Kazuki Takizawa’s glass breaks the silence surrounding mental illness

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Kazuki Takizawa urges the visitor to break the art gallery taboo against touching the art. “Pull it,” he urges. “A little more.”  The visitor gently tugs at the edge the large oval frame that has about six dozen glass bowls suspended from it. The frame starts to swing. The glass bowls jangle against each other, ringing out through the River House Gallery. That sound is as central the work fittingly titled “Breaking the Silence II” as the sweep of the frame or the translucent colors of the bowls.  The frame is shaped like a tree branch and looks like it was executed with a brush stroke. In calligraphy, a complete circle signifies unity, Takizawa said. “This is an incomplete circle that needs audience participation to start the dialogue and break the silence,” the artist said. The silence he wants to break is the silence surrounding suicide and mental illness. “Stopper Driven” by Kazuki Takizawa Takizawa suffers from bipolar disease. But it was when his younger brother slumped into a suicidal depression that he became more forthright about addressing these issues. His family flew to be with his brother in Tokyo. This marshaling of family love was “empowering,” he said. But “it was painful, super painful. The death was so close. That’s when I really started learning about suicide, and how we can go about preventing that.” He continued: “This is around the time when I started making pieces around suicide prevention and speaking about being bipolar and started telling people that my work is about mental illness.” That’s the central theme of his exhibit of glass work, “Infinite Spectrum,” now on display at River House Arts, 425 Jefferson Toledo. Takizawa’s education in suicide prevention included volunteering as a lifeline counselor on the National Suicide Prevention hotline. “I got a chance to be on the other side of the line with people who are in a critical state,” he said. More people die from suicide than homicide, he said. And the problem gets worse every year. Takizawa tackled his own issues of depression when he was a student at the University of Hawaii Manoa where he studied glassblowing. A shy child, art had been his…


Test your trivia knowledge, while raising funds for schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Few people are bonafide geniuses. Sometimes it’s good enough to just be a whiz with superfluous information. Here’s a quick test to see where you stand with trivial trivia … What was the name of cowboy star Roy Rogers’ palomino horse? This one’s a little tougher. What’s the name of the horse used by his wife, Dale Evans?Dendrophobia is the fear of what?How many people have walked on the moon?What three-word parting catchphrase is engraved on voice actor Mel Blanc’s gravestone?What animal has the fastest metabolismWhat are the only two countries in South America that do not border Brazil?Who was the first man to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know the answers. There will be many more at the eighth annual “Trivia Night” to raise money for the Bowling Green Schools Foundation. Teams of eight people will once again compete on March 30 to be named local trivia kings. Because the event has outgrown its former location, this year’s event will be held at the Junior Fair Building on the Wood County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the trivia questions starting at 7:30 p.m. “We’re trying to grow the event, trying to expand it,” said Drew Headley, one of the organizers – and the guy who is looking up all the trivia questions again this year. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a brainiac to be on a team. But it does help to have a grasp of useless knowledge, Headley said. “I try to make them challenging,” he said of the questions. There were 25 teams last year. “We packed it,” Headley said. So the new location will allow for more to join in. “We’ve got room for more.” The trivia contest will follow categories similar to those in the Trivial Pursuit board game – geography, science and technology, sports, music and literature. “A general knowledge of many topics is good,” Headley said. “It’s very competitive. People really get into it,” he said. “There may be a little trash talk between teams – but it’s all in fun.” Winners of each round will be able to select a specific teacher or…


Brad Felver explores the intersection of grief & violence in awarding-winning ‘Dog of Detroit’

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Death and grief dog the characters in Brad Felver’s collection of short stories. The finely crafted stories are populated with bruises, blood, broken bones, and broken hearts The book itself, “The Dogs of Detroit,” has found success the author wouldn’t have dreamed of, including winning the Drue Heinz award, a prestigious honor judged anonymously by a panel of literary luminaries. The prize, Felver said, is not one he’d ever dreamed of winning. The book was named one of the best of 2018 by Library Journal, and individual stories have picked up O. Henry and Pushcart prizes. Felver is an instructor in Bowling Green State University’s Creative Writing program. He came to BGSU in 2009 as a student in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.  He wanted to study with Wendell Mayo, whose own short story collection “In Lithuanian Wood” impressed him. After earning his degree in 2011 he joined the faculty.  “Queen Elizabeth,” the opening story of the collection, which is published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, is rooted in familiar territory. Part is set in rural southwestern Ohio, where as a youngster he spent time on his grandparents’ farm. The tree that lends its name to the story is based on an ancient oak he remembers from that time. The story also takes the characters to Boston where Felver lived before moving back to Ohio. He believes in firmly rooting his stories in place, often places he misses, though he may not have realized it until he moved away. “Boston,” he said, “still feels like home.” “Queen Elizabeth” takes what at first seems like an ideal romance and watches it devolve under the pressures of life and death. Felver sometimes thinks about revisiting those characters, and seeing where they may have ended up. Or maybe they are just lost to him as so often happens in life. Felver, 37, grew up in the Dayton area loving books. He credits a mother who read to him. He got his bachelor’s degree in English Education from Miami University. After that he taught high school English for six years. As much as he loved the students, he said, he realized public education wasn’t…


What drives you crazy as you drive local roads – planners want to know

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Local motorists had the chance to vent about issues that drive them crazy as they drive through Wood and Lucas counties. Maybe it’s traffic congestion or getting stuck at railroad crossings. Maybe it’s potholes or not enough public transportation. Every five years, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments updates its long-range transportation plan. But in order to do that, the organization needs to hear from the public. So on Thursday, a meeting was held at the Wood County District Public Library for anyone wanting to talk transportation. To keep up with transportation needs, the region must have public input, patience in the process, and more funding to design and construct infrastructure. All seem to be in short supply at times. Maps lined the room, showing some of the transportation issues tracked by TMACOG, such as: Top 50 crash intersections in the two counties. Among those were the intersections at Wooster and Main streets, and at Gypsy Lane and South Main streets in Bowling Green, plus Roachton Road and Ohio 199 in Perrysburg Township.Top 50 crash sections of roads, which included a section of Ohio 25 between Roachton and Eckel Junction; East Wooster Street from Dunbridge to Mercer roads in Bowling Green; Ohio 51 in Lake Township; Ohio 420 from the turnpike to Genoa Road; and Superior Street between Glenwood and Oregon roads in Rossford.The most congested roadways, which include Main Street and Wooster Street in Bowling Green, and U.S. 20 from Lime City to Perrysburg.Roadways with high percentages of daily commercial vehicle traffic, including U.S. 6, Ohio 199 and Interstate 75.Railways crossing the region.Bike trails and lanes.Sidewalks.Public transit options, including TARTA and Perrysburg Transit. The long range plan addresses all these modes of transportation. “In order for it to be a successful plan, we really need input,” said Dana Doubler, transportation planner with TMACOG. The planners also need patience – since some projects take decades to complete. “This is a starting point,” Doubler said. “It’s getting your foot in the door.” “None of these projects happen overnight,” said David Gedeon, vice president of transportation at TMACOG. “They take a long time to develop.” But lately, the question has been where the money…


Talk & data key to BGSU’s award-winning approach to keeping students

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Bowling Green State University’s Division of Student Affairs has earned recognition coast to coast. A couple weeks ago Thomas Gibson, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, was in Boston receiving a national award from NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. “BGSU was selected as a one of 2019’s most promising places to work in student affairs,” Gibson said. This week Gibson is in Los Angeles to receive aa gold award for its Falcon Success and Retention Curriculum. That program, FSRC, has already earned praise right here in Bowling Green for keeping more students at BGSU after they’ve enrolled. That’s key for students. It’s also important for BGSU’s finances since how much money it gets from the state depends on how many students it retains and eventually graduates. Gibson traced the effort back to 2014, two years before he came to campus.  Before that time, he said, resident assistants were “heavily focused” on social and engagement programs . These were activities to encourage students get out of their rooms and meet each other. They were light-hearted — game nights, trivia games, and the like. These were intended to build community. But the university was having a problem retaining students.  University administrators understood they needed a new model, Gibson said. This involved combining the social engagement with “individual, intentional conversations with residents.” Resident assistants would make a point of speaking to students one on one about the challenges they were facing as well as the successes they had. These “date-rich” conversations yielded  a lot of information about students who may be having problems, students who may be considering not returning for the next semester, as well as students who are having a great experience. Those conversations, Gibson explained, were framed by  questions developed by student affairs professionals. They center on five areas:  SafetyStudent engagement, how involved they were in campus activities whether clubs, Greek life, research or community serviceInclusivity, how much they felt at home at BGSU;Personal growthAcademic success.  These are all central to keeping students at BGSU. Studies show, Gibson said, that those students who are engaged in campus activities are more likely to stay. BGSU also needs to know whether students…


Wall of ice closes Buttonwood Park through walleye season

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News After viewing photographs of a massive ice wall towering over park staff, the Wood County Park District Board voted unanimously Tuesday to keep Buttonwood Park closed until further notice. The park, located along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township, is a popular fishing spot during the annual walleye run every spring. But it looks like anglers will have to find other places to cast their lines this year. “There’s a lot of ice there and it’s going to take a long time to melt,” Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board as he showed them photos of the ice bank covering much of the park. The ice came on shore last month when high winds and frigid conditions pushed massive ice floes into the park along the Maumee River. Township road crews have cleared a lane into the park – just wide enough for a pickup truck to squeeze through, Munger said. Many of the trees in the park have had their bark rubbed off by the ice chunks. “A lot of trees are scarred,” Munger said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to be losing some trees this year.” Some whole trees were swept away by the ice and are now part of the ice wall left behind. “It’s just kind of an eerie feeling out there,” he said. Park staff walks along shore, with ice bank towering over them. Munger estimated it would be May or June before the ice bank melts. The rain that has fallen recently has just frozen into the ice wall. The ice masses also took out the parking area at Buttonwood Park. “We pretty much lost the parking lot. The gravel was washed out,” he said. And the ice chunks bent the steel sign for the park. “The ice just really ripped it apart,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done.” And it can’t be finished in time for walleye season this spring, Munger said. “We’ve closed the park for the time being,” he said. After seeing photos of the damage and the lingering ice masses, the board made it official that no one should use the park until the board…


Wood County on solid footing – bond rating bumped to Aa1

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Wood County Commissioners have achieved an enviable ranking – moving from an already respectable Aa2 ranking to an Aa1 rating from Moody’s Investors Service. Thanks to the county’s cash reserves, large and diverse tax base, and low debt burden, Moody’s made the decision to upgrade the county just this week. That’s the best rating ever achieved by the county, and will put the county in a favorable position with investors. “It’s great news for the county,” Wood County Auditor Matt Oestreich said. Helping to bump up the county’s rating was the new pipeline tax revenue coming into the county. Rover Pipeline recently became the largest taxpayer in the county, with an assessed value of $57.5 million. “A diverse tax base is great for everybody,” Oestreich said. This was just one of many positive pieces of news shared Wednesday at the annual State of the County Address, sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and held in the county courthouse atrium. Commissioners Doris Herringshaw, Ted Bowlus and Craig LaHote recognized the continued solid strength of the county. “Wood County has remained fiscally strong due to our continued conservative approach to budgeting which ensures that there are sufficient resources to cover all of the county’s mandated services for citizens,” Herringshaw said. Last year, sales tax revenues brought in a record amount just shy of $22 million. The county adopted a budget of $46.4 million, which was about $1.8 million more than the previous year. “Wood County has been financially resilient due to responsible spending and the cooperation of the elected officials, along with growth in sales tax revenue,” she said. “This has allowed us to pay cash for certain capital projects instead of borrowing.” Wood County Commissioners Ted Bowlus, Craig LaHote and Doris Herringshaw at State of the County Wednesday morning The county commissioners presented several updates to those filling the atrium. Roads and bridges The county is trying to invest more in road and bridge maintenance, LaHote explained. Two actions have been taken in the past year – increasing the county’s vehicle license fee by $5 and creating an overweight vehicle program. The license fee increase is bringing in about $650,000 more…


BGSU’s Browne Popular Culture Library celebrates 50 years of living in the past

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Behind the closed doors on the fourth floor of Jerome Library, the treasures are stored. Treasures that most people, aside from the hoarders and most obsessive of collectors, would throw out. For archivist Stephen Ammidown, that’s the beauty of the Browne Popular Culture Library. Most of what it collects would be destined for the landfill, except someone saved it, and then they, or their survivors, donated it to Bowling Green State University. Archivist Stephen Ammidown discusses a recent acquisition of gossip and movie magazines. Those folks include a family who recently traveled all the way from Saskatchewan with a van full of movie and gossip magazines. Those now sit on a table in the library in the process of being sorted. Some donations are small — an MTV Remote Control game. “I want you to have this,” the donor said.  One Star Trek fan delivered dozens of boxes filled with all things Star Trek, including a Vulcan harp, that was made by a fan of the show. Ammidown said Star Trek is an interesting case  because the studio lost interest in it in the period between the original TV series and the movies, and didn’t license official products. So Star Trek lovers ran amok creating memorabilia on their own, including that harp. The instrument is not only unplayable but unrepairable, yet valuable nonetheless as a relic of the show and its devotees. The Browne Popular Culture Library celebrated its 50th birthday with a  cake decorated with Batman , Tuesday afternoon (March 12). (Batman’s 80th birthday will be celebrated at the Batman in Popular Culture conference on campus, April 12 and 13.) “Seems like a 100 years,” quipped Bill Schurk, who was the first head  librarian of the Popular Culture Library. He remembered as an undergraduate in the 1960s being allowed to display some of his collections of “cool stuff” at McFall, where the university library was then located. That was a privilege reserved for faculty and library staff. “I was this library when I was 5 years old,” Schurk said Tuesday.  “I collected all of this then.” After earning his masters in library science he returned to BGSU to head a new audio center….


School task force agrees board should try $40 million issue for elementaries

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A small miracle of sorts occurred in the Crim Elementary cafeteria Tuesday evening. After months of long meetings peppered with strong opinions, the school financial task force found a path forward. Not just with a simple majority – but with an undeniable consensus. By a vote of 29 to 5, the task force voted to ask the Bowling Green Board of Education to put an issue on the ballot to raise an estimated $40 million for the district’s elementary buildings. Financial consultant David Conley informed the task force of something many of them already knew. By time the district spends about $40 million on its elementaries, and then deals with its aging high school later, it will have spent more than the original $72 million bond issue that voters turned down. “In essence, we’re looking at the same $72 million,” task force member Richard Chamberlain said. No, Conley said. “It’s going to be $100 million when it’s all done. It’s inevitable. Everything goes up in price,” Conley said. After the ballots were tallied Tuesday evening, the results showed that the 29 who wanted the board to proceed voted as follows: What type of bond issue would you recommend? Combined property tax and traditional income tax: 21Only a traditional income tax: 5Only a property tax: 3 What term would you recommend? 30 years: 2037 years: 9 Would you recommend using additional funds for maintenance of the new buildings? Yes: 25No: 4 Would you recommend the district apply for the state’s Expedited Local Partnership Program? Yes: 28No: 1 Would you recommend the property tax and income tax appear on the ballot as a: Combined issue: 26Separate issues: 3 When would you recommend placing the issue on the ballot? November 2019: 19March 2020: 6November 2020: 4 The financial task force’s conclusions will be presented to the Board of Education on March 26. The facilities task force – which narrowed the building selections to four options – will also present those results to the board. “We haven’t had the most perfect facilities process,” Conley said. David Conley leads task force. One of the top choices of the facilities task force called for $37.7 million to build a…


Ohio House seat still empty as Republicans narrow down candidates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Selecting a person to fill Wood County’s state representative seat is proving more difficult than originally planned. Meanwhile, legislation is being voted on in Columbus – with no representation from Wood County for more than a month. “The frustration you’re hearing is the same frustration we’re hearing,” Wood County Republican Party Chairman Jon Jakubowski said Monday morning. The Ohio House seat became vacant on Feb. 6, when former State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, was sworn in to take the Ohio Senate 2nd District seat. That Senate seat became empty after former State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, was asked by Gov. Mike DeWine to fill the role of chancellor of higher education. After Gavarone was selected to move up to the Senate, a call was put out for all Wood County Republicans interested in the vacant House seat. Nine applied by the Feb. 15 deadline. A committee of Ohio House members was named to review the applicants. And a decision was supposed to be announced on Feb. 22. That deadline has come and gone – with no replacement named. One member of the screening committee for the replacement said Monday afternoon that the process is ongoing. “It’s been a very thorough process with a lot of good candidates,” State Rep. Derek Merrin, R-Sylvania, said. “I do think a decision will be made shortly,” Merrin said. However, Merrin would not say if “shortly” meant sometime this week. And he said the characterization of the process as taking longer than expected was not accurate. “This is a very important decision,” he said. “We want to make sure we get the right person for Wood County and for the state.” According to Jakubowski, it appears the original nine applicants have been narrowed down to three, since a poll was sent out to county Republican voters asking for their input on three names: Tiffany Densic, Haraz Ghanbari and Edward Schimmel. Whoever is named to the seat will have to run to retain the position in the 2020 election. “Honestly, the fact they haven’t named one yet has me wondering,” Jakubowski said. But Jakubowski is confident that the selection process will result in a good representative for…


Wood Countians need to drop the doughnuts & go for a walk

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County residents continue to eat too much and exercise too little. The most recent Community Health Assessment completed in 2018 reveals much about the health of local residents – from how often we eat our vegetables and exercise, to how many of us smoke and have chronic diseases. The assessment, commissioned by the Wood County Health Partners, shows some improvements and some declines since the last survey taken in 2015. One of the biggest challenges identified continues to be physical activity and nutrition. Like the rest of the nation, the rates of the people who are overweight and obese continue to increase. More than 70 percent of Wood County residents ranked themselves as overweight, and nearly 40 percent of those said they qualified as obese. That compares to 30 percent nationwide. While 55 percent of adults said they engaged in some type of physical activity at least 30 minutes on three or more days a week, 25 percent admitted to not exercising at all in the previous week of the survey. Youth, however, reported an increase in physical activity from the last assessment in 2015. The assessment also looked at mental health and addiction. The results showed that childhood experiences can follow people throughout their lives and affect their health as they age. People who reported Adverse Childhood Experiences – such as physical or emotional abuse, depression or living with alcoholic parents – saw higher rates of health problems. “On mental health and addiction, I think we were not surprised but interested to learn that there was such a significant link between childhood trauma and higher rates of things like mental health issues, bullying, stress, drug use and suicide,” stated Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator for the Wood County Health Department, one of the partners in the assessment. The survey also showed the link between a person’s income and their health. People with annual incomes lower than $25,000 had higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes. They are less likely to see a doctor regularly and have screenings that can prevent health issues. And they are much more likely to put off health care, such as regular dental appointments. Health partners, like…


Art song competition has performers singing in tongues

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Nine singers, each with a trusty pianist by their side, sang their hearts out in a smorgasbord of languages Saturday night. The nine duos were performing in the finals of the Conrad Art Song Competition in Bryan Recital Hall, of the Moore Musical Arts Center. True to the rules of the event, each singer had to tackle songs in at least four languages — French, German, Italian, and English. For some even that wasn’t enough. The graduate division winners, soprano Mickey Miller and pianist Humay Gasimzade, added a song in Swedish. The undergraduate division winning duo of baritone Nick Kottman and Emily Morin performed a Russian song in the semifinals earlier on Saturday. And Nigerian mezzo soprano Eunice Ayodele brought a taste of her home to the competition by performing a song in Yoruba. She and pianist Jiamo Zhang placed third in the graduate division. The two winning duos, though, opened their sets in the finals in English, colloquial English at that. Miller and Gasimzade came out with Cheryl Francis-Hoad’s “Rubbish at Adultery.” In some decidedly PG-13 language, the song’s narrator explains to her overly sensitive lover that he is failing at cheating.  Miller played up the roll. Each of her darts hitting its mark. “It’s such a joy to perform,” she said of the song.  Kottman and Morin opened with “Nude at the Piano,” in which the singer laments having been abandoned by his lover, and left with the piano he cannot play. In the finals, the competitors choose their first piece, and then the judges selected one or two more for them to sing. “I was afraid they weren’t going to choose it,” the baritone said explaining why he and Morin opened with the comic number.  “I really enjoy  the different dynamics in it. I go from being angry to sad.” He moves around, plopping himself on the edge of the piano bench, interacting with Morin. “I get to do a little more than park and bark,” he said. Morin enjoys the piece as well. The music is knotty and difficult, a  peek into the character’s tortured psyche. “I really like the harmonic language, and the way it fits with the text…


Juvenile centers try to reach young felons before they become hardened criminals

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Each year, Ohio tries to reach juvenile felons before they become hardened criminals. But that takes money – lots of it – and support from state legislators. So last week, juvenile judges from 10 area counties came together to explain the need for support to their state legislators. “We are dealing with more serious children here,” Fulton County Juvenile Court Judge Michael Bumb said. Many have substance abuse problem, and many have severe mental health issues. “Unfortunately, to provide quality treatment costs money, lots of money,” Bumb said. Currently, the vast number of young felony offenders are being treated in 12 juvenile residential centers in the state. Prior to the start of these centers, juvenile felons were sent to a prison system run by the Ohio Department of Youth Services. “These facilities are becoming more important,” Wood County Juvenile Court Judge Dave Woessner said. The residential centers keep kids from being housed in juvenile prisons. Wood County is the home to one of these residential centers. It provides services for boys, ages 12 to 18, who have committed felonies. “The overriding mission is we serve as an alternative where judges can place juveniles,” closer to their homes and with an emphasis on family involvement, said Bridget Ansberg, director of the JRC in Bowling Green. Juvenile Residential Center of Northwest Ohio in Bowling Green The facility serves 10 counties, has a capacity to house 42 boys, and is normally about 80 percent full. Emphasis is placed on changing behavior and when it’s time, practicing on the outside. “We do a very graduated release,” Ansberg said. The youth get home passes and weekend visits. “They have a chance to practice.” An estimated half of the residents are sexual offenders, and several are substance abusers. More than half are on psychotropic medications and are receiving mental health services. The center is not equipped for very violent minors, who continue to be housed in juvenile prison run by the Department of Youth Services. The average stay at the center in Bowling Green is eight months. During that time, the boys attend school taught by Wood County Educational Service Center staff. “We have school every day, Monday through…


Journalist turned mystery writer to headline library’s Crime Solvers’ Weekend

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Little Harriet Ann Sablosky used to retreat to the hayloft in the barn behind her rural Indiana home to read Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. When she grew up, she wanted to be either a detective or write her own mystery novels. That was back in the 1960s. Now Harriett has grown up, and as Hank Phillippi Ryan she’s published 10 mysteries and thrillers. Ryan may not have been a detective, but she worked as an investigative journalist during a 43-year award-winning career. What would little Harriet think of her grown self’s work? Ryan laughs at the question. Yes, her younger self would approve, the writer said in a recent telephone interview. “What I loved about books when I was a kid was that a smart author would tell a story that would keep you turning the pages and then surprise you, in a fair way.” The reader, Ryan said, would realize: “‘I could have figured that out.’ But the author was more clever than I was.” That’s the same effect she strives for in her own novels. Ryan will be the featured guest at the Wood County District Public Library’s Crime Solvers’ Weekend, March 22 and 23. She will speak at an after-hours event Friday, March 22, 7 p.m. in the library’s atrium. Free tickets are available at the library.  “It’s such a joy” to be able to get out and meet her readers, Ryan said. Writing is a solitary pursuit. Reading is a solitary activity. “When I get to be with readers and writers, that’s when we get to share how wonderful this experience is. My books are not fully realized until someone reads them.” Ryan came to writing books mid-life. She is an investigative at WHDH-TV, 7News, in Boston. During her career she’d never ventured into mystery writing, she said, because she could never come up with a good plot. “That’s a problem if you’re trying to write a mystery,” she said. “So that dream got put in the background.” Then in 2004, she was at work at channel 7, and a story occurred to her. She came home and announced to her husband: “I’ve got this good idea for…


Food pantry at First United Methodist works hard fill up families

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Sherry Phillips has many mouths to help feed. So her load was lightened by the heaping cart of food as she left the pantry at First United Methodist Church earlier this month. She had eggs, milk, meat, a bag of potatoes and much more. “It’s awesome. God bless them,” said Phillips, of North Baltimore, whose daughter has 10 children. “It really helps. What they do is unbelievable.” Behind her in line was Franklin Camp, pushing a cart full of groceries, including a bag of fresh eggplants and containers of kale. “I like eggplant,” he said. “The girl I pick up for likes kale.” “They do a good job,” Camp, of Bowling Green, said. If it weren’t for the monthly food pantry, Camp is unsure how he would get by. “It’s hard to say,” he said. “I had a hard time last month, and they gave me the ability to feed my family.” The monthly food pantry at First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green is the smorgasbord of food distributions. Families leave with enough food to fill the trunk of a small car. “We do more in an hour and a half than some pantries do in a month,” said Todd Sayler, organizer of the food pantry. Each month, about 240 people come to the church on East Wooster Street, and leave with grocery carts full of food. Milk is distributed at food pantry. The exact food varies depending on availability. But earlier this month, each family of four went home with the following: Two grocery bags full of items like soups, mac and cheese, pasta, spaghetti sauce, bagels, bread, peanut butter, cereal and granola bars. Two cartons of eggs.A large block of cheese.A 10-pound bag of potatoes.Fresh vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, onions and green beans.Containers of salad mixings.A three-pound bag of apples.Apple and orange juices.Frozen chicken, turkey and pork.Two gallons of milk.A large bag of frozen blueberries.Snack items like nacho chips, cake mixes, brownie mixes, and frosting. For families who request, there are also diapers, baby formula, powdered milk, laundry detergent, toilet paper and soap available. Helping feed so many families takes a lot of coordination and a lot of funding….