Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Air National Guard to do night flying this week

The 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard will be conducting training flights at night beginning Monday, Feb. 27 through Thursday, March 2, weather permitting. Area residents may see or hear F-16 fighter jets taking off and landing until about 9 p.m. this week.

Take local physical activity and nutrition survey

The Wood County Health Partners wants to hear from local citizens. The organization is gathering data on physical activity and nutrition concerns in Wood County. The group is asking people to take 10 minutes to tell about their eating habits and exercise. The organization also wants to know about how local neighborhoods or towns help or make it harder to be healthy. The information will be used to help create a plan for making Wood County healthier. Survey:

City offers ‘Good Neighbor Guide’ for citizens

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The city’s newly completed Good Neighbor Guide offers citizens tips on how to be good neighbors – and what they can do if their neighbors are not so good. “The Good Neighbor Guide is intended to help support a high quality of life for all of those that call Bowling Green home,” the guide states. The guide tells citizens who to call when cars are parked in yards, parties are too loud or a couch is left sitting on the curb. But it also stresses that while some issues involve city enforcement, other issues can been resolved by good neighborly behavior. “A good neighbor is considerate, friendly and participates in actions that support community. While the guide can be utilized as a reference for common scenarios related to neighborhood issues, we recommend reviewing the following tips and resources that are critical to creating and maintaining good neighbor relationships,” the guide states. The following tips for success are recommended: Make meaningful contact. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. A simple hello goes a long way to building relationships. Know neighbors on a personal level. Ask questions about their interests, professions, backgrounds and their family. Be considerate. Please think about your neighbors’ schedules, which may be different from yours, and be considerate. Making too much noise, particularly late at night, is a nuisance and against the law. Large parties can also cause friction with your neighbors and violate city ordinances. Be respectful. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming, inclusive community. Posting signs or banners that members of the community could find offensive runs counter to the values of Bowling Green. It could also be a violation of your lease and city ordinances. Know your lease. Understand what your landlord is responsible for and what your obligations are for things like trash disposal, lawn care and snow removal. Know your city and neighborhood. Familiarize yourself with regulations on things like noise and litter ordinances, parking and snow removal. Much of this information can be found on the city of Bowling Green’s website. For those problems that cannot be smoothed over among neighbors, the guide suggests what governmental office should be contacted. There are phone numbers listed, along with estimated response times. Some issues covered are not related to neighbors, but are items the city is responsible for that make for good neighborhoods, such as street lights being out or street signs missing. The issues covered in the guide include: Neighbors are having a loud party during nighttime or early morning…

Rally supports immigrants fearful of deportation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The crowd of 150 sang, “This Land is Our Land,” for those too fearful to sing themselves. Beatriz Maya talked to local undocumented immigrant families before Sunday’s rally held in the city’s downtown green space. But none felt safe enough to attend. “They are very afraid,” said Maya, of La Conexion of Wood County. Recent executive orders by President Donald Trump, are not only keeping people from coming to the U.S., but they are also forcing people back to their homelands. In many cases, families are being broken up as parents are being deported and children born in the U.S. are allowed to stay. Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., many have children, said Flor Hernandez. “Families will be torn apart,” she said. “We need to stick together and protect the children of immigrants.” Deportation roundups have not occurred here in Wood County, Maya said. But the nearby cities of Napoleon and Wauseon have seen some residents deported, she added. “We think it’s a matter of time.” Efforts are being discussed to create rapid response teams in some communities to prepare for ICE raids. “We have to keep thinking of strategies,” Maya. A local pastor shouted out from the crowd, asking if churches should be setting up sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. “We will welcome churches who might be willing to get involved,” Maya said. The recent push for deportations is not targeting just high risk undocumented immigrants, said Luis Moreno. Simple traffic violations can result in deportations. “If you break the law, you will be deported immediately,” he said. “This is an attack against immigrants.” Maya explained that many residents from Mexico came to the U.S. after NAFTA was enacted. Workers were needed to perform the back-breaking low-paying jobs that most Americans wouldn’t accept. Many suffered exploitation, and now under Trump they are suffering criminalization. “We are rapists, we bring drugs,” she said, referring to Trump’s characterization of immigrants from Mexico. Marsha Olivarez warned that without labor from Mexico, many U.S. businesses will be hurting. “This country was built on the back of these people,” Olivarez said. “These people are doing jobs that Americans will not do.” Olivarez and others urged citizens to take a stand. “I implore you to fight against this administration,” she said. Al Gonzalez, president of La Conexion, said Sunday’s rally was one way to stand up for immigrants. “We wanted to send a message to the community that this is a welcoming community. This is not a place…

German immigrants target of suspicions during WWI

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A century ago, on the eve of America’s involvement in World War I, people of Northwest Ohio were suspicious about their immigrant neighbors. Back then, it was Germans. Many Germans settled in this region, bringing their hard work ethic with them. But as America sat on the sidelines of WWI, people became increasingly wary about the loyalties of their German neighbors. Michael McMaster, education coordinator at the Wood County Historical Center, recently presented a program on “Henry County in the Great War: German-Americans, patriots, and loyalty, 1914-1918,” of which he has written in a book. The talk, given at Wood County District Public Library, was timely not only because of this being the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering the war, but because the Wood County Historical Society recently opened an exhibit on the war and the local history involved. Like Wood County, the next county to the west, Henry County, had a large German immigrant population in 1917. Some schools and churches still held classes and sermons in German. One newspaper still printed in German. And some civic organizations conducted meetings in the language. All was fine as U.S. President Woodrow Wilson kept the nation from entering the war – and sold war goods to anyone who would buy. But that policy led to German sabotage of items that could be shipped over to aid the Allies. “They blew up in America everything they could not buy,” McMaster said. Gradually, Americans’ suspicions grew. “There was unfair German spy hysteria in America,” McMaster said. “People began to wonder who their German neighbors were.” Though no Northwest Ohio sites were sabotaged, some fires were initially blamed on possible German spies. There was a railroad roundhouse fire, that was later found to be caused by a hobo reckless with his matches, and a fire at a barn full of grain and equipment, that was later determined to be started by some boys smoking corn silk. “They were generally loyal German-Americans in this region,” McMaster said. “The vast majority didn’t have great loyalty to the Kaiser.” But the suspicions grew – with questions rising about some having too much German sentiment. And a small but feisty group of want-to-be politicians in Henry County latched onto that fear and stoked the flames. In 1917, citizens could purchase “American Protection League” badges for 75 cents. Eleven Henry County men proudly wore the badges. “You were supposed to go spy on your German neighbors,” McMaster said. The League of American Patriots of Henry…

Living on almost nothing in a nation of so much

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Luke Shaefer used to compile data about poverty from the comfort of his office. That data took on a different look when he met a woman selling her plasma to support her family, and another family working but not making enough to get out of a shelter. Shaefer, who spoke at Bowling Green State University last week, is author of “$2.00 a Day, Living on Almost Nothing in America.” Poverty is on the rise, with 1.5 million American households, including 3 million children, living on $2 a day. These are families “really, really far below the poverty line,” Shaefer said. America has tried to solve poverty. But where government programs have failed, it simply gives the programs new names. Such is the case with the food stamps program, which is now dubbed SNAP. “The one thing we like to do is give it a new name,” Shaefer said. Several communities also offer housing assistance, even though long waiting lists exist in some cities. But what is still missing for those in extreme poverty is cash. So Shaefer, a self-described data nerd, set out to study the effects of that. He was joined in his study by Kathryn Edin, whose style was to get out from being a desk and talk with people. Shaefer, who was moved to do the same, found himself deeply affected by the people he met. He came to realize that he could learn more spending one day with someone like Madonna Harris in Chicago than he could in three months of scouring through data at his desk. Harris had held the same job for eight years, when one day her cash drawer came up $10 short. “She was fired on the spot,” Shaefer said. The missing money was found at the business the next day, but Harris was not offered back her job. So Harris and her teenage daughter lost their apartment, and moved from one homeless shelter to another, since the maximum stay at Chicago shelters is three months. Her daughter, who had been on the school honor roll, had to miss many days of school. In between field research, Shaefer would return to his job at the University of Michigan. “I got to go back to my nice office in Ann Arbor,” he said. About a year later, Shaefer returned to Chicago, this time with his family for a vacation. On a morning coffee run, he ran into Harris and her daughter on the street. “The year had taken its toll,”…

DeWine stumps for governor during stop in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than a year out from the next gubernatorial election, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought his early campaign for the office to Bowling Green on Thursday. DeWine, a favorite for the Republican ticket for governor, spoke at the party’s Lincoln Day Dinner at Stone Ridge Golf Club. As attorney general, DeWine has worked to strenghten victims’ rights and to correct some wrongs in the legal system. He spearheaded efforts to get hundreds of sexual assault kits tested after they had languished for years in evidence rooms. Many of those have resulted in DNA matches with people already in the system. DeWine has worked with State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, to create a violent offender registry. This was done in response to the abduction and murder of Sierah Joughin, 20, in Fulton County. Like the sex offender registry, this registry would notify communities of someone with a violent criminal past living nearby. And DeWine continues to work on solutions to the opiate epidemic in Ohio. Following the advice of people with addiction experience, DeWine said more emphasis needs to be put on K-12 age appropriate education on drugs, “to lessen people going down the path of addiction.” “As attorney general, sometimes I feel I’m picking up the pieces” after problems occur, he said before speaking Thursday evening. So he’s now looking at getting in front of problems – as governor. DeWine and others arriving at the Lincoln Day Dinner drove past a group of protesters at the entrance to the golf club. “One of the lessons from the last election is that people want government that works,” he said. “They want people in office to make things happen.” DeWine said he plans to do that as governor. One of his goals would be to create a business climate for job growth. That means stable taxes that are predictable from year to year for businesses. “We need to keep regulations reasonable,” he added. The number one concern of the business community right now, he said, is education. They can’t find people with the right skills, and in some cases, can’t find people who can pass drug testing. And some can’t find people who “know how to work,” he said. Businesses in Wood County have expressed those concerns. The biggest overall problem DeWine sees in Ohio is stressed and dysfunctional homes. “People can’t live the American dream,” he said. “There are a significant number of people who can’t live up to their potential.” “Jobs do solve an awful…

Community Action Plan ideas open to public comment

The Bowling Green Community Action Plan concept ideas are available for public comment.  The concept ideas are on display in the municipal building,on the second floor, during office hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.)  There are forms to provide feedback located next to the display and copies of the concepts can be taken with you for review. The concept ideas are also on the city’s website here: Feedback can be provided through the website, by email to the planning department (, or by mailing to the planning department, 304 N. Church St., Bowling Green. Additionally, the Good Neighbor Guide is also available on the city website at  Copies will be available at the municipal building in the near future.

Latta eludes protesters outside Lincoln Day Dinner

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As 200 prepared to dine in the Stone Ridge Golf Club, another 40 stood outside holding posters and chanting. Their signs supported the Affordable Care Act, refugees, the environment, transgender youth, and asked the question, “Have you seen Bob?” They chanted “Love not hate makes America great,” and “We’re not paid,” in reference to accusations that town hall protesters across the nation are being paid for their efforts. Their presence on the normally quiet corner of the Stone Ridge housing development was met with a range of reactions. As motorists pulled into the golf club for the annual Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, some honked and waved, others stuck out tongues or stared straight ahead. Though the protesters were trying to get the attention of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, it was State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, who pulled over, got out and talked with the protesters for several minutes. “He came up, shook hands and chatted,” said Katie McKibben, one of the sign-holding protesters. “Randy actually parked his car and got out.” Latta’s vehicle proceeded into the golf club parking lot without stopping. One man going to the dinner stopped at the entrance, held up the middle fingers on both hands and yelled at the protesters to go home. “I’m tired of people being paid to protest,” the man said as he parked his vehicle. “They’re stupid.” But others welcomed the exchange of ideas. “I feel like we should always be able to have a conversation,” said Ryan Lee as he entered the golf club dining room. “What’s more American than standing on a street corner and holding signs?” Inside the country club, Latta said he has always been willing to listen to his constituents. Last year he held 10 courthouse conferences where he met face-to-face with citizens. Last week, he held a “telephone town hall,” but there was no public notice about it ahead of time. When told that his constituents feel a need to talk with him now because of all the fast-paced changes in Washington, D.C., Latta said, “Nothing’s changed in the 5th District.” “I think our record is really good,” he said about his commitment to listening to his public. But the people who gathered in his Bowling Green office Thursday morning and afternoon see things differently. The citizens who asked to speak with Latta in the afternoon were more feisty than those who came in the morning. “This particular week is for him to meet with his constituents. So where is he?”…

Cipriani to run for BG City Council at-large seat

(Submitted by Holly Cipriani) Holly Cipriani formally announced at the February Wood County Democrats meeting that she is running for Bowling Green City Council At Large. Cipriani, originally from Toledo, OH, came to Bowling Green in 2005 as an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University. “Bowling Green has a lot of good people wanting to do good things. I believe we are better together and I want to help give voices to community members trying to better their city,” Cipriani stated when announcing her candidacy. Cipriani is a co-founder of the BuyBG campaign, promoting local business. In 2013, she helped develop a shop-local campaign for the city that is maintained to this day by the Bowling Green Economic Development Office. The focus of the campaign is to encourage consumers to shop locally. Local economic development is an issue that Cipriani would like to continue to promote if elected to City Council. “When our local economy is thriving, we thrive as individuals.” In addition to promoting local economy for a thriving community, Cipriani believes in revitalization of green spaces and neighborhoods. She currently serves on the Court Street Connects Planning Committee, a function of the BG Community Action Plan (CAP) that focuses on improving the Court Street corridor from the university to downtown. Holly Cipriani is a two-time graduate of Bowling Green State University earning her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in History and her Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus area of Leadership and Management.

BG Police to offer Liquor Establishment Employee Training

The Bowling Green Police Division will be providing Liquor Establish Employee Training (LEET) on Tuesday, March 14. The training will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will focus on civil liability, Ohio and Bowling Green liquor laws and fake ID recognition. Employees and management staff of local businesses (bars and retail outlets) that sell alcoholic beverages are encouraged to attend. This training will take place at the Bowling Green Police Division’s Training Room at 175 W. Wooster St. Please contact Detective Andy Mulinix at 419-352-1131 or to register for this event or for answers to questions related to this event. Pre-registration is not required. The session is free and certificates will be presented to attendees.  

Local citizens remind Latta that he works for them

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local voters – not paid protestors – left several messages for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta this morning, with the most important being that he works for them. The voters wanted to meet personally with Latta, R-Bowling Green, but met instead with his District 5 Director Andrew Lorenz. Only 20 people fit in the congressman’s office at a time, so others stood out along North Main Street, in front of his office, holding signs about issues they care about – clean water, immigration, health care and more. “There are so many reasons, where do I start,” said Dee Dee Wentland, Perrysburg, who took a day off work to join the protest. “We’re trying to get the congressman to have a town hall with his constituents, but all of our efforts to meet with him are ignored or turned down,” said Jennifer Harvey, of Bowling Green. Across the nation, congressional leaders are being confronted by hostile crowds at town hall meetings. So, many of the politicians are just refusing to hold open meetings with their constituents. Latta held a telephone town hall last week, but that isn’t good enough, according to people who crowded into his office today. Latta’s website lists his last true town hall meeting as June 2010. Lorenz said the congressman has held 51 courthouse conferences, where he meets one-on-one with constituents. When repeatedly asked where Latta was this morning, Lorenz repeatedly said “he’s out in the district today.” “That’s a non-answer,” one woman replied. “This is so insulting. It’s unacceptable,” said Kirsty Sayer, of Bowling Green. “We’ve taken off work. We’ve gotten babysitters. And he can’t leave his fancy home to come here?” Joanne Schiavone, of Walbridge, told Lorenz to remind Latta that he works for local residents – even if they don’t have an “R” behind their names. “He needs to support us. We are his constituents. He’s forgotten he works for us,” Schiavone said. “We pay his wages. We pay his health care.” One of the citizens said he was a long-time “R,” having voted Republican for more than 50 years. This year, “absolutely not,” said Leonard Lepper, of Bowling Green. “Because I think the Trump administration is against everything I stand for,” he said, listing off specific reasons of “the wall, immigration, health care, and on and on and on.” When pressed, Lorenz said Latta has no plans for a town hall meeting, but will continue to hold telephone town halls. Lorenz collected information from people who wish to be contacted for…

Wood County EMA to conduct emergency exercise

The Wood County Emergency Management Agency and the Wood County Local Emergency Planning Committee will conduct a functional county emergency operations center exercise on March 1, from 9 to 11 a.m. on the first floor of the county office building. This is an Ohio Emergency Management Agency graded exercise to meet the annual exercise requirement for the Local Emergency Planning Committee’s hazardous materials plan. A functional emergency operations center exercise must be conducted at least once every four years to meet the requirements of the State Emergency Response Commission. The exercise will simulate the county emergency operations center assisting the city of Perrysburg to mitigate a railroad tanker care accident with a leaking hazardous material in the city. Perrysburg officials will be playing their role from a simulation cell located on the fifth floor of the county office building. City officials will communicate via telephone and radio with county officials staffing the county emergency operations center on the first floor of the county office building.

BG searches for science to clear up pipeline confusion

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards is tired of hearing conflicting “facts” about the pipeline proposed to cross city property and run close to the city water treatment plant. So he set out himself to find some “good science” instead of “unsubstantiated political statements.” The city has been asked by those opposed to the Nexus pipeline to try to intervene in the FERC approval process, but council has been reluctant to get into a losing court battle. So Edwards turned to two scientists for help. One is Dr. Charles Onasch, professor emeritus of geology at BGSU, a researcher who has probably studied the BG Fault more than anyone else on record, Edwards said. The other is Larry Wickstrom, president of Wickstrom Geoscience of Worthington, Ohio, who is the former chief of the Ohio Division of the Ohio Geological Survey. “In that important role, he warned of some of the potential dangers associated with fracking in southeastern Ohio, and as a result lost his job,” Edwards said of Wickstrom. While other geologists have presented some alarming information about the pipeline route, the geologists the mayor talked with do not share those concerns. “I take science very seriously,” Edwards assured those at the council meeting. “We’ve been doing a lot of investigating and trying to reach out to some of the best minds we know.” The geologists the mayor contacted said the most recent activity on the Bowling Green Fault can be no younger than the 10,000- to 20,000-year-old glacial sediments that are undisturbed by the fault. An extensive network of pipelines cross various fault lines in the area with no reported difficulties. And the Ohio Geological Survey has identified all the karst (natural sinkhole areas) in Ohio, with none in Wood County. “In summary, the probability of any complications developing with the water treatment process and the water supply in BG in relationship to the Fault and the proposed gas line is extremely low,” the mayor said.  That cannot be said for other areas of the state, where the geological characteristics cause more concerns. Edwards said he has plans to speak with more geologists about the project. Council member Daniel Gordon questioned why geologists have varying opinions, given the same factors. Edwards said that is unclear, but added that all of the geologists involved so far have pointed to Onasch as the expert. Council president Mike Aspacher thanked the mayor for the report and said council will welcome additional information gathered by Edwards. Council member John Zanfardino said he…

Boys shower area fix could soak district for $425,000

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When it rains, it pours. That seems to go for showers as well. The Bowling Green Board of Education got the news Tuesday evening that repairs to the high school boys lockeroom shower area could cost between $380,000 and $425,000. “It’s not a cheap fix,” said Kent Buehrer, of Buehrer Group Architecture. Those estimates include fixing and reconfiguring the shower area, plus renovating the toilets, training room and coaches’ offices. The board was made aware of the shower problems last month when Superintendent Francis Scruci said boys were not able to shower after gym or athletics because the shower area had been shut off due to large cracks in the walls and floor. Buehrer showed slides of the area beneath the shower room floor, where the floor deck was sagging. He said this is a common problem in schools built in the 1960s and 1970s, where water leaks cause corrosion of the bar joists. So while the estimate was higher than expected, Buehrer did offer a small bit of good news. “The roof isn’t going to collapse. That’s a good thing,” he said. The heavy masonry wall in the center of the shower room has settled and is pulling away from the roof deck. While fixing the shower room, Buehrer suggested that the toilet area be updated to make it ADA accessible. The weight room, which has been in need of repairs for years, may also be added to the renovation project. Funding for the project will come from the school district’s permanent improvement levy, according to Treasurer Rhonda Melchi and board president Ellen Scholl. Those funds may also be used to resurface the track surrounding the football field. “The track is down to the asphalt,” Scruci said. The good news in this case, is that there are no cracks in the asphalt. Replacing the track with latex, which lasts five to eight years, is estimated to cost $75,000 to $85,000. The cost for a polyurethane surface, which lasts 12 to 15 years, is estimated at $175,000 to $180,000. The current track surface is latex, which was put in 10 year ago. Board member Jill Carr asked about the possibility of raising funds for the track project by approaching alumni and others who may want to donate. Scruci agreed that could be a possibility. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board heard an update on “The Boot” security system from Rob Couturier and Joe Thiel, of the Lockdown Co. The steel plates are being installed on every…