Community

Levy renewal to protect against child, elder abuse

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the numbers of child and elder abuse grow in Wood County, so does the need for county residents to support the levy renewal that provides funding to protect those vulnerable populations. On Tuesday, the Wood County Commissioners signed a resolution putting the 1.3-mill child and adult protective services levy renewal on the November ballot. The millage, to be collected for 10 years, will raise an estimated $3.7 million annually. The levy renewal effort comes at a time when the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services is seeing record numbers of child abuse investigations. It’s expected the county will investigate at least as many cases as last year – when the numbers jumped 25 percent to 894. “We anticipate having about as many as 2016, which set the all time record. Maybe a little higher,” said Dave Wigent, director of the county Job and Family Services. In addition to the increasing number, the county is also seeing an increase in the severity of the abuse cases – requiring that more children be placed in foster care. The overall increased cost of Children’s Services last year was about $500,000, Wigent said. So losing the levy funds that the county has relied on since 1987 would cripple the ability to provide child and adult protective services, he added. “It would be catastrophic for our child welfare and adult protective services,” Wigent said. The levy revenue makes up 90 percent of the adult protective services budget, he said. And loss of the levy would mean reductions in Children’s Services staff. “That would be…


BG named one of Ohio’s best hometowns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As editor of Ohio Magazine, Jim Vickers is accustomed to visiting communities throughout the state. But during a recent stop in Bowling Green, Vickers was struck by three features of the city – the energy from the university even though most students were gone for the summer, the healthy downtown, and the beautiful Simpson Garden Park. Bowling Green left such an impression, that the city was named one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns by Ohio Magazine. The 12th annual Ohio’s Best Hometowns issue of the magazine recognizes four communities in addition to Bowling Green: Marietta, Milford, Mount Vernon and Wooster. Bowling Green beat out other communities because of its vibrant college town atmosphere, strong sense of community and shared vision for the future. “I was in Bowling Green for the site visit,” Vickers said, so he had first-hand knowledge of why the city ranked so high. “Every year we look for towns that exemplify a strong community.” They checked out the campus. “It’s a vibrant college town, even in the summertime,” he said. “There’s an energy there.” They went downtown. “The health of the downtown really struck us. There’s a lot of work that goes into a downtown that works.” And they visited Simpson Garden Park. “That was a true community effort,” Vickers said. “That wouldn’t have happened without the community bonding together.” City officials were pleased that Bowling Green was awarded the honor. “It helps to continue and foster the community that we all know Bowling Green is. There’s a strong sense of community here,” said Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett. “It’s…


County may can some recycling sites, extend others

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County may be cutting back on its satellite recycling sites, but may also be turning some of those monthly sites into permanent drop-off locations. There are currently 15 satellite recycling sites operated by the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. Many of them are open once a month, according to Amanda Gamby, environmental educator for the district. They are located in Bloomdale, Grand Rapids, Jackson Township/Hoytville, Jerry City/Cygnet, Milton Township/Custar, North Baltimore, Pemberville, Perry Township, Perrysburg Township, Portage, Portage Township, Rudolph, Stony Ridge, Tontogany/Washington Township, and Weston. A survey conducted in 2015, through a partnership between the solid waste district and Bowling Green State University master’s of public administration program, was conducted to determine the interest in recycling among rural Wood County residents. A total of 2,725 surveys were mailed to rural resident, with 683 being returned. The study found: Rural residents had a favorable attitude toward recycling. A number of the residents said they drive to Hancock and Lucas counties to use permanent recycling facilities. Of those who use the satellite locations, 55 percent said they would increase their use beyond once a month if permanent sites were made available. As it is now, mobile containers are placed at each of the satellite locations so residents can drop off their recyclables once a month. The recyclables are separated at most of the sites by Scouts or other community groups. Those groups are paid a per capita allocation that adds up to roughly $127,000 a year, according to Kelly O’Boyle, assistant Wood County administrator. The satellite site program contracts with the…


Petition aimed at prioritizing people over pipelines

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents may be asked to vote on a pipeline issue in November. A group of concerned citizens is trying to place an issue on Bowling Green’s ballot aimed to protect the city and its water supply from pipelines. The group’s goal is to prioritize people over pipelines. Brad Holmes, president of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University, talked about the charter amendment earlier this week during a City Council meeting. The group pushing to put the issue on the ballot has collected approximately 1,000 signatures so far. “We’re shooting for 1,200,” though just 700 valid signatures are required to get the charter amendment on the November ballot. The group hopes to submit its petition to the Wood County Board of Elections by July 31. Holmes talked about the threats posed by the Nexus pipeline to the Bowling Green water supply, since the proposed route for the natural gas line is close to the city’s water treatment plant. As volunteers have talked to local residents while collecting petition signatures, they have encountered varying degrees of awareness about the Nexus pipeline project, Holmes said. Some residents are not aware of the pipeline proposed so close to the water plant. Many others are under the impression that when City Council denied a property easement to the pipeline company, that the pipeline was no longer a concern. That isn’t true, Holmes said. “We still do face threats from the Nexus pipeline.” The purpose of the proposed charter amendment is “recognizing and protecting community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate.”…


BG gives tax break to company bringing 35 jobs to city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials plan to give a tax break to a company promising to create at least 35 jobs in the city. City Council heard the first reading of a resolution Monday evening that would give Mosser Construction Co. a 100 percent tax abatement for a 10-year period. Mosser is planning to build an approximately 200,000 square foot warehouse, and anticipates an initial hiring of at least 35 employees. The warehouse is expected to be an investment of $8.6 million in the Wood Bridge Business Park, off Dunbridge Road on the east side of the city. In addition to the project creating jobs, the warehouse will also provide storage space for existing companies in Bowling Green. “For many years, on our economic development visits, companies have relayed concerns about warehousing,” the legislative package given to council stated. “We’ve learned that, in many cases, companies are warehousing out of town.” City officials have also been told by local manufacturers that finding adequate warehousing is important because companies want to find space for new equipment or processes within their existing plants, and moving inventory into a warehousing facility could create that additional space. The problem, however, has been that no such space is available in Bowling Green. But the Community Development Foundation, which facilitated the Mosser site, said the new warehouse will fill that need. The tax break given to Mosser is part of a deal in the city’s new Community Reinvestment Area. The company has negotiated directly with Bowling Green City Schools to make the school district whole on the tax break being…


BG citizens asked for input on Wooster Green designs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Plans for Wooster Green were pitched to city residents Wednesday afternoon. Now the wait begins to see if either pitch results in a home run. For four years, sketches have been drawn, erased and redrawn. Ideas have been shot down and replaced. Finally, the field has been narrowed down to two possibilities for Wooster Green. And now the public is being asked to weigh in. “It’s reaction time,” said Mayor Dick Edwards during the public meeting at Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday. Option 1 is a more symmetrical design, with the walkways forming an “X” on the site. Option 2 has a more casual look, with a meandering path. “They are both great options,” said Troy Sonner, of Poggemeyer Design Group, which is working on the plans at no cost as the firm’s 50th anniversary gift to the community. The plans will remain on display in the library through July 26. Paper feedback forms will be available. The plans will also appear on the city’s website, where online opinions may be submitted. “It’s really important for you to give us your feedback,” said Anne-Marie Lancaster, co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee for Wooster Green. Once a design is finalized, the fundraising will begin. It is estimated the site will cost about $300,000, according to the mayor. Donations and grants will be sought for the project, with no city money going toward the construction of the site. The 1.2-acre Wooster Green is located on the south side of West Wooster Street, close to the downtown, between South Church and South…


Newly sealed Slippery Elm Trail now less slippery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Slippery Elm Trail is now a little less slippery. The 13-mile rails to trail that stretches from Bowling Green to North Baltimore has been paved with a new surface product called Onyx. The sealant promises to last longer, seal faster and be less slippery. “I’ve had nothing but great comments on the Onyx,” Jeff Baney, assistant director of the Wood County Park District, said last week during a meeting of the district board. “Everybody loves it.” Some of those comments came during the board meeting by park board commissioner Christine Seiler, who had just used the trail that morning. “The traction was wonderful,” even with all the rain the area had the previous day. However, Seiler said there appeared to be some areas of the trail where the old pavement seemed to be showing through. Baney said he would check on that. The Wood County Park District Board paid $119,552 to seal the trail, including striping of the trail at intersections along the route. According to Ned Fairbanks, the park district maintenance specialist, the product has a proven record of creating a stronger surface that will last longer. The sealing product also remains black since it does not fade in the sun like other sealants used in the past. That will help with melting the snow, since the district does not salt or plow the Slippery Elm Trail. The Onyx also has a quick setting time, meaning there was less time that the trail was closed to users, Fairbanks said at a previous meeting. “Within a matter of hours, it’s usable,”…


Library survey to get a read on patrons’ needs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Library patrons accustomed to checking out books will soon be asked to check in their feelings about the Wood County District Public Library. How often do you visit the library? What is the library doing right? What is the library doing wrong? Do you read ebooks? Do you prefer old-fashioned paper books? A library survey will soon be conducted to determine community expectations and needs. Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, and her students will conduct the survey. Orr has done similar efforts for the city parks and recreation department, and the city schools. The surveys will be mailed in September to a random sample of voters in the library district. The survey will also be online, with the results to be kept separate from the mailed returns. Staff, boards, volunteers, patrons and the public will be asked to complete the online survey if they do not end up as part of random sample. At the same time, the library will be hosting focus groups to collect public opinions. The data gathered from the surveys and focus groups will be used to devise a strategic plan. “If we get this information, we should do something with it,” library board president Brian Paskvan stressed during a board meeting Monday. Also at Monday’s meeting, the board discussed a rebranding effort and updating the library’s logo. Options for the new logo were displayed, with the goal being a memorable image. “So when you see this, you recognize it as the library,” Paskvan said. Because of the long name of Wood…


BG frustration builds over Nexus pipeline concerns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials are tired of getting the brush off by the Nexus pipeline, by the Ohio EPA, and by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But it appears that getting anyone in authority to listen may take more money than the city can afford – and even then the results are not guaranteed. The major concern is that the 36-inch high-pressure natural gas line will be located close enough to the city’s water treatment plant along the Maumee River, that any accidents could have horrific consequences to the water quality. The city has called in experts and sent letters expressing concerns to many state and federal officials. During City Council meeting Monday evening, Mayor Dick Edwards held up files of information he had collected on the pipeline issue. “This is enough to choke a horse,” he said of all the paperwork. “I take it all very seriously,” Edwards said. “I’m frankly, not giving up at all.” Other efforts are underway to plug the pipeline project. A citizens group is currently collecting signatures to get a charter amendment to protect Bowling Green from the pipeline on the November ballot. (A story on that petition effort will appear later this week on BG Independent News.) Brad Holmes, president of the BGSU Environmental Action Group, who is coordinating the charter amendment effort, asked city officials Monday to file a motion to intervene with FERC. He referred to the Nexus pipeline as a “potential source of disaster.” Neocles Leontis suggested the city also try a different route of asking the Ohio EPA to withhold approval of…


BG not giving up on finding glass recycling solution

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials aren’t giving up yet on finding ways to recycle glass rather than send it to the landfill. Last week, the Bowling Green Recycling Center announced that effective immediately, the facility would no longer be accepting glass. This applies to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, plus the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. That did not sit well with city officials, who found out about the decision through an email after the decision had been made. “Something like that, it would have been nice to be brought in a little earlier. It would have been nice to phase it in,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator for Bowling Green. City officials have contacted Bowling Green State University’s recycling program, which contracts with Waste Management for pickup of recycling materials. The city and county officials also plan to meet with Owens-Illinois representatives about possible glass recycling options. Fawcett said this morning that city officials realize that glass recycling has been a costly operation for some time. However, paying for glass to be landfilled isn’t cheap either – with dumping costs at about $40 a ton. “We’ve been struggling with it for a long time,” Ken Rieman, of the recycling center, said last week. “Basically, the market conditions are just to the point it’s too expensive to send the glass out.” The center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton to ship the glass, for which it was paid $25 a…


Public input sought on two designs for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is looking for a green light on one of its two plans for the Wooster Green space being developed in the downtown. On Wednesday, July 19, local residents are invited to a program at the library, where both plans will be described, comments will be sought, and questions will be answered. “Obviously, the committee has worked very diligently on coming up with concepts,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee for Wooster Green. “We want to know if we’re on the right track.” All of the meetings on the green space have been open to the public, but very few citizens have attended. So the presentation at 4 p.m., in the Wood County District Public Library meeting room, 251 N. Main St., is intended to seek out public opinion on the project. “We would like the public’s response to these proposals,” Callecod said. “We want to make it clear that nothing is in stone at this point.” The two final design options will remain on display in the library until July 27, so people can continue to study and comment on them. Also, starting July 19, a link will be active on the city’s website (www.bgohio.org) for citizens to use to offer input. Both of the two final design options for the 1.2-acre green space where the old junior high used to sit include three features. There will be a stone arched entry at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. There will be a 20 by 30 foot octagon shaped pavilion for performances or…


NowOH exhibit surveys local art scene

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For an art exhibit dedicated to artists of Northwest Ohio, it was fitting that the best of show winner was a local scene. Aaron Pickens received the top honor at the 10th Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition for a pairing of two small paintings of fields in the Grand Rapids area. They were certainly not the flashiest pieces among the work by 47 artists in the Bryan Gallery in the Bowling Green State University Fine Arts Building. They were not even the flashiest of the pieces Pickens was showing. For juror Robert Thurmer that was the point. “I choose that as best of show mostly to honor the feeling that’s created here with a few skillfully placed brush strokes and color combinations that are apparently simple, but are really quite complex,” he explained. “This is a very, very thoughtfully produced and skillfully handled, and it creates a mood and feeling that’s highly personal statement.” Pickens created the paintings plein air, in the open air. It’s a discipline he’s adopted to complement his studio work, an example of which hung right next to the landscapes. That studio painting is a still life of toys, set on a sheet of cardboard, with an ominous forest in the background. That painting took 70-80 hours to create, Pickens said. The plein air landscapes, each took about an hour to create. He goes out for just a limited amount of time to try to capture the light, in this case dawn and dusk. “This is what taught me how to paint, how to use my material quickly and efficiently,”…


News to them… Corpe & Weiss of “Morning Show” win I Love BG award

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even such perceptive radio personalities as Clint Corpe and Larry Weiss had trouble ferreting out who was the winner of this year’s I Love BG Award. As Dave Horger, their predecessor at “The Morning Show” on WBGU-FM, provided details of the winner’s “life,” they sensed something amiss. For one thing there was enough resume for two people. Corpe wondered: Who else beside him attending the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Meeting and Awards Program went to school in Bowling Green… Kentucky? But the detail about working for Bowling Green State University didn’t fit. Born in Germany fit him, but Corpe never worked as a youngster at A&W Root Beer. That story, however, clinched the winner’s identity for Weiss. He remembered well the day that Horger was describing. Weiss was 13 or 14 and his friend’s uncle’s A&W stand was busy and desperate for help.  So they called him in. A shiny, new convertible pulled up and ordered three root beers. The young Larry delivered them, spilling them into and onto the car. He returned with another round of pop, and, as Horger related, after he dumped those in the car, he called his mother to pick him up. His career at A&W was over after one car. Far greater success lay ahead. He went on to graduate from BGSU in 1967 and to work in industry before returning to the university with a job in alumni relations in 1973. When he was approached about returning to BGSU, he responded: “Those were the best years of my life. I’d love to come back to…


BG School bond issue meets with protest and praise

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The school bond issue faced a little more hostility from residents during the second public forum on the issue Thursday evening. But it also was met with some heartfelt support. Bowling Green City Superintendent Francis Scruci started the forum with an overview on the bond issue for new and renovated school buildings. The evening was heavy on numbers – and some were pretty hefty. In order to raise nearly $72 million for the buildings, the district will need to pass a 6-mill bond issue that will go on for 37 years. “It is a big number, there’s no way around saying it,” Scruci said. For the owner of a house valued at $100,000, that means an extra $210 a year. But since the average house value in Bowling Green is $170,000, Scruci said that would add up to $357 a year. And for those on the higher end, with a $250,000 home, the bond issue would mean another $525 a year. Some citizens in the audience said they aren’t against students, teacher or schools – but they just can’t afford the project. “Have you seen the crops under water,” shouted Chris Sabo. Scruci said he realized the cost was high – but so is the reward, he said. “This is an investment in our kids. This is an investment in our community. This is an investment in our future.” But to Sabo, the cost is too high. “Then you’re not going to have a city, cause everybody is going to move out,” he said. “This is a big chunk of money and…


Waterlogged Pemberville and Wayne see worst flooding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As soon as Brad Gilbert entered the room, there were groans. The Wood County Emergency Management Agency director was not on the agenda, so his unexpected arrival at the Wood County Commissioners meeting this morning could only mean one thing. There were problems. They don’t call Gilbert the “grim reaper” for nothing. After 10 inches of rain in some areas of the county this week, the county was overwhelmed. And a revised report from the National Weather Service suggested that the problem would get worse before it got better. “They are predicting a major flood stage tonight into tomorrow morning,” Gilbert said. The biggest problems are being seen in Wayne, where storm sewers couldn’t keep up with the rain, and are expected next to hit Pemberville, where two branches of the Portage River come together in the downtown area. By time the water crests tonight or Friday morning, it will likely be in the basements of the downtown businesses, Gilbert said. Just this morning, Gilbert said, fire crews from Pemberville, Bradner and Wayne had to use a boat to rescue a woman from her home that was surrounded by high water along Ohio 281. “It’s an act of Mother Nature. There’s no way to control it,” he said. And after multiple consecutive days of heavy rains, especially in southern Wood County, the ditches and fields are their limits. “There’s no where for it to go,” Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. The EMA office has been in contact with the Pemberville mayor and fire chief, and has been asked by Wayne officials…