Downtown BG to take over hosting Classics on Main Car Show

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN As the bitter cold of winter begins to set in on our community, Downtown Bowling Green is keeping its thoughts on the warm summer months; as planning the Classic’s on Main Car Show begins. After three years of management through the Sentinel Tribune, Downtown Bowling Green is now managing and promoting the popular car show for 2019.  Special events manager, Samantha Beane, who also took over the Summer Farmers Market from the Sentinel last year, is looking forward to bringing the show back to the non-profit office and continuing its success.  “We are so thankful for the Sentinel’s willingness to take over the show years ago and after one successful event transition (with the farmers market) last summer, we are looking forward to continuing event success in our office,” said Tony Vetter, director Downtown Bowling Green. The Classics on Main show is set to continue on July 13th from noon to 4 p.m. Committee members have already begun the early plans for this local summer favorite, but are looking for willing volunteers to bring new ideas and excitement to the show, or help day of.  “If anyone out there is a car enthusiast who wants to help make this show a success, I want to talk to you”, said Beane. Email inquiries are welcome at or call the Downtown BG Office at 419-354-4332.  “This shows success is truly community driven, and we look forward to bringing in the veterans who have created the show back, as well as new faces to help introduce our show and town to the next generation”- said Samantha Beane. So Save the Date BG! 

Soybean farmers look beyond current strife to innovative future

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News These are trying times for soybean farmers. A trade dispute between the United States and China has cut out their largest trading partner. Government help has mitigated the loss, but the damage is real. Local farmer Nathan Eckel, though, was not obsessing on present concerns when he addressed the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club Thursday. An active member of the Ohio Soybean Council, he was eager to talk about the future.  The council, paid for by fees assessed to the farmers, is engaged in making sure farmers like Eckel can keep their operations in business.  Eckel is a fifth generation farmer — Eckel Junction Road was named for the family’s original plot. He also raises other commodity crops and has a 800-head livestock operation, on the 2,000 acres he farms. The future, he told club members, includes funding research into new ways to use soybean. The plant now is used in biodiesel, human food, and animal feed. Eckel, who as a trustee of the council chairs its research committee, said the council is active in funding corporate and academic research.  That research includes replacing petroleum-based oils with sustainable and biodegradable soy oil products. A soy-based floor coating has just come to market, he said. Another project is the development of soy fish meal for fish farms in India.  The research committee sends out calls for proposals, and then writes grants for the most promising projects. “We expect a return on the investment we make,”  Eckel said. The council plugs in money at the very early stages and keeps providing equity until the product goes to market. Then, he said, “we start getting our royalties.” One use of those royalties is funding scholarships through the Ohio Soybean Association, a policy body separately funded by members.  Last year the association awarded $45,000 in scholarships.  Those scholars may not end up growing soybeans, but may instead do research or work in some other agriculture-related occupation. The council is also active in programs to teach young people about agriculture. Through Grow Next Gen, Eckel has conducted virtual farm tours with 625 students in 25 classrooms around the state.  “It’s more than putting a seed in the ground, harvesting and taking it to the elevator.”…

Collab Lab director Jerry Schnepp tunes into the forces of innovation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jerry Schnepp reached this stage of his career taking an unusual path. That’s fitting for someone who leads the Collab Lab, an initiative to spark creative thinking. The rocker by night and innovation initiator by day recently received the Faculty Excellence Award for 2018 from the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering. Schnepp, 42, splits his time between teaching courses in visual communications technology and directing the Collab Lab at Bowling Green State University. The lab opened just over a year ago. “We call the Collab Lab an idea accelerator, not a maker space,  not a business  incubator, an idea accelerator. It’s a place people can get together with people from other disciplines and develop prototypes. It’s a place we can try things out and not be afraid of failing, and build on that learning experience to develop innovations.” To date the lab helped launch an opioid teach-in on campus, which was both an academic and a civic endeavor. The lab also put together an electronic art summer workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art. Schnepp said the lab has been hosting creative thinking workshops for classes, student organizations and industry partners. A design team from First Solar did a creative thinking workshop with the lab. “It was really valuable to them,” Schnepp said. “This is something we’ll offer to other industry partners.” Schnepp was invited to make a presentation at Epic Toledo’s leadership summit. Epic Toledo is an organization of young professionals and young entrepreneurs who are involved in the community. That invitation, Schnepp said, was gratifying because it recognized that the Collab Lab is viewed as a regional resource, not just a university program. He expects in the future the lab will be able to tell stories about ideas hatched there that have grown into thriving businesses. “That’s what we envision it to be,” he said. “More importantly it’s helping to create a culture of innovation on campus and in the community.”   Schnepp marched to his own tune to get to this point. He grew up in Chicago, and started playing rock music as a 12 year old. That proved his entry into the digital world. This was a time when multi-track recording software and…

First Lunch & Learn seminar covers employee handbooks

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Lunch and Learn business seminar Tuesday, Jan. 29, 11:30 a.m. at 1 p.m. at The Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main St., Bowling Green.  This seminar titled Review Your Employee Handbook is being presented in partnership with The Employers Association and will be facilitated by Colleen House. The workshop cover; the basics of a solid handbook, highlight new requirements, determining how to prepare an employee handbook or review your current handbook for needed updates,  and a general overview of the different sections and policies contained within a comprehensive handbook. A well planned employee handbook will minimize your potential liability with clearly defined structure. The seminar is free for Chamber Investors and $10 for Non-Investors.  Lunch can also be provided for those who attend for an additional $10. Reservations are required by Jan. 25. RSVP by calling 419-353-7945 or emailing Space is limited. Watch for additional information from the Chamber on their 2019 WORK OUT!  Each quarter will focus on specific topics for business: Q1—Resources and Training; Q2 — Workforce Development; Q3 — Marketing; and Q4 —Celebrating Business.

Calico, Sage & Thyme to offer gut health, oils & praise moves sessions

From CALICO, SAGE & THYME Calico Sage & Thyme, 115 Clay St., Bowling Green, is offering  a free “Let’s Gut Healthy,” a series of wellness classes. Sessions on gut health will cover: “The Gut-Brain Connection”;  “The Gut Cause of Inflammatory & Autoimmune Diseases”; “SIBO, Candida, & Leaky Gut”; “Gut Food Addictions?”;  “Digestive Enzymes, Probiotics & Bone Broth”; and “Gluten, Gliadin & Opiates.” Classes will be held Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. starting Jan. 10 and continuing through Feb. 28 with no classes Jan. 24 and 31 and Feb. 7).    Call 419-352-5417 to reserve a spot. Young Living Essential Oils Classes will also be offered Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.“Reflexology & Essential Oils” with Marie Bowerman will be offered Jan. 15, and Feb. 19.    “Got Oils? Now What?”  Bring your oils and your questions! Will be offered Jan. 8, Feb. 12, Feb. 19, and Feb. 26. Praise Moves! An  alternative to yoga taught by Laurette Willis will be offered Wednesdays 9 a.m. There’s a $5 for the one hour workouts.

Downtown BG seeks ice sculpture sponsors

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Winterfest BG Chillabration is back for 2019 on Feb. 8 and 9 even bigger and better than last year. The Saturday evening of live bands in a heated tent, incredible ice bar and amazing ice garden met with rave reviews.  This year a larger Frozen Swamp Tent will not only provide shelter for live music from 4 – 11 p.m., it will also present the Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All this happens in the Huntington parking lot on the corner of Clough and S. Main Streets. This is also the location for our beautiful ice garden and live ice carving demonstrations.  This year’s sculptures will show a variety of our town’s finest establishments logos and images from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. These amazing works of ice art are sure to be a hit with every age group. This event offers something for everyone.  Families can come out for the day and enjoy the festivities and at night people can enjoy the hours of entertainment, craft beer and wine served from behind the incredible ice bar.   The Downtown Foundation will be overseeing the ice sculpture sales as a fundraiser. The foundation sponsors to commission a custom ice sculpture displayed for the thousands of people expected to attend.  \They will also be seen via our website, social media and WTOL coverage. The funds raised will help us continue to complete beautification projects in our historic downtown.   Contact our office at 419-354-4332 or download an order form from our website at

Mystery solved – Amazon is named as company looking to move into Wood County Crossroads

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The unnamed company looking to locate in the Crossroads area of Wood County has been named – as Amazon – by the county building inspection office. The company, economic development officials and city leaders where the development is planned remained tight-lipped about the name of the company – dubbing it “Project Freddie” for the purposes of discussion. However, Wood County Chief Building Inspector Mike Rudey mentioned to the county commissioners this morning that paperwork from Duke Realty had been filed in his office. The proposed fulfillment center is promising close to 2,000 new jobs. If all goes as planned, it will sit on 100 acres between Deimling Road and South Compass Drive, behind the closed Giant Eagle store off U.S. 20. According to plans, the site will have parking spaces for 1,800 cars and 300 tractor trailer trucks. Building plans call for constructing a 2.8 million-square-foot, four-story facility. Rudey explained that Amazon may have to jump through a few extra hoops because the project doesn’t comply with current building code. That is primarily due to the industry being more technologically advanced that the state’s building requirements, Rudey said. So the company will need to apply for variances from the state. The building will have four stories, with “robots running around bringing products to the perimeter,” Rudey said. “The building code says you can’t build it that way,” he said. But Rudey has no doubt that Amazon will be able to get the necessary variances to proceed. He expects the variances can be secured within two to three weeks, so to not delay the project. Rudey plans to take a “field trip” to a similar Amazon fulfillment facility in Detroit to see how that operates. Last week, Rossford’s planning commission granted three variance requests for the project. The business requested to change the zoning of one of the four parcels to planned industrial, the same as the other parcels. The company also requested a variance to allow screening of the parking lots to be on the exterior of the lots and not on islands within the lots. It also requested a variance to allow an 85-foot tall building. The limit in planned industrial is 35 feet.

Executive tells BGSU grads that they will fail & be better because of it

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The graduates sitting before Maryrose Sylvester Friday night are much like she was 31 years ago. And she should be a model for them, said Bowling Green State University president Rodney Rogers. She’s risen through the ranks of GE to become president and CEO of Current powered by GE, And that in a male-dominated field. “Bowling Green was essential to building my foundation,” Sylvester said.  That included her grounding academically, interpersonally and ethically. She met her husband, Mike, here. He was a rugby player. As she spoke he was back in their Newton, Massachusetts home helping two of their three daughters get ready for the winter dance. Sylvester told the graduates poised to enter a world that unlike college is “messy, unpredictable, and chaotic” that they will realize at some point that they “don’t know anything.” And they will encounter failure, embarrassing, frustrating failure. This is what BGSU prepared them for. “There will be a time when you say: ‘Oh my God, I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m totally unprepared for this.’” At BGSU, “you learned how to learn. … Embrace the fact that there’s so much to learn,” she said. “Intellectual curiosity and flexibility will fuel your growth. … The day you stop learning is the day you get passed by and will be old.” She recalled her first public workplace failure. She’d studied the problem and confidently presented her solution. “My project failed in spectacular fashion.” Her co-workers’ criticism was withering, she recalled. They told her she was too young for the job and had no idea of how a factory floor worked. Her response was to cry and then get angry at herself for crying, which only made it worse.  Then she set about learning from that failure, and the failures that followed, until she was the best supply chain manager in GE. “I still fail all the time,” Sylvester said. “I’ve learned to embrace failure because I found you learn much more from failure than success.” She said life is a mosaic created from many pieces. Those were two of the five the shaped her life: “You don’t know anything” and “You’re going to fail, so get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Christian Thompson,…

Christopher Kline brings right ingredients to new BurGers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As a 25-year veteran of the food business, Christopher Kline has plenty of experience opening restaurants. He’s welcomed customers to new eateries during a career working for Texas Roadhouse, The Cheesecake Factory, J. Alexander’s and Pizza Papalis. “But it was always for somebody else, always for other corporations, for other owners, who were making all the decisions,” Kline said, adding, “and a lot times they weren’t the right ones.” Now he’s opened his 10th place, and this one is his. Kline and his business partner and wife, Lisa, have opened BurGers — pronounced BG burgers — at 1424 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. The restaurant started serving on Friday (Dec. 14, 2018). They’ve taken over the name of the previous tenantand the kitchen equipment, that’s been closed now for two months.  But the approach is all new. Kline has wanted to open his own place for some time. With his work experience and education — a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales as well as a masters degree in business — he’d been dreaming of a steakhouse. But his hometown in Napoleon didn’t fit with that. His wife, who is the finance manager at BG Lincoln Mercury had other ideas.  “Every time he started talking about opening a restaurant, I said, ‘only in Bowling Green.’ … Bowling Green’s the best place in Ohio.” The location, right across the street from campus, is ideal, he said. “I love the food business,” Kline said. “I love what I do. So maybe it’s time to dumb down the ego and do burgers, fries, paninis, a Cuban sandwich, grill cheese.” That simple menu doesn’t mean he’s dumbed down his approach. From the quality of the beef and cheese — purchased from Belleville Brothers Market as proudly announced on the menu — to buns sturdy enough to support a juicy half-pound burger to the quality of the cleaning products, Kline is tuned into the fine details of the operation.  He selected the steak fries to buy so they will survive delivery across town, a service BurGers will offer starting in January. Yes, opening a restaurant does get easier with experience, he said. He knows what the Health Department expects. He knows about training. He…

BG and Menard’s strike compromise on sign variances

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green officials have been told the city needs to tidy up its “sign clutter.” Tuesday evening, the city took a step to do just that when Menard’s requested a sign that would far exceed the city’s standards. That meant the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals might have had to reject a variance request from Menard’s – which hadn’t yet purchased the 26 acres to build on along the 1200 block of South Main Street, south of Walmart and across Main Street from Home Depot. But before the zoning board ruled Wednesday evening, the company withdrew its request for the massive sign. The pylon sign would have been 15 feet taller than the allowed maximum height of 25 feet, and 110 square feet larger than the 90 square feet maximum. “You could see it from Cincinnati, I think,” said Judy Ennis, head of the zoning board of appeals. The withdrawal of the request saved the board from a tough decision, Ennis said. “They said they wanted to be a good neighbor,” she said Menard’s officials. But while Menard’s pulled its variance request for the large pylon sign, the company stuck with its request for two other sign variances. One was for a wall sign which would be 306 square feet larger than the 90 square feet maximum size allowed. The other was for a total of 12 signs (one pylon sign and 11 wall signs), which would exceed the maximum of three signs allowed for a business. The 12 signs would also exceed the allowable 270 total square footage in signage by 552 square feet. But because of the massive size of the store and the distance it will sit back from the road, the zoning board of appeals granted both of those variance requests. “This store is going to be bigger than most that they have,” Ennis said. And most of the signs will be directional. Menard’s officials told the board Wednesday evening that they want to be ready to open in the spring of 2020. Ennis said she was glad that the store officials seemed to understand the city’s desire to reduce sign clutter and improve aesthetics. It would have been a difficult decision for the…

Mystery development gets approvals in Rossford

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Rossford Planning Commission tonight (Dec. 12, 2018) approved key measures to allow the development of a project in the Crossroads area by an unnamed company. Mayor Neil MacKinnon responded “absolutely” when asked if the project would be game changing for the area in the southern reaches of the city. Presenting the proposal at the meeting was Nathan Harris of Duke Realty. He would not comment further on the project after the meeting. Wade Gottschalk, Wood County Economic Development executive director, said he and others involved were operating under the conditions of a non-disclosure agreement. An article earlier this week in the Toledo Blade provided informed speculation that it may be an Amazon fulfillment center. What’s not a mystery is the size of the project. Situated on 100 acres off between Deimling Road and South Compass Drive, behind the Giant Eagle, the site will have parking spaces for 1,800 cars and 300 tractor trailer trucks. The plans call for constructing a 2.8 million-square-foot , four-story facility. MacKinnon said the final announcement about the project will be left to the as-yet-unnamed company. “I would guess in spring,” MacKinnon said. Before the planning commission was a request to change the zoning of one of the four parcels to planned industrial, the same as the other parcels. Duke on behalf of its client also requested a variance to allow screening of the parking lots to be on the exterior of the lots and not on islands within the lots. It also requested a variance to allow an 85-foot-tall building. The limit in planned industrial is 35-feet. All three requests were granted unanimously.  Zoning Administrator Mark Zuchowski said that the final site plan might be ready by the Planning Commission’s next meeting.

BG’s front door on East Wooster Street needs serious facelift

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green’s front door is not exactly creating a great first impression for those entering the city. Knowing this, the city and BGSU hired Development Strategies to examine the 1.8 miles of East Wooster from Interstate 75 to the downtown. The firm has spent six months interviewing officials and residents, examining housing data, looking at construction costs, studying the zoning code, and more. On Tuesday evening, Matt Wetli and Anne Stevenson from Development Strategies presented their findings to City Council’s Committee of the Whole. Changes along the East Wooster corridor have the potential to increase jobs, bring more visitors, improve the housing stock, attract more development to the city, and convince more people to live and shop right here in Bowling Green. But the front door needs a facelift. “It’s the way most people come to know Bowling Green,” Wetli said. “First impressions are really important. This corridor is so important.” One of the goals would be to meet the needs of the city residents and the university – an issue Wetli is accustomed to handling “We tend to work in a lot of university communities,” and realize that the health of the city and university are intertwined, he said. The planners divided the 1.8 miles into four sections, with some potential focuses for each – though not all will be affordable for developers right now: Midtown, which are the blocks closest to downtown. Ideally that area would be good for student and young professional apartment buildings, creative office space, street level retail, boutique hotels, and gas station reuse projects.Eds and Meds, which are the blocks next to the university and the Falcon Health Center. That area would work well for other health care services, senior housing, and townhouses.Walkable hospitality district, which includes the blocks with hotels and restaurants. That area would attract more developers and more visitors with stricter zoning building specifications, Wetli said.The interchange area, which will be improved with the proposed roundabouts, and will look better with “gateway” signage. The entire corridor can’t be transformed at once, so “we need to be judicious,” Wetli said. And the community will need to shift from being reactive to proactive. “Things aren’t just going to magically happen,” he…

BG Chamber plans annual banquet, seeks nominations for awards

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its Annual Meeting Dinner and Awards on Saturday, Jan. 26 beginning at 6 p.m. in the BGSU Bowen-Thompson Student Union Lenhart Grand Ballroom. The 2019 theme is “Jurassic Experience: Business Success vs. Extinction”.This event is the community’s opportunity to celebrate business, as well as to honor our 2019 Outstanding Citizens recipients, Athena award recipient, and Zeus award recipient. The chamber is currently taking nominations for our 2019 Athena, Zeus, and Outstanding Citizens awards. The application can be found on the website ( and at the BG Chamber office, 130 S. Main St. Applications are due Dec. 18 by 5 p.m. This event will also give a chance to take a retrospective look over theprevious year in action. Social hour will begin 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 bysubmitting RSVP cards to the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. RSVP cards can be found on the 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 as well   as celebrating, educating, and strengthening its investors through business improvement events, grants, services, leadership, legislative updatesand group savings programs. The chamber serves as a community connection via ‘The Morning Show’ radio program mornings on WBGU 88.1FM, Wood County Safety Council, annual awards, Holiday Parade and fireworks.

BG, county need to present ‘welcoming’ face to attract workers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A few years ago it was the lack of jobs in this region that was troubling. Now it’s the lack of people to fill the jobs being created here. So Bowling Green officials are looking to team up with Wood County to attract immigrants and millennials to the region.  Last week, the two entities discussed how to compete to attract those workers. “Employment issues are still top of the line,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “It’s an issue we’ve all heard a million times.” “The labor pool has shrunk a lot in Northwest Ohio,” and the population is aging, Gottschalk said during a meeting of the economic development commission on Wednesday. “We just need more bodies,” he said. Sue Clark, Bowling Green’s economic development director, hears the same concerns. Jobs Ohio recently released statistics showing 9,200 jobs available within a 20-mile radius of Bowling Green. “Where will the people come from to fill these jobs,” she said. Clark has listened to the worries of small “mom and pop” shops and of large manufacturers. “We all know this is a very serious issue.” The headlines look great – about new companies moving into or expanding in the region. But the reality is that some of those new jobs siphon people away from existing businesses – which may lead to their closings or moving from the region. “If they simply steal employees from our existing companies,” without those workers being replaced by others, “none of us want that,” Clark said. So on Wednesday, Bowling Green officials shared their plan with county officials, in hopes that the entities could team up to attract workers to the region. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards introduced the Welcome BG Task Force concept of attracting, supporting and maintaining a workforce – both skilled and unskilled. “We want to reach out and assist legal immigrants,” Edwards said. “America desperately needs more workers,” he said. Other cities have had success with such “welcoming” programs, like Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and Dayton, the mayor said. “The immigrant community has been such a huge driver for new small businesses and filling manufacturing spots” in those cities, said Margaret Montague, head of the Welcome…

Wood County manufacturing sees $750 million investment this year

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County saw $750 million invested this year in industries making fresh hamburger patties, glass for solar panels, auto parts and more. “That is a record as far as I can tell – and by a lot,” Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission, said Wednesday during a commission meeting. The investments spread from the far north to the far south of the county. West of North Baltimore, the NorthPoint Development Co. announced plans to construct a logistics development near the CSX rail hub. “There’s a lot to be done still,” but the project is progressing, Gottschalk said. And the CSX hub is also expecting to start doing more business, and serving a wider geographic area, he added. In the village of North Baltimore, Continental Structural Products is expanding its auto parts production. “They were slated to close during the recession, and they are now coming back with a vengeance,” Gottschalk said. The plant is on track to rival its highest production back when it was supplying parts for Fieros, he said. And just east of North Baltimore, the Equity Meats plant has made the shift from frozen patties to fresh hamburger patties. Anyone ordering a McDonald’s quarter-pounder in the Northeast U.S. will get a taste. “It’s coming from Wood County,” Gottschalk said. In the northern part of the county, NSG-Pilkington has secured all the necessary local regulatory approvals for its plant in Troy Township. The plant, which will manufacture float glass for the new First Solar plant, is expected to be in operation in 2020. “That’s a big project,” he said. The new First Solar plant in Lake Township is also progressing well. “It’s an absolutely massive facility out there,” Gottschalk said.. In Perrysburg Township, the expansion of the Walgreens distribution center is underway. The project is expected to create 350 new jobs. “It’s a big project and good for long-term,” he said. Retention visits from the Wood County Economic Development Commission have also found operations well at Biofit near Haskins, and Jerl Machine in Perrysburg. The O-I site in Perrysburg is “doing very well” and considering an expansion of its research and development area, with a focus on training. “Changing over from…