Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Adults draw on their inner child for coloring pictures

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With soothing music playing in the background, the women worked intently on their art. They weren’t painting, sculpting or sewing. Their art was not destined for exhibits beyond the front of their refrigerators. These grown women, sitting around tables at the library, were unabashedly revisiting the childhood activity of coloring pictures. “There is a kid side in all of us that wants to come out and play,” said Theresa Howard as she colored a picture. “So I am making time to play.” The Wood County District Public Library has been hosting a monthly program called “Coloring: It’s Not Just for Kids.” Adult coloring has become a trend in recent years, evidenced by the number of adult coloring books for sale in stores and online. The hobby is relaxing, therapeutic and easier than other art forms like quilting, said the women at the most recent coloring program at the library. “I’m not artistic, but I’ve always liked coloring. I like things that have a pattern,” said Janet Sorrells. “There’s something about the rhythm of coloring.” As children, all the women spent hours coloring. “I got curious when I saw this,” Sorrells said of the library program. “I bought a coloring book about a year ago and haven’t used it. It sits in my living room.” Sitting next to Sorrells was Karen Edstrom, who quoted research finding that coloring offers true benefits by allowing people to unplug themselves from technology and just create with crayons or colored pencils. “There are benefits to just take…

County park district plans programs in July

Following is a list of programs planned by the Wood County Park District  this month: Perrysburg Bicentennial Celebration Nature Hikes, Saturday, July 2, 2 – 4:30 p.m. WW Knight Nature Preserve and Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg and 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Celebrate the Bicentennial by hiking two Wood County parks in Perrysburg. Walk woods, wetlands, and prairie then carpool to our newest park for nature and an exceptional quarry view. Leader: Jim Witter   Stargazing, Saturday, July 2, 9:30 p.m. Beaver Creek Preserve 23028 Long Judson Road, Grand Rapids See nebula, planets and stars with the Toledo Astronomical Association and the Wood County Park District.   Slippery Elm Slow Roll, Thursdays, July 7 and July 21, and Aug. 11, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Black Swamp Preserve 1014 South Maple Street, BG Get into action with Wood County Parks and Wood County District Public Library on this family-friendly ride down the Slippery Elm Trail. Freshen up on bike safety before the trip, learn about the trail and the unique surroundings during the trip, and connect with your community, parks, and library. Leader: Ranger Department   Evening Bat Hike, Friday, July 8, 8:30 – 10 p.m. William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Avenue, Pemberville Discover facts, myths, local species, and conservation challenges of bats. Hike with bat-detecting sonar to search for our only truly flying mammals! Leader: Jim Witter   Focus on Water: Storm Water Management and Effects on Water Quality, Wednesday, July 13, 7 – 8 p.m. Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, BG How is…

Dems pick Wicks for state representative run

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Kelly Wicks went into Thursday evening with the campaign groundwork, unused funds, and leftover campaign signs. He ended the evening with the backing of the Democratic party. The Wood County Democratic Central Committee voted to put Wicks on the November ballot as the Democratic candidate for the state representative seat vacated by Republican Tim Brown. Wicks received 18 votes from the committee, while Daniel Gordon received 6 votes. The meeting room for Democrats Thursday evening was packed with party members wanting to hear the “job interviews” for Wicks and Gordon. Brown’s resignation has given the underdog Democrats hope at gaining the seat that has not been held by a Democrat since 1938. Wicks will now face off against the candidate yet to be chosen by the Wood County Republican Central Committee. Northwood Mayor Edward Schimmel has announced his interest in the Republican nomination. Perrysburg Township Trustee Bob Mack has initially expressed interest then decided to withdraw his name. Wicks, who owns the Grounds for Thought business in downtown Bowling Green, promised his party that he would hit the ground running if selected. “With your support, our campaign will start now,” he said. Wicks criticized current state leadership of being pro-big business, pro-coal, and pro-charter schools, while being anti-worker and anti-women. His focus would be on job creation, public education, infrastructure, transportation, clean energy and worker rights. “We still need to make sure we’re fighting for workers,” he said. Wicks also vowed to work across the aisle. “Everybody’s tired of the bickering and…

Wicks selected by Democrats to run for House seat

Kelly Wicks was selected this evening by the Wood County Democratic Central Committee to appear as the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives seat being vacated by Tim Brown. Wicks, a Bowling Green businessman, received 18 votes from the committee while Bowling Green Councilman Daniel Gordon received 6 votes. Wicks will run against the candidate yet to be chosen by the Wood County Republican Central Committee.  

28 crashes in Wood County last July 4

Submitted by Safe Communities of Wood County The Fourth of July is a holiday often filled with family, friends, fireworks, and fun as Americans celebrate the country’s independence. Parties surrounding this theme often involve the serving of alcohol, making awareness of impaired driving and the potential for fatal crashes an important consideration. In Wood County in 2015 there were 28 total crashes during the holiday weekend, with 9 injuries. Fortunately on the Fourth of July in 2015 there were zero alcohol related crashes. If choosing to drink this Fourth of July, remember not to drive. There are plenty of options to get home safely this holiday, such as calling a cab or a friend. Keep others and yourself safe this Fourth of July and remember not to drive if consuming alcohol.

Back to School Fair offers help to local families

United Way in Wood County is hosting the Wood County Back to School Fair in conjunction with the Salvation Army Tools for School program. The event will be held from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Woodland Mall, 1234 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. Local organizations will provide information about the services and opportunities available to local students and their families including out of school programming, health care options, rent and utility assistance, early intervention services and more. Participating agencies include Girl Scouts, WSOS Head Start, Help Me Grow, Home Energy Assistance Program, HomeNet and Fatherhood initiative, The Cocoon, Boy Scouts, Children’s Resource Center, Wood County Health District, Wood County WIC, Wood County Educational Services Center-STARS program, and Wood County Hospital. The event is free and open to the public. Individuals interested in volunteering to plan the event, seeking more information, or wishing to make a donation should contact United Way in Wood County at 419-352-2390.

Rally in BG takes aim at gun violence

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A week after Democratic members of Congress held a sit-in demanding action against gun violence, a group of local residents held their own sit-in – this one in Congressman Bob Latta’s office in Bowling Green. It was brief – eight minutes – one minute for each of the eight people killed by guns each day in Ohio. “We’ve had enough,” said Toby Hoover, founder of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, as she handed Latta’s staff member a petition demanding action on proposed gun violence bills. “This isn’t about gun rights. This is about victims’ rights.” Hoover knows. Her husband was killed in 1973 by a robber with a gun. Latta, a Republican from Bowling Green, joined others in Congress last week refusing to discuss any legislation involving guns. A good start, Hoover said, would be to just let the issue be studied by the Centers for Disease Control. “Certainly he can’t be against the CDC doing their job,” she said. But that is a sticking point for Congress, with many refusing to even discuss any collection of data on gun violence. “Common sense things can be done,” Hoover said. But only if Congress will discuss the topic. “We just want them to talk about it. Let people discuss it,” she said. Rallies against gun violence are being held in communities across the nation this week in response to the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history in Orlando, and in solidarity with the sit-in for gun violence prevention in the U.S. House…

Intersection work planned at South Main and Gypsy Lane

The City of Bowling Green has contracted with Geddis Paving and Excavating for the construction of intersection improvements at South Main and Gypsy Lane. The work will include: -The addition of a left turn lane for westbound Gypsy Lane -New signal poles, mast arms and signals -New LED edge lit street name signs -New pedestrian crossings, signals and countdown timers Work is scheduled to begin on July 18 and is expected to last eight weeks, weather permitting. East Gypsy Lane will be closed to thru traffic for 21 calendar days beginning July 18, with the detour route using Klotz Road and Napoleon Road. Intermittent lane closures are possible on South Main Street throughout the project, but through traffic will be maintained at all times. Contact the City of Bowling Green, Engineering Division (419)-354-6227 for additional information or with any questions.

Northwood mayor interested in House seat

Northwood Mayor Edward Schimmel announced today that he will seek the Republican party nomination for the Ohio House 3rd District seat. The vacancy was recently created when Representative Tim Brown accepted the position as executive director with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Schimmel, a two-term Northwood city councilman and first term mayor, has sat on the Republican central committee since 2012. “One of the things I’ve learned in elected office is that there is always more work to be done,” Schimmel said. “I know that if selected I will be leaving the mayor’s office with unfinished business, but I believe that I can help not only Northwood, but all of Wood County in the State House.” An attorney with the law firm of Hizer & Schimmel, he said that he is fully committed to being representative. “If that means leaving the practice of law altogether, I would certainly do that. The plan at this time would be to only work a couple days a week as an attorney, so that I could devote my time to representing Wood County and my obligations to my family.” Schimmel is 39 years old, and is married with three children. He attended Northwood schools, and the University of Toledo where he obtained degrees in political science and law.

BG Pregnancy Center responds to criticism

Opinion submitted by Shelly Burkhart, Executive Director of BG Pregnancy Center   The Bowling Green Pregnancy Center (HerChoice) has been serving women and their partners in Wood County for over 30 years. We lovingly serve all clients regardless of race, age, gender, or situation. Our reputation and integrity are very important to us. A recent June 16 opinion article written by Ms. Murphy (, has prompted us to appropriately explain the services and information we provide to our clients. HerChoice provides only medically accurate information to clients. Pregnant women are given the right to choose between abortion and having a baby in the United States and we believe they deserve accurate information and support. HerChoice provides this information, which has been reviewed and approved by our medical director, a board certified M.D., concerning all options including abortion. We also provide ongoing support, regardless of a client’s decision. And, unlike an abortion provider, we never benefit financially from any woman’s choice. Because we are faith-based, which is clearly stated in our client intake form, all of our services are free. Our medical services and accurate information are designed to give women peace of mind and to provide early intervention in difficult pregnancy situations. One of the medical services mentioned in the article was our use of the limited ultrasound. These ultrasounds can confirm an intrauterine pregnancy, locate and measure a fetal heart rate and measures the CRL (crown rump length). To clarify, we are confirming intrauterine pregnancies. All of our resources and information are medically accurate. The Care Net Publication Before…

BG Schools wants citizen input on buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District wants to hear from its residents. Do citizens want to renovate the existing buildings? Build new schools? Consolidate the three elementaries? And how much are they willing to support? “We can kick the can down the road and ignore the issues,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said to a meeting of about 40 parents and teachers Tuesday evening. But the problems are only going to get more expensive to resolve, he warned. Scruci said he will talk to any group about the options. He will meet with them anywhere they want – in offices, coffee shops or in neighborhood living rooms. The district is also conducting an anonymous survey on school facility and funding options. That survey can be done at The audience members who took the poll on the smart phones Tuesday evening showed a clear preference for building new rather than renovation, consolidation of elementaries, and local funding rather than state assistance. Scruci is hoping that residents will attend meetings and listen to the options before making up their minds. “I have people who have not come, but have all the answers,” he said. “We really want our community to be informed.” “We want to come up with something this community wants to support,” he said. Earlier this year, the district received the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission survey which looked at 24 systems – such as heating, electrical or lighting – at each of the five school buildings and attached renovation and replacement dollars to them. The…

Parking kiosks to take coins, cash or credit cards

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   People parking in the city lot behind Panera may want to start brushing up on their license plate numbers now. Come August, motorists parking in that lot will need to punch in their license plate numbers and pay at one of three kiosks taking the place of the old parking meters. The kiosks will be located behind SamB’s restaurant, at the parking entrance on East Wooster Street, and near the parking entrance on Clough Street. “We wanted to make it as convenient as possible for people,” said Joe Fawcett, Bowling Green assistant municipal administrator. Fawcett was explaining the new parking payment program Tuesday to anyone with questions. Bowling Green officials chose between three types of parking payment kiosks – pay by display, space or plate. “It was determined that pay by plate would be the most convenient,” Fawcett said. The pay by display kiosks require motorists to return to their vehicles to place tickets on their dashboards. That is the type used at Bowling Green State University. The pay by space would require the drivers to see the parking space numbers, which may be difficult in the winter. The pay by plate requires the driver to punch in their license plate number. The kiosk will accept coins, cash or credit cards. Those who pay with credit cards can add more time by using their smart phones if they end up needing extra time for the parking spot, Fawcett said. The rates and time limits for the lots won’t change. According to Fawcett,…

Registered voters purged from Ohio rolls … including 3,424 in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 3,400 registered voters in Wood County were purged from the voting rolls last year. Following a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State, 3,424 registered voters were dropped in August of 2015. The state’s directive is telling county boards of election to wipe voters from the rolls if they have shown “no voter initiated activity” since the last two federal elections. That “activity” includes voting, signing petitions or filing for a change of address. Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton explained the process requires the office to send out postcards to registered voters who have not voted in the last two federal elections. That postcard is basically asking the citizen, “Are you still there?” Burton said. If the citizen getting the postcard does not respond, their status goes “inactive,” however, they can still vote, Burton said. But if the person has four more years of no voting activity, they are kicked off the rolls. “Those people get purged,” Burton said. “After eight years and a mailing,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a real stringent bar.” But Mike Zickar, who serves on the county board of elections, sees it differently. “I see it as a clear violation of law,” Zickar said, adding that national voter law forbids removing people from rolls due to their voting inactivity. “Very few states are throwing people off for not voting.” A federal lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has added to debate among voting rights activists and elected officials during…

Trash and recycling pickup changed for July 4

The City of Bowling Green offices will be closed on Monday, July 4 in observation of Independence Day. As a result, the following refuse and recycling collection schedule will be followed: – Regular Monday collection will be collected on Tuesday – Regular Tuesday collection will be collected on Wednesday – 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.