Gas line work shifts over to BG east side

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News As the west side of Bowling Green heals from the gas line replacement project that ripped up streets and sidewalks, Columbia Gas is preparing the east side for its turn. “We break some eggs to make this cake,” Columbia Gas representative Chris Kozak told Bowling Green City Council on Tuesday evening. “It’s a mess.” It’s not pretty, it’s not simple, but it necessary, Kozak said. He showed council the type of gas pipes currently snaking through the city’s east side. The cast iron pipes, many which predate World War II, have outlived their usefulness. He then showed council the plastic pipes buried in the west side of the city – and soon to be on the east side. The plastic pipes are expected to have a lifespan of 70 to 100 years, and be flexible when the ground freezes around them. “The plastic will move with the ground,” he said. The plastic piping also allows for increases in pressure if needed in the future. Kozak explained that the gas line replacements in Bowling Green are part of a broader 25-year program started by Columbia Gas in 2008 to replace the most troublesome cast iron lines. The total investment is pegged at $2 billion. The west side project in Bowling Green affected 930 customers, replacing 37,000 feet of lines, and costing $4.1 million. The east side project will affect 365 customers, replacing 10,000 feet at a cost of $1.8 million. Columbia Gas officials hope to have the east side project completed by the end of 2016. Kozak conceded that the west side project was…


BGSU student composers offer opera in a nutshell

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent Media If you want to know how daunting writing an opera is, just ask Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Speaking last October as the guest composer at the New Music and Art Festival at Bowling Green State University, she said writing her first opera “Cold Mountain” was an all-consuming project that occupied her full time 28 months. With casting and orchestra and staging, an opera is a massive undertaking beyond what a young composer can wrangle. BGSU has an answer though. For several years it has invited student composers to submit proposals to write micro-operas, 20 minutes or less. They use small casts and just a few instrumentalists, and can be staged in a recital hall. Four micro-operas will make their debuts Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall in Moore Musical Arts Center. Admission is free. On the program will be: * Respectable Woman by Kristi Fullerton with libretto by Jennifer Creswell who directs and Evan Mecarello, conductor. * Sensations by Robert Hosier, Ellen Scholl, director and Maria Mercedes Diaz-Garcia, conductor. * Black Earth by Jacob Sandridge, Jeanne Bruggeman-Kurp, director and Robert Ragoonanan, conductor. * The Lighthouse by Dalen Wuest, Hillary LaBonte, director, and Santiago Serrano, conductor. Writing an opera, said Hosier, “is the kind of thing I’d considered before. I actually started writing one but the forces required for a full opera, for one thing … I couldn’t get ahold of them. And it’s a lot to write for.” So he set aside the project aside. Then late last spring semester the call went out from the…


University police chief unconcerned about concealed carry

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News University Police Chief Monica Moll is unconcerned about the prospect of allowing concealed carry of weapons on campus. Speaking to the faculty Senate at Bowling Green State University, she said the scenarios posited by both sides of the debate are unlikely to occur. A disgruntled student intent of wreaking havoc will get a weapon and won’t bother with getting a concealed carry permit. Given a resident must be 21 to get one, most students are ineligible anyway. So she doubts there would be a dramatic increase in weapons on campus. On the other side, having an armed citizen with a weapon stop an active shooter is unlikely. While civilians with weapons have intervened in some situations, that’s not likely to happen in an active shooter situation where even a highly trained police officer can find it difficult to deliver the kill shot to a moving target among innocent bystanders. “For me it’s not going to be the end of the world either way,” the police chief said. House Bill 48, which is now awaiting consideration in the State Senate loosens concealed carry regulations on campuses and other settings. If it were passed, any change would have to be approved by the university trustees, and Moll expressed doubt that the trustees would take such an action. Moll addressed the senate about the evolving strategies for handling active shooter situations. She prefaced her remarks by saying though such incidents have dominated the news of late, they are still highly unlikely. Tornadoes are more of a threat to BGSU. Still she spoke about how police now handle such…


BG bleacher costs come in high

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The estimated cost for new bleachers at the Bowling Green High School football stadium was nothing to cheer about Tuesday evening. Replacement of the aging, rusting bleachers could cost as much as $610,845, according to Kent Buehrer, of Buehrer Group, which is in charge of the project. The estimate came in higher than projections made in the fall, which topped out at $500,000. Buehrer told the BG board of education that he would try to reduce the final price tag. But if it can’t be trimmed, the project will eat up the district’s entire 1.2-mill permanent improvement levy revenue for the year, according to district treasurer Rhonda Melchi. A section of the 50-year-old bleachers had to be closed off last fall after it was noticed that the steel scaffolding beneath the seats was rusting. To get through the remainder of the football season, the district put temporary bleachers up on the north end of the field. “We don’t want anyone to get injured,” school board president Paul Walker said. The new bleachers will cover the same approximate footprint of the existing seating, Buehrer said. However, building codes for restrooms at the facility are much more extensive than when it was first built. He described the current restrooms as “fairly minimal.” Buehrer said he is working with the county building inspection department to see if the new restrooms, planned next to the wrestling building, can avoid some of the stringent requirements. According to Buehrer, the visitor bleachers on the east will have seating for 750. The home seating on the west will have seating…


BG may use modular classrooms at Conneaut

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green Board of Education heard Tuesday evening about three places students sit – in school buses, on stadium bleachers, and maybe in modular classrooms. The board learned from Superintendent Francis Scruci that classroom space will most likely be in short supply next school year at Conneaut Elementary. For that reason, the district may have to consider putting a modular unit on site, possibly for the entire fifth grade. “It’s certainly not something anyone wants to hear,” Scruci said. “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 modular unit is just one building issue facing the school district. Scruci told the school board that the buildings report from the Ohio School Facilities Commission is expected later this month. To explain the report, and the possible solutions for the district, Scruci plans to hold a workshop for the public in Febrary. The district will need to decide whether to renovate or replace facilities, he said. “The most important thing is, what does our community want to support?” One of the report’s recommendations is that the district replace Conneaut Elementary School which was built in the early 1950s, Scruci said. But citizen input must be gathered, so any solution is specifically tailored to Bowling Green, he added. “So the community feels like it has a say.” According to Scruci, the cost to renovate Conneaut has been estimated by the state at about $9.6 million. The cost to replace…


BG to study if city office, green space would fit on downtown parcel

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Before any trees are planted, sidewalks poured or gazebo erected, Bowling Green officials want one question put to rest. Is there enough room for a new city building and an outdoor community gathering space to coexist on the same grassy square?Council President Michael Aspacher asked that the city consult with a design professional to determine if the site is large enough for both a building and town square large enough to satisfy the community’s needs. Aspacher said at Tuesday’s council meeting that now is the time to “pause briefly” to make the determination before moving ahead. He referenced a community meeting last week on the green space which previously was home to the city’s junior high school, at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. While the meeting was productive, there are questions remaining, Aspacher said. Council member Bruce Jeffers agreed. “It seems like a reasonable approach,” he said, suggesting that some building schematics could help clarify questions. However, city resident Margaret Montague reminded council about a comment made at last week’s public meeting about trying to squeeze both the building and town square into one corner. The result could be “a big building with a big front yard,” she said, quoting from council member Robert McOmber. McOmber repeated those sentiments Tuesday evening. “I would be quite surprised,” if the space was big enough for both. “I think most people in town want it to be green space, no matter what,” McOmber said. Council member Sandy Rowland agreed that she would prefer to see the space remain green. She reminded of…


Warm up your ear drums this weekend

  If you love music then you’ll have your love to keep you warm this coming weekend. Several performances are scheduled that will beat the ear drums to a variety of beats. On Thursday and Friday the Bowling Green State University Jazz Program will host bassist Robert Hurst. A master of all media, he has Emmy, Grammys and even an Oscar nod on his resume. He first emerged on the scene as he helped set the pace for early Wynton Marsalis groups. Since then he’s played with Barbra Streisand, Yo Y o Ma and Sir Paul McCartney as well a host of jazz luminaries. He joinied Brandford Marsalis as a member of band for Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He now teaches at the University of Michigan. He’ll share the lessons of his career with students in master classes rehearsals and a concert with the university’s Lab Band I directed by Jeff Halsey Thursday at 8 p.m.in Kobacker Hall. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 on the day of the concert. On Friday Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Bowling Green, will host The Suitcase Junket, the one-man band of Matt Lorenz, musician, sculptor and writer. That Lorenz hails from Amherst in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley is telling. His music is full of ghosts revived in Lorenz’ dark, rough voice, that nonetheless is very much of our time. His work is a kind of spectral scholarship. At www.makingwhatiwant.com, he explains what he means by “Giving Life to Dead Things for 25 Years.” “I see it as an overriding theme in most of the work that I do. When writing…


Trombone takes center stage at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Trombone takes the spotlight in two upcoming Bowling Green State University recitals. Sunday at 3 p.m. Brass from Bowling Green State University will be presented in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Arts as part of the museum’s Sundayconcert series. The concert features trombonists William Mathis, chair of BGSU’s Department of Music Performance, and Garth Simmons, principal trombone with the Toledo Symphony and adjunct professor at BGSU. The trombonists will open the program going slide to slide on Cindy McTee’s Fanfare for Trombone in two parts. Mathis with pianist Cole Burger will perform Sonata for Trombone and Piano by James M. Stephenson. Simmons will close the program with “Arrows of Time” by Richard Peaslee  with pianist Robert Satterlee. Also on the museum program will be the Graduate Brass Quintet performing the classic brass Quintet No. 3 by Victor Ewald. Members of the quintet are: Jonathan Britt and Christina Komosinski, trumpets, Lucas Dickow, horn, Drew Wolgemuth, trombone, and Diego Flores, tuba. On Wednesday as part of the Faculty Artists Series Mathis and Simmons will reprise their duo and solo pieces in a recital with Burger and Satterlee at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Musical rts Center. Mathis will also perform electro-acoustic piece “Can You Crack It?” by Benjamin Taylor, who did his graduate study at Bowling Green State University. Simmons will also perform Fantasy for Trombone and Piano in E Major by Sigismond Stojowski. The concert is free as are all Faculty Artist Series events.


More than just black and white

Diana Patton was keenly aware as a child that she did not fit neatly into the race boxes for being white or black. She was reminded of this daily as she was followed home from school by girls taunting that she state her race. “Are you white or are you black,” the girls would demand. Patton, whose mother was black and father was white, would later realize that her racial identity couldn’t be defined by some Census Bureau box. Patton was the keynote speaker at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program on Friday hosted by the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission at the Wood County District Public Library. The speaker, who was vice president and general counsel for the Toledo Fair Housing Center, is working to finish her book called, “Inspiration in My Shoes.” She earned her law degree at the University of Toledo, where she also ran track. Patton’s mother, the grandchild of a sharecropper, married a white man in 1958. Her father was disowned by his family for his decision, she said. Her “momma” was pregnant with her sixth child, Patton, in 1968 when King was assassinated. “It was as if a bomb went off,” Patton said her mother must have been thinking as she brought another biracial child into the violent “haze over America.” Patton spent part of her younger years hiding her blended identity. In college, she “decided to be black” and denied her father’s heritage. But it was in college that she followed the path of her “momma,” falling in love and later marrying a white man. “Marinate on that for a moment,” she…


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

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


PBS puts accent on American story

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


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

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


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

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


Stories to tell, water to save

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


Faculty recital series starts at BGSU

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