Harshman Quad’s days are numbered

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University trustees Friday (Dec. 8) approved the demolition of Harshman. The dorm has long been on the list of buildings to raze, and the trustees’ action Friday gave final approval. However, Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance, said that the project is proving to be more expensive than originally thought. Her initial estimate to trustees was about $1.5 million. The resolution approved Friday pegs the cost of the project at $2.3 million. Stoll held out the possibility that the project may be even more expensive. “It’s not a simple building to take down,” she said. Harshman has four distinct wings around a central, circular structure. “We may be pretty far off from what this estimate is,” Stoll said. If the bid comes in at 10 percent more than the projected cost, a Plan B will have to be developed, she said. What that plan may look like she wasn’t sure. Harshman still houses call centers for fundraising campaigns. Those are expected to be moved to 400 East Poe Road in February. Once those are relocated, bids will go out and the university will proceed with the demolition. The goal is to…


KKK history in Wood County unmasked by BGSU prof

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When the Ku Klux Klan took root in Wood County in the early 1920s, the members wore the traditional white robes and hoods, but there was little secrecy about their activities. There was no need to conceal their hatred since the membership roster included many local politicians, businessmen and ministers. Every Ohio county in the 1920s had an active Klan group, according to Michael E. Brooks, author of the book, “The Ku Klux Klan in Wood County, Ohio.” “Wood County is not particularly unique in having a history of the KKK,” said Brooks, a historian who teaches at BGSU. “What is unique is that the records survived.” Included in those records is a membership ledger that was reportedly rescued from a burn pile in 1976. The ledger, which is included in Brooks’ book, reads like a “Who’s Who” of Wood County, with familiar surnames recorded from every community. Brooks explains that economic uncertainty in the 1920s was one of the most significant factors in the rise of the reborn KKK in Ohio. Newspapers told of historically high unemployment rates, declining farm incomes and sluggish postwar economic growth. Membership records in the Center…


Earl returns in Tom Lambert’s second book

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Despite the big tell at the end of his first book, “Living with Earl,” Tom Lambert is not done with his quirky character. The first book, a series of vignettes that started as Facebook posts, told the story of a character very much like Lambert and his relationship with a convivial stranger who dresses and acts like Mark Twain. Tom refuses to call him Mark or Sam, for Sam Clemens, Twain’s given name, instead calls him “Earl,” since the character described himself as “the Earl of prose.” The book is a breezy read, with veins of humor and wisdom, and it takes a heart-felt turn in the end. Lambert said after the first book he heard from people who wanted to know what happened to Earl. Lambert posted a couple letters from Earl that whetted readers’ appetites. He now has the sequel “Dying with Earl” in hand, and ready for purchase. On Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. he’ll celebrate the new book with a reading and reception at the Wood County District Public Library. Lambert hit on the title before he really got down to work on the second book. Not only was…


Winners crowned in Competitions in Musical Performance at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Last week 87 students from the College of Musical Arts each had their eight minutes in the spotlight to vie for a chance to perform as a soloist with the Bowling Green Philharmonia. The instrumentalists and vocalists were part of the largest field ever for the Competitions in Musical Performance at Bowling Green State University, said  Caroline Chin, who teaches violin at the school and coordinated the event this year. In the preliminaries, the students performed for a panel of five outside judges. On Saturday, the eight finalists, four each in the undergraduate and graduate divisions, returned for a full reading of their selections, for a new panel of six judges. Those selected to perform on the Feb. 25 concert with the orchestra are: undergraduates Andrew Hosler, alto saxophone, and Zhanglin Hu, piano, and graduate students Kyle McConnell, trombone, and Caroline Kouma, soprano. Also, Kory Reeder won the composition award for “The Location of Lines.” The piece will be performed by the Philharmonia in October during the New Music Festival. Rhys Burgess received the Virginia Marks Collaborative Piano Award. Burgess, a student of Laura Melton, performed with three students during the competition and all…


BG doesn’t want state to pocket local income tax

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After losing chunks of state funding over the last decade, Bowling Green officials don’t plan to sit still as more local funding is siphoned away. Municipalities across Ohio are suing the state over an income tax collection change that city officials call unconstitutional. The change would allow businesses to file income tax returns with the state rather than with the city where the businesses are located. The Ohio Department of Taxation would process the returns and distribute the money back to local governments – but only after pocketing a 1 percent fee for the service. “We can do it in-house for under that amount,” Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said. The change is set to take effect Jan. 1. State officials have said the change will save businesses time and money by streamlining the process of collecting more than $600 million in municipal income taxes paid by Ohio businesses each year. The change is also being promoted as a way to make the state more friendly to businesses that have locations in more than one Ohio community. But municipal officials have said giving up the processing of tax returns will…


BG’s Bachman recognized as champion for women

Bowling Green’s Evelyn Bachman has been recognized for her work as a champion for women. Bachman been named as one of two nominees from this region of the country for the highest award given by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The Jennie Award is the national General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ highest award presented to an individual member in recognition of exemplary and extraordinary commitment to family, community and beyond. Bachman is the immediate past president of the Bowling Green GFWC. During her term as president, the club was at a critical time having just sold its clubhouse. “She transitioned the club into one that is more active and more engaged in the community,” GFWC current president Melanie Stretchbery wrote in her endorsement of Bachman. “During her tenure as president, our club gained 27 new members, and although we have a membership chair, it was largely through Evie’s leadership, encouragement and seeking out members of the community that this growth took place,” Stretchbery said. Bachman hosted special events to welcome new members and assigned a member of the club to be a “mentor” to each new member. According to Stretchbery, Bachman has spent her career engaging in her community…


County to set up 10 full-time recycling drop-off sites

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Rural Wood County residents will no longer have to store recyclables in their garages or cart them around in their cars to recycling centers far from home. On Thursday, the Wood County Commissioners approved plans to offer full-time recycling drop-off at 10 locations throughout the county. “We know everyone’s excited about having recycling 24/7,” Kelly O’Boyle, Wood County assistant administrator, said Friday. The new recycling drop-off sites will not require sorting of items, including plastic bottles, office paper, newspaper, aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, magazines and glass. Those areas in line to get permanent recycling locations are: Bloomdale and Perry Township Grand Rapids Jackson Township and Hoytville Jerry City, Cygnet, Portage, Portage Township and Rudolph Milton Township and Custar Pemberville Perrysburg Township Stony Ridge Tontogany and Washington Township Weston The North Baltimore recycling site will remain open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The Bowling Green Recycling Center and NAT near Bradner both already operate as 24/7 drop-off locations. “Our goal is to provide the best service at the lowest cost.  We believe the ability to accept mixed recyclables will provide ease of use to our residents and likely the ability…


BGSU hopeful new tax on grad students will get cut in conference

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A provision in the House version of proposed federal tax bill to tax graduate students on the value of their tuition waivers, and that could be devastating for those students. The tax plan has passed both the House and the Senate, and now a conference committee is hashing out the difference in those two bills. The Senate removed the provision about taxing graduate school waivers, which they receive in recognition of the work they do on campus. It stayed in the House bill, however, prompting protests from around the country. President Mary Ellen Mazey told the Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate that’s she’s been actively lobbying legislators both on her own and through other higher education groups, to remove the provision. She sees signs that the new tax will be excised from the budget. “We’re moving in the right direction.” U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) has signed onto a letter that calls for the waivers to remain tax-free, according to his communications director Drew Griffin.  Latta has expressed his concerns about the provision to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is on the conference committee, Griffin said. Dean of the Graduate College…


BGSU to offer first year students four-year tuition guarantee

By DAVID DUPONT BG independent News Students entering Bowling Green State University will know what their costs will be for their next four years on campus thanks to the new Falcon Tuition Guarantee approved by the Board of Trustees Friday. Sheri Stoll, BGSU chief financial officer, said the plan will allow families to know ahead of time what their costs will be. The guarantee will only apply to the class coming in fall, and each subsequent class. The guarantee is for four years, though extensions for programs that require more than 122 credit hours to complete will be available. Covered by the guarantee are tuition, room and board, mandatory fees, and out-of-state surcharge fees. Among the items not covered are any optional fees, such as legal, green, and media fees, fees for high cost programs, such as aviation, or study abroad. Parking permits and fines are also not covered. Fees related to clubs and extracurricular activities are also not included. Stoll said she was initially “cautious” about the prospect of the guarantee. “I’m starting to feel some excitement,” she said. “For our families this could be a good thing. The unpredictability is something they struggle with.” The legislature has been…


Mazey announces she’s stepping down at the end of the year

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey announced today that she will step down as of Dec. 31. She plans to continue in another role at BGSU. “I can’t get a new wardrobe,” said Mazey, who always dresses in orange and brown. In the past she has said that she would stay until the current capital campaign is completed, and told the Board of Trustees that she would do whatever is needed to help reach the $200 million goal. The announcement came at Friday’s meeting of the BGSU Board of Trustees. Mazey, 68, has been president for six years. The trustees named Provost Rodney Rogers to be interim president. Trustee Betty Montgomery said that she had told the trustees before she would retire, and “we said ‘no.’” Mazey said that last year she floated the idea of retiring a year early. Her contract runs through 2019. In announcing her decision, Mazey said the death earlier this fall of Steve Krakoff, the vice president for Capital Planning and Campus Operations, got her thinking.  Krakoff in his work on the campus master plan “literally built the future of BGSU’s future.” She reflected what has been…


McOmber served as trusted guide on BG City Council

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the lone Republican on Bowling Green City Council, Bob McOmber could have easily been a pariah, with his comments getting the cold shoulder from his Democratic counterparts. But those attending City Council meetings quickly learn that when McOmber speaks, the heads on council turn his way. Whether talking about budgets or garbage bins, his words are measured and methodical. As he retires at the end of the month after 12 years on City Council, he leaves a legacy steeped in compromise, with no tolerance for political grandstanding or sitting on the fence. When the city faced a $625,000 deficit in its 2017 general fund, McOmber led the way out of the budget hole. Council had several options to plug the hole, including the trash collection fee which was ultimately selected as the best option. “I feel good about how that was handled,” McOmber said. “I purposely wanted it to be a group decision – a consensus among all of us. It could have been a very acrimonious decision. But it was a solid decision – rationally based.” When the city was working to pass two anti-discrimination ordinances in the 2010 election,…


BGSU dancers kick up their heels in Footfalls

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At last night’s dress rehearsal for Footfalls, the annual dance concert, spirits were high. Dancers took turns being on stage and in the audience, and the performers couldn’t have asked for more enthusiastic fans. By the time the dancers from the Jazz 2 class closed out the program, the other dancers were whooping and cheering them on. Set to a 98 Degrees holiday tune, the dancers cavorted in front of a Christmas tree. Everybody was in the spirit. Everyone has the chance to share the fun when Footfalls, takes the stage at 222 Eppler North tonight (Thursday, Dec. 7) and Friday at 8 p.m. on the BGSU campus. Tickets are $5 at the door. The program features performances by students in the programs five classes in jazz, modern, tap and ballet as well as work created by students in the choreography. Those students, explained Colleen Murphy, a lecturer in the program, are responsible for the entire process. Choreographing the dance, designing the lighting, selecting dancers, choosing the music, and arranging rehearsals. Almost all used modern dance techniques. The outlier was Sarah Drummer who took a more ballroom approach. Drummer, a double major in theater…


More fitness sites drain dollars from Community Center

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The competition from other fitness sites in the city may be leading to some thin pass sales at the Bowling Green Community Center. “It just boggles my mind that we don’t have more people in there. It’s such a marvelous facility,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said during the monthly Park and Recreation Board meeting Tuesday evening. Pass sales so far this year at the community center total $169,114. That’s a drop from last year’s pass sales at this time totaling $196,070. The number of passes sold this year is 1,134 – 215 fewer than last year at this time. Each month this year, the numbers have shown a drop. “I’ve been concerned with the figures we get every month from parks and recreation,” City Council member Sandy Rowland said. A task force has been set up to study how community center membership might be increased, how visibility can be improved, and how the appearance can be updated. On that task force are park and rec board president Jeff Crawford and board member Cale Hover. “It’s going to affect revenue if we don’t do some things,” Hover said. The mayor, who recently…


Family values at the heart of star sport broadcaster Jay Crawford’s life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The first image Jay Crawford flashed on the student union ballroom screen Tuesday night was one of him on his graduation day in 1987. Here he was in all his 22-year-old finery, gold necklace visible because his shirt collar was unbuttoned, and long locks hanging underneath his mortar board. The image was a fitting introuction to his talk “You Can Get There from Here,” in which he talked about his journey from Bowling Green State University to a tiny TV station in Hazard, Kentucky, and over 30 years all the way to ESPN’s flagship show SportsCenter.  That “really groovy picture of me,” he said, caught him on the first step of his journey. In the talk the Sandusky native offered advice and encouragement to students about how to pursue a career. That photo also introduced an important undercurrent to Crawford’s success story. He was flanked by his parents. “The people on left and right had an undying faith and belief in me,” he said. They worked hard to put him through college debt-free. “It was my job to never let them down,” Crawford said.  “I want my parents to be proud of me. I…


New City Park building to help celebrate ‘life moments’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The aging Veterans Building in City Park has seen its share of “community life moments.” The building has hosted generations of birthday parties, baby showers, wedding receptions and family reunions. It has witnessed square dancing lessons, euchre game nights, and pint size proms. But its days are numbered, with its crumbling block walls, leaks, lack of air conditioning, and lack of ADA accessibility. There is no storage space, so tables and chairs are stacked in the open. There are holes that let varmints inside – including a skunk that visited during a recent rental. In order to continue offering a place for “community life moments,” the city is preparing for the sale of $3.75 million in bonds that will pay for tearing down three old buildings and constructing one new facility in City Park. On the demolition list in addition to the Veterans Building, are two much smaller structures – the Girl Scout Building and the Depot Building – all near the entrance to City Park. On Tuesday evening, the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board got another look at the initial plans for the new building, which will have adequate space…