Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

BG explains new garbage bin rules

(Submitted by the city of Bowling Green) City Council passed legislation at the Aug. 1 meeting updating Chapter 94 of the Bowling Green Codified Ordinances, which covers garbage and litter laws within the City. These changes were made by Council to help keep Bowling Green neighborhoods appealing and healthy as well as improving the efficiency of refuse/recycling collection. Some of these changes include: – container lids shall be closed at all times. – all containers shall be set at the curb with the lid opening facing the street with the lid fully closed, and all containers shall be removed from the right-of-way by 7  a.m. the day following collection. – on non-collection days, all refuse and recycling containers – including dumpsters – whether City or privately owned, shall be stored within an enclosed area or in the side or rear yard of the premises adjacent to the structure with the lid closed. The purpose of requiring container lids to be closed at all times is to help prevent the breaking of the lid during the collection process. If the lid is open or the container is facing the wrong way at the curb, the lid can break. Also, if the lid is open during non-collection days or at the curb, the chances increase that the garbage within the container will fall out becoming loose litter. These changes will go in to effect on Aug. 31. The changes have been posted to the City’s homepage. Call Public Works at 419-354-6227 or the Mayor/Municipal Administrator’s Office at 419-354-6204 for questions.


Gavarone sworn in as state representative

Theresa Gavarone has been sworn in as state representative of the 3rd Ohio House District after the House Republican Caucus voted to appoint her to fill the vacant seat. “As evidenced by her many years of public service, her first-hand knowledge of the small business sector, and her law experience within the community, I believe Theresa Gavarone will honorably and diligently serve the constituents of Wood County,” Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said. “I’m pleased that she was sworn in as a member of our caucus and I look forward to working with her on issues important to those in the district.” Gavarone holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and a law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. As a resident of Wood County for more than 30 years, she has represented the community, serving on Bowling Green City Council and participating in the local Kiwanis group. On the city council, she was chair of the Public Lands and Buildings Committee and also served on the Finance and Ways and Means Committee as well as the Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee. In addition to her public service, Gavarone is an attorney with Ruck & Wright Law and the co-owner of a family business with her husband of 24 years, Jim. She and Jim reside in Bowling Green and have three children. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Wood County as their next state representative,” Gavarone said. “It is truly an honor to be in this position and I look forward to working with constituents and my new colleagues in the days to come.” The 3rd House District includes all of Wood County.  


BG police offer liquor establishment employee training

The Bowling Green Police Division will provide Liquor Establishment Employee Training (LEET) on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.  The training will cover State of Ohio and Bowling Green liquor laws, civil liability, 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.  Pre-registration is not required.  The session is free and attendees will receive certificates upon completion.


What to say to kids about so much violence? BG school district offers help

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some Bowling Green parents are struggling with how to explain the recent violence in the world to their children. Though surrounded by cornfields and isolated from much of the turmoil in the world, the children see images and hear stories of the violence. So to help families discuss these difficult topics, a community meeting will be held Aug. 11. The meeting was organized after some parents expressed their concerns about how to talk with their children about incidents like the shootings in the Orlando night club or the terror attacks in France. “A couple moms were getting their hair done, and talking about ‘I don’t know what to tell my kids,’” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said. Scruci saw an opening for the schools to help. “If we can provide some resources,” he said. “We want to give our families a chance to ask questions. ‘What should we say? What shouldn’t we say?’” The school district is partnering with the Not In Our Town organization to host a community discussion on Aug. 11 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the Performing Arts Center Lobby at Bowling Green High School. The discussion will be targeted for the adults in children’s lives, and may not be appropriate for children themselves. Heather Sayler, an organizer of the Not In Our Town organization, said it is hoped that some people with counseling expertise will be able to speak at the meeting. “People who work with children on a daily basis, or when they are in crisis,” she said. Social media makes it almost impossible for youth to avoid news of violence here in the U.S. and around the world. The news lately has been full of stories about terror attacks in Europe and Asia, mass shootings here in the U.S., the killings of black men by police, and the killings of police trying to protect their communities. “The purpose of the meeting is to share ideas of how to talk to your children about the violence, answer any  questions you may have, and to give resources for parents to use to help their children better understand and feel safe,” the school district said in a press release about the event.  


Hospital offers Eating for Good Health class

(Submitted by Wood County Hospital) Wood County Hospital offers the Eating for Good Health class to county employees and community members. This six week class is led by a registered dietitian and teaches the tools necessary to develop a healthy, workday eating plan. The class focuses on planning, purchasing and preparing quick nutritious meal and snacks. Attendees will also learn tips on seasonal eating. These easy changes can lead to a healthier heart, weight and digestive system. Third quarter classes will be held Tuesday mornings, Aug. 16 -Sept. 20 from 7:30-8 a.m. at the County Office Building. Preregistration is required and can be done by calling Jane Graffin, Nutrition Services, at 419-354-8866. The deadline to register is Aug. 12. A minimum of eight participants is necessary to conduct the class and there is a limit of 20 spots. The cost is $48 for the six series class and county employees are eligible for reimbursement through the Nutrition for Life Program upon the completion of the series. For questions or more information call 419-354-8866 or visit www.woodcountyhospital.org


Living History Day honors Wood County’s past

13th Annual Program Provides Glimpse Into Lives of Past Wood County Citizens The 13th annual Wood County Living History Day is Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. at Oak Grove Cemetery on the campus of BGSU, Bowling Green, Ohio. Local residents portray citizens interred in Wood County and local cemeteries to promote local history. 2016 Honorees were chosen because of the Wood County Historical Center & Museum’s 2016 theme of collecting. This event is free and open to the public. “A Joyful Noise” will provide music before the event. Parking is available in the cemetery, as well as on the adjacent BGSU campus. The Wood County Sheriff’s Department will provide free rides up to the mound where the program will be held, with usher services provided by the BG Kiwanis Aktion Club.  Chairs are available, although those attending are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.  In case of heavy rain, the program will be moved to the First United Methodist Church, 1506 E. Wooster Street. 2016 honorees are: DOMINICK LABINO (1909-1987) – Co-founder of the studio glass movement in America and notable glass artist and collector with ties to Grand Rapids, Owens-Illinois, and the Toledo Museum of Art. Portrayed by Jamie Tompson DOROTHY UBER BRYAN (1924-2001) – Bowling Green native known for “The Chemo Paintings” series, created during her struggle with cancer. Dorothy and her husband, Ashel, were philanthropists and patrons of the arts. Portrayed by Katherine Hollingsworth, daughter of Dorothy Bryan ELLA DISHONG (1866-1948) – Owner of a general store in Hoytville full of antiques with husband Uriah Dishong until 1957.  Portrayed by Nancy Buchanan LLOYD WEDDELL (1916-1991) – A Luckey-area woodworking artist. Hand-carved fiddles and figurines are collected by local enthusiasts. Portrayed by Bob Willman, his son-in-law. JERRY HAGERTY (1901-1999) – A collector of Indian relics and first caretaker of the Wood County Historical Center and Museum.  Portrayed by Zach Robb FLOY (1923-1997) & EARL SHAFFER (1914-2008) – Earl was a high school chemistry teacher at Bowling Green High School and also collected toy trains. Floy studied ceramics at Bowling Green State University and was an award-winning nationally known ceramicist whose work was featured several times in Ceramics Monthly. Portrayed by Mary Dennis & Bob Midden A DVD of the event will be available for purchase for $15 by contacting the Wood County Historical Society at 419-352-0967 by September 1, 2016. This event was made possible by the Kiwanis Club of Bowling Green, WBGU-TV, Exchange Club of BG, Portage Center Arbor Gleaners 524 , Women’s Club of Bowling Green, Wood County Genealogical Society, and the Wood County Historical Society. Event details and past honorees can be found at woodcountyhistory.org


Wood County Fair – fried up and put on a stick

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Forget fancy celebrity chefs. They’ve got nothing on fair food vendors who have figured out how to deep fry just about any food and put it on a stick for the convenience of mobile fairgoers. Pure genius. Sure, there’s more to the Wood County Fair than food. But few can walk through the gates without loading up on their annual favorites for the week. On the first day of the fair Monday, Nancy Grimm, Bowling Green, couldn’t walk past Mike’s Cheese Shack, where she placed her first order of the week for cheese curds. For those not familiar with fair food, that’s cheese cubes drenched in batter then deep-fried. “They’re soooo good,” Grimm said. “They are chewy and cheesey.” If eaten when still warm, the cheese stretches several inches. “I don’t know where else to get them,” Grimm said, so she gets at least a couple orders each fair week. Any guilt with that deep fried cheese? “Oh, no,” she said, walking away with her steaming hot curds. A few trailers away, Pat Snyder said she considered the cheese curds but decided on a corn dog (on a stick, of course) instead. “I can’t have that much grease in this heat,” she said of the fried cheese. “It’s a treat I don’t get very often,” Snyder said of the corn dog. “It brings back memories” of past fairs. Like many, Snyder spends much of her week at the fair. So she has to eat fair food in moderation. Her annual fare usually includes a Belgium waffle, Italian sausage and French fries or onion rings. “I try to choose one item a day.” The competition for hungry fairgoers is fierce. There’s good old farm food, like the butter drenched roasted corn on the cob, pork-a-lean sandwiches and burgers by the Beef Producers.  There’s food from south of the border, like tamales and “walking tacos” in a bag – since tacos don’t work well on a stick. “Taco Dave’s” is the mainstay for several of the county fair fire marshals, who are at the fair all week long. “We have to have Taco Dave’s all week,” said Tom Bentley. The draw is both Dave and his tacos, Bentley said. Fire marshal Randy Tolles also likes to pull up his chair at the Liberty Township food booth, where meals can be topped off with pie. There are also some dishes along the fairway from the hillbilly south, like alligator bites, frog legs and deer burgers at the Real Southern Fried food trailer. “Yeah, we got all the good road kill,” Dorothy Boley joked of the menu that is a little different than traditional fair food. “I’m from down south, so it’s a normal dietary thing. Once they try it, they come back. They just go…


August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Submitted by Wood County Health District This month, breastfeeding advocates will combine efforts in the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding in the United States. August 1 – 7 has been designated as World Breastfeeding Week. The 2016 theme is about how breastfeeding is a major factor in getting us to think about how to value our well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share. WIC Promotes, Protects and Supports Breastfeeding  One of the major goals for the WIC program is to improve the nutritional status of infants. As a result, WIC health professionals encourage WIC mothers to breastfeed their infants. Below are a few reasons why we believe that breastmilk is the optimal food for your baby. Breastmilk is good food for your baby. Breastmilk has a significantly positive impact on immune function, digestion, and brain development to mention just a few benefits. The World Health Organization calls mother’s early milk or colostrum “baby’s first immunization” because of the many immune factors it contains. These factors or antibodies provide protection from infection and illness. They are particularly important during baby’s first weeks outside of its mother’s protective womb when vulnerability to infection and diseases is high. Breastfeeding Protects: mom, baby and Earth  This year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month theme in Ohio is Breastfeeding Protects:  mom, baby and Earth. We know breastfeeding protects baby’s health, but what about Mom? According to research, mothers who breastfeed are less likely to experience breast/ovarian cancers, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease to list a few. Also, nursing moms are less likely to experience postpartum depression due to powerful and “feel good” hormones released during lactation. Additionally, breastfeeding is the most natural and ecological way to feed a baby. Feeding a baby at the breast requires just two things – mom and baby’s bodies. It’s totally plastic free and no products are needed! This automatically reduces waste from production to feeding, not to mention the huge monetary savings that are realized. When you consider the pollution and waste materials generated by formula manufacturing and packaging, feeding breastmilk either directly from breast, or bottle produces far less waste and uses minimal natural resources. In view of the lifesaving, monetary and ecological benefits of breastfeeding, we encourage everyone in our community to support breastfeeding because our families, communities and society benefit from having healthier moms, babies and children. Here is what you can do to support breastfeeding: tell a breastfeeding mom you encounter how appreciative you are for what she is doing, pass a note or say something like, “Thank you for breastfeeding.”  You will make her day! Give Breastfeeding A Chance  The Wood County WIC program is happy to join in celebrating this special month by inviting all our breastfeeding moms to stop by the WIC…


BG Council agrees on trash bin compromise

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After months of talking trash, Bowling Green City Council took action Monday evening on a new garbage collection ordinance. The new rules require garbage bins to be stored within enclosed areas, in side or back yards, with lids closed. The ordinance was too tough for some, too lenient for others – but was passed as a compromise by unanimous vote. That common ground was recognized by council member Bob McOmber as a distinct difference between the nation’s government and communities like Bowling Green. “Not a darn thing gets done because no one will compromise,” McOmber said of federal government. “This legislation approximately splits the difference,” he said, noting that council members Daniel Gordon, Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino wanted the ordinance to be stricter, while members Theresa Charters Gavarone, Mike Aspacher and Bruce Jeffers would have preferred looser rules. “This really is a compromise solution,” McOmber said. Rowland said she would have preferred tougher rules. “I think Bowling Green deserves better,” she said, voicing her dislike of trash bins sitting on the side of homes. “We don’t need to set the goals so low.” But Gordon said any change is progress. “It is the compromise that we worked out,” he said. “It’s a concrete improvement for residents of Bowling Green.” Council members also unanimously agreed Monday evening that the penalty for not following the ordinance will not result in the trash bins being confiscated by the city. Instead, civil infractions will be issued and fines will be levied. It was decided confiscating trash bins would be too labor intensive and could result in further trash violations by the residents. “We could be creating another problem,” Rowland said. The first infraction would result in a warning, the second a $25 fine, the third a $50 fine, and the fourth a $100 fine. “I like the fact that it’s incremental,” Zanfardino said. If the fines are not paid at leased homes by the renters, the fine will then shift over to the landlord. Aspacher said that city administration is planning an educational effort for citizens, which is hoped to create compliance. “We don’t really want to cite anyone,” he said. Waivers may be granted to people who apply, who have true hardships in complying. Council also agreed unanimously to speed up the timetable on the ordinance and give it second and third readings Monday evening, so the education process can begin and be in place when Bowling Green State University students arrive later this month. The ordinance won’t be implemented for another 30 days. “The public wants us to move on,” Rowland said. Also at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Dick Edwards announced that the recent assessment of the city police division by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies showed Bowling Green’s force met…


BG Council needs new member – applications due in 6 days

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council has an open seat and is looking for a Fourth Ward resident to fill it. Anyone interested has six days to submit a resume, and 13 days to prepare a speech. On Friday, Theresa Charters Gavarone submitted her letter of resignation as Fourth Ward council member in order to take her new appointment as state representative. So anyone interested in filling her council position has until Aug. 8 at 4:30 p.m. to submit a letter of interest and a resume to the clerk of city council, Kay Scherreik. The information can be emailed to kay.scherreik@bgohio.org or sent by mail to 304 N. Church St., Bowling Green. Applicants will then be asked to give a brief presentation before City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Aug. 15, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers. The presentations will be limited to about five minutes. City Council may then vote during its 7 p.m. meeting, also on Aug. 15, to select a person to fill the Fourth Ward seat. Council President Mike Aspacher thanked Charters Gavarone for her service to the city. “Obviously, we’re very thankful of Theresa’s contribution,” he said during Monday’s council meeting. Charters Gavarone was not at Monday’s meeting, but stated in her resignation letter that she would assist in the transition process for a new Fourth Ward council member. “In order to ease the transition, I would be happy to meet with you and any potential candidates for the council seat,” she wrote. “Working with each of you and serving the people of Bowling Green in this capacity has provided valuable experience that will strengthen my position as a state representative when I am sworn into office on Aug. 2, 2016,” Charters Gavarone wrote. “I am very grateful to have been part of a team that created nearly 1,000 jobs and addressed numerous concerns for our residents over the past 2 ½ years,” she wrote. “It’s been a pleasure working with you on City Council and I look forward to continuing that relationship as I address the concerns of Wood County in Columbus.”    


Distracted driving awareness events at county fair

Wood County Safe Communities announced Monday that there have been eight fatal crashes this year to date, a decrease of 11 from this time last year. In an effort to reduce distracted driving related crashes, Wood County Safe Communities will be at the Wood County Fair, Aug. 4-6 to raise awareness about safe driving. On Thursday, Aug. 4, we will be hosting the 4th annual Distracted Driving Awareness Day from 12 to 8 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Police Building at the Wood County Fairgrounds. In addition, we will be having a local family speak about losing their daughter, Brook, to a distracted driving crash. The Peterson family will speak at 6 p.m. on this day. Wood County Safe Communities will offer games, prizes, and a driving simulator as part of the three-day event. Please join us Aug.  4-6 to learn more about distracted driving and crash prevention. Always remember, it is important to drive safely and ignore possible distractions such as texting and video games.


Dave Brott bike run to benefit Vietnam Veterans

The Second Annual Dave Brott Memorial Bike Run will be held Saturday, Aug. 13. Registration will take place from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. on the day of the event. The first bike will take off at 10 a.m. from BroadWing Tattoos & Body Piercing, at 125 N. Main St., Bowling Green. The ride will finish at 4:30 p.m., at Sunset Bistro, 1220 W. Wooster St., Bowling Green. There will be music at the restaurant from 4:30 to 11 p.m. And at 8 p.m. a 21-gun salute will be performed by Vietnam Vets of America Chapter 35. Dave Brott, who lived in Bowling Green, was a Vietnam War veteran. He passed away in 2014. The ride will cost $20 per bike, and $10 for additional passengers. All proceeds from the ride will go to Vietnam Veterans of America. And 30 percent of all sales of food and beverages from Sunset Bistro will go to benefit the veterans organization as well. There will be 50/50 drawings and giveaways. Any questions may be directed to Al Hosmer at 419-409-0291.


Wood County asked to join the ‘Big Fix’ for dogs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County has been asked to join the “Big Fix” program to spay and neuter dogs. The pilot program in Lucas County last year resulted in more than 400 dogs being fixed, according to Steve Serchuk, a volunteer with the program. “It will make the county safer,” Serchuk told the Wood County Commissioners last week. “It will save the county money. It will lead to more people licensing their pets.” Serchuk said Lucas County started the spay-neuter program after determining that almost one-third of the 57,617 licensed dogs in the county were not fixed. “We were blown away,” he said. So Lucas County, Toledo and the Toledo Community Foundation chipped in $9,000 each to reach out to the areas with the highest population of dogs that hadn’t been spayed or neutered. The goal was to fix 350 dogs – but the program exceeded expectations and 409 dogs were spayed or neutered. The success led Lucas County to apply for a matching grant of $25,000, and ask Wood County to join the project by chipping in $7,500 to have the amount matched by the grant. Wood County has approximately 21,000 licensed dogs. The funding would provide for 200 to 225 dogs being fixed. Serchuk said the county would benefit from more dogs being fixed. He presented the following information: 60 to 90 percent of dog attacks involve intact male dogs. Spayed and neutered dogs are less likely to roam and their behavior is better. “This will deal with the cause of pet overpopulation, not the result,” he said. The average cost to fix a dog ranges from $100 to $250, with the costs being highest for large female dogs. “People will spay and neuter their dogs if the cost is cheap enough,” Serchuk said. “It’s not a macho thing. They don’t have the money.” The average cost to fix a dog with Humane Ohio is $75. Most people who take their dogs to veterinarians and can afford the cost, already have their dogs spayed or neutered, he told the county commissioners. This program is for those who don’t have the money to spare. “It’s one less dog that can reproduce. It’s one less dog that is probably going to roam,” Serchuk said. Ohio allows counties to charge more for licenses for unfixed dogs, but neither Wood nor Lucas counties have opted to do that. The “Big Fix” is a more positive way to tackle the problem, according to Serchuk. “This is a carrot approach,” he said. To expand the program to Wood County, Serchuk asked that county take the following steps: Commit to the $7,500 for the matching grant. Add a line to the dog license application form asking if the dog is spayed or neutered. Insert a coupon into the license renewal…


Wood County Auditor distributes taxes

Wood County Auditor Michael Sibbersen has announced the distribution of the real estate, public utility tax, and special assessments for the second half 2016 settlement. A total of $81,567,728 was collected and distributed including $2,419,667 for special assessments. In addition $9,034,412 is to be reimbursed from the state income tax funds, $6,066,961 in non-business credit, $852,995 in owner occupied credit, and $2,114,456 in homestead exemption monies. These represent tax reductions for qualifying properties. The Wood County County Commissioners requested that the 1.3 mill voted Human Services Levy collection be suspended for this year due to sufficient fund balance. This provided tax relief of $40 annually on a $100,000 home. Wood County currently maintains 74,670 individual land parcels of record and distributes the taxes to 18 school districts, 19 townships, and 26 cities and villages. Wood County has more than 100,000 individual special assessments, which are distributed to regional, county, municipal and township governments. Examples include ditch construction and maintenance, sewer and water systems, street lighting, street cleaning, and tree maintenance programs. Totals for the second half revenue distribution are as follows: WOOD COUNTY $2,851,090 REGIONAL WATER AND SEWER $723,791 COUNTY DITCH MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION $222,235 COUNTY SEWER AND WATERLINE PROJECTS $225 MAUMEE WATERSHED CONSERVANCY $44,227 BOARD OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES $8,672,079 ALCOHOL, DRUG ADDICTION &MENTAL HEALTH BOARD $2,861,003 PARK DISTRICT $1,129,684 COMMITTEE ON AGING $790,775 BOARD OF HEALTH $634,745 HISTORICAL CENTER $60,664 JOB & FAMILY SERVICES $0 WOOD COUNTY LIBRARY BOND $134,689 TOWNSHIPS $6,400,725 MUNICIPALITIES $7,117,554 SCHOOLS $49,992,604    


Audits to save BG homes money and energy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG  Independent News   Thousands of Bowling Green homes are letting cool air escape in the summer and heat seep out in the winter. So Columbia Gas is giving every homeowner, landlord and renter a chance to keep the air in their houses and money in their pockets. Bowling Green residents are being offered home energy audits for $20 by Columbia Gas, to identify how homes can be made more energy efficient. And if the residents agree to weatherization upgrades, the most they will pay per home is $300. “It’s because of Bowling Green’s interest in energy efficiency,” Jill McGinn, of Columbia Gas, explained last week to the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. “Everyone in Bowling Green is eligible.” The subsidies through the program will pay for up to $4,000 in home improvements, but the residents will pay a fraction of that. “The most any Bowling Green resident will pay is $300,” McGinn said. “Those are some pretty huge and substantial savings.” The energy audits take about three hours to complete. An added bonus, McGinn said, is that experts also look for safety problems. McGinn knows all about that, since when she had an energy audit done on her home, it found a gas leak in her basement. “Safety is Columbia Gas’ first priority,” she said. The audits often discover leaks at gas line joints or at the appliance hook ups. The next priority is energy efficiency. The homes likely to benefit the most from the audits are those built before 1975, many which use more than 1,000 cubic feet of gas annually. Those homes are often found with very inefficient furnaces, and insulation that has settled over the years and no longer fills up space between the walls. “We run into a lot of houses that have no insulation whatsoever,” McGinn said of some of the older homes. Bowling Green resident Neocles Leontis is a believer in the audits as a way to say energy and money. “It’s a way to keep more of our money in our pockets and in our community,” he said. Leontis thought he was being smart years ago by replacing windows in his century old home. But the energy audit showed the air inside his home escaping through cracks in the basement and around windows. Many homes need thousands of dollars in upgrades to make them energy efficient, McGinn said. But Columbia Gas realizes those type of expenses just aren’t possible for most homeowners. So that’s the reason behind $300 being the most that any resident will have to pay. “Most people have $300 they can spend to save money,” she said. The upgrades should result in energy savings that will benefit the household for decades to come. The process is simple. To get a home energy audit, just: Call 1-877-644-6674…