Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Roaring 1920s Gala Fundraiser planned at historical center

(Submitted by the Wood County Historical Center & Museum) Relive the Jazz Age at a Roaring 20s Gala Fundraiser at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum, 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. Come together at this annual event to enjoy the ritzy festivities of a speakeasy with 1920’s-inspired hors d’oeuvers, cocktails and mocktails, live music, and a holiday gift courtesy of the Historical Society Gift Shop. There will also be a silent auction featuring a variety of themed gift baskets with local goodies from artists, merchants, and restaurants at the event. Some of the items include: a zamboni ride and tickets to the Toledo Walleye, glass bowl from Toledo Museum of Art, and a House Jazz Concert courtesy of Jeffrey Halsey. An additional 50-50 raffle will also take place during the event. Live entertainment will be provided by the BGSU Chamber Jazz Quartet. The gala will take place throughout the museum, where visitors can have the last tour of the WWI exhibit “Over There! Send Word, the Wood County Boys are Coming!”  and“The Return to Normalcy: A Life of Leisure in Wood County.” Gala tickets are $60/person. For tickets, please call 419-352-0967 or purchase online at

Safe driving urged during Thanksgiving holiday

(Submitted by Safe Communities of Wood County) This Thanksgiving weekend, millions will hit the roads, eager to spend time with family and friends. This Thanksgiving, Safe Communities is teaming up with the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on high-visibility Click It or Ticket campaign to work toward reducing the number of fatalities that occur when vehicle passengers fail to buckle up. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. With millions of Americans on the road en route to visit friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is more essential than ever to ensure all vehicle passengers are buckled up. With more vehicles on the roads, the chances of being involved in a vehicle crash increase greatly. For this reason, law enforcement will be patrolling the streets, looking for unbuckled passengers. If they spot you, they will pull you over and issue a ticket. During the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend (6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, to 5:59 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28), 341 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Tragically, 49 percent of those killed were unbuckled, representing a decrease in seat belt use compared to the same weekend in 2015, when 52 percent of those killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 55 percent of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. Much like drunk driving, these deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America. These deaths could have been completely prevented with the simple click of a seat belt. “We hope Thanksgiving only brings happy memories for our community member, but sadly we suffer from vehicle crash-related losses each year, and many are a result of drivers and passenger refusing to buckle up,” said Sandy Wiechman. “Nearly half of all drivers and passengers killed in crashed on Thanksgiving weekend 2016 were not wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crash. This statistic is just unacceptable when we know that seat belt use is one of the simplest ways to stay safe while riding in a vehicle.” “Every day, we see the effects of unbuckled vehicle crashes. Whether you’re driving cross-country or across the street, you must wear your seat belt. This Thanksgiving and every day of the year remember: Click It or Ticket.”

‘Lunch bunch’ cooks up calmer cafeteria time for kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Elementary school cafeterias can be chaotic places. Kids tend to let loose in the unstructured environment after spending the morning at their desks. So Conneaut Elementary cooked up the idea for the “lunch bunch.” The program creates a calmer cafeteria while adhering to the school’s commitment to stressing positive behaviors, according to Principal Jim Lang. The program started with parents being invited to come in and spend lunchtime with their children. That helped, but Lang knew the program could be even better. So parents were asked to spend lunchtime with more children – up to all six lunch periods. “It really has taken off this year,” Lang said to the board of education Tuesday evening. The Conneaut “lunch bunch” includes Sara Meyer, Jane Fawcett, Katie Burris, Jessica Lincoln and Jamie Alt. The parents are helpful in several ways, the principal said. First, they help little fingers open up tricky food packaging. “Gogurt is one of the worst things to open,” Lang said. Then there are those fruit cups that are full to the brim, and juice boxes that “squirt all over” when the straw is stuck in. They help students in line for lunch with condiments – and try to help keep the line moving, especially when the menu includes something popular like pizza. Second, the parents have formed positive relationships with the students – by being helpful and engaging them, not just telling them to keep the noise down. “They have started building relationship with students,” Lang said. “It’s about talking with children, finding out what’s going on.” Instead of clapping hands to quiet the children, the “lunch bunch” uses harmonicas – an idea used by some of the teachers at Conneaut. They also use wireless microphones and headsets, purchased by the PTO. “They don’t have to raise their voice, they don’t have to yell,” Lang said. Just having parents in the lunchroom changes the dynamics, the principal said. “If an adult comes in the room and sits down, the demeanor changes,” he said. And third, the parents help clean up between lunch periods. They grab brooms and dustpans, and wipe down tables. The cafeteria staff is very appreciative, Lang said. “It’s very nice having them in the building.” Board member Ginny Stewart thanked the parents for their volunteerism. “I think it’s terrific what you’re doing,” she said. “It’s commendable.” In other business, the board learned that another successful Fifth Grade Camp has been completed. All the students attended, regardless of their ability to pay, thanks to several donations from people in the community. “It’s with the generosity of people donating,” that allows all the fifth graders to participate, Stewart said. The cost to send students to camp is $216 per student, with the school foundation picking up $10 per student this year. Stewart added that there are many ways for the community to be involved in helping students – either by volunteering or by donating to programs. “There are ways you can give back to the schools,” she said. Also at the school board meeting: Superintendent Francis Scruci reported that Veterans Day assemblies were held at the schools. At Scruci’s request, the board agreed to release students a day early for winter break, on Dec. 20, so district-wide training for…

BG garbage and recycling schedule changed for holiday

The City of Bowling Green offices will be closed on Nov. 22 and 23 in observation of Thanksgiving. As a result, the following route will be followed for all refuse and recycling collection: – Regular Monday collection will be collected on Monday. – Regular Tuesday collection will be collected on Tuesday. – Regular Wednesday collection will be collected on Wednesday. – Regular Thursday collection will be collected on Wednesday. Questions about this schedule or the city’s refuse/recycling program may be directed to the Public Works Department at 419-354-6227.

Dental office to hold annual holiday bake sale

(Submitted by Phipps, Levin & Hebeka Office) The 11th annual Phipps, Levin & Hebeka Dental Office bake sale and raffle will be held Nov. 21, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The bake sale will be located in the conference room of the Wood County Hospital Medical Building, near Jak’s Pharmacy. All proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army and local families in need.

Work Leads to Independence plans holiday craft fair

(Submitted by Work Leads to Independence) Come celebrate the holiday season with Work Leads to Independence on Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m., at 991 S. Main St., Bowling Green. Admission is free. More than 30 vendors and crafters will display a variety of gift ideas for everyone on your holiday shopping list, including yourself. We will have food available for purchase so do not worry about cooking. Bring the whole family because Santa and his elf will be available for pictures. Your family pet is even welcome to join the picture fun! Children can participate in the cookie decorating and a holiday craft during the fair. We have something for everyone in the family. We are currently taking pre-order sales for live Frasier fir wreaths and fresh poinsettias for $25 each until Nov. 16. We will have extra available for sale on the same day as the fair. For more information, call 419-352-5059. If you are interested in being a vendor, openings are still available for $20. Since 1985, Work Leads to Independence has assisted the business community to meet their staffing and diversity needs by offering a pool of qualified and competent workers with disabilities.

School task forces study state fund options for buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools is low on the waiting list and low in the percentage it would get from the state for new or renovated buildings. But the interest is high among the task force members charged with finding a way to pay for school buildings. The theory is – some money at some point is better than no money at all. Steve Roka, senior planning manager with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, met Wednesday evening with members of the finance and facilities task forces. The OFCC is responsible is dispersing state funding for a program that helps school districts pay for renovating or constructing new buildings. School districts are ranked for funding based on a formula of their enrollment divided by the assessed property valuation. That puts Bowling Green’s ranking at 506 – meaning funding would likely not be available for at least another 10 years. The formula puts the district in the 83 percentile – meaning the state would pick up 17 percent of the construction costs and the district would be responsible for 83 percent. There are currently about 100 other school districts already waiting in line for the OFCC funds. “You’re at least 10 years away,” Roka said. “That can change. It could increase, it could decrease.” Dave Conley, the consultant advising the school district’s finance task force, used the timeline of 10 to 15 years. To some, that may seem like a long wait for the state picking up a small portion of the cost. But to others, that wait is not long considering it takes at least two years to complete building designs. And 17 percent can add up to a lot when it’s helping to fund a multi-million dollar project. The average school district using the OFCC funding gets 20 to 40 percent of the construction costs from the state, according to Rick Savors, spokesperson for OFCC. “Why not get something from the state,” Savors said on Thursday. Task force member Ben Otley asked about the certainty of the funding in years to come. “It’s a promise from the state – not a guarantee,” Roka said. The Bowling Green district submitted an application for OFCC consideration in 2015, so the commission assessed the school buildings and offered some options. One of those options included: Renovating and adding onto Crim Elementary for $4.4 million. Renovating and adding onto Kenwood Elementary for $10.6 million. Demolition of Conneaut Elementary because of its poor condition, for $206,827. Renovating and adding on the high school for $31 million. The total cost of that plan was approximately $46.8 million, with the state share being $8 million. Roka cautioned, however, that those figures were based on 2015 construction costs. Any renovation or new building costs would also be greater now since the OFCC started requiring storm shelter/safe rooms in 2017. Roka also explained that the district’s ranking may fluctuate with the amount of money awarded from the state to the OFCC, and with the other requests made for the funds. “Things can change year to year,” Roka said. One certainty, he said, is that the demands are always greater than the available funding. “There’s more need than we have funds to go around,” Roka said. Since 1997, approximately $12 billion has been…

Local woman killed in crash on Interstate 75

Troopers from the Bowling Green Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash that occurred on Interstate 75 near the turnpike overpass in Perrysburg Township. Today at approximately 6:52 a.m., a 1998 Ford Ranger, operated by Tiffany N. Anderson,  31, of Perrysburg, was traveling northbound on I-75.  Anderson lost control and struck a concrete barrier causing her vehicle to become disabled in the roadway. Anderson exited her vehicle and walked toward the front of it to ascertain what damages were caused from the impact. A 2005 GMC Envoy, driven by Kent C. Chovanec, 22, of Perrysburg, was traveling northbound on I-75 as it approached Anderson’s vehicle. The Envoy lost control striking Anderson and her vehicle. Jodi L. Stotz, age 52, of Perrysburg, was driving a 2012 Honda Ridgeline when she came upon the crash and also lost control. The Honda struck both vehicles prior to its final rest. Anderson was pronounced deceased at the scene. The crash still remains under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Perrysburg Township Police Department, Perrysburg Fire & EMS, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Scholarship applications sought by BG utilities office

(Submitted by the City of Bowling Green) Applications are now being accepted by the Director of Utilities Office for two $2,500 one-time scholarships to be awarded by American Municipal Power Inc. Applications and related information about the scholarship program may be obtained from the Director of Utilities Office. Bowling Green High School and Otsego High School graduating seniors may also pick up applications from their guidance counselor. The Richard H. Gorsuch Scholarship is open to students of employees on the Municipal Electric Division’s payroll, or an employee or elected official who is in a position with the municipality to which the municipal electric division is subordinate. The Lyle B. Wright Scholarship is open to students whose household receives electricity from an AMP member system. This scholarship is not open to students who qualify for the Richard H. Gorsuch Scholarship. Please have all entries submitted to the Director of Utilities Office by Dec. 4. Contact Michelle Mazey with any questions regarding this program at 419-354-6246 or

Gardner re-elected as Ohio Senate majority leader

State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, has been unanimously re-elected to another two-year term as Senate Majority Leader. Gardner was elected by the Senate Republican Caucus, which convened Wednesday at the Statehouse to elect its leadership team for the 2019-2020 legislative session. Others elected to the Senate leadership team include Senator Larry Obhof of Medina as president of the Senate, Bob Peterson of Sabina as president pro tem, and Matt Huffman of Lima as the new majority whip. “I am excited to be entrusted to serve in majority leadership for the next two years,” Gardner said.  “Yet I know that without the votes and support of the people in northern Ohio, I would not have the opportunity to go to work in the state capital.” Gardner has held seven leadership positions in the House and Senate during his service in the General Assembly and has served for 19 years in elected leadership, the most of any Republican member of the legislature in Ohio history. “Randy brings a wealth of public service experience to the leadership team,” said Obhof. “Randy has a keen grasp of the issues, and he understands how to make government work responsibly and efficiently for the people in his district and around the state.” Gardner has maintained a 100 percent voting record on bills, amendments and resolutions in the House and Senate – more than 10,300 consecutive votes. In addition to his leadership position, Gardner serves as chairman of the Higher Education Subcommittee and is a member of the Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Education Committee.  He also serves as chairman of the Lake Erie Caucus.

Crash on I-75 restricting northbound traffic

At 9:25 this morning, the Bowling Green post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said it is investigating a multiple vehicle injury crash on Interstate 75 near Cygnet in Wood County.  Troopers on scene have reported that three lanes of travel have been restricted on the northbound side of the roadway.  A temporary detour has been established and traffic is being diverted on the berm for the time being.  Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

PBE names Andrew Stocking as president and COO

(Submitted by Principle Business Enterprises) Principle Business Enterprises (PBE), a woman-owned, family manufacturer of high-absorbent products and footwear safety solutions, has announced the appointment of third-generation successor, Andrew Stocking, as President and COO. Andrew combines a PhD in economics with over 20-years of experience in business development, policymaking, and marketing to his newest leadership role. As the VP of Marketing and Data Analytics at Principle Business Enterprises, Andrew led the company’s digital marketing and data insights efforts. Previous to PBE, Andrew served in the federal government as Senior Advisor for Energy Security and Economics with the U.S. Department of Energy and Market Design Economist at the Congressional Budget Office. Andrew has also taught economics at the University of Maryland and Bowling Green State University. Andrew will be succeeding his parents, Chuck and Carol Stocking who are staying with the company as Co-CEOs and Board Members. Andrew’s track record of bringing rigorous analysis and data to improving the quality of decision making and increasing company market share was cited as integral to his appointment to this role. “It is satisfying knowing that the operational leadership of the company is in Andy’s hands, with his innovative and ever-learning approach to business operations,” said Chuck Stocking, Co-CEO at PBE. “Andy’s experience leveraging data and technology to drive businesses decisions, his caring concern for how PBE can bring transformational outcomes to our healthcare customers, and his deep passion for bringing manufacturing jobs to the Midwest, make him the perfect fit to lead Principle Business Enterprises into the future.” Andrew stated, “I grew up listening to my grandmother tell me about starting Principle Business Enterprises. And then I watched and listened as my parents grew the company to 300 associates making products that benefit millions. Now, I am honored and humbled to be the third generation to manage this amazing company in Dunbridge, Ohio. Following the tradition of my grandparents and parents, we will continue our mission to be a principle-centered business that is a great place to work and makes products that uplift the lives of our customers.” About PBE: Principle Business Enterprises is a woman-owned, family manufacturer that develops and markets innovative, high-performance absorbent products with applications in health care, industry and consumer products. As a principle-centered business, PBE focuses on creating solutions that uplift, enlighten, and enrich the lives of those it serves – from incontinence and acute care to specialty absorbent products. PBE has two manufacturing facilities located in Dunbridge and Bowling Green. For more information about Principle Business Enterprises, visit

Marchers search for peace, unity in troubling times

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At 84 years old, Frances Brent had plenty of reasons not to join the Peace March on Wednesday from downtown Bowling Green to the Bowling Green State University campus. But she wasn’t about to let the freezing temperatures stop her from making a statement. “I’ve done this every year,” Brent said of the annual march. This year she was joined by her 33-year-old granddaughter, Natasha Anik, from Florida. “We really want to have a family tradition of showing our society can win if we keep working at it.” Recently retired Jackie Dubler also didn’t have to bundle up for the march. But yet, she did. “I believe in reaching out. I believe in peace,” Dubler said. “I believe the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” Rev. Mary Jane Saunders, who has walked in plenty of marches, could have sat out this one. “I’ve been involved in peace marches most of my adult life,” she said. And now is not the time to stop, she added. “It’s hard not to lose hope,” said Saunders, who heads the city’s Human Relations Commission. “But we don’t stop,” she said. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with each one of us.” The march grew as it made its way toward the campus, starting at about 50 people and adding another 25 or so along the way. “All of the people who gathered to march are connected in some way,” said Emily Dunipace, representing Not In Our Town Bowling Green, the primary organizer of the annual Peace March. “We have a desire to make the world a better place. We have the power to stamp out any hate,” Dunipace said. Once at BGSU, marchers and others gathered to hear rousing words in these troubled times. BGSU President Rodney Rogers spoke of the BGSU alumna Brenda Hollis, who spent years in the United Nations prosecuting international dictators for horrendous crimes against humanity. Throughout history, depraved leaders have pit people against each other with the simple words of “us” and “them,” Hollis has noted. The destructive propaganda is used to discriminate and divide, Rogers asid. “The truth is, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’” Rogers said. All of “us” have the potential for good and evil. “By coming together, we do better,” he said. “ We create a community of ‘us.’” Events like Wednesday’s peace march help remind us of that, Rogers said. “It challenges us to make sure we are the community we want to be.” Mayor Dick Edwards also talked about the dangers of division, mentioning the recent hate-killings near Pittsburgh and in Kentucky. “It’s so frightening, so disturbing, so perplexing, so unimaginable,” he said about the killing of “the innocents.” Though the idea sounds so simplistic, Edwards pleaded for the nation to “give peace a chance.” “We need to denounce the spreading of hate in any form,” the mayor said. Edwards ended his statement with a quote from PBS children’s TV personality, Mr. Rogers. “Love thy neighbor – no exceptions.” Jennifer McCary, BGSU’s assistant vice president for equity, diversity, and inclusion, spoke of the change in the world. Though painful, change brings about solidarity, she said. “Change starts with me, it starts with you,” McCary said. Rev. Gary Saunders urged…

Cops and Kids shopping possible through contributions

(Submitted by the Wood County Fraternal Order of Police) The Wood County Fraternal Order of Police is again hosting its annual Cops and Kids Shopping Event on Saturday, Dec. 8.  This is an event where police officers are paired up with a child from the area and provided a gift card to spend on clothing and toys.  This is more than just about shopping, it is about building relationships between the kids and police officers. This year Meijer will again be hosting Cops and Kids here in Wood County.  Last year, local law enforcement was able to take 136 kids shopping. The majority of the financial support comes from the community, local businesses and local organizations.  The FOP certainly could not achieve this without the support of the community. This event is a great opportunity for law enforcement and the community to work together to make local children’s holiday season a little brighter. The kids that are invited to participate are referred by the local schools as well as from the officers.  On a daily basis, police officers are responding to calls here in Wood County. As a result, they are in homes where they can see firsthand that a particular family could benefit from a helping hand.   The officers are paired up with a child from their jurisdiction and given a cart, a gift card and sent on their way to shop and more importantly, build a positive relationship. They must first buy a coat.   The remaining money can be spent on toys or a lot of times, the kids want to buy their brother or sister a gift. The positive impact this has on the local kids and community is not really measurable.  And again, our local police officers could not pull it off without the financial support of the community.  Every dollar raised is spent on the kids on Dec. 8. Officers are currently selling $5 raffle tickets as well as accepting donations. A gift of $125 will sponsor a child, however any size donation would certainly be appreciated.  Any questions, or if you would like to buy a raffle ticket or make a donation, call the Wood County Fraternal Order of Police at 419-353-9728. Donations can also be sent to the Wood County FOP, PO Box 122 Bowling Green, OH 43402.