Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Lubrizol named CES Employer of the Month

(Submitted by Community Employment Services) Community Employment Services (CES) of wli – Work Leads to Independence, recently named Lubrizol of Bowling Green as their Employer of the Month. Lubrizol has partnered with CES since February of 2016. Currently they employ one individual as a Glassware Technician. This individual is responsible for cleaning and preparing the numerous glass testing and quality control beakers and containers that Lubrizol uses as part of their quality control and production monitoring processes at their Bowling Green facility. The employees and supervisors at Lubrizol in Bowling Green have played a supportive role for this individual served by CES. We appreciate their dedication in becoming a community placement employer. Since 1985, Community Employment Services has assisted the business community to meet their staffing and diversity needs by offering a pool of qualified and competent workers with disabilities. Community Employment Services is a division of wli – Work Leads to Independence.


BG Schools program focuses on positive behaviors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s hard to teach science theories, sentence dissection, or just about anything when kids are acting up. So Bowling Green City Schools are adopting a program called PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. The program provides consistent rules throughout the district and reinforces positive behaviors by students. In order to have good learning environments, “we have to get the behaviors under control,” Crim Principal Melanie Garbig said during a recent board of education meeting. Each school in the district has a PBIS team, spearheaded by the guidance counselors, with the goal to have the program fully implemented next year. The program reinforces the same expectations to all students – from preschoolers to seniors. Students are reminded to be responsible for themselves, respectful of others, and safe in their schools. That common language will follow the students every year of school. “Those expectations are going to be the same,” Garbig said. “I think it’s going to make a difference.” The PBIS program focuses on positive reinforcement. Students caught being good are given “pride” slips. “Pride” postcards signed by teachers, are addressed to children and mailed to their homes. “It’s a way to celebrate the positive behaviors,” said teacher Stacey Higgins. Posters stating expectations of students are placed around the school, defining good behavior in the hallways, cafeteria, playground, bus, or during assemblies. To trick is to make it fun to behave. Crim staff and students made a video showing examples of bad and good behavior. The twist was that the teachers were the ones misbehaving, and the students were schooling them. The video shows teachers messing around during lunch, running in the halls, banging on bathroom doors, throwing items in the classroom, and climbing around the seats on the bus. The students then get their turn of exhibiting the right way to behave in each setting. “Obviously there’s more to education than reading and writing,” said school board…


Efforts underway to find leaking septic systems

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though sewer lines are inching their way across Wood County, there are still an estimated 14,000 homes that continue to rely on septic systems. An estimated half of those are failing and leaking raw sewage. By later this year, all 26 municipalities in Wood County will have public sewers. But many homes in rural areas don’t have that option.  And many may not be aware their septic systems are failing. “’Working fine’ is they flush the toilet and it goes away,” said Lana Glore, Wood County Health District environmental division director. But the question is – where does the sewage go? Since the average life expectancy of a septic system is 30 years, Glore said it’s possible that as many as 7,000 septic systems are sending sewage into public waterways. “In an ideal world, we’d have everybody sewered,” she said. Because aging and failing septic systems are a problem statewide, the Ohio Department of Health wants local health departments to examine every system. The Wood County Health Division already has a septic system operation and maintenance plan, but it is on a much smaller level, Glore said. Inspections of systems are complaint-driven or prompted by real estate sales. Since many older septic systems were installed without permits, they have likely never been inspected. “The first step is going to be playing catch up,” Glore said. “Where are our critical areas?” The health district consults with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District to see if plans exist to extend sewer services to problem areas. The health district works with the county building inspection office on preventing problems by determining the best locations for septic systems and making sure space is left for replacement systems. The health division also partners with the county engineer’s office to help map out systems using GIS. The health division also works with landowners to find the most reasonable solutions. If those older failing…


Verdict in – Chidester retires leaving secure courthouse

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Tom Chidester took the job as chief constable for the Wood County Courthouse 21 years ago, he had a tall order to fill. The Supreme Court order requiring courthouses to be made secure meant some unpopular decisions. But as he prepares to retire at the end of March, Chidester can sit back and rattle off the threats over the years that were stopped before they entered the courtrooms. In addition to standards knives and guns, there was a sword hidden in a cane, mace, plus knives hidden in phones and wallets. Oh, and then there was the six-pack of beer in a backpack. When Chidester, a former trooper with the Ohio Highway Patrol, took the job in 1996 there was little courthouse security in place. There were no metal detectors, no court security staff to keep an eye during emotionally charged trials. But there were orders in place that courthouses around the country were expected to obey. One of the biggest problems at the historic Wood County Courthouse was the number of building entrances that would need to be staffed. So county officials took the bold move of closing down all but one entrance. And former Wood County Commissioner Alvie Perkins came up with the idea for the atrium that would connect the courthouse and the county office building, which houses one of the common pleas courtrooms. “The elected officials were kind of divided on how the public would react,” Chidester recalled. “They went through many public meetings.” In December of 2005, the atrium opened and security measures went into place. There was some grumbling about just one entrance and about people needing to pass through a metal detector – but that all seems second nature now to those who use the courthouse. Chidester worked on meeting all 12 standards for courthouse safety, including such additions as cameras in courtrooms, panic buttons, limited access, metal detectors,…


Grant to be used to prevent binge drinking

(Submitted by the Wood County Prevention Coalition) The Wood County Prevention Coalition received $2,500 from Drug Free Action Alliance as a recipient of the #PUSH4Prevention Community Stipend, the Wood County Educational Service Center announced today. “We feel very blessed to receive this stipend and hope to make the most of this opportunity. Although we’ve seen many successes in reducing youth alcohol use through the years, more work needs to be done to prevent binge drinking in our community,” said Milan Karna, Wood County Prevention Coalition Coordinator. The Wood County Prevention Coalition aims to reduce underage access to alcohol through community compliance checks around St. Patrick’s Day, expand collaboration with Safe Communities of Wood County by providing information, providing safe transportation and also offering alcohol-free alternative activities. The Mayor of Bowling Green, Richard Edwards has proclaimed March 13th through March March 17th Swallow Your Pride Week. “Thanks to funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, our agency is able to help both community coalitions and campuses make crucial, public health investments in preventing substance misuse,” said Marcie Seidel, Drug Free Action Alliance’s executive director. “We’re excited to see how these organizations’ initiatives will improve the lives of many in their communities.” The Wood County Prevention Coalition was one of nine recipients of the stipend and one of several dozen applicants for the #PUSH4Prevention Community Stipend, which funds coalitions and campuses to implement or enhance prevention programs in their communities to prevent substance misuse. “We had many great applications, and I know that the recipients will do an excellent job of reducing substance misuse in their communities,” said Seidel. “The grant recipients all demonstrated thoughtful plans to prevent the misuse and abuse of substances in their communities and on their campuses.” The #Push4Prevention Community Stipend is made possible with support from Ohio MHAS and is administered by DFAA’s Ohio Center for Coalition Excellence and Ohio College Initiative to Enhance Student Wellness. Drug Free…


League of Women Voters to host program on mental health

The League of Women Voters of Bowling Green is hosting a program on mental health on Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:45) at the Wood County District Library. The program is titled “Mental Health Concerns in Older Adulthood,” with the presenter being Lisa Myers, director of social services as the Wood County Committee on Aging. She will talk about various mental health issues that might be experienced by older adults and discuss agencies and programs that can help. The program is directed toward older adults and family members.  


BG to look for lead waterlines still being used in city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In the wake of the lead contaminated water crisis in Flint, officials in Ohio are under order to identify waterlines made of lead. As a water provider, the city of Bowling Green must submit a waterline map to the Ohio EPA, showing the type of lines supplying homes – copper, galvanized iron, plastic or lead. That map must be submitted by March 9 and updated every five years, according to Bowling Green Director of Public Utilities Brian O’Connell. O’Connell explained to City Council Monday evening that the city is responsible for the portion of the waterline that extends to the curb stop, but the portion of the line going into the residence is the homeowner’s responsibility. So while O’Connell is confident the lead lines in the city’s portion have been replaced, the same cannot be said of the portions that are the responsibility of homeowners. “We are not aware at this time of any lead lines” installed by the city, he said. Since 1967, the city service lines were all required to be copper or plastic. Prior to then, lead lines were allowed, but in the 1990s any known lead service lines were replaced. The city has taken further steps to prevent lead in the water by adding corrosion inhibitors to the water. Since some residents may unknowingly have lead lines in their homes, the Environmental Protection Agency has had the city test about 30 water samples each year from residences that may have older connections to the city waterlines. In the past several years, only a handful of homes have shown any detectable levels of lead. All the others have tested as “no detect” for any lead. “I’m not trying to scare anybody,” O’Connell said. However, the risks of lead in water can be significant and long-lasting, especially to young children. “It’s an important health concern.” In a week or so, the map showing the city’s…


Tornado and severe weather spotter training offered

Wood County Emergency Management Agency is offering severe weather training. The Annual SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter’s Training for Wood County will be held Wednesday, March 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Bowling Green State University, Olscamp Hall, Room 111. Participants may use Parking Lot N off Ridge Street off of Mercer Road. Registration will be the night of the class starting at 6 p.m. A Tornado Awareness Training class will be held Wednesday, April 5, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Wood County Courthouse Office Building, fifth floor meeting room. Pre-registration is required on-line at https://ndptc.hawaii.edu/training/delivery/1803/ Training will be provided by the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center. Contact EMA Office, 419-354-9269, if you have questions concerning these classes.


Bowling Green to host tree and shrub program

The Bowling Green Tree Commission will be hosting a class on Saturday, March 25 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Ave. The class is titled “Preparing Your Trees and Shrubs for Spring.” The class is free to the public and will be held outside. Participants will learn steps to take as the growing season approaches. This will include proper mulching, pruning, and spring clean up. Contact Bowling Green Arborist Grant Jones, by email at gjones@bgohio.org or by phone at 419-353-4101 with questions.


Waterville turns to BG for water supply

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   While Toledo is fighting to hang on to its water customers, Bowling Green is adding customers that are jumping ship and looking for more reasonably priced water. Last month, the village of Waterville started getting its water from Bowling Green. “Waterville approached us,” Bowling Green Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said. The village had abandoned its own water plant in the 1980s. “They were a customer of Lucas County, and Lucas County is a customer of Toledo.” But big water rate hikes proposed in 2014-2015 from Toledo led Waterville to search for other sources. “Waterville was looking for different options, to explore what the possibilities were,” O’Connell said. “One of those options was to put a pipe under the river to the Bowling Green Water Treatment Plant.” Bowling Green had the extra water capacity, more reasonable rates, and was willing to give Waterville a 25-year contract compared to Toledo’s offer of a nine-year deal. “We had additional capacity that could meet their need,” O’Connell said. There were no capital costs for Bowling Green since Waterville put the pipeline under the river to link up along Forst Road to a main from Bowling Green’s water treatment plant. “Waterville assumed all the capital costs and the debt,” and Bowling Green just has to treat more water, O’Connell said. “It made sense for both communities to do the project. It’s good for our revenue stream,” he said. The city has a “wholesale contract” to sell the village about 500,000 gallons a day. Bowling Green already treats 4 to 5 million gallons of water a day, with that peaking to 6 to 8 million gallons in the summer. Bowling Green water is already sold to many communities outside the city, some supplied through city lines and others through Northwestern Water and Sewer District lines. Those towns getting BG water include Tontogany, Haskins, Grand Rapids, Portage, Rudolph, Weston, Milton Center, Custar, Jerry City,…


BG uses funds to help people repair homes, get to jobs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last year, Bowling Green used grant funding to help low income residents repair their homes, get to work with public transportation, create jobs, and provide transitional housing for people teetering on the brink of homelessness. “One hundred percent of the actions we take are for people of low and moderate incomes,” said Tina Bradley, grants administrator for the city. “The need is still there,” Bradley said after a recent public hearing on the Community Development Block Grant and Revolving Loan Fund program operated by the city. Though the city either met or exceeded its goals, Bradley said there are always unmet needs. “We always have a waiting list at the end of the year,” she said. The biggest problem dealt with by the CDBG program is the lack of affordable housing in Bowling Green. That also means that many residents have difficulty dealing with home repairs. “When a furnace goes out, it can be devastating,” Bradley said. Using the CDBG and RLF funding of $701,640, the city was able to do the following: 8 mobile home repairs. 17 housing rehabilitations. 8 elderly home repairs. 1 home repair. 84 people helped with public transportation. 129 people helped with transitional housing for homeless. 7 jobs created with Revolving Job Creation/Business Assistance Loans. Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Economic Development Office, spoke up at the public hearing to explain that public transportation is becoming increasingly important for local manufacturers who rely on the service to get employees to work on time. “That is key to keeping some of their employees,” Clark said. Clark also said the city’s Revolving Loan Fund has been very useful in helping local businesses to create jobs. “It’s a powerful tool,” she said. “It’s probably one of the more successful Revolving Loan Funds in the state.” Brent Baer, superintendent of Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said Wood Lane consumers are frequent users…


Annual BG Interfaith Breakfast plans announced

(Submitted by Not In Our Town) The third annual Bowling Green Community Interfaith Breakfast will be held on Wednesday, April 5, at the Junior Fair Building of the Wood County Fairgrounds, 13800 W. Poe Road. The breakfast is presented by Not In Our Town Bowling Green, in collaboration with the City of Bowling Green Human Relations Commission, and Bowling Green State University. Breakfast will be served from 7:15 – 7:45 a.m., with the program beginning at 8:00 a.m. The breakfast will feature brief presentations from speakers reflecting a variety of major religious streams – Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Native American spirituality. The theme will be “Building Peace through Understanding: Mythbusting,” with speakers addressing the challenges to peace which come from public misconceptions. Music will be offered by the Bowling Green High School Madrigals and by musicians from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition, art presentations on the theme of “peace” will be unveiled from local elementary school students. Mayor Richard Edwards and BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey will make opening remarks. Superintendent of Bowling Green City Schools Francis Scruci will also bring greetings. The university is providing bus transportation for students who wish to attend. There is no charge for the meal, thanks to generous sponsors and the donation of the breakfast by the South Side Six restaurant. However, reservations are required by Friday March 24, and can be made by contacting Alex Solis (BGSU Co-Chair of Not In Our Town BG) at asolis@bgsu.edu or calling (419) 372-9452.


Falcon cam gives sneak peek in courthouse clock tower nest

The falcon cam in the clock tower at the Wood County Courthouse is again in operation and can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC4IesFReGA According to Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar, a pair of Peregrine Falcons are again nesting in the tower and will be joined later this spring with some new offspring. The falcon cam is offered through a partnership with Bowling Green State University. In years past, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would band the baby falcons in order to track their whereabouts. However, Peregrine Falcons have repopulated enough that the ODNR no longer tracks them.


Something to chew on: Senior congregate meals serve up food and friendship

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s more than the meatloaf and lemon meringue pie that draws senior citizens to congregate meals at community centers across the nation. It’s something that doesn’t show up on the daily menu. And it’s something that many seniors can’t get their daily dosage of at home. Almost as important as the nutrition served up at senior centers is the conversation shared around the dinner tables. Robert Blancato, executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, is going across the nation doing research on the value of congregate meals for senior citizens. On Friday, he was in Bowling Green at the Wood County Senior Center for lunch with local citizens. “We know there’s a growing problem of isolation of older people,” Blancato said. So he is surveying seniors about the values of casseroles and conversations. “I’ve decided to sit with older adults and ask them myself.” Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, said much research has been done on how home-delivered meals help seniors remain independent in their own homes. “We know the value of home-delivered meals,” Niese said. But until now, no one has surveyed the value of congregate meals. As Blancato chats with seniors over chicken or lasagna, he finds a common thread in the conversation. “They use the word socialization,” he said. They talk about the opportunity to get out of the house, to volunteer, and to learn from others. On Thursday, Blancato sat down for a meal in East Cleveland and heard the same comments. “They’ve been verification of the importance of these programs.” His favorite comment came from an older woman at a center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Because we love to gossip,” she told him. “Every time I talk to older adults, they provide the proof,” Blancato said. However, while Blancato is gathering up research supporting the value of congregate dining programs, the…


Local fire departments get $627,523 for communication systems

Sixteen of the 23 fire departments in Wood County are being awarded grant funding ranging from $1,680 to $47,970 per department, for a total of $627,523 for the 2017 State Fire Marshal’s MARCS Grant. The grants will help fire departments to transition from a legacy VHF radio communication system to a state-of-the-art P-25 trunked 700MHz communication system called the Ohio Multi Agency Radio Communication System, according to the Wood County Emergency Management Agency. The Wood County Fire and EMS Chiefs Association voted in November 2016 to being the process of transitioning over to Ohio MARCS as their primary radio communication system for those departments. By using the MARCS, Wood County fire departments will have seamless interoperable communications countywide with fire departments and with neighboring county fire departments as well as state agencies. This will increase firefighter safety and will allow fire departments to provide better service. The following fire departments in Wood County received funding: Bloomdale, Cygnet, Grand Rapids, Hoytville, Milton Township, North Baltimore, Pemberville, Central Joint, Risingsun, Wayne, West Millgrove, Weston, Center Township, Middleton Township, Troy Township and Washington Township.