BGSU grad Steve Hanson has stories to tell about the art & business of making “The Prophet”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Hanson returns to Bowling Green State University, he will have stories to tell about telling stories. His story as a multimedia entrepreneur starts with his time at BGSU. “Bowling Green taught me how to think, how to tell a story,” the 1975 graduate said in a recent telephone interview. As a photojournalism major that education included late night calls from Professor Jim Gordon. Hanson, then photo editor of the Key, lived with Joe Darwal, then photo editor of The BG News. When Gordon called it wasn’t just to say hello, it was usually to deliver blunt critiques of their most recent work. “It is that kind of mentoring that takes us to a different level,” he said. Hanson will participate in Bravo! BGSU Saturday in the Wolfe Center for the Arts Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. For tickets, call 419-372-6780. He’ll show excerpts from the film “The Prophet,” which he produced, from 7:30 to 8 in the Donnell Theatre. (See related story: Then on Sunday he’ll kick off the university’s E-Week activities with a screening of “The Prophet” at 8 p.m., also in the Donnell. On Monday, he’ll discuss the making of the film at a Lunch and Learn session from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in The David J. Joseph Company Business Hub on the second floor of the College of Business. The first stirrings of the film began back in his undergraduate days. That’s when he read Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran’s inspirational book “The Prophet.” It was a time of great turmoil,” Hanson said, and as a photojournalist he was in the middle of it. He remembers digging a hole to look like a bomb crater to illustrate a story. He was also a pioneer. Working with Gene Poor, he had a “self-proclaimed” minor in visual communications. This was before the days of the Department of Visual Communications Technology. This served him well as he moved from photojournalism into multi-media production. The change is not so radical. It’s all about storytelling, he said. That may be a story about how to be a better employee or why you should insulate your house with Owens-Corning’s signature pink insulation. “Those are all stories,” he said. Some of those industrial productions cost in the seven figures to make, he said. None was on the scale, however, of an internationally distributed feature-length film. Some 30 years after graduating from BGSU, and having first read “The Prophet,” one of the top selling books of all time, Hanson learned that no one had ever secured the film rights. “I really felt this book was a story that needed to be told in a way that hadn’t been done,” he said. So the long journey to bring “The Prophet” to the big screen began. The rights were held by Gibran’s sister, and it took six years to secure them. Despite the size and complexity of the undertaking, Hanson relied on the same methods he used for all his Hanson Inc. projects. “We had a nice kind of chunk of experience working for great clients and crafting their message,” he said. “The premise of sourcing the right people at the right time is the pretty much the same no matter what you’re doing. I’ve always surrounded myself…

Scholar puts feminist spin on issues of sports & fitness

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Scholar Pirkko Markula’s talk Monday at Bowling Green State University on “Women’s Empowerment Through Sport and Exercise: Rhetoric or Reality?” revolved around pole dancing, or pole fitness, as it has come to be called. The exercise, popularized in strip clubs, has become a popular form of fitness training for women. Markula opened her talk with positive comments about the activity by one of her students and testimonials from those who participate in pole workouts. The student reported that it helped build her self-confidence as someone who had “overwhelming dissatisfaction with my own body.” This led Markula, who is a professor at the University of Alberta, to wonder: “Pole fitness may be an avenue by which women can develop and maintain positive body image as a result of an environment that emphasizes body acceptance and the body’s abilities.” Still the exercise, with its emphasis on shaping the woman’s body in a stereotypical form that appeals to men, is problematic. At the conclusion of the lecture, Leda Hayes, a graduate student in American Culture Studies, asked the speaker if the popularity of pole fitness could lessen the stigma on those working in the sex industry. Markula said she, contrary to what some believe, considers the sex industry harmful to women, and she wondered why women would choose the particular form of exercise to do. There are other forms of pole exercise, including one practiced in China, that are not sexualized and provide the same benefits. Pole fitness, like female sports and fitness in general, is fraught with issues about social expectations and norms, about empowerment and submission to social stereotypes. Pole fitness “reflects the multi-meanings of feminism for today’s active women,” she said. In her talk, Markula explored the theoretical responses to sports and fitness. Liberal feminists, she said, advocate for inclusion in sports. “Women are liberated when barriers are lifted.” They advocated for Title IX that opened up participation of women in school sports. They pushed for greater inclusion of women in the Olympics. Nearly half the athletes at the last Olympics were women. However less than 3 percent of the media coverage was about women. “Equality,” Markula said, “has not been achieved.” Critical feminists, Markula said, contend that liberal feminism fails because it does not challenge the underlying structure. Women may be tennis players, swimmers, soccer players, boxers or weight lifters, but the media coverage still emphasizes their personal lives, their mates and how they deal with motherhood, not their athletic accomplishments. And the emphasis remains on those who are white and middle class and possess “the thin, toned sexy femininity attractive to men” as opposed doing those with more muscular physiques. Liberal feminists, Markula said, were accused of doing too little to challenge the social structures “that keep male dominance in place.” Post-feminism “actively works to undo feminism while simultaneously appearing to be involved in a well-informed and well-intentioned response to it,” Markula said.  “It’s a sensibility that combines feminist and anti-feminists themes.” From feminists, post-feminists adopt the language of empowerment. Yet the empowerment is tied to the notion that being fit is to conform the same “hetero-normative” body image. One fitness magazine promises not just a sexy body but “a body built for sex.” Women are challenged to actively participate in their…

Students to clean up reputations and neighborhoods at same time

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BGSU students often get trashed for not being good neighbors to full-time city residents. In an effort to clean up their reputations and their neighborhoods at the same time, an Adopt a Block program is being started with the help of the City-University Relations Commission. Danielle Parker, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government at Bowling Green State University, said the program will help students connect with the community. “This is a new and exciting way for students to give back, besides dropping off some canned goods and walking away,” Parker said. The program will work somewhat like the larger scale “Adopt a Highway” effort. Ten “blocks” have been established by the City-University Relations Commission. Student groups will be asked to adopt an area then head out once a month and pick up trash in the medians. The trash will then be disposed of in the dumpsters behind the city fire station and electric division on Thurstin and Court streets. The 10 “blocks” up for adoption are: North Enterprise from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Summit from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Prospect from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. East Court Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Pike Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Ridge Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Merry Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Reed Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Area bordered by Wooster, Biddle, Clough and South College. Area bordered by Wooster, South Enterprise, Clough and South Prospect. “Students will go out and take care of that block,” Parker explained to the City-University Relations Commission Tuesday evening. Each student group will have a community member contact, according to Julie Broadwell, a member of the commission. A “soft launch” of the program is planned for April, with the official start to be this fall when students arrive back to campus. If the program proves successful, with students showing commitment, the city could create signage recognizing the work of the cleanup organizations, according to Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. “It’s important that citizens see student organizations are picking up trash. You get beat up all the time for trash,” said Rev. Tom Mellott, a member of the commission.

Scooby Doo, Chief Wiggum, Professor Snape get votes for Wood County sheriff

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some people take voting very seriously. Others, not so much. Some apparently see it as an opportunity to show their creative side. In the primary election earlier this month, Wood County residents voting on the Democratic ballot were given the chance to fill in a write-in candidate for sheriff. Retired deputy Ruth Babel-Smith was running as a write-in candidate, but many voters were thinking way outside the box. Some voters at least stuck with people with law enforcement experience – however questionable it might be. Getting one vote each were Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy from Mayberry RFD; Chief Wiggum, the lazy incompetent police chief in The Simpsons, and Roscoe P. Coltrane, the corrupt sheriff from the Dukes of Hazzard. “I was just disappointed Boss Hogg didn’t get it,” said Mike Zickar, of the Wood County Board of Elections. A few cartoon type characters garnered single votes like Alfred E. Newman, of Mad magazine covers; Fred Flintstone, of the prehistoric town of Bedrock; and Scooby Doo, the canine with the mystery solving gang of meddling kids. Mickey Mouse got 4 votes – 5 if you count the voter who just wrote “Mickey.” Garnering one vote was Disney’s Sheriff Callie, an animated cat who rides a blue pony enforcing the “Cowpoke Code” in the Old West. Some voters went big, writing national political figures like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Some preferred to stay local, casting votes for Chip Myles, of Myles Pizza; Daniel Gordon, a Bowling Green councilman; and Jim Weinandy, a local attorney. A few voters put their confidence in celebrity figures who had proven their power on stage or screen, such as Professor Snape, from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts; Jean-Luc Picard, captain on Star Trek: The Next Generation; and shock rocker Alice Cooper. Some write-ins had pizzazz, but seemed to lack any political seriousness, like Hypnotoad, the large toad with oscillating eyes and a droning hum from Futurama; Vermin Supreme, a presidential candidate who wears a wizard hat and long beard, and promises free ponies; and Deez Nutz, a satirical presidential candidate. By the way, Mr. Supreme and Mr. Nuts got two write-in votes each. Some voters preferred the more literate types, writing down George Orwell, author of Animal Farm; Hunter Thompson, of gonzo-journalism fame; and Rosa Clemente, community organizer and hip hop activist. A handful of voters revisited the past, writing down Ross Perot, former sheriff John Kohl, and former sheriff candidate Mark Hummer. A few citizens were noncommittal, just writing “Anyone Else,” “No Ass Hole,” “Nobody” and “Someone who isn’t racist.” Some voters did write in Ruth Babel-Smith’s name, and many came close to it. The variations included Barbara Baden-Smith, Ruth Ann Baker, Julie J. Babel Smith, Ruth Bayless, Ruth Bobel, Ruth Smith and Ruth Smith-Something. Zickar said traditionally the board of elections is generous with awarding write-in votes, as long as the spelling is close to accurate. “We’ve always had a pretty liberal interpretation,” he said. The Republican candidate for sheriff is lucky he didn’t have to rely on write-in votes, since his last name is Wasylyshyn. Most who wrote his name on the Democratic ballot really butchered it, spelling it Vosalitipn, Wasalong, Wasilishin, Vishlimn, Waskyu and Wassm, to list a few.    

Gloria Gajewicz honored for home grown science teaching skills

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green teacher Gloria Gajewicz was inspired through her career by her own teachers, and further by her mother’s pursuit of education. So it is fitting that she should receive an award named for the late Neil Pohlmann, an educator and BGSU professor who left his mark on science education. Earlier this month Gajewicz won the first Neil Pohlman Award given by Bowling Green State University at the spring conference of the Northwest Ohio School Boards Association meeting. Patrick Pauken, director of the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy, said the award “is given in recognition of valuable contribution to Educational Administration and Leadership Studies at BGSU.” Gajewicz is working on her doctorate in the program. The award carries a scholarship. Pauken wrote: “The faculty selected Gloria for the award because of her endless dedication to teaching, learning, and leading in our schools. She is an excellent graduate student, as well, inspiring her classmates with her professional stories of student success. Our classrooms and schools are special places, indeed, with teachers and leaders like Gloria Gajewicz.” Gajewicz has taught science for 20 years, the last 16 at her alma mater, Bowling Green High School where she teaches biology and honors physical science. Finishing her second semester of what she expects will be a four-year process, Gajewicz’s goal is to become a curriculum specialist with her particular interest in science. She said she was inspired to pursue science by the many great science teachers she had in the Bowling Green system. That included Roger Mazzarella, “the wizard of Mazz,” in seventh grade and Bob Rex in eighth. In high school she had Bev Anthony for chemistry and Beth Snook for biology. “I had awesome science teachers all the way through,” she said. And she was pleased that when she started teaching in Bowling Green, Anthony was still on staff so she had “one of my inspirational teachers as a colleague.” “They definitely inspired me to do something in science,” she said. Her inspiration to go into teaching came even closer to home. While she was in high school her mother, Randye Kreischer, went to BGSU to get her education degree. She worked at Woodlane for 25 years. “It was interesting to see her do that,” Gajewicz said. “Having watched her go through that process inspired me to become a teacher.” She got her undergraduate degree at BGSU, and then got her master’s in environmental biology from an Antioch College satellite campus in New Hampshire. “It had an awesome program,” she said. She took a break from teaching and devoted herself to getting her masters, then returned to Ohio. As a teacher she believes strongly in a hands-on approach.  “I use modeling instruction. It really flips things around,” Gajewicz said. Instead of giving students the equation and then sending them home to work out a set of problems, “I start with a lab. We try to pick it apart.” That approach “gives them not just math skills, but problem solving skills, higher order thinking.” She doesn’t believe in teaching to “the big state test.” Instead she believes if students have the analytical skills they can tackle unfamiliar material. “I’m more interested in the skills. It takes them further.” The students work at white boards in peer review…

Calico, Sage & Thyme turns over new leaf as founder retires, new owner steps in

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Customers of the retail institution Calico, Sage & Thyme will have plenty to celebrate in April. They’ll be able to wish proprietor Barbara Rothrock a happy retirement after 41 years operating the store. And they’ll enjoy a sale marking her retirement. Customers will also be able to welcome a new owner for the shop, Lisa Palmer, who is buying the business. The business, on the corner of South Main and Clay streets in downtown Bowling Green, had been slated to close when Rothrock’s previous efforts to find a buyer fell through. Palmer will take over as of April 29. She said she plans both to maintain the venerable business’ character, and add her own touches, including selling more arts and crafts on consignment. “I want to leave as much the same as possible,” Palmer said. “She has such a great following for the cards, children’s books, jewelry, teas and spices. All of that I plan to keep.” Palmer has been considering opening a shop for a couple years, and when she found that Calico, Sage & Thyme was still for sale, she decided to make an offer. She has worked in her husband’s business, Jim Palmer Excavating. Her only experience in retail goes back to working at Kmart when she was in high school. That’s no deterrent to success. All she has to do is look to Rothrock. She had little retail experience when she opened the shop in 1975. It grew from her love of herbs and necessity. She was a secondary school teacher when she moved to Bowling Green with her family. The State of Ohio would not recognize her Wisconsin teaching credentials. Faced with returning to school, she headed in a new direction. Back in Kansas where she earned her master’s degree in American diplomatic history, she’d maintained an herb garden. “I’ve always liked to cook.” In Northwest Ohio, she got involved in the fledgling Maumee Valley Herb Society, and grew herbs at her home on Buttonwood Avenue. She even started selling some. She also made herb blends, tea and potpourris. She sold those during sidewalk sales in downtown, and she and some friends held a Christmas bazaar for two weeks in a former church building on Church Street. All this proved valuable market research. “It gave us an idea of what would sell,” she said, “because that was the core of the business.” She had the help of a number of friends, her neighbor and Wilma Paulvir, who worked at the shop for 25 years, and Sue Clark, Sue Crawford and Sue Pugh. It was Clark’s husband, Bob, who suggested the “calico,” be part of the name. During the height of celebrations of the nation’s Bicentennial, there was demand for the traditional cloth, Rothrock said. She sold clothing made from calico as well as calico by the yard. Calico, Sage & Thyme, was just close enough to evoke the name of the Simon and Garfunkel hit song. While she had much help, Rothrock said, she always operated as a sole proprietorship. The skills she needed as a teacher served her well as a business owner: good organization, planning, and record keeping. “I don’t do lesson planning anymore, but I sure block out what we’re going to do for the…

Health survey: More Wood County residents have insurance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Wood County residents need to exercise more and eat fewer unhealthy foods. On the bright side, more of them have health insurance now to cover their medical needs. Every three years, Wood County has its overall health tested by the health district. Data was collected last year from health surveys mailed to a random sample of Wood County adults and students. A total of 513 adults and 489 adolescents responded to the surveys. The surveys showed some good and bad trends. “We did get a little better among adults,” but a little worse for adolescents with obesity and weight issues, according to Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist with the Wood County Health District. So reducing obesity is one of the priorities set in the new Community Health Improvement Plan. “It’s not going to be solved overnight,” Rittwage said. “It’s going to take decades.” Last year’s assessment also showed that more local adults have never smoked, and fewer youth are smoking. Some “major spikes” were seen in mental health issues among youth, with larger numbers purposefully hurting themselves and contemplating suicide. “Those are areas definitely to pay attention to,” Rittwage said. But a good trend was seen with health insurance. “A lot of people ended up having health care coverage,” compared to previous surveys, Rittwage said. Based on the survey results, Wood County agency partners set priorities as: Decreasing obesity. Increasing mental health services. Decreasing violence and bullying among youth. Increasing health care access and utilization. “Those are areas where we as partners can work together to make an impact on,” Rittwage said. Some interesting data found in Wood County 2015 Community Health Assessment for adults: Health care coverage 94 percent of adults have health insurance coverage. Since 2012, the number of uninsured adults in the county has decreased from 15 percent to 6 percent. Specifically, of Wood County adults, 95 percent have medical coverage, 90 percent have prescription coverage, 74 percent have dental, and 65 percent have vision coverage. Half of adults visit a health care provider for routine checkups. 68 percent travel outside Wood County for health care services. Heart health One in four have high blood pressure. One in four will die from heart disease or stroke. Obesity 58 percent engage in some type of physical activity or exercise for at least 30 minutes on three or more days per week. 64 percent are obese or overweight. 93 percent of adults do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Cancer 12 percent have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Leading cancers are skin (35 percent), prostate (19 percent), breast (14 percent) and cervical (14 percent). The assessment collected the following data on youth in grades 6 through 12: Mental health of youth 16 percent have seriously considered attempting suicide. 23 percent have purposefully hurt themselves. 9 percent of females and 6 percent of males have attempted suicide. One in four feel sad or hopeless almost every day. Obesity in youth One in three are obese or overweight. 13 percent eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Sexual behavior of youth 27 percent have had sexual intercourse. 6 percent had four or more sexual partners. 7 percent engaged in intercourse without a…

Amidst green water woes, BG water gets gold star

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The recent Waterkeeper conference on the health of Lake Erie spread plenty of blame around for the conditions that turn the water green and make it unsafe to consume – much of it directed toward the continued practice of spreading too much manure on farm fields. But one entity got a gold star from a member of the Lake Erie Waterkeeper board – Bowling Green’s water treatment plant. It isn’t that the water going into the plant is pristine – quite to the contrary. What’s notable is the treated water that the plant sends out to its water customers. Dr. Earl Campbell was presenting data on some very technical contaminants, when he happened to mention that in the last two years, Bowling Green’s reservoir water repeatedly had very high levels of the microcystin, from blue-green algae. The difference between how Toledo and Bowling Green handled the contaminant was major. “It just happened that Bowling Green tested it,” Campbell said. “The person running that plant stood between the people and disaster.” At that point, no standard orders were in place in Ohio to test for the microcystins. “A lot of people were paying absolutely no attention to this,” Campbell said. But Bowling Green officials, with their static reservoir water drawn from the Maumee River, tested and treated the water. “It was their own initiative.” Campbell said there are 146 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the region, which each having either cows numbering 1,000 or more, and pigs numbering 2,500 or more. “There is more shit than the land to put it on,” he said. “The land can’t hold this all.” The result is phosphorous rates in the Maumee River and Lake Erie that have been “off of the charts,” Campbell said. When asked by an audience member about the safety of Bowling Green water, Campbell replied, “I think you’re probably safer there than most places.” The key has been the city’s investment in its water treatment plant. “Bowling Green has been very astute,” he said, listing off the reverse osmosis system at the plant as significant. “Bowling Green wisely invested in this fantastic water plant.” So last week, Campbell met with Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards and city utility department officials for two reasons. He wanted to praise them for their water efforts, and he wanted to ask them to join an effort to clean up the water before it reaches their treatment plant. When phosphorous from fertilizer and manure runs off farm fields, Bowling Green has been doing the right thing. “For a long time, they’ve been paying for other people’s pollution.” But all communities aren’t that fortunate, and Campbell said he worries about small towns with reservoirs that aren’t doing necessary testing and treatment. “How many other village or towns have this,” type of system in place, he asked. So while Campbell praised Bowling Green’s efforts, he also asked officials to request that the Maumee River and Lake Erie be declared “legally impaired.” According to Campbell, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has found several tributaries into the Maumee River to be legally impaired because of bacteria, nitrate, ammonia and other contaminants. That means the waterways are out of conformity with federal guidelines and must be remediated to protect the drinking water…

Native people survive in the face of removal, violence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Faced with recounting the tragic tale of native peoples being expelled from their homelands, historian Stephen Warren decided to begin on a hopeful note. Warren spoke Saturday afternoon at the Toledo Museum of Art on “Indian Removal Then and Now: Legacies of the American Experiment with Ethnic Cleansing.” As he entered, the University of Iowa historian said he overheard someone wondering why they were there on a sunny afternoon to hear about such a “depressing” subject. Warren, who teaches history at the University of Iowa, had anticipated such a response, so first he spoke about how the descendants of those displaced tribes pushed are doing now. “One of the things that is important to me as an educator is to remind audiences that Native Americans are still here,” he said. “There are 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States. Their population is actually growing, not declining. Their traditions are being recovered by a lot of forward thinking, innovative people in those communities. While it’s important to acknowledge the very real hardships facing native people today and the ongoing challenges of colonialism, we also need to celebrate the very real work that native people are doing in Indian Country to continue their traditions into the 21st Century.” The Eastern Shawnee, under the chairmanship of Glenna Wallace, now have assets worth $153 million, own the controlling interest in Peoples Bank of Seneca and have 1,700 acres in property in northeastern Oklahoma. This is a turnaround since 1970 when the tribe was broke and almost landless. Later in the talk, he credited the development of Native American casinos as providing these assets and credited Wallace and others with trying to make sure they can turn that windfall into long-term prosperity. As his talk made clear the concern that gains by native people may prove short lived is well founded in their history of relations with Americans of European descent and the federal government. Warren’s talk was presented in conjunction with the exhibit “Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection,” now on display in the museum through May 8. The Shawnee, Eastern Shawnee, Seneca, Wyandot and Ottawa tribes were doing well back in the early 19th century. They had recovered from the devastation caused by the War of 1812, “really a genocidal war,” Warren said. Now they were farmers, practicing Methodists, who were well integrated into the market economy. “Their reservation was a picture of prosperity.” But those accommodations were not enough to protect them. “White folks could not recognize the real success of native American economics,” he said. “They didn’t see them as human beings who were doing remarkably well.” The federal government wanted the land for settlers. Some leaders such as Quatawepea, or Colonel Lewis, “advocated for removal.” Native people, Warren said, were constantly being harassed by settlers, their livestock slaughtered and themselves physically attacked. “There was an extraordinary amount of vigilantism.” Quatawepea worked with a coalition of 27 tribes who wanted to create an Indian state in southwestern Missouri. Black Coat of Wapakoneta, the largest village in the region, opposed it. “For him removal was complete insanity,” Warren said. Black Coat noted his people had already been pushed inland from the coast Georgia and South Carolina, and he believed that…

Gas line hit during water line project

Some homes on the east side of Bowling Green had to be evacuated this morning when a gas line break occurred. As of 1 p.m., the break was repaired by Columbia Gas. A saw was being used to cut the asphalt on Clough Street to start trench work for excavation work for waterline work. According to Brian O’Connell, city utilities director, the gas line was fairly shallow in the area, and the saw cut into it. Just one person actually had to be evacuated, O’Connell said. During the repair work, some streets were closed, including Clough between South  Prospect and South Enterprise, and South Summit between Wooster and Lincoln. According to O’Connell, the waterline contractor continued work at the other end of the waterline project, so no delay are expected on that work.

BG church plants seeds for new ‘giving garden’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There is something magical about digging in the dirt, planting a seed, watching it grow, then savoring the result of all the work. The magic goes a step further when the harvest is given away to those in need. For that reason, First Presbyterian Church is starting its own “giving garden.” It will be the third community garden at Bowling Green churches, with the other two already in place at Peace Lutheran and First United Methodist. Though some community garden models operate with families given plats to grow their own vegetables, the First Presbyterian site will be a giving garden, according to Lyn Long, a church member who planted the seed for the new effort. The community and church members will be invited to plan, plant, water, weed, harvest, and feast on the produce. “I just thought, there’s a huge lot over there and we only use it once or twice a year,” Long said. “It just didn’t seem like good stewardship.” Long is being assisted by Megan Sutherland, executive director of the Common Good organization which has worked with the other two church community gardens for years. “I think gardening teaches you a lot of lessons, some are short term and some are long term,” Sutherland said. “There’s something special about working with people in the sunshine, in the dirt. Even picking weeds. It becomes really meditative.” Gardening teaches all ages about community building, healthy eating and delayed gratification, Sutherland said. Long is also hoping to find some expertise and hands-on help from area master gardeners and FFA students. A meeting will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. for anyone interested in the Presby Community Garden, at First Presbyterian Church, 126 S. Church St. The meeting will be held upstairs in the church’s Green Lounge. Sutherland reminded that a giving garden is a time consuming project. “People like the idea of a garden, but they don’t realize it’s like a child,” she said. “It’s after it comes up – and the weeds do, too,” Long said. Long said she is far from an expert gardener. “I grew up in tiny little village, with a big garden,” she said. But she knows that a community working together in a garden can result in far more than harvest at the end of the season. “One person can make a really big difference,” Sutherland agreed. The other church gardens produce such bounty as tomatoes, corn, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, green beans, peas, lettuce, kale, radishes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, herbs and flowers. People in the community can come work as they please, and take what they need, she said. “Usually if people receive, they want to give back,” Sutherland said. Anyone wanting to know more about the Presbyterian community garden may contact Long at 419-352-8019 or  

BG wants citizen input on park and rec plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents will soon have a chance to talk about trails, chat about children’s activities, and gab about green spaces. The city’s parks and recreation department wants to hear what people want from their parks. “I’m actually kind of excited about this,” said Kristin Otley, director of the department. “We want to hear from the community.” The comments will then become part of the park and recreation department’s five-year master plan update. To get citizen input, five focus groups will be held – with each one targeting a specific topic. The comments will be restricted to the topics for each forum, which are: April 6: Youth programs. April 13: Natural area parks (Wintergarden and Simpson.) April 20: Fitness, aquatics and events. 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, who is unable to make it to that meeting may email comments to the focus group moderator, Shannon Orr, from Bowling Green State University at The last master plan for the parks and recreation department was a 10-year plan adopted in 2005. Otley said the board decided a five-year plan was more reasonable. “We think it makes more sense in this day and age.” Also at last week’s park and recreation board meeting, it was announced that the late Marjorie Conrad had bequeathed the park and recreation department annual payments between $4,000 and $5,000. It is unknown how many years the annual gifts will reoccur. “She wanted to make sure things she loved were taken care of after her passing,” board member Cheryl Windisch said of Conrad’s generosity. It was reported that the new workshop and restroom building at the Wintergarden/St. John Preserve was progressing. The foundation and underground plumbing were done, and the building should start going up next week. The park currently has a port-a-john for public use. The board was given a new field use policy and gym rental rates to review before next month’s meeting.  

Common Good benefit celebrates diversity within community

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Common Good of the UCF is what those it serves make of it. The house at 113 Crim St. is the vortex of activities aimed at bettering the lives of people, and the community they live in. That can involve picking up the exterior spaces with neighborhood cleanups, or it can mean the clearing of interior spaces through meditation. That can mean growing sustenance for the body at two community gardens and a food pantry, or providing sustenance for the mind through discussions about spirituality and current event. And at dinner dialogues those two missions meet. The Common Good of the UCF embraces this broad mission because that’s what people have told them their needs are. The organization’s own needs are simple, but real. On Thursday, April 7, at 6:30 p.m. the Common Good will present “Expressions of Arthenticity,” at the Clazel, 127 N. Main St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $25 and $15 with a student identification. One beverage and a dessert bar come with admission. The show includes a fashion show, live jazz and an auction. Tickets are available at Common Good and Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., or by calling 513-314-4489. Caroline Dawson, the financial developer for Common Good, said that the fashion show, which will start at 7:30p.m., will feature clothing from local boutiques and hair and makeup by local salons. The models will be of all ages, body types and ethnicities. That reflects the philosophy of the Common Good, she said. “We offer diversity here and embrace diversity.” Those who participate range in age from kids in after-school art classes to someone in their 90s attending a dinner dialogue. They have, Dawson said, “different perspectives and different learning abilities.” “Our space is a space in which people embrace who they are, and learn about other people doing the same things,” said Megan Sutherland. “We’re all art work in our own way. We have all these different expressions, experiences and backgrounds and are able to come together as a community. That’s what makes communities rich. This fundraiser is reflecting that and celebrating that.” While the Common Good has had annual fundraisers in the past, Dawson said, this is the first time it has taken this form. “If this goes well,” Sutherland said, “we’d like to make it an annual event.” The fundraiser draws on the talents of the community it serves. The desserts will be provided by Gingers Goodies and The Cookie Jar in Bowling Green and the Speedtrap diner in Woodville. The art, which can be bought through a silent auction, is being donated by artists from the university, Bowling Green community and Toledo. Scholar and percussionist Rob Wallace is coordinating the live jazz. He’ll be joined by Nick Kiekenapp, guitar, Andrew Binder, bass, Christina Wehr, saxophone, and vocalists Estar Cohen and Emily Hunt. The Common Good started as the United Christian Fellowship in 1946. When that building at the corner of Thurstin and Ridge was torn down, the organization moved to the Crim Street house and started using the Common Good name to highlight its interfaith mission. The offerings have changed depending on what people need. “It depends who’s in the community,” Sutherland said. “So if someone comes through the community and they want to utilize…

Health district may get Narcan for local law enforcement

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Efforts are being made to get Narcan into the hands of those who are often the first on the scene of an overdose – local law enforcement. Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey told the county commissioners Thursday that the health district is looking into getting Ohio Department of Health funding for Narcan, the drug that can reverse the effects of heroin and opiate overdoses. “We can probably get it to law enforcement agencies,” Batey said. And that could potentially help save lives since in rural areas of Wood County, sheriff’s deputies often arrive at scenes of overdoses before medical assistance. Most EMS and fire departments now carry Narcan, “but sometimes the sheriff is the first person in the door,” he said. The nursing staff at the health department could train law enforcement how to properly use the Narcan, which has to be injected into the muscle of the overdosing person’s arm, leg or buttocks. Batey said he has gotten requests for information on Narcan from the sheriff’s office, North Baltimore Police Department and the Wood County Park District. “We will open this up to everyone across the county,” he said. “Let’s start this conversation.” Narcan has the remarkable ability to bring a patient out of an overdose, Batey explained. “It almost immediately strips the opiates out of the system. It brings people back to life,” he said. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn agreed that in many rural areas of the county, his deputies are often the first on the scene of drug overdoses. “We certainly can get there a lot quicker.” However, Wasylyshyn said he is concerned since the Narcan has to be maintained at room temperature. That works for EMS departments, where the vehicles are kept out of extreme temperatures. The sheriff is also worried about the chances of an overdose patient becoming violent after being given Narcan, since the deputy may be the only person on the scene. “Those are things I need to do some homework on,” Wasylyshyn said. Batey said he is aware of those concerns and is looking for solutions to make it work.  The Narcan dose is quite small, and may be able to be worn on deputies’ duty belts, he said. As far as overdose patients reacting violently after Narcan, Batey said the health district may check with the prosecutor’s office about the possibility of officers restraining patients prior to administering the drug. But he added that violent behavior is normally not an issue. “It’s generally more a state of confusion,” he said.    

BGSU putting on the glitz to raise money for arts scholarships

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In its inaugural year in 2015, Bravo! BGSU got it share of bravos. Lisa Mattiace, chief of staff for President Mary Ellen Mazey, said “thrilling” and “spectacular” were among the words attendees used for the black tie optional event. Mariah Burks, then a senior in theater and the recent winner of the Kennedy Center’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, performed and remembers the event as having plenty of “glitz and glam.” Take away the champagne glasses, she said, and those attended got a good sense of what goes on every day in the university’s studios. As for her BGSU experience, she said: “It was an amusement park. I’m not even going to try to sugarcoat it. As an undergraduate there are moments, trying different stuff, where you’re absolutely terrified and you say ‘I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to go on that ride.’” But other times, she just embraced the challenge. And like that trip to the amusement park, “you have all your friends with you,” Burks said. These friends form a support system, “a family really.” The most notable ovation at the 2015 Bravo! BGSU came in the dollars raised for arts scholarships, $65,000. The president’s office isn’t resting on those laurels, though. This year’s event on April 2 from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Wolfe Center, will add more luster, in the hopes of adding more lucre, to the arts scholarship coffers. Tickets are $100 and are available by calling 419-372-6780 or by emailing Some attendees at last year’s Bravo! Expressed the view that the arts at Bowling Green State University were “a hidden gem.” The event aims to change that. “This is a great way to showcase the artistic talents of our students and faculty and all that BGSU has to offer in the arts,” according to Mazey. “It will be a wonderful evening for a great cause.” “ “It’s so important for people in the community and perspective donors to see what talent is here at BGSU, and because they see that talent, they want to support that talent,” Mattiace said. Burks, who returns to perform at the invitation of Mazey, knows the value of those scholarships. Burks said scholarships, such as those named for actress Eva Marie Saint, were important. “It’s super helpful that you have that cushion financially,” she said. Having that money meant she was financially in better shape to move on to graduate school in the Cleveland Playhouse’s Master of Fine Arts in Acting through Case Western University. Those performing are drawn from across the arts curriculum. Faculty in music, visual arts, theater, film, dance and creative writing played a key role in selecting the programming. Mattiace said that this year there will be more variety. Performances of jazz, opera, show tunes and concert music, both old and new, will be featured in the Conrad Chorale room, the Donnell and the Eva Marie Saint theaters. The halls will also be bustling with activity, including the string duo Revamped. “We’ll also have people doing art in the hallways on the first and second floors.” Attendees will be able to observe and chat with painters, jewelers, potters, film editors and more. The School of Art’s animation offerings especially will be in the spotlight with…