Community Opinion

“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 has a record of not serving the best interests of the citizens of Perrysburg.   Mayor Olmstead owes unpaid taxes to the IRS, the State of Ohio, and Perrysburg.  Compounding this, Mr. Olmstead has refused to live up to his own agreement to pay what he owes, instead forcing the garnishment of his mayoral wages to pay his tax debts.  In fact, Perrysburg taxpayers are the ones paying the taxes and penalties of the current Mayor, Mike Olmstead.  This is definitely not in the best interests of the citizens of Perrysburg. The non-voluntary payment of Perrysburg Schools taxes, in addition to state and federal taxes Mayor Olmstead owes, is clear evidence that he does not care about anyone but himself and his own checkbook. Mike Olmstead’s own behavior shows he does not believe the rules that apply to us also apply to him. John Lazor


“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 to death, it’s clear that now is the time to invest in new school buildings. Bowling Green voters have long displayed a strong commitment to education.  This support has produced an outstanding school system that benefits all of us, whether we have school-aged children and grandchildren or not.  A strong school system with up-to-date facilities attracts individuals and businesses to the community and keeps them here, and it enhances property values for everyone.   But if we allow our buildings to deteriorate, this will no longer be the case.   The bond request on the November ballot represents an opportunity to continue our proud history of investment in community schools.  Needless to say, no one enjoys paying taxes, but we know they are necessary if we are to provide essential services.  Education is certainly an essential service, and I hope you agree with me that tax dollars in support of education is some of the best money any of us can ever hope to spend.  Please join me in showing your continued support of Bowling Green schools by voting YES on the school bond issue. Steve Cernkovich Bowling Green


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. She has been particularly involved in the meetings addressing the support of the Bowling Green City Schools. She has been clear that every child in this community deserves the best education possible.  Sandy is firmly committed to ensuring that every Bowling Green resident feels welcome and at home in this community. She is actively involved in the plan to re-vitalize the east side of BG knowing that the success of this plan will attract more diverse living and cultural options to families and professionals.  I appreciate the hard work Sandy Rowland has done during the last four years. I know Sandy wants to continue in this fashion. Please join me in giving her the opportunity to continue to work for  on-going improvements for the residents  of Bowling Green. When you cast your ballot on November 7, please vote for Sandy Rowland. She is a proven leader who is fully committed to this community. Tim Carr Bowling Green


“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 schools do make better communities! We urge everyone to support the Bowling Green School District levy. Bob and Joan Callecod 1234 Brownwood Drive Bowling Green


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. Sandy is truly “in touch” with her constituents and cares deeply about the well-being of all of us. I have attended numerous civic gatherings in town, and Sandy is always there, usually in an active role. Examples of these gatherings are rallies associated with La Conexión and Not In Our Town, organizations dedicated to the inclusion of all our citizens in the life of our city and in society generally. I am going to vote for Sandy Rowland for at-large representative on City Council, and I encourage my fellow BG citizens to do the same. Janet Parks Bowling Green  


‘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. City-university relationships are being enhanced by mutually reinforcing improvements in the E. Wooster Street corridor, thus adding meaning to the city’s welcoming environment. The Bowling Green story is a good one, one that should be the source of pride and admiration by all its citizens with one noticeable exception: it has far too long neglected its school facilities. As Mayor of Bowling Green, I encourage and challenge all voting citizens to think forward from a total and broad community perspective about serving the needs for tomorrow’s students. Support the high school and elementary school construction projects on the November 7th ballot. Let’s be Bobcat Proud! Thank you, Richard A Edwards Mayor City of Bowling Green


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 also face obstacles with housing. With the closure of the Harshman Quadrangle, there aren’t any available dorm rooms for these students. All that is officially left is our Homestay Program. Although it is a much more serious involvement to house an international student for a couple of months or even a year, the rewards are much greater. First of all, there is financial compensation. Secondly, many families and international students form a deep bond, often staying in touch for years after their student has returned home. Some even visit each other from time to time, such as for weddings and other happy occasions. Every November, college campuses across the USA celebrate International Week. The BGSU office of International Programs and Partnerships has generously invited us to participate by allowing ELS students to give presentations about their countries and culture. Tentatively set for Friday, November 17, 2017 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm in room 228 of the Bowen Thompson Student Union, our third annual Passport to Diversity event is a come-as-you-please affair with prize incentives for participants who get all of the stamps in their “passports.” This event is free and open to all. For additional details about the Conversation Partners &…


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 rjsegna@frontier.com.   From Bob Segna for the International Friendship Program (See related story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/international-fellowship-program-links-students-from-abroad-local-families/)


‘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 related deaths. Car crashes account for (in 2016) 37,757 deaths 55,000 die annually (on average) from the flu In 2013, 31,959 people died the result of stumbling. This number is expected to grow as our life expectancies continue to rise. So, I ask you, the reader. How many people died from heroin overdoses in 2016? How many people dying (again sadly) warrant more federal power, more taxpayer money- to the tune of $4.5 billion per year, over twice the entire federal budget of Greenland? Must be over a 100,000 right? Or is it more? The Federal government has done nothing in terms of an outright ban on tobacco products and it kills, according to the government- nearly a half million people a year. Granted they tend to be older than the typical overdose from heroin death but the heroin overdose death total must be on par with a legal product like tobacco to warrant such funding and attention. Have your number? 12,989. Now, granted, that is just heroin overdoses. Another 9,580 died from the use of fentanyl and another 17,536 from Oxycodone and Vicodin. In total around 40,000, 15,000 less than die from the flu. 8,000 less than tripped to…


‘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 Labor Day, September 8th through the 10th.  This event has one of the most unique atmospheres around Ohio, and up to 60,000 people come to town to enjoy the fine arts and music! With hundreds of booths to stop into, you’ll be sure to find a special piece of art for your home while listening to talented local musicians.   In between all of these fairs, I highly encourage you to attend the Harrison Rally Day! One of my favorite days in Perrysburg, Mercy Health hosts this day of fun for the neighborhood. Make sure to stop by the city’s historic downtown during the day on September 16th to partake in a parade and many more family-friendly activities. It is always a pleasure to see the business community join together to support local events.   Fair and festival season is always rounded out in Wood County with the Applebutter Fest, which typically falls on the second Sunday in October, making this year’s date October 8th. For 41 years, the Applebutter Fest has been a celebration of historical reenactments, handmade crafts, and of course, making applebutter. Also hosted by Grand Rapids, this festival has become a tradition over the years and stands as a cherished…


“This will trample property rights of business owners” — Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton)

From OHIO HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS Ohio House Democratic lawmakers have voiced objections over House Bill (HB) 233, legislation that allows concealed carry permit holders to knowingly bring guns or deadly weapons into daycares, schools, airports, bars and other restricted spaces, so long as the permit holder leaves when asked to do so. Individuals who refuse to leave or return to the same business while carrying a prohibited weapon within 30 days will be subject to a fourth degree misdemeanor. “This isn’t just a solution looking for a problem, but it is creating a whole new set of public safety problems by overturning Ohio laws designed to keep us safe and secure,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “This will trample property rights of business owners and create confusion in secure locations like airports, police stations, schools and daycares. As a gun owner and strong second amendment supporter, I think Ohioans deserve to feel safe and secure, free from the fear of intimidation or tragedies this bill could create.” HB 233 essentially eliminates any penalty for permit holders who knowingly carry a deadly weapon in a secure area if they leave the premises upon request. “This bill will not keep our children and communities safe. In fact, it will trample on their right to be in safe public spaces that are deadly weapon-free,” said Minority Whip Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “This legislation is both irresponsible and dangerous.” The bill also modifies the list of places required to post signs notifying consumers of prohibited weapons. Under HB 233, daycares and certain government buildings are no longer encouraged to post prohibited weapon signage, and airports must alter their signage placement from the airport facility to passenger or screening checkpoints. “While the majority of Ohioans are law abiding citizens and responsible gun owners, there is always the possibility that a tragic event could happen in what should be our safest locations. This bill puts citizens and most importantly our children in harm’s way.” –Assistant Minority Leader Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma). The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration.


‘The [pipeline] industry has a history of nefarious behavior’ – Paul Wohlfarth

On June 22, Bloomberg News ran the article, “The Company Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline Has Another Big Problem in Ohio,” reporting on the many environmental problems the Rover Pipeline has caused in Ohio. Of particular note was Attorney Matt Strayer who represents 200 landowners that have easement agreements with Rover. He is quoted as saying, “The tight timeline meant that paying for damage was preferable to preventing it.” Farmer Ben Polasek was quoted as saying,” They’ll do what they want, and they don’t care who they step on to get there. It’s all about how quickly they can get that pipe in the ground.” The Rover pipeline is just the warning shot to those who have signed easements with the Nexus pipeline. The industry “owns” your land now and in the future, doing with it what they want. The regulatory agencies are now being defunded by our current administration, helped by Congressman Bob Latta, emboldening the oil and gas industry to do as they want without regard to landowners and the environment. Farmers will need expensive lawyers to argue for their property rights while many will simply give up in frustration. The industry has a history of nefarious behavior, covering up their mistakes while quietly litigating in its defense (much cheaper). Industry whistle-blowers have reported shortcuts in building pipelines across the country especially when schedules are not being met. Pipeline welds reportedly go uninspected to meet imposed contracted timelines. Whistle-blowers complain of pipe being buried before inspection results are verified. The Nexus pipeline is far behind schedule not to meet their contractual completion date of November 2017 for the first pipeline. A second pipeline in its future plans makes the Nexus route a co-corridor of pipeline development. With all the opposition to pipelines in the country, it makes any established pipeline route more valuable for future development. Do you think the industry’s subcontractors will honor quality over completion bonuses in meeting a rushed schedule? When they leave with bonus checks in hand, never to be seen again, the beleaguered easement landowners will wonder what the future will bring or if there is a future. Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan


Health care bill must be fiscally sound

One Senator commented to a constituent that the ACA was fiscally unsound.  The basic premise of insurance is to ‘spread the risk’ which means including everyone.  Unfortunately, the ACA’s provisions did not require everyone to participate as do Medicare and FICA.  If members of Congress intend to continue health insurance through the private market, adequate financing is essential.   A stronger ‘mandate’ not a weaker one is necessary to provide enough revenue to make the ACA viable. It is unconscionable to: * Strip low income citizens of health benefits while providing reduced taxes for high income / net worth citizens and corporations. * Adopt an ‘age tax’ via higher premiums for older participants. * Authorize individual states to eliminate benefits. Also, it is meaningless to promote tax credits for low income citizens since their income is insufficient to have an income tax liability in the first place. If Congress is unable to amend the ACA to be fiscally sound, the alternative would be a single payer system as is the case in most other countries in the world.  If they can provide quality health care to their citizens, the most prosperous country in the world needs to join them and provide health care for all of its citizens. To be fair, a requirement of the legislation should include mandated participation for members of Congress too.  Either we the public should be entitled to the insurance coverage our Congressional Representatives enjoy, or they should be required to participate in the insurance program they implement for their constituents. Respectfully, Bob and Joan Callecod