Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Plans made for next week’s Downtown Farmers Market

(Submitted by Downtown Bowling Green) On July 11, a nonprofit group in BG called Mentoring For Youth will have a table at the Downtown Farmers Market. They offer a free program to youth ages 14-17 to help them stay on track with school and their goals. They also pair the kids with trained, volunteer mentors to help them make positive choices and help them develop life and job skills. Participants get to go on outings, activities, workshops, and field trips. Feel free to stop by their table to learn more about this wonderful local group. Returning vendor favorites such as Riehm Produce Farm, Anderson’s Farm Fresh Produce, Clay Hill, Bella Cuisine, SoBee Honey, Little Orchids Garden, Garden Nursery, Great Lakes Sharpening, Dirty Feet, Steven’s Gardens, English Gardener, The Cookie Fairy, Magical Mystery Shop, Gardenview Flowers and Country Grains will all be back with your favorite items. New to this season vendors have been wonderful additions to our market. Included will be; Kitten Pants LLC (crochet creations), Heart of Ryan (local produce and greens), Just Jammin & Stuff (jams, chutney, and artistic pieces), Thurman Family Farm (Plants, local produce), Steve’s Signature Sauces (BBQ Sauces), Z Farms (mushrooms and greens), Calico, Sage and Thyme (local downtown business selling teas and various items), COSTCO (membership information) and Maumee Greens (greens and salad kits). We also have quite a line up making their season debut next week. Vendors include; Kings Berries, Our Backyard Garden (plants, soaps & specialty items), Viking Coffee, Nomads Mushrooms, and Aunt Gena’s Gourmet Sweet Corn. New to this season are our wonderful food vendor options. Feel free to grab a new “veggie dawg” from Weenie Dawg’s cart; or try the well known “Pulled Pork Sundae” from Country Lane BBQ. One of our downtown businesses, Flatland’s Coffee, always offers coffee, tea, and various baked goods to grab for a snack. BGSU Dining will also be at market preparing a free market snack with goods purchased day of; their last visit they offered a waffle cone bruschetta which was a huge hit among market visitors. While snacking away; The Stone’s Throw Stage will have local rock and country tunes from Chris & Shellby starting at 5:30 p.m. Thank you to Tim Concannon and Stone’s Throw for giving us a wonderful lineup of bands this season. Our market runs from 4 – 7 p.m., Wednesday nights in the Huntington Bank parking lot on the corner of South Main and Clough streets. Huge thank you to Huntington Bank for donating this space to us each week. We would also like to thank Thayer Family Dealerships, All State Insurance and…

Wrong-way driver causes crash on I-75

Troopers from the Bowling Green Patrol Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol are investigating a wrong way driver injury crash that occurred in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75, just south of Ohio 18, near North Baltimore. On July 5, at approximately 6:26 p.m., a 2016 Jeep Patriot driven by Marie Woodruff, age 80, of North Baltimore, entered the exit ramp from I-75 to Route 18 going the wrong direction. The vehicle continued a short distance in the right lane of I-75 going the wrong direction until it collided with a 2014 Freightliner commercial tractor-trailer that was northbound in the right lane of I-75. The tractor-trailer, was operated by Eric Wilson, age 42, of Wixom, Michigan. Wilson swerved to the right to avoid striking Woodruff’s vehicle, but the Jeep hit the semi head on. After impact, the commercial tractor-trailer ran off the left side of the road and struck the concrete median wall and the Jeep spun around and came to rest in the center lane. A 2012 Toyota Camry operated by Sarina Sangal, age 20, of Maumee, was northbound on I-75 in the middle lane. A 2014 Chevrolet Impala, operated by Kurtis Lucht, age 22, of Deerfield, Michigan, was northbound on I-75 in the left lane. Both vehicles swerved to avoid the commercial tractor-trailer, and in swerving, the Camry struck the Impala. Impairment by alcohol and/or drugs is not believed to be a factor. All parties were wearing seatbelts. Wilson and Woodruff had minor injuries and were transported to local area hospitals. Sangal and Lucht were not injured. Woodruff was cited for driving the wrong direction on the interstate. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted on scene by the North Baltimore Police Department, North Baltimore Fire & EMS, Bloomdale EMS, Wright’s Towing, and Ed’s Towing.

Good news: County getting 1,000 new jobs; Bad news: Region running out of workers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County is having a banner year in business expansions – creating nearly 1,000 new jobs. But the issue waiting in the wings is the low unemployment level in the region, wavering between 3 and 4 percent. While that low rate is great news to employees, it is also worrisome to economic development officials. “It’s a good thing. But there is going to be a time when new businesses slow down looking at Northwest Ohio,” Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission, said Thursday morning during his quarterly report to the county commissioners. But right now, Wood County is reveling in the news that four manufacturing plants are expanding here: First Solar, in Lake Township, investing $400 million and creating 500 jobs. Walgreens, in Perrysburg Township, investing $80 million and creating 350 jobs. Continental Structural Plastics, in North Baltimore, creating 100 jobs. Equity Meats, in Bloom Township, creating 50 jobs. “It’s been a very busy start for the year,” Gottschalk told the commissioners. And three other businesses have shown great interest in locating in the county, making multiple visits here, he added. “There are three percolating through the system,” Gottschalk said, without revealing the business names. Wood County has an estimated 60,000 people in its labor force. So 600 jobs is about 1 percent of the unemployment rate, he explained. That means the county’s ability to attract new industry will become more challenging. Gottschalk predicted that companies with upper tier wages will still be able to attract employees, but others may struggle to fill positions. “It will make it more difficult to attract average-pay employers,” he said. Existing companies in Wood County are already having trouble filling empty positions, Gottschalk said. “The available labor force is relatively small,” he said. For years, Ohio has been attractive to prospective employers because of the strong work ethic associated with employees. “Ohio has a very good reputation for its labor force,” Gottschalk said. “It just doesn’t have enough.” The state is seeing its older population grow, and its younger population not being replenished. “There are a lot of people looking at the labor situation,” he said. “We have an aging population and a very low growth rate. There will be a smaller labor force to draw on in the future,” Gottschalk said. In order to promote manufacturing jobs to young prospective workers in Wood County, the economic development office is holding its second annual Manufacturing Camp this summer. The students will work with people from NASA,…

U.S. Marshals arrest one man wanted for rape, kidnapping in BG

The U.S. Marshals Service in Lubbock, Texas, arrested David Ramos Contreras, 28, today. Contreras was wanted by the Bowling Green Police for two counts of rape and two counts of kidnapping after two underage girls reported the incident to Bowling Green Police on June 28. Bowling Green Police also charged Arnulfo Ramos (age unknown) and Juan Garcia Rios Adiel (19) with rape and kidnapping on July 2, in connection with the same incident. Information was developed placing Contreras in Lubbock, Texas, after investigators for the U.S. Marshals Service and Bowling Green Police followed leads and tips developed over the last two days. Contreras was found hiding under a bed at an address in the 1600 block of 21st Street in Lubbock. Contreras will be extradited back to Ohio to face the charges. U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio Pete Elliott stated, “The diligent and dedicated work of our fugitive task force, along with the U.S. Marshals in Lubbock, and our local partners enabled this arrest to happen quickly and safely. We know the hard work will continue until the other two suspects are apprehended. Our thoughts are with the victims of these heinous crimes.” The current whereabouts of Arnulfo Ramos and Juan Garcia Rios Adiel are still unknown. The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and Bowling Green Police are seeking assistance from the public in locating these two suspects. Ramos previously lived in Texas while Adiel lived in Florida. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these fugitives is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at: 1-866-4-WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the tip to TIP411 (847411). Tipsters may remain anonymous and a cash reward may be available. The U.S. Marshals Service is currently offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the remaining two fugitives.

Annual Pet Show in City Park set for July 11

(Submitted by BG Parks & Recreation Department) The City of Bowling Green Parks & Recreation Department is sponsoring the 56th Annual Pet Show at City Park on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m. Participants can register that evening at the Needle Hall Stage. All legal pets are welcome. The categories are as follows: Funniest Pet Name, Largest Dog, Shaggiest Pet, Best Groomed Pet, Smallest Dog, Smallest Cat, Best Dressed Pet, Largest Cat, Cutest Boy Dog, Most Unusual Pet, Prettiest Girl Cat, Best Pet Trick, Biggest Rodent, Cutest Boy Cat, Prettiest Girl Dog, Pet with Largest Ears, Best Behaved Pet, Smallest Dog, Pet That Looks Most Like Its Owner, Best Pet Trick, Most interesting farm pet, Prettiest Bird, Bird that tweets/talks loudest, Slimiest Reptile, and Best Pet Rock. The rain date for this event will be July 18 at 7 p.m. For questions or more information call the Parks & Recreation Department at (419)354-6223 or visit website at

BG twins rescue toddler from deep end of hotel pool

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The 6-year-old twins are unlikely heroes. The two blond boys, in their matching swimsuits, rescued a toddler who jumped in the deep end this past weekend at a hotel pool in Florida. The twins – Bryant and Peyton Switzer – who are taking swimming lessons this week at Bowling Green city pool, talked about the rescue before their class started on Tuesday morning. “Pretend over here is the shallow end,” Bryant said pointing to the city pool. “She was just playing in it.” But then the 3-year-old took off her water-wing flotation devices and jumped in the deep end. The boys were old enough to realize she needed help. “He jumped in and put his arm around her,” Bryant said of his brother, Peyton. “Then he gave her to me, and I got her out.” The little girl was frightened, but the twins stayed calm. “She was a little scared when she was in the deep end,” Bryant said. The boys’ mom, Amy Walters, of Bowling Green, said they had gone to Orlando, Florida, for a work trip. The twins were in the hotel pool with Walters’ fiancé, D.J. Dieter, when the incident occurred. “She had seen the big boys playing and splashing around,” and apparently wanted to join in, Walters said of the little girl. “They didn’t even think twice. They went into action,” Walters said. “We’re very proud of them.” The toddler’s mom expressed her thanks to the young heroes. “The mother was extremely grateful,” Walters said. The boys, she said, are very comfortable in the water. “They are little fish. They’d live in the water if you’d let them,” Walters said. Mia Schempf, the twins’ swimming lessons teacher at BG city pool, said the boys are strong swimmers for being so young. “They are super smart kids,” she said. It just happened that last week, one of their classes focused on water safety. “We teach them safety in and around the water,” Schempf said. “It’s awesome they were able to save someone.” After Monday’s swimming class, the boys’ bravery was recognized by State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who presented Bryant and Peyton with certificates honoring their heroism.

BG struggles to find right words for charter preamble

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials are debating how to best reflect the city’s values in the fewest words possible in the preamble of the city charter. The charter has long been limited to addressing city governance. But during a recent review by a charter update committee, it was suggested that the preamble say more about exactly what Bowling Green stands for. The committee recommended that council create a statement about non-discrimination to place in the preamble. So council members Daniel Gordon, chair of the Community Improvement Committee, Bill Herald and John Zanfardino took a stab Monday evening at coming up with a little language that says a lot about the city. “We want to set out foundational language for what the city is supposed to be about,” Gordon said. “We want to define who we are as a people and what the community stands for,” he said. Here is the current city charter preamble: “We the people of Bowling Green, in the county of Wood, and in the State of Ohio, desirous of securing for our city and for ourselves and our children the advantages of self-government conferred by the home-rule provisions of the Ohio constitution, do hereby ordain and establish the following charter. Here are five proposals for additional wording that were presented Monday evening. Mayor Dick Edward’s: …. “and in keeping with the City of Bowling Green’s determination to be a welcoming city, a city that adheres to practices of non-discrimination as established by law, a city committed to neighborhood livability and a city that embraces energy sustainability” … Council member Daniel Gordon’s: … “and determined to be a welcoming, inclusive community with strong neighborhoods and equitable quality of life; to serve the common good; and thereby to ensure the safety and freedom of all the people of Bowling Green, who seek to live their lives in peace” … Council member Bill Herald’s: … “We do this in the hope of molding a distinctive place where people can live with mutual respect, civility, and service to one another in a supportive community.” Charter committee member Mark Hollenbaugh’s: … “We do this as a collection of unique individuals with the desire that all our citizens be valued for who they are, and they be empowered by the rights and respect inherent in all people.” Charter committee co-chair Shannon Orr’s: … “and in adherence to practices of anti-discrimination established by law.” One of the big questions is – should the preamble just address anti-discrimination, or should it be expanded…

BG Council split over prioritizing planning in city charter

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For the second consecutive meeting, Bowling Green City Council was divided over just how the city charter should be updated. And again, the vote was not according to party lines. The issue Monday evening was city planning. The decision boiled down to which was more important – protecting the integrity of the city charter, stressing the importance of city planning, or trying to do both. When it came to a vote, those wanting to keep the charter pristine while emphasizing city planning in ordinance form were Mike Aspacher, Bruce Jeffers and Greg Robinette. Those wanting to add a longer definition of city planning to the charter were Daniel Gordon, Bill Herald,  Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino. Bowling Green voters will make the final decision on the charter change in November. The background on the vote began earlier this year when the charter update committee made a recommendation that a detailed definition for city planning be added to the city charter. Initially City Attorney Mike Marsh shortened the definition to make it more streamlined for the charter. However, he was asked to reintroduce the charter amendment using the longer version. That led to a debate among council members about the need to keep the charter uncluttered, and the need to place more emphasis on city planning. At the last council meeting, East Side resident Les Barber pleaded with council to allow the longer version in the charter. A lack of planning in the past has led to many neighborhood issues on the East Side that have spread to the West Side of the city. The language approved Monday evening lists the planning director’s duties as on-going study, investigation and analysis of all municipal planning functions, including zoning, platting, housing, zoning and subdivision codes, and code enforcement, including how each of the functions impacts the well being of the city’s neighborhoods, commercial and industrial areas. Robinette said he listened to various viewpoints, and while appreciating the passion of Barber and others, he still believes the charter is not the place for prioritizing planning. As council members, he said, they must “be rigorous defenders” of the city charter. However, he also proposed that the extended definition be placed in ordinance form in the city’s administrative code. That would allow “every word, every phrase” to be included in an ordinance while protecting the “integrity of the charter,” Robinette said. Jeffers also felt that putting the shorter version in the charter would give planning prominence. He talked about the need for some…

BG Police investigating alleged kidnapping and sexual assault

The Bowling Green Police Division is investigating an alleged kidnapping and sexual assault incident that occurred in Bowling Green. The alleged female victims are 13 and 14 years of age. One suspect identified as Simon Juan, DOB 11/5/1993, Guatemala, was arrested for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and transported to the Wood County Justice Center. Three other suspects are also alleged to be involved in the incident. At this time, detectives have identified one suspect as David Ramos Contreras, DOB 12/31/1990, Mexico. The two other suspects identified themselves as Juan Garcia Rios Adiel and Arnulfo Ramos. Adiel possessed a US Permanent Resident ID card out of Fellsmere, Florida, with a listed date of birth as 9/13/98; however, the card was later verified to be fraudulent. Nationwide arrest warrants have been issued for Contreras, Adiel, and Ramos on two counts of kidnapping and rape. Anyone having information related to this incident, to include the identity of the suspects and their whereabouts, is asked to contact the Bowling Green Police Division (419) 352-1131, Wood County CrimeStoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME, or their local law enforcement agency. 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 $1000.

State Patrol urging drivers to move over for vehicles on side of road

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to help keep everyone safe by moving over when you see a stationary public safety vehicle, emergency vehicle, road service or highway maintenance vehicle on the side of the road with flashing or rotating lights. From 2013-2017, Ohio State Highway Patrol cruisers were involved in 58 crashes that appear to be related to the Move Over law. These crashes resulted in the deaths of two civilians, and injured 34 civilians and 24 officers. In 2017, troopers wrote 17 percent more citations for violating the Move Over law than in 2016. From 2013 to 2017, the patrol has recorded 14,202 Move Over violation citations. Ohio law requires all drivers to move over to an adjacent lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside. If moving over is not possible due to traffic or weather conditions, or because a second lane does not exist, motorists should slow down and proceed with caution. The Move Over law now exists in all 50 states. Alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in 29 percent of move over crashes, while wet roads or those covered in snow or ice accounted for 59 percent. “By moving over, motorists can do their part to help protect the lives of everyone who works on or uses our roadways,” said Lieutenant Angel Burgos. “Moving over isn’t just the law; it’s the right thing to do.” To view the statistical analysis regarding our safe driving awareness month visit

Main Street to be closed for car show on July 7

In conjunction with the Annual Classics on Main Auto Show, certain street closings and parking restrictions will be imposed in the downtown on Saturday, July 7. Main Street, between Clay and Pearl, will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday, July 7. While Main Street is closed, no through traffic will be permitted on Washington, Clough, Court, and Oak streets. However, Wooster Street will remain open for east and westbound traffic throughout the day. During the closure, detour routes for local and truck traffic will be posted. All on-street parking will be prohibited in the closure area. Additionally, on-street parking will not be allowed on Clay Street from Main to North Grove Street. City Parking Lot 6, located to the north of the Senior Center, will be closed during the event. All streets will reopen, and on-street parking will be reinstated, as soon as possible following the event completion. The Classics on Main event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Backpacks filled with school supplies to be given to kids in need

(Submitted by Salvation Army and United Way) The Salvation Army in Bowling Green and United Way in Wood County are partnered again this year to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to families with children in need. The local nonprofits are sponsoring the Wood County Back to School Fair from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Woodland Mall, 1234 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. Contact the Salvation Army at 419-352-5918 or United Way at 419-352-2390 to pre-register for a backpack filled with supplies. Backpack registration will also be held on the day of the event. Interested families will need to bring their picture ID and proof of children in the household. Example documentation includes, but is not limited to, birth certificates, immunization records or school paperwork for children in need. As part of the back to school event, local organizations will also provide information about their services and opportunities available to local students and their families. This information will include out of school programming, health care options, rent and utility assistance, early intervention services and more. Activities for kids and snacks will also be provided. This event is free and open to the public. The Wood County Early Childhood Task Force will be conducting free early childhood screenings, for children birth to 5 years old, with activities, giveaways and snacks. Participating agencies also include the BGSU Athletics Department, YWCA Girl Scouts, Wood County Job and Family Services, Wood County Child Support Enforcement Agency, The Cocoon and the Wood County Educational Service Center Drug Prevention Program with many more to come. If you would like to be a vendor, are interested in volunteering, or wish to make a donation, please contact the Salvation Army in Bowling Green at 419-352-5918 or United Way in Wood County at 419-352-2390. More information is also available on Facebook @BGSalvationArmy and @woodcoUW.

Kasich signs Gavarone’s bill updating child support guidelines

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed House Bill 366, legislation sponsored by State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, that updates Ohio’s quarter-century-old child support guidelines. Ohio law stipulates guidelines for courts and child support agencies to use when determining the outcome of child support orders. Matters such as economic tables, parenting time, and health insurance coverage are all outlined in code but have not been updated since 1992. With the support of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and several county child support enforcement agencies, the bill aims to modernize and streamline the child support payment process. The bill includes the following provisions: Updates the economic tables used to calculate child support payments, ensuring that child support orders are appropriate across the various income levels. Modernizes healthcare coverage guidelines through various changes, including aligning parental responsibilities with the Affordable Care Act. Creates a standard deduction for child support payments when a parent has multiple orders, with the goal of equalizing orders and treating all children the same. Caps the allowable credit for shared childcare expenses at the statewide average. Implements a parenting time adjustment to standard child support orders to take into account the amount of time a non-custodial parent spends with their child. “After working with Senator Beagle, Amy Roehrenbeck, CSEA directors, like Wood County’s Frank McLaughlin, and so many others, we finally updated Ohio’s 26-year-old child support laws,” Gavarone said.  “Not only will this bill help families receive more reliable and consistent payments, but provisions in the bill ensure that we’ll be able to update these guidelines again before the year 2044.” House Bill 366 passed the Ohio House in March with bipartisan support. The bill passed through the Senate with minor, technical amendments, and then was concurred upon by the House earlier this month.

BG duo takes cross-country road trip in 1969 convertible

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It started out as a simple dream. A man and his car. Driving cross country with the roof down. Not a care in the world except what diner to stop at for dinner. But like many dreams, it got complicated when it crossed lanes with reality. Throw in a leaky roof, low oil pressure, and a windshield wiper collision with the video camera perched on the car to record the trek. Now you’ve got yourself a real road trip. Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer at Bowling Green State University, had long wanted to drive cross country from his home in Bowling Green. “It seemed like a good idea. I’ve never driven across country and it seemed like it was overdue,” he said. But Kielmeyer wanted a bigger challenge. He wanted to take the road trip in his 1969 Ford Gran Torino. The light blue convertible is what is referred to in the car collector world as a “survivor car.” It still has its original engine, first coat of paint, old seats, no cruise control, no air conditioning, AM radio, gas mileage of 16 miles per gallon, and no warning if lights are left on (which will come into play later). Riding shotgun on the trip was his son, Jake Kielmeyer, a junior business major at BGSU. “I think it was agreed among the family that he had the best temperament” for the trip, Kielmeyer said of his laid-back son. Jake shared the urge to travel out west – but he admitted having some concerns about the mode of travel and his partner on the journey. “I think everyone my age has reservations about being in the car with their dad for 10 days,” he said. The plan was to drive to San Diego then ship the Gran Torino home. They mapped out a course taking them from Ohio through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The goal was to drive about 300 miles a day, which would give the father-son team a couple days to spend sightseeing at the Grand Canyon. “A lot of smart people expressed reservations,’” Kielmeyer said. But he was determined. So last month, the driving duo took off with a video camera mounted on the outside and a “mix tape” put together by Jake’s friend. “Jake picked some music that I’m not sure I could define,” Kielmeyer said. “It was tolerable.” It was indie rock. “Apparently, Dad’s not a big fan,” Jake said. So they often cranked…

July 4th holiday to change some trash/recyclable pickups

The City of Bowling Green offices will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, in observation of Independence Day. As a result, the attached refuse and recycling collection schedule will be followed: – Regular Monday collection will be collected on Monday. – Regular Tuesday collection will be collected on Tuesday. – Regular Wednesday collection will be collected on Thursday. – Regular Thursday collection will be collected on Friday. Questions about this schedule or the city’s refuse/recycling program may be directed to the Public Works Department at 419-354-6227.