Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

County mails out 9,100 homestead exemption renewals

(Submitted by Wood County Auditor’s Office) Approximately 9,100 Homestead Exemption Renewals have been mailed, according to Michael Sibbersen, Wood County Auditor. These renewal forms are mailed to all taxpayers who currently have the Homestead Exemption on their residence. If there are no changes in the Homestead applicant’s status the form need not be returned. New applicants wishing to apply for the Homestead Exemption for real estate and manufactured homes must meet the following qualifications: applicants must be at least 65 years of age on or before December 31, 2017 or permanently disabled as of January 1, 2017 and have an Ohio Adjusted Gross Income of less than $31,800 per year. Applicants must also own and occupy the home as their principal place of residence as of January 1, 2017. A person has only one principal place of residence, therefore, the law allows for only one exemption per household. Homeowners who were receiving the Homestead Exemption as of January 1, 2013 or prior are not subject to the income verification and do not need to take any action to continue receiving the exemption. Homeowners who were receiving the Homestead Exemption after January 1, 2014 are subject to income verification each year and should return the form if the 2016 Ohio Adjusted Gross Income is over $31,800. Homeowners needing assistance with the renewal form may contact the Auditor’s Office at: 419-354-1925, Toll Free: 866-860- 4140, wait for the operator and ask for extension 1925, or via email bgraber@co.wood.oh.us. Homeowners who need a new application form may visit the website at www.co.wood.oh.us/auditor to print a copy of the new application form or contact…



Clean Plate Awards to be presented to restaurants

The Wood County Health District will present this year’s Clean Plate Awards on Thursday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. The presentation will take place at the Wood County Health District located at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The 2017 Clean Plate Awards will be presented to 34 licensed food service operations out of more than 800 food service operations in Wood County.  These restaurants and other food service operations have been dedicated to upholding excellent sanitation and food safety knowledge within their facility. The recipients will receive a certificate of excellence and recognition of excellent performance in food safety from the Wood County Health District.  The winners of the Clean Plate Award will also receive a Clean Plate Award decal to display at their facility. This is the seventh year that the Wood County Board of Health will hand out the awards. “The Food Service Operations in Wood County that are presented with the Clean Plate Award have gone above and beyond in the practice of safe food handling,” said Lana Glore, Director of Environmental Services at the Wood County Health District. This year’s recipients include: Arby’s #7372, Bass Pro Shop, BG’s Frosty Fare, Bowling Green Middle School, Carolyn’s Personalized Catering, Conneaut Elementary School, Crim Elementary School, Eagle Point Elementary School, Eastwood Middle School, Eastwood High School, Frobose Meat Locker, Kenwood Elementary School, Kingston Care Center of Perrysburg, Luckey Elementary School, Marco’s Pizza #8, McDonald’s, Meijer Gas Station #116, Northwest Community Corrections Center, Pagliai’s Pizza, Pemberville Elementary School, Pisanello’s Pizza, Poppin George’s Kettle Corn, Rita’s Dairy Bar and Deli, Rite Aid #7728, Rossford High School, Super Suppers Perrysburg-Maumee,…


Citizens can email ideas for downtown green space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Despite several public meetings about the new downtown green space in Bowling Green, many citizens complained that they weren’t given an opportunity to express their desires for the proposed town square. To remedy that perceived slight, an email account has now been set up to take suggestions. Anyone wanting to submit ideas for the 1.7 acres at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets can now email their suggestions to woostergreendesign@gmail.com. Mayor Dick Edwards said he spoke recently with representatives at Poggemeyer Design Group about the two main elements already planned for the town square – an arched entryway and a pavilion. The exact designs are still being worked on, but will consider the historic character of the area, and will work to preserve as much green as possible.  Other necessities include bike racks, drinking fountains, benches, sidewalk lighting and trash receptacles. There are many other decisions under consideration that will be needed to turn the site into Wooster Green – a town square for the Bowling Green community. First, what are the protocols for using the site? Second, how can at least $300,000 in donations be raised for the space? And third, how can the entire community be engaged in the project? The steering committee for Wooster Green met Thursday afternoon to make progress on those considerations. “We definitely need clarification on when and how the site can be used,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the promotions committee. The green space has already been used for several public rallies, and the steering committee envisions it being used in the…


What’s happening in your community (updated April 22)

    NEWLY POSTED: Opera on Wheels brings “The Magic Flute” to library, May 5 The Toledo Opera’s Opera on Wheels program will present  Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”  in the Atrium of the Wood County District Public Library on Friday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m. This touring show is a full experience for all ages of Mozart’s classic opera. Prince Tamino must save Princess Pamina from her evil mother, the Queen of the Night. To help him on his quest, three lovely ladies give him a magic flute that will charm both animals and humans. With the help of his flute and the companiship of his jovial friend, Papageno, Prince Tamino overcomes the trial of Silence and thereby wins the hand of Princess Pamina. A celebration of true love conquering all, The Magic Flute”  transports the audience into an enchanted world where good faces the forces of darkness and wins. This live performance is free to the public and will last approximately 45 minutes.  It is generously supported by the WCDPL Marjorie Conrad Memorial Fund. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.   NEWLY POSTED: Glass City Singers make debut,  April 25 Glass City Singers will present its premiere concert at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Toledo. The concert, held Tuesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. will feature contemporary music written by living composers, including selections for choir, cello, and piano. Glass City Singers is a new ensemble to Toledo, and is the first of its kind in Northwest Ohio. The ensemble is an auditioned group of singers aged 16-30, and includes high school students, young professionals, and college students majoring in everything…


BG Spanish students immersed in Cuban culture

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., trips abroad by Bowling Green City School students were halted. Concerns about student safety took priority over the desire to let youth experience the world outside U.S. borders. But last month, a group of Bowling Green students not only traveled overseas, they went to a nation that had long been off-limits to many Americans. Spanish students traveled to Cuba for a week of learning the nation’s culture, food, music, history, lifestyle – and an opportunity to use their Spanish speaking skills. “None of us are going to forget” the week-long trip, Spanish teacher Dallas Black told the Bowling Green Board of Education on Tuesday evening. English teacher Tom Ross, who also traveled with the group, encouraged the school board to allow more student travel overseas. “I want this to be a stepping off point,” after a long dry-spell of international travel, Ross said. “Let’s get traveling again with our classes and our students.” Three students – Griffin Black, Elle Ross and Maddie Smotherman – who went on the Cuba trip presented photos and observations from their travels. The students talked about traditional Cuban food, art, extreme poverty, monuments to revolutionaries, the beach, a cathedral, the University of Havana, the Bay of Pigs museum, and a botanical garden. “What an incredible opportunity it was for us to see all this,” Smotherman said. “Cuba was amazing. I couldn’t have picked a better country to visit.” And the timing was perfect, Black and Ross said. Cuba is “on the cusp of change,” Ross said. “It’s…


Maintenance closes down skate park in City Park

Maintenance and repairs are currently taking place at the skate park in Bowling Green City Park. Weather permitting, most of the repairs should be done by Friday but portions of the skate park may have to remain closed over the weekend.


Survey results in on BG Schools building options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The results are in for Bowling Green City Schools’ building options survey – but the numbers are so close that school officials need time to digest the 91-page report before deciding which path to take. “We do have some tough decisions,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said during the board of education meeting Tuesday evening. During the past year, Scruci has held several open houses in different settings to find out if citizens want to construct new buildings, renovate the old, or do nothing. He has met with parents at each school building, with the community at coffee klatches, and with the farming community at two gatherings. To reach even more people, surveys were mailed out recently to 2,000 randomly selected taxpayers in the Bowling Green School District, excluding BGSU. A total of 344 surveys were returned – which is a 17.2 percent response rate – higher than the average expected 10 percent return rate. The meat of the survey asked residents to rank the building options for the district. Those choices are: Combine the three elementary schools into one new building, and build a new high school. Combine the three elementary schools into one new building, and renovate the high school. Renovate Conneaut, Kenwood and the high school. Build a new Conneaut, and renovate Kenwood and the high school. Keep all the buildings as they are. Residents were asked to rank their top three choices. Coming in with the most top choice points (at 29.9 percent) was the option of combining the elementaries and building a new high school. The next top choice…


BG curbside recycling better, but ongoing improvement sought

(Submitted by the Bowling Green Recycling Center) The Bowling Green Recycling Center has seen improvement in the quality of Bowling Green City curbside recyclables delivered to the Bowling Green Recycling processing facility. The City is holding people accountable by issuing warnings and violations for improper use of recycling carts.The  City is also working to educate citizens about what is recyclable curbside  by putting new information stickers on recycling carts. This is an ongoing project. The overall trash residual rate for Bowling Green curbside recycling is still above 12%.  That means for every 100 pounds of material collected in curbside recycling carts over 12# are trash. It needs to be less. There are 3 major  issues: 1)  The  most disturbing problem is people who put garbage and bags of garbage in their recycling carts. Things like soiled diapers, moldy bread, spoiled meat, used kitty litter and dog poop are a health hazard to the people at the Recycling Center that separate the items so they can be sent to markets.. Unfortunately, these are not  just one time occurrences. People doing this have to know this is unacceptable.  These are “abusive recyclers.” The only way to correct this behavior is to impose consequences. The City and Recycling Center have been working to document households where these problems are occurring and the city is issuing warnings and notices of violation. For those repeat offenders who persist in this behavior, recycling carts can be removed. These people are putting sorting personnel and the curbside recycling program at risk. This is unacceptable. Garbage can also cause contamination of properly recycled materials when things get mixed….


Parks and rec summer program brochures available

Summer program brochures for Bowling Green Parks and Recreation are available at the Bowling Green Community Center, the Simpson Building, the city administration building, the Four Corners Center, nature center, and the library. Resident registration begins on May 1 and nonresident registration begins on May 15. For questions or more information contact the Parks and Recreation Office at 419-354-6223. An electronic copy of our Summer Guide is available to download and print at our website at www.bgohio.org/parks and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bgparks.rec.


BG takes one step closer to less smelly sewer plant

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials are hoping when the sewage hits bigger fans and carbon filters, it will come out smelling better. But the improvements will be on hold a couple weeks since City Council lacked enough members present Monday evening to suspend the rules requiring three readings. Council member Daniel Gordon was absent and council president Mike Aspacher was filling the role of mayor. Bowling Green officials are considering spending about $478,000 to take away the foul odor that sometimes emanates from the city’s water pollution control facility on Dunbridge Road. The plant is the source of many complaints, primarily from Bowling Green State University and from nearby businesses. The facility staff believes the two likely sources of the stench are the septage receiving station and the biofilter that removes the bacteria from the waste and turns it into a harmless solid. A misting odor neutralizer was added to the biofilter’s exhaust fan in 2016, but it has had limited success. The septage station has no odor control. “The odor that comes out of those tanks can be pretty offensive,” O’Connell said. The foul smell is the source of complaints not only from nearby businesses, but also during large outdoor events, like the soccer tournaments held south on Dunbridge Road. “If we happen to have a bad day at the plant, it can cause a bad mark on the city. People remember that,” O’Connell said. The city’s utility staff went on a field trip last year to a wastewater plant in Pennsylvania, where a carbon filter system was installed to treat the exhaust air…


NIOT offers series of programs on reducing prejudice

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   An educational series on reducing prejudice is planned in Bowling Green – with one requirement for those attending. “Just come with an open mind,” said Dr. Krishna Han, assistant director of the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. “It takes a village to build a caring community,” said Han, who will be the facilitator in the three-part series looking at the power of words, “isms” and safe zones. The programs are being hosted by Not in Our Town Bowling Green and the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs on April 20, May 17, and June 1. All programs will be held at the Wood County District Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public. “Raising awareness, building knowledge, and developing skills on multicultural interaction and communication is an important and on-going aspect of self-work that every individual should take it very seriously,” said Han, who provides leadership for the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs Diversity Education Program, and oversees the Ethnic Student Center and LGBTQ+ Resource Center Programs and Services. “We all have something to learn from each other. As we all come from different backgrounds, often times we don’t have the developed skills that allow us to engage each other with grace and productive ways,” Han said. “This workshop will help participants look at the topic of multicultural interaction and communication from a positive perspective, and empower each other on skill sets that enable them to carry-on and spread the caring spirit and knowledge in their community.” The first in the series is “The Power of…


180th Fighter Wing conducting night training flights

The 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard will be conducting training flights at night beginning Monday, April 17 through Thursday, April 20, weather permitting. Area residents may see or hear F-16 fighter jets taking off and landing until about 10 p.m. this week. Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but F-16 pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct night operations as part of their overall readiness training.


Super Dash planned for BG Obstacle Course on May 20

(Submitted by BG Parks and Recreation Department) Registration is now open for the inaugural Super Dash at the BG Obstacle Course! Boys & Girls, ages 4 to 12 can get dressed up as their favorite superhero or invent their own then on May 20 run through our new Obstacle Course Trail located behind the BG Community Center at 1245 W Newton Road.  As the kids complete each obstacle they will receive badges recognizing their super accomplishments.  At the conclusion of the race, kids will have super sized fun at our Family Festival where they will get to do crafts, play games,  participate in contests, listen to live music, and eat.  For more detailed  information, please visit our website at www.bgohio.org/parks or our facebook page at www.facebook.com/bgparks.rec as the date gets closer.  Registration opens April 3rd. $15 Resident/$18 Nonresident if registered by Friday May 5th $25 Resident/$28 Nonresident if registered after Friday May 5th Visit www.bgohio.org/parks for information on how to register or to print off a  registration form.  Checks should be made out to BGPR Foundation. Register by check/money order by mailing Registration Form & payment to BGPR Foundation, 1291 Conneaut Avenue, Bowling Green, OH 43402 or register in person by cash and check (NO CREDIT CARD) at either the BG Community Center or Simpson Building. Credit Card payments will only be accepted through the website www.imathlete.com.  Users will have to create a free account, search for  BG Parks & Rec Super Dash and register through the website.  A  service fee will be charged by the website. OTHER INFO -Race Day Registration & Check-in begins at  9:00am -Races begin at…


AgCredit announces profit sharing

(Submitted by AgCredit) AgCredit – one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness – recently declared a patronage refund of 24.57 percent for 2016 that results in $18.4 million being refunded to its member borrowers. The patronage payment will provide a refund to the lending cooperative’s shareholders of 24 cents for every dollar they accrued in interest on their loans for the past year. The patronage refund is the equivalent of 1.21 percent net savings on interest. Over the past five years, AgCredit has averaged a 29.43% patronage refund rate and has paid patronage refunds for 30 consecutive years. During this time, it has distributed more than $246 million to its borrowers. Earnings for 2016 were $49.6 million. AgCredit’s year-end numbers reflected a 4.66 percent growth rate and $80 million increase as loan volume increased from $1.716 billion to $1.796 billion. “Though our business continues to perform very well, due to the cyclical nature of agriculture, we are seeing an increasing number of farm operations being negatively impacted by lower net margins. Many operations will need time to adjust to the lower margins. Even with the challenges facing agriculture, our mission to serve agriculture and our rural communities has never been stronger,” said AgCredit CEO and president, Brian Ricker, who shared and reviewed information about the co-op’s financial status with approximately 500 members and guests who attended its annual meeting held April 12 at Meadowbrook Park in Bascom. Even with historically high asset quality levels the cooperative lending association continues to mitigate credit risk as a preferred lender working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s…