School’s Gay Straight Alliance honored for silence that speaks volumes

There was no Woolworth lunch counter serving whites only. No threats by white cloaked figures. No snarling police dogs or spraying fire hoses. These were high school kids right here in Bowling Green, standing up to protest what they recognized as an injustice that had gone unnoticed by many adults. Nearly 250 of them joined the National Day of Silence last year to raise awareness for people who cannot speak for themselves. The silent civil disobedience was organized by the Bowling Green High School Gay Straight Alliance. For that and many other efforts, the alliance was recognized Friday with the Drum Major of Peace Award presented at the annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “It feels amazing. I’m so proud of us and the community,” student Lily Krueger said after the program. Krueger recalled the first time she joined in the Day of Silence, when controversial topics were discussed in a class and she had to keep her mouth shut. “It really teaches you what the day is about.” The purpose of the group, advised by teacher Jennifer Dever, is to promote equality and understanding. “We want to make people feel safe,” said Claire Wells-Jensen, a member of the organization. The BGHS Gay Straight Alliance works to fight bullying, create “safe zones” for students needing support, and spur conversations that may lead to more understanding. In presenting the group with the award, Rev. Mary Jane Saunders, who chairs the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission, said it often takes young people to be the moral compasses for the rest of society. Like the four young people breaking the racist…


PBS puts accent on American story

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News PBS drama fans will hear new accents Sunday night. After “Downton Abbey” with its familiar British turns of phrase, PBS will premier “Mercy Street” with decidedly American tone. Not only is the setting and accent American, but the production is as well. That’s a major move for public broadcasting which has relied on BBC to provide its drama. In May, 2014 when WGTE hosted Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of the “Masterpiece” franchise, she spoke with regret that there would not be an American equivalent of “Masterpiece.” Now a little more than a year and a half later, thanks to corporate support, we have just that. It also addresses another issue Eaton confronted during her visit, a lack of ethnic diversity in BBC’s offerings. I would hope this is not a one-off. The presence of Ridley Scott at the helm as executive producer, is certainly a good sign. Can PBS recruit top American directors for future series? Set in a hospital during the Civil War, “Mercy Street” explores distinctly American themes. The choice of the Civil War is fitting for this effort. If class distinctions are a British obsession, the Civil War and America’s tortured history of racial oppression, is our country’s own obsession. We alternately ignore it and shout at each other about it. People are still dying. At a recent preview screening at the WGTE studio in Toledo, the station screened a special collection of scenes from the first three episodes. Not the best way to assess a show, but enough to give a sense of what lies in store. “Mercy Street” centers on…


Gun lobby goes after university faculty for exercising right to petition government

Rabid supporters of the Second Amendment hate nothing so much as people exercising their First Amendment rights to disagree with them. Gun rights is a settled case in their eyes. Never mind that some people would question what allowing Robert Lewis Dear walk around in Colorado Springs with loaded long gun before he attacked a clinic has to do with maintaining a “well regulated militia.” That hair-trigger reaction was evident when faculty members at Bowling Green State University deigned to express their views on pending legislation that directly affects their workplaces and their personal safety. Many of them used their university email accounts to oppose legislation that loosens controls of guns on campus. This is a violation of university policy, writes Chad D. Baus of the Buckeye Firearms Association. * Technically correct, maybe. As a taxpayer I’m not at all concerned that they are using their work emails, after all those are subject to open records laws, so it benefits transparency. In this case it’s a quibble to think a policy overrides citizens’ right to petition their government. Baus is also technically correct that the National Rifle Association is not per se itself “a murderous terrorist organization that is a threat to national security” as Baus reports the rabble-rousing geology professor Jim Evans wrote to State Rep. Tim Brown, of Bowling Green. No the NRA simply throws its big bucks and political muscle against any rational effort to control guns, and in favor of legislation that makes it easier for terrorists, not to mention drug lords, gang bangers, criminals of various stripes, anti-government unregulated militias and, yes, Robert Lewis Dear,…


“American Comandante” is adventure story that still resonates with world events

William Morgan came home to Toledo Sunday afternoon. The American adventurer had run away to join the circus as a child, and ended up dying in front of a firing squad in Cuba. Morgan could have been a character from the imagination of E.L. Doctorow. But as the new American Experience documentary “American Comandante” makes clear he was a real person who played a role in events that shaped our world. His story as a warrior in a revolution turned bad resonates with events we face now. “American Comandante” airs on PBS this week (9 p.m. Tuesday ). WGTE hosted a preview screening Sunday with writer, producer and director Adriana Bosch discussing the program, and among the dignitaries in attendance was Morgan’s widow, Olga Rodriguez Goodwin. The documentary is really a story of war and love. To the extent Morgan could be grounded it was by Olga’s love and the love of his mother back in Toledo.  His body is still buried in Cuba. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur said in her talks with Fidel Castro about repatriating the remains, it was clear the Cuban dictator knows exactly where they are. In giving her blessing to the film — Goodwin saw it for the first time Sunday — she said: “Thank you for bringing William home.” Morgan carried what he learned in Toledo with him. “He grew up in a place where the American Dream was a palpable reality,” Bosch said. That’s where the story starts. The opening scenes are home movie footage of the Ringling Brothers circus visiting Toledo. Shot by Morgan’s father, they feature a young William. (The film is apparently from a…


Stories to tell, water to save

Educator Laura Schetter brought a souvenir back from the Arctic Circle — a plastic water bottle. Schetter found the bottle on a beach that she expected to be pristine. Instead she found trash carried by the Gulf Stream to this most remote place. That’s just one of the stories she has to tell. Also this year she was in India studying yoga. In the village where she was staying she met the water granny, the elder who was charged with turning on and off the taps to each home daily, and making sure villagers didn’t waste the water. That water was precious. The lake the villagers had relied on had dried up as the climate has gotten warmer. An attempt to drill a conventional well had failed. So they needed a deeper well, cutting through rock. Schetter’s stories about water aren’t all from foreign lands. In the summer of 2014, a deadly algae bloom left the Toledo area, including Holland, Ohio where she lives, without water. All these stories got Schetter thinking about water, the way people depend on it and the way it connects them. She took her students from the Wildwood Environmental Academy where she is the environmental studies coordinator to the water, the nearby Maumee River and to the shore of Lake Erie. They tested the water, played along its banks and picked up trash. One student exclaimed after looking at the 80 pounds of trash they’d collected that he felt like he was doing something to help the environment. All this comes together in H2you.co, a new project the educator has just launched. Schetter wants to gather water stories…


Faculty recital series starts at BGSU

Start the new semester with some new music performed by violinist Caroline Chin . She’ll present the first Faculty Artist Series of the semester Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the refurbished Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center on the Bowling Green State University campus. She will perform BGSU colleague Guggenheim Fellow Mikel Kuehn Mikel Kuehn’s “Crosstalk” for Flute and Violin and with Dr. Conor Nelson, flute. This is the piece’s wrld premiere. Chin will open the concert with Anton Webern’s 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano. She’ll be joined by Dr. Laura Melton, piano. Chin and Melton will close with Camille Saint-Saens’ Sonata No. 1 in D minor for Violin and Piano. Chin joined the BGSU faculty last semester. She’s an avid performer of contemporary chamber music and has played with tap dancer Savion Glover and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. Photo courtesy of carolineevachin.com Originally published at: medium.com/@ DavidRDupont