Community Opinion

‘Sandy Rowland has a special eye for ordinances that enhance our life experiences in BG’ – Diane Vogtsberger

I write to support the candidacy of Sandy Rowland for Council-at-Large. Sandy’s resume attests to her qualifications, but I would like to address her performance in support of projects that have made Bowling Green a better place to live and raise a family. Her volunteering at Black Swamp, BG Art Walk, Classics on Main, and Winterfest are just a few examples; there are many more. Perhaps the one I can speak to the most is the preservation of the green space, now referred to as Wooster Green. At every presentation given to Council in order to promote this town square, Sandy asked pertinent questions about its feasibility and indicated her support for such an endeavor. Overtime, as more information was presented, she became more of an advocate for the project. When the mayor announced the creation of the Task Force, she supported it wholeheartedly. And finally, when it came to a vote after the third reading of the resolution, she spoke enthusiastically about why it would be good for our community to embrace this opportunity. The resolution passed 7-0. I relay this story because I believe it reflects how much Sandy cares about providing the best possible community for all of us. Certainly, she and other council members can pass ordinances that govern, but she has a special eye for those that enhance our life experiences here in Bowling Green. Please join me in voting for Sandy Rowland in the primary on May 2. Diane Vogtsberger Bowling Green

“Holly Cipriani has the qualifications needed to lead Bowling Green on City Council” -Jakki Kleinhans

On May 2, voters will select two Democratic candidates to be endorsed for the two at-large positions on Bowling Green City Council. Holly Cipriani is the leader I want for City Council At Large. I fell in love with Bowling Green when I began my undergraduate career at BGSU. The small town feel with the big city opportunities make BG an amazing place to work, live, and raise my family. Cipriani has the Bowling Green values that make our city so exceptional. She is committed to making BG a better place for herself and other community members. Holly Cipriani has the qualifications needed to lead Bowling Green on City Council. After completing her Master of Public Administration at BGSU, she has devoted her time and energy to helping the community. From her years working as an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking to her involvement in the Civics 101 teach-in series, Cipriani continues to focus on ways to engage and uplift our community and its citizens. Cipriani’s vision of inclusion will continue to promote the safe and welcoming atmosphere which sets Bowling Green apart. Cipriani has dedicated her life to learning the newest, best, and most effective training in politics. She will continue to bring this knowledge and experience to serve on City Council and build Bowling Green upward and outward. I encourage you to cast your ballot for her in the primary. Sincerely, Jakki Kleinhans Bowling Green, OH

“Being elected to public office often means facing disagreement” -Gary Jones

Latta Town Hall My letter is to encourage Congressman Latta to to hold a town hall event for his constituents. Those of his colleagues that have done so have improved the perception the public has of them. Those in congress represent all of the people and in a two party system there will be those who disagree with the position that a member of congress may have. That is how democracy works. Being elected to public office often means facing disagreement. Please Congressman Latta: a town hall for everyone. There is no danger to you in such an event. Gary Jones Bowling Green

Guest Column from State Representative Theresa Gavarone

Improving Communication Between Law Enforcement and Disabled Ohioans   The most important part of being a state representative is to ensure a clear and effective channel of communication between myself and my constituents of Wood County. Oftentimes, with this assurance, great ideas for legislation can come directly from everyday Ohioans, truly influencing the day-to-day issues and struggles that can be addressed from the state level of government. Exactly this kind of exchange recently occurred and became the impetus behind House Bill 115, which I recently introduced with my colleague, Representative Scott Wiggam.   The idea for the “No Labels Initiative” was brought to my attention by Jenny Hughes, a constituent from Walbridge, who has two sons who have been diagnosed with autism. House Bill 115 would create a voluntary database of individuals with a communication disability to be utilized by law enforcement. Administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the database would be available to law enforcement officers through the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS).   The designation would be used through LEADS in a similar manner as individuals who carry a concealed carry license. Before approaching a vehicle, an officer may run its registration and will be notified if a driver or passenger has registered as having a communication disability. This will help improve communication between the officer and the individual, preventing possible misunderstandings and improving the safety and security of both parties in such situations.   Additionally, House Bill 115 seeks to remove the stigma behind being labeled as a person with a disability by keeping the information private, rather than having a visible marker on the license plate or driver’s license. The ultimate goal of this legislation is to enhance the working knowledge of our law enforcement officers while giving those with a communication disability an equal opportunity to be fairly heard and understood. The database would be available to those with autism, a hearing disability, or another communication disability, and individuals can voluntarily enroll with the submission of a verification form and certification by a physician.   House Bill 115 is a common-sense, responsible measure that simultaneously makes our officers more informed and better prepared to handle particular situations while taking steps to end the stigma associated with those who have inhibitions when it comes to communication. Being pulled over can be stressful enough, but this bill ultimately seeks to eliminate some of those stressors for Ohio’s disabled population.

“Rolling back state renewable energy standards will threaten future job growth” – Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton)

House Democratic lawmakers today criticized the passage of House Bill (HB) 114, saying legislation that changes the state’s advanced energy standards to unenforceable “goals” will harm consumers and jeopardize thousands of manufacturing and development jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy industry and other industries that increasingly want and rely on advanced energy sources. “If Ohio’s economy is on the ‘verge of a recession,’ as the governor has claimed, rolling back state renewable energy standards will threaten future job growth and could harm consumers, workers and the environment,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Advanced energy technologies are helping create the manufacturing jobs of the future, and we would be wise to invest now to become a leader of this emerging industry instead of falling behind the rest of the nation.” The nation and world’s leading companies are increasingly turning to advanced energy sources to power their businesses. On Tuesday, global home furnishing retailer Ikea announced it has completed a 213,000 square foot solar array on its soon-to-open store in central Ohio, one of the largest such arrays in the state. “We owe it to future Ohioans to make sure we leave behind a state that is thriving, healthy and safe,” said Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Rolling back the opportunity to be a leader in the emerging renewable energy industry is not only harmful to our environment but also our economy.” Some of the largest corporate brands – including Apple, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Facebook, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, Walmart and more – have all publicly pledged to procure 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by a certain date in the near future. “If we really care about job creation and positioning Ohio for a 21st century economy, then we should promote such a vision and plan – but HB 114 does nothing of the sort,” said Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson). “I cannot support a bill that impedes the creation of new jobs and endangers the environment for our people and our children.” Amazon Web Services, Inc., an subsidiary, recently announced plans to build a $300 million wind farm in Hardin County, Ohio, in addition to their 100-megawatt wind farm in nearby Paulding County that is expected to start producing electricity this May. “This legislation threatens thousands of current and future jobs in the renewable energy industry, including jobs connected to wind-power projects here in Northwest Ohio,” said Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon). “HB 114 will hurt consumers, workers and the economy by squandering Ohio’s opportunity to be an advanced energy leader in the 21st century.” In addition to changing the state’s energy efficiency standards to goals, HB 114 also allows corporations to bypass additional charges on Ohio consumers from utility companies designed to recoup the cost of advanced energy. “This legislation takes…

“Mayor should acknowledge experience of geologists” – Paul Wohlfarth

At the Feb. 21 Bowling Green City Council meeting, Mayor Dick Edwards laid out his counterattack on the science surrounding the Nexus pipeline Maumee River crossing. What appears to be a politically motivated move puts public protection second to the needs of a face-saving way to limit liability from the oil and gas overlords. Edwards’ Folly will risk the public’s water supply for the quick needs of a spineless leadership. Clearly geologists Andrew Kear and Robert Vincent have years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Even buried in FERC’s own FEIS document reveals the Sept. 11, 2015, Furgo Consultants report rating, “Rock quality designation (RQD) ranged from 0 to 66, with the average value being 12, indicating very poor quality bedrock.” Furgo furthers, “Due to subsurface conditions, the risk level associated with the proposed crossing of the Maumee River is high.” Nexus contractor Fluor Enterprises estimates the boring to be 81 days. They report, “Please note the estimated duration is based on operations proceeding according to plan and does not include contingency. The occurrence of unanticipated operational problems could increase the duration of operations by 50 to 100 percent.” Contingency? What will that mean? Trenching or blasting across the Maumee River through historic Missionary Island Wildlife Area and the Farnsworth Metropark? Mayor Edward’s legacy will be measured if this route turns into an environmental disaster. It will become known as Edwards’ Folly. Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan

“Trump Proposing War” – Joann Schiavone

He is proposing to increase military spending by $54 BILLION and cut nonmilitary programs by the same amount… guess what, seniors? Decisions about our Medicare and Social Security will not be made until later in the year. Get ready to play for his $54 BILLION plan. Remember, this president promised to slash EPA environmental rules to help the drilling and mining industries, but without hurting air and water. How are you going to do this Trump, by twitching your nose? He is going to slash EPA funding by 24%. He just did a reversal in America’s progress toward cleaner air and water and fighting global climate change. So those of you who support this man, be ready for breathing problems and deaths in this most polluted country in the world. His new leader Pruitt sued the agency he now leads more than a dozen times while Attorney General of Oklahoma to stop federal rules. He never mentioned climate change in his 12 minute speech at EPA headquarters in Washington. This will also make changes to Mr. Obama’s Waters of the United States rule that details which waterways fall under federal protection. So plan on having some flavor added to your drinking water that can put you in the hospital for black lung disease. But remember, people who voted for this man, he made these promises to you but failed to tell you that he is in the pockets of polluters, and this is who he is working for. Too bad you chose to vote for more bad jobs than cleaner jobs, and set your priorities for the almighty dollar rather than for the health of you and your children. SHAME ON YOU! Please attend ALL Town Hall meetings and demand that your congress person and state senators attend and answer all your concerns. If they don’t attend, like our State Senator Portman and Congressperson Bob Latta, remember this when you go to the voting booth. Latta will only attend dinner fundraisers or have a phone-in Town Hall meeting which is a big joke. They will ask you what your question is, or what your comments are for Latta, and if it is a question or comment that Latta is afraid to address, guess what? You won’t be on the airwaves. Trump voters, are you happy with the promise to keep America safe? This budget will lead to deep reductions in federal programs that touch millions of lives. Seniors’ and Veterans’ benefits; law enforcement efforts… We are supporting THREE WHITE HOUSES: his places in Florida and New York, and of course the White House with security, and we are paying for his sons to go around the world promoting Mr. Trump’s businesses and paying for that security. This must be stopped. If they are traveling for personal gain and we are…

‘Indivisible’ to hold resistance rally at Latta’s office Thurs 2/23

RALLY ON THE 23RD – CONGRESSMAN BOB LATTA’S OFFICE Concerned about NW Ohio Water Quality and Rep. Latta’s continual support for Big Ag and Big Energy, together with their mounting worries over Trump’s dysfunctional NSA and the potential Russian collusion creating greater pressure on the security of our nation, concerned citizens of Ohio’s 5th Congressional district are taking their grievances and strong voices to Representative Latta’s office this Thursday. The rally will be focusing on the deplorable lack of integrity of the Trump administration, with constituents pressing Latta to demand Congress have an independent investigation into the current Administration’s collusion with the Russian Government, and how it affected the outcome of the 2016 elections as well as how it is creating an impending threat to our national security today. His continual attacks on the first amendment by denouncing nationally recognized news organization as “Fake News” will also be voiced in the Latta office visit. Focusing locally, the rally members will question Latta’ office on the EPA water regulations that could be rolled back due to the nomination of Scott Pruitt and ask the office, “Seriously, will we be the next Flint?” Groups and individuals from Fulton, Lucas and Wood Counties will rally at 9:00 a.m during an office meeting with District Director Andrew Lorenz at Latta’s District Office at 1045 N. Main Street, Bowling Green, OH. Representative Latta DOES NOT hold Town Halls and the group was told that he did not have time to meet with them during his first trip back to work at his home district during the 115th Congress. Begrudgingly, the group accepted to meet with his District Director in hopes that Rep. Latta will be more accessible in the future to this growing group of concerned constituents. Many of the people attending the rally are members of INDIVISIBLE, a grass roots organization of volunteers who work locally to resist autocratic agendas and to press for the integrity and transparency previously seen in American Democracies. Further Information and Questions: 419.280.3787 Elizabeth C. Davis Perrysburg, Ohio

Update on Library Funding – Michael Penrod

Update on Library Funding: We are very appreciative at the Wood County District Public Library (WCDPL) for the support we receive through state funding, a local levy since 2011, and the generous support of the Friends of the Library as well as the Library Foundation. We would not be able to deliver the array of library services we currently offer without your ongoing support. I want to share information with you about the present status of funding for Ohio’s public libraries. At the state level, we are fortunate to be funded through the Public Library Fund (PLF) which receives a percentage of state revenues from the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF). Revenue sources for the GRF include the state personal income tax, sales and use taxes, business taxes, etc. In July 2015, the PLF formula was increased from 1.66% to 1.7% of the GRF. This change allowed for some modest growth in dollars distributed to public libraries. Unfortunately, the governor’s new budget proposal calls for reverting back to 1.66%. This would mean a cut in funds distributed to Ohio’s public libraries. Between now and the end of June, the House and Senate will be holding hearings and debate on the budget. The Ohio Library Council (OLC) will be engaging members of the Ohio General Assembly to “Protect the PLF.” Locally, Ohio’s public libraries have long had the support of Senator Randy Gardner – and for that we are appreciative. Senator Gardner is publicly advocating for the formula to remain at 1.7%. We know that Ohioans value their public libraries and that public libraries create opportunities and transform lives. We remain the “People’s University” where all can enter to further their lifelong learning goals. On a daily basis we serve parents as they teach their children to read, adults seeking help with resumes and applying for jobs, and students working on homework. When you see Senator Gardner and Representative Gavarone around our community, please share your personal story about what the library means to you and your family. These local, positive conversations can make a difference in decisions made in the General Assembly. Thank you again for your support; it is an honor to serve the Wood County community! Michael Penrod WCDPL Director

“Sharrows are merely a suggestion” – Sean Herman

An open letter to Bowling Green Transportation and Safety Committee, and City Council Committee of the Whole: I write to you in response to the recent decision made on Complete Streets implementation of Conneaut Avenue. I am writing today as a city resident, a full-time transportation cyclist, and until recently as a student of Bowling Green State University. It is my belief that this decision to opt for sharrows on Conneaut Ave. was a poor decision. It was the easy way out of ongoing conflict between various parties and concerns. Some may argue that sharrows are worse than no signage at all. And while standing for that claim may be questionable, I will say that sharrows are not any better than a painted bike lane (such as the dashed-lane alternative for this road), which provides a designated space for cyclists to preside in, and perhaps only marginally better than our “Bike Route” and “Share the Road” signs currently in place. Sharrows are merely a suggestion, and that’s the problem. According to a February 8 article in BG Independent Media, the Conneaut Avenue milling and resurfacing project was projected to cost the City of Bowling Green $529,393 in 2017. To widen the road — as well as add a dashed bicycle lane in each direction — would cost $65,000, or an additional 12.3%. That is a small price to pay for increased safety, and thus increased ridership. There are public and private grant monies available for this type of project, so long as the city would a actually apply for them. Several of these types of grants have been brought to the attention of both Transportation and Safety Committee as well as the Bicycle Safety Commission, however the open application window on these specific grants has since lapsed. Much of the pushback from residents was over the possible removal of on-street parking spaces in favor of a dashed bike lane, an experimental design proposal allowed by the Ohio Department of Transportation. On the north side of Conneaut Avenue from Fairview Avenue to North Grove Street (just one block in length and the only section of Conneaut with on-street parking), there are nine houses. Every one of these homes has a driveway or parking pad. All but two have garages. Additional on-street parking has also always been available on North Grove Street as well as Liberty Street (just one block north of Conneaut). To even consider the luxury of additional on-street parking over the right to shared use of the roadway would be a joke, a laugh in the face of those who lack other means of transportation. Education is important. But it will not increase ridership or bike use within our community alone. Education will help teach those who already ride bikes to ride more safely and predictably. It will not,…

Jewish groups: “We pray for those who wish to come here and live in peace, but are denied safe harbor”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo and the Jewish Community Relations Council are troubled by the recent Executive Order against refugees looking to come to the USA to escape the horrors of their war-torn countries. Historically, we are a country of immigrants who came to these shores to escape the horrors of war, to seek religious freedom, and to earn better opportunities for our families and succeeding generations. Jews have made innumerable contributions to American culture, arts, entertainment, science, government and more areas, and continue to do so. There were times when Jews were turned away from these shores. Like Moses, who saw the land and was not allowed to enter, we pray for those who wish to come here and live in peace, but are denied safe harbor. We urge President Trump and his administration to come to a resolution soon and to allow another generation of future citizens to add their uniqueness to the melting pot that is America. “You shall not wrong nor oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:20) Signed, ­­ Gary Delman, President, JFGT Scott Rothstein, Chair, JCRC

“Please give us a single-payer health care system” – Debbie Dalke

A health care bill was presented in Congress that would improve our access to medical care. I sent this letter to Representative Latta and encourage you to do the same: “Honorable Congressman Latta, A few years ago a friend developed a very serious brain condition.  She needed a specialist and took the time to find a doctor in her network. This specialist told her to get an ultrasound before the operation and sent her down the hallway to get the test. My friend later learned that the person she was sent to was NOT in her network, so she was hit with a large bill for this service. This problem would not exist if we had a single payer system because EVERY doctor would be in the network. When a parent is faced with a life-threatening illness, he or she needs to focus on how to protect the children’s future, not searching the internet to find a doctor the insurance company will approve.  Please support HR 676 and give us a single-payer health care system to simplify the process of finding a doctor. This will also reduce the cost of health care administration.” Please encourage your congressmen to support this bill. Thank you, Debbie  Dalke Bowling Green

“NEXUS-FERC process is a fraud” – Paul Wohlfarth

Those of us who have been close to the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline-Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) process are dismayed at how our country has been captured by monied interests over the rights of average citizens. Soon the oil and gas industry-funded FERC will grant its rubber stamp on the NEXUS pipeline. The process is a fraud. The sad facts are, the NEXUS pipeline has no Ohio customer contracts (13 Tee Taps with no future commitments) and has only a 56 percent usage rate, with 90 percent of that capacity going to Canada. Spectra Energy, parent company to the NEXUS pipeline, is being bought by Enbridge Energy Partners, a Canadian company. So we have a Canadian Company taking American-fracked natural gas to Canada against the will of private property owners across Ohio and Michigan. The Environmental Protection Agency has ruled fracking can pollute ground water sources forever, a short-term gain with long-term consequences for landowners. There is no support for this pipeline except from industry-supported politicians in Ohio and Michigan. Every one of your Ohio state and federal politicians has received funding from the oil and gas industry. This is an export pipeline engineered to export our natural gas to foreign markets to raise the price of our natural gas for their private gain. Where is the public need? Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Mich.

“I saw every day the benefits of roundabouts” – Tim Murnen

I would respectfully like to offer a different opinion on roundabouts from the impression left by Mr. Bud Henschen’s comments noted in your December 7th article, “BG Council Asked to Steer Clear of Roundabouts.” I understand Mr. Henschen’s concerns. Lots of Americans find roundabouts confusing or disconcerting. But I will tell you that, having lived in England for four months during 2009, I saw everyday the benefits of roundabouts. 1. No Waiting Time Despite Mr. Henschen’s concern that roundabouts will tie up traffic and create long lines, roundabouts do the opposite. They regulate the flow of traffic and keep people moving, without forcing them to wait at traffic lights. Americans hate to wait in lines. We can’t understand how Russians back in the Soviet era would wait in bread lines for hours or even days. We don’t understand how Brits will “queue up” patiently to wait for a new store to open. We hate to wait in lines. But we will allow ourselves to have to sit for several minutes at a red light when no other traffic is coming the other way. This often happens to me at night at the corner of Poe and Haskins. Heading west on Poe after shopping at the grocery store, I often have to sit at the light, which has been retimed to keep traffic on Haskins moving. It’s a pretty long light, sitting there on Poe at the corner, waiting for my green light, with no cars coming or going along Haskins. I feel silly; it almost feels un-American to take orders from a red light when logic tells me otherwise. I am always surprised that Americans, as independent as we are, will sit and take that red light at an empty intersection. I wish we had a roundabout at Poe and Haskins. And I wish we would have put a roundabout in at Poe and Main too. 2. Slowing and Regulating Traffic Flow Roundabouts by their design require that people slow down when they come to an intersection. You have to slow or stop to give way to traffic in the roundabout, but if there is no traffic, you have at least slowed down enough to make an informed decision. This little bit of slowing takes no more than a second or two, but it saves lives, and it keeps traffic moving at a regulated pace. Roundabouts are especially helpful in the country, when the corn is high. Instead of traffic moving on one road at top speed, hoping no one will pull out from the stop sign on the other road, traffic from both roads would slow down and share the roundabout equally. As a motorcycle rider, I always slow down at intersections in the country for this very reason; I am fearful that I won’t be seen, and someone…

“Dear Council members, we are concerned about the proposed Nexus pipeline” – Bob and Joan Callecod

Dear Council members, We are concerned about the proposed Nexus natural gas pipeline which would involve property close to the Bowling Green Water Treatment plant and submersion in the Maumee River. Our main concern is the impact on the environment during construction and the impact in the event of a rupture in the future which can not be totally ruled out. We also question the stated economic benefit to the community especially that millions of dollars in tax revenue will be generated. How would this be accomplished and what would be the source? If there is a necessity to provide more natural gas, is it possible to upgrade existing pipelines which may be in need of upgrading already? This would use existing easements and avoid the need to use additional land. This may also eliminate the need to jeopardize the Maumee River. It is commendable on the part of the City to expand the implementation of renewable resources through wind energy and solar fields. We feel this is a far better approach than expanding the use of non-renewable energy sources. As more renewable energy resources are developed, these non-renewable infrastructures will become obsolete yet would remain a potential environmental problem. Respectfully, Bob and Joan Callecod Bowling Green, OH