Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Special delivery: Mail calls treasured by WWI doughboys

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For the American doughboys overseas in World War I, mail from back home was a true treasure. To the farm boys who had never been beyond their fields, and the city boys whose borders ended at the edge of their boroughs – mail call was a brief visit to home sweet home. “Those were the two most important words of the day – mail call,” said Gary Levitt, from the Museum of Postal History located in Delphos, southwest of Bowling Green. Mail call meant a box of hand knitted socks from mothers, newspaper clippings of hometown festivals or football games from siblings, and letters full of sweet talk from sweethearts back home. “You didn’t have any other form of communication,” Levitt said recently during one of the monthly “teas” at the Wood County Historical Center. This gathering focused on mail during World War I, since the museum is featuring an extensive look into the war and the Wood County men who served in it. “To many, letter writing may seem a quaint and charming pastime,” Levitt said. But a century ago, when America entered WWI, it was all families had to keep in contact. “Writing letters was considered a patriotic duty, along with food rationing and buying war bonds,” he said. But it certainly wasn’t easy for mail to reach the right destinations, since the doughboys were spread out and many of their troop locations were secret. “Americans were all over Europe,” Levitt said. “No one wanted to let anyone know where anyone was.” Plus there were no transatlantic flights, so mail…


County may can some recycling sites, extend others

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County may be cutting back on its satellite recycling sites, but may also be turning some of those monthly sites into permanent drop-off locations. There are currently 15 satellite recycling sites operated by the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. Many of them are open once a month, according to Amanda Gamby, environmental educator for the district. They are located in Bloomdale, Grand Rapids, Jackson Township/Hoytville, Jerry City/Cygnet, Milton Township/Custar, North Baltimore, Pemberville, Perry Township, Perrysburg Township, Portage, Portage Township, Rudolph, Stony Ridge, Tontogany/Washington Township, and Weston. A survey conducted in 2015, through a partnership between the solid waste district and Bowling Green State University master’s of public administration program, was conducted to determine the interest in recycling among rural Wood County residents. A total of 2,725 surveys were mailed to rural resident, with 683 being returned. The study found: Rural residents had a favorable attitude toward recycling. A number of the residents said they drive to Hancock and Lucas counties to use permanent recycling facilities. Of those who use the satellite locations, 55 percent said they would increase their use beyond once a month if permanent sites were made available. As it is now, mobile containers are placed at each of the satellite locations so residents can drop off their recyclables once a month. The recyclables are separated at most of the sites by Scouts or other community groups. Those groups are paid a per capita allocation that adds up to roughly $127,000 a year, according to Kelly O’Boyle, assistant Wood County administrator. The satellite site program contracts with the…


Petition aimed at prioritizing people over pipelines

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents may be asked to vote on a pipeline issue in November. A group of concerned citizens is trying to place an issue on Bowling Green’s ballot aimed to protect the city and its water supply from pipelines. The group’s goal is to prioritize people over pipelines. Brad Holmes, president of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University, talked about the charter amendment earlier this week during a City Council meeting. The group pushing to put the issue on the ballot has collected approximately 1,000 signatures so far. “We’re shooting for 1,200,” though just 700 valid signatures are required to get the charter amendment on the November ballot. The group hopes to submit its petition to the Wood County Board of Elections by July 31. Holmes talked about the threats posed by the Nexus pipeline to the Bowling Green water supply, since the proposed route for the natural gas line is close to the city’s water treatment plant. As volunteers have talked to local residents while collecting petition signatures, they have encountered varying degrees of awareness about the Nexus pipeline project, Holmes said. Some residents are not aware of the pipeline proposed so close to the water plant. Many others are under the impression that when City Council denied a property easement to the pipeline company, that the pipeline was no longer a concern. That isn’t true, Holmes said. “We still do face threats from the Nexus pipeline.” The purpose of the proposed charter amendment is “recognizing and protecting community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate.”…


BG police offer training for those selling alcohol

The Bowling Green Police Division will be providing Liquor Establish Employee Training (LEET) on Tuesday, Aug. 8. The training will be from 5 to 7 p.m. and will focus on civil liability, Ohio and Bowling Green liquor laws and fake ID recognition. Employees and management staff of local businesses (bars and retail outlets) that sell alcoholic beverages are invited to attend.


Girls sink their teeth into STEM … and sharks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The slimy, smelly spiny dogfish sharks were placed on the lab tables in front of the young girls. “Ewwwww,” one girl said squeamishly. “I can never eat gummy sharks again,” another girl said. This was the moment they had been waiting for at Tech Trek week – shark dissection. They were armed with gloves, scalpels and scissors to open up the gray sharks native to Australia. Some were a little timid about slicing into the sharks. “Oh my goodness,” one girl said with apprehension. Others were ready to explore. “I call dibs on making the first cut,” another said with glee. The shark dissection class Wednesday at Bowling Green State University’s Tech Trek week was just one of several sessions to help the participants realize that their female gender should not keep them from careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The fifth annual Tech Trek, supported by the American Association of University Women, is intended to make STEM educations and careers more accessible to girls. The program is only open to girls, so they are encouraged to pursue their STEM interests in an environment free from stereotypes, and given the chance to believe in themselves. Tech Trek is based off of the research titled “Why So Few?” which shows that women enter STEM fields at much lower rates compared to their male peers.  The research also showed that the crucial time to get to girls before they give up on STEM careers is in junior high. “The most critical time to impact them is between seventh and eighth grade,” said…


BG gives tax break to company bringing 35 jobs to city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials plan to give a tax break to a company promising to create at least 35 jobs in the city. City Council heard the first reading of a resolution Monday evening that would give Mosser Construction Co. a 100 percent tax abatement for a 10-year period. Mosser is planning to build an approximately 200,000 square foot warehouse, and anticipates an initial hiring of at least 35 employees. The warehouse is expected to be an investment of $8.6 million in the Wood Bridge Business Park, off Dunbridge Road on the east side of the city. In addition to the project creating jobs, the warehouse will also provide storage space for existing companies in Bowling Green. “For many years, on our economic development visits, companies have relayed concerns about warehousing,” the legislative package given to council stated. “We’ve learned that, in many cases, companies are warehousing out of town.” City officials have also been told by local manufacturers that finding adequate warehousing is important because companies want to find space for new equipment or processes within their existing plants, and moving inventory into a warehousing facility could create that additional space. The problem, however, has been that no such space is available in Bowling Green. But the Community Development Foundation, which facilitated the Mosser site, said the new warehouse will fill that need. The tax break given to Mosser is part of a deal in the city’s new Community Reinvestment Area. The company has negotiated directly with Bowling Green City Schools to make the school district whole on the tax break being…


Humane Society offers special rate for cat adoptions

To accommodate higher feline intake numbers during summer months, The Wood County Humane Society will be hosting a Feline Frenzy Adoption Special. From now until the end of July, all adult cats aged 7 months and older can be adopted for a fee of $5. All kittens aged 6 months and younger can be adopted for a fee of $25. All animals adopted from The WCHS have been spayed/neutered, have received age-appropriate vaccinations and a microchip, and have undergone an initial de-working as well as booster doses. Regular adoption fees are $90 for any cat under 6 months old and $70 for any cat over one year old. Summer months witness greater numbers of feline intakes in the sheltering industry because warmer weather means more strays roaming freely and more cats in heat. Those two factors combined lead to a dramatic increase in the number of kittens born during the spring and summer months, and the number of felines that are brought into shelters. The public can help curb this problem by spaying and neutering their pets and neighborhood cats. The WCHS, located in Bowling Green, is a private, non-profit managed admission shelter providing care for homeless and abused pets and investigating cruelty complaints in Wood County. The organization receives no funding from The United Way, or national humane organizations, instead relying on earned revenue and the generosity of individual donors and businesses to fund our programs such as Safe Haven and food assistance programs, spay/neuter transport, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for hundreds of animals each year– -from dogs and cats, to horses, goats, and pocket pets….


North Prospect to be closed for manhole, sewer line work

The Bowling Green Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Division will be closing North Prospect at the intersection of East Reed Street during the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 26 and 27. The closure is required to install a new sanitary manhole. Once the installation is complete, work will transition to the installation of a new sanitary sewer line toward the west on East Reed Street. During the sewer line installation along East Reed, intermittent traffic closures are anticipated. Dependent upon weather and progress of work, this project is anticipated to last until Aug. 11. Residents are encouraged to call the Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Division at 419-354-6277 for more information or with questions.


What’s happening in your community (updated July 23)

NEWLY POSTED:  Aspacher holding constituent meeting, July 27 Council President and Third Ward representative Mike Aspacher is hosting a constituent meeting for Bowling Green Wards 3 and 4 on Thursday, July 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Simpson Garden Meeting Room, 1291 Conneaut Ave.   NEWLY POSTED:  Lockbox Services ribbon cutting, Aug.8 A ribbon cutting to celebrate the Grand Opening of Lockbox Services LLC will be held Aug. 8, 1 p.m. at 1480 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green.  RSVPs are appreciated by Aug. 7. Contact Marissa Muniz at MarissaMuniz@bgchamber.net or call the Bowling Green Chamber at (419) 353-7945. This event is presented by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Lockbox Services LLC and the City of Bowling Green.   NEWLY POSTED: BG High Drama Club hosts Theatre Camp, Aug. 8 The Bowling Green High School Drama Club will offer August Theatre Camp for children 6 to 12. “Come and Make Plays” will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Performing Arts Center lobby. The camp includes improvisations, theater games, character development and more. Cost is $12. To register email jgonzalez@bgcs.k12.oh.us. NEWLY POSTED: BG Beach Bum Sand Volleyball Tournament, July 29 The eighth Annual BG Beach Bum Sand Volleyball Tournament will be held Saturday, July 29, at Carter Park.  This tournament consists of Adult Coed 4s and 6s teams.  Teams will compete in round robin play and a single elimination tournament.  Costs are $70 for 4s teams and $90 for 6s teams.  The deadline to register is Monday, July 24.  To register, call 419-354-6223 or stop by the Bowling Green Community Center. Toledo Zoo…


BG citizens asked for input on Wooster Green designs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Plans for Wooster Green were pitched to city residents Wednesday afternoon. Now the wait begins to see if either pitch results in a home run. For four years, sketches have been drawn, erased and redrawn. Ideas have been shot down and replaced. Finally, the field has been narrowed down to two possibilities for Wooster Green. And now the public is being asked to weigh in. “It’s reaction time,” said Mayor Dick Edwards during the public meeting at Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday. Option 1 is a more symmetrical design, with the walkways forming an “X” on the site. Option 2 has a more casual look, with a meandering path. “They are both great options,” said Troy Sonner, of Poggemeyer Design Group, which is working on the plans at no cost as the firm’s 50th anniversary gift to the community. The plans will remain on display in the library through July 26. Paper feedback forms will be available. The plans will also appear on the city’s website, where online opinions may be submitted. “It’s really important for you to give us your feedback,” said Anne-Marie Lancaster, co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee for Wooster Green. Once a design is finalized, the fundraising will begin. It is estimated the site will cost about $300,000, according to the mayor. Donations and grants will be sought for the project, with no city money going toward the construction of the site. The 1.2-acre Wooster Green is located on the south side of West Wooster Street, close to the downtown, between South Church and South…


Library starts automatic renewals for checked-out items

(Submitted by Wood County District Public Library) On July 19, all locations of Wood County District Public Library began automatically renewing materials for library users. Automatic renewals on checked-out items continue until the maximum number of renewals is reached – and patrons won’t have to lift a finger to make them happen. Assistant Director Michele Raine noted, “Auto renewals make it easy for you to enjoy your book or movie for as long as you need, without those pesky one- or two-day overdue fees.” There are some exceptions, such as the library’s “Browsing and Hot Titles” materials, but for the most part, library items will renew four times, unless someone else has requested the material. “Our readers borrow materials from all over Wood County and from many Ohio partner libraries, but as long as the material was checked out from Bowling Green, Walbridge, or the WCDPL Bookmobile, auto-renewals will apply and make it easy for you to enjoy library materials,” said Raine.


Manville and Troup waterline project planned

During the first week of August, B.Hillz Excavating will begin work on waterlines located on Manville Avenue and Troup Street. The scope of work consists of waterline replacements as well as service line connections within the following areas: Manville Avenue from Third Street to Napoleon Road. Manville Avenue from Wooster Street to Scott Hamilton (100 and 200 block). Troup Street from Wooster Street to Scott Hamilton (100 and 200 block). The first phase of this project will focus on the waterline replacement along Manville Avenue, from Third Street to Napoleon Road. Following this, the contractor will move to the 100 and 200 blocks of Manville and Troup. Throughout this work, portions of both Manville and Troup will be closed to through traffic during the day and boil advisories are expected once service lines are connected. Dependent upon weather and progress of work, the entire project is anticipated to last through October. Residents are encouraged to call the Engineering Division (419-354-6227) or visit the city’s website for more information or with questions.


BGHS grad commissioned as officer in U.S. Coast Guard

(Submitted by U.S. Coast Guard) U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Sara Ione Pisarski, daughter of Kristina Olinger, Bowling Green, graduated from The United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York on June 17, commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and a licensed Third Mate in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Ensign Pisarski successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Maritime Logistics and Security. As a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy, Ensign Pisarski completed 332.5 days at sea during sea year visiting 25 countries and 5 continents while completing 20 sea projects, an internship at the U.S. Department of State, 3 years of class work resulting in 170 credits, and passing 7 U.S. Coast Guard Third Mate License Exams in 4 days. During her time at The United States Merchant Marine Academy, Ensign Pisarski was a member of the Regimental Band, Acta Non Verba Club, Christian Fellowship Club, Midshipmen Tutor Program, Coast Guard Club and Manage of the Women’s Basketball team. During her First Class year, Ensign Pisarski served as the Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Club. Within the Regiment First Class year, she served a First Rotation Regimental Academic Officer and Second Rotation Regimental Training Officer. Ensign Pisarski is a recipient of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Service Above Self Award, the New York Council of the Navy League Award, and the Crowley Maritime Security Enhancement Award. Following graduation, Ensign Pisarski will begin her active duty commitment with training in New London, CT. She will then proceed to Saint Petersburg,…


Newly sealed Slippery Elm Trail now less slippery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Slippery Elm Trail is now a little less slippery. The 13-mile rails to trail that stretches from Bowling Green to North Baltimore has been paved with a new surface product called Onyx. The sealant promises to last longer, seal faster and be less slippery. “I’ve had nothing but great comments on the Onyx,” Jeff Baney, assistant director of the Wood County Park District, said last week during a meeting of the district board. “Everybody loves it.” Some of those comments came during the board meeting by park board commissioner Christine Seiler, who had just used the trail that morning. “The traction was wonderful,” even with all the rain the area had the previous day. However, Seiler said there appeared to be some areas of the trail where the old pavement seemed to be showing through. Baney said he would check on that. The Wood County Park District Board paid $119,552 to seal the trail, including striping of the trail at intersections along the route. According to Ned Fairbanks, the park district maintenance specialist, the product has a proven record of creating a stronger surface that will last longer. The sealing product also remains black since it does not fade in the sun like other sealants used in the past. That will help with melting the snow, since the district does not salt or plow the Slippery Elm Trail. The Onyx also has a quick setting time, meaning there was less time that the trail was closed to users, Fairbanks said at a previous meeting. “Within a matter of hours, it’s usable,”…


Library survey to get a read on patrons’ needs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Library patrons accustomed to checking out books will soon be asked to check in their feelings about the Wood County District Public Library. How often do you visit the library? What is the library doing right? What is the library doing wrong? Do you read ebooks? Do you prefer old-fashioned paper books? A library survey will soon be conducted to determine community expectations and needs. Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, and her students will conduct the survey. Orr has done similar efforts for the city parks and recreation department, and the city schools. The surveys will be mailed in September to a random sample of voters in the library district. The survey will also be online, with the results to be kept separate from the mailed returns. Staff, boards, volunteers, patrons and the public will be asked to complete the online survey if they do not end up as part of random sample. At the same time, the library will be hosting focus groups to collect public opinions. The data gathered from the surveys and focus groups will be used to devise a strategic plan. “If we get this information, we should do something with it,” library board president Brian Paskvan stressed during a board meeting Monday. Also at Monday’s meeting, the board discussed a rebranding effort and updating the library’s logo. Options for the new logo were displayed, with the goal being a memorable image. “So when you see this, you recognize it as the library,” Paskvan said. Because of the long name of Wood…