Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Not In Our Town BG stands with those grieving in Orlando

(Submitted by NIOT-BG) Not In Our Town BG stands with all people, nationally and locally, who grieve in Orlando.  Our hearts are broken by the loss of innocent lives and we are outraged by the fact that the victims were targeted representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in our society.   We acknowledge this grim reminder that there are those who feel hatred toward the LGBTQ community and display their feelings through action. NIOT-BG stands against all actions of discrimination, prejudice and hate, and stands firm with groups subject to such behavior.  We will support and join the vigil planned for Wednesday June 15 at 7 p.m. on the community “greenspace” at Grove Street and Wooster Street.  As we extend our thoughts and prayers to the City of Orlando, and those grieving around the country, we give voice to our continuing vision of an inclusive, respectful community here in Bowling Green.

Death from gunshot being investigated in BG

Bowling Green Police Division is investigating the death of a woman in an apartment in the 1000 block of South Main Street. Police were called on June 9 about a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to BG Police Major Justin White, the death is still under investigation with assistance from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the Wood County coroner.

BG police arrest 2 for domestic violence

Two people were arrested by Bowling Green Police Division on Sunday, June 12, after a domestic dispute was reported at 10:28 p.m. Kristian Koren, 29, and Irina Polivina, 27, both of 403 High St., Apt. F, were charged with domestic violence and taken to the Wood County jail, according to BG Police Major Justin White. Koren had reportedly punched Polivina in the lip and choked her. Polivina had reportedly hit Koren in the lip, tore his shirt and bit his arm. Both had been drinking alcohol and were arguing over money, White said.

Oath Keepers gathering rallies survivalists in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Oath Keepers spent the weekend learning how to survive all types of disasters including overreaches by the federal government. Approximately 100 members, many dressed in their black Oath Keeper T-shirts, military cargo pants and boots, and equipped with radios and earpieces, gathered for a multi-state rally at the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green. Nick Getzinger, of Weston, who is executive officer to the president of the Ohio Oath Keepers, said the organization has grown in the last couple months. “People have found out we’re not a militia,” he said. “If they have a militia mentality, they have to keep that with their group,” Getzinger said. “We’re not going to take a military stance.” Since opening the Oath Keepers Outpost store at Woodland Mall earlier this year, Getzinger has stressed that the Ohio branch of the group is not like others in the nation. If potential members show an anti-government mentality during the vetting process, they are turned down for membership, he said. “We’ve turned quite a few people away,” he said. Getzinger is well aware that the Oath Keepers has been labeled as an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. “I know Southern Poverty tries to throw everybody in the same bucket, but you can’t do that,” he said. “We don’t buy into conspiracy theories, but right now we believe our country is on the wrong track.” While that may be Getzinger’s stance, the mindset of the others at the rally is unknown since they were ordered not to speak to the media. Getzinger said the gag order was due to the large number of new members who may not be well versed yet on the organization. “We don’t want any misunderstandings.” When asked to point out a longstanding Oath Keeper who could be interviewed, Getzinger said, “they’re under direct order from the president (of Ohio Oath Keepers) not to speak.” The only other person at the rally allowed to talk was Caroline Pelgar, executive secretary to Getzinger from Lorain County. She described the group as “a community of Christians” dedicated to “taking care of our own.” “As a Christian, we’re called to help one another,” Pelgar said. The members, she added, are “the most welcoming, friendly group you’d ever meet.” When asked about the group’s national reputation with hate watch groups, Pelgar rejected that characterization. “We live in a country where everyone is entitled to their own opinions.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has said that while Oath Keepers vow to support the oaths they took when joining law enforcement or the military to defend the Constitution, they also have a list of 10 orders they will not obey. Those “imaginary threats from the government” include orders to force Americans into concentration camps, confiscate their guns, or cooperate with…

Diving head first in no-hands pie eating contest

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Six grown men tested their stamina and their stomachs Saturday during a no-hands pie eating contest at the Heritage Farm Festival held at the Wood County Park District’s Carter Historic Farm. James Benschoter put his beard in a ponytail. Dylan Thomason starved himself ahead of time. And Joel Kuhlman thought he was prepared. “I was actually looking forward to it all week – until I got here,” said Kuhlman, a Wood County commissioner. The rules were simple, but strict. No utensils. No hands. The first person to finish and stand up won $20. “The rest of you get to finish the pie we gave you,” said Bryan Bockbrader, the park district’s stewardship coordinator. “If you pass out in your chair, you are disqualified,” he added. The men were thanked for sacrificing their dignity, then told to begin. The apple pies went down easy to start, with the men occasionally lifting their heads to breathe. All the contestants were given large bandana handkerchiefs to use as bibs. But most were employed to get apple pie out of their noses. As they labored to inhale the desserts, Bockbrader egged them on. “This is muskrat pie, we found it along the road.” Thomason, the youngest of the group, was going strong right up till the end. “No more pie for me for a year,” he said after he walked from the table and slumped down to the ground. John Dalton, the eldest of the group, gave it a noble effort, rarely lifting his head from the pie plate. But in the end, the first man to devour down to a clean pie tin was Chris Henschen. His secret was picking up the pie plate with his teeth and banging it on the table to break up the crust so it was easy to handle. “Slow and steady,” Henschen said with a smile. “I do like apple pie.” The Heritage Farm Festival was also an educational experience for younger participants. Children learned that planting potatoes is harder than ordering French fries at the drive-thru window. They learned that cutting a log with a hand saw takes much longer than using a chainsaw. They saw the corn being milled and then ate cornbread. “Today’s about celebrating our agricultural roots,” said Jamie Sands, volunteer services and communication specialist with the county park district. The Carter Farm is a 1930s era living history museum. “It shows what farm life was like,” Sands said. There were dairy cows and chickens, wagon rides and workbench tours. Maddi Morlock, who had a couple Holstein at the event, said some people have never seen dairy cattle before.  “One girl said, ‘I’m a city girl. This is the first time I’ve met a cow.’ It’s always interesting.” Grace Henschen, 11, and her siblings were…

County housing analysis reveals lack of affordable rentals and lack of public transportation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A new analysis of housing in Wood County revealed the same problems as past studies – too few affordable rentals and a lack of public transportation which doesn’t allow people to access less expensive housing. Dave Steiner, director of the Wood County Planning Commission, shared the latest Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing with the county commissioners on Tuesday. The study is required every five years in order for the county to get Community Block Grant Funding from HUD. The massive report digs into the county’s demographics, and looks at areas where fair housing opportunities can be furthered. Steiner said the report points out three areas needing improvement. First is the lack of affordable rentals, which are limited primarily to Bowling Green. Few low rent properties are available outside of the city, he said. Second is the lack of public transportation, which is especially detrimental in small villages. Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw mentioned the new Net Plus transportation program which should be in operation by the end of last week. However, that program is to provide rides to doctor’s appointments, not to the grocery story or social visits. “It does keep people in small towns kind of isolated,” Herringshaw said of the lack of public transportation. With Wood County being the seventh largest county geographically in the state, efforts to provide comprehensive public transit have stalled. “There’s no easy solution to that,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said. Steiner agreed. “I have yet to find a solution,” he said, adding that the need for public transportation will continue to grow. “With the aging population, that is going to be a bigger problem.” The third issue identified in the housing study was the fact that many people are not aware of their rights when renting a home. For example, Steiner said, if a doctor has determined that a person needs a service animal, that person cannot be denied from having a service animal in their rental. “People don’t always know their rights,” he said. In addition to highlighting housing problems, the countywide analysis also provides the county with useful demographic information. “It looks very comprehensive,” Commissioner Craig LaHote said. “It really tells a lot about Wood County,” Herringshaw said.    

BG ready for algae season in river water

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s that time of year, when the recipe for algal blooms starts cooking in the Maumee River. Spring rains run nutrients from soil into waterways and the sun’s rays warm up the water to create algal blooms. “All those ingredients in the water that promote algae growth start to happen,” said Brian O’Connell, utilities director for the city of Bowling Green. Last week, an algal bloom in the Maumee River near Defiance’s water treatment plant prompted a “no contact” advisory. Defiance is located upriver from Bowling Green’s water intake which sits between Grand Rapids and Waterville. “Swimming and wading in the Maumee River is not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, those with certain medical conditions and pets,” a Defiance news release stated, according to the city’s newspaper. But Defiance officials said the drinking water supply was safe. The water is currently being drawn out of the city’s reservoir, not the river, they reported. And water from the reservoir had been tested, showing safe levels. Bowling Green’s drinking water is also safe despite algal blooms in the river, according O’Connell. Bowling Green draws its water from the Maumee River near its West River Road plant, and pumps it into a reservoir where it is treated for any algal blooms. That is just the first step, O’Connell explained earlier this week. “To top that off, there’s a small UV light system,” he said, and then chlorine treatment just in case anything slips past the processes. “Our finished water samples have always shown a ‘no-detect,’” level of algae, O’Connell said. Throughout the treatment process, the water is repeatedly tested. “We, like every other plant, are doing the required sampling on the raw water side,” he explained. Then the testing is conducted again on the treatment side. The city’s plant has not yet experienced a level of algal blooms that it can’t effectively treat, he said. “The harmful algae has never got through the system,” O’Connell said.    

BG Curling Club proud of teams at national championships

Submitted by BG Curling Club On May 10-15, Ice Line Arena in West Chester, Pennsylvania, hosted the United States Curling Association’s Arena National Curling Championships, which included both a men’s and a women’s team from the Bowling Green Curling Club, located in northwest Ohio. The men’s team finished 2-2, in a three-way tie for ninth place among a field of 20 teams from across the U.S., while the women’s team finished 2-4, in tenth place among 18 teams, after a tie-breaker. Both teams just missed advancing to the quarter-final rounds. “The Bowling Green Curling Club is very proud of both our teams and how they performed at Arena Nationals,” said Shannon Orr, club president. “As we move forward with our new dedicated curling facility, which will be opening this fall, we look forward to sending even more local curlers to regional, national, and international competitions. We hope more folks will come to the new club and try one of our learn-to- curls.” The move to a dedicated ice facility will mean, however, that the club will be unable to participate in this event again, which is reserved for curlers from arena-based clubs that share ice with skaters and hockey. The women’s team, consisting of Elizabeth Spencer of Toledo, Angie Jones of Sylvania, Beth Landers of Bowling Green, and Jen Henkel of Perrysburg, lost to San Francisco Bay III (11-2), lost to Lansing (8-1), lost to Palmetto-South Carolina (7-6), won against Dakota-Minnesota, (6-2, with alternate Jennifer Williams of Norwalk), and won against Kansas City (7-5). A second place result for their division in the team draw shot challenge, and sixth place DSC result overall, allowed the women’s team to go to a tie-breaker game, to resolve a three-way tie for third place in their division, and try to advance to the quarter-final round. A re-match with Kansas City did not go in their favor, however, ending with a 10-3 loss. “The women’s team had a great time bonding with each other, other teams, and representing our club,” said women’s team skip, Elizabeth Spencer. “We were also able to gain valuable experience by playing at a national level against teams from as far away as San Francisco. We won some games, and we lost some, but the experience was amazing, and we are excited for all the new options that will open up for us in the future.” The men’s team, consisting of Cameron Roehl and Scott Piroth of Bowling Green, Matthew Smith of Holland, Ohio, and Jay Clark of Saline, Michigan, lost to Long Island (5-2), won against Oklahoma (11-8), lost to San Francisco Bay (9-3), and won against Cedar Rapids-Iowa (7-3). They won the team draw shot challenge in their division (8th overall for DSC), but with 4-0 and 3-1 teams in their division, were unable to advance to the…

BG transfers land for potential buyer, The Beat Dance Company

Bowling Green City Council authorized the transfer of 2.3 acres in Bellard Business Park to the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation, Monday evening, in lieu of dues for economic development purposes. The foundation has a potential buyer for the acreage, The Beat Dance Company, which offers youth dance and gymnastics programs. The transfer of this property to the foundation and sale would result in approximately $25,300 credit towards the city’s annual community development foundation dues.

‘Coffee with a Cop’ set for June 29 at Biggby

Bowling Green Police Division will hold another “Coffee with a Cop” on June 29. The public is invited to join police officers for coffee and conversation from 8 to 10 a.m. at Biggby Coffee, 215 E. Wooster St. Citizens are welcome to ask questions, voice concerns and discuss how the police can serve their neighborhoods.

When collecting crosses the line to become hoarding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The line between collecting and hoarding is not as fine as some might think. That news seemed to comfort some of the ladies dressed in wide-brimmed hats and lace gloves who had just finished sipping tea and eating scones Thursday at the Wood County Historical Center’s tea titled “When Collections Go Wild.” “I don’t want to be a party pooper, collecting is great. But sometimes it goes bad,” said speaker Dr. William O’Brien, a psychology professor at Bowling Green State University. As he addressed hoarding, O’Brien suspected that his audience members were thinking, “I wonder if this is going to be about me?” But there are distinct differences between collecting and hoarding, he said. Collecting is common and enjoyable. Those who collect feel proud of their collections and share them with others. “People don’t hoard out of joy,” O’Brien said. Collecting rarely interferes with social functioning, and those who do it are able to acquire items carefully and discard items they no longer want. In contrast, hoarders are often ashamed of the items they have compulsively accumulated. “They don’t want people to come over to their house.” Hoarders have great difficulty discarding things even if they have no value. They become anxious just thinking about getting rid of things, O’Brien said. Collecting to compulsion can be a slippery slope, he said. “The line is when the home environment is interrupted.” At that point, hoarding can lead to marital and family strife. “The non-saver tries to sneak things out of the home” to make it livable, which may only add to the stress. Approximately 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population are “clinically hoarders,” O’Brien said. The problem is experienced worldwide, not just in the U.S. where material goods are more accessible. The compulsion is seen more with women, and with dementia. Some connect the behavior with “nesting.” Hoarding can lead to social isolation, debt due to purchasing and storage costs, family conflicts and landlord problems. It can also create problems when valuable items, such as insurance papers, cannot be found among mountains of other items. Most hoarders only seek help when their compulsion results in an eviction or family turmoil. “Most people with a hoarding disorder don’t seek treatment,” until a crisis occurs, he said. “They aren’t generally there willingly.” Hoarding behavior often falls into three categories. The first is someone who views meaningless things as precious with great sentimental value – consequently they can’t be discarded. “People attach meaning to objects,” O’Brien said. The second is utilitarian, which may be more common among people who lived through tough times such as the Depression. O’Brien held up his Styrofoam cup as an item that a hoarder might decide to save so it could be used as a planter in the spring….

Police seek information in Glanz homicide

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than three years after being found dead in her Bowling Green home, the homicide of Dawn Glanz is still unsolved. Investigators want anyone with a possible piece to the puzzle to step forward. Bowling Green Police Division issued a release Thursday asking that anyone with information about her death come forward – even if that information seems insignificant. Glanz, 66, a professor of art history at Bowling Green State University, was found dead in her home on Kensington Boulevard in Bowling Green on May 9, 2013. She was the wife of Robert A. Brown, of Toledo, and stepmother to Josh Brown, of Sylvania. In December 2013, Glanz’s death was ruled a homicide by the Wood County Coroner. The autopsy found that she suffered a sharp force injury of the scalp and was stabbed by an assailant. Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said this morning that no new information has surfaced about the case, and that the police believe someone has details that could help them solve the case. “We want to keep this in the forefront,” Hetrick said. “We don’t want people to forget we have this unsolved homicide.” “We believe someone has information and for one reason or another hasn’t shared it,” the chief said. Hetrick said the police division will not give up on finding Glanz’s killer. “We’re not going to give up on this case. It’s been a couple years, but we’ve had cases go longer and then solved them,” he said. “Somebody out there knows something,” Hetrick said. “It may seem insignificant, but it might be a vital clue to us.” The press release sent out by the police division states: “If you saw or heard anything, no matter how small it may seem, or have any information as to what may have happened at Dawn’s home on the night of May 8, 2013 or the early morning of May 9, 2013, we would appreciate it if you would contact the Bowling Green Police Division at (419) 352-2571 or call CRIME STOPPERS at (419) 352-0077. “Even a very small piece is needed to complete a puzzle,” the police release states. “Do you have one of the missing pieces?”  

Sign language – variance granted for hotel LED sign

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A variance was granted Wednesday evening which will help a local business owner compete with the big flashy signs closer to the interstate. The Bowling Green Zoning Board of Appeals voted to grant a variance for a new larger LED sign for the Best Western hotel at 1450 E. Wooster St. The variance was requested by Harmon Sign to allow an 18-foot tall and 58.8-square-foot sign, which would encroach 17 feet into the 25-foot front yard setback. Nelson Pixler, of Harmon Sign, said the new electronic message sign is all part of a rebranding effort at the Best Western location. The new sign will not be any taller than the current sign, and will allow the owner to use the existing foundation. “It certainly will spruce up the area with the new look,” Pixler said. The hotel also has a very tall pole sign that was granted a variance in 1991, according to City Prosecutor Matt Reger. Paul Bishop, the son of Best Western owner Jake Bishop, explained the effort to rebrand the hotel, locally called the Falcon Plaza. Approximately $400,000 has already been spent on renovating the common areas, conference rooms, lobby and breakfast area. “I’m very proud of what we’ve done,” Bishop said. Next on the list is upgrading of all the individual hotel rooms, which should be completed next year. Though part of Best Western, the hotel will retain its local flair as the Falcon Plaza. “We intend to keep that as part of the identity,” Bishop said. Not only will the new LED sign be more noticeable to motorists, but it will no longer require the messages to be posted by hand, Bishop said. However, the Falcon Plaza will continue to post localized messages – which the community seems to appreciate, he said. Bishop explained that the new signage is needed to stand out with all the other signs closer to the Interstate 75 interchange. “When you are coming west, we are competing with signs to the east of our property,” he said. The LED sign will cost $18,000, he added. “We’ve been a long term business here in Bowling Green, and we intend to carry on my father’s work there,” Bishop said. Approval of the variance was supported by local developer Al Green, who spoke in favor of allowing the signage. “I would encourage you to approve this,” Green said. “I think it’s good if a group like this can be accommodating” to help businesses further from I-75 compete for customers. “Being friendly to businesses in town by groups like this is a good thing,” Green said. In other business, the zoning board of appeals: Granted a variance to John Benson, 811 E. Gypsy Lane Road, allowing him to construct a 10-by 16-foot accessory building that would…

Green space still in limbo; BG offered Wood Lane home for expansion of city site

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The city of Bowling Green is still looking for a home for municipal offices. That’s what worries some residents, who don’t want to see the city’s new home built on the green space where the old junior high used to sit. City council has not addressed the issue since mid-April, when a consultant presented plans for a new city building sharing the green space area. So Monday evening, citizen Carol Kinsey asked council where the plans stand for the open space. Council president Mike Aspacher explained that there had been “no development.” The mayor and city administration are looking at all the alternatives for a new city building. He asked that citizens “be patient,” and added that the citizens’ support of saving the green space has not gone unnoticed. “We get that. We understand that,” Aspacher said. Council member Sandy Rowland assured that once the issue moves out of the council committee, public input will again be sought. “There’s a lot of interest in what’s happening,” Rowland said. One option to give the city offices more space occurred recently when Wood Lane officials asked if the city would be interested in buying the house just to the north of the city building on North Church Street. The house is used as a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities. “That house is certainly available,” said Mayor Dick Edwards. But the city has no plans to purchase the property, he added. “We have no immediate need for it.” Aspacher said “a very brief conversation” was held about the property and an appraisal was going to be done since Wood Lane would be able to sell the site to another governmental agency for the appraisal price. The city briefly considered using the site for additional parking. But Aspacher said he does not like the idea of tearing down a quality older home like the Wood Lane home. “Just speaking for myself, I’m a little bit tired of tearing down buildings,” Aspacher said. Edwards echoed that sentiment. “I appreciate the fact that it has a long history there,” he said of the home. The mayor reaffirmed his commitment to keeping the city building in the downtown area. “We’re looking at a range of possible options,” he said. But he also explained that he is not in favor of the green space option. “I have no desire to put a building on the site over there,” Edwards said. “I don’t see that as advantageous. I see such great value to the downtown area to have a green space.” Edwards said he is still interested in the old Huntington Bank building as an “obvious” option. “So little of the building is actually being used,” he said. Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said the city is continuing its search….

Communities compromise to get block grants

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In an era of political bickering and obstinance, Wood County Planning Commission saw a rare example of compromise and cooperation Tuesday evening. As usual during the annual awarding of Community Development Block Grants, the planning commission had far more requests than there was funding. Seven towns asked for a total of $307,800, but the county had just $162,000 to hand out. Each town described its request, with the mayor or other official giving their best pitch. “Now’s the hard part,” Dave Steiner, director of the county planning commission, said of the selection process. “The state puts us in the position of only selecting four and the money is finite,” said commission member John Alexander. The commission weighed the value of the projects and the amounts the towns were willing to pay on their own. And then they tried to shuffle the projects around to meet the winning combination of $162,000 – but with no success. So instead of digging in and defending their requests, the four towns on the top of the funding list all agreed to shave some money off their requests and try to come up with more funding own their own. So when the math was done, the following communities got funding: Bairdstown, through the efforts of the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, will get $40,000 to help low and moderate income homeowners pay for sewer lateral installation costs. The town had asked for $50,000. Bairdstown is the last village in Wood County to get public sewers for its 50 homes. “There are a lot of low income and fixed income people,” in the village, Mayor Jerry Ickes said. Bradner will get $50,000 to replace 715 feet of water main on Main Street, plus add two new fire hydrants. The village had asked for $55,000 and was already putting $122,107 toward the project. “It’s gonna be a squeeze,” but the village should be able to complete the project with that amount, said Jim Smith, of the Bradner Board of Public Affairs. Walbridge will get $36,500 to demolish the existing stairs, construct new ADA ramps and replace a door at the village’s new location of the municipal building and senior center. The village asked for $41,300, and was already putting $4,590 toward the project. Kenneth Frost, representing the village, said 30 to 50 seniors visit the site each day. “I spend a lot of time helping people get up and down those stairs,” he said. North Baltimore will get $35,500 to renovate existing restrooms in the village park to comply with ADA requirements. The original request was for $39,200, with the village already chipping in $4,300. Village Administrator Allyson Murray said the community had lost some young people to heroin and needs to offer more activities for youth. “It’s very…