Dietz finds a place among the masters on Toledo Symphony program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Alain Trudel debuts as conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 21 and 22, (http://bgindependentmedia.org/toledo-symphony-welcomes-trudel-as-music-director-kicks-off-75th-anniversary-season/) he’ll call on some heavy hitters in classical music to help with the introductions. The concerts will open with Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony and its majestic four-note clarion call. The second half will be devoted to the music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake” with dancers from the Toledo Ballet.  And then tucked in between Beethoven and the intermission will be “Caldera” by Christopher Dietz, a professor of composition at Bowling Green State University. Dietz said he’s delighted to be on the program. “It’s a little weird seeing my name in the middle between those two,” he said. While his fellow composers on the program are represented by mature work, “Caldera” was actually Dietz’ first successful orchestral piece. He composed it in 2004 while he was studying for his doctorate at the University of Michigan. The title means a large volcanic crater, but that came well after the piece was composed Dietz said. “I just wanted to write 11 to 12 minutes of robust, energetic, intense orchestral music.” This was not his first try. “The first one was so big and grotesque and impossible to play,” he said. The second was a chamber symphony that “lacked chutzpah.” “Caldera” hit the Goldilocks spot. The piece has a churning, forward momentum full of sparkling instrumental touches. Every instrument in the orchestra gets a chance to shine. Dietz said in this instance he “had a better sense of what an orchestra can do given the rehearsal time they have.” This is the second time the orchestra will perform “Caldera.” Back in 2007, then Resident Conductor Chelsea Tipton put the piece on a Classics Concert he was leading. Dietz knew Tipton through his wife, Emily Price Dietz, who has played French horn in the orchestra since 2000. Dietz said he showed the piece to the conductor and was surprised he programmed it. “Caldera” resurfaced during conversations between Dietz and the orchestra’s CEO Zak Vassar at the Toledo Symphony Student Composer Reading Sessions. Dietz initiated that program when he came to BGSU in 2010.  Vassar was interested in having a new orchestral work from the composer, and that was arranged, and will be performed next season by the symphony….


‘Ag-Venture’ farm tours harvest knowledge for visitors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Farming is more than a profession for Fred Vetter. “The dirt you’re standing on – my grandpa bought in 1912,” Vetter said as he looked over his Mercer Road farm north of Bowling Green on Saturday afternoon. Vetter’s farm was one of seven stops on the Wood County “Ag-Venture” self-driving farm tours on Saturday. Like others on the tour route, Vetter wanted local residents to see farms as more than just some fields along country roads. “Everybody drives down the road and they see us,” he said. But most Wood County residents know little of what it takes to farm the land. “We need to educate people,” Vetter said. “That we’re trying to be good stewards.” The “ag-venture” tours took visitors to traditional farms, like the Vetters, Moser Farms on Hull Prairie Road, and Black Swamp Ag on Portage Road. It also led visitors to more unconventional farms like Schooner Farms on Otsego Pike, and to agri-businesses like Pioneer Seed, Luckey Farmers and Hirzel Canning. This was the first time for a county-wide tour to be organized, said Julie Lause, of the Wood Soil & Water Conservation District, which was one of the sponsors. “Agriculture in Wood County is the top business and people don’t realize how extensive agriculture can be,” she said. “They don’t realize what it takes to create the products we eat.” For soybean, wheat and corn farming it takes equipment that can costs more than many homes. Vetter’s 2003 combine cost about $140,000. Nowadays, with all the tech gadgets, a combine can cost as much as $500,000. It’s standard for equipment to have self-steering GPS, and tires taller than many of those visiting the farms. Fields have to have drainage – especially on this land that was once swamp. And drones help identify problem areas of disease or pests before they spread too far. “It takes a lot of money to farm,” said Vetter, whose sons Shane and Garett, have joined him in agriculture. Even when the best seed is purchased, planted on time, and fertilized – the outcome is still in the hands of Mother Nature. Long periods of rainy or dry weather, at the wrong times, can greatly impact the harvest. Aphids can devour otherwise healthy plants. “You can work as…


Consultant encourages people to engage in the hard work of conversing about race & diversity

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Talking about race is hard. That’s no reason not to have those conversations, Jamie Washington told a gathering of university faculty staff and students and community members last week. Washington, a consultant on diversity, had been invited to Bowling Green State University by the Office of Residence Life. Washington, whose credentials include being an ordained minister, didn’t come pontificate. Instead he had those in attendance do the talking, to each other, one on one face to face with people they didn’t know. He was hoping to spark some genuine conversation.  Not the kind that happens in a meeting where people “perform” what they’re supposed to say, but the kind of exchanges that happen at “the meeting after the meeting” when people are free to share what they really think. One of Washington’s few pieces of guidance for the conversations: “If you’re hearing a voice that says ‘you can’t say that,’ that’s what I need you to say. That will take us to engagement.” Ana Brown, Coordinator for Diversity and Retention Initiative in the Office of Residence Life, said hosting speakers like Washington is a way of fulfilling the university’s mission statement. Washington has been called one of the top consultants on diversity by The Economist. He currently serves as president of the American College Student Personnel Association. Given the community’s partnership with BGSU in Not In Our Town, Brown said, it was natural to pull community members in. “A lot of folks want to have these conversations, but don’t know how. Attending sessions like these will make it more comfortable for these folks.” She hopes to have more dialogues.  That’s a key, Washington said. Progress is only made through practice. If it’s a one-time speaker, or conversations are only held when there’s a crisis, that’s not enough. “It’s like going to the gym once a year.” Leaders, whether campus, government, religious, or business, need to take responsibility for infusing this into the way they do their business every day and create opportunities for conversation. Practice is needed because grappling with issues of race and diversity is difficult. Washington himself said he’s had to deal with his own issues as a male in dealing with female colleagues. “We have to own that difficulty,” he said. That’s the context of these…


Grandparents find support raising their grandchildren

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The seven strangers sat around the table, not sure where to start. They had at least one common bond – they were all grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren. The reasons varied. Some parents relinquished the rights to their children because of addictions to drugs or alcohol. But regardless of the reasons, the grandparents – who thought their days of daily parenting were done – were now raising another generation of their family. Last week was the first of monthly support group meetings being held for “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” at the Wood County Educational Service Center. Most of the grandparents started their stories by apologizing for feeling lost or complaining about their unexpected return to parenting. Felicia Otte, a school and community based prevention specialist liaison with the educational service center, told the grandparents to stop apologizing. “You have every right to feel that way,” Otte told them. That opened the floodgates, relieving the grandparents from guilt, and allowing them to speak freely about their struggles with those who knew exactly what they were talking about. (Because none of them wanted their grandchildren to be embarrassed, they asked that their names not be used.) One grandma talked about raising four grandchildren. One has attention deficit problems, and the specialists haven’t found the right medications to work for him yet. “I get a lot of phone calls from school,” she said. Another woman has found herself in the “sandwich” generation. At the same time she is raising three grandchildren, she is also struggling with the fact that her own mother is slipping and needs to be placed in assisted living. Then was the woman who has raised her teenage grandson since he was a toddler. She was able to offer words of encouragement and support to those just starting the journey. The only grandfather of the group just recently had two grandchildren move in with him per a court order. “It could be till next week or it could be forever,” he said. Another grandma told of taking in her two grandchildren off and on for years. It was just over two years ago that she realized the children were often home alone and taking care of themselves – so she stepped in. Her story got even…


BG Rides wants to kick efforts into a higher gear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Biking has many benefits. The rider gets exercise, and maybe sheds some pounds. Bike riding can help reduce the use of cars, and the resulting emissions. And for some folks it’s how they get where they need to go. For those people even the cost of an inexpensive bike can be a barrier. For a couple years, an informal group of bike enthusiasts has been gathering unwanted bicycles, rehabilitating them, and then giving or selling them for a minimal price. Now Kelly Wicks, one of the organizers of BG Rides, wants to step up the effort. They are meeting Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., in Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Anyone interested can contact Wicks at: kelly@groundsforthought.com BG Rides, Wicks said, started as an offshoot of the Community Rides in summer, 2016. He participated in the rides and from that sprouted the idea to connect unwanted bikes with bike riders. “We’re looking for help to see if there are other people  in the community interested in helping to take the group from its more informal nature to something more structured,” Wicks said. “In talking to  people in the community from various non-profits and international students, there’s a great need for bikes. For some people it’s an important form of transportation.” In its three summers of existence, BG Rides has distributed about 200 bikes, he said. The group would like more and wants to enlist more help to pursue that mission. “We fix those bikes up and either give them away or sell them for the cost of that it took to get them road ready.” Though it has been a low-key effort, Wicks said that Grounds for Thought gets multiple calls a month from people inquiring about finding a bike. “We need bikes,” he said. “We’re asking for bike donations.” Maybe landlords have abandoned bikes that can be refurbished rather than put out on the scrap heap. Even bicycles that can’t be repaired can be used for spare parts. Bicycling, Wicks said, is the second most common form of transportation after walking. “How many students have we seen come over from China or Europe and get here and not have any avenue to get around?” He added: “When you ride your bike a little bit, you…


Historic farm to be jammin’ and cookin’ again soon

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Carter Historic Farm will soon be cookin’ again. The historic farm, which is part of the Wood County Park District, is making its transition to being a working farm. That covers everything from the crops grown in the fields to the foods cooked up in the kitchen. “We’re going from a petting zoo to an actual working farm,” Jeff Baney, assistant director of the Wood County Park District said Tuesday during a meeting of the park board. “Nothing out there is static,” Baney said. Which means equipment like the antique tractors actually have to work the fields. The chickens, goats and farm cats serve a purpose. It’s hoped they will be joined by sheep, cattle and eventually horses. Visitors to the farm, on Carter Road north of Bowling Green, will be able to experience a day in the life of a depression era farm. “At the end of the day, the biggest thing a farm did was put food on the table,” Baney said. But there’s a glitch in that plan. The circa 1930 oven in the farmhouse kitchen has outlived its usefulness. The oven overheats, refuses to shut off, and even turns on all by itself. That poses a problem, since a lot of cooking programs at the historic farm require an oven, according to Corinne Gordon, historic farm specialist with the park district. So on Tuesday, the board heard a request to replace the old oven with a new oven that is designed to look like a 1925 oven. The oven would cost $5,399. “It’s a very specialized piece of equipment,” Baney said. But the oven is essential to programming at the farm, which offers educational programs on “farm to table” canning, using herbs from the garden, pickling and jam making. “For the women of the house, a good portion of the day would be in that kitchen,” Gordon explained to the board. But board president Denny Parish had other concerns. The price tag of more than $5,000 was “a hard swallow,” he said. “I know how this will look to many members of the public,” he said, fearing that citizens may view this as irresponsible spending after the recent passage of the park district levy. “I’m not sure right now that I can support…


Gas leak downtown reached dangerously high levels

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Several businesses and apartments in downtown Bowling Green were evacuated Thursday evening after dangerously high levels of natural gas were detected in the area. Laura Wicks, of Grounds for Thought, said that she noticed the gas smell shortly before 6 p.m. The coffee shop and Coyote Beads, both on the west side of the 100 block of South Main Street, were shut to the public after that because of the gas smell. Owners of those two businesses and Lahey Appliance & TV said Columbia Gas teams were in their stores working on gas lines earlier in the day on Thursday. The natural gas company has been working in the downtown area all summer replacing old gas lines. Wicks said a Columbia Gas employee was on the scene, and told her and Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads that he needed to call in more help to handle the problem. However, the Bowling Green Fire Division was not notified of the gas leak until nearly two hours after the smells were noticed, when Columbia Gas called 911. “We were never notified until 8,” Fire Chief Bill Moorman said on Friday. When the fire division arrived downtown, the smell of natural gas was obvious. Atmospheric tests done by firefighters showed high levels of gas. “The gas levels were at a dangerous level,” Moorman said. The fire chief classified the gas levels as being in the “lower explosive limits.” “It was getting to the point that a spark, anything can really set it off,” Moorman said. “Pretty much anything ignites natural gas.” The Bowling Green Police Division joined the fire division in evacuating the businesses and residents in the general area of the leak in the 100 block of South Main Street. The street was also closed to traffic to limit the risks. “Fortunately, after 8 p.m. most of the businesses are closed anyway,” Moorman said. The Columbia Gas spokesperson for the Bowling Green project was not available Friday afternoon, but Moorman said the crew members on the scene Thursday evening said they were having difficulty shutting the leak, and were initially unsure if the leak was from an old or new line. The fire division ventilated the affected buildings and stayed on the scene until about 11:20 p.m. “It was…


Eric Steckel puts the pedal to the metal when he plays the blues

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News If you’re a fan of bluesman Eric Steckel, you can thank his Uncle Dave. Steckel, who grew up in Pennsylvania, didn’t have instruments around this house. He did hear the soundtrack of his parents’ vinyl collection. His mother and father bonded over their taste for Deep Purple and the Allman Brothers. Then on a trip to visit his uncle and aunt in Stowe, Vermont, the family visited music store. Young Steckel lit up. “I completely changed. I was at home,” the now 28-year-old said in a telephone interview this week. So his uncle suggested he and Steckel’s dad split the cost of a Stratocaster for the youngster, a guitar he’s only recently retired. Three years later Speckel recorded his first blues record, music influenced by the records his parents spun around the house. Steckel hasn’t stopped playing or developing since then. He now calls his style blues metal, a term coined in jest, that has stuck, became a hashtag, and serves as an apt description for what listeners hear in his performances. Steckel will appear tonight (Friday, Sept. 14) at 9:30 p.m. Howard’s Club H. Cover is $5. He explained blues metal as a style derived from “my heroes,” the Kings of the blues — Albert, Freddie, and B.B. — with “a big massive sound, almost a heavy metal sonically.” He said it took him years and years of playing to find his own voice within the tradition. “It’s this natural beautiful thing that happens. Every night you’re developing.” Everyone he encounters, everything he hears, everything that comes out of his guitar “comes  together into this big pot stew, and that becomes your recipe.” He said as a young musician he got a lot advice from people who wanted him to stay true to the traditional blues sound. “I had this sound, this vision, in my head that wasn’t translating. At a certain point, I said I was going to throw out the rule book and find what I heard in my head. It took a  lot of trial and error, and I found it.” That was about six years ago. Steckel is buoyed by the sales of his most recent album “Polyphonic Prayer,” which is outpacing any of his previous recordings. Like his other recordings, he financed this…


Mountain biking park and path explored along Slippery Elm Trail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District is hoping to hitch a ride on the off-road mountain biking craze. On Tuesday, the park board voiced support for a proposal to create pump tracks in Rudolph and a mountain bike trail in the savanna area along the Slippery Elm Trail. Park naturalist Craig Spicer presented a proposal for both concepts during the monthly park board meeting held at Harrison Park in Pemberville. The mountain biking park and trail would help the district attract teens and young adults. A survey conducted earlier this year showed only 6 percent of the county park users were college student age. All parks suffer from the same difficulty luring teens and young adults, Spicer said. “They are one of the most finicky audiences,” he said. According to Spicer, off-road and sport biking are growing in popularity. “This is a good opportunity to ride that wave,” he said. The creation of an off-road biking park in Rudolph, and a trail north of the community would also be an investment in a county park in the southern part of Wood County. Currently just five of the county’s 20 parks are south of U.S. 6. “There’s a little bit of imbalance there,” Spicer said. The proposed park would be located in the one-acre area already owned by the park district along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park board voted last month to have unused farm silos removed from the property. A proposal created by Pump Trax USA shows a park with a “strider” track for little kids, a beginner track, an intermediate and advanced track, and a skills trail for mountain biking. The area would have parking for 30 cars, a bike fix-it station, and a covered shelter house. “This project fits our mission,” Spicer said. “I think it will attract people for years to come.” Maintenance of the park would be similar to the neighboring Slippery Elm Trail, since the bike park courses would be constructed of cement or asphalt. Don DiBartolomeo, of the Right Direction Youth Development Program, told the board he would offer programming for free at the bike park. DiBartolomeo is in the ninth year of running the non-profit youth support program Right Direction, and organizes programming at the…


Choral ensemble brings contemporary Passion inspired by the murder of ‘the boy next door’ to BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Craig Hella Johnson first heard the story of Matthew Shepard, he knew he wanted to compose a piece of music about it. Maybe, he thought,  a song. Johnson, the music director and founder of the chamber choir Conspirare, ended up writing a three-movement oratorio. Conspirare will perform “Considering Matthew Shepard” at Bowling Green State University Monday Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. The performance is part of a two-day residency by Johnson and Conspirare. (See details of residency here.) The performance will be followed by a talk back in Bryan Recital Hall. Advance tickets for community members are $7 and $3 for students and children. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Call 419-372-8171 or purchase online at www.bgsu.edu/arts. Johnson remembers it was a singer in the ensemble who first told him about Shepard’s death. The story of the young gay man’s torture and death in Laramie, Wyoming, outraged the nation. It captivated Johnson for the same reason.  “He just looked like the boy next door,” Johnson said.  “It was quite extraordinary that this could happen to him. … It could have been me.” One section of “Considering Matthew Shepard” is “Ordinary Boy.” “That’s the crux of it,” the composer said.  People hear about hate crimes, but “he put a face on it.” He added: “Hate crimes are spiking again, I’m sad to report. We don’t hear about most of them.” And the way Shepard died, tortured and left tied to a fence barely alive had symbolic resonance.  Coming up with a musical response to Shepard’s death took a long period to germinate.  “It grew over time,” Johnson said. He has often performed Bach’s Passions and realized this was the form he needed to use. From “maybe a song” the idea bloomed into more than 100 minutes of music. In an age of listening to music on shuffle, few people are composing long-form works. Johnson said: “I know we have the capacity for these larger arcs, and I’m interested in continuing to experience that.” Johnson didn’t want to compose something that only appealed to classical music lovers. “I wanted a broad range of people to come and appreciate it,” he said. Bach used chorales based on familiar hymn tunes as a way of connecting his…


BG school district sees growth in state report card

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This Bowling Green report card may make the refrigerator door. The state released its school report cards this morning – a moment that many districts await with great anxiety. Bowling Green City School District shows improvement in student achievement and gap closing for students. It also shows continued “A”s for progress and graduation rates. And overall, the district received a final grade of “B.” The state did not award overall grades last year. But if it had assigned grades, Bowling Green would definitely have scored lower last year, according to Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for BG Schools. Most importantly, Superintendent Francis Scruci said this morning, is the fact that the district continues to score high for student progress, and has shown improvement in closing the gaps for students. “We are showing progress and we are showing growth,” Scruci said. “We’re showing improvement and that’s the most important thing.” “Our goal is to make sure a kid grows at least one grade level every school year,” he said. “We’re doing straight ‘A’ work in that area.” The state report card gave BG City Schools an “A” for the growth of students from one year to the next. The district received a “B” for gap closing. That looks at how well the district meets expectations for vulnerable students in English language arts, math and graduation. “When you’re looking at measures that mean something, certainly those are areas that mean something,” Scruci said. Though there is plenty for the district to be proud of in the preliminary report, Scruci said he realizes there is still room for improvement. While B is a good overall grade, the district needs to keep aiming for an A. “Until we have that, we’ve got work to do,” he said. The district also scored two “D”s on the state report card. Scruci repeated his belief that the state report cards use a flawed system for scoring schools. “It’s a convoluted formula. It’s a formula with a flaw,” he said. At a special board meeting earlier this week, school board members questioned how the district could receive a grade of “D” in the “prepared for success” category – yet an “A” for graduation rates. That is just one example, McCarty said, of…


Plans unveiled for new $6 million county senior center

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Plans for the new Wood County Senior Center – and its new price tag – were unveiled Wednesday. The schematics showed a building more than twice the size of the current senior center, with more space for programs, an adult day care area, and a community storm shelter. Originally, it was estimated the new senior center would cost about $4 million. However some unexpected issues led that price tag to jump up to $6 million. “We’re proud to be able to roll this out to the community,” Ben Batey, president of the Wood County Committee on Aging Board, said Wednesday. The board viewed the preliminary building plans – designed to meet the growing needs of local seniors – created by Duket Architects. The new 35,000-square-foot senior center will be located at the site of the former school administration building between South Grove and Buttonwood streets, south of West Wooster Street. The new facility will replace the 14,500-square-foot center currently housed in the 104-year-old building on North Main Street that formerly held the post office. The new senior center will have between 80 and 100 parking spaces, will have one-story and two-story sections, and will be designed to fit in with the early-century residential area in which it will sit. “We tried to design the building to fit the community,” said Jerry Voll, of the architectural firm.   The first floor of the senior center will have two main entrances covered for weather protection. There will be a dining and multi-purpose room, five activity rooms of varying size, public restrooms, skylights to let in natural light, and an elevator. The first floor will also have a lounge area that may double as a library, with a gas fireplace, and coffee. Also on the first floor will be an adult day care space, with its own entry. “I’m personally really excited about the adult day care concept. That doesn’t exist in Wood County yet,” Batey said. The Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Toledo has offered to provide the day care services. There will be outdoor patios off the multi-purpose room and off the adult day care. The second floor will have room for administration offices, social services, activity rooms and office space for the BGSU Optimum Aging Institute, which will…


BGSU eyes Mercy College partnership as way to expand its nursing program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University announced Wednesday an agreement with Mercy Health that will dramatically increase the number of nursing students it educates. BGSU and Mercy Health have signed a letter of intent to transfer operations of Mercy College of Ohio to the university. This marks just the first step of the transition that could take up to four years to finalize. First the trustees of BGSU, Mercy Health, and Mercy College need to approve the plan, then it will need to run a gauntlet of state, federal, professional and accrediting boards. That’s expected to take about a year. Then finalizing the arrangement will take  another two to three years. While many details are yet to be worked out, the goal is for BGSU to increase to 2,000 the number of nursing students. It now has about 350 who receive their clinical training through partnership with the University of Toledo. Earlier that summer the two institutions announced that partnership will end in 2022. Mercy College now has 1,300 students in Toledo and another 200 in an associate’s degree program in Youngstown. None of the students currently in either the BGSU or Mercy programs will not be affected by the change.  “This is an exciting day,” BGSU President Rodney Rogers said at a press conference announcing the partnership. “Clearly there is a tremendous need to insure we’re growing the number of nursing graduates.”  Bob Baxter, president and CEO of Mercy Health-Toledo Region said: “The demand for nurses and other allied health professionals far exceeds the supply in Ohio and the nation.”  By 2024 the country will need a million more nurses. That demand is driven by the aging of baby boomers, retirements in the health care field, and increasing demand by consumers for health care close to home. He said that the partnership builds on BGSU’s depth of academic programs and Mercy College’s 100 years of educating nurses.  The collaboration with Mercy Health will also offer BGSU faculty and students opportunities for research. Because of Mercy’s statewide network, clinical opportunities will be available around the state closer to here many BGSU students live. In entering into this plan, Baxter said, Mercy Health is responding to changing market conditions and the reduction in reimbursement for hospital-based nursing education programs. The transfer will…


BGSU sees enrollment gains from home & abroad

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With undergraduate enrollment up 1.2 percent at Bowling Green State University, Cecilia Castellano, vice provost for strategic enrollment planning, has reason to smile. Ask her about the 16 new students from Vietnam and then she really beams.  Those students are part of one of the trends BGSU is bucking that helped it achieve an increase in enrollment.  The number of international students seeking higher education in the United States has been declining for several years. BGSU’s international enrollment is up 18 percent, mostly undergraduates. The top countries  sending students are China, Vietnam  and Saudi Arabia  with Vietnam being a new market. There could be more foreign students, said Dean of the Graduate College Margaret Booth. Visas are often taking months longer for students to obtain. What  once took one to two-months now can take up to six months in some countries. A number of those students have already told the university they plan to come in January, she said. “I am very pleased we have 16 freshmen from Vietnam,” Castellano said. She traveled to Vietnam in April to meet with the prospective students and their families. She feels that the community of Bowling Green as well the university helped bring the students here. It’s a place families feel comfortable sending their offspring.  The university issued its 15th day enrollment report Tuesday, and it showed total student enrollment is 19,540, up from 19,331 in 2017, about 1 percent. BGSU enrolled 6,700 new students “We’re very pleased with the continued growth in enrollment,” said President Rodney Rogers. Also, enrollment at BGSU’s Firelands campus increased by 1.4 percent to 1,997. “We’re reversing a trend we’ve seen over several years of a decline in two-year regional campuses,” Rogers said. That number includes more than 200 students taking part in the Pathways program through which students enrolled at Firelands study on the Bowling Green campus as a way of easing their transition to the four-year school. BGSU now has 14,861 undergraduates compared to 14,682 in fall 2017. The number of graduate students stayed about the same with 2,682. Booth said there’s more to that number, though. Last academic year the university awarded a 131 more graduate degrees than the previous year. So for the number to remain steady more new graduate students had to be…


Preliminary state report card shows reason to celebrate for BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School Board got a sneak peek at the preliminary state report card for the district Tuesday morning. If that preliminary report holds, the district will have something to brag about – receiving an overall grade of B. The state did not award overall grades last year, said Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for BG Schools. But if it had assigned grades, Bowling Green would have likely been in the “D” or “F” range, maybe “C,” she said. “This is a great reflection on the work the curriculum staff is doing” and the teachers who implement the curriculum in the classrooms, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. Scruci added that he still believes the state report card system is far from rational. “I think it’s a flawed system,” he said. But even with all its flaws, Bowling Green City Schools is excelling – scoring repeated “A”s in the categories of progress and graduation rates. “When you’re looking at measures that mean something, certainly those are areas that mean something,” Scruci said. McCarty explained that the state report cards are a “snapshot of the overall grades.” She gave a preview of the preliminary grades at last month’s board meeting. At that point, she cautioned the board that the early results might be too good to be true. But this latest sneak peek looks even better – though McCarty stressed the grades aren’t certain until the official reports come out later this week. The preliminary snapshot viewed on Tuesday gave BG City Schools an “A” for the growth of students from one year to the next. The district received a “B” for gap closing, “which is fantastic,” McCarty said. That looks at how well the district meets expectations for vulnerable students in English, language arts, math and graduation. Though there is plenty for the district to be proud of in the preliminary report, Scruci said he realizes there is still room for improvement. While B is a good overall grade, the district needs to keep aiming for an A. “Until we have that, we’ve got work to do,” he said. Board members had questions about the grades, including how the district could receive a grade of “D” in the “prepared for success” category – yet an “A”…