More crosswalks, roundabouts planned for East Wooster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council fast-tracked some changes Monday evening for East Wooster Street. Council suspended the three-readings rule and passed legislation to seek funds for two additional roundabouts, and proceed with installation of four marked crosswalks between Manville Avenue and Campbell Hill Road. The city is already working with the Ohio Department of Transportation on roundabouts at the Interstate 75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The resolutions before council on Monday involved the roundabouts at the intersections of East Wooster at Campbell Hill and Dunbridge roads. The four crosswalks are planned at areas where pedestrians are more likely to use when dodging traffic on East Wooster Street. According to Public Works Director Brian Craft, two different types of crosswalks are proposed. Pedestrian hybrid beacons are planned by the Stroh Center and by the BGSU McFall building. These crosswalks will have buttons for pedestrians to push, which will turn flashing yellow lights to solid red lights for vehicle traffic. Passive crossings are planned in the areas of Troup Street and at the driveway to the Falcon Health Center. These crossings will have islands in the middle of the street for pedestrians, Craft said. In addition to creating less air pollution, city officials are interested in the roundabouts because the East Wooster Street Concept Plan identified these locations for intersection improvements, including a “new look” for the corridor. The plan calls for a calmer and more aesthetically pleasing entrance to the city with a landscaped median as part of that concept. Since the East Wooster corridor is the “front door” to the community, the…


BG looks for best of bad options to raise general fund

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s rare for Bowling Green City Council to use movie quotes to explain city predicaments. But on Monday, dialogue from the movie “Argo” just seemed to fit the options being considered to help the city’s general fund recover, according to council member Bob McOmber. “We only have bad options available,” McOmber said. That set the scene for the Committee of the Whole’s job Monday evening. The council members were tasked with narrowing down the bad options to the best of the bad for building the city’s general fund back up after federal and state funding cuts. Nine options were presented Monday evening. Four were eliminated after getting very little support from council members. Those dropped from the list were: Raising the city income tax. Cutting police and/or fire divisions. Cutting the city arborist. Eliminating tax reciprocity. That leaves five options still on the list: Redistribute the city income tax. Privatize city trash collection. Continue offering city trash collection, but charge a fee. Charge an assessment for tree services. Reduce city funds that are assisting other entities. The budget for 2017 lists revenue of $14,996,197 and appropriations of $15,623,253 – which means it is cutting into the balance by $627,056, and is not sustainable. The losses seen in the general fund are ongoing, so while the shortfall in this year’s budget has been identified as $627,056, the structural deficit is actually more – closer to $800,000 or $1 million a year. Raising the city’s 2 percent income tax rate got very weak support from council. McOmber said 2 percent is pretty standard for…


Community tree has seen its last Christmas; new tree will be planted in place

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Downtown Bowling Green will be getting a new community Christmas tree, and it’ll be delivered well before the winter holidays. At Monday’s Library Board of Trustees meeting, Library Director Michael Penrod said he had asked city arborist Grant Jones to take a look at it. The arborist found clear signs disease. The 50-foot Colorado blue spruce’s days are numbered. Once the disease sets in, Penrod said, it cannot be reversed, though it’s hard to tell how long the tree would last. Conceding the tree’s uncertain future, the library board voted to have the tree removed and replaced as quickly as possible. Jones, Penrod said, felt a new tree, likely about 12-foot-tall, could be in place within weeks. It would cost the library about $3,000-$4,000. Penrod said he’d already been approached by Mary Hinkelman, the director for Downtown Bowling Green, to discuss the future of the tree. Downtown BG owns the ornaments that decorate the tree, and the years of stringing increasing lengths of lights to cover the tree has taken their toll. A couple ceremonial tree lightings, have suffered temporary blackouts. Faced with replacing the lights, she wondered how many Downtown BG would have to purchase. She said this afternoon, after being informed of the library board’s decision, that she’s hoping to be able to use the LED bulbs which are in good shape and expensive to replace with whatever replacement wiring is needed. She won’t know how much that would be until later in the year when the decorations are pulled out of storage and inspected. Penrod said Jones advised planting the tree…


Not In Our Town hears of community policing updates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In response to national issues of improper community policing, Ohio developed standards for its police departments. The first two standards were to be met by March 31, 2017. Both Bowing Green and Bowling Green State University police divisions met those standards of training on use of force, and on complying with proper recruiting, hiring and screening processes. “Standards are a good thing,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said during a recent Not In Our Town meeting when the policing standards were discussed. “There are a lot of small agencies that don’t even have policies,” and some large agencies that don’t follow the policies they have, the chief said. Of the police departments in Ohio, nearly 80 percent are in the process of meeting the state standards. There are a total of 14 policies set by the state – with three to be met each year from here on. The three to be achieved this year involve community engagement, dispatch training and body cameras. Both the city and campus police engage the community during “Coffee with Cops” events. Hetrick said police department are not mandated to have body cameras. Bowling Green’s division recently updated its in-car cameras, but doesn’t have the funding for body cameras, he added. “It’s something I’m open to. I think they are a good thing,” the chief said. But in addition to the camera expenses, there are also costs for data storage and privacy policies that some police departments are struggling to define. Hetrick said the in-car cameras have proved valuable in refuting false claims from suspects and…


Campus arts initiative at BGSU gives trustees a song & dance

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When William Mathis was discussing arts on campus as he sought to take over as dean of the College of Musical Arts there was a lot of talk about “creating a culture of the arts” at Bowling Green State University. Looking around, though, he came to realize that there is a culture of the arts. “It does permeate through the campus,” he said, and beyond. Mathis, who in addition to his duties as dean has been called on to coordinate the arts, presented an educational session to the BGSU Board of Trustees at their May meeting. He came with numbers – 1,500 students have arts majors on campus and incoming arts majors have an average ACT score of 26, “so they’re academically prepared.” Mathis noted there are 32 student organizations related to the arts. Last year more than 800 events were staged on campus. He didn’t leave it there. The arts programs are mostly in two colleges, the College of Musical Arts and the College of Arts and Science, the home for the School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film, and the Creative Writing Program. (Dance is located in the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies.) He brought some of those numbers with him to do the talking and singing. The women’s chorus of Voices of BGSU, a gospel choir, was first up, led by Christopher Carter, the student who founded the choir in 2013. Carter is a Trustees Leadership Scholarship winner. The Voices, he said, have been, along with other campus groups, his home at BGSU. Carter, who has…


Sugar Ridge still under EPA orders to get sewers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a decade now, the community of Sugar Ridge has been on the Ohio EPA’s clean up list. In 2007, the Wood County Health District got a report of a sewage nuisance in the unincorporated village located north of Bowling Green. The EPA took over sampling and “deemed it a sewage nuisance,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. The area was ordered to connect to a public sewer system. But that proved to be easier said than done. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District conducted a feasibility study to find out how to make it affordable to hook up the homes to public sewer. “They found it was very costly to build the sewer” – too expensive for the average homeowners in Sugar Ridge, Glore said last week. The project recently came onto the health district’s radar again when a concerned citizen reported that a resident of the Sugar Ridge area was trying to install a new sewer without approval, on Long Street. Upon inspection, Glore found that the resident was actually trying to fix a drainage system. She also found serious ground water drainage issues that could be affecting the septic systems. Residents in the area were advised to pump their septic tanks more often and lessen their water usage if possible. Worsening the situations is a plugged ditch along Sugar Ridge Road. Middleton Township officials are looking at how that ditch may be cleaned to allow for proper drainage, Glore said. The bad news is the septic systems are not sufficiently handling the…


R&R Bath offers natural way to freshen up & relax

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Walking north of the west side of North Main Street in downtown Bowling Green past the restaurants and bars, a sweet and fresh scent tickles the nose. The source is evident a couple doors down at 157 N. Main the home of R&R Premium Bath Products. The new business has been open for several weeks with a grand opening set for May 21. Still someone in need of a last minute Mother’s Day gift may want to stop down. The shop is run by Joseph Heaton and Sarah Bail. The mission of the shop is not only to provide products that make their customers clean, they also strive to keep Mother Earth clean and fresh as well. Heaton said all their products are made from natural ingredients. Many of the products hand-crafted on site. An opening in the shop gives customers a peek into the workshop. Bail, who graduated from Bowling Green State University earlier this month with a Bachelor of Science in ecology and conservation, oversees the materials used. Heaton and Bail moved here from Springfield, Ohio, four years ago when she started her studies at BGSU. “Anything you can imagine using in the bathroom we’ll have it,” Heaton said. Bath bombs, including its original GloBomb, soaps, make-up removers, lotions, bubble bars, fizz sticks, and robes. “Everything we sell here is either made here or made in the United States, all handmade,” he said. That means finding suppliers who have the same quality standards that they do. Heaton said he’s devoted to selling, having started with DirectTV. “I loved bath balms,” he said,…


Ride of Silence speaks volumes about bike safety

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green bicyclists hope to speak volumes with a Ride of Silence next week. Since 2003, cyclists around the world have been holding the annual Ride of Silence to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling and to make people aware that cyclists are part of the roadway. This event is held worldwide on the same day, same time during Bike Safety Month. The cyclists ride slowly and in silence. This year in Ohio, 11 communities are participating, and for the first time, Bowling Green is joining in the ride. “There could never be enough awareness of bicycle safety,” said Linda Kidd, a member of the Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission and organizer of the ride in the city. “This is a world-wide event and we couldn’t be happier to bring awareness to bicycle safety and honor those who have lost their lives in bicycling accidents.” The Bowling Green Ride of Silence will be held on Wednesday, May 17, starting and ending at City Park. Bicyclists are asked to arrive at 6:30 p.m., and be ready for the ride to start at 7 p.m. The ride will cover 8.3 miles and travel at a slow pace, escorted by the Bowling Green Police Division and the Bowling Green State University Police Department. Riders will pause at First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street, in memory of Eric Ramlow, who was killed in 2016 while riding on Sand Ridge Road. Ramlow was an active member of the church. Prior to the start of the ride, those participating will also remember and honor others killed…


New music tribe gathers for sounds & support at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kelly Rehearsal Hall was alive with 100 conversations Friday noontime. In two concentric circles composers sat on the outside and performers, producers and presenters on the inside. Each pair locked in conversation, often those inside with headphones had clamped on their ears. Those outside brandishied laptops, or scores. And then at four minute intervals a gong would sound, and those on the inside would shift down to their left. This is New Music Speed Dating, and this the New Music Gathering. The three-day gathering began in Bowling Green State University’s Moore Musical Arts Center the morning of Thursday and will continue until the early morning hours of Sunday (For schedule of events including concerts Friday featuring featured artist percussionist Steven Schick and Saturday at 8 p.m. visit: http://www.newmusicgathering.org/schedule-of-events.html.) Attendees will discuss innovative techniques, musical philosophy, funding, and ways to reach new audiences. About 400 people contemporary music devotees are expected to attend. New Music Speed Dating embodies the spirit of the event, whimsical and a bit theatrical in its construct, yet practical. The event is a signature feature of the Gatherings. This is the third. The first was in San Francisco Conservatory and the second at Peabody Conservatory Baltimore. Coming to Bowling Green, said Danny Felsenfeld, one of the founders, was natural. “This is the first time we went to a school that’s known for being a center of new music,” he said. “That’s why you come to Bowling Green to learn to compose and perform new music.” The vision for the gathering was for something “simple, stripped down, and inexpensive,” Felsenfeld said. The…


New public safety director sees BGSU police headed in the right direction

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As a veteran of the Bowling Green State University police force, new Chief Mike Campbell is confident the department is headed in the right direction. Campbell has been with the force since April, 2011, when he was hired by then Chief Monica Moll as a patrol captain. When Moll left last fall to become director of public safety at Ohio State University, he was named interim chief and earlier this week hired as the permanent replacement. In an interview, Thursday, Campbell said: “We are moving in a positive direction.” That includes being in the process of seeking accreditation. Recently Campbell has been one of the campus officials called on to address how BGSU handles cases of sexual assault. The issue was pushed to the fore by a victim who complained on Facebook about how she was treated, prompting a protest late in the semester. The complaints did not target the police, still Campbell said that it is always worthwhile to look at ways to improve police procedures. The Task Force on Sexual Assault that was created by President Mary Ellen Mazey in the wake of the protest offers such an opportunity. “The major focus of the task force is to look at the process we have and evaluate what we’ve done,” Campbell said. This would include looking at “new and inventive ways” of handling sexual assault “as well as for prevention and education opportunities that can be focused on.” This issue is just one of many where the university police must interact with the separate procedures regulating student conduct. This could mean dual investigations…


‘Die-in’ shows grave concerns about GOP health plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A strip along North Main Street was turned into a makeshift “cemetery” Thursday as supporters of the Affordable Care Act laid on the ground and held up cardboard tombstones. “Last Thursday, the House passed a bill that will have this effect on people,” said Sara Jobin, one of the organizers of the “die-in.” One “tombstone” read “Beloved daughter chose college over health care.” Another stated, “Killed by heartless lies.” And another, “RIP Democracy.” The protest was held in front of the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. Latta was not present and the office closed shortly after the “die-in” began. Molly Tomaszewski, of Northwood, held signs protesting the projections that 24 million Americans will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act passed by the House GOP members, including Latta.  She believes the answer is a single payer system. “Universal health care is not a partisan issue. It’s a life issue,” she said. “We need health care.” Tomaszewski said her husband has good health insurance through his job. But she has 27 pre-existing conditions as listed in the new GOP plan. Without insurance, her prescriptions would cost $5,000 a month. “They could put lifetime caps on,” she said, worrying about how she would then afford her medications. Of the 30 people gathered for the protest, the majority were women. Anesa Miller, of Bowling Green, said her husband died last month after a long illness. She was insured through him, and is two years away from qualifying from Medicare. So she may have to pay six times as much for coverage…


“The Fantasticks” gets fresh & lively staging at Valentine Theatre

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A play so constructed of theatrical artifice should not be this moving. Yet when the wise rogue Gallo reprises the ballad “Try to Remember” at the end of “The Fantasticks,” it tugs at the heart. In the preceding two hours, the bandit-for-hire Gallo (Ryan Zarecki) has taken the audience into his confidence. “The Fantasticks” is being staged by the Valentine Theatre in Studio A, on the Adams side of the complex, directed by James M. Norman, for six shows starting Friday, May 12, at 8 p.m. continuing Saturday, May 13, Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, all at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees, May 14 and 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Visit: http://www.valentinetheatre.com/events.html. “The Fantasticks” has a classic fairy tale set up with a girl, Luisa (Madison Zavitz), and a boy, Matt (Griffen Palmer), and they are in love in the most besotted way, made all the more acute by the fact that their fathers have built a wall to keep them apart. The fathers, Hucklebee and Bellomy, are feuding, or that’s what they like their children to suppose. It’s all a ruse to keep the lovebirds focused on each other and to bring about their marriage. They are also gardeners, which gives them more satisfaction than raising children, because as they sing “if you plant a turnip, you get a turnip.” Who knows what children will turn into? All this plays out as planned, more or less, in the first act with the assistance of Gallo and two, down-at-the-heels actors, Henry (Ed Burnham) and Mortimer (Jeremy Allen). But it is…


BG offers senior center land so old site can be retired

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The aging Wood County Senior Center is being retired. In front of a packed room of seniors waiting for lunch, Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards announced Thursday that the city has plans to give the Wood County Committee on Aging some land for a new home – the old school central administration property at 140 S. Grove St. The announcement was welcomed among those who use the senior center on a daily basis. “It’s about time,” said Mary Hansen, of Bowling Green. She and Virginia Combs quickly listed off all the deficiencies they have noticed at the current senior center which is over a century old. Too many stairs, not enough parking, poor heating and cooling topped the list. “It gets hot and then it gets cold. We always layer up,” Hansen said. And then there’s the unreliable elevator. “It makes noises when it does go,” she added. The news was also welcomed by Herb Hoover, Bowling Green, who frequents the senior center for lunch and card games. “My wife and I come here five days a week for lunch,” Hoover, 89, said. “It really breaks up the day.” The gifting of the land for a new senior center may also help the city solve its own building dilemma. For years, city officials have talked about cramped conditions at the city administration building which is located directly to the west of the senior center, which the city owns. The senior center moving to South Grove Street would free up space for a new city building in the area currently shared by the…


’13 Reasons Why’ gives parents and schools reasons to worry

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Across the nation, parents are checking their Netflix history to see if their adolescents have been watching the “13 Reasons Why” series. The show tells the story of a high school junior who commits suicide. Prior to her death, she records a series of audio tapes describing the 13 reasons why she chooses to end her life. The story has parents and school officials watching for the slightest sign of copycat behavior from young viewers. So they want kids to know this: When you die, you do not get to make a movie or talk to people anymore about how they wronged you. Leaving messages from beyond the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life. Bowling Green City School officials held a program Wednesday evening for parents who have concerns about “13 Reasons Why” and its effect on their children. “The reality is, students are watching this and we want parents to be equipped for it,” said Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning. In addition to a very graphic suicide scene of the main character cutting her wrists in the bathtub, the show also shows instances of rape, bullying, sexual assault, violence, drug and alcohol use. “It’s a very graphic series,” said Jake Tapley, Bowling Green Middle School counselor. Glaringly absent in the series are school staff or parents who intervene appropriately, Tapley said. While some parents may have no idea that their children are watching the show, it is the talk of teenagers in the cafeteria, on the bus and on their…


BGSU turns to Campbell to lead public safety

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Bowling Green State University has turned to an insider to fill the position of police chief and director of public safety. In a letter to BGSU faculty, staff and students, Vice President for Finance and Administration Sheri Stoll announced that Michael Campbell, who has been serving as the interim chief since last October, has been named as permanent chief. The university conducted a nationwide search, eventually selecting three finalists. In addition to Campbell, the search committee interviewed candidates from Northeast Ohio and Ann Arbor. Campbell took over as interim chief when Monica Moll left BGSU to become director of public safety at Ohio State University. It was Moll who hired Campbell as a patrol captain in April, 2011. According to Stoll’s message: “In his time at BGSU, his leadership has been critical in creating important training and professional development programs and opportunities for his officers.” He serves on a number of campus and town-gown committees, including Not in Our Town. Campbell takes over as the campus is being roiled by complaints about how sexual assaults are being handled by the university. Campbell participated in press briefings and interviews about the issue, explaining the department’s procedures. He said on the day of a protest that drew 200 people that he is always looking at ways to improve how the department does things. During another interview, he said, that his officers will do what they can to assist victims, including accompanying them to the Bowling Green City Police of the assault occurred off campus. Sexual assault cases, whether or not they are prosecuted, are also…