Community Opinion

Latta’s “communication with his constituents is subpar” – Deborah Schwartz

From DEBORAH SCHWARTZ The article “Latta’s Health Care Vote Leaves Some Constituents Feeling Sick,” published May 5, 2017, did an excellent job covering both sides of the political healthcare story in District 5: Bob Latta ‘s oft-repeated Republican poppycock about the failures of “Obamacare” and his constituents’ concerns about the deleterious effects “Trumpcare” will have on their health. But thankfully, it went one step further in reporting on Latta’s lack of communication with his constituents. As someone who has emailed him, called him, gone to his Bowling Green office, and worked on planning town halls to which he was invited but did not attend, I can attest to the fact that his communication with his constituents is sub-par: · He does not hold or attend town halls. · His telephone town halls are one-sided, with no notice of when they are scheduled, screening of questions, and no time for follow-up questions. · His District Director and office staffers respond blandly to questions about Mr. Latta’s votes and opinions, as in “Mr. Latta hasn’t communicated with us about that yet.” · His schedule is not posted in advance of events – anywhere – although a BG office staffer said that press releases on his website told where he would be. · He doesn’t respond to comments on his posts on Facebook. · His email newsletter is full of superficial reports on legislation and his letters are form letters that do not respond to constituents’ questions or concerns. Last Friday, while two Wood County residents braved the rainstorm to stand on Main St. with signs about having a pre-existing condition and needing healthcare and one simply stating “Shame on Latta,” five of us from Sylvania Township, Perrysburg, and Swanton braved the coolness of Latta’s Bowling Green office to express our deep concern about the effects the American Health Care Act will have on those of us who live in Northwest Ohio. We questioned the office staff person who’s paid to listen to us on how Mr. Latta knows what his constituents (not just those who contributed to his campaign) really think about anything; we asked where Mr. Latta might be going in his district during the current recess; and we wondered aloud why Mr. Latta doesn’t show up in his Bowling Green office once in a while when constituents are there, since he happens to live in Bowling Green. All to no avail. I seriously don’t think the citizens of District 5 will put up with this blatant disregard of our right to be heard – our…

“Why is the landfill filling up faster than expected?” – Meghan Wilson

I read with interest the report that the Wood County Landfill’s projected lifespan is shrinking. But I have more questions: why is the landfill filling up faster than expected? What accounts for the 10,000 tons more trash from 2014 to 2015? Efforts are underway in cities across the country to reduce waste through better recycling programs, composting, and educating citizens on how to reduce consumption of disposable materials. Wood County has a lot of land, but do we really want to tie up more of it with landfills? Meghan Wilson

“Nexus doesn’t pay its required taxes” – Paul Wohlfarth

The NEXUS pipeline has promised Wood County $22,786,432 in total tax receipts over five years. The glowing assessment would be wonderful if not for the glaring truth: Nexus doesn’t pay its required taxes or fees to compensate for the auditor’s services. Ohio Law  319.54 states: (C) From all moneys collected by the county treasurer on any tax duplicate of the county, other than estate tax duplicates, and on all moneys received as advance payments of personal property and classified property taxes, there shall be paid into the county treasury to the credit of the real estate assessment fund created by section 325.31 of the Revised Code, an amount to be determined by the county auditor, which shall not exceed the percentages prescribed in divisions (C)(1) and (2) of this section.  (p) Of an easement or right-of-way when the value of the interest conveyed does not exceed one thousand dollars; Sad truth is many of the Ohio counties along the NEXUS pipeline have not paid these easement conveyance fees. The Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CoRN) has looked at counties along the NEXUS pipeline route and had found four that are compliant with Ohio law. Current law requires a $3 to $4 per $1000 fee on easements over $1000. $1 of every $1000 goes to the state. Four counties include Summit, Stark, Wood and Lorain are paying some conveyance fees to the Auditor. So far we found Medina, Erie and Fulton counties that were not collecting these fees back in February. Summit and Stark counties were not being paid all fees, requiring further investigation. Two Ohio DT 100EX forms are required by the auditors office. One is an exemption form (Statement of Reason for Exemption From Real Property Conveyance Fee) and the other (Real Property Conveyance Fee Statement of Value and receipt) declaring by penalties of perjury the value of said easement is either less that $1000 or over $1000 including the $4 per $1000 fee. No other documentation of value is required leaving no proof of compliance. Your Wood County Auditor Michael Sibbersen has stated that Nexus is filing with his office but has no way of proving they are paying the required fees in full. In Fulton county Auditor Brent Kolb was unaware of the law and only now has alerted NEXUS to file. We heard that NEXUS has filed two Exemption From Real Property Conveyance Fee forms declaring under perjury that the value of these easements are less than $1000. I don’t think I’ve heard of any easement of less than $1000 in value. Through these two counties runs the Rover and Utopia pipelines. Are…

Scruci sends message of caution regarding “13 Reasons Why” to all BGCS families

Caution for Families about Students Viewing “13 Reasons Why” BGCS staff has heard, and many families may be aware from recent media reports, about concerns that have been raised about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  Many youth, including BGCS students, are watching the Netflix series, which was adapted from a popular book of the same title by Jay Asher.  The book and series follow a group of students as they piece together a story left behind by a classmate who died by suicide. While the story touches on important topics, the content is very graphic in nature. Critics have raised concerns that the series romanticizes or glamorizes suicide but gives no healthy alternative to kids struggling with emotional problems.   Although we do not encourage viewing, we believe it is critical for our children and youth to process this information with a trusted adult if they have watched this series.  For this reason, we encourage you to talk with your children about what they are watching, either at home or elsewhere in the company of their friends. BGCS resources related to suicide prevention are available through the Wood County Children’s Resource Center – links can be found on school websites. Finally, as always, we want to remind families that all of our school counselors, school psychologists and staff are available whenever you have questions or concerns.     Precaución para Familias Sobre la Serie “13 Reasons Why” El personal de BGCS está consciente de las preocupaciones sobre la serie de Netflix, “13 Reasons Why.” Usted tal vez ha escuchado estas mismas preocupaciones mediante los recientes informes de prensa. Muchos jóvenes, incluyendo los estudiantes de BGCS, están viendo la serie, adaptada por el libro popular del mismo título, escrito por Jay Asher. El libro y la serie se tratan de un grupo de estudiantes que intentan de reconstruir una historia dejada por una compañera de la escuela, que murió por suicidio. Mientras que la historia toca temas importantes, el contenido es bastante gráfico. Los críticos han expresado su preocupación de que la serie idealiza o glorifica el suicidio, sin dar alternativas saludables a los jóvenes que luchan con problemas emocionales. Aunque no recomendamos ver la serie, creemos que es fundamental que si nuestros niños y jóvenes han visto esta serie, analizen esta información con un adulto de confianza. Por esta razón, le recomendamos que hable con sus hijos sobre los programas que ven en casa o con amigos en otros lugares. Los recursos del BGCS relacionados con la prevención del suicidio están disponibles a través del…

“Sandy has worked hard for the residents of BG.” -Jill Carr

To The Residents of Bowling Green: I submit this letter to express my support of the candidacy of Sandy Rowland for re-election to the Bowling Green City Council. Our primary election is right around the corner. On May 2 I will be casting my vote for Sandy Rowland and I urge you to do likewise. The following are some of my reasons for supporting Sandy’s candidacy. First, Sandy is fully committed to the responsibilities associated with being a member of City Council. She is visible, approachable, an excellent listener, and consistently attends meetings and a wide variety of community events. She takes her constituents’ concerns and questions very seriously and follows-up accordingly. Sandy loves this community and serves it so well. Second, Sandy’s accomplishments during her time on Council are noteworthy. She has worked very hard to bring attention to the needs of residents on the east side of town, especially the deterioration of its neighborhoods. Sandy is a strong proponent of diversity as evidenced by her involvement in Not In Our Town and La Conexion. She has also been a strong advocate for public health and the environment. The list goes on, and will no doubt continue to grow when Sandy is re-elected to another term. Sandy has worked hard for the residents of BG. She wants to continue working hard for us and we need her! So I urge you to vote for Sandy Rowland on May 2. She is a proven hard worker, supporter, and advocate for the residents of Bowling Green. We will all benefit from her experience and her continued dedication. Jill Carr Bowling Green

“Ohio has already been designated as the sacrifice zone for fracking”

By LEATRA HARPER Most Ohioans have no idea of the destruction of the states’ clean air and water taking place right now in the Southeast part of the state in which the extreme energy extraction method of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is taking place and has been for over five years. Once the huge pipeline infrastructure like Energy Transfer’s Rover pipeline and the Williams/Spectra Nexus pipeline are in commission, fracking will take off even more. The pipelines themselves threaten our drinking water and clear cut our forests, spoiling agricultural land and polluting the air with their compressor stations. The pipelines steal private property through the use of eminent domain and threats and false promises made to landowners. Ohio has already been designated as the sacrifice zone for fracking and its toxic, radioactive waste, with Ohio land fills and injection wells solving the industry’s biggest problem on the cheap. It is becoming widely documented of the environmental damage and health impacts of fracking, with a recent study showing an increase in infant mortality likely due to water polluted by fracking with an addition 50 infant deaths as a result ( The pipelines will cause even more death and destruction. A climate bus leaves from NW Ohio in Bluffton this Friday at 8 p.m. (for tickets click) for the Peoples’ Climate March in Washington D.C..  We have many reasons to march for the climate and against extreme energy extraction.  When Rover ramps up, Ohio’s clean air and water will be sacrificed for fracking. When the LLC’s take their spoils and leave, Ohio taxpayers will be on the hook to clean up the mess, if even possible. Accompanying this article is a picture of Rover taken on April 25 with directional drilling going on under the Maumee River – threatening our drinking water. Rover has already spilled over 2 million gallons of toxic drilling fluids into Ohio wetlands ( destruction of Ohio’s environment and future economy has been taking place for awhile, and will be even more so soon. With Nexus and Rover giving frack gas access to higher-priced export markets, it will be a fracking free for all with Ohio’s cheap disposal of frack waste for in-state and out of state drillers compounding the pollution and destruction. The harms of fracking are well known and documented – and yet, our legislators, regulators and Governor Kasich look the other way. We will pay dearly for what the multi-national investor community with corporate complicity purchased through campaign contributions is doing to us to reap short-term gain at our long-term pain!  Anyone who…

“Sandy always does her homework” -Marcy St. John

Four Democrat candidates will appear on the May 2 primary ballot for Bowling Green City Council. Voters will choose two of them to be the endorsed Democrat candidates for the two at-large Council positions which will be on the November 7 ballot. To my mind, Sandy Rowland is the strongest candidate for an at-large City Council seat. Sandy’s record of leadership and community involvement is decades-long and includes work on the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission and Not In Our Town Bowling Green [NIOT], both of which I worked on with her. She is an excellent choice to represent the community at large, because as a professional realtor, she is able to discern the needs and wants of her clients, who come from all walks of life. She knows how to listen and how to represent a diverse clientele. Sandy always does her homework–she’s visible throughout the community and she is on top of current issues. She asks BG residents about their concerns and she listens to their answers. She has been an outspoken supporter for our new Green Space and for the rejuvenation of East Side neighborhoods. She serves on the Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee for City Council, and she chairs Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee. She has been a key player in the development and application of both Bowling Green’s Land Use Plan and its Community Action Plan [revitalizing the East Side]. Sandy knows how essential it is to make positive and ongoing changes in our city, and she has the skills to help keep these changes on course. It is Sandy Rowland’s goal to serve on an innovative and effective City Council for the betterment of our entire community. I encourage you to vote for her in the May 2 primary. Marcy St.John Bowling Green

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but what do we really know and believe about distracted driving?  We tell ourselves multiple lies every day when we drive:  I can multi-task without a problem; I have a Bluetooth so it’s no problem to talk and drive; talking on a cellphone is just like talking to a passenger in the car; I only use my phone at stop lights or stop signs; and a great deceiver – I use talk to text I’m all good!!   We are great at fooling ourselves to perceive that driving conditions are safer than they really are.  You just read the text – you don’t respond!  It’s just a quick call!  People who want to continue to use technology to stay connected while they drive are going to look for any evidence that it is okay to do so.  But it is not.   Your brain can keep track of only about four objects at any one time.  How many more things do we actually track while driving?  What thing gets deleted from our visual field and memory retention? It only takes once to miss a pedestrian, to not see the vehicle ahead of you slowing for a turn, or the red light at a busy intersection.  You need your brain drive, and when we overload the brain with two very difficult tasks, driving and trying to communicate, driving loses.     We need to stop fooling ourselves.  Thousands of people are dying for the sake of calls and texts probably none of which are worth a human life.     It only takes once.  Please do not drive distracted.   Lt. Angel Burgos, Ohio State Highway Patrol Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities of Wood County

‘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…

“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…