Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

EPA plan to deal with contaminants left at BG plant

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Ohio EPA has come up with a plan for dealing with contamination of an industrial site in Bowling Green. Later this month, the public will be asked to weigh in on the proposal. A plan to address contamination at the Cooper Standard Automotive property in Bowling Green will be the subject of an Ohio EPA public meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m., at Ohio EPA’s Northwest District Office, 347 N. Dunbridge Road, Bowling Green. An EPA investigation of the site at 1175 N. Main St. showed that “the contamination poses unacceptable current and future human health and environmental risks based on direct contact with contaminated surface and subsurface soil, inhalation of contaminated soil and/or ground water via vapor intrusion, and direct contact with contaminated ground water.” The contamination is believed to have occurred before Cooper Standard Automotive or Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. operated the site. However, the current owner is responsible for cleaning up the contaminant even if it did not create the problem, according to Dina Pierce, of the Ohio EPA. Cooper Standard Automotive purchased the 25-acre site from Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. in 2004. The property had been used by Cooper Tire to manufacture rubber hoses and seals for the automotive industry. Other businesses used the site for manufacturing before Cooper Tire began operations. Trichloroethylene (TCE), a common industrial solvent, is the primary contaminant being addressed by the plan. According to the EPA report, neither Cooper Tire nor Cooper Standard Automotive used TCE at the…


County auditor to hold forfeited land auction

Wood County Auditor Matthew Oestreich will hold a forfeited land sale Dec. 7, beginning at 10 a.m. in the hearing room on the fifth floor of the County Office Building in Bowling Green. The sale will be a public auction and the parcels, which are being offered due to non-payment of taxes, will be sold to the highest bidder. Each property has been forfeited to the state after failing to sell at sheriff’s sale. “It is my intent to sell all of the available properties so that they can return to productive use on Wood County’s tax rolls,” said Oestreich. A list of parcels is available at the Wood County Auditor’s Office or online at www.co.wood.oh.us/auditor/. These properties are located in eight different taxing districts in the county as follows: North Baltimore, Lake Township, Custar, Risingsun, West Millgrove, Weston, Tontogany and Bowling Green. There are 16 parcels and one mobile home listed for sale at this date. However, if prior to sale time, the delinquent tax charges are paid by the owner the parcel will be removed from the list. Included among the properties for sale are homes in Custar, Risingsun and West Millgrove; a commercial building in Tontogany; and a mobile home in Bowling Green. Registration for the sale will begin at 9 a.m. in the fifth floor hearing room. Interested parties are encouraged to make prior inquiries to be assured of the location of the property. The successful bidder will receive an auditor’s deed for each parcel for the purchase price plus $5.50 deed and transfer fee, giving…


2018 dog registrations may be filed starting Dec. 1

(Submitted by Wood County Auditor’s Office) Matthew Oestreich, Wood County Auditor announces that beginning Dec. 1, applications for 2018 dog registrations may be filed. Ohio law provides that before Jan. 31 of each year all owners of dogs three months of age or older shall be registered in the county in which the dog is kept. The information necessary for registration is age, sex, spayed or neutered, color, length of hair, breed of the dog and the name, address and phone number of the owner. A registration fee of $14 must be paid with the application for each dog registered in order to be in compliance with section 955.01 of the O.R.C. As a convenience the Auditor’s Office mails renewal registration forms to owners of record. Owners who registered in 2017 through the internet will receive a reminder e-mail. **RECENT CHANGE** Dogs may be registered for a 1 year or 3 year term or a permanent license (for the dog’s life). When completing the application, choose your “Term”(1 Year, 3 Year or Permanent). The 3 Year and Permanent License may only be purchased by mail or in person at the Wood County Auditor’s Office. Fees are: 1 Year License =$14, 3 Year License =$42, and Permanent License =$140. No Refunds Permitted. Every owner of a kennel of dogs is also required to register annually with the County Auditor by Jan. 31 and must pay an application fee of $70. Ohio law provides that the penalty after Jan. 31 is the amount equal to the registration fee for each type of…


BG digs out from deficit to a balanced budget in 2018

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s budget for 2018 doesn’t dazzle – but it also doesn’t drag down the city with a projected deficit. “It’s a budget that gets our head above the water,” said Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter as she introduced the 2018 budget to City Council and city employees Wednesday evening. “And that’s OK.” Last year at this time, Tretter broke the news to council members that the city was entering 2017 with a projected deficit of $625,000. So a balanced budget for 2018 was pretty dazzling to council. “When we stood here a year ago – that’s not where we were,” Tretter said. Council member Bob McOmber, who has served as finance committee chairman for the past eight years, said he would much rather see a “mundane” balanced budget. “It certainly looks better than the deficit we were facing last year.” The city budget, McOmber said, consists of many moving parts. “There are a lot of inter-related parts in the budget.” So getting it to balance is a feat. One reason for the additional projected revenue is a 3 percent increase expected in city income tax revenue. Modest increases are also projected in court activity and investment interest. The other big revenue boost is due to the decision made by City Council last year to start charging a fee for trash and recycling pickup. Council president Mike Aspacher said council went through serious deliberation of several options before enacting a trash fee. “That was a really difficult decision for all of us,” Aspacher…


Rover Pipeline ‘goodwill’ checks follow bad spill record

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Officials from Rover Pipeline – the company with 19 Ohio EPA violations so far and $2.3 million in fines and damages – presented some checks Tuesday to help first responders. The $10,000 checks, “offered in goodwill by the company,” are going to the emergency management agencies in each of the 18 counties in Ohio being traversed by Rover pipeline. Wood County is one of those on the route. The funds are to be used to purchase new equipment or offer additional training . “We hope these funds will go toward emergency first responders,” Bill Barth, senior specialist for emergency response with Rover, said as he passed on the giant checks. “We look forward to working with you.” Wood County EMA Director Brad Gilbert is grateful for the funds, but he would just as soon not have to work on a pipeline incident. He may use the check from Rover to help put a state MARCs radio system in the sheriff’s dispatch center. The $10,000 donation will pay just a portion of the total $40,000 expense. “The pressure’s on them to do the right thing during construction and operations,” Gilbert said of the pipeline. “Hopefully we don’t need it for any issues with them.” However, Rover’s accident record isn’t exactly clean. The check presentations come on the heels of Rover Pipeline being cited for a 19th environmental violation. Most recently, the Ohio EPA cited Rover for spilling contaminants into the Mohican River in Ashland County. When questioned about the level of trust counties…


Fighter jets to train tracking Civil Air Patrol aircraft

Alert fighter jets from the 180th Fighter Wing will conduct a test of the Aerospace Control Alert system on Wednesday, Nov. 29, between 7:30 and 9:45 a.m. The purpose of the event is to exercise coordination between the Eastern Air Defense Sector, Federal Aviation Administration and 180FW. Those living in and around the Toledo, Sandusky and Hillsdale areas may hear and/or see fighter jets in close proximity to a Civil Air Patrol aircraft, which will be taking on the role of a Track of Interest (TOI). A TOI is an aircraft that has been identified as a potential threat. Although scheduled for the morning, the exercise flights could be delayed or canceled due to inclement weather. Aerospace Control includes maintaining air sovereignty and air defense through the surveillance and control of airspace over Canada and the U.S. These types of exercises are conducted on a routine basis as part of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Operation Noble Eagle, which was initiated after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


BG city budget meeting set for Wednesday

The Finance Committee of Bowling Green City Council will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m., in the City Administrative Services Building, 304 N. Church St., to hold the 2018 annual budget hearing.


Solar field ‘sanctuary’ to attract butterflies, bees, birds

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials learned Monday evening how its solar field could be turned into a “solar sanctuary” for butterflies, bees and birds. The board of public utilities heard how the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service hopes to develop a wildlife and pollinator habitat around the 165-acre solar field near the corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of Bowling Green. “You are producing good clean energy, and you’re helping wildlife at the same time,” said Marci Lininger, of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service “This is a really cool project for us,” Lininger said. One goal of the wildlife habitat area is to bring back pollinators to the region. “Pollinators are in decline right now,” she said. Adult Monarch butterflies have seen a 50 percent drop in the last 10 years due to disappearing milkweed plants  – which are the only plants used by Monarchs for laying eggs. Some wildflower habitats target specific species. The one at Bowling Green’s solar site will be aimed at attracting several species of bees, birds and butterflies. The plan calls for three seasons of blooming plants. The 12-acre wild habitat area is intended to benefit various pollinators, crops, soil quality, water quality, foraging birds and Monarchs. Ohio is a priority location for Monarchs on their annual trek to Mexico. “We have a huge responsibility here in Ohio,” Lininger said. This region also has many crops that are suffering from inadequate pollination, she said. Crops relying on pollination include tomatoes, blueberries, melons, soybeans, peppers, peaches, cucumbers, squash…


BG to consider business revolving loan fund request

The Bowling Green Revolving Loan Fund Committee is scheduled to meet on Nov. 30, at 10:15 a.m. at the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation Office, Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The purpose of the meeting will be to consider an application(s) for the Business Revolving Loan Fund. This meeting is open to the public.


Vivitrol helps jump start recovery for opiate addicts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Travis Williams knows that without Vivitrol, opiate addicts who just went through detox are likely to start using again as soon as their buddies pick them up at jail. “They overdose before they ever leave the parking lot,” Williams said. But he also knows that using Vivitrol can take away the cravings and the highs that cause many opiate addicts to relapse an average of seven times. “You might as well take a tic-tac,” since it will provide the same high as opiates do while on Vivitrol, Williams said during a meeting last week in Wood County about recovering from opiates. Attending the meeting were those who deal with the local addicts in the courts, law enforcement, public health and social services. In June of 2016, Vivitrol shots were started in Wood County Justice Center for opiate addicts who want to quit. Since then, 34 inmates have received their first shots in jail, which were then followed up with monthly shots and counseling on the outside. Northwest Community Corrections Center has a similar program. “We are working on a definition of success, but as of June of 2017 we have 21 people who we feel are still compliant with the program,” said Doug Cubberley, chief probation officer and court administrator at Bowling Green Municipal Court. “Only two people have gone out and reoffended by committing new crimes.” Cubberley remembers the day a man came to his court probation office begging to go to jail. “We had one young man come to our…


Santa collection revives magic of Christmas past

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   All year long, Dale Schmidt is surrounded by the spirit Santa Claus – more specifically by 700 Kris Kringles at last count. Schmidt, a retired art teacher who lives in Bowling Green, started out as an accidental collector about 40 years ago. “I think it just kind of occurred,” he said. “I had a couple things and I realized – I have a collection.” A small portion of that collection is on display in the windowed showcase at the front entrance of Wood County District Public Library, at 251 N. Main St., Bowling Green. The Santas will remain on display there until Dec. 18. Schmidt has tried to go cold turkey in his quest for Santa Clauses. But who can resist the kindly faces, the flowing white beards – and great bargains. “There have been times I’ve stopped and then started again,” he said. “Once you’re a collector, always a collector.” Schmidt’s and his wife, Donna, married after he already had his collection underway. So she knew what she was getting into – kind of, he said. Does she share his love of Santa Claus? “Well, yes and no,” Schmidt conceded. She wouldn’t mind cutting back on the collecting and regaining some of the couple’s storage space at home. “I’ve got stack and stacks of bins of Santas in the storeroom,” Schmidt said, not to mention the four display cases in their home. “That’s been a major bone of contention with my wife.” She has even remarked that “they look the same,”…


Wood County likes its status on low sales tax island

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County is on an island of low sales tax in this region – and officials have no intention of moving from its haven for penny-pinching shoppers. The county is surrounded by neighboring counties with higher sales tax rates, except for Hancock County, which is the same as Wood County. Some officials suspect that at least some shoppers are lured into Wood County because of the lower sales tax. “It’s probably not the first thought in their mind,” but on bigger purchases it could encourage shoppers to cross county lines, Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said. The sales tax on a $1,000 refrigerator in Lucas County would be $72.5, compared to $67.5 in Wood County. “We’re like an island,” Kalmar said. “Everybody around us has a higher sales tax,” except Hancock County. In the recent general election, Hancock County voters had the chance to raise their sales tax there by 0.25 percent. The increase was soundly rejected, so that county will remain at the same low rate as Wood. Meanwhile most surrounding counties are 7.25 percent, including Lucas, Fulton, Henry, Sandusky and Seneca. The state takes the first 5.75 percent in sales tax revenue, then counties can raise sales tax up to an additional 2 percent. Counties and transit authorities are the only entities that can collect sales tax. The highest sales tax in the state is in Cuyahoga County at 8 percent, and Franklin County at 7.5 percent. Sales tax is a pretty solid revenue for Wood County. Last year, shoppers…


Two sisters killed in crash at Route 6 and Rudolph Road

Two sisters were killed in a Thanksgiving day accident at 2:36 p.m., just outside Bowling Green. Celia Jane, 62, and Amy Grace Mussard, 58, were killed when the Ford Focus they were in was southbound on Rudolph Road, and reportedly failed to yield to traffic on U.S. 6. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office report did not state which of the sisters was driving. Their mother, Katherine Mussard, 90, was in the backseat and was taken by air ambulance to Toledo Hospital, where she is in critical condition. The Ford Focus was struck by an eastbound Ford Explorer on Route 6.  The sheriff’s report also did not have details about the people in the Explorer, other than that they were not injured. The accident remains under investigation.


Green thumb grows grapefruit tree at workplace

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Saying that Barbara Jane Hamman has a green thumb doesn’t do her justice. As her co-workers will attest, Hamman can get almost any plant to grow – including a grapefruit tree born from a seed in a fellow employee’s breakfast. More than 20 years ago, Hamman stuck the grapefruit seed in a planter at her workplace at Century Marketing Group, and now the plant towers more than 6 feet tall. “This girl at work had been on a grapefruit diet,” Hamman said. And one morning, her grapefruit had two seeds that had already sprouted. So Hamman stuck one in a planter on her desk. “The seed started sprouting,” she said. Over the years, the plant moved with Hamman as she took different positions at Century Marketing. “It went from one building to the next with me.” But Hamman is planning to retire, and her husband wasn’t thrilled about the grapefruit tree coming home with her. “He said, ‘You can’t bring that home. We don’t have room for that,’” Hamman said of her husband. So a co-worker, Irene Patten, started looking for a new home to adopt “George,” as the tree was named. “That way you can go visit it,” Patten told Hamman. Patten checked with a couple greenhouses in Bowling Green, however, had no luck. But a member of the Bowling Green State University biology faculty agreed to give the tree a home. “George” is rather sensitive, Hamman advised. “It likes sun. It doesn’t like the cold whatsoever. It drinks a lot…


Thanksgiving brings community together to feast

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There is something sacred about Thanksgiving, with its roasted turkey and trimmings, family and friends. So when two local churches invite the community to Thanksgiving dinner, they want their guests to feel that warmth and welcome. “It’s not a charity dinner,” said Lynn Eck of Christ’s Church. “It’s a ‘let’s get together’ dinner. It’s just a way to give back to the community.” Tuesday’s feast was the 26th annual community Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Christ’s Church and Grace Brethren Church. It welcomes everyone to the table. “It looks like we’re prepared for dinner guests,” Eck said as she looked over the busy dining room in the Bowling Green Community Center. “That’s important. For a lot of people this is their Thanksgiving.” The menu featured the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and pie. The feast is cooked in mass quantities – so heaping helpings could be dished out for at least 500 guests. That included 18 turkeys, 24 industrial-size cans of green beans, 44 dozen rolls and 36 pies and cakes. “Everything is doctored up a bit so it tastes like home,” Eck said. And as usual, the guests at the 26th annual dinner came hungry and thankful for the free feast. “Half of these people were here before we even started today,” Eck said. Among those feasting in the massive dining room were Daneaka Nelson and Christian Wilson. “It’s real good,” said Wilson, as she shook some Tabasco sauce – from the bottle she carries with her everywhere –…