Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Free parenting class offered at CRC

(Submitted for Children’s Resource Center) Another session of “ACT: Raising Safe Kids” will begin January 24 at Children’s Resource Center (1045 Klotz Road, Bowling Green.) The free course teaches parents with young children positive forms of discipline and how to deal with tantrums and fights. Endorsed by the American Psychological Association, ACT: Raising Safe Kids, has been taught all over the country. It has become so popular in Wood County that CRC offers it year-round. The class will meet every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 PM from January 24 to March 14. Child care and a family meal are provided during each session. To register for the class, contact Kristen Junga or Pam McKinley at Children’s Resource Center, 419-352- 7588. Most adults– whether consciously or not—fall back on their parents’ child-rearing style when raising their own children. But that may not be the best choice for their kids. ACT (Adults and Children Together:) Raising Safe Kids helps moms and dads find alternatives to the parenting style they have “inherited” from their parents. An independent study performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that graduates of the course used less harsh discipline and benefited from the support of their classmates in the course. “ACT: Raising Safe Kids” recognizes that children live what they learn. It is never too early to learn peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. For more information on this and CRC’s many other programs, contact Children’s Resource Center at 419-352- 7588.

BG police to install new cameras in downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green will soon be adding some eyes in the sky in the downtown area. New cameras are planned for the four corners and for the city parking lot behind Panera. The installation of cameras is nothing for residents to worry about, according to Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick. “This isn’t anything new. We’re just replacing them with updated models,” Hetrick said. The cameras are not used to catch motorists who are speeding or run red lights. And the vast majority of the footage goes unviewed – unless it’s needed to identify suspects. “We’ve solved some crimes,” such as assaults and robberies with the video, the chief said. Cameras have also recorded fatal accidents and have been helpful with determining how they occurred, Hetrick explained. A camera previously installed by the city at a construction site on the north edge of town recorded an accident in which four people were killed. And an ODOT camera at Interstate 75 captured a fatal motorcycle accident on the overpass. “They do have a usefulness in higher traffic areas,” Hetrick said. The city’s downtown cameras record constantly. The images can be pulled up in police dispatch if necessary. “Typically the dispatchers don’t have time to watch them,” on an ongoing basis, the chief said. The only video in constant view of the dispatchers comes from cameras at the intersection of Main and Wooster streets. “They are great for seeing traffic problems,” Hetrick said. Replacing those obsolete cameras at the four corners will cost $10,500. The new cameras for the parking lot behind Panera, where parking kiosks were recently installed, will cost $12,000. Since the city’s general fund is tight, the funds are coming from the police trust fund, which is generated from enforcement efforts such as fines. Hetrick hopes to next have cameras installed at the corner of North Main and Court streets. That area has the “highest incidence” of assaults and other issues as bars close, he said. Eventually, the chief would like to have cameras in all the city’s downtown parking lots. “We’ll hopefully expand cameras in those lots as they are updated,” he said. The city is careful to position the cameras so they cannot record neighboring residential properties, the chief added. In the past, the city has had cameras in the city lots behind the Clazel and behind Finders, on South Main near SamB’s, at Court and Main, and at Prospect and Wooster. However, all were removed when they became obsolete. The only remaining ones are…

BG to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m., a tribute to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St. The tribute is sponsored by the City of Bowling Green Human Relations Commission and will feature keynote speaker Arto Woodley who is a scholar-in-residence at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College.  Woodley’s presentation is titled – “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community.” Musical selections will be performed by the BGHS Madrigals along with Sheila, Angelo, and Carla Brown, Beautiful Sunset. Also at the event, the Human Relations Commission will present the annual Drum Major for Peace Award, named in honor of King. There is no charge for the event and it is open to the public.

Rezoning sought for ‘smiley face’ barn site

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For decades, the giant smiley face on the big white barn welcomed motorists on Interstate 75 as they traveled north of Bowling Green. The message advertised no product – just simply offered a happy greeting, signed Joe & Gertie. Though the smile has faded, the barn still stands at the northwest corner of I-75 and Ohio 582. But Joe and Gertie Carpenter are long gone. The barrel of water at their driveway with a jug for filling strangers’ stubborn radiators is no longer there. And so now it is up to the Carpenters’ three children to decide what to do with the 95 acres the family owns at the site. The land has long been farmed, but developers have approached the offspring about the acreage with easy access to I-75 and Route 582. So Joe and Gertie’s children have asked that Middleton Township change the zoning from A-1 agricultural to M-1 light industrial. “They want to make the property more marketable for industrial and commercial end users,” explained Dave Steiner, director of the Wood County Planning Commission. The zoning request came before the county planning commission on Tuesday on its way to the Middleton Township Trustees, who will make the final decision on the zoning request. There is no specific plan yet for the site, “but they would rather have it zoned and ready to go,” Steiner said. “We’re seeing this more and more.” Other acreage in the area has already gone through the same preparations, such as the property at the southwest corner of Route 582 and Mercer Road. A couple miles to the west, acreage at the southeast corner of Route 582 and Ohio 25 is already being used for industrial purposes. Tom Teet, attorney for the Carpenter family, pointed out how people can recognize the acreage in question. “It’s the barn that has the big smiley face,” he said. The family is not in a rush to sell the acreage, in fact, “the property’s not for sale,” Teet said. However, the three Carpenter siblings and Teet have received multiple phone calls from prospective purchasers. The prospects are no longer interested when they find out the acreage is zoned for agriculture, he said. “The first step is zoning,” Teet said about the M-1 request. “That ideally fits the potential uses of that property.” The second step is utilities, Teet added. The site already has gas and electric accessible, and water and sewer are about a half mile down the road from the Northwestern Water and…

Not In Our Town general meeting on Jan. 5

The monthly general meeting of Not In Our Town BG will be held in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union of Bowling Green State University on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 3 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 315 and is open for public participation. Those present will review events of the past month, hear reports of current activities, and consider issues to address and opportunities to build a more safe, respectful and inclusive community.  NIOT BG is a community-wide movement, with monthly meetings alternating between the BGSU campus and a downtown location.  Campus parking passes for the meeting are available by emailing NIOT co-chair Alex Solis at

Latta votes against stripping power from ethics office

Behind closed doors Monday night, House Republicans voted 119 to 74 to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics – which has served as an independent watchdog on ethical wrongdoing. Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, stuck with House GOP leaders and voted against the plans to usurp the power of the ethics office. Then after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his annoyance with that being the first action of the 115th Congress, the plan was scrapped by the House. “It was stripped out today,” said Drew Griffin, press secretary to Latta in Washington, D.C. Latta was not available, but Griffin said he was fielding several calls about the ethics issue. “Obviously we’re starting to get requests on this,” Griffin said. The ethics office was established in 2008 under House Democrats in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.

BG recycling center dealing with holiday surge

(Submitted by Bowling Green Recycling Center) The Bowling Green Recycling Center has been scrambling to keep up with the Holiday surge. Both curbside collection and the dropoff volumes increase dramatically right after Christmas and this will continue for another week or so. While there has been improvement in the reduction of trash in curbside recyclables the trash problem has increased with the Christmas surge. Christmas wrapping paper in bags has been a problem. Plastic bags are not accepted and neither is wrapping paper. Toy boxes with plastic windows are another big Holiday problem. The boxes are recyclable but the plastic must be removed.Please breakdown boxes to save space. The boxes also run up the feed conveyor better if broken down. The following are guidelines for Bowling Green curbside and dropoff recycling. BOWLING GREEN  RECYCLING GUIDELINES Curbside recycling collection is designed to capture high volume recyclables generated in the family home that can be separated at a recovery facility. Not all recyclables can be collected curbside. Not all communities accept the same materials for curbside collection. Sort lines to separate commingled materials are not designed to handle all recyclables. It is labor intensive and too expensive to collect everything that is recyclable curbside. Several materials collected at the Bowling Green Recycling 24hr drop off are not accepted for curbside collection due to Sort line processing limitations of people and equipment. Curbside materials must be placed LOOSE inside the city recycling cart (not bagged). Here is a list of items NOT accepted for Bowling Green curbside recycling: No plastic bags—they get wrapped up in equipment–take back to the store. Nothing in plastic bags–it is not cost effective or safe to tear open plastic bags. No glass curbside–broken glass is a safety hazard and contaminates the paper–take to  drop off. No shredded paper—it cannot be separated on the Sortline –take to drop off in plastic bags. No scrap metal—metal gets caught in equipment and causes damage–take to drop off. No miscellaneous plastic–PLASTIC BOTTLES ONLY–neck smaller than body with screw on lids. No books—-they can’t be separated from the paper by the equipment–take to drop off. No batteries—they can cause a FIRE No styrofoam No greasy cardboard—tear off and discard the greasy portion of pizza boxes No clothes—they get wrapped up in equipment—take to Goodwill or use for rags   These following are the ONLY items accepted curbside in Bowling Green (nothing in plastic bags). FIBER—Cardboard,paperboard (ex cereal boxes)newspaper, magazines and office paper. (no shredded paper–take bagged shredded paper to the dropoff) Shredded paper falls through the debris screen…

BG Schools facing big issues in 2017 – buildings, levy, drug testing, contract talks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Board of Education met to reorganize this morning for a new year heavy with weighty issues. Filling their plate are school building issues, the proposed income tax renewal, contract negotiations, possible drug testing, and curriculum questions. “There are a lot of big decisions,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said Tuesday morning. The board elected officers for the new year, with Ellen Scholl being named president and Jill Carr being named vice president. The other board members are Bill Clifford, Ginny Stewart and Paul Walker. One of the biggest issues facing the school board is a decision on whether to build a new consolidated elementary building to the north of the middle and high schools, or renovate the existing elementaries. “We need to make a decision on where we’re going with facilities,” Scruci said. A series of community meetings have been held to explain the options and gather public input. However, attendance has been limited, and the school board and superintendent want more citizen involvement. “I need more community input,” before making a decision, Carr said. Scruci has gotten one estimate from a professional survey firm, but the price was higher than he had expected at $12,500. The firm informed him that the use of cell phones and lack of landlines makes contacting people much more difficult and costly. Scruci said he would seek estimates from other survey firms. “We’re trying to get a better pulse on the community,” the superintendent said. The school board will also hear from at least two more companies offering drug testing of students. The board heard from one company last year, but Scruci said other options are available that screen for more drugs. The board decided that drug testing should be one of the topics discussed at the monthly school board meetings. Another topic to be discussed is social media, perhaps at the January board meeting. According to Scruci, safety tips are being given to school staff after some social media accounts have been hacked. Curriculum will also be a hot topic this year, with the district focusing on trying to improve state testing scores. “We want to ensure our curriculum is helping students achieve what they want to,” Walker said. And the board continues to hope for changes in state testing requirements. Collective bargaining with school employees will also be conducted this year, though that will occur privately and not at public board meetings. And looming over the year is the governor’s biennial budget, Scruci said. “We’re all holding…

Garbage pickup delayed this week; Christmas tree pickup begins Jan. 9

Bowling Green’s refuse and recycling collection will be delayed one day during the week of Jan. 2. Regular Monday collection will occur on Tuesday, regular Tuesday collection will occur on Wednesday, regular Wednesday collection will occur on Thursday, and regular Thursday collection will occur on Friday. Questions about this may be directed to the Public Works Division at 419-354-6227. Christmas tree pickup will begin Jan. 9.

Big money thrown into race for state rep seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Money from state political parties helped tip the scales for contributions in the race for Wood County’s state representative last fall. Campaign finance reports filed with the Ohio Secretary of State showed that Theresa Gavarone, who won the Third District seat, received $416,359 from the Ohio Republican House Organizational Committee and the Ohio Republican State and Central Executive Committee. Gavarone’s Democratic opponent, Kelly Wicks, received a small fraction of that – $50,057 – from the Ohio Democratic Party. Both candidates also collected contributions from many political action committees. Unlike years past, when labor unions could be counted on to pitch in for the Democratic candidate, this year several unions contributed to Gavarone’s campaign. Following is a list of all the PAC or business money noted in the campaign finance reports filed by both candidates. Gavarone: Ohio Trucking Association, Columbus, $1,000 Pfizer Inc. PAC, New York City, $500 A. Local 50 Plumbers & Steamfitters, Northwood, $1,000 Northwestern Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Toledo, $1,000 Owens Illinois Inc., Perrysburg, $1,000 Wholesale Beer & Wine Association of Ohio, Columbus, $1,000 CSX Good Government Fund, Washington, D.C., $1,000 Associated General Contractors of Ohio PAC, Columbus, $350 Ohio LawPac, Columbus, $800 Ohio Optometry PAC, Worthington, $400 National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio Save America’s Free Enterprise Trust, Washington, D.C., $2,581.25 Ohio Credit Union Legislative Action Committee, Columbus, $1,000 Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund, Toledo, $2,500 Ohio Dental Association Political Action Committee, Columbus, $500 Ohio Health Care Association PAC, Lewis Center, Ohio, $1,500 Osana Nurse Anesthetist, Columbus, $500 Ohio CPA Political Action Committee, Columbus, $750 Ohio Contractors PAC, Columbus, $300 Ohio State Farm Agents and Associates, Cincinnati, $250 Police & Fire Retirees of Ohio, Reynoldsburg, $300 Political Education Patterns, Cleveland, $8,000 ACT Ohio Foundation, Columbus, $3,000 Realtors PAC, Columbus, $2,000 Ohio State Medical Association PAC, Dublin, Ohio, $250 Nisource PAC, Columbus, $500 Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Columbus, $500 Frost Brown Todd LLC Political Action Committee, Cincinnati, $350 Marathon Oil Co. Employees PAC, Findlay, $500 Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP, Columbus, $250 BP America PAC, Washington, D.C., $500 Bridget McAuliffe, Barnes & Thornburg lobbyist, Dublin, Ohio, $250 Government Advantage Group, Columbus, $250 McDonald Hopkins LLC PAC, Cleveland, $250 American Electric Power Committee for Responsible Government, Columbus, $1,000 Renaissance Health Service Corporation PAC, $250 Ohio Society of Anesthesiologists, Columbus, $500 Wicks: OCSEA/AFCME, Westerville, Ohio, $1,000 Producer Ohio Media LLC, Bowling Green, $1,250 IUPAT, Hanover, Maryland, $2,000 UA Plumbers & Steamfitters PAC, Northwood, $300 International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Ironworkers, Toledo,…

Study: More farmers need to take steps to reduce phosphorus feeding toxic algae

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many northern Ohio farmers have already taken steps voluntarily to cut down on toxic algae blooms – but not enough, according to researchers. The U.S. and Canada have agreed to cut phosphorus discharge into Lake Erie by 40 percent in the next decade. But that goal won’t be met unless more farmers make some changes, according to researchers from Ohio State University. The OSU project found that the following steps by farmers would help reach that 40 percent reduction in phosphorus discharge, which feeds toxic algae in the lake: Apply fertilizer below the soil surface. Plant cover crops which prevent rain from washing fertilizer into waterways. These crops are grown in fields that would otherwise go unplanted. Plant buffer strips, with grass or non-crop plants surrounding the fields. These also keep the fertilizer from going into ditches or creeks, and ultimately into the lake. The OSU study found that 39 percent of farmers in the Lake Erie watershed already use subsurface fertilization, 22 percent grow cover crops and 35 percent plant buffer strips. Those steps have all been taken on a voluntary basis by farmers. However, those efforts are not enough, according to the researchers. To cut the phosphorus discharge in Lake Erie by 40 percent, each of those three preventative steps must grow by at least 20 percent. “A lot of farmers have already taken the risk … to help move the needle,” Jay Martin, project leader and director of OSU’s Field to Faucet water quality program said recently, according to the Associated Press. “That’s really encouraging. But we need to accelerate.” When contacted this week, Martin expressed optimism that voluntary efforts by farmers in this region of Ohio can result in the difference needed. According to Martin, information from surveys of farmers in the Maumee watershed shows there is great potential for farmers to reach the needed levels of adoption. “The surveys we have completed show likely future adoption rates for these practices exceeding these needed levels,” Martin said. “It’s also important to note that many farmers have already adopted these practices, as demonstrated by current adoption rates of 39 percent for subsurface placement of phosphorus fertilizer and 22 percent for cover crops,” Martin said. “With continued and accelerated adoption of these practices, it appears we can reach reduction targets.” Martin predicted more farmers will get on board once they see the value of the buffer and fertilizer practices. “Our surveys also tell us that one of the most important factors farmers consider while evaluating…

BG financial forecast not as sunny for 2017

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s city finances had a particularly sunny year in 2016 with rising income tax collections and a one-time overlap in receipts. But the forecast for 2017 looks far less bright – with storm clouds looming in the near future. “In 2016 we had a really good year,” council member Bob McOmber said Thursday during the final council meeting of the year. “We already know in advance that 2017 is going to be more challenging.” McOmber forecasted “clouds on the horizon” that need to be addressed. So as the new year rolls around, the city is looking for an umbrella – a plan to increase city revenues – in expectation of next year’s clouds. The budget for 2017 lists revenue of $14,996,197 and appropriations of $15,623,253 – which means it has a deficit of $627,056. On Thursday evening, City Council approved the appropriations for 2017. The city’s overall revenue continues to be flat, while costs continue to escalate. While income tax revenue is up, the city continues to take hits from interest revenue, intergovernmental funds, estate tax losses, and the end to its cable franchise income. Local government funds shrank from 18 percent of the general fund a decade ago, to 7 percent now. Interest revenue slipped from 6 to 3 percent of the general fund. McOmber pointed out the end of estate tax revenues and the loss of half the local government funds that formerly helped the city’s budget. He expressed concern that the state may decide it wants the other half of the funding. Council member Sandy Rowland said the “clouds” looming over Bowling Green are no fault of city administration. “We know we have lost money – none of it under our control,” she said. “We’re doing an outstanding job with what we have.” Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter warned earlier this month that if steps aren’t taken to cut costs or find new revenue sources, the problem will only get worse. “We need a sustainable plan to bring our budget into alignment,” Tretter said. So ideas to raise revenue will be a priority item for discussion in the new year. City Finance Director Brian Bushong told council earlier this month that the deficit may not be as dire as it sounds. Historically, the city has spent 95 percent of its budget, and the income is usually a bit higher than projected. “It’s not as bad as it seems,” Bushong said. Capital requests in the budget that made the list for funding in 2017 include…