Interfaith events express our dreams and hopes

The recent BG Interfaith Breakfast held at the Junior Fair Building was a success that drew 200 persons to celebrate not only different faiths but all parts of our community.  Congratulations to South Side Six, Grounds, co-chairs of our peace-making breakfast, our city administrators, our school teachers and leaders, and our citizens. In fact there have been hundreds of interfaith events here and around the country:  to name a few, there’s the Multi-Faith Council of NW Ohio Banquet, Temple Shomer Emumin’s Interfaith Seder, the spring National Prayer Day held annually since 1952 (sadly, ours next spring will depart from its interfaith purpose), and Al Gore’s “interfaith service” at the Atlanta Ebenizer Baptist Church where 600 persons gathered.  Most of us gather in interfaith groups at work, school, sports, card games, houses of worship, and families without recognizing them as such. We take the diversity of those groups for granted, but by calling them “interfaith,” we intentionally attend to each other, identify our religious community or none, seeking understanding of our similarities and differences, learning from them, erasing stereotypes, agreeing to live together in respect and peace. Interfaith events are a forceful response to our toxic divisions and national polarization, fault lines that have caused anger, social fragmentation and violence.  We know that each of us can be seen as “the other.” But when we are truly together, friendships are born.  When we sponsor interfaith dinners, seders, climate talks, or workshops, and when we interact as real persons., we question stereotypes, there are no “others” and we reach across the tables in solidarity. Although it is not considered religious, Edward Hicks’ painting The Peaceable Kingdom (1833) exemplifies Quaker ideals of equality, criminal and social justice, peace, protecting the earth and seeking personal wholeness and social harmony. The animals and children are taken from Isaiah 11:6–8 including the lion eating straw with the ox. Hicks used his paintings as a way to define his central interest, which was the quest for a redeemed soul.  May those images of lions and oxen together enter our dreams and hopes. Tom Klein Bowling Green

Fire – not Roundup – used to maintain prairie at Wintergarden Park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News As the flames grew and the heat from the fire hit her face, Cinda Stutzman smiled with satisfaction. She knows the controlled burn of about 10 acres this morning at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve is a part of the life cycle for the prairie area. “I very much look forward to this. It’s like Christmas for me,” said Stutzman, natural resources specialist with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. “I know what it’s going to do for the habitat.” In the section first burned this morning, some native prickly pear cactus plants were exposed after being hidden before by long grasses. “They’ll perk right back up,” and park visitors will be able to view their big flowers this year, Stutzman said. “It’s a rejuvenating force,” she said. “We’re still trying to beat up on the sassafras that is trying to encroach, and the blackberries are kind of aggressive.” Controlled burns are performed every year in different parts of the park, explained Chris Gajewicz, natural resources coordinator with the city. The burns can only be conducted in certain weather. “Today is a perfect day,” Gajewicz said. There were clear skies, no gusty winds, and low humidity so the smoke would rise. The goal is to burn the woody saplings and invasive species in the prairie. The native species there will return after the burn – and some actually benefit with the fire aiding their germination, Gajewicz said. The burn was conducted by members of the Hancock County Pheasants Forever organization. Ronald Gossard said he has been doing controlled burns for about 20 years. “It’s always stressful,” Gossard said, keeping a watchful eye on the flames as they moved across the prairie. Fire has been used for centuries to maintain the land. “The Indians did that for feeding the buffalo,” Gossard said. “We’re going back to the native way – not using Roundup.” While the controlled burn leaves the earth barren and black, it doesn’t take long for life to return, Gajewicz said. “It will look black and then in a couple days it will rain,” he said – at least that’s the weather forecast his knee was predicting. Then the native plant material in the soil will be rejuvenated.

Second bomb threat mailed in BG, this one to Panera

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A bomb threat was received at Panera Bread, in downtown Bowling Green, this morning around 10:24, according to Bowling Green Police Division. The restaurant was inspected by police and a bomb-sniffing dog, and no bomb was found. “We do not believe it’s credible,” BG Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said around noon. The business is open for business. This is the second bomb threat mailed to locations in Bowling Green in the last two days. The letter received today appears similar to the letter received Monday at Kenwood Elementary School. “We don’t know if it’s related,” Mancuso said. “It’s under investigation.” The mailed threat was opened Monday at Kenwood around 3:30 p.m., after school was let out for the day. According to Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci, the message was a hand-scribbled letter stating that a pipe bomb had been placed in the school. The letter reportedly had a bogus return address on the envelope. Both letters will be sent to a lab at the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for testing. Bowling Green Police Division performed a sweep of the school building Monday, using Bowling Green State University Police Department’s bomb-sniffing dog. Additional security is posted at the district’s school buildings today. Mancuso advised that anyone receiving a threat of any kind contact the police division. “We want them to call us immediately so we can determine if it’s a credible threat,” Mancuso said. Anyone with further information on the two bomb threats is urged to contact the Bowling Green Police Division at 419-352-2571 or Wood County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME (419-352-0077).

Safe Communities has a message for those who text & drive

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Wood County Safe Communities has announced that there have been three fatal crashes in Wood County for the calendar year 2019, compared to five the same time frame in 2018. *** Many of us have witnessed a distracted driver; they are often easy to spot. Some reading this article, may even admit to driving distracted in the past. With so many individuals, tuned into smartphones, texting from behind the wheel has become one of the most common causes of fatalities on the roads.That is why, Safe Communities of Wood County is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reach all drivers with an important warning: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some ways. Additionally, each year, over 330,000 accidents cause by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. Meaning, over 78 percent of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.Driving distracted is a life or death issue. Many do not understand how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road, hands of the wheel, and concentration off the task of driving safely it only takes a few seconds, to change your life or someone else’s. As a result, this April, the police presence on Ohio roads will increase. Anyone caught texting and driving will pay the price. “Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel,” said Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator for Wood County. “Do the right thing – put your phone away when you get behind the wheel.

BG asked to stand up to stop hate attacks like assault at Waffle House

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News One week after two teenagers were beat up at the Bowling Green Waffle House, reportedly for being brown, more than 50 community members gathered at a church to prevent that type of attack from happening again. Some were sad about the hatred and injustice. Some were mad that the community keeps waging the same battles. “We are all appalled and disgusted by the totally unprovoked attack on these two men,” said Bowling Green City Council member Bruce Jeffers. “We abhor this kind of hateful attack.” Two area men have been arrested for using racist slurs and beating up the two customers at the Waffle House. One of the victims reported the attackers said President Donald Trump would deal with immigrants like them. Bowling Green Police Division has arrested Jacob Dick, 22, North Baltimore, and Zachary Keller, 21, of Custar, for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation. Waffle House employees told police that two men walked into the restaurant, and another table of men began to harass them, calling them racial slurs for Hispanic and black people. Three employees said the two victims – Justin Hartford, 18, of Mount Cory, and Zarrick Ramirez, 18, of Findlay – did nothing to provoke the others. After paying their bills, Dick and Keller went over to Hartford and Ramirez’s table and began assaulting them. “They do not embody anything about Bowling Green,” Jeffers said about the men arrested for the attack For two years, Bowling Green officials have been working to show that this community is a welcome place for immigrants. “It feels like a setback to our efforts to be a welcoming city,” Jeffers said. “We gather here tonight to find a way we can simply do better.” Beatriz Maya, of La Conexion, voices frustration. But while city leaders and residents may say “this is not who we are,” Susana Pena has heard that too often over the years. “That is part of what Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio is,” Pena said. The community may be in denial, and blind to the “daily injustices, slights and acts of racism that never reach the newspaper,” she said. “This is our community. That’s not saying that this is who we want to be.” When Not In Our Town was founded a few years ago, Pena thought this battle was put to rest. “I feel like we’re reinventing the wheel….

Those buried in Paupers’ Cemetery no longer unnamed

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News There are no war heroes buried in the Wood County Paupers’ Cemetery. No elected officials, no celebrities. Until Saturday, they didn’t even have names. Buried in the graves – with just numbers and no names on the tombstones – are people who relied on the charity of the county poor farm for their shelter, food and clothing. There were Civil War widows, oil workers, blacksmiths, peddlers, tramps, farmers, shoemakers and steeplejacks. The one gravemarker standing out from the small tablet size stones memorializes Catherine Andelfinger, who lived at the county poor farm from 1814 to 1902. Andelfinger saved her husband’s pension to buy a real tombstone – unlike all the others who were probably fortunate to have an unmarked burial space in the Paupers’ Cemetery. But after several decades of being laid to rest in unmarked graves, the Wood County Historical Center dedicated a monument to those buried there – naming 252 people who could be documented with their final resting places in the cemetery. Historical center volunteer Hal Brown takes photos of the Paupers’ Cemetery. And Saturday, people who care about the history of the county gathered in the Paupers Cemetery, located on the grounds of the county historical center, formerly the poor farm which took in the less fortunate, sick, mentally ill and destitute. “I could not be more proud to be part of this today,” said Kelli Kling, director of the historical center and museum. “As with everything we do here, now begins the history lesson,” Kling said to the audience. The county infirmary operated at the site for more than a century, from 1869 to 1971. The county tried to treat all the residents with respect and dignity, said Judy Ennis, president of the Wood County Historical Society Board. However, when residents passed away, their plots were marked with just numbers. At one point, there was reportedly a chart connecting names with the numbers, but that disappeared decades ago. But even that plot map may not have helped, since stories tell of a caretaker in the 1950s who removed the grave markers because they were too difficult to mow around. Some were reportedly placed in the basement of the infirmary. Others, the story goes, were taken to build a patio at one of the worker’s homes. At some point, the stones in the basement were returned to the cemetery…

Take the long way home – may become motto for BG motorists

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green residents had been warned that this would be a challenging year as they tried to traverse their way across town. In a couple weeks, the patience of motorists will be further tested. Bowling Green Public Works Director Brian Craft reminded City Council Monday evening that starting on April 15, the south half of the Interstate 75 bridge deck on East Wooster Street will be closing for the roundabout construction. So traffic will be able to go eastbound to do their shopping at Meijer, Craft said. But they will have to take the long way home. Construction of the I-75 and East Wooster Street interchange project has been progressing with minimal impacts to traffic thus far, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. However, in order to construct the rest of the bridge and the roundabouts on either side of I-75, there are some upcoming impacts to East Wooster Street’s traffic flow. From April 15 through May 19, only eastbound Wooster Street will be permitted over I-75. Westbound Wooster Street traffic will be detoured using Dunbridge Road to Poe Road to Mercer Road. Beginning with that restriction and going through July, the ramp from Wooster Street to northbound I-75 will be closed. The detour will be Dunbridge Road to U.S. 6 to I-75. All other ramps will remain open. Then from May 20 through July, Wooster Street over I-75 will be closed to all traffic. All traffic will be detoured using Dunbridge Road to Poe Road to Mercer Road. This is to construct the roundabouts. Also on Monday, City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the city to enter contracts for design, engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction of a roundabout at East Wooster Street and Campbell Hill Road. In other business, Mayor Dick Edwards talked about the natural gas break caused by construction work in the downtown last week. “It really caused us a great deal of stress,” especially since it followed a waterline break in the same area the day before. But Edwards praised the response by the city police, firefighters, public utilities and public works crews. “I was really impressed by the way everyone responded,” he said. Also at the meeting, Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell reported that all six water filters at the water treatment plant will be up and working in time for the harmful algae season. Council President…

Two men arrested for racist attack in BG Waffle House (update)

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Two area men have been arrested for using racist slurs and beating up two customers at the Waffle House in Bowling Green. One of the victims reported the attackers said President Donald Trump would deal with immigrants like them. Bowling Green Police Division has arrested Jacob Dick, 22, North Baltimore, and Zachary Keller, 21, of Custar, for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation. They are being held in the Wood County Justice Center. Police received a call Sunday, around 3:26 a.m., about an assault at Waffle House, at 1548 E. Wooster St. Waffle House employees told police that two men walked into the restaurant, and another table of men began to harass them, calling them racial slurs for Hispanic and black people. Three employees said the two victims – Justin Hartford, 18, of Mount Cory, and Zarrick Ramirez, 18, of Findlay – did nothing to provoke the others. Zarrick Ramirez (left) and Justin Hartford at the skate park in BG City Park. “As soon as we walked into the Waffle House, they started saying ‘here come the s—-.’ And telling us how Trump was going to take care of us immigrants,” Hartford said. Then they started calling Hartford the N-word, multiple times, he said. It got so heated at one point that employees said they had to physically stand between the men taunting and Hartford and Ramirez. Other customers became uncomfortable and left the restaurant, the wait staff said. Police talked with one of the customers in Waffle House at the time, who also stated the victims did nothing to provoke the attack. “We weren’t saying anything to them. That’s the craziest thing,” Hartford said. “It was based on just the way we looked. That is so messed up – who cares what anybody looks like.” Hartford and Ramirez asked to move to another table further from the men using the slurs. “It was making me uncomfortable,” Hartford said. “I’ve been discriminated against before, but not anything like this. You’d expect this from somewhere in the south. But we’re in Ohio.” After Hartford and Ramirez moved, and the table of men seemed to calm, some of the Waffle House employees went outside for a break. Dick and Keller then came up to pay their bill, an employee said. The men were identified by the credit card Dick used to pay, and by another patron…

BG residents may soon be strolling on wider sidewalks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Future sidewalks installed in Bowling Green may allow for wider loads. The Bowling Green Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday evening to change city standards for sidewalks – making them easier for people to use if they are walking side by side, or if they come across someone from the other direction. City Council will make the final decision on the sidewalk widths. Public Works Director Brian Craft had suggested that the city change its required sidewalk widths from 4 to 5 feet. The extra foot would be taken from the city right-of-way. The new wider sidewalks would become part of the city’s subdivision regulations, and would be required for all new sidewalks, said City Planning Director Heather Sayler. Sidewalks already in place will not be replaced with wider walkways unless large portions of a sidewalk are being redone, Craft said. During the public hearing Wednesday evening on the sidewalk ordinance change, only one city resident spoke – and he was against the widening. “I and my neighbors are against wider sidewalks,” said Ken Gutbrod, of Flanders Avenue. “When I look up and down the street, nobody is walking up and down the street.” In the neighborhood by Stone Ridge Golf Course, the residents all work to afford those homes – so they have no time to take a stroll on sidewalks, Gutbrod said. Not only are sidewalks not used, but wider walkways will cost more to maintain, he said. “When you widen a sidewalk, it devalues the house. People prefer to look at the green, not the concrete,” he said. Gutbrod also suggested that the city set priorities. And spending on sidewalks will hurt the school district – which ought to be a priority. Planning Commission President Jeff Betts explained to Gutbrod that there are no plans to retroactively widen sidewalks. “There’s no money for that,” Betts said. “I don’t think you need to be concerned that somebody’s going to force the people on Flanders Avenue to widen their sidewalks. I don’t think you should be concerned that your neighborhood is going to change.” Betts said that younger people are interested in wider sidewalks, and standards in the region reflect that change. “It seems pretty clear with all the information we’ve been given, this is something we need to do for Bowling Green – to better the community,” Betts said. Betts also explained…

Poe and Main light back at work – a bit of good road construction news

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Finally, something has gone right for Bowling Green and its increasing clogs of road construction. The traffic light at North Main and Poe roads is functioning – after fears that it might have been out of service for weeks after a car crash took out the traffic light control panel on Tuesday morning. As of early this afternoon, the light is back. “This is good news,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said. “It’s gone from a four-way stop to functioning as it was before.” The city’s electric division spent long hours Tuesday and early this morning trying to program a replacement computer control box. But to no avail, Fawcett said. So crews located another control box and gave that a try – with success. The custom built control boxes cost about $100,000 each, so the city does not have spares on hand, Fawcett explained on Tuesday. It was feared the intersection may have had to function as a four-way stop for weeks until a control box was located that would work. “The city appreciates the public’s patience and understanding,” Fawcett said. This is the year of heavy road construction in Bowling Green – with East Wooster Street at Interstate 75 torn up for roundabout construction, and Main Street torn up in the downtown for water and sewer work. Twice last week, construction had to stop downtown after a waterline was struck one day, and a natural gas line the next day.

Interfaith Breakfast builds bridges rather than barriers

By JAN LARSON BG Independent News In a world frantic to build higher fences, the breakfast in Bowling Green instead offered a bigger table. The fifth annual Community Interfaith Breakfast brought together Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims. Breaking bread at the same tables were students, senior citizens, teachers, and elected officials. The breakfasts began five years ago, after Not In Our Town Bowling Green was created as a response to racist incidents in the community. “So here we are, five years later. Strong and united,” said Mayor Dick Edwards. “Committed to the Golden Rule.” The theme of this year’s breakfast was “Building peace when there is no peace.” Mayor Dick Edwards speaks, surrounded by council members Mike Aspacher, Greg Robinette, John Zanfardino, Sandy Rowland and Bruce Jeffers. Bowling Green City Schools Superintendent Francis Scruci talked about the conflict in the world. “Everywhere we look, we see unrest,” Scruci said. “We see a world conflicted by hate and ignorance.” Yet on playgrounds, children play with each other regardless of race, color or socio-economic backgrounds. “We forget the importance of childhood innocence,” Scruci said. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with each of us.” Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers talked about the ongoing effort needed to bring about peace. “Every day we must work to build a more just society,” he said. This year’s program featured local residents representing different faiths, talking about stereotypes, inclusion and diversity. A videotape showed Herb Dettmer representing conservative Christianity, Rachel Feldman representing Judaism, Simon Morgan-Russell representing Buddhism, Ahmad Mehmood representing Islam, Vijaya Shrestha representing Hinduism, and Marcy St. John representing progressive Christianity. Feldman shared stories of people putting swastikas in her high school yearbook. Mehmood told of people shouting “go back to your country” as he rode his bicycle through Bowling Green. And St. John talked about being labeled as the wrong kind of Christian because she advocates for LGBTQ rights. All spoke about how their faiths call on them to be kind to others, regardless of their differences. “My faith doesn’t call for a higher fence. It calls for a bigger table,” St. John said. The breakfast program also featured a panel of speakers from different faiths, reacting to the video. Artwork by BG Middle School student The image of a bigger table “really resonated with me,” said Phil Dickinson, whose faith is Buddhism. “It’s about being kind…

Local Masons starting chapter of Order of DeMolay

Submitted by The Wood County Masonic Lodge What does Walt Disney, John Wayne, Neil Armstrong, Dan Rather, and you have in common?  Membership in a century old youth fraternity known as the Order of DeMolay. The Order of DeMolay is an international all-male youth organization (12-21yo) founded by Frank S Land in Kansas City, Missouri, upon seven principles: Filial Love, Reverence for sacred things, Courtesy, Comradeship, Fidelity, Cleanness, and Patriotism.  These guiding principles help young men to build leadership and team building skills, along with time management. Interested in finding out more information?  The Bowling Green Chapter of DeMolay is hosting an informational meeting / open house at Wood County Lodge on Monday, April 8 at 7:00pm – Address: 159 N. Main St, Bowling Green, OH – 3rd Floor.   Questions?? Check out or email or call/text (419) 348-0936

BG Council moves ahead on buying downtown property

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council took the first steps Monday to create more metered parking downtown, provide restrooms for Wooster Green, and preserve the location of Four Corners Center. Council evoked an emergency clause so it could have both the first and second readings of an ordinance for the issuance of $890,000 in bonds for buying four parcels of land on South Church and South Main streets. But one citizen, Nathan Eberly, questioned whether or not the city could handle such an expense. “After hearing for two years that we have budget issues,” Eberly said. “What risk is the city taking that might be an undue burden?” Eberly also criticized the council for pushing ahead on the issue, without allowing for three separate readings to give the public an opportunity to speak on the land purchase. Council assured him that while the bonds ordinance was moving along quickly, the actual property purchase would be given three separate readings. Some on council tried to explain the wisdom in the property purchase. “Mr. Eberly raises a legitimate question,” council member Bruce Jeffers said. “We have to be careful,” Jeffers agreed. However, the land became available and city officials saw an opportunity. “We tend to look at the big picture and the long term,” Jeffers said. Council member Sandy Rowland echoed that support for the land purchases. “Sometimes an opportunity falls at your feet,” she said. “You just couldn’t ask for anything better. We had one opportunity to buy it at a good price.” 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 bathrooms 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…

Crash takes out traffic light controls at Poe and Main – four-way stop for now

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News A driver lost control around 10:40 this morning, crashing his vehicle through the traffic cabinet – the big box that has computer controls for the traffic light – at Poe and North Main streets. “We have no power to the lights,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said shortly after noon. So police are directing traffic at the intersection. At that time, Fawcett said that because the traffic cabinet controls are so specialized, it could be weeks until it is replaced and the intersection is back to its normal routine. However, later in the afternoon a replacement traffic cabinet was located. And this evening, the Electric Division and Public Works Division continue to work on connecting the replacement traffic cabinet. Once the cabinet is installed, the traffic lights should operate as normal. However, the temporary traffic pattern will remain in place through today and into Wednesday. A definitive duration is unknown at this time, Fawcett said. Until the lights are working properly, traffic cones and electronic message board are being set up to restrict lanes of travel, Fawcett said. The intersection is being treated as a four-way stop. Eastbound and westbound traffic on Poe Road will be limited to one lane. Northbound Main Street will also be restricted to one lane. Southbound Main Street will have two lanes open – one for right turns and one for straight traffic. No left turns will be permitted until the lights are functioning again. The city does not have any spare traffic light cabinets because they cost about $100,000. “A backup would be a very expensive luxury,” he said. Even if the city could locate a spare cabinet, Fawcett said it may be programmed with sequences different than the one previously at the Poe-North Main intersection. “So, it may be a four-way stop for awhile,” Fawcett said around noon. The city is asking that motorists use other routes if possible. “If people can avoid that intersection that would be helpful,” Fawcett said.

Plastic bag decision up to City Council or BG voters?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News As if plastic bag legislation in Bowling Green wasn’t controversial enough already, another item was added to the cart Monday evening. Of the three-member City Council committee working on plastic bag legislation, one thinks citizens should vote on the issue, one thinks council should decide the matter, and one is somewhere in the middle. After taking public comment on the issue, council member Bill Herald presented his 32-page PowerPoint on how a policy could be formulated. He suggested that council come up with proposed legislation that citizens could vote on in November. “The citizens would have the responsibility to vote it up or down,” Herald said. At that point council member John Zanfardino interrupted Herald’s presentation. “I’m not agreeing to that,” Zanfardino said. The job to pass legislation regulating single-use plastic bags belongs to council, he said. “We need to have the courage to do that,” Zanfardino said. Herald objected to that characterization, and said putting the issue on the ballot was “not shunning our duty.” “The citizens then have the right to say what kind of city do they want to be in,” Herald said. The council committee is holding multiple meetings to hear comments from the public. And if citizens object to the legislation, they can petition to put it on the ballot, Zanfardino said. Zanfardino thanked Herald for his comprehensive presentation, but added, “I want to strongly say I think council needs to address this. You can’t hand this off. That’s our burden.” The chairman of the council committee – Mark Hollenbaugh – did not weigh in on the issue. “This is in no way close to final,” Hollenbaugh said of any plastic bag legislation. “We can duke it out” as discussions continue. The goal of the Community Improvement Committee is to determine if there are recommended actions which can reduce or eliminate single-use plastic bags in the city. Herald said any plastic bag legislation must be a phased-in, multi-faceted comprehensive plan involving citizens and community groups. If passed by voters this fall, it would not be implemented until December of 2020. The legislation must balance the city’s desire to be a good steward of the environment, while not unduly inconveniencing citizens or adversely affecting businesses, he said. This could be an opportunity to showcase Bowling Green as a community that thoroughly tackles problems in a kind-hearted, balanced and innovative…