Wood County Library receives gift from Endres estate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The estate of a retired Bowling Green State university professor of chemistry has made a large donation to the Wood County District Public Library. Library Director Michael Penrod said he was surprised when he was presented with the check for $227,395.42 from the estate of Paul Endres, who died in 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife, Maureen, in 2013. Endres taught at BGSU from 1969 to 2011. The use of the gift is unrestricted, Penrod said, and will go to the library’s foundation. “Every single gift is so precious,” he said. A current member of the BGSU chemistry department Neocles Leontis has also made a gift to the library. After Penrod spoke to the Kiwanis, Leontis asked about technology the library could use. Penrod mentioned the Sphero2, a small spherical robotic device that teaches programing. Leontis purchased one for the library’s Children’s Space. This is one of the new technological devices new to the library. The board met in new meeting room on the second floor. That room is equipped with an 80-inch high definition screen that can be used by visitors. Michelle Raine, assistant director of adult services, said the screen can be synchronized to project what’s on the screen of a tablet or laptop. The library has also recently purchased, for about $2,700 each, two Sprout  HP work stations. The work stations include a desktop computer, scanner camera, projector and 3D printing capabilities. “I can’t wait for the community to come in and start playing with it, so we can see what we can do,” Raine said. Users are encouraged to view the instructional videos on YouTube. Gone are the days when the librarians were the experts, Penrod said. Now they learn along with the public. One Sprout HP work station is in the second floor area with public computers, and another is in the Children’s Space. A third will be installed at the Walbridge branch when the expansion there is completed. Trustee Jane Robb said she’s been asked about whether the Carter House, which sits behind the library on North Church Street, is a drain on the library’s finances. Penrod said the rentals more than cover the cost of utilities and the extra $150 annually the library pays insurance. The Library Foundation pays for maintenance projects. Linda Joseph, the library’s finance officer, said the Carter House is also used for a number of official library functions. The board also approved a resolution thanking Will Harbauer for his service on the board.      

Easement granted for Brathaus expansion

By DAVID DUPONT BG INDEPENDENT NEWS The Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities approved an easement that will allow Brathaus on East Court Street to expand. Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said that Doug Doren, who owns the bar, wants to extend the bar, but that would place a building over a manhole. The city would redirect the sewer, which now heads north toward Oak Street, to connect with the line down South Main Street. While digging, O’Connell said, the city will bury the utilities lines. That will allow it to take down a large laminant utility pole across the street from Brathaus on East Court. O’Connell said that the estimate for doing the work was more than Doren had anticipated, so the expansion may be delayed until spring. O’Connell said he would discuss the project with the owner. O’Connell suggested that the city share the expense of the project by assuming the cost of burying the electric lines, which is not essential for the bar expansion to proceed. That work would benefit the city, he said. Doren controls most of the neighboring properties, but the Gavarone family, which owns Mr. Spots, would have to agree. In voting for the easement, board member Bill Culbertson said: “It’s a good idea. It cleans things up.” The board also approved an easement for a water line to cross the parking lot in front of the Dairy Queen. That line now dead ends where Grant Street bumps into the railroad tracks. That causes concerns for water pressure in the case of a fire. That line will now connect with the line that runs up East Wooster Street. That would also enable further improvements if the six-inch line that now runs down Enterprise Street is upgraded to an eight-inch line. Answering a query from Mayor Dick Edwards, Daryl Stockburger, assistant utilities director, explained that one of the wind turbines is not operating because the city is waiting for parts for a gearbox. Wind turbine parts, he said, come from around the world, and the turbines, now 15 years old, are requiring more maintenance. Some suppliers are no longer even in business. Also repair crews must be dispatched from New York or Minnesota.  

Registered voters purged from Ohio rolls … including 3,424 in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 3,400 registered voters in Wood County were purged from the voting rolls last year. Following a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State, 3,424 registered voters were dropped in August of 2015. The state’s directive is telling county boards of election to wipe voters from the rolls if they have shown “no voter initiated activity” since the last two federal elections. That “activity” includes voting, signing petitions or filing for a change of address. Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton explained the process requires the office to send out postcards to registered voters who have not voted in the last two federal elections. That postcard is basically asking the citizen, “Are you still there?” Burton said. If the citizen getting the postcard does not respond, their status goes “inactive,” however, they can still vote, Burton said. But if the person has four more years of no voting activity, they are kicked off the rolls. “Those people get purged,” Burton said. “After eight years and a mailing,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a real stringent bar.” But Mike Zickar, who serves on the county board of elections, sees it differently. “I see it as a clear violation of law,” Zickar said, adding that national voter law forbids removing people from rolls due to their voting inactivity. “Very few states are throwing people off for not voting.” A federal lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has added to debate among voting rights activists and elected officials during the 2016 election cycle. The lawsuit is asking the court to stop the purging process from going forward, and for other purged voters to be re-instated ahead of the November 2016 election. The suit alleges that because so much attention is on the presidential race this year, a much larger number of infrequent Ohio voters will be “denied the opportunity to cast a vote that counts.” According to Zickar, studies show that a disproportionate number of minority voters are thrown off of rolls during purging efforts. But Husted maintains that the purging is legal and that over the past five years, his office has removed 465,000 deceased voters and 1.3 million duplicate registrations. Zickar is pleased that Husted’s office is being sued over its directives, but worries that a ruling could come too late for this fall’s election. “I would guess we will find out pretty soon,” on the initial ruling, but that will almost certainly be appealed, Zickar said. According to Burton, the federal rules are basically the same, but in Ohio, the purging process is done every year, not every other. He added that in recent years, under Husted’s leadership, Ohio boards of elections have gotten more serious about reviewing their rolls. “For a long time, we weren’t doing purges. We were just adding,” Burton said. That change in emphasis may be why the process is being questioned, he added. “The newness of the purges is causing some of the angst.” Of the 3,424 Wood County voters purged last August, none of them voted provisionally in November 2015 or March 2016, according to Dale David, of the Wood County Board of Elections. None of those purged have re-registered in the county, he added. “We don’t ever remove anybody without a notice going out,” David said. “There is a process. It’s not just arbitrary.” Since the annual effort to more thoroughly examine voter rolls began four years ago, David said, he has not heard of any local citizen complaining of being bumped off the rolls. “I’ve not been aware…

Door-to-door checks net dog owners without licenses

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 550 door-to-door checks for unlicensed dogs in Wood County have netted several owners who have neglected to get dog tags. The license can be a lost dog’s ticket back home – plus it’s the law in Ohio that every dog has one. So from March to November, county dog shelter employees will be going door-to-door checking to see if owners have complied. At times, it just doesn’t work for citizens to conceal their canines when county dog shelter workers come knocking. “Sometimes they answer the door and the dog comes up with them,” Wood County Dog Warden Andrew Snyder said, smiling. The dog owners are given a chance to buy the licenses then and there. “We want them to voluntarily comply, not to issue citations,” Snyder said. Normally, citations are only issued if the dog warden’s staff finds repeat offenders, who have an annual habit of only buying dog licenses once they are caught without one. “There are people who try to get away with it every year,” Snyder told the Wood County Commissioners during a meeting on Thursday. Staff members are visiting homes that previously had licensed dogs, and some addresses picked at random. “That’s the only way to find people that have never registered their dogs,” Snyder said. In March, the checks were done in Haskins and Northwood. In April they were conducted in Northwood, Jerry City, Bloomdale, Pemberville, Perrysburg, North Baltimore, Weston, Portage and Cygnet. And in May, the checks were done in Bowling Green, Custar, Walbridge, Perrysburg, Rudolph, Weston, Risingsun, Bradner and Wayne. Door-to-door license checks will continue until November, with another 1,800 residences in the county on the list to be checked. Snyder also reported on the overall sales of dog licenses in the county. So far this year, there have been 20,243 issued, which is 595 fewer than last year, and 817 fewer than the highest year on record. Snyder explained that the county had been seeing a decline in dog licenses recently. “We weren’t implementing enough of these checks,” he said. “They keep people on their toes.” The county has also seen an increase in the number of dog owners buying multi-year licenses, so they don’t have to renew them so often. Snyder also updated the commissioners on statistics for dogs picked up by staff or dropped off at the shelter. The shelter has an 85.9 percent “live release rate,” not factoring in the dogs deemed “non-adoptable” because they are aggressive or injured. So far this year, the shelter has taken in nearly 200 dogs. Of those, 80 dogs have been redeemed by their owners; 85 have been adopted with 24 of those by rescue operations; and 27 were euthanized.

Bob Mack opts out of race for Ohio House

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Bob Mack, a Perrysburg Township trustee and commercial real estate developer, has opted not to run for the Ohio State House. The vacancy was created when the incumbent, Tim Brown, of Bowling Green, was hired as executive director of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Mack was considering the run, but said this morning (June 27) that “to be in that race you need to be 110 percent and I wasn’t sure I could get to that level.” Family obligations and his partnership in the commercial real estate firm Signature Associates, which is involved in commercial and industrial sales and leasing, prevent him from meeting the demands of the race. Mack said there’s unfinished business in Perrysburg Township he’d like to address. “Perhaps I can have greater impact on a more local level.” The Republicans have until Aug. 15 to name someone for the November ballot. Michael Marsh, the GOP county chairman, said others have expressed interest. Two Democrats have said they will run business proprietor Kelly Wicks, who ran for the seat in 2012, and Bowling Green City Councilor Daniel Gordon. The county Democrats are scheduled to meet Thursday (June 30) to decide who to nominate.  

BGSU beat goes on throughout the summer with camps, academies and institutes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The day after Boys State adjourned June 19, closing a 38-year chapter of history at Bowling Green State University, parts of campus were still buzzing. High school trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba players were putting their mouthpieces to their lips to learn the fine points of brass musicianship. Down the hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center, saxophones were creating the cacophony of 15 players trying to figure out a Miles Davis lick. Meanwhile in the Eva Marie Saint Theater in the Wolfe Center for the Arts, young thespians were standing before their peers reading monologues they’d just laid eyes on, often with surprising expression and understanding. As they performed theater professor Michael Ellison guided and encouraged them with and pithy words of advice, hand gestures, and a broad smile. The decision by the trustees of the American Legion sponsored event to move Boys State and its 1,200-plus delegates to Miami University is a setback in an ongoing effort to bring more people, young and old, to campus over the summer. “We’re always looking for opportunities to share the university and what it has to offer,” said Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer. For the past several years arrangements for those camps have been made through the office of Conference and Event Services. Patrick Nelson, who directs the office, originally arrived on campus as the director of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, and his job has grown since then. The expansion of his duties makes sense, he said, since the student union is central to so many events on campus. The Accenture Report, which looked at myriad ways BGSU could save money, recommended in late 2013 that the university centralize its event service functions that had been dispersed in different academic and administrative units. Nelson said his office was already taking shape when the report came out. “The wheels were already turning,” he said. “We already saw a vision coming together.” Having Accenture’s stamp of approval helped the new office gain credibility across campus. Someone wanting to set up an event on campus just needs to “make one phone call and we’d take care of all the logistics.” Nelson was speaking just days before the Boys State trustees voted to leave BGSU. He deferred all comments about that decision to Kielmeyer. Nelson said his office is trying to get more and more people to consider what BGSU has to offer in the summer. Not all universities are as interested in that business, he said. This summer, campus will host about 70 camps and academies. Of these, 42 are presented by campus units, which includes the College of Musical Arts’ Summer Music Institute and a variety of sports camps. Others are presented by outside groups. That includes Environthon, presented at BGSU for the first time by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Conservation Districts. That brought about 100 students and their advisors to campus in June. Another new event, the Ridge Project film camp will bring teenagers to BGSU to produce 30-second spots promoting healthy behaviors. The summer’s largest conference, with more than 2,000 attendees, the national leadership conference for the Sigma Chi fraternity is held in August right before classes resume. In between, the campus hosts religious missionaries, cheerleaders, multiple cheerleading camps and sports tournaments. Nelson said his office is working with Bowling Green High School Men’s Soccer Coach Tim Concannon on the new Bowling Green Summer Soccer Showcase, which would bring teams from across the region. The event has been scheduled in the week between the camps presented by the men’s and women’s…

Camping out close to home in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   While some people want to be pampered on vacations, others prefer sleeping bags to luxury accommodations and lightning bugs to chandeliers. They want little more than a body of water where they can cast a line, and a fire pit where they can roast marshmallows. For these folks, Wood County does have a few spots where people can pitch their tents or park their campers. True, there are no geysers, great mountain peaks or grand herds of bison, but the local campgrounds give people a taste of a nature without the travel time. The three campgrounds are at Mary Jane Thurston State Park on the edge of Grand Rapids; Fire Lake just south of Bowling Green; and Buttonwood in Perrysburg Township. “People in Wood County don’t even know this park is here,” Al Alvord, campground host, said about Mary Jane Thurston that sits on the banks of the Maumee River. But Alvord is hoping that recent work at the campground will put it on the map for local residents. “We’ve just made vast improvements,” he said, including adding showers at the marina and putting in electricity to 22 of the 37 campsites. “It has finally happened.” In addition to beautiful views along the river and plenty of fishing spots, the site also features concessions and a day use lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The campground is a stopping point for people traveling through on bicycles, and for local people looking for a mini-vacation from home. “We have people who come here from Weston,” Alvord said. “They come out and enjoy the peace and quiet and solitude.” Some hike trails, some walk the towpath to Grand Rapids, some launch their boats from the marina, and some dip a line in the river. Just the other day, a camper caught a 48-inch flathead catfish, Alvord said. Some campers make the short drive from Bowling Green. “They get away from it all. I’d much rather be in the park.” According to Alvord, who has been host at Mary Jane Thurston for 15 years and who operates Weenie Dog Concessions there, the campground is a “great place to wake up.” “It’s Wood County’s best kept secret,” he said of the only state park in the county. “People are missing out on a great time out here.” On the southern edge of Bowling Green sits Fire Lake Campground, where campers can swim in the lake, ride pedal boats, use the playground, and play volleyball and basketball. The fishing is catch and release, except for blue gill. The campground has three rustic cabins available for rental, a camp store and game room. Most of the 138 sites at Fire Lake are used by regulars, who stay at the campground off and on every summer, said Jennifer Gladieux, who owns the site with her husband, Martin. The majority of the campers live within 45 minutes of Fire Lake. “They don’t want to drive, and their kids have sports,” Gladieux said. The location allows families to run to the ball park for games, then return to the campground. At the same time, it allows them to escape the everyday duties at home. By being minutes from home, campers can return to their residences to mow the lawn, then retreat back to their firepit and fishing. Though Fire Lake has welcomed campers for more than 40 years, some local residents are unaware of its existence, Gladieux said. “A lot of people in Bowling Green don’t know it’s here,” she said. In the northern part of the county is Buttonwood…

Closing time for Jed’s but downtown still open for business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jed’s, home of chicken Fireballs, has flamed out in downtown. Still the owner of the Millikin Hotel building on downtown Bowling Green’s Four Corner is confident he’ll find a new tenant for the former Jed’s space. The sports bar and grill closed for business on Monday. A call to the owners has not been returned. Bob Maurer, who owns the building, said all he knows about why the business closed is “just economics.” The Jed’s restaurant in Perrysburg remains open. “Any time you lose a tenant you want to know what happened, what you could have done to avoid it,” Maurer said. “It’s a good spot. Somebody’s always looking,” he said. “Some people’s problems are another person’s opportunity.” He expects that given there’s been a restaurant in that spot for well over 10 years that another eatery is the most likely option. Maurer expects to have it filled in “four to six months.” Overall Maurer said downtown Bowling Green “is doing extremely well.” He said that compared to Fremont or Napoleon, or even Findlay, Bowling Green’s downtown is thriving. He praised Mayor Dick Edwards and Sue Clark, the executive director of the Community Development Foundation, for their efforts. The Jed’s space in the second vacancy to open up on the Four Corners in the past two months. The Mosaic Consignment shop, which sits kitty-corner from the former Jed’s, closed in May. But that space is already undergoing renovation as another business prepares to occupy it.    

Applebee’s restaurant looks at location in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar is interested in making Bowling Green its new neighbor. The casual dining restaurant has requested a variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to allow more parking spots than now permitted at a site at 1175 S. Main St., near Home Depot on the south edge of the city. “The city has definitely been in communication” with representatives of Applebee’s, said Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards. The city’s planning director, Heather Sayler, has been working with an Applebee’s representative to find a location for the restaurant, he said. “They definitely have been showing interest,” the mayor said Friday evening. “They were looking at different sites,” specifically along East Wooster Street near Interstate 75, Edwards said. But the restaurant chain seemed more interested in the South Main Street location, closer to U.S. 6 traffic. Edwards said he knows few details right now, with most of the discussions taking place between intermediaries. “It certainly piques my interest,” the mayor said, explaining that Applebee’s is a standby for some travelers. “As we travel around, we often stop there.” The arrival of an Applebee’s in Bowling Green could end the drought of chain restaurants building in the city. And it could quiet the claims that city officials won’t allow chains to locate in Bowling Green since chains might draw business from locally-owned establishments – a charge that the mayor denies. “There’s been no effort by the city to keep out chain restaurants,” Edwards said. “In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.” “Quite the contrary,” he said, explaining that Bowling Green is stuck in a “peculiar web” between Findlay, Perrysburg and Toledo. “And that’s what they look at,” often overlooking Bowling Green. Edwards also mentioned that the city values its locally-owned restaurants. “We cherish those establishments,” he said. Applebee’s variance request will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 13, at 7 p.m., in the city council chambers at 304 N. Church St. The request seeks a variance to allow 11 parking spaces that will encroach 5 feet into the required 5-foot setback to the north and east.

Jaume Plensa’s sculptures are in just the right place at Toledo Museum of Art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For sculptor Jaume Plensa, the placement of one of his sculptures is as important as the work itself. That’s especially true of his outdoor works. Still he described his visit to Toledo to consult about where to situate the work on the grounds of Toledo Museum of Art almost as a play date. He walked around with a few friends and two gardeners carrying flags. “I loved those guys with the flags.” Amy Gilman, the museum’s associate director and one of those in the group, asked him Thursday night why he decided to place one work, “The Heart of Trees,” up on a hill, instead of on the flat, where the museum had suggested. The world renowned artist said: “A kid loves to change things. If you say ‘down,’ then I say ‘up,’ and it’s not more complicated than that.” “You know my son,” Gilman quipped. The exchange was part of a public conversation held Thursday at the museum as part of the ongoing exhibit Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, which continues outdoors and in the Levis Galleries through Nov. 6. In his introduction, Museum Director Brian Kennedy called Plensa “a most distinguished art practitioner in our world today.” “A very significant part of Jaume’s practice is public sculpture, creating moments for public engagement,” he said. Plensa’s work is on display around the world, including “the most extraordinary work he’s made,” the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Plena said, in placing a work: “You are not thinking about the object in itself but what energy this object is spreading about. … The space is much more important than the work itself.” That was demonstrated in the siting not only of the Human Landscape works but in “Speigel (Mirror)” which sits on the edge of the museum’s 36-acre campus. When Plensa visited to consult on the installation in 2012, he made “important adjustments” to the initial site, Gilman said. She and exhibit designer Claude Fixler had originally envisioned placing “Speigel” on a small rise. But the artist wanted it brought down closer to the street. “I have a certain utopian idea of what is art’s relationship to society,” Plensa explained on Thursday.  “I think art should go to them and embrace the community.” On the hillock, “Speigel” was “in a certain way protected.” He knew museum officials saw the sculpture as a bridge to the surrounding neighborhood and the city. So he brought it down “at the same level as our human beings,” he said. He wanted residents to say: “This is mine. That belongs to me. That piece is ours. It is part of the community, so I should really respect that piece. I should love this piece. I should live with it.” It has, Gilman said at a press conference last week, become one of the museum’s most beloved works. Plensa said that the way his work is appreciated, even loved, by people around the world “for me is a mystery.” “I’m from a specific culture,” he said. The artist, who like Picasso is from Catalonia in Spain, “grew up in a specific geographic area.” Why people can final this common ground in a work of art, he said, is “the most beautiful accident we can get.” But it’s not because he’s trying to make a universal statement. “My understanding is the deeper you go inside yourself, the closer that you’re going to the audience,” he said.  “It seems like a contradiction.” But “when you try to go deep inside yourself” exploring the origins of the artistic impulse and ask ‘’who am I?’…

Fair building to be fit for cattle and catered dinners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Fairgrounds is packed with people for a few days each summer. The rest of the year, it’s pretty much a ghost town. But the fair board has a plan to change that – building a $3.2 million year-round facility made to handle both smelly livestock shows and fancy catered dinners. “We want to put the fairgrounds on the map for year-round use, rather than just six days,” Matt Hughes, of Fair Funding, said to the Wood County commissioners on Thursday. Hughes said the acreage at the corner of West Poe and Haskins roads hosts about 125,000 visitors each year for the county fair. A few days after the fair, the grounds are flooded for the National Tractor Pulling Championships. Other than that, you can hear crickets chirping. But to make the 46,000-square-foot building a reality, Hughes said donations are being sought from every possible source. And Thursday, he made a pitch to the county commissioners as one of those possible sources. “Our hope is you folks would consider a partnership,” he said. “A lot of your population has an interest in the fair,” Hughes said. The fundraising has been going on now about 60 days, with approximately $750,000 secured so far, Hughes said. Those organizing the project are looking for one-time donations, annual contributions, in-kind materials or services and endowments. Hughes told the commissioners the county fairs that are going to still exist in 20 years are those that think beyond the six days of the fair, and plan “beyond bake sales.” He said the commissioners’ help with construction or ongoing maintenance would be helpful. The proposed multi-purpose building will have a dozen 24- by 16-foot garage doors, a catering kitchen, heating and air conditioning so it can be used year-round. The site will be rented out, and will be able to seat 2,000 for dining. To make room of the new facility, the five buildings north of the Fine Arts Building will be torn down. Construction will take six to eight months to complete. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw asked how the same site will be able to host both cattle and catered dinners. “What about the aroma in the air you might not want to have when you have a banquet,” she asked. Hughes said all the garage doors will be open during livestock shows, allowing the odors to dissipate. The large doors “make the building so functional,” he said. The garage doors will also allow big pieces of equipment, like farm combines or recreation vehicles, to be displayed in the building during winter events. The site could also be used for winter horse shows. “The idea is to build it and get as many people in it as possible,” Hughes said. Retired Wood County commissioner Jim Carter attended the meeting Thursday on the new fair building. “I’m just excited,” Carter said. “The fairgrounds is the most underutilized piece of property in Bowling Green.” Herringshaw agreed the new facility would draw people to the grounds during all seasons. “It certainly would make the fairgrounds usable all year-round,” she said. And Commissioner Craig LaHote said the 2,000-seat capacity creates a lot of potential uses for the site. “I think we can fill it up the first year it’s built,” Carter said. The commissioners made no commitment to help pay for the new facility.    

Trustees boost Mazey’s salary & deferred compensation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees approved a 2.5-percent pay increase for President Mary Ellen Mazey this morning (June 23). Chairman David Levey said that the board, after reviewing her performance earlier in the day, felt the pay increase was merited based on a number of factors. Those included the successful negotiation of a contract with the faculty union – “that’s a pretty big accomplishment,” enrollment of larger and more academically prepared first year students, and more success in keeping students on campus so they graduate. He also cited an “improving relationship” with the university’s foundation. Aside from the union contract, which was approved at the May trustees meeting, all those other factors played a part in the meeting, which was held on the Firelands campus. The increase brings Mazey’s salary to $412,136, beginning in Sept. 1. The board also approved an additional 10-percent payment to her deferred compensation package. That $40,208 is on top of the 15 percent called for in her contract. Those payments are is based on her current salary. Mazey said that the pay increase was a vote of confidence in her performance. Of the accomplishments cited, she said she was particularly pleased that the number of incoming freshmen is increasing. The pay increase, she noted, was in line with the 2.5-percent increase employees not covered by the union will receive. The union agreement calls for a 3-percent increase in the compensation pool for faculty. That increase in compensation figured into 2017 budgets for the campus approved earlier in the meeting by the board. With an increase in state funding, BGSU expects to have revenues of $415.3 million, a 3.1-percent increase, and expenditures of $411.5 million, a 3-percent increase. The budget for the Bowling Green campus will be $288,376,367, a 2.6 percent increase. Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll said that after years of declines the State Share of Instruction is now increasing. The 2017 budget includes a 4-percent increase from last year. On the Bowling Green campus, that $70.7 million accounts for 24.5 percent of the revenue. Student tuition and fees account for 67.6 percent of revenue. That’s an improvement over just two years ago when students’ share was 71.7 percent. The university, Stoll said, benefited not only from more money allotted by the state, but also better performance. State funding is largely based on how many students graduate and successfully complete courses. The recruitment not only of more first year students, but also those who have the academic abilities that allow them to stay in college has helped. This is, she noted, the third year that tuition and general fees have been frozen.  BGSU froze tuition in 2015, then the legislature, as a condition to providing more state funds, froze tuition for 2016 and 2017. (Some fees for specific classes and programs were increased in May.) In terms of expenditures, salaries and benefits are the biggest chunk representing 58.7 percent, or almost $171 million of the Bowling Green campus budget. Second biggest spending item is student aid and scholarships, of about $41.1 million or 14.7 percent of the expenditures. Stoll told the trustees that the state’s improving economy has helped. The state’s economy has been “improving, but slowly and at times unevenly,” she said. She noted that from last May to this May the unemployment rate has ticked up from 4.9 percent to 5.1 percent. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree, she added, is 2.5 percent. In other action, the trustees: Approved the creation of a new Master’s of Social Work degree with a…

Wood County Landfill running out of room

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Landfill is running out of room even faster than predicted. When 2016 rolled around, it looked as if the existing permitted space at the landfill would last another 11 years. By Tuesday, that remaining lifespan had shortened to eight to 10 years. The news was presented to the county commissioners on Tuesday by landfill staff and consultants. The reason for the faster filling is three-fold. First, the Henry County landfill closed, resulting in much of the garbage from that neighboring county coming to Wood County. Second, as the economy rebounds, the increase in new construction creates more debris, and people tend to buy new items and throw out the old, rather than stretching out their usefulness. And third, improvements at Wood County Landfill are making it more attractive to waste haulers, said Ken Vollmar, landfill manager. The Wood County Landfill received 38,000 tons of trash in 2014, which jumped to 49,000 tons last year. At the current rate, this year’s tonnage may top off over 60,000 tons. The landfill area covers more than 100 acres, with 43 of those in the current footprint approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for dumping. The site has about 60 more usable acres – and depending on the tonnage, the landfill has between 50 and 75 more good years, according to Shawn McGee, of Hull and Associates, consultants to the county. But McGee warned that while the lifespan of the current permitted area is eight to 10 years, the county needs to get working on the expansion now. It takes three to four years for the EPA to review an expansion plan, plus time to do more borings and install new monitoring wells. “We’re getting to a crunch time,” Vollmar said. After the permit is granted, a lot of preparation work needs to be done at the landfill, he said. Vollmar reminded the commissioners of the landfill coming close to running out of permitted space in the early 1990s. The first phase of the proposed expansion would “piggyback” on top of a section already being used. The landfill is allowed to reach a height just over 100 feet. The commissioners were also presented with some costly equipment requests at the landfill adding up to more than $1 million. One of two compactors needs to be replaced, as well as a small loader. The compactor originally was priced at $940,000, but with a government discount it will cost $752,000. The loader will cost $280,000. The county would finance the equipment over several years. “We’re taking more tonnage. We’re using the equipment more,” Vollmar said. “We have to have this to operate.” The commissioners asked Vollmar what would happen if they didn’t approve the equipment purchases. He said the repair budget would need to be increased. “Plus they are out of business,” if the equipment breaks down, Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar pointed out. And that won’t help the budget, he added. The commissioners were told Wood County benefits from owning its landfill. “That’s something the county is lucky to have,” said Bill Petruzzi, with Hull and Associates. Petruzzi explained that not many counties in Ohio own and operate their own landfills. “It’s proven to be a good community asset,” he said. The county has worked hard to keep the landfill in compliance with all EPA regulations, Petruzzi said. “The landfill’s in good shape. And you’ve been proactive,” protecting humans and the environment, he said. As waste degrades, it generates methane gas and leachate – which the county has worked to monitor. Nearly 30…

The cosmos is ready for its close up in Eric Zeigler’s exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The universe is on view in downtown Toledo. Or at least photographer Eric Zeigler’s vision of the universe, which includes: Galaxies of 100,000 stars, compressed into one small frame the size of a computer monitor. One of Pluto’s moons, the smear of light as good as anyone will likely ever see it. The rust on a meteorite in an image blown up 36-times its natural size. A computer image of neutrinos – subatomic particles so small 65 billion of them fit into a square centimeter – interacting. The exhibit “Under Lying” is now on view at River House Arts, 425 Jefferson St. The exhibit is open through July 30. For hours call 419-441-4025. The show will be part of Art Loop on July 21. The work, Zeigler explained, comes from his interest in astronomy that was sparked by a class he took at Bowling Green State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Photography in 2008. He’d been taking photos since his early teens, inspired by his grandfather. Above the television in his grandparents’ home was a landscape photo his grandfather had taken. And scattered around the house were copies of Popular Photography magazine. His grandfather, Zeigler said, was interested in optics, and during World War II maintained sights on bombers that flew missions over Germany. Young Eric was fascinated by the data included in Popular Photography. What did the shutter speeds and aperture opening numbers mean? “I was totally addicted to figuring all this stuff out,” he said. He set his family’s new digital camera on manual. That helped him understand shutter speed, but the optics weren’t advanced enough to really vary the depth of field much. Then at about 16, a friend’s family gave him a film camera. It all clicked. The son of a carpenter, who worked with his father, he first attended BGSU to study construction management. “That lasted one day.” Then architecture. Then, since he liked making furniture, he decided to try the School of Art. Zeigler discovered he could take a photography class. That’s when his interest took off. It led him to the San Francisco Art Institute for a Master’s of Fine Arts. Though living on the West Coast the focus off his work remained rooted in Waterville. “The Route 24 bypass coming through Waterville took a significant portion of my parents’ property,” Zeigler said. “So there was this idea that I needed to visualize and preserve what it looked like before the road came through.” In essence, he said, it pose the question: “How do you make things that are just a figment of your imagination?” That body of work, “From the Middle of Nowhere,” shot over the span of more than three years, turned into his MFA thesis. He further explore the concept of visualizing the intangible through a series of diptychs, “Still Photographs.” Zeigler went through his archives. He spread hundreds of photographs of a variety of subjects out on the floor. From those he culled pairs that in some way resonated with one another. “I saw connections between them, the way the images that worked back and forth described this separate space,” he said. Together they expressed something that alone they could not. One shows a dead seal on a beach, the other a stranded Bentley. “I found there was this vast darkness and hilarity I could portray, but it didn’t exist in the images.” After “Still Photographs,” he said, “I was stymied for a while.” “I sort of intimidated myself by how interesting some of those individual pictures could…

Perrysburg Musical Theatre lands “Big Fish” in impressive fashion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Staging the musical “Big Fish” is not a small task, and the Perrysburg Musical Theatre is up to it. The story, first a novel, then Tim Burton-directed movie, then a musical, is a sprawling father-son tale that blends uplifting fantasy with real-life drama. At the very big heart of the musical is the hero Edward Bloom (D. Ward Ensign), a small town salesman given to telling grand stories about his life that may be true, at least in some fashion. As he faces death, the world of those stories collides with real life. “Big Fish,” which is making its Northwest Ohio premiere, is being presented Thursday, June 23, through Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. in the Perrysburg High School auditorium. Tickets are $13. Visit http://www.perrysburgmusicaltheatre.org/. “Big Fish” is a great fit for the Perrysburg summer troupe. The show calls for a cast of more than 40, many of them young people. It exudes a sense of community whether in Bloom’s hometown or the circus he works for. The play’s technical demands are a challenge. The plot cuts back and forth between present and past, from a kid’s bedroom and a bewitched forest. The production, led by the creative team of C. Jordan Benavente, Julie Bermudez, Ensign and Nicole Spadafore with set design by Dave Nelms, pulls this off seamlessly. The high point being the daffodil-infused climax of the first act. The show is more than a visual wonder. As well as a large ensemble it demands three strong singing actors for the central parts of the  fantasist Edward Bloom, his wife Sandra (Elizabeth Cottle), and their son Will (Garrett Leininger). All have strong, expressive voices, and solid acting skills. And Cottle and Ensign effectively portray their characters from their teens into late middle age. Ensign needs to embody both the real life father, who can be overbearing, with the hero of his stories, who is resourceful and an underdog. Ensign draws a straight line from the man who was – at least as he tells it – and the man who is. He makes it believable that his wife  is so devoted, despite the fact that he’s frequently absent because he’s a traveling salesman and neglects his household duties. For her part, she seems bemused by his tales. Less forgiving is Will. From a young age (Isaac Bermudez), he’s been skeptical of his father’s tales, even as he continues to be enthralled by them. A bookish, kind of nerdy kid, Will Bloom grows up to be reporter like so many budding skeptics do. With his father dying, he wants to get to know the real man. He believes his father’s stories are a smokescreen. His wife Josephine (Esther Swain) is more insightful. “Your father is telling you these stories for a reason. If you understand the stories, you’ll understand the man.” Will tries. He and Josephine catalog the stories and their many variations. But it is the deed to a house, a physical piece of evidence, that seems to confirm his suspicions, and leads him to learning a story about his father that he’d never heard. All this is told in soaring melody. Andrew Lippa wrote the score to accompany the book written by John August, who also adapted the Daniel Wallace novel for the screen. The music has that gloss of pop Broadway, touching on a variety of styles, old swing, country and rock ‘n’ roll. But when it really wants to deliver it turns on the voices in rousing fashion. “Be the Hero” sets the theme early…