Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

County asked again to take stand against big dairy, for Lake Erie

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After six months of silence from the Wood County Commissioners, a couple activists were back before the board Tuesday asking for support. The commissioners heard again from Vickie Askins about suspected manure violations from a large dairy, and from Mike Ferner about the need to protect Lake Erie. The two made the same requests as last summer to the commissioners: Write a letter to the Ohio EPA about the dairy, and sign a resolution declaring the lake as impaired. Again, the commissioners asked a few questions, but took no action Tuesday on either request. “This is happening in your county,” Askins said. “I just think this is terrible.” According to Askins, the dairy on Rangeline Road southwest of Bowling Green, has repeatedly violated manure lagoon and manure application regulations during the last 13 years. “There has been a history of violations,” she said of the former Mander Dairy which is now owned by Drost Land Co. Askins informed the commissioners last summer that when Manders Dairy went bankrupt four years ago, it left behind about 10 million gallons of manure it its lagoon. Federal law requires that the manure must be taken care of when a CAFO closes, Askins said. And Ohio EPA requires that no manure be applied to farm fields unless up-to-date soil samples and manure analyses are obtained. Askins, a watchdog of mega dairies in Wood County, said neither has been done. The lagoon is nearly full, and no field application study documentation can be found. Yet, she had seen evidence of “manure irrigators” being constructed near the site. “Everybody acts like this is OK,” she said. “Nobody’s taking…

Area woman killed in crash on Route 6

A Grand Rapids woman was killed in an early morning crash today on U.S. 6, west on Bowling Green. Diane Shively, 63, was pronounced dead at the scene on Route 6 between Custar Road and Wapakoneta Road, near Grand Rapids. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the two-vehicle crash that occurred around 6:30 a.m. Shively was a passenger in an eastbound pickup driven by her husband, Duane Shively, 73. The other vehicle involved was a westbound pickup truck driven by Richard Henry, 29, Weston. Grand Rapids Fire Department and Northwest 190 EMS assisted at the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

BG Fire Division to put focus on fire prevention

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Fire Division has ignited some new goals for the new year – shifting its focus to fire prevention, examining response time, and collecting data for a future third fire station in the city. These concepts and more are discussed in the fire division’s five-year strategic plan presented recently to city council. The division averages 3,500 calls a year, with 80 percent being EMS runs and the other 20 percent being fire calls for everything from structures, to cars to dumpsters. One of Fire Chief Tom Sanderson’s main goals for the division is to add an emphasis on fire prevention. “Historically, fire departments focus all their training and finances on fire suppression,” the chief said. But Sanderson would like to shift some focus to prevention as well. “We are charged with educating the community on how to reduce the risk of fires.” So the fire division will be working to develop a community risk reduction program that will help protect homes, businesses – and his firefighters. “My biggest concern as a fire chief – what keeps me up at night – is firefighter safety,” Sanderson said. “Firefighters don’t die if a fire never occurs.” The fire division is not able to do annual inspections of all businesses in the city, so the chief wants to offer a risk reduction program. Unlike inspections, which some in the business community might interpret as costly or threatening, the prevention program will likely be viewed as a helpful service. “We’re not able to do comprehensive fire safety inspections annually,” Sanderson said. “We’re trying to shift our focus. The goal is to help businesses stay in…

BG parks master plan more substance than sexy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s parks and facilities need a healthy dose of TLC. So that’s the focus of the five-year master plan that was approved last week by the city planning commission. During the last couple decades, the parks and recreation department was busy adding acreage and building facilities. This next five years will be much less sexy – but very necessary, said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. “We need to take care of what we have,” Otley said to the planning commission. “We have been growing, growing, growing for 16 years.” Some of the biggest maintenance needs are in one of the oldest parks – City Park. “We need to give it the TLC (tender loving care) it deserves,” Otley said. And that means “a lot of roofs.” The largest building in City Park – Veterans Building – has reached a crossroads. “It has to be addressed,” she said. “Do we tear down and build, or renovate?” The city’s public works department took care of one issue at City Park last year by repairing the aging stone wall originally build by the Works Progress Administration, which was part of the nation’s New Deal program in 1935 to 1943. Each park in the city has its own needs, including some that need to be made ADA compliant, and some that need LED lighting and other energy conservation changes. The newest, Ridge Park, needs the back area leveled and reseeded. Carter Park is in line to get a new playground area and a couple shelter houses replaced. All the gardens have been created in Simpson Garden Park and the parking lot…

How to make New Year’s fitness resolutions stick

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The same phenomenon occurs each time the new year rolls around. Gyms are suddenly full of fresh bodies trying desperately to stick to their New Year’s resolutions to get fit. Meanwhile the workout regulars are grumbling and waiting for the newbies to give up. “It’s a madhouse,” said Matt Steck, recreation administrative assistant, as he sat at the front desk of the Bowling Green Community Center on Monday morning. In the first hour of business in the new year, Steck had already sold $1,500 in passes to the center. “The people who have been here forever can’t stand it,” Steck said. But if the trend goes as is customary, many of the new exercisers will fall off the “fitness cliff” by Feb. 18. After that date, the New Year’s resolutions weaken to their breaking point. However, the crew upstairs at the community center said there are some ways to make exercise more bearable so people don’t give up. First, set short term goals – like showing up to the gym three days a week – not running a marathon and losing 50 pounds, said Josh Chatfield, aquatics and fitness manager for Bowling Green Parks and Recreation. Second, try to make it enjoyable, not torture. “Do the things you like, and don’t do the things you don’t like,” Chatfield suggested. If using a treadmill, riding a stationary bike and lifting weights sound like drudgery, then play a sport. Play a game of basketball with buddies, “something that is still active,” said fitness specialist Lindy Donaldson. Next – and this one might sound odd – avoid reading stories trying to convince you of the…

BG, BGSU asked to offer support, sanctuary to immigrants, Muslims

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green city and university are being asked to take stands in support of immigrants and Muslims in the community. BGSU leadership has been asked to develop “sanctuary” plans for immigrants targeted by expected changes in policies under President-elect Donald Trump. And Bowling Green City Council will soon be asked to support a resolution condemning discrimination against Muslims. The petition signed by 331 people was submitted to Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey, the Board of Trustees and Faculty Senate. The petition calls for the university to provide a “safe haven” for those at risk under intolerant immigration laws. The petition points out BGSU’s mission of equity, diversity and inclusion – and how Trump’s campaign statements are at odds with that mission. Proposed city resolution At the city level, the resolution proposed by council member Daniel Gordon asks the city to stand against violence, hate speech and discrimination targeting Muslim people. The resolution expresses solidarity with the Muslim community and all those targeted for their ethnicity, race or religion. This morning, the city’s Human Relations Commission reviewed the resolution and voiced support for its spirit. “This could be labeled symbolic, but even symbolic statements have power,” Gordon said. “That’s what we’re trying to change here – is attitudes locally,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said. Edwards expressed some concerns that the resolution should be more localized. “I’m not questioning the spirit, the intent and the initiative behind it,” he said. But “it needs to be more about the city of Bowling Green. We should always be speaking with our hearts and our heads for the people we represent.” Edwards suggested…

‘The Shed’ property in line for rezoning to B-5

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The building by the tracks at 510 E. Wooster St. has had a colorful – even checkered – history. To the old timers in Bowling Green, it was the Burger Chef, where you could get a burger and fries for a quarter. Later it became a Hard Body’s Co-Ed Gym, then The Shed which sold hippie paraphernalia just this side of legal, and finally Eclipse Salon. Its most recent role has been that of an eyesore, sitting empty for more than a decade after a fire. But it appears the shop – or at least the location – may be resurrected again. A request to rezone the 0.2235-acre site just to the east of the railroad tracks was approved Wednesday evening by the Bowling Green Planning Commission. The request was made by new owners Charles & Kenneth Holdings Ltd., of which Ammar Mufleh is a partner. Mufleh is owner of the ClaZel in downtown Bowling Green. The site will be changed from B-2 general commercial zoning to B-5 transitional central business district zoning. The new zoning will allow for more flexibility with the odd-shaped location. “This property was the original property that was the reason for B-5 zoning,” said attorney Bob Spitler, who was representing the new owners. “The ongoing appearance in recent times has been horrible.” The plans for the property are unknown, Spitler said. Also approved for the same zoning change was 0.0924 acres just to the east of the old Shed property. Jay Williams requested B-5 zoning at 516 E. Wooster St., formerly Myles Pizza and now Pizza Pub 516. Again with this site, the B-5 zoning will allow…

Free parenting class offered at CRC

(Submitted for Children’s Resource Center) Another session of “ACT: Raising Safe Kids” will begin January 24 at Children’s Resource Center (1045 Klotz Road, Bowling Green.) The free course teaches parents with young children positive forms of discipline and how to deal with tantrums and fights. Endorsed by the American Psychological Association, ACT: Raising Safe Kids, has been taught all over the country. It has become so popular in Wood County that CRC offers it year-round. The class will meet every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 PM from January 24 to March 14. Child care and a family meal are provided during each session. To register for the class, contact Kristen Junga or Pam McKinley at Children’s Resource Center, 419-352- 7588. Most adults– whether consciously or not—fall back on their parents’ child-rearing style when raising their own children. But that may not be the best choice for their kids. ACT (Adults and Children Together:) Raising Safe Kids helps moms and dads find alternatives to the parenting style they have “inherited” from their parents. An independent study performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that graduates of the course used less harsh discipline and benefited from the support of their classmates in the course. “ACT: Raising Safe Kids” recognizes that children live what they learn. It is never too early to learn peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. For more information on this and CRC’s many other programs, contact Children’s Resource Center at 419-352- 7588.

BG police to install new cameras in downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green will soon be adding some eyes in the sky in the downtown area. New cameras are planned for the four corners and for the city parking lot behind Panera. The installation of cameras is nothing for residents to worry about, according to Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick. “This isn’t anything new. We’re just replacing them with updated models,” Hetrick said. The cameras are not used to catch motorists who are speeding or run red lights. And the vast majority of the footage goes unviewed – unless it’s needed to identify suspects. “We’ve solved some crimes,” such as assaults and robberies with the video, the chief said. Cameras have also recorded fatal accidents and have been helpful with determining how they occurred, Hetrick explained. A camera previously installed by the city at a construction site on the north edge of town recorded an accident in which four people were killed. And an ODOT camera at Interstate 75 captured a fatal motorcycle accident on the overpass. “They do have a usefulness in higher traffic areas,” Hetrick said. The city’s downtown cameras record constantly. The images can be pulled up in police dispatch if necessary. “Typically the dispatchers don’t have time to watch them,” on an ongoing basis, the chief said. The only video in constant view of the dispatchers comes from cameras at the intersection of Main and Wooster streets. “They are great for seeing traffic problems,” Hetrick said. Replacing those obsolete cameras at the four corners will cost $10,500. The new cameras for the parking lot behind Panera, where parking kiosks were recently installed, will cost $12,000. Since the city’s…

BG to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m., a tribute to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St. The tribute is sponsored by the City of Bowling Green Human Relations Commission and will feature keynote speaker Arto Woodley who is a scholar-in-residence at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College.  Woodley’s presentation is titled – “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community.” Musical selections will be performed by the BGHS Madrigals along with Sheila, Angelo, and Carla Brown, Beautiful Sunset. Also at the event, the Human Relations Commission will present the annual Drum Major for Peace Award, named in honor of King. There is no charge for the event and it is open to the public.

Rezoning sought for ‘smiley face’ barn site

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For decades, the giant smiley face on the big white barn welcomed motorists on Interstate 75 as they traveled north of Bowling Green. The message advertised no product – just simply offered a happy greeting, signed Joe & Gertie. Though the smile has faded, the barn still stands at the northwest corner of I-75 and Ohio 582. But Joe and Gertie Carpenter are long gone. The barrel of water at their driveway with a jug for filling strangers’ stubborn radiators is no longer there. And so now it is up to the Carpenters’ three children to decide what to do with the 95 acres the family owns at the site. The land has long been farmed, but developers have approached the offspring about the acreage with easy access to I-75 and Route 582. So Joe and Gertie’s children have asked that Middleton Township change the zoning from A-1 agricultural to M-1 light industrial. “They want to make the property more marketable for industrial and commercial end users,” explained Dave Steiner, director of the Wood County Planning Commission. The zoning request came before the county planning commission on Tuesday on its way to the Middleton Township Trustees, who will make the final decision on the zoning request. There is no specific plan yet for the site, “but they would rather have it zoned and ready to go,” Steiner said. “We’re seeing this more and more.” Other acreage in the area has already gone through the same preparations, such as the property at the southwest corner of Route 582 and Mercer Road. A couple miles to the west, acreage at the southeast corner of…

Not In Our Town general meeting on Jan. 5

The monthly general meeting of Not In Our Town BG will be held in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union of Bowling Green State University on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 3 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 315 and is open for public participation. Those present will review events of the past month, hear reports of current activities, and consider issues to address and opportunities to build a more safe, respectful and inclusive community.  NIOT BG is a community-wide movement, with monthly meetings alternating between the BGSU campus and a downtown location.  Campus parking passes for the meeting are available by emailing NIOT co-chair Alex Solis at

Latta votes against stripping power from ethics office

Behind closed doors Monday night, House Republicans voted 119 to 74 to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics – which has served as an independent watchdog on ethical wrongdoing. Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, stuck with House GOP leaders and voted against the plans to usurp the power of the ethics office. Then after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his annoyance with that being the first action of the 115th Congress, the plan was scrapped by the House. “It was stripped out today,” said Drew Griffin, press secretary to Latta in Washington, D.C. Latta was not available, but Griffin said he was fielding several calls about the ethics issue. “Obviously we’re starting to get requests on this,” Griffin said. The ethics office was established in 2008 under House Democrats in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.