Community

No such thing as free parking … somebody’s got to pay

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   One by one, the business owners and city officials took turns trying a different type of parking kiosk that promised to be easy to use, faster for patrons, and less likely to cause frustration for shoppers. The sample kiosk, presented recently by International Parking Solutions, was promoted as taking less than 10 seconds to use. But as with most technology, human error and uncertainty sometimes stretched out the time. Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick, whose staff patrols the city parking lots, said the kiosks used in the lot behind Panera were “not well received.” The city and a parking task force is considering several downtown parking options – including the replacement of the current kiosks with new easier models. “You want to make it as convenient as you can,” said Michael Wilson of IPS. The new sample kiosk proved to be easier – since it allows users to pay in a variety of ways with a variety of paths to get there. Unlike the existing kiosks, this one does not send the motorist back to square one if a step is missed. “If this takes you longer than 10 seconds, it’s too long,” Wilson said. But there are some problems with the IPS kiosk. It will accept credit cards or coins – but programming it to accept dollar bills costs an extra $1,500 per kiosk. Motorists who frequent the lots can go online and register their credit card to streamline the process more. Like the current kiosks in use, the IPS model also notifies motorists on their phones of their parking time nearing expiration. The motorists can then ask for more time. “The revenue side of parking is critical to cities,” Wilson said. It’s often that money that is used to maintain city parking lots and sidewalks, he said. The average minimum parking cost in cities is $1 an hour. Anything less than $1 is not work the credit card processing, Wilson said. Costs in larger communities are much higher, like $2.75 an hour in Madison, Wisconsin, and $6.50 an hour in San Francisco, he added. Kim Thomas, owner of the H&R Block building on South Main Street, said the parking issue is more complicated than it appears. “Of course, free parking sounds wonderful,” she said. But the fact that several downtown apartment renters use city parking lots for their vehicles…


Wood County library may pinch pennies – but not on books

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though far from scientific, the popularity of the Wood County District Public Library can be measured in its worn carpet and the long wait-list for Michelle Obama’s new book. And the support for the library can be seen in the library’s ability to buy new carpet and stock up on 10 more copies of Obama’s book, “Becoming.” Wood County District Public Library Director Michael Penrod has more traditional methods for measuring the health of the library. And lately, the vital signs are looking very healthy. For example, the library: Paid off its loan early for the renovations at its Walbridge branch. Created a new capital projects fund to ensure that unexpected repairs would not short the funding for new materials for library patrons. Spends more than most libraries on new materials. Charts continued high numbers of books and other materials being borrowed by patrons. The rule of thumb is that when the economy is good, people buy their own books rather than borrow them from libraries, Penrod said. But Wood County District Public Library has seen no drop-off in usage. “In 2012, we hit a record level in terms of items borrowed by the community. We’ve been able to continue that,” Penrod said. “During the great recession, we were busier than ever.” The library has been able to stave off threats of obsolescence. The internet and e-books have not rendered the facility antiquated. “We can compete against Amazon,” Penrod said with a grin. For example, last week when Penrod was notified by staff that there were 16 holds on Obama’s new book, he decided to not make patrons wait. “We went ahead and bought 10 more,” he said. While the library has to buy e-books, it is able to lease hard copies of books. So there have been times that the library has leased 40 to 50 copies of best sellers, then returned them when they are no longer in great demand. Nationwide, libraries spend an average of 11.5 percent of their budgets on new material. “Bowling Green deserves better than that,” Penrod said. So the Wood County library spends close to 16.5 percent. “We’re very proud we’re spending a lot of money on new material,” he said. “I say ‘thank you’ to the state. I say ‘thank you’ to our voters. I say ‘thank you’ to Schedel,” where the library holds…


Park district peddling mountain biking in 2019 budget

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District may invest some money to attract kids of that awkward age to use their county parks. The park district already has programs that appeal to young children and adults. But the difficulty is getting older kids and young adults to view the parks as a place to spend time. So the draft budget for the Wood County Park District has a tentative $200,000 set aside for an off-road mountain biking training area and a trail off the Slippery Elm Trail. Earlier this fall, the park board voiced support for a proposal to create pump tracks in Rudolph and a mountain bike trail in the savanna area along the trail. Park naturalist Craig Spicer presented a proposal for both concepts. He explained the mountain biking park and trail would help the district attract teens and young adults. A survey conducted earlier this year showed only 6 percent of the county park users were college student age. All parks suffer from the same difficulty luring teens and young adults, Spicer said. “They are one of the most finicky audiences,” he said. According to Spicer, off-road and sport biking are growing in popularity. “This is a good opportunity to ride that wave,” he said. The creation of an off-road biking park in Rudolph, and a trail in the woods north of the community would also be an investment in a county park in the southern part of Wood County. Currently just five of the county’s 20 parks are south of U.S. 6. The proposed park would be located in the one-acre area already owned by the park district along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park board had already agreed to have unused farm silos removed from the property. A proposal created by Pump Trax USA shows a park with a “strider” track for little kids, a beginner track, an intermediate and advanced track, and a skills trail for mountain biking. The area would have parking for 30 cars, a bike fix-it station, and a covered shelter house. Maintenance of the park would be similar to the neighboring Slippery Elm Trail, since the bike park courses would be constructed of cement or asphalt. Don DiBartolomeo, of the Right Direction Youth Development Program, told the board he would offer programming for free at the bike park. DiBartolomeo is…


BG residents urged to shop locally at small businesses for holidays

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials suggested local resident go big and shop small. With holiday shopping season officially starting on Friday, Bowling Green officials urged local residents to spend some money with local small businesses. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards and new Downtown BG Director Tony Vetter took to the podium at the City Council meeting Monday evening to promote “Small Business Saturday” which follows this week’s “Black Friday.” The “Small Business Saturday” moniker is an annual reminder of the need to support small businesses, Edwards said. The annual shopping promotion started in 2010 in response to the recession. It was intended to help small businesses recover, Vetter said. In the U.S., 28.8 million small businesses account for 99 percent of businesses, employing more than 48 percent of American workers, the mayor said. The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become a very important day in the life of many small retailers. “It is a break even day for a lot of small businesses,” Edwards said. Downtown Bowling Green retailers are counting on local residents spending some of their holiday shopping money here. “Downtown Bowling Green is so important to our economy,” the mayor said. And Vetter noted that “Small Business Saturday” is not just about downtown and not just about this weekend. “Shop small is not just this weekend. It’s all year round,” Vetter said. Also at Monday’s meeting, City Council approved a solar project easement and lease agreement with the Wood County Commissioners and Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The city is researching the viability of building a community solar field on property owned by those two entities on the north side of East Gypsy Lane Road, just east of Interstate 75. Council also heard from a Bowling Green State University graduate student in public administration, who has been researching the financial history of the city in the 1970s when the city budget was very stretched. He mentioned that he has been unable to access some records, and urged council to preserve such records for safekeeping. Council President Mike Aspacher assured the student that the city complies with all record retention rules, but said council will take the request under advisement. Council members Bruce Jeffers asked the student to send council a copy of his research, and Bill Herald asked him to report back to council on his research. In other business at…


Thanksgiving feast is about far more than the food

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Raymond Schmeltz scraped the last bit of pumpkin filling off the pie crust. “I don’t like the crust,” he explained. He closed his eyes and smiled – completely content after filling up on the Thanksgiving feast. “They do a wonderful job with all of this,” Schmeltz said. That’s probably because the volunteers from Christ’s Church in Bowling Green have been serving up the Community Thanksgiving Feast a couple days before the holiday for 27 years. They have the meal preparations and serving working like an assembly line. The meal features the traditional turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls and dessert. Renee Baker has been volunteering at the annual feast for its 27-year history. She knows just how important the meal is for the community. “We had a line out the door already at 2:30 p.m.,” and the meal wasn’t scheduled to start until 3 p.m., she said on Tuesday as she took a brief break in the kitchen of the Bowling Green community center. About 50 volunteers worked to prepare the meal with all the trimmings, and another 40 served it up. The church members were prepared for up to 600 diners over the four-hour meal this year – roasting 30 turkeys for the feast. “That’s five more this year than last year,” since they came close to running out last year, Baker said. To complete the meal, more than 50 desserts were also prepared – with the pecan pie proving to be the most popular. Many who come to the feast are in need and this will be their only Thanksgiving dinner this year. But for others, Tuesday was just the first round of big dinners this week. And that’s just fine with Christ’s Church members. “Absolutely anyone is welcome,” Baker said. Making a feast for so many can be exhausting, but Baker and the other volunteers would have it no other way. “We love serving,” she said. “A lot of people don’t have an opportunity to have a good Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings.” To many eating the turkey and dressing, it’s about far more than the food. “It’s helping the community. It gets everybody together in the community. I see all my friends from school,” said Sharon Bechstein as she took a break from working and ate dinner herself. Her favorite part? “All of it….


Mike Aspacher announces plans to run for mayor of BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Democrat Mike Aspacher announced his desire to become Bowling Green’s next mayor Tuesday evening, he was joined by some unlikely supporters – Republicans. But in an era where party divisions have become cavernous, this is the hallmark of Bowling Green City Council – and of Aspacher, its president. “I believe that our city government functions well, and that it does so because we don’t let politics divide us,” he said. “Here, we set our differences aside and focus instead on what can bring us together.” And Aspacher – a true “townie” – would like to be at the helm as that work continues. “I owe a lot to the Bowling Green community. This is where I grew up, where I went to school, where I got married, and where I raised my family,” he said in front of a packed room in the nature center at Wintergarden Park. Aspacher, a retired project manager for Dunbar Mechanical, began his public service in the 1990s when he was approached by the bipartisan power team of Dick Newlove and Mike Marsh to run for a seat on the board of education. “They gave me a subtle push toward public service,” Aspacher said. “I had no clue what I was getting into.” He served on the school board for eight years. Then was approached again to run for City Council, where he has now served for nine years. With the fire crackling in the background in the lodge, Aspacher told his supporters why he’s not done yet. “I believe cities should be measured primarily by the quality of life that they provide for the people who live there. By this measure, Bowling Green is a great city and we owe our gratitude to those who have laid the foundation for our community,” he said. “I’ve never been more optimistic about Bowling Green’s future than I am today. I know where this city has been, and I have a vision of what it can become,” he said. “I’m convinced that we can work together to develop creative ideas that will help our community grow and improve.” Aspacher listed the qualities he believes are needed for a strong community: – Responsive and transparent local government – Sound financial management – Well-trained public safety force – Effective and efficient public works department – Efficient and forward looking public…


Menards files with city for site on South Main Street

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Menards has filed paperwork with the City of Bowling Green Planning Department. The company is looking at building a store on the south end of the city – south of Walmart and across the road from Home Depot. The paperwork filed with the planning office is seeking variances from three city sign regulations, according to Heather Sayler, planning director for the city. The company, which specializes in home improvement products, has not yet applied for a zoning permit to build on the property, Sayler said. “I think they want to check off the boxes,” with getting signage variances being one of those boxes, she said. Sayler said her understanding is that the company wants to start working on the new site early in 2019 if possible. According to the paperwork filed with the city, Menards would like a sign along South Main Street that exceeds the city’s maximum height of 25 feet. Store officials will be asking for a variance allowing a 40-foot tall sign. Store officials have also asked for a variance to the city ordinance that allows up to three signs on the exterior of the building. The Zoning Board of Appeals will review the store’s requests during its meeting on Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. The application lists the owner of the property as B.G.V.H. Co., represented by Anthoni Visconsi II. Sue Clark, director of Bowling Green Community Development Foundation, said last month that Menards had been scouting out possible locations in the city. “They have been looking at the community for eight months or so,” Clark said. Initially, the company was looking at a site on East Wooster Street near the Holiday Inn Express, she said. Store officials then shifted to the location on South Main Street. “We plan to build a new store in Bowling Green, OH at some point in the near future,” Jeff Abbott, Menards spokesperson stated in an email last month. “We are still in the planning phase and have not yet finalized when we might start construction.”


BG City Council votes 6-1 to make parks smoke-free

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s city parks will be smoke-free starting in 2019. The decision to do so was one vote shy of unanimous by City Council. Council member Bruce Jeffers was the sole vote opposing the smoke-free ordinance. While Jeffers supports the existing ban against smoking inside park buildings, he believes the expansion of the ban to all park property is going too far. It’s “reasonable” for people to be able to smoke in parking lots at the parks, Jeffers said. “If a person chooses to smoke there, in my view they are not really bothering anybody,” he said. But council member Sandy Rowland said the smoking ban is appropriate for all park property. “There are children outside playing. Those children are inhaling the smoke,” Rowland said. Rowland, who serves as city council’s representative to the parks and recreation board, said the decision to expand the smoking ban was the right one. “I laud the park board for making this decision of what’s best,” she said. “We know we’re doing what’s right.” After all, Rowland said, the parks department supports healthy lifestyles. “The parks promote health. It’s a brave move,” she said. Council member John Zanfardino asked if the vote for the smoking ban by the park board was unanimous. Rowland confirmed it was unanimous. Council member Mark Hollenbaugh asked if smoking in a car on park property would be a finable offense. City Attorney Mike Marsh replied that he did not believe it would be. When it came up for the vote, Jeffers was the only council member to vote against the ordinance. The smoking ban will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2019. Kristin Otley, parks and recreation director, said most park visitors obey with the current ordinance. “Most people have been accommodating,” she said. Otley said the parks department will post signs explaining that smoking will not be allowed anywhere on park property. After the council meeting, Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said his officers will start out by just issuing warnings during a “grace period” while people become acquainted with the change. After a certain period, citations will be issued. “You don’t want to be heavy-handed, but you want to send a message,” Hetrick said. The city has long banned smoking in park buildings. Then in 2007, the policy was taken a step further. “At that point the…


Picture perfect day for annual Holiday Parade in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It doesn’t get much more perfect for parade day than Saturday. As the bands tuned up their instruments, the twirlers perfected their hair buns, and the spectators claimed their spots along the route, people kept commenting on the weather. “No wind. No ice. No rain. No snow. We got lucky,” said Brian Craft, director of the city’s public works department. The 40 degree morning was a gift wrapped up in a bow, compared to last year’s icy weather that canceled the parade. The weather and wonder of the holiday parade resulted in thick crowds on the curbs along the route. Joan Steinmiller, of Bowling Green, and her family got to the parade route nearly 90 minutes before start time, to stake out their spot on South Main Street. They came with their hot coffee and breakfast from McDonald’s. This is a family tradition. “I’m all decked out,” Steinmiller said, showing her sequined Santa sweater and her Santa slippers. Down the street a bit was Thomas Gerschutz and his family.   “We come to support the community,” Gerschutz said. His daughter, Sara Keith, bundled up her 4-year-old son, Oliver – expecting it to be colder. “I have him doubled up in pants. I’m thinking it’s not that cold,” Keith said. While the adults came for the community, many kids came for the confections. Keith’s daughter Emma, 11, was prepared for the cornucopia of candy. “She emptied her pockets for it,” Keith said. “And we have a bag for it. We’re ready.” The mild temperatures were welcomed, not only by the spectators, but also by many of the parade participants. “This is a great day – a nice, crisp fall-like day,” said Eastwood band director Brian Myers as his band waited for the parade to begin. Frigid temperatures can cause problems for marchers, he said. “If it’s really cold, the brass mouthpieces can stick,” Myers said – reminiscent of the tongue frozen to the flagpole scene in “The Christmas Story.” At a nearby float for Work Leads to Independence, Missy Toney was relieved at the relatively warm temperatures. She had encouraged those on the float to wear hats, gloves and long johns. She brought blankets and extra coats – just in case. “It’s not raining. It’s not even snowing,” Toney said with a smile. The twirlers with Twizzle Baton, from Maumee, wore gloves with…


‘Lunch bunch’ cooks up calmer cafeteria time for kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Elementary school cafeterias can be chaotic places. Kids tend to let loose in the unstructured environment after spending the morning at their desks. So Conneaut Elementary cooked up the idea for the “lunch bunch.” The program creates a calmer cafeteria while adhering to the school’s commitment to stressing positive behaviors, according to Principal Jim Lang. The program started with parents being invited to come in and spend lunchtime with their children. That helped, but Lang knew the program could be even better. So parents were asked to spend lunchtime with more children – up to all six lunch periods. “It really has taken off this year,” Lang said to the board of education Tuesday evening. The Conneaut “lunch bunch” includes Sara Meyer, Jane Fawcett, Katie Burris, Jessica Lincoln and Jamie Alt. The parents are helpful in several ways, the principal said. First, they help little fingers open up tricky food packaging. “Gogurt is one of the worst things to open,” Lang said. Then there are those fruit cups that are full to the brim, and juice boxes that “squirt all over” when the straw is stuck in. They help students in line for lunch with condiments – and try to help keep the line moving, especially when the menu includes something popular like pizza. Second, the parents have formed positive relationships with the students – by being helpful and engaging them, not just telling them to keep the noise down. “They have started building relationship with students,” Lang said. “It’s about talking with children, finding out what’s going on.” Instead of clapping hands to quiet the children, the “lunch bunch” uses harmonicas – an idea used by some of the teachers at Conneaut. They also use wireless microphones and headsets, purchased by the PTO. “They don’t have to raise their voice, they don’t have to yell,” Lang said. Just having parents in the lunchroom changes the dynamics, the principal said. “If an adult comes in the room and sits down, the demeanor changes,” he said. And third, the parents help clean up between lunch periods. They grab brooms and dustpans, and wipe down tables. The cafeteria staff is very appreciative, Lang said. “It’s very nice having them in the building.” Board member Ginny Stewart thanked the parents for their volunteerism. “I think it’s terrific what you’re doing,” she said. “It’s commendable.” In…


School task forces study state fund options for buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools is low on the waiting list and low in the percentage it would get from the state for new or renovated buildings. But the interest is high among the task force members charged with finding a way to pay for school buildings. The theory is – some money at some point is better than no money at all. Steve Roka, senior planning manager with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, met Wednesday evening with members of the finance and facilities task forces. The OFCC is responsible is dispersing state funding for a program that helps school districts pay for renovating or constructing new buildings. School districts are ranked for funding based on a formula of their enrollment divided by the assessed property valuation. That puts Bowling Green’s ranking at 506 – meaning funding would likely not be available for at least another 10 years. The formula puts the district in the 83 percentile – meaning the state would pick up 17 percent of the construction costs and the district would be responsible for 83 percent. There are currently about 100 other school districts already waiting in line for the OFCC funds. “You’re at least 10 years away,” Roka said. “That can change. It could increase, it could decrease.” Dave Conley, the consultant advising the school district’s finance task force, used the timeline of 10 to 15 years. To some, that may seem like a long wait for the state picking up a small portion of the cost. But to others, that wait is not long considering it takes at least two years to complete building designs. And 17 percent can add up to a lot when it’s helping to fund a multi-million dollar project. The average school district using the OFCC funding gets 20 to 40 percent of the construction costs from the state, according to Rick Savors, spokesperson for OFCC. “Why not get something from the state,” Savors said on Thursday. Task force member Ben Otley asked about the certainty of the funding in years to come. “It’s a promise from the state – not a guarantee,” Roka said. The Bowling Green district submitted an application for OFCC consideration in 2015, so the commission assessed the school buildings and offered some options. One of those options included: Renovating and adding onto Crim Elementary for $4.4 million. Renovating and…


Marchers search for peace, unity in troubling times

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   At 84 years old, Frances Brent had plenty of reasons not to join the Peace March on Wednesday from downtown Bowling Green to the Bowling Green State University campus. But she wasn’t about to let the freezing temperatures stop her from making a statement. “I’ve done this every year,” Brent said of the annual march. This year she was joined by her 33-year-old granddaughter, Natasha Anik, from Florida. “We really want to have a family tradition of showing our society can win if we keep working at it.” Recently retired Jackie Dubler also didn’t have to bundle up for the march. But yet, she did. “I believe in reaching out. I believe in peace,” Dubler said. “I believe the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” Rev. Mary Jane Saunders, who has walked in plenty of marches, could have sat out this one. “I’ve been involved in peace marches most of my adult life,” she said. And now is not the time to stop, she added. “It’s hard not to lose hope,” said Saunders, who heads the city’s Human Relations Commission. “But we don’t stop,” she said. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with each one of us.” The march grew as it made its way toward the campus, starting at about 50 people and adding another 25 or so along the way. “All of the people who gathered to march are connected in some way,” said Emily Dunipace, representing Not In Our Town Bowling Green, the primary organizer of the annual Peace March. “We have a desire to make the world a better place. We have the power to stamp out any hate,” Dunipace said. Once at BGSU, marchers and others gathered to hear rousing words in these troubled times. BGSU President Rodney Rogers spoke of the BGSU alumna Brenda Hollis, who spent years in the United Nations prosecuting international dictators for horrendous crimes against humanity. Throughout history, depraved leaders have pit people against each other with the simple words of “us” and “them,” Hollis has noted. The destructive propaganda is used to discriminate and divide, Rogers asid. “The truth is, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’” Rogers said. All of “us” have the potential for good and evil. “By coming together, we do better,” he said. “ We create a community of ‘us.’” Events like…


BG School Board defends openness and discusses vision

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education heard the good news first Tuesday evening. The new “Lunch Bunch” program at Conneaut Elementary is making lunchtime much less hectic. The improved district report cards have resulted in recognition from the state. And safety measures in buildings and training of staff are taking place. Then came the bad news. The board was accused of stripping the Constitution from the district’s core values, and not responding to requests for public records. The board president was chided for exaggerating the poor conditions of the older school buildings. Steve Bateson, a member of the school facilities task force, said the meetings have been very informational – with people on all sides of the issue engaging together. But he cautioned that the solution to the district’s building problems will not come quickly. “This is going to be a slow process,” Bateson said. Bateson was critical of School Board President Jill Carr making a comment during a previous meeting about watching “our buildings deteriorate before our eyes.” Bateson said Conneaut and Kenwood appear to be well maintained. After Tuesday’s meeting, Carr defended her statement of concern about the two oldest elementaries which were built in the 1950s. “I said that, and I stand by that,” Carr said. Another task force member, Brenda Pike asked the board about its “vision for the future” for students – whether that vision would include traditional classrooms or more open, flexible spaces. Board member Bill Clifford said his vision is for “all of the above,” with some more conventional classrooms and some creative spaces. Pike told the board it would be helpful to know the district’s philosophy as the task force is looking at options. Board member Ginny Stewart said she had hoped the task forces would be seeking input from district curriculum specialists. “I would hope you would engage the curriculum director,” Stewart said. While there are several teachers on the task forces, no administrative staff has yet been asked for input at the task force meetings. Ann McCarthy, executive director of teaching and learning for the district, explained to Pike that flexible learning spaces furnished with flexible seating would be better for students. “If we build a building of today, we are shooting ourselves in the foot,” McCarthy said. Stewart agreed that traditional learning spaces are obsolete when it comes to today’s educational…


School task force studies deficiencies at Conneaut

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After showing citizens around Conneaut Elementary, Principal Jim Lang stood surrounded by the people who will decide the fate of the district’s school buildings. He made an impassioned plea. “I don’t care if you build individual schools. I don’t care if you build one consolidated school,” said Lang, who will be retired before any buildings are constructed. “But your children deserve better than this.” Then he added an admonition to the task force. “All I hear is the same bickering I’ve heard for the last two years,” he said. Lang had just pointed out problems in the building constructed in 1954 and currently serving 560 students. Along the tour, he expressed his frustration about those task force members most critical of the need for new schools lagging on the tour – talking in the hallway rather than listening as he pointed out deficiencies in the school building. Those problems, primarily due to a lack of space, included: A reading intervention specialist has to work with children in a small windowless room previously used by the janitor. Inadequate number of restrooms. A hallway with 150 students has three stalls for girls, two urinals and one stall for the boys. The restrooms are not ADA accessible. Inadequate staff restrooms. In that same hallway, the tiny adult restroom requires teachers to practically “do the limbo” to get to the toilet. Poor temperature control, with some rooms feeling like saunas. “They get pretty uncomfortable, pretty quick,” Lang said. The ceiling in the hallways has encapsulated asbestos, which is not hazardous unless it is disturbed. The same is true of some tile under the carpet. Some classrooms are beyond their student capacity, and have to bring in paraprofessionals to meet state standards. The projections for next year indicate there will be even more crowded classrooms. “That’s my biggest concern,” Lang said. The crowded classrooms leave little space for children to do much more than sit in their desks. Young children are not meant to sit at desks all day. “It’s not the best teaching experience,” the principal said. Water from the drinking fountains has to be allowed to run before drinking, since it otherwise has a yellow tinge. “Do you want to drink yellow water? I don’t want to,” Lang said. There is no place for children to hang their coats and hats. So if head lice…


BG Holiday Parade to step off early

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The start of the holiday season in Bowling Green is official when the Community Holiday Parade makes its way down Main Street through the historic Downtown on Saturday, Nov. 17.  The tradition continues and is especially exciting with WTOL broadcasting live through the support of our Presenting Sponsors; Julie’s Dance Studio, Rosenboom Custom Crafted Cylinders, Regel Beloit and the City of Bowling Green. This parade is billed as the largest holiday parade in Northwest Ohio and those that attend can look forward to seeing floats, marching bands, baton twirlers, antique tractors, dancers and so much more.  The parade will be emceed by Jerry Anderson and Jordan Strack and the WTOL Defender vehicle will be a part of the parade.  We have worked really closely with WTOL members to make sure we bring excellent broadcast of this parade to those that can’t be here.  This will be a three hour broadcast starting at 9 am with a listing of all the area holiday activities.  At 10 am the commercial free coverage of the entire parade will start and will conclude at noon. Because of this live broadcast we would like everyone to be aware that the parade will step off at 9:50 am to provide time for the first units to make their way to the four corners close to the start of the 10 am broadcast. This year the parade is chaired by Greg Esposito, InTech IT Solutions.  Greg is the At-Large representative of the Chamber of Commerce Executive Board.  Project Team members for the parade help in many capacities and the chamber can’t thank them enough for the roughly seven months they have been working on the parade.  These team members include:  Jerid Friar, Melinda Kale, Julie Setzer, Brian Paskvan, Wendy Headley, Marissa Muniz, Wendy Chambers, Pam Fahle, Jacquelyn Gaines, Greg Kegler, Atonn Smeltzer and Mary Hinkelman. Judges for this year’s parade are Earlene Kilpatrick, Francis Scruci and Abby Paskvan.  They will be looking for units that have adhered to the theme of the parade, creativity, performance and other features that make their appearance in the parade exceptional.