BG Council cooking up legislation to allow food trucks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council is trying to come up with a winning recipe for legislation allowing food trucks to do business in the community. The first public meetings to devise food truck legislation will be held Monday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m., and Saturday, March 3, at 9 a.m., both in the city council chambers. The public is welcome at both meetings, said council member Bill Herald, who is leading the committee in charge of the legislation. For years, food truck businesses have shown interest in setting up shop in Bowling Green, but with no success. In 2016, Mac Henry told City Council he would like to open up a food truck business, but that the city ordinance is too restrictive. Henry said the ordinance limits hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and restricts food trucks to 150 feet from the throughway. The rules are “not very conducive to opening a food truck in this town,” he said. Henry said food trucks are currently “a big part of the culinary innovation” going on in the nation. Council member John Zanfardino agreed with Henry that changes were in order. “Right now our ordinance is totally prohibitive, if you get right down to it,” he said back in 2016, mentioning the growing trend of food trucks. “I think it’s a coming thing.” Council member Sandy Rowland noted the success of food trucks in Perrysburg, where the businesses set up one evening a week. “It might be an opportunity to provide people with something to do,” she said. Henry said he realized mobile food businesses can be a “touchy subject,” since they are seen as competition for brick and mortar restaurants already in business. But food trucks offer young people a chance to break into the business, he said. In 2017, Aaron Evanoff returned from overseas deployment and came to City Council with his plan. His dream was to start a hotdog stand. As a member of the U.S. Air Force National…

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BG chamber honors citizens for leaving lasting legacies

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green gave its most cherished awards Saturday to a woman whose students became part of her extended family, and to a man who extended his family to many in need. Dolores Black and Tim Harris were named Citizens of the Year at the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner in BGSU’s grand ballroom Saturday evening. Black was recognized as a true advocate for equity in education for all – at all levels of public schools and higher education. Black approaches life with zest – from teaching, to competitive dancing, to sending postcards from around the world to former students. She was one of the founders of the library set up for inmates at the Wood County jail, and was fundamental in the operation of Wood Lane Special Olympics. She was volunteered with the Wood County Historical Society, the Wood County Humane Society, the Wood County Task Force on Battered Women, the Bowling Green Community Foundation and the Save the Woods organization. “Her legacy is lasting,” Shirley Woessner, last year’s recipient of the citizens award, said as she introduced Black. “What a surprise,” Black said as she accepted her award, surrounded by her family on the stage. She thanked Wood Lane and the community for giving her opportunities to give back. “I’d like to thank the teachers I had,” Black said. And she extended that appreciation to her students as well. “They taught me everything.” Black urged those in the audience to open their eyes to the needs of others. She invited them to stop by the jail library. “Visit your community. Go see the other half,” she said. Much like Black, Harris was awarded for reaching out to those in need, especially people with disabilities. Harris helped establish the Leadership BG Program for the chamber, and is a past president of the library foundation. He has served as a volunteer with the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Wood County Department of Human Services, BG Optimists, Jaycees, youth hockey…

Radio Hospital Verizon tuning into BG community

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Radio Hospital Verizon Wireless is the latest version of a business that’s helped customers for  90 years keep in touch with an evolving array of technology. Sometime in the 1920s, Ralph DePalma started a radio repair business – that’s the Radio Hospital in its name – in Lima. Over the years the equipment that occupied his bench changed. The shop was ready when the first televisions went on the fritz back in the day when appliances were fixed not pitched. About 25 years ago the business, which switched ownership to the founder’s nephew Tony DePalma along the way, took the on-ramp to the information superhighway and was there to meet people’s flip phone needs. That’s evolved into a full service Verizon store that can provide plans, smart phones, tablets, and more. The newest Radio Hospital Verizon Wireless outlet marked its grand opening at 1216 N. Main St., Bowling Green, last week. Radio Hospital Verizon Wireless can be reached at 567-213-2455 or at The store first opened its doors last November “We can do anything a Verizon store can,” said Christina Hunter, the general manager.  The difference is this store is locally owned. “We answer the phones when you call,” said Andrew Norton, district manager. “We like to say we’re neighbors helping neighbors. … With us you’re not just a number.” One of the reasons Bowling Green was an attractive option for Radio Hospital’s 14th store was the way the community supports local business, he said. “We can be part of that.” As a college town Bowling Green offers a lot of opportunities, not just customers but as employees. Hunter is one of many Bowling Green State University graduates who work for Radio Hospital. “The university helps us get new team members,” Norton said. Hunter said business has slowly been picking up since the soft opening the day before Thanksgiving. “People are still finding us.” Norton added: “We always look to grow in a community.”

BG lacks vacant industries, unemployment – but it’s got location

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The lack of empty industrial buildings and the low unemployment rate in Bowling Green are both good qualities. But those two positives work as negatives when new companies are researching future locations for their businesses. Bowling Green has a primary positive going for it when potential businesses scout out new sites. Its location on Interstate 75 draws a lot of attention to the city. But the absence of available workers and the shortage of vacant industrial spaces are working against the city, according to Sue Clark, director of the Bowling Green Economic Development. The city is getting a lot of interest from businesses, Clark told city council and administration members Saturday during a work session. And her office is working to expand the options for prospective businesses. The city currently has four business parks: The largest is the Woodbridge Business Park at Dunbridge and East Poe roads on the northeast edge of Bowling Green. John Quinn Tech Park off Napoleon Road, near Dunbridge Road, on the southeast edge of the city. Bellard Business Center, which is nearly out of space, located on Brim Road between Newton and Bishop roads, on the northwest side of the city. Hoffman Commerce Park, also on the northwest side of the city, at the opposite corner of Newton and Brim roads. The city has been working on an expansion of Woodbridge, purchasing more acreage and planning for a new roadway connecting the business sites to Bowling Green Road East. That is especially needed since that only public entrance and exit to the business park is currently on Dunbridge Road. Moser Construction just built a warehouse structure in the park. And NovaVision is buying 3.9 acres for a future expansion there. “They are a young, very aggressive, very fast-growing company,” Clark said of NovaVision. The economy is “hot,” she said. “Companies I’m talking to now are looking for expansions everywhere.” And Bowling Green’s location puts it on their radar. “The interest out there is tremendous, especially with the…

BG Council wants to end ‘brain drain,’ attract millennials

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green needs to stop the “brain drain,” and give BGSU students an opportunity to stay here after graduation. That means offering the type of jobs and housing that millennials want. At the other end of the age spectrum, Bowling Green needs to address the fact that Oak Grove Cemetery will soon be full. Bowling Green City Council members discussed those and other priorities during a Saturday morning goal setting session. All the members identified the city’s Community Action Plan as a primary issue for 2018. With the plan nearly completed, Bill Herald said now is the city’s chance to “put some substance to it.” That may mean housing inspections, or working more closely with the county health district to make city neighborhoods more attractive, he said. Sandy Rowland said she is looking forward to seeing the CAP report. “Certainly we have invested a lot of money in this,” she said. Though the CAP is expected to make several recommendations to the city about neighborhood revitalization, Bruce Jeffers cautioned that the money must be available for the city to implement the plans. “We have to be very careful about that,” he said. John Zanfardino said his top goal is neighborhood revitalization. “That’s the goal that drives me most,” he said. But he suggested that the city not forget the older structures in the city, and study how other college towns have handled the issue. “We can’t lose sight of what exists,” Zanfardino said. Daniel Gordon said his constituents want quality, affordable housing on the East Side. The CAP will likely offer solutions, but council may need to enact tough policies such as housing inspections. “We have to be bold enough to seek those solutions,” Gordon said. “We need to do the right thing by our residents.” Greg Robinette said it will be necessary for council to establish attainable priorities since the city likely cannot afford all the recommendations. “That’s the hard part,” he said. “I think we’re very much aligned,” Council President…

Chillabration offers businesses, organizations the chance to sponsor ice sculptures

Submitted by DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Winterfest BG Chillabration is back for 2018 even bigger and better than last year, Feb. 9, 10, and 11. The Saturday evening (Feb. 10) of live bands in a heated tent, incredible ice bar and amazing ice garden met with rave reviews.  This year the Frozen Swamp Tent will not only provide shelter for live music from 4-11 pm, it will also present the first ever Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..  All this happens in the Huntington parking lot on the corner of Clough and South Main Streets. This is also the location for our beautiful ice garden and live ice carving demonstrations.  This year we will host mascots from the area from 10 a.m. to 5 p..m and they will be the models for our talented ice carvers.  This is sure to be a hit with every age group. This event offers something for everyone.  Families come out for the day and another crowd comes out to enjoy the hours of entertainment and craft beer and wine served from behind the incredible ice bar.   The Downtown Foundation will be overseeing the ice sculpture sales as a fundraiser. We are asking you to consider partnering with us to help make this year’s event spectacular with your commissioning of a custom ice sculpture displayed for the thousands of people expected to attend.  They will also be seen via our website, social media and other media coverage. The funds raised will help us continue to complete beautification projects in our historic downtown.   You can contact our office at 419-354-4332 or download an order form from our website at

BG Chamber awards dinner set for Jan. 27

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual Meeting Dinner and Awards on Saturday, January 27 beginning at 6 p.m. in the BGSU Bowen-Thompson Student Union Lenhart Grand Ballroom. The 2018 theme is “There’s No Place Like Our Best Hometown.” This event is the community’s opportunity to celebrate business, honor two Outstanding Citizens, an Athena award recipient, a Zeus award recipient, with the chance to take a retrospective look of the year in action. Social hour will start at 6 p.m. with cocktails, dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and the program will begin at 8 p.m.. The cost for the evening is $50 for Investors and $60 for Non-Investors. Any community member is invited to participate. Reservations can be made by submitting RSVP cards to the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. RSVP cards can be found on our website, or by calling the office at 419-353-7945. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce supports an environment for the development and success of business within the Bowling Green area. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Celebrates, Educates, and Strengthens its Investors through Business Improvement Events, Grants, Services, Leadership, Legislative Updates and Group Savings Programs. We are your Community Connection via ‘The Morning Show’ radio program WBGU 88.1FM, Wood County Safety Council, Annual Awards, Holiday Parade and Fireworks. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is Celebrating 81 years; Established 1936.