Families put up a fight against pipeline plans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Jerry and Elaine Bruns’ farmland near Pemberville has been in their family since the 1860s. They have no intention of giving a pipeline company permission to damage it – no matter how much money is offered. The Bruns are being joined by 14 other Wood County families who are standing up to Kinder Morgan pipeline company, which is planning to build a $500 million ethane pipeline from southeast Ohio to Canada, passing through their land on the way. On Thursday, the landowners listened in court as pipeline representatives said the residents were being greedy and were holding out for a better price. Not true, Jerry Bruns said. “We told them from the get-go. We don’t want the pipeline, no matter what the money.” This is clearly not about the money, he said. “This has been going on for two years.” On Monday, the families will be in court again, trying to convince the judge that eminent domain law does not give Kinder Morgan the right to bury a pipeline on their land. According to their attorney, a private pipeline company’s taking of land for its own gain violates the Ohio Constitution’s strict protection of private property rights. The action filed on behalf of 15 families in eastern Wood County opposes the efforts for the Utopia pipeline intended to send ethane from southeastern Ohio to a Canadian plastics factory. Bruns said he and other families objected to the land surveys by the Texas-based…


New home for media and communications the talk of BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG INDEPENDENT NEWS South Hall was an eyesore; the Kuhlin Center is a gem. Some people scoffed at the idea that South Hall with its facade pimpled with window air conditioning units should be renovated. Now three years later the new home for Bowling Green State University’s School of Communications and Media Studies including a new wing housing a suite of studios is ready to educate a new generation of professionals. About two weeks before the first day of classes, construction workers are still putting finishing touches on the $24 million project even as faculty and staff begin to move in. “These projects tend to go down to the wire,” said Steve Krakoff. “This one is no different.” Krakoff, vice president, capital planning and campus operations, was a prominent advocate for renovating rather than razing the former South Hall. It had good bones, he said. Now he and John Fischer, vice provost for academic affairs, and Brian Swope, assistant director of office of construction and design, three administrators closest to developing the project, are walking the halls of the nearly finished Kuhlin Center. The School of Media and Communication includes three departments: Communications, Media Production and Studies, and Journalism and Public Relations. Even for those who were familiar with the building’s previous iterations it can be hard to identify its features. What was a dank theater space on the fourth floor is now a conference room. The Kuhlin Center, Fischer said, will have “the nicest conference spaces…


New Wood Lane superintendent shares values, vision

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Brent Baer is so excited about the possibilities for his new job as Wood Lane superintendent that he can’t stop talking about it – even if some people are tired of listening. “I feel sorry for my wife. She wanted to watch the Olympics,” Baer said Tuesday. “Every time I think about it, I get so excited.” Baer, who lives in Perrysburg and started his new job on Aug. 1, was introduced to the Wood County Commissioners Tuesday morning by his predecessor Melanie Stretchbery. Stretchbery has served with Baer on a number of state committees. “What’s more important, we have shared values and shared vision of how to serve people,” Stretchbery told the commissioners. When getting his social work degree years ago, Baer interned at Wood Lane. So when he heard about Stretchbery retiring, he jumped at the chance for the job. “This is too good to be true,” Baer recalled thinking. Stretchbery said the transition has been comfortable for staff, since she and Baer share the same philosophy working with people with developmental disabilities. “We have the same priority in the people we serve,” Stretchbery said. “You can’t teach that. I’m looking forward to seeing what else is going to happen at Wood Lane.” Baer has 26 years of experience working with people with developmental disabilities. Prior to taking the position with Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Baer served as an assistant deputy director of the Ohio Department of Developmental…


New Greek Village creates common ground for BGSU’s sororities and fraternities

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The new houses for Greeks on the Bowling Green State University campus generated smiles from visitors, especially those looking forward to moving in a few days. While the amenities, large bedrooms, kitchens, and open spaces drew raves, it was the sense of togetherness the place would foster that seemed to most warm the hearts of future residents. Delaney Poor, a sister of Delta Gamma, said having the sorority back in its own house will mean “you always have a support system. There will always be someone here for you.” Her Delta Gamma sister Lauren Gillespie said it will allow them “to share their sisterhood in a special place.” One of the features of the new townhouse-style houses is each will have a chapter room, a place big enough to gather all the members of the chapter, including the majority not living in the house, into one place for meetings. Alyssa Karaffa, a 2010 BGSU graduate and member of Alpha Delta Xi, said in the past the larger chapters would have to use several rooms to hold meetings. “We won’t be scattered across campus anymore,” said Molly Post, who will live in the Omega Phi Alpha house. Greeks were given space in Kohl Hall after the old houses were torn down. “It will give us a chance to have a home place to gather have more a sense of sisterhood,” Post said. And, she added, the complex with its uniform look will serve another purpose, to…


Talking to kids about troubled times – how to make them cautious, not paranoid

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green mom asked for help not crossing the line between protecting her two children from “bad guys” and making them fearful of the world. “I want them to be cautious, but not paranoid,” she said, Thursday evening during a meeting to help parents talk with their children about troubled times and the violence erupting around the world. The meeting was hosted by the Bowling Green School District and Not In Our Town. “They are overwhelmed,” Rev Gary Saunders, of Not In Our Town, said of many parents wondering how to explain mass shootings and terrorism to their children. “They can’t believe that it’s happening. Yet they have the task of making meaning of this.” A panel of experts who work with children advised that parents talk with their children, and listen to what they have to say. “Children are so very perceptive and they pick up more than we adults realize,” said Ana Brown, coordinator for Diversity Initiatives at Bowling Green State University. “They are going to make meaning of things themselves if you’re not there with them,” said Christina Lunceford, assistant professor of higher education and student affairs at BGSU. Parents were told not to wait until they think their children are old enough to understand the violence. Much of today’s tragedies are not understandable at any age. But even preschoolers are soaking up bits and pieces of what they hear. “The conversations should happen at a very young…


Arresting images portray intersection of policing & art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ben Schonberger’s art installation, “Beautiful Pig,” at River House Arts in Toledo couldn’t come at a more fraught moment coming as it does in a time when our reactions are color coded. The heart-felt cry of Black Lives Matter giving rise to the reaction of Blue Lives Matter. Schonberger collaborated with retired Detroit detective Marty Gaynor to create a portrait of the cop and his community and the relationship between the cop and the artist. “I think it’s an incredibly fragile moment,” Schonberger said. “I don’t think it’s ever been more relevant.” He sees the exhibit as an opening to an “alternate” conversation about policing and community, one “that doesn’t begin with a charged reaction.” In every incident, “everybody has an alternative story,” he said. This isn’t work, he said, that someone will see in the gallery and buy to hang in their home. “The best part about this work isn’t the art, it’s to be able to have an alternative conversation about people and process. If you can have a conversation about humans and feeling, identity, empathy, survival and history, if you can understand someone’s brain for a minute, that’s when contemporary art is so powerful.” Fittingly this is the first collaboration between the gallery’s owner Paula Baldoni and the nascent group Contemporary Art Toledo. Brain Carpenter, the founder, said the group is interested in exactly these kind of shows that are more about generating debate than displaying objects. The River House walls…


Issues, candidates file for Nov. 8 election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters in Bowling Green will face two tax issues on their ballots in November – one for parks and recreation, the other for senior citizen services. Wednesday was the deadline in Ohio for filing issues and candidates for the Nov. 8 election. Since the national candidates don’t file at the Wood County Board of Elections, names may be added to those listings by the Ohio Secretary of State over the next couple weeks. Throughout the county, 27 tax levies will appear on the fall ballot for everything from schools and fire trucks, to roads and police protection. Following is a list of those issues, then a list of the candidates known to be on the local ballot. Wood County Wood County Committee on Aging, renewal of 0.7 mills, for five years, for providing and maintaining senior citizen services or facilities. Bowling Green Parks and Recreation additional 2-mill levy, for five years. Rossford Referendum amending an ordinance, adopting a new income tax credit for 2016 and thereafter. Bloom Township Tax levy replacement of 0.7 mills, for 5 years, for current operating expenses. Tax levy replacement of 1 mill, for 5 years, for fire protection. Freedom Township Tax levy renewal for 0.4 mills, for 3 years, for fire apparatus. Exclusive of the village of Pemberville, tax levy renewal for 1 mill, for 5 years, for road improvements. Tax levy renewal of 1 mill, for 3 years, for current expenses. Grand Rapids Township Additional tax…


Community helps fill 700 backpacks for students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Students may be anxious about going back to school in the next week or two. Some parents, meanwhile, are nervous about the costs of supplying them for the school year. Depending on the grade, the school supply list can be quite long – notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, oil pastels, markers, scissors, glue, rulers, headphones, scientific calculators – and of course, the backpack to carry it all. Cha-ching. Older kids don’t need the scissors or glue, but they’ve got school expenses of their own like flash-drives, pay-to-play costs for extra-curriculars, band uniform fees, class photos and other niceties. Cha-ching. And of course, there are back to school clothes and footwear. Cha-ching. The average cost for supplies and backpacks – with no frills included – is $85 per child, according to Shannon Fisher, social services supervisor with Wood County Job and Family Services. The total bill can be daunting for families, especially those with multiple children. To help those families unable to handle the costs on their own, nearly 700 stocked backpacks are being given to Wood County children. Wood County Job and Family Services provided backpacks full of school supplies, plus new shoes, for 500 children. And Wednesday, the United Way in Wood County and the Salvation Army teamed up to offer a Back to School Fair at Woodland Mall in Bowling Green. Those agencies worked with local churches, businesses and organizations to collect items for backpacks. “We pooled community resources to have…


Six in running for open BG Council seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Six people are in the running to fill the empty Fourth Ward City Council seat. Submitting applications were Jeremy Adams, Will Airhart, Jeff Dennis, Eric Eberly, William Herald and Scott Seeliger. Applicants will each give a brief presentation before City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Aug. 15, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers. The presentations will be limited to about five minutes. City Council may then vote during its 7 p.m. meeting, also on Aug. 15, to select a person to fill the seat. The Fourth Ward seat was vacated when Theresa Charters Gavarone was appointed as state representative for Wood County. Following are some details on each of the applicants for the council seat. Jeremy R. Adams, 615 Normandie Blvd., holds bachelors and masters degrees in architecture. He currently works as a designer at JDI Group in Maumee. He has also served in the Ohio National Guard since 2006. “In addition to education I have had a multitude of professional career experiences which required strong skills in communication and coordination amongst contractors, engineers, project managers, architects, military leaders, etc.,” Adams wrote in his letter of interest. “The leadership and dedication qualities I bring to the table have been further sculpted by my military career,” he stated. “The military has instilled professionalism and attention to detail qualities within me, which are necessary in any organization. It is this experience and professionalism that I will bring to City Council.” Will Airhart,…


Old salt earns ribbons in maiden voyage as fair competitor

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jim Graf took his time making his maiden voyage as an exhibitor at the Wood County Fair. Growing up in Grand Rapids, he never exhibited. He was active in Pinewood Derby and made a few car models. Graf, 80, had a varied career – factory work, selling insurance, then banking. After that he owned a mobile home park, drove a truck and worked as “a cook and go-fer” for a hazardous waste cleanup company. Then 12 years ago while he and his wife, Vicky, were wintering in Texas, she got him a project, a model of the U.S.S. Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides.” “I thought he’d enjoy it,” she said. “He’s the kind of person when he sets his sights on something, he’ll finish them,” she said, adding she “learned new combinations of words” during the construction process. Graf set to work. He worked at it for a year then set it aside. “I put it in dry dock.” But his wife knew he’d return. And, he did. A decade later, he was back at it. “Now that my fingers were numb and my eyes are bad, I get to the hardest part. A 16-year-old could tie one of those knots in one third of the time it took me,” Graf said. “You know in my old age this taught me a lot about perseverance and patience.” He invested hundreds of hours in the project, redoing the rigging several times. The two years in…


Is cursive writing out of the loop?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Children no longer line up at the chalkboard, practicing elaborate loops for their cursive writing. Most now communicate using their thumbs on tiny keyboards. To some youth, cursive writing is as mysterious as hieroglyphics – found only in old documents, in rare love letters, or in unreadable signatures. Some see this as a natural progression, others as a tragic loss. “Everything progresses and everything changes,” said Beverly Dennis. “The world is changing and this is where things are going.” Dennis is stuck somewhere in the middle of the cursive controversy. As a genealogist who works in the Wood County local genealogy office, she sees the value of traditional cursive writing. “I think the next generations that come along are going to have a lot of difficulty reading cursive,” she said. To a person who appreciates history, that thought is troubling. “If you didn’t know cursive, it would be more difficult to transcribe these old books. There is so much of it in history.” Plus, there’s a touch of art to cursive writing that just doesn’t exist in typed words. “It’s really beautiful,” Dennis said of cursive with its fancy curves and curls. However, as a grandmother of teenagers, Dennis sees the natural evolution toward keyboards. “Cursive writing probably won’t be around long,” she predicted. “Even at my advanced age, I find myself vacillating between cursive and printing. Printing does seem to be easier than cursive.” Some educators, already feeling pinched for instruction…


Delta Saints to bless arts festival with healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News What does it take to bring a rock ‘n’ roll band from dorm room sessions to the stages of the world? About a 1,000 shows and just as much bourbon. That’s what Ben Ringel attributes the success of The Delta Saints to. When the band plays the 10 p.m. set for the Friday show at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Sept.9, he wants the audience to come away with one impression: “I’d love it if people left and said ‘we really saw this great rock ’n’ roll band.’” Not that he feels the Delta Saints have reached perfection. It’s a continuing learning process, he said. “We try to learn something every night,” he said. “Three-quarters of the lessons we learn are ‘don’t do that the next time.’” That sense of lifelong learning is not surprising for a band that got its start at a college, Belmont University in Nashville. In 2007, Ringel and several other students who had transferred into the college bonded together.  They shared a bit of an outsider attitude, coming from different schools and parts of the country. Ringel was born in Louisiana, but lived in Seattle, before going to Nashville. Bassist David Supica came from Kansas. They and a couple other guys were “all pursuing music, both in school and as a passion.” “We needed an outlet for it, needed friends to drink beer with. It really took off from there.” They wrote songs together, and then with enough for…


Legislators asked to step up Lake Erie protection

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two years after algal blooms created a water crisis in the Toledo area, local leaders want to know what Ohio and Michigan are doing to prevent the green water from returning. Last week, legislators from both states were asked to explain efforts at the state level to keep Lake Erie clean. The state senators and representatives were a captive audience for questions from regional city, village, township, county and school officials during a TMACOG forum. The legislators were asked about steps they had taken to protect the water quality in the northwest Lake Erie basin. One legislator from Ohio and another from Michigan said they had been “proactive” in their clean water efforts, with manure application on farm fields now being regulated. State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, stopped short of using the word “proactive,” but listed off several bills and proposals to protect the water. However, he then added, “I don’t believe we have done enough yet.” “We still have more work to do. This lake deserves it,” Gardner said. State Rep. Mike Sheehy, who represents several Lucas County subdivisions, said many Ohio waterways are in compliance with the Clean Water Act. “Guess which river is not on the list?” he asked – the Maumee River. State Rep. Bill Reineke, from the Sandusky County area, said he represents several farmers in his district who have been self-regulating their use of manure on fields. “We can’t be blaming anyone,” he said. Michigan…


Horizon’s Thomas Long wins top comic acting prize; 3B’s “Mermaid” going to state festival (update)

From BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Actors from Horizon Youth Theatre picked up awards, including a top comic acting honor, at the Ohio Community Theatre Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. this weekend. Thomas Long received an Outstanding in Comedic Acting for his role in “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.” HYT presented a 40-minute excerpt from the play, which was originally staged in October. Also at the festival 3B Productions’ “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” was one of two excerpts chosen to be staged at OCTA’s state conference on Labor Day weekend. Several HYT actors performed in the chorus for that show, which was 3B’s annual summer youth production. “Little Mermaid” received outstanding awards for: Dylan Coale, makeup design;  Joe Barton, costume coordinating; Janine Baughman and Tom Montgomery, musical accompaniment; and Sarah Matlow and Will Dupuis, outstanding musical performance. Also, 3B received excellence for:  vocal ensemble; Bob Marzola, choreography; Beth Kinney, props; Andrea Maccariella, props; Jesse Bernal, set design; and Noah Halaoui, musical performance. In addition to Long’s award, HYT won a number of merit awards. Those were: first time director Jeffrey Guion; Wendy Guion, props; ensemble acting; and Anne Weaver and Bob Walters, acting. The Toledo School for the Arts presented an excerpt from “Little Prince” and received an outstanding for puppet design and excellence for ensemble acting, as well as several merit awards. The festival, held Saturday in Wadsworth, was about more than competition. As the performers from all over the state waited for the results, they flooded the area in front…


Country kids school city folks at the fair

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   County fairs give city kids a chance to learn about farms and the livestock raised on them. The fairs also give country kids a chance to work on their patience when city folk ask some rather inane questions. In the beef barns, a lot of people meandering through mistake the steer for cows. That’s a real elementary lesson for farm kids, who know that cows are females and the beef barns have male steer and young calves. “It’s not a cow,” Rebekkah Schober, 12, of Walbridge, said with a hint of exasperation as she explained the difference. But most of the time she doesn’t bother to go into detail for people wandering through the barns. “I feel like that would be rude. Besides, they won’t remember that by tomorrow morning, so it would be a waste of time.” Some people also mistake the steer for big pets. “They’ll touch them without asking,” said Macey Fix, 17, of Gibsonburg. “They are sweet animals, but be careful around them. If it kicks someone, it would really hurt bad.” AnnMarie Nietz, 12, Walbridge, gets the same “cow” questions. “Only girls are cows,” she said as she tended to her steer. Then there’s the “do they bite” question, to which she sternly replies, “no.” Helping her was Amelia Leiser, 10, who said some city folk ask why her steer is so dirty. “He lays in his own poop, for pete’s sake,” she said. Amelia is pretty…