Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

BG gets ‘dose of reality’ – curb appeal lacking as families shop for college

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Shopping for universities has become a “buyer’s market,” and many prospective students and their families aren’t attracted to what Bowling Green is selling. Bowling Green has received this “dose of reality” in the latest study on city development. Without making some major changes in the community, the report projects Bowling Green State University will likely see a big drop in enrollment. The consultants have shared a painful truth, Mayor Dick Edwards said during Monday’s City Council meeting. “Bowling Green has a major image problem that needs to be fixed,” Edwards said of the report. “The condition of the city is placing the university at a competitive disadvantage in attracting students.” Edwards, however, objected to some of the bold statements in the report. “I sincerely believe that we have not been standing still as a community,” he said. “I nevertheless agree that timing is critical and we have no choice but to move forward with deliberate speed on a priority basis.” The “Strategy for Redevelopment” focuses on the East Wooster Corridor, and was researched by Development Strategies of St. Louis. Bowling Green State University contracted for the study that is looking at how to best develop the areas on the outer fringe of the university. The city and university have been working on the East Wooster roadway for the past few years, with roundabouts and a new bridge over Interstate 75 underway. But the report pointed out that the minor rezoning efforts by the city are not enough. The report has an “unmistakable sense of urgency,” Edwards said. Projections call for diminishing numbers of traditional age college students beginning in 2025. That will intensify the competitiveness in the marketplace. Also, students and parents are increasingly making decisions about colleges based on appearance of communities. Communities like Kent have made substantial improvements in the areas adjoining the campus, Edwards said. Bowling Green is in the beginning stages of those efforts. “The simple truth is that we as a community cannot afford the economic losses associated with declining enrollments,” the mayor said. BGSU President Rodney Rogers has been awaiting the report. “He clearly senses this urgency,” Edwards said. “The numbers are very, very telling.” The numbers,…


Gavarone recognized for securing funds for senior center

(Submitted by State Senator Theresa Gavarone) State Senator Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, on Monday received the Muriel Bertsch Award from the Ohio Association of Senior Centers (OASC) for her work to secure funding for a new senior center in Wood County. Gavarone worked with the Wood County Committee on Aging (WCCOA) to secure $1.6 million in the 2018 Capital Budget for the construction of the new Wood County Senior Center.  “I am truly honored to accept this award,” said Gavarone. “I am even more excited to see how this new senior center in Wood County will enhance the quality of life for our seniors and their families.” The OASC supports and enhances the ability of Ohio’s senior center network to effectively serve older adults by providing education, mentoring and training to senior center and aging network staff. Gavarone was presented the award during OASC’s Annual Spring Conference in Columbus. 


BG police respond to drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day

Bowling Green Police Division responded to a couple crashes on Sunday, reportedly caused by intoxicated drivers. Sunday at 10:45 p.m., police were dispatched to a crash in the 100 block of State Street, for a vehicle that had hit mailboxes and was trying to drive off. Some of the mailboxes were still stuck under the car, and the driver was trying to remove them when police arrived. The driver of the vehicle, Andrea Bremer, 28, of Toledo, initially would not answer questions from police. According to the report, she had difficulty performing any of the field tests for driving under the influence. At the police station, Bremer took the breathalyzer and tested at 0.241. Bremer was cited for operating a vehicle under the influence, and for failure to maintain control of her vehicle. Her driver’s licenses was confiscated. Also on Sunday around 6 p.m., police were at the 600 block of South Main responding to a fight between two intoxicated males. One of the men had reportedly left the scene, but witnesses identified him a William Kingsley, 56, who lived on West Evers Street. Police then received a call for a possible injury accident in the 200 block of East Evers Street. There was no crash there, so police decided to try West Evers, since that was where Kingsley resided. Police found the crash in the 200 block of West Evers. A stop sign on the northeast corner of West Evers and North Grove had been knocked over, and a black Ford Fusion with front end damage was parked on the street. The Ford was registered to Kingsley. Neighbors on the scene told police they saw Kingsley run into the stop sign, stumble out of his car, and enter the house. Police spoke with Kingsley, who had numerous injuries to his face, which appeared to be from the fight, not the accident. Kingsley denied driving his car, denied being in a fight, and said he was diabetic. Bowling Green Fire Division staff tested his blood sugar and found it to be normal. He reportedly refused to perform any field sobriety tests. He was taken to Wood County Hospital, where his blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.232. Kingsley was cited…


BG school board piecing together puzzle of levy funding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Bowling Green Board of Education is faced with a complicated jigsaw puzzle – with the pieces changing as time passes. If the board proceeds as in the past, the district voters will see 20 tax issues in the next 25 years. If the board tries to combine issues and stretch them to continuing periods of time, the number of tax issues could be cut to seven in 25 years. And it would mean the end of the district having to ask for the same money over and over. However, Bowling Green voters have traditionally supported levy renewals – so trying to make the district’s finances more secure could backfire and result in putting them at risk. Meanwhile, the board was just given its marching orders from the school task force groups. So the board needs to win support for a ballot issue for buildings – at the same time the district has to renew two ongoing levies before they expire. “It’s gut check time,” David Conley, financial consultant to the district from Rockmill Financial, told the board during its special meeting on Saturday. Here are some of the puzzle pieces the district has in play. Recommendations from task forces Though the building recommendations aren’t exactly clear, it appears the task force will be suggesting the board work toward two new elementaries at the Conneaut and Kenwood sites, and renovations plus expansion at the Crim site. The finance task force recommendations were more crystal clear. The members want the board to use a combined property tax and income tax to raise $40 million for the elementaries. In an effort to reduce long-term interest costs, the task force suggested the levy duration be 30 rather than 37 years. The task force also asked that the board put the building issue on the ballot this November, since delaying the efforts will inevitably increase the construction costs. Setting aside money for big-dollar maintenance costs The suggested combined issue of a 1.76-mill property tax with a 0.25 percent income tax will result in a surplus of about $325,000 a year. The finance task force stressed that  those funds be put toward ongoing major capital repairs on the…


Severe weather awareness week now; statewide tornado drill on Wednesday

The Wood County Emergency Management Agency reminds residents and businesses that Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio will be March 17 – 23. There will be a Statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 21, at 9:50 a.m. Outdoor warning sirens in Wood County will be activated for the statewide drill. The National Weather Service will also activate the NOAA Weather Radio Alert System at the time to test weather radios and announce the drill. Residents and businesses should take this opportunity to establish, review, and practice their procedures in seeking safe shelter when severe weather occurs. Everyone should stay alert for rapidly changing weather conditions when a “watch” is issued and be prepared to take immediate safety measures in the event a “warning” is issued or weather conditions warrant taking action. It is important for everyone to have a safety action plan for severe weather before storms threaten the area. For more information on severe storms and storm safety, contact the Wood County Emergency Management Agency at 419-354-9269 or visit the National Weather Service web-site at www.nws.noaa.gov or the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness web-site at www.weathersafety.ohio.gov .


State Patrol: Don’t press your luck this St. Patrick’s Day

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging those who are planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to designate a sober driver. The Patrol and local law enforcement will work together to remove impaired drivers from the roadways as part of the National Highway Safety Administration’s Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign. The consumption of alcohol is a common occurrence on St. Patrick’s Day. The popularity of the holiday has also made it a dangerous time to travel on Ohio’s roadways. In 2018, there was one person killed and an additional 33 people injured on St. Patrick’s Day due to OVI-related crashes. In all of 2018, 394 people were killed and 7,799 were injured in OVI-related crashes. Also in 2018, the patrol made 26,602 OVI arrests. Troopers have made almost 4,630 OVI arrests in the first two months of 2019. “We want to encourage all motorists to make plans for a sober ride home before they start celebrating,” said Paul A. Pride, patrol superintendent. “Planning ahead before you go out is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.” The Ohio Investigative Unit and other safety partners work to educate the consequences of impaired driving to motorists and over-serving to permit holders. For bars and permit holders, over-serving or serving to underage customers could mean costly fines, suspension or revocation of their liquor permit. As always, motorists are encouraged to dial #677 to report drug activity or impaired drivers.


Test your trivia knowledge, while raising funds for schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Few people are bonafide geniuses. Sometimes it’s good enough to just be a whiz with superfluous information. Here’s a quick test to see where you stand with trivial trivia … What was the name of cowboy star Roy Rogers’ palomino horse? This one’s a little tougher. What’s the name of the horse used by his wife, Dale Evans?Dendrophobia is the fear of what?How many people have walked on the moon?What three-word parting catchphrase is engraved on voice actor Mel Blanc’s gravestone?What animal has the fastest metabolismWhat are the only two countries in South America that do not border Brazil?Who was the first man to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know the answers. There will be many more at the eighth annual “Trivia Night” to raise money for the Bowling Green Schools Foundation. Teams of eight people will once again compete on March 30 to be named local trivia kings. Because the event has outgrown its former location, this year’s event will be held at the Junior Fair Building on the Wood County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the trivia questions starting at 7:30 p.m. “We’re trying to grow the event, trying to expand it,” said Drew Headley, one of the organizers – and the guy who is looking up all the trivia questions again this year. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a brainiac to be on a team. But it does help to have a grasp of useless knowledge, Headley said. “I try to make them challenging,” he said of the questions. There were 25 teams last year. “We packed it,” Headley said. So the new location will allow for more to join in. “We’ve got room for more.” The trivia contest will follow categories similar to those in the Trivial Pursuit board game – geography, science and technology, sports, music and literature. “A general knowledge of many topics is good,” Headley said. “It’s very competitive. People really get into it,” he said. “There may be a little trash talk between teams – but it’s all in fun.” Winners of each round will be able to select a specific teacher or…


One man killed in chain-reaction crash on I-75

Troopers from the Bowling Green Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol are investigating a five-vehicle crash that occurred on Interstate 75, two miles north of Bowling Green. On Friday, at approximately 10:58 p.m., five vehicles were involved in a chain-reaction crash that closed down all lanes of north and southbound I-75 for a period in the night. All the vehicles were traveling south on I-75. A Chevy Malibu operated by Jason R. Morris, 43, of Morrow, Ohio, ran off the left side of the roadway, where his vehicle struck the median cable barrier. His vehicle came to rest on the shoulder. Morris got out of his vehicle to check the damage. While he was outside his vehicle, Morris was struck by another vehicle. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. A passenger in the car Julia T. Morris, 43, also of Morrow, was transported by EMS to the Wood County Hospital with minor injuries. Her son, who age was unknown, was also transported by EMS to the Wood County Hospital with minor injuries. Also involved in the chain-reaction crash were: A 2002 Chrysler Town & Country was operated by Katelyn Anne Murphy, 25, of Metamora, Michigan. Murphy was treated on scene for minor injuries. A 1992 Toyota Tacoma was operated by Joshua Lee Esterline, 26, of Adrian, Michigan. Esterline was treated on scene for minor injuries. A 2003 Buick LeSabre was operated by Mykia Davis, 23, of Muncie, Indiana. She was transported to Mercy Hospital in Perrysburg with non-life threatening injuries. Jasmine Fay Taylor, 20, of Muncie, Indiana, was a passenger in the LeSabre. She was transported by EMS to Mercy Hospital in Perrysburg with non-life threatening injuries. A 2001 Ford Ranger was operated by Richard Paul Adams, 47, of Dola, Ohio. Adams was transported by EMS to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. All individuals involved in this crash were wearing their seat belts. Impairment does not appear to be a factor in this crash. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Bowling Green Police Division, Bowling Green Fire & EMS, the Ohio Department of Transportation, Wright’s Towing, BG Towing and VJ’s Towing. This crash and its chain of events…


Ag Venture program receives state recognition

(Submitted by Wood Soil and Water Conservation District) The Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was recognized with a total of eight national, regional, and state Earth Team volunteer awards for exceptional service. The Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce. “Volunteers play a vital role in providing us with the necessary workforce to get our tasks and conservation activities completed,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “Great opportunities and achievements come from volunteering. Without the support of volunteers and the communities we serve, our conservation goals would have been much harder to achieve.” An outstanding Earth Team Volunteer program relies on dedicated volunteers, and in 2018, more than 6,085 volunteers donated 46,214 volunteer service hours to Ohio NRCS valued at over $1.14 million. NRCS State Conservationist Terry Cosby presented the following Earth Team awards during a ceremony in Columbus. The National Earth Team Partnership Award was presented to the AG Venture 2018, from Bowling Green. The Wood County AG-Venture Self-Driving Tour was designed to be an entertaining and educational opportunity to highlight Ohio’s #1 industry – Agriculture. Seven tour sites recorded 1,785 visitors for an average of 255 visitors per site. Events such as these not only bring a community together, but also serve to educate and inspire people to take care of our precious natural resources in the hopes of ensuring agricultural sustainability. The Northeast Regional Individual Volunteer Award was presented to Bob Moser, Perrysburg. Terry Cosby, State Conservationist, USDA NRCS; and Bob Moser, Perrysburg From the inception of the Wood County AG-Venture Self-Driving Tour, Moser was front and center in planning, coordinating, and organizing the event. Through Moser’s many contacts in Wood County, he was instrumental in securing seven tour sites, including his own farm. Bob was also part of the volunteer recruitment team who recruited, organized, and trained a total of 146 volunteers. By the end of the event, this team of volunteers donated a total of 3,084 volunteer hours. Bob personally accounted for 208 of these hours. If you want to become an Earth Team volunteer, and are at least 14 years old, contact any USDA Service Center or visit the Ohio NRCS website.


BG Police seek female suspected in scamming stores

On March 15, the Bowling Green Police Division responded to several businesses located on Wooster Street for a possible scam.  Officers were advised that the above pictured female entered multiple stores and claimed to be on a food drive for Tim Horton’s.  The female collected cash from the businesses and left fraudulent receipts. Anyone having any information related to these incidents is encouraged to contact the Bowling Green Police Division at 419-352-1131, or Wood County CrimeStoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME.


What drives you crazy as you drive local roads – planners want to know

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Local motorists had the chance to vent about issues that drive them crazy as they drive through Wood and Lucas counties. Maybe it’s traffic congestion or getting stuck at railroad crossings. Maybe it’s potholes or not enough public transportation. Every five years, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments updates its long-range transportation plan. But in order to do that, the organization needs to hear from the public. So on Thursday, a meeting was held at the Wood County District Public Library for anyone wanting to talk transportation. To keep up with transportation needs, the region must have public input, patience in the process, and more funding to design and construct infrastructure. All seem to be in short supply at times. Maps lined the room, showing some of the transportation issues tracked by TMACOG, such as: Top 50 crash intersections in the two counties. Among those were the intersections at Wooster and Main streets, and at Gypsy Lane and South Main streets in Bowling Green, plus Roachton Road and Ohio 199 in Perrysburg Township.Top 50 crash sections of roads, which included a section of Ohio 25 between Roachton and Eckel Junction; East Wooster Street from Dunbridge to Mercer roads in Bowling Green; Ohio 51 in Lake Township; Ohio 420 from the turnpike to Genoa Road; and Superior Street between Glenwood and Oregon roads in Rossford.The most congested roadways, which include Main Street and Wooster Street in Bowling Green, and U.S. 20 from Lime City to Perrysburg.Roadways with high percentages of daily commercial vehicle traffic, including U.S. 6, Ohio 199 and Interstate 75.Railways crossing the region.Bike trails and lanes.Sidewalks.Public transit options, including TARTA and Perrysburg Transit. The long range plan addresses all these modes of transportation. “In order for it to be a successful plan, we really need input,” said Dana Doubler, transportation planner with TMACOG. The planners also need patience – since some projects take decades to complete. “This is a starting point,” Doubler said. “It’s getting your foot in the door.” “None of these projects happen overnight,” said David Gedeon, vice president of transportation at TMACOG. “They take a long time to develop.” But lately, the question has been where the money…


Wall of ice closes Buttonwood Park through walleye season

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News After viewing photographs of a massive ice wall towering over park staff, the Wood County Park District Board voted unanimously Tuesday to keep Buttonwood Park closed until further notice. The park, located along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township, is a popular fishing spot during the annual walleye run every spring. But it looks like anglers will have to find other places to cast their lines this year. “There’s a lot of ice there and it’s going to take a long time to melt,” Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board as he showed them photos of the ice bank covering much of the park. The ice came on shore last month when high winds and frigid conditions pushed massive ice floes into the park along the Maumee River. Township road crews have cleared a lane into the park – just wide enough for a pickup truck to squeeze through, Munger said. Many of the trees in the park have had their bark rubbed off by the ice chunks. “A lot of trees are scarred,” Munger said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to be losing some trees this year.” Some whole trees were swept away by the ice and are now part of the ice wall left behind. “It’s just kind of an eerie feeling out there,” he said. Park staff walks along shore, with ice bank towering over them. Munger estimated it would be May or June before the ice bank melts. The rain that has fallen recently has just frozen into the ice wall. The ice masses also took out the parking area at Buttonwood Park. “We pretty much lost the parking lot. The gravel was washed out,” he said. And the ice chunks bent the steel sign for the park. “The ice just really ripped it apart,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done.” And it can’t be finished in time for walleye season this spring, Munger said. “We’ve closed the park for the time being,” he said. After seeing photos of the damage and the lingering ice masses, the board made it official that no one should use the park until the board…


Wood County on solid footing – bond rating bumped to Aa1

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Wood County Commissioners have achieved an enviable ranking – moving from an already respectable Aa2 ranking to an Aa1 rating from Moody’s Investors Service. Thanks to the county’s cash reserves, large and diverse tax base, and low debt burden, Moody’s made the decision to upgrade the county just this week. That’s the best rating ever achieved by the county, and will put the county in a favorable position with investors. “It’s great news for the county,” Wood County Auditor Matt Oestreich said. Helping to bump up the county’s rating was the new pipeline tax revenue coming into the county. Rover Pipeline recently became the largest taxpayer in the county, with an assessed value of $57.5 million. “A diverse tax base is great for everybody,” Oestreich said. This was just one of many positive pieces of news shared Wednesday at the annual State of the County Address, sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and held in the county courthouse atrium. Commissioners Doris Herringshaw, Ted Bowlus and Craig LaHote recognized the continued solid strength of the county. “Wood County has remained fiscally strong due to our continued conservative approach to budgeting which ensures that there are sufficient resources to cover all of the county’s mandated services for citizens,” Herringshaw said. Last year, sales tax revenues brought in a record amount just shy of $22 million. The county adopted a budget of $46.4 million, which was about $1.8 million more than the previous year. “Wood County has been financially resilient due to responsible spending and the cooperation of the elected officials, along with growth in sales tax revenue,” she said. “This has allowed us to pay cash for certain capital projects instead of borrowing.” Wood County Commissioners Ted Bowlus, Craig LaHote and Doris Herringshaw at State of the County Wednesday morning The county commissioners presented several updates to those filling the atrium. Roads and bridges The county is trying to invest more in road and bridge maintenance, LaHote explained. Two actions have been taken in the past year – increasing the county’s vehicle license fee by $5 and creating an overweight vehicle program. The license fee increase is bringing in about $650,000 more…


Intersection of Main and Wooster to be closed next week

The Bowling Green downtown utility project continues to progress north along Main Street with the installation of a new waterline.  To date, the project has progressed past the Clough intersection.  Beginning Monday, March 18, the focus will be on the intersection of Main and Wooster.  In order to expedite the work within the intersection, the contractor will close the intersection to traffic at 7 a.m. on Monday, March 18.  This closure will remain in effect through Friday, March 22, potentially into Saturday, March 23.  The closure is required in order to install new water lines and sewer lines on Main Street and Wooster Street.The utility portion of this project is anticipated to last through the spring of 2019.  Once complete, a contractor will repave the downtown.Questions about this may be directed to the Engineering Division at 419-354-6227.


NAMI offers program for families of youth with mental health issues

(Submitted by National Alliance on Mental Illness) NAMI Wood County, a part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer the NAMI Basics Education Program for parents and other family caregivers of children and adolescents with mental health conditions. The six- session course will begin in Bowling Green, on Tuesday, April, 2, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the NAMI Wood County Office, 541 W. Wooster St. Bowling Green. The peer-led course covers information about mental health conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, depressive disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders. It provides participants with basic information about treating mental health conditions, listening and communication techniques, problem-solving and coping skills and an overview of the mental health and school systems’ roles in supporting children with mental health conditions. In addition to learning the facts about these conditions, participants benefit from learning from others in similar situations and experience a community of support. The course is taught by local volunteers who are parents or family caregivers of people who developed a mental health condition as children. These volunteers have been certified as a course instructors. For more information or to register for this class, please call the NAMI Wood County office at 419-352-0626 or email us at info@namiwoodcounty.org