BGSU trustees hike room & board costs, & add Greek fee

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The cost to eat and sleep at Bowling Green State University is going up in fall. The university trustees approved an increase that averages 2.4 percent for room costs at their meeting Friday. The 11 options, organized in three tiers, have varying costs, and varying rates of increase. This schedule, said Sheri Stoll, chief financial officer, is being compressed from four tiers. Previously Greek housing had its own tier, but with the opening in August of the new Greek Village, now under construction, the administration moved Greek housing to the top tier. Even that, Stoll said, does not cover the cost of the new housing. In order to avoid having other resident students subsidize Greek housing, a new “parlor” fee will be assessed to members of sororities and fraternities whether they live in the chapter house or not. Chapters will determine how they are assessed. The trustees also approved an average 2.5-percent increase in meal plans. That would raise the cost of the recommended Bronze plan by $2.44 a week. Stoll was asked about a ranking that showed BGSU’s room and board costs are less than at most other Ohio schools. She noted it has been three years since board fees have increased. She also noted that rents for off-campus housing are among the lowest in the nation. That puts additional pressure on what the university can charge.


Black Swamp Players bring the marvelous world of Seuss to life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The fantastic world of Dr. Seuss tells of many amazing feats and fanciful places. Is any of that as wondrous as the Black Swamp Players managing to fit his fantastical world onto the small stage at the First United Methodist Church? That stage is bursting with color, melody and dance as the Players, in collaboration with Horizon Youth Theatre, present “Seussical the Musical” Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. returning Feb. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in the church at 1526 E. Wooster St. Tickets are $15 and $12 for students and seniors from Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green or online at http://www.blackswampplayers.org/ticket-sales/. The show, by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, shapes a plot around several famous Seuss tales. As fun as it would be, this is not The Complete Works of Dr. Seuss (Abridged). Instead with The Cat in the Hat (Jeff Guion) as the Lord of Misrule, the script focuses on the adventures of JoJo (Maddox Brosius), a thoughtful kid from Who, the smallest planet in the sky, and the dutiful elephant Horton, who discovers Who on a puff ball. Among the three they tap into the key themes of the world of Seuss. Each is his own person at odds with society. The Cat in the Hat celebrates a sense of playful anarchy, and encourages JoJo, a boy whose great fault is he thinks too much, to be true to himself even if it means trouble for others. Horton is thoughtful in another way. Deeply…


New math adds up to success for BG kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A new “Math in Focus” program at Crim Elementary School is adding up to success for students there. Crim Principal Melanie Garbig explained to the Bowling Green Board of Education Tuesday that a math enrichment and intervention program in second grade at that school is making a big difference with students and their test scores. In the past, Crim was put on the “watched” school list by the state due to several students with disabilities, Garbig said. The new program puts math into a “real world” context. Students learn to apply their skills in the world, not just compute the numbers. And intervention is quick when a student is not grasping the concept. “We’re seeing that it’s making a difference,” Garbig said. “You can watch how their wheels turn,” when math concepts click for students. The teachers have team meetings each week to stay on top of the students’ needs. And they created a “spiral” that keeps refreshing the skills already learned. The math success is seen continuing into future grades, with some fifth graders tackling a bit of algebra. “Students definitely are expanding further than we ever did,” Garbig said. The board asked how parents were reacting to the “Math in Focus.” Teacher Stacey Higgins explained that the homework sent home covers math topics that the students are secure with. Any “stretching” with math is done in the classroom, she said. The board also asked how the teachers were adapting to the new math concept, since it is so different than the way the learned to instruct math. “This is not…


BGHS grad Clayton Krueger helped bring ‘Mercy Street’ to TV

Viewers of the PBS Civil War drama “Mercy Street” have been primed for an explosive finale to the limited series. Rebels are planning an attack on President and Mrs. Lincoln when they visit the hospital at the center of the action. The climax to the series will play out Sunday at 10 p.m. on WBGU. Another cliffhanger awaits: Will “Mercy Street” be back for a second run? Among those awaiting final word is Clayton Krueger, a 1999 Bowling Green High School graduate, who is a senior vice president for television at Scott-Free Productions, which worked developing the series for PBS. In a recent telephone interview he said the company was working on scripts for a second season pending the go ahead from top brass at PBS. The production of “Mercy Street” broke from PBS pattern of importing its drama series from BBC in England. And, he said, more may be on the way. The Civil War potboiler didn’t start as a drama series. The creator Lisa Wolfinger was planning a documentary series about medicine during the Civil War, and she brought in writer David Zabel to help with the scripting. Over the course of development the idea of a fictional series emerged. They sought out Scott Free, owned by blockbuster producer Ridley Scott, “to lend some oversight to the production,” Krueger said. They met with Zabel and developed scripts. “PBS incredibly supportive,” Krueger said. “They know their audience so well.” While some networks “can get really prescriptive… PBS never took that approach.” The episodes were filmed on location in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia. Using two directors, each in charge of…


BG gets school facilities report – now citizens get to weigh in

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The state has weighed in on Bowling Green City School buildings – now it’s time for local citizens to do the same. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci just received the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s report at 9:30 this morning, so he hadn’t had time to fully digest its contents. However, it was already very clear to him that Bowling Green residents have some decisions to make. To start that process, the first of several community focus groups will meet March 14 at 6:30 p.m., in the middle school library. Scruci plans to roll out the facilities report and ask citizens how they would like to solve building issues identified in the report. “We need to have a conversation with our community to find out what they want and what they will support,” he said. Scruci estimated the public input process would take about a year. At that point, if the public supports it, the district may proceed with a bond issue to finance some type of construction. “I don’t want to be reckless and put something on our ballot,” if the community doesn’t want it, he said. The options are numerous and involve maintaining buildings as they are, renovating or building new. But in the meantime, the school district cannot wait to deal with overcrowding issues at Conneaut Elementary. The school is already at capacity and anticipating a larger kindergarten class due to a change in the eligibility dates for beginning students. “We are out of space,” Scruci said. So the district plans to lease a modular unit for its fifth grade…


BGSU actors bring ‘Middletown’ to life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Middletown, the setting and namesake for the new theater production on campus, doesn’t have much to recommend it. Even the indigenous people passed through leaving little mark. A statue of a horse is the only tourist attraction, unless you, like tour guide (Christa Federico), count the air. That air, she says, contains bits of people, dust and objects that went before. That seems pretty heavy philosophizing for a tour guide, but Middletown seems to do that to people. They say things that rise deep from their psyches, and those psyches are often troubled. Eavesdropping, the local car mechanic (Danny Miskell) hears Mary (Mackenzie Baumhower) say she and her husband are starting a family. Don’t have an only child, he blurts out. Whenever you hear childish noises, it’s always that same child. Even the librarian, the sane presence at the heart of this troubled town and the play, is given to disturbing observations. When Mary says she’d like to get a library card, the librarian played by Bessie D. Smith says: “Good for you. Most people think ‘I’m going to die anyway, so why bother.’” That sense of mortality, and the search for some kind of meaning in life pervades “Middletown.” The Will Eno play, directed by Jonathan Chambers, opens tonight at 8 and with shows Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. continuing Feb. 25, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets $15 and $5 for students and children in advance from www.bgsu.edu/arts and by calling 419-372-8171. All tickets are $20 on…


Nightlife ain’t no life without Corner Grill; Howard’s show to benefit displaced workers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Saturday’s benefit for employees of the Corner Grill should help out Patrick McDermott’s finances. He’s been out of work since an early morning fire destroyed the interior of the landmark Bowling Green eatery on Feb. 1. Still for him the show, which will run from 1 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, at Howard’s Club H at 210 N. Main St., is about more than money. He’s looking forward to seeing his old customers. McDermott worked the third shift, so he cooked for folks who just got off late night shifts at bars and other restaurants and he cooked for folks just heading to their jobs. “I’d like to reconnect, hang out with them for the day.” Nikki Cordy, a long time employee at Howard’s, said the idea for the benefit got started while the interior of the diner was still smoldering. So she set out to book 12 hours of music. After five hours, the bill was filled. A few acts had to be turned away. Among those performing will be Circle the Sun, Harlow, The Casket Company, Birthquake, Fathom City, Scare Me Green, Adam Rice, Justin Payne, Ginger and the Snaps, Mike Dubose, Tom Vasey, and the Defenders. There will be a $5 cover charge. Cordy said she had “a soft spot in her heart” for the Grill. Sometimes Larry Cain, who owns the Corner Grill, would bring over food when he knew the Howards crew hadn’t had a chance to take a break. The Grill always was able to accommodate her gluten-free diet required by her celiac disease. “It’s about family,”…


Scruci talks about athletics, attendance and modular classrooms

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Board of Education heard plans Tuesday affecting athletes, attendance and adding modular classrooms. Superintendent Francis Scruci said the district will soon be going out for bids on a modular unit that would hold four classrooms at Conneaut Elementary School. The school’s enrollment is approximately 500. Scruci had reported to the board last month that classroom space will be in short supply next school year at the elementary, resulting in the need for a modular unit on site, possibly for the entire fifth grade. “It’s certainly not something anyone wants to hear,” Scruci said last month. “We do have some shortages in terms of square footage.” However, he added that modular units have improved over the years since schools first started using them to make up for inadequate classroom space. The district will be looking for more permanent solutions after it receives its report from the Ohio School Facilities Commission. That report looks at the overall building needs of the district and is expected later this week. Public meetings will be held to present those findings. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Scruci mentioned the need to have higher standards for the district’s athletic programs. He noted the high quality of educational and arts programs in the district, and said the same high expectations should be in place for the athletic programs. When asked after the meeting if the district was considering drug testing for athletes, Scruci said that was an option. “We have had a brief conversation,” on that topic, he said. Scruci also told the board that he is looking at…


BG annexes acreage planned for assisted living facility

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is about to grow by 31 acres, making room for an assisted living facility on the northern edge of the city. City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to accept the annexation request for the acreage at the northeast corner of Haskins and Newton roads, across from the city’s community center. According to the request, submitted by HCF Realty of Bowling Green, the new facility would consolidate existing nursing home buildings at 1021 and 850 West Poe Road. Council tabled the ordinance which would change the zoning for the acreage to I-1 institutional until a public hearing can be held on the request on March 7, at 6:45 p.m. Council member Bruce Jeffers called the proposed facility a “significant development” for the city. He explained how city officials must do a “cost-benefit analysis” prior to voting on any annexation request. In this case, the benefit of the annexation outweighs the expenses associated with the additional acreage, Jeffers said. “The cost benefit analysis is very favorable to us,” he said. “This particular project is nothing but desirable.” The location of the proposed assisted living facility next to the community center makes sense, Jeffers said. “I am happy to support this.” Other council members echoed those feelings, including Bob McOmber who after recent knee replacement surgery spent 11 days in one of the facilities being replaced. The updated facility will be appreciated, he said. HCF officials are promising a “state of the art facility,” council member Sandy Rowland said. “It’s going to be a benefit to the community,” council member Theresa Charters Gavarone…


BG school calendar proposal – good news and bad news

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Next year’s proposed calendar for Bowling Green City Schools has some good news and some bad news. The good news – students’ quarters and testing periods won’t be broken up by long vacations. The bad news – students’ summer will be cut shorter than usual to make that happen. Long gone are the days when school started after Labor Day. Now districts feel the pressure to squeeze in a couple weeks of classes before September rolls around. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci presented the proposed school calendar Tuesday evening to the board of education. The schedule calls for classes to start on Aug. 15. By starting early, students will be able to complete two full quarters before heading off for Christmas break. According to Scruci, teachers and students then won’t have to spend the first couple weeks in January refreshing their memories of what they learned in December. “We can’t afford that anymore,” Scruci said. Spring break will then fall on the first full week of March. That means the vacation time won’t get in the way of school testing, he said. Scruci realizes the mid-August start to the school year may not be popular with some. “Granted, that is early,” he said. But the early start will also mean an early end to the school year on May 23 – as long as the district doesn’t exceed its snow calamity days. The early exit in May could give BG students a better opportunity to compete for summer jobs, the superintendent added. School board member Ed Whipple voiced his support for the…


BGSU opera production brings favorite son Shawn Mathey back to campus

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Operatic tenor Shawn Mathey’s career has taken him to stages around the globe. Now approaching a new stage in that career, he’s circled back home to Bowling Green. Looking to add teaching to his repertoire of skills, he’s treading the same halls his father Professor Emeritus Richard Mathey did for 32 years. That will bring him into the spotlight in the Bowling Green Opera Theater’s production of “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni. The one-act opera will be staged Friday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts on the Bowling Green State University campus. Since 1998 when Shawn Mathey left BGSU to attend the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, he’s returned frequently. For the past few years he and his wife, Sujin Lee, an adjunct voice professor at BGSU, and their two daughters have made Bowling Green their permanent residence. Mathey’s visits, though, were a respite from a busy international career. Now he looks forward to adding teaching to his resume. He’s back studying at BGSU where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree before starting his musical studies. “Things are cooking,” Mathey said of his operatic schedule. That includes performing in John Adams’ “The Flowering Tree” in Lisbon this spring. “But you start looking ahead for the next phase, looking ahead to when you don’t want to be single handedly funding the suitcase companies.” Lee is the one who encouraged him to start laying the groundwork for an academic position now. Colleges…


Forget the rocking chair, these seniors are going rock climbing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This is not a matchmaking service for senior citizens – at least not in the traditional sense. But the New Adventures program does match up seniors with new people and new activities they might not have the gumption to try on their own. They leave their rocking chairs and their inhibitions behind. The group has gone to a rock climbing wall, basketball game, canal ride, painting party and comedy club. Next on the list – a winery and movie theater for art films. The New Adventures group was started in 2011 by the Wood County Committee on Aging in cooperation with Bridge Hospice. “We were seeing individuals who, after they were grieving, there were no connections for them to socialize,” said Danielle Brogley, director of programs at the Wood County Senior Center. As older adults lost their partners, they often felt a lack of companionship. And if they tried to continue their relationships with couples they had long socialized with, they sometimes felt like the fifth wheel, Brogley explained. So New Adventures was created to engage single seniors to get out and socialize. After a couple years, the group morphed into a program offering new experiences for anyone interested. “It’s not a matchmaking service,” though the group has resulted in one marriage, Brogley said. “It’s just to have somewhere to go and people to do things with.” Several of the outings are in the evenings, when seniors might be reluctant to venture out alone. “The lonely hours are 6 to 8 p.m.,” Brogley said. Between 12 and 15 people go on each…


Owner Wants to Keep ClaZel in the Heart of BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The old gal can’t keep up with those late nights the way she once could, which is the situation the ClaZel now finds itself in. As someone who considers himself the beloved venue’s caretaker as much as its owner, Ammar Mufleh decided late last year that the late night dance parties had to stop. The late night dance club that was in the venue on weekends ended last December. The venue now concentrates on special events – wedding receptions, corporate meetings, fundraisers, and concerts. “College students put a little more wear and tear on a facility,” Mufleh said. “I take a lot of pride in the time, talent, and treasure it took to rebuild and renovate it.” It wasn’t only the theater that was strained. “I have a very talented staff,” he said, and their energies would be sapped on Friday nights when at 2:30 a.m. they’d have to scrub, do some repairs, and transform the space into the setting for a wedding reception on Saturday. After the reception, the staff would be back at it, transforming the ClaZel again into dance club for that night. The new focus will be “less taxing on the staff,” Mufleh said. “I’m excited to focus on a demographic that really appreciates the allure, the aesthetic the history of the theater,” he said. Mufleh, who grew up in a family of entrepreneurs in the Toledo area, can count himself in that demographic. As a student at the University of Toledo, he recalls driving down to Bowling Green to see movies at the ClaZel. He admired the structure then, even…


BG faces learning curve – roundabouts on their way

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood Countians seem to prefer their intersections squared off like tidy plus signs – none of that fancy circular stuff. But local drivers may want to brush up on their roundabout etiquette since at least a couple rotary intersections will pose a learning curve in Bowling Green starting in 2018. Bowling Green’s plan for its East Wooster Street corridor calls for four roundabouts. Two are definite and coming sometime in 2018 – at the interchanges on each side of Interstate 75. The other two are just possibilities – at Dunbridge Road and Campbell Hill Road. Surveys submitted recently by Bowling Green residents, about the proposed East Wooster corridor work, showed a great deal of suspicion about the roundabouts. But city officials believe that once citizens realize the safety benefits, and experience the ease maneuvering around them, that most motorists will be sold. Though roundabouts are common intersection features in many parts of the nation, Wood County has been slow warming up to the idea. Efforts to install a couple in northern Wood County have met with great resistance. Wood County Engineer Ray Huber has spent a few years trying to convince people that roundabouts make sense for several reasons. They are safer for motorists, take less land to construct, are easier to build, and cost less to install and maintain. So why aren’t roundabouts being embraced here like elsewhere in the nation? “It’s called change,” Huber explained. The single roundabout currently operating on a public road in Wood County is at the southern edge of the county on Ohio 18 in North…


Teen pianist Eric Lin rises to the top of Dubois field

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In a field called the best ever, Eric Lin, a 15-year-old from Falls Church, Virginia, easily came out on top of the David D. Dubois Piano Competition Sunday at Bowling Green State University. Internationally known pianist Spencer Myer, the guest artist and juror, praised the maturity of Lin’s work. “It was extremely grown up playing,” Myer said. “You can tell he’s a serious thinker. Lin was also “the most technically refined,” he said. “The technical refinement contributes to how easily he can express himself.” All the judges, Myer said, were in agreement that Lin merited the top prize. That top prize carries a cash award of $3,000. Other prize winners selected by Myer and fellow jurors, guest judge James Giles, of Northwestern University, and BGSU faculty member Robert Satterlee, were: • Heather Gu, Troy, Michigan, second prize, $2,000. • Shuheng Zhang, Canton, Michigan, third prize, $1,000. • Henry Tang, Brooklyn, NY, honorable mention. Lin said he came to the Dubois competition on the advice of a couple older friends who have competed in the event. “They said it was an excellent experience.” That proved to be the case, Lin said. “A lot of competitions are very serious, here it’s very relaxed. You can really just express yourself here.” Myer noted that as well. “There seems to be a very collegial atmosphere.” Lin said he and his teacher, Marjorie Lee, work together selecting pieces. She will choose pieces for him to play, and he decides whether he likes them or not. This year, he said, he had more input into the process. Together they strive…