Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

BG public utilities recognized for reliability

Bowling Green Municipal Utilities has earned a Reliable PublicPower Provider (RP3) designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service. Neil James, manager of distribution operations at Santee Cooper, South Carolina, and chair of the Association’s RP3 Review Panel, presented the designations on April 30 during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference held in Raleigh, N.C. The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Bowling Green Municipal Utilities joins more than 250 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation. “This designation is about more than just reliability. It’s about operational excellence,” said James. “These utilities and their communities should be proud to represent the best of the best in the areas of reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.” “This is a great honor,” said Brian O’Connell, utilities director of Bowling Green Municipal Utilities. “Our staff is dedicated and committed to providing a high level of service to our electric customers. We are very happy to receive this recognition and will continue to work hard to improve our electric system.” Bowing Green has consistently received the RP3 award since 2011. The American Public Power Association has offered the RP3 designation for 13 years. The association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 49 million people in 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. The association advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training and operations.

BG Ride of Silence scheduled for May 16

The Bowling Green Ride of Silence will be held on Wednesday, May 16, beginning at City Park. Interested riders should arrive at 6:30 p.m. and be ready to ride by 7 p.m. All are welcome to join with cyclists worldwide in a free, silent bike ride honoring those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. Helmets are mandatory. The ride will go no faster than 12 mph and is approximately eight miles long. For questions or more information visit or contact Linda at

Health district to present 2018 Clean Plate Awards

(Submitted by Wood County Health Department) Wood County Health District will present the 2018 Clean Plate Award to 30 licensed food facilities that have demonstrated commitment to excellent sanitation and food safety practices. Presentation of the awards will take place at the health department, 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, prior to a meeting of the Wood County Board of Health. The Clean Plate Award will be given this year to less than 4 percent of the more than 800 licensed food facilities in Wood County. Those who receive it have shown dedication to upholding excellent sanitation and food safety knowledge. “To receive this award, these food services have consistently practiced safe food handling,” said Lana Glore, director of Environmental Health. This is the eighth year the health department has presented the Clean Plate Award. Each winner will receive a certificate in recognition of excellent performance in food safety, and a decal to display at their facility. This year’s recipients include: Marco’s Pizza-Rossford, Wood County Committee on Aging-Bowling Green, Wood County Committee on Aging-Perrysburg, Wood County Committee on Aging-Northeast Center, Wood County Committee on Aging-Wayne, Wood County Committee on Aging-Pemberville, Wood Lane School, Rita’s Dairy Bar, Wood County Justice Center, WSOS Perrysburg/Rossford Early Childhood, BG’s Frosty Fare, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Carolyn’s Personalized Catering, Northwood High School, Eastwood Middle School, Eastwood High School, Poppin George Kettle Corn of Wood County 2, Poppin George Kettle Corn of BG, American Table, Northwest Community Correction Center, Bowling Green Manor, Bowling Green Care Center, Kingston Care Center of Perrysburg, Frobose Meat Locker, Flatlands Coffee, Heritage Corner Health Care Campus, Heritage Corner Nursing Home, Meijer Gas Station #116, Bass Pro Shop, and Care & Rehabilitation-Perrysburg. The mission of Wood County Health District is to prevent disease, promote healthy lifestyles and protect the health of everyone in Wood County. Our Community Health and Wellness Center provides comprehensive medical services for men, women and children. We welcome all patients, including uninsured or underinsured clients,…

East Side neighborhood group to meet Thursday

The East Side Residential Neighborhood Group will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, May 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Best Western Hotel, 1450 E. Wooster St. in the first floor conference room.  Refreshments will be provided.

Studying up on ‘neighborhood’ vs consolidated schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some Bowling Green area voters find the school levy numbers disturbing – not the monetary numbers but the numbers of students that would be using one centralized elementary if the levy passes. While some have protested the costs of the 5.7-mill levy spread out over 37 years, these citizens object to the merging of three elementaries into one centralized building. Supporters of the change say it will enable the district to provide consistency and equity in resources and opportunities for young students. Critics say students learn better in “neighborhood schools” as opposed to “factory schools.” Both sides of the issue have presented their rationale. And as with most controversial issues, there is plenty of data to support both points of view. Kimberly Christensen, of the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, said research shows pros and cons for smaller neighborhood schools and larger consolidated schools. Centralized schools offer “higher educational quality as a result of the wider menu of educational experiences” they can provide, Christensen said. There is more consistency and greater equalization, she said. In a building where all the grades are consolidated, the educational teams can offer more connected and integrated lessons, she said.  The children benefit from having all the support staff and specialized teachers in one location, she added. For example, if a student needs to see the school therapist, the child won’t have to wait days until the therapist makes rounds to that school building. And consolidated schools have higher fiscal efficiency, she said, since there are fewer redundancies. Smaller schools, Christensen said, tend to do a better job of making students feel connected. Studies have documented better relationships are likely to occur in smaller settings. “Students feel supported and cared for,” she said. Some research has shown reduced rates of student participation in extra-curricular activities in larger schools, Christensen said. And there are concerns about kids getting lost in the largeness. “Are…

Another plat approved in Stone Ridge subdivision

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Stone Ridge subdivision, on the west edge of Bowling Green, is experiencing a growth spurt. The new homes will be maintained by a homeowners’ association – meaning no planting, mowing, mulching or shoveling by the homeowners. Last week, the city planning commission approved preliminary plans for Plat 8 with 26 new homes in the golf course development. The plans received unanimous approval, and will not need City Council’s blessing. Stone Ridge currently has 208 occupied residential homes, according to Bob Spitler, with the development. Nine new units are under construction, and 16 lots are available for sale. The growth at Stone Ridge comes on top of already healthy housing additions in Bowling Green this year. According to Planning Director Heather Sayler, the city has requests for 19 new single-family homes so far this year, compared to 14 at this time last year. This newest plat in Stone Ridge will consist of a new road called Winterwood Court, with 19 lots on 7.2 acres that will be included in a separate homeowners’ association which will maintain the yards, landscaping, snow removal for each lot, and the common area. There will also be five additional lots on the extension of Pine Valley Drive. The developer of the new lots is Stone Ridge Partners of Bowling Green Ltd. The builder for Winterwood is Tony Buff Custom Builders. The planning commission gave a waiver for Winterwood Court, which exceeded the length allowed for cul-de-sacs in the city. The extra length had already received approval from the city fire division. Dave Saneholtz, of Poggemeyer Design Group, explained that the 19 homes on Winterwood would be positioned using a “building envelope” on the lots. There will be no common walls, as in another section of Stone Ridge, where two homes share the walls between them. “We believe this will work out great,” Saneholtz said. “I’ve seen some of these in Perrysburg, and that’s where we’re losing some…

Downtown parking and traffic to be affected by sewer work on Tuesday

The Bowling Green Water Distribution/Wastewater Collection Division will be closing the northbound lane of Main Street, from Clough to the mid-block crosswalk (in the vicinity of SamB’s restaurant), on Tuesday, May 8. This work is anticipated to last from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. As part of this work, parking will be removed from both sides of Main Street within the work zone. Traffic pattern changes will occur with drivers in the northbound lane being required to transition into the southbound lane and southbound traffic being restricted to the curb lane. Questions about this work may be directed to the Water Distribution/Wastewater Collection Division at 419-354-6277.

BG proposed city charter changes whittled down

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The citizens working on the Bowling Green City Charter review have narrowed down the number of changes voters will have to decide this coming November. Rejected from the list were changes that would have likely been controversial, such as: Make all council terms four years. Currently, the ward candidates serve two years and the at-large serve four. Change council races to non-partisan. Currently, candidates must declare a party such as Democratic, Republican, Green, Libertarian or Independent. Make all council seats at-large. Currently, one candidate is elected from each of the four wards, and three are elected to serve at-large. Change the filing date to August, as is done by most area communities. Possibly change the ward reapportionments, based on population but keeping neighborhoods intact. But several other proposed changes made the cut last week, and will next face City Council before they go before Bowling Green voters. The citizen committee working on the Bowling Green City Charter review initially discussed nearly 20 possible changes to the charter during a public meeting last month. The group’s members were very aware that they must decide not only if the changes belong in the charter – but also if city voters are likely to support the proposals. The committee voted down one more proposed change last week – this one allowing the city administrator to live outside the city, on a case-by-case basis. “I think it sends an alarming message to citizens,” said John Fawcett, a committee member and a retired city administrator. Though a model charter used by the committee included such language, “I think the model is wrong, dead wrong,” he said. Chet Marcin, a committee member and attorney who has worked with village governments, agreed. “It was deeply resented if they didn’t live in the town,” he said of his experiences in other communities. Some charter review members said this change would allow the city to hire a clearly superior candidate for…

BGSU kicks off 44th year of State Fire School on campus

(Submitted by State Fire School) More than 350 firefighters will arrive at Bowling Green State University to sharpen their skills in technical rescue, practice ventilation and search in vacant buildings, recognize and preserve arson scenarios, perfect their fire officer skills and learn life-saving techniques to save themselves or fellow firefighters – all part of the weeklong State Fire School scheduled May 7 – 11. “As always, State Fire School week is an exciting time for this community and we (BGSU) pride ourselves on providing the most up to date training in this fast-paced and dangerous environment,” said Kerry Gonzalez, Program Director of State Fire School in the College of Arts and Sciences. State Fire School has been under the direction of BGSU since 1974. “Our unique training environment gives students the opportunity to network with first responders from all over Ohio and learn from the best instructors in the country,” stated Gonzalez. “The hands-on training at BGSU exposes students to firefighting and technical rescue scenarios that may save a life in their community. After an intense week of training, we encourage them to take their knowledge and expertise back to their communities and train other firefighters.” Fire School is made possible by, not only eager students from all over the state, but also local fire departments who donate equipment, time and supplies for hands-on classes. This year, we are receiving support from Bowling Green, Toledo, Maumee, Sylvania, Perrysburg, Waterville, and Central Joint fire departments. BGSU State Fire School employs an elite group of instructors from 8 states including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and New York and one instructor from Canada to instruct a variety of cutting edge classes. At a time when many fire department training budgets have been cut or eliminated, some firefighters are attending classes courtesy of grants from the Nationwide and State Farm Foundation and other funding sources. Major sponsors of State Fire School include Paratech, Ohio CAT and Sutphen Corporation. Our opening ceremony…

BG residents reminded they need to call for large item pickups

Residents wishing to dispose of items too large for refuse containers may now call for a collection year around by appointment as opposed to having to wait for specific times of the year. As part of the program, residents may schedule up to two large item collections (up to five items per collection) at no additional charge per year (some restrictions apply). An example of the five item limitation would be a typical kitchen table with four chairs – this would be considered one item. Thereafter the following fees apply: $25 for the first item, $15 per item thereafter. Residents need to call Public Works at 419-354-6227 to schedule a date (typically a Monday or Friday) to have the item(s) curbside no later than 7 a.m. Because of additional fees and restrictions at the Wood County Landfill, mattresses will still require additional payment (maximum of three mattresses) and items with Freon cannot be collected (such as dehumidifiers and refrigerators). Residents are encouraged to visit the city’s website for more information and details. Information about large item collection and other special collections may be found on the Public Works Division webpage or residents may call Public Works at 419-354-6227.

Donations sought for humane society garage sale

(Submitted by Wood County Humane Society) Donations of clothing, household items, electronics, furniture, toys, collectibles and other good and useful items for the Wood County Humane Society Garage Sale will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 21, 22 and 23  under the grandstands at the Wood County Fairgrounds.  Early bird donations will also be received at the same location from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 20. All donations to the sale are tax deductible. Regretfully, the sale is unable to accept analog televisions, VHS tapes or encyclopedias. The garage sale will be held at the same location May 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and May 26 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The sale features a wide variety of merchandise under the grandstand building at the Wood County Fairgrounds on West Poe Road in Bowling Green. Additionally, the sale will feature 10 cent clothing on May 25 and a $2 “Fill-a-Bag” sale on May 26. The garage sale, now in its 25th year,  is one of the Wood County Humane Society’s larger fundraisers, raising a record $17,000 in 2017 for the care of animals housed in the Minnebelle Conley Shelter, a no-kill humane shelter owned and operated by the Humane Society on Van Camp Road in Bowling Green. For more information about the sale or to volunteer to help, please call  419-669-0701.

Complete Streets meeting to be held Monday evening

The Transportation & Safety Committee of City Council and the Bicycle Safety Commission will hold a joint meeting on Monday, May 7, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber at the City Administrative Services Building, 304 N. Church St., to discuss the city’s ongoing efforts implementing complete streets.

Kasich signs House Bill 115, sponsored by Gavarone

State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) has announced that Governor John Kasich has officially signed House Bill 115, a bill that establishes a voluntary program to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities. Under the legislation, jointly sponsored by Gavarone and Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), individuals may voluntarily submit a verification form, signed by their physician, to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to be designated as an individual with a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement only through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, more commonly referred to as LEADS. Ultimately, the legislation aims to be a positive, beneficial resource for the law enforcement community and people who suffer from communication disabilities such as autism, a hearing impairment and PTSD. By notifying officers that the driver may have difficulty speaking before they approach the vehicle, it allows them to put into action their training for how to best serve disabled individuals. The bill allows Ohioans over the age of 18 to enroll in the system, as well as minors who are enrolled by their parents or guardians. The database would also be a private, no-labels system to which only offices have access, providing privacy to those who choose to enroll. The House concurred on Senate amendments to the bill on April 11, and it will be effective 90 days from signature.

Foster family opens home and hearts to 19 children

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some parents dream of becoming empty nesters. Quiet dinners, no pediatrician appointments, less hectic households. But Chris and Melanie Feather, of Grand Rapids, felt something was missing when their four boys grew up and moved on. So they took a bold step – bigger than buying an RV or a warm weather winter retreat – they became foster parents. “We had empty rooms,” Melanie said. “We really felt that was something we needed to do.” That was seven years and 19 children ago. “I love kids. I could probably do this forever,” Melanie said, giving a sideways glance at Chris to check his reaction. It took a few seconds, but then her husband’s straight face broke into a big silly grin. The couple, who was recently named Wood County Children Services Foster Parents of the Year, has taken in children ranging from newborns to 17-year-olds. So they now have four adult children, one adopted, plus six biological grandchildren, and “a lot of honorary” grandchildren. “I always think there’s somebody else out there who needs us,” Chris said. “There are a lot of kids who need love,” Melanie said. “They come in as strangers and leave as family.” “Or they don’t leave,” Chris said, referring to all the kids that stay in contact with the Feather family. “It makes my heart happy,” Melanie said, smiling. The Feathers readily admit the job of foster parenting isn’t easy. It ranges from fun and a blessing, to frustrating and nearly maddening – and that can be all in one day. But they try to stay focused on the goal. They are in this to get kids through rough patches in their lives that are no fault of their own. Some children don’t want to be removed from their families, no matter how bad that environment might be. “Some of the kids are mad they are in foster care,” Melanie said. She and Chris explain to the…

BG voters to decide on Sunday sales at Sunset Bistro

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters in a section of Bowling Green’s west side will get to decide one ballot issue next week that won’t cost them a penny – except later when they order a drink while dining out. On Tuesday’s primary election ballot, voters in Precinct 110 will vote on allowing Sunset Bistro to serve wine and liquor on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to midnight. The citizens included in this vote are surrounded by Foxgate, Meeker Street, Wooster Street and Conneaut Avenue. Sunset Bistro, owned by Prudy Brott, at 1220 W. Wooster St., has been open now for three years. The restaurant serves beer, wine and liquor on every other day of the week, but on Sundays can only serve beer and Verdi, a type of sparkling champagne. “We’d just like it to be like the rest of the days of the week,” Brott said. Restaurant employees went door-to-door to collect petition signatures to get the issue on the ballot. “We had such a great response,” Brott said. Customers at the bistro often ask for wine or liquor on Sundays, during the restaurant’s weekly brunch or later during evening dinners. “They want to have a glass of wine or a cocktail,” she said. There have been times when diners have left the restaurant when they find out that wine and liquor are not available on Sundays. And one regular group of diners often goes to one of their party’s homes for a drink then return to Sunset Bistro for dinner, Brott said. The lack of liquor sales was particularly detrimental this past New Year’s Eve that fell on a Sunday. People were reluctant to make reservations, she said. “It limits what we can do here,” Brott said. Even if the voters pass the Sunday sales issue, Brott will still have to apply to the State Liquor Control for the proper license. “It wouldn’t be immediate,” she said. But people have been very supportive. “We serve…