BGSU prof launches database that tracks cases of police being arrested

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Phil Stinson, the go-to scholar for police shootings, has launched a new database that tracks instances of police going bad. Stinson, who teaches criminal justice at Bowling Green State University, has created The Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database. The site went live Tuesday and can be reached at: https://policecrime.bgsu.edu/. The database was funded the Wallace Action Fund of the Tides foundation. Using media reports and court records, Stinson and a team of student assistants has compiled information on 8,006 instances of sworn nonfederal police officers being arrested between 2005 and 2012. That includes four cases in Wood County.* The database uses 159 different variables to describe each individual case, providing data about the arrested officer, the officer, and the disposition. What it doesn’t provide, Stinson said, is the name of the officer. “We’re not publishing names because we don’t see any benefit from a research perspective.” However, using the details that are provided, someone could fairly easily discover those names, he said. “We’re not trying to hide so many facts that you couldn’t find them.” Stinson said: “It’s important that there be knowledge of it so that law enforcement agencies can start to address it. These are not just one-offs and not just outliers. Some are huge problems.” One part of addressing it is providing help for officers who are having problems. “You look at domestic violence, it just seems to be too many cases.” “We envision people will use this database to learn about the incidence and prevalence of police misconduct in their own communities,” he said. They may start looking up…


Glass recycling expected to start again Thursday at noon

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Load up the glass that’s been collecting in the garage for the last two months. If all goes as planned, the Bowling Green Recycling Center will start accepting it at noon on Thursday. The Wood County Commissioners and the recycling center have come up with a deal. The agreement works for the county – which is paying for it. The agreement works for the recycling center – which will do the work and arrange transportation. And it works for local residents – who would rather see their glass recycled than landfilled. According to Bill DenBesten, president of the Bowling Green Recycling Center, glass will be accepted at the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, the 24-hour drop-off in Bradner, the weekend drop-off in North Baltimore, and the satellite trailers. Two months ago, the Bowling Green Recycling Center stopped accepting glass. The decision applied to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, and the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. Glass for recycling is particularly difficult to haul since it is very important that a load not be contaminated. Glass collected in Bowling Green and throughout the county usually has to be transported every three to four weeks, when 22 to 23 tons are collected. Glass recycling has been a costly operation for some time. However, paying for glass to be landfilled isn’t cheap either – with dumping costs at about $40 a ton. The recycling center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton…


BG Community Action Plan draft gets mixed reviews

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The draft of the Community Action Plan got mixed reviews from citizens Tuesday evening. The 88-page plan was labeled ambitious and creative, but also as window dressing that turns a blind eye toward the city’s biggest problems. The panels outlining the draft plan stretched across the library atrium Tuesday evening for a public open house. They will now be on display on the third floor of the city administration building for a month. The Community Action Plan, drawn up by Camiros planning consulting firm, is intended to establish a vision for Bowling Green with priorities for the East Side and downtown areas. The draft plan is the result of many meetings with citizens, city officials and various community stakeholders during the past year. It calls for the city, university, businesses and citizens to work together on neighborhood plans. The changes called for in the action plan can be achieved through zoning, grants, development, or governmental programs. “The city needs to be a strong leader, but really it needs to be the whole community,” said Heather Sayler, director of the city’s planning department. Sayler said she realizes the draft plan is massive. “That’s why we’re giving it a whole month,” for the community to digest the plan and make comments. The Community Action Plan draft can be viewed and comments can be submitted on the city’s website on the CAP page. The community action plan sets eight priorities. Adam Rosa, of Camiros, gave brief descriptions of each: Core development. This involves the area along East Wooster Street between Bowling Green State University and…


Florida woman thanks Pemberville for helping get power back

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, electricians from Bowling Green and from Pemberville traveled down to help Floridians whose power was knocked out. The three linemen from Bowling Green were Trent Tyson, Randy McBride and Tim Brubaker. The two electricians from Pemberville were John Lockhart and Dean Ridner. This morning, the village of Pemberville received an email from a family displaced by the hurricane, who expressed their thanks for the electricians who traveled so far to help. Molly Brown approved her letter being shared….. Village of Pemberville, We are in Tallahassee, FL. Last night, by the grace of God, a potentially catastrophic and life changing Hurricane Irma was diverted slightly inland, saving all of the homes here and significant changes in everyone’s lives. We fled here from Jacksonville, which initially was supposed to be harder hit. Then the storm track changed. It was coming here, and I was stuck with my three small boys in a hotel while my husband, who is a police officer in Jacksonville, had to stay behind. It was a lot of stress, watching the storm come and not being able to get out of its way. We lost power at 3 am, myself and my three little boys. Today, we just got back on power. Not a long time, but having it back after all the build up of stress was AWESOME! And then, driving through the parking lot of the hotel, I saw the electric truck with the people who fixed the power. The truck has your village logo, Pemberville, Ohio. THANK YOU. Thank you for sending people to help us. Thank you for…


Volunteers from far & near make Black Swamp Arts Festival possible

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Driving seven hours to attend the Black Swamp Arts festival wasn’t enough for Mira Gratrix. Gratrix has been making the trek from her home in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario almost every year since 1995, and nine years ago she decided enjoying the festival wasn’t enough. “I just love being a part of it,” Gratrix said. “It makes me feel closer to the festival. I want to help.” So this weekend Gratrix was back in Bowling Green selling tickets, checking in other volunteers as they showed up for their shifts, and conducting a survey of festival goers. In the past, she’s worked back stage, served as a gate monitor, served beer, and did artist hospitality. She did miss one year when she broke her leg, but she was back the next helping out in a wheel chair. Having participated in other festivals she knows how difficult it is to get volunteers. “It’s always a core group.” That’s true as well in Bowling Green, said Todd Ahrens, who chairs the committee of volunteers that meets year-round to stage the event. The festival needs about 1,000 people to keep the event running smoothly over the weekend. “Our challenge always remains that we’re an all-volunteer-run organization. We rely heavily on volunteers. The community always rises to the occasion and comes through. This year was no exception.” Those volunteers include familiar faces. Geoff Howes has performed several years with the Grande Royale Ukulelists of the Black Swamp. This year he was doing his part collecting trash, certainly one of the least glamorous jobs. Also helping with trash…


Once forgotten veterans memorial restored in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As they waited for the rededication of Bowling Green’s veterans memorial in City Park on Monday, Brian Craft and Mike Hammer could not help but reflect on the ironic path of the monument. The memorial was originally dedicated in 1931 “in honor of the veterans of all wars.” At its base were the engraved words, “Bowling Green has not forgotten.” But somewhere over that last 86 years, that’s exactly what happened. The memorial, near the entrance of City Park, was surrounded by arbor vitae, with a canopy of branches growing over the top. “We knew it was there,” said Brian Craft, director of the city’s public service department. “But when you came in to the park, you couldn’t see anything. The eagle at the top was in sorry shape.” So Craft, along with Mike Hammer from the public works department, took it upon themselves to do exactly what the memorial asked of them. “It was forgotten, which is ironic since the plaque at the bottom said, ‘Bowling Green will not forget,’” Craft said. The public service, electric division, and city arborist worked to cut back the overgrown plants, tuckpoint the stone wall, install lighting and flagpoles, and had the eagle at the top returned to its gold coloring. “They just took ownership of it,” Mayor Dick Edwards said of the public works department. “I really give credit to them. Bowling Green has not forgotten.” The history of the 1931 memorial was difficult to dig up. But American Legion members Dave Ridenour and Dick Conrad dusted off as much information as possible. “One…


BG linemen to help get power back to Florida after Irma

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With Hurricane Irma leaving most of Florida in the dark, cities across the nation are sending down electric workers to lend a hand. The city of Bowling Green sent three linemen – Trent Tyson, Randy McBride and Tim Brubaker – to the Tallahassee, Florida, area to help get power back to the region. The three men are planning to work in Florida for a week to 10 days. “We’ll see how that goes,” said Brian O’Connell, director of Bowling Green’s public utilities. “If they need more help, we may send another crew down to help.” Though the three linemen are acquainted with the work, they are expecting this to be unlike any disasters they have encountered up here. “There are just piles of debris everywhere,” O’Connell said – including power poles that are scattered around like pick-up sticks. “This is a much larger scale, and they’re not familiar with the system.” After cleaning up the torn down lines and poles, then new ones must be installed. “It’s just a major endeavor,” O’Connell said. Three years ago, Bowling Green needed help from other communities when a strong line of winds knocked down power poles along Dunbridge Road on the east side of the city. Like Bowling Green, Tallahassee is a member of the American Public Power Association. When one member is in trouble, others respond, O’Connell explained. “It’s a fairly common practice in the industry,” he said. “We just needed to keep enough people back to make sure we’re covered.” The linemen will help with reconstruction, by first taking care of down trees…


Citizens gather on Wooster Green to defend DACA

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Yvette Llanas, a lifelong Bowling Green resident and American citizen, never dreamed the threat of deportation would touch her family. Llanas found out last week she was wrong. “I never thought this would affect me,” Llanas said in an impromptu speech on the Wooster Green Sunday evening during a rally opposing President Donald Trump’s action to end DACA. “My daughter-in-law happens to be undocumented,” Llanas said. “The decision made this week just crushed my soul.” Her daughter-in-law came to America as a small child. “This is the only home she knows,” Llanas said. “She is part of our country,” as are her two children. “We are all immigrants here, somehow, some way,” Llanas said. About 60 local residents gathered in the Wooster Green to express their opposition to Trump’s announcement last week that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months if Congress doesn’t find a more permanent solution. Since it was enacted under President Barack Obama, about 800,000 immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. illegally have received protections from the program. DACA allows young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation and to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses. Those signing up for DACA must show that they have clean criminal records. Their status is renewable every two years. “This is really targeting kids who were brought by their parents at a very early age,” said Beatriz Maya, of the La Conexion organization. “They don’t know any other life. It…


All the pieces come together for a rousing celebration of Black Swamp Art Festival’s 25th year

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Take some music, art, and food, add lots of sunshine and clear skies, and 1,000 volunteers to cook it all up, and what you get is the 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival. This festival couldn’t have been more a contrast to the first festival in 1993, which was plagued by rain and ended in debt. This year the weather was close to perfect with day time temps in the high 60s dipping into the low 50s as the night wore on. “We think we had our best year ever,” said Todd Ahrens, who chairs the festival committee. That means unlike that first year the future of the event is secure. The festival surveyed patrons over the weekend, he said, to get their perspective about the event, and ideas for the future. Amy Craft Ahrens, who chairs the concessions committee, said that all those “with a financial stake” in the festival. That included downtown business who had strong sales and the food concessions. “Supporting the concessions supports the festival,” she said. The festival’s financial base is a three-legged stool – a third from beverage sales, a third from artist booths fees and concession fees, and a third from fundraising. It costs about $180,000 to stage the annual event. Linda Brown, a member of the visual arts committee, said that artists reported that they had a successful weekend, ranging from good to their best weekend of the year. Among those was Emily Wilson, who said the show has been consistently her best in the four years she’s been in the show. Painter Jen Callahan said her…


Kemarly’s woodwork made an impression on festival’s judges

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Neil Kemarly didn’t think anyone would really want to buy the woodwork he created. His wife had other ideas. So together they started traveling the art fair circuit, where Kemarly, from Pioneer, found out people were willing to pay for his benches and cabinetry. The judges at those art fairs also recognized their worth. Kemarly was awarded best of show, $1,600, at the 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival Saturday. In 2015, he won the best 3D award at the festival. Kemarly continues to take his work on the road despite losing his wife, partner, and ‘best friend” to cancer in April, 2016. “This is my therapy,” he said. The shows judges Kathy Buszkiewicz and Brandon Briggs said as they made their rounds separately, they independently determined Kemarly’s work was a winner. Buszkiewicz said they she was impressed the way that Kemarly was able to work the imperfections in the wood and the way he corrected them, into the overall design. Briggs said the work was a testament to the beauty of simplicity. Kemarly said he pursues woodwork as a contrast to his day job as a tool and die maker. Working in his shop wood when he decides to cut a plank, he doesn’t have an engineer telling him he can’t. “I see myself as a builder and a maker.” Other art show award winners were: Chris Plummer, printmaking, first place 2D, $1,100. Rachel Stevens Morgan, ceramics, first place, 3D, $1,100. Samuel Hitchman, ceramics, second place, $850. Paula Gill, fiber, third place, $600. Derrick Riley, printmaking, Rick Braveheart, photography, and Dave Thompson, mixed media, all…


Youth arts area at festival stirs young imaginations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The juried artists selling their crafts at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Saturday likely had no idea what they were missing by not incorporating plastic spoons, duct tape and pipe cleaners into their artwork. “I’m making a super hero board game,” said Max Cragin, 11, of Bowling Green. His game, called “Wonder Woman Island,” looked a bit like the colorful winding path of Candy Land – but with more treacherous pitfalls along the way. Some of the perils along the pathway included “Get blown up and die,” or “Get clawed” at the black panther cave, or “Get zapped” by lightening. The Kiwanis Youth Arts Village at the Black Swamp Arts Festival again let the imaginations of children run wild. Using empty toilet paper rolls, buttons and beads, they became artists in residence. While the other end of the Black Swamp Arts Festival featured accomplished artists, the northern most block of the festival let unjuried artists do their own things. To be honest, some weren’t exactly sure what they were creating. “I’m making, hmmmm, I don’t know. Something cool, I probably will like,” said Lily Wilson, 8, from Oak Harbor. She and her sisters, Zoe, 6, were taking pieces of cardboard and duct tape and constructing buildings. Others were more certain in their handiwork. “I’m making a toy sword and a back scratcher,” McKenna Seman, Bowling Green, said as she proudly displayed her work. She huddled over a table of treasures with Hope Seman, Madison Cowan and Bella Karlovec as they turned popsicle sticks, beads and foam shapes into all types of creations…


BG says ‘welcome’ in many different languages

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On the day that “Dreamers” saw their American status slipping away, Bowling Green residents stood before City Council Tuesday and recited the city’s “welcoming and safe community” resolution in their native languages. “In April, we brought a resolution to City Council about Bowling Green being a welcoming community for immigrants,” said Rev. Mary Jane Saunders, head of the city’s human relations commission, working with La Conexion. The resolution proclaims “Bowling Green as a welcoming and safe community for immigrants and condemning any discrimination, harassment or unjustified deportation of immigrant residents of Bowling Green.” To show the significance of the resolution, one by one, a group of city residents read a portion of the resolution in Vietnamese, Indian, Hindi, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and English. The group also presented council with a “welcoming” poster designed by Ethan Jordan. Beatriz Maya, of La Conexion, said other translations will be added to the city’s website as they become available. “This is a work in progress,” she said. Mayor Dick Edwards praised the translations shared at the meeting. “What a special way of touching all of our hearts,” he said. When City Council adopted the welcoming resolution earlier this year, council member Daniel Gordon pushed for the effort. “I’m very happy with the language that we have here,” Gordon said. Though the issue of illegal immigrant deportations is national, the city wants to take a stand, he said. “Council does not support seeing their families ripped apart.” Gordon said the resolution was written specifically with the immigrant population in mind. The city had recently passed an…


BG’s Main Street transformed into art show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hardly five hours after the sound of Dwayne Dopsie’s accordion stopped reverbing around the Main Stage area, and throughout the city, dozens of volunteers were back downtown getting ready for the opening of the art show, and the second day of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The Dawn Patrol, so dubbed by the late Bill Hann, a retired Air Force officer, had reported for duty. Their mission was to transform Main Street into a vibrant arts village. This begins well before dawn and continues until the art shows are ready to open at 10 a.m. There’s an air of anticipation as the metal framework of tents go up, top with roofs, and the sides. Stacked among these are carefully packed arts and crafts, just waiting to be displayed. It’s an art in and of itself the way the exhibitors packed their vehicles, knowing what they need to have out and up, before boxes are removed. It’s a puzzle that must be disassembled and then put together again in an entirely different form. There are numerous details to take care of – where to park when the unpacking is done, where to get coffee, where to find a rest room. Volunteers are there to show the way, intent on maintaining the festival’s reputation for treating artists well. Coffee was being delivered. Roaming through the art show in progress, I find many familiar faces from previous shows. Always happy to see them back, and to stop and briefly chat before they set back to the task at hand. A street that’s empty at 5, by 6…


Hot time as the 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival opens

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Taking the stage, zydeco royalty Dwayne Dopsie made the audience at the 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival take a pledge. “I’m not here to complain,” he said leading the crowd in the pledge. “I’m not here to be cold.” No, he told them, they were there to dance, have fun, and party. If anyone had a reason to complain about temperatures that dipped into the crisp 50s, it was a tank-top-clad son of the Bayou who only had tattoos to cover his arms. But Dopsie had other things on his mind and that was entertaining the crowd with a hard driving set of music. He pushed along his band the Zydeco Hellraisers with the antic virtuosity of his accordion over the vigorous rhythm of washboard player Paul Lafleur. Dopsie, carrying an umbrella, even left the stage to lead a conga line of fans through the full house of listeners. Dopsie and the Hellraisers capped off a night of music that was intense in different ways. The show opened at 5 with the Matt Truman Ego Trip. The wise-cracking, hard rocking bar band’s tight sound held up well in the unaccustomed light of day. Frontman Matt Truman said they were honored to open what is for them a neighborhood festival, especially given it was the event’s 25th year. “We’re from around the corner,” he said. “You probably call the cops on us when we practice.” The local rockers gave way to the mellower, though lyrically dark, rockers from Cincinnati, The Hiders. Then the show pivoted to Ireland. The quintet Lunasa is full of champion players….


Mayor gets audience with EPA about pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards finally got confirmation Tuesday that the Ohio EPA is at least listening to the city’s concerns about the Nexus pipeline that is proposed to run 700 feet from the city’s water treatment plant. During a conference call with Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler and Northwest Ohio Division EPA Chief Shannon Nabors, the issues raised by the city were discussed. Those same concerns also appeared in the “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month. “In much the same manner as the FERC document, today’s session with the Ohio EPA is in my view another significant indication that the issues raised by Bowling Green have been heard in both Columbus and Washington,” Edwards reported to City Council on Tuesday evening. “Today we heard from the Ohio EPA that their experts have carefully and methodically examined the environmental conditions of this construction and were reminded of the Ohio EPA’s commitment to the state’s waterways and environmental assets.” One of the mayor’s concerns was the monitoring of the pipeline construction. “All significant concerns raised by Bowling Green have been or are being addressed including specific and aggressive plans by both FERC and the Ohio EPA to develop site specific plans for monitoring the construction of the proposed pipeline,” he said. Lessons have been learned from the Rover pipeline construction, in which hazardous materials have been spilled along the route in Ohio. FERC will reportedly have field staff in Ohio for the Nexus project. And the Ohio EPA, in conjunction with its scientific and…