Faculty Senate approves new social work program with old twist

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University may become the first university in the country to offer a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Gerontology. The Faculty Senate Tuesday approved the new major. Final approval will be up to the university’s Board of Trustees. The trustees will meet the end of next week. Derek Mason, program coordinator for social work in the College of Health and Human Services, said that recent changes in the accreditation requirements by the Council of Social Work Education has made such specializations possible. The new major is a good fit for BGSU given its current programs in gerontology. Mason said that the college did a needs survey and found that over the next few decades there will be a growing demand for caregivers for the elderly. By 2030, he said, 25 percent of the population in Northwest Ohio will be over the age of 60. As proposed this would be the first MSW “with such a focus and depth of specialization,” Mason said. The program will be designed as a 60-credit-hour program though students with a Bachelor in Social Work will be able to complete the degree in 30 credit hours. The degree will also require 1,000 hours of field internship. The plan is to enroll 20 full-time students and five part-time students each year. At least five courses, especially those focusing on aging issues related to specific ethnic groups, will be offered online. Mason said that the web-centric designation can be misleading. In order to have a blended program with at least one online offering that’s what the program must be called.  


New BG soccer fields moving ahead

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Efforts to provide more soccer space in Bowling Green have scored a goal with funds now available to erect a fence between the fields and Haskins Road. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board approved field use policies Tuesday evening, and learned that a fence will be constructed to separate the fields from the nearby road. Four of the 20 acres just south of the community center have been turned into “pristine game fields,” said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. Those fields were planted with grass last year, so the grass should be hearty enough for play this fall. “We do expect them to be in good shape for fall use,” said Tim Stubbs, park facilities coordinator. Stubbs said the original plan for the athletic fields did not include funding for a fence along Haskins Road. However, there is money in the budget this year for a fence, he said. “That’s basically to keep kids from running out into the road and keep balls from bouncing out into the road,” he said. Otley said the fence is necessary. “I totally agree,” she said. “I will personally sleep better tonight knowing that fence is there.” The fence will be vinyl covered black chain link – the same type that surrounds the swimming pool in City Park. A sign reading, “Bowling Green Athletic Fields” will be posted on the fence, Otley said. One issue remains, and that is the city code which limits fences close to roadways to four-feet in height. Stubbs said he plans to take the issue to the zoning board of appeals and ask for a variance. The policies approved by the board for use of the fields state that the space is designed for sports such as lacrosse, rugby, soccer and volleyball. The site will be used primarily as a game field site for various sport leagues and tournaments. Upon approval of the parks and recreation department, the fields may also be used for sports camps or clinics. The policies document gives the parks and recreation department the first priority for scheduling and usage of the fields. Groups that partner with the department will have top priority, followed by sanctioned clubs/organizations with a non-profit status, and then for profit organizations. The fields may only be used with approval from the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. In other business, the park board: Approved additional gym rental rates that are lower during off-peak times at the community center. Heard the Building on Nature project at Wintergarden Park was going well, with much of the structure work complete. The building will be used for maintenance equipment and public restrooms. Learned the work on the existing building in Wintergarden Park will be prioritized to update the public meeting area and the kitchen. “We’ll be…


Survey shows most oppose concealed carry on BGSU campus (Updated 4/27/16)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most people surveyed at Bowling Green State University oppose allowing concealed carry of weapons on campus. Of more than 5,700 faculty, staff, administrators and students surveyed, 61.4 opposed allowing concealed carry and 38.6 were in favor.  The survey was done by a committee charged with studying the issue after the State House voted to loosen the restrictions on concealed carry on college campus and other currently restricted zones. The bill, House Bill 48, is still before the State Senate. If it became law, the university trustees would have to approve allowing concealed carry on campus. The committee also found a majority would not feel safer if anyone, including students 21 and older, could carry concealed weapons on campus. That was especially true of women, of whom 74.6 percent said they’d feel less safe, and faculty members, 88 percent of whom would feel less safe. Having concealed carry found greatest support among undergraduate males, 42.7 percent of whom said they would consider carrying a weapon if allowed. Alfred DeMaris, a sociology professor and statistician, said the committee made an effort to reach out to all segments of the campus community. The committee distributed 20,338 surveys, and got 5,792 back, a 28.5 percent response rate. While the committee hoped for more, he noted that this was not a target sample, but the entire target population. Graduate students had the best response rate of almost 70 percent, followed by faculty with just shy of 50 percent. Undergraduates had the lowest response rate, under 20 percent. The committee, which was charged to studying the issue and any possible response, did not present a resolution for the senate to act on. The committee had far too many divergent views on the issue to formulate a resolution, said Laura Sanchez, of sociology, who presented the report to senate with DeMaris. In the cover letter to the report, which has been distributed to faculty, committee chair Ian Young wrote: “No clear overwhelming consensus view on CC was found among the respondents, although some interesting trends did emerge.   Given the range of views within the BGSU community as a whole, this reinforced our previous conclusion that it would not be justified or appropriate for the HB-48 ad-hoc committee to draft a resolution that advocated any policy that the university community ought to implement as a response to HB-48   We did feel however that the survey has yielded some useful data that should be taken into account by the Board of Trustees and others who may be in the position of making a decision on the university’s response to HB-48.  “ Joel O’Dorisio of the School of Art, said that given the faculty’s stated opposition to conceal carry, a resolution should have been put forward. While it’s important to take into consideration the views of other contingencies, he said,…


Carbon-based energy sector is collapsing, geophysicist tells BGSU audience

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The tide has turned against carbon-based fuels. That could help assuage the worst effects of global warming that could flood major cities as ocean levels rise and fresh water becomes scarce in the more arid interior. Dr. Henry Pollack, an emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan, said that the story of alternative energy competing with oil and coal was once perceived as a David vs. Goliath scenario. “The test in front of us,” he told an audience last week at Bowling Green State University, “is to reduce Goliath to David’s level.” That now seems to be happening. In 2010, he said, for the first time investment in alternative fuels, including wind, biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells, fusion and nuclear, outpaced investment in the oil, gas and coal industries. That year $187 billion was invested in alternative fuels compared to $157 billion in fossil fuels. Five years later, he said, investment in alternative fuels had grown by almost $100 billion, while investment in carbon-based technologies had dropped to $130 billion. “I’m telling you we’re at the tipping point,” Pollack said. “Carbon fuels are on the way down and out.” He urged the audience “to follow the money,” and then told the tale through international headlines. The nation’s two largest coal companies have declared bankruptcy. The last deep-pit coal mine in the United Kingdom has closed. The stock price of coal companies is dropping. Saudi Arabia is considering selling its state-owned oil company Aramco. The United States has lifted its 40-year ban on exporting oil. The reasoning being, he said, “let’s let them sell it while they can get something for it.” The dropping price of oil is threatening the budgets in fossil fuel dependent states Alaska and Wyoming, and prompting fears of future bankruptcies on Wall Street. Now, he said, conventional wisdom is that the price of oil is cyclical, and therefore will rise. Pollack said that thinking is wrong. Events like “tremendous instability in the Middle East,” which in the past have pushed up the price of oil, have had no effect. And oil producing nations failed to agree to cut production. Even with falling oil prices, car manufacturers are still pushing ahead with the development of electric vehicles. “This is the shifting of capital away from carbon to renewables,” he said. This transition is taking place “much faster than anyone anticipated.” He likened the growth of renewable technologies to the growth of digital communications. Even those involved in the early wireless phones failed to predict how quickly they would dominate the market. Pollack said on the flip side, the fall in value for coal, gas and oil related stocks is creating fears of a $28 trillion write-down in their value. They have become stranded assets the same as mortgage backed securities did in 2008. Worthless. Pollack…


Future just got brighter for BG solar field

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s solar field project just became bigger, brighter and more of a bargain. The solar project, which had been stalled since last summer, was approved Monday evening by the Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities. On May 2, the project will come before City Council, which has already had two readings for the project and was just waiting for details to get ironed out. If all goes as planned, an estimated 2,900 homes in the city will be powered by sunlight starting next year. “This is incredibly exciting for the city of Bowling Green,” Mayor Dick Edwards said. The project is not only moving ahead, but it is expected to produce more power than originally planned. The initial plan called for 110 acres to be used on the city’s 317 acres located at the southeast corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of the city limits. The city was in line to get 10.5 megawatts from the solar field, according to Brian O’Connell, director of utilities for BG. However, instead of fixed mounted panels, the new plan calls for single axis tracker panels. “The panels will rotate and follow the path of the sun as it moves through the sky,” O’Connell said. The rotating panels will take up 35 more acres and cost more to install, but they will increase power production, he said. The solar field will generate 20 megawatts, with Bowling Green getting 13.74 megawatts of the power for its customers. The moving solar panels will start producing earlier, continue later in the day, and generate higher megawatts at their peak, O’Connell said. The solar field was initially planned for the western section of the city’s acreage, which stretches to Anderson Road. However, to reduce disruption and concerns for neighbors, the solar panels will be constructed in the middle of the acreage, with farmland left on both the east and west ends. Also changing is the role American Municipal Power Inc. will play in the project. Originally, AMP planned to own and operate the solar sites in multiple communities. However, AMP was not eligible for federal investment tax credit. So AMP entered into an agreement with NextEra, a third party solar developer. NextEra, which qualifies for the tax credits, is one of the largest generators of solar energy in the U.S. with more than 700 megawatts of solar generation. NextEra will develop, construct, own, operate and maintain all the solar arrays in the field. AMP is responsible for constructing the circuit to connect to solar facility to the city’s transmission system. The city will take over the ownership and maintenance of the circuit once it is complete. Since the project now qualifies for federal tax credit, it will cost the city less in the long run. With the original solar plan, it was estimated…


Art Walk brightens up downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The sunny day couldn’t have been better for Cindy Tesznar. The spring weather meant she was comfortable as she sat outside the Ben Franklin store in downtown Bowling Green selling her glasswork, and the sunshine made her bottle trees glow. As a veteran Art Walk participant, she knows the weather isn’t always so favorable, so on Saturday she was enjoying the sun. “The bottles show better outside,” she said. Tesznar was one of dozens of artists who were showing, and many like her, selling their work, as part of the annual event. The work displayed in locations throughout the downtown was created by professional, avocational and student artists. Crim art teacher Noreen Overholt said she was glad that the organizers always included the schools in the event. She was overseeing the art activities and exhibit by her students inside the United Way office. Among the projects was an art cave that students could crawl through to see “cave drawings.” “This gives the kids a chance to participate in a real art show,” she said. “It gives them a chance to share art with their families.” Art Walk also gives the schools a chance to show the community what students are doing and “all the talent they have.” “It’s nice that Bowling Green sponsors so many arts events,” she said. “Look at all the people walking around. It’s good for the whole city.” Amy Craft-Ahrens who owns For Keeps, agreed. On Saturday she was in Ben Franklin helping with that shop’s 40th anniversary sale. She noted the number of people in the store. “On a beautiful sunny day like today, we get a lot of traffic …You see a lot of people walking downtown,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a day that lends itself to significantly larger sales but it brings people downtown and they see what we have offer and even if they’re not buying today, they’ll come back.” While Ben Franklin is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Main Street, Flatlands Coffee is a newcomer on the retail scene. Ben Vollmar, the owner, grew up in Bowling Green and remembers first getting interested in art through Art Walk and other events in town His shop was displaying, appropriately enough, 60 drawings of coffee cups by Bowling Green sixth graders. “Bowling Green is very down-to-earth, art-appreciating town,” Vollmar said. “I like the way it brings people together.” That mindset helps foster an atmosphere where businesses such as his can thrive. “We have designed the space for the creative thinkers,” he said. Other shops downtown, he said, have paved the way for his, and all benefit from the interest generated by art-themed events. Vollmar said his business has done well attracting university faculty and graduate students. “I’d like to see residents just try us out, get some people in for the…


Earth Day plants the seed for respecting planet

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN  BG Independent News   Bees get no respect. Leeches may be ugly, but they are a sign of beauty to biologists. And powering an incandescent light bulb takes a lot of energy from little legs. An awful lot of learning was packed into fun hands-on (and feet-on) activities at the Seventh Annual Community Celebration of Earth Day on Sunday outside at the Montessori School in Bowling Green. “We want people to have a greater appreciation of the local environment and also feel more connected with the planet,” said Caitlin Buhr, advancement director at the Montessori School. A lot of children have that bond with Mother Nature, she added. “We want to nurture the connection they already feel.” The Earth Day celebration featured several different activity stations that snuck in learning for young children. Children got to hold some critters like crayfish that came straight from the Maumee River near Otsego Park. “Those critters can tell us a lot about the health of the river,” said Christina Kuchle, from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The sample in the aquarium was a pretty healthy mix of crayfish, mayflies, leeches, sow bugs, and freshwater shrimp. The next station took children out of the water and lifted them skyward. Children could hear the calls of a bald eagle, California condor and Peregrine falcon, plus touch the skulls of several birds. “Kids like anything hands on,” said Cinda Stutzman, of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. Children put those hands to work at a station on bees, by splattering paint on paper flowers to pollinate them. “Bees are often overlooked as a not important character because they are kind of scary,” said Jamie Justice, of a Bowling Green State University environmental studies class. “Without bees, there won’t be any more plants,” Connor Phares said. And that would have disastrous consequences. “It goes right up the food chain,” Justice said. Children also got some painless lessons on energy conservation by riding the “energy bike,” from the city of Bowling Green. As they pedaled the bike, they found out how much energy it takes to operate different household items. Leisurely pedaling powered a small fan, radio and LED lights. But it took much more strenuous pedaling to turn on the incandescent lights, and even more to power the hairdryer. “It’s trying to relay to folks about energy conservation,” said Jason Sisco, city engineer. “Your heart rate tells you pretty quickly the energy it takes for an incandescent light.” Children also got to plant sunflowers, go fishing for pollution tips to help water quality, paint pet rocks, and make seed paper to plant when they got home. They pushed around a giant earth ball in an open field and took nature walks. But in between the fun, some serious lessons were tucked in. They learned that each…


Hakels’ glass treasures in “Hot Spot” at Toledo Museum’s Glass Pavilion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Milt and Lee Hakel have poured their love of art into collecting art glass, and now they’re sharing a few favorite pieces with the world. The Bowling Green couple have four pieces in the exhibit “Hot Spot: Contemporary Glass from Private Collections” now at the Toledo Museum of Art. The show is on exhibit in the Glass Pavilion through Sept. 18. They are happy to have some of their glass treasures included, but Lee Hakel said her husband “was a little bereft when the pieces went off.” Not that the loans to the museum leave gaps in the Hakels’ home decor. The couple has been collecting glass for 20 years, and has no idea how many pieces they own. They are displayed throughout the house, from the sunroom to the bathroom. Milt Hakel said they are attracted to art glass because of its sculptural nature and because of the way glass interacts with light. “It’s so different in different lighting conditions.” The vivid color is evident at every turn as a visitor moves through the house. That’s what greeted Jutta-Annette Page, the museum’s curator for glass and decorative arts when she visited last fall. They got to know the curator through their involvement in the Glass Arts Society meeting in Toledo in 2012, marking the 50th anniversary of the glass arts movement. “The Hakels are serious collectors,” she said. She visited collectors within a 25-mile radius of the museum to find artwork that represents the current directions in art glass, both here and abroad. Of course, the Toledo area is just the right place to do that. The museum was central to the development in art glass. In 1962, potter Harvey Littleton, along with several colleagues, set up a studio to explore the use of glass in art. The efforts took place in the center of commercial and industrial glass production. Dominick Labino was an artist and glass craftsman who provided important insights. Though not in the show, the Hakels own a relic of that time, a small bowl created by Labino that was given to Littleton. After her visit, it took a while for Page to get back to the Hakels. They thought maybe she didn’t need anything from them. That turned out not to be the case. Still, Lee Hakel said, “even if we didn’t have any pieces in the show it would still be exciting.” According to the museum most of the objects are on public view for the first time. The Hakels know seen many of the collections represented in “Hot Spot.” But, she said, there are at least two collectors represented who they now want to visit. The Hakels don’t have a particular focus to their collecting. In fact, they really didn’t set out to focus on glass. It just happened. It was 10…


Children’s author a big kid himself – advocates for underwear on head, mac and cheese in bathtub

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Todd Parr’s suggestion that kids eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub did not go over well with their parents. “Moms and dads were very mad at me,” Parr said, smiling. But mac and cheese is a recurring theme in Parr’s books for children. That and underwear. Parr talked about them both with children during his appearance as guest author at the annual Literacy in the Park event Saturday at Bowling Green State University. “His books remind us to be ourselves. That it’s OK to be different,” Tim Murnen, interim director of the BGSU School of Teaching and Learning, said as he introduced Parr to an audience of eager children and their parents. “His books remind us that everyone should wear underwear on your head at least once in your lifetime,” Murnen said. But beyond the silly subjects of food and undergarments, Parr’s underlying message was for the parents as much as their kids. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to wear glasses, to be missing teeth, to get mad, to have a pet worm. From the stage in the busy, noisy field house, Parr read some of his books aloud to the children. The underwear book outlined the “dos” and “don’ts,” suggesting that underwear not be put in the freezer, always be worn when fishing, but never be used as bait. Each book ends with the same salutation. Love, Todd. Parr told the kids a little bit about his life. He failed art class – a couple times – but knew he wanted to be an artist. His simplistic, silly, bright, block lettered books are easy for kids to enjoy and digest. “It’s really hard to tell the difference between the kids’ art and mine,” he said as he shared pictures sent to him by his younger fans. “Remember, there are no mistakes in art.” He showed pictures of his three canine “kids,” named Pete, Tater Tot and Jerry, in various poses and in their Christmas sweaters. He showed a picture of his “Gram,” who read to him every night when he was a child. “She’s still reading,” at age 96, he said. Parr has written more than 40 children’s books, translated into 16 languages. He recently returned from a book tour in China, from where he showed a photograph of a dinner he ate there – mac and cheese, of course. While in Bowling Green, he ate dinner Friday evening downtown and then had his picture taken next to a Frisch’s Big Boy statue, which he hadn’t seen since he was a kid. “I realize now, that I now look like the Big Boy statue I loved when I was a kid.” On stage, Parr was very much like a big kid, reading aloud his stories. There was “The Goodbye Book” and “Teachers Rock!”…


Women veterans sought for Honor Flight

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Honor Flight is looking for a few good women. Women veterans, that is, to go on the first all-women veterans Honor Flight from Columbus. “This is the first one I’m aware of” just for women, said Dave Chilson, of Bowling Green, who has been very involved in the Honor Flights from the Toledo area. The one-day trip to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10, will be free to about 80 veterans as a thank you for their service. “This is an appeal to spread to word, so they can be honored and recognized as they so well deserve to be,” Chilson said. “I don’t know how many women veterans there are. That’s why we’re getting the word out.” One of the local women enlisting for the flight is Emmy Hann, of Bowling Green. Hann, 85, served in the Army, Women Medical Specialist Corp from 1952 to 1956 as a dietetic intern and commissioned officer. “I loved the experience so much that I extended it,” she said. She trained at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, and worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Her husband, Bill, was a Korean War veteran. Until now, Hann never applied to go on an Honor Flight to the nation’s capital. “I always felt the opportunity should go to the people who had been in the trenches,” she said. But Honor Flight clearly believes Hann and other women are deserving of the recognition. And Hann is looking forward to talking with other women who served their country. “I’m interested in finding out what kind of lives other women have had.” As is customary, Honor Flight will give priority to veterans of older wars first – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Honor Flights trips have “guardians” that accompany each veteran. In this case, most will also be women, Chilson said. “As much as possible, they are looking for women to be guardians,” he said. The trip will visit many of the customary sites, but also be designed specifically for the women veterans, Chilson said. The group will spend more time than usual at the Women in Military Service Memorial. “That’s a wonderful memorial. It is fantastic,” he said. “We will tailor this somewhat knowing all of the veterans will be women.” Though she has been to Washington, D.C., many times, Hann said she is particularly interested in visiting the women’s military memorial. “I’m looking forward to seeing that,” she said. Applications for the all women veterans Honor Flight are available at www.HonorFlightColumbus.org – click on “Veteran Application” or call the office at 614-284-4987. The application deadline for this special flight is July 11. Applications will be processed in the order received. Selected veterans will be notified by July 30.


Victory Inn owner files appeal over zoning denial

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


Prince maintained artistic integrity throughout his career

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


BG residents want indoor pool, more fitness classes

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


BG sees steady economic growth in 2015

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


Earth Week opens with Creation Care Celebration

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