Photographer Jan Bell captures images of nature’s soul with light & time

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jan Bell’s photographs have a timeless quality. One of the most important ingredients in achieving that sense of chronological suspension is time itself. When Bell travels to the Great West or the shores of Lake Superior, he takes his time, stays awhile, acclimates himself to his surroundings. And waits on the light. On a recent two-week trip to the north he spent the better part of two weeks and all he saw were blue skies. He doesn’t like clear day or, rather, he doesn’t like the harsh shadows the sun produces. So he waits. Luckily, he said, he appreciates the solitude. “Ideally I like to be alone so I have a clear mind to think about what I’m doing. … I don’t get bored. I just enjoy being out there away from people enjoying the wonderful coastline.” Bell studies what he sees before him, looking for the right combination of shade and texture and shape that makes for a telling composition. And he waits for that soft overcast light that smooths it all out. When the moment arrives, he shoots long exposures, up to 30 seconds long, tripping his shutter by remote control. “I’m very meticulous as I shoot. I love the process. The world just slows down. The shooting part, that’s the thrill. Then when I get in the darkroom I know what I have to do.” Back in his studio he refines the look and emotional punch using Photoshop. The result are archival pigment prints, printed on museum grade 100 percent cotton, that make the viewer wonder if the trees, the water…


BG police uniforms stolen from dry cleaners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Police Division is asking for the public’s help in solving who stole police uniforms from a local dry cleaning business. “We have no suspects at this point,” Police Chief Tony Hetrick said this morning about the two Bowling Green police uniforms which were stolen Friday night during a breaking and entering at Long’s Dry Cleaners, 345 N. Maple Street, Bowling Green. Multiple items were stolen including two different styles of uniforms worn by officers of the Bowling Green Police Division. Other city uniforms were also at the dry cleaners since the city contracts with that business to clean employees’ uniforms. But the police uniforms were the only ones stolen, Hetrick said. “It would make me believe they knew what they were after,” Hetrick said this morning. “We’re quite concerned about this,” the chief said. “Why would you take uniforms unless you are planning on impersonating an officer.” Two uniforms were taken, one the current style with navy shirt and french blue pants, and the other being the new style with navy shirt and pants. The stolen uniforms have police patches on the arms, however, they did not contain a badge or name plate. So the police division is advising that anyone interacting with someone in a Bowling Green police uniform should make sure the person is wearing a badge, which depicts the BGPD building on it, and the officer’s name plate. All officers are required to carry division identification as well. Hetrick also said most uniformed officers use marked patrol cars. Anyone who may have information related to this crime…


Little girl makes waves saving rare dolphins

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Standing on a step stool to reach the podium, the 9-year-old told how she has taken on a nation’s prime minister and a local corporation to try to save dolphins on the other side of the globe. Calista Wilkins, a fourth grader at Otsego, has been working two years to preserve Maui dolphins, the smallest of its species, that live off the coast of New Zealand. On Thursday, Calista shared her story with the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. The serious little girl with long blond hair is not intimidated by leaders whose words praise the preservation of the dolphins, but whose actions do the opposite. Her efforts have earned her a grant from Jane Goodall’s organization to continue her dolphin-saving work. Calista was also at ease speaking to the group of Kiwanians, trying to engage them in the presentation. She showed slides of New Zealand, where the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed, and asked if anyone was familiar with the small statured characters called hobbits. “The Maui dolphins are sort of like that,” she said. Though Calista has never been to New Zealand, and has never seen the Maui dolphins, she confidently explained their plight. The rare dolphins number only about 50, and risk becoming extinct by 2030 if nothing changes to reverse their fate. The black, white and gray dolphins have rounded noses, dorsal fins shaped like Mickey Mouse ears, and like to swim in groups close to the shores of the northern portion of New Zealand. Calista showed photographs of the small dolphins, including one called “Scratchy,” named…


BGSU grad Steve Hanson has stories to tell about the art & business of making “The Prophet”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Hanson returns to Bowling Green State University, he will have stories to tell about telling stories. His story as a multimedia entrepreneur starts with his time at BGSU. “Bowling Green taught me how to think, how to tell a story,” the 1975 graduate said in a recent telephone interview. As a photojournalism major that education included late night calls from Professor Jim Gordon. Hanson, then photo editor of the Key, lived with Joe Darwal, then photo editor of The BG News. When Gordon called it wasn’t just to say hello, it was usually to deliver blunt critiques of their most recent work. “It is that kind of mentoring that takes us to a different level,” he said. Hanson will participate in Bravo! BGSU Saturday in the Wolfe Center for the Arts Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. For tickets, call 419-372-6780. He’ll show excerpts from the film “The Prophet,” which he produced, from 7:30 to 8 in the Donnell Theatre. (See related story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/2016/03/25/bgsu-putting-on-the-glitz-to-raise-money-for-arts-scholarships/) Then on Sunday he’ll kick off the university’s E-Week activities with a screening of “The Prophet” at 8 p.m., also in the Donnell. On Monday, he’ll discuss the making of the film at a Lunch and Learn session from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in The David J. Joseph Company Business Hub on the second floor of the College of Business. The first stirrings of the film began back in his undergraduate days. That’s when he read Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran’s inspirational book “The Prophet.” It was a time of great turmoil,” Hanson said, and as a photojournalist he…


Scholar puts feminist spin on issues of sports & fitness

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Scholar Pirkko Markula’s talk Monday at Bowling Green State University on “Women’s Empowerment Through Sport and Exercise: Rhetoric or Reality?” revolved around pole dancing, or pole fitness, as it has come to be called. The exercise, popularized in strip clubs, has become a popular form of fitness training for women. Markula opened her talk with positive comments about the activity by one of her students and testimonials from those who participate in pole workouts. The student reported that it helped build her self-confidence as someone who had “overwhelming dissatisfaction with my own body.” This led Markula, who is a professor at the University of Alberta, to wonder: “Pole fitness may be an avenue by which women can develop and maintain positive body image as a result of an environment that emphasizes body acceptance and the body’s abilities.” Still the exercise, with its emphasis on shaping the woman’s body in a stereotypical form that appeals to men, is problematic. At the conclusion of the lecture, Leda Hayes, a graduate student in American Culture Studies, asked the speaker if the popularity of pole fitness could lessen the stigma on those working in the sex industry. Markula said she, contrary to what some believe, considers the sex industry harmful to women, and she wondered why women would choose the particular form of exercise to do. There are other forms of pole exercise, including one practiced in China, that are not sexualized and provide the same benefits. Pole fitness, like female sports and fitness in general, is fraught with issues about social expectations and norms, about empowerment and…


Students to clean up reputations and neighborhoods at same time

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BGSU students often get trashed for not being good neighbors to full-time city residents. In an effort to clean up their reputations and their neighborhoods at the same time, an Adopt a Block program is being started with the help of the City-University Relations Commission. Danielle Parker, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government at Bowling Green State University, said the program will help students connect with the community. “This is a new and exciting way for students to give back, besides dropping off some canned goods and walking away,” Parker said. The program will work somewhat like the larger scale “Adopt a Highway” effort. Ten “blocks” have been established by the City-University Relations Commission. Student groups will be asked to adopt an area then head out once a month and pick up trash in the medians. The trash will then be disposed of in the dumpsters behind the city fire station and electric division on Thurstin and Court streets. The 10 “blocks” up for adoption are: North Enterprise from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Summit from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Prospect from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. East Court Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Pike Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Ridge Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Merry Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Reed Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Area bordered by Wooster, Biddle, Clough and South College. Area bordered by Wooster, South Enterprise, Clough and South Prospect. “Students will go out and take care of that block,” Parker…


Scooby Doo, Chief Wiggum, Professor Snape get votes for Wood County sheriff

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some people take voting very seriously. Others, not so much. Some apparently see it as an opportunity to show their creative side. In the primary election earlier this month, Wood County residents voting on the Democratic ballot were given the chance to fill in a write-in candidate for sheriff. Retired deputy Ruth Babel-Smith was running as a write-in candidate, but many voters were thinking way outside the box. Some voters at least stuck with people with law enforcement experience – however questionable it might be. Getting one vote each were Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy from Mayberry RFD; Chief Wiggum, the lazy incompetent police chief in The Simpsons, and Roscoe P. Coltrane, the corrupt sheriff from the Dukes of Hazzard. “I was just disappointed Boss Hogg didn’t get it,” said Mike Zickar, of the Wood County Board of Elections. A few cartoon type characters garnered single votes like Alfred E. Newman, of Mad magazine covers; Fred Flintstone, of the prehistoric town of Bedrock; and Scooby Doo, the canine with the mystery solving gang of meddling kids. Mickey Mouse got 4 votes – 5 if you count the voter who just wrote “Mickey.” Garnering one vote was Disney’s Sheriff Callie, an animated cat who rides a blue pony enforcing the “Cowpoke Code” in the Old West. Some voters went big, writing national political figures like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Some preferred to stay local, casting votes for Chip Myles, of Myles Pizza; Daniel Gordon, a Bowling Green councilman; and Jim Weinandy, a local attorney. A few voters put their confidence…


Gloria Gajewicz honored for home grown science teaching skills

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green teacher Gloria Gajewicz was inspired through her career by her own teachers, and further by her mother’s pursuit of education. So it is fitting that she should receive an award named for the late Neil Pohlmann, an educator and BGSU professor who left his mark on science education. Earlier this month Gajewicz won the first Neil Pohlman Award given by Bowling Green State University at the spring conference of the Northwest Ohio School Boards Association meeting. Patrick Pauken, director of the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy, said the award “is given in recognition of valuable contribution to Educational Administration and Leadership Studies at BGSU.” Gajewicz is working on her doctorate in the program. The award carries a scholarship. Pauken wrote: “The faculty selected Gloria for the award because of her endless dedication to teaching, learning, and leading in our schools. She is an excellent graduate student, as well, inspiring her classmates with her professional stories of student success. Our classrooms and schools are special places, indeed, with teachers and leaders like Gloria Gajewicz.” Gajewicz has taught science for 20 years, the last 16 at her alma mater, Bowling Green High School where she teaches biology and honors physical science. Finishing her second semester of what she expects will be a four-year process, Gajewicz’s goal is to become a curriculum specialist with her particular interest in science. She said she was inspired to pursue science by the many great science teachers she had in the Bowling Green system. That included Roger Mazzarella, “the wizard of Mazz,” in seventh grade and Bob Rex in…


Calico, Sage & Thyme turns over new leaf as founder retires, new owner steps in

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Customers of the retail institution Calico, Sage & Thyme will have plenty to celebrate in April. They’ll be able to wish proprietor Barbara Rothrock a happy retirement after 41 years operating the store. And they’ll enjoy a sale marking her retirement. Customers will also be able to welcome a new owner for the shop, Lisa Palmer, who is buying the business. The business, on the corner of South Main and Clay streets in downtown Bowling Green, had been slated to close when Rothrock’s previous efforts to find a buyer fell through. Palmer will take over as of April 29. She said she plans both to maintain the venerable business’ character, and add her own touches, including selling more arts and crafts on consignment. “I want to leave as much the same as possible,” Palmer said. “She has such a great following for the cards, children’s books, jewelry, teas and spices. All of that I plan to keep.” Palmer has been considering opening a shop for a couple years, and when she found that Calico, Sage & Thyme was still for sale, she decided to make an offer. She has worked in her husband’s business, Jim Palmer Excavating. Her only experience in retail goes back to working at Kmart when she was in high school. That’s no deterrent to success. All she has to do is look to Rothrock. She had little retail experience when she opened the shop in 1975. It grew from her love of herbs and necessity. She was a secondary school teacher when she moved to Bowling Green with her…


Health survey: More Wood County residents have insurance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Wood County residents need to exercise more and eat fewer unhealthy foods. On the bright side, more of them have health insurance now to cover their medical needs. Every three years, Wood County has its overall health tested by the health district. Data was collected last year from health surveys mailed to a random sample of Wood County adults and students. A total of 513 adults and 489 adolescents responded to the surveys. The surveys showed some good and bad trends. “We did get a little better among adults,” but a little worse for adolescents with obesity and weight issues, according to Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist with the Wood County Health District. So reducing obesity is one of the priorities set in the new Community Health Improvement Plan. “It’s not going to be solved overnight,” Rittwage said. “It’s going to take decades.” Last year’s assessment also showed that more local adults have never smoked, and fewer youth are smoking. Some “major spikes” were seen in mental health issues among youth, with larger numbers purposefully hurting themselves and contemplating suicide. “Those are areas definitely to pay attention to,” Rittwage said. But a good trend was seen with health insurance. “A lot of people ended up having health care coverage,” compared to previous surveys, Rittwage said. Based on the survey results, Wood County agency partners set priorities as: Decreasing obesity. Increasing mental health services. Decreasing violence and bullying among youth. Increasing health care access and utilization. “Those are areas where we as partners can work together to make an impact on,” Rittwage said. Some…


Amidst green water woes, BG water gets gold star

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The recent Waterkeeper conference on the health of Lake Erie spread plenty of blame around for the conditions that turn the water green and make it unsafe to consume – much of it directed toward the continued practice of spreading too much manure on farm fields. But one entity got a gold star from a member of the Lake Erie Waterkeeper board – Bowling Green’s water treatment plant. It isn’t that the water going into the plant is pristine – quite to the contrary. What’s notable is the treated water that the plant sends out to its water customers. Dr. Earl Campbell was presenting data on some very technical contaminants, when he happened to mention that in the last two years, Bowling Green’s reservoir water repeatedly had very high levels of the microcystin, from blue-green algae. The difference between how Toledo and Bowling Green handled the contaminant was major. “It just happened that Bowling Green tested it,” Campbell said. “The person running that plant stood between the people and disaster.” At that point, no standard orders were in place in Ohio to test for the microcystins. “A lot of people were paying absolutely no attention to this,” Campbell said. But Bowling Green officials, with their static reservoir water drawn from the Maumee River, tested and treated the water. “It was their own initiative.” Campbell said there are 146 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the region, which each having either cows numbering 1,000 or more, and pigs numbering 2,500 or more. “There is more shit than the land to put it on,” he…


Native people survive in the face of removal, violence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Faced with recounting the tragic tale of native peoples being expelled from their homelands, historian Stephen Warren decided to begin on a hopeful note. Warren spoke Saturday afternoon at the Toledo Museum of Art on “Indian Removal Then and Now: Legacies of the American Experiment with Ethnic Cleansing.” As he entered, the University of Iowa historian said he overheard someone wondering why they were there on a sunny afternoon to hear about such a “depressing” subject. Warren, who teaches history at the University of Iowa, had anticipated such a response, so first he spoke about how the descendants of those displaced tribes pushed are doing now. “One of the things that is important to me as an educator is to remind audiences that Native Americans are still here,” he said. “There are 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States. Their population is actually growing, not declining. Their traditions are being recovered by a lot of forward thinking, innovative people in those communities. While it’s important to acknowledge the very real hardships facing native people today and the ongoing challenges of colonialism, we also need to celebrate the very real work that native people are doing in Indian Country to continue their traditions into the 21st Century.” The Eastern Shawnee, under the chairmanship of Glenna Wallace, now have assets worth $153 million, own the controlling interest in Peoples Bank of Seneca and have 1,700 acres in property in northeastern Oklahoma. This is a turnaround since 1970 when the tribe was broke and almost landless. Later in the talk, he credited the development of Native…


Gas line hit during water line project

Some homes on the east side of Bowling Green had to be evacuated this morning when a gas line break occurred. As of 1 p.m., the break was repaired by Columbia Gas. A saw was being used to cut the asphalt on Clough Street to start trench work for excavation work for waterline work. According to Brian O’Connell, city utilities director, the gas line was fairly shallow in the area, and the saw cut into it. Just one person actually had to be evacuated, O’Connell said. During the repair work, some streets were closed, including Clough between South  Prospect and South Enterprise, and South Summit between Wooster and Lincoln. According to O’Connell, the waterline contractor continued work at the other end of the waterline project, so no delay are expected on that work.


BG church plants seeds for new ‘giving garden’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There is something magical about digging in the dirt, planting a seed, watching it grow, then savoring the result of all the work. The magic goes a step further when the harvest is given away to those in need. For that reason, First Presbyterian Church is starting its own “giving garden.” It will be the third community garden at Bowling Green churches, with the other two already in place at Peace Lutheran and First United Methodist. Though some community garden models operate with families given plats to grow their own vegetables, the First Presbyterian site will be a giving garden, according to Lyn Long, a church member who planted the seed for the new effort. The community and church members will be invited to plan, plant, water, weed, harvest, and feast on the produce. “I just thought, there’s a huge lot over there and we only use it once or twice a year,” Long said. “It just didn’t seem like good stewardship.” Long is being assisted by Megan Sutherland, executive director of the Common Good organization which has worked with the other two church community gardens for years. “I think gardening teaches you a lot of lessons, some are short term and some are long term,” Sutherland said. “There’s something special about working with people in the sunshine, in the dirt. Even picking weeds. It becomes really meditative.” Gardening teaches all ages about community building, healthy eating and delayed gratification, Sutherland said. Long is also hoping to find some expertise and hands-on help from area master gardeners and FFA students. A meeting…


BG wants citizen input on park and rec plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents will soon have a chance to talk about trails, chat about children’s activities, and gab about green spaces. The city’s parks and recreation department wants to hear what people want from their parks. “I’m actually kind of excited about this,” said Kristin Otley, director of the department. “We want to hear from the community.” The comments will then become part of the park and recreation department’s five-year master plan update. To get citizen input, five focus groups will be held – with each one targeting a specific topic. The comments will be restricted to the topics for each forum, which are: April 6: Youth programs. April 13: Natural area parks (Wintergarden and Simpson.) April 20: Fitness, aquatics and events. May 11: Active parks (City Park, Carter Park, etc.) May 18: Future directions. All the meetings will be held at the Bowling Green Community Center, beginning at 7 p.m. Free child care will be available. Anyone interested in a particular topic, who is unable to make it to that meeting may email comments to the focus group moderator, Shannon Orr, from Bowling Green State University at skorr@bgsu.edu. The last master plan for the parks and recreation department was a 10-year plan adopted in 2005. Otley said the board decided a five-year plan was more reasonable. “We think it makes more sense in this day and age.” Also at last week’s park and recreation board meeting, it was announced that the late Marjorie Conrad had bequeathed the park and recreation department annual payments between $4,000 and $5,000. It is unknown how…