Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Donations bring BG undocumented immigrant home – but 2 more arrested

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On the same day that one Bowling Green man returned home on bond from ICE, another two local men were taken away. Few details are available about the two men picked up on Tuesday afternoon, other than they are being held in Seneca County Jail, which contracts as an immigration detention site in Tiffin. FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson said Wednesday that while the FBI was involved in the search, the arrests were made by the customs and border patrol. No further information was available. The latest arrests come on the heels of a community fundraiser that helped bring home another Bowling Green man who has being held in a Battle Creek, Michigan, jail for undocumented immigration status. He had been turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement following a traffic violation in northern Wood County. More than 50 members of the community raised more than $3,000 during an ice cream social held Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green. That money was used to get a $5,000 bond for his release on Tuesday. According to Beatriz Maya, director of La Conexion, the man has worked as a skilled tradesman in the Bowling Green community for more than seven years and has no criminal history. “He is an asset for the community. We want him here,” Maya said. The man has a wife and three young children. The children are all U.S. citizens. The BG man had been held in Michigan for 25 days after being picked up for speeding north of Bowling Green, and being turned over to ICE. A hearing held on Monday found that he qualified to be released on bond. “They found he’s not a criminal of any sort,” Maya said. He has been in the U.S. for nearly 14 years, with half of that in Bowling Green, working locally. Maya brought him home from Battle Creek after bond was posted in Detroit. “He was very, very…

First Solar site promising 500 new jobs gets tax break

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The future is looking bright for the First Solar facility proposed in Lake Township. The Wood County Commissioners voted Thursday to grant a tax abatement request that would relieve the company from 100 percent of its eligible property and inventory taxes for 15 years. The solar panel company has plans for a $400 million facility, with 1.2 million square feet of space, and 500 new jobs. “It’s nice to see this major project go forward here in Wood County,” Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission, said during the meeting with First Solar officials and the county commissioners. The new plant will be located at the southeast corner of Tracy Road and Ohio 795 – just down the road from the existing First Solar facility in Perrysburg Township. Lake Township officials have already signed off on the tax abatement, and the two school districts affected by the tax break have already made deals with First Solar. The agreements will result in Lake School District getting an additional $898,000 a year – enough to allow the school board to forgo the next levy planned for the ballot. Penta Career Center will receive $72,000 a year. In addition to creating 500 new jobs at the site, another 500 construction workers are expected to be employed to build the facility. Clarence Hertzfeld, plant manager for the Perrysburg operations, said the new site will have an estimated employee payroll of $30 million. “It will essentially double our output capacity,” Hertzfeld said of the new location paired with the existing site. First Solar’s main customers are large commercial and industrial power producers. “We compete in all the global markets,” Hertzfeld said. Jay Lake, who handles First Solar manufacturing workforce development, said the company hopes to leverage more of the “great workforce” in this region. Wood County Planning Director Dave Steiner was asked by the commissioners to weigh in on the tax break request….

Residents reminded to keep grass clippings out of streets

(Submitted by City of Bowling Green) Residents and landscapers are reminded to keep grass clippings out of the street and the city’s storm drains. Blowing grass and other yard debris into the sidewalk, street, or storm drainage system is a violation of the city’s littering and stormwater ordinances. Grass clippings, leaves, and other lawn debris can clog storm drains, resulting in street and private property flooding. Also, storm drains flow directly to local waterways untreated. Grass clippings add unnecessary nutrients, which help feed harmful algal blooms. In addition to environmental harm, you may be creating a safety hazard. When blown into the street, clippings can create a slippery and dangerous surface for traveling motorcyclists and bicyclists. Using a mulching mower puts clippings back into the turf and keeps the nutrients where they belong. Should you choose to use a discharging mower, please be sure to point the blower toward your property (away from the street) to prevent clippings from leaving the lawn. You may also choose to bag your clippings, but they may not be disposed of in your regular refuse containers. City residents are encouraged to compost clippings on their property or take them to the city’s Yard Waste Drop-off Site, located on Tarragon Drive behind the Public Works Garage. When finished mowing, please be sure to use a blower, broom, or rake to clean up any grass clippings or debris that have inadvertently made their way into the street, sidewalk, or storm drain.

BG serving up local pizza at pool, nature paths in park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local pizza at the pool and nature pathways in the parks are just a slice of what Bowling Green City Parks are offering this summer. Forget the former frozen pizza at the pool in City Park. This year, the concession stand will be selling local pizza, Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley announced Tuesday during a board meeting. The city received bids from three local pizza shops, so the decision was made to give each business one month at the pool concession stand. The three pizza shops to sell their slices poolside are Pizza Pub 516, Jet’s and Domino’s. Customers are allowed to order concession stand food without paying for entrance to the pool. The pool is scheduled to open this Saturday for the summer season. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at a shelter house in Carter Park, park naturalist Chris Gajewicz talked about the natural area in the center of Carter Park. While much of the focus at the park is on the baseball fields and Frisbee golf, an area in the park has been allowed to grow up naturally. Paths have been mowed in the woodlot so people can walk through and check out the wildflowers. “It gives Carter Park not just the manicured look,” but also a bit of nature, Gajewicz said. People can often be seen walking through the woodlot. “It shows the power of nature – even the littlest piece of nature can pull them in,” he said. Gajewicz also announced that the recent burn in the nature preserve and birding program offered at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve were very successful. He also talked about the plants sprouting up in Simpson Garden Park and the healing garden there. “Keep coming out to the gardens, because it’s changing all the time,” he said. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, recreation coordinator Ivan Kovacevic talked about the start of several summer park programs. Lunch in the Park kicks off…

Kelli Kling named new director of Wood County Historical Society

Kelli Kling has been hired as the new director of the Wood County Historical Society. The Wood County Commissioners announced the selection this morning. Kling has been a member of the historical center staff since 2003, serving initially as assistant to the director, which evolved into marketing and events coordinator. Throughout this time she has done significant work to plan and promote exhibits, events and programs at the historical center. The appointment will take effect immediately, with an annual salary of $48,742. Kling is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, with a bachelor’s of arts in telecommunications, and master of education in career and technology education. She has been significantly involved with the Black Swamp Arts Festival, the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Main Street Bowling Green.

City gives more details on downtown Columbia Gas project

Columbia Gas of Ohio has announced that it will be upgrading existing low-pressure gas lines to medium pressure lines within the downtown of Bowling Green in 2018. Work is scheduled to begin the first week of June and is expected to last through August, possibly in to September. As a result of this work, changes to traffic patterns will occur and on-street parking will be affected. The total project area will encompass Main Street, roughly from Clay to the area of Ordway and Lehman. Certain side streets, alleys, and city parking lots will also be affected. Columbia Gas plans to work 1-2 blocks at a time, working Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., possibly working periodic Saturday’s as well. Work will primarily occur within the curb lane of Main Street, with some crossings and installation on side streets and in alley’s as well. At the end of each work day, steel plates or backfill will cover any open work areas. Before leaving the respective blocks, Columbia Gas has indicated that a temporary patch will be installed. Once the entire network of upgraded gas lines has been installed, final site restoration will take place – including sidewalk and street repairs. Columbia Gas has been supplied with a list of downtown events including Classics on Main, Firefly Nights, and Black Swamp Arts Festival. This work is in anticipation of the city replacing water and sewer lines late in 2018 prior to the downtown paving project in 2019 on Main Street, from Oak to Ordway, and Wooster Street, from Church to Prospect. Questions about the Columbia Gas project should be directed to Raquel Colon, External Affairs Specialist for Columbia Gas. Colon may be reached at or 419-539-6206. Questions about the city utility work or paving project may be directed to the Engineering Division at 419-354-6227.

BG City Park building plans call for patience

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Kristin Otley drove past City Park on Monday, she almost pulled in to chew out some people doing work in the park. Then it hit her, “Wait, that’s a survey truck,” she said. “Poggemeyer started surveying City Park yesterday,” Otley, Bowling Green’s Park and Recreation Director, said Tuesday during a park board meeting. Otley also announced that the city will be contracting with Schorr Architects for the new City Park building. Schorr specializes in historical-type structures and designed the new building last year. That was the good news of the evening. The bad news is that the timeline has shifted for the project. “There’s no way we’ll have everything designed” and ready to go by August, she said. The original plans were to tear down the three buildings near the entrance of City Park – the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and Depot – then start construction so the new building replacing the aging structures would be ready for use by summer of 2019. However, Otley said that much to her disappointment, that timeline is just too tight and unrealistic. The new timeline calls for the old buildings to be torn down next winter. Construction will be delayed until March of 2019, since the costs of winter construction are much higher and the city does not want to rush the project, Otley told the board. That means the parks and recreation department won’t have City Park buildings to schedule events in next summer. But Otley reassured the board that there are ample facilities in the city’s 11 parks to hold programming. The new goal is to have the City Park building completed by summer of 2020. That also means that the existing buildings in City Park are now available for rentals and programming for a longer period. Originally, rentals of the buildings were cut off in mid-August since demolition was scheduled to occur then. However, the buildings are now available for…

Two men reportedly picked up for immigration issues during FBI search in BG

Bowling Green Police Division has confirmed that the FBI was at a home on Sand Ridge Road near South Main Street, on Tuesday afternoon. BG Police Major Justin White said the FBI would have release any information on the incident. However, FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson, from the Cleveland office, said information could not be released now. “We did have law enforcement out there,” she said. Anderson said the FBI did not take anyone into custody, however, she suggested that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection be contacted about anyone placed under arrest. White said the arrests may be connected with two men being taken due to their undocumented immigration status. Two Bowling Green men were reportedly taken to the Seneca County Jail, in Tiffin, which has an immigration detention center. An officer at the jail said any information on the arrests would need to come from ICE. No information was available this afternoon.

Addiction in the workplace to be discussed at ‘Lunch & Learn’

(Submitted by Wood County Prevention Coalition) The Wood County Prevention Coalition received a grant for the Ohio MAT Awareness Project from Prevention Action Alliance and the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services in November 2017. As a part of their efforts, they have partnered with the Wood County Educational Service Center, Bowling Green Economic Development Commission, Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Wood County Economic Development Commission for a Lunch & Learn event where they will discuss addiction in the workplace and how to best support employees who may be struggling with addiction and wish to seek treatment. “We know that people are dying. That seems to be a metric that many people focus on,” said Milan Karna, coordinator of the Wood County Prevention Coalition. “The opioid epidemic is effecting businesses too. In Ohio, employers are losing 5.4 million dollars each day in productivity and medical costs. We have to do more to support businesses and their employees.” “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the treatment and recovery process, and everyone’s path will look different.” said Felicia Otte, School & Community Based Prevention Specialist at the Wood County Educational Service Center. “Some individuals may be successful with abstinence, while others may need to turn to medication. Whatever that path looks like, community support will play a critical role in helping fight the epidemic.” The Lunch & Learn event will be held at the Wood County Educational Service Center, 1867 N. Research Drive, Bowling Green, at 11:30 a.m. on May 25. There will be guest speakers, lunch, and refreshments provided. For more information about this event, please call (419) 354-9010 Ext. 174 or email:

Garbage and recycling collection delayed due to holiday

The City of Bowling Green offices will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observation of Memorial Day. As a result, all refuse and recycling collection will be delayed by one day per the following: – Regular Monday collection will be collected on Tuesday. – Regular Tuesday collection will be collected on Wednesday. – Regular Wednesday collection will be collected on Thursday. – Regular Thursday collection will be collected on Friday. Questions about this schedule or the city’s refuse/recycling program may be directed to the Public Works Department at 419-354-6227.

Groundbreaking set for health dept. dental clinic

(Submitted by Wood County Health Department) Wood County Health Department will host a groundbreaking ceremony from 1-2:30 p.m. on May 30 to celebrate a building expansion that will house dental services beginning later this year. Dental care will be added to the health services already offered at Wood County Community Health Center, which is adding on to the northeast side of the health department building to include a five-chair dental clinic that is expected to be completed in October. “We wanted to offer these services because we know Wood County residents need more options for oral health care. We’re excited to add even more to the one-stop shop we have here,” said Diane Krill, CEO of Wood County Community Health Center. Most insurance will be accepted, and the dental expansion should be especially valuable for people with Medicaid or no insurance, who often struggle to find a provider. A sliding-fee scale will be available, similar to the primary care, preventative and behavioral health services already offered at the Community Health Center, which also offers an on-site pharmacy. “We think this is going to make a big difference for the people we serve,” said Ben Batey, Wood County Health Commissioner. “There are many links between a person’s oral health and their overall health, so adding another option for dental care could actually help people avoid some chronic health problems.” The May 30 event will include a brief program beginning at 1:30 p.m., and people who attend will be offered tours of the Community Health Center, as well as the office of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, located nearby at 639 S. Dunbridge Road. More information will be released in the fall regarding specific dental services. MBA Architects and Planners, Perrysburg, designed the 2,050 square-foot building expansion, which is being constructed by the Dotson Company, Whitehouse. The Wood County Commissioners Office has provided oversight and assistance on the project, which is funded with a grant from the Health Resources and…

Firefly Nights appeal granted for liquor at downtown events

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s first Firefly Night led hundreds of people downtown last week. Now the event will give those drawn downtown something to drink. City Council voted Monday evening to grant an appeal for a liquor permit for future Firefly Night events. According to Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett, the state requires city councils to approve selling of alcohol on public property. So the request was initially rejected until council could act. Now it will be up to the state to act on the liquor permit request. Council’s approval was met with applause from those in council chambers Monday evening. Prior to the vote, a pitch for the liquor permit was made by the four women downtown business owners who have organized the Firefly Nights – Stacie Banfield owner of Mode Elle, Kati Thompson of Eden Fashion Boutique, Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads, and Laura Wicks of Grounds for Thought. The organizers created a non-profit group for the purpose of offering food, fun and entertainment in the downtown every third Friday during the summer months of May through August. The first Firefly Night, which was held last Friday, attracted more than 200 participants in a 5K run. The events are designed as Main Street festivals, with the street shut down from Court to Washington streets, with traffic being able to cross Main on Wooster Street. The events offer kids activities, shopping, live music at both ends of the festival, and food trucks in the future, Thompson said. “We’re a group of passionate small business owners,” Thompson said. “We believe a strong downtown can breathe life into a community.” Thirty merchants in the downtown area have signed up to help sponsor the Firefly Nights, she said. “We want to see our businesses grow,” plus attract new ones, Thompson told council members. But without a liquor permit during the monthly events, people will have to remain inside businesses if they want to consume alcohol. The…

Humane society’s annual garage sale opens Thursday

(Submitted by Wood County Humane Society) The Annual Wood County Humane Society Benefit Garage Sale opens its doors on Thursday, May 24, at 9 a.m. and runs through Saturday at  2 p.m. under the grandstands at the Wood County Fairgrounds in Bowling Green. The sale, now in its 25th year, set a sales record in 2017 of $17,059, raising more than $250,000 for the operation of the Humane Society’s shelter facility in Bowling Green since 1993 and is one of the Humane Society’s largest fundraising events. “The Wood County Humane Society is a non-profit organization, so fundraising, especially the garage sale, is essential to their operation,” said Joe Schroeder, co-coordinator of the sale. Visitors to the annual benefit sale will find the 13,000 sq. ft. grandstands building  full of household, collectibles, books, crafts, hardware, lawn, garden, furniture and toys, all reasonably priced and donated by local residents. “Our sale is a two-fold benefit for garage sale goers: you get to find some incredible stuff and help support the Humane Society,” Schroeder stated. The Annual Wood County Humane Society Garage Sale begins Thursday, May 24, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and continues Friday, May 25, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 26, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The sale will feature 10 cent clothing on Friday and a $2 Bag Sale on Saturday. For more information on the sale, visit the Garage Sale’s Facebook page at

Tickets on sale for ‘Secret Garden Tour’ in BG

(Submitted by University Women of BGSU) A Secret Garden Tour, featuring six of Bowling Green’s best private gardens, will be held June 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. The 2018 tour, open to the general public, is being hosted by the University Women of Bowling Green State University. The tour includes the homes of Alice and John Calderonello, 307 Haskins Road; Royce Parker, 158 S. Maple St.; Denise Robins, 521 Lorraine Ave.; Marie Rogers, 916 Lambert Drive; Karen Seeliger, 208 Syracuse Drive; and Dinah Vincent, 1423 Turnberry Court. The rain date will be June 24. Tickets are $10 and currently available at Grounds For Thought, 174 S. Main; from UW board members; during Bowling Green’s downtown Farmer’s Market on the three Wednesdays before the tour (June 6, 13 and 20); and at all six gardens on the day of the tour. All proceeds fund college scholarships for nontraditional female students. For more information call Jo Ascunce at 419-308-2928 or Phyllis Hartwell at 419-352-4248.

BG Memorial Day Parade plans announced

Bowling Green’s Memorial Day Parade leaves the post office parking lot at South Main and Washington streets at 10 a.m. on Monday.  The parade moves north on Main, turns east on Court Street, makes a stop at the Wood County Courthouse for a brief ceremony and then moves east to Enterprise Street, north to Ridge Street and then east to Oak Grove Cemetery. LTC Steve Hopingardner, US Army Aviation, will deliver the keynote address at the Memorial Day Services at Oak Grove Cemetery and Memory Gardens Cemetery. Hopingardner is a professor of Military Science at Bowling Green State University and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Music will be provided by the Bowling Green High School Band and vocalist Evie Van Vohris. Members of the 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry/3rd Arkansas Civil War re-enactors will provide rifle salutes.  BGSU Army ROTC Pershing Rifles and the Paul C. Ladd VFW Post 1148 will provide color guards. In case of rain the program will be held at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building in City Park.  A service will also be held at the Memory Gardens Cemetery on Liberty High Road at 1 p.m.  Paul C. Ladd VFW Post 1148 will also host coffee and doughnuts for veterans prior to the parade at the post.