Community Opinion

NAMI thanks Perrsyburg HS National Honor Society

This year’s NAMI Wood County Walk for Mental Health and Chili Cook-off was a resounding success, and we owe much of that to our marvelous volunteers from the Perrysburg High School National Honor Society. What a dynamic group they were! Energetic, enthusiastic, bright, willing…there might not be enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe these young men and women. From setting up to serving chili to helping participants make crafts, the NHS volunteers kept the day running smoothly. They not only followed instructions, but also anticipated what needed to be done and did it cheerfully. Walk participants and chili cooks alike commented on how helpful and upbeat our volunteers were. We couldn’t have done it without them! An organization like NAMI relies on volunteers to make its programs and events work. We feel so lucky to have had a group like the NHS involved in one of our major fund-raisers. And it’s good to know that we have such intelligent, dedicated young people in our community. They make the future look brighter! With many thanks, NAMI Wood County Staff, Family, and Friends  

“Sandy will serve us with dedication, civic engagement, and concern for all.” – Linda Lander

Sandy Rowland is seeking re-election as an At-large member on the Bowling Green City Council. As a long-time resident, she attended both Bowling Green High School and Bowling Green State University. With deep roots in this community, Sandy is the epitome of a committed public servant. She has shown her dedication to making Bowling Green a city that attracts people, families, and businesses. The qualities I most admire about Sandy Rowland are her dedication, civic engagement, and humanity. If there is an event, organization, or single task that makes Bowling Green a better community, Sandy Rowland is always there to assist. Sandy is a well-informed, collaborative Council member who critically examines issues. Her work on the Community Action Plan is evidence of a vision to move Bowling Green forward and enhance the qualities that make it a vibrant community. An award-winning real estate agent, Sandy is attentive to the needs of others and works to find solutions. She understands the importance of an appealing community, with good neighborhoods and schools, and a healthy economy. Sandy has worked to improve Bowling Green neighborhoods, particularly the east side, and address the quality of life of everyone. She has a commitment to excellence…

“Mike Olmstead believes he is above the law”

Voters in the upcoming Perrysburg mayoral race have been exposed to baseless attacks by incumbent Mike Olmstead against his opponent Tom Mackin. Mr. Mackin has not stooped to Mike Olmstead’s low level by responding in kind, which speaks to the dignity and respect with which Mr. Mackin will treat the Office of Mayor if elected. Mr. Mackin has served honorably on the Perrysburg City Council, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government, the YMCA Board, and in numerous volunteer capacities in Perrysburg. Unfortunately, this means that a serious issue in the race has not been raised: Mayor Olmstead’s unpaid back taxes. The Perrysburg Messenger Journal has failed in its responsibility to report on this issue, despite repeating Olmstead’s attacks on Mackin. Mike Olmstead has treated the citizens of Perrysburg with great disrespect. Mayor Olmstead owes unpaid taxes to the IRS, the State of Ohio, and Perrysburg. He could use his personal holdings to pay off his debt. Instead, the IRS has liens against Mayor Olmstead and the state is garnishing his mayoral salary. Put simply, Perrysburg taxpayers are unwittingly paying off Mike Olmstead’s unpaid tax debt. Not paying Perrysburg Schools taxes, not to mention those owed to the state and…

“Mike Olmstead’s own behavior shows he does not believe the rules … apply to him”

I had the opportunity to attend the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum on October 8, hosting all candidates competing for Perrysburg elective offices. With such a large number of candidates answering questions, it was surprising that only one candidate would attack his opponent in a manner inconsistent with the spirit and rules of the event.   It could have set a very combative tone when, in response to the first question, Mayor Mike Olmstead accused the other candidate, Tom Mackin, of serving the interests of the city of Toledo first.   It was refreshing that Mr. Mackin did not respond in kind with an attack of his own. Mr. Olmstead also bragged of his combative style with negotiation over water with the city of Toledo, and many of the current city council member mentioned, in their responses, how they are often need to “stand up to” Mayor Olmstead.  These are not the traits of someone who wishes to build consensus in decision making or can take the point of view of others to come to a mutually beneficial outcome. It is also ironic, that in his attack accusing Mr. Mackin not intending to serve the best interests of Perrysburg, it is Mike Olmstead who…

“It’s clear that now is the time to invest in new school buildings”

Voters will be asked on November 7 to support a bond request to construct a new consolidated elementary school, as well as to significantly renovate the high school.  Much thought and study by our school leaders, as well as considerable citizen input, have gone into this request, and it is not being made without good cause.  Although a cursory drive-by of our current elementary and high school buildings might suggest that they are in acceptable shape, a closer examination – even a brief walk through any of the buildings, for example – will demonstrate that this is far from the case.  The buildings have long outlived their usefulness, and in their current condition are not conducive to teaching and learning.  Our teachers and students have done a good job of making due with patch worked buildings for several years now, but we have reached the point of diminishing returns.  The current buildings have become like that old car many of us have kept a little too long – in dire need of repair after repair, with no end in sight.  And just as we know when it’s time to trade in that old clunker that is nickel and diming us…

Sandy Rowland “consistently expresses her support and caring for all residents of Bowling Green”

I submit this letter to express my support for the re-election of Sandy Rowland to an at-large seat on the Bowling Green City Council. It is my opinion that Sandy has the qualifications, the experience, and the dedication to continue to be an outstanding councilperson. During her first term she has been highly visible and involved throughout the community. I have full faith that she will continue in this manner during her second term. The following are specific examples of Sandy’s hard work and efforts that have me planning to cast my vote for her on November 7. First, Sandy consistently expresses her support and caring for all residents of Bowling Green. Her opinions on issues are developed on input from residents, not solely on her personal beliefs or opinions. She understands the diversity of our citizens and seeks to understand the ways council decisions will impact a wide variety of individuals. When she casts a vote, she is well informed and well versed on community reaction and opinion.  Second, Sandy understands and demonstrates how important it is for a council member to be visible within the community. She attends a wide range of meetings and events going on in the community….

“Better schools do make better communities”

We have no children or grandchildren in the Bowling Green School district but we strongly support the proposed school levy because we love Bowling Green and will encourage any project that will improve the living and learning environment for its citizens. It may be true that buildings, per se, don’t make better students; but many studies have shown that the quality of school buildings directly effects student health, behavior, engagement, learning and growth in achievement. Of equal importance, the quality of school facilities has a direct impact on teacher recruitment, retention, commitment and effort. Given a choice, how many young teachers will opt for teaching in half-century old buildings with outdated and limited classroom spaces and technologies when virtually every other school district in the area offers state of the art facilities? The outcome of the school levy will also have significant impact on the community as a whole: one of the key outcomes of BG’s recently enacted Community Action Plan is to attract young millennials and families. Local real estate brokers will confirm that many of these families are choosing to settle in neighboring communities in part because our schools are not comparable to those in surrounding districts. Better…

Rowland “is deeply involved in the process of improving our community”

In the 52 years that I have lived in Bowling Green, I have not known a City Council member who surpassed Sandy Rowland in qualifications, competence, or commitment. In her terms on Council, she has demonstrated a deep understanding of the process of civil service and the obligations of servant leadership. During those years, she has also expanded her knowledge and understanding of government and community action exponentially. Rather than being “stuck” in the past, she is forward thinking and dedicated to the prospect of creating a community that has appeal as a wonderful place to work, raise children, interact with vibrant community members, and play. Sandy is deeply involved in the process of improving our community through projects associated with the Community Action Plan. One focus of this plan is the creation of revitalized neighborhoods on the east side of town, a project in which she is vitally involved. She was also involved with the Court Street Connects Festival for which BG recently received a Best Practice Award from the Ohio Chapter of the American Planning Association. Re-electing Sandy will position her to continue applying her knowledge and expertise to such projects, thus allowing their progress to continue unabated….

‘Support the high school and elementary school construction projects’ – Mayor Dick Edwards

Dear Editor: Bowling Green as a city government and as a community has long been the beneficiary of forward thinking citizens and public officials. Wise investments in the past are paying huge dividends today and have positioned the city for an even brighter future. For example, Bowling Green has one of the best and most sustainable array of utilities in the region featuring reverse osmosis water production, extremely reliable electricity, and high EPA standards for sewage treatment. BG was the first city in Ohio to build utility-sized wind turbines. Now we have the largest solar field in Ohio: 85,000 solar panels producing 20 mega watts of power. We also have a vibrant, historic downtown business district, one that will soon feature at long last a public square, i.e., a gathering place, the Wooster Green. We have parks with miles of walking trails and features of nature, a nationally recognized garden park, a community center built on the principles of collaboration, and a water park overwhelmingly supported by the voters and located in historic City Park. As a university community, we recognize the importance and value of education. BGSU is investing heavily in its facilities, including those in its academic core….

BG residents urged to engage with international students

Friendship Program matches locals with international students” (Community Opinion, August 9, 2017) was an uplifting article to read at a time when so much negativity dominates national news. As a fairly new BG resident (three years in November), I am so impressed by the volunteer spirit in this great, small city. I would encourage all to participate in the International Friendship Program so we can show these students that not all Americans are hateful. My 20+ years of living abroad has shown me that many foreigners form their opinions of the USA and Americans from what they see in movies and in the news. In addition to the approximately 800 International students starting their undergraduate or graduate programs at BGSU this year, there is another 50 or so International students who come about 3 to 12 months prior to matriculation in order to work on their English here. These students come to the official Intensive English Program on campus: ELS Language Centers. Because of their weaker English skills, we are actively seeking volunteers to act as Conversation Partners by coming to classes once a month to speak to these students for about 45 minutes. Students at ELS Language Centers/Bowling Green…

Friendship Program matches locals with international students

BGSU welcomes almost 800 International students to its campus each year. Many are eager to learn about American family life in addition to their university experience. The International Friendship Program matches interested students with local families for informal get-togethers, meals, family functions, outings, etc. There is NO financial or housing obligation associated with this program. You may do as much or as little as your schedules and mutual interests suggest. Some students may only have time to meet with their “family” (which can be a single person, retired couple, widow or widower, etc.) occasionally while others may enjoy more frequent contact. Please consider participating in the enriching experience for both student and family as the need is great. To speak with someone about the program call Bob Segna at 419-308-1906 or Megan Smith at 419-460-4237. Or, email Bob at   From Bob Segna for the International Friendship Program (See related story:

‘What’s a blast zone?’ – Paul Wohlfarth

The Toledo Blade reported July 23 of the growing housing developments in Waterville. The Toledo Blade failed to inform its readers that next to the Village at Waterville Landing will run the 36 inch high pressure Nexus natural gas pipeline. The proposed Nexus pipeline route will open the area to future industrial pipeline development. A 36 inch 1440 psi natural gas pipeline has a blast zone radius of 1,500 feet. What’s a blast zone? A blast zone is the area from which a leaking natural gas pipeline will kill instantly after ignition. The Toledo Blade failed to warn its readers of this fact. Those building in the Waterville area should ask their builders and real estate agents where is the NEXUS pipeline located in relation to my new home? Words of warning: Agents and builders are not required to report this to prospective buyers. The buyer must do their due diligence to protect their families and investment. Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan

Scout concerned about effect of CAFOs on water quality

Dear BG Independent News, I am a Life Scout from Troop 777 of Toledo, Ohio. I am writing to you to voice my concerns about the effect concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFO’s have on the recent Lake Erie algae blooms. According to the Sierra Club, there are 146 registered CAFO’s currently in the western Lake Erie Basin. The CAFOs are responsible for generating 700,000,000 gallons of animal waste each year, which is more than the sewage produced by the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago combined. There is a possibility that the waste is seeping out of the storage lagoons, and into the ground, leading to the contamination of nearby groundwater. additionally, the waste is spread directly onto crop fields, resulting in the run-off of excess nutrients into Lake Erie and the feeding of the dangerous algae.   This issue does not only affect this generation, but future generations to come. My wish is for those who read this to help stop the CAFO’s from aiding in dangerous algae blooms, and help make the lives of the citizens healthier. Sincerely, Bryan Fitzpatrick

‘Did the war on drugs create the opioid crisis?’ – Brad Waltz

By now most all of us know of someone affected by the use of heroin. There is no question that every story surrounding its use is a sad one. This article is by no means meant to distract from or to minimize that. So, we have a opioid epidemic. It’s on the nightly news, well nightly. Mike DeWine is making a gubernatorial run in Ohio based on the tragedies. Congress in late 2016 passed the Cures Act; in it $1 billion is set aside to fight the epidemic over the next two years. The latest Senate Healthcare bill sets aside a massive $45 billion over the next ten years. The money will be used to, among other things, “Encourage the use of additional drug courts.” To, “Work to expand same day services for recovery from substance use disorders and co-occurring related disorders.” So, plainly this must truly be an epidemic. Here are how the numbers shake out. According to the CDC, annually 480,000 people die from the effects of cigarette smoking. I’ve no idea the CDC’s methods of tabulating this. I suspect the numbers are a bit fudged to warrant an anti-smoking campaign slush fund. Annually 88,000 die in alcohol…

‘Fair season is the best season’ – Theresa Gavarone

Guest Column from State Representative Theresa Gavarone   The best part of summer, and even fall, in Ohio is the variety of festivals around the state to enjoy. From the big Ohio State Fair to the Pumpkin Show in southern Ohio, there are events of all kinds to take part in—fairs celebrating zucchini, strawberries, and yes, even apple butter! This year, I encourage you to traverse across Wood County and see everything your local community has to offer. Our local fairs and festivals present a great, inexpensive way to spend a summer day or night with the family.   One of the biggest and most loved festivals in northwestern Ohio is certainly the Wood County Fair. Taking place this year from July 31st through August 7th in Bowling Green, this long-standing tradition supports the county’s youth and community members with exhibitions, educational opportunities, and entertainment. With a catch-a-pig contest, lawnmower derby, livestock sale, and more, there is always plenty for all ages to do.   If the arts and music scene is more of what you appreciate, then the Black Swamp Arts Festival is for you. Celebrating 25 years in Bowling Green this year, the festival will be held the weekend after…