Wendell Mayo explores ‘the mind of doom’ in new story collection

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Fiction writer Wendell Mayo is a child of the Cold War. He grew up on intimate terms with the power of the atom. His father was a nuclear scientist who worked not far from home at the NASA Center in Cleveland. He worked on space applications and nuclear power, which he saw as a boon for the world, his son said. But the atom’s apocalyptic threat cast a long shadow. Mayo has dealt with the ramifications in  short stories inspired by horror movies and others by his stay in Lithuania after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now in his fifth collection of stories “Survival House” (Stephen Austin University Press)  he brings those concerns home. “I wasn’t interested in writing about the Cold War per se so much as writing about the kind of the lingering psychological effect it has on my characters,” Mayo, 65, said. “I was a Cold War kid. More than ever I’ve started to feel the same awful feelings again. So I decided to start writing about it.” Some of the stories take place in the 1960s in Cleveland, where Mayo grew up. Others take place in contemporary  in Northwest Ohio where Mayo now lives. Some explicitly make reference to the Cold War. In “Commie Christmas,” a boy tries to convince his brother that Santa is a Communist. The opening story “Doom Town” imagines a festival in Luckey that celebrates the possibility of nuclear holocaust. It concludes with barbecuing a pig, the same breed as those used to study the impact of an atomic blast on human flesh. Mayo also imagines in “The Trans-Siberian Railroad Comes to Whitehouse,” a restaurant that has a Soviet-era theme with a toy train that delivers the food.  In both those stories, Mayo grounds the tales, as fanciful as they are, in local communities. The idea, he said, comes from the news reporting practice of writing articles on local people who have connections, often very tenuous, to global events. Other stories have less direct connection. Mayo is fascinated by the concept of “the mind of doom” where someone believes that “by making one little misstep it can cause a chain of events that’s cataclysmic.” That’s true of the character in “Cherry Pie,” which Mayo said is his favorite story in the…


Kids don’t let a little rain drown their artistic efforts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A little rain can’t deter true artists. Just ask 3-year-old Virginia Rich, who was intent on painting every inch of the wooden airplane she built minutes before. She wasn’t about to let the threat of some raindrops get in her way. “I don’t think it’s keeping people away,” Katie Beigel, youth arts chairperson, said early in the afternoon. “Every once in a while there are a few sprinkles, and then it holds off.” Besides, the kids seemed oblivious to the precipitation. “They are painting in the rain. They don’t care,” Beigel said. The volunteers also came through in spite of the damp drizzling weather. A decision had already been made to cancel the Kiwanis Youth Arts Village for Sunday due to the forecast for heavy rains. “Some of our Sunday volunteers were really awesome and came out today,” Beigel said. Many of the art projects seemed impervious to the wet conditions. The wide brimmed  brown paper hats held up remarkably well in the drizzle. The tie-dyed shirts weren’t harmed. And the construction projects hammered through the sprinkles. Greylin Durbin, 7, of Tontogany, still had her purple hard hat on from making a car from chunks of wood. “I like how they have amazing stuff to build and make,” she said. Her mom, Lindsay Smith, appreciated the effort that goes into incorporating the children in the arts festival. “I think it’s awesome,” Smith said. “They get to build their own hats and cars.” Next, Greylin was headed to the painting station to put a coat on her car. “I’ve always wanted a red car,” she said. Nearby Brady Stierwalt, 7, of Bowling Green, was getting some help from a BGSU construction management student as he built a boat. “Oh my gosh, I love it,” said his mom, Keri Stierwalt. “They get to create things with their own hands.” Dan Stanton, of Bowling Green, was entrusted to carry his kids’ artwork – including an airplane painted with every available color. “We bring them every year, and every year they get to experience something different,” Stanton said. One of Biegel’s goals this year was that kids get a little education about “going green” with their artwork. One of the new projects in the arts village was turning old T-shirts into…


Art show judges take a shine to whimsical work at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Whimsy was a winner at the Black Swamp Art Show Saturday. JBird Cremeans from Huntington, West Virginia, won Best of Show for her digital images which superimpose animals heads onto human figures taken from vintage photographs. First place in three-dimensional art went to the colorful ceramic houses created by Gint and Regina Sabaliauskas. The first place for two-dimensional art went to Nicholas Ringelstetter who creates intricately drafted paintings filled with cartoon figures. Other award winners were: ° Second Place: furniture maker Ellen Smith  ° Third place: Chris Plummer for his wood cuts and monoprints  ° Honorable mentions: Peggy Schuning, slate mosaics; Dave Thompson, metal found object sculptures; and Robin Lauersdorf, hyper-realistic drawings. Cremeans said she was inspired by seeing a man in her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, selling his art in his driveway. She wanted to do that. Now she does about a dozen shows a year and plans to do more.  As a child she always loved anthropomorphic creatures such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She was inspired to head in this direction by seeing “the original cat memes” produced for books by Harry Whittier Frees. He created “these horrifyingly cute pictures” by dressing cats and posing them, Cremeans decided to do this digitally and use a variety of animals. She collects vintage photographs and decides what species or breed fits the personality of the human subject. She does custom work, allowing people to place their own pets into her images. Cremeans works in Photoshop with a variety of tools, and then prints them on light sensitive paper,  akin to photographic paper. Cremeans has been doing the art fair circuit for about 10 years. College towns tend to be a good market, with the exception of her hometown of Huntington. Big cities are receptive to her work as well. Cremeans has a steady following at the Black Swamp Art Festival with customers seeking her out. Ringelstetter said he was also inspired by an artist he encountered in his home town of Spring Green, Wisconsin. That artist Andy Van Schyndle, who trades in whimsical large scale paintings, also exhibits at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Ringelstetter said he used to go to his hometown art fair just to see Van Schyndle’s work. About 10 years ago Ringelstetter…


Music washes away concerns about weather on opening night of Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News On Friday night the music came through at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. For organizers, the day had been tense one as a forecast for severe weather with high winds and a series thunderstorms threatened to wipe out Sunday’s show. It was a day of consultations with emergency management officials, public works and public safety officials, city administrators, and the musicians, artists and vendors who make the show possible. In the end the committee salvaged what it could by moving most musical acts indoors.  The art show and youth activities for Sunday had to be canceled… and the logistics of helping more than 200 artists pack up and leave on Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon had to be confronted.  All this while volunteers hustled to get the stages up and vendors in place for a 5 p.m. opening.  Then festival opener Drew Joseph took the stage. Shortly before during a final soundcheck, he sang “tonight’s the night.” Rain was in the air, but as the night proceeded, that proved prescient. Tonight was the night that despite lingering light showers, the music washed that all away. Band after band pumped the air full of energy. Rock at first with Joseph, and then exuberant rockabilly with Two Tons of Steel. Then high powered, psychedelic bluegrass with Billy Strings hit with relentless virtuosity that tore at the seams of the genre. The show ended with the shimmering funk grooves of Pimps of Joytime.  And festival goers were in the swing as well. They  danced to the music, munched on the varied delectables from vendors, sipping beer, undeterred by the few rain drops that were falling. Bill Donnelly, who chairs the all-volunteer board that stages the event, was pleased with the energy the music brought. “The crowd was as big as any Friday night we’ve had,” he said early Saturday morning while artists were setting up for today’s art show. Organizers, he said, will have to keep an eye on the weather, but plans are for all events to go on as scheduled. Sunday will be a different story. The forecast from Brad Gilbert, the county EMA director, are dismal with storms that are threatening. The decision to close out all outdoor activities on Sunday and move music into inside was made…


Mary Hinkelman named new director of BG Chamber

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Mary Hinkelman – who has made Bowling Green her business – will soon take on a broader workload. She is going from being a cheerleader and advocate for downtown businesses to meeting the needs of 450 businesses in the entire Bowling Green community. Hinkelman has been named the new executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, a position held by Earlene Kilpatrick for the last decade. She relishes the challenge. “You never tell me that I can’t do something,” Hinkelman said with a smile. The common denominator with her old job and new position is the focus on local businesses. “Doing things with the businesses is the favorite part of my job,” she said. Hinkelman admits she won’t miss the 6 a.m. phone calls from the downtown groundskeepers, or cleaning the streets on some Saturday mornings. But she is looking forward to continuing working side-by-side with businesses. As Downtown BG director, she represented about 175 businesses in the downtown area – everything from retail and restaurants, to law offices, medical services, and non-profits. As chamber director, Hinkelman will be spreading her skills to the entire business community. She knows the job will be a challenge. “I know that the way people do business is very different than 10 or 15 years ago,” she said. “Are we still meeting the needs of the chamber?” Hinkelman would like to focus on the creation of a business incubator space in the city to help entrepreneurs get started. “This is still in its infancy,” she said. “It would be a place for someone to launch a product and see what the interest would be.” The chamber of commerce announced Hinkelman’s hiring Friday morning. She was one of 65 applicants for the position. “It was very humbling,” she said. Hinkelman is proud of her two-plus years as downtown director. “I saw there was a difference being made,” she said. During her tenure, the downtown initiated a Chocolate Crawl. “That was wonderful,” she said. The Downtown Farmers Market has expanded and is expected to have more than 100 vendors next year. A winter market is being started, which is “super exciting.” The Art Walk was revived with the addition of the “one-bite competition.” “The numbers were dwindling, but people love food,”…


State Issue 1 drug law proposal faces strong opposition

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Drug offenders in Ohio currently encounter the carrot and the stick. If they participate in treatment and comply with the courts’ orders, they can often avoid jail time. State Issue 1 would only offer the carrot – and take away the stick. That just won’t work, according to local judges, the county prosecutor, sheriffs and state legislators. On Thursday, some of that local opposition to Issue 1 gathered in the Wood County Courthouse atrium. On the surface, Issue 1 may look harmless. It downgrades the vast majority of drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. And it promises to move money saved by not incarcerating drug offenders into drug treatment programs. Proponents of the issue, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, are massively outspending opposition, according to State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. As of a month ago, Issue 1 had raised $4.1 million, with much of that being money from outside Ohio, he said. Meanwhile, there was no organized opposition to the issue. Issue 1 – which would change the state constitution – was not getting much attention until recently, Gardner said. So Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, asked local law enforcement and court officials to join them Thursday to express their concerns. “Our courts are on the front lines for this,” Gavarone said. As officials took their turn at the podium, they were unanimous in their opposition to Issue 1. Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson talked about the newly created ARC program, which is currently working with 70 opiate addicts in the county. The program is having such success because it is able to offer addicts intervention in lieu of jail time. If jail time was not an option, it is unlikely that many of those addicts would go through the difficult treatment process. “Almost all of those efforts will be negated by State Issue 1,” Dobson said. Issue 1 would remove drug offenses from the criminal justice process, to be treated solely by the behavioral health process. It’s a mistake to not include both processes for drug addicts, he said. Dobson has heard from many addicts who seek treatment only because a judge has told them it’s either treatment or jail. Gardner said he has heard the same stories…


County jail expansion plan locked in at $17.6 million

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years, Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn has been saying the county jail needs some changes and a possible expansion. The price tag for that work at the Wood County Justice Center is $17.6 million. But once it’s done, Wasylyshyn promised he won’t be back with any more jail requests for the county commissioners. “We think this will get us many, many years,” the sheriff said Thursday as plans for the jail expansion were presented to county commissioners Doris Herringshaw, Ted Bowlus and Craig LaHote. The project can be divided into two separate proposals. One is the expansion and reconfiguration of the intake and medical areas of the jail. That would cost an estimated $8.6 million. The second part of the plan adds on an expansion of inmate cells plus renovation of the security pods. That would raise the overall price tag to $17.6 million. The jail currently has 220 beds. The expansion would add another 78 beds. The commissioners asked for more time to review the expansion plans. Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said the commissioners support the plans for revamping the booking and medical areas of the jail, and have already appropriated funds for the architectural and engineering of that part of the project. But the actual addition of inmate beds is not so certain. “The question is do they want to take one step more,” Kalmar said. The jail averages 165 to 180 inmates a day. However, all inmates can’t be housed in any cell. For example, high security inmates can’t be placed in minimum security housing. Females can only be housed in female units. Relatives cannot be in the same area, nor can inmates being held for the same crime. So while the jail has 220 beds now, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can house 220 inmates. Justice Center Captain Rebecca McMonigal compared it to a Rubik’s cube. Wasylyshyn said the addition of more beds would benefit the county. The county has operated a jail since 1820, and that’s not likely to change. “We’re always going to be in the jail business,” he said. Even if the county does not need all the beds, it can rent the extra to area counties facing overcrowding in their jails, the sheriff said. This year, the…


Mayor tries to resurrect historic preservation efforts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is revisiting history – trying to resurrect efforts to create a Historic Preservation Commission. Mayor Dick Edwards reintroduced plans for a commission which would “preserve, promote, encourage and support the maintenance, use and reuse of historic buildings in the city.” In other words, it would help property owners who want to preserve historic structures. The proposal for such a commission was first brought up in 2009, then became part of earnest discussions in 2013. Efforts died in 2015 after some citizens interpreted the city’s preservation efforts as government telling them what to do with their properties. At that time, Edwards tried to explain that the commission was to help – not give orders. “It’s not threatening, it’s not dictating to people, it’s not putting the heavy hand of government on neighborhoods,” he said. “It was misconstrued and misinterpreted by some individuals.” Nevertheless, suspicions about the motivation for the historic preservation commission killed the effort. But at Tuesday’s city council meeting, the mayor reintroduced the concept. “There was some misunderstanding about what it is,” Edwards said of the commission. And he would like to try again. “This is so successful in so many other communities,” he said. More than 70 cities and political bodies in Ohio are working with the state to address historic preservation. Cities like Toledo, Akron and Tiffin are taking advantage of preservation tax credits to rebuild central city business districts and enhance property values in historic neighborhoods, Edwards said. “I’d like to think that the program can help sustain the life of neighborhoods and make it a more attractive place to live.” One of the first steps will be to create a five-member historic preservation commission. The group, appointed by the mayor, will include one member from each of the four wards and one from the downtown business district. Edwards said he is looking for recommendations. The purpose of the commission is to foster civic beauty, stabilize and increase property values, strengthen the local economy, maintain and enhance the distinctive character, safeguard the city’s heritage, and facilitate reinvestment and revitalization through historic preservation. The commission would have the authority to assist with historic preservation efforts through building inventories, public education, tourism and establishing community partnerships. The formation of such a commission has…


Cups of coffee and conversations with cops in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Food and beverages bring people together. It’s no different for local police and the public who occasionally meet in the city over cups of coffee, scoops of ice cream and slices of pizza. As patrons came in and got their coffee at Biggby Wednesday morning, they had a chance to share concerns with local police officers. “We’ve had a few discussions about things,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said as he stood holding his first cup of coffee for the day. “Parking is a hot topic.” It didn’t really matter that the police have nothing to do with the rules – other than enforcing them. What mattered was the townspeople and police were talking. “It’s about interaction with the public,” BG Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said. “People can discuss concerns in a more comfortable environment than calling the police department.” That’s exactly what Bowling Green City Council member Bill Herald wants to see in the police division. “We want to have a police force where people don’t hesitate to call,” Herald said as he talked with Lt. Brad Biller, who was on his third cup of caffeine for the day. “This is what we want in a police department.” The police division holds a “coffee with cops” once or twice a year. The division also held an “ice cream with cops” event at the library last year for younger community members. At Biggby Coffee on Wednesday were five city officers and four Bowling Green State University officers. “We partner all the time on different things,” Hetrick said about the teamwork between the two police departments. “Anytime we have an opportunity to meet the public and have an honest conversation, that’s important,” BGSU Police Chief Mike Campbell said. “We continue to look for those opportunities.” Last week, the campus police gave away about 200 slices of pizza to students in the BGSU union. Herald inquired Wednesday morning about the number of citizens who had mentioned police officers’ fondness for doughnuts. “But the stereotype is true,” Hetrick said with a smile. “I guess that makes it a fact.” Ann Rieman and Kristen Strum came in for coffee – not knowing about the opportunity to share a cup with city cops. Both said they appreciated the effort the police…


Bruce Meyer builds on his love of BG & BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bruce Meyer doesn’t have a crystal ball on his desk. As Bowling Green State University’s vice president for capital planning and campus operations, Meyer could use one at times. “My job involves working with faculty, working with staff, working with the community,” he said. “We’re trying to predict the future as to what programs may have to be put in place, what classroom might look like, what residence halls might look like, so when it comes time to build, we’ll have an idea of what those will look like.” Meyer is engaged in the early stages of coming up with the campus master plan 2.0, he said. That involves interviewing the leadership of BGSU. “That’s been very interesting and informative for me about where we may be heading next.”  That peering in the future, however, comes at a time when he and his team are working on the final stages of the campus master plan. That one dates to 2008, though, work didn’t start until 2010, about the time Meyer, a long-time resident of Bowling Green, arrived back at his alma mater. Now construction is well underway on the Mauer Center, the new home of the College of Business.  That project is converting Hanna Hall and expanding it by twice its current size. He said he was recently did a walkthrough Hanna Hall. “It’s pretty amazing to go into the building,” he said. “They’ve started to take some of the walls out because it’s going to be an open concept.  … It’s going to be one of those buildings where you’ll want to stop and see what’s going on in there.” The Mauer Center is scheduled to open a year from now. The next piece is a complete renovation of the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. The programming for the building and visits to other campuses to see their technology buildings are underway. Next summer will see a renewal of the conversion of classrooms into active learning spaces. One of the earliest projects accomplished under the master plan was the creation of prototype classrooms in Olscamp.  “We’re starting to get comments back from students that are very positive,” Meyer said. “They really like the active learning classrooms.” While these don’t get the attention that a new building…


A real treat – Downtown Halloween and fall festival combined

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials have approved plans to serve spirits to adults as young ghosts and goblins take to the streets for trick or treat in the downtown. Plans are underway to combine a fall Firefly Nights with the annual downtown trick or treat on Oct. 19. And on Tuesday evening, Bowling Green City Council approved an F-2 liquor permit, which would allow for the sale of beer and liquor. The city had already issued a liquor permit for the summer Firefly Nights. However, since the October event will cover a larger area downtown, another approval was needed by City Council. The approval was unanimous. “I hear nothing negative,” Council President Mike Aspacher said Tuesday evening about the Firefly Nights events. The decision to combine the Firefly Nights and annual downtown trick or treat was made by downtown merchants due to the overwhelming success of both events. The October event would extend the street festival into the fall and allow for more safety measures for the annual trick or treat. Last year, an estimated 2,000 costumed children filled the downtown sidewalks to collect treats from the local businesses. Concerns were raised about keeping the large streams of children safe. So it was decided the best solution would be to close Main Street for the event. And while the street is closed, why not have a party? The expanded footprint for the Firefly Nights Fall Festival will be along Main Street from Clay Street to Washington Street. That is a block further north than the summer Firefly Nights. Police Chief Tony Hetrick said he is working to find barricades for all the intersections involved to keep vehicles from entering the festival area. “We only have so many police cars,” Hetrick said. Other city vehicles may be used to provide barricades. The fall festival-trick or treat will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. There will be food, music, kids activities, and treats for children. The event will not take the place of the citywide trick or treat.


Downtown businesses asked to pick up tab for parking

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green leaders have two months to solve downtown parking issues until their time expires. When the time is up, the cost of parking meters will double in the downtown area if a solution isn’t found. On Tuesday evening, Bowling Green City Council Committee of the Whole listened to a proposal for sharing the costs of parking downtown. This proposal – unlike the initial idea to double meter costs to 50 cents an hour – suggests that all parking meters and kiosks be pulled out, and downtown property and business owners be assessed for parking costs. The problem is that the city isn’t making enough from its downtown parking meters to pay for repaving the lots and enforcing parking rules. But the fear is that doubling parking costs will discourage customers from patronizing downtown businesses. The city’s downtown lots – with their 600-plus parking spaces – are struggling due to flat revenue, increasing costs and aging infrastructure. So the options suggested last month included increasing the parking revenue, sharing the costs of maintaining the parking lots, or getting rid of some of the expenses. Other Ohio college communities such as Kent and Oxford charge up to $1 an hour for parking. Toledo charges at least 50 cents per hour. However, no parking meters are used in Perrysburg, Defiance, Waterville, Findlay or Maumee. Tuesday on City Council’s agenda was the third reading of an ordinance increasing the parking rates. Council agreed to table that ordinance to give a task force time to discuss other options. Council President Mike Aspacher suggested that the task force include downtown property owners and business owners. “It’s a critically important component in the success of our community,” Aspacher said. Council member Greg Robinette stressed the need for the group to work quickly, since the parking kiosks in the lot behind Panera need to be updated by December if the city continues to use the kiosks there. “I’d like to force us to move the process along,” Robinette said, suggesting that the task force be limited to two months. “Time is ticking,” said council member John Zanfardino. The city also needs to repave downtown parking lots 1, 3 and 4. That is estimated to cost $400,000. Under a shared cost program, the downtown property…


Preliminary enrollment numbers adding up for BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate opened the new academic year hearing some positive, if preliminary, numbers about enrollment. Cecilia Castellano, vice president for strategic enrollment planning, reported in response to a question from President Rodney Rogers that as of today the university has 6,648 new students.  That includes traditional first year students, transfer students, more than 200 in the Firelands Pathways program, high school students taking College Credit Plus courses, and students taking courses through BGSU eCampus. “We have every reason to be pleased,” Rogers said. Interim Provost John Fischer reported the numbers in more details but still in broad strokes, because they can still “wobble,” he said. Students are still enrolling in College Credit Plus and eCampus and some students are deciding to leave BGSU. The official enrollment numbers will be announced on Monday the 15th day of the semester. Still administrators couldn’t hold back the good news. For the fifth year in a row, Fischer said, this is “the most academically prepared entering class we’ve had.” That includes an increase number of top scholars who have an ACT score of 27 or higher and a GPA above 3.7. Programs such as Forensic Science and Politics, Philosophy, Economics and Law are “resonating with students who are looking for rigorous academic programs.” This is the most diverse class, Fischer said, with 23 percent being students of color. He added: “We can’t just recruit students in, we have to create the environment that supports and welcomes them and helps them meet their academic and career goals while they’re here.” Later, in response to a question, Castellano said that the number of international students, both undergraduate and graduate, has increased about 10 percent. That bucks a national trend. She cited China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia as the countries leading the way. She also said that more international graduate students are opting to stay to complete their degrees. Fischer said that the College of Technology. Architecture and Applied Engineering has seen a 35-percent growth in overall student population. That reflects an interest in the eCampus and in the growth of aviation and mechatronics. The College of Musical Arts, BGSU’s smallest college, is also seeing double digit growth. Fischer also said BGSU expects to see an increase in the retention rate. That…


More people have health coverage – fewer exercising & eating right

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More Wood County residents have health insurance – but fewer are getting enough exercise and eating right to take care of their bodies. A Community Health Assessment is conducted for the Wood County Health Department every three years to gauge how adults, youth and children are doing with their physical and mental health. The survey looks at such areas as health care access, health behaviors, chronic diseases, social conditions, youth and child health. Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator for the Wood County Health Department, reported on the results of the survey during a recent meeting of the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. The survey found that more Wood Countians have health care coverage now. In 2012, approximately 15 percent of local residents had no health insurance. That number is now down to 6 percent. “People don’t just have insurance, they are using it more,” Aspacher said. A total of 61 percent of Wood County adults had routine health checkups in the last year, compared to 49 percent in 2015. However, local adults still need to take better care of themselves – by exercising more and eating less unhealthy food. The number of adults who are overweight or obese in the county shot up to 72 percent, compared to 66 percent in 2015. The statewide rate is 67 percent and the national rate is 65 percent. On the survey, adults admitted to daily habits of 2.4 hours of watching TV, 1.5 hours on their cell phones, 1.4 hours on their computers outside of work, and 0.4 hours playing video games. A quarter of those surveyed said they had no moderate exercise in the past week. The health department recognized this as a problem. “We spent this summer encouraging people to use free community options,” Aspacher said. On the survey, many adults identified lack of time and the cost of gym memberships as impediments to getting exercise. So the health department has been working to identify free exercise opportunities. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 2.5 hours a week of exercise for adults, and one hour each day for kids. The survey showed that many local youth and children are getting recommended amounts of exercise. The youth and child obesity rate in the county has dropped in the last three…


Tree No Leaves has plenty to celebrate with multiple shows at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Tree No Leaves has lots to celebrate at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, and the Bowling Green band will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the planting of the seed that’s sprouted into a band that’s a staple of the local music scene. Saturday at noon on the Main Stage they’ll unveil a new session “Prophet Holographic,” a vinyl record issued by the Grounds for Thought Records. “It’s really a milestone for us,” said Dustin Galish, the band’s founder. “Just seeing our name on the same poster as those other (festival) artists is an honor.” The spotlight gig comes at a time when Tree No Leaves is now looking to extend its reach beyond the Black Swamp into some of the nation’s musical hot beds Brooklyn, Detroit, New Orleans, and Austin, Texas. He describes the band’s style as hard psychedelic soul. “That’s an undercurrent of what I brought to it, the soul element,” he said. For him psychedelic involves the “dissolving of genres.” That sound has evolved in the band’s decade of existence. The seed was planted in early 2008 with sound experiments conducted by Galish and his then girlfriend and now wife Sarah Smith. She is a trained musician, who sings, writes, and plays keyboards and performed as Aquatic Fox. For his part, Galish was a self-taught. He grew up in a home without instruments in the house. A baseball player in high school, he came to Bowling Green State University to study graphic design in the Visual Communications Technology program. He always loved music, and collaborating with musicians as a graphic designer. So he tried his hand on keyboards and guitar. Those early experiments led to live gigs with shifting personnel, including Smith. Those first few years the music was an expansion on the abstract explorations, moody pieces in minor keys. But in the last five years the style has evolved. “The last four records have some pop sensibilities,” he said. The songs have shifted into verse and chorus structures, though there’s still elements of improvisation. “There’s a lot more funk, soul and dance. It’s more upbeat,” Galish said of the band’s brighter sound. Before the shows were “more intense.” “You almost had to take a break after you heard…