved a lot when he was young, so he was always the new kid at school. His mom taught him a valuable lesson in survival. “The best advice she gave me was, if they’re laughing with you, they’re not picking on you,” he said. “So she’s responsible for me being a comedian.” Guimbellot had no trouble recalling the worst advice his mother gave him. “She said, ‘your father knows where he’s going.’ We not only got lost, we got stuck in water.” Tavion Torrez, 9, said his mom has never led him astray. “My mom hasn’t given me any bad advice.” Her best advice? “Ask before grabbing,” which Tavion said he always tries to do. Some people had trouble pinpointing the most memorable advice from their moms. A couple young women declined since they had “complicated relationships” with their moms. “My mother told me motherhood was going to be harder than I thought it was going to be,” and that proved to be right, said Amanda Bryant as she walked with her two children. “But maybe that’s because I have a 3-month-old and a 5-year-old.” Prudence Brott said the best advice from her mom was “to always be kind.” The worst advice – that blue eyeliner looks good. Her mom, Raye Brott, defended that bit of advice as good given its context. “Well, it wasn’t bad in the ‘80s. It was a cool thing.” Raye Brott recalled her mom instilling the belief in unconditional giving without judging. “She always said, what you put out, you get back.” Rick Kern remembered his mother’s words from decades ago when he and his buddies would talk about pretty girls at school. “My mother said, ‘Son, beauty is only skin deep.” To which he said he would reply, “but Mom, ugly goes clear to the bone.” Later in life, though, Kern realized the wisdom in his mom’s words. “At the time, I thought she was totally off base. But she was right.” Difficult though it may be, Tara Bahnsen said she has tried to follow her mom’s advice. “My mom always told me to never go to bed mad. That always stuck with me,” Bahnsen said. “I try to do that…

Adventure therapy to reach out to traumatized kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Children who have gone through traumatic experiences can’t always be reached with traditional therapy alone. So Wood County agencies will soon be trying Adventure Therapy to help children who have faced trauma in their young lives. Wood County Children’s Services has received a $15,000 grant to pay for training in Adventure Therapy, according to Sandi Carsey, Children’s Services director. Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, and Renewed Mind in Perrysburg will provide the therapy, Carsey said. Adventure Therapy will not replace more traditional therapy, but will offer kids aged 12 to 18 a chance to work as a team with other children to do something they may not feel they can’t accomplish, such as climb a rock wall. “Kids will be challenged to do something,” Carsey said. “It will help build up their confidence.” Adventure Therapy, which has been around nearly 20 years, blends experiential activities and evidence-based treatment, according to Janelle LaFond, executive director at Children’s Resource Center. “It won’t be sitting down like talking therapy,” LaFond said. “It will be things that really challenge kids.” “We want to increase their resiliency and their own feelings of confidence,” she said. Adventure Therapy is used primarily with kids who have a traumatic history, such as being removed from their homes and placed in foster care, LaFond said. Children’s Services has found over the years that oftentimes when children age out of foster care they are not prepared to be on their own. This type of therapy could be helpful to them, LaFond said. “This is really the gravy on the potatoes,” she said. LaFond explained that some children, such as those with attention deficit problems, respond best to very structured therapy programs. “But trauma kids, when you put up charts and rules, it doesn’t work as well.” Adventure Therapy is also designed to help children establish trust, social skills, a help seeking behavior. The goal of the therapy is to assess children’s needs and “meet them where they are,” by tailoring activities that engage them and achieve outcomes that will allow them to function more successfully with family, school and work.  

Step in the right direction: South Hall to be renamed for Falcon Flames Mike and Sara Kuhlin

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mike Kuhlin learned his lessons from his wife well, and Bowling Green State University is a beneficiary. Kuhlin met his Falcon Flame, Sara, after graduation when both were working for the university. Kuhlin, a 1968 journalism graduate, told the Board of Trustees Friday that he was the kind of guy who ended up with 50 cents in his checking account at the end of the month. “We were kids who were the first in our families who went to college, also kids who didn’t have a clue what our future was going to hold for us.” This guy from Long Island, New York, married the woman from Ohio, in Prout Chapel in 1971. When they bought a house, Sara Kuhlin took a job at a bank and declared they were going to pay off the mortgage as fast as they could. They did, Kuhlin said. “And we were never in debt again.” Sara died in 2013. At a gathering recently Kuhlin was asked to sum up his life’s philosophy in six words: “Living her values as my own.” Doing that is what has enabled the Kuhlins to contribute to their alma mater. Capping that off will be the naming of the new home for the School for Media and Communication the Mike and Sara Kuhlin Center. (“Kuhlin” is pronounced “Coo-Leen.”)  The building had been South Hall. It is in the final stages of a $24 million make over, including the adding of a new production wing. The center will open this fall. BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey has long insisted that she didn’t want buildings named after directions. Instead of South, East and West halls, the university should have buildings that boast the name of donors. This marks a long step in that direction. The naming is in recognition of the more than $2 million in donations the Kuhlins have made to the university over the years. He said that when the idea of having the building named for him and his late wife he was “bowled over.” “Then I had a lot of reservations about, with all the other names around campus, how does Kuhlin fit into that,” he said. He was convinced when university officials told him they hoped that his action will spur other donors into action. “I am happy to talk to them,” he said of other donors. “I’m excited our gift will go toward the maintenance of that building so we can keep it state of the art,” he told the trustees. BGSU, he said, laid the foundations for his career in corporate communications. As much as the education it was the leadership opportunities through his fraternity, he was BGSU’s Outstanding Greek Man in 1968, and the BG News where he worked as a photojournalist and editor. He retired as Ameritech’s senior director of corporate relations and is now a consultant and is associated with the Voyage Financial Group. But Kuhlin said it wasn’t just his and his wife’s past experience at the university that made him want to donate. He praised the university’s leadership. “Bowling Green has always provided a good education,” he said. “But you’re outperforming yourself now. … This university is going places. It’s being recognize now, and it would not be without your time and…

New BGSU labor agreement gets thumbs up

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The new contract between Bowling Green State University and its faculty union prompted a thumbs up from the chair of the board of trustees and a presidential hug. The trustees approved a three-year contract with the BGSU Faculty Association Friday. This is the second contract between the two sides. This one took months to reach as opposed to years in the first collective bargaining agreement. After signing the contract Board Chair David Levey gave the pact two thumbs up as President Mary Ellen Mazey and Faculty Association President David Jackson hugged Speaking to the board, Allen Rogel, who chairs the Faculty Senate, said that “the environment now compared with three years ago is much better.” The faculty union approved the deal with a 95-percent affirmative vote. “I don’t know anywhere anyone gets 95 percent assent,” said Levey. The contract takes effect on July 1. The contract calls for 3-percent pay increases each year. The contract also includes provisions to give greater security for non-tenure track faculty as well as incentives for faculty who bring external grants to the university. The trustees also took two actions related to provisions in the new contract. They made domestic partners ineligible for coverage under university employees’ health plan. Because of the legality of gay marriage, this provision is no longer needed and equalizes coverage between gay and heterosexual employees. Otherwise, the contract calls for no changes in faculty health benefits. Also the board approved a small adjustment in the cost of faculty parking permits, which will rise $5 in each of the next three years, topping out at $135 for an annual permit. The trustees also approved several other administrative fee increases. That includes an increase of the fee for art students from $85 to $110. Sheri Stoll, chief financial officer, said the fee was necessary to provide enough money to upgrade some of the high tech work stations in the Wolfe Center. These stations are actually each a server. Those servers have a five-year life, and the current fee does not provide enough money to replace them. Trustees also approved a $9 per semester Student Media Fee to help support the BG News, WBGU-FM and TV 2. Students will be able to opt out of paying the fee. The fee will generate about $225,000 a year if 75 percent of students participate. That’s a participation rate similar to other optional fees. Also, $12.50 per credit hour fees will be assessed for upper level undergraduate courses in the College of Business and the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. The funds generated by the business fee will, according to the university press release, “help the college attract and retain high-caliber faculty as well as support high-impact student experiences such as the Business Accelerator lab course, the Bloomberg lab and the Career Accelerator Center.” The fee is expected generate $369,000. The College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering fee will “help support the small class sizes necessary for some courses and the specialized equipment and technology needed.” It’s expected generate $67,000. Trustee Fran Voll, attending his last meeting, said during the Financial Affairs/Facilities Committee meeting: “One thing I won’t miss is these fees we keep adding on. … I don’t know where the end of it is. It’s…

Communities caught in middle of tax tug-of-war

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Ohio Gov. John Kasich boasts about digging the state out of a deficit and cutting taxes, local government officials see little to brag about. To them, the state’s strategy was not tax cuts, but “tax shifts,” putting the burden onto municipal, township and county governments. The changes in tax revenue have affected every community in Wood County. On the larger side, Bowling Green has lost $964,764 in annual income, and Perrysburg has lost even more at $1,154,451. On the smaller side, Pemberville lost $43,924 a year, Weston lost $41,335, and Haskins lost $5,368, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. “This is putting the pressure on communities to raise those taxes,” said Kent Scarrett, director of communications for the Ohio Municipal League. “The state says we are cutting taxes left and right,” Scarrett said. “The fact is, that burden is put on local communities.” The three changes made by the state are: Elimination of Ohio estate tax, which is also called the “death tax.” Eighty percent of this money had gone to local communities. Bowling Green lost an estimated $382,848 a year. Big cuts in the state’s Local Government Fund, which made up sizeable portions of county, municipal and township budgets. The LGF was created during the Depression when the sales tax was enacted to share money with grassroots government. Bowling Green lost $563,480 a year. Elimination of local property taxes on business machinery and inventory, also called the CAT tax. The state had a planned phase out of the tax over a period of time, but hastened the cuts. Bowling Green lost $18,436 a year. Those cuts have some communities struggling to keep vital services, such as fire stations open, and are considering more reductions in city services, Scarrett said. “That’s the disconnect that’s going on,” he said. “You’re just shifting the burden.” Across the state, communities are trying four main strategies to handle the funding cuts, according to Scarrett. The first is natural attrition, “especially in safety areas like police and fire,” he said. “A lot of communities aren’t filling those positions.” Next is increasing fees and service charges, for such items as trash pickup, utilities or permits. More communities are also looking at reducing or eliminating tax credits for residents who work outside the municipality. And finally, “the last resort many communities look for” – tax increases, Scarrett said. The state initiated the tax changes to help deal with an $8 billion budget deficit in 2010. The state was suffering from a depressed economy and reduced revenue. But so were local communities, Scarrett said. “For five years, our folks had already been working through this. Our folks were already trying to find reductions.” “Our communities know that more economic activity raises revenues,” he said. But attracting economic activity is difficult for communities when their funding is cut. Scarrett suggested that since Ohio has recovered from its deficit, and has more than $2 billion in its rainy day fund, that it’s time to start sharing the wealth with grassroots government again. “Our communities are strapped,” he said. Grants are not the solution, as some state leaders believe, Scarrett said. Many communities don’t have the matching funds required to secure grants. They need funding “without strings.” “Putting more grants out…

College of Education honors Dr. G for her student-centered theater education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Matt Webb knew of Jo Beth Gonzalez’s teaching mostly through his daughters’ experience in theater at Bowling Green High School. Katie is a high school junior who is in the improv troupe and in one acts, and the other, Liz, is a college junior who danced in the musicals. As students involved in theater they worked closely with Dr. G, who has taught theater at the school for 22 years. Neither girl, their father said, is a star, but both felt the drama teacher had a positive influence on them. His younger daughter told him that Dr. G was always preparing them for life. So when, in his role as the director of student and academic services in the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, Webb received an email asking for nominations for the college’s Educator of the Year award, he decided to submit her name. First he reached out to Gonzalez and asked for her curriculum vitae.  He learned the details, about the ground-breaking productions, the award-winning shows, two books. “I realized how stellar she is.” This week Gonzalez received the honor given to outstanding alumni and gave the keynote address to about 350 graduates of the college during their Capstone Day activities. As nominee, Gonzalez had to go through an interview process, almost like getting hired for a job. “It was a little nerve wracking,” she said in a recent interview. And she had to respond to a question, she hadn’t prepared for: What is the greatest challenge facing the nation and how does she address it in her work? The problem: The disparity in the quality of education people receive depending on where people live. Her solution: “We need to teach or social equity and social justice… that there’s injustice in all facets of our country.” She continued: “I teach in a way that alters the power structure. So I’m not the power center.” She makes her classes student centered in order “to teach students to collaboratively make decisions.” In productions, she said, that means bucking the star system and making “the ensemble completely integral to the work,” even in musicals. It also means, Gonzalez said, making sure students understand that some people have more privilege than others. She starts with herself. Being up front that being a white, middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual gives her an advantage in life. “I feel students who are marginalized appreciate somebody recognizing their own privilege,” she said. “Other kids, it makes them think. … We don’t do that enough.” Not that there isn’t resistance. In a public speaking class, one student argued against the concept of white privilege and said that society is too concerned with matters of social justice. “I think it’s important,” Gonzalez said, “for kids to be able to express their opinions. … I’m not going to censor them.” They do need to support them and express them well, she said. That makes them examine what they believe more closely. After being named the BGSU Educator of the Year, she had homework, preparing the Capstone Day keynote address. In that talk, she reflected on her own path. She attended BGSU as an undergraduate because it was a distance from her home in northeast Ohio. She didn’t set out…

Two BG students charged for bringing knives to school

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two Bowling Green students face charges after bringing knives to their schools this week. The first knife was discovered at Bowling Green Middle School on Monday, according to BG Police Major Justin White. An officer was on routine foot patrol at the school when the assistant principal notified the officer that a student was found with a fixed blade knife. School officials searched the 13-year-old boy’s locker and found another knife in his bookbag. The student reportedly told school officials he had the knives at school “for defensive purposes.” “We had no indication he made any threats,” White said. The boy was taken to the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with conveyance of a weapon in a school safety zone. The second knife was found Tuesday when the father of the alleged victim called police to report that his 10-year-old son had been threatened by another 10-year-old with a knife. The victim told police that he and another 10-year-old boy were walking home from Conneaut Elementary School and engaging in an ongoing argument. The alleged victim said the other boy threatened him by showing him the knife and saying something like, “I’m going to get you,” White said. During the investigation, police discovered that the boy with the fold-out pocket knife had the weapon at school, with a school official reporting that they saw the knife when the student left school. The boy has been charged with aggravated menacing and having a weapon in a school safety zone. He was also taken to the juvenile detention center. No one was injured in either incident. The police are working with school administration, which will handle any school discipline. “Kids are making poor decisions,” White said. “They are potentially affecting the rest of their lives.”

Health district to build dental center that won’t turn away uninsured

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Health District has given local residents something to smile about. The district’s Health and Wellness Center has been awarded $824,997 to build a dental center to serve Wood County residents regardless of their ability to pay, according to Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The district had applied for two projects, one to build a new center and one to renovate existing meeting rooms. The new center was funded. There is also still a chance the health district will receive funds to help pay for dental staffing needs. The health district has been trying for decades to address dental needs. “This is a huge leap forward in meeting this,” Batey said. “It truly will be a benefit to our residents who are uninsured for dental or who have Medicaid, but can’t find a dental provider who will accept them as patients. It will be a whole new challenge, but we look forward to continuing to expand services to give our residents the greatest options for good health.” The dental clinic will be an expansion of the existing Health and Wellness Center that is part of the health district offices at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The dental clinic will have at least four patient chairs and will offer full services. “Just like your typical dental office,” Batey said. “It’s very exciting,” said Diane Krill, CEO of the health and wellness center. Krill said the need for dental services is great. “I just think with the community health assessment, it showed there was a dental need here.” Many Wood County families cannot afford dental care for their children, or cannot find dental offices willing to accept Medicaid patients. “We still see a lack of access for those individuals,” Batey said last year. “That’s still a spot where Wood County struggles.” About a decade ago, local officials who cared about public health and about children met at the county health department to discuss the lack of dental care for local children. At that point there was one dentist in the county who freely accepted Medicaid patients. The problem wasn’t an easy fix with a clear culprit. Dentists are reimbursed at a lower rate by Medicaid than through private insurance. And the Medicaid patients often have significant dental needs because they have delayed treatment due to the expense. “That’s the first thing people put off,” Batey said. They wait till the pain is unbearable, and the cost is escalated. Since then, the county has offered a Band-Aid solution that has been a lifesaver to some residents. Once a month, the Smile Express parks its RV-size mobile dental unit outside the Wood County Health District to treat patients who otherwise would go without care. Though it has made a difference in many lives, it is just scratching the surface of the unmet dental needs in the county. Every time the health district conducts an assessment of the county, the lack of dental services for low income residents ranks high on the list of needs. “It’s an issue of access to care. They don’t have dental insurance and they can’t afford the out of pocket expenses,” Batey said. Wood County is not alone. Last year, dental care was the top unmet health care…

Community ride promotes need for improvements for bicyclists

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Thursday’s community bike ride is more than a pedal to the park. The organizers have some serious points to make about the need to make Bowling Green a better place for bicycling.               The second Community Ride will begin Thursday at 5 p.m. at the fountain in front of the Administration Building on the Bowling Green State University campus.  The riders will head west toward downtown, traveling eventually to Main Street, before reaching their destination, the green space at the corner of Church and West Wooster streets. The first ride came after Lily Murnen, president of the Environmental Service Club, was talking to Rick Busselle, a BGSU faculty member and bicyclist. Busselle was upset by a couple incidents. A student was struck while bicycling near the CVS on East Wooster Street, and then was ticketed for riding on the sidewalk. Busselle himself took a spill while trying to navigate past that spot. His accident occurred in part because he was unsure at what point cyclists were allowed to ride on sidewalks. The city lacks both clarity in the rules governing bicyclists and the bike lanes needed to make riding in the city safer, he said. Yet, the city officials didn’t really seem to think it was a problem. He and Murnen discussed a mass bike riding event. These can involve a large group of bicyclists taking over the streets and, at times, violating traffic laws. Instead they decided that it would be best to have the bicyclists adhere to the rules of the road, which in some instances may cause a greater inconvenience to drivers. People, Murnen said, feel safer navigating the city’s streets in groups. Murnen was in charge of putting together a list of events for Earth Week, so she decided a community ride would fit right in. The first ride attracted 25 riders, despite a change in the day of the ride. Murnen said the ride attracted “a really nice mix” of students, faculty and community members. The 25-minute ride went west on Wooster, turned right onto North Grove, left on Conneaut, right onto Fairview, right onto West Merry, right onto North Main Street and then proceeded to the Four Corners, where the group took a right onto Wooster and then a left on South Grove and the green space. The route, Murnen said, was designed to minimize left turns, but also to travel through populated areas and downtown to get some visibility. The response the riders received from people along the route, she said, was positive. Thursday’s route will be similar, maybe with another loop added, she said. She and Busselle would like to keep the rides going. Murnen who will be in town until July said she’d like to see others step up to organize it. It could be done by a group, she said. She like the riders to sit down with Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission to hash out ideas. Busselle said he hopes the rides bring attention to the city’s need for bicycle lanes and streets that are safe for bicycles, cars and pedestrians. “The goal is bike lanes.” More also needs to be done to improve bicycle safety in the area around the high school and middle school,…

Four file for empty seat on BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Four people are hoping to make the grade as the new member of the Bowling Green Board of Education. Filing for the seat are: Bill Clifford, retired Wood Lane superintendent; Joanna Craig, a parent in the district; Barbara Moses, a retired BGSU professor; and Bryan Wiles, a pastor in the community. The four are seeking to fill the seat vacated by Ed Whipple, who had served on the school board since 2014, but had to resign when he accepted a position in higher education out of state. The board candidates will all be interviewed by the board of education this evening. According to Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci, the board intends to announce its decision on May 12, then swear in the new board member at the board meeting on May 17. The board is required to make an appointment within 30 days of the vacancy. If the board fails to fill the vacancy within 30 days, the probate court must fill the seat. Moses ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Ed 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. At the last board of education meeting, Scruci emphasized the importance of the board position. “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.” Those interested in being appointed to the board had to submit a letter of interest by April 29, 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. The eligibility requirements to apply are few, with the applicants needing to be registered voters and residing in the school district. The new board member will fill the remainder of Whipple’s term, which ends December 2017.

BG honors Tim Dunn for going to bat for kids, and police officer for helping save life

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green honored two people Monday evening – a man who has spent several summers giving kids the chance to play ball, and a police officer who help save the life of overdose victim. Tim Dunn, or “Mr. Baseball” as the mayor called him, was recognized for more than 40 years working to grow Little League in Bowling Green. Dunn started on the grounds crew in the early 1970s, moved into the role of umpire, and then worked his way up to leadership in the baseball program, Mayor Dick Edwards said. Dunn was instrumental in moving the former Pee Wee ball park from its two diamonds off Mercer Road, to Carter Park where it had room to grow. The ball fields have room for beginning T-ball players to adults who don’t want to give up America’s national pastime. The well-maintained fields at Carter Park have become “a regional attraction,” with several teams traveling to Bowling Green for tournaments, Edwards said. “You have clearly been the driving force,” the mayor said to Dunn. Several of the council members had personal stories to share about the ball fields and Dunn’s involvement. Council president Mike Aspacher said he has spent a lot of time at the ball park. “A number of families and a number of kids have been affected in a positive way by BG baseball and Tim Dunn,” he said. Every spring, the ball park seems to be on automatic reset and ready for kids to step up to the plate. “That’s because all of the work Tim does behind the scenes,” Aspacher said. “The city of Bowling Green is a better place because of his efforts.” Council member Bob McOmber said his son starting play ball out at the park at age 9. He continued, “till they tore the uniform off of him.” “He’s made Bowling Green a better place for a lot of kids,” McOmber said of Dunn. Like many parents watching games in the bleachers, council member Theresa Charters Gavarone said she spent many a cold, windy night out at Carter Park. “It was a great experience,” for the kids playing ball, she said. Council member Sandy Rowland said her grandchild played ball at Carter Park and loved the experience. “You play a major role in making the community the fine place it is.” Public Works Director Brian Craft, who coached kids’ teams at Carter Park, said the ballplayers didn’t know how good they had it till they traveled to other ballparks and found there was no running water, no restrooms, no concession stand. They quickly realized how lucky they were to have Carter Park. “Hats off to you, Tim,” Craft said. Dunn accepted the award, but passed on the credit to all the volunteers, coaches and parents who help run the league. He also thanked businesses for helping out with everything from heavy equipment to prep the fields, to food, to fundraising. As he looked out at those in the council chambers Monday evening, Dunn saw many people who helped coach, helped in the concession stand or cheered for teams during the last four decades. “It’s been a challenging, but fun 40 years,” Dunn said. “We have a great story out there” at Carter Park, he said. “It’s just…

Old tunes find new listeners at concert for young & young at heart

With an audience made up largely of kids age 4 through 7, the line between moving to the music and fidgeting is pretty fine. It didn’t matter that the music was not only before their time – because everything is before their time – but before their parents’ time, and likely even before their grandparents’ time. The beat was good. A few youngsters broke out the dance steps, a few swayed in rhythm in their seats and a few fidgeted. Teachers know the difference. For its Young and Young at Heart concert Friday, the Bowling Green bands threw open the doors of the Performing Arts Center to senior citizens and pre-school, kindergarten and first graders from Kenwood, Conneaut and Crim. The older listeners mostly took up the back rows, while the front of the house was packed with kids, and their outnumbered teachers. After some preludes on marimba, the concert got underway with the high school’s jazz band, the Jazz Cats. Their short set was devoted to swing classics from the 1930s and 1940s. But what’s 70 years when one of the songs is named “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which is deliciously funny to say. During the switch between the Jazz Cats and Symphonic Band, Band Director Bruce Corrigan demonstrated how that bugle boy blew those notes. More funny sounds, more laughs. Corrigan knew his audience. Then the Symphonic Band stepped forward with Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” a fantasy on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” then a bit of musical magic, a piece featuring a flute solo by Lilly Rakas, and a musical tribute to bugs that included a couple of comically cavorting butterflies. The time just flew until the show ended up in a galaxy a long time ago. First graders trooped up to the stage to take positions within the band, and don the visages of Stormtroopers, Ewoks and Wookiees. Then with their masked associates at their feet,  the musicians played music from “Star Wars,” a preview of a May 10 at 7 p.m. concert when the winds will join the string orchestra to play music from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Now it was time for the youngsters to troop out to waiting buses, and for the elders to convene in the atrium for cookies… sorry, kids. Emma Cook was on hand with her husband and two young grandchildren. The youngsters’ sister, who was there with her class, encouraged them to attend Cook was more than willing to make the outing. She has fond memories of being in band and choir in Bowling Green High and Otsego. It helped her, she said, when she went on to Bowling Green State University and studied to be a teacher. These musical programs are valuable, she said. Concerts show young kids what they’ll be able to do when they get older. “Kids need to be introduced to different types of music.” The school programs offer plenty of opportunities for expanding young people’s musical horizons, Cook said. She brought another granddaughter to see the musical “Footloose.” “She was mesmerized.”