East Side may get revitalization plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Neglected and abused housing on Bowling Green’s East Side may soon be addressed in a revitalization plan. Bowling Green City Council heard the first reading Monday evening of a plan to contract with consultants to develop a strategic revitalization plan for the northeast and the southeast neighborhoods of the city. “We’ve been talking about the need to revitalize these neighborhoods,” council member Daniel Gordon said after the meeting. The decline of the housing stock around Bowling Green State University has been going on for years, Gordon said. “The city has not intervened,” he said. Much of the traditional single family housing has been converted into rental units. “When you have that unbalance created,” the housing problems worsen, Gordon said. Council member Sandy Rowland said she has been a strong advocate of getting the revitalization plan moving. “I know what the situation on the East Side is with housing,” she said. Since she works in the real estate industry, Rowland said she is aware the problems don’t stop at Main Street which divides the east and west sides of the city. “It affects the entire city,” she said, after the meeting. When the city recently updated its land use plan, the consultant ranked revitalization of the East Side was high on the priority list, Rowland said. More and more of the single-family homes close to the university are being converted into rentals. “And when those wonderful homes are turned into rentals, they rapidly deteriorate.” Consequently, fewer and fewer homes appeal to young couples and young professionals looking to purchase homes, Rowland said. Gordon is hoping that the revitalization plan is more than conceptual and has some real teeth. One possibility would be the creation of revolving loans for homeowners wanting to spruce up their structures. “There have to be some incentives,” Rowland said.


BG to use bugs to cut phosphorus

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is going to enlist the help of bugs to treat its wastewater. Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities, told city council Monday evening that the city would be paying $126,000 for a biological phosphorus removal project. The project will involve making changes to the aeration and “tricking” microscopic bugs already in to wastewater to eat the phosphorus before it leaves the plant. Phosphorus is one of the culprits blamed for the algal bloom crisis in Lake Erie in the summer of 2014. Phosphorus got to the lake from sources such as sewer plants, farm fields and lawn chemicals. According to O’Connell, by using a biological rather than chemical treatment, the water downstream will benefit. “We’re going to use the bugs in our wastewater plant to consume the phosphorus,” he said. The change is not being required by the Ohio EPA, but O’Connell said environmental regulations are all pointing in that direction. “We are trying to be proactive,” he said. O’Connell said after the meeting that the change should cut the phosphorus that leaves the plant in half. Also at Monday’s meeting, council approved plans for working with the Ohio Department of Transportation for resurfacing the city’s portion of Ohio 105 from Bowling Green’s east side to Ohio 199. During the citizen comments portion of the meeting, Diane Vogtsberger asked council questions about its plans to hire a consultant to do a site assessment of the green space on West Wooster Street which was formerly the site of the junior high school. Council President Mike Aspacher answered her questions, saying Poggemeyer Design Group would be paid $3,200 for the site assessment, creating three artistic renderings of possible uses. There is no timeline for the assessment, he said. The decision to hire the consultant was made by Aspacher, Mayor Dick Edwards and City Administrator Lori Tretter following a public meeting about the proposed use of the green space.


Fire damages Corner Grill (Updated)

BG INDEPENDENT NEWS A fire Monday morning  damaged the Corner Grill in downtown Bowling Green. No one was injured. Several hours later almost a dozen employees gathered near the police tape blocking off the entrance to the eatery and the remains of two futons to commiserate about their jobs and the Corner Grill’s place in downtown culture. The fire started before the sign signaling the start of another week of round-the-clock service had been lit. Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson said the call came in at 7:45 a.m. from an employee reporting fire in the grill. Flames were still evident in the grill area when firefighters had arrived and the fire have moved into an abandoned stairwell connected to the eatery. That stair well has not been in use for years, and was locked. Two futon mattresses burned. Those, Sanderson said, had likely been in the stairwell for some time. The Corner Grill suffered extensive damage in the grill area. Investigation into the fire is continuing, the fire chief said. During Bowling Green City Council meeting Monday evening, council member Theresa Charters Gavarone, who owns Mr. Spots with her husband, said the restaurant suffered quite a bit of smoke and water damage. The business is expected to be open on Wednesday. “I ran up Main Street in my socks,” to let the firefighters into the restaurant, she said. Gavarone joined Mayor Dick Edwards and others in praising the work of the city’s fire and police divisions. “I can’t say enough about the professionalism and the prompt response,” she said. City Administrator Lori Tretter said the fire division already had a crew on Interstate 75 responding to an accident there when the downtown fire was reported. “Our folks are so professional. They are so good. They just make you proud,” Tretter said to council. Early Monday, Assistant City Administrator Joe Fawcett said city officials were called at 7:50 a.m. and notified of the fire and that North Main Street would be closed going both directions at the corner of Court Street. Court Street was also closed for one block on either side of Main. Tretter noted the use of Twitter and Facebook to keep people updated on street closures. Fawcett said that firefighters were concerned that the fire may have spread to Mr. Spots next door, but that appears not to be the case. Wisps of smoke could still be seen coming from the stairwell structure as of 8:30 a.m. Employees said that already people are talking about a benefit concert to support the Corner Grill, and a nearby business, The Cookie Jar, announced it would give a percentage of sales to the damaged restaurant. The eatery is patronized by a wide segment of the community, from members of the legal community who come from the county courthouse a block away to late night  revelers and bar staff who arrive after closing time.  


Bill protects domestic violence victims’ addresses

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In 2009, to punish his ex-wife, James Mammone III stabbed to death their two young children in their carseats, then fatally shot his former mother-in-law in Canton. Testimony for Ohio House Bill 359 stated Mammone was able to commit these acts after using public records to find his ex-wife’s address. The bill, co-sponsored by State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, is designed to keep addresses of former crime victims confidential. The legislation allows for victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual battery, menacing by stalking and human trafficking to safely register to vote while keeping their home address confidential. The victims would be assigned an Address Confidentiality Program number that they can use instead of their home address when filling out an election ballot. Brown said members of the House were moved by the compelling testimony about the Mammone case. “You could have heard a pin drop,” in the chambers, he said. “It was an earthshaking story to hear.” Since vehicle and voter registrations are public records, many domestic violence victims who have escaped their abusers often choose to not register to vote or participate in other government registrations out of fear their abuser will be able to find them. Under this legislation, any personal information about a victim who participates in the Address Confidentiality Program is exempt from the public record. “Victims of crime should be able to vote and carry on with their lives without fear that their attacker can track them down through a public record,” Brown said. The Secretary of State’s office will administer this program by assigning each participant with an ACP number and post office box that the victim can use as an official address for government functions. The only individuals who are able to access the participant’s full information are the county board of elections for the purposes of verifying voter eligibility and law enforcement officers with a legitimate government purpose. The program also permits participants to request their employers, schools or institutions of higher education use the postal box numbers assigned to them by the Secretary of State’s office. The bill now moves to the State Senate for consideration. Passage of the bill would make Ohio the 38th state to have such provisions for victims of domestic violence. “Since introduction of the bill, I have had victims call my office telling me they wish this program existed when they decided to leave their abuser – individuals who have been tracked down because of court documents, county auditors or even car registrations,” said State Rep. Anne Gonzales, R-Westerville.  


BG chamber names top citizens

Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce recognized its top citizens during its annual dinner dance held in the Bowling Green State University ballroom Saturday evening. Bob Callecod was named Man of the Year, and Barbara Sanchez was named Woman of the Year. The outstanding citizen award recognizes those who live or work in the Bowling Green area, and have demonstrated an active leadership role for the betterment of the community through involvement in business, civic, social and service organizations. Judy Ennis was given the Athena Award, and Dr. Ed Whipple was given the Zeus Award. The Athena Award celebrates the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the community, and recognizes those who support them. The recipient must assist women in reaching their full leadership potential; demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; and provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. The Zeus Award is the counterpart to the Athena. Zeus Award recipients are male individuals who support a culture that encourages women to achieve their full leadership potential through active mentoring, supporting, and development actions. A Zeus award nominee is someone who gives back to the larger community of women and girls by providing and/or supporting leadership development opportunities and initiatives.


Teaching & performing linked in music of Charles Saenz

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Charles Saenz has gotten a lot of mileage out of Charles Chaynes’ Concerto for Trumpet. In 1994 when he was a junior at New Mexico State University, Saenz played the concerto in the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition. He came away with first prize and a dream. Then 20 years later Saenz recorded the concerto. It serves as the centerpiece for his first CD, “Eloquentia,” which was released in December by Beauport Classical. The concerto, Saenz, 44, said, has been “a signature piece” that he has been studying and performing for over 20 years. “I’ll put it away for a few years and then bring it back and perform it when I’m at a different point in my playing.” He’ll find some things easier, and other aspects just as difficult. “It really challenges, in different ways, my physical abilities on the instrument,” he said. “But along with that it’s very challenging harmonically. His language is one that takes time to understand.” Saenz’ winning performance in the college competition set the trajectory for his career. He had been planning to follow his father’s footsteps and become a band director. After winning the major competition, he realized he wanted to be a performer and college professor. That meant putting “blinders on,” and concentrating on the performance, and committing to getting a graduate degree. “You start seeing little benchmarks along the way. It kind of propelled my career in a direction that led here.” Saenz has been a professor of trumpet at Bowling Green State University for 15 years. During that time he’s remained an active performer. He’s played with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and Michigan Opera Theater. For the past four years, he’s been a member of the Tower Brass Quintet, an ensemble that draws on his mastery of multiple styles. Saenz says he also enjoys solo recitals. He and frequent collaborator, pianist Solungga Liu, who also is featured on “Eloquentia,” have toured internationally. They will present a Faculty Artist concert Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at BGSU’s Moore Center for the Musical Arts. The program will feature two pieces from the CD: Sonatina by Bohuslav Martinu and “In the Style of Albeniz” by Rodion Shchedrin, which will end the recital the way it closes the CD – with a flourish. Also on the recital program will be Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto in D, Manuel de Falla’s “Suite of Old Spanish Dances,” and Fisher Tull’s Sonata. “I like to keep challenging myself,” Saenz said. “I try to play new pieces.” This will be the first time he and Liu will perform the Tull Sonata. “I play pieces that students may want to perform in the next semester or so,” Saenz added. The same holds true for the selections on “Eloquentia.” “I would hope some of my students who have listened to CD might say ‘I’m really interested in those pieces.’” Two of the compositions, Variations by Henri Challan and Trois Mouvements by Andre Waignein are being recorded for the first time. Two others, the Chaynes concerto and Concertino for Trumpet by Joseph Jongen, are being recorded for the first time with this instrumentation. The previous recording of the Jongen was with organ. The recording of the concerto with piano serves…


Wood County hires assistant administrator

The Wood County Commissioners have appointed Kelly O’Boyle of Waterville to serve as assistant county administrator, the position formerly held by Joe Fawcett. O’Boyle’s duties will include preparation and management of the county budget, supervision of the fiscal and clerical staff within the commissioners’ office, and working closely with the county administrator to provide guidance to projects for commissioners’ departments.  The assistant county administrator also serves as the director of the Wood County Solid Waste Management District, including the Wood County Landfill.  Her employment with Wood County will begin on Feb. 16. Her annual salary will be $73,000. O’Boyle is a graduate of Central Michigan University, and holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Toledo.  She currently serves as the director of finance and human resources with SMG – the management company that operates the Huntington Center and Seagate Center.  Prior experience includes service to Lucas County as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, assistant director of the Office of Management and Budget, and project manager.  


Elevator will make history accessible

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Dana Nemeth remembers wanting to show her father-in-law, a World War II veteran, the new exhibit about the war at the Wood County Historical Center. But when they got to the museum, she quickly realized it was not possible. The WWII exhibit was on the second floor, and her father-in-law could not climb the stairs. “I was really excited for him to see it,” Nemeth recalled. “It was such a disappointment.” That was a decade ago, before Nemeth became director of the museum, and before the state gave the site a $600,000 grant to help pay for a $1.2 million elevator and accessibility accommodations. By this summer, no aging veterans, no families with strollers, no people in wheelchairs will be limited to the first floor of the museum. “It’s been a long time coming,” former Wood County Commissioner Jim Carter said Friday as the museum opened new exhibits and kicked off the construction of the elevator. Former history teacher, State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, spoke of the need to make all floors of the facility accessible. “So all citizens could value and learn at this great community asset.” The elevator has been a long time coming, first being discussed in the late 1970s. State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, spoke of the contributions of history buffs like Lyle Fletcher, Clark Duncan and the countless “barn bums” that helped preserve the site that was built in 1868. “This was on the path perhaps for the wrecking ball at one time,” Brown said. But public officials and historical society volunteers saw the value of the rambling brick building that was once used to house the county’s poor, elderly and ill. The price tag, however, for an elevator was out of reach, Nemeth said. “The cost was too much,” she said. “And since we’re a historic structure, we’re not required to make the building accessible.” But the elevator remained a goal – even though it seemed distant at times. “We wanted to make sure everybody could enjoy the museum,” she said. So now, 10 years after bringing her father-in-law to the museum, Nemeth gets to oversee the installation of the elevator in the “fabulous old building.” “My hard hat is my favorite accessory this winter,” she said. The elevator will be located on the back of the west wing of the building. A carport will be located near it so people with disabilities can pull right up to the elevator, and easily access the building. The elevator will take visitors to the first and second floors. It will also allow the staff to access the basement and attic, which will make it much easier to move exhibits. The $1.2 million total will also pay for the installation of handicap accessible restrooms at the museum. Care is being taken to maintain the historical quality of the building. The historical society is still $300,000 short of meeting its goal. Anyone wanting to contribute to the “Join Us at the Top of the Stairs” project can look at fundraising opportunities at stepup@woodcountyhistory.org.


History in unusual places…toy soldiers, Superman and beer cans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At the young age of 7, Matt Donahue was going through trash bins looking for beer cans. Not for recycling, but for collecting. It would be the start of a lifetime of collecting for Donahue. The beer cans, along with an eclectic combination of items such as Wonder Woman memorabilia, Dr. Seuss books, and salt and pepper shakers, are part of a new program at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. The exhibits feature several community members’ collections for the site’s new “Be Your Own Museum” program. The site was opened to guests Friday to show off the loaned collections. There are superheroes and comic book character from Larry Nader, 1950s era toys from Mary Dilsaver, vintage sewing machines from Cindy Huffman, Nancy Drew books from Jayne Tegge, hand-painted china from Jane Westerhaus, Pez dispensers from Kelli Kling, and more. Roger Mazzarella, who is sharing his collection of tin soldiers, dressed the part Friday, wearing a replica of a 1879 Wales military uniform. “I’m a historian at heart,” said Mazzarella, who is a retired history teacher. Mazzarella acquired the initial pieces of his collection from his father who served as an Army medic in World War II. When his father passed down the toy soldier collection to his son, Mazzarella tried to sell them to another collector. But instead, he came home with not only his dad’s collection, but several more pieces. He was hooked. The same was true for Donahue, whose initial collecting turned into a career in popular culture, which he teaches at Bowling Green State University. Donahue grew up in Maumee, in a home right behind the Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge. It was a great place for a young collector. He would go through the trash looking for different kinds of beer cans. He later traveled to other bars in the city to expand his collection. “I have hundreds and hundreds,” Donahue said, standing in front of a wall of cans. “This is only a small part of my collection.” His favorites are the more unusual ones, like the George Washington bicentennial can, the Cincinnati Reds Hudepohl, the J. R. Ewing can, and the Billy Beer can. He did not, for those wondering, drink his way through his collection. “I’m not much of a drinker. I’m more of a collector,” Donahue said. And it’s not just beer cans. He collects guitars, bicycles, T-shirts, records, post cards and comic books. So Donahue really appreciates the “Be Your Own Museum” project at the historical center. “I love these type of exhibits,” he said. “It really gives an insight into people’s interests. It’s cool that fellow collectors get to bring their stuff out.” Kelli Kling, marketing and events coordinator at the museum, said the project is meant to encourage everyone to explore their own collections. “We are all collectors of something,” she said. “The main purpose of a museum is to collect and preserve elements of the community for future generations. The goal is to get people to think differently about everyday things.”  


Clazel will be buzzing with new piano concerto Monday

The Clazel in downtown Bowling Green is not the place you’d expect to hear a piano concerto. On Monday night at 8, though, pianist Vicky Chow will perform a recently minted concerto. Instead of strings and winds, Chow will be flanked by banks of small loudspeakers. Her performance of Tristan Perich’s “Surface Image” for piano and 40 channel 1-bit electronics is part of the Bowling Green State University MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music’s Music at the Forefront series. Chow gave the premier performance of “Surface Image” in February, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York. When it was released on New Amsterdam records the following year, it landed a multiple best-of-the-year lists. According to the label’s website: “Chow’s dynamic performance is swept up in a sublime flurry of dazzling 1-bit sounds, simultaneously entangling and unraveling over the hour long journey. The line between electric and organic is artistically blurred, as the simple hand-wired electronics fuse with the individual notes of the piano on the same, expansive plane.” A native of Vancouver, Canada, Chow was invited at 9 to perform at the International Gilmore Music Keyboard Festival and the next year performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She has made a name as a performer of contemporary works giving the premier performances and recording works by Steve Reich, Michael Gordon, John Zorn and others. She is the pianist with the Bang on a Can All Stars, Grand Band, New Music Detroit and The Virgil Moorefield Pocket Orchestra. On Sunday at 3 p.m., Chow will perform a solo recital of favorite contemporary pieces in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Art.


Getting downtown to go green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Downtown business owners may soon learn how changing to environmentally green operations can help them keep more of their economic green. Students studying environment and sustainability at Bowling Green State University are working on a type of “green business certification program.” Such a program, which is already in place in Lucas County and Toledo, recognizes businesses that put together sustainability plans. Dr. Holly Myers, who specializes in land use and environmental planning at BGSU, is coordinating student efforts to survey downtown Bowling Green businesses on a sustainability grade card. The three principles of sustainability are environment, economics and quality of life. “It seems like downtown is a good place to start,” she said. Businesses will be surveyed, and suggestions will be made of how they can operate in a more sustainable manner. “This is not something to force on them,” Myers stressed. The green checklist includes topics such as waste reduction, energy conservation and green purchasing. The program will calculate how much can be saved by steps such as changing to LED lightbulbs, billing electronically, or turning off computers at the end of the work day. “I think they are going to be surprised at how much they can reduce their costs,” Myers said. The sustainability rating goes far beyond recycling, but Myers said some students are particularly interested in conducting a trash audit of businesses. “There is very little recycling downtown,” she said. The sustainability project will also help students understand the complexities of “green” programs, and show that putting recycling bins downtown may not go far to solve trash issues. Myers is hoping that a type of logo can be created for those businesses which score well on the sustainability surveys, so they can be recognized for their efforts.  


Islamophobia is everyone’s problem

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The shadow of ISIS and American politicians who exploit its atrocities hung over the panel on Islamophobia at Bowling Green State University Wednesday afternoon. The moderator Susana Pena, director of the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, started the discussion off by positing a definition: “Islamophobia is a hatred or fear of Muslims as well as those perceived to be Muslim and Muslim culture.” She told the more than 100 people in attendance that at its most extreme Islamophobia expresses itself in physical violence and hate crimes, such as the 2002 attack on the Islamic Center in Perrysburg. It also expresses itself in racial profiling and “micro-aggressions … every day intentional and unintentional snubs and insults,” Pena said. Cherrefe Kadri, a Toledo attorney, was on the board of the Islamic Center of Northwest Ohio when the arsonist attacked. The man convicted of the crime wrote a letter of apology. “It was a cathartic exercise,” Kadri said. “He thought we were happy he was imprisoned. I assured him we were not.” Kadri said she is disappointed in politicians such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson who “think it’s courageous speaking against people based on their religion.” And she’s disappointed in other political leaders, especially Republican leaders, who have not opposed their views. “It puts people in danger.” Saudi student Adnan Shareef, president and founder of the Muslim Students Association at BGSU, said he knows of some Muslims “afraid of affiliating themselves with anything Islam.” This is especially true of women who may forego wearing traditional head covering. “They are afraid of hate crimes,” he said. “They stop speaking out about their religion and themselves.” Pena said later in the program that it’s not just up to Muslims, or other members of “marginalized” communities. Putting the burden exclusively on Muslims or African-Americans or members of the LBGT community to explain their experiences also “can be an oppressive move.” “Some days you don’t have it in you,” Pena said. “The philosophy of Not In Our Town is not to put it on the marginalized community but that it’s everybody’s responsibility… to speak up.” “Be overt in your support,” said Sgt. Dale Waltz of the Canton, Michigan, township police. “Be a little loud in support of those being discriminating against.” When incidents happen “don’t just sit in the background, reach out to your Muslim friends, the Muslim community. Let them know you support them and ask them what they need.” The township 30 miles west of Detroit has two mosques, two Sikh temples and a Hindu temple, he said. In 2008 a police lieutenant, who is now the public safety director, initiated the founding of Canton Responds to Hate Crimes, even though the community had seen few such incidents. The idea, Waltz said, is to engage the community and that even seemingly small incidents of prejudice or somebody “spewing racial hatred” are worth addressing. Recently one woman wearing a hijab walking near a local restaurant had someone passing in a vehicle shout at her “go home.” Her response: “You mean five minutes from here?” Another elderly woman was accosted in the grocery store. Actions need not lead to legal action, he said. Rather they help to spot more widespread issues that need to be addressed. “We make sure…


‘Adopt’ a block idea taking shape

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Residents of Bowling Green’s East Side often wake to find their yards littered with trash from party-goers. So in an effort to clean up the neighborhoods and sullied reputations of college students, plans have begun for some blocks to be “adopted” by student groups. The Bowling Green City-University Relations Commission discussed the cleanups as a goal that can be accomplished rather than started then put on hold each time a break in semesters occurs. “We talk about these things over and over again,” said Lisa Mattiace, vice president of the commission. But little is accomplished, the board agreed Tuesday evening. Peter Rodriguez, a member of the Undergraduate Student Government, said that organization had begun talks about student groups adopting city blocks, similar to the “adopt a highway” program started by the Ohio Department of Transportation. But Rodriguez added that the progress on the program “is very, very slow.” The project is brought up annually, but “there’s no traction.” Members of the city-university commission agreed they could help provide the needed traction. They recognized this program as a project they could team up with the USG to get accomplished, possibly this spring semester. And once started, it would be easy to continue every semester. “I think it’s commendable for the USG to be taking that on,” commission member Chris Ostrowski said. Tom Mellott, also on the commission, suggested that signs be erected identifying which group is responsible for which blocks. “I think it will help people understand that folks do care,” he said. Julie Broadwell, a commission member who lives on the East Side, was asked to identify the 10 city blocks most in need of being “adopted.” Barb Ruland suggested the commission could help by getting signage and providing bags for the trash. Only the areas between the sidewalks and streets would be picked up, so the students wouldn’t be entering private lawns. Mattiace pointed out that the project should be more than just trash pickup. “I don’t want the students to think they are garbage collectors for the city.” It was suggested that residents be notified of the pickups so they would not only be aware, but so they could join in the cleanups if they wished. Commission member Michael Oiler said he would introduce the project to Graduate Student Senate to see if that group would like to get on board also. “We’re going to be appealing to the 15 percent of the students who actually care,” Oiler said. Rodriguez said the program could be one way to encourage accountability by students. “We are part of the city,” he said. The next meeting of the city-university commission is Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.    


Walk of life: Noted bassist Robert Hurst offers straight talk to BGSU jazz students

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jazz performance comes down to conversation. On the stage that means the bass player communicating with the drummer, and both communicating with the saxophonist, explained award-winning bassist and composer Robert Hurst. Off the stand it means listening to records together, and talking about the music. When he traveled with singer Dianne Krall’s band, the musicians would take turns assembling playlists to listen to during long bus trips. It’s about the hang, said Jeff Halsey, the director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University. Hurst, who has played with a who’s who of the jazz world, in the Tonight Show Band and composed for movies, was on campus last week. He performed with the university’s top student big band, and then on Friday held a master class with a couple student jazz combos. Communication also means being clear with yourself, Hurst, 51, said. “Two things I try to ask myself,” he said: “How can I make this groove better? … Are you being a drag?” That applies not just to the bandstand, he said, but life in general. Hurst carries his prominence lightly, not afraid to crack a joke. When saxophonist David Mirarchi said the trio was going to play the standard tune “I Hear a Rhapsody,” Hurst came back at him with “I hear a Rap CD?” He praised the group he heard, but also offered some advice based on his decades as a musician. A solo, he said, should have a theme, a rhythmic fragment or motif. His approach is to work with whatever he plays first in a solo. He also told the young musicians not to worry about being intimidated on the stand. “You have to get used to the feeling of being uncomfortable,” he said. “If you’re going to play this music at a high level, you’ve got to have trust.” When the Detroit native first hit the international scene with the Wynton Marsalis band in 1986, he felt he was the worst one in the band. “I didn’t mind that.” He admitted that he still makes mistakes like at the concert the night before when there was some miscommunication about the bridge on one of the tunes. It’s music, he said. Nobody’s going to die if you make a mistake. Not that anyone in the audience for the Thursday night show was complaining. With a single rehearsal together, the bassist and band established an easy camaraderie. The program listed six tunes and stated: “Program will be selected from the following.” In the end the band whipped through them all in a fashion that belied a scant two weeks of preparation. Hurst is a veteran educator as well as performer. He teaches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a job that brought him back to his roots. He grew up with a music loving father, who had a great record. Hurst’s father was boyhood friends with two of The Temptations. As a youngster Hurst was enamored with the Jackson 5 and the Motown sound. One Christmas he and his cousins all got guitars. Though he’d had a few piano lessons, that’s what really got him into music. He started taking guitar lessons. When he broke the two high strings on his instrument, he was left with essentially…


Former director of Stroh Center being investigated for financial irregularities

BG INDEPENDENT NEWS The Bowling Green State University employee who oversees the Stroh Center has resigned over financial irregularities. Ben Spence, a Bowling Green native, had been Stroh director since 2013. In a statement from the university stated that in Augu st, university internal auditors “discovered irregularities with cash handling practices done in connection with Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) tournaments held at the Stroh Center.” Spence was suspended at that time, and resigned in October. The university then presented the information to the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, which is conducting an investigation. University officials will not comment about the investigation while it is ongoing.