Mothers turn tragedy into efforts to help others hooked on heroin

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sunday will be agonizing for sisters Kat Cordes and Lori Hanway. It will be the first Mother’s Day they spend without their children who both died from heroin overdoses. “She would have been 24 yesterday,” Cordes said of her daughter, Amanda Haas, who died in March at age 23. “We had a birthday cake for her and let balloons go.” Hanway’s son, Thomas Urhammer died in December at age 35. After years of battling heroin, both cousins lost to their fierce addictions. In an effort to find some hope in their losses, the two mothers have planned a memorial benefit and tribute to their children, this Saturday, at the Eagles Club in Bowling Green. The event will raise awareness and funding for Team Recovery, a group that helps opiate users beat their addictions. “It has to be done. It’s getting out of control,” Cordes said of the opiate epidemic. “It helps me. I feel like if I help one person turn their life around, another parent doesn’t have to go through what I did.” Earlier this week, the sisters took turns talking about their children and their heart wrenching losses as they prepared meals at A Taste of Amish Deli, owned by Hanway in Bowling Green. Cordes said Amanda first started taking heroin when she began dating someone around age 17. “It started as snorting. When that wasn’t a good enough high, they went to IV drug use,” she said. Cordes and her husband soon realized valuables were taken from their home. “I started noticing things missing to support their habits.” Gone…


Luck of the draw sends BG kindergartner to Disney

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Disney World video had the gymnasium full of children at Kenwood Elementary School glued to the screen showing costumed characters and wild rides. They had no idea that one of their school mates would be called to the stage to win a trip to the magic kingdom. Ryan Frankart, from Clubs Choice which runs the annual fundraiser at Kenwood, stopped the film and talked to the children about their efforts last year to raise funds for school technology, the school dance and fifth grade camp. Many of the children won prizes including lunch in a limousine. But Frankart had another surprise for the school on Tuesday. Each year, the fundraising company has a prize drawing covering all 40 states in which it operates. The prize – a trip to Disney World. The chances of winning – one in 75,000. When the company pulled one name, it was a Kenwood student chosen for the trip for four people over four days and three nights. The winner was kindergartner Hudson Karpuleon. When the curtain opened to the gymnasium stage, there sat Hudson’s family with Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears on their heads and balloons surrounding them. Hudson is quiet anyway. But put the kindergartner on a stage in front of 500 or so school mates, and she completely clammed up. “She’s just really shy,” said her mother, Colleen Karpuleon. Most of the questions to Hudson were met with a nod of the head and swinging legs. “It will be a totally different ballgame when you get home tonight,” her father, Steve Karpuleon predicted…


William Easterly touts the power of poor people, not experts, to address poverty

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News William Easterly believes that poor people are the key to ending poverty. He doesn’t have to look far to find a prime example in his father, Nathan William  Easterly, retired Bowling Green State University professor of biology. His father, Easterly said, came from southern West Virginia. He was 3 years old when his father died. It was the middle of the Great Depression. “It was really a heroic effort by him, his mother and his family for him to be able to climb out of that and become a professor at BGSU,” Easterly said “It was much easier for me as a professor’s kid to become a professor. That was the easy part. The hardest part was done by my father. And I’m enormously grateful to BGSU for making that possible for my father.” Easterly followed his father’s academic path, though, in economics, not biology. He chose the field because it brought together his passion for mathematics and social justice. “He got a PhD; I got a PhD,” the younger Easterly said. “He became a professor; I became a professor. He’s my role model. I really admire enormously what my father accomplished in his career. He had much further to go then I did.” His father was present Sunday, when BGSU bestowed an honorary doctorate on his son in recognition of accomplishments as one of the world’s most read, most cited and most recognized economists. Part of him still remains in Bowling Green. He stayed in town as long as he could until opportunities elsewhere forced him to leave. That included doctoral studies at…


Geologists agree more data needed on Nexus pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The probability of a local catastrophe with the proposed Nexus pipeline is quite low – but the magnitude of the damage it could cause is quite high. And Nexus engineering and geological data have failed to instill a lot of confidence with local officials. A panel of geology experts answered questions Monday from Bowling Green officials concerned about the close proximity of the proposed 36-inch natural gas pipeline to the city’s water treatment plant and water intake on the Maumee River. The geologists all agreed on one point – more study is needed before the pipeline is buried near a fault line and under the river. The panel consisted of Dr. Charles Onasch, retired professor emeritus of geology at BGSU; Dr. Andrew Kear, assistant professor of political science and environment and sustainability at BGSU; Mark Baranoski, retired geologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; and Stephen Champa, a senior hydrogeologist for Eagon & Associates. Steve Kendall, from WBGU and host of the Northwest Ohio Journal, acted as moderator. Though the council chambers was full, the bulk of the questions were asked only by Kendall. The panel discussion was arranged by Mayor Dick Edwards after City Council kept hearing a wide variety of answers to basic questions about the pipeline risks. Edwards hoped the panel could focus on the science – not propaganda from pipeline protesters or the pipeline company. But the geologists, to varying degrees, said more data is needed before science can give a stamp of approval to the pipeline. Council President Mike Aspacher asked if the pipeline poses a…


Irish duo to give listeners a taste of what’s coming to Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even though Irish piper Cillian Vallely has performed before audiences of thousands around the world, he’ll still find time after a gig to sit in at a local jam session, or seisiun. The camaraderie of those spontaneous music gatherings have become a huge part of the propagating Irish music. “You can go all over the world and go into an Irish bar and find people playing this music. There’s a common repertoire,” said Vallely, who grew up in Northern Ireland. “A lot people are not taking it up to be a performer or a top player, they take it up because they like the company.” As a member of Lunasa, called “the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” by the Irish Times, he’s now at the pinnacle of Irish music, but he still likes to sit in. Vallely, on pipes and low whistle, and Lunasa bandmate Kevin Crawford, flute and whistle, will play a free show Friday May 12 at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The concert, sponsored by local Irish group Toraigh an Sonas, is a preview for the full quintet’s performance at the Black Swamp Arts Festival on Sept. 8. There was a time, Vallely said, when the music was dying out in Northern Ireland. Then in the 1960s folk revival brought it back to public attention. His parents were catalysts in helping bring the music back. Though avocational musicians, they founded Armagh Pipers Club in 1966, taught and went on tour. A few years later Cillian was born. “I grew up in this…


Union contract bears fruit for BGSU lecturers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees had a full house for its afternoon business session Friday. Being the last meeting of the academic year, the board had approvals for tenure and promotion on its agenda. The room was packed with those faculty, their colleagues, and family. One even came via Skype from across the Atlantic. Others, however, couldn’t attend because they had final exams to give. Friday’s list was larger than usual with 81 names. That full house represents the fruit of new provisions in the university’s contract with the BGSU-Faculty Association, which sets guidelines for non-tenured track faculty to be promoted. Of the 81 on the promotion and tenure list, 23 lecturers were promoted to senior lecturer and 17 instructors were promoted to lecturer. Also, 14 associate professors were promoted to full and 27 assistant professors received tenure and promotion to associate professor. (Complete list: http://bgindependentmedia.org/faculty-celebrate-milestones-as-bgsu-trustees-act-on-promotion-tenure/) Arts and Sciences Dean Ray Craig said later that the contract has meant procedures are more uniform across the colleges. As dean he had the most names to read – 48, with 33 of those were for promotions within the NTTF ranks. General Studies Writing had the most. Over the next few years the numbers of NTTF promotions will decline, he said,  as those eligible now will have already been promoted. NTTF faculty – instructors, lecturers, senior lecturers – make up 33 percent of BGSU’s full-time faculty on the main campus. In other action from the trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee, the full board approved the merger of the departments of German, Russian, East Asian Languages and…


Water & sewer district eyes BG as expanded water source

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the water wars continue in Toledo, the Northwestern Water and Sewer District is looking for the best partner to do business with in the region. The more officials study the issue, the better Bowling Green water looks. “What we’re seriously looking at now is Bowling Green,” NWSD Executive Director Jerry Greiner said Sunday during an open house at the district headquarters located on Ohio 582 between Bowling Green and Perrysburg. Bowling Green’s value in water services rose to the surface nearly three years ago when the algal bloom crisis prevented Toledo water users from consuming their water. Bowling Green’s water had no problems. Since then, concerns about Toledo’s water quality and expense has led many areas of the region to reconsider their contracts with Toledo. In addition to large surcharges, surrounding communities are also being forced into tax sharing agreements if Toledo water leads to economic development. “That’s sometimes difficult to swallow,” Greiner said. The dissatisfaction has led to a great deal of study on alternative water sources – with Bowling Green being one of the options. Earlier this year, Waterville switched over to Bowling Green water. Now the water source is being eyed by three other regions – the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, Perrysburg and Maumee. According to Greiner, Bowling Green currently has enough water capacity at its existing plant to supply one of the three entities. To supply more, the city would need to expand its plant, Greiner said. And the Bowling Green reservoir space has to expand regardless of whether or not more customers are added, he…


BG community band celebrates with a lot of help from its friends

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green Area Community Band called in the Marines to help celebrate the band’s 10th year. Saturday night, 10 years to the day of the band’s first concert, the BG ensemble, directed by Thom Headley and Catherine Lewis, hosted two other community bands The North Coast Concert Band, directed John Kustec, and the Defiance College Community Band, directed by Scott Rogers and Catherine Booth. And to help conduct all those musicians the hosts invited Capt. Ryan Nowlin, one of the leaders of what’s considered the world’s greatest concert band, the U.S. Marine’s Washington D.C. band, “The President’s Own.” And if that wasn’t enough as a guest soloist, they invited Amy Horn, a 30-year veteran of that band, as French horn soloist. From the opening National Anthem, done by the Defiance band in the Marine Band arrangement to the curtain call of “God Bless America,” taken at brisk tempo, the event was  celebration not just of BG Area Community Band, but to the American band tradition. There were stops at picturesque places and fittingly tributes some Ohio band directors. Aside from the introductions each piece, the assembled musicians let the music do the talking, and it spoke in volumes, even when playing hushed passages. The spectrum of the American band was represented from its pinnacle in the persons of Nowlin and Horn. Nowlin conducted a number with all three bands and the finale when all 200 musicians crowded on the Performing Arts Center stage. Each band also played one of his compositions. Horn soloed on “Hunter’s Moon” with the BG band. The piece was…


Wood County to direct growth with new land use plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The new Wood County Land Use Plan does more than give lip service to organized development – it’s added some teeth. Recently the Wood County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the new land use plan, which will direct growth to areas with the roads, waterlines and sewer lines to handle it – while maintaining the agricultural and natural areas that are also important to the county. “It’s nice because you have zoning, and zoning is great for directing growth, said Dave Steiner, director of the county planning commission. But the land use plan takes it a step further. “Without a plan, you don’t have something to fall back on.” So if a developer wants to rezone some acreage in the middle of prime farmland for industrial use, the land use plan helps back up the rejection by the county and townships, Steiner said. The plan takes into consideration the latest census information, demographics and development. The plan also looks at “reinvestment areas,” where previous development has “fallen by the wayside” and may need a jumpstart with brownfield development, Steiner said. And the plan defends agricultural areas that are still vital to the county’s economy. The county had outgrown the last land use plan, which had been adopted in 2007. “It was not nearly as comprehensive as this one,” Steiner told the commissioners. The guiding principles of the land use plan are as follows: Support sustainable land use and development patterns, and identify and protect natural and environmental resources. Protect prime agricultural land and support agricultural production. Target economic development areas to support…


Remember BGSU & what it stands for, Coast Guard rear admiral tells graduates

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Rear Admiral June Ryan the path that led her to the Coast Guard was illuminated by the light of a television screen. She saw an advertisement for the Coast Guard at 3 in the morning – “the only time the Coast Guard can afford to advertise.” It featured the Midgett family from North Carolina’s Outer Banks who had members who served in the Coast Guard since before the Revolution. She decided she wanted to start her own tradition. As a sophomore at Bowling Green State University, she enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve as a junior boatswain’s mate. Once a month she would report to the lighthouse at Marblehead, a lighthouse rich with history. It is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the United States side of the Great Lakes. It had the first female lighthouse keeper and is near the site of one of the first rescues honored by the Gold Lifesaving Medal. Her career ended up taking her around the world, serving presidents as a military aide, and meeting world leaders, before returning to the Midwest in 2015 as the commander for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. In introducing the 1984 biology graduate at Saturday morning’s BGSU commencement ceremonies, Provost Rodney Rogers noted she was the first woman to rise from the junior enlisted ranks to become a flag officer. Ryan offered the graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences “four observations that led to my success and could lead to yours.” “Remember BGSU,” she said. The “B” stands for beacon, she said. “Be a beacon for others,”…


New Cocoon can shelter more survivors of violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The tour of the new Cocoon shelter was personal for some of those getting their first look Sunday at the safe place for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As a counselor, Joan Staib worked with a girl who saw her mom stabbed to death by her father. “I could tell you 60 stories of women impacted by domestic violence,” Staib said as she toured the new Cocoon. Places like this, she said, can help prevent the violence or help survivors deal with the aftermath. “The healing can be awesome,” she said. The tour was also personal for Becca Ferguson. Her mother was the victim of domestic violence, at a time when there were few services to help. “Her attorney told her to get in a car and drive to Florida,” from her home in Georgia, Ferguson said. “Violence toward women is a problem everywhere, including Bowling Green and Wood County,” Ferguson said as she stood in the kitchen of the new Cocoon. “I firmly believe we need safe places everywhere, especially for women and children.” The new Cocoon site, located in the former Elks Club at 200 Campbell Hill Road, will include living spaces for those in emergency situations. The shelter portion is scheduled to be open later this month. The building will also have advocacy services for victims of violence who need help navigating the court system, learning financial management skills, and other services. The new site, under director Michelle Clossick, allows all the services and sheltering to be in one location. The shelter portion of the site will be…


BGSU trustees okay money & authority for university to buy adjacent properties

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees Friday again gave approval and money to the administration to purchase adjacent properties as they come on the market. That can be done if the university needs the land for development or to improve the aesthetics around the campus. Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance, said during the morning informational meeting that the limited authority to purchase real estate dates back to 2003. The authority is renewed every two years. The authorization is for up to $1 million. The most recent purchases were two houses on the corner of East Wooster and College and two houses on Troupe Street. The houses on Troupe Street have been turned into places where forensic science students can student crime scene procedures. Stoll said sometimes when a house “is deemed not in horrible condition,” it can renovated and used as temporary housing for faculty or staff. Only one house is now being so used. Otherwise as is the case of the two houses on East Wooster they are torn down. She said will plant grass and leave the lots as green space “until such time we have some use for that.” In the past two years the university has spent $631,000 using the limited authority, she said. Board Chair David Levey, in his last meeting as a trustee, encouraged Stoll to buy up whatever became available. While the university’s side of East Wooster has really been cleaned up, nothing has been done across the street. That makes a poor first impression. Levey, a housing developer, said he was struck by…


Overall voter turnout 11.2% for local primary election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voter turnout in Wood County for Tuesday’s primary election was a weak 11.2 percent. That means nearly 90 percent of the registered voters left the fate of the Bowling Green City School’s income tax renewal and the city council candidate race up to the few people who showed up at the polls. Of the 38,424 registered voters in the areas of Wood County with items on the ballot, just 4,302 voted. The low turnout means that two Green Party candidates made it into the November election by getting just 41 and 31 votes. It’s not that voters didn’t have opportunities to cast their ballots. Early voting was offered 30 days prior to Tuesday’s election. The Wood County Board of Elections was open every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The week prior to the election, the hours were extended to 7 p.m., and the office was open last Saturday and Sunday for voters. The exact voter turnout in Bowling Green is not calculated by the board of elections, since the primary election had issues in Bowling Green, the Bowling Green school district area, Henry Township, Jerry City, Tontogany, and Rossford school district. But it is known that overall, the turnout was 11.2 percent. “That’s a pretty low percentage,” even for a primary election, said Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. The turnout in some ways is disappointing to Burton. “The democracy side of me says I wish people participated in the process,” he said. “We go through the same process, no matter how many vote.” The last…


Latta’s health care vote leaves some constituents feeling sick

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Congressman Bob Latta said the nation needs rescuing from the “disaster that is Obamacare.” So on Thursday he became one of the 217 Republicans who voted to push out the Affordable Care Act to replace it with the American Health Care Act. The vote was followed by cheers from Republican members of Congress who had promised for seven years that they would get rid of the ACA. “It’s very evident that Obamacare is failing the American people, and its problems continue to grow,” Latta posted on his website. “The promises of Obamacare have been thoroughly broken, and the problems it has foisted on hardworking families can’t be ignored.” “Constituents in my district have told me about skyrocketing premiums, difficultly using their insurance, and the lack of choices they face thanks to Obamacare,” Latta stated. But many constituents in Wood County were left wondering Thursday if Latta listened at all to their concerns. Those citizens, who support the ACA, peacefully protested each week outside the congressman’s Bowling Green office. They wrote countless letters and made countless phone calls. The local citizens pleaded to be heard. They begged for a chance to meet with Latta. But on Thursday, he voted without a single town hall meeting on the health care issue. Some constituents did receive letters back from Latta – but they were identical form letters mailed out months after the local residents sent letters voicing their concerns. “In his bogus form letter that many of you received, he wrote that premiums would go down 10 percent under the new plan and…


Recreation center gets funky & functional glass mosaic

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Artist Gail Christofferson is proud of her most recent work. While being interviewed near the track on the second floor of the Bowling Green Recreation Center, she asks those passing by what they think of the new glass mosaic above the lobby. The walkers approve. Christofferson shares that sense of pride with hundreds of others. Almost 800 Bowling Green residents, kids through seniors, had a hand in creating those 40 glass quilt squares. They helped sort and trim the bits of glass and place them within the designs. Those designs were created not just by Christofferson, but also by Bowling Green High art students, the Conneaut Art Club and members of the Black Swamp Quilters Guild. On Tuesday, May 9, at 4 p.m. a celebration of the installation will be held. Those “funky quilt squares” were appropriate for the project, Christofferson said. “A quilt was made by the community. It was an heirloom that was valued. I like that concept.” And like a quilt, the mosaic is functional art. Parks and Recreation Director Kristen Otley approached Christofferson about creating the mosaic to help moderate the sunlight that would pour into the lobby at certain times of the day during mid-summer. Those rays left those working at the front desk literally blinded by the light. The “funky quilt” idea worked because the artist wasn’t sure how many mosaic panels she’d have to work it. Besides forming the artistic vision, she had to martial the community forces to work on it. Christofferson said she could have done the work herself, but having the community involved was…