Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Community Action Plan ideas open to public comment

The Bowling Green Community Action Plan concept ideas are available for public comment.  The concept ideas are on display in the municipal building,on the second floor, during office hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.)  There are forms to provide feedback located next to the display and copies of the concepts can be taken with you for review. The concept ideas are also on the city’s website here:  www.bgohio.org/community-action-plan. Feedback can be provided through the website, by email to the planning department (bgplans@bgohio.org), or by mailing to the planning department, 304 N. Church St., Bowling Green. Additionally, the Good Neighbor Guide is also available on the city website at http://www.bgohio.org/departments/planning-department/good-neighbor-guide/.  Copies will be available at the municipal building in the near future.


Latta eludes protesters outside Lincoln Day Dinner

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As 200 prepared to dine in the Stone Ridge Golf Club, another 40 stood outside holding posters and chanting. Their signs supported the Affordable Care Act, refugees, the environment, transgender youth, and asked the question, “Have you seen Bob?” They chanted “Love not hate makes America great,” and “We’re not paid,” in reference to accusations that town hall protesters across the nation are being paid for their efforts. Their presence on the normally quiet corner of the Stone Ridge housing development was met with a range of reactions. As motorists pulled into the golf club for the annual Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, some honked and waved, others stuck out tongues or stared straight ahead. Though the protesters were trying to get the attention of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, it was State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, who pulled over, got out and talked with the protesters for several minutes. “He came up, shook hands and chatted,” said Katie McKibben, one of the sign-holding protesters. “Randy actually parked his car and got out.” Latta’s vehicle proceeded into the golf club parking lot without stopping. One man going to the dinner stopped at the entrance, held up the middle fingers on both hands and yelled at the protesters to go home. “I’m tired of people being paid to protest,” the man said as he parked his vehicle. “They’re stupid.” But others welcomed the exchange of ideas. “I feel like we should always be able to have a conversation,” said Ryan Lee as he entered the golf club dining room. “What’s more American than standing on a street corner and holding signs?” Inside the country club, Latta said he has always been willing to listen to his constituents. Last year he held 10 courthouse conferences where he met face-to-face with citizens. Last week, he held a “telephone town hall,” but there was no public notice about it ahead of time. When told that his constituents feel a need to talk with him now because of all the fast-paced changes in Washington, D.C., Latta said, “Nothing’s changed in the 5th District.” “I think our record is really good,” he said about his commitment to listening to his public. But the people who gathered in his Bowling Green office Thursday morning and afternoon see things differently. The citizens who asked to speak with Latta in the afternoon were more feisty than those who came in the morning. “This particular week is for him to meet with his constituents. So where is he?” asked Maria Zirbel, of Bowling Green. As in the morning, District 5 Director Andrew Lorenz repeated that  Latta was “out in the district.” “It’s not your fault your boss isn’t here,” said Susan Shelangoskie, of Toledo. “It is utterly frustrating that Bob Latta is not here, but he is going to be at a golf club in 1 ½ hours raising money.” The citizens asked that Latta hold a town hall so they can share their concerns – uncomfortable as that may be right now. “He should be able to take some tough questions,” said Frances Brent, of Bowling Green. Citizens complained that Latta’s telephone town halls seem to be “top secret.” “We’re not psychic,” Shelangoskie said, asking that Latta’s office put out notices of…


Cipriani to run for BG City Council at-large seat

(Submitted by Holly Cipriani) Holly Cipriani formally announced at the February Wood County Democrats meeting that she is running for Bowling Green City Council At Large. Cipriani, originally from Toledo, OH, came to Bowling Green in 2005 as an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University. “Bowling Green has a lot of good people wanting to do good things. I believe we are better together and I want to help give voices to community members trying to better their city,” Cipriani stated when announcing her candidacy. Cipriani is a co-founder of the BuyBG campaign, promoting local business. In 2013, she helped develop a shop-local campaign for the city that is maintained to this day by the Bowling Green Economic Development Office. The focus of the campaign is to encourage consumers to shop locally. Local economic development is an issue that Cipriani would like to continue to promote if elected to City Council. “When our local economy is thriving, we thrive as individuals.” In addition to promoting local economy for a thriving community, Cipriani believes in revitalization of green spaces and neighborhoods. She currently serves on the Court Street Connects Planning Committee, a function of the BG Community Action Plan (CAP) that focuses on improving the Court Street corridor from the university to downtown. Holly Cipriani is a two-time graduate of Bowling Green State University earning her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in History and her Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus area of Leadership and Management.


BG Police to offer Liquor Establishment Employee Training

The Bowling Green Police Division will be providing Liquor Establish Employee Training (LEET) on Tuesday, March 14. The training will run 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 encouraged to attend. This training will take place at the Bowling Green Police Division’s Training Room at 175 W. Wooster St. Please contact Detective Andy Mulinix at 419-352-1131 or amulinix@bgohio.org to register for this event or for answers to questions related to this event. Pre-registration is not required. The session is free and certificates will be presented to attendees.  


Local citizens remind Latta that he works for them

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local voters – not paid protestors – left several messages for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta this morning, with the most important being that he works for them. The voters wanted to meet personally with Latta, R-Bowling Green, but met instead with his District 5 Director Andrew Lorenz. Only 20 people fit in the congressman’s office at a time, so others stood out along North Main Street, in front of his office, holding signs about issues they care about – clean water, immigration, health care and more. “There are so many reasons, where do I start,” said Dee Dee Wentland, Perrysburg, who took a day off work to join the protest. “We’re trying to get the congressman to have a town hall with his constituents, but all of our efforts to meet with him are ignored or turned down,” said Jennifer Harvey, of Bowling Green. Across the nation, congressional leaders are being confronted by hostile crowds at town hall meetings. So, many of the politicians are just refusing to hold open meetings with their constituents. Latta held a telephone town hall last week, but that isn’t good enough, according to people who crowded into his office today. Latta’s website lists his last true town hall meeting as June 2010. Lorenz said the congressman has held 51 courthouse conferences, where he meets one-on-one with constituents. When repeatedly asked where Latta was this morning, Lorenz repeatedly said “he’s out in the district today.” “That’s a non-answer,” one woman replied. “This is so insulting. It’s unacceptable,” said Kirsty Sayer, of Bowling Green. “We’ve taken off work. We’ve gotten babysitters. And he can’t leave his fancy home to come here?” Joanne Schiavone, of Walbridge, told Lorenz to remind Latta that he works for local residents – even if they don’t have an “R” behind their names. “He needs to support us. We are his constituents. He’s forgotten he works for us,” Schiavone said. “We pay his wages. We pay his health care.” One of the citizens said he was a long-time “R,” having voted Republican for more than 50 years. This year, “absolutely not,” said Leonard Lepper, of Bowling Green. “Because I think the Trump administration is against everything I stand for,” he said, listing off specific reasons of “the wall, immigration, health care, and on and on and on.” When pressed, Lorenz said Latta has no plans for a town hall meeting, but will continue to hold telephone town halls. Lorenz collected information from people who wish to be contacted for the next call. Lorenz also took notes to share with Latta on citizen concerns. For an hour, the concerns ranged from water quality and questionable new leadership for the EPA, to refugees and the proposed wall between Mexico and the U.S. Many told personal stories of how the Affordable Care Act helped keep them healthy. Joyce Quinlivan, of Perrysburg, said she is a five-year breast cancer survivor. “My treatment would have been compromised,” without the ACA, she said. “It’s unconscionable in this country.” Linda Schneider, of Perrysburg, said she depends on the ACA and noted that Republicans in Congress voted more than 50 times to repeal it. “I don’t see how they can just take it away.” Lorenz said plans are being made to replace…


Wood County EMA to conduct emergency exercise

The Wood County Emergency Management Agency and the Wood County Local Emergency Planning Committee will conduct a functional county emergency operations center exercise on March 1, from 9 to 11 a.m. on the first floor of the county office building. This is an Ohio Emergency Management Agency graded exercise to meet the annual exercise requirement for the Local Emergency Planning Committee’s hazardous materials plan. A functional emergency operations center exercise must be conducted at least once every four years to meet the requirements of the State Emergency Response Commission. The exercise will simulate the county emergency operations center assisting the city of Perrysburg to mitigate a railroad tanker care accident with a leaking hazardous material in the city. Perrysburg officials will be playing their role from a simulation cell located on the fifth floor of the county office building. City officials will communicate via telephone and radio with county officials staffing the county emergency operations center on the first floor of the county office building.


BG searches for science to clear up pipeline confusion

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards is tired of hearing conflicting “facts” about the pipeline proposed to cross city property and run close to the city water treatment plant. So he set out himself to find some “good science” instead of “unsubstantiated political statements.” The city has been asked by those opposed to the Nexus pipeline to try to intervene in the FERC approval process, but council has been reluctant to get into a losing court battle. So Edwards turned to two scientists for help. One is Dr. Charles Onasch, professor emeritus of geology at BGSU, a researcher who has probably studied the BG Fault more than anyone else on record, Edwards said. The other is Larry Wickstrom, president of Wickstrom Geoscience of Worthington, Ohio, who is the former chief of the Ohio Division of the Ohio Geological Survey. “In that important role, he warned of some of the potential dangers associated with fracking in southeastern Ohio, and as a result lost his job,” Edwards said of Wickstrom. While other geologists have presented some alarming information about the pipeline route, the geologists the mayor talked with do not share those concerns. “I take science very seriously,” Edwards assured those at the council meeting. “We’ve been doing a lot of investigating and trying to reach out to some of the best minds we know.” The geologists the mayor contacted said the most recent activity on the Bowling Green Fault can be no younger than the 10,000- to 20,000-year-old glacial sediments that are undisturbed by the fault. An extensive network of pipelines cross various fault lines in the area with no reported difficulties. And the Ohio Geological Survey has identified all the karst (natural sinkhole areas) in Ohio, with none in Wood County. “In summary, the probability of any complications developing with the water treatment process and the water supply in BG in relationship to the Fault and the proposed gas line is extremely low,” the mayor said.  That cannot be said for other areas of the state, where the geological characteristics cause more concerns. Edwards said he has plans to speak with more geologists about the project. Council member Daniel Gordon questioned why geologists have varying opinions, given the same factors. Edwards said that is unclear, but added that all of the geologists involved so far have pointed to Onasch as the expert. Council president Mike Aspacher thanked the mayor for the report and said council will welcome additional information gathered by Edwards. Council member John Zanfardino said he appreciated the mayor’s information, but noted that data presented on the risks of the pipeline have been mixed. Lisa Kochheiser, an opponent of the Nexus pipeline, also thanked Edwards for his report. “I appreciate you for taking it seriously,” she said. But she said the pipeline company is skirting science evaluation by failing to identify the BG Fault and the city’s water treatment plant in the pipeline plans as potential risk factors. She said the high impact drilling technique used for the pipeline will put the river at risk. “The city should be demanding a halt,” Kochheiser said, asking City Council to intervene in the pipeline approval process. “It is absolutely our right, and our obligation to protect our water.” Council member Bruce Jeffers said…


Boys shower area fix could soak district for $425,000

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When it rains, it pours. That seems to go for showers as well. The Bowling Green Board of Education got the news Tuesday evening that repairs to the high school boys lockeroom shower area could cost between $380,000 and $425,000. “It’s not a cheap fix,” said Kent Buehrer, of Buehrer Group Architecture. Those estimates include fixing and reconfiguring the shower area, plus renovating the toilets, training room and coaches’ offices. The board was made aware of the shower problems last month when Superintendent Francis Scruci said boys were not able to shower after gym or athletics because the shower area had been shut off due to large cracks in the walls and floor. Buehrer showed slides of the area beneath the shower room floor, where the floor deck was sagging. He said this is a common problem in schools built in the 1960s and 1970s, where water leaks cause corrosion of the bar joists. So while the estimate was higher than expected, Buehrer did offer a small bit of good news. “The roof isn’t going to collapse. That’s a good thing,” he said. The heavy masonry wall in the center of the shower room has settled and is pulling away from the roof deck. While fixing the shower room, Buehrer suggested that the toilet area be updated to make it ADA accessible. The weight room, which has been in need of repairs for years, may also be added to the renovation project. Funding for the project will come from the school district’s permanent improvement levy, according to Treasurer Rhonda Melchi and board president Ellen Scholl. Those funds may also be used to resurface the track surrounding the football field. “The track is down to the asphalt,” Scruci said. The good news in this case, is that there are no cracks in the asphalt. Replacing the track with latex, which lasts five to eight years, is estimated to cost $75,000 to $85,000. The cost for a polyurethane surface, which lasts 12 to 15 years, is estimated at $175,000 to $180,000. The current track surface is latex, which was put in 10 year ago. Board member Jill Carr asked about the possibility of raising funds for the track project by approaching alumni and others who may want to donate. Scruci agreed that could be a possibility. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board heard an update on “The Boot” security system from Rob Couturier and Joe Thiel, of the Lockdown Co. The steel plates are being installed on every door in the school district to be used to prevent intruders from harming students or staff. Couturier said a “boot” was installed in the Bowling Green police and fire divisions so they could be used for training. Placards, which help identify specific rooms for emergency responders, will also be installed in all the district’s school hallways soon. According to Couturier, several schools are following Bowling Green’s lead on installing the safety equipment. “You don’t know as a board what you’ve done for the state of Ohio,” he said. “It’s now affecting thousands of people all around you.” Thiel presented the board with another product that will save on energy costs and turn the safety system into “smart boots.” Thiel proposed retrofitting the fluorescent lighting at…


Stickers with updated info going on recycling bins

Bowling Green residents will soon be seeing new stickers affixed to the top of their recycling containers.  The new sticker has updated information from what was originally put on lids following the implementation of the combined recycling program.  The sticker is bigger, easier to read, and makes understanding what can and cannot go into the recycling container a little easier to understand.


Scruci gets new three-year contract with schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci was given a three-year renewal of his contract Tuesday evening by the board of education. His annual salary is $144,000. The board praised Scruci’s work in the district and gave him unanimous support. “Thank you for all that you do for us,” Board President Ellen Scholl said to Scruci. During his 18 months as superintendent, Scruci has been a very visible presence in the community. He holds regular “coffees” with the public, and produces weekly videos about what is happening in the district. He has been a steady presence at extra-curricular events, creating positive relationships with students. In an effort to get input from the community on handling school building needs, Scruci has held open meetings in each school building. His new contract will run from Aug. 1, 2018 to July 31, 2021. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Scruci informed the board that he feels compelled to express his personal feelings about national and state issues that he believes are damaging to public education. The superintendent is no fan of newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. So he plans to send a letter to DeVos, asking her to come spend some time at Bowling Green City Schools. Scruci has been open about his strong reservations about DeVos, who is a proponent of charter schools. “Public education is being threatened,” Scruci said. DeVos’ confirmation must not distract schools from their focus on educating students, he added. “We can’t as a district allow ourselves to be consumed by this,” Scruci said. Public schools throughout the nation need to make it clear to DeVos that charter schools are not the answer to education. So Scruci said Tuesday that he will be writing to DeVos and inviting her to visit Bowling Green City Schools. “This country was built on public education,” he said. “Kids are our focus.” Scruci also expressed concerns about a new requirement for teachers in the state budget bill. Gov. John Kasich is proposing that teachers and administrators be required to do internships in business in order to get recertified every five years. “I’m not sure how our teachers will find the time,” Scruci said, adding this is just “another stressor on our teachers.” The state budget bill also includes another new requirement that school boards add three non-voting members from the business community. Scruci said Bowling Green’s board of education already has voting members from the business community. He plans to talk with State Sen. Randy Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, both R-Bowling Green, to express his concerns about the two items in the budget bill. Also at Tuesday’s board of education meeting: High school principal Jeff Dever accepted a certificate recognizing Bowling Green as one of 433 districts in the nation that earned a place on the Advanced Placement Honor Roll. Three long-time employees submitted their requests for retirement, including food service director Sue Chandler, guidance secretary Pamela Eyer, and bus driver George Hubbell. Aaron Mejiritski, a sixth grader, was praised for winning first place in the Wood County Spelling Bee. He will go on to participate in a regional spelling bee on March 11 at Owens Community College. Students Aaron Lamb and Abby Mockensturm were recognized for earning honorable mentions in the Safety Kids Calendar…


Did you know? BG committed to urban forest

(Submitted by City of Bowling Green) The “Did You Know?” is a series of short articles meant to inform residents and visitors of Bowling Green about current topics of interest. The series will run throughout the year, with articles issued every few months. Did you know that there are over 7,400 trees growing in the City’s right-of-way and parks? While Norway maple, crabapple, and honey locust trees are some of the more common trees, the City’s urban forest is quite diverse consisting of 150 different tree species and cultivars. The urban forest provides citizens over $630,000 annually in environmental benefits including reducing and avoiding 2.9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and intercepting 7.4 million gallons of stormwater. The City’s trees have a return on investment of $2.87 in benefits for every $1 spent on their care. Bowling Green has a history of a strong commitment to its trees. The City has been named a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation for 37 years. Additionally, BG has received the Growth Award 22 times for enhancing its tree program which is the most in Ohio. In 2016 the City planted 337 trees – for every tree removed, two were planted in its place. Another benefit of the City’s tree program is that the crews responsible for keeping trees healthy are also clearing branches from electrical lines, greatly reducing electrical outages due to trees. Keep up to date on the City’s tree program by visiting the City’s website – www.bgohio.org. Follow the City on Twitter or Facebook and sign up for the weekly eNewsletter, which may be found on the City’s website, to stay connected on this topic and more.


Kale reappointed to Governor’s Council on Disability

Melinda Kale, from Liberty Township, has been reappointed to a second term by Gov. John Kasich to the Governor’s Council on Disability. The council exists to advise the governor and General Assembly on statewide disability issues; educate and advocate for partnerships at the local, state and national level, promotion of equality, access and independence, and development of employment opportunities. Kale is the director of finance with wli “Work Leads to Independence” (formerly Wood Lane Industries). Prior to this position she was the Laser Cartridge Express (LCE) supervisor (which is still a division of wli) and started her career with wli as a sales rep for LCE.


Leader who stood up for green space steps down

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After standing up to save the green space while others wanted to build on the acreage, the leader of the project planning has stepped down. “I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed and chagrined I am to report the resignation of Dr. Eric Myers as chair of the steering committee for the Wooster Green,” Mayor Dick Edwards said Tuesday evening at the beginning of the City Council meeting. The work of the steering committee has been repeatedly criticized for planning too much on the green space, to not planning enough for the site, to not including enough input from young people despite an open process in the planning. After nearly two years of trying to satisfy the desires of many on just 1.7 acres, Myers submitted a letter of resignation to the mayor on Sunday. “I do not do this easily but, for the good of the project and for me, it is time to do so,” Myers wrote. “I will continue to support the project both vocally and financially. I appreciate the opportunity you gave me in helping with this important project.” Edwards said he has agonized over Myers resignation. “I don’t want to see all of Eric’s good leadership get pushed aside or get led down the wrong path,” the mayor said of the “little 1.7 acres that we all have grown to love.” “We see that little piece of ground as being integral” to the city’s Community Action Plan, the downtown area, and the welcoming quality of the city, Edwards said. “We really do have a lot at stake here.” So after chewing on the issue for a day, the mayor made a decision. “I’m going to take over the chairmanship of that committee and try to keep it going,” Edwards said. “I don’t want to see people take a walk out of frustration.” Council president Mike Aspacher voiced his appreciation for the mayor stepping in. “Everyone on council remains committed to a successful outcome of that space,” Aspacher said. Council member Sandy Rowland said that council should make sure those volunteering on the green space effort are aware that council supports their work. Edwards said the repeated criticism is wearing on the volunteers who are trying to create a town square for the community. “Some are getting discouraged because of what they are reading,” he said.


BG Police Division sees drop in use of force

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Police Division has seen a steady increase in community relations efforts, and a decrease in force being used by officers, according to Chief Tony Hetrick. Hetrick presented an annual report during a strategic planning meeting with City Council on Saturday. “We don’t police the community. We police for the community,” Hetrick said. Poor police-community relations nationwide peaked the last few years, causing several police departments to examine their relationships with those they serve. “Community engagement is a hot button topic all over the nation,” Hetrick said. That’s something Bowling Green Police Division has done for years, but they are also making an increased effort. “We can always do better.” Last year the “Coffee with a Cop” program started, efforts are being made to engage with BGSU students more, and police participated in a panel discussion on minority relations. Police also met with students in a class teaching English as a second language. “It really helped us build trust with them,” Hetrick said. In August, when new international students arrive at BGSU, the police will meet with the group again. “I think we enjoy tremendous trust in the community,” Hetrick said. The chief also presented his annual report on police force being used. In 2016, there were 21 responses to resistance or aggression reports filed by office. That is a decrease from the 40 reports in 2015. The officers’ reports showed that in 19 cases, no weapons were used. In two cases, Tasers were used. According to the reports, there were no incidents when officers used firearms, batons or pepper spray in 2016. The incidents requiring force were primarily dealing with cases of disorderly conduct and intoxication. Others involved suicide attempts, mental illness, warrant service, domestic violence, escape and assault. Force was used on white males the most, followed by white females. No other race was reported. Hetrick said his review of the reports showed no force being used outside division policy guidelines. “There was no pattern detected where officers are applying force in excess or inappropriately,” he said. Hetrick also said the drop in use of force by Bowling Green police does not appear to be a result of agency practices. “It appears that there were less pronounced willingness to resist officers when a suspect was confronted for a violation of law coupled with lower overall calls for service,” the chief wrote in his report. “The Bowling Green Police Division stresses de-escalation and taking time to resolve potentially hostile situations. Those policies are helping to keep use of force numbers extremely low.” In the last five years, officers have not had to use their firearms. During that same period, they used Tasers 23 times, batons two times, and pepper spray 19 times. Hetrick also presented a review on biased based profiling by the police division. “The Bowling Green Police Division is committed to treating all citizens fairly with respect and courtesy,” the report states, adding that bias based profiling in traffic contacts, field contacts and in asset seizures is prohibited. Reviews are performed on traffic stops, other public contacts, and of phone conversations to ensure professionalism and a lack of bias. The statistics for criminal and traffic cases did show a higher percentage of African-Americans being warned or cited than…


Chief fans flames on fire prevention efforts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Several months after a fire at a downtown icon, the Corner Grill is still closed. A new focus of the Bowling Green Fire Division will be aimed at preventing fires like this – instead of just being ready to extinguish them once they begin. Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson has adopted a community risk reduction program that puts the emphasis on fire prevention – not just fire suppression. For years, the fire division has instructed school children how to be safe from fire. They have been drilled on the “stop, drop and roll” technique and other fire safety steps. But the basic education stopped there. Sanderson would like to expand that fire prevention programming to local businesses. Sanderson explained the program Saturday during a strategic planning meeting for Bowling Green City Council. The fire prevention efforts will focus on three Es: The fire division will look at businesses’ water supplies, alarms, fire suppression and access. Business owners will be talked with about fire prevention and firefighter safety. Sanderson said business owners should not fear fire inspections, which will focus on education first. However, “if education doesn’t do the trick,” then enforcement will be the next step. Sanderson said he hopes to post a top 10 list on the city’s website of fire hazards, such as use of multiple extension cords or having items piled to the ceiling. The chief also want to work with off-campus student housing groups to make them aware of fire risks. Unlike other cities, such as Perrysburg, Bowling Green has no full-time fire inspectors. Sanderson said inspectors could make visits to local businesses to look for dangerous conditions. “I think it’s going to reduce the risks to the businesses,” he said. Sanderson stressed that the inspections would be “business friendly,” with the emphasis on protecting the buildings, not issuing orders. Such a program may have helped prevent last year’s fire at the Corner Grill, the chief said. The “vast majority” of the city’s firefighters are certified as state fire inspectors. To staff an inspection program, the chief said an additional one or two people would need to be hired. Sanderson said the fire division would still be prepared to extinguish fires that do occur. “You can have the most robust fire prevention program, but you still need to be ready to put one out,” he said.