Community Opinion

Ken Rieman: “A vote for the Bowling Green school bond issue is a vote for community improvement and economic development”

A vote for the Bowling Green school bond issue is a vote for community improvement and economic development.  It’s a vote to provide the best possible learning environment for our most precious resource–the children of our community. Families consider school reputation and facilities when deciding where to live. Up to date school facilities reflect the importance the community places on families and families are the life of every community. If we want our children and grandchildren to stay local we need to provide the best learning environment for them now and when they become parents. It is not just about attracting new people. It is about making the Bowling Green school district the place our children and grandchildren will raise their families. They will have a choice and if we don’t make it attractive they will go elsewhere. The facilities proposed by the school board are not extravagant. They have considered options carefully and have come up with a plan that provides an equal and improved education system for all students,more efficient operational costs and greater security.  The benefits far outweigh trying to extend the life of old facilities. The cost savings that will occur will reduce operating costs. Balancing class size and eliminating bussing some kids to a school across town as has been done for too many years is only possible with a central location. Segregating groups by grade level  will maintain the small school atmosphere and allow grade level teachers to work together.   The school system has been a good steward of community resources and has extended the life of the current  facilities as long as possible. Like an old previously dependable car there comes a time when upkeep exceeds the cost of a new vehicle. More efficient vehicles with better safety features are available and you know you waited longer than you should have to replace it. That is where we are at now with our school buildings. You can try to fix up an old car but it will be expensive,not last as long as something new and will…


Melissa Shaffer: Smaller schools provide the best learning environment

I am in support of quality education for our children but oppose the school levy to build one new consolidated elementary school.  My reason has nothing to do with money nor taxes. My reason has everything to do with the best learning environment for young children. I arrived to this opinion after 30+ years of teaching in a variety of states, communities and facilities. I was born and raised in Bowling Green, recently moved back after a long career as an educator. I attended Kenwood, Conneaut, middle school and high school in Bowling Green. My father taught chemistry at the high school. Children learn best in environments where everyone knows their name, knows who you are. And if they don’t know you, they know your sibling and if they don’t know your sibling, they know your parents. And if they don’t know your parents, they know someone who knows your parents. No one is invisible. In a small neighborhood school, students have less risk of falling through the cracks. If a student is failing math, isn’t hearing, skips class, quietly crying, etc. Someone will notice and approach the student to help. Individual attention is easily offered. When I was a student at Conneaut, someone noticed early I wasn’t hearing well. When I was silently tearful during a math test, someone noticed. When I skipped class, someone noticed. As a student, I didn’t always want individual attention but it was what I needed at the time. As a child, I knew all of my classmates and teachers, inside the classroom as well as outside, and felt accountable and confident. Distractions were limited. In a large building with a large population, it’s much too easy for an individual student to be overlooked and invisible. As a young child enters through the front door of a huge multi-winged or multi-level building, he will feel intimidated and overwhelmed not knowing who everyone is, not knowing all the teachers, not knowing where his classroom is located. Is this how you want your child to feel as he tries to learn…


Navins: A yes vote on bond issue is a yes for the future of city’s children

“We can’t afford the proposed school levy”.  How many times have you heard this opinion voiced at the school board meetings and seen it in multiple ads in the Sentinel Tribune, two large billboards at the entrances to the city, multiple signs on rental properties in the city and a school district wide professional mailing sent to all residents. Doesn’t it make you wonder WHY these individuals are SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY (‘estimates of over $10,000) on their opposition to the proposed levy? .They voice a very strong “no” from reasons that range from too much money, to too long a time, to favoring neighborhood schools that are deteriorating but are being touted by the opponents as the “good bones” of our aging school buildings. The group of individuals funding the opposition to the levy own large amounts of property in the school district either farm acreage or rental properties.  The levy would, they feel, tax them disproportionally. Perhaps they don’t realize that a poor educational system will damage their labor pool (no one capable of performing the needed jobs) and decrease their property values. Bowling Green will  become a less desirable place to live as the quality of our educational system deteriorates. Professionals have testified that the levy plan is comprehensive and long-term cost saving to the district.  It will also provide a learning environment for the children of the district to meet the challenges they will be facing in a totally different and changing world.  Consultants have testified that this type of tax is the fairest to all the taxpayers in the school district. Citizens of Bowling Green, it’s time for us to think for ourselves.  Don’t let yourselves be swayed by individuals who have forgotten that the purpose of taxation through Ohio school levies is to promote a fair and high quality education for our children. This applies to both the professionals who work with our children and the quality of the facilities in which they learn. Who paid for your education?  The taxpayers who came before you who made sacrifices to…


BG Chamber: Issue 1 is “sensible, fair and positive state-wide change to the redistricting process”

The Board of Directors of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is joining the bipartisan coalition that is supporting State Issue 1.  It is our belief, the same as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters, that State Issue 1 would establish a new process for how Ohio handles congressional redistricting.  Under the current system, a simple majority of the General Assembly determines the new congressional districts by passing a bill that the governor then signs into law. State Issue 1 would replace the existing process by providing bi-partisan approval of a map; requiring compact districts; restricting the current division of counties into several districts; ensure a transparent process by allowing the public to submit a map; and requires lawmakers to host public hearings. Although state lawmakers will continue to control the map-making process under the new proposal, it will require a bipartisan supermajority and includes other checks and balances that guard against partisan gerrymandering. Vote Yes on State Issue 1.  It is a sensible, fair and positive state-wide change to the redistricting process allowing voters to choose their legislators, not legislators choosing their voters.   Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce


J. Scott Stewart: Yes vote for school bond issue important for BG’s future

This coming Tuesday, May 8th, we all have a rare opportunity.  We have the chance to vote YES for the Bowling Green School Bond Issue.  With the passage of the School Bond Issue, we will provide our children and future students with a modern, safe learning environment that will allow our children to learn in a setting that has up to date technologies, provides equal opportunities for our students no matter where they live in our community and give our students everything they need to compete in the world outside of Bowling Green. Construction of new schools will provide jobs in the community, and more importantly, updated modern schools will attract the 30-something families that both the Land Use Plan and the Community Action Plan have stated are critical to maintaining the long term viability of Bowling Green as an active, vital community. It is not unreasonable to say that passage of the Bowling Green School Bond Issue will be the first real project to actually move the Land Use Plan and The Community Action Plan toward reality. Fellow Bowling Green citizens, we have a rare chance to have a Win-Win project for our city, but we must act!  Please join me Tuesday, May 8th in voting YES for The Bowling Green School Bond Issue. Your VOTE will only count if you CAST IT! Dr. J Scott Stewart


Tracy Hovest: Saying Yes to the BG Bond Issue is saying Yes to students, teachers, and this community

Recently,  Grant Chamberlain touted that being against the bond doesn’t make those voting against the bond against students. I beg to differ and I can no longer be a spectator of their attacks on this community. He and others are against kids and schools as long as it costs them money, but yet try to find any other reason why they are voting no. SInce I moved here a little over a year ago, I have become informed and active in the BG Community and BG BOND issue to a great extent. My family has been so appreciative of what this community and BG Schools has offered us.  However, everything rears its ugly head and it reared its ugly head in the form of Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax. This group’s first attack against kids comes in the repeated malicious attacks against the BG Board and Superintendent Scruci, whom students adore. These individuals have been outright assaulted by this group of naysayers on a daily basis. These insults are unwarranted and a guise to bully people into thinking that the BG Board and Superintendent are trying to bamboozle the voters and swindle tax dollars. This is not the case. The Board of Education and Superintendent have been putting students and their needs first in this district and it’s a shame that others don’t want to see it and try to sway others because of selfishness. When the most vocal nay sayers aren’t stuffing their pockets and riding the coat tails of their farming clients or hustling the community to thinking that the school board is in kahoots to steal the community’s tax dollars, they spend their time being malicious and rude online or attacking the teachers and citizens who defend the bond that is best for kids. Yet another attack on kids of our schools when they go after the throats of the teachers, staff, and community members who are trying to do what’s best for kids. The board has never negated the ask of this bond and no matter what the board…


Chamber of Commerce: “All of us will benefit from an enhanced, state-of-the-art  school district”

The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to endorse the School Bond issue.  From the business and economic development perspective, there is a strong link between quality schools and local commerce.  We know from first-hand experience that new business, whether it has one employee to 500+, often the quality of the schools factor into the decision to locate or not in our district. We know recruiting and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce is a major factor that determines our economic growth.  A quality district with state-of-the-art facilities is often a priority for new hires who are looking to move into our area. If these new hires stay, they add to growth of our housing, retail, churches, parks and more. All of us who live in the BG School District benefits from that commerce as well.   We also recognize that time is of the essence.  Based on the 4/26/2018 Bowling Green City Schools Tax Analysis, compiled and presented by Rockmill Consulting Firm, the costs of the proposed project will only continue to rise. Mr. Conley noted that since the November 2017 election, the cost of our project has already risen by 4M.  The cost is predicted to continue to increase due to interest rates, inflation, and the rising construction costs. To curb costs, waiting is not an option. And to the current and future Bobcats, our community owes you state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to become the best you can be in a very competitive world.  And for the future, we want you to continue the cycle of investment and commerce in BG, where you too will be assessing the quality of the school district for your own children. The bottom line is this, all of us will benefit from an enhanced, state-of-the-art  school district that is competitive to area school districts. Such a school district is a powerful attraction to new business and the domino effect of strengthening local commerce, the workforce, and the  over-all quality of life…the long term reward far exceeds the cost.   Respectfully, Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive…


Mike Aspacher urges support for BG Schools levy

I am writing to urge residents to strongly consider supporting the Bowling Green City Schools proposed bond levy. The proposed levy would allow for the financing of much- needed school facility improvements. It is worth noting that our current elementary school buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s and and are among the oldest school facilities in Wood County. I believe that our Board of Education has done an excellent job of considering all the potential building options and has chosen a plan that will best meet the educational needs of our students. It will result in the construction of school buildings that will meet our community’s needs for years to come. I do not offer my endorsement of this effort blindly. I am very much aware that this levy will place an additional financial burden on all of the residents of our community, and I am sensitive to the impact that this will have on every family and each business’s budget. I do however feel strongly that this investment is critical to the continued health and vitality of the Bowling Green community. It is well established that strong and healthy public schools are a vital component of the overall strength of a community, and the fact that the quality our school facilities has fallen behind those in surrounding school districts can not be ignored. The investment in our community that would result from the passage of this levy will not only allow us to provide for the educational needs of our students, but will also result in increased property values, and will assist in the City’s efforts to attract families and businesses to our community, both resulting in an expansion of the tax base in the community. In short, investment in our school system is also an investment in the continued strength of our community. When you vote on May 8, please consider the responsibility that we all share to provide the same level of support to our children and grandchildren that was extended to us by past generations. Mike Aspacher Bowling Green


Thanks for the memories; why you should vote ‘yes’ on county parks levy

Do you have fond memories of picnics in the park? Did your scout troop learn about leaves and animals and insects while at the park? Do you visit the park to bird watch or celebrate a birthday or graduation with family and friends? Do you enjoy walking trails? Are you the more active type and enjoy repelling down a limestone wall? Perhaps a naturalist visited your school or club and shared information you had never considered about various critters. Do you enjoy the challenge of geocache? Is photography your thing and you find perfect subjects at the park? This list could go on and on. And that is why we support the May 8th renewal levy for the Wood County Park District. We hope you will as well by voting “Yes” for your Wood County Parks on May 8th! Joe and Lynne Long Grand Rapids


Bob Callecod: Parks levy protects precious natural resources, provides quality parks & recreation opportunities, and assists local entities

To the Editor: In 1986 I was appointed as a Wood County Park District Commissioner. At that time, the WCPD consisted of Otsego and Wm. Henry Harrison Parks and a very loose agreement with the County to “maintain” the Old Infirmary building and grounds.  Then Director/Secretary Lyle Fletcher and two part-time laborers were expected to maintain those facilities on a budget of about $60,000 provided by the County Commissioners. The entirety of the Park District’s equipment consisted of a beat-up pickup truck and a temperamental riding mower. On my first visit with Lyle to Otsego Park and the building which for many years hosted hundreds of family events, I gagged with the stench emanating from the inoperable restrooms; and nearly fell over when the railing on the stairs leading to the river collapsed when I leaned on it for support.  In the interest of public safety we closed the park shortly thereafter. Wood County ranked 87 out of 88 counties in the amount of land dedicated for parks and recreation. My fellow commissioners, Martha Kudner and George Thompson, and I realized that the only way to restore, protect and build on the natural and historic resources available to Wood County residents was to secure a dedicated source of funding.  That led to the passage in 1988 of a .5 mill, 10-year levy which established the WCPD as a viable entity. Since that time, two more 10-year levies have been approved by the voters and the District now provides and protects 22 parks and facilities encompassing over 1200 acres of precious natural resources. One of the continuing components of that original 1988 levy was the Local Park Improvement Grant Program. The Board felt that a program of assistance to local communities for improvement of their own park areas and facilities would maximize the benefit of the Park District levy for each county resident.  Since its inception over $2,100,000 has been awarded to 34 cities, villages and townships in Wood County. On May 8, the Park District is asking voters to allow it to continue protecting our…


League of Women Voters backs school levy

The League of Women Voters Bowling Green is endorsing the Bowling Green City Schools Bond Issue and urge voters to vote FOR the issue. The League of Women Voters thoroughly studies issues to better understand our community and its resources. Based on what we have learned, we reach a consensus, establish a written position and take action in support of that position. Education is one of our oldest and strongest positions. This position was re-studied in 2013 and re-adopted in 2016. The League supports “sufficient funding for and accountability of programs and facilities at all levels.” The proposed levy will not only affect the quality of education for current students, but the character of our community. Educational requirements continue to change, and we are confident that the BG City Schools have carefully studied a variety of options to determine the most cost-effective facilities best suited to meet those requirements for decades to come. Good schools make strong communities. Lee Hakel President, League of Women Voters of Bowling Green Lee McLaird Past-President of , League of Women Voters of Bowling Green Maria Simon Co-Chair, Education Committee, League of Women Voters of Bowling Green Ellen Dalton Co-Chair, Education Committee, League of Women Voters of Bowling Green


Bob Hastings: Keep Black Swamp Players afloat, & reconsider water tower theater

My name is Bob Hastings, and if my 76+ stage appearances have made you smile, I’m glad…but this isn’t about me. I’m 86 years old and over-the-theatre-hill. But what I have to say should…and might be of considerable importance to the Bowling Green area…singing, acting and dancing talent, community band, and theatre fans in all of Wood County. The Black Swamp Players announced recently to suspend operations for a lack of persons to produce, direct and particularly build, paint and design the sets…and fulfill back stage duties.. A more recent BSP meeting produced glimmers of hope in rescinding that suspension and announcing at least a partial season of shows for 2018/19. In my 36 years with the Players I have done it all…many times. Act, direct, board member, president, set designer/builder, paint, etc., etc. PLEASE…I am begging the Bowling Green Community to not allow this organization, celebrating their 50th year, to close its doors for even one year. We have produced our shows on as many as 11 local stages including 10 years at the Mall and 13 at the First United Methodist Church. I retired in 2014, my health and stamina no longer allowing me to be active. I’m retired, but it seems to me that the public and current actors and directors owe it to living charter members, Jim and Lee Forse…and hundreds of past actors, directors and workers, to keep the theatre lights burning for another 50 years. So, if there are those reading this letter, able and interested in working on or behind the stage…or those who would be interested in helping to build sets, or those willing to serve on our board to help make critical decisions about our organization…I beg of you to step up now and call our president, Lane Hakel! I do not have Lane’s permission to print his contact information…but you can reach me…by email at bobhastings@woh.rr.com, I’ll see that it gets to Lane and the board. However, if we are to continue beyond 2018/19, we may have another teeny tiny problem. It is possible we…


Very few people suffering from mental illness are violent

From NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR MENTAL HEALTH The mass shootings in recent months and years have brought the subject of mental illness to the forefront. Though a dialogue about mental illness is useful and timely, it is unfortunate that in the wake of school shootings the public tends to associate mental illness with violence.  Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness want to point out that people with mental illness rarely become violent. Mental illness contributes to only 4 percent of all violence, and its role in gun violence is even lower (Swanson et al, “Mental Illness and Reduction of Gun Violence and Suicide: Bringing Epidemiologic Research to Policy,” Annals of Epidemiology 25 (2015) 366-376.) Mental illness is common; according to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five Americans suffers from a mental illness at any given time. But violence by people with mental illness is not. As a 2011 Harvard Mental Health Letter states: “Most individuals with psychiatric disorders are not violent. Although a subset of people with psychiatric disorders commits assault and violent crimes, finding have been inconsistent about how much mental illness contributes to this behavior and how much substance abuse and other factors do.” People living with mental illnesses—depression and anxiety disorders as well as severe and chronic mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder—are our family, friends, and neighbors. With the proper treatment, they can live happy and productive lives and contribute to the community. While mental illnesses are not curable in the sense that contagious diseases can be cured, they can be managed the way diabetes can be. Treatment works, if people can get it. Sadly, shame and fear often keep people from the treatment that can change their lives. The stigma that still haunts mental illness makes affected individuals afraid to ask for help lest they be labeled “crazy.” Associating violence with mental illness only strengthens this stigma. People living with mental illness are far more likely to become victims of crime than to commit crimes. And, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the…


Katelyn Elliott “Issue 1 … will create a transparent, bipartisan process for drawing Ohio’s Congressional districts.”

 Issue 1, a constitutional amendment on the May ballot, will create a transparent, bipartisan process for drawing Ohio’s Congressional districts. Currently, the majority party in the Ohio legislature can draw Ohio’s federal congressional districts to favor their own candidates. This is known as gerrymandering. The League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition support Issue 1, which would require a three-fifths majority in each chamber, including votes from at least half of the minority party. If the General Assembly could not agree on a plan, the Ohio Redistricting Commission would be empowered to approve a map.  Issue 1 would create new criteria to keep communities together, including a restriction on the number of times a county could be split. It would also require public hearings and allow members of the public to submit maps for consideration. The voter registration deadline is April 9 and early voting begins April 10. Please join me in voting yes for a more fair, transparent, bipartisan process. Katelyn Elliott Bowling Green


League of Women Voters hosting informational meeting on Issue 1

The League of Women Voters of BG (LWVBG) invites you to their program about ISSUE 1 which is on the May 8 Primary Election ballot.  The program will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27th at First Presbyterian Church, 126 S Church St., Bowling Green, OH.   ISSUE 1 provides for an amendment to the Ohio Constitution which would reform the redistricting process, which is how the US Congressional electoral district map is redrawn following each decennial census.  This redistricting process, which historically has become increasingly partisan, has allowed the majority political party to draw map boundaries to favor itself, rather than an accurate reflection of the party affiliation of voters.  This map drawing, resulting in the legislators choosing voters rather than voters choosing their legislators, is called ‘gerrymandering’. ISSUE 1 implements a more non-partisan method to draw the map and is the product of a compromise between the Ohio General Assembly and the citizens action organization, Fair Districts = Fair Elections, of which League of Women Voters of Ohio is a member. Please join us to learn about the provisions of ISSUE 1 and why it is such an important principle for democracy to succeed.     Joan Callecod, Co-Chair LWVBG Voters’ Rights Committee