Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

After losing stepson to overdose, Dobson offers hope to others

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The horror of the opiate epidemic is not some distant tragedy for Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson. “Last year, 14 months ago, I lost my stepson to this crap – opiates,” he said Tuesday to the Wood County Commissioners. His stepson, who was 37 when he died of an overdose in Colorado last year, had struggled with opiates, recovered, then relapsed. As part of treatment, he went through an Ohio Means Jobs program in Toledo, which gave him an opportunity to go to University of Toledo, where he earned certification. The program gave him gas cards, a lap top computer and helped with car repairs. “They were taking away every excuse to fail,” Dobson said. But eventually, his stepson – who moved to Denver for a job – overdosed and died. “He couldn’t let the ‘dragon’ go,” Dobson said. Though his stepson was ultimately not helped with intense programming, Dobson is hoping that others will be. “There’s always hope. My faith doesn’t allow for me to not have hope,” he said. According to the Wood County Coroner’s Office, 16 people died of opiate overdoses in the county last year. In response to a survey of local first responders, 16 departments said they responded to 83 opiate overdoses last year, and administered the life-saving drug Naloxone 60 times. And in the last 18 months, the county prosecutor’s office has seen about 130 drug cases. Dobson presented this hopes to the county commissioners Tuesday in the form of a four-tiered plan for dealing with the opiate epidemic in Wood County. The plan calls…

County and BG team up to resume glass recycling

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s still not crystal clear, but it appears a solution is in sight for glass recycling to be resumed in Bowling Green and Wood County. Last month, the Bowling Green Recycling Center announced that effective immediately, the facility would no longer be accepting glass. That applied to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, plus the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. On Monday, the Wood County Solid Waste Management Board reviewed four options for glass recycling presented by Bill DenBesten, chairman of the Bowling Green Recycling Center. On Tuesday, the Wood County Commissioners said they preferred “Proposal D,” which requires some buy in by both the city and county. “This proposal focuses on keeping the overall costs as low as possible, sharing both risk and rewards with the county,” DenBesten stated. “It leverages the city’s offer to load glass at no charge to further reduce costs. The plan calls for the following steps to occur: The recycling center will again start accepting glass in its drop-off and satellite sites, and schedule shipments with both the transport and glass processing companies. The city will make its old salt shed, next to the recycling center on North College Street, available for storage of glass in between shipments. The city will also use its equipment to load the glass into trucks to be transported. The county will be responsible for all charges billed by the hauler, who will invoice the county directly. DenBesten said the recycling center is reluctant to start up glass recycling again if the…

Confederate flag banned at some fairs, but not Wood County’s

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two years ago, the Ohio State Fair stopped allowing the confederate flag to be displayed or sold at the fairgrounds in Columbus. No blanket ruling was made for other fair operations in the state. Some county fairs in Ohio joined suit, and ruled that confederate flags would no longer be allowed on grounds. Others – like Wood County Fair – continue to allow confederate flags to be flown, displayed and sold by private vendors. “I think it’s something they at least should take into consideration,” Doris Herringshaw, president of the Wood County Board of Commissioners, said of the ban adopted by other county fair boards. “Given what’s happening in the country, it’s important to take a serious look at it.” Multiple calls to fair board members were not returned. Karen Wood, a Bowling Green citizen, noticed confederate flags at the Wood County fair earlier this month and asked that they be removed. The fair board met to discuss the request and decided to take no action, Wood said. This was a battle already fought by Wood County residents, Wood said. “Union Hill and Oak Grove Cemeteries are full of Union veterans who fought the racist traitors of the Confederacy,” she said. So Wood took the present-day battle to Facebook, to a meeting of Not In Our Town Bowling Green last week, and to a community rally on Sunday to stand with the residents of Charlottesville, Virginia. “I was shocked at the number of confederate flags,” Wood said to the crowd gathered Sunday on the city’s Wooster Green. “We’re Charlottesville, we just haven’t…

BG Community Foundation seeks grant applications

The Bowling Green Community Foundation is now accepting applications from non-profit organizations and school districts within the 43402 and 43403 zip code for its 2017 grant program. Grants will range from $500 to $5,000 to support projects to be implemented in calendar year 2018 that enhance the health, welfare and vitality of the Bowling Green community. The application deadline is Oct. 15. Applications from 501(c)(3) organizations or from smaller programs that fall under the umbrella of 501(c)(3) organizations will be considered. Further details about the grant process as well as the actual grant application are available via the foundation’s website,, or by calling (419) 352-0281 to leave a message for the administrative assistant. Founded in 2004 by the Chamber of Commerce Leadership BG class, the BG Community Foundation is part of the Toledo Community Foundation and is directed by a local board of trustees. Since 2007, 308 grants totaling $378,806 have been awarded to non-profit groups providing diverse services and programs for the benefit Bowling Green residents. Charitable contributions provide the sole support of the Bowling Green Community Foundation’s mission. Citizens continue to make contributions that honor or memorialize loved ones while supporting nonprofit efforts.

Youth mental health first aid training offered

(Submitted by Wood County Educational Service Center) Children as well as adults can experience mental illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control one in seven American children has a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Children’s symptoms—sometimes different from those of adults—may be difficult to identify. This is why Wood County Educational Service Center is once again offering Project AWARE: Youth Mental Health First Aid Training for all those who work with children. The free course will meet Wednesday, Aug. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. to noon; Friday, Aug. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; and Thursday, Aug. 24 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Educational Service Center, 1867 Research Drive in Bowling Green. Registration is required. To register or for more information, please contact Angela Patchen at 419-354-9010 or Project AWARE teaches those who work or live with children—whether teachers, counselors, school staff, health care professionals, or parents—to identify signs and symptoms of behavioral and mental health problems. It shows them what steps to take to connect youth to resources available in the community. Participants receive a manual and a certificate of completion if they attend the entire training. Contact hours are available to those who complete the training. Youth Mental Health First Aid training is available at no cost through the “Now is the Time: Project AWARE” grant.

Rally unites BG to stand up against hatred in face of Charlottesville

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The crowd rallying in Wooster Green Sunday afternoon was determined to not mince words about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. “These are actually Nazis in America in 2017,” said Daniel Gordon, who helped organize the rally to support the people of Charlottesville And they are members of the KKK, who don’t feel the need to wear hoods because they have the support of President Donald Trump, Gordon said. “We are angry. We are sickened and heartbroken about what has happened,” Gordon, a Bowling Green council member, said. “This is what domestic terrorism looks like.” The impromptu rally – which was put together in less than a day and while BGSU students are still on summer break – drew a crowd of about 125. The citizens carried signs saying, “Racism is Not History Yet” and “Hate Doesn’t Make America Great.” The people spouting hatred in Charlottesville were not patriots, Gordon said. “These people showed up in Nazi uniforms and shirts with Hitler quotes on them, with Nazi flags, chanting Nazi slogans, giving the Nazi salute.” One of the men supporting the Nazi group is charged with driving his car through a crowd protesting against the hatred. The driver, James Fields from Maumee, is charged with killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring many more. And two state troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed as they were trying to monitor the clashes. But in the national’s capital, Trump did not condemn the Nazis, and instead chose to draw a moral equivalence between the Nazis and those protesting against them, Gordon said. “So…

Rally today to show solidarity with people of Charlottesville

Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon and neighbors are hosting a “Rally to Protect Freedom” to stand in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville, Virginia, and reaffirm commitment to a Bowling Green that stands for freedom, liberty, and justice for all. The rally will be held today, Aug. 13, at 4 p.m., in the Wooster Green, at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets.

Wood County Park District employees get 2.5% raises

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Park District employees have been granted cost of living pay increases of 2.5 percent, retroactive to the beginning of this year. The pay raises cover the district’s 27 full-time and four permanent part-time staff members, according to Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. Munger said the park district did not give cost of living raises at the end of 2016, when the Wood County Commissioners granted 3 percent raises to other county employees. The park board members said at that time they would reconsider and discuss the raises at a later date. In September of 2016, the park board did approve pay raises recommended by an outside consultant which performed a compensation study. The raises were granted to 20 park employees in three phases starting in September and completed in April. Munger saw his salary go from $71,697 to $86,587. The assistant director’s salary increased from $55,224 to $67,572; the operations manager’s went from $49,982 to $59,167; the field operations manager’s changed from $49,982 to $60,714; and the chief ranger pay increased from $48,360 to $55,300. Most of the other raises ranged from $1,000 to $2,000 annually. In April, other hourly raises were granted to get park employees up to minimum standards. Those raises affected 12 workers, with hourly raises ranging from 16 cents to $1.46. The park district is still trying to recover after exorbitant raises were recommended by the board in 2010 based on a consultant study. After an outpouring of criticism, those raises were rejected. That resulted in delayed pay raises and a new salary study…

Wood Lane industries to move; board searches for other work options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The work at Wood Lane Industries will soon be moving – along with two-thirds of the people with developmental disabilities who are served there. The work and the workers will be setting up shop in a storefront on Main Street in Bowling Green – an exciting opportunity for the people being served, organizers said. But the concern now is that 41 of the 125 workers will be left behind, with little time to find alternate services for them. Families of people with developmental disabilities met this past week in the industries building on East Gypsy Lane Road, to get as many answers as possible. Many expressed concerns about change being especially difficult for people with developmental disabilities. They and their families are comforted by consistency in settings, staff and services. Brent Baer, superintendent of the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities (known as Wood Lane to many), apologized to the families for the hastily organized meeting. But he explained that the board felt the need to act quickly to try to find new providers for adult services. “I realize this is a shock to many of you,” Baer said. The board was notified about two weeks ago that the services at the industries location would be moving by the end of this year. “This is a pretty monumental transition for us, and it’s certainly not one we asked for,” Baer said. “I know this is going to be a huge challenge.” Wood Lane has been through several changes in the last few years – with most affecting administration while the services remained…

Doughnuts blamed for sickening 69 Wood County residents

So far, a total of 69 Wood County residents are suspected of being sickened by the norovirus blamed on doughnuts made last weekend at Mama C’s shop in Maumee. Two Wood County businesses sell Mama C’s doughnuts – Grounds for Thought on South Main Street in Bowling Green, and the Marathon gas station at the corner of Ohio 25 and Roachton Road in Perrysburg. Of the 69 local people who got ill, 60 were “primary,” meaning they got the virus from eating doughnuts. The other nine are considered “secondary,” meaning they contracted the norovirus from a person with the virus, according to Wood County Health District spokesperson Alex Aspacher. Many more people in Lucas County reported being sick with the stomach flu like symptoms after eating items from Mama C’s, which prompted a Lucas County Health Department investigation. When it was found that businesses in Wood County also sold doughnuts from the bakery, the Wood County Health District began investigating and helping those businesses clean properly to avoid further risks.  

BG City Schools hosts speakers for faculty and staff

(Submitted by Bowling Green City Schools) Bowling Green City Schools is looking to celebrate its opening week with a lineup of star talent for its faculty and staff. Beginning on Monday August 14, BGCS will open its doors to welcome back staff and be honored with a keynote speech from local speaker, advocate, and writer Diana Patton. Diana Patton is a Social Justice and Integrative Health Advocacy Coach. She is also a speaker, author and attorney. She coaches individuals who are in the “helping profession”, which includes school counselors, social workers and clinical psychologists on how to go into the fire and not get burned (out). She speaks to helping profession organizations, junior high, high school and college-age groups and women’s groups. She also speaks on leadership, emotional intelligence, and diversity topics. In December 2015, she completed her full-time work as the VP/COO/General Counsel for the Toledo Fair Housing Center but she continues to provide consulting services to the Center. Prior to becoming a health coach and speaker, Diana held a number of law firm and high-level corporate positions, including global director-level positions at Fortune 500 companies. She earned her bachelor and law degree at the University of Toledo and is currently a member of the Toledo Bar Association. Diana has conducted corporate diversity trainings and has taught various business courses at Owens Community College in Toledo. She has written curricula, blogs and newsletters when she operated her FITatudes company, has spoken nationally on health and life coaching topics, and has contributed articles to the Toledo Free Press and the Sojourner’s Truth newspaper. To help teachers prepare for the upcoming…

BG Police investigating burglary on South Main Street

The Bowling Green Police Division is investigating a burglary that occurred at 602 ½ S. Main Street in Bowling Green. The incident occurred between the months of July and August. Taken was an Asus computer monitor. It appeared the suspect(s) might have stayed several nights in the residence while the victim was out of town. Anyone having information related to this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Andy Mulinix at the Bowling Green Police Division (419) 352-1131/, or Wood County CrimeStoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME. You may remain anonymous and if information results in the arrest and conviction of a suspect, you could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

BG police seek help investigating attempted aggravated burglary

The Bowling Green Police Division is investigating an attempted aggravated burglary, which occurred at 840 Scott Hamilton St. in Bowling Green. The incident occurred on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at approximately 12:30 a.m. The two suspects forced their way into the victim’s residence and struck the victim in the head with a firearm. The suspects fled the scene empty handed when another person in the residence startled them. The two suspects were described as black males, slim built but muscular, approximately 6 foot tall. Both were wearing black hoodies, black pants, and had masks over the bottom half of their faces. Anyone having information related to this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Andy Mulinix at the Bowling Green Police Division (419) 352-1131/, or Wood County CrimeStoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME. You may remain anonymous and if information results in the arrest and conviction of a suspect, you could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

BG faces full slate of council candidates, school issue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green voters will have a lot to choose from on their general election ballots in November. Wednesday was the filing deadline for candidates and issues appearing on the ballot. The City Council at-large race has six candidates running to fill two open seats. There will be more variety than usual, with candidates representing Democrats, Republicans, the Green Party and an Independent. Voters will be asked to elect two of the following at-large candidates: Holly Cipriani, Democrat, 336 W. Evers Ave. Nathan Eberly, Independent, 907 Sand Ridge Road. BeverlyAnn Elwazani, Green Party, 1210 Bourgogne Ave. Carolyn S. Kawecka, Green Party, 517 S. Main St. Gregory W. Robinette, Republican, 1501 Cardinal Road. Sandy Rowland, Democrat, 200 Larchwood Drive. Voter will also get to choose between candidates in three of the four ward races. The First Ward candidates are: Daniel J. Gordon, Democrat, 215 E. Poe Road, Apt. 64. Hunter D. Sluss, Republican, 433 Thurstin Ave., Apt. 11. Second Ward candidates are: Kent Ramsey, Republican, 710 Seventh St., Apt. 3. John Zanfardino, Democrat, 244 S. Summit St. Fourth Ward candidates are: William J. Herald, Republican, 1030 Conneaut Ave. Scott W. Seeliger, Democrat, 208 Syracuse Drive. Running uncontested for the Third Ward council seat is Democrat Mike Aspacher. Bowling Green voters will also be casting ballots for board of education members. There will be no contest in the race, since just two candidates filed for the two open seats. William G. Clifford, 606 St. Anne Court. Norman J. Geer, 917 Clark St. The Bowling Green City School District will also have a tax issue on…

Pipeline petition may – or may not – be booted from ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There may be more than enough valid petition signatures to get a pipeline issue on Bowling Green’s ballot this November. But it’s uncertain if voters will have a chance to weigh in, since the petition may have been filed late. The petition asks that a charter amendment be adopted in the city to prioritize people over pipelines. All within a matter of hours today, officials believed the petition was possibly out, then possibly in – with no clear resolution. The only certainty is that Ohio’s rules on petitioning to put an issue on the ballot are far too complicated. Petition organizers Lisa Kochheiser and Brad Holmes, president of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University, reported that more than 1,200 signatures were collected, with at least 714 valid signatures required to get the charter amendment on the ballot. Wednesday at 4 p.m. was the filing deadline for issues and candidates appearing on the general election in November. But the pipeline issue did not appear on the board of elections list. Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said this morning that the petition was not filed on Wednesday, because the Ohio Revised Code requires that a charter amendment petition be held at the city for 10 days prior to it being submitted to the board of elections. The petition was turned in to the city on July 31 at 2 p.m. Since the city is required to hold onto it for public viewing for 10 days, that meant the petition could not be turned over to the Wood County Board…