Community Voices

BG charter amendment group submits ballot initiative

(Submitted by Bowling Green Climate Protectors) On Monday July 31, representatives of Bowling Green Climate Protectors (BGCP) charter amendment group submitted a ballot initiative to the City of Bowling Green. In total, 1,231 signatures were turned in; 714 valid signatures are required to get the issue on the November ballot. Following ORC-731.28, once City officials have reviewed the initiative, they will hand it to Wood County Board of Elections (BOE), which has 10 days to verify the sufficiency of the signatures. Once sufficiency has been determined the charter amendment will go on the November 2017 ballot. The issue sought for the vote is whether the citizens of Bowling Green care to amend the Bowling Green City Charter with the 5-section article, Community Rights to a Healthy Environment and Livable Climate. Part of the inspiration for this initiative was to provide the citizens and the city of Bowling Green a legal platform to resist harmful fossil fuel projects such as the Nexus pipeline.  BGCP worked with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in drafting the initiative. If passed, this amendment would codify and uphold the rights of the citizens and environment of Bowling Green above the interests of “new infrastructure for fossil fuel transportation within the city of Bowling Green or on property owned by the city of Bowling Green” (section A). Through the petitioning process, BGCP learned the majority of Bowling Green residents want to safeguard their public health and safety. The group expects public officials to work with the people of Bowling Green to protect their rights. The BOE is charged with ensuring the citizen-led initiative goes on the ballot, and city officials must ensure the measure is enacted and enforced once it passes the election. Petitioner Lisa Kochheiser stated, “We expect no less…


Tax distributions announced for second half of 2017

(Submitted by Wood County Auditor’s Office) Michael Sibbersen, Wood County Auditor, has announced the distribution of the Real Estate, Public Utility tax, and Special Assessments for the second half 2017 settlement. A total of $81,203,716 was collected and distributed including $2,255,359 for special assessments. In addition $8,985,232 is to be reimbursed from the State Income Tax Funds, $6,186,788 in non-business credit, $863,772 in owner occupied credit, and $1,934,672 in homestead exemption monies. These represent tax reductions for qualifying properties. The Board of Developmental Disabilities requested that the 2.95 mill voted developmental disabilities levy collection be suspended for this year due to sufficient fund balance. This provided tax relief of $103 annually on a $100,000 home. Wood County currently maintains 75,079 individual land parcels of record and distributes the taxes to eighteen school districts, nineteen townships, and twenty-six cities and villages. Wood County has over 100,000 individual special assessments, which are distributed to regional, county, municipal and township governments. Examples include ditch construction and maintenance, sewer and water systems, street lighting, street cleaning, and tree maintenance programs. Totals for the second half revenue distribution are as follows: WOOD COUNTY $2,805,848 REGIONAL WATER AND SEWER $682,572 COUNTY DITCH MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION $162,133 COUNTY SEWER AND WATERLINE PROJECTS $215 MAUMEE WATERSHED CONSERVANCY $41,237 BOARD OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES $4,942,378 ALCOHOL, DRUG ADDICTION & MENTAL HEALTH BOARD $2,814,075 PARK DISTRICT $1,111,096 COMMITTEE ON AGING $777,761 BOARD OF HEALTH $625,494 HISTORICAL CENTER $59,695 JOB & FAMILY SERVICES $1,444,423.14 WOOD COUNTY LIBRARY BOND $133,663 TOWNSHIPS $6,420,344 MUNICIPALITIES $5,731,517 SCHOOLS $51,145,066


Sherrod Brown announces grant for Perrysburg Township firefighters

From U.S. SEN. SHERROD BROWN U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced July 28 that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $36,191 to the Perrysburg Township Fire Department for Operations and Safety through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. “Ohio firefighters and first-responders work every day to protect our families,” said Brown. “We must support our first-responder organizations so that communities like Perrysburg have the resources to shield families and homes from fire hazards.” The AFG program supports fire departments across the country to ensure the safety of both first-responders and the public. The program provides funds for supplemental training, upgrades to protective equipment, facility modifications, and other supplies that protect firefighters and first-responders in moments of crisis. Grants are awarded to fire department-based and non-affiliated EMS organizations that best address the priorities of the AFG Program. More information about the AFG program can be found here. Interested fire departments can contact Brown’s grant coordinator to receive information about federal grant opportunities by clicking here.


Gavarone announces sales tax holiday for first weekend in August

(Submitted by State Rep. Theresa Gavarone) State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, has announced that a sales tax holiday is set to be held the first weekend of August. The intent of the sales tax holiday, as established by legislation approved earlier this year, is to provide parents with some tax relief during back-to-school shopping in preparation for the new school year and to stimulate economic activity for Ohio’s retailers. From Friday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 6, certain items will be exempt from state and county sales and use taxes. Clothing items up to $75 each and school supplies or instructional materials up to $20 each will be free of taxes if purchased during this weekend. This includes a variety of items, from pencils and paper to pants and jackets to prepare for the fall. “Most families have tight budgets and may consider school supplies a luxury,” Gavarone said. “Next weekend, I hope parents will take advantage of the opportunity to save money and purchase materials that will help their children succeed in the classroom.” This year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday is the third consecutive one to be held in the state of Ohio, and legislators have already approved the tax-free weekend to again take place in 2018. The first time the sales tax holiday occurred in 2015 an extra $4.7 million in consumption was generated, along with saving consumers approximately $3.3 million, according to a study produced by the University of Cincinnati. The study also found that Ohio counties that border other states experienced a 15.48-percent increase in sales tax collection, leading to the conclusion that many out-of-state…


Dave Lee honored as Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero

(Submitted by Modern Woodmen) Local coach, mentor, volunteer and teacher, Dave Lee, Jerry City, will soon be recognized for countless hours of service to the community. On Sunday, July 30, local Modern Woodmen of America members will honor him as a hometown hero. The event will take place at the Wayne Fire Hall, 200 N. Center St., Wayne, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Lee will be recognized through Modern Woodmen’s Hometown Hero Program for so many years of being an outstanding leader, coach, mentor, volunteer and teacher and impacting a countless number of people to become better athletes while developing core characteristics that have helped enabled them to be successful in life. As part of the Hometown Hero Program, members of the Fostoria Modern Woodmen chapter will present Lee with a certificate and a $100 award grant to be donated to the charitable organization of the honoree’s choice. “The Hometown Hero Program allows us to thank those who give back to the community while encouraging others to volunteer,” says DJ Deiter, local Modern Woodmen volunteer leader. Coordinated by local Modern Woodmen members, the fraternal financial services organization’s Summit chapters, chapters and youth service clubs provide opportunities for members to take part in social and educational activities and volunteer projects to meet local needs. For more information or to get involved, contact Deiter at 419-494-6486/Daniel.J.Deiter@mwarep.org.


BGSU set to graduate diverse class on Aug. 5

By BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS A diverse group of 958 people will share a common experience on Saturday morning, Aug. 5. They will receive diplomas from Bowling Green State University. The 9 a.m. ceremony in the Stroh Center will see graduates as young as 18, as old as 71, and 114 who come from 29 other countries. More than half of the total are women. President Mary Ellen Mazey will preside over the ceremony, the 289th in University history. Megan Newlove, chair of the BGSU Board of Trustees, will present diplomas to the degree candidates, of whom 47 have earned associate degrees, including the 18-year-old; 476 bachelor’s degrees, including the 71-year-old; 360 master’s degrees and another 36 doctoral degrees. Eighty will wear the gold cord signifying they are graduating with academic honors based on their high grade-point averages. Students will graduate from all of the BGSU colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Development, Firelands, Graduate, Health and Human Services, Honors, Musical Arts and Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. Addressing the graduates will be Brady Young of Roswell, Georgia, who graduated from BGSU with a degree in business in 1982. Young is principal owner of Strategic Risk Solutions (SRS) and serves as the firm’s president and CEO. SRS sets up and manages insurance companies for various business and institutions. It is the largest independent captive management firm in the world. Young has been with SRS since its inception in 1993 and led the management buyout of the company to establish it as an independent entity in 2002. He has more than 30 years of experience working with…


Music marathon at Toledo Museum to mark centenary of composer Lou Harrison, Aug. 12

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, in conjunction with Bowling Green State University, will celebrate the centenary year of Lou Harrison with a music marathon from noon until 10 p.m. on Aug. 12. Harrison (1917-2003) – a composer, environmentalist and gay icon – began his own musical revolution more than 50 years ago, and is considered the godfather of the influential world music movement, particularly its popularity in the West. His more than 300 compositions written for symphony orchestra, ballet, small chamber ensembles and soloists incorporate western, eastern and custom-made instruments. “We welcome opportunities to host fascinating, innovative performances for our visitors, and this year’s music marathon celebrating Lou Harrison is no exception,” said TMA Programs Manager Scott Boberg. The schedule includes chamber music, a documentary film about Harrison and a demonstration of gamelan, the traditional Indonesian ensemble of mostly percussive instruments used widely in Harrison’s compositions. The marathon culminates with a Peristyle concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion performing two concertos: The Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra featuring Grammy Award-winning soloist Paul Jacobs, and the Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra with soloist Todd Reynolds. Harrison is best known for challenging the traditional music establishment with his explorations of new tonalities and propulsive rhythms and his ground-breaking use of percussion. His contemporaries and colleagues included composers John Cage, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Leonard Bernstein; Living Theater founder Judith Malina; and choreographer Merce Cunningham. Beyond his myriad musical accomplishments, Harrison was also recognized and received multiple awards as a political activist. Merwin Siu, artistic administrator of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra…


Raising pigs teaches valuable lessons; catching them in cruel manner does not

(Submitted by Christen Giblin) Picture this: At the county fair, the annual “Catch a Puppy” event is underway. A group of puppies are released into a pen along with six- to fifteen-year- old youths. Eager for an animal of their own to raise, the kids compete with each other to grab and hold onto a puppy, sometimes suspending it or swinging it in the air by one leg in order to secure it. Barking and howling fill the air as the young dogs struggle to get free. By the end of the event several puppies have been captured and subdued, at least enough for them to be carried off by the victorious children. Onlookers laugh and congratulate the youths on their prowess. If you’re like me, this sequence of events sounds horrifying. Yet all I’ve done is substitute puppies for piglets in this scenario. Replace the puppies with baby pigs and the narrative describes an event featured at the Wood County Fair for at least fifty years: the Catch a Pig Contest. If it would be cruel to treat puppies like this, why is it all right to catch piglets this way? That’s the question thirty-year Bowling Green resident Monica Lynn wants us to ask ourselves. Every year, kids line up to participate in a contest that she—and many experts—believes traumatizes the young pigs involved. Not just animal rights activists but veterinary professionals point out the emotional distress and potential for injury that Catch a Pig involves. According to Nedim C. Buyukmihci, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis, who reviewed photographs of the event, “…it was…


Humane Society offers special rate for cat adoptions

To accommodate higher feline intake numbers during summer months, The Wood County Humane Society will be hosting a Feline Frenzy Adoption Special. From now until the end of July, all adult cats aged 7 months and older can be adopted for a fee of $5. All kittens aged 6 months and younger can be adopted for a fee of $25. All animals adopted from The WCHS have been spayed/neutered, have received age-appropriate vaccinations and a microchip, and have undergone an initial de-working as well as booster doses. Regular adoption fees are $90 for any cat under 6 months old and $70 for any cat over one year old. Summer months witness greater numbers of feline intakes in the sheltering industry because warmer weather means more strays roaming freely and more cats in heat. Those two factors combined lead to a dramatic increase in the number of kittens born during the spring and summer months, and the number of felines that are brought into shelters. The public can help curb this problem by spaying and neutering their pets and neighborhood cats. The WCHS, located in Bowling Green, is a private, non-profit managed admission shelter providing care for homeless and abused pets and investigating cruelty complaints in Wood County. The organization receives no funding from The United Way, or national humane organizations, instead relying on earned revenue and the generosity of individual donors and businesses to fund our programs such as Safe Haven and food assistance programs, spay/neuter transport, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for hundreds of animals each year– -from dogs and cats, to horses, goats, and pocket pets….


Young African leaders visit community garden, discuss sustainability

Submitted by THE COMMON GOOD Members of the Young African Leaders Initiative’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders gathered with local volunteers at the community garden this past Saturday to see an example of small-scale sustainable farming on Saturday. The YALI members took some time to work the garden and harvest some vegetables before coming together to partake in a roundtable discussion about sustainability. The group discussed comparisons of agriculture in Africa versus agriculture here, as well as cultural views and practices embracing sustainability. The presence of different perspectives provided insight on global views regarding sustainability. To catch a glance of small-scale sustainable farming yourself, stop by the community garden located at the Peace Lutheran Church (1021 W. Wooster St. Bowling Green, OH 43402). Take a look at the communication board at the garden or visit commongoodbg.org for more information.


Library starts automatic renewals for checked-out items

(Submitted by Wood County District Public Library) On July 19, all locations of Wood County District Public Library began automatically renewing materials for library users. Automatic renewals on checked-out items continue until the maximum number of renewals is reached – and patrons won’t have to lift a finger to make them happen. Assistant Director Michele Raine noted, “Auto renewals make it easy for you to enjoy your book or movie for as long as you need, without those pesky one- or two-day overdue fees.” There are some exceptions, such as the library’s “Browsing and Hot Titles” materials, but for the most part, library items will renew four times, unless someone else has requested the material. “Our readers borrow materials from all over Wood County and from many Ohio partner libraries, but as long as the material was checked out from Bowling Green, Walbridge, or the WCDPL Bookmobile, auto-renewals will apply and make it easy for you to enjoy library materials,” said Raine.


BGHS grad commissioned as officer in U.S. Coast Guard

(Submitted by U.S. Coast Guard) U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Sara Ione Pisarski, daughter of Kristina Olinger, Bowling Green, graduated from The United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York on June 17, commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and a licensed Third Mate in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Ensign Pisarski successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Maritime Logistics and Security. As a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy, Ensign Pisarski completed 332.5 days at sea during sea year visiting 25 countries and 5 continents while completing 20 sea projects, an internship at the U.S. Department of State, 3 years of class work resulting in 170 credits, and passing 7 U.S. Coast Guard Third Mate License Exams in 4 days. During her time at The United States Merchant Marine Academy, Ensign Pisarski was a member of the Regimental Band, Acta Non Verba Club, Christian Fellowship Club, Midshipmen Tutor Program, Coast Guard Club and Manage of the Women’s Basketball team. During her First Class year, Ensign Pisarski served as the Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Club. Within the Regiment First Class year, she served a First Rotation Regimental Academic Officer and Second Rotation Regimental Training Officer. Ensign Pisarski is a recipient of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Service Above Self Award, the New York Council of the Navy League Award, and the Crowley Maritime Security Enhancement Award. Following graduation, Ensign Pisarski will begin her active duty commitment with training in New London, CT. She will then proceed to Saint Petersburg,…


Back to School Fair provides backpacks with supplies to kids

(Submitted by United Way and Salvation Army) The Salvation Army of Bowling Green and United Way in Wood County are partnered again this year to provide backpacks filled with schools supplies to families with children in need. The local non-profits are sponsoring the Wood County Back to School Fair from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the Woodland Mall, 1234 N. Main St. in Bowling Green. Sign up will be held on the day of the event. Interested families will need to bring their picture ID, and birth certificates, immunization records, or school paperwork for their children, in order to sign up and receive backpacks. As part of the back to school event, local organizations will also provide information about their services and opportunities available to local students and their families. This information will include out of school programming, health care options, rent and utility assistance, early intervention services and more. Activities for kids and snacks will also be provided. This event is free and open to the public. Participating agencies include YWCA Girl Scouts, Job and Family Services, Wood Co. Child Support Enforcement Agency, The Cocoon, Women, Infants and Children, with many more to come. If you would like to be a vendor or are an individual interested in volunteering, seeking more information, or wishing to make a donation, please contact  United Way in Wood County at 419-352-2390 or the Bowling Green Salvation Army at 419-352-5918.


BG native Genevieve Simon returns for HYT 20th anniversary

SUBMITTED BY HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE When HYT’s board of directors decided to ask a theatre professional alum to speak at the 20th Anniversary Gala and teach a master class, they ran into some brick walls. Sometimes, things work out exactly the way they are supposed to. Genevieve Simon, New York-based professional actor and playwright, and daughter of Wood County children’s librarian Maria Simon, turned out to be more than up to the task. This afternoon, she seemed almost giddy as she prepared to workshop with eleven students at the drama club master class held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. “It’s so amazing, being back here where it all began for me,” she said. Simon is involved in many projects, including leading workshops for kids on the autism spectrum using Shakespeare. The therapy, developed by a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, uses drama games and play; she also hosts other workshops in New York. Simon’s latest project was “Romeo + Juliet + Anybodys” which she authored, and was performed at the Cinci Fringe Festival in June. In his coverage of that event, David Dupont wrote of how much Simon was influenced by HYT. “She credits the troupe’s founder Scott Regan and Gonzalez, who was involved with HYT, with empowering the young actors. ‘It was so important to us having authority and some sort of control over the stories we were telling,’ Simon said. ‘Scott was so good about taking our ideas very seriously.’” Simon appeared to be passing those same techniques on to a new generation of actors today in activities that were filled with fun and laughter. Genevieve Simon…


Living History Day honors Wood County’s WWI past

(Submitted by Wood County Historical Center) The 14th annual Wood County Living History Day is Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m., at Oak Grove Cemetery on the campus of BGSU, Bowling Green. Local residents portray citizens interred in Wood County and local cemeteries to promote local history. 2017 Honorees were chosen because 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering WWI, which is also being honored with an exhibit at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. This event is free and open to the public. “A Joyful Noise” will provide music before the event. Parking is available in the cemetery, as well as on the adjacent BGSU campus. The Wood County Sheriff’s Auxiliary will provide free rides up to the mound where the program will be held.  Chairs are available, although those attending are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. In case of heavy rain, the program will be moved to the First United Methodist Church, 1506 E. Wooster St. The 2017 honorees are: RAY DUDLEY AVERY (1886-1958) – Captain of Bowling Green’s Company H in 1916. Portrayed by Avery’s grandson Marlowe Witt. JONATHAN ELMORE LADD (1863-1930) – School teacher, lawyer, and Prosecuting Attorney for Wood County. Five of his sons served in WWI, with one son killed in action. Portrayed by Peter Fry. ADDIE JENNINGS LADD (1864-1944) – Wife of Jonathan Ladd and mother of Paul Ladd, killed in action during WWI. Addie visited Paul’s grave at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France on the Gold Star Mother’s tour.  Portrayed by Elizabeth Geer-Fry. MARGARET LEHMANN (1875-1954) – Recruited by the American Red Cross to help lead a…