Community

Once forgotten veterans memorial restored in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As they waited for the rededication of Bowling Green’s veterans memorial in City Park on Monday, Brian Craft and Mike Hammer could not help but reflect on the ironic path of the monument. The memorial was originally dedicated in 1931 “in honor of the veterans of all wars.” At its base were the engraved words, “Bowling Green has not forgotten.” But somewhere over that last 86 years, that’s exactly what happened. The memorial, near the entrance of City Park, was surrounded by arbor vitae, with a canopy of branches growing over the top. “We knew it was there,” said Brian Craft, director of the city’s public service department. “But when you came in to the park, you couldn’t see anything. The eagle at the top was in sorry shape.” So Craft, along with Mike Hammer from the public works department, took it upon themselves to do exactly what the memorial asked of them. “It was forgotten, which is ironic since the plaque at the bottom said, ‘Bowling Green will not forget,’” Craft said. The public service, electric division, and city arborist worked to cut back the overgrown plants, tuckpoint the stone wall, install lighting and flagpoles, and had the eagle at the top returned to its gold coloring. “They just took ownership of it,” Mayor Dick Edwards said of the public works department. “I really give credit to them. Bowling Green has not forgotten.” The history of the 1931 memorial was difficult to dig up. But American Legion members Dave Ridenour and Dick Conrad dusted off as much information as possible. “One…


Youth arts area at festival stirs young imaginations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The juried artists selling their crafts at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Saturday likely had no idea what they were missing by not incorporating plastic spoons, duct tape and pipe cleaners into their artwork. “I’m making a super hero board game,” said Max Cragin, 11, of Bowling Green. His game, called “Wonder Woman Island,” looked a bit like the colorful winding path of Candy Land – but with more treacherous pitfalls along the way. Some of the perils along the pathway included “Get blown up and die,” or “Get clawed” at the black panther cave, or “Get zapped” by lightening. The Kiwanis Youth Arts Village at the Black Swamp Arts Festival again let the imaginations of children run wild. Using empty toilet paper rolls, buttons and beads, they became artists in residence. While the other end of the Black Swamp Arts Festival featured accomplished artists, the northern most block of the festival let unjuried artists do their own things. To be honest, some weren’t exactly sure what they were creating. “I’m making, hmmmm, I don’t know. Something cool, I probably will like,” said Lily Wilson, 8, from Oak Harbor. She and her sisters, Zoe, 6, were taking pieces of cardboard and duct tape and constructing buildings. Others were more certain in their handiwork. “I’m making a toy sword and a back scratcher,” McKenna Seman, Bowling Green, said as she proudly displayed her work. She huddled over a table of treasures with Hope Seman, Madison Cowan and Bella Karlovec as they turned popsicle sticks, beads and foam shapes into all types of creations…


BG says ‘welcome’ in many different languages

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   On the day that “Dreamers” saw their American status slipping away, Bowling Green residents stood before City Council Tuesday and recited the city’s “welcoming and safe community” resolution in their native languages. “In April, we brought a resolution to City Council about Bowling Green being a welcoming community for immigrants,” said Rev. Mary Jane Saunders, head of the city’s human relations commission, working with La Conexion. The resolution proclaims “Bowling Green as a welcoming and safe community for immigrants and condemning any discrimination, harassment or unjustified deportation of immigrant residents of Bowling Green.” To show the significance of the resolution, one by one, a group of city residents read a portion of the resolution in Vietnamese, Indian, Hindi, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and English. The group also presented council with a “welcoming” poster designed by Ethan Jordan. Beatriz Maya, of La Conexion, said other translations will be added to the city’s website as they become available. “This is a work in progress,” she said. Mayor Dick Edwards praised the translations shared at the meeting. “What a special way of touching all of our hearts,” he said. When City Council adopted the welcoming resolution earlier this year, council member Daniel Gordon pushed for the effort. “I’m very happy with the language that we have here,” Gordon said. Though the issue of illegal immigrant deportations is national, the city wants to take a stand, he said. “Council does not support seeing their families ripped apart.” Gordon said the resolution was written specifically with the immigrant population in mind. The city had recently passed an…


Mayor gets audience with EPA about pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards finally got confirmation Tuesday that the Ohio EPA is at least listening to the city’s concerns about the Nexus pipeline that is proposed to run 700 feet from the city’s water treatment plant. During a conference call with Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler and Northwest Ohio Division EPA Chief Shannon Nabors, the issues raised by the city were discussed. Those same concerns also appeared in the “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month. “In much the same manner as the FERC document, today’s session with the Ohio EPA is in my view another significant indication that the issues raised by Bowling Green have been heard in both Columbus and Washington,” Edwards reported to City Council on Tuesday evening. “Today we heard from the Ohio EPA that their experts have carefully and methodically examined the environmental conditions of this construction and were reminded of the Ohio EPA’s commitment to the state’s waterways and environmental assets.” One of the mayor’s concerns was the monitoring of the pipeline construction. “All significant concerns raised by Bowling Green have been or are being addressed including specific and aggressive plans by both FERC and the Ohio EPA to develop site specific plans for monitoring the construction of the proposed pipeline,” he said. Lessons have been learned from the Rover pipeline construction, in which hazardous materials have been spilled along the route in Ohio. FERC will reportedly have field staff in Ohio for the Nexus project. And the Ohio EPA, in conjunction with its scientific and…


Wood County selects solution for glass recycling

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The glass recycling operation may resume soon for Bowling Green and all of Wood County. The behind the scene operations may be a little different, but residents will once again be able to drop off their glass recyclables as they have in the past. “The public should see no difference from before,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said Thursday morning. The new solution calls for the glass to be shipped to a new location in Dunkirk, Indiana. “The commissioners are optimistic this will work,” Kalmar said. “The most important part is it doesn’t go in our landfill,” he added. The county commissioners selected a proposal from Strategic Materials, with costs of $20 a ton for shipping paid to Strategic Materials, and $10 a ton for handling paid to the Bowling Green Recycling Center. The county will pay the entire $30/ton fee. Strategic Materials is interested in a three- to five-year agreement. ”This arrangement is uncomplicated, restores glass recycling county citizens, cost effective, and keeps glass out of the landfill,” Kalmar said. Bill DenBesten, of the Bowling Green Recycling Center, said the center board will review the decision made by the commissioners. “Since this new proposal includes a change of partners, increased due diligence is required before we formally respond. We have already begun informal discussions and are planning a more comprehensive meeting, likely on Monday evening,” DenBesten responded. “I’ll let you know just as soon as the board has made its decision.” If the agreement proceeds, people dropping off glass will once again be able to use the bins at the recycling…


Public library offers programs for middle school students

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The ood County Distruct Library is launching its fall series for middle school students. Weekly Tween/Teen Coding & Creative Writing Clubs The library offers two tween/teen after school club opportunities on alternating Mondays from 4-5 p.m. Youth ages 10 and up are encouraged to explore and participate in both the Coding Club and Wordplay Creative Writing Club. No previous experience is required for either group. The Coding Club investigates computer programming with several Sphero robots, as well as guided coding practice through Code.org for students who would like to experiment with more in-depth coding. Wordplay is a new creative writing group, where students will play word games and consider writing prompts as they learn about how to craft stories through their writing. The two groups meet Mondays from 4-5 p.m. in the Children’s Place, alternating weeks. Coding Club meets September 11 and 25, October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20, and December 4 and 18. Wordplay meets September 18, October 2, 16, and 30, November 13 and 27, and December 11. Middle School Book Group The middle school book group, “Pizza and Pages,” meets for the first time this school year on Tuesday, September 12, at 2:30 p.m. in the Bowling Green Middle School’s Media Center. “Pizza and Pages” is a partnership between BGCS and WCDPL and is open to all area 6th-8th graders. The Children’s Place of the Wood County District Public Library has multiple copies of the pre-selected books available to check out. This September, youth can choose one or more of the following “Middle School Experience” titles: Posted by John David Anderson; Ungifted by Gordon Korman; and The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan. Posted by John David Anderson…


Roundabout eyed for Campbell Hill – Napoleon Road

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   East Wooster Street in Bowling Green may not be the only route in the area steering for roundabouts. Wood County Engineer John Musteric has asked for a safety study to be conducted at the intersection of Napoleon Road and Campbell Hill Road – just on the east side of Bowling Green. The Wood County Commissioners agreed to the study, which will be conducted by Poggemeyer Design Group. According to Musteric, the Campbell Hill-Napoleon intersection was identified on a list compiled by the Ohio County Engineers Association as one of the worst intersections in the region for accidents. Other Wood County intersections have made the list in the past, including Hull Prairie and Roachton, which now has a roundabout, and several on Oregon Road between Ohio 795 and the city of Northwood. A roundabout is currently being considered for the intersection of First Street and Oregon Road, Musteric said. In the city of Bowling Green, roundabouts are planned at East Wooster’s intersections with Interstate 75, Dunbridge Road and Campbell Hill Road. Now it appears there may be one more roundabout, just on the outer edge of the city. During the past three years, Musteric said the Campbell Hill-Napoleon crossing has been the site of about 45 accidents. Most have involved property damage and none have been fatal crashes, he said. “There have been a lot of accidents there,” he said. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of visibility, and the county has added signage. But that doesn’t seem to have helped. “People are stopping at Campbell Hill and then they pull out…


Pipeline petition cleared to appear on BG ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Board of Elections voted this morning to let Bowling Green voters decide the fate of a pipeline charter amendment. It may then be up to the courts to decide of the amendment is constitutional. The board voted with three in favor – John Cuckler, Dick Newlove and Mike Zickar. Mike Marsh recused himself since he is the city attorney for Bowling Green. “This board has traditionally, philosophically had a tendency to put things on the ballot and not keep them off,” Newlove said prior to the vote. After the vote, Newlove said a new state law (House Bill 463) does add some complexities to the process since it asks local entities to decide if ballot issues are constitutional. In this case, it charges the board to determine if the charter amendment is asking the city to give citizens rights that the city has no authority to give. “The new law does kind of put us in a difficult position,” Newlove said. “Our attitude was to let the voters decide.” Zickar agreed. “They did all of the work collecting signatures and meeting deadlines,” he said. “We wanted to let the people to decide.” Ultimately, however, it may be up the courts to decide if the charter amendment is constitutional. Prior to the decision this morning, citizen activist Lisa Kochheiser asked the board to let Bowling Green citizens vote on the issue. “I speak for the people of Bowling Green who want to protect their community from corporations, like Nexus pipeline,” Kochheiser said. Kochheiser told the board of elections that they…


BG Council approves liquor license transfer with split vote

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Prudy Brott doesn’t mind healthy competition from new restaurants. As owner of Sunset Bistro on the west side of Bowling Green, she is comfortable with competing establishments. However, Brott is troubled by the different rules for the transferring of liquor licenses. Her statements to City Council Tuesday evening resulted in a split vote allowing a new restaurant to bring in a license from another community. When Brott opened up Sunset Bistro, she found getting a liquor license to be time consuming, frustrating and very expensive. In the end, she had to pay $50,000, “and I’ll be paying for it for years.” Brott said she was told she would have to wait until someone owning a liquor license in the city was ready to sell. “I was open for six months before I ever poured a beer in my restaurant,” she said. Liquor licenses are parceled out by the state based on community populations. All the available liquor licenses in Bowling Green for public dine in restaurants are already owned – though not all are in use. Some owners hold onto them as investment tools. She had inquired about purchasing a liquor license from another community, but said she was told that would not be allowed. So when Brott learned of a new pizza place moving to Bowling Green and bringing a liquor license from another community, she was troubled. “I’m not against them having a liquor license whatsoever,” she said. “I’m not against another restaurant in town.” Brott just wants to preserve the value of her investment – which she sees at…


Locals urge Congress to act to protect Dreamers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Trump Administration’s announcement Tuesday that it would end protection for immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA, has prompted local calls for legislators to step in to protect the so-called Dreamers. Once the announcement was made , Beatriz Maya, the executive director of La Conexion, pulled together a small contingent to deliver a letter to the Bowling Green field office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) calling for him to support the Dream Act that is now before Congress. That act would provide protection for these immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents who lacked proper documentation. The act would also provide them and other young immigrants with a path to become citizens. The letter read in part: “We demand that you and all members of Congress take immediate action to protect DACA recipients contributing to communities across the country. We urge you to co-sponsor the bipartisan Dream Act sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sem. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) that would provide a path to citizenship to 1.8 million immigrant youth who grew up calling this country home.” The letter noted it makes no sense in areas reporting labor shortages to deport people who have been educated and trained here. Maya said six people visited the office and spoke with David Wirt, Latta’s district manager, for about 20 minutes. She said they were told that given the announcement was just made, he had not had time to contact Latta to get his position on the matter. Maya noted in an interview later Tuesday that…


Margaret Neifer turns 100 with a lot of spunk and stories

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Margaret Neifer turns 100 on Wednesday, she will be bucking the odds. “I eat too many sweets. I use too much salt,” said Mrs. Neifer, a retired teacher living in Bowling Green. “I don’t drink enough water. I’ve never been a health nut.” She had a rocky start to her life. Growing up in East Toledo, Margaret had frequent bouts of pneumonia. The front door of her home was often posted with warnings of contagious illnesses. Yellow for chicken pox. Red for scarlet fever. Another color for measles. “I got them all,” she said. For much of the first six years of her life, Margaret would sit inside and play on her windowsill with her friends outside the window. But those early illnesses must have toughened her for later in life. One day shy of 100, and she has the health that many half her age would envy. She takes no medication, lives in her home with Tilly the cat, takes care of herself, writes her own checks, keeps up on current events, and can carry on conversations for hours  – seriously. “She does have a cane. However, she carries it rather than using it,” said her son Don Neifer, who lives in Bowling Green. “I have been blessed with good health,” as an adult, Mrs. Neifer said. “I see the doctor next week. He is always worried about my legs holding me up.” Mrs. Neifer wasn’t the only one in her family to struggle with health issues. Her father, a draftsman who built elegant winding staircases for wealthy Toledo families,…


BG man among Red Cross volunteers feeding Harvey victims

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Roger Heider folded up his cot at 5:30 Sunday morning so the church he was sleeping in could hold services. He returned around 10 p.m., after spending the day delivering hot meals to families hit by Hurricane Harvey near Houston. Monday will be more of the same. “We’ll get up at 6 and start it all over again,” Heider said. Heider, of Bowling Green, is one of many Red Cross volunteers who responded to victims of Hurricane Harvey. This is the third national disaster he has responded to with the Red Cross, including wildfires in the San Diego area, and a hurricane in the Biloxi-Ocean Springs area. “I was hoping there wouldn’t be a need for my involvement,” Heider said about watching the storm coverage as the hurricane approached Texas. But when Harvey drenched the region with unfathomable amounts of rain, Heider was ready to go. “They were happy to have another warm body to go,” he said of the Red Cross. Heider, a retired social studies teacher for Toledo Public Schools, was teamed up with Larry Coats, of Elmore, and the two started heading south in a Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). Once they arrived in the Houston area, the two were charged with providing mobile feeding throughout neighborhoods, where residents were cleaning out their waterlogged homes. As they drove through the Spring Creek area in Montgomery County, they saw patches of homes untouched by the flooding. “And then there were homes that were totally underwater,” Heider said. “The water receded about two days ago,” he said. And in that…


Petition against gerrymandering is taken to the streets

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The League of Women Voters wants to make it as easy as possible for voters to take a stand against gerrymandering. So on Saturday, the organization set up drive-thru petition signing locations across the region – with one in the parking lot of the Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green. The project called “Fair Districts = Fair Elections,” is a non-partisan effort by the Ohio League of Women Voters to place a redistricting amendment on the 2018 ballot across the state. If the petition effort is successful, Ohio voters will have an opportunity to end gerrymandering – the practice of congressional districts being drawn to favor one political party over another. Joan Callecod, of Bowling Green, said citizens don’t need to be persuaded to sign the petition. “They hear the word ‘gerrymandering,’ and they say, ‘Show me the petition,’” Callecod said Saturday as she sat outside the library with other local League of Women Voters members. To get the issue on the November 2018 ballot, 306,000 valid signatures must be collected statewide. But Callecod explained the criteria is more specific than that. At least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties must collect signatures from a minimum of 5 percent of their voters in the last gubernatorial election. In Wood County, that’s about 1,700 signatures. During the first month of volunteers collecting signatures, more than 100,000 were gathered, Callecod said. The ultimate goal is to get congressional districts lines drawn so that the elections aren’t decided even before the votes are cast. “An expanded board would have minority participation and required approval…


Heringhaus Furniture sold to Wood Lane work program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After being in the furniture business for more than four decades, Allen Heringhaus wasn’t crazy about selling his store to another company in the same market. “I had mixed emotions,” he said. “I’ve been in the furniture business for 44 years.” Then the perfect buyer came along – Work Leads to Independence, formerly called Wood Lane Industries. “They’re great for the community,” Heringhaus said Friday of the buyer. “They are all about the community. It’s just the right thing.” The furniture store, at 991 S. Main St., Bowling Green, opened in 1973. The Heringhaus home store in Ottawa, Ohio, opened in 1908. Over the years, Heringhaus sold many items to Wood Lane’s residential program. “We’ve had a great relationship with all the Wood Lane people,” he said. Work Leads to Independence plans to combine all its operations under one roof in the 18,000 square foot building sitting on 1.25 acres. The site was purchased for $750,000. “We’re really excited to be in town and on Main Street,” said Vic Gable, CEO of WLI. The new location will allow the agency to consolidate all its work sites of Laser Cartridge Express, Scanning Solutions, Document Destruction, Wood Lane Industries workshop, plus be the headquarters for its recycling and Community Employment Services. “We’re going to all be in one building,” Gable said. “And we’re repurposing a building in town.” Poggemeyer Design Group is working on plans for the building, which Gable hopes is ready to move into by Jan. 1. Modifications will include making a workshop setting in the back and a front showroom for…


City athletic fields taking shape by community center

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The 20 acres behind the Bowling Green community center are gradually taking shape – with soccer goals to score, obstacles to climb, and soon open grassy fields to play on. Last year, four of the 20 acres just south of the community center were turned into “pristine game fields,” said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. That was the first goal for that site in the five-year master plan, Otley reported to the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board last week. Then an obstacle course was built for those wanting an extra challenge. And a portion of the acreage is being restored as a natural prairie area. Next the remaining 12 acres or so will be leveled and reseeded for an open grassy play space. “The plan has always been to level and seed,” so the site will be “playable for anything.” In time, the space could be used for some outdoor fitness classes, Otley said. Parking for the athletic site is in front of the community center, so a trail will be paved between the parking lot and the fields. And since Newton Road has flooded twice in recent years and required closure of the community center, the paved trail may be wide enough to be used as an emergency roadway from Haskins Road to the community center. Eventually, restrooms and more storage may be added to the athletic fields as well, Otley said. A fence was erected last year along Haskins Road to keep soccer balls from bouncing in the road and kids chasing after them. And…