Community

BG Schools hears good financial news, hires new athletic director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was rich with good news Tuesday evening. The board members learned the district’s finances have taken a turn for the better. They voted to hire the varsity football coach as the athletic director. And they handed out awards for everything from art and math to clean kitchens. Adam Dirk Conner, high school math teacher and varsity football coach, was hired as the athletic director with a salary of $72,500. Conner said after the meeting that he plans to continue coaching football.  His goals as athletic director include supporting the coaches and athletes, plus work toward improving the athletic facilities. Conner said he also supports drug testing of athletes, which the board has discussed. “I’m all in favor of it,” he said. District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi presented the district’s five-year forecast – with some good news. “We’re more confident our state funding will be more stable,” Melchi said. Meanwhile, the district saw its expenditures drop as new people were hired at lower rates than retiring teachers, fewer employees were on family insurance, and the worker’s compensation expenses were lower than expected. Melchi said she is still projecting a deficit in 2020, “but it’s not near as big,” she said. “We’ve done a good job managing taxpayers’ dollars,” Scruci said after the meeting. “We’re happy where we are,” though nothing is certain until after the state budget is done. Melchi also presented numbers to the board about the loss seen when students living in the district go to school elsewhere. The statistics showed $283,677 leaving the district for…


More crosswalks, roundabouts planned for East Wooster

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council fast-tracked some changes Monday evening for East Wooster Street. Council suspended the three-readings rule and passed legislation to seek funds for two additional roundabouts, and proceed with installation of four marked crosswalks between Manville Avenue and Campbell Hill Road. The city is already working with the Ohio Department of Transportation on roundabouts at the Interstate 75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The resolutions before council on Monday involved the roundabouts at the intersections of East Wooster at Campbell Hill and Dunbridge roads. The four crosswalks are planned at areas where pedestrians are more likely to use when dodging traffic on East Wooster Street. According to Public Works Director Brian Craft, two different types of crosswalks are proposed. Pedestrian hybrid beacons are planned by the Stroh Center and by the BGSU McFall building. These crosswalks will have buttons for pedestrians to push, which will turn flashing yellow lights to solid red lights for vehicle traffic. Passive crossings are planned in the areas of Troup Street and at the driveway to the Falcon Health Center. These crossings will have islands in the middle of the street for pedestrians, Craft said. In addition to creating less air pollution, city officials are interested in the roundabouts because the East Wooster Street Concept Plan identified these locations for intersection improvements, including a “new look” for the corridor. The plan calls for a calmer and more aesthetically pleasing entrance to the city with a landscaped median as part of that concept. Since the East Wooster corridor is the “front door” to the community, the…


BG looks for best of bad options to raise general fund

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s rare for Bowling Green City Council to use movie quotes to explain city predicaments. But on Monday, dialogue from the movie “Argo” just seemed to fit the options being considered to help the city’s general fund recover, according to council member Bob McOmber. “We only have bad options available,” McOmber said. That set the scene for the Committee of the Whole’s job Monday evening. The council members were tasked with narrowing down the bad options to the best of the bad for building the city’s general fund back up after federal and state funding cuts. Nine options were presented Monday evening. Four were eliminated after getting very little support from council members. Those dropped from the list were: Raising the city income tax. Cutting police and/or fire divisions. Cutting the city arborist. Eliminating tax reciprocity. That leaves five options still on the list: Redistribute the city income tax. Privatize city trash collection. Continue offering city trash collection, but charge a fee. Charge an assessment for tree services. Reduce city funds that are assisting other entities. The budget for 2017 lists revenue of $14,996,197 and appropriations of $15,623,253 – which means it is cutting into the balance by $627,056, and is not sustainable. The losses seen in the general fund are ongoing, so while the shortfall in this year’s budget has been identified as $627,056, the structural deficit is actually more – closer to $800,000 or $1 million a year. Raising the city’s 2 percent income tax rate got very weak support from council. McOmber said 2 percent is pretty standard for…


“This coming holiday season, we will gather together around a smaller tree that can serve as BG’s tree for another 30 years of memories” — Michael Penrod

The annual lighting of BG’s Community Holiday Tree has been a tradition for just over 30 years and the Wood County District Public Library is proud to host BG’s Tree. Because it is important to the Library that the tree remain a vital part of the holiday season for Main Street for many years to come, we have worried about the health of the tree for more than a few years. Branches have died, or lost many of their needles, and the tree is swaying more and more with every strong windstorm. Recently, the Library checked with an arborist who, when examining the tree in detail last week, found indications of a disease that causes branches to die from the ground upward. While the tree many live for a few more years, we do not want it to get into such a poor condition that it no longer looks nice as the community’s tree. BG deserves a beautiful tree filled with holiday lights. We also do not want to purchase a lot of expensive decorations for a large tree and then have to replace the tree with a smaller one. Therefore, after much deliberation – and reluctance – the Library has decided that it is better to replace the current tree with a new, healthy one that will be able to serve as BG’s tree for many years to come. Later this Spring, we will work with the City to plant a new tree in the same location. This coming holiday season, we will gather together around a smaller tree that can serve as BG’s tree for another 30 years…


Community tree has seen its last Christmas; new tree will be planted in place

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Downtown Bowling Green will be getting a new community Christmas tree, and it’ll be delivered well before the winter holidays. At Monday’s Library Board of Trustees meeting, Library Director Michael Penrod said he had asked city arborist Grant Jones to take a look at it. The arborist found clear signs disease. The 50-foot Colorado blue spruce’s days are numbered. Once the disease sets in, Penrod said, it cannot be reversed, though it’s hard to tell how long the tree would last. Conceding the tree’s uncertain future, the library board voted to have the tree removed and replaced as quickly as possible. Jones, Penrod said, felt a new tree, likely about 12-foot-tall, could be in place within weeks. It would cost the library about $3,000-$4,000. Penrod said he’d already been approached by Mary Hinkelman, the director for Downtown Bowling Green, to discuss the future of the tree. Downtown BG owns the ornaments that decorate the tree, and the years of stringing increasing lengths of lights to cover the tree has taken their toll. A couple ceremonial tree lightings, have suffered temporary blackouts. Faced with replacing the lights, she wondered how many Downtown BG would have to purchase. She said this afternoon, after being informed of the library board’s decision, that she’s hoping to be able to use the LED bulbs which are in good shape and expensive to replace with whatever replacement wiring is needed. She won’t know how much that would be until later in the year when the decorations are pulled out of storage and inspected. Penrod said Jones advised planting the tree…


Not In Our Town hears of community policing updates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In response to national issues of improper community policing, Ohio developed standards for its police departments. The first two standards were to be met by March 31, 2017. Both Bowing Green and Bowling Green State University police divisions met those standards of training on use of force, and on complying with proper recruiting, hiring and screening processes. “Standards are a good thing,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said during a recent Not In Our Town meeting when the policing standards were discussed. “There are a lot of small agencies that don’t even have policies,” and some large agencies that don’t follow the policies they have, the chief said. Of the police departments in Ohio, nearly 80 percent are in the process of meeting the state standards. There are a total of 14 policies set by the state – with three to be met each year from here on. The three to be achieved this year involve community engagement, dispatch training and body cameras. Both the city and campus police engage the community during “Coffee with Cops” events. Hetrick said police department are not mandated to have body cameras. Bowling Green’s division recently updated its in-car cameras, but doesn’t have the funding for body cameras, he added. “It’s something I’m open to. I think they are a good thing,” the chief said. But in addition to the camera expenses, there are also costs for data storage and privacy policies that some police departments are struggling to define. Hetrick said the in-car cameras have proved valuable in refuting false claims from suspects and…


Sugar Ridge still under EPA orders to get sewers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a decade now, the community of Sugar Ridge has been on the Ohio EPA’s clean up list. In 2007, the Wood County Health District got a report of a sewage nuisance in the unincorporated village located north of Bowling Green. The EPA took over sampling and “deemed it a sewage nuisance,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. The area was ordered to connect to a public sewer system. But that proved to be easier said than done. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District conducted a feasibility study to find out how to make it affordable to hook up the homes to public sewer. “They found it was very costly to build the sewer” – too expensive for the average homeowners in Sugar Ridge, Glore said last week. The project recently came onto the health district’s radar again when a concerned citizen reported that a resident of the Sugar Ridge area was trying to install a new sewer without approval, on Long Street. Upon inspection, Glore found that the resident was actually trying to fix a drainage system. She also found serious ground water drainage issues that could be affecting the septic systems. Residents in the area were advised to pump their septic tanks more often and lessen their water usage if possible. Worsening the situations is a plugged ditch along Sugar Ridge Road. Middleton Township officials are looking at how that ditch may be cleaned to allow for proper drainage, Glore said. The bad news is the septic systems are not sufficiently handling the…


Perrysburg Musical Theatre to stage “The King and I”

From PERRYSBURG MUSICAL THEATRE Perrysburg Musical Theatre, in its last show of its seventh season, will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” to the Perrysburg community this June 22 – 25.   “The King and I” is a timeless and ever-important reminder about overcoming cultural differences with understanding, respect, and love, while maintaining unique and personal traditions and values.  The story takes place in the early 1860’s in Bangkok, Siam (now Thailand), where the newly-widowed Anna Leonowens and her son, Louis, arrive from England, where Anna has taken a position as the schoolteacher for the children of the King of Siam. The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world, and he thinks Western education can be a part of that – yet, Anna is horrified by many of the traditions that he holds dear.  They discover that they have a lot to learn from each other.  Music from the score includes “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Getting to Know You,””Hello Young Lovers,” and “Shall We Dance?” The cast is comprised of community members throughout northwest Ohio, featuring Jennifer Braun (Anna) and Matt Boggs (King of Siam), and supported by a cast of more than 70 members.  The show is a family affair for many of the cast members:  mothers-and-daughters sharing the stage are Angela Paprocki and Paige Paprocki (Royal Wives), Carrie Sanderson (Lady Thiang) and Lindsay Sanderson (Royal Child/dancer), Tania Schneider (Royal Wife) and Caity Schneider (Royal Child/Buddha), and Amanda Hubaker (Royal Wife) and Alex Hubaker (Royal Child); husband-and-wife cast members include Chuck Kiskaddon (Captain Orton) and Wendie Kiskaddon (Nurse); and a number of siblings will…


Ride of Silence speaks volumes about bike safety

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green bicyclists hope to speak volumes with a Ride of Silence next week. Since 2003, cyclists around the world have been holding the annual Ride of Silence to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling and to make people aware that cyclists are part of the roadway. This event is held worldwide on the same day, same time during Bike Safety Month. The cyclists ride slowly and in silence. This year in Ohio, 11 communities are participating, and for the first time, Bowling Green is joining in the ride. “There could never be enough awareness of bicycle safety,” said Linda Kidd, a member of the Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission and organizer of the ride in the city. “This is a world-wide event and we couldn’t be happier to bring awareness to bicycle safety and honor those who have lost their lives in bicycling accidents.” The Bowling Green Ride of Silence will be held on Wednesday, May 17, starting and ending at City Park. Bicyclists are asked to arrive at 6:30 p.m., and be ready for the ride to start at 7 p.m. The ride will cover 8.3 miles and travel at a slow pace, escorted by the Bowling Green Police Division and the Bowling Green State University Police Department. Riders will pause at First United Methodist Church on East Wooster Street, in memory of Eric Ramlow, who was killed in 2016 while riding on Sand Ridge Road. Ramlow was an active member of the church. Prior to the start of the ride, those participating will also remember and honor others killed…


‘Die-in’ shows grave concerns about GOP health plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A strip along North Main Street was turned into a makeshift “cemetery” Thursday as supporters of the Affordable Care Act laid on the ground and held up cardboard tombstones. “Last Thursday, the House passed a bill that will have this effect on people,” said Sara Jobin, one of the organizers of the “die-in.” One “tombstone” read “Beloved daughter chose college over health care.” Another stated, “Killed by heartless lies.” And another, “RIP Democracy.” The protest was held in front of the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. Latta was not present and the office closed shortly after the “die-in” began. Molly Tomaszewski, of Northwood, held signs protesting the projections that 24 million Americans will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act passed by the House GOP members, including Latta.  She believes the answer is a single payer system. “Universal health care is not a partisan issue. It’s a life issue,” she said. “We need health care.” Tomaszewski said her husband has good health insurance through his job. But she has 27 pre-existing conditions as listed in the new GOP plan. Without insurance, her prescriptions would cost $5,000 a month. “They could put lifetime caps on,” she said, worrying about how she would then afford her medications. Of the 30 people gathered for the protest, the majority were women. Anesa Miller, of Bowling Green, said her husband died last month after a long illness. She was insured through him, and is two years away from qualifying from Medicare. So she may have to pay six times as much for coverage…


BG offers senior center land so old site can be retired

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The aging Wood County Senior Center is being retired. In front of a packed room of seniors waiting for lunch, Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards announced Thursday that the city has plans to give the Wood County Committee on Aging some land for a new home – the old school central administration property at 140 S. Grove St. The announcement was welcomed among those who use the senior center on a daily basis. “It’s about time,” said Mary Hansen, of Bowling Green. She and Virginia Combs quickly listed off all the deficiencies they have noticed at the current senior center which is over a century old. Too many stairs, not enough parking, poor heating and cooling topped the list. “It gets hot and then it gets cold. We always layer up,” Hansen said. And then there’s the unreliable elevator. “It makes noises when it does go,” she added. The news was also welcomed by Herb Hoover, Bowling Green, who frequents the senior center for lunch and card games. “My wife and I come here five days a week for lunch,” Hoover, 89, said. “It really breaks up the day.” The gifting of the land for a new senior center may also help the city solve its own building dilemma. For years, city officials have talked about cramped conditions at the city administration building which is located directly to the west of the senior center, which the city owns. The senior center moving to South Grove Street would free up space for a new city building in the area currently shared by the…


’13 Reasons Why’ gives parents and schools reasons to worry

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Across the nation, parents are checking their Netflix history to see if their adolescents have been watching the “13 Reasons Why” series. The show tells the story of a high school junior who commits suicide. Prior to her death, she records a series of audio tapes describing the 13 reasons why she chooses to end her life. The story has parents and school officials watching for the slightest sign of copycat behavior from young viewers. So they want kids to know this: When you die, you do not get to make a movie or talk to people anymore about how they wronged you. Leaving messages from beyond the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life. Bowling Green City School officials held a program Wednesday evening for parents who have concerns about “13 Reasons Why” and its effect on their children. “The reality is, students are watching this and we want parents to be equipped for it,” said Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning. In addition to a very graphic suicide scene of the main character cutting her wrists in the bathtub, the show also shows instances of rape, bullying, sexual assault, violence, drug and alcohol use. “It’s a very graphic series,” said Jake Tapley, Bowling Green Middle School counselor. Glaringly absent in the series are school staff or parents who intervene appropriately, Tapley said. While some parents may have no idea that their children are watching the show, it is the talk of teenagers in the cafeteria, on the bus and on their…


BGSU turns to Campbell to lead public safety

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Bowling Green State University has turned to an insider to fill the position of police chief and director of public safety. In a letter to BGSU faculty, staff and students, Vice President for Finance and Administration Sheri Stoll announced that Michael Campbell, who has been serving as the interim chief since last October, has been named as permanent chief. The university conducted a nationwide search, eventually selecting three finalists. In addition to Campbell, the search committee interviewed candidates from Northeast Ohio and Ann Arbor. Campbell took over as interim chief when Monica Moll left BGSU to become director of public safety at Ohio State University. It was Moll who hired Campbell as a patrol captain in April, 2011. According to Stoll’s message: “In his time at BGSU, his leadership has been critical in creating important training and professional development programs and opportunities for his officers.” He serves on a number of campus and town-gown committees, including Not in Our Town. Campbell takes over as the campus is being roiled by complaints about how sexual assaults are being handled by the university. Campbell participated in press briefings and interviews about the issue, explaining the department’s procedures. He said on the day of a protest that drew 200 people that he is always looking at ways to improve how the department does things. During another interview, he said, that his officers will do what they can to assist victims, including accompanying them to the Bowling Green City Police of the assault occurred off campus. Sexual assault cases, whether or not they are prosecuted, are also…


Mothers turn tragedy into efforts to help others hooked on heroin

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sunday will be agonizing for sisters Kat Cordes and Lori Hanway. It will be the first Mother’s Day they spend without their children who both died from heroin overdoses. “She would have been 24 yesterday,” Cordes said of her daughter, Amanda Haas, who died in March at age 23. “We had a birthday cake for her and let balloons go.” Hanway’s son, Thomas Urhammer died in December at age 35. After years of battling heroin, both cousins lost to their fierce addictions. In an effort to find some hope in their losses, the two mothers have planned a memorial benefit and tribute to their children, this Saturday, at the Eagles Club in Bowling Green. The event will raise awareness and funding for Team Recovery, a group that helps opiate users beat their addictions. “It has to be done. It’s getting out of control,” Cordes said of the opiate epidemic. “It helps me. I feel like if I help one person turn their life around, another parent doesn’t have to go through what I did.” Earlier this week, the sisters took turns talking about their children and their heart wrenching losses as they prepared meals at A Taste of Amish Deli, owned by Hanway in Bowling Green. Cordes said Amanda first started taking heroin when she began dating someone around age 17. “It started as snorting. When that wasn’t a good enough high, they went to IV drug use,” she said. Cordes and her husband soon realized valuables were taken from their home. “I started noticing things missing to support their habits.” Gone…


Luck of the draw sends BG kindergartner to Disney

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Disney World video had the gymnasium full of children at Kenwood Elementary School glued to the screen showing costumed characters and wild rides. They had no idea that one of their school mates would be called to the stage to win a trip to the magic kingdom. Ryan Frankart, from Clubs Choice which runs the annual fundraiser at Kenwood, stopped the film and talked to the children about their efforts last year to raise funds for school technology, the school dance and fifth grade camp. Many of the children won prizes including lunch in a limousine. But Frankart had another surprise for the school on Tuesday. Each year, the fundraising company has a prize drawing covering all 40 states in which it operates. The prize – a trip to Disney World. The chances of winning – one in 75,000. When the company pulled one name, it was a Kenwood student chosen for the trip for four people over four days and three nights. The winner was kindergartner Hudson Karpuleon. When the curtain opened to the gymnasium stage, there sat Hudson’s family with Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears on their heads and balloons surrounding them. Hudson is quiet anyway. But put the kindergartner on a stage in front of 500 or so school mates, and she completely clammed up. “She’s just really shy,” said her mother, Colleen Karpuleon. Most of the questions to Hudson were met with a nod of the head and swinging legs. “It will be a totally different ballgame when you get home tonight,” her father, Steve Karpuleon predicted…