Friends serve up support at benefit for Corner Grill staff (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Howard’s Club H got to rocking a little early Saturday. At 2 p.m. the Mechanical Cat was on stage rapping about other worlds against a psychedelic background. The business at hand though was a centered on a very real world cause – helping the 10 or so employees of the Corner Grill, who have lost work because of the Feb. 1 fire. The Grill is a beloved part of the downtown scene, whether for folks people heading to work at dawn, the employees from the county courthouse down the block, or the late night revelers and the workers who serve them. It’s been that for decades. So Howard’s, another venerable downtown establishment, opened its doors to host the benefit that ran from early afternoon to early the next morning with a full slate of bands, as well as a buffet of home cooked food and raffle items. Howard’s employee Nikki Cordy who organized the benefit reported: “It was absolutely amazing. It certainly exceeded my expectations. We had perfect weather,everyone was in such a positive and fun mood,we ran on time,all the bands showed up & kicked ass,we raised over $4,000. I couldn’t possibly be happier.” Larry Cain, the owner of the Grill, said he was glad to see the turnout to help his employees. They’re a team, he said. He now expects the Grill will take three to four months to open its doors. A glance inside the diner shows a gutted interior. The linoleum counter, Cain said, has been saved. That’s good, given he wants to preserve as much of the eatery’s classic…


Pro Musica celebrates music students’ travels near & far

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Pro Musica sends university music students around the world so they can learn and perform. Sometimes those trips send them far from home; sometimes they bring them home. That was the case with Chi-Him Chik. Pro Musica help fund the Bowling Green State University student’s attendance at a music festival in his native Hong Kong. While there, the saxophonist said, he met composers and arranged to commission new pieces for saxophone. That will mean more concerts back home both in Hong Kong and in Bowling Green. Chik was one of five students who performed Sunday afternoon in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library in the annual Coffee & Classics concert. He played “The Jungle,” a contemporary piece for solo saxophone by Christian Lauba. Pianist Josh Wang, who performed two preludes by Sergei Rachmaninoff, also used a Pro Musica grant to travel home. In his case, Wisconsin. He put together a concert tour. Not only did it give him a chance to perform his repertoire in concert several times in a compressed period of time but it gave him experience booking and promoting the tour. It went so well, Wang said, that several venues have asked him to return. Singer Suzanne Pergal traveled to Nice, France, for a summer academy. For her, to be taught by French teachers and be surrounded by native French speakers was invaluable. Sunday, though, she sang in English – four selections from “Ten Blake Songs” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, performed with Robert Ragoonanan on oboe. Caleb Georges performed a prelude from a suite by J.S. Bach on viola….


Ohioans’ turn coming to pick presidential favorites

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Soon it will be Ohioans’ turn to pick their favored candidates for this fall’s presidential election. In the March 15 primary election, local voters will help narrow down the field of candidates. Some voters get on board with their true favorite candidate, while some use their votes to derail the opposition. Whatever the case, voters in Wood County can choose the ballots they cast without being challenged by poll workers, according to Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “They can pick any ballot they wish,” be it Green Party, Democratic, Republican or just an issues ballot, Burton said. In previous years, citizens with histories of voting with a certain party in primary elections were sometimes questioned when they wanted to switch parties for a primary ballot. Those voters were sometimes asked to sign a form stating they wished to align themselves with a different party. That all changed a few years ago, Burton said, when the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office under Jennifer Brunner redefined the rules. Poll workers were no longer to ask voters to sign those forms unless they had reason to believe a voter was being untruthful. “We told our poll workers to no longer use that form,” Burton said. But some counties in Ohio still question voters who wish to switch, Burton added. “There are some counties that still use that form,” in instances when poll workers believe voters should have to declare their allegiance when switching parties. “We tell our poll workers to let people use whatever ballot they want to vote. That…


Students do the neighborly thing on East Side

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With their rubber gloves and blowing garbage bags, the students scooped up sandwich wrappers, paper plates, and beer cans. But their primary prey was much smaller. “The two big contenders are cigarette butts and Taco Bell sauce packets,” said Sean Herman, who organized Saturday morning’s cleanup of the city’s East Side through The Common Good organization. By 9 a.m. nearly 50 students and a couple full-time residents were crammed into The Common Good house on Crim Street to load up on coffee and bagels before heading out for the neighborhood cleanup. They were given gloves, garbage bags and maps with instructions of streets their teams should cover.   Herman has organized several cleanups, but this one drew more volunteers – from fraternities, a student environmental group and honors students. The work focused in the Wooster Street area on the east side of the city. “This is where the most trash seems to accumulate,” he said. Through The Common Good, Herman has pulled together occasional cleanup crews for the past 18 months. “I just thought there was a need out there and no one was doing anything about it,” he said. Hollie Baker said the cleanups started after the East Side neighborhood group began talking about the negative effects of living in an area so populated by university students. “So this is a way to help the East Side become cleaner and show them that college students acknowledge it’s a problem,” Baker said. Megan Sutherland, director of The Common Good, said BGSU students canvassed the East Side neighborhood to ask how relationships could…


BGSU taking a bite out of crime with forensic science

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Crime is paying off for Bowling Green State University, or at least the science of investigating crime. On Friday, the university’s Board of Trustees approved a new bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science. It’s the latest offering in forensic science, including a master’s degree. Five years ago, Provost Rodney Rogers said, BGSU had no students studying forensic science. Then the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation announced it would locate a new crime lab on campus, and that initiated the creation of programs related to the lab. Now the university has about 250 students studying forensics in some form. That includes forensic specializations in chemistry, biology and computer science. Rogers said that the university is looking to boost that number even more. As it is, he said, BGSU now has one of the strongest programs in the country. Betty Montgomery, a former state Attorney General, who was instrumental in getting a BCI lab located in Bowling Green, said the university needs to get that message out through major media. Having a new lab on campus is an example of the university engaging with society. Jon Sprague, the director of the Center for the Future of Forensic Sciences, told the trustees about some of the research being done through the auspices of the center. That research involves both faculty and students across disciplines. That includes research into how double pane glass changes the trajectory of a bullet, which involved physics, and an analysis into how to optimize the process of dealing with a backlog of rape kits, which requires advanced data analysis Greg Grecco, a junior in…


Student designs Alzheimer’s app with his grandpa in mind

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Alzheimer’s Disease is like a melon baller, scooping out holes in memory banks of brains. After watching Alzheimer’s take away so much from his grandfather, Jacob Kielmeyer is working on a way to help people suffering with the disease. Kielmeyer, a senior at Bowling Green High School and the son of David and Diane Kielmeyer, presented his “Nostalgia” app that he created for his DECA class to the board of education Tuesday. The project earned Kielmeyer first place at the DECA district level and qualified him for state competition. And best of all, it could actually become a tool that families can use to help their member with Alzheimer’s regain enjoyment from their memories. The “Nostalgia” program offers a new approach to memory therapy by creating a first-person interactive world designed by family members. The program pairs familiar sounds with familiar photographs to help Alzheimer’s patients get past those holes in their memories. The student was inspired to create the program by his grandpa, Donald Kielmeyer, who died in 2008 after suffering many years with Alzheimer’s. The app he showed Tuesday was designed with his grandpa in mind. The computer screen flashed images of his grandpa’s favorite places – the Main Street of his town, the church he attended for years, a favorite restaurant, a treasured fishing spot, and the Ohio State University football stadium – which his grandpa frequented to cheer on the Buckeyes. The program, created by family members who know the patient best, can then be controlled by the person with Alzheimer’s, allowing them through touch to decide whether they…


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…