Pictures of the past being preserved for the future in the Wood County courthouse

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Stefan Dedecek is applying a mix of art, science, and craftsmanship to preserve a piece of Wood County history. For the past several weeks, Dedecek, a conservator with McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin, has been scaling a jungle gym of scaffolding to reach the mural depicting Fort Meigs that overlooks the third floor of the county courthouse.  As the wheels of justice spin on the floors below, he is painstakingly working to clean the mural’s surface.  In areas where the original painted image is gone, he will fill in the missing patches matching the style of the original artist, I.M. Taylor, a former mayor of Bowling Green. The murals * show the signs of age as well as a previous attempt to preserve them. “Somebody worked on it before me, and that’s the worst thing,” he said during a break from his work. That restorer some 40 or so years ago applied a thick layer of varnish over the painting. There’s dirt underneath that varnish, Dedecek said. Both need to come off. That was one of the surprises that a conservator finds, he said. Until the scaffolding had been erected, he hadn’t been able to get a close look at the mural, which depicts Fort Meigs in 1813. The mural was in worse shape than he anticipated. Still, he’s said he’s about half done removing the varnish. The mural was painted in oil, not a common medium, directly onto the wall. This contrasts with the way many famous murals such as those in the Sistine Chapel were done. Those had the pigment directly applied on wet surfaces so the paint suffuses the surface. Here the paint sits on top. As the building settles, and the temperature and humidity changes, the paint can flake off. Dedecek uses a syringe to inject adhesive directly into the concrete. He’ll use a variety of materials with pigment to fill in patches. Oil field mural He expects to finish the Fort Meigs mural later this month. Then the scaffolding will be moved to the other staircase, and he’ll work on the mural that depicts an oil field in 1904 during the county’s oil boom. He expects to have that completed by the end of February. The county commissioners have appropriated about $70,000 to the project — about $22,000 for the scaffolding and the $47,390 for McKay Lodge. When the funding was approved Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said the murals are an integral part of the courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Dedecek casts an approving eye on the building with its main glass skylight and outside, its stone roof. As the descendant of Czech clockmakers he especially admires the clock tower. He grew up surrounded by art in a historic Czech city. He came to the United States…


BG school board compromises on meeting time, will videotape for those unable to attend

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Bowling Green Board of Education is making some changes for the new year – new officers, new meeting time, and a new effort to make the meetings accessible to people who can’t attend. The board met for its annual organizational meeting Thursday evening. Ginny Stewart was elected president, and Bill Clifford was voted in as vice president. The other members are Jill Carr, Norm Geer and Paul Walker. The monthly board meetings will continue to be held on the third Tuesday of each month, in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center. The regular meeting time, however, will change. “It was discussed at our previous board meeting, if we want to change our meeting time,” Stewart said. The majority of the board and school staff prefer the earlier meeting time of 5 p.m. as more convenient for staff who get to work as early as 7 a.m. However, the meeting time was changed to 6 p.m. this fall after citizens said the 5 p.m. time made it difficult for working people to attend. So Carr suggested a compromise of 5:30 p.m. Both she and Walker said there was no noticeable increase in meeting attendees when the time was changed to 6 p.m. to accommodate the public. The board voted to adopt the compromise of 5:30 p.m. for meetings this year. Clifford suggested that the board consider videotaping meetings for those unable to attend. “If people can’t make it at 5:30, they can view the meeting at a later time,” he said. The meetings could either be shown on a live stream on Facebook, or a delayed feed on the district’s website. The school district’s task force meetings are videotaped for those who want to view them later. “It’s just another opportunity for the public,” Clifford said. The board agreed and asked Superintendent Francis Scruci to arrange for the taping. The school board will meet again this Saturday at 9 a.m. for a work session, in the district’s administrative office on Clough Street. Scruci said the board will be reviewing the current status of levies in the district, and discuss when the school district needs to be back on the ballot. The public may attend the meeting, but no public participation will be allowed. The board is not expected to take any action.


Wood County Hospital welcomes two New Year’s babies

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS It was a boy, and then it was a girl at Wood County Hospital on the second day of 2019. The first baby of the year born was Adrian Jacari Lofton, son of Caitlin Blunk and William Lofton, of Bowling Green. He arrived Jan. 2 at 8:24 a.m. Anne Bechstein An hour later Anne Bechstein, daughter of Adam and Jana Bechstein, of Bowling Green, was born. In both cases the mothers were scheduled to deliver by Cesarean section. Bechstein’s operation came on schedule, not so for Blunk. She was scheduled to deliver on Jan. 10 but at about 3 a.m. Wednesday her water broke. She was staying with her mother Karah Thomason, who got her to the hospital. Adrian joins a 4-year-old brother Jaiden Nuzum, who is quite the proud brother, his mother said. “He thinks it’s his baby.” Adrian weighed in at eight pounds, eight ounces and measured 20.5 inches. Anne weighed seven pounds, seven ounces and 19 inches in length. She joins three siblings in the Bechstein household, Michael, 9, who was born on New Year’s Eve in 2009, Joseph, 3, and Mary, 22 months.  Lisa Barndt, the hospital’s head of obstetrics, said the parents of the first born baby were treated to a fine meal by the hospital’s head chef.  The families also received hand knit hats from Donald Navarre, a blanket knit by Retonia Westray, and special outfits made by Amanda Barndt.


Home construction inching its way ahead in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It doesn’t qualify as a building boom, but slowly and steadily, Wood County is seeing home construction inch its way ahead. “We’re not setting the world on fire, but it’s getting better,” Wood County Chief Building Inspector Mike Rudey said about housing construction in the county this year. Rudey reported to the county commissioners last month that the county saw single-family home construction reach 265 houses in 2018. That is a slight increase from 250 in 2017 and 240 the year before. It’s been just over a decade since the burst of the nation’s housing bubble. During that time, the construction industry has been slowly building its way back. The Wood County Building Inspection Office covers the largest geographic jurisdiction of all building departments in Ohio, covering Wood, Hancock, Henry and Fulton counties for all commercial construction, as well as Wood County, the city of Napoleon and the city of Wauseon for residential construction. And the permit revenue is growing for the building inspection office. In 2017, the annual revenue was about $1.4 million. Then in 2018, it hit $1.5 million. And this year, the annual revenue surpassed $1.6 million – which had been the record amount set by the county building inspection office in 2005. Mike Rudey presents building inspection report to county commissioners. “November turned out to be a very good month,” Rudey told the commissioners, with $190,000 in permit revenue coming in, compared to $124,000 during that month in 2017. “Everything looks good, on the positive side,” Rudey said. As is customary for the county, the majority of the growth is being seen in the northern portion, especially in the Perrysburg area, Rudey said. Bowling Green is continuing to hold steady. On Wednesday evening, the city of Bowling Green Planning Commission approved Plat 1 of the Reserve at Martindale. The first plat consists of three residential lots along Pearl Street. The small housing subdivision, proposed by David Maurer, is planned east of Peace Lutheran Church. The seven-lot subdivision will sit on the 3.5 acres between Pearl, Martindale and West Wooster streets. The backside of the development borders the homes on Western Avenue. In early December, Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler reported to the city planning commission that 367 requests for zoning permits had been received this year compared to 354 in 2017. New single-family home permits in the city numbered 31, compared to 34 the year before.


Dietitians weigh in on eating like a caveman & fad diets

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The New Year is a time to resolve to make changes in the diet. Maybe that means starting to eat like a caveman. Or maybe it means passing on the bread. It may even mean turning the advice to eat fruits and veggies, on its head and forgoing them. Earlier in fall, the Wood County Library hosted a presentation by Adam Bialecki, a BGSU instructor in food and nutrition and a dietetic intern, and Sara Turner-Smith, a graduate student in food and nutrition and a dietetic intern dietetic. Michele Raine, adult services librarian, said the library called in the dietitians because patrons have an insatiable appetite for the newest diet books. Sara Turner-Smith makes a point during dietary talk at Wood County District Public Library Bialecki and Turner-Smith served up assessments of three of the most popular diets and offered some advice on better alternatives. First up was the Ketogenic Diet.  This diet was first developed to treat juvenile epilepsy. It greatly restricts consumption of carbohydrates to 20 grams or less a day, said Turner-Smith. Average consumption is about 300 grams daily. That’s about two cups of vegetables or half a bagel. The diet replaces this with fat. Normally, Turner-Smith said, the body relies on carbohydrates for energy, but the Keto diet wants to put the body in a state of ketosis, where the body starts burning its fat stores for energy.  Yes, that will produce weight loss, she said. That occurs because the dieter is cutting out a lot of food choices. Also, because of the nature of the food consumed, dehydration will occur resulting in a loss in water weight. The diet has benefits according to studies, she said. Keto followers may see improved blood test results, including reductions in total cholesterol as well as possible benefits for those with chronic conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. And people with epilepsy may benefit from a Ketogenic diet. But one group of people, athletes, should definitely avoid the diet. They may lose some energy production efficiency, Smith-Turner said.  Also, “any diet that’s very restrictive or takes out an entire food group throws up red flags for us,” she said. “If you have a history of eating disorders, following a very restrictive diet can be a trigger.” With so many foods off limits, nutritional deficiencies are a real danger. And the lack of glucose, which the brain needs to function, can cause a lack of focus, Turner-Smith said. Because many of the foods restricted — whole grains, vegetables and fruits — are also important sources of fiber, constipation often results.  There is concern about kidney damage as well. The other problem with the Keto diet, which it shares with other “fad” diets, is sustainability, she said. While there may be an initial period of substantial weight loss, that…


Driving New Year’s revelers home helps keep party-goers safe

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News At the exact moment many people in Bowling Green were toasting in the new year, volunteers were driving home a young woman too drunk to stand on her own. Donna Foster spotted the woman downtown being propped up by her friends. So Dennis Gaster swung the van around to go back to offer help. The woman was too wasted to know what was happening. But her two friends jumped at the chance to get a free ride home to their apartment complex on Napoleon Road. “You will really take us home for free,” one of her friends asked. “You guys are awesome.” The three piled into the van, and a plastic garbage bag was pulled out in case the one woman became sick again. Foster chatted with the passengers – without a hint of judgment. “You sweet angel,” she said to the drunk woman. Foster and Gaster offered to take the group to the hospital rather than to their apartment, but they declined. Foster cautioned the friends to not leave their intoxicated roommate alone – and they agreed. This New Year’s Eve was the sixth time for Foster, and the first for Gaster, to help with the Safe Communities program that offers free rides to people who shouldn’t be driving home themselves. “It’s nice to take them home and know that they’re safe,” Foster said as she and Gaster headed to their next call. The calls were coming in quickly after midnight – one person at Domino’s Pizza, three behind Jimmy John’s, four at Taco Bell, two at a laundromat, two behind the library, and another four at Quarter’s Bar. By the end of the night – around 4 a.m. – the volunteers in van had taken home 83 partiers. The heaviest requests for rides came between 2 and 3 a.m. The only calls rejected are for people who want to be transported from one party or bar to another. “Sometimes they want us to take them to a party, but we can’t do that,” Foster said. “We have to get them home safe.” From their Napoleon Road drop, Foster and Gaster were called to a party on Hunter Court, over in the “bird streets” neighborhood. There they picked up a young couple – the girl with a sparkly New Year’s Eve tiara on her head, and the boy carrying a crockpot. “Hi guys. Did you have a nice party?” Foster asked, striking up a conversation. “What’s in the crockpot?” she asked. Buffalo chicken dip, the boy replied. This was the first year for the couple to use the Safe Communities service. “We thought it would have taken you longer to get here,” the girl said. “It’s an awesome thing, what you guys are doing.” The couple was dropped off safely, and the volunteers picked up another student…


Wintergarden in winter light

One of the joys of favorite parks is experiencing them throughout the year. The foliage buds, then blooms, then fades, and dries. The light changes throughout the day and the year. Here’s scenes from Wintergarden/St. John’s Preserve during a recent Christmas Week walk in the afternoon.  Those looking to do more walking in the new year need not look any further than the parks in our own backyard. — David Dupont


Five houses being demolished for East Wooster facelift

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Brick by brick and board by board, bulldozers are changing the landscape along East Wooster Street in Bowling Green. The demolition of the old houses is seen by some as a blessing for the future – while others view it as a loss of the city’s past The city of Bowling Green received five demolition permit requests at the end of last month for houses across from Bowling Green State University. Those houses – at 926, 930, 1010, 1024 and 1030 East Wooster Street – are now at various stages of demolition. The owner of 1010 E. Wooster St. is listed as BGSU, while the owner of the other four locations is Centennial Falcon Properties, an entity established by BGSU seven years ago to finance the construction of residence halls. There are no specific immediate proposals for the lots where the homes are being demolished, according to Dave Kielmeyer, spokesperson for the university. “There are currently no plans for the properties. The sites will be seeded this spring and remain green spaces for the foreseeable future,” Kielmeyer said last week. Some local residents have lamented the loss of old homes across from the university – especially the house that sat back off the street on the southwest corner of Crim and East Wooster. That home was reportedly built in 1840 using locally quarried stone. The city’s planning department sees BGSU’s efforts as a step in the right direction to clean up the East Wooster corridor to the city. Some of the homes being torn down were non-conforming uses, since they were zoned as single-family residential but were being used for student rentals. The homes were “not all in tip-top shape,” Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler said. Another house being torn down across from BGSU. The houses being demolished had suffered the wear and tear of being rentals to college students – and in some cases had reputations as being major “party” houses and eyesores along East Wooster Street. At the beginning of the school year each fall, the city’s mayor and university’s president walk the neighborhood along East Wooster Street and ask the latest batch of student renters to be respectful of those living nearby, driving through and going to school. The city and university have been working together for years to try to create a better first impression for people as they enter the city from Interstate 75 on East Wooster Street. This is not the first section of rental housing that BGSU has taken steps to reform. In the fall of 2016, BGSU bought two rental properties at 141 and 145 Troup Avenue, just off East Wooster Street for $280,000. The two houses are being used as forensic investigation scenario houses. The university also purchased two empty business properties at 904 and 908 East Wooster…


Arts beat: The year ends with a welcome & farewell

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The year ended on the arts beat Saturday evening with a hello and a goodbye. On one end of Main Street in downtown Bowling Green, friends and family gathered at Grounds for Thought to bid farewell to Tom McLaughlin Sr. who died Dec. 11. McLaughlin, a Bowling Green native who returned to his hometown to retire, then lived most of his last year in Ireland, soaking in the music and dance, and memorizing the poetry of William Butler Yeats.  In Bowing Green, he was an energetic promoter of the arts, and an artist himself. At the first Black Swamp Arts Festival he won second prize for one of his dollhouses. But as he explained in an interview before the 25th festival , he knew he couldn’t produce enough work to sell at an affordable price, so instead he demonstrated his craft launching the Artist at Work feature at the festival.  Then he worked with Kay Baglione and Jacquie Nathan to chair the visual arts committee. Together they made the decisions that established the festival as a premier show on the art fair circuit. They ended the non-juried show, but also created the Wood County Invitational to insure that local artists had a place at the event. He was a multidimensional character as explained by those who spoke at the memorial. He was presence around town. He walked everywhere, a habit he continued in Ireland. Down the street at Howard’s Club H, local music fans welcomed back Joe Baker to the scene.  He wryly noted he’d been on “vacation,” or as he told BG Independent on a tour of Northwest Ohio hospitals. He’s bounded back from his serious heart issues.  He and the band first played last summer in City Park, but there was something particularly poignant about being back in Howard’s where he’s played for so many years with so many different bands. On Saturday he had his electric guitar in hand. And the crowd was there to support him. Several couples split their attentions with one spouse attending the memorial while another came to cheer on Baker. That included the Bakers. Peg Baker came into her husband’s show late having been at Grounds. Baker’s long-time bandmate Bob Manley, who plays saxophones, flute, and keyboards, offered up a toast to Peg Baker who was there by her husband side throughout his illness and recovery.  Manley has been there for Baker as well. Manley has played with Baker dating back to the late 1970s with Hardy’s Live Band. The same could be said for a number of listeners in the crowd. Bob Manley The band that also included veterans Tim Stubbs, drums, Tim Berry, bass, and Denny Gwynne, lead guitar, delivered a solid set of rock, folk rock and country covers. Those included favorites including Lyle Lovett’s “She’s No Lady…


BG teacher helps cultivate careers for her ag students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Stephanie Conway spent a good deal of her childhood in the Bowling Green FFA classroom taught by her dad, Mike Shertzer. Now Conway has been recognized for being like a second mom to her 120 students in the classroom once occupied by her dad. Conway, BGHS FFA teacher for seven years, was recently recognized during a surprise ceremony for being one of 10 finalists in Ohio for the Golden Owl Award. The award points out the contributions of teachers in Ohio and Iowa in preparing the next generation of young people for successful careers in agriculture. In her classroom, Conway helps students realize there is still a future in farming. The Golden Owl Award was created because of recent trends show a declining number of students who are studying agriculture. In Iowa alone, the presence of agriculture teachers has decreased by 20 percent during the last five years. To shed light on this trend, Nationwide, the top farm insurer in the U.S., established the award to recognize the work of agriculture teachers and the importance of ag education. Conway was selected for making a difference in her students’ lives. She has helped many graduates find careers in the agricultural industry. She often stays after school to take students to contests, make sure they are confident in their work, and allow students to participate in community events. “We’re blessed to have her teach our students,” Bowling Green High School Principal Jeff Dever said. Conway’s efforts have paid off in her students’ success. The BG FFA chapter has earned 12 FFA awards for Wood County, nine awards out of a 24-chapter district and nine state awards in a 341-chapter region. The BG chapter is also a National Three Star Award recipient with four American FFA degrees. The FFA students, who gathered for the surprise recognition, said Conway is dedicated to forming lasting relationships with students and their families, and helping them find jobs in agricultural careers. “She’s always going above and beyond,” including keeping track of graduates in college, said student Jackie Steel. “She’s always pushing us to do better than we are,” student Cassidy Hendricks said. Conway said her father set a good example for her in the classroom. “Just watching him while I was growing up, and what he did,” she said. “I spent a lot of time in the ag room.” Conway wanted to recreate that certain type of atmosphere in her classroom. “It’s like a big family,” she said. Conway was not expecting to get the award, nor to see her family and students all gathered in her honor. “It was pretty humbling to see all my students here, and my family here,” she said. “It was definitely humbling to know people care that much.” Conway was one of 10 finalists in Ohio and seven finalists…


BG seeks bids to demolish old buildings, build new one in City Park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It took a mere 11 minutes Thursday for Bowling Green City Council to wrap up 2018 with its last meeting of the year. There were none of the customary comments from city administrators, no reports from council members, and no speeches from citizens. But along with the regular fund transfers and resolutions, council took one step that is sure to be noticed in the city next year. Council voted to advertise for bids and enter into a contract to demolish three buildings in City Park next year. Contracts will also be entered for the construction of a new City Park building, including landscaping, paving an entry drive and parking lot. The city has contracted with Schorr Architects for designing the new City Park building. Schorr specializes in historical-type structures. The original plan was to tear down the three buildings near the entrance of City Park – the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and Depot – then start construction so the new building replacing the aging structures would be ready for use by summer of 2019. However, that timeline proved to be too tight and unrealistic. Instead, the old buildings will be torn down in the next few months. Construction of the new building will follow. The new goal is to have the City Park building completed by summer of 2020. That means the parks and recreation department won’t have City Park buildings to schedule events in next summer. But Kristin Otley, parks and recreation director, has reassured the park board that there are ample facilities in the city’s 11 parks to hold programming. The contract price with Schorr Architects is $317,500 – a bit lower than the expected cost of $320,000. Earlier this year, city approved the sale of $3.75 million in bonds to pay for tearing down the three old buildings and constructing the one new facility in City Park. The new building will have adequate space for programming, storage, air conditioning, ADA accessibility, ample parking and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park. At the close of Thursday’s meeting, City Council member Sandy Rowland commented on the successful year for the city. As a representative of the parks and recreation committee, she said she is particularly pleased to see the new City Park building project progressing. Rowland also commented on the tough decisions made by council and the city administration to keep the community in good fiscal condition. “We have not had the financial difficulties that other communities have,” she said. She mentioned some positives ahead in 2019, including the continued downtown Firefly Nights, and the completion of the roundabouts on East Wooster Streets over Interstate 75. “I’m proud to be a member of this council,” Rowland said.


Empty Clouds Zen fills a need for Buddhist space in BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Local Buddhist practitioners have moved to higher ground. The loose group, Empty Clouds Zen, had been based out of the Common Good, near campus, for the past couple years, but when that went into hiatus this summer, they were cast adrift.  Simon Morgan-Russell, one of the practitioners, said that posed a dilemma. The practitioners associated with the group — Phil Dickinson, Caroline Dawson Dickinson, and Pete DeWood — at first started inquiring at Bowling Green churches about finding space for 90 minutes a week. And they did find a church that would provide them room, said Morgan-Russell. But as they considered it, he said, they realized “this is a good opportunity to push the boat out because if we were limited to an hour and a half, it wouldn’t allow us each to do our own thing. So we bit the bullet and found this place.” Each leads a different session during the week. This leap of faith has paid off.  Empty Clouds Zen now has its own space, suite 218 on the second floor of the old Huntington Bank Building, above the Four Corner Center, 130 S. Main St. Though on the second floor, it’s actually several flights of stairs up. Each landing has a sign to continue to go further up. Morgan-Russell quipped that from the outside it seems a more fitting location for a detective’s office, inside it looks like anything but. Homey, welcoming with a space for cushions and a small shrine for Buddha. Their neighbors include a massage studio and other with holistic treatment practices. “Having this space gives us more opportunity,” Morgan-Russell said. On a recent Sunday morning the four founders gathered to talk about Empty Clouds Zen after a service of chanting, recitation, and a half-hour of meditation. “A lot of currents led to this moment,” Dickinson said. “Different streams have coalesced into this place. The fact that there are lots of different communities of people who respond to the opportunities we offer shows there’s a need in a Bowling Green for a space like this.” Each of them uses the space. Through those various sessions offered, they attract a variety of people. Some people attend just one session, while others crossover to others. Each of the four has their own meandering path to this place. Dickinson, Morgan-Russell and DeWood practice in the Soto tradition. Dawson Dickinson, who served as the financial developer of Common Good, bases her practice in the   Yogic and Vipassana traditions. Hers is perhaps the most direct. Her mother practiced yoga, so she was introduced to it as a child. She fell away during her teen years only to return when she was in her 20s. She worked in business, but traveling to and living in India made her realize that spirituality would be central to her…


Man sentenced for setting himself and home on fire in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A man who set himself and his rental home on fire in Bowling Green was sentenced Thursday in Wood County Common Pleas Court. Thomas M. Imondi, 55, now living in Jerry City, was ordered to register as an arson offender for the rest of his life. He was ordered to pay restitution, spend 180 days with electronic home monitoring, serve 300 hours of community work, and have no contact with the owner of the home he set on fire. Judge Reeve Kelsey told Imondi if he failed to comply, the court reserves the right to impose a total prison sentence of nine years. Imondi accepted a plea deal for aggravated arson and forgery charges involving failure to pay rent for about nine months. He admitted to purposely setting himself and his rental home at 921 Sunset Drive on fire in the early morning hours of June 9, 2017. Initially, Imondi told police someone had set him and his home on fire. He told police he heard someone outside his residence and as he looked out the window, the person threw an accelerant on him then lit the bedroom and him on fire. Some of Imondi’s clothing caught fire. Imondi reportedly suffered minor chest burns and had singed eyebrows. The state fire marshal’s office and arson investigators were called in. Based on the evidence and interviews with Imondi, he was charged with arson. Imondi was the only person inside the home at the time, officials said. During his statement to the court on Thursday, Imondi listed several items he considered as contributing factors to his actions. Among them were suspected PTSD, a large dose of Ambien taken the night of the arson, and his rumination on his big brother being a “closeted arsonist” and his parents being cremated. Imondi said he believed the arson was a “suicide attempt.” But the owner of the home, Melissa Shaffer, said she had heard enough of his stories. She could not be present at the sentencing, but wrote a letter that was read aloud by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dave Romaker. Shaffer said Imondi had tried to explain away his crimes with “elaborate stories or lies.” She considered him guilty of “scamming” her by failing to pay rent for nine months and making up “elaborate false excuses.” The arson left Shaffer homeless, since Imondi was supposed to be moving out and she was on her way back to Bowling Green to live in the Sunset Drive home after teaching out of state. She described the hardship of living with a neighbor and in a hotel during repairs to the fire-damaged home. Shaffer, who rescues deaf dogs, wrote about the difficulties it caused to move the dogs around separate them during the repairs to the home. She has since returned to her home. “He has…


Medical marijuana dispensary in BG expected to open in March

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Many Ohioans are still waiting to be able to buy medical marijuana – though 2018 was supposed to be the year when state residents with certain medical needs got full access to the drug. It appears unlikely that the state will meet that timeline. However, the delays will pay off in the long run, according to the man opening up the medical marijuana dispensary in Bowling Green. Mark Jacobs, who will operate the dispensary called Glass City Alternatives on North Main Street, said the state is doing a good job trying to iron out all the kinks in the new medical marijuana program. That attention to detail should mean smoother operations once the dispensaries are up and running, Jacobs said last week. “The more regulations now, the more we won’t have to go back later for changes,” he said. “We are learning it all together,” Jacobs said. “The time up front will be well spent.” Some dispensaries in Ohio are planning to be in operation in January. Jacobs is planning for mid-March for the Bowling Green site. The location, formerly the Glass City Credit Union Building at 1155 N. Main St., still needs about eight to 10 weeks of construction work, according to Jacobs. Wood County Chief Building Inspector Mike Rudey said the plans for the medical marijuana dispensary in Bowling Green include controlled entries into the building and a fenced-in area in the back where deliveries will be made. The marijuana product will be stored in the old bank safe in the building, Rudey said. The medical marijuana provision in Ohio was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in 2016. The effort missed its Sept. 8 deadline as growers, processors, testers and dispensary operators got bogged down in regulations. The timetable also lagged for the program’s patient and caregiver registry, which went live earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, doctors have submitted nearly 4,500 recommendations for the medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry. There is an online portal where certified doctors can recommend patients and caregivers. One of the final pieces of getting marijuana to patients — the approval of a testing facility — came late last week. The state is still working with cultivators and processors, Jacobs said. “That would be problematic,” if the dispensaries opened with no product, he said. There are no legal cultivators registered in Wood County, Jacobs said. There is one in Lucas County and multiple cultivators in the Cleveland and Columbus areas, where Jacobs may be purchasing from. “The whole process is kind of fluid,” he said. Jacobs said he is unsure how much of a demand will be seen at the dispensary in Bowling Green. However, if the other 36 states that already allow medical marijuana are any indication, there will be enough demand to make the…


For 20+ years, Red Wanting Blue has embraced its bar band status with live shows & new songs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Scott Terry of the rock band Red Wanting Blue  imagines  the audience he’s writing sings for, he sees them in venues from coast to coast. It may be the Bowery Ballroom in New York City or the Tractor Tavern in Seattle. It may also any of a dozen venues in the American Heartland including Northwest Ohio. Red Wanting Blue was a regular for years on the local music scene playing Howard’s Club H and Cla-Zel in Bowling Green and more recently the Civic Music Hall in Toledo. That’s where the veteran rockers will perform Friday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show at the club at 135 S. Byrne Road, Toledo are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Every band has a different trajectory, Terry said during a recent telephone interview. For Red Wanting Blue that started more than 20 years ago in Oxford, Ohio. The band — Terry on lead vocal, ukulele, tenor guitar; Mark McCullough, bass and vocals, Greg Rahm, guitar, keyboard, vocals; Eric Hall, guitar, lap steel. vocals; and Dean Anshutz, drums and percussion — cut their teeth in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, as well as their home state of Ohio. “These places are very middle American,” Terry said. “We’re playing for people who work in middle America, and when they go out to cut loose on a Friday night they want to drink and have a good time. They want to listen to music they can relate to and appreciate. We very much wanted to be that band.” That’s the audience they cater to. Red Wanting Blue isn’t a household name, Terry admits. Some people call them a bar band, a term not usually meant as a compliment, Terry said. “But there is something to be said about singing songs that are aimed at people in a bar. Songs that people will be captivated by. It better be melodic. It better be engaging right there in the moment. … That’s the stream we’ve been on. That’s where the river took us.” Over the more than two decades the band has been touring, they have fans who’ve stuck with them. That despite the “oceans of music” that has been produced over that time. No flash in the pan, the band’s audiences have been slowly growing. That fan base has been receptive as the band has continued writing new material, enough to fill 11 studio albums. The most recent is “The Wanting” released earlier this year. “I work really hard to try to do better than last  record,” Terry said. It’s always a gamble whether their fans will like the new songs. “I would say our fans have been pretty supportive. I think we do a good job of meeting them half way.” Sometimes what new song catches on is a surprise, Terry…