Community Opinion

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 does or says to try to provide information that shows why the bond issue is the best and most affordable option, Chamberlain, Bateson, Sabo, Hinesman and other cronies of this group, stoop to all levels, continue to attack, put out misinformation, and mislead the public anyway they can. They are like pouting children who get the answers they’ve asked for, but then because it’s not the ones they want to hear, they cry and scream louder until people get annoyed and walk away. I’m disheartened for the community based on the naysayers behavior because it’s slapping every one of the selfless teachers who help love, support, and lift up the students of this community in the face. That’s an attack against students. You are saying no to students because ultimately, a no vote against the consolidation of elementary and remodel of high school denies students and teachers a functional home to do their job; it’s denying present and future children opportunities because our current buildings can’t effectively accomodate the number of students. It’s denying common and equitable resources/learning experiences for all students. A YES vote is an investment in the present and future. A YES vote is standing in defense of our community. A YES…

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 Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce

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 precious natural resources, provide quality parks and recreation opportunities, and to continue to assist local entities in improving their local recreation areas by approving a 10-year renewal of the existing 1 mill levy.  This is a renewal levy – Your taxes will not go up!    Please show your support for our superb Wood County Park District by voting on May 8!   Bob Callecod Bowling Green

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, 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 will need a new venue as the church’s availability diminishes due to scheduling of church activities. If it happens…BSP is resilient, we’ll find a way to put our shows on a stage, but if anyone out there will give, or reasonably rent, us a permanent venue, it is time for you to step up and help us…NOW! Speaking of venues, I would guess that many of you did not know that the water tower in Carter Park was altered when it was built to be a venue for community theatre and band, as well for overflow council meetings. In the early 80’s, President Jim Forse and I were asked to attend a special meeting of City Council to gauge BSP’s interest in a possible theatre that could be housed in one of two new water towers being built at Carter Park and Sand Ridge Road. This possibility was being spearheaded by then City Manager, Wes Hoffman, who envisioned a water tower theatre. On your way to the youth ball fields, I’ll bet you have noticed the smaller building that extends into the parking lot in front of the tower. That was to have been the theatre lobby…it is already plumbed for bathrooms…and inside there are…

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 most common form of violence associated with mental illness is suicide. The tiny minority of mentally ill people who become violent have often been victims of childhood violence. Some have suffered domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse or trauma, and damage from alcohol and drugs. Untreated symptoms of psychosis such as delusions or paranoia may somewhat increase the potential for violence. Ironically, stigma and misunderstanding can keep the very people who need mental health care the most from getting it. There’s no doubt that the mental health system in our nation needs improvement. We need more acute care and crisis beds in hospital, and to improve quality and outcomes for people in crisis or struggling with chronic conditions. Early intervention and screening in our communities and schools are helpful. Accurate information about mental illness is a form of prevention. Community support of mental health services is also crucial. Families touched by mental illness need support and education. They are what the National Alliance on Mental Illness has provided since the 1970s. It has over 1,200 affiliates across the nation. Locally, NAMI Wood County offers classes, support groups, and advocacy for any individual or family struggling with mental illness. Classes like Family-to-Family and Peer-to-Peer educate participants about…

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

BG high students to “raise our voices for action against all these forms of gun violence”

March 14, 2018 marks one month since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 14 students and 3 staff members killed and may others wounded or injured. Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes (in honor of the 17 lives taken in the tragedy in Parkland) at 10 a.m. across every time zone on March 14,  to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We, the students at Bowling Green High School, have decided that this moment is too crucial and this issue too urgent to stand idly by. On March 14th we will walkout of our classrooms and on to the front lawn to protest gun violence. We will stand out there for 17 minutes. In that time we will read the victims names and have a moment of silence for those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Following we will have a series of short speeches protesting this injustice. We are walking out for ALL people who have experienced gun violence, including systemic forms of gun violence that disproportionately impact teens in Black and Brown communities. It is important that when we refer to gun violence, we do not overlook the impact of police brutality and militarized policing, or see police in schools as a solution. We also recognize the United States has exported gun violence through imperialist foreign policy to destabilize other nations. We raise our voices for action against all these forms of gun violence. We students and our allies are organizing the school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to protect us. We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns. We need action. It is our elected officials’ jobs to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that will address the public health crisis of gun violence. We want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will cast their ballots in 2020. The League of Women’s Voters will be present with voter registration papers. Alyson Baker for Bowling Green High School #Enough #NationalSchoolWalkout action WHERE: Front lawn of Bowling Green High School WHEN: March 14th, 2018 at 10 am BACKGROUND: On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a mass shootingoccurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolin Parkland, Florida . Seventeen people were killed, making it one of the world’s deadliest school massacres. Women’s March Youth EMPOWER was founded after the 2016 election to encourage youth to organize around issues in our communities and build collective power. Women’s March Youth EMPOWER called for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018. Over 1,500 demonstrations have been registered with 175,000 students, staff, and parents have participated.

League of Women Voters call for stricter gun control

The League of Women Voters of Ohio and of Bowling Green condemn the proliferation of handguns and assault weapons and call for strong federal measures to limit accessibility and regulate ownership by private citizens, especially keeping the deadly AR-15 out of civilian hands. Strengthening the background check system, expanding the laws to include background checks for private sales, gun shows, and on-online purchases are necessary steps. Citizens can make a difference.  Contact your Ohio statehouse senators and representatives regularly until progress is made to curtail gun violence. Judy Knox, Chair, Voters’ Service Committee, League of Women Voters of Bowling Green Ohio Lee Hakel President, League of Women Voters of Bowling Green Ohio

Bowling Green Charter to be reviewed – with public input

Since 1972 the city of Bowling Green has been governed by a City Charter that was adopted by its citizens. The document was reviewed by a Charter Review Committee in 1990 and again in 2001 to ensure that it was still meeting the needs of the city and the people who lived here. In general, the Charter defines how our city government works, outlines how city elections take place and how decisions are made. The Mayor and City Council have jointly appointed a 2018 Charter Review Committee made up of 17 Bowling Green residents representing all four wards who have been given the task of reviewing the City Charter once again. The committee will present their recommendations to council in May. Any recommended changes would first need council approval and would then be placed on the ballot in November for approval by all citizens of Bowling Green. The City Charter reflects what we, the citizens of Bowling Green want – our vision for how city government should work. The committee would also like to hear from the residents of Bowling Green and will be holding two public forums: March 13 at noon – Community Center, 1245 W. Newton Rd. March 15 at 7:00 pm – Community Center, 1245 W. Newton Rd. We encourage you to attend to learn more about the charter and to share your views. If you are unable to attend one of the forums, we encourage you to send your thoughts to Thank you, Bowling Green Charter Review Committee Co-Chairs Shannon Orr and Jeff Crawford

Gun owning vet takes aim at NRA’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment

Submitted by SHANE HUGHES, Bowling Green Modern debates about the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms, or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. Let me first start by breaking down the 2nd Amendment. The text reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (1) In order to understand the 2nd Amendment, you need to understand subordinate clauses and the rules of grammar as practiced in a historical context by our founding fathers. Commas were used to subcategorize ideas pertaining to the formal thought or premise, in grammatical context of that which is being stated. If you read the other amendments, you’ll find that the formal idea is recapitulated using semicolons and that commas are used as to denote exception to a premise or idea. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights is the subdivision of a formal idea into supporting ideas by use of punctuation more apparent than in the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment, as read and intended by its writers, is formally establishing a well-regulated militia that shall not be infringed upon. The supporting ideas of the formal are: [the well-regulated militia] is necessary to security of a free State the right of the people [the militia well-regulated militia] to keep and bear arms. If you neglect the words between the first and last commas, you’ll see formal idea, and that all language in between is support for the formal. Now, in order to understand what the founding fathers meant by “well-regulated militia” we have to look at Article 1 and Article 2 of the Constitution, where they defined the role of the Legislative Branch, i.e. Congress, and the role of the Executive Branch, i.e. the president. Article 1, Section 8, Paragraphs 15/16, reads: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;” “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;” (2) Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph 1, reads: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;” (3) Let’s break these down to see if we can determine the intent of our founding fathers. “To provide for the calling forth of the Militia, to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” Congress has established no method for calling forth a militia as defined by our modern, colloquial interpretation, which is militias such as the Three Percent Militia, to respond to any of these scenarios. Congress has established a method for calling forth the National Guard from each state, and the National Guard routinely responds to these different scenarios, both at home and abroad. Let’s look at the next paragraph of Article 1. “To provide for organizing,…