Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Adventure therapy to reach out to traumatized kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Children who have gone through traumatic experiences can’t always be reached with traditional therapy alone. So Wood County agencies will soon be trying Adventure Therapy to help children who have faced trauma in their young lives. Wood County Children’s Services has received a $15,000 grant to pay for training in Adventure Therapy, according to Sandi Carsey, Children’s Services director. Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, and Renewed Mind in Perrysburg will provide the therapy, Carsey said. Adventure Therapy will not replace more traditional therapy, but will offer kids aged 12 to 18 a chance to work as a team with other children to do something they may not feel they can’t accomplish, such as climb a rock wall. “Kids will be challenged to do something,” Carsey said. “It will help build up their confidence.” Adventure Therapy, which has been around nearly 20 years, blends experiential activities and evidence-based treatment, according to Janelle LaFond, executive director at Children’s Resource Center. “It won’t be sitting down like talking therapy,” LaFond said. “It will be things that really challenge kids.” “We want to increase their resiliency and their own feelings of confidence,” she said. Adventure Therapy is used primarily with kids who have a traumatic history, such as being removed from their homes and placed in foster care, LaFond said. Children’s Services has found over the years that oftentimes when children age out of foster care they are not prepared to be on their own. This type of therapy could be helpful to them, LaFond said. “This is really the gravy on the potatoes,” she said. LaFond explained that some children, such as those with attention deficit problems, respond best to very structured therapy programs. “But trauma kids, when you put up charts and rules, it doesn’t work as well.” Adventure Therapy is also designed to help children establish trust, social skills, a help seeking behavior. The goal of the therapy is to assess children’s needs and “meet them where they are,” by tailoring activities that engage them and achieve outcomes that will allow them to function more successfully with family, school and work.  

BG erects two LED message signs

Bowling Green city officials have a new way of communicating with city residents. Two electronic message signs have been purchased, with one in front of the police station on West Wooster Street and the other by the public works area on East Poe Road. The signs will alert residents about such items as traffic changes for construction or special events in the community, and about seasonal services such as brush pickup. The sign in front of the police station may also make public service announcements on buckling up and not drinking and driving. The signs cost $10,250 each, according to Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett.  

St. John’s Woods was hog heaven

By CHRIS GAJEWICZ BG Naturalist   Stephen W. St. John came to Bowling Green in the 1840s. He was an attorney from New York State and came to BG with the hope of developing a successful law firm in Wood County and of becoming what we would call today, a “Gentleman Farmer”. St. John owned much of what is currently Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve although its appearance in the 1800s was very different from what it is today. We know from land records, all of the meadow area was utilized for the planting of row crops and the St. John’s Woods woodlot was used as a pasture for hogs. We also know someone lived in the general area of the west side of St. John’s Woods, although no foundations or structures have been found to date. We have located a dump site within St. John’s Woods and it looks as if it was active for quite a long time leading us to believe that human habitation was not far away. From the plant record, (meaning plants that are currently growing in the general vicinity of the west side of St. John’s Woods), someone who had knowledge of medicinal plant use had a loose garden of healing plants. Perhaps the people responsible for these plants were share croppers of some sort and their dwellings were not built on foundations making it difficult for us to now determine where they actually lived. The St. John house still stands on Sand Ridge Road and is occupied. St. John’s Woods is a leftover from a time when farmers actively managed woodlots on their farms. Many used these woodlots for lumber, fuel, fencing materials and in St. John’s case, for pasture. For the longest time I was under the assumption that St. John pastured his hogs in the woodlot out of frugality; there was a free food crop and natural shade. Oak trees in the woodlot were large and could provide shade but they also provided acorns and in all likelihood, there may have been American Chestnut trees growing in the woods prior to the introduction of the blight in the early 1900s which killed them all. The oaks; Red, White, and Black, all produced fruit abundantly as did the Chestnuts. Recently, I was listening to NPR and I heard an interview with a woman from Connecticut who has revisited the European tradition of finishing her hogs with … acorns! Mr. St. John wasn’t just being frugal, he was being true to his family’s French roots. It was, and still is, a common practice in many parts of Europe, including France, to let the hogs roam free. The hogs eat natural foods that include a steady diet of acorns and chestnuts which add a great deal of flavor to the meat. Each year at the end of the season, St. John would take his acorn stuffed, “piggies”, off to market and the next year the cycle began all over. Historically, that’s how St. John’s Woods was managed… indirectly… by hogs. The hogs didn’t limit themselves to the acorn and chestnut crop, however. They ate pretty much everything they could find that was palatable. This means that any wildflower that poked up out of the ground in the spring was immediately consumed. Today, there really aren’t…

Communities caught in middle of tax tug-of-war

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Ohio Gov. John Kasich boasts about digging the state out of a deficit and cutting taxes, local government officials see little to brag about. To them, the state’s strategy was not tax cuts, but “tax shifts,” putting the burden onto municipal, township and county governments. The changes in tax revenue have affected every community in Wood County. On the larger side, Bowling Green has lost $964,764 in annual income, and Perrysburg has lost even more at $1,154,451. On the smaller side, Pemberville lost $43,924 a year, Weston lost $41,335, and Haskins lost $5,368, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. “This is putting the pressure on communities to raise those taxes,” said Kent Scarrett, director of communications for the Ohio Municipal League. “The state says we are cutting taxes left and right,” Scarrett said. “The fact is, that burden is put on local communities.” The three changes made by the state are: Elimination of Ohio estate tax, which is also called the “death tax.” Eighty percent of this money had gone to local communities. Bowling Green lost an estimated $382,848 a year. Big cuts in the state’s Local Government Fund, which made up sizeable portions of county, municipal and township budgets. The LGF was created during the Depression when the sales tax was enacted to share money with grassroots government. Bowling Green lost $563,480 a year. Elimination of local property taxes on business machinery and inventory, also called the CAT tax. The state had a planned phase out of the tax over a period of time, but hastened the cuts. Bowling Green lost $18,436 a year. Those cuts have some communities struggling to keep vital services, such as fire stations open, and are considering more reductions in city services, Scarrett said. “That’s the disconnect that’s going on,” he said. “You’re just shifting the burden.” Across the state, communities are trying four main strategies to handle the funding cuts, according to Scarrett. The first is natural attrition, “especially in safety areas like police and fire,” he said. “A lot of communities aren’t filling those positions.” Next is increasing fees and service charges, for such items as trash pickup, utilities or permits. More communities are also looking at reducing or eliminating tax credits for residents who work outside the municipality. And finally, “the last resort many communities look for” – tax increases, Scarrett said. The state initiated the tax changes to help deal with an $8 billion budget deficit in 2010. The state was suffering from a depressed economy and reduced revenue. But so were local communities, Scarrett said. “For five years, our folks had already been working through this. Our folks were already trying to find reductions.” “Our communities know that more economic activity raises revenues,” he said. But attracting economic activity is difficult for communities when their funding is cut. Scarrett suggested that since Ohio has recovered from its deficit, and has more than $2 billion in its rainy day fund, that it’s time to start sharing the wealth with grassroots government again. “Our communities are strapped,” he said. Grants are not the solution, as some state leaders believe, Scarrett said. Many communities don’t have the matching funds required to secure grants. They need funding “without strings.” “Putting more grants out…

Two BG students charged for bringing knives to school

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two Bowling Green students face charges after bringing knives to their schools this week. The first knife was discovered at Bowling Green Middle School on Monday, according to BG Police Major Justin White. An officer was on routine foot patrol at the school when the assistant principal notified the officer that a student was found with a fixed blade knife. School officials searched the 13-year-old boy’s locker and found another knife in his bookbag. The student reportedly told school officials he had the knives at school “for defensive purposes.” “We had no indication he made any threats,” White said. The boy was taken to the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with conveyance of a weapon in a school safety zone. The second knife was found Tuesday when the father of the alleged victim called police to report that his 10-year-old son had been threatened by another 10-year-old with a knife. The victim told police that he and another 10-year-old boy were walking home from Conneaut Elementary School and engaging in an ongoing argument. The alleged victim said the other boy threatened him by showing him the knife and saying something like, “I’m going to get you,” White said. During the investigation, police discovered that the boy with the fold-out pocket knife had the weapon at school, with a school official reporting that they saw the knife when the student left school. The boy has been charged with aggravated menacing and having a weapon in a school safety zone. He was also taken to the juvenile detention center. No one was injured in either incident. The police are working with school administration, which will handle any school discipline. “Kids are making poor decisions,” White said. “They are potentially affecting the rest of their lives.”

Health district to build dental center that won’t turn away uninsured

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Health District has given local residents something to smile about. The district’s Health and Wellness Center has been awarded $824,997 to build a dental center to serve Wood County residents regardless of their ability to pay, according to Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The district had applied for two projects, one to build a new center and one to renovate existing meeting rooms. The new center was funded. There is also still a chance the health district will receive funds to help pay for dental staffing needs. The health district has been trying for decades to address dental needs. “This is a huge leap forward in meeting this,” Batey said. “It truly will be a benefit to our residents who are uninsured for dental or who have Medicaid, but can’t find a dental provider who will accept them as patients. It will be a whole new challenge, but we look forward to continuing to expand services to give our residents the greatest options for good health.” The dental clinic will be an expansion of the existing Health and Wellness Center that is part of the health district offices at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The dental clinic will have at least four patient chairs and will offer full services. “Just like your typical dental office,” Batey said. “It’s very exciting,” said Diane Krill, CEO of the health and wellness center. Krill said the need for dental services is great. “I just think with the community health assessment, it showed there was a dental need here.” Many Wood County families cannot afford dental care for their children, or cannot find dental offices willing to accept Medicaid patients. “We still see a lack of access for those individuals,” Batey said last year. “That’s still a spot where Wood County struggles.” About a decade ago, local officials who cared about public health and about children met at the county health department to discuss the lack of dental care for local children. At that point there was one dentist in the county who freely accepted Medicaid patients. The problem wasn’t an easy fix with a clear culprit. Dentists are reimbursed at a lower rate by Medicaid than through private insurance. And the Medicaid patients often have significant dental needs because they have delayed treatment due to the expense. “That’s the first thing people put off,” Batey said. They wait till the pain is unbearable, and the cost is escalated. Since then, the county has offered a Band-Aid solution that has been a lifesaver to some residents. Once a month, the Smile Express parks its RV-size mobile dental unit outside the Wood County Health District to treat patients who otherwise would go without care. Though it has made a difference in many lives, it is just scratching the surface of the unmet dental needs in the county. Every time the health district conducts an assessment of the county, the lack of dental services for low income residents ranks high on the list of needs. “It’s an issue of access to care. They don’t have dental insurance and they can’t afford the out of pocket expenses,” Batey said. Wood County is not alone. Last year, dental care was the top unmet health care…

ATM in Meijer parking lot approved by city planning commission

Bowling Green Planning Commission approved plans Wednesday evening for a Huntington Bank ATM to be constructed in the Meijer parking lot on East Wooster Street. The standalone drive-up ATM under a canopy will be located in the southwest corner of the parking lot, behind the Meijer gas station. A Huntington branch is already located inside Meijer, but the branch further in town on East Wooster Street has been closed. Also at the meeting, the planning commission heard a request for the annexation of 6.2 acres between 1502 and 1518 Napoleon Road. The property is currently in Center Township. Petitioning for the annexation are Steven and Marcia Seubert. A public hearing on the request will be held at the next planning commission meeting on June 1. Planning Director Heather Sayler updated the commission on projects going on in the city, including the battery-wholesale store being built in front of Woodland Mall, the Burger King in front of Home Depot, and the Fairfield Inn on East Wooster that is expected to be open by October.

Clean Plate Awards to be handed out by health district

Wood County Health District is pleased to announce the presentation of this year’s Clean Plate Awards on Thursday, May 12, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. The presentation will take place at the Wood County Health District located at 1840 East Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The 2016 Clean Plate Award will be presented to forty licensed food service operations out of more than 800 food service operations in Wood County. These restaurants and other food service operations have been dedicated to upholding excellent sanitation and food safety knowledge within their facility. The recipients will receive a certificate of excellence and recognition of excellent performance in food safety from the Wood County Health District.  The winners of the Clean Plate Award will also receive a Clean Plate Award decal to display at their facility. This is the sixth year that the Wood County Board of Health will hand out the awards. “The Food Service Operations in Wood County that are presented with the Clean Plate Award have gone above and beyond in the practice of safe food handling,” said Lana Glore, Director of Environmental Services at the Wood County Health District. This year’s recipients include: American Table Family Restaurant, Bass Pro Shop, Bowling Green High School, Bowling Green Manor, Bowling Green Middle School, Carolyn’s Personalized Catering, Conneaut Elementary, Crim Elementary, Eagle Point Elementary, Eastwood High School, Eastwood Middle School, Edible Arrangements, Fernando’s, First Solar/Eurest Dining, Glenwood Elementary, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Kenwood Elementary, Luckey Elementary, Marco’s Pizza #8, Nazareth Hall, Northwood High School, Northwood Elementary, Olney Elementary, Pemberville Elementary, Poppin George’s Kettle Corn of BG, Rita’s Dairy Bar, Rossford High School, Subway #5859, Super Suppers – Perrysburg-Maumee, Swig,  Wood County Committee on Aging in Rossford, Northeast Center, Perrysburg, North Baltimore, Pemberville, Wayne & Bowling Green, Wood County Justice Center, Wood Lane School, and WSOS Perrysburg/Rossford Early Childhood Center.    

Monthly siren test to be delayed for commencement

On Saturday, May 7, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office will conduct the monthly outdoor warning siren test at noon instead of the normal 10 a.m. test time due to commencement ceremonies at Bowling Green State University. The regular monthly outdoor warning siren test on the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. will resume in June.

Four file for empty seat on BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Four people are hoping to make the grade as the new member of the Bowling Green Board of Education. Filing for the seat are: Bill Clifford, retired Wood Lane superintendent; Joanna Craig, a parent in the district; Barbara Moses, a retired BGSU professor; and Bryan Wiles, a pastor in the community. The four are seeking to fill the seat vacated by Ed Whipple, who had served on the school board since 2014, but had to resign when he accepted a position in higher education out of state. The board candidates will all be interviewed by the board of education this evening. According to Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci, the board intends to announce its decision on May 12, then swear in the new board member at the board meeting on May 17. The board is required to make an appointment within 30 days of the vacancy. If the board fails to fill the vacancy within 30 days, the probate court must fill the seat. Moses ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Ed Whipple’s departure means just two of the remaining four board members have much experience. Paul Walker and Ellen Scholl have served multiple terms, but Jill Carr and Ginny Stewart are new to the board this year. “There’s something to say about the experience piece,” Scruci said. At the last board of education meeting, Scruci emphasized the importance of the board position. “This is a critical appointment because we’ve got some important issues coming up,” like teacher negotiations, facility discussions, and a levy to pass, Scruci said. “There’s some difficult things coming forward.” Those interested in being appointed to the board had to submit a letter of interest by April 29, addressing the following issues: Reason for interest in joining the board. Qualifications and experience that would add value to the board. Most pressing or important issue facing Bowing Green City Schools. The eligibility requirements to apply are few, with the applicants needing to be registered voters and residing in the school district. The new board member will fill the remainder of Whipple’s term, which ends December 2017.

Historical society seeks items for time capsule

The Wood County Historical Society is seeking items for consideration to include in a 2016 Wood County time capsule, which will be placed inside the museum as accessibility construction draws to a close, leaving a legacy for future generations to enjoy and experience. Selected items will be placed into the Time Capsule, sealed, and placed inside the framework of the Museum at a special ceremony later this year, not to be removed until 2075 when the Museum celebrates its 100-year anniversary. Items should be three-dimensional (not paper), have some connection to Wood County or community history, and should not exceed 14” x 16” x 24.” Not all item suggestions submitted may be selected. Donors must be from or live in Wood County. The deadline to submit items for suggestion is June 1, 2016. For more information about submitting items for consideration to the 2016 time capsule, visit or call the museum at 419-352-0967. The Wood County Historical Center & Museum is open for self-guided tours Monday – Friday, 10am-4pm and weekends 1-4 pm. Time Capsule handouts and applications are available at the museum. Other May events include: –      Mommy & Me Story-time and tour – May 4, 10-Noon, reoccurring monthly –      Paper Dolls Tea – May 12, 2 pm, reoccurring monthly –      Business in Boomtown Walking Tour with the Wood County District Public Library – May 21 The Museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green, about a quarter-mile east of  I-75 and Rt. 6 (exit 179).

BG honors Tim Dunn for going to bat for kids, and police officer for helping save life

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green honored two people Monday evening – a man who has spent several summers giving kids the chance to play ball, and a police officer who help save the life of overdose victim. Tim Dunn, or “Mr. Baseball” as the mayor called him, was recognized for more than 40 years working to grow Little League in Bowling Green. Dunn started on the grounds crew in the early 1970s, moved into the role of umpire, and then worked his way up to leadership in the baseball program, Mayor Dick Edwards said. Dunn was instrumental in moving the former Pee Wee ball park from its two diamonds off Mercer Road, to Carter Park where it had room to grow. The ball fields have room for beginning T-ball players to adults who don’t want to give up America’s national pastime. The well-maintained fields at Carter Park have become “a regional attraction,” with several teams traveling to Bowling Green for tournaments, Edwards said. “You have clearly been the driving force,” the mayor said to Dunn. Several of the council members had personal stories to share about the ball fields and Dunn’s involvement. Council president Mike Aspacher said he has spent a lot of time at the ball park. “A number of families and a number of kids have been affected in a positive way by BG baseball and Tim Dunn,” he said. Every spring, the ball park seems to be on automatic reset and ready for kids to step up to the plate. “That’s because all of the work Tim does behind the scenes,” Aspacher said. “The city of Bowling Green is a better place because of his efforts.” Council member Bob McOmber said his son starting play ball out at the park at age 9. He continued, “till they tore the uniform off of him.” “He’s made Bowling Green a better place for a lot of kids,” McOmber said of Dunn. Like many parents watching games in the bleachers, council member Theresa Charters Gavarone said she spent many a cold, windy night out at Carter Park. “It was a great experience,” for the kids playing ball, she said. Council member Sandy Rowland said her grandchild played ball at Carter Park and loved the experience. “You play a major role in making the community the fine place it is.” Public Works Director Brian Craft, who coached kids’ teams at Carter Park, said the ballplayers didn’t know how good they had it till they traveled to other ballparks and found there was no running water, no restrooms, no concession stand. They quickly realized how lucky they were to have Carter Park. “Hats off to you, Tim,” Craft said. Dunn accepted the award, but passed on the credit to all the volunteers, coaches and parents who help run the league. He also thanked businesses for helping out with everything from heavy equipment to prep the fields, to food, to fundraising. As he looked out at those in the council chambers Monday evening, Dunn saw many people who helped coach, helped in the concession stand or cheered for teams during the last four decades. “It’s been a challenging, but fun 40 years,” Dunn said. “We have a great story out there” at Carter Park, he said. “It’s just…

County auditor mails out Homestead Exemption Renewals

Approximately 9,100 Homestead Exemption Renewals have been mailed according to Michael Sibbersen, Wood County Auditor. These renewal forms are mailed to all taxpayers who currently have the Homestead Exemption on their residence. If there are no changes in the Homestead applicant’s status the form need not be returned. New applicants wishing to apply for the Homestead Exemption for real estate and manufactured homes must meet the following qualifications: applicants must be at least 65 years of age on or before December 31, 2016 or permanently disabled as of January 1, 2016 and have an Ohio Adjusted Gross Income of less than $31,500 per year. Applicants must also own and occupy the home as their principal place of residence as of January 1, 2016. A person has only one principal place of residence, therefore, the law allows for only one exemption per person. Homeowners who were receiving the Homestead Exemption as of January 1, 2013 or prior are not subject to the income verification and do not need to take any action to continue receiving the exemption. Homeowners who were receiving the Homestead Exemption after January 1, 2014 are subject to income verification each year and should return the form if the 2015 Ohio Adjusted Gross Income is over $31,500. Homeowners needing assistance with the renewal form may contact the Auditor’s Office at: 419-354-1925, Toll Free: 866-860- 4140, wait for the operator and ask for extension 1925, or via email Homeowners who need a new application form may visit the website at to print a copy of the new application form or contact the Auditor’s Office to request one by mail.

BG Council approves plan for largest solar field in Ohio

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The future is looking pretty bright for Bowling Green’s solar field project, with city council voting unanimously Monday evening to approve plans to install the largest solar field in Ohio. Concerns were expressed by a neighbor of the site about the loss of prime farmland. But her concerns were not enough to throw shade on the project. “This looks like a really good addition to the Bowling Green energy portfolio,” said council member Bob McOmber. “I don’t see any minuses with this.” The solar project had been stalled since last summer. Now, if all goes as planned, an estimated 2,900 homes in the city will be powered by sunlight starting next year. “I appreciate the project moving forward. Environmentally, it’s a good thing,” council member Bruce Jeffers said. “I’m really happy to see this happen.” The solar field is expected to produce more power than originally planned. The initial plan called for 110 acres to be used on the city’s 317 acres located at the southeast corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of the city limits. The city was in line to get 10.5 megawatts from the solar field, according to Brian O’Connell, director of utilities for BG. However, instead of fixed mounted panels, the new plan calls for single axis tracker panels, which will rotate and follow the path of the sun as it moves through the sky. The rotating panels will take up 35 more acres and cost more to install, but they will increase power production, he said. The solar field will generate 20 megawatts, with Bowling Green getting 13.74 megawatts of the power for its customers. With the addition of the solar power to the existing wind and hydro sources already used by the city, Bowling Green will get close to 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources starting in 2017, O’Connell said. “It certainly is a good thing for the city,” council president Mike Aspacher said. The solar field was initially planned for the western section of the city’s farm acreage. However, to reduce disruption and concerns for neighbors, the solar panels will be constructed in the middle of the acreage, with farmland left on both the east and west ends. However, neighboring farmer Carol Riker expressed concerns about the loss of quality farmland, the route of the transmission lines, noise, lighting and drainage. “We’re not against solar,” she explained, but questioned the need to take 145 acres of quality farmland when other acreage may be available. “We’re sad to see good farmland going.” Jeffers sympathized. “Loss of farmland is a significant issue,” he said. O’Connell said other sites were considered, but land in the nearby industrial park has already had infrastructure improvements so it is ready for future manufacturers. The city did not consider smaller split up acreage for the project since the large scale of the project helped drive down the costs of the solar field, he said. Council instructed O’Connell to try to address other concerns with Riker. Under the solar proposal approved Monday evening, American Municipal Power Inc. will play a different role in the project than initially planned. Originally, AMP planned to own and operate the solar sites in multiple communities. However, AMP was not eligible for federal investment tax…

BG named among top 10 best cities for families

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green has been named one of the 10 Best Cities for Families in 2016. The rating was given by, which ranks America’s cities on scales for golf, foodies, college towns, most accessible and more. Mayor Dick Edwards announced the ranking Monday evening during a council meeting. “That bodes well for us,” he said, listing the parks, schools and safety services as some of the reasons for the city’s high rating. “I’m going to start using that tomorrow,” said council member Sandy Rowland, who is a Realtor. Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said the city did not apply for the award – the website selected it. “It communicates what kind of community we have,” Fawcett said of the award. used specific criteria to select the cities considered best for families. “The communities we choose to live in as we raise children are arguably the most important, as they tend to be some of the places we live the longest,” stated. So the website created this 10-best list to offer examples of cities that are good places to raise children. “Many of the key reasons Americans move revolve around doing what’s best for their families. We move at certain key stages – as we get married, as we have kids, as our kids become old enough for school, and as our kids head off to college,” the website said. The rankings are based on several criteria. “We crunched the data. We looked at the quality of the schools, the crime rate, and measures of the quality of healthcare and economy. We gave points to communities that are walkable, diverse, have lots of parks and active children’s sections in their libraries. We favored communities with shorter commute times (so working parents can be home more and on the road less) and larger populations of other kids to play with.” Bowling Green was also given high marks for affordability and accessibility. The city is “surprisingly affordable.” The average cost of a house is a little more than $129,000, compared to the national average of $188,900, according to The city’s cost of living is also lower than the national average. Bowling Green’s unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than the national rate, and job growth is on the upswing, the website stated. The city also has one of the shortest average commutes of the cities on the list, which means parents can spend more time with their families and less time on the road. The city is just a 30-minute drive from Toledo, where families can access the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Zoo and Imagination Station. Closer to home, Bowling Green families can partake in the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival, the Classics on Main Car Show, and downtown trick or treat. Bowling Green State University offers family events such as the planetarium, ice skating, musical performances and athletic competitions. Fawcett said Bowling Green was in “respectable company,” with the other cities that ranked in the top 10 for families being Palo Alto, California; Homewood, Alabama; St. George, Utah; Oak Park, Illinois; Chula Vista, California; Holland, Michigan; Newton, Massachusetts; Chandler, Arizona; and Rockville, Maryland.