What’s for lunch? Meatloaf wrapped up in red tape

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Meatloaf and turkey were on the menu Thursday for the 550 Meals on Wheels recipients in Wood County. The side dish – a big helping of red tape from the state. The Ohio Department of Aging created a new rule for all home-delivered meals supported by the state, requiring the recipients to sign for the meals each time they are delivered. That may not seem like a problem, but to those who deliver the meals and to those who receive them, it’s a bit of needless bureaucracy that clogs up a pretty efficient system. Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, said the signature requirement adds time to the delivery routes, compromises the temperature safety of the food maintained by hot and cold packs, and makes some seniors uncomfortable that they need to sign for their meals each day. But State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said he is working to remove bureaucracy from the Meals on Wheels menu. Prior to the new rule, many seniors looked at the Meals on Wheels system as a dinner being dropped off by a neighborly volunteer, Niese said. Now it feels more like public assistance, she said. The rule is specific, stating that the meal recipient must sign – not a family member or caretaker. “It has to be the meal recipient,” Niese said. And that poses some other problems. “Some of these folks are pretty frail,” Niese said. Some seniors…

Read More

Area National Guard called to duty overseas

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the soldiers marched into the gym, the families rose to their feet and let the wave of pride push aside their fears for the moment. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re wondering what our nation’s finest look like, look no further. They are sitting in front of you,” said Major General John C. Harris, assistant adjutant general for the Ohio Army National Guard. The “call to duty” ceremony, held Wednesday afternoon in the Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University, bolstered the soldiers being deployed for Jordan, and fortified their families preparing for their absences. “I’m really proud of him, and he’s really proud to serve,” said Melissa Krieger, of Bowling Green, about her son Logan. Logan Krieger will turn 22 next Wednesday. “He’ll miss his birthday here,” his mom said. But she is certain of her son’s service. “I know they’ve been very well trained. And I’m confident they are going to look out for each other.” Krieger was one of about 360 soldiers from the Ohio National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Walbridge, being deployed overseas to help train the Jordanian Army. The troops are expected to spend nine to 12 months overseas. “I’ve been preparing for this for eight months,” said Kristin Russo, Findlay, as she waited for her boyfriend James Preble to march past her seat in the stands. “I don’t think it’s real until they actually leave. It’s pretty surreal right now.” But like…


Debate over afterlife puts church through hell in “The Christians”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Clearly Presbyterians don’t believe in bad karma. Otherwise the pastors and board of the First Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green would have thought thrice about hosting a production of “The Christians,” a drama about a church being ripped apart. The church lived up to its declaration on its sign outside as a welcoming congregation, and welcomed Broken Spectacle Productions into its sanctuary. Luke Hnath’s 2015 play “The Christians” is being presented Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. in the church’s sanctuary. Tickets at the door are $20 and $15 for students. Tickets in advance are $15. Visit brokenspectacle.com. That’s a fortuitous setting for the play. After a small choir (William Cagle, Beth Felerski, and Lorna Patterson) directed by pianist Connor Long has offered a couple hymns, the pastor, Paul (Jim Trumm) steps out and greets the congregation. Given the stage is a sanctuary a moment of confusion ensues – is this a service or a performance? Trumm’s Paul is a warm, reassuring figure, glib but not quite unctuous. He’s certainly proud of what he’s built. As he details in the opening lines of his sermon, he built this church from a handful of worshippers in a storefront into a congregation of thousands with a church that has a bookstore, coffee shop and parking lot big enough to get lost in. This Sunday is one of celebration, he tells the congregation, because the mortgage on the church has finally been paid off. And the Sunday…


County asked again to take stand against big dairy, for Lake Erie

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After six months of silence from the Wood County Commissioners, a couple activists were back before the board Tuesday asking for support. The commissioners heard again from Vickie Askins about suspected manure violations from a large dairy, and from Mike Ferner about the need to protect Lake Erie. The two made the same requests as last summer to the commissioners: Write a letter to the Ohio EPA about the dairy, and sign a resolution declaring the lake as impaired. Again, the commissioners asked a few questions, but took no action Tuesday on either request. “This is happening in your county,” Askins said. “I just think this is terrible.” According to Askins, the dairy on Rangeline Road southwest of Bowling Green, has repeatedly violated manure lagoon and manure application regulations during the last 13 years. “There has been a history of violations,” she said of the former Mander Dairy which is now owned by Drost Land Co. Askins informed the commissioners last summer that when Manders Dairy went bankrupt four years ago, it left behind about 10 million gallons of manure it its lagoon. Federal law requires that the manure must be taken care of when a CAFO closes, Askins said. And Ohio EPA requires that no manure be applied to farm fields unless up-to-date soil samples and manure analyses are obtained. Askins, a watchdog of mega dairies in Wood County, said neither has been done. The lagoon is nearly full, and no…


Top scientists engage youngsters in Kids’ Tech University at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Paul Morris knows that Kids’ Tech University presented at Bowling Green State University has a lot going for it. Each of the four weeks features an esteemed scientist who knows how to talk to children age 9 to 12 about their research. And then the kids have carefully designed activities related to the science that allow students to do the work of science themselves. Then there’s Morris’ hair. He sports a frizzy mop of white hair. Morris said he’s gotten enough comments on it, he’s decided to stop cutting his hair. “I look the part.” It’s a silly way to get across a key element of the program. “The idea that children are being directed by a real scientist that’s part of the excitement we want to capture.” Registration is now underway for the program that runs four Saturdays throughout the semester starting Feb. 11 and continuing Feb. 25, March 18, and April 8. Each starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m. or so. Registration is $90. Visit http://kidstechuniversity-bgsu.vbi.vt.edu/. The mission is to get children excited about science, technology, engineering and math before they get into middle school. The Feb. 11 session will feature Dr. Jennifer M. DeBruyn, who works at the Body Farm in Tennessee, a lab which studies decomposition of human bodies. DeBruyn is a microbiologist who studies how all manner of matter decomposes. Her talk is: “Life after Death: Exploring the decomposer organisms that recycle corpses back to soil.”…


BG Fire Division to put focus on fire prevention

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Fire Division has ignited some new goals for the new year – shifting its focus to fire prevention, examining response time, and collecting data for a future third fire station in the city. These concepts and more are discussed in the fire division’s five-year strategic plan presented recently to city council. The division averages 3,500 calls a year, with 80 percent being EMS runs and the other 20 percent being fire calls for everything from structures, to cars to dumpsters. One of Fire Chief Tom Sanderson’s main goals for the division is to add an emphasis on fire prevention. “Historically, fire departments focus all their training and finances on fire suppression,” the chief said. But Sanderson would like to shift some focus to prevention as well. “We are charged with educating the community on how to reduce the risk of fires.” So the fire division will be working to develop a community risk reduction program that will help protect homes, businesses – and his firefighters. “My biggest concern as a fire chief – what keeps me up at night – is firefighter safety,” Sanderson said. “Firefighters don’t die if a fire never occurs.” The fire division is not able to do annual inspections of all businesses in the city, so the chief wants to offer a risk reduction program. Unlike inspections, which some in the business community might interpret as costly or threatening, the prevention program will likely be viewed…


BG parks master plan more substance than sexy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s parks and facilities need a healthy dose of TLC. So that’s the focus of the five-year master plan that was approved last week by the city planning commission. During the last couple decades, the parks and recreation department was busy adding acreage and building facilities. This next five years will be much less sexy – but very necessary, said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. “We need to take care of what we have,” Otley said to the planning commission. “We have been growing, growing, growing for 16 years.” Some of the biggest maintenance needs are in one of the oldest parks – City Park. “We need to give it the TLC (tender loving care) it deserves,” Otley said. And that means “a lot of roofs.” The largest building in City Park – Veterans Building – has reached a crossroads. “It has to be addressed,” she said. “Do we tear down and build, or renovate?” The city’s public works department took care of one issue at City Park last year by repairing the aging stone wall originally build by the Works Progress Administration, which was part of the nation’s New Deal program in 1935 to 1943. Each park in the city has its own needs, including some that need to be made ADA compliant, and some that need LED lighting and other energy conservation changes. The newest, Ridge Park, needs the back area leveled and reseeded. Carter…