New city building study to see if senior center structure can be saved

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green found an answer to its need for more city administration space in the neighboring senior center. But the question now is whether or not some of the historic senior center can be preserved as it becomes part of a new city administration building. Years ago, the Bowling Green city administration offices outgrew their space at 304 N. Church St. And now that the Wood County Senior Center is building a new facility on South Grove Street, the city will soon have access to that neighboring property that it already owns at 305 N. Main St. On Monday, the city’s board of public utilities will discuss a resolution putting money toward a study of a new city building. Part of that feasibility study will evaluate the existing senior center, located directly to the east of the city building. The study will examine if that structure, which was formerly a U.S. Post Office, can be preserved in some form as it becomes part of a new city building. “We’re keeping an open mind, seeing what the experts recommend,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said on Friday. “We’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with.” The feasibility study will examine the three structures owned by the city on that block – the city administration building, the senior center, and a house recently acquired by the city at 316 N. Church St. Property owned by the city is outlined in red, and includes the city administration building at 304 N. Grove St., a house at 316 N. Grove St., and the county senior center at 305 N. Main St. The city administration building started its life more than a century ago as a school. It then was turned into a library, and in 1976 became the city administration building. The result is a 17,000 square foot building with cramped offices, maze-like spaces and cobbled together technology. But after years of discussion, the solution turned up right next door. In 2017, city officials announced that property at 140 S. Grove St. would be donated to the Wood County Senior Center for a new facility. That means the city would then have the entire stretch between North Main Street and North Church Street for a more spacious and modern city administration building. The location would also satisfy the desire held by Mayor Dick…


The promise & threat of cannabis discussed at BGSU public health symposium

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Cannabis offers a promise for addressing forms a dementia, a researcher said recently at a public health symposium at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Norbert Kaminski, a researcher from Michigan State University, has studied possible use of cannabinoids in treating the dementia that arises in HV/AIDS patients, and that may extend to other diseases that affect the brain. Milan Karna, of the Wood County Prevention Coalition Milan Karna and Kyle Clark, from the Wood County Prevention Coalition, issued a strong warning that the use of marijuana itself was a danger to the minds and bodies of local youth. Both presentations were part the public health symposium on the topic: “Is Marijuana Good for Public Health?” That question almost caused Kaminski to decline the invitation to speak. He’s a researcher, and is not interested in issuing judgments. Kaminski was the Ned Baker Keynote Speaker. “I don’t care what therapeutic agent you have, it will have its beneficial effects as well as detrimental effects. I don’t know any therapeutic agent that doesn’t have those properties,” he said. “As a scientist I don’t think about cannabinoids as recreational. I think that they may be able to help people who have various illnesses.” THC has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers found that this helped to fight the inflammation in the brain of those suffering from AIDS hat caused dementia. AIDS patients first took cannabis medically as an appetite stimulant.  The inflammation in the brains of AIDS patients, Kaminski said, is similar to that found in those suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, and other neurodegenerative diseases.  “There’s a  potential that some of these cannabinoid compounds that we’re studying may help individuals with those conditions as well,” Kaminski said. “It’s not a cure. It would just slow the progression of those diseases.”  Karna said that tobacco and alcohol companies once used health claims to market their products. Cannabis has been cited as a treatment for more than 20 conditions, according to Kaminski. Medicinal properties of hemp were first noticed in the first century AD in China. Karna showed a documentary video where someone went online and consulted with a doctor who gave him a prescription for medical marijuana and the drug was delivered to his door within an hour. That ease of access is troubling, said Clark. Increased access leads to increased use by youth. He compared it to the opioid epidemic that…


BG Council votes to buy downtown property for parking, restrooms, Four Corners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council voted Monday to move ahead with buying land to create more metered parking downtown, provide restrooms for Wooster Green, and preserve the location of the Four Corners Center. Council approved an ordinance for the issuance of $890,000 in bonds for buying four parcels of land on South Church and South Main streets. “These are all things necessary to keep our downtown moving forward,” said council member Bruce Jeffers after the vote. The purchase covers four properties. One parcel is at 119 S. Church St., located just south of the police station. The former Huntington Bank Branch location has been closed for several years, but has drive-up ATM units. The city is interested in building restrooms there that will serve those using Wooster Green as well as visitors to the downtown area. In addition, the location has been eyed by the city for years as property that could be used to expand the police station. While there are no immediate plans for an expansion, the addition of an improved safety dispatch center is one of the city’s long-term capital plans. The out-of-state owner of this property recently contacted city officials to discuss the building. The landowner also owns a nearby parking area behind Ben’s and the building at 130 S. Main St. – the current home of the Four Corners Center. Four Corners downtown While city officials are not interested in owning the Four Corners Center building, they recognize the community value of that site. Located there are the Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown BG, and Economic Development office. The lease for that building expires on Dec. 5, 2020. So, by acquiring the LLC that owns the building and holds the lease, the city can take ownership of the lease – ensuring no changes for the tenants. City officials then plan to sell that building prior to its lease expiring, with a provision that the Four Corners Center be given a lease arrangement for the building with a rental amount set. The cost for the mini-bank area, parking lot behind Ben’s, and building at 130 S. Main St. will be $730,000. Also being sold are the building at 123 S. Church St., currently housing Bowling Green Mirror and Glass, owned by the Bortel family, plus the parking lot to the west of that building. An unspecified downtown…


Annual walk gives art lovers a chance to check out local wares

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News In an effort to make it easier for visitors to check out the exhibitors in the 2019 Art Walk, the organizers turned to the library. Each of the artists of the artists who will have their work judged will display a favorite piece in the Wood County District Public Library, which will be the focal point of this year’s event. That, said Tony Vetter, executive director of Downtown Bowling Green, will give viewers a chance to look at the entire field, and then head out to find their favorite artists who will be exhibiting their wares as usual in shops throughout the downtown. That way they’ll be able to plan to get out to some of the displays on the edge of the downtown. Art Walk 2019 will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a reception and awards ceremony to follow in the library at 3:30 p.m.  The Bowling Green Arts Council and Downtown BG are partners in presenting Art Walk. More than 30 artists have signed up for the show. The show’s judges will base their decisions on the work exhibited in the library, Vetter said. Winners will receive cash prizes. People’s Choice Awards will also be presented. Work by artists from local schools will also be displayed in store fronts throughout the downtown. Vetter is hoping the shorter show hours mean people will have a little more energy at the end of the day to come and participate in the reception. The reception will feature grazing stations with food provided by Qdoba and Kabob-It. Pianist Mary Claire Miller, a Bowling Green State University student, will play the library’s Steinway grand. Music will be a part of Art Walk, Vetter said. This year it will be concentrated in specific venues. Local bands will play in Grumpy Dave’s, upstairs above Easy Street Cafe. Details are still being worked out for students from BGSU to perform. The changes are a way of fine tuning an event now in its 27th year. Community members have been invited to decorate metal gnomes. Seventeen of the gnomes have been distributed, and they’ve started coming back into the Downtown BG office, upstairs in the Four Corners building. “It blew me away what they did with them,” Vetter said. Decorators have until Monday to return their creations. The gnomes will be raffled off….


BG woman urges community to join trash cleanup in city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News One night as Megan Reedy walked home from her job as manager of Downtown bar in Bowling Green, she picked up a plastic shopping bag on the ground. As she continued her walk home, she picked up litter along her route. By time she arrived home, the bag was full. Reedy would like to invite other Bowling Green residents to join her in a “Be Green” trash pickup on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “I see a mess here in town, and it needs to be picked up,” she said. Those people wanting to help can meet in Ridge Park, where Reedy will have supplies collected for the community cleanup. Businesses have donated trash bags, buckets and rubber gloves. The city is providing neon safety vests for volunteers, and has offered to have two dumpsters set up in the park. “With Earth Day right around the corner, I think it would be a cool way to get the community together,” Reedy said. “This town needs a little TLC.” The pickup will be held regardless of the weather, she said. “We’re still going for it,” even if it’s raining. Reedy is not someone who can walk past a discarded fast food bag or beer can. “There’s an ancient proverb that says we don’t inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children,” she said. “I’ve loved the planet my whole life,” Reedy said. “My childhood best friend used to call me ‘Nature Girl.’” Reedy said she is sometimes encouraged by the efforts of others to not trash the environment. She recently saw a cardboard box in the middle of a Bowling Green street, and was ready to retrieve it when she saw a motorist stop to pick up the box. “It would be cooler if people just stopped littering,” but at least some citizens are trying to pick up, she said. Reedy supports potential plans for a single-use plastic bag ban or tax in Bowling Green. “They definitely impact the environment. They get in our waterways,” she said of the bags. “Go for it,” she said of possible city legislation. The plastic shopping bags weren’t invented until the 1960s, she said. “We survived without them then.” Reedy will welcome any amount of help citizens can offer – they don’t have to pick up trash the entire five-hour period on…


Choral Society performs Evensong service for Good Friday

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News As night approaches in England, the ancient cathedrals come alive with the sound of Evensong. Every day of the year at late afternoon, these services, less than an hour long, give praise, mostly with music, and with two readings appropriate to the season. The University Choral Society, directed by Mark Munson, will present an Evensong service for Good Friday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in First United Methodist Church. Michael Gartz, who will be the organist, said Evensong dates back to 1610 with the introduction of the King James Bible and the English prayer book. The order of the service has remained the same and that’s how it will be performed Friday. Munson will offer a brief introduction to those attending to give them a sense of what will occur. Mark Bunce sings as Mark Munson conducts the Intrit in the vestibule of First United Methodist Church. Evensong is infrequently performed in the United States. As organist at St. Timothy’s in Perrysburg Gartz has presented a few, and Trinity Episcopal in Toledo, his home church when he was growing up and early in his career, has offered Evensong services on special occasions. Gartz said his greatest exposure comes from attending Royal School of Church Music conferences in New Jersey during summers dating back to 1971. Cathedral organists from England would come over, and choirmasters would bring their boys choirs. The conference would culminate in an Evensong service  at St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Starting in 1989, singers from Trinity in Toledo, under the direction of Jim Metzler, traveled to England to sing. This led to the formation of Canterbury Singers USA. That ensemble travels to England during the summer and winter breaks when English choirs are on vacation. Mark and Tina Bunce, of Bowling Green, traveled to England with the Canterbury Singers and performed Evensong hundreds of time in a number of cathedrals.  Gartz who started touring with the ensemble in 2006, said he’s performed in at least 10 cathedrals. In their travels, the Bunces have sung for the 50th anniversary of VJ Day and for the 900th anniversary of Norwich Cathedral. On Friday, Mark Bunce will serve as the precentor who leads call and response sections. The Evensong has passages unfamiliar to most American choir singers. One feature is a psalm that’s chanted in speech-like patterns.  There is little…


BG Schools struggling after suicide, parent meeting planned

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green School Board heard about some tough subjects Tuesday evening – a high school student taking his life, a bomb threat at an elementary, and the need for more modulars at overcrowded schools. Counseling has been available for students and staff affected by the loss of a classmate Eric Baer, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “These events leave us with many questions, and very few answers,” Scruci said. Next week, the district plans to offer some type of program for parents, focusing on the potential signs of suicide, how to discuss the topic with children, and resources available in the community. The particulars on the meeting will be released once determined. Scruci thanked the Bowling Green Police Division for ongoing communication with the district, and Children’s Resource Center for helping provide counseling for students. The superintendent also updated the board and community on the hand-written pipe bomb threat mailed to Kenwood Elementary last week. The letter was opened after school ended for the day, and the police division had the building secured within minutes, then searched the school with a bomb-sniffing dog. The police division then provided additional security at all the schools the remainder of the week. “Bowling Green Police Division is a great partner,” Scruci said. While he praised the local emergency response, Scruci publicly criticized the comments made on Facebook by school critic Grant Chamberlain on the bomb threat. Chamberlain advised parents to remove their children from Kenwood due to the “downward spiral” of the elementary. “As if the staff of Kenwood was responsible for getting a pipe bomb threat in the mail,” Scruci said. “It is not a failing school,” the superintendent said. “This negativity serves no purpose. It’s important for the community to support and not tear down.” Scruci’s comments were met with applause from those attending the school board meeting. Also at the meeting, the board approved the leasing of two modular classrooms to ease crowding. One will be placed at Conneaut Elementary, the other at Crim Elementary. The modulars cost $1,600 per month, with the district paying $246,355 to lease them for 60 months. Board member Paul Walker questioned the need for such a long lease. But Scruci said even if the district passes a levy to build new elementary space, that won’t be ready for at least three years. “We have no guarantee what the…


BG Schools to put $40M issue on ballot for single community elementary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green Board of Education voted Tuesday evening to put a $40 million issue on the November ballot to pay for the construction of a single community elementary school. For those voters who mistake this as the same issue that failed twice before, the board stressed that is not so. This issue is for $40 million – rather than $72 million. This bond will be for 30 years – rather than 37 years. This tax will be split so half is paid with traditional income tax and half with property tax – rather than all property tax. And the district will apply for state Expedited Local Partnership Program this time around. But for those voters who think the single community elementary school has been floated before, they would be correct. Before listening to citizen comments at Tuesday’s meeting, most of the board members were leaning toward a bond issue for three separate elementary schools. But speaker after speaker asked the board to do what is right for students – and try the consolidated school with this new funding structure. Board members Ginny Stewart, Bill Clifford, Jill Carr and Norm Geer agreed. Board member Paul Walker voted no – not because he believes the three schools are better for students – but because he fears the community won’t support just one school. The audience at Tuesday’s meeting gave the board a standing ovation after the vote to put the issue on this fall’s ballot. After the last two failures of the building issue, the board formed two task forces made up of community volunteers. By voting on the funding for the facilities, the board followed the recommendation of the finance task force that worked seven months to come up with the compromise on how to best fund the building issue. By voting to use the funding to build one community elementary, the board took the recommendation of facilities task force members when they voted in January on which building option they preferred. At that meeting, 61 percent of the members voiced support for a consolidated elementary. That recommendation, however, was not presented to the school board as the final decision of the facilities task force. Instead, the task force was asked in March to vote based on which school proposal they felt the community would support. That vote was for three separate elementary schools….


Holocaust survivor Erna Gorman digs up story of her family’s horrific past

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News After taking a few sips from her water, Erna (Blitzer) Gorman, ever the grandmother, told her audience, “I wish had a bottle for each of you.” Then, she added, if anyone was feeling parched, “the bottle’s there.” “I’m healthy,” she said, drawing a laugh from those gathered in the ballroom of Bowen-Thompson Student Union Monday evening. Then the Holocaust survivor explained why she made jokes, even as she told of the horrors she and her family and other Jews endured. That helped her tell the story. Inside, Gorman said, her stomach was in knots. Hers is a story that needs to be told. Asked later how to deal with those who questioned whether the Holocaust happened, Gorman said, to respond that they had heard her story. This was the seventh year the Bowling Green State University Hillel had brought a Holocaust survivor to speak on campus.  Rachel Feldman, Hillel cultural chair, said that the Jewish organization would continue to do so as long as there are survivors to speak. Gorman, now 85 — though she claims 29 — was only a child in 1939 when she, her parents and her older sister, Suzanne, left Metz, France, near the German and Luxembourg borders to join her father’s family in Poland. That was a large extended family, led by a pious patriarch. When Hitler broke his pledge and invaded Poland, Gorman’s family headed east to Ukraine to join her mother’s parents. Gorman remembers her grandmother as a tiny woman in a white apron who baked bread. And she had “a pudgy grandfather” who would hold her in his arms. Erna Gorman concludes the program at BGSU. “My parents were aloof,” she said. “They did not have time to cuddle. They just said ‘obey.’ They didn’t have time for anything else.” A German officer, known for his hatred of Jews, arrived in Monastyriska. The Jews were pushed out to a ghetto. Those that survived the disease and hunger were pushed to another ghetto. One day Gorman’s father and all other able-bodied men were rounded up and sent into the forest where they dug a mass grave. Jews from the ghetto, including Gorman’s grandparents, were rounded up brought into the forest, told to strip and then shot, one by one.  The able bodied men were told to bury them up. When her father returned, Gorman said, she heard…


BG Council listens to citizens angered by racist attack at Waffle House

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council heard more Monday evening about the ripple effects from the racist attack at Waffle House two weeks ago. Council chambers was so full – with about 80 people there – that people had to listen from the hallway. They heard from a black woman who described her own experience of being verbally abused in a local restaurant. They heard from a Hispanic woman who wants training for business employees so they know how to handle such incidents. And they heard from a white City Council member whose voice shook with emotion as he told how one of the alleged attackers at the Waffle House was in his government class at North Baltimore High School. “I feel the sting when that’s inadequate,” council member and teacher Mark Hollenbaugh said. “There are people within our community who have values who don’t represent us,” he said. Eleven citizens took their concerns to City Council about the racial attack reported in the middle of the night on March 31. The incident started when Justin Hartford, 18, of Mount Cory, and Zarrick Ramirez, 18, of Findlay, entered Waffle House and were reportedly met with racial slurs from two other men in the restaurant. One of the men allegedly told the teens that President Donald Trump would deal with immigrants like them. Before leaving the restaurant, the men taunting the teens reportedly went over to their table and began beating them. Three employees and a customer told police the two victims did nothing to provoke the attack. Bowling Green Police Division arrested Jacob Dick, 22, North Baltimore, and Zachary Keller, 21, of Custar, for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation. Since then, two community meetings have been organized by La Conexion in an effort to come up with preventative measures to keep similar incidents from occurring in Bowling Green. “The incident deeply affected and rightly enraged” city citizens, said Beatriz Maya, leader of La Conexion. She thanked the police division for its quick response to the attack, and city leaders for speaking out against such hate crimes. “Bowling Green has taken a clear stance against hate,” Maya said. But more must be done, she told council. Maya read a list of recommendations gathered at the community meetings following the attack at Waffle House. The suggestions included: Acknowledgement that racism exists in the community, with more open…


Synesthetic Oil Spill plans psychedelic takeover of Howard’s

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News When Billy  Gruber was in high school he loved classic rock, and he loved the scene it spawned. Think the Monterey Pop Festival. Now about a decade later, he’s ready to stage his own happening on April 20, a counterculture holiday. Lighting the way will be his Synesthetic Oil Spill show. “I’ve had an idea of the pop show in my mind for a long time just because of my interest in that music and in that art scene,” he said. The Synesthetic Oil Spill 4/20 Music & Arts Takeover will be staged at Howard’s Club H from 4:20 p.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday morning. The takeover will include a full slate of bands from contemporary concert music to hip hop with all the stops along the way. All acts will perform to the swirling glow of Gruber’s old-school analog light show. Gruber, who grew up in the Dayton area, described himself as a “a kid from a corn field.” He started music in the middle school band program on percussion. “I wasn’t the greatest at sports,” he said. So he quit football to be in the marching band, and then quit wrestling to be in the pep band.  When it came time for college, he headed north to Bowling Green State University where he earned a degree in World Music with a minor in philosophy. As a hand drummer he played with Indian Opinion and Tree No Leaves, one of the bands featured on Saturday’s bill. Also performing will be former bandmate Benji Katz, a poet and rock musician, now based in Cincinnati.  Billy Gruber, Christian Michael, and JP Stebal work the light show earlier this year. (Photo by Abbey Becker/provided) After graduating in 2016, Gruber returned to Dayton where he tried to plug into the local music scene. He played some drum set, but there wasn’t much call for his specialty, auxiliary percussion.  “The lights seemed the coolest way to jam along,” he said. So he found a YouTube by Steve Pavlovsky of the Liquid Light Lab in New York City.  The materials are easy to assemble. His father is a teacher so he could get an overhead projector.  “I put on an  analog light show with overhead projectors, slide projectors and glass clock faces. You mix water and mineral oil and a little bit of colors,” he said. “I’m in…


Mike Aspacher talks about his vision for mayoral role

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Mike Aspacher may be a townie, who has served on Bowling Green City Council for 10 years, and is running unopposed for mayor. But he still wants citizens to get to know him – and vice versa. “I believe these type of meetings are really, really important,” he said last week as he held a public gathering at the library downtown. “This begins the opportunity for me to earn your trust,” Aspacher said to those gathered. But he’s earned that already, said former police chief Brad Conner. “Obviously these folks here trust him, or we wouldn’t be here right now,” Conner said. Aspacher assured residents that his governing style would not change when elected mayor. And that means using one criteria when making decisions – “What is best for the residents of Bowling Green,” he said. Aspacher referred to himself as a “proud Democrat” and a “true townie.” “I’ve never lived anywhere else, and truthfully, I’m immensely proud of that.” Still working on getting comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, Aspacher apologized for using a “script.” But no one seemed to mind “I think it’s important for you to understand who I am and where I come from,” he said. He spent 35 years working out of Local 50 plumbers and pipefitters union, before retiring last year. He has volunteered in the community with coaching ball teams, leading cub scouts, and serving on the park board, school board, and city council. Mike Aspacher answers questions. Aspacher listed what he believes are the tenets of a strong community: Responsive and transparent local government. “We certainly try to be transparent in all our decision making,” he said of council.Sound financial management. “We are challenged and continue to be challenged,” primarily by the state cuts to Local Government Funds. In spite of that, “the city is on sound financial footing,” he said.Well-trained public safety forces. Both the city’s fire and police divisions are nationally accredited. “They are comprised of the best people we can find,” and the city provides the best training and equipment possible.Efficient public works. Citizens have expectations, and the city strives to meet those, he said. “People want their trash picked up, their streets plowed. They want their city to look nice.”Good public utilities. The city’s electric, water and sewer rates are all competitive, and the services reliable. The water quality exceeds…


BG historic preservation efforts to focus on busting myths

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green officials are hoping the future of historic preservation efforts will be more fruitful than the past. The city has resurrected its plans to preserve historic structures in the community, and now has a five-person Historic Preservation Commission. The commission will work to debunk myths about historic preservation rules that doomed the first effort about five years ago. No, the city will not dictate the colors a house can be painted. Yes, the city will allow additions to historic buildings. Yes, historic structures – if no longer fit for preservation – can be torn down. Mayor Dick Edwards reintroduced plans for a commission last year to “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. Some historic homes are losing the battle against time and rental transformation – such as in the area surrounding the Wood County Courthouse, Edwards said. “It’s very painful to watch some of these very beautiful historic homes becoming rental homes,” the mayor said. Historic preservation commission members Les Barber, Reina Calderon, Greg Halamay, Gail Nader and John Sampen. The commission members, who held their first meeting recently, are Les Barber representing the First Ward, Reina Calderon of the Second Ward, Gail Nader of the Third Ward, John Sampen of the Fourth Ward, and Greg Halamay representing the downtown. 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 there 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 and very vocal objections by a few citizens about the motivation for the historic preservation commission killed the effort. City Planning Director Heather Sayler said there is great value in preserving historic buildings in a community. “We really had some issues with the myths floating around the community,” Sayler said. “It’s definitely a hot topic. It’s an important topic.” This time around, the city and the commission members…


Batman finds love at BGSU Popular Culture conference

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News In his 80 years as a super hero, Batman has captured the hearts of fans. Not just a fling, fans’ love of the Caped Crusader is a long standing affair. The arrival of about 300 scholars and Caped Crusader devotees at Bowling Green State University this weekend for the Batman in Popular Culture conference is testament to that. Tim Young, who hosts the podcast “To the Batpoles” with his brother, came from Tokyo to attend. Like others at the conference, he had his personal Batman story. Young, who teaches English, and his brother Paul, who teaches film studies at Dartmouth College, are devotees of the 1960s TV series. They watched it in reruns as kids in the 1970s. They played Batman. They collected Batman action figures. They created a Batmobile from a cardboard refrigerator crate. “It changed our lives,” Young said. That obsession helped shape their adult preoccupations. Their podcast, which they call “a research project into Batman ’66,” delves deeply into the arcana of the childhood favorite. They study scripts from the initial treatment to the final script and how it appeared to viewers across the nation. At BGSU he was surrounded by folks who shared his passion. Matthew Donahue, one of the Popular Culture faculty members who organized the conference, said the event drew presenters and attendees from around the globe, including Germany, India, and England, as well as from across the United States. The 85 presenters were there to discuss “all things Batman, everything you can imagine,” Donahue said. That included Batman in religion, politics, and philosophy, including a panel on “Batman and Structural Supervillains: Patriarchy, Capitalism, Surveillance and Imperialism in Batman’s World.” The character’s longevity has a lot to do with his appeal, Donahue said. “There’s a Batman for everybody because there’s been so many iterations of Batman over the decades.” The Caped Crusader is “a super hero anybody can be.” He is Bruce Wayne and doesn’t have super powers. Instead he uses his brain, brawn and expertise with technology to fight crime.  “So in that regard Batman relates to folks.”  Charles Coletta, also an instructor in Popular Culture, said when he and Donahue started talking about the conference he wasn’t sure there would be enough interest to draw people to BGSU. “Apparently there is,” he said.  “It shows you how rich the character is,” he said. Given all the…


Teens try to recover from assault; community tries to make sure it doesn’t happen again

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The two high school seniors assaulted at the Waffle House in Bowling Green last month are struggling to get their lives back to normal. “His nose is broken, he’s having trouble breathing regularly,” Justin Hartford said of his friend Zarrick Ramirez, 18, of Findlay. “He’s still in a lot of pain.” Hartford has bruised ribs and pain in his chest from inflammation after the attack. But worse than the physical pain is the memory of the attack that Hartford just can’t shake. “I have nightmares about it,” Hartford, 18, of Mount Cory, said on Friday. “I have really bad anxiety about going into restaurants. The other day my mom asked if I wanted to go out to eat,” but he just couldn’t do it. “It’s scary. Everywhere I go, I have to watch my back,” Hartford said. Zarrick Ramirez (left) and Justin Hartford at the skate park in BG City Park. It was nearly two weeks ago that Ramirez and Hartford walked into the Waffle House in Bowling Green around 3 a.m., and according to police reports, were met with ethnic slurs from two other customers. One of the men reportedly told the teens that President Donald Trump would deal with immigrants like them. Before leaving the restaurant, the men taunting the teens reportedly went over to their table and began beating them. Three employees and a customer told police the two victims did nothing to provoke the attack. Bowling Green Police Division arrested Jacob Dick, 22, North Baltimore, and Zachary Keller, 21, of Custar, for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation. The two men arrested for the racist attack may be the first to be charged with “ethnic intimidation” by the Bowling Green Police Division. “This is the first time I know of that we’ve used it,” Lt. Dan Mancuso said earlier this week of the law put into place in 1987. It’s not against the law to make racist comments to another person – however, making those comments while committing another crime like aggravated assault means the offense then rises to the next higher degree. “Ethnic intimidation is the only section I’m aware of in the Ohio Revised Code that deals with it directly,” Mancuso said. This is not the first racist incident involving Dick. Last December, Dick resigned from his job with the Hancock County Engineer after a video surfaced showing…