Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

More downtown parking closures due to roadwork

On Tuesday, May 17, Columbia Gas of Ohio will be conducting road repairs following the natural gas line replacement that occurred along a portion of South Main Street as well as in City Parking Lot 2. This work will be done in the 100 block of South Main Street along the eastern portion of the road just south of the Main/Wooster intersection. Because of this work, it will be necessary to close five to seven parking spots on South Main Street and roughly 11 parking spots in Lot 2 along the western edge of the lot. The work is expected to be done by May 19, depending on weather and progress of work. No parking in the affected spots will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Questions about this work may be directed to the Public Works Department at (419) 354-6227.

Quilting group gives quilts to 44 children

This past Tuesday, 44 pre kindergarten Eastwood children received hand made kid quilts from the Quilting Eagles. The 25 members of the Quilting Eagles give back to the community in many ways, this gesture is just one example.  Each quilt was accompanied with a short story book that was read to the child by the quilter. The expressions on the children faces was like Christmas morning – especially when they realized they got to not only take the book home, but the lovely quilt made just for them! The Quilting Eagles meet twice a month and work on group projects such as making quilts of valor for the area veterans, making hero capes for children undergoing chemo therapy.  We also make mittens and hats for the various angel trees at Christmas time.  

City parking lot to be closed during work

On Monday, May 16, the Electric Division will begin working in the northern portion of City Parking Lot 2 off of South Prospect Street, just south of the South Prospect/East Wooster intersection. New street lights and poles will be installed requiring that this portion of the parking lot be closed to parking. No parking will be permitted in affected spots throughout the work, which is anticipated to last through Wednesday depending on weather and progress of work.

BGHS accommodates transgender students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When word came down from the Obama administration today that transgender students should be able to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identities, it did not send Bowling Green High School into a panic. Principal Jeff Dever said the high school already has taken steps to make transgender students feel safe and welcome – by having a restroom identified for transgender students and by calling students by their chosen names and pronouns. A directive is being sent to school districts throughout the nation today saying that public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. The directive comes with no new legal requirements, but clarifies expectations of school districts that receive federal funding. It is not clear yet if Bowling Green’s separate restroom meets those qualifications, but Dever said it seems to be meeting transgender students’ needs. “What I have heard from students is their greatest angst comes from using the restroom,” he said this morning. “I understand that completely.” For the students, the separate restroom seems to be a sufficient solution. “I haven’t had any complaints,” Dever said. Though the issue of transgender students has long existed at the high school, Dever said it has changed with the visibility of Caitlyn Jenner. “It’s more of an issue here at school now,” he said. “It’s come to the forefront.” That may bring about locker room changes soon. Devers said the school has not designated a transgender locker room yet because none of the current handful of transgender students are on athletic teams. However, with five locker rooms, the school should be able to identify one as transgender if the need arises, he said. The school also tries to accommodate transgender students in other ways. As soon as the student identifies as the other sex, the staff is instructed to use the student’s chosen name and matching pronoun. “I’ve been told anecdotally that we handle it pretty well,” Dever said. “As a public school…

BG parks great for activity, but buildings need some work

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s parks give patrons plenty of chances to flex their muscles while walking, playing ball, skateboarding, swimming or climbing playground equipment. But there is room for improvement, according to the citizens attending the park forum this week focusing on the city’s active parks – City Park, Carter Park and the newest, Ridge Park. “I think we have a pretty good park system,” citizen Les Barber said. The parks scored an “A” for activity options, but got lesser grades for park buildings, ballpark drainage, and parking availability. Citizens were asked for input on the Veterans Building in City Park, and the teepee shaped shelters in Carter Park. Kristin Otley, director of the BG Parks and Recreation Department, explained that the teepee-like shelters may be removed and replaced with new shelter houses. No one present objected to that change. Otley also said that the Veterans Building has several problems, including not being ADA compliant and structural leaks. The three options being considered are to renovate the building, tear down the building and leave open space, or tear down the building and replace it with a new structure. “Seems like we ought to keep some kind of facility there,” resident Ellen Dalton said. She suggested balancing the cost of renovations versus replacement. Valerie Brinkhoff asked about the water tower in Carter Park, which was originally designed to have a theater in the bottom below the water storage. That space is currently being used for storage, but Brinkhoff asked if it could possibly be opened up for community events. Also involving Carter Park, a concern was voiced by Diane Biems, president of the girls fast pitch baseball organization. The girls teams use the north softball fields at Carter Park – which frequently flood especially with spring rains. “We have limited usage of it because of poor water drainage,” Biems said, adding that she understands it’s quite expensive to fix flooding fields. But, “it’s hard to have home games at Carter Park when there’s such poor…

Wood County tries to ease growing pains

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County faces inevitable growing pains over the next couple decades. So a new land use plan is examining how the county can ease those pains by saving prime farmland, directing development, protecting waterways, and possibly establishing an energy corridor for pipelines. Input on the planning process was sought Wednesday evening. “Do you all feel this is the right direction for us to be heading,” asked Emily Crow, the consultant working with the Wood County Planning Commission on the land use plan. “We’re trying to balance the discussion where there are pressures for growth.” The countywide plan is just the first step. Then the townships will be asked to implement the vision through zoning. “That’s where the rubber meets the road and things actually happen,” Crow said. To prepare for the future, the plan first gives a snapshot of Wood County today. Agriculture continues to be the biggest land use, with more than 76 percent of the acreage in the county used in farming. Commercial uses are located primarily along major transportation corridors. Then projections were made for the future. By 2050, the county’s population of 125,488 is expected to increase anywhere from 5,840 on the conservative side to 21,810 on the high side. Employment, now at 53,638 jobs according to the 2010 Census, may grow by as many as 39,849 jobs by 2050. “You are gaining a lot more jobs than you are population,” Crow said. The biggest growth is expected in retail trade and warehousing. The county is already facing housing demands that aren’t being met, she said. In 2014, the county had 53,840 houses, with approximately 7 to 9 percent being vacant. But buyers are looking for newer homes. “You have a demand in the market for new housing stock,” Crow said. Catalysts for business growth include the capacity and access improvements being made to Interstate 75 and the CSX rail hub in the southern end of the county. The county appears to have a good supply of land…

Kindergarten registration for BG schools on June 7

Kindergarten registration for Bowling Green City Schools will be June 7, from 8:20 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Central Administrative Offices, 137 Clough St. All-day, everyday kindergarten is offered by the district for children 5 years old on or before Aug. 1, 2016. Parents are asked to call for an appointment at 419-352-3576, ext. 4021. Children should be brought to the registration since they will go through a 10-minute screening. Anyone wanting to expedite the registration process may download the forms from the front page of the school district’s website, complete them in advance and bring them to registration. Parents should bring the following documents to the Central Administration Office: Your child’s birth certificate. Your child’s updated immunization records. Your child’s Social Security card. Custody papers (if applicable). Proof of residence (such as current utility bill, rent receipt, etc.) Parent photo ID (such as driver’s license, student ID, etc.) Even if you are missing a couple of the above documents, you can still start the registration process. Questions can be directed to 419-352-3576, ext. 4021, or check out the district’s web page:

City to discuss trash pickup changes

The Community Improvement Committee of City Council will meet on Monday, May 16, at 6 p.m. in the City Administrative Services Building, 304 N. Church St., to discuss proposed changes to city ordinances regarding refuse pickup and containers.

Ohio ‘med sync’ bill on its way to governor

House Bill 116, jointly sponsored by State Representatives Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green,  and Tim Ginter, seeks to provide for partial drug prescription refills for the purpose of synchronizing multiple prescriptions for one patient. “House Bill 116 will save time, money, and ultimately improve health outcomes of patients,” said Brown. “Over 80 legislators have cosponsored the bill, which is a testament to its support in communities around the State of Ohio.” The bill is an attempt to enact a process known as “medical synchronization”, or “med sync”, in Ohio. “Med sync” simplifies patient and caregiver lives by reducing the amount of visits that a patient needs to make to the pharmacy to get his or her needed medication, allowing them to permissively participate in a process with their physician and pharmacist to align their medications so that they can be refilled on the same day. Currently, some pharmacies and Medicare Part D allow the use of a “med sync” program. HB 116 would extend this process to commercial plans and Medicaid, keeping patients on track with their medication, boosting adherence to their physician-recommended treatment, and making the process more affordable for Ohioans. HB 116 now awaits action by the Governor.

Bill Clifford named to BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bill Clifford has been named to the Bowling Green Board of Education. The board voted unanimously this morning to name Clifford to the seat vacated by Ed Whipple. Clifford, a retired Wood Lane superintendent, said this morning that his first goal is just to listen and learn. “I need to listen, even though I have all this experience as a superintendent, I really need to listen and sit back,” he said. Clifford’s top priority for the school district is academic achievement. In order to achieve that, he wants to focus on school facilities, retention of quality staff, and creating opportunities for special needs students. “I firmly believe we need to provide the best possible environment for teachers to teach and for students to learn,” he wrote in his board application. “Second, retaining quality personnel is essential to a quality education. Balancing that need with the realization of our current tax structure will be challenging and well worth brainstorming options that provide for both. “Finally, we need to be acutely aware of the preparation necessary for the successful integration of students with special needs into their community upon graduation.” Clifford was selected among four applicants, the others being Joanna Craig, Barbara Moses and Bryan Wiles. Moses, a retired BGSU professor, ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Clifford will fill the remainder of Whipple’s term, which ends December 2017. The board expressed appreciation this morning to all who sought the seat. “I want to thank all of the people who put themselves up,” Ellen Scholl said. “We felt that Bill was the best fit for this board.” Jill Carr talked about the selection process, which gave each candidate a chance to present their positions. “Every candidate had equal opportunity to express their thoughts.” Ginny Stewart said she hoped the candidates not selected would…

Two BGSU football coaching staff cited for assault after bar fight, one put on leave

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two Bowling Green State University football coaching staff members were cited for assault over the weekend after getting into a bar brawl when they reportedly refused to leave at closing time. As a result, one of the coaches has been placed on administrative leave. Marcus White, 34, from Alabama, and Kenneth Williams II, 23, from Texas, were cited after the staff at Liquid bar, 238 N. Main St., called Bowling Green police for help Sunday at 2:22 a.m. According to BG Police Major Justin White, the report from the incident said Marcus White and Williams were reportedly refusing to leave the bar at closing time, so the bar staff attempted to escort them out. “They became belligerent with bar staff,” Justin White said. Marcus White allegedly punched one employee in the face, breaking his glasses. Williams reportedly punched another employee twice in the face, busting his lip. Marcus White reportedly told police that he felt the bar staff was being aggressive and wasn’t giving him enough time to leave the bar. Neither he nor Williams were taken to jail. Marcus White is the football co-defensive coordinator, and Williams is a graduate assistant football offense coach. Two other members of the BGSU football coaching staff were also present at the incident, but reportedly did not get involved in the fight. Nicholas Young, a football recruiting coordinator, did have a split lip, but said he was unsure how it occurred. Eddie Benavidez, a graduate assistant defense coach, was also present but not involved in the altercation, according to the police report. When contacted about the incident, Bowling Green State University officials released the following statement. “Bowling Green State University has high expectations for its employees, at work, and in the community. We are aware of the weekend incident involving Department of Athletics staff and are reviewing the facts. Pending the outcome of our investigation, coach Marcus White has been placed on administrative leave. Graduate Assistant Kenneth Williams is a student and will be treated…

Park district hands out 14 grants for playgrounds, picnic tables and more

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Little towns all across the county have been able to add playgrounds and picnic tables thanks to grants from the Wood County Park District over the last 25 years. Places that could never afford to add safety surfacing, backboards or soccer goals have turned to the district to help. This year, the grants will pay for improvements in 14 towns, including swings in Luckey, a scoreboard in Portage and bleachers in Jerry City. “Very few communities have not been impacted,” said Jeff Baney, assistant director of the park district. “Some of these parks would not be here if it weren’t for this program.” Baney explained the annual local park improvement grant program to the Wood County Park District board members during their meeting Tuesday afternoon at William Henry Harrison Park in Pemberville. The park district started giving out local park grants in 1989 when the district passed its first levy. Over the years, the grant funding has grown from $50,000 to $100,000 each year. As he drives through the communities now, Baney said he sees several parks where every piece of equipment was purchased with park grants. “A lot of these communities are so small,” that they rely on the park district for help, said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. All communities in the county may apply each year for grants, and may also use the county park expertise to do playground safety inspections, Baney said. The park district puts an emphasis on playground safety, he said, noting that some of the sites “were frankly dangerous.” “They get overwhelmed because playgrounds are so expensive,” Baney said. That’s where the park district comes in. “I’ve seen improvements in the outlying villages.” The district gets about 20 applications each year, consistently adding up to more than $100,000. “We’ve always had to pare it down,” Baney said, explaining that a three-member panel helps select the projects to receive funding. “There’s always going to be projects that aren’t funded,” Munger said. Safety projects often…

BG Bicycle Safety Commission to meet

The City of Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission will be holding its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 17 at 6 p.m. Members of the Transportation Safety Committee of Council will be attending. The meeting will be held in the third floor conference room in the City Building, 304 N. Church St.

House to vote to allow medical marijuana

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Listening to families who could find no other help for their children convinced State Rep. Tim Brown to support a medical marijuana bill for Ohio. Brown, R-Bowling Green, served on the committee studying medical marijuana, and is co-sponsor of House Bill 523 which is being voted on by House members today. “It’s been very eye opening to me to hear from patients and parents with children with seizures who have found no relief from anything except marijuana,” Brown said. Some of the children were having as many as 300 seizures a day prior to being treated with marijuana. “It just really pointed out that we as a society are behind the curve on this,” he said. Parents desperate to help their children have to break the law to give them the only medicine known to reduce their seizures, Brown said. “It’s the responsible way to do this,” he said of the legislation. House Bill 523 would allow doctors licensed in Ohio to recommend marijuana to their patients. The marijuana can only be legally produced by state licensed growers. “It doesn’t allow people to grow in their basements or backyards,” Brown said. Though the bill is expected to pass today with bipartisan support, it is facing criticism from both sides – those who think it’s too restrictive and those who are opposed to any marijuana use. Those supporting medicinal use are concerned this bill will take two years to implement, and doctors are required to fill out so much paperwork that it may discourage them from participating. But Brown defended those measures. “We want doctors to be licensed to do this and have a definitive relationship with the patients.” On the other side of the issue, the Wood County Prevention Coalition has taken a stand against legalization for any purpose, saying the bill is “disappointing and frightening.” “States which have legalized marijuana for either ‘medicinal’ or recreational purposes have seen an increase in youth substance use and abuse, earlier age initiation and decreased…

Some feel sign sends wrong message about downtown BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News     Some Bowling Green citizens want to give the city a message – they don’t like the new message sign downtown. When a story was posted last week about new electronic signs being used by the city to communicate with residents, it created quite a stir of reactions on Facebook. Two electronic message signs have been erected, with one in front of the police station on West Wooster Street and the other by the public works area on East Poe Road. The negative comments were all aimed at the sign downtown in front of the police station. The sign was called ugly, a waste of money, distracting to drivers and detracting from the historic downtown. “So much for our quaint town,” one person wrote. “It really contrasts with the look of our downtown area. Did anyone consider aesthetics when this was approved,” another wrote. Some questioned the expense, with each sign costing $10,250, suggesting that the money would be better spent on paving or patrolling the city’s streets. “To me, the thing just doesn’t go with the style of that area downtown,” said resident and Realtor Andy Newlove. “We’ve got this vibrant downtown,” and then this sign goes up that looks like it ought to be selling hamburgers, he said. “To just throw that thing up there? It doesn’t look nice. Was it discussed?” Newlove said the city has worked to improve signage downtown and get rid of unattractive signs. While the new CVS also has an electronic message board, “at least that’s a private business.” The new LED signs will alert residents about such items as traffic changes for construction or special events in the community, and about seasonal services such as brush pickup. The sign in front of the police station may also make public service announcements on buckling up and not drinking and driving. The purpose of the signs was to better communicate with city residents, said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. “The city has heard consistently from citizens…