Executive tells BGSU grads that they will fail & be better because of it

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The graduates sitting before Maryrose Sylvester Friday night are much like she was 31 years ago. And she should be a model for them, said Bowling Green State University president Rodney Rogers. She’s risen through the ranks of GE to become president and CEO of Current powered by GE, And that in a male-dominated field. “Bowling Green was essential to building my foundation,” Sylvester said.  That included her grounding academically, interpersonally and ethically. She met her husband, Mike, here. He was a rugby player. As she spoke he was back in their Newton, Massachusetts home helping two of their three daughters get ready for the winter dance. Sylvester told the graduates poised to enter a world that unlike college is “messy, unpredictable, and chaotic” that they will realize at some point that they “don’t know anything.” And they will encounter failure, embarrassing, frustrating failure. This is what BGSU prepared them for. “There will be a time when you say: ‘Oh my God, I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m totally unprepared for this.’” At BGSU, “you learned how to learn. … Embrace the fact that there’s so much to learn,” she said. “Intellectual curiosity and flexibility will fuel your growth. … The day you stop learning is the day you get passed by and will be old.” She recalled her first public workplace failure. She’d studied the problem and confidently presented her solution. “My project failed in spectacular fashion.” Her co-workers’ criticism was withering, she recalled. They told her she was too young for the job and had no idea of how a factory floor worked. Her response was to cry and then get angry at herself for crying, which only made it worse.  Then she set about learning from that failure, and the failures that followed, until she was the best supply chain manager in GE. “I still fail all the time,” Sylvester said. “I’ve learned to embrace failure because I found you learn much more from failure than success.” She said life is a mosaic created from many pieces. Those were two of the five the shaped her life: “You don’t know anything” and “You’re going to fail, so get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Christian Thompson, a newly minted doctor in Media and Communication poses with faculty member Terry Rentner and Thompson’s daughters Rory, four months, and Eliza, 2. The others were: “Time is the most precious resource. Be diligent and thoughtful about how you spend yours. Don’t waste other people’s time and don’t let them waste yours.” Make sure to spend time with loved ones, the executive added.“Hard, focused work and resilience will solve most problems. You will not be able to control all the problems life throws at you, but you will be able to control the way you respond to them.”“Character matters and…


New voting machines in Wood County should be in place for next election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News When voters show up at the polls next May, they will likely be casting their ballots on new voting machines. Those new voting machines could cost up to $2.2 million – with the state picking up $1.3 million of the bill. That may sound like a lot, but it’s about half of the estimated cost of $4.2 million for the voting machines in 2017. “We were hoping it would come in lower,” and it did, said Terry Burton, assistant director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “We are continuing to try to figure out ways to get this number lower.” The voting machine package got the approval of the Wood County Commissioners on Thursday. The cost not picked up by the state will come out of the county’s general fund. The county needs an estimated 525 voting machines. They will replace the county’s 12-year old touchscreen systems. The previous ballot stations lasted 40 years, and their predecessors were the first voting systems in Wood County. “Our life expectancy is decreasing,” as technology increases, said Carol DeJong, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. The county may lease these new systems, which would cost an additional $139,000 a year and guarantee modifications as the technology changes, Burton and DeJong explained. “It’s when,” not if upgrades will be needed, DeJong said. Terry Burton and Carol DeJong, of the Wood County Board of Elections, make their pitch to the county commissioners. The goal is to have the new voting machines in place by May, so the county has two elections to work out any bugs before the presidential election year. The systems will be leased or purchased from Dominion Voting Systems, headquartered in Denver. The board of elections is continuing to look at voting precincts that can be combined into “voting centers.” In Bowling Green, for example, several precincts share voting locations at the Wood County District Public Library and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. There are some voting locations in the more rural areas of southeastern Wood County where the buildings didn’t “pass muster” for ADA accessibility by the state, DeJong said. In the November election, the county had 52 voting centers. The board of elections is looking at decreasing that to 45 in the future. That would not only require fewer voting machines, but also fewer poll workers. “We struggle every election to find 400 people countywide” to staff the polls, Burton said. Currently, there are 15 single precinct locations in the county. Some of those may be absorbed by other sites. “The rural areas are going to feel it a little more because of the miles,” Burton said earlier this year. The new voting machines will be tablets, and will work the same as the systems local voters are accustomed to using, DeJong said. They will also…


Christopher Kline brings right ingredients to new BurGers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As a 25-year veteran of the food business, Christopher Kline has plenty of experience opening restaurants. He’s welcomed customers to new eateries during a career working for Texas Roadhouse, The Cheesecake Factory, J. Alexander’s and Pizza Papalis. “But it was always for somebody else, always for other corporations, for other owners, who were making all the decisions,” Kline said, adding, “and a lot times they weren’t the right ones.” Now he’s opened his 10th place, and this one is his. Kline and his business partner and wife, Lisa, have opened BurGers — pronounced BG burgers — at 1424 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. The restaurant started serving on Friday (Dec. 14, 2018). They’ve taken over the name of the previous tenantand the kitchen equipment, that’s been closed now for two months.  But the approach is all new. Kline has wanted to open his own place for some time. With his work experience and education — a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales as well as a masters degree in business — he’d been dreaming of a steakhouse. But his hometown in Napoleon didn’t fit with that. His wife, who is the finance manager at BG Lincoln Mercury had other ideas.  “Every time he started talking about opening a restaurant, I said, ‘only in Bowling Green.’ … Bowling Green’s the best place in Ohio.” The location, right across the street from campus, is ideal, he said. “I love the food business,” Kline said. “I love what I do. So maybe it’s time to dumb down the ego and do burgers, fries, paninis, a Cuban sandwich, grill cheese.” That simple menu doesn’t mean he’s dumbed down his approach. From the quality of the beef and cheese — purchased from Belleville Brothers Market as proudly announced on the menu — to buns sturdy enough to support a juicy half-pound burger to the quality of the cleaning products, Kline is tuned into the fine details of the operation.  He selected the steak fries to buy so they will survive delivery across town, a service BurGers will offer starting in January. Yes, opening a restaurant does get easier with experience, he said. He knows what the Health Department expects. He knows about training. He knows what to worry about and what not  to. He kept the name, he said, rather than spend money on rebranding. He’d rather be spending time making all the dressings in house, including a signature honey creme mustard, that’s actually his wife’s recipe. The dressing uses a mustard that won top honors in a  Napa Valley contest. From across the room, she hollers to him not reveal more. There’s plenty more he can talk about. Like The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake that the restaurant sells, four varieties including the popular white chocolate raspberry. And the “real” Cuban sandwich with slow roasted…


BG schools task force warned about spinning its wheels

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The citizens group charged with finding the best solution for school buildings in Bowling Green was cautioned Wednesday evening to not get lost in the weeds. The facilities task force has been assigned the duty of selecting the best option for school structures. That means deciding whether the district should renovate existing buildings, build new ones, or do a combination of the two. They are also to determine the best locations for the buildings – on existing school sites or a new campus. The school facilities task force doesn’t need to design the buildings – only decide which building option is the best fit for the community, according to the task force facilitators from the firm of Fanning Howey, architects Steve Wilczynski and Dan Obrynba, plus former school superintendent Tim Hamilton. But the facilitators warned the task force about spinning its wheels if members continue to stray from their assignment. The evening started with a tour of Kenwood Elementary School, the second largest elementary in the district, with 384 students. Principal Kathleen Daney pointed out some of the school’s deficiencies. The inconsistent classroom temperatures were noticeable – with some rooms being uncomfortably hot for those touring. School maintenance director Chuck Martin answered some questions over speaker phone for task force members gathered in a classroom. When the outdoor temperatures stay above 25 degrees, the heat is turned off in the building over the weekends. It is turned on again early Monday morning, but some rooms take a long time to warm up. The kindergartners at the end of the hall wear their coats all day on Mondays and many Tuesdays, teachers said. The boiler system suffers from pipe leaks, which are blamed for mold on carpeting in some rooms. The district replaced about 20-feet of pipe under the building last year, Martin said. Boiler room at Kenwood Elementary When carpeting is replaced by tile, the asbestos beneath it must be abated. The heating pipes and the hallway ceilings also contain asbestos, which poses no risks unless it is disturbed. Many classrooms lack storage space, so plastic bins are piled up. Desks sit in the hallway to allow for small groups to work together, since no other space is available. When asked about the structural condition of the building, Martin said Kenwood is “probably in decent condition.” Though he has concerns about the moisture under the building from the steam heat, the building is sound. “To my knowledge, there are no structural faults that I’m aware of,” Martin said. After the tour, the task force gathered in the cafeteria to discuss the school’s condition.  Task force member Dean Smith said the school was in much better shape than he had been led to believe by board descriptions. “I’m kind of confused – other than furnishings – what we’re missing,”…


Schooners shed light on ancient winter solstice celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Schooner Farms, they do things their own way. “Nothing we do out here is considered normal. It’s even weird to some people,” Don Schooner said. “But we like being a little different. We like bringing some of these old methodologies back. It’s not that hard especially if you marry them with these new technologies. It’s easier than it’s ever been.” That’s the approach Schooner and Becky White-Schooner are taking in their new holiday celebration. Next week for four nights, the Schooners are welcoming folks to come out to Schooner Farms to celebrate the winter solstice  just as northern people have been doing for eons. The Winter Solstice Luminaria Walk will be held nightly from Thursday, Dec. 20 through Sunday, Dec. 23 at Schooner Farms in Weston of Ohio 235 at the intersection with U.S. 6. There will be two events each night, one at 5:30 and another at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 a vehicle carrying up to six people. The space limitation is the parking lot. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Click here. (https://schoonerfarms.ticketleap.com) The event will be canceled only in the event of a Level 1 snow emergency. The celebration will give visitors a chance to wander around the farms’ Serpent Mound and Lavender Labyrinth along paths lit by luminaries, 1,100 of them, each illuminated by a battery-powered light. There’ll be a bonfire, and Schooner is planning on setting out some Swedish torches, logs that have been split down the middle and set on fire. People can stand around them for warmth and to converse. “That’s what community is all about.” Along with the bonfire these will provide light in the long winter night as well as warmth. An eclectic mix of seasonal music, not your usual pop tunes, Schooner said, will be played over speakers. Infinite Zen Coffee & Noshery will be on hand with their food truck serving warm drinks and food. The farm’s gift shop will also be open. “We pay a lot of attention to the seasons and changing of the seasons,” Schooner said. “We thought it would be something people would enjoy, something out of town, out in the country in a little different setting.” People have been marking the solstice, when the nights stop getting longer, and the days begin, however imperceptibly, to grow longer. “People just need to get back outside,” Schooner said. “A lot of times people don’t take the opportunity to get outside and experience the weather a little bit. Bundle up. Walk around and warm up by the fire and experience a crisp winter night.” It’s part of Schooner Farms’ mission to reintroduce people to ancient methodologies and show them how using some modern technology they can integrate them into their lives. The Serpent Mound is a tribute to those ancient ways. It is modeled…


BG and Menard’s strike compromise on sign variances

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green officials have been told the city needs to tidy up its “sign clutter.” Tuesday evening, the city took a step to do just that when Menard’s requested a sign that would far exceed the city’s standards. That meant the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals might have had to reject a variance request from Menard’s – which hadn’t yet purchased the 26 acres to build on along the 1200 block of South Main Street, south of Walmart and across Main Street from Home Depot. But before the zoning board ruled Wednesday evening, the company withdrew its request for the massive sign. The pylon sign would have been 15 feet taller than the allowed maximum height of 25 feet, and 110 square feet larger than the 90 square feet maximum. “You could see it from Cincinnati, I think,” said Judy Ennis, head of the zoning board of appeals. The withdrawal of the request saved the board from a tough decision, Ennis said. “They said they wanted to be a good neighbor,” she said Menard’s officials. But while Menard’s pulled its variance request for the large pylon sign, the company stuck with its request for two other sign variances. One was for a wall sign which would be 306 square feet larger than the 90 square feet maximum size allowed. The other was for a total of 12 signs (one pylon sign and 11 wall signs), which would exceed the maximum of three signs allowed for a business. The 12 signs would also exceed the allowable 270 total square footage in signage by 552 square feet. But because of the massive size of the store and the distance it will sit back from the road, the zoning board of appeals granted both of those variance requests. “This store is going to be bigger than most that they have,” Ennis said. And most of the signs will be directional. Menard’s officials told the board Wednesday evening that they want to be ready to open in the spring of 2020. Ennis said she was glad that the store officials seemed to understand the city’s desire to reduce sign clutter and improve aesthetics. It would have been a difficult decision for the board to reject the company’s request – especially since the store had not yet taken the step to purchase the property. City Planning Director Heather Sayler had written a letter to the company explaining the city’s position. “The city simply said they wanted Menard’s to understand they were pleased Menard’s was coming to the city,” but officials wanted the store to comply with signage rules. “We didn’t want anyone to think Bowling Green was unfriendly to business,” Ennis said. Sayler’s letter explained that recent planning efforts in the city have recommended that Bowling Green reduce its sign pollution. The newly-adopted…


Clemons has been the voice for those living with mental health, addiction issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Tom Clemons can talk … and talk … and talk. Most of what he talks about is pushing for mental health services for Wood County residents – and making fun of himself for talking so much. Clemons, whose propensity for talking is well known, is retiring from his position as director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board next March. “This interview could last several days,” he said with a big grin. “I go off on tangents.” And that is an understatement. Clemons is aware that his gift of gab is nearly legendary – so he is frequently apologizing for rambling. “Oh my God, Tom’s at it again,” he says in his customary self-deprecating manner. But this fall, as Clemons fine tuned his WCADAMHS levy pitch, he was able to rein it in. “It took everything I had,” he whispered. “I can be succinct. I just don’t like being succinct.” Behind him in the WCADAMHS conference room as he was interviewed was a white board with almost unintelligible pen scratchings. It was a visible manifestation of how Clemons’ brain works. Far from neat and tidy, it’s how Clemons thinks. And it’s benefitted Wood County for more than 20 years. Clemons came to the board first as associate director in 1997, then became director in 2012. Prior to that, he worked as a therapist in private practice in the Defiance area. He changed jobs to be closer to home while his and wife Karen’s children were teenagers. “For a few years I really missed being a therapist,” he said. “But I realized I could really affect more people and systems of care,” in his administrative position. Clemons was drawn to psychology early in life. “I had friends in high school who I saw become addicted to drugs and alcohol.” And he had two friends who took their lives. His parents were a huge influence on his career path, with his father being a minister and his mother having a divinity degree and working with senior adults. “I was raised to serve other people,” Clemons said. “I think the idea of service to others has always been ingrained in me.” His belief system is focused on “finding ways of loving our neighbors,” and not just those geographically close. Clemons’ gift of gab was also a trait passed down. “Dad was a storyteller. He was famous for his long sermons,” Clemons said. “I think I come by it naturally.” Clemons leaves the job with a lot of accomplishments to talk about. During his administration, the agency has seen improvements in crisis services, suicide prevention, opiate addiction intervention, and trauma-informed services. He is a believer that “treatment works.” But Clemons is most proud of his ability to get local agencies to work together to provide that treatment….


BGSU to scale back MLK Day of Service because of winter session

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University’s switch to a winter session will take a toll on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. At the December Faculty Senate meeting, Paul Valdez, associate director for the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement, said that because most students will not be on campus during winter session, it will not be possible to have the Day of Service in the same way. In the past decades, about 800 students would volunteer to work on dozens of community projects throughout Northwest Ohio. Because it is uncertain how many students would be on campus in this inaugural session, the university had to scale back the number of projects offered, he said. Still the university wants to continue to provide people the chance to serve, he said. So the Office of Community and Civic Engagement will help with the organization and volunteer recruitment for the MLK Jr. Day of Service  “Can”vass Food Drive. The Brown Bag Food Project organized the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service food drive. That effort is coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project and is run out of Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green, on Jan. 19 and 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Some volunteers go out into the community, knocking on doors and soliciting donations of food. Others will be at Grounds for Thought sorting out those donations. The food collection is distributed to food pantries throughout the area. Valdez said about 150 volunteers were needed, but there is a chance to expand that number. He said that if there is an outpouring of interest in volunteering, further service day projects may be offered in the future. Interim Provost John Fischer said that the response to winter session has been good. About 1,500 students have enrolled in some type of academic activity, Fischer said. That includes filling up all the slots for trips abroad being offered. Other students are going to conferences with faculty. While others are taking classes. Fischer said that this summer, the university will asking for requests from faculty who want to lead trips during the 2021 winter session. BGSU created the winter session to aligned its calendar with other institutions, including the University of Toledo. Students have the option of taking courses during that period. The session gives them a chance to catch up or get ahead by taking a course, traveling, doing research projects, or earning money by working during the period. Winter session will run from Jan. 2 to Jan. 23 this year.


BG’s front door on East Wooster Street needs serious facelift

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green’s front door is not exactly creating a great first impression for those entering the city. Knowing this, the city and BGSU hired Development Strategies to examine the 1.8 miles of East Wooster from Interstate 75 to the downtown. The firm has spent six months interviewing officials and residents, examining housing data, looking at construction costs, studying the zoning code, and more. On Tuesday evening, Matt Wetli and Anne Stevenson from Development Strategies presented their findings to City Council’s Committee of the Whole. Changes along the East Wooster corridor have the potential to increase jobs, bring more visitors, improve the housing stock, attract more development to the city, and convince more people to live and shop right here in Bowling Green. But the front door needs a facelift. “It’s the way most people come to know Bowling Green,” Wetli said. “First impressions are really important. This corridor is so important.” One of the goals would be to meet the needs of the city residents and the university – an issue Wetli is accustomed to handling “We tend to work in a lot of university communities,” and realize that the health of the city and university are intertwined, he said. The planners divided the 1.8 miles into four sections, with some potential focuses for each – though not all will be affordable for developers right now: Midtown, which are the blocks closest to downtown. Ideally that area would be good for student and young professional apartment buildings, creative office space, street level retail, boutique hotels, and gas station reuse projects.Eds and Meds, which are the blocks next to the university and the Falcon Health Center. That area would work well for other health care services, senior housing, and townhouses.Walkable hospitality district, which includes the blocks with hotels and restaurants. That area would attract more developers and more visitors with stricter zoning building specifications, Wetli said.The interchange area, which will be improved with the proposed roundabouts, and will look better with “gateway” signage. The entire corridor can’t be transformed at once, so “we need to be judicious,” Wetli said. And the community will need to shift from being reactive to proactive. “Things aren’t just going to magically happen,” he said “It’s going to take work.” Wetli talked about the transformation of the Kent State community. “It’s really inspiring what they’ve been able to pull off,” he said. “It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen with a single developer. But, wow, what results they’ve gotten.” Bowling Green could potentially pull off the same type of transformation, Wetli said. Wetli posed the possibility of Bowling Green becoming a smaller version of Ann Arbor – for Northwest Ohio. People from the Toledo area often drive up to Ann Arbor for arts and dining opportunities. Why not Bowling Green? “You all are…


BG plant was also targeted for pipe bomb, according to U.S. District Court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Toledo woman arrested for planning a terrorist attack at a Toledo bar was reportedly also plotting an attack at a Bowling Green manufacturing plant. Elizabeth Lecron, 23, was arrested Monday and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack. She was charged with one count of transportation of explosives and explosive material for the purposes of harming others and property. While much of the initial publicity focused on her alleged plans to use a pipe bomb in an unidentified Toledo bar, the arrest warrant from the U.S. District Court revealed that Lecron also planned some type of an attack at her workplace in Bowling Green. The warrant stated that Lecron worked the second shift at an automotive parts manufacturing plant in Bowling Green. Bowling Green Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said this morning that BGPD detectives were contacted last week by the FBI about the upcoming press conference that was held Monday. However, the police division was not notified about the possible threat of a bomb attack. “We weren’t actually consulted,” Mancuso said. FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson said this morning that she could not be more specific about the Bowling Green location mentioned in the arrest warrant. “In our documents we didn’t reveal where she worked,” Anderson said. Anderson explained that oftentimes local law enforcement officials are not contacted, since that’s when information leaks occur. She also said that undercover FBI agents were working closely with Lecron and were aware of the progress of her plans. “We did not feel the public was in danger,” Anderson said. When Lecron actually purchased bomb-making items, she was arrested. “Once she bought the items, that’s when we needed to move,” Anderson said. The arrest of Lecron made national news on Monday. “This defendant bought black powder and hundreds of screws that she expected would be used to make a bomb,” said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Through her words and actions, she demonstrated that she was committed to seeing death and destruction in order to advance hate. This case demonstrates terrorism comes in many guises and we will remain vigilant to protect all Americans.” According to an affidavit filed in the case, Lecron came to the attention of law enforcement earlier this year after one of her associates expressed a desire to conduct a violent attack. Further investigation revealed Lecron frequently posted photographs and comments on social media glorifying mass murderers, including the Columbine shooters and Dylann Roof. After her Tumblr account was shut down because of offensive content, Lecron started a new profile – “CharlestonChurchMiracle” – where she continued to post photos and comments about mass casualty attacks. Lecron and an associate…


DePue Brothers ready to celebrate a hometown Christmas

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The kids at Crim got to play with the DePue Brothers Thursday. Zachary and Alex DePue, of the DePue Brothers Band, along with guest vocalist Aria Noelle Curzon, stopped by Crim Elementary Thursday to perform for the children. Crim Elementary students got a preview of upcoming DePue Brothers Holiday Spectacular. In introducing them, Stacey Higgins told the young audience that the brothers  Wallace, Jr. and Jason along with Alex and Zachary,  started performing when they were children living in Bowling Green, just like them. The second grade teacher knows because she went to Ridge Elementary School with the DePues. Zach DePue was back in town where he performed on the Bowling Green Philharmonia concert on campus. Alex DePue and Curzon joined him here to help set up the logistics for a DePue Brothers Holiday Spectacular on Dec. 21 in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus.  The four brothers, Curzon, and their full band will play two shows. The originally scheduled 7:30 p.m. evening show has almost sold out so, a 2 p.m. matinee has been added. Click for tickets. Zachary DePue plays Mozart at Crim. The demand should come as no surprise. Their previous holiday shows have drawn standing-room only crowds. The DePue Brothers have been building their local following for decades. Under the direction of their father Wallace, Sr., then a music professor at BGSU, the brothers started playing for church and small community events. During an appearance on WBGU-FM’s  “The Morning Show,” Alex DePue said the response they got, prompted their father to book more and more gigs for them.  In 1989 they were honored by President George H.W. Bush as “The Most Musical Family in America.” Though they all headed in different directions professionally, they still would get together by home, sometimes playing for a Christmas Eve service in their church, sometimes offering the community a holiday spectacular. Wallace DePue, Jr., the eldest, has a doctorate in music and has played with the Philadelphia Pops and with the Star Wars National Tour Concert Orchestra. After classical studies, Alex DePue headed into the world of country, fiddling, and rock. He’s won medals for his fiddling, and toured with country star Chris Cagle and rock guitarist Steve Vai. He lives outside San Diego where he performs with master guitarist Miguel De Hoyos.  Jason DePue performs with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Zach DePue until June was the concertmaster of the Indianapolis Orchestra, and was a founding member of Time for Three. He is, he said, the youngest “with the scars to prove it.” Alex DePue talks with Crim students. The DePue Brothers Band brings together their diverse talents with those of a collection of accomplished musicians from around the country. In Bowling Green, the band will include: drummer Don Liuzzi, the principal percussionist with the Philadelphia Orchestra;…


Two presidents & a mayor go on record about their love of music during radio summit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There was a summit meeting Monday afternoon in a WBGU-FM studio. Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers and Bowling Mayor Richard Edwards joined Owens Community College President Steve Robinson in the studio — the main topic of discussion wasn’t town-gown relationships, or economic development or state funding. The concern at hand was music, specifically jazz captured on vinyl records. WBGU-FM program director Drew Vogelpohl spun records for Owens President Steve Robinson (background) and BGSU President Rodney Rogers and Mayor Richard Edwards. Robinson hosts a biweekly radio show, The Vinyl Hour, originating from his home campus. He took the show on the road and crossed the AM-FM divide in the process, to sit down and wax nostalgic about music. Both Edwards and Rogers have backgrounds in music. Edwards has played saxophone since his teen years, when he sometimes joining bands performing at Cedar Point with special dispensation from the musicians union. He’s been active in the Bowling Green Area Community Band since its founding. Rogers has his bachelors degree in music. His specialty — German art songs. The session came about, Robinson explained, after separate breakfast meetings with Edwards and Rogers, in which their mutual love of music emerged. Robinson said he took bass lessons at Michigan State while he was a student there and worked as a disc jockey at WDBM. Robinson got all three of his degrees at Michigan State. Edwards showed up with a tote bag of goodies, and Robinson had an even larger bag of records. Rogers walked over from his office at neighboring McFall without any music in hand, but did make a selection from Edwards’ bag. He talked about how he moved from music into accounting, and eventually to the presidency of BGSU. After graduating from Ohio Northern with a degree in music, his father asked him how he planned to make a living. Ironically he wasn’t interested in teaching, and he didn’t feel he was accomplished enough to make it as a performer. His transition happened at BGSU, where he came to get an MBA, and took a number of accounting courses. He practiced as an accountant for a decade before going into academia. He did earn some money to help pay his way through college by playing saxophone in The Moonlighters, a local big band. He said during his recent move into the president’s house he discovered he still has his alto saxophone. Edwards encouraged him to get it fixed up and join the community band. When he went through Edwards’ stash of records he picked out a familiar tune, “Take the A Train.” The version of the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s theme song was performed by the Stan Kenton Band. The mayor pointed out the screaming high note trumpet work of Maynard Ferguson on the climax. Edwards recalled that Ferguson performed…


Pampered and primped cats strut their stuff at cat show in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Persian cat named Pink Parasol was primped and pampered – waiting for her time to shine on the cat show stage at the Bowling Green Community Center on Saturday. She was stretched out on cushions, with a coffee filter as a collar around her neck to keep the rest of her coat clean. Next to Pink Parasol was her stage kit – with a spray can of static guard, cosmetic powder, makeup brushes and pads to cover up last minute dirt, and Tic Tac mints. “That’s for me,” owner Zayda Stephens, of Lansing, Michigan, said of the Tic Tacs. Pink Parasol was one of about 120 pets at the Cat Fanciers Show held in Bowling Green. The felines and their owners came to compete from several states – New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. About 120 cats were shown at Cat Fanciers Show in the community center. The shows are a way of life for many of the cat fanciers and their felines. Stephens takes her cats to about three shows a month. And since her cats are Persians, the primping is very time consuming. The cats are bathed twice a week, then blown dry with a professional hair dryer. Pink Parasol, with her 7-inch long hair that makes her look about twice as big as she is, can take up to two hours to dry properly, Stephens said. Most of the breeders at the show pick one type of cat and work to perfect the breed. For Stephens, that’s Persians. “They have a very sweet personality,” which includes a laid back lifestyle, she said. Persians are known for their daily brief energy spurt of about 15 minutes, then they are ready to rest again. “They don’t climb the curtains.” Stephens has been breeding Persians for about 15 years. She confessed it is very difficult to part with kittens – but added that it’s better for them to not have to share an owner with too many others. “It’s best if they can have their own lap,” she said. Judge Gary Powell looks over an American Wirehaired cat. The cat show was put on by the Cat Fanciers Association, which has been the “premier” cat organization since 1906, according to the show organizer, Debbie Allgire of Bowling Green. Six judging stations were set up for the competition. In addition to the long-haired Persians, there were several other breeds like the “oriental short hairs,” the Japaneses Bobtail, the completely tailless Manx, the rough-coated American Wire-haired, and the less common Aussies. Allgire watched as her Tonkinese cat, named D.B. Cooper, competed in the oriental short-hair category. The judge Rachel Anger, checked each feline from every angle, judging them on the Cat Fancier standards of having long tubular bodies, fur that looks like it’s painted on, triangular heads,…


BGSU trustees approved spending $3 million for inside & outside building projects

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University will spend $1.3 million to renovate nine classrooms in the Moore Musical Arts Center as part of the ongoing effort to create more active learning spaces. Sheri Stoll, the university’s chief financial officer, said the project will be completed in summer, 2019, and will not require closing the building. Starting almost a decade ago as part of the Campus Master Plan, the university has scrutinized its inventory of 190 classrooms. It found it had far too many small classrooms, and too few mid-sized rooms that seat 40 to 90 students. The university is converting traditional classrooms into active learning rooms with flexible seating, updated furnishings, and new technology. This also involves reducing the number of classrooms to 130. That serves to increase how often those classrooms are used. Once the Moore project is done, the university will have 127 active learning classrooms. The Moore spaces will seat 40-90 students.  Once this project has been completed, about 80 percent of the classrooms on campus will be renovated, Stoll said. Bruce Meyer, vice president for capital planning and campus operations, said once renovated, those rooms will be scheduled through the registrar’s office, and be available for classes offered by he other colleges. Those rooms are now scheduled by the College of Musical Arts, and are used not just for classes but also as rehearsal spaces for small ensembles. The board information stated: “Completing classroom renovations and centralized classroom scheduling are essential to enable BGSU to improve overall classroom utilization to at least 70 percent as recommended by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. “ The trustees also signed off on a $1.7 million project for waterproofing and masonry repairs to the 50-year-old Offenhauer. The residence hall is three structures, two towers — one 10-stories, the other 11 —  and a one-story connecting structure. The project, Stoll said, is part of the university’s effort “to nibble away at deferred maintenance.” In board documents, the administration reported that during an inspection: “(D)eficiencies were discovered in the brick and mortar joints on the facades of all 3 building areas. Deficiencies were also discovered in window sealants and building control-joint seals.” That work will begin this summer, and then resume and be completed in summer, 2020. Those buildings, she said, are a popular housing option because they are air conditioned. Most of the residents are sophomores. Stoll reiterated her belief that: “No one chooses to come because we’ve sealed a leaky window sill, but if we don’t do those things, it can be a contributing factor to students not coming to BGSU.” Trustees, who were meeting at the BGSU Firelands campus, also approved the naming of two campus spaces. A room in University Hall will be named the Dr. Joseph F. Castellano and Mrs. Cecilia M. Castellano Counseling Room in honor…


BG, county need to present ‘welcoming’ face to attract workers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A few years ago it was the lack of jobs in this region that was troubling. Now it’s the lack of people to fill the jobs being created here. So Bowling Green officials are looking to team up with Wood County to attract immigrants and millennials to the region.  Last week, the two entities discussed how to compete to attract those workers. “Employment issues are still top of the line,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “It’s an issue we’ve all heard a million times.” “The labor pool has shrunk a lot in Northwest Ohio,” and the population is aging, Gottschalk said during a meeting of the economic development commission on Wednesday. “We just need more bodies,” he said. Sue Clark, Bowling Green’s economic development director, hears the same concerns. Jobs Ohio recently released statistics showing 9,200 jobs available within a 20-mile radius of Bowling Green. “Where will the people come from to fill these jobs,” she said. Clark has listened to the worries of small “mom and pop” shops and of large manufacturers. “We all know this is a very serious issue.” The headlines look great – about new companies moving into or expanding in the region. But the reality is that some of those new jobs siphon people away from existing businesses – which may lead to their closings or moving from the region. “If they simply steal employees from our existing companies,” without those workers being replaced by others, “none of us want that,” Clark said. So on Wednesday, Bowling Green officials shared their plan with county officials, in hopes that the entities could team up to attract workers to the region. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards introduced the Welcome BG Task Force concept of attracting, supporting and maintaining a workforce – both skilled and unskilled. “We want to reach out and assist legal immigrants,” Edwards said. “America desperately needs more workers,” he said. Other cities have had success with such “welcoming” programs, like Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and Dayton, the mayor said. “The immigrant community has been such a huge driver for new small businesses and filling manufacturing spots” in those cities, said Margaret Montague, head of the Welcome BG Task Force. The U.S. Census showed Wood County’s population grew 3.65 percent from 2000 to 2010.  The number of youth and working age residents dropped by 3.8 percent. The number of those 65 and older grew 15.4 percent. “We’re growing grayer every year,” Clark said. So why not work together to attract young people, immigrants, and international students from BGSU to live in this region? Why not, they discussed, make the area known as “welcoming.” Montague talked about the goals. “We want to be growing and nurturing our citizenry,” she said. “What we’re really after here is the continued…