Community

Citizens seek creature comforts at county dog shelter

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Connie Donald and Dolores Black are looking out for homeless residents of Wood County – the four-legged ones. The two women met with Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw and Administrator Andrew Kalmar earlier this week to see how the lives of dogs at the county dog shelter could be improved – even if for just a brief period. “I think as a nation we need to be more kind to the less fortunate,” and that includes dogs, Donald said. The women had some success in their quest. One of their main concerns was that the Wood County Dog Shelter is difficult for people to locate. The shelter is in a small nondescript building in the back section of the county’s East Gypsy Lane Complex. The signage at the complex entrance is too small, they told Herringshaw and Kalmar. “They feel that our signage to direct people to the dog shelter isn’t enough,” Kalmar said. “People get lost. A lot of people think the Wood County Dog Shelter and Wood County Humane Society are the same thing,” Donald said. The county officials agreed that the signage could be improved – perhaps even including the happy cartoonish dog figure that now adorns the dog shelter vans. “I think that’s doable,” Kalmar said. But the other requests were not met with the same enthusiasm. Donald and Black suggested that the county dog shelter adopt the same spay-neuter policy that some other shelters have to fix dogs prior to adopting them out. The county currently charges $14 for a dog license when someone adopts a dog from the shelter. The new owner is then given a $75 gift certificate to use for spaying or neutering their dog. “They want to spay and neuter them before they ever go out the door,” Kalmar said. “We think the person adopting the dog should take the responsibility.” Donald said only about 30 percent of the new owners use the certificates and get their new dogs fixed. “I think we…

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BG pursues second solar field – for community power

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The City of Bowling Green sees a bright future for more solar power. The problem is finding big open areas for another solar field. The city could use some land it has purchased over the years for economic development. But Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell pointed out that while solar fields generate green energy, they do not generate long-term jobs. The city could use some of the 70 acres left at its current solar field on Carter Road, northeast of the city. But that property may be needed for land application of biosolids from the wastewater treatment plant. “With a solar project, you need a lot of land,” O’Connell said to the board of utilities Monday evening. So the city has approached the Wood County commissioners about using county land for another solar field. There are currently 71.5 open acres on the north side of East Gypsy Lane Road, between Interstate 75 and Wood Lane. Approximately 51.5 acres are owned by the county and 20 by the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The land is currently rented out as farmland. Both Wood County and the Board of Developmental Disabilities are interested in the solar project, O’Connell said. And they aren’t alone, according to Mayor Dick Edwards, who commended O’Connell and Daryl Stockburger, assistant director of the city utilities department, for pursuing an agreement to use the county land. “There’s real strong community interest in another solar project,” Edwards said. A three-year contract for the acreage was presented to the board of public utilities Monday evening. If the solar field becomes a reality, it would likely be a “community solar” project – which means Bowling Green residents and businesses could sign up to be part of the project and get their electricity from the solar field, O’Connell said. That would make this different from the 165-acre solar field recently constructed on city land at Carter and Newton roads. Bowling Green gets a portion of the power generated at that solar field –…


Park district grants pay for playgrounds, picnic tables

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 30 years, the Wood County Park District has been sharing its levy revenues with local community parks. Towns use the funds for picnic tables, playground equipment and ADA sidewalks to parking lots. This year was no different, with the county park board getting a list Tuesday of the community requests selected for funding by park officials from neighboring counties. Neil Munger, executive director of the Wood County Park District, explained the local grants have been awarded since the passage of the first park district levy in 1988. This year another $100,000 will be handed out to meet the following requests: Bloomdale, $4,157 for picnic tables. Bowling Green, $4,332 to fund features for obstacle course fitness trail. Bradner, $2,479 for playground equipment. Custar, $6,900 for walking path, rain garden and swing bench. Cygnet, $9,011 for playground safety surfacing and ADA sidewalk to parking lot and restrooms. North Baltimore, $14,872 for playground safety surfacing and to replace roofs on shelters. Pemberville, $8,635 to complete shelter house conversion and playground mulch. Perrysburg, $11,949 for sunshades and swing bench. Walbridge, $14,372 for construction of a new basketball court. West Millgrove, $14,988 for playground equipment and safety surfacing. Weston, $8,305 for sunshade. Two park grant requests – one from Luckey and one from Tontogany – did not make the cut. The park district plans to continue its grants to local community parks, but first it must pass its 1-mill renewal levy in May. Board President Denny Parish noted the park district has less than 90 days till the May 8 election. The levy is the “lifeblood of the park system,” Parish said. “I hope the public will continue to support us in May and into the future,” he said. Parish said he has been asked by some local citizens how the park district can project 10 years into the future. “We have five citizen volunteers sitting in chairs as park commissioners who are very aware these are taxpayer funds,” he said. Also at the meeting, the…


Two BG sites file to be medical marijuana dispensaries

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two locations in Bowling Green are being reviewed as a possible site for a medical marijuana dispensary. The state has been divided into four quadrants for medical marijuana sales – with Northwest Ohio to have 10 dispensaries. The region has been broken into districts, with Wood, Hancock and Henry counties being combined into one district to be allowed one dispensary. No applicants filed for locations in Hancock or Henry counties. So that leaves Wood County to host a dispensary. The three applications filed with the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy are for sites at: 106 E. Napoleon Road, Bowling Green, with the business name of Debbie’s Dispensary, filed by Sara Presler. 1155 N. Main St., Bowling Green, with the business name of Glass City Alternatives, filed by Mark Jacobs. 2701 Woodville Road, Northwood, with the business name of Serenity Dispensary, filed by Deitra Hickey. House Bill 523, the Ohio law that in 2016 legalized marijuana for medical use only, tasked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy with determining which locations should be approved as dispensaries. A total of potential 376 sites were submitted, though just 60 will be approved, according to Grant Miller, spokesperson with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. The law requires 500 feet between any marijuana business and a school, church, public library or public playground. “We have to make sure they are complying with the rule,” Miller said on Monday. “It’s an in depth process. Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into the application.” The selected dispensary locations will be announced this spring, he said. There will not be an opportunity for the public to comment on the applications prior to their selection, Miller said. All the applicants were required to show the sites had proper commercial zoning, and that the community had not enacted a moratorium on the sale of medical marijuana. “When it comes to dispensaries and the way they interact with areas, it’s really up to the local areas. In the end, it’s down to the…


Opioid war being waged, with casualties close to home

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The chief toxicologist with Lucas County Coroner’s Office studies death for a living. He has never seen anything like the opiate epidemic. “There has never, ever, ever, ever been anything in our country like this,” Dr. Robert Forney said Sunday during an opioid forum sponsored by the Eastwood Community Improvement Corporation and led by Dr. Ted Bowlus, a Wood County commissioner and physician. “We are killing more people every year than we lost in the Vietnam War,” Forney said at the meeting held in Pemberville. The death statistics are similar to a 737 crashing each day. “The numbers are just unbelievable.” Forney’s toxicology work covers 21 counties, including Wood. In 2010, his office saw eight opioid deaths. By 2017, that number had jumped to 350. “There are going to be more in 2018,” he predicted. Others on the panel are working to prevent those numbers from growing in Wood County. Most recently, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson set up the Addiction Response Collaborative. “There is an industry out there that hates what we’re doing here today,” Dobson said of the illegal drug trade. “We’re at war with that industry.” Dobson, who lost a stepson to opiate overdose, said his office takes that war seriously. “We’re one of the most aggressive offices prosecuting drug dealers who kill their buyers.” But that isn’t enough, he added. “In a war, we take in the refugees.” That’s where ARC comes in. Belinda Brooks and Deputy Ryan Richards work with ARC to keep track of opiate addicts and give them every opportunity to get clean. For Richards, that means random checks. “I want to make sure he knows I’m watching him.” For Brooks, that means getting the addicts set up with Medicaid and other services. “We stay with them for the long haul. It’s so easy for them to relapse,” said Brooks, whose daughter was an opiate addict. Since ARC started in November, the program has worked with 15 addicts – 14 who are still sober,…


BG Council asked to offer recycling pickup for renters

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Rachel Chapman wants to recycle in Bowling Green, but she lives in an apartment complex. The city of Bowling Green has made it a priority to pursue green energy options – with wind turbines to the west of the city and a solar field to the east. But no effort is being made to collect recyclables at apartment complexes. “It’s very troubling to me that half our population doesn’t have access to this service,” Chapman told City Council last week. Chapman said she has lived in Bowling Green for five years – first as a BGSU student and now as a teaching assistant with Bowling Green City School District. She has leased apartments from four different rental agencies over the years, and none of them have offered recycling as an option. For most of those years, Chapman had no vehicle, so it was almost impossible to recycle. “It’s a long way to ride your bike to the recycling center,” she said. Chapman asked if the city would consider offering recycling services to apartment complexes. “It’s leading to huge amounts being thrown away and filling the landfill,” she said. Council member Sandy Rowland thanked Chapman for bringing her concerns to council. She explained that the city made the decision years ago to not pick up recycling for businesses – which include apartment complexes. Rowland suggested that Chapman talk with her current landlord to see if there might be enough interest for recycling to be offered. Chapman said she had inquired, but the landlord was not willing. “Maybe you can put some more pressure on the landlord to provide this service,” Rowland said. While Rowland said she supports recycling, the city has to consider the economics of the issue. “It’s a big issue. It’s a money issue,” she said. Council member Bruce Jeffers suggested that Chapman use an economic argument to possibly convince her landlord that offering recycling could save on landfill costs. Rowland asked Chapman to submit her recycling ideas to council in…


‘Chocolate Crawl’ proves to be a sweet success

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Downtown Bowling Green has seen its share of bar crawls. But Friday’s crawl was different – this one was for chocolate craving patrons. “We’re getting chocolate wasted tonight,” Brenda Rausch said with a smile, as she and friends left a store after gathering a chocolate treat. The Chocolate Crawl, which kicked off Bowling Green’s Winterfest Chillabration weekend, involved 18 downtown stores, and raised money for United Way of Wood County. Since this was the first Chocolate Crawl in Bowling Green, the thought was to start out small. But once the word was out, the tickets went like – well, candy. The goal to sell 200 tickets was quickly surpassed, with the sales finally cut off at 400. “We could have sold a lot more tickets,” said Sue Clanton, director of the United Way in Wood County. Participants were given golden tickets promising “chocolate treats beyond your wildest dreams.” They were also given downtown maps with red hearts signifying each of the 18 businesses handing out chocolate delicacies. The stores participating in the Chocolate Crawl provided their own treats, Clanton said. “They came up with whatever they wanted to serve,” she said. For Waddington Jewelers, that meant a chocolate fountain. For the Cookie Jar, that meant chocolate cookies warm from the oven. And for Reverend’s Bar & Grill, that meant choco-tinis – at least for those crawlers over age 21. “Everybody’s come up with something unique,” Clanton said. As Brenda Rausch, Pam Irwin, Jolynn Feather and Erika Harris made their way on the crawl, they visited shops they had not been in before. “I’m going to come back here,” Rausch said about the Painted Clovers shop. “It’s a great thing for the community to bring people downtown,” Irwin said. About an hour into the Chocolate Crawl, the women’s favorite was the chocolate cupcakes from Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Retro. Later along the chocolate tour, the group had a new favorite – the chocolate martinis. “This is worth every hot flash we’ve had this…