County flooded with calls about Portage River cleanup

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nearly 9,500 letters have been mailed out by the county to the owners of parcels that drain into the south and east branches of the Portage River. The letters are one of the final steps in a river cleanup process that has taken a decade. The Portage River project is the biggest river cleanup ever attempted by the county – covering 46 miles of waterway. The notices mailed out alert the landowners of their estimated assessments for the river cleanup and of a hearing scheduled for Aug. 22. The cleanup of the Portage River branches is intended to reduce future flooding. However, the notices have led to a flood of phone calls to the Wood County Engineer’s Office – many of them from people questioning their responsibility to help fund the project. “We’re getting a lot of calls. ‘What’s this got to do with me? My water doesn’t go there,’” Wood County Engineer John Musteric said of the typical comments from callers. Many landowners don’t realize where their water drains – they just know that it goes away after heavy rains, Musteric said. Though the river cleanup project is the longest ever undertaken in Wood County, it is less extensive than many projects in the past. There will be no digging, no widening, no channelizing. The river branches will be allowed to keep their meandering paths. The work will only remove logjams and trees leaning into the river. “This one is actually very mild,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said of the Portage River cleanup plans. But while the cleanup may be minor, the distance is massive. In addition to the miles of waterway in Wood County, the project also includes portions in Hancock and Seneca counties. That is likely the reason that it’s taken 10 years to get to this point of a final hearing on the cleanup. The project was initiated by Jack Stearns, a Bloom Township farmer who was tired of his fields flooding. He circulated a petition, which was signed by many other farmers along the river who were also weary of losing crops when the river overflowed its banks. That was in 2007. Stearns and the others waited as the project drowned due to its own mass. Meanwhile, the logjams and debris in the river have just worsened. When county engineer staff walked the river routes after…


Ghost towns make an appearance at Wood County Fair

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Don’t let the name fool you. These ghost towns aren’t haunted, they are just plain gone. There may be a house or two remaining, but the life that was once there is no more. Wood County has 133 towns that have mostly disappeared. They were communities that grew around gushing oil wells, busy sawmills, or promising railroad tracks. Sometimes all it took for a town to take root was a general store, a post office, or a doctor to live nearby. But once that vital component was gone, it wasn’t long till the town died off too. When the oil dried up, the sawmill closed, the railroad moved or the one-room schools consolidated, there was nothing left to keep the townspeople there. “The oil petered out, the post office closed. There was no one to buy products, so the stores closed up and the churches moved on,” said Millie Broka, of the Wood County Genealogical Society. The genealogical society will have an exhibit on Wood County’s ghost towns at the Wood County Fair this week. In some cases, the towns were barely big enough to warrant a tiny spot on the map. “They could be a grouping of houses,” Bob Broka said. “They weren’t too big to begin with. They just withered away over the years.” “Some were just crossroads and people lived around them,” Millie Broka said. “The kids would move on, and once there was no one there to buy the products, the stores closed.” The genealogical society has collected several black and white photos of towns that once were. They show old hotels with guests posing out front, one-room schools, general stores, railroad depots and churches. There are stories of shindigs in the old town of Bays, where people from miles around would gather for square dancing upstairs at the general store. And stories of 5,000 barrels of oil a day gushing up in the ghost town of Ducat in 1888. And in Bloom Center in 1876, when 20 men and 22 women organized a literary society to improve their knowledge of history, letters and sciences. Some of the smallest towns were just swallowed up by the Great Black Swamp. Some of the names are familiar and are still used by old-timers. The exhibit at the fair lists those and the less known ones like Adams Curve, Awpatowajowin, Ted,…


County may be able to ditch some bridge maintenance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There may be some troubled bridges over waters here in Wood County. The maintenance of bridges in the county has always been handled by the Wood County Engineer’s Office. That’s 440 bridges total. But the newest county engineer, John Musteric, said his office may only be responsible for about 410. Musteric has asked the county prosecuting attorney to look into the possibility that 30 bridges located in local municipalities should be maintained by those villages or cities. “Some of those bridges may not be our responsibility, we’re finding out,” Musteric told the county commissioners on Tuesday. The engineer is hoping to get an answer from the prosecutor by the end of the year. “More to come.” Wood County’s engineer office isn’t the only one trying to ditch some bridge responsibilities – for cost and liability issues. “This has been happening all around the state,” explained Joanie Cherry, from the county engineer’s office. Wood County Commissioner Ted Bowlus expressed some concern about municipalities having to pick up the costs to maintain bridges. “It would be an expensive venture for them,” Bowlus said. Construction costs to build a small box culvert bridge were estimated at about $100,000 to $150,000. The average bridge costs $350,000 to replace, while larger structures can cost close to $1 million, Cherry said. But Musteric said it seems logical to him that if municipalities annex bridges into their communities, they ought to take care of them. He also pointed out that towns and cities may have better chances of securing state or federal funding. “They have more opportunities to get funding” than the county, he said. “A few of the bridges could get money very easily,” Cherry said. “A lot of municipalities probably don’t realize how much funding is available to them.” Bowling Green has no bridges in its city limits, and Perrysburg has already been maintaining bridges inside its boundaries. But several communities do have bridges – such as Tontogany, Pemberville, North Baltimore, Fostoria, Northwood and Rossford. Not all bridges inside municipalities would qualify, but those located on roadways that do not extend outside the city or village limits may qualify to be turned over to those communities to maintain. Pemberville, for example, has three bridges but some could remain under the county’s care. “Those are three we are looking at,” Cherry said. But it’s likely that only the…


Heritage meets the future in two of BGSU’s oldest halls

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Prospective students will be offered a grand entrance into Bowling Green State University when they visit the new admission offices in University Hall. University Hall, one of the two oldest buildings on campus – Williams Hall just to the west was completed earlier in 1915 – is opening after a complete two-year makeover. And like Moseley Hall, another of the original campus buildings, University Hall offers all the cutting-edge amenities of the early 21st century without losing its sense of a 100-year-old heritage. Th projected final costs for the building renovations is $21 million for Moseley and $25 million for University Hall, according to the Office of Marketing and Communications. The west entrance of University Hall has retained the marble staircase that sweeps upward to the second floor, the new home for the office of admissions. “Of all the spaces in the building this is the one I’m most proud of,” said Brian Swope, the university’s assistant director of the office of design and construction, during a recent tour. In renovating the stairway “we kept as many of the original pieces as we possibly could,” he said. Where the original fixtures had to be replaced, replicas were purchased. That was true throughout the building. Crews stripped away the work of earlier renovations, opening up space, and exposing original walls. Drywall was removed at the top of the stairwell. The marble stairs will be treated give them a better grip, Swope said. Where a fireplace once graced the president’s office when the building first opened, a decorative fireplace has been installed in a lounge area on the second floor. A large window gives a view to the west. “The biggest difference is all the natural light,” Kristi Peiffer, a project manager for the university office of design and construction, said. In many instances, the top half of the floor-to-ceiling windows had been covered up to save on energy. Now using high efficiency glass, those windows can be unblocked letting light in and offering views of the surrounding campus. Swope said the buildings remain “true to form on the outside,” but inside they reflect the newest concepts. Classrooms offer more flexibility. “The days of teaching stuck to the lectern in front of the classroom are gone,” Peiffer said. University hall has a half-dozen classrooms, including one on the third floor that has flexible seating for 90…


Pop’s Seafood reels in customers with fresh perch, walleye

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years, Brandon Keiser has been at home on the water, reeling in perch, walleye and more exotic fish. Now, he finds himself in the kitchen, cooking up fish for customers. Keiser has combined his two loves – cooking and fish – into his business called Pop’s Seafood. The restaurant is named after his father, Jim Keiser, who also shares a love for fishing and worked for a period as a charter captain on Lake Erie. “It’s been something we kicked around the last few years,” Brandon Keiser said of the restaurant in Bowling Green’s Greenwood Centre, 1616 E. Wooster St. “Bowling Green needed something other than pizza, wings and fast food,” he said. The restaurant features Lake Erie perch and walleye, as well as shrimp, hush puppies, fries and tater tots.  The fish is fresh – at least until the lake freezes over. The fish is hand-breaded and deep-fried in rice oil, which means it’s far less greasy. “It’s been a hit,” Keiser said. “As for deep-fried, it’s the healthiest you can get.” The servings are large, and Keiser is trying to hook more customers by offering all-you-can-eat fish and shrimp specials. The winner so far for shrimp-eating is one customer who downed 100 shrimp. “He’s got the record so far. He’s up on our Facebook page,” Keiser said. “I want people to go away full and satisfied,” he said. The restaurant’s décor features stuffed fish, lobster traps, nets and photographs of Keiser’s family fishing outings. “We wanted it to be a very friendly, fun atmosphere, feeling like you’re at the dock,” he said. Keiser, who was born and raised in Pemberville and now lives in Whitehouse, grew up fishing on Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, “all over the place.” “I love Lake Erie – always have. Fishing has always been a passion.” His biggest catch was a 6 to 7 foot striped marlin in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Photos line the wall of smiling anglers holding up their prized catches. Customers are welcome to bring in their fishing photos and add them to the restaurant’s “bragging board.” “Anyone can bring their pictures up to put it on the wall,” Keiser said. This is the first time in 44 years that Keiser hasn’t had a boat. So instead, he’s frying up fresh fish for customers. “I absolutely love cooking,” he said,…


BGSU grad launches petition drive to save Forrest Creason

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A Perrysburg woman hoping to reverse Bowling Green State University’s decision to close the Forrest Creason Golf Course at the end of the current season. The decision was announced in March. Cheryl Joyce, a 1986 BGSU alumni and retired WBGU-TV employee, said she was approached by a fellow member of the club who said something should be done convince university officials to change their minds about the fate of the course. A family issue prevented Joyce from acting then, but about a week ago, she launched a petition drive on change.org (see petition). The petition, addressed to BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey and Chief Financial Officer Sherideen Stoll, has attracted 81 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. For Joyce, who started playing at the course 30 years ago, it is a treasure that merits more investment by BGSU, not closing. “It’s part of the community.” People from college students to senior citizens use the course. “It’s busy,” she said. “It’s not as busy as it used to be, but it’s busy.” Part of its appeal, she said, is that it’s an accessible course. “Forrest Creason is a great course for the average golfer. It’s not a high end country club where you have to dress to the nines to play golf.” While it has its share of hazards, sand traps and water, those add to its appeal without making too difficult to play whether for a beginner, a senior citizen, or a woman, she said. The course is where Joyce started playing golf in 1988 after she began working for BGSU. Now she runs two golf leagues at the course and volunteers in the clubhouse. If that clubhouse could be updated, she said, it may help attract more golfers. Finding a way to control the geese, she said, would be another improvement. Dave Kielmeyer, spokesman for BGSU, said that a consultant was hired to look at what the course needed. The consultant found it would require a $900,000 investment to bring it up to where it could be competitive, and then it would not be a break-even operation for at least five to seven years, Kielmeyer said. Those improvements would include outdoor shelter facilities, a new clubhouse with food service, and a new irrigation system. Kielmeyer reiterated the university’s rationale for closing the course. The course is operating at a $120,000 deficit, and those keep…


County fair history – hoochie-coochie girls, a hanging and much more

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Fair’s history is steeped in far more than prize steers, skillfully stitched quilts and homemade pies. Those county residents who think the fair has a bland story to tell, may not know about the cholera outbreak that drastically cut attendance in 1854, the hoochie-coochie girls who stirred up trouble in 1896, or the ostrich races in 1962. Or that in 1883, fairgoers could purchase side tickets to watch the hanging of Carl Bach, who murdered his wife with a corn knife. And few probably realize the pressure from the H.J. Heinz Co. in the late 1920s to change the fair date so it didn’t conflict with tomato harvest, because the company couldn’t find enough employees to show up at work to bottle the ketchup during the fair. According to records compiled by Dick Martin and the county genealogical society, since 1851 the Wood County Fair has jumped around from Bowling Green, to Perrysburg, to Portage, to Tontogany, and back again many times. In fact, for a series of years it was held in two towns because of warring fair factions. This year’s Wood County Fair begins Monday, and bears little resemblance to the first county fairs, except for the ability to attract people from around the county to reconnect with friends and recognize agricultural prowess in the region. The county fair was, for many, the event of the year. It attracted families in their best clothing for food, music and competitions. Some records show that the Wood County Fair had the top attendance of any county fairs in the state. Old black and white photos show lines of horses and buggies, then later lines of old automobiles, in the area that is now the Country Club golf course. The fairs have always given businesses an opportunity to advertise their products. Back in 1920, there was a booth called the “Wife Saving Station,” which boasted the latest in home plumbing equipment. The official program for the 1906 Wood County Fair included advertisements for businesses offering horseshoeing, the best men’s shoes in the city for $3.50, rooms at the Hotel Millikin for $2 a day, and a hatter who could make old hats look like new. In 1908, the papers talked of animal shows featuring trained lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, pumas, bears, monkey and baboons, and exhibits only found at big…


Blind Boys of Alabama brings sound rooted deep in the American soul to Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Blind Boys of Alabama are ready to pull listeners up by their roots at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The festival has always celebrated American roots music in its 25 years. But no other act can match the depth of the roots of the Blind Boys of Alabama. The band got its start as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers in 1938 at the Talladega Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Alabama, and has been sharing the uplift of gospel music ever since. They quit school to tour and later were renamed the Five Blind Boys of Alabama as a way to gin up competition with a similar group that was dubbed the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. The band scored its first hit with “I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine” in 1948. Starting when he was 9, lead singer Jimmy Carter has been along on the entire journey. (Another founder Clarence Fountain records with the ensemble but is unable to tour.) The Blind Boys of Alabama will perform on the Main Stage of the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Saturday, Sept.9, at 8 p.m. Over the years, the rhythms underneath those tight five-part harmonies have evolved, integrating funk, soul, blues, even rap. The vocals, though, have remained true to the band’s roots, said long-time member Ricky McKinnie. “Our voices are what make us the Blind Boys,” he said. “The Blind Boys believe in good harmony. As long as we can keep the harmony as tight as it is, the better off we are.” McKinnie, who sings second tenor and occasionally plays drums, started working with the band about 40 years ago and has been a member for 29 years. Other members of the group are Ben Moore, baritone, Paul Beasley, tenor, and music director Joey Williams, guitar and vocals. “He’s the only sighted member of the group,” McKinnie noted. The Blind Boys first broke into the mainstream when they performed in the musical “The Gospel at Colonus” in the 1980s. That exposed them to a wider audience and new collaborators from a variety of genres. “We found out that what’s from the heart, reaches the heart,” McKinnie said. “So we try to reach the soul of a person. We don’t come to preach to people, we come to sing. We hope that our singing can make them feel good. We sing feel…


Prices hiked to keep fitness class budget healthy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board wants local residents to be healthy – but the board also has to worry about the health of the park and recreation budget. So last week, the board voted to raise prices of fitness classes at the community center in the fall. The board agreed to stop short of larger fee increases considered earlier in the year. The classes are provided through MindBody, and brought in $30,618 last year. However, the classes cost $44,447 to offer. “Our mission is to get people healthy and fit, so we do operate a little differently from a private club or fitness studio – some subsidy of classes is not a bad thing, but we need to keep it balanced,” Kristin Otley, park and recreation director, said in her report to the board. Following is the list of current and proposed rates approved by the board: Drop-in rate will remain unchanged at $8. Monthly rate will increase from $40 to $44. Quarterly rate will go from $105 to $117. Annual rate will increase from $360 to $396. This will be the first time the rates have changed since the community center switched to the MindBody program in the summer of 2015. The park and recreation department will also start a couple promotions to encourage those with MindBody fitness passes to get a community center pass, and to urge those with center passes to try out MindBody classes. Those signing up for a community center pass would receive a coupon for a free month of MindBody. Those purchasing an annual MindBody pass would be given $40 off a center pass. The rate increases should bring in an additional $2,716 annually. The higher rates initially proposed would have generated $4,458 more annually, but concerns were expressed about losing participants due to the increases. Otley reminded the board that while the community center rates should be less than other fitness businesses in the city, the rates need to be closer to covering costs. She also explained that the adult programs at the community center always subsidize the youth programs. Board president Jeff Crawford suggested that the board look at small increases annually in fitness class fees, to avoid any large increases. Otley also explained the positive changes since the community center switched to the MindBody program. Now participants can buy a monthly…


Wood Lane vision focuses on people first

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities is focusing on the abilities of its consumers. Wood Lane Superintendent Brent Baer and board president Becca Ferguson presented its new vision to the Wood County Commissioners last week. The vision statement is brief, saying the board is there to “support, empower and inspire people.” “It ends with the word ‘people,’” not with disabilities, Baer said. “This speaks to who we are and what we cherish.” “I’ve never worked anywhere where I could recite it,” Baer said of the short and sweet vision statement. “It means a lot to us.” The vision statement has been posted on every office door at Wood Lane. “That set the tone for the rest of the 2020 vision,” adopted by the board, Baer said. The organization’s goal is to focus more on person-centered thinking. “The person is at the center of everything we do,” he said. But to really do that, the staff has to know the person – not just the contents of the consumer’s file. “We have to truly know the individual,” Baer said. “Checklists look great in a file. But that does not get to know the real person.” So a push is being made for staff to spend time doing fun activities with consumers. Recently that meant a volleyball game between consumers and staff. “That was probably the most fun I’ve had in years – and we were working,” Baer said. Not to mention, “We lost.” New emphasis is also being placed on consumers taking part in service projects that give back to the community. For example, some consumers just served up ice cream to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Wood Lane is also looking at a home stabilization program that would be able to provide housing immediately to someone in need. “We frequently are sending people out of county,” for unforeseen housing needs, Baer said. Wood Lane has secured state funding for housing. Three new homes are currently being prepared for consumers – one on Melrose Avenue in Bowling Green, one on West South Boundary in Perrysburg, and another on Louisiana Avenue in Perrysburg. “We’re not shipping the money out of the county,” Ferguson said. “It’s all about creating as many options as we can,” Baer said.


Here’s the scoop – cops meet with kids over ice cream

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than a year now, Bowling Green Police Division has been meeting citizens over cups of hot coffee. On Friday, they tried something different – meeting them over bowls of ice cream, with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top. “This is bigger than the Coffee with the Cops,” said Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick as he looked out over the room at the Wood County District Public Library, full of children eating ice cream and wearing police badge stickers. “We’re making you all honorary policemen today,” the chief told them. Police officers posed for photos with kids holding their bowls of ice cream. They answered questions about their jobs. Deputy Chief Justin White said he did not get the usual, “Have you shot somebody” question today. In fact, most of the questions were not about the two-legged officers, but about their four-legged canine officer named Arci. “He’s going to make an appearance,” assured Hetrick. The goal was to make the kids more comfortable around police officers in their community. “We’re here to help,” said Lt. Brad Biller. “The police officers in the community are here to serve them, not to be feared by them.” The officers have visited the library in the past to read to kids, but this visit was a little different. “We’ve invited the police officers before, but we’ve never thought of combining it with ice cream,” children’s librarian Maria Simon said. “What a great idea.” The ice cream, combined with the location, drew in a different and larger crowd, Lt. Dan Mancuso said. “We were trying to get other people,” not just the normal coffee crowd, Mancuso said. “It’s summertime, kids like ice cream.” And the long-term benefit may be more than the bowl of ice cream. “So if there are problems, they feel comfortable coming to us.” The hit of the day proved to be Arci, the Belgian Malinois canine cop. His handler, Sgt. Gordon Finger, said Arci is trained for several different jobs like sniffing out narcotics, tracking people, searching for missing people, and apprehending people. Arci, who responds to commands primarily in Dutch, loves to work, Finger said. “Work is his life’s blood,” he said. “His favorite part of the day is when he sees me getting ready for work.” “When I take a shower, he’s standing staring at the door, waiting for…


Farming & food are a family affair for the Froboses

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bob Frobose’s father didn’t want to keep his son on the farm. After a few bad years, Frobose said, his father sold his herd when he retired in 1974. When Frobose graduated from high school in 1971, and decided not to go to college where he hoped to play basketball, he stayed in the food industry, training to be a meat cutter in a small grocery chain. He’s still a meat cutter, but now he owns the store. And he raises the cattle he processes. He had no problem keeping his own sons in agriculture. All three – Ben, Jake and Zack – are involved in the family business, which now has a number of enterprises. And with grandchildren now romping around the barn, they look forward to this being a fifth generation operation. Frobose told the family’s story during a Food Processing from Farm to Plate event, sponsored by the Wood County Farm Bureau earlier this month. The tour began fittingly in the Frobose barn in Pemberville. “Dad had made it pretty clear that after he retired he didn’t want me to have anything to do with farming,” Frobose said. “He felt there were better opportunities off the farm.” Frobose said he had a good upbringing on the farm though. Both working with the animals, and shooting baskets wherever he could hang a hoop. He joked that now he could tell everyone he was a good player because no one remembers otherwise. “You’re still good,” a grandson chimed up. His father’s attitude toward agriculture didn’t mellow at all in his old age. When his grandsons got steers to show at the fair, “he didn’t even like that,” Bob Frobose said. That was shortly before his death in 1989. A few months later, Frobose’s mother approached him: “I bet you’d like to get some cattle back in the barn wouldn’t you?” In 1990, he had 60-75 head of cattle, and an almost 40-year-old barn, and some learning to do. Working with his father, he said, he just did what he was told. Now he had to now re-educate himself “so basically you don’t kill the animals. … We had some growing pains.” The farm no also raises pigs in fall through spring. That includes having to find market for the meat. At one point, it was sold in Whole Foods. While the meat can’t…


Ride safety a priority at Wood County Fair

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Parents may feel more trepidation than usual as they watch their children spin past on rides next week at the Wood County Fair. With the local fair coming just days after the fatal accident at the Ohio State Fair ride, it’s likely that the tragedy will still be in the minds of some parents. But the fact is that very few amusement ride incidents are recorded in Ohio – which may seem remarkable considering that summertime fair rides are transported around in trucks and set up rather quickly by people employed for the seasonal work. Fair rides in Ohio are inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The department has 96 pages of rules and regulations for fair rides. In the case of Wood County Fair, the same ride provider – Durant Amusements – has been contracted with for more than the last decade, according to Collette Dickey, a senior fair board member who serves on the rides committee. “We’ve had them for several years,” with no incidents, Dickey said Thursday. “They are a family run business and that’s what we were looking for,” she said. “They have nice, clean, safe rides.” The website for Durant Amusements notes that Prowant family has been in the business for four generations – with more than 50 years of experience providing “safe, quality, family entertainment.” The company provides midway rides for eight county fairs, 12 corporate picnics, and 15 to 20 church and community festivals each year. It also provides food concessions at 16 county fairs and two state fairs. “Durant Amusements carries over 30 portable amusement rides. We take pride in maintaining the highest levels of safety, quality, and appearance of our rides. Our large selection of rides will provide excitement to a wide range of patrons of all ages,” the website states. The company’s inventory of rides does not include the Fire Ball ride, which is the Ohio State Fair Ride that broke apart Wednesday evening, leaving one person dead and seven hurt, including two critically injured. According to the Associated Press, records showed that inspections were up to date and a state permit had just been issued for the Fire Ball ride. Ohio Department of Agriculture records provided Thursday to AP show passing marks on inspections of about three dozen items including cracks, brakes, proper assembly and installation. The Fire Ball ride…


Lionface back on the scene with set of Shakespeare shorts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Local theater lovers have not gotten their annual serving of open-air Shakespeare this summer. Beautiful Kids, the 20-year-old campus-based troupe, is on, what we hope, is a one-year hiatus. Lionface Productions has also been quiet. Now that community troupe is ready to roar, though they are going to do so indoors at Trinity United Methodist instead of on the Needle Park stage. (As much as I love outdoor Shakespeare, given the number of mosquitos I had to dodge on the short walk from my car to the church, this may be a blessing.) Lionface is staging “Party Bard: A Lionface Productions Shakespeare Shorts Festival” Thursday, July 27, Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29, at 8 p.m. at the church at 200 N. Summit St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $7 and $5 for students. In introducing the dress rehearsal Wednesday, Ryan Halfhill said the show was a way for the troupe to signal a return to the basics, Shakespeare and other classic plays. The four scenes presented within the hour-long show cover a gamut of the Bard’s work with two scenes from tragedies, one scene from a comedy, and one scene from a history play. All involve drinking or eating. The party starts with Halfhill playing the porter from “Macbeth.” After a long night of drinking, the porter takes his sweet time answering the door at Macbeth’s castle, imagining himself the gatekeeper of hell – quite appropriate given the murder that’s just occurred – and wonders what manner of sinner may be banging to get in. Then Halfhill’s drunken porter regales Macduff about the toll of drinking. “Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.” A scene from “Othello” comes next. Here the carousing and subsequent brawling plays into the hands of Iago (Heather Hill) who is plotting the downfall of Othello, now consummating his marriage to Desdemona (Lynette Cooley) offstage. Iago provokes a fight among Cassio (Allie Levine), Montano (Angelica Cooley), and Rodrigo (Kathryn Gonda). Hill’s Iago remains distant and observant during the fight. This scene gives us a glimpse of what had been planned as an all-female production of “Othello” for last fall. The longest and most complex scene comes from “Henry IV, Part 1.” Prince Hal (Rin Moran) has set up his would-be mentor in debauchery Falstaff by robbing him of ill-gotten treasure….


Crime victims’ rights law in Ohio raises objections

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In November, Ohioans will vote on Marsy’s Law – a ballot measure intended to strengthen victims’ rights in the state. On the surface, the law seems to offer reasonable protections to crime victims. But on Tuesday, when the Wood County Commissioners were asked to join other officials across the state supporting Marsy’s Law, they heard strong reservations about the law from Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson. Marsy’s Law is named after a California woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in the 1980s. A week after her murder, Marsy’s family was confronted in public by her ex-boyfriend, who had been released on bail without the family being notified. Marsy’s brother has made it a mission to get the victims’ rights law passed in states. So far, California, Illinois, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana have adopted the law, according to Emily Hunter, who is the Northwest Ohio field director for the effort to pass Marsy’s Law in Ohio. The law, Hunter told the Wood County Commissioners, guarantees that victims of crimes are treated as well as the defendants. “This is making them equal to the rights of the accused,” she said. “Right now, we are seeing many victims re-victimized in the system.” Hunter said she herself is a survivor of sexual assault. “I’ve made it my mission to fight.” Marsy’s Law has been endorsed by several elected officials in the state, including the state attorney general, state auditor, several county prosecutors, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, mayors and county commissioners. On Tuesday, Hunter asked the Wood County commissioners to add their endorsement to the law. But Dobson, also at the table, cautioned the commissioners. He said in a “close and difficult” vote, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association decided to not support the law. It isn’t that he doesn’t support victims’ rights, Dobson said. “We feel that victims’ rights are very important,” he said. However, Marsy’s Law spells out the rights in the state constitution, “where they essentially can’t be changed.” Marsy’s Law for Ohio grants the following rights: The right to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity throughout the criminal justice process. The right to information about the rights and services available to crime victims. The right to notification in a timely manner of major proceedings and developments in the case. The right to be present at court…