Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Country singer shares her bullying story at BGMS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At age 5, Jessie Chris loved being on stage – even if that stage was a restaurant with just two patrons at the time. “I would literally perform anywhere that would have me,” Chris said. Then at age 10, Chris was given a guitar for her birthday, and started listening to country music stars Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. “I realized that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. But country music didn’t exactly fit in with her Massachusetts school. “I struggled a lot in school with bullying because of it,” Chris said as she shared her anti-bullying message with Bowling Green Middle School students on Tuesday morning. Her message: Bullying is surmountable by the victims, and stoppable by the aggressors. The messenger in this case is not that far removed from her audience – being just 20 years old, still dotting the “I”s in her name with hearts, and asking all the students to join her in a giant selfie. Shortly after getting her guitar, Chris said her bullying began. Her classmates would tell her that only boys can play guitars, that she would never be good enough, and never be pretty enough to succeed. “It kind of crushed my spirit,” she told the 750 students from BGMS. “I heard this every single day from my classmates.” The bullying was more than verbal. “I would get body-checked against the lockers at school,” Chris said. And after school, the bullying on social media took over. “I felt like I was always being targeted just for being a little different,” she said. “I was afraid of my classmates.” Chris also became afraid of performing. So she buried herself in her music, which became her coping mechanism. Writing songs became her diary of the bullying she encountered. “I channeled that anger to my music,” she said. “It was my way of having a voice.” Chris was hoping for a fresh start in high school, but found that the…

BG Police to host prescription drug take back

Bowling Green Police Division will participate in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Bowling Green Police Division, 175 W. Wooster St. The take back will accept prescriptions, over the counter pills, vitamins and pet medicine. Not accepted will be needles and sharps, mercury (thermometers), chemotherapy/radioactive substances, oxygen containers, pressurized containers/inhalers and illicit drugs.

BG firefighter and wife recognized for saving man’s life

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   An off-duty Bowling Green firefighter and his wife were given standing ovations in the City Council chambers Monday evening, for saving a man’s life. Steve and Dawn Tyda stopped a man from jumping off the East Wooster overpass at Interstate 75 last month. The Tydas were on their way home from Columbus, when they pulled off I-75 around 11 p.m. They saw a man standing on the overpass, facing the highway. Steve Tyda turned the vehicle around and went back to the overpass and pulled up next to the man. Dawn Tyda asked the man if he was OK. The man reportedly said, “I’ll be OK in about four seconds when I jump.” “Tyda’s years of service as a firefighter and a paramedic told him he needed to act quickly,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said as he retold the story during the council meeting. So Dawn Tyda offered to talk or pray with the man, who turned back to the highway below and leaned over the side. Meanwhile Steve Tyda came up behind the man and tackled him to keep him from going over onto I-75 below. Tyda held him down until police arrived. The man, a 49-year-old Bowling Green resident, was taken to Wood County Hospital where he was checked out by Behavioral Connections. He was transported to Flower Hospital in Sylvania for evaluation. Fawcett commended Steve Tyda for his “selfless and valorous act.” He presented the firefighter with a distinguished service award, for taking a substantial risk to himself to save another person despite the fact Tyda was off-duty at the time. Mayor Dick Edwards also presented a commendation to Dawn Tyda for her efforts in saving the man’s life. “She distinguished herself from the average citizen,” Edwards said. Dawn Tyda put herself at great risk, “buying valuable time,” the mayor said. “Her actions resulted in saving a life.” After the commendations were presented, the mayor noted the number of city firefighters in the council chambers and overflowing into…

Digging begins for gazebo in BG’s Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Dirt has been moved on the Wooster Green to make way for the gazebo on the town’s new gathering place. Mayor Dick Edwards announced at Bowling Green City Council meeting on Monday evening that the site will be officially dedicated by the community on June 1, at 4 p.m. Workers are “taking advantage of the relatively good weather” to make progress on the site, Edwards said. The Wooster Green improvements are being funded by private donations. The mayor said Monday evening that nearly 60 percent of the funding is in – despite the fact that the fundraising campaign hasn’t officially started. The estimated cost of Wooster Green is $300,000. A number of “thoughtful citizens” have made contributions, with one family donating the entire amount needed for the gazebo, Edwards said. The green space design includes an arched entry, a display area for a sculpture, and a gazebo-like structure. The structure will have a more open and contemporary look, but have the traditional cupola on top. It will be equipped with sound amplification. The space will include tree-lined streets, other landscaping, bicycle racks, benches, streetlights and trash receptacles that match the style used downtown. Plans also call for places where people can plug in to charge their handheld devices. Restrooms and water fountains are not included in the plans because of the expense. The site is intended to be a community gathering space, not a venue for huge events. “Right from the very beginning, we’ve said this is going to be a passive space,” Edwards said last year.

Moorman takes roundabout walkabout to get to BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A few words out of Bowling Green Fire Chief Bill Moorman, and even his newest “mates” realize he was not born and bred in Northwest Ohio. But few probably know the long winding route that Moorman took from his homeland in Australia to the flatlands of Ohio. Moorman stretched the traditional Australian “walkabout” across several continents and years before ending up in Bowling Green. “It’s almost like a rite of passage for an Australian. You put a backpack on and travel,” he said. For most, though, the trek lasts six months or so. “For me, it’s been 30 years,” the fire chief said. At age 25, Moorman and his brother decided they needed to see the world beyond the borders of their homeland. “Let’s put a backpack on and travel the world,” Moorman said. “So we did that for a couple years.” The brothers wandered their way through Malaysia, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, England, Greece and several other European nations. They stayed at youth hostels or camped along the side of roads. They worked odd jobs along the way, like toiling at a banana plantation in Israel. “You can get work – though it might not be glamorous,” he said. As they drifted, Moorman said they would encounter other travelers who would have suggestions for the next leg of their journey. In Egypt, the pair rented bicycles and peddled on pathways out to the Valley of the Kings. “Going through the Egypt desert on bicycles was interesting,” he said. They sailed up the Nile, climbed Mount Sinai and camped there for a night. The brothers explored the Greek Islands, and spent a month touring Turkey, traveling as far as the Russian border. At some point, Moorman and his brother split ways, with his brother heading to England and Moorman staying to work on a tour yacht and as a scuba guide. Eventually, Moorman found himself in Germany during Oktoberfest. “You have no idea what Oktoberfest is until you go to one in…

Annual weather spotter class set for Wood County

The annual SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter’s Class for Wood County will be held on Tuesday, March 20. Registration will begin at 6 p.m. and the class will begin at 6:30 p.m. The class will be held on the campus of Bowling Green State University, Olscamp Hall, Room 111. Attendees should use Parking Lot N on Ridge Street off of Mercer Road. The SKYWARN class is presented by the National Weather Service Cleveland office and will give participants an overview of how severe weather develops and what to look for when severe weather occurs. Participants will have the opportunity to become official weather spotters for the National Weather Service. The class is recommended for all first responders; however, the class is also open to the general public whether they want to be an official weather spotter or would just like to know more about severe weather. There is no cost for this class and there are no age restrictions. If you have any questions concerning this training, contact the Wood County EMA office at 419-354-9269 or by emailing The annual Ohio Severe Weather Awareness Week will be March 18 – 24. The annual statewide tornado drill will be Wednesday, March 21, at 9:50 a.m. These events are a perfect time for families, schools, and businesses to establish or review severe weather emergency plans and procedures. If you have any questions about these events, please visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website at or contact the Wood County EMA office at 419-354- 9269 or by emailing

City charter changes: Non-partisan council races? Four-year council terms?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Citizens are speaking up on changes they might like to see in the Bowling Green City Charter. Should council races be non-partisan? Should all council terms be four years? Should it be easier for citizens to have input on environmental and health issues? Should the charter address rental housing standards? Not a single citizen showed up for the first public meeting on updating the city charter. But on the second meeting, Thursday evening, there were seven citizens, several charter review committee members, council members and city administration officials. The city charter documents how city government is run. It was adopted in 1972, then reviewed in 1990 and 2001. A 17-member citizen committee is currently collecting public input, discussing possible revisions, then will make recommendations for changes to City Council. The changes must be approved by Bowling Green voters in the November election for them to become part of the charter. “Each individual section has to be voted on separately,” said Shannon Orr, one of the co-chairs of the charter update committee with Jeff Crawford. Orr explained that another public meeting will be held once the committee has come up with its suggested revisions. The city charter can be viewed on the city website, and citizens can submit their ideas through email or by contacting a committee member. At last week’s meeting, citizen Stu Stearns, who served on the charter review committee in 2001, said a May deadline for getting the revisions to City Council may be too tight of a timeline. “Most people don’t even know what’s in the charter,” Stearns said. Orr agreed the timeline was ambitious – but also necessary since the revisions must go to council by May to get the changes on the November ballot. She assured Stearns and others that citizen input is being sought. “We’re giving the public plenty of opportunities,” Orr said, noting the city website where comments can be submitted. “It’s really easy for people to contact us.” Citizen and BGSU student Brad Holmes…

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio is March 18-24

(Submitted by Wood County Health Department and Wood County Emergency Management Agency) Local public health and safety agencies are encouraging people in Wood County to review their emergency plans and prepare for the potential for severe weather this spring. During Severe Weather Awareness Week, residents will be reminded that preparing in advance is the best way to be ready when tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding become possible. As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, Ohio will participate in a statewide tornado drill and test its Emergency Alert System at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, March 21. Counties will test their outdoor warning sirens, and schools, households and businesses are encouraged to practice their tornado drills and safety plans. The best time to prepare for a potential emergency is right now. Make plans for severe weather by knowing the warning signs, drafting a communication plan and gathering emergency supplies at home and in your car. Wood County Health District and Wood County Emergency Management Agency encourage people to consider the following additional tips: – Designate a safe location at home where you can seek shelter. – Know the difference between a weather watch, which means severe weather is possible, and a warning, which means a local event is likely or imminent. – Install a weather radio in your home. Outdoor warning sirens are meant to be heard outside, not indoors. – Don’t walk or drive in flood waters. Just a small amount of water can knock you over or take away control of your vehicle. – Learn more about preparing for potential emergencies at and

Next food truck meeting set for Monday at 6 p.m.

The Public Lands and Buildings Committee of City Council will meet on Monday, March 19, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber at the City Administrative Services Building, 304 N. Church St., to continue discussions regarding food truck operations in the city.

What’s happening in your community (updated March 20)

NEWLY POSTED: Festival of the Arts at BG High, March 21 The Bowling Green High School Art Department and Drama Club are joining forces to celebrate March as Art and Theatre in Our Schools month by presenting the annual Festival of the Arts on  Wednesday, March 21. From 5 – 7, the Performing Arts Center is open for the public to view an array of projects created by students enrolled in the visual art classes. At 7 p.m., the Drama Club presents an hour of student entertainment featuring vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, improv performers and more!. The visual arts display is free. Tickets for the performance are $5 for students and $7 for adults. NEWLY POSTED: Capturing life story of dementia patients focus of March 21 program “Using ‘Life Stories’ to Care for People with Dementia” will be presented by the Optimal Aging Qednesday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the Simpson Building Banquet Room, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Everyone has a “life story,” and capturing that story for an individual with dementia is not only rewarding, but can also be a valuable asset in caregiving. Light refreshments will be provided by cosponsor Brookdale Bowling Green; the program is supported by Bowling Green Parks and Recreation. Presenters are Lynn Ritter of the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter, and Andrew Hershberger, BGSU professor of art history and family caregiver. The program is the first of several planned for this spring. For more information, visit NEWLY POSTED: Austrian writer to read at Grounds, March 21 Austrian author Anna Kim give a free reading in German and English Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at Grounds For Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green, Ohio Kim will read from her newest novel “Die große Heimkehr (The Great Homecoming, 2017).” BGSU students of German will read from Jamie Searle Romanelli’s English translation of the book. “The Great Homecoming is a story about friendship, loyalty and betrayal, of life made impossible by dictatorship. The book addresses the effects of the division of the Korean peninsula and the beginnings of today’s North Korea.” ( Presented…

Small towns count on big help from block grant funding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Small town government can be short on glamour, and steeped in talk of storm drains, street repairs and sewer systems. Mayors and other officials from many of Wood County’s 26 municipalities recently made their preliminary pitches to get funding for projects that they cannot afford on their own. Listening to their proposals were officials from the Wood County Planning Commission – which is the first of several steps to get Community Development Block Grants. Dave Steiner, director of the planning commission, said this year’s funding level for the county overall is still unknown. The projects must serve areas with low to moderate income, or eliminate slum or blight conditions. And if communities are able to pitch in some matching dollars, they stand a better chance of getting funds. Bowling Green gets its own pot of CDBG money, but the other municipalities in Wood County compete for the county share. Following is a list of some of the project requests made earlier this month: Bradner: “We’re here to once again replace waterlines,” said Board of Public Affairs President Jim Smith. “All that we are replacing were put in by WPA,” meaning they are at least 80 years old. “As they continue to age, we’re constantly dealing with breakages,” he said. Village leaders would also like to put LED lighting in the town, plus update lighting in the village park. Custar: Mayor Renee Hartman said street improvements are needed on Custar Road, especially where it is damaged by heavy truck traffic near the grain elevator. “We are continuously filling the potholes,” Hartman said. “Very, very poor” sidewalks along Custar Road also need fixing, she said. Grand Rapids: Chad Hoffman, village administrator, said the town needs sanitary sewer work on the west side of the community, and sidewalk repairs throughout the village. Village leaders also plan to ask that Ohio 65 be rerouted out of the town, Hoffman said. “Since ODOT won’t maintain and repair it. Something’s got to be done there.” The wastewater treatment…

Wood County Historical Society gets state grant

The Wood County Historical Society has been awarded $4,010 from the Ohio History Connection to further the society’s Preservation for Generations campaign for collections storage and preservation efforts. The Ohio History Connection’s History Fund is a competitive matching grants program funded by Ohioans through the tax check-off on the Ohio state income tax return. The award was presented by Burt Logan, executive director of the Ohio History Connection and received by Wood County Historical Museum curator Holly Hartlerode. The historical society was one of nine receiving agencies out of 46 applications. According to Hartlerode, “the preservation of the collections is the highest priority because it ensures we are using the resources provided by the community to tell the relevant and compelling story of Wood County.” The Preservation for Generations annual campaign kicked off in November 2017 and has raised $1,954 toward the $10,000 goal. The first phase of the collections storage initiative is to prepare 9,000 identified objects for new, conservation quality cabinets by 2020, coincidentally Wood County’s bicentennial year.  The Wood County Historical Society is expected to match the 60/40 grant through dollars raised from the campaign. The community will benefit from this project because their “legacy resides at the Wood County Historical Museum,” Hartlerode said. The Wood County Historical Society, which was formed in 1955, began collecting Wood County memorabilia in the 1970s to “help us tell the story.” Financial contributions to the Society’s Preservation for Generations campaign can be made online at Support for the History Fund can also be made through the tax check-off on the Ohio state income tax return, and is detailed at

BG elementary students to perform in Columbus

(Submitted by Bowling Green City Schools) Bowling Green elementary students will have the opportunity to showcase their vocal music talents in Columbus  at the OHSAA Girls and Boys State Basketball Tournaments over the next two weekends. Kenwood’s Treble Rebels will perform on Saturday, March 24, at 10:45 a.m. prior to the Boys Division IV Championship game. The Treble Rebels are led by Kenwood vocal music teacher Courtney Boswell. In addition to the Treble Rebels, Evie Van Vorhis, a third grader at Conneaut Elementary will perform multiple times. She will perform Saturday, March 17, at the 5:15 and 8:30 p.m. girls championship games. Evie will return the following weekend on Saturday, March 24, for the Boys State Championship and will sing before the Division I game at 8:30 pm. The Bowling Green City Schools are Bobcat proud of these students and their talents will be shared in front of thousands of spectators from all over the State of Ohio.

Portable scales may be used to deter overweight trucks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County officials tired of roads being beat up by overweight trucks may start using portable scales to snag those heavy loads. Wood County Engineer John Musteric and Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn made a pitch to the county commissioners Thursday morning about setting up an overweight vehicle permit program using scales that can easily be transported throughout the county. The goal isn’t to make money off of permits and fines, Musteric said, but rather to discourage heavy trucks from breaking up county roads. Overweight truck traffic is increasing on interstates, so it’s only natural that to reach their destinations, those trucks have to use smaller county and township roads. While most trucking companies get permits with ODOT for overweight loads, they often neglect to get permits at the local level, Musteric said. Last year, Ohio issued 367,332 permits for overweight trucks. When detailing their routes, those trucking companies identified 46,034 loads that traveled through Wood County. Yet only 57 permits were issues for Wood County, Musteric said. The legal limit on Ohio roads is 80,000 pounds. Some of the heavy trucks weigh as much as 165,000 pounds. “Some of those people aren’t going to be happy,” Wasylyshyn said. Permits can be purchased per truck, per route traveled. “If they get off that route, and they get nailed, they pay hefty fines,” Musteric said. But Musteric stressed the goal isn’t to make money, but to control which roads overweight trucks travel. “Believe me, this is not a money grab for us,” he told the commissioners. The county’s roads and bridges are in “dire straits” and suffer from heavy loads. So part of the permitting program will be educational – with efforts made to direct overweight traffic to more suitable routes. The sheriff and engineer suggested that Wood County use portable scales as part of that educational process. “ODOT has three portable scales just waiting to be used, at no cost,” Musteric said. Construction of the Rover pipeline across southern Wood County has…