Faculty get new contract, promotion & tenure at May BGSU trustees meeting

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Bowling Green State University trustees Friday signed off on the third contract between the BGSU-Faculty Association and the administration. The three-year contract calls for 8.5 percent pay increases over the life of the agreement. At the time the agreement was reached, association president David Jackson said, it marked progress in bringing faculty salaries up to the middle of the pack in Ohio public colleges. “Our goal is not to become the highest paid faculty in the state. We’re trying to reach the median.”  The increases will be 3 percent in each of the first two years, and 2.5 percent in the third.  As with the previous three-year agreement, the negotiations went smoothly. In presenting the contract to the trustees, President Rodney Rogers said that it was evidence of a “strong relationship” between the faculty association and the administration. Board Chairman Daniel Keller said that the new agreement was “reasonable and equitable to all parties.” The contract goes into effect on July 1. Among the other terms, some of the cost of health insurance will be shifted to faculty. Negotiating teams pose for portrait after BGSU Board of Trustees meeting. Seated in front, from left, David Jackson, president of the BGSU Faculty Association, Daniel Keller, president of the Board of Trustees, and BGSU President Rodney Rogers. Also at the meeting, trustees approved tenure and promotion actions for 53 faculty.  They were: 23 being promoted to full professor;  15 granted tenure with promotion to associate professor; eight promoted to senior lecturer; and seven promoted to lecturer.  These actions are “momentous” for the faculty, Rogers said, and he urged them to take time to celebrate this milestone in their careers. Also at the meeting, the trustees approved more spending for the renovation of the Technology Building. The board approved spending $6,303,731 for infrastructure needed for the project. This money will come from state capital funds, said Vice President for Finance and Administration  Sheri Stoll. As she has in the past, Stoll noted, this was not the kind of work that attracts students to attend the university. The money will pay for: “tunnel top replacement, heat plant controls, central chilled water manufacturing, centralized emergency power generation, electrical service upgrades, and building security related upgrades associated with supporting the pending Technology Building renovation and the northwest quadrant of campus.” Still, keeping up on these upgrades does make the campus…


Ohio ordered to get rid of gerrymandered districts before 2020 election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Ohio’s congressional districts – including those shaped like a “snake by the lake” and another like a duck – were found unconstitutional Friday by a federal court. State leaders, who were already planning to work on redistricting after the 2020 U.S. Census, have now been ordered to draw new districts by June 14 so they are in place for the 2020 election. “I think this is really good news for the voters of Ohio,” Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party, said late Friday afternoon. “Now we won’t have districts that are preordained.” A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati ruled unanimously that the congressional district boundaries were manipulated for partisan gain by Republican mapmakers and violates voters’ rights to democratically select their representatives. The ruling blocks Ohio from holding another election under the current map. But Republican leaders aren’t planning to let the ruling go unchallenged. Also on Friday afternoon, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said an appeal will be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. “Ohioans already voted to reform how we draw our congressional maps,” Yost wrote in a press release. “This protracted opinion takes that decision out of the hands of the people and is a fundamentally political act that has no basis whatsoever in the Constitution. Ohio will seek a stay of this decision and appeal it.” However, citizens who have been pushing for years for fair congressional districts welcome the federal court order that could clean up the boundaries before the next members of congress are elected. “I think it’s extremely important,” said Joan Callecod, of Bowling Green, who worked with the local League of Women Voters to get the district lines redrawn. “It would be for more fair elections.” Callecod and others collected signatures to get the issue put on the statewide ballot last year. The majority of Ohioans voted in agreement that the districts needed to be changed. Congressional districts in red elected Republicans, and blue elected Democrats. Some of the testimony that convinced the federal court this week included the results of the 2018 general election. Congressional Democrats nationwide had a good year in 2018, gaining 40 seats. However, in Ohio Republican congressional candidates managed to hold onto 75 percent of Ohio’s House seats while getting just 52 percent of the vote total. Voters’ rights and Democratic groups sued…


Gish name gone from BGSU film theater

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News The Gish name will be removed from the theater in Bowling Green State University’s student union.  The Board of Trustees today (Friday, May 3) acted on the recommendation of President Rodney Rogers. In making the recommendation Rogers was concurring with the findings of a report by a task force set up to studying the name of the film theater, which had until this fall, been located in Hanna Hall. The Black Student Union challenged the name of the theater because Lillian Gish had a starring role in D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation.” That silent film, set in the time of the Civil War and Reconstruction,  depicts African Americans in demeaning and dehumanizing ways and celebrates the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Based on the novel, “The Clansman,” the film played a role in the Klan’s revival and spread to the north. It was a blockbuster at the time. The Black Student Union’s campaign to have the name changed, which included two town hall meetings on the issue, was sparked by the showing of the film “13th,” a  documentary film that explores the interrelationship of slavery, the regime of Jim Crow restrictions on blacks, racism, and the prison-industrial complex. Kyle Thompson, vice president of the Black Student Union, talks with President Rodney Rogers “The stereotypes of African Americans in ‘The Birth of a Nation’ are offensive, and the film presents a white supremacist vision,” the task force determined. In advocating for removing the name, the task force cited Lillian Gish’s central role in “Birth of a Nation.” Taken together the displays at the theater, the task force said, “contribute to an intimidating, even hostile, educational environment.” It continued:  “The display, with its oversize images and text, are prominent in a well-used space and evoke the film and its racist legacy.”  Kyron Smith, president of the Black Student Union, said he was pleased with the trustees’ action. “It shows the direction the university is going.” He added he’s looking forward to coming back next semester to see how the change plays out. He said he would have liked more attention paid in Rogers’ presentation to the board to the Black Student Union’s action. It’s important to recognize the role of black students in making the change, and he hopes that in the future the BSU’s initiative is remembered. “One of the reasons…


Local National Day of Prayer stands by conservative Christian-only observance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Across the nation on Thursday, people of all religions gathered for the National Day of Prayer. But not here. Here, Christians gathered in Village View Church of Christ in Bowling Green to offer prayers for leaders from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to local mayors and law enforcement. Once again, the local observance of the National Day of Prayer asked for wisdom and guidance for the country and community. And once again, only those from more conservative Christian denominations were allowed to participate. All could attend the event which is normally held on the steps of the Wood County Courthouse. But only certain Christians could participate. The narrow interpretation of the National Day of Prayer event led Bowling Green State University’s ROTC Color Guard to cancel its customary presentation of the colors. Some churches denounced the local observance, and the proclamations from local elected officials spoke of the importance of including religious diversity. The annual observance, held on the first Thursday of May from noon to 1 p.m., was established in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry Truman. The National Day of Prayer invited people of all faiths to pray for the nation. However, a privately-funded “task force” was created later to “mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families.” The task force’s logic was that since America was “birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible,” then only Christian prayers were welcome. The privately-funded task force twisted the original intent of the day into the “Christian-only” message. It actually goes beyond requiring that the participants be Christian. They must be the right kind of conservative Christians – and must sign forms stating those beliefs. Prayers offered in Village View Church of Christ. On Thursday, Kristel Asmus, who has organized the Wood County observation for 26 years, stood at the pulpit and welcomed those attending the prayer event with a theme of “Love One Another.” “It’s been an honor to do this, to gather God’s people together,” she said. Asmus talked of the need to pray for national and international leaders and to “ask God to forgive us as a nation for sinful choices.” “America, we need a return to God,” she said. And that means a return to “Godly leaders,”…


The magic of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ shines on BGSU stage

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is Shakespeare’s most staged play. The production of the fantastical comedy at Bowling Green State University shows why. In 525 years, the magic still hasn’t worn off. “Midsummer” still glows, and offers plenty of room for interpretation. Most importantly, it is still funny, in so many ways. “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” opens tonight (Thursday, May 2) at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theater in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. The Department of Theatre and Film production continues Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Sherry H. White as Helena The comedy unfolds on four levels. In this production directed by Heidi Nees those levels are as clear as those in an iridescent layered cocktails — each ingredient in its space, and yet together they combine for an intoxicating brew. First, we have the frame story of Theseus (Dan Cullen), the king of Athens’ impending nuptials to Hippolyta (Talisa Lilli Lemke).   The Queen of the Amazons is less than thrilled with the marriage, given she is essentially the spoils of war, literally a trophy wife. Bottom (David Loehr) and Quince (Kelly Dunn) Nees extends this plot line by having the characters play out in mime scenes of the royal couple making arrangements for their ceremony with Megan Kome as Philostrate acting as the wedding planner.  We get to see the royal couple grow closer as Hippolyta takes a greater hand in the plans. Their preparations are disrupted by a dispute between Egeus (Harmon Andrews) and his daughter Hermia (Anna Randazzo). Oberon (Coniyah McKinney) and Puck (Anna Parchem) He has arranged for her to marry Demetrius (Zachary Davis), but she’s surrendered her heart to Lysander (Anna Thompson). This bit of reverse gender casting works. Thompson is sparkling as Lysander, and she and Randazzo have true romantic chemistry. White, for her part, plays Hermia less as the virtuous ingenue, and more as a slightly ditzy love interest. From left, Lysander (Anna Thompson), Helena (Sherry J. White), and Hermia (Anna Randazzo). When she and Lysander arrange to run away together, she unleashes a string of analogies to profess how true her vow is. With each reference to Cupid or Venus, she seems to be joyfully topping herself, all to comic effect. Not a place you’d…


Medal of Honor recipient to attend local memorial unveiling

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County will have a certified hero in its midst next week when his name is unveiled on the Medal of Honor monument in front of the Wood County Courthouse. U.S. Navy Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers, Jr., will be recognized on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. on the front lawn of the county courthouse. Byers, a native of Grand Rapids and 1997 graduate of Otsego High School, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2016 for actions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. In a story in the military’s “Stars and Stripes” publication, Byers described the night in December 2012, when his unit rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph from the Taliban deep in the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan. After walking four hours in the freezing night to reach the Taliban camp, Byers was the second SEAL through the door of a tiny, one-room building where Joseph was held hostage. Byers killed two armed Taliban fighters before identifying Joseph and shielding him from harm. As bullets flew across the room, Byers leaped on top the doctor, using his own body armor to shield the captive as his fellow SEALs exchanged gunfire with enemy fighters. As Byers protected Joseph, he spotted an AK-47-wielding Taliban guard just inches away. He continued to shield Joseph with his body as he grabbed the gunman by the throat, pinning him to a wall long enough for another SEAL to shoot him dead, according to the Stars and Stripes. His good friend Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque was shot after being the first man through the door during the rescue. Once outside, Byers, a medic, turned his attention to Checque, spending the 40-minute flight back to Bagram Airfield trying to resuscitate his friend. Checque was declared dead at the American base. Byers is just the sixth Navy SEAL in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He’s the 11th living American service member to receive the medal for actions in Afghanistan. When presenting the award, President Barack Obama called Byers “a special breed of warrior that so often serves in the shadows.” The hostage, who was in Afghanistan to establish medical facilities, was told “the Americans are not coming for you,” Obama said. “They were wrong.” The president talked of Byers’ childhood in Grand Rapids, where he would play in the woods with friends, wearing…


Healing survivors, communities at heart of Me Too’s work, founder Tarana Burke tells BGSU audience

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Tarana Burke doesn’t want to be a celebrity. She doesn’t want to be the face of the Me Too movement five years from now. Looking out at the audience that packed the ballroom in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, she said she wanted someone young, with fresh energy and better ideas, some “bright unicorn,” to step up and lead.  Maybe that person will be the young aspiring social worker, whom she’d met earlier in the day during her visit to Bowling Green State University. Burke, who launched Me Too in 2006 to combat sexual violence by supporting survivors and building a community of advocates, spoke at BGSU as part of the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories series hosted by the University Libraries.  Tarana Burke greets Toni Gordon, assistant director in the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. Burke took the name of the series to heart. “This is a movement made up of every day people, ordinary people, who can do extraordinary things. I hope I’m proof of that and, if not, I’m trying to be.” But she doesn’t want to toasted and honored. “Don’t celebrate me if you’re not going to stand up for what I believe in,” Burke said. “I have no use for celebrities.” In one 24-hour period back in October, 15 million people used the hashtag #metoo. Those hashtags are people, people raising their hands to be heard. Most still have their hands up, said Burke, who is herself a survivor of sexual violence she suffered as a 6-year-old.  Unlike Black Lives Matter, which was responding to images of people being shot and choked in the street, Me Too survivors are not as visible. “We don’t have that sense of urgency because people can’t see our wounds,” she said. “They don’t realize what it is to be a survivor, to hold this deadness inside of us, looking for a place to put it. We’re literally the walking wounded. “Those millions of people who raised their hands still are counting on us. Hell, they are us. We have to have urgency in this moment because I don’t know how long it will last.” People need to take action. For some that will be working in a rape crisis center, or as a counselor. For others it may be writing a check to the rape crisis center. Maybe it’s acting to insure children are safe…


BG citizens find it hard to say goodbye to iconic trees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green residents are tree huggers of sorts. When trees that have towered over their town for centuries are listed on the chopping block, citizens rush to their defense. Last year, it was the stately elm at the base of the Conneaut sledding hill. Later it was some trees in the way of the new City Park building. Then a row of trees along the city parking lot on South Church Street. And this week, it’s two old oaks at the county courthouse – deemed too sick to stay. When it was announced on Monday that the oaks would be coming down on Friday, citizens began mourning the loss. “This is so sad. BG losing all of its iconic trees,” one person commented on Facebook. “Conneaut hill and now these.” But as hard as it is for humans to accept – trees that appear stout and stalwart on the outside, may be weakened and diseased on the inside. And that’s where Grant Jones – the city’s arborist – comes into the picture. He is the grim reaper of trees in Bowling Green. The two oaks, standing about 80 feet tall on the east side of the county courthouse lawn, are likely more than a century old, according to Jones, who surmised the trees were planted close to when the courthouse was built. “They are in poor condition,” said Jones, who agonizes over issuing the death penalty for landmark trees. “The biggest problem is they have a lot of die-back in the canopy,” with the larger branches dying and no new growth replacing them, Jones said. Then there’s the other tell-tale sign of sickness in a tree – mushrooms growing on the bark. “It’s a sign that inside that trunk is decaying,” he said. In this case, the ultimate decision on the fate of the trees was up to the Wood County Commissioners. The county has tried to prolong the lives of the two oaks for the last 20 years, by trimming off the dead parts, according to Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar. “There’s really no choice,” Kalmar said. “It’s becoming a more dangerous situation. We don’t want anyone to be injured. We don’t want the courthouse to be damaged.” So on Friday, weather permitting, the oaks will come down. The county is considering new trees for the location. “It looks like there’s adequate…


BGSU Philharmonia celebrates 100 years of making music & musicians

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News When its first president Homer Williams decided the fledgling Bowling Green Normal College needed an orchestra, it was to boost school spirit by providing music at campus festivities. The orchestra, all eight members, did a “suitable” job the BeeGee Magazine reported at the time. The first Bowling Green orchestra. (Image provided by BGSU) On Sunday, that orchestra’s descendant, now 10 times the size, will provide music for its own 100th anniversary celebration. The Bowling Green Philharmonia with more than 150 voices from the A Cappella Choir, Collegiate Chorale and University Choral Society will perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, culminating with the “Ode to Joy,” Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. in  Kobacker Hall. The program will be repeated the next day, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Detroit Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit.  The choice of the symphony, one of the pillars of symphonic music, is fitting, said Emily Freeman Brown, director of orchestral activities. Bowling Green Philharmonia performing for an opera gala, (Image provided by BGSU) “The Beethoven Ninth is an iconic work,” she said. “It is a pivotal work that changed what people thought about what an orchestra could do and what the purpose of a concert was.” The piece has been considered historically  significant since its premiere in 1824, a time of dissent and social upheaval. “It’s Beethoven’s attempt to create a rallying cry about humanity and social justice,” Brown said. The symphony is often used to commemorate important occasions. That was never more true then when Leonard Bernstein conducted a performance in Germany in December 1989 to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. The text of the choral movement by poet Friedrich Schiller calls for humanity to come together for the greater good, Brown said. “It appeals to our higher natures.” Everyone who performs it is changed for the better, she said. Musically the symphony is brimming with energy.  The piece opens quietly with an uncertainty about what key it’s in, the conductor explained. It exudes “a kind of nakedness, this raw energy. It’s so quiet, so tense. It’s almost like walking in the dark.” Then, she said, “the tension breaks forth with this explosive energy when the theme appears for the first time.” But the theme disappears again. “There’s kind of longing, a desire for resolution that we live through as we hear the piece,” she said “It…


BG parents search for answers about adolescent suicide

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Normally a place of musical performances and proud parents, Bowling Green City School’s Performing Arts Center was a place of uncomfortable quiet and anxious parents Monday evening. Nearly 60 parents and school staff gathered in the hushed auditorium in search of answers about suicide. The district offers regular discussions on the topic for students, but this was for their parents – trying to understand the loss of 16-year-old Eric Baer, who took his life earlier this month. The parents were seeking answers on how to help their own children deal with the loss, and how to reach out to the family of the young boy. And they were wanting to know the clues to look for in their own children who might be contemplating suicide. “In light of this, we wanted to do something more,” for the parents, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “If we can make a difference in even one kid’s life.” Counselors from Children’s Resource Center, Ann Huss and Noelle Duvall, shared information specific to adolescent suicides. Approximately 25 percent of adolescents consider suicide. “That’s one whole grade,” in a high school, Huss said. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in ages 10 to 24, and first for deaths in ages 10 to 15. Up to 90 percent of adolescents who complete suicide have at least one mental health issue – the most common being depression. One in eight teenagers experience depression. Some of the more common symptoms of depression include weight loss or gain, sleep problems, exhaustion, sad moods, loss of interest, irritability, inability to concentrate, negative thinking, and withdrawal from friends and family. “When it comes to students, it’s probably going to be their peers who see these differences first,” Huss said. Parents should not brush off moody behavior or lack of good judgment from their teens. “Sometimes that gets overlooked,” Huss said. “You need to really listen at the present moment when you sit them down and talk with them.” Parents should not ignore teens who are consistently bored, irritated, stop taking care of their personal hygiene, don’t do homework, make statements like “I hate my life,” or are either moping or highly agitated, Huss said. They may see changes in the teen’s appetite, lack of concentration, and disinterest in everything. Therapy and medication have proven to be effective treatments for depression. But the sooner parents…


Earth Day offers tips on treating Mother Nature with respect

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Taking care of the earth can mean learning some new lessons. Like how to make your own household cleaners, what shouldn’t be flushed down your toilet, and how to turn old T-shirts into reusable grocery bags. These lessons and more were shared Sunday at the 10th annual community celebration of Earth Day on the grounds of the Montessori School in Bowling Green. “We all come together as a big group to carry on the momentum” of individual Earth Day activities, Bowling Green Sustainability Coordinator Amanda Gamby said. “Earth Day has turned into Earth Week, and into Earth Month,” Gamby said as she helped children learn about items that can cause harm when they enter storm drains. The annual event featured 13 entities trying to make earth-friendly activities fun. Setting up learning stations were groups like the Wood County Master Gardeners, Bowling Green Parks and Recreation, Bowling Green Tree Commission, Bowling Green Sustainability, Wood County Park District, ODNR Scenic Rivers, BGSU Environmental Programs, Wood County District Public Library, Ohio EPA, Wood County Solid Waste District, and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District. “We are learning about our earth and how to keep it healthy and safe,” said Diane Trabbic, advancement director at the Montessori School. “It’s definitely an education for the whole family. It’s something we’re all a part of.” As she looked around at all the organizations involved, Trabbic noted the value of bringing together people who care about the environment. “It can be a forceful group when we get all the passionate people together,” she said. Jason Sisco helps kids as they pedal hard enough to generate electricity. At one station, Jason Sisco was showing children just how much energy it takes to power an LED light bulb as compared to an incandescent light bulb. Children lined up to pedal the bicycle, trying to generate enough energy to turn on light bulbs, a radio, a small fan and a hairdryer. The LED bulb and radio came on with little effort, but turning on the incandescent bulb and hairdryer had the children pedaling furiously. Over at the station for the Wood County Park District, visitors learned how native plants are more flood and drought resistant, and are better filters than lawn grass. As part of the district’s “Go Green” message, visitors had the chance to make home cleaners that are friendly to kids,…


Commitment to quality a key ingredient for Porkbelly BBQ

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Smoking meat for barbecue takes time, the better of a day and night, about 14 hours. At least that’s how P.J. Earl does it. That slow-cooked barbecue will be the centerpiece when Earl and his wife, Heather, open Porkbelly BBQ restaurant in the Greenwood Centre, 1616 E. Wooster in Bowling Green on Wednesday, May 1. And like the meat it’ll serve, the new restaurant, an outgrowth the Earls’ catering and mobile kitchen business, took time to get just right. Heather Earl said they’d secured the space a year ago, and since then they’ve been focused on getting everything set with the food, the employees, the decor, and the law. That included merging two storefronts so they had enough room for a prep kitchen as well as a regular kitchen, and a smoker. “Everything we do is  from scratch with a commitment to quality,” Heather Earl said. That starts with that slow-cooked meat, seasoned with their original sauces that have been cited for excellence by the Center for Innovative Food Technology. It includes the sides such as potato salad. Not like your mother’s, P.J. Earl said. He starts with red-skin potatoes soaked in malt vinegar with chipotle, and then marinaded. At this point, his wife cautions him, don’t give away the recipe. But the chef’s confident that he’s the one who knows the right proportions.  They’ll make their own corn bread served with a honey cinnamon butter. They’ll serve ribs and brisket and the other barbecue staples, all done in their own way. Then there’s a bologna sandwich, which P.J. Earl is convinced will make people forget the famous delicacy from Waldo. The bologna from Tank’s Meats in Elmore will be seasoned, marinaded, grilled, and served  up on a hearty bun with cole slaw. Then, there’s the restaurant’s namesake cut, porkbelly. Most people don’t know about the cut. P.J. Earl tells customers “it’s the same cut you get your bacon from.” The restaurant will incorporate it in several ways, including a gravy and a jam. In the years of operating the mobile food unit, he couldn’t get enough customers interested in trying it to keep it on the menu. “If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense,” his wife notes. Then there were those who tried it and understood that, in the chef’s words: “Porkbelly is a state of mind.” He’d roll it in…


Body positivity – learning to love your body with all its imperfections

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News For centuries, a portion of the female population has tried to reach physical perfection, whatever that may have been at the time – plump, big busted, muscular or twig-like. But the difference nowadays is that those failing to peak at perfection can be victims of vicious criticism on social media. And while the images of the ideal body once appeared on the front of monthly women’s magazines, the photos now appear in rapid succession on Instagram or other social media platforms. So a group of Bowling Green State University students in professor John Zibbel’s Creative Learning Environments class, presented their “Body Positivity Project” on Friday at Grounds for Thought. The event was designed to help young girls feel comfortable and connect with their peers. The students – Caitlin Palmer, Brennah Kershner, Kaitlin Mendenhall and Vivica Hayward – want women and men to know that their bodies don’t have to look like the photos that bombard them every day. “It’s about feeling comfortable in who you are, not letting anyone dictate how you feel about yourself,” Hayward said. “Be true to yourself. It’s your body. No one else deserves a say.” The body positivity effort advocates the acceptance of all bodies no matter the size or imperfections. The movement addresses the unrealistic beauty standards set by society, and stresses the need to accept physical characteristics that don’t meet the ideal. “I wanted to have an event where everyone can see how important they are,” Mendenhall said. That they are more than their bodies. “There is no ideal. There is no normal,” Kershner said. But social media puts pressure on people – especially young women. There are clear expectations today of ideal weight, hairstyles, and complexions. “Everyone wants to be an Instagram model today,” Kershner said. “Everybody is a beauty guru all of the sudden,” Palmer said. “There is a huge pressure on guys and girls to be the ideal man or woman.” Adolescent females are particularly susceptible to societal standards shown on social media. “They want to look like everyone else does,” Mendenhall said. Women posting on sites like Instagram sometimes feel even worse about themselves if their photos draw negative comments or if their posts don’t get 100 more more “likes.” “You’re wanting it to be something enough people like,” Mendenhall said. Women should refuse to pick apart imperfections in each other, Kershner…


Art with stories to tell honored at 27th Art Walk

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Kelsey Meyer had never exhibited her art before Saturday’s Art Walk in downtown Bowling Green. Kelsey Meyer, People’s Choice winner at 2019 Art Walk “This is my first time entering any art show, ever,” Meyer said. The people liked what they saw — Meyer won the event’s People’s Choice award for her digital floral art. For the past 20 years, Carole Kauber has been exhibiting her abstracts landscapes, entering competitions and selling in galleries. Juror Kelsey Ann Scharf liked what she saw and awarded Kauber Best of Show honors for the 27th Art Walk from the 30 or so artists exhibiting work. She awarded second place to Robert Gullett, who also placed second in the People’s Choice balloting, for his highly detailed pen and ink drawings and third place to photographer Chris Burch. Scharf said of the winners “not only were they making the work but they had something to say about it.” They all had deep connections to their subjects and media.   For Kauber the connection came from living near Niagara Falls, and her love of the place and its architecture. For Burch, it was the old barns around Bowling Green.  For Gullett, it was his devotion to drawing with pen and ink. Scharf said they talked for a while about different pens. Gullet’s love of folklore is also reflected in his drawings. The Root Cellar String Band moved outside to perform. Members are, from left, Dave Strickler, Lucy Long, and Steve O’Regan. Scharf said after viewing the single examples of the artists’ work at the Wood County District Public Library, she headed out to see their displays in the downtown shops. Scharf chatted with the artists without identifying herself as the judge, “just to keep it fresh,” she said. She even ended up buying a photograph from Burch. Kauber said that she grew up in Buffalo, NY, and got her bachelor’s  degree at the University of Buffalo, before coming to Bowling Green State University to get her master’s. She ended up staying in the area, teaching art at Otsego until her retirement 10 years ago. The Bowling Green resident is inspired by the Abstract Expressionists’ approach to color. Kauber maintains her ties to realism. “Most of my abstractions are based on something concrete, but it’s abstracted enough that it’s not that obvious.” People in the library atrium await the announcement of…


Not In Our Town can’t rest in its fight against hate & injustice

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It began seven years ago with racist slurs tweeted about BGSU Black Student Union members, and racist graffiti scrawled onto an African American coach’s driveway. The Bowling Green community and campus struggled to find a strong unified response. Then the Black Student Union president adopted a simple message, “Not in My Town.” That was the beginning of a movement, with the Bowling Green community and campus joining forces to create a “Not In Our Town” organization. Other communities across the nation have done the same since 1995 when the first NIOT was born in Billings, Montana, to confront hate crimes in that city. On Thursday, the Not In Our Town Bowling Green group celebrated its sixth anniversary. “I know a lot of you have been involved from the very beginning,” Mayor Dick Edwards said. “I can’t underscore enough how grateful I am for all of you who sensed this is something that’s important.” Since then, the organization has been standing up to hate in this community and elsewhere in the world. The group has held forums on Islamophobia, Black Lives Matter, immigration, people with disabilities and police-community relationships. Not in Our Town Bowling Green has held rallies to protest policies banning immigrants, and has organized annual peace marches from downtown to the campus. And the group has led vigils for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings, the Charleston church shootings, and the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. Not In Our Town co-chair Emily Dunipace speaks the anniversary celebration. “I’d like to think it’s something that’s become ingrained in our community,” Edwards said. “It’s a determined and important effort to stamp out hate of any kind.” But the work is not done, the mayor stressed. He alluded to the recent racist attack at the Waffle House restaurant in Bowling Green. “We had a very sharp reminder of how ugly things can get, just a short time ago,” he said. “We must continue to work together and not be fragmented,” Edwards said. “Let’s celebrate, but be ever mindful we can’t rest on our laurels,” he said. “There is always work to be done. Let’s remember the Golden Rule, and practice respect for each other.” Those gathering at the anniversary celebration were asked to suggest topics for future community dialogues. Among the subjects listed were human trafficking, the relationship between the community and the police, mental illness…