BG Schools’ financial forecast a rollercoaster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi showed the school board Tuesday the five-year financial forecast for the district, then showed them an image that best summed up the situation – a rollercoaster. Melchi described some of the changes that have occurred since October. Tangible personal property tax was expected to disappear, but the district was supplemented for two years of that revenue. State foundation funding increased from a 0.28 percent to a 0.31 percent share. While that may seem insignificant, Melchi said it adds up to quite a bit. Of the $5,900 per pupil funding level at Bowling Green, the state will pay $1,829. Property tax collection has increased by $120,000 and the school district income tax is up $129,000. Some savings are being experienced in health insurance costs. But looking ahead, the district is adding two curriculum coordinators, six regular classroom teachers, two special education teachers, one behavioral specialist and one speech specialist. All those figures add up to revenue and expenditure lines that crisscross on their ways up and down on the financial forecast chart. Based on the current snapshot on finances, the district will have a positive balance until 2019, Melchi said.  Then, the district will have to search for more revenue. Also at the meeting, the school board learned about a new literacy task force led by Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for the district. She introduced several teachers who have been working on their own time throughout the year on a program to improve reading programs. All the teachers wore red T-shirts, McCarty said, because “this group is on fire.” Several of the teachers took turns describing different highlights of the literacy efforts. “Compare it to learning to ride a bike,” Stacey Higgins said. First, the teacher holds on as the student pedals, then the teacher runs alongside, and finally the student takes off. Some of the teachers also described what the literacy program is not.  It is not “one size fits all” and not memorization of words. In addition to improving literacy…


Moosbrugger comes home to roost as new Falcon athletic director

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bob Moosbrugger knew what he wanted in a career when he was a student at Bowling Green State University. He wanted to be an athletic director. He wanted it so much that after two years playing baseball, and winning the award as the top freshman, he decided he needed to concentrate on his studies. He left the team. On Tuesday, Moosbrugger became an athletic director, and he was returning to the Falcon roost to realize that goal. BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey introduced the 1994 graduate as the university’s new athletic director. He’ll start on July 18. The announcement comes just five weeks after Chris Kingston announced he was leaving to go into the private sector. “It was quick. It was fast,” Moosbrugger said. “It’s been a whirlwind tour.” Mazey said that the search was conducted by Turnkey Search. She said she learned that when an athletic director position opens up, a lot of people are interested. That one of those was a BGSU graduate was a plus. “It’s always great to bring a Falcon home and into the Falcon family.” Mazey noted as a former athlete, Moosbrugger “knows that role of student athlete and how important that is to this university. … I was impressed by his passion for his alma mater.” She said at previous institutions, she has worked with athletic directors who were graduates of those schools and found them to be effective at working with the entire university community from students to alumni. “They were very, very good fundraisers.” “It’s truly a great day to be a Falcon,” Moosbrugger told those gathered for the press conference in the Stroh Center. “I’m coming home.” Moosbrugger, a Celina High School graduate, has been the assistant director of athletics/chief operating officer at San Diego State. He rose to that position having started there in 2000 as the assistant director for the Aztec Athletic Foundation. He emphasized that the story BGSU has to tell goes beyond wins and losses. “We have great student athletes who are developing academically and socially.” He noted that BGSU…


Three city firefighters promoted to lieutenant

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With their fellow firefighters filling the back of council chambers, Mayor Dick Edwards swore in three new lieutenants to the fire department Monday evening. Ryan Patton, Brad Feehan and Jason Wilkins, with their families surrounding them, took the oath promoting them in the city fire department. Edwards praised the three firefighters and the profession as a whole, “who serve so unselfishly.” Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson called the three men solid firefighters, paramedics and natural leaders. “We’re very proud of these three people,” the chief said. “We’re all glad to have them.” Also at Monday’s meeting, city council voted to approve raises for non-union employees by 3 percent, the same amount granted to union employees of the city. Council member Robert McOmber stressed the city’s effort to keep pay increases the same for union and non-union employees.   In other business, Planning Director Heather Sayler reported that the city is down this year in zoning permits, with 108 being requested so far, compared to 121 last year at this time. The number of single-family housing permits is also down, with nine this year compared to 14 last year at this time. Sayler also asked for council’s help reporting grass that exceeds the allowed height in the city, since the city has just one code enforcer. As part of the Not In Our Town program, Sayler also introduced Margaret Montague and Carol Kinsey, who will be visiting businesses in the city to make sure they are aware of the program and ask them to put NIOT logos in their store windows. In other business, City Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley reported that the “Building on Nature” project in Wintergarden Park may be completed as soon as next week. The new building includes maintenance space, plus public restrooms. Otley noted the last in a series of focus groups for the parks and recreation department will be held this Wednesday at 7 p.m., in the community center. This forum will look at future directions for the parks, identifying the strengths and weaknesses. Otley…


Public library taking on new roles

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The changing nature of libraries came up several times during the meeting Tuesday of the Wood County Board of Trustees. In his report, Library Director Michael Penrod noted that some people are surprised that though space at the Walbridge branch will double when the new addition is completed, the stack space for books will not. At least, he told the board, space for books will remain constant. Often, he said, when libraries renovate that space is reduced. Why? Well, Michele Raine, adult services librarian, provided part of the reason. The library now circulates more than 4,000 e-books a month. That tops the target staff had set. All major publishers now make their newest books available, while before they only allowed their back catalog to be circulated in the electronic format. That comes at a price, Raine said. Publishers can charge three times as much for an electronic version of a book as they do for the hard cover, and they restrict how many times it can be borrowed by patrons before requiring the library to repurchase it. Increasingly libraries are about more than books. Among the adult activities offered at the library were a ukulele club, attended by 18, and a session on straw bale gardening attracted 28. And library staff in April helped 10 people put together resumes and do job searches. “This is a place you can continue to learn and grow for the rest of your life,” Raine said. She also announced that the piano recital series presented in conjunction with the Bowling Green State University piano faculty will continue next year. Raine said she especially like the recitals because the performers took the time to talk about the music they are about the play and explain what to listen for. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity to learn more about music,” she said. For all the constant updating in services, the need to pay for them is a constant. Penrod announced that the library foundation’s benefit at Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore will be held Thursday, July 21, from 6 to…


BG tries to clean up its act – at least in front yards

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   September Killy-Knight is a “proud townie.” But when she walks downtown with out-of-town guests, she is often embarrassed. “The aesthetics and charm of our town are being compromised,” by a problem that can easily be solved, she told Bowling Green City Council Monday evening. In case there was any question, Lori Young showed council photos of the problem – home after home with garbage containers in their front yards, bags of garbage on porches, dumpsters in front yards, upholstered furniture sitting outside. “This is a growing issue,” Young said. A council committee aware of the problems met before Monday’s council meeting to go over proposed revisions to the city’s refuse and recycling collection ordinance. But many of the citizens at the meeting felt the changes did not go far enough. “A lot of people are concerned about placement of a lot of cans,” council member John Zanfardino said. “We do want to set some limits.” During a recent drive around the city, Zanfardino said he saw “slum-like” settings with garbage in front yards. “It’s really detrimental to our neighborhoods.” “When I see an overflowing garbage can by the front porch, that’s terrible,” council member Robert McOmber said. But the proposal made Monday night did not ban garbage containers in front yards. Diane Vogtsberger asked why the revised ordinance didn’t require the cans to be kept in back of dwellings. “That’s a no brainer,” she said. Zanfardino said he “was trying to find a middle ground.” But none of the citizens who spoke at the meeting wanted that compromise to include garbage cans in front yards – maybe side yards if no other space was available – but definitely not in front yards. “Painful as it might be, strict enforcement with some good fines,” might be in order to get people to obey the new rules, Vogtsberger said. Les Barber suggested that garbage containers on the side of homes could possibly be screened by fences or shrubbery. If not, they should be stored in garages or behind homes, he said. Young proposed that…


Library wants to showcase BG’s talent

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Since the Wood County Public Library opened in 2003 its atrium up to a variety of entertainment. With the purchase and installation of a Steinway grand piano in 2006, the library became a regular venue for performers, from around the corner and around the world. “We have a lot of concerts and recitals, and people a lot of time people will ask how they can perform,” said reference librarian Kristin Wetzel. “All these people would like to perform, so why not have an adult talent show just to showcase different acts in town that maybe people don’t always get to see?” So BG’s Got Talent was born. The show – not a contest, “just pure fun” – will be held June 9 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the atrium. Acts have until June 3 at 6 p.m. to sign. The show is open to pretty much any kind of act that can move on and off stage quickly. Acts will have as long as 15 minutes to perform. Wetzel said these could be singers, poetry reading, clean stand-up comedy, anything suitable for all audiences. “It’d be great to have a few piano pieces mixed in,” she said. So far, three acts have already expressed interest. Two are singers accompanying themselves on guitar, and the third is a group of teenagers who are writing their own song. “There’s room for more,” Wetzel said. Registration forms are available at the library or on the library’s website: https://www.wcdpl.org/sites/default/files/BG%27sGotTalentSmall.pdf. For information email http://woodref@wcdpl.org or call 419-352-5050.    


Trump’s success stumps some local Republicans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At a time in the election process when party faithful normally rally around their presidential candidate, this year’s non-traditional frontrunner is causing some Republicans to casually distance themselves or outright reject the candidate. So where do some local Republican leaders stand on Donald Trump? State Sen. Randy Gardner, State Rep. Tim Brown and Wood County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Mike Marsh stepped delicately around the issue, not voicing support but not burning any political bridges. “Interesting,” Gardner said when asked about his opinion of Trump. “Politics is always about choices,” he said. “This is clearly a much different set of choices than the American people have faced before.” Gardner acknowledged this election year is unlike any other in recent history. “I’ve always been able to support the Republican nominee,” he said. So does that mean Gardner will back Trump? “Ask me when there’s a nominee,” he said. Brown said he was supporting John Kasich as the nominee. “My candidate was the governor,” he said. “I think he would have had much broader appeal.” But now that Kasich is out, where does that leave Brown? “I could more than live without his third grade bullying,” he said of Trump’s conduct. “I don’t understand that. My wish is he would develop a better sense of decorum.” But Brown does understand why Trump is winning over voters – and will walk away with more Republican primary votes than any other GOP candidate in history. “That’s a powerful statistic,” Brown said. “I get how he taps into the sentiments of the people,” he said. “I get that he’s tapped into some people’s anger” on issues such as national security and trade. “There’s a difference between free trade and fair trade,” Brown said. He listed the three major standards that U.S. businesses adhere to – OSHA safety rules, child labors laws, and environmental regulations. “And yet China violates all those tenets and takes American jobs. It’s no wonder they’re angry,” he said of American voters. Brown said he has concerns about the integrity of both parties’ frontrunners….


Fred Tomaselli’s art takes flight at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Fred Tomaselli was a young painter, he felt the weight of history. What more could he contribute to the grand tradition of painting? Instead he looked around and saw new media emerging, installations and video art. So he did a seascape, not with oils, but with foam cups tethered to wood and set in motion by a breeze from a fan. Tomaselli, 59, said he turned the flotsam and jetsam that normally float on the water into the water itself. He turned something that holds liquid into the liquid itself. Tomaselli plays tricks with perception. He brings together conceptual art with representational art. He pleases the eye and tweaks the brain. As he related in his Master Series lecture Thursday at the Toledo Museum of Art, his artistic journey led to a return to painting and intricate representations of birds. Those images, part painting, part collage, are made up of smaller images. Scott Boberg, the museum’s manager of programs and audience engagement, noted in his introduction, in one Tomaselli painting the viewer discovers “a bird beak that’s literally dozens of bird beaks.” Those paintings are on view in the museum in “Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds,” continuing through Aug. 7. The exhibit and the talk coincide with what’s considered the biggest week in birding as flocks migrate, stopping on the shores of Lake Erie before continuing their journey north. Tomaselli apologized at first, explaining the talk would not be all about birds. Rather he explained how his imagination took flight starting as a child in Orange County, living near Disneyland. What he saw in the sky was Tinkerbell. He was influenced by “that friction between reality and the construction of reality.” Tomaselli experienced the battles between the various schools of art. “I liked it all,” he said. “It all seemed to have some validity to me. … I was a kid. I didn’t have any skin in the game.” The son of an Italian immigrant, Tomaselli left California in the 1980s to resettle in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He was interested in…


Summit brings women in philanthropy into focus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Learning how to manage money and learning the value of sharing that wealth with others go helping hand in helping hand. For the past 15 years, Auburn University’s Women’s Philanthropy Board has entwined those lessons in programs geared toward elementary school students through adults. Bringing those values together is essential, said Sidney James Nakhjavan, the executive director for the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Auburn. She was the keynote speaker at the Women in Philanthropy Summit Saturday at Bowling Green State University. The summit was convened by the presidents of BGSU, Otterbein University and the University of Findlay. “When you talk in terms of money management, you talk in terms of one thing,” Nakhjavan told those in attendance. “When you talk in terms of philanthropy and building a legacy, you certainly are talking about one thing. When you blend it then you get this powerful force that really effects change within people. …  It becomes this burning passion.” While teaching money management may seem fairly dispassionate, said Nakhjavan every semester she gets “criers.” One male student became apoplectic in a session talking about money management. He was angry because he didn’t realize how much debt he was taking on. He didn’t know what an IRA or a 401K was. He’s not alone. One young woman told Nakhjavan that when she saw 401K on the syllabus, she thought she was going to have to run a race. Another thought United Way was an airline. “They end up being grateful to learn this stuff and empowered to build their legacy,” the speaker said. Since 2001, the efforts, started as Women’s Board for Philanthropy, have been working to increase that learning curve. Seminars for women, started with 100 attendees, have grown to attract 1,000 attendees. The formation of the board was prescient. In 2001 Dean June Henton, of the College of Human Sciences, with colleagues and a donor, attended a conference with the intention of finding how to cultivate a culture of philanthropy among women on the Auburn campus. “What prompted…


Gardner and Brown talk about marijuana, wind energy and roundabouts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s state legislators fielded questions about marijuana, roundabouts and windfarms Friday morning from local residents. State Sen. Randy Gardner and State Rep. Tim Brown, both R-Bowling Green, presented a legislative update to members of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. The talk covered a wide range of topics on health, energy and transportation. Gardner reminded those present that he and Brown value direct contact from their constituents and make an effort to be “very accessible” to citizens. Brown said it’s good for the public to be aware of state legislative efforts. “The more sunshine we have on these deliberations the better it is for all of us,” he said. Following are some of the issues discussed. Windfarms Brown talked about a wind energy bill that currently calls for setback requirements that make wind farms “next to impossible.” Under the current language in the bill, the majority of the wind turbines at Ohio’s largest windfarm would not be allowed. “Their right to have them has been stripped away,” Brown said, adding that he is working to change that. Some businesses are reluctant to locate in Ohio because the state doesn’t do enough to promote clean energy, he added. “We have businesses who want to be in our state and say, ‘No,’” such as Amazon, Brown said. “They demand renewable energy.” Gardner said Ohio needs to look at making use of renewable and natural resource energy. “I think there’s an ‘all of the above’ policy,’” he said. Orange barrels Ohioans should not expect relief from road construction anytime soon, Brown said. “I hear more about this from people than anything else.” The state has increased the annual funding to fix Ohio roads and bridges from $150 million to $175 million during the next five years, then up to $200 million after that. “The orange barrels aren’t going to go away,” he said. The goal with projects, such as the Interstate 75 widening here in Wood County, is to grow the economy and attract businesses. The state is also looking at more roundabouts as…


BGHS accommodates transgender students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When word came down from the Obama administration today that transgender students should be able to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, it did not send Bowling Green High School into a panic. Principal Jeff Dever said the high school already has taken steps to make transgender students feel safe and welcome – by having a restroom identified for transgender students and by calling students by their chosen names and pronouns. A directive is being sent to school districts throughout the nation today saying that public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. The directive comes with no new legal requirements, but clarifies expectations of school districts that receive federal funding. It is not clear yet if Bowling Green’s separate restroom meets those qualifications, but Dever said it seems to be meeting transgender students’ needs. “What I have heard from students is their greatest angst comes from using the restroom,” he said this morning. “I understand that completely.” For the students, the separate restroom seems to be a sufficient solution. “I haven’t had any complaints,” Dever said. Though the issue of transgender students has long existed at the high school, Dever said it has changed with the visibility of Caitlyn Jenner. “It’s more of an issue here at school now,” he said. “It’s come to the forefront.” That may bring about locker room changes soon. Devers said the school has not designated a transgender locker room yet because none of the current handful of transgender students are on athletic teams. However, with five locker rooms, the school should be able to identify one as transgender if the need arises, he said. The school also tries to accommodate transgender students in other ways. As soon as the student identifies as the other sex, the staff is instructed to use the student’s chosen name and matching pronoun. “I’ve been told anecdotally that we handle it pretty well,” Dever said. “As a public school we have a moral obligation to serve everybody,” the principal…


Art community strives to keep painter Bob Mazur’s legacy alive

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bob Mazur’s spirit has returned to Bowling Green State University’s Bryan Gallery. A dozen of his paintings as well as prints of his work are hanging on the walls in preparation for a celebration of his life at noon on Saturday.  Mazur, who taught at BGSU for 33 years before retiring in 1998, died in August, 2015. The paintings are vibrant with splashes of color, especially blue. Mazur dove deep to find them. He snapped underwater photographs that inspired the thick lines and designs of his abstract paintings. He applied thick layers of paint that even years later still seems in motion. They possess a muscularity one would expect from a former wrestler. “You can see his big, bold personality in his paintings,” said Charlie Kanwischer, who started teaching at the university a year before Mazur retired. He was “a guy who liked to have a good time.” Kanwischer said Mazur was always positive and upbeat with friends and students. The exhibit is more than a display of his talents; the show is intended as a continuing effort to continue his legacy. Working with Laura Jajko, president of American Frame, friends, family and colleagues have been working to endow a scholarship in his honor. All 12 paintings and the glicee prints on display, Kanwischer said, are for sale. Those visiting will also be able to order a book of Mazur’s work. Or they can write a check to the BGSU Foundation. “This is about Bob’s legacy and passing it down for generations,” he said. Mazur, Kanwischer said, was one of a generation of artists who took the School of Art to greater prominence. Professors such as David Cayton, Ron Jacomini, who designed the book, and Tom Hilty all “dedicated their lives to the place.” Mazur’s widow, Lynne Mazur, told Kanwischer that over his career her husband painted more than 1,000 works. The 12 in the show are the last she has to sell. Already the scholarship fund has generated $28,000. About $25,000 is what’s required to fund the scholarship. The scholarship, Kanwischer said, will…


BG parks great for activity, but buildings need some work

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s parks give patrons plenty of chances to flex their muscles while walking, playing ball, skateboarding, swimming or climbing playground equipment. But there is room for improvement, according to the citizens attending the park forum this week focusing on the city’s active parks – City Park, Carter Park and the newest, Ridge Park. “I think we have a pretty good park system,” citizen Les Barber said. The parks scored an “A” for activity options, but got lesser grades for park buildings, ballpark drainage, and parking availability. Citizens were asked for input on the Veterans Building in City Park, and the teepee shaped shelters in Carter Park. Kristin Otley, director of the BG Parks and Recreation Department, explained that the teepee-like shelters may be removed and replaced with new shelter houses. No one present objected to that change. Otley also said that the Veterans Building has several problems, including not being ADA compliant and structural leaks. The three options being considered are to renovate the building, tear down the building and leave open space, or tear down the building and replace it with a new structure. “Seems like we ought to keep some kind of facility there,” resident Ellen Dalton said. She suggested balancing the cost of renovations versus replacement. Valerie Brinkhoff asked about the water tower in Carter Park, which was originally designed to have a theater in the bottom below the water storage. That space is currently being used for storage, but Brinkhoff asked if it could possibly be opened up for community events. Also involving Carter Park, a concern was voiced by Diane Biems, president of the girls fast pitch baseball organization. The girls teams use the north softball fields at Carter Park – which frequently flood especially with spring rains. “We have limited usage of it because of poor water drainage,” Biems said, adding that she understands it’s quite expensive to fix flooding fields. But, “it’s hard to have home games at Carter Park when there’s such poor drainage.” Ridge Park could benefit from the addition of some…


What’s in a name? Large donations, BGSU hopes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Still in its early, quiet stages, the current Bowling Green State University Capital Campaign has already met with success. BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey told trustees last week that the campaign has raised $72 million of a $200 million goal. Last year Shea McGrew, the vice president for University Advancement and president and chief executive officer of the BGSU Foundation, described that as a working goal. The campaign was first announced in spring, 2014, and is expected to run for six years. On Friday, the trustees heard what the deans and other top university officials envision as the ways that money would be spent. Not surprisingly the plans offer donors plenty of chances to put their names on something, whether a building, program or professorship. In at least one case, though, a funded position would be named for the current occupant. Sara Bushong, dean of libraries, said one of the capital campaign priorities was to get funding to name a position for Bill Schurk, the sound recording archivist. Schurk begins his 50th year of service in July. Bushong also said that the library would like to have a visiting professorship named after pop culture pioneer Ray Browne, who planted the flag of the then-new discipline at BGSU. Each endowed professorship would cost $300,000. The priorities represent more than a wish list; they offer a look at the direction the university is heading. Health and Human Services Dean Mary Huff stated that the college would look to attracting funding for five named professorships, in several disciplines. This would require $300,000 to $1.5 million. She said that additional money for recruiting faculty is necessary because of the competition for top candidates. The Optimal Aging Institute will be a prime focus. A search for a director is underway with a hire expected this summer. Huff said she hoped a donor would could be found to sponsor the center. The project was launched in March with a $1 million donation from Medical Mutual. Another area where the college wants to boost its research, training and outreach is forensics….


Wood County tries to ease growing pains

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County faces inevitable growing pains over the next couple decades. So a new land use plan is examining how the county can ease those pains by saving prime farmland, directing development, protecting waterways, and possibly establishing an energy corridor for pipelines. Input on the planning process was sought Wednesday evening. “Do you all feel this is the right direction for us to be heading,” asked Emily Crow, the consultant working with the Wood County Planning Commission on the land use plan. “We’re trying to balance the discussion where there are pressures for growth.” The countywide plan is just the first step. Then the townships will be asked to implement the vision through zoning. “That’s where the rubber meets the road and things actually happen,” Crow said. To prepare for the future, the plan first gives a snapshot of Wood County today. Agriculture continues to be the biggest land use, with more than 76 percent of the acreage in the county used in farming. Commercial uses are located primarily along major transportation corridors. Then projections were made for the future. By 2050, the county’s population of 125,488 is expected to increase anywhere from 5,840 on the conservative side to 21,810 on the high side. Employment, now at 53,638 jobs according to the 2010 Census, may grow by as many as 39,849 jobs by 2050. “You are gaining a lot more jobs than you are population,” Crow said. The biggest growth is expected in retail trade and warehousing. The county is already facing housing demands that aren’t being met, she said. In 2014, the county had 53,840 houses, with approximately 7 to 9 percent being vacant. But buyers are looking for newer homes. “You have a demand in the market for new housing stock,” Crow said. Catalysts for business growth include the capacity and access improvements being made to Interstate 75 and the CSX rail hub in the southern end of the county. The county appears to have a good supply of land already zoned for commercial and industrial uses. So what happens…