Youthful performers bring historic figures to life at Rossford Chautauqua

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The stories of historic figures who shaped Rossford and the world will be told in youthful voices at this year’s Chautauqua. Rossford Chautauqua will be presented Wednesday, July 19, through Sunday, July 23, under a tent on the Rossford Marina. This is the third time Rossford has presented Chautauqua. The city hosted the Ohio Humanities Council’s official troupe of performing scholars in 2014 and 2016. But that series runs on a two-year cycle, and Chautauqua was such a hit that the Convention and Visitors Bureau wanted to stage a living history event of its own this year. So they approached Jeremy Meier, a theater professor at Owens Community College, for help. Meier has portrayed Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. He appeared on the Rossford bill as the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in 2014. Meier recruited some Owens alumni as well as a trio of Rossford High School students to form a local troupe of young performing scholars. While Marie Curie and Mary Shelley won’t be visiting Rossford this year, Susan Marie Frontczak, the scholar performer who acted those roles last summer, did come to town. She was on hand to help teach these young performers how bring history to life on stage. Wednesday she was working with the high school seniors Alex Chiarelott, Hannah Beene, and Nolan McHugh who are portraying Edward Ford, Florence Scott Libbey, and Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones, respectively. Frontczak said she was impressed with what the students had accomplished. But she wasn’t there to praise but to coach. As they delivered their monologues, she stopped them every few lines to suggest…


Horizon Youth Theatre marks 20 years of acting up at gala

By TESSA PHILLIPS BG Independent Contributor The excitement was palpable as community members of all ages began to fill the Simpson Garden Banquet Room last night for the Horizon Youth Theatre’s 20th anniversary gala. Kids sat at tables decorated with photos from past HYT performances and reminisced on favorite stage memories. Genevieve Simon, one of the guest speakers at the gala, spotted a scrapbook and sat down to look through it with her brother, Martin. “Martin was part of Horizon for about two years, maybe longer,” Genevieve said. “Our whole family was involved, and that’s kind of how I was roped into it,” Martin added, grinning at his sister. Martin, a senior in high school, has plans to study theater in college, like his sister before him. “Horizon definitely encouraged me to pursue theatre as a career. It inspired me,” he said. After an hour of hors d’oeuvres, HYT members began doing what they do best—entertaining the audience. Scott Regan took the stage with co-founder Jo Beth Gonzalez and spoke about the importance of history and storytelling. “These two things separate us from the animals,” Regan said. Regan became emotional as he shared a story about a child who had become ill and had been sent to the hospital around the time of an HYT production of “Winnie the Pooh.” Before a painful procedure, she had told her mom that she wished she was “back in the Hundred Acre Wood.” “What does this tell us? To me, it proves that theatre gives kids something to hold on to during hard times,” Regan said. “Horizon Youth Theatre came from a place of…


NowOH exhibit surveys local art scene

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For an art exhibit dedicated to artists of Northwest Ohio, it was fitting that the best of show winner was a local scene. Aaron Pickens received the top honor at the 10th Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition for a pairing of two small paintings of fields in the Grand Rapids area. They were certainly not the flashiest pieces among the work by 47 artists in the Bryan Gallery in the Bowling Green State University Fine Arts Building. They were not even the flashiest of the pieces Pickens was showing. For juror Robert Thurmer that was the point. “I choose that as best of show mostly to honor the feeling that’s created here with a few skillfully placed brush strokes and color combinations that are apparently simple, but are really quite complex,” he explained. “This is a very, very thoughtfully produced and skillfully handled, and it creates a mood and feeling that’s highly personal statement.” Pickens created the paintings plein air, in the open air. It’s a discipline he’s adopted to complement his studio work, an example of which hung right next to the landscapes. That studio painting is a still life of toys, set on a sheet of cardboard, with an ominous forest in the background. That painting took 70-80 hours to create, Pickens said. The plein air landscapes, each took about an hour to create. He goes out for just a limited amount of time to try to capture the light, in this case dawn and dusk. “This is what taught me how to paint, how to use my material quickly and efficiently,”…


News to them… Corpe & Weiss of “Morning Show” win I Love BG award

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even such perceptive radio personalities as Clint Corpe and Larry Weiss had trouble ferreting out who was the winner of this year’s I Love BG Award. As Dave Horger, their predecessor at “The Morning Show” on WBGU-FM, provided details of the winner’s “life,” they sensed something amiss. For one thing there was enough resume for two people. Corpe wondered: Who else beside him attending the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Meeting and Awards Program went to school in Bowling Green… Kentucky? But the detail about working for Bowling Green State University didn’t fit. Born in Germany fit him, but Corpe never worked as a youngster at A&W Root Beer. That story, however, clinched the winner’s identity for Weiss. He remembered well the day that Horger was describing. Weiss was 13 or 14 and his friend’s uncle’s A&W stand was busy and desperate for help.  So they called him in. A shiny, new convertible pulled up and ordered three root beers. The young Larry delivered them, spilling them into and onto the car. He returned with another round of pop, and, as Horger related, after he dumped those in the car, he called his mother to pick him up. His career at A&W was over after one car. Far greater success lay ahead. He went on to graduate from BGSU in 1967 and to work in industry before returning to the university with a job in alumni relations in 1973. When he was approached about returning to BGSU, he responded: “Those were the best years of my life. I’d love to come back to…


BG School bond issue meets with protest and praise

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The school bond issue faced a little more hostility from residents during the second public forum on the issue Thursday evening. But it also was met with some heartfelt support. Bowling Green City Superintendent Francis Scruci started the forum with an overview on the bond issue for new and renovated school buildings. The evening was heavy on numbers – and some were pretty hefty. In order to raise nearly $72 million for the buildings, the district will need to pass a 6-mill bond issue that will go on for 37 years. “It is a big number, there’s no way around saying it,” Scruci said. For the owner of a house valued at $100,000, that means an extra $210 a year. But since the average house value in Bowling Green is $170,000, Scruci said that would add up to $357 a year. And for those on the higher end, with a $250,000 home, the bond issue would mean another $525 a year. Some citizens in the audience said they aren’t against students, teacher or schools – but they just can’t afford the project. “Have you seen the crops under water,” shouted Chris Sabo. Scruci said he realized the cost was high – but so is the reward, he said. “This is an investment in our kids. This is an investment in our community. This is an investment in our future.” But to Sabo, the cost is too high. “Then you’re not going to have a city, cause everybody is going to move out,” he said. “This is a big chunk of money and…


Closing time at Ginny’s Inspired Fashions is bittersweet

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For stylish women, Ginny’s Inspired Fashions in downtown Bowling Green let them dress to a T, from socks for their toes to hats to top off their assemblage with outerwear and underwear for parts in between. The shop, though, was more than a place to find what to wear to go out and have a good time, but a destination in itself, a gathering spot, founder and owner Ginny Stewart said. A place to share stories, drinks, laughs, and, now that Stewart has announced she’s closing, tears. “I’m going to cry,” one customer declared as she walked into Ginny’s Tuesday. Just a few racks of dresses, tops, and skirts remained. The supply of headwear was thinning out. Stewart wrapped purchases in Christmas paper, and she had no more bags. Though Stewart originally said she’d stay open until late in July, it now looks like Friday, July 14, will be her last day. Stewart said after seven years she’s retiring. “My husband (Scott) is going to be working fewer hours in the next year, and we want to spend more time doing the things we’ve talked about doing. I want to spend more time involved in the social causes that matter to me, and I want to give more time to the schools.” Stewart is in her first term as a member of the Board of Education. The district has a bond issue to fund a major building project on the ballot in November. She announced the news of the shop closing in an email to customers late Friday night. But, she said, word started…


Waterlogged Pemberville and Wayne see worst flooding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As soon as Brad Gilbert entered the room, there were groans. The Wood County Emergency Management Agency director was not on the agenda, so his unexpected arrival at the Wood County Commissioners meeting this morning could only mean one thing. There were problems. They don’t call Gilbert the “grim reaper” for nothing. After 10 inches of rain in some areas of the county this week, the county was overwhelmed. And a revised report from the National Weather Service suggested that the problem would get worse before it got better. “They are predicting a major flood stage tonight into tomorrow morning,” Gilbert said. The biggest problems are being seen in Wayne, where storm sewers couldn’t keep up with the rain, and are expected next to hit Pemberville, where two branches of the Portage River come together in the downtown area. By time the water crests tonight or Friday morning, it will likely be in the basements of the downtown businesses, Gilbert said. Just this morning, Gilbert said, fire crews from Pemberville, Bradner and Wayne had to use a boat to rescue a woman from her home that was surrounded by high water along Ohio 281. “It’s an act of Mother Nature. There’s no way to control it,” he said. And after multiple consecutive days of heavy rains, especially in southern Wood County, the ditches and fields are their limits. “There’s no where for it to go,” Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. The EMA office has been in contact with the Pemberville mayor and fire chief, and has been asked by Wayne officials…


Paws down … pet show was the place to be in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Godzilla the guinea pig managed to upstage the dogs performing tricks at the annual Bowling Green Pet Show Wednesday evening in City Park. The guinea pig, with an alias of the “fuzzmeister,” perched on the hand of his owner, Fran Flores, 15. Fran took aim with her finger, said “bang,” and Godzilla dramatically fell backwards and played dead. The judges seemed stunned by the performance, and one said “bang” to test the guinea pig – and once again Godzilla collapsed upon command. The guinea pig stole the show from the dog who waved with his paw, and the other who weaved in between her owner’s legs as she walked, spun in circles and then played dead. The dogs were no match for the furry rodent. More than 60 pets were walked, carried or dragged to City Park for the annual pet show sponsored by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. There were 22 categories for the pets to be judged in, like shaggiest pet, biggest rodent, best dressed pet, and best behaved. No entries competed in the categories of most interesting farm pet, slimiest reptile, or loudest bird. A couple kids did try to win for having pets that looked most like their owners. Sitting on the Needle Hall stage for the competition were judges Tom Sieving, the Bowling Green Police Division’s animal control officer; Joe Fawcett, the assistant municipal administrator; and Melissa Hill, from the Wood County Humane Society. “We don’t take it too seriously,” Sieving said before the competition began. But all the categories weren’t as cut and dry…


Bobby G brings taste of Delta blues to Howard’s

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Robert Gray first got hooked on the blues listening to sound standing outside the juke joint in his native Winterville, Mississippi. He and his friends didn’t have the money to get in so they absorbed the sounds that wafted from the homespun club. “We just loved what was going on,” he said, “so we would try to sing, just walking down the road singing. That’s when I first got it.” That was years before Robert Gray began Bobby G, the blues singer. Bobby G, now 73, will perform Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. at Howard’s Club H in downtown Bowling Green with Curtis Grant Jr. and the Midnight Rockers. Cover charge is $5. Bobby G will also perform Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The performance celebrates the release of “Still Sanding” on Third Street Cigar Records. This is the bluesman’s first full-length album, and it’s giving the world – it’s charting in Italy, Australia, and elsewhere – its first taste of Bobby G. John Henry, a local blues impesario said, the bluesman is “a treasure.” Because Gray stayed around home, raised two children with his wife, and didn’t go out on the road and experience the hardships and bad habits that so often entails, “he’s well preserved.” His voice is clear, with a sweet high range, though he can growl when the tune demands it. That’s all on display on “Still Standing,” a set of originals written by Johnny Rawls. Before all this could transpire and he could take that love of the blues to the stage, he needed…


BG Middle School addition to relieve overcrowding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools is facing the challenge of passing a bond issue in November to build a consolidated elementary school and a major reconstruction of the high school. But first, the district has to respond to a more immediate construction need. On Tuesday evening, the board of education voted unanimously to request bids for a $4.15 million expansion of the middle school to relieve serious overcrowding. The plan is to pay for that project with permanent improvement money, so it will be completely separate from the bond issue project. The middle school is the newest building in the district, having been constructed in 2009. But the problem is that it was built to house two grades – seventh and eighth graders. However, when a couple older elementary schools in the district were closed, the sixth graders were also moved into the middle school. The middle school currently houses about 750 students. Unless the building is expanded, the overcrowding issue will worsen in a couple years when an abnormally large class entering fifth grade now reaches the middle school, pushing the student count close to 800. To relieve the overcrowding, another classroom wing is planned. It will be situated to the south and parallel to the existing classroom wing. An open courtyard area will sit between the two wings. The new one-story addition will likely be used for the eighth graders. Construction bids will be opened by the board next month, with construction planned to start by September. The goal is to have the wing open for the 2018 school year. An…


No more glass to be recycled in BG – costs blamed for shattering program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The glass bottles and jars gathering in the garage for recycling may as well be tossed in the trash. Effective immediately, the Bowling Green Recycling Center is no longer accepting glass. This applies to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, plus the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. It was just last month that a citizen spoke in front of Bowling Green City Council, challenging the body to do more to encourage greater recycling in the city – including more efforts to save glass from being landfilled. Years ago, the recycling center ceased taking glass in curbside bins, but continued to accept it at its drop-off site. But on Tuesday, the officials at the recycling center said that practice was over. “We’ve been struggling with it for a long time,” said Ken Rieman, of the recycling center. “Basically, the market conditions are just to the point it’s too expensive to send the glass out.” The center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton to ship the glass, for which it was paid $25 a ton. Late last year, the Dayton company raised its shipping costs to $40 a ton, and cut its payments to $10 a ton. The BG center then found a company in Sylvania to take the glass at no cost. However, that agreement ended abruptly, leaving the Dayton site as the only option, Rieman said. “It’s simple economics,” he said, estimating the center shipped out 350 to 400 tons…


Horizon Youth Theatre marks 20th year with gala

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The seed for Horizon Youth theatre was planted in the dead of winter. One February night in 1997, Scott Regan, a Bowling Green State University professor of theatre and director of its Treehouse Troupe, gathered more than a dozen people involved in the arts to discuss a dream: the creation of a theater troupe for young people. The attendees didn’t need to be convinced of the value of theater for kids. The only question is whether such a troupe could take root in Bowling Green. Now more than 20 years later, Horizon Youth Theatre is blossoming. Approximately 1000 people attended the four performances of its recent musical “Cinderella.” Throughout the year it offers workshops for kids of all ages. Horizon Youth theatre will celebrate its 20th anniversary Saturday, July 15, 6-9 p.m. in the Simpson Building Banquet room. Tickets are $15. Visit http://horizonyouththeatre.org/2017/05/20-anniversary-gala/. The gala opens with a red carpet extravaganza with heavy hors d’oeuvres and music by the GRUBS. A program will follow at 7 featuring five short performances interspersed by testimonials by three alumni: Genevieve Simon, an actress now in New York; Grace Easterly; and Brittany Albrecht. (Simon will also present a workshop on Shakespeare and autism earlier in the day from 2 to 3:30p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church for actors 8-18. Cost $10.) The troupe will also honor its founders Scott Regan and Jo Beth Gonzales, the high school drama teacher. Regan said that the idea for the troupe came after a BGSU production of “A Christmas Carol,” which he had directed. The production used a lot of children, and…


Too many gyms in BG may be unhealthy for business

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Bowling Green area residents try to work off their butts or guts, the city is seeing a glut of gyms in the community. Gym members trying to burn off calories on cardio equipment and build muscles on weight machines may benefit from the exercise options – but the number of gyms could be unhealthy for the businesses. There are many similarities at the gyms – lots of equipment for those who prefer solitary exercise, or classes in spinning, zumba or pilates for those who thrive on group motivation. There are some differences at each location. The community center has a track, basketball and volleyball courts. St. Julian’s Fitness has free classes with memberships and is the official Silver Sneaker location in the city. Anytime Fitness is open round the clock and allows use of any other Anytime Fitness in the world. BGSU Recreation Center has a couple indoor pools. And Crossfit offers its own brand of specialized workouts. Soon, people looking for just the perfect fit to perfect their bodies, will have another choice. Planet Fitness has announced plans to open a gym on South Main Street, near the Staples store. Generally, Kristin Otley, director of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, is in favor of new business growth to the city – especially since that means new tax revenue – even if it is another gym. “I think competition is a great thing. It keeps us all on our game,” she said. However, this latest entry has some gym officials breaking out into a sweat. “That is concerning. This…


Local election official favors limited voter info sharing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Ohio is one of the 44 states refusing to give President Donald Trump’s elections commission all the voter information requested. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, has said he will provide the newly created Elections Integrity Commission with information that is already made public to campaigns and political parties. But Husted is drawing the line at Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. The information on Wood County voters is already at the fingertips of the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, according to Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “Our voter information already is linked with the state data bases,” Burton said on Friday. Though not privy to all the details, Burton said Ohio is handing over only public information. “It sounds like everything he is supplying is public record that could be accessed by anyone else,” Burton said of Husted. The Elections Integrity Commission requested all 50 states to submit full voter information, including registrants’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, the last four digits of their social security numbers, a list of the elections they voted in since 2006, information on any felony convictions, information on whether they were registered to vote in other states, their military status, and whether they lived overseas. Trump set up the commission to investigate undocumented widespread voter fraud in national elections. He has claimed 3 million votes were illegally cast in the presidential election last year, robbing him of the popular vote. Husted said earlier this year that voter fraud is not widespread in Ohio and…


Dancing the night away at Toledo Museum’s Block Party

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Toledo Museum of Art’s annual Block Party takes place throughout the museum’s campus. And for the fourth party held Saturday night, even the lawns and terrace didn’t seem like they were quite big enough as thousands of neighbors, coming from as close a few blocks away or neighboring communities, jammed the museum grounds for a night of entertainment, food, beverages, and camaraderie. The air throbbed with the sounds of hip hop, electronica and funk. Two dance groups performed, including the Hellenic Dancers. The troupe’s performance was tied to the opening in the museum’s Canaday Gallery of the major exhibit “The Berlin Painter and His World.” The show showcases dozens of vases painted in 5th Century B.C. in Athens, Greece. Considered the finest representations of their time, the vases come from museums around the world.  During a glass demonstration tiny replicas of those vases were being created. Greek food was also among the cuisines available from the food trucks arrayed along Monroe Street. The evening also featured The Dancers of Aha! Indian Dancers and Birds Eye View Circus. Despite the international flare, all the performers come from Toledo, a nod to the area’s cultural richness. The multi-ethnic throng ranged in age from babes in arms and hard-to-corral toddlers to elders, who for whatever their infirmities, still could move to the music. As closing approached, people were still dancing to the throbbing beats delivered by DJ Folk. In the middle of it all, Alexander Calder’s sculpture “Stegosaurus” presided, poised it seemed to snap its moorings and join the dance.