Romantic comedy “Diana of Dobson’s” wears its age well

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Don’t be fooled by “Diana of Dobson’s.” The production of the 1908 play opens with some period song and dance. Dressed in turn of the previous century finery Anna Parchem and Geoff Stephenson invite us to go to the music hall. They deliver their invitation with a campy enthusiasm touched by cynicism. Something quite deeper and more satisfying awaits behind the curtain. “Diana of Dobson’s” by Cicely Hamilton will be presented by the Bowling Green State University Department of Theatre and Film opening tonight (Nov. 16) at 8 p.m. and running through Sunday in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. See details at end of story. Once the curtain rises, the glitter disappears. We find ourselves in the stark dorm of the shop girls who work at Dobson’s. As they disrobe for the night the young women played by Laura Holman, Lorna Jane Patterson, Hennessy Bevins, and Megan Kome talk about their lives and their troublesome co-worker Diana Massingberd (Camila Pinero). She’s a rebel who bristles at the petty rules and cruel economies of the company. She gets “five bob a week for my life,” and even then the company fines the employees for minor infractions. Diana has many of those. Diana wasn’t always in these straits. Her father was a country doctor, and she helped him until his death. He left her penniless. To her, even worse than being a fool “is being a pauper.” Her attitude not only…


Park district hands out grants to 11 community parks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Thirty years ago as the Wood County Park District worked to pass its first levy, a promise was made to share the wealth with community parks throughout the county. That promise has been kept, and continued again this week as the park board approved $100,000 in grants to 11 Wood County communities. Over the years, the grants have helped municipalities add to park playgrounds and repair shelter houses – expenses many smaller towns could not afford on their own. The grants have also been used by several communities to make their parks more accessible to people with disabilities. Following is a list of those communities approved for grants for 2018, the projects funded, and the amounts approved: Bloomdale – $4,157 for six picnic tables with two being ADA compliant. Bowling Green – $4,332 for a scaler tunnel net on a playground. Bradner – $2,479 for an 8-inch balance beam and merry-go-round. Custar – $6,900 for a sway bench and rain garden. Cygnet – $7,835 for ADA sidewalk, and $1,176 for safety surfacing. North Baltimore – $9,873 for safety surfacing, and $4,999 for shelter house roof replacement. Pemberville – $6,150 for shelter house conversion, and $2,485 for safety surfacing. Perrysburg – $10,000 for shade structure for ballfields, and $1,949 for porch swing bench. Walbridge – $14,372 for new basketball court. West Millgrove – $9,991 for swing set and safety surfacing, and $4,997 for trash containers and safety surfacing. Weston – $8,305 for two…


BG Middle School earns state ‘Momentum Award’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City School District has taken some heat for low scores on the state’s testing. But the State Board of Education has notified the Bowling Green Middle School that it will be receiving an award for student growth in reading and math. Now in its third year, the “Momentum Award” is the state board’s effort to recognize districts that have received “A”s on each Value-Added measure included on Ohio’s school report cards. That means the middle school’s report card for the 2016-2017 school year showed students made greater than expected growth in reading and math. That’s a big deal, according to Principal Eric Radabaugh. “It really is meaningful for our school,” Radabaugh said Wednesday afternoon. The “A” grade means that Bowling Green Middle School students made more progress over the year than most other students in Ohio. “To me the most important measure of a school is the growth from one year to the next,” the principal said. “We are honored to receive the award.” Radabaugh praised teachers for making the difference. “I credit our dedicated staff,” he said. The teachers use a team approach. “We have a learning environment where teachers share ideas of what’s working and what’s not working.” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci was pleased with the state recognition for efforts at the middle school. “This is another example of the great things happening in our district,” Scruci said. “We as a district are pleased and proud of…


UN official comes home to Ohio to address the plight of refugees

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even as the global refugee crisis grows, efforts to resettle them have stalled. Anne-Marie McGranaghan, an associate resettlement officer for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, reported that the number of refugees resettled this year will be about 70,000, less than half the number resettled in 2016, This comes, she said, after several years of increased numbers. That reflects the United States cutting the number of refugees it will resettle in half while other countries has so many now in the pipeline that have put a pause on their programs. The United States resettles the most of any country, though on a per capita basis other countries, particularly Nordic European nations, do far more. McGranaghan was the keynote speaker Tuesday (Nov. 14) at the Immigrant Ohio Symposium at Bowling Green State University. The focus was “Refugees Past and Present.” Resettlement, McGranaghan said, is just one solution for the world’s 65.6 million refugees. That’s the largest number ever, she said, and is expected to continue to grow. Three countries Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan account for half that number. Next year, McGranaghan said, she expects members of the Rohingya people fleeing to Bangladesh from Myanmar will join that list. Just since August more than 600,000 have left the country formerly known as Burma. McGranaghan said that according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees, passed in 1951 to deal with Europeans cast adrift after World War II, “a refugee is a person who has a…


BG school board to revisit levy options next month

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Board of Education is giving itself one month to heal from the school bond issue defeat – then it’s back to the drawing board. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Francis Scruci said defeat of the 6-mill levy was “disappointing.” But on the morning after the election, the focus had to shift – there were still 3,100 students to educate, he said. Scruci suggested the school board take a break from levy discussions, then reconvene in December to consider the district’s next steps. He also asked that newly elected board member Norm Geer be present during those discussions. Though the loss of the levy by 550 votes was discouraging, Scruci said he was most dismayed by the discourse from the levy opposition. “The most disappointing part was how divisive it became and how personal attacks occurred,” he said. The levy would have paid for the construction of a centralized elementary building north of the middle school, and an addition and renovations to the existing high school building. Scruci has stated that the district will not come back with a watered-down version – since that won’t meet students’ needs. But next month, the discussions will begin of where the district goes from here. “We have a difficult decision going forward,” Scruci said. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board hired Cathy Schuller as the new district treasurer. Schuller, who is currently the assistant treasurer at Rossford school district, will be taking the…


DeWine serves up campaign for governor at Campus Pollyeyes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Mike DeWine worked the tables at Campus Pollyeyes, he had one question. “What’s the best thing to eat here?” He got one response from his fellow Republicans waiting to greet the gubernatorial candidate. “The breadsticks.” DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general, is shifting into high gear for the governor’s race to be decided next fall. Tuesday morning he started with breakfast in Mayfield Heights, followed by pie in Amherst, then showed up for pizza in Bowling Green. Early campaigning can probably be forgiven, since there are already three other Republicans in the governor’s race, including Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Rep. Jim Renacci. Even before DeWine’s arrival at Pollyeyes, some of those present had already picked him as their top choice. “I like the fact that he has a plan on the opioid epidemic, and he’s ready to go,” David Jenkins said as he dug into a calzone. Jenkins, who is treasurer of the BGSU College Republicans, is part of the voting population that needs to get excited about the next election, said George Nicholson, whose son runs Campus Pollyeyes. “I think it’s wonderful he’s coming here,” Nicholson said about DeWine. “It’s a good thing for us and a good thing for the College Republicans.” David Kuebeck, co-chair of DeWine’s campaign in Wood County, is already sold on the attorney general. “He’s the most experienced candidate by far,” Kuebeck said, listing off DeWine’s past roles as U.S. senator,…


Transient Canvas takes contemporary music to unexpected places

Transient Canvas should feel right at home when the contemporary music duo shows up in Bowling Green to play a show at the Clazel Monday, Nov. 20. Amy Advocat on bass clarinet and Matt Sharrock on marimba have played all manner of venues, including being featured on a series of concerts at microbreweries in their home-base Boston where brewers concocted a special beer to serve with the music. “One of the things we love about this group is so we’re so mobile,” Advocat said in a recent telephone interview. “We want to reach people in unexpected places.” Transient Canvas will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in a free Music at the Forefront concert presented by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. On Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m., the duo will perform in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery. Advocat said the programs for the two shows are tailored for the different venues. The museum concert will featured “a thoughtful program, more classically oriented.” On the program “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” the program notes state: “The composers featured … have created something new and fresh by evoking the past, acknowledging their influences without directly emulating them.” At the Clazel, Transient Canvas will turn up the volume, and play a set of electro-acoustic works, that draw on a range of influences including pop and acid rock. All the pieces on both programs have been written expressly for Transient Canvas. Advocat and Sharrock first got…


‘Gold Star’ banner leads to series of good deeds

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Air Force Major Phillip Donley was killed 46 years ago when a F4 Phantom fighter bomber crashed in Germany. Since then, a Gold Star banner has hung on his family’s front door in Bowling Green. For years, the banner on the Clough Street home has gone unnoticed by many. But on Veterans Day this past Saturday, a group of young men – some in their military uniforms – knocked on the door of Dave Donley and Karen Wood. “I was just sitting here reading,” on Saturday morning, Donley said. When he opened the door, there were 20 young men in a line on the sidewalk. The men, who are members of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at BGSU, had noticed the Gold Star on the front door. “We wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your family,” Donley said the members told him. The young men gave Donley, Phillip’s brother, a hand-written note and a gift card. “We have been living across the street from you for most of this year,” the letter stated. “As many of us have served or are serving, we could not help but notice your Gold Star flag on your front door. We aren’t all here for Memorial Day, but we are here on this day. Therefore, we would like to take a moment to honor you. While it may not be much, we hope you will take this gift and use it for whatever you…


36 immigrants take oath to join the ranks of Americans

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ping Liu came to the United States 16 years ago from southern China. In the intervening year, she’s come to love her adopted home, and on Monday she sealed that by becoming a citizen. Now she wants to use her new power as a citizen to insure the openness to immigrants that she experienced is maintained. Ping, who has studied for a Master’s in Business Administration program at Bowling Green State University, was one of 36 immigrants from 20 countries from four continents who became citizens at the Naturalization Ceremony hosted by BGSU. As U.S. District Judge James R. Knepp told them: “You don’t just live here, now you own the place.” Liu, who is a senior development engineer in research and development at First Solar, said that the United States gave her, her husband, and her son, himself a newly naturalized citizen who studies at Ohio State, a chance to advance their educations. Both Liu and her husband came to study for doctorates at Michigan State. Liu said she’d already worked for about eight years in industry in China before she arrived not long before the 9-11 terrorist attacks. She worked in Arizona after getting her PhD before returning to the region to work first at Owens-Illinois and now at First Solar. “In this country, there’s a lot of opportunity and they’re open to foreigners,” she said before the ceremony. “Those are the two sides we appreciate a lot.” Still she’s seen in…


Battle of the sexes – do men really know more than women about politics?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The battle of the sexes has many combat zones – with political knowledge being one of the battlefields. For decades women have scored lower than their male counterparts on political knowledge surveys. That trend irked Bowling Green State University political science professor Dr. Melissa Miller enough that she decided to study that “pesky gender gap.” Miller shared her thoughts on the political battle of the sexes recently during at talk at BGSU. Since 1960, national surveys ranking political knowledge asked basically the same questions: Which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives? Who is the vice president? Which branch rules on the Constitutionality of an issue? What majority is required to override a presidential veto? Which is the more conservative political party? “Men on average are more likely to get the answer right,” Miller said. “This is troubling.” For years, the gender gap was blamed on women spending more time at home, being less likely to discuss the topic at work, and being less interested in politics than men. However, those trends just no longer hold true, Miller said. Women in the U.S. are currently more educated, spend less time at home on housekeeping, are more likely to share child-rearing chores, and are much more likely to have jobs outside the home. “So why hasn’t the gender gap disappeared?” she asked. Miller has some ideas. “Maybe it’s the way we measure political knowledge,” she said. Upon looking closer at the way the…


BGSU research touches lives near and far

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The research agenda at Bowling Green University produces advances in knowledge while having benefits close to home. That was evident at the October Board of Trustees meeting when four recently hired faculty made presentations on their work. In introducing them, Vice President for Research and Economic Engagement Michal Ogawa reported that external grant funding for research has had “a strong upward trajectory.” In the current fiscal year, BGSU has received 7 percent more than 2016, and 2016 had seen a 22-percent increase from the previous year. These grants, he said, are highly competitive. Only 15 percent of applications are successful. The four faculty members presenting – Alexis Ostrowski, chemistry, Julie Halo Wildschutte, biological sciences, Jonathan Bostic, teaching and learning, and Kimberly Rogers, mathematics and statistics – have all been successful in securing external funding. Ostrowski said her research is connected with teaching as well as real world applications and entrepreneurship. She noted that one graduate student Giuseppi Giamanco was a contestant in the 2016 Hatch program. He developed gel beads for use in consumer products to replace chemical ingredients that are now banned because of water quality concerns. Ostrowski said the gel beads are made by combining iron with biopolymers from natural ingredients. One project has phosphate enclosed into the gel beads. These are put into the soil and slowly release their contents. These are being tested on kale plants. “We’ve got some exciting initial results.” Working with Bob Midden, chemistry, they are investigating…


Not In Our Town extends support to those with developmental disabilities

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Not In Our Town heard last week that its members need to stand up with another population facing some discrimination in Bowling Green. During their monthly meeting, Not In Our Town members talked about the need to branch out and go beyond defending diversity in race, religion and sexual orientation. NIOT also needs to stand up in the community for people with different intellectual and developmental disabilities, members agreed. Emily Dunipace, from the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, talked about the need for people with differing intellectual abilities to be treated without discrimination in the community. “They want to be included like anyone else,” Dunipace said. Last month, after Wood Lane announced plans to open a group home for children with developmental disabilities, they were confronted by some neighbors who had concerns about the group home. It’s disappointing that people think that way,” said Heather Sayler, a NIOT member whose oldest son uses some services from Wood Lane. Rev. Gary Saunders, who lives in the general neighborhood of the new Wood Lane group home, said he was disappointed to hear about reluctance of neighbors to welcome the new residents. Julie Broadwell, community co-chair of Not In Our Town, agreed that the organization is dedicated to defending all populations facing discrimination – including intellectual and developmental disabilities. “That’s a whole issue we haven’t tapped into,” she said. The organization discussed the possibility of hosting a forum on the inappropriate use of the…


The bell may be tolling for Ohio’s bellwether status in presidential elections

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ohio has an enviable record of being on the winning side of Presidential elections. Since 1896, it has voted for the winner in every election, except when it voted for Republicans Thomas Dewey in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1960, both extremely close elections. Author Kyle Kondik said those bellwether days may well be over. Recently, Kondik, the editor of “Sabo’s Crystal Ball,” the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ newsletter, gave a local history award talk at Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus. He was being honored for his 2016 book “Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.” Kondik said he may have written the book just in time. The book covers the period from 1896 through 2012. And while Ohio went for Donald Trump by a comfortable margin, the election points to changes that have Ohio out of step with the national electorate. When looking at a state’s predictive power, he said, how closely the winner’s margin of victory in the popular vote in the state matches the national margin of victory must also be considered. Over the years, Ohio has reliably been within 5 percentage points of the national popular vote total.  In 2016 Trump won Ohio by 8 percentage points, 51.3 percent to 43.2 percent for Hillary Clinton. However nationally Trump trailed Clinton by 2 percentage points in the popular vote, 46.1 percent to 48.2 percent. This, along with the changing demographics of Ohio and the nation, may…


‘Heroes among us’ honored for extraordinary acts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They were ordinary people, who when faced with extraordinary challenges did the right thing. The four people who heard screaming then gunshots and ran to aid the victim. The two people who stopped to help a man lying in the middle of the road. And the man who tried to save his uncle when a barn collapsed on him. The “heroes who live among us” were recognized Friday evening during the 29th annual Black Swamp Humanitarian Awards. Since 1989, a total of 412 awards have been presented to people who have made extraordinary efforts to help others. This year’s awards were given to Andrew and Kacie Engel, Chris and Rebecca Jordan, Jared Fouts, Halie Domer and Andrew Wilhelm. Life Risk Award On March 23, the Engels and Jordans heard a woman scream and gunshots being fired. They ran to the aid of a woman lying in the hallway of their Perrysburg Township apartment building – even though her estranged husband who shot her was still in the building. The woman, Kristine Keiser, had been shot four times. “These couples truly put their lives on the line to save mine,” Keiser wrote in a letter to be read at the awards ceremony Friday night. The four people put themselves in danger, Keiser wrote. “They never left my side – even with an armed man on the other side of the apartment door.” “I’m blessed to be alive today because of them,” Keiser wrote….


Toledo Symphony gives voice to BGSU student composers work

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Before Tuesday, this music was just a complicated series of marks on score paper, residing on computer hard drives and in the composers’ heads. Then the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and conductor Michael Lewanski rolled into Kobacker Hall, and it all came to life in vivid orchestral colors. It filled the hall with brass chorales, tuba solos, swirling clarinets, flute melodies, the drone of double basses, harp glissandi, and swelling waves of strings. Sometimes the music was barely a whisper with the violins scraping their strings tonelessly and the brass players breathing through their horns. The music of future had arrived. Tuesday the sixth Toledo Symphony Student Composer Reading Session was held at Bowling Green State University. Each year five student composers, undergraduates and graduates, are selected to have their short orchestral pieces performed by the symphony. The five composers this year were: Kory Reeder, Graeme Materne, Adam Kennaugh, Chuanhao Zhang, and Ashlin Hunter. “For students to really hear these sounds played by high level professionals is quite exceptional. It’s really quite unusual,” said guest composer Andrew Norman, who would later meet with the composers to discuss their work. The Los Angeles-based composer said when he was asked to come to BGSU, “I expected to hear fabulous new music. “This university is known all over the country for being a center of really interesting progressive new music, and I wasn’t disappointed,” he said. “There was so many different kinds of music being made, such a…