New music trio Bearthoven rocks to a different beat

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The ClaZel hosted a Music at the Forefront concert Monday night. It might as well have been a rock show. The new music trio Bearthoven vaulted the divide between avant art music and progressive rock. Ditch the expanse of scores on the music stands and the Brooklyn-based trio could perform at a rock festival. Bearthoven – Karl Larson, piano, Pat Swoboda, bass, and Matt Evans, percussion – arrived in Bowling Green (where Larson earned his doctorate) at the tail end of a short Ohio tour. The tour, which included a concert in Columbus, a house concert in Cleveland, and residency at Otterbein College, was to showcase the most recent additions to the trio’s repertoire, three works commissioned by the Johnstone Fund for New Music. Those filled out half the six-piece program. Each set was organized like the side of an LP with a soft, atmospheric soundscape, sandwiched between louder, more rhythmically insistent blasts. Bearthoven’s show opened with Ken Thomson’s aptly titled “Grizzly.” With its antic pulse and reiterated song-of-the-circuitry figures, it evoked a more urban predator. Fjola Evans’ “Shoaling” took listeners to another place altogether. Swoboda’s arco bass summoned the image of a whale rising from an icy sea. The piece opens extremely quietly, builds in tension, and complexity, and volume, then rolls back to near silence. It moves at a near geologic pace. In the end it fades into the silence of the venue’s ventilation and a car whooshing past outside. As if to answer the car’s roar, Charles Wilmoth’s “Silver Eye” opens with a bash, a complaint, even? Evans pounded the driving hard rock rhythms underneath while Larson splattered clusters and runs on top. How many new music compositions include a nod to “Wipeout”? “Silver Eye,” though, was more metal than surf rock. Opening the second half, Brooks Fredrickson’s “Undertoad” marched to a different rock beat. Evans laid down an akimbo shuffle beat under the unfolding minimalist figures. The piece was the first Bearthoven commissioned and it shows how this blur of rock, jazz, and new music is woven into the band’s DNA. Adrian Knight’s “The Ringing World” is one of the Johnstone commissions. (The Wilmoth and Evans pieces are the others.) The whistling arco bass against shimmering vibes and piano textures (not unlike the way Miles Davis used layers of electric keyboards and guitar on “In a Silent Way”) created a high gloss atmosphere, a world of its own into which the outside world intrudes – like a child wide awake in bed late at night in a hospital: The silence a concept more than a reality. Bearthoven closed with Nik Bartsch’s “Module 26,” a minimalist jazz venture that shimmers in its own way. The rhythms are layered one on another, and the piece employs sudden shifts from one melodic mode to another. As this becomes evident, the listener starts to anticipate the shifts, as one would with modal jazz. That anticipation is always frustrated, though, coming as it does, a few beats and a fraction later than expected. Then the expected modulation doesn’t arrive. The percussion, including the dramatic appearance of a woodblock, and repeated figures nailed down by the bass, carry the piece, and the show, to its close. Heady stuff, indeed, that is just accessible enough, without compromise, to pull in…


Power of Money in Politics

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As results were streaming in from Super Tuesday, a group of people in Bowling Green debated whether or not money can buy elections. The answer: Maybe. They also discussed whether or not reform is needed in campaign financing. The answer: Definitely. Dr. Melissa Miller, an expert in American politics from Bowling Green State University, spoke to the Bowling Green League of Women Voters Tuesday evening about “Money in Politics.” She tackled Senate races firsts, noting the average Senate incumbent spends $10 million to hold onto his or her seat. That’s a lot for a job that pays $174,000 a year. Spread out over the six-year term, that means the incumbent spent $4,700 for each day in office. The big spending adds up to a huge advantage for incumbents, a lot of intimidation for competitors, and a lot of time focused on fundraising. “It’s not time spent on legislation, in committee meetings, or listening to constituents,” Miller said. The big money results in a 90 percent re-election rate in the U.S. House. “You can’t possibly win” without raising vast sums. Yet, “it becomes difficult to convince donors that you have a shot.” This, Miller said, is the “vicious circle of campaign finance.” Both Democrats and Republicans spin that circle. “It’s a problem that’s been created by both parties,” she said. To better explain campaign finance of today, Miller gave a history lesson on the issue. Prior to 1970, there was little transparency in how campaigns were funded. Companies and unions were banned from giving, but individuals could donate unlimited amounts. “Fat cats had a lot of influence.” The process became more transparent in the 1970s. “Something called Watergate happened to change the system,” she said. “Let me remind you, this was a campaign finance scandal.” The result was more transparency and reduced impact by big donors. “The public was demanding action on this.” So in 1974, donations from individuals were limited to $1,000, labor unions could give up to $5,000, and campaigns had to disclose the names of anyone giving more than $200. “The influence of the big donors was really curbed,” she said. Then in 1976, it was ruled that contributions were protected by the First Amendment. And in 1979, the “soft money loophole” went into effect allowing parties to raise unlimited money for “party building,” not for a particular candidate. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 banned the soft money and raised contribution limits. “It turned off that soft money spigot.” But it didn’t take either party long to find out how to make that change work in their favor, Miller said. Since then, the spending on presidential campaigns has skyrocketed, and the last candidate to accept the limitations for public funding was John McCain in 2008. “Mark my words, no one will accept it in 2016,” Miller said. The spigot for funding was opened even wider in 2010 with the Supreme Court’s decision for Citizens United. The ruling restored secrecy and allowed creation of Super PACs, which differ from regular PACs. With Super PACs, contributions from individuals are not limited. “Big donors can give as much as they want,” Miller said. Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate directly with specific campaigns, but they get around that by being…


Fire Chief Wants Fewer False Alarms at BGSU, More Inspections

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson would like his firefighters spending less time responding to false alarms at BGSU and more time making fire inspections in the city. During Monday evening’s strategic planning meeting, Sanderson reported on two long-range goals for his department. First, he would like the university to somehow assist in the response to fire calls on campus, which account for 20 percent of the fire calls in Bowling Green. Of the more than 3,300 fire calls last year, 686 were to BGSU – and one third of those were false alarms to residence halls. “We’re committing resources there so often,” Sanderson said. The chief suggested that BGSU could help lessen the load either by providing a direct subsidy or possibly by providing first responders who could arrive at the source of the calls to ascertain their validity. Second, Sanderson said the city has a fire code requiring business inspections, but has not been implementing it. “We have not been enforcing fire code for a number of years,” he said. Businesses should be inspected regularly for fire codes, as is done in Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township. “We really need to be doing that.” Sanderson estimated that fewer than 5 percent of businesses in Bowling Green are inspected each year. “I know there are businesses that haven’t been inspected for many years,” he said. Council member Theresa Charters Gavarone asked about fire code. Mr. Spots, a business owned by Gavarone and her husband, was recently damaged when a fire started at a neighboring business, the Corner Grill. She said while the newer Mr. Spots site has sprinklers, many older businesses don’t. Sanderson said businesses have to meet the code requirements that were in place when they opened. As long as the use of the building has not changed, businesses are grandfathered in, the chief said.  


Bowling Green Beer Works Draws Steady Following

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This is the closest that Bowling Green gets to a speakeasy. The establishment sits tucked away in a cluster of old garages at 322 North Grove St. On weekends – Friday, 4:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m., customers slip in through a back door. A newcomer can be forgiven for suspecting a secret word may be required to gain entry. Inside a couple dozen people hang out, all with pint canning jars of beer in front of them. Some of the beer is golden, some the color of caramel, others dark as chocolate. Not a “lite” beer in sight. Welcome to Bowling Green Beer Works. Here the beer is consumed within a few feet of where it is brewed. In the cooler in the corner rests the beer they’ll be sipping next week. Consumption takes its rightful place as the last step in the brewing process. The micro brewery’s owner Justin Marx presides over the scene. He makes suggestions, describes his product, accepts comments, most of them compliments. These Friday and Saturday tastings culminate his week of work making the up to 10 varieties that he offers on any given night. “I love my clientele,” Marx said. “We like to have a neighborhood feel. I can’t believe the tremendous amount of support we’ve gotten.” He first applied for his permit back in September, 2014, and finally secured all his federal, state and local paperwork, so he could open the tasting room, in September, 2015. His love of beer making dates back further than that. Back, Marx, 42, said, to before he was legally of age to consume his product. That was in the State of Oregon, then the epicenter of the craft brewing movement. In the late 1980s, Marx said, the business model was pairing the beer with burgers. But when the market contracted in the late 1990s, the brewers shed the beef and put all the emphasis on their beer. Craft breweries have sprung up across the nation. Ohio now has close to 150, Marx said. A 2012 change in Ohio regulations that cut the price for a tasting license from $4,000 to $1,000 also helped. He doesn’t view these other operators as rivals. Small brewers are more like a fraternity. “It’s an all-ships-rising mentality,” he said. At this point craft brewers represent 9 to 11 percent of all beer sales. “We realize the competition is about changing the palate of average Americans.” For Marx the appeal of brewing is “you can travel around the world through different styles.” And beyond that he can concoct his own recipes. “Creating beers and beer styles is fun. We’re always tinkering around.” While some people used to define themselves by the brand of beer they drank, he said, now they talk about how many different brews they’ve tasted. “We try to offer something new every week.” With a number of specialty grains, 100 varieties of hops and multiple types of domestic and European yeasts, he has plenty of ingredients to work with, each with its own flavor profile. As the beer moves through the process, from the initial tea in which the grains are steeped to the final fermentation, there are plenty of opportunities to tweak the flavor. Marx can decide how…


BG Prepares For Tough Talks on Trash, Housing and Other Touchy Topics

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent Media   Bowling Green is in line for some tough talks – and maybe even some tough love on its housing, its trash collection, its cemetery, its senior center, and the money it takes to deal with all the above issues. “We’re going to have to have a real conversation,” Council President Mike Aspacher said, referencing the revenue issue. “It’s going to be time to have these tough conversations.” Those talks will have to include elected officials, city administrators and citizens. During a three-hour strategic planning meeting Monday evening, city officials began the conversations and plotted possible courses for the city’s future. Many of the goals remain the same: East Wooster corridor improvements, East Side revitalization, and finding the right use for the West Wooster-Church Street property. But newer topics were also touched upon: Possibility of privatizing trash collection, the decline in housing sale prices, the filling up of cemetery plots, and the touchy subject of just who is responsible for maintaining the Wood County Senior Center. Following is an overview of some of the strategic planning discussion. The city will look at different options for handling trash collection. According to Brian Craft, public works director, Bowling Green is one of few cities in the region to continue providing the service. The city has no fee earmarked for trash collection, but Craft pointed out that the new automated trucks costs $250,000 each. He warned the public may not be fond of the idea. “They like picking up the phone and we respond.” The year-end report for real estate sales in the region showed that the average sale price for homes in the Bowling Green zip code area dropped in 2015 by 1 percent to $164,314. “We want the prices to go up,” council member Sandy Rowland said. Most areas of the region posted increases. “I would really like to see housing become our number one priority in BG. We don’t want to see those figures go down again two years in a row.” Rowland also said homes in Bowling Green took 13 percent longer to sell in 2015. She added that only four condominiums –the hottest homes selling in the region – were currently on the market in the city. “We need more housing. We need better housing. We need to work with what we’ve got.” Major structural repairs are needed at the Wood County Senior Center, which the city leases to the Wood County Committee on Aging for $1 a year. City officials were not aware of any contract holding the city responsible for repairs, but the city had always just done the work. “It certainly seems like an opportunity for a conversation,” Aspacher said. Oak Grove Cemetery is close to being depleted of available plots, with 442 left to sell. “Where do we go from here,” Craft said. The city needs to examine if it wants to build another cemetery site, possibly on property owned at the corner of Green and Poe roads, which will take time to plan, he said. The park and recreation department will be looking at possibilities for the aging Veterans Building in City Park. The options are to rehabilitate the building, tear it down and rebuild, or just tear it down, said Kristin Otley, parks and recreation…


Long Road From Otsego to Afghanistan for Medal of Honor Recipient

  By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Cheryl Jones gets goosebumps just thinking about her former student in hand-to-hand combat with the Taliban and rescuing an American hostage. And there he was this morning, Navy SEAL Edward C. Byers Jr., receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts. “Eddie. We just called him Eddie,” recalled Jones, the health and physical education teacher at Otsego High School where Byers graduated in 1997. “He was really a kind kid. He was very respectful, very polite, very quiet.” All the Otsego High School students were called to the auditorium this morning to watch Byers receive his award at the White House. They sat in respectful silence as the alumnus of their school was bestowed the honor by President Barack Obama. Byers, 36, who grew up in Grand Rapids, talked often in school of wanting to join the elite Navy rank. “He always wanted to be a SEAL. He would talk about it endlessly,” said Tom Ferdig, who was a year behind Byers in school. Few doubted his commitment, but at the time it seemed a pretty lofty goal for a small town boy, said Ferdig, who now teaches history at Otsego High School. Long before he was hiking on missions across Afghanistan, Byers was camping and learning outdoor skills with Boy Scout Troop 325 in Grand Rapids. “He was just a nice kid, who was always willing to do things,” said Pam Heyman, a library media specialist at Otsego, whose son was in the troop with Byers. “I wasn’t surprised. He always said he was going to be in the military,” Heyman said. “The students are excited that somebody from this little community could go on and do great things.” In a recent story in Stars and Stripes, Byers described the night in 2012, when his unit rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph from the Taliban deep in the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The hostage, who was in Afghanistan to establish medical facilities, was told “the Americans are not coming for you,” Obama said. “They were wrong.” After walking four hours in the freezing night to reach the Taliban camp, Byers was the second SEAL through the door of a tiny, one-room building where Joseph was held hostage. Byers killed two armed Taliban fighters before identifying Joseph and shielding him from harm. As bullets flew across the room, Byers leaped on top the doctor, using his own body armor to shield the captive as his fellow SEALs exchanged gun fire with enemy fighters. As Byers protected Joseph, he spotted an AK-47-wielding Taliban guard just inches away. He continued to shield Joseph with his body as he grabbed the gunman by the throat, pinning him to a wall long enough for another SEAL to shoot him dead, according to the Stars and Stripes. His good friend Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque was shot after being the first man through the door during the rescue. Once outside, Byers, a medic, turned his attention to Checque, spending the 40-minute flight back to Bagram Airfield trying to resuscitate his friend. Checque was declared dead at the American base. Byers is just the sixth Navy SEAL in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He’s the 11th living American service member to receive the…


Black Issues Conference at BGSU Hears Call to Action From Rosa Clemente

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Rosa Clemente is not one for half measures. In her fight for social justice she’ll challenge even those who are her allies. The African American activist who had to speak out to have others recognize that she, a Puerto Rican, was black as well as Latina, delivered the keynote address at Saturday’s Black Issues Conference at Bowling Green State University. In a sprawling speech that was part indictment, incitement and autobiography, Clemente said that eight years after the election of an African American president, nothing has improved. The country is poised to have Donald Trump, “a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic” candidate, win the Republican nomination for president. Yet “he’s treated like a joke,” she said. For her he is a serious threat. But she has little love for either major political party. Mass incarceration started under Ronald Reagan, Clemente said, and was perfected by the Democrats who wanted to show they were moderates. Hillary Clinton was “right there with her husband” supporting the juvenile justice bill that led to an increase in the incarceration of African Americans. “She called us ‘super predators.’” Clinton’s rival for the presidential nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is “better,” but still he voted for that crime bill. Clemente lives with the effects of those policies. Her husband was imprisoned at 19. He grew up in a household with abuse and drugs. He ended up selling drugs at 12. When he was released he was put on parole for the rest of his life – that is, until he and his wife sued. Even now, the only job he can get bussing tables at Pizzeria Uno. The burden of mass incarceration is generational, Clemente said. Her father-in-law served time, her husband’s son just got out of jail, and his brother is facing a life sentence. And more and more of those incarcerated are black and Latina women. She advised the luncheon crowd that if they are involved in a discussion about police brutality and incarceration and it only involves men talking about men, to leave. She noted that her husband’s co-workers at the restaurant include college graduates. That’s a sign that capitalism is failing. Under President Obama “nothing material has improved.” “The one percent has gotten smaller: 400 families own 84 percent of the wealth in this country,” she said. One in six African Americans are poor, one in five are on Food Stamps and 65 percent of African American and Latino children live in poverty. College debt is soaring. As urban neighborhoods gentrify, rents can more than double, even in apartments where there is occasionally no heat. Through Operation Streamline, more immigrants who enter the United States illegally are being funneled into the criminal justice system. While fewer prisons are being built, the number of immigration detention centers, most operated by private companies, has increased dramatically, she said. In Flint, Michigan, some people are too afraid of raids by immigration service officers to open their doors to those distributing clean water. Instead, Clemente said, they continue to drink poisonous water. The problem of poisonous water is not restricted to Flint. She noted that in the village of Hoosick Falls in upstate New York half the population, which is 99 percent white, is believed to have cancer because of industrial waste…


Austrian Writer Peter Rosei Looks Back at Europe From Perch in Bowling Green

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Austrian writer Peter Rosei is no stranger to Bowling Green State University. He has visited here four times over the past 20 years. Ohio can thank Geoff Howes, recently retired professor of German, for planting the idea that led to one of Austria’s leading writers and intellectuals boasting of his ties to Ohio. The two met in California, and the usual small talk about family and jobs led to an invitation to visit BGSU. Rosei already knew the state from a previous residency at Oberlin College. “I’m kind of a Buckeye boy,” he said. Rosei is currently a visiting professor at BGSU. He and Howes teach a weekly seminar on his novel “Wien Metropolis,” translated by Howes as “Metropolis Vienna.” On Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, they will give a joint reading of selections from the book. Rosei will read in German, and Howes will read the same selection in English. The novel is a sprawling tale featuring a host of characters. “It’s about the social and political background of the post war period,” Rosei said. The novel takes the reader from the days just after World War II ended to the current day. And the discussions in class, conducted both in German and English, touch on parallels between what has occurred in Europe and what is happening in the United States. The political shift to the right, Rosei said, is occurring in Austria as well. He finds the prospect of those on the extreme right winning “absolutely terrifying.” He attributes this rightward swing to the lingering effects, financial and emotional, of the financial crash. He likened it to “an earthquake.” “This left society with a deep anguish, and this anguish is fertile ground for right wing politics,” he said. Rosei understands the appeal of someone on the other side of the political spectrum like Bernie Sanders who advocates for free public higher education. Coming from Austria where even a nominal fee for education had to be rescinded because of protests, the idea of American students paying $16,000 a year to attend a university is unfathomable. “A prospering society needs everyone’s abilities,” he said. Austria, he explained, has no natural resources. Its people are its only resource. Making sure they are educated is essential for the country to thrive. Europe is facing a flood of immigrants, Rosei said. In Austria and Germany, the response is colored by guilt over the Holocaust. The attitude is different in the former Soviet Bloc countries. The belief persists in Hungary and Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe that they had no role in the Holocaust and were victims. It was an attitude fostered under the Communists. Europe is “too weak” to deal with the immigrants, and Rosei is gratified when presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders acknowledge the United States’ role in the crisis. The invasion of Iraq destabilized the region. For Europe, “terrorism is much more civil war than war,” he said. The people, immigrants from former colonies, live in the slums on the fringes of great cities like Paris. Back in those former colonies people are chaffing under repressive regimes. That gave rise to the Arab Spring. While the media touted those uprisings as liberation, it was only a first needed step, Rosei…


State Grade Cards Criticized for Not Painting Accurate Picture

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This is the type of grade card a kid would intentionally lose in a snow bank on the way home from school. The latest state report cards from the Ohio Department of Education for 2014-2015 paint a dismal picture for many schools in the area. Bowling Green City Schools’ grades included three As, three Cs, two Ds, and three Fs. Nothing to post on the refrigerator door. But those grades are not an accurate representation of what is happening in classrooms, according to school officials. The grades were the result of two changes that contributed to the lower results, according to Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for BG City Schools. The grades were based on “tests that were new and have since been abolished,” McCarty explained. That paired up with the normal regression of the mean scores when two tests are used, created a “double whammy.” While some parents may be worried about the scores, McCarty said the frequent communication the school district has with parents should help calm those concerns. “We have an ongoing nature of working collaboratively with parents and community members.” Though the reality is not as grim as the report card reflects, McCarty said it does point to some areas that need improvement. “We still have work to do,” she said. But the story not told by the report cards is important, McCarty stressed. “The teachers in Bowling Green City Schools are amazing educators. I’ve been nothing but impressed,” said McCarty who moved here about six months ago after working in education in Virginia. “They truly want the best for students. The report card does not capture that.” It’s not just local school officials disturbed by the grades and the inaccurate picture they paint. “Ohio’s report cards this year do not fairly reflect what is going on in many of our schools and classrooms,” State Sen. Randy Gardner, R- Bowling Green, stated after the latest batch of report cards was released. “In many cases they do not measure the positive work being done by our teachers and other education professionals. The public deserves better information and our schools deserve a more accurate public report on how they are serving our communities and our children.” Gardner said this year’s report cards were doomed by several factors. “Future report cards will do a better job of more accurately reporting relevant information to the public. Numerous factors impacted this year’s report cards, including new and already abolished tests, changing standards, federal mandates, inconsistent technology and varied participation rates of students involved in taking tests,” Gardner said. “Some of that will change, and it is imperative for legislators and the state board of education to help develop better report cards.” The latest grades are based on standardized test scores that were taken in the spring of 2015. Ohio used PARCC assessments last year in the areas of math and reading which replaced the Ohio Achievement Assessments in the 2014-15 school year. After one year, the state eliminated the PARCC exams. This year, students will take the Ohio-developed Next Generation Assessments that have been developed by the American Institute for Research – a change that has been widely supported as the best option moving forward, according to BG Superintendent Francis Scruci. This academic year, BGCS entered…


Bearthoven Set to Upend Musical Expectations at ClaZel Show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bearthoven is not what it seems. First of all, there are no bears. Second, though the name evokes that of a classical composer immortalized in busts that decorate piano teachers’ studios, the trio is not dedicated to playing centuries-old, or even decades-old, music. Third, though the instrumentation, piano, bass and percussion, may call to mind the classic jazz piano trio, this is not a jazz group. The pianist allows he’s not much of a jazz player. Bearthoven is a trio ready to upend expectations, even those it sets for itself. The Brooklyn based trio of Karl Larson, piano, Pat Swoboda, bass, and Matt Evans, percussion, will perform a “Music at the Forefront” concert Monday at 8 p.m. at the ClaZel in downtown Bowling Green. The free concert is sponsored by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. “Our music is a weird split between very loud and very soft. We have this strange dichotomy of pieces,” Larson said in a recent telephone interview. Some work is akin to rock ‘n’ roll. Other pieces are minimalist, even ethereal. Larson, who received his doctorate in contemporary music from BGSU in 2012, said the members all met through the Bang On A Can Summer Institute in North Adams, Massachusetts. Though they played in different ensembles together, the trio itself first performed in December, 2013. All three live on the same corner in Brooklyn, New York. “We knew we wanted to do this thing, and we knew there weren’t pieces that existed for this instrumentation. So we put the word out,” he said. Since they were all leaving school at the same time “we knew a lot of composers.” Bearthoven offered them to chance to write what they wanted. In exchange they would get a good performance. For student composers, this would a fair barter. Usually on campus when new pieces get played, Larson said, it’s by a pick-up ensemble with minimal rehearsal time. With Bearthoven “they know we would really invest in the performance.” The first piece they received, Brooks Frederickson’s “Undertoad,” will be on Monday’s program. They will also play Ken Thomson’s “Grizzly” and one piece that predated the formation of the group, Nik Bärtsch’s “Modul 26,” composed in 2004– early music for the trio. Larson called the piece, the only one in their repertoire not commissioned by Bearthoven, “minimalist jazz” full of puzzle pieces, meter tricks and time tricks. “You never really know where you are rhythmically as a listener.” The trio landed some high profile gigs at the 2014 Bang On The Can Marathon and the 2015 MATA Festival. Bearthoven started getting grants to enable them to pay composers they commissioned. That’s important, Larson said. “We want to be paid so it’s important to pay composers, too.” The trio’s current Ohio swing is tied to pieces commissioned by the Johnstone Fund for New Music. Bearthoven gave a premier performance of the pieces Wednesday at a CNX concert in Columbus, and then heads to Otterbein College to take part in a reading session of student composers’ works. Those new pieces are: Adrian Knight, “The Ringing World,” Fjola Evans’ “Shoaling,” and a yet to be titled work by Charlie Wilmoth. Tours and college visits are essential to financial viability. “That’s what’s really lucrative,”…


Korducki Sentenced for Accident Killing 4 People

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With his eyes squeezed shut and his voice shaking, Nicholas Korducki faced the family of the four people killed in a car accident last year when he crossed the center line. “I’ve searched for the words I would like to use,” the 17-year-old said to the Jacobs family. “I can’t seem to find them. I’m very sorry about all of this.” More than a year after causing the accident, Korducki, was sentenced Thursday. He will spend seven days in juvenile detention, have his license suspended for two years, be on probation, complete a remedial driving course and do 100 hours of community service. Korducki’s testimony came after three members of the Jacobs family told about the deep loss felt by the deaths of Harley Jacobs, 88; Donna Jacobs, 85; Diane Jacobs, 64; and Kenneth Johnston, 71, all from Luckey. The four died as a result of the accident on Ohio 25, between Newton and Bishop roads, just north of Bowling Green on Feb. 5, 2015. “These people sounded like really upstanding people, good as gold, and that makes this all the worse for me,” Korducki said. “I hope you all can find it within yourselves to forgive me,” the Bowling Green teen said to the 30 members of the Jacobs family filling the Wood County Juvenile Court. “I’m so very sorry.” The attorneys for Korducki had filed a request that no media be allowed in the court, but visiting Judge Michael Bumb from Fulton County, denied that motion. As part of a negotiated plea, the prosecutor’s office asked that four charges of vehicular homicide be dismissed, that Korducki plead to vehicular manslaughter, and that no detention time be ordered. “This is a tragedy that brings us here today. It’s a tragedy for all who are here,” said Tim Atkins, chief assistant in the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office’s juvenile division. The tragedy extends to the Korducki family, Atkins said. “This was an accident.” But the difference is “Nick’s parents can give him a hug at night and tell him that they love him.” The Jacobs family cannot. Three members of the Jacobs family spoke to the court of their loved ones lost, of hoping for closure and looking for accountability. All spoke of the concern for their family and for the Korducki family. Beth Barton, the granddaughter of Harley and Donna Jacobs, and the daughter of Diane Jacobs and Kenneth Johnston, took deep breaths before she could speak. “This is a huge tragedy, not just for our family but the Korduckis as well.” As the mother of three teenagers, Barton expressed compassion for the teenage driver who crossed the center line. As she talked about her parents and grandparents, Nicholas Korducki’s body shook as he cried. “They were very much the core of our family,” she said. They were also the core of the Luckey community. Harley Jacobs was mayor of the village for 33 years, owned Jacobs Market, and worked for the Ohio State Patrol as a driver’s license examiner in Bowling Green. As mayor, he aided in the creation of Basic Park, worked on the lagoon sewer system for the village, and focused on paving town roads. Donna Jacobs was devoted to work at church, was involved in the village’s historical…


BGSU Opera Theater Gives Voice to Tragic Tale of Love

Seldom does an opera arrive on the stage at Bowling Green State University with such high expectations. “Cavalerria Rusticana,” which opens Friday at 8 p.m. with a matinee Sunday at 3 p.m. in Donnell Theatre, features native son Shawn Mathey who has already made his mark on international stages. And opposite his Turiddu as Santuzza is Jennifer Cresswell, who also has impressive professional stage credits, perfectly cast as the woman scorned. The leads deliver, not just through voices that have the Donnell vibrating with their passion, but also through their acting, which brings their characters to life. It’s worth looking over at Cresswell during the scene in which her heart-to-heart talk with Turiddu is interrupted by Lola (Kyle Schreiber). Mathey’s character immediately abandons Santuzza as he dotes on the woman he had hoped to marry. Without a word, Cresswell expresses disdain both for her rival and her lover as well as self-pity for herself. Santuzza had slept with Turiddu when he arrived back in his village to find Lola had married the teamster Alfio (John Mink). That dalliance had its desired effect, making Lola jealous, and she and Turiddu reunited. Tragedy ensues, all played out in full-throated singing. Director Jesse Koza is able to place this sordid tale within the context of the village, albeit a village populated solely with young, good looking people. Central to village life is the trattoria run by Turiddu’s mother Lucia (Betsy Bellavia). With a few spare strokes, Koza sketches the sense of a community at once earthy and devout. The play takes place at Easter, which sets the characters’ sins in stark relief. Santuzza, though, seems to be the only one who takes her sin to heart, and she stays outside the church, feeling herself unworthy, as the others enter. She is on the outs both with the village and with heaven. This setting also gives composer Pietro Mascagni the chance to write some stately and very lovely religious music that contrasts with the songs of revelry and passion. Mathey’s Turiddu is too besotted with his love for Lola to notice his own sin. Even as he fawns over Lola, his scenes with Santuzza reveal the lure of his lust for her. The singing is supported by an orchestra, conducted by Emily Freeman Brown. The sound of the ensemble is rich with lower winds. The score has several passages where the orchestra comes to the forefront. When “Cavalleria” is paired as it often is with “Pagliacci,” these interludes are trimmed. Here they are heard in all their vibrant colors. With no subplots, the narrative clips along to its tragic end. At about an hour, “Cavalleria” seems the perfect length to tell its tale. Listeners drawn by the promise of high-powered voices will not be disappointed.


BG Eyes $4 Million in Water, Wastewater Projects

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nearly $4 million in utility projects for this year were approved Monday evening by the Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities. The projects will keep clean water pumping to customers, and improve wastewater treatment once customers flush their used water away. The biggest project, estimated at $1.25 million, is the construction of a new pump station on Conneaut Avenue and force main improvements. The current pump station is undersized and cannot keep up with demand. The board approved applying for a low-interest loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Water Development Authority for the funding. The city is also expecting to get some funding this year for road paving on Conneaut Avenue from Grove Street to Mitchell Road. So Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for Bowling Green, suggested the pump station work take place prior to the paving. “Obviously, we don’t want to pave a road then tear it up,” O’Connell said. The board also approved the city going after $1 million in grant funding for upgrades to the sand filter system at the water treatment plant. O’Connell explained that the city is a good candidate for a zero interest loan since the upgrades will improve efforts to limit algae problems in water. The original estimate for the work was $400,000. However, it was decided to expand the scope of the project and create a longer term solution to the algae problem. The expanded project could save some money in another area since it could reduce the work at the backwash pumping station, O’Connell said. The board of utilities also approved the following projects go to bid for: $200,000 to replace the six-inch waterline with eight-inch lines on Troup Avenue between East Wooster and Scott Hamilton streets. The wider lines should increase the water pressure and improve fire protection. $400,000 for new valves on a 20-inch transmission main. $1,010,000 to improve sewer lines that are in poor condition or require regular maintenance. Those lines are on an alley from Pearl to Oak streets; West Wooster Street; Wolfly Avenue; Manitoba Drive; Dunbridge Road sewer manhole; and South Main Street pump station corrosion and odor control. $120,000 in chemical costs at water treatment plant. Several vehicles for the electric, water treatment, water distribution and water pollution control divisions, with a total estimated cost of $440,000.  


BGSU Eyes Possible Cuts of Courses, Programs With Low Enrollment

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University is continuing its state-mandated assessment of courses and programs that have low enrollment. The reporting is required by House Bill 64, which seeks to increase efficiency on college campuses. Trustees approved the report, though because of the state deadline and the timing of trustee meetings, it has already been submitted. BGSU administrators, Provost Rodney Rogers said, identified 24 degree programs that graduate fewer than 20 students over a four year period. Rogers said that 15 of those programs were deemed not to require further action. Several of them were new and already seeing increased growth. Nine programs, however, were identified as possible candidates for major revision or elimination. The administration will work with department chairs and faculty to determine if “it makes sense for us to offer” these programs or whether they need to undergo revisions to make them fit more with societal needs, Rogers said. The six programs on the Bowling Green campus identified were: bachelor of arts degrees in Russian, Latin, classical civilizations and music, and bachelor of science degrees in statistics and electro-mechanical systems technology. Three associate degree programs at Firelands were also identified: electro-mechanical, EMT and manufacturing. “The hard work is just beginning as we work with deans and chairs to make the next step,” Rogers said. He noted that Venu Dasig, interim dean of the College of Technology, is already working with faculty to transition the electro-mechanical systems technology program into one with more emphasis on robotics. The report also identified hundreds of courses deemed to have low enrollment. The administration, Rogers said, identified 581 courses that met the low enrollment criteria. It deemed 193 courses as needing no further action because they were upper level or lab sections which are expected to have low enrollments. Administrators will continue to monitor them. Another 177 courses were identified where “there’s opportunity to better manage our curriculum,” he said. The question is whether there’s overlap with other courses. Another 158 appear because there are multiple sections of the same course. And 53 were seen as candidates for possible collaboration with Firelands or another institution. Rogers said talks are underway with the University of Toledo about collaborating for upper level sections of foreign languages where there is “robust” enrollment in lower level courses and in information systems. Deciding how many courses and sections to offer is a balancing act, he said. The administration needs to look at increasing the efficiency in course offerings in a way that “does not limit a student’s ability to complete a degree in a timely way.” Rogers noted that BGSU identified fewer under-enrolled courses than other universities because it had recently streamlined its general education requirements.


Parks to Try for Larger Levy

  By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 16 years, the levy supporting parks and recreation in Bowling Green has been static. Meanwhile, the park facilities and programs have been anything but. So Tuesday evening, the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board approved a request to put a new, higher millage levy on the fall ballot. The park and recreation department has been operating with a 1.4-mill levy, which generated $638,500 annually for 16 years. The new levy would be 2 mills for five years, bringing in $915,000 annually. The reason for the increase is simple, according to the levy committee which recommended the millage. The department has continued to expand its facilities and programs to meet the needs of its citizens. “And the public expects this quality to be maintained,” said Jeff Crawford, a member of the park board and levy committee. “It’s overdue,” said board member Cheryl Windisch, noting that costs for everything else have increased in that 16-year period. Park board president Kent Strange said it was a “great feat” for the department to get by on the same millage for 16 years while offering quality services. “This will go a long way to continuing with that.” The levy recommendation will now go to city council for approval to be put on the November ballot. Park and recreation levies in Bowling Green traditionally enjoy at passage rate of about 60 percent at the polls, according to Kristin Otley, director of the city’s park and recreation department. She is hoping for similar results this time around. “The need is real and we feel we can communicate the need to folks,” Otley said. The additional millage will not be much of a difference to individual landowners in the city, but it will add up to a substantial amount for the parks and recreation programs, she said. “It’s obviously critically important to us,” she said, noting the care that is taken to spend the money wisely. “We are mindful of the tax dollars we get.” Much has changed with the city park and recreation services since the existing levy went into effect 16 years ago. Otley listed additions like the community center, Simpson Building and garden park, the skate park, new acreage at Ridge Park, the soccer fields on Dunbridge Road, and the new aquatic complex. Until recently, the levy accounted for 33 percent of the park and recreation budget. Last year, the levy dollars made up 30 percent of the budget, with more money coming in from such sources as fees, rental costs, grants, donations and the general fund. Mayor Dick Edwards voiced his support for the levy process Tuesday evening. “This is a big step forward,” he said. “This is a critically important issue.” Edwards cautioned that getting the levy past city council is just the first step. “The heavy lifting has only started,” he said. If the levy fails to pass, the park and recreation department would have to make cuts, since the existing park levy expires at the end of this year. “We would be in trouble,” Otley said. The levy committee is made up of Margaret Tucker, Jodi and Dave Anderson, Clif Boutelle, Brian Bushong, Bob Callecod, Pat and Lisa Carney, Lisa Cesarini, Jeff Crawford, Debbie Dorn, Nadine Edwards, Becca Ferguson, Joyce Kepke,…