Community

First Ward voters to decide between 3 Democrats on May ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green’s residents voting on May 7 will see three First Ward Democrats vying for the chance to appear on the general election ballot to serve as their representative on City Council. One is a teacher, one is a college student, and one is a college prof pursuing his doctorate. The three candidates are Connor Goodpaster, Mark Hollenbaugh and Madison Stump. All three offered themselves to fill the First Ward seat last fall when council member Daniel Gordon resigned. Hollenbaugh was selected and has served on council since then. The Democrat who wins in the primary will not face a Republican contender in November. According to Wood County Board of Elections’ Terry Burton, the Republican who filed for the First Ward seat, Micah Swanson, had his petition rejected because his registration address did not match his petition. An independent candidate may still file to fill the First Ward seat on the November ballot. Following are stories on where all three First Ward Democratic council candidates stand on issues facing Bowling Green. Connor Goodpaster Connor Goodpaster believes his public administration master’s degree, along with his experience serving with United Way on the Wood County Continuum of Care, put him in a good position to serve on City Council. “I was taught how to look at government programs and look at what is working and what is not,” he said. Goodpaster came to Bowling Green in 2013, and graduated with a social studies education degree, then a master’s in public administration. He teaches American government at Wayne State University in Detroit. He and his wife recently had a baby, and have no intention of moving from Bowling Green, he assured. “We’re going to be around,” he said. “This town has been nothing but wonderful to us.” While serving on the Continuum of Care project, Goodpaster saw a perspective of the community that not all view. “I became more aware of some of the issues in this town,” he said. Those issues include the lack of accessible housing for people with disabilities, and the invisible homeless population. “We haven’t taken steps to solve that,” he said. Goodpaster decided to run for City Council because he believes government needs to be more nimble when responding to citizens’ needs. “I felt City Council wasn’t moving fast enough,” he said. “We need quick, but well thought out action. City…


Food trucks added to the mix at BG Farmers Market

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN It’s hard to believe Market season is almost here! Your favorite Downtown Market can’t wait for the 2019 Season to start! After a record breaking year of vendors, customers, and community support- the market is ready to bring a fun new element to the table. Last year, new food vendors were a huge hit amongst all attendees. Market guests were given a chance to refuel so they could hang out just a little longer to enjoy the festivities. Our Market Staff wants to keep that momentum going into the 2019 year by bringing an even bigger food element to the market- Food Trucks. As fate would have it, Phil Barone, President of the Food Truck Association has big hopes to bring his many trucks to the Bowling Green Community. His association provides diverse, professional and delicious options for many festivals and events in the Northwest Ohio area. It seems like a perfect timing to join our Farmers’ Market, so we can “pull our great ideas together”, said Phil. “I’m looking forward to working with Sam, Tony, and the entire Downtown BG Special Improvement District to bring a new exciting element to the market”. Director of Downtown Bowling Green S.I.D., Tony Vetter agreed with the partnership. “It just makes sense for the community, for these great organizations to come together for a successful weekly event.”  “Our market attendees and vendors spoke up last year, and we’re ready for this combo to happen,” said Market Manager, Samantha Beane. “Our market is going into its fourteenth season, and I want to work with great groups like the Food Truck Association, to keep our market exciting, fun, and the place to be on Wednesday nights!  The 2019 Market season begins May 8th and runs through October 16th, 2019. The Wednesday evening market runs from 4-7pm in the Huntington Bank Parking lot at 201 S. Main Street (on the corner of Clough & Main Street). Part of Clough Street will be blocked off for the Food trucks and the safety of those attending. Food trucks will be present at each market alongside both seasoned and new vendors. Our market will offer live music from the Stones Throw Stage, special events throughout the season and much more!!  For more information, follow the Downtown Bowling Green Farmers’ Market on Facebook or Instagram (@bgfarmersmarketoh)  Please check out our new website; downtownbgohio.org – click on the events tab,…


Two Democrats face off in May primary for at-large council seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The at-large City Council race in Bowling Green has pit two Democrats against each other in the primary election on May 7. Council member Bruce Jeffers is asking to be returned to the governmental body, and Neocles Leontis is asking for a chance to serve. The winner of the primary will not face a Republican opponent in the general election in November, since the Republican who filed for the seat, Adam Wilson, submitted an insufficient number of registered voter signatures on his petition. However, an independent candidate may still run for the at-large council seat. Not up for election this year are two other at-large council members – Greg Robinette, Republican, and Sandy Rowland, Democrat. Following are stories on where both of the at-large Democratic council candidates stand on issues facing Bowling Green. Bruce Jeffers Bruce Jeffers, who has served eight years on City Council, knows that government seems to move too slowly for some. That deliberate style works well for Jeffers, who has taught geometry for 35 years at Otsego High School. “I’m slow to make decisions,” Jeffer said. He is comfortable with the process that may be too slow for some, but guarantees input from all. “Once I make the decision, I accept the fact that not everyone will agree. I can live with that.” Though Jeffers’ position on most state and national issues is “fairly liberal,” he realizes that doesn’t always fit with local issues faced by City Council. “When it comes to council issues, I have to remember that I represent everybody,” he said. “I’m willing to put the time into discussions and research, and listen to people,” Jeffers said. One of Jeffers’ signature issues has been the “Welcome BG Initiative,” which works to make the city a place that welcomes immigrants to the community. The initiative began not only with the belief that the city should be a place of inclusion, but also because of ongoing problems that local manufacturers have in finding employees. “I was personally insistent that we didn’t want it to be just a ‘feel good’ resolution,” he said. The city needs to examine the ways Bowling Green can break down barriers for immigrants. That includes concrete steps toward helping people get loans, homes and jobs. “There is not a line of immigrants wanting to come to Bowling Green,” Jeffers said. “It will take a…


New city building study to see if senior center structure can be saved

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green found an answer to its need for more city administration space in the neighboring senior center. But the question now is whether or not some of the historic senior center can be preserved as it becomes part of a new city administration building. Years ago, the Bowling Green city administration offices outgrew their space at 304 N. Church St. And now that the Wood County Senior Center is building a new facility on South Grove Street, the city will soon have access to that neighboring property that it already owns at 305 N. Main St. On Monday, the city’s board of public utilities will discuss a resolution putting money toward a study of a new city building. Part of that feasibility study will evaluate the existing senior center, located directly to the east of the city building. The study will examine if that structure, which was formerly a U.S. Post Office, can be preserved in some form as it becomes part of a new city building. “We’re keeping an open mind, seeing what the experts recommend,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said on Friday. “We’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with.” The feasibility study will examine the three structures owned by the city on that block – the city administration building, the senior center, and a house recently acquired by the city at 316 N. Church St. Property owned by the city is outlined in red, and includes the city administration building at 304 N. Grove St., a house at 316 N. Grove St., and the county senior center at 305 N. Main St. The city administration building started its life more than a century ago as a school. It then was turned into a library, and in 1976 became the city administration building. The result is a 17,000 square foot building with cramped offices, maze-like spaces and cobbled together technology. But after years of discussion, the solution turned up right next door. In 2017, city officials announced that property at 140 S. Grove St. would be donated to the Wood County Senior Center for a new facility. That means the city would then have the entire stretch between North Main Street and North Church Street for a more spacious and modern city administration building. The location would also satisfy the desire held by Mayor Dick…


BG Council votes to buy downtown property for parking, restrooms, Four Corners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council voted Monday to move ahead with buying land to create more metered parking downtown, provide restrooms for Wooster Green, and preserve the location of the Four Corners Center. Council approved an ordinance for the issuance of $890,000 in bonds for buying four parcels of land on South Church and South Main streets. “These are all things necessary to keep our downtown moving forward,” said council member Bruce Jeffers after the vote. The purchase covers four properties. One parcel is at 119 S. Church St., located just south of the police station. The former Huntington Bank Branch location has been closed for several years, but has drive-up ATM units. The city is interested in building restrooms there that will serve those using Wooster Green as well as visitors to the downtown area. In addition, the location has been eyed by the city for years as property that could be used to expand the police station. While there are no immediate plans for an expansion, the addition of an improved safety dispatch center is one of the city’s long-term capital plans. The out-of-state owner of this property recently contacted city officials to discuss the building. The landowner also owns a nearby parking area behind Ben’s and the building at 130 S. Main St. – the current home of the Four Corners Center. Four Corners downtown While city officials are not interested in owning the Four Corners Center building, they recognize the community value of that site. Located there are the Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown BG, and Economic Development office. The lease for that building expires on Dec. 5, 2020. So, by acquiring the LLC that owns the building and holds the lease, the city can take ownership of the lease – ensuring no changes for the tenants. City officials then plan to sell that building prior to its lease expiring, with a provision that the Four Corners Center be given a lease arrangement for the building with a rental amount set. The cost for the mini-bank area, parking lot behind Ben’s, and building at 130 S. Main St. will be $730,000. Also being sold are the building at 123 S. Church St., currently housing Bowling Green Mirror and Glass, owned by the Bortel family, plus the parking lot to the west of that building. An unspecified downtown…


BG woman urges community to join trash cleanup in city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News One night as Megan Reedy walked home from her job as manager of Downtown bar in Bowling Green, she picked up a plastic shopping bag on the ground. As she continued her walk home, she picked up litter along her route. By time she arrived home, the bag was full. Reedy would like to invite other Bowling Green residents to join her in a “Be Green” trash pickup on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “I see a mess here in town, and it needs to be picked up,” she said. Those people wanting to help can meet in Ridge Park, where Reedy will have supplies collected for the community cleanup. Businesses have donated trash bags, buckets and rubber gloves. The city is providing neon safety vests for volunteers, and has offered to have two dumpsters set up in the park. “With Earth Day right around the corner, I think it would be a cool way to get the community together,” Reedy said. “This town needs a little TLC.” The pickup will be held regardless of the weather, she said. “We’re still going for it,” even if it’s raining. Reedy is not someone who can walk past a discarded fast food bag or beer can. “There’s an ancient proverb that says we don’t inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children,” she said. “I’ve loved the planet my whole life,” Reedy said. “My childhood best friend used to call me ‘Nature Girl.’” Reedy said she is sometimes encouraged by the efforts of others to not trash the environment. She recently saw a cardboard box in the middle of a Bowling Green street, and was ready to retrieve it when she saw a motorist stop to pick up the box. “It would be cooler if people just stopped littering,” but at least some citizens are trying to pick up, she said. Reedy supports potential plans for a single-use plastic bag ban or tax in Bowling Green. “They definitely impact the environment. They get in our waterways,” she said of the bags. “Go for it,” she said of possible city legislation. The plastic shopping bags weren’t invented until the 1960s, she said. “We survived without them then.” Reedy will welcome any amount of help citizens can offer – they don’t have to pick up trash the entire five-hour period on…


BG Schools struggling after suicide, parent meeting planned

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green School Board heard about some tough subjects Tuesday evening – a high school student taking his life, a bomb threat at an elementary, and the need for more modulars at overcrowded schools. Counseling has been available for students and staff affected by the loss of a classmate Eric Baer, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “These events leave us with many questions, and very few answers,” Scruci said. Next week, the district plans to offer some type of program for parents, focusing on the potential signs of suicide, how to discuss the topic with children, and resources available in the community. The particulars on the meeting will be released once determined. Scruci thanked the Bowling Green Police Division for ongoing communication with the district, and Children’s Resource Center for helping provide counseling for students. The superintendent also updated the board and community on the hand-written pipe bomb threat mailed to Kenwood Elementary last week. The letter was opened after school ended for the day, and the police division had the building secured within minutes, then searched the school with a bomb-sniffing dog. The police division then provided additional security at all the schools the remainder of the week. “Bowling Green Police Division is a great partner,” Scruci said. While he praised the local emergency response, Scruci publicly criticized the comments made on Facebook by school critic Grant Chamberlain on the bomb threat. Chamberlain advised parents to remove their children from Kenwood due to the “downward spiral” of the elementary. “As if the staff of Kenwood was responsible for getting a pipe bomb threat in the mail,” Scruci said. “It is not a failing school,” the superintendent said. “This negativity serves no purpose. It’s important for the community to support and not tear down.” Scruci’s comments were met with applause from those attending the school board meeting. Also at the meeting, the board approved the leasing of two modular classrooms to ease crowding. One will be placed at Conneaut Elementary, the other at Crim Elementary. The modulars cost $1,600 per month, with the district paying $246,355 to lease them for 60 months. Board member Paul Walker questioned the need for such a long lease. But Scruci said even if the district passes a levy to build new elementary space, that won’t be ready for at least three years. “We have no guarantee what the…


BG Schools to put $40M issue on ballot for single community elementary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green Board of Education voted Tuesday evening to put a $40 million issue on the November ballot to pay for the construction of a single community elementary school. For those voters who mistake this as the same issue that failed twice before, the board stressed that is not so. This issue is for $40 million – rather than $72 million. This bond will be for 30 years – rather than 37 years. This tax will be split so half is paid with traditional income tax and half with property tax – rather than all property tax. And the district will apply for state Expedited Local Partnership Program this time around. But for those voters who think the single community elementary school has been floated before, they would be correct. Before listening to citizen comments at Tuesday’s meeting, most of the board members were leaning toward a bond issue for three separate elementary schools. But speaker after speaker asked the board to do what is right for students – and try the consolidated school with this new funding structure. Board members Ginny Stewart, Bill Clifford, Jill Carr and Norm Geer agreed. Board member Paul Walker voted no – not because he believes the three schools are better for students – but because he fears the community won’t support just one school. The audience at Tuesday’s meeting gave the board a standing ovation after the vote to put the issue on this fall’s ballot. After the last two failures of the building issue, the board formed two task forces made up of community volunteers. By voting on the funding for the facilities, the board followed the recommendation of the finance task force that worked seven months to come up with the compromise on how to best fund the building issue. By voting to use the funding to build one community elementary, the board took the recommendation of facilities task force members when they voted in January on which building option they preferred. At that meeting, 61 percent of the members voiced support for a consolidated elementary. That recommendation, however, was not presented to the school board as the final decision of the facilities task force. Instead, the task force was asked in March to vote based on which school proposal they felt the community would support. That vote was for three separate elementary schools….


BG Council listens to citizens angered by racist attack at Waffle House

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council heard more Monday evening about the ripple effects from the racist attack at Waffle House two weeks ago. Council chambers was so full – with about 80 people there – that people had to listen from the hallway. They heard from a black woman who described her own experience of being verbally abused in a local restaurant. They heard from a Hispanic woman who wants training for business employees so they know how to handle such incidents. And they heard from a white City Council member whose voice shook with emotion as he told how one of the alleged attackers at the Waffle House was in his government class at North Baltimore High School. “I feel the sting when that’s inadequate,” council member and teacher Mark Hollenbaugh said. “There are people within our community who have values who don’t represent us,” he said. Eleven citizens took their concerns to City Council about the racial attack reported in the middle of the night on March 31. The incident started when Justin Hartford, 18, of Mount Cory, and Zarrick Ramirez, 18, of Findlay, entered Waffle House and were reportedly met with racial slurs from two other men in the restaurant. One of the men allegedly told the teens that President Donald Trump would deal with immigrants like them. Before leaving the restaurant, the men taunting the teens reportedly went over to their table and began beating them. Three employees and a customer told police the two victims did nothing to provoke the attack. Bowling Green Police Division arrested Jacob Dick, 22, North Baltimore, and Zachary Keller, 21, of Custar, for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation. Since then, two community meetings have been organized by La Conexion in an effort to come up with preventative measures to keep similar incidents from occurring in Bowling Green. “The incident deeply affected and rightly enraged” city citizens, said Beatriz Maya, leader of La Conexion. She thanked the police division for its quick response to the attack, and city leaders for speaking out against such hate crimes. “Bowling Green has taken a clear stance against hate,” Maya said. But more must be done, she told council. Maya read a list of recommendations gathered at the community meetings following the attack at Waffle House. The suggestions included: Acknowledgement that racism exists in the community, with more open…


Mike Aspacher talks about his vision for mayoral role

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Mike Aspacher may be a townie, who has served on Bowling Green City Council for 10 years, and is running unopposed for mayor. But he still wants citizens to get to know him – and vice versa. “I believe these type of meetings are really, really important,” he said last week as he held a public gathering at the library downtown. “This begins the opportunity for me to earn your trust,” Aspacher said to those gathered. But he’s earned that already, said former police chief Brad Conner. “Obviously these folks here trust him, or we wouldn’t be here right now,” Conner said. Aspacher assured residents that his governing style would not change when elected mayor. And that means using one criteria when making decisions – “What is best for the residents of Bowling Green,” he said. Aspacher referred to himself as a “proud Democrat” and a “true townie.” “I’ve never lived anywhere else, and truthfully, I’m immensely proud of that.” Still working on getting comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, Aspacher apologized for using a “script.” But no one seemed to mind “I think it’s important for you to understand who I am and where I come from,” he said. He spent 35 years working out of Local 50 plumbers and pipefitters union, before retiring last year. He has volunteered in the community with coaching ball teams, leading cub scouts, and serving on the park board, school board, and city council. Mike Aspacher answers questions. Aspacher listed what he believes are the tenets of a strong community: Responsive and transparent local government. “We certainly try to be transparent in all our decision making,” he said of council.Sound financial management. “We are challenged and continue to be challenged,” primarily by the state cuts to Local Government Funds. In spite of that, “the city is on sound financial footing,” he said.Well-trained public safety forces. Both the city’s fire and police divisions are nationally accredited. “They are comprised of the best people we can find,” and the city provides the best training and equipment possible.Efficient public works. Citizens have expectations, and the city strives to meet those, he said. “People want their trash picked up, their streets plowed. They want their city to look nice.”Good public utilities. The city’s electric, water and sewer rates are all competitive, and the services reliable. The water quality exceeds…


BG historic preservation efforts to focus on busting myths

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green officials are hoping the future of historic preservation efforts will be more fruitful than the past. The city has resurrected its plans to preserve historic structures in the community, and now has a five-person Historic Preservation Commission. The commission will work to debunk myths about historic preservation rules that doomed the first effort about five years ago. No, the city will not dictate the colors a house can be painted. Yes, the city will allow additions to historic buildings. Yes, historic structures – if no longer fit for preservation – can be torn down. Mayor Dick Edwards reintroduced plans for a commission last year to “preserve, promote, encourage and support the maintenance, use and reuse of historic buildings in the city.” In other words, it would help property owners who want to preserve historic structures. Some historic homes are losing the battle against time and rental transformation – such as in the area surrounding the Wood County Courthouse, Edwards said. “It’s very painful to watch some of these very beautiful historic homes becoming rental homes,” the mayor said. Historic preservation commission members Les Barber, Reina Calderon, Greg Halamay, Gail Nader and John Sampen. The commission members, who held their first meeting recently, are Les Barber representing the First Ward, Reina Calderon of the Second Ward, Gail Nader of the Third Ward, John Sampen of the Fourth Ward, and Greg Halamay representing the downtown. The proposal for such a commission was first brought up in 2009, then became part of earnest discussions in 2013. Efforts died in 2015 after some citizens interpreted the city’s preservation efforts as government telling them what to do with their properties. At that time, Edwards tried to explain that the commission was there to help – not give orders. “It’s not threatening, it’s not dictating to people, it’s not putting the heavy hand of government on neighborhoods,” he said. “It was misconstrued and misinterpreted by some individuals.” Nevertheless, suspicions and very vocal objections by a few citizens about the motivation for the historic preservation commission killed the effort. City Planning Director Heather Sayler said there is great value in preserving historic buildings in a community. “We really had some issues with the myths floating around the community,” Sayler said. “It’s definitely a hot topic. It’s an important topic.” This time around, the city and the commission members…


Teens try to recover from assault; community tries to make sure it doesn’t happen again

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The two high school seniors assaulted at the Waffle House in Bowling Green last month are struggling to get their lives back to normal. “His nose is broken, he’s having trouble breathing regularly,” Justin Hartford said of his friend Zarrick Ramirez, 18, of Findlay. “He’s still in a lot of pain.” Hartford has bruised ribs and pain in his chest from inflammation after the attack. But worse than the physical pain is the memory of the attack that Hartford just can’t shake. “I have nightmares about it,” Hartford, 18, of Mount Cory, said on Friday. “I have really bad anxiety about going into restaurants. The other day my mom asked if I wanted to go out to eat,” but he just couldn’t do it. “It’s scary. Everywhere I go, I have to watch my back,” Hartford said. Zarrick Ramirez (left) and Justin Hartford at the skate park in BG City Park. It was nearly two weeks ago that Ramirez and Hartford walked into the Waffle House in Bowling Green around 3 a.m., and according to police reports, were met with ethnic slurs from two other customers. One of the men reportedly told the teens that President Donald Trump would deal with immigrants like them. Before leaving the restaurant, the men taunting the teens reportedly went over to their table and began beating them. Three employees and a customer told police the two victims did nothing to provoke the attack. Bowling Green Police Division arrested Jacob Dick, 22, North Baltimore, and Zachary Keller, 21, of Custar, for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation. The two men arrested for the racist attack may be the first to be charged with “ethnic intimidation” by the Bowling Green Police Division. “This is the first time I know of that we’ve used it,” Lt. Dan Mancuso said earlier this week of the law put into place in 1987. It’s not against the law to make racist comments to another person – however, making those comments while committing another crime like aggravated assault means the offense then rises to the next higher degree. “Ethnic intimidation is the only section I’m aware of in the Ohio Revised Code that deals with it directly,” Mancuso said. This is not the first racist incident involving Dick. Last December, Dick resigned from his job with the Hancock County Engineer after a video surfaced showing…


Pinwheels tell stories of child abuse, neglect in every community

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News As they watched the pinwheels spin in the breeze, the little children had no inkling of the real reason they were planting 884 in the ground on Wednesday morning. The 884 pinwheels represent the number of child abuse and neglect investigations conducted last year by Wood County Children’s Services. The number is a small increase from the 873 cases from the year before. As Susie Dunn, of Dunn’s Kiddie Kare, prepared the children for their role in posting the pinwheels, she explained that not all children have safe homes. “I explained it’s to help boys and girls who are sad and may not have a happy home,” Dunn said. This year the blue and silver pinwheels bear testament along Ohio 25 where motorists will easily see them, in the front yard of Thayer Ford/Nissan, 18039 Dixie Highway, Bowling Green. The annual display of pinwheels is part of Child Abuse Awareness Month in April. Field of pinwheels “This is to bring about awareness for child abuse and neglect – that it happens in every community,” said Sandi Carsey, administrator of Wood County Protective Services. The display serves as a reminder that not all children have carefree and loving lives. In addition to the countywide pinwheel field on Route 25, individual displays are once again being planted in communities to show the number of cases in each school district. In Bowling Green, that number is 234 abuse or neglect investigations last year – up from 198 the year before. Drug use by parents continues to be a factor in many of the cases. “Opiates are a big one, but we’re starting to see cocaine again,” Carsey said. The pinwheels are a visual reminder that the public needs to notify authorities about child abuse and neglect. “These are a reminder for all of us who get too busy in our regular lives to know what kids go through,” Children’s Resource Center Executive Director Janelle LaFond said. “The shiny pinwheels really catch your eye.” After helping the preschoolers plant the pinwheels, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson talked about the importance of the display. Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson helps a preschooler with pinwheels. “It’s important to bring attention and awareness to the horrible situations some kids face,” he said. Officials working on child abuse and neglect cases have to make tough decisions on separating, educating…


Superheroes and sidekicks invited to save the world at Super Dash

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News With their capes and super powers, children are being invited to save the world – or at least a few acres in Bowling Green. The annual Super Dash is planned for May 4, at 2 p.m., on the obstacle course behind the Bowling Green Community Center, at 1245 W. Newton Road. The event takes place one week after the “Avengers 4” movie hits theaters. “So the kids are all going to be in superhero mode,” said Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator with the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. “They will be entering the comic book world of make-believe.” Children are invited to come dressed as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Spiderman, Flash – or whatever they wish. “Some kids create their own original superhero,” Kovacevic said. “It’s almost like a Halloween in May.” Their powers will be tested by the obstacle course, which is a little more than a mile and has about 18 natural and man-made challenges along the route. There will be tires to jump through, pyramids to climb, tunnels to crawl through, climbing walls to scale, balance beams to cross, hurdles to jump and cargo nets to traverse. Best of all – at least for the kids – there will also be three mud trenches. Mud trenches along the obstacle course “There’s something about jumping around in the mud that is fun for everyone,” Kovacevic said. “The kids totally get into it. It’s fun to watch.” For parents who want to avoid mud in their Batmobiles on the way home, there will be wash stations and a hose behind the community center to clean off muddy superheroes. The costumed kids will follow a storyline as they climb, tunnel and jump through the course. They will have to earn “galaxy rings” along the way in order to stop the villains, Kovacevic said. “Basically, they are saving the world,” he said. Adults are allowed to dress up as superheroes to be the super sidekicks of their children along the obstacle course. If the adults are not sure of superhero identities, all they need to do is check out the movies. “Every month there’s a new superhero movie coming out,” Kovacevic said. The annual Super Dash will also feature a Hero Festival, featuring local hometown heroes – like police officers, firefighters, military members and BGSU athletes. The kids will be able to compete in…


Ice floe debris still keeping walleye anglers out of park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Most of the massive ice chunks have since melted, but the destruction from the ice floes in Buttonwood Park remains. The Wood County Park District Board made it official Tuesday, by voting unanimously on the resolution to close the park along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township for an indefinite period. Last month, the board saw photos of the destruction from the ice floe that towered over six feet high in some areas of the park. Trees between the river and the park parking lot bear scarring at least six feet high. The parking lot was demolished, and the soccer fields once covered with ice are now completely covered with debris left behind from the ice floes. This is not an ideal time to have the park closed, since the Maumee River is entering peak walleye season, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said. But there is just no way the park district can rebuild the parking lot and clean up all the debris quickly, Munger said. And the park district will likely rethink its parking lot and soccer field placements, since this is the second time in four years that the flooding has taken out the parking and sports facilities. Park staff walk past massive ice wall last month at Buttonwood Park. Conversations are planned with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine how the park district can use the floodplains there. Though Buttonwood Park is closed due to the damage, anglers can still access the Maumee River from Hull Prairie Road, a township road which acts as an entrance to the park. The road goes all the way to the river, and people can park along the roadway. The park district is allowing people fishing to walk along the bank of the river – but they must stay out of the woods, parking lot and soccer fields. Jeff Baney, assistant park director, said he is hoping to get an EPA permit to burn the wood debris on site. Park board member Bill Cameron asked about the possibility of volunteers helping to pick up the wood debris, and take what they want, so the wood wouldn’t be wasted. Baney said much of the wood is in large chunks, and would require the use of chainsaws. Though it would be good to find a use for the wood, “I’m not real…