Community

BG to try for medical marijuana moratorium

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Earlier this year, state legislators approved a medical marijuana bill, making Ohio the 25th state to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes. But when House Bill 523 goes into effect next Thursday, city officials hope to have their own medical marijuana restrictions in place. On Tuesday, Bowling Green City Council’s agenda shows the first reading of a resolution imposing a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana cultivation, processing and retail dispensary facilities in the city. When the legislation was passed in June, the state cautioned it could take up to a year to be fully implemented. “Like the state, the city of Bowing Green also needs time to work on its regulations as they relate to medical marijuana,” the resolution explanation states. The city resolution would impose a year-long moratorium on medical marijuana growth, processing and sales. The moratorium will also cover the submission, consideration and approval of all applications for special permits, use permits, building permits and other permits from the planning or zoning departments for cultivating, processing or retail dispensing of medical marijuana. House Bill 523 includes a provision allowing municipalities to adopt resolutions to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors or retail dispensaries licensed under the new law. The city planning department will be directed to begin research and come up with recommendations “necessary to preserve the public health, safety and welfare through regulatory controls for medical marijuana growing, processing or sales.” The resolution is proposed to go into effect immediately as an emergency measure and to be in place prior to House Bill 523 going into effect on Sept. 8. “Note that implementing this legislation is not a long-term decision for the city,” according to the legislative package that went out to all council members for Tuesday’s meeting. “It simply provides the time that we need to fully vet this issue. As stated, there are many issues the city needs to consider…


Brown Bag Food Project seeking new home

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project needs to move out of mom’s house. The charity which provides emergency food and other essential items to those who find themselves in crisis has been storing its inventory in Peg Holland’s garage and spare room. Holland is the mother of Amy Jo Holland, the founder of the Brown Bag Food Project. The project was founded last year. It received its tax deductible status in June, 2015. Amy Jo Holland created it when she learned that some fellow workers at the local Walmart didn’t have enough to eat. From that act grew a project that now feeds about 200 people a month. The Brown Bag mission is to help people get over an emergency so they can seek more permanent help. They provide both non-perishable and fresh items as well as personal hygiene items and toiletries including diapers. Given that the calls can come at any time, Brown Bag has to have items on hand. Right now that’s at Peg Holland’s house. The inventory is outgrowing the space, and the lack of a real home is also hindering the operation. Amy Jo Holland said having a local space would allow them to purchase food from places like Northwest Ohio Food Bank at a much lower price than they can buy it retail. With the winter much of what is in the garage would have to move indoors, and Peg Holland doesn’t know where she’d put it. Peg Holland, who is on the project’s board, said they’ve been offered commercial shelves. Those shelves, her daughter said, would be great because they would allow volunteers to only handle the items once, instead of packing and unpacking them. The project has also been offered another refrigerator, which is does not have room for. There’s also an issue of safety and privacy for Peg Holland of having strangers whether picking up food or volunteers coming in and out…


BG to hold large item refuse pickup starting Sept. 12

Bowling Green will hold its large item refuse pickup starting on Sept. 12. The large item pickup is conducted to pick up furniture, appliances and similar household items which are too heavy, or too large to be handled by the refuse trucks. Refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers will not be picked up by the city refuse crews. Mattresses and box springs will be collected for an additional fee. The fee is $25 for the first mattress or box spring and $15 per additional mattress or box spring up to a total of three. The fee must be paid prior to collection at 304 N. Church St., in the public works office, phone 419-354-6227. This service is provided anytime of the year, not just at large item refuse collection. Items must be placed curbside by 7 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 12, to ensure pickup. Items may be placed curbside no earlier than 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11. Pickup will start in Ward 1 and proceed through all four wards. Once the crew leaves a street, they will not return. Pickup is by ward and not by the normal refuse collection day. The city crews will collect the large items throughout the city independent of the normal refuse collection schedule. Additional information can be found at www.bgohio.org /Public Works Division. This is not an unlimited refuse collection. As with the city’s normal residential trash pickup, the large item collection is only for one- and two-family dwellings and is not for those places presently served by private trash haulers. By law, the city is not authorized to pick up building materials, construction or demolition refuse, sod, rocks or yard waste. Property owners make take these items to the Wood County Landfill for a fee.



Study looks at water options besides Toledo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County needs water from the Maumee River or Lake Erie, but there may be a way to cut out Toledo as the middle man, according to the Water Source Evaluation Study commissioned by the Wood County Economic Development Commission. The study, presented to the Wood County Commissioners earlier this week was intended to ensure good water, at good rates, and give the county control over its own destiny, according to Jack Jones, of Poggemeyer Design Group which prepared the study. The study accomplished its intended goals by not only identifying water options for Wood County, but also by showing Toledo that viable alternatives exist. But as with anything as complicated as supplying water to a region, “the devil’s in the details,” which have yet to be ironed out, Jones said. The study identified three options for water in the northern part of Wood County, which now gets Toledo water distributed primarily by Perrysburg or the Northwestern Water and Sewer District. Those options are: City of Bowling Green’s water system with expanded reservoir space. Maumee River regional water plant with an intake and reservoir. Maumee River/Lake Erie Bayshore water intake, with a regional water plant and reservoir. Working with Bowling Green’s water plant “has the best implementation potential,” the study stated. The city water treatment plant is a state-of-the-art existing operation that already uses membrane treatment technology. A future reservoir is already being considered, and land has already been purchased for a plant expansion, the report said. All of the options would involve building a huge reservoir, possibly between 200 and 400 acres. Jones mentioned that some regions also use such large reservoirs as recreational sites. Wood County customers have long questioned the price of Toledo water, but also began to doubt the quality after the water crisis in the summer of 2014, when people were warned to not drink water from Toledo due to the algal…


NAMI offers classes on mental illness issues

(As submitted by National Alliance on Mental Illness of Wood County) Family-to-Family class Those who care for or about people with mental illness face daily challenges. Their loved ones’ symptoms can be hard to understand and even harder to live with. They may wonder how best to help their loved one, or to get help for him or her. That’s why NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Wood County offers its free Family-to- Family class. This course for relatives, caregivers, and friends of people with mental illness educates participants about mental illness’ symptoms and treatments. It educates them about local resources, helping them to navigate through the mental health system. Family-to- Family begins September 12 at 5:30 PM in the NAMI Wood County office (541 West Wooster, Bowling Green.) The twelve-week course also allows participants to share coping strategies with each other. Its trained facilitators have also cared for family members struggling with mental illness. Family-to- Family was one of the first classes NAMI Wood County offered when it formed in 1987. Graduates of the course give it high marks. One graduate stated: “My outlook on our son and his mental illness has changed. I now understand why he does what he does and have a different outlook on dealing with it. “ Another says: “The class has been life-changing. “ Family-to- Family has been designated an evidence-based practice by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The class combines presentations, personal testimonials, and exercises in an informal, relaxed setting. Family-to- Family is just one of the many free courses and support groups NAMI Wood County offers. For more information on other classes and events, please call NAMI Wood County at (419) 352-0626 or go online at www.namiwoodcounty.org. Peer-to-Peer class Mental illness is common; one in four American families has a member living with it. Despite the numbers, however, people struggling with these disorders can feel isolated. Friends and even family may…


Science – not politics – needed to save Lake Erie

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Protecting the health of Lake Erie can be an emotional issue – but the Wood County Commissioners were advised Tuesday to stick to the science. Bob Midden, a biochemist at BGSU, asked to speak to the commissioners about the health of Lake Erie. He encouraged them to ignore the politics and focus on science when deciding what to do. “Science can play a very valuable role in addressing these things,” he said. But politics often get in the way, and make decisions suspect. “What’s more important is to find a way to reduce algal blooms,” Midden said. In the last month or so, the county commissioners have heard a request from environmentalists that they join other elected officials in the region seeking an “impaired designation” for Lake Erie. And they have heard from a local farmer requesting that they let the agricultural community continue to make improvements rather than adding more regulations. Midden did not push for either approach, but instead suggested that the commissioners look at strategies that have worked elsewhere. Do voluntary measures work, he asked. “This is a complex issue,” he said. “But also a very important and very urgent issue. We’ve got a lot at stake.” At stake are the economics of both the lake and agriculture. “We don’t want to sacrifice one for the other,” he said. Also at risk is the health of humans and animals. Midden said ingestion of the algal blooms can cause liver damage, gastrointestinal problems, and death to humans and animals. “It can kill people,” he said. And long-term exposure may cause cancer. Midden warned that a lack of action will lead to disastrous results. “We’ve got to get it under control,” he said. “You can consider Lake Erie to be a cesspool eventually if we don’t do anything.” The commissioners have seen people point fingers at farmers for the problem, and farmers point fingers at overflowing…


Wood County jail now taking in Toledo inmates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Starting Thursday, Toledo will be paying Wood County Justice Center $50,000 a month to save 25 beds at the jail for inmates from Toledo. A deal was struck late Tuesday night, resulting in Toledo sending anyone being sentenced for misdemeanors under the municipal code to be housed at the Wood County jail, located on East Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, explained that Toledo officials turned south to this county for a solution to its inmate issues after an ongoing feud over charges to the city from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker. The city of Toledo missed a July 1 deadline to pay a $1.3 million quarterly bill for its share of beds at the regional jail. By intentionally failing to pay the bill for 228 of the facility’s 638 beds, the city set the scene to withdraw from using the regional jail. The jail agreement reportedly stated that entities that default on payments longer than 60 days will not be able to house inmates there. Wasylyshyn said Toledo’s failure to pay the bill at Stryker does not worry him. “Toledo will pay up front,” Wasylyshyn said Wednesday. So when the first Toledo inmate arrives at Wood County’s jail, Toledo will turn over a $50,000 check. That amount will guarantee the city 25 beds at the jail for the month. “I know they are going to pay it, because they are paying it in advance,” he said. On top of the monthly $50,000, Toledo will also pay Wood County $65 per day for each inmate and a $40 booking fee per inmate. Toledo will also pay for transportation costs to the county jail. “It’s a very good thing for Wood County,” Wasylyshyn said. “It’s a good thing for Toledo and for Lucas County,” since that county does not have room for the additional Toledo inmates. “It’s a good thing for…


Lily Parker blossoms as Black Swamp Arts Festival volunteer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When a 9-year-old Lily Parker first showed up to volunteer at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bill Donnelly, who coordinates artist hospitality, sent her out with an adult to deliver water to exhibitors. Twenty minutes later, he said, she was back. “I was glad she had lasted that long.” Little did he know that this was just the start. The 14-year-old Bowling Green High School freshman has continued to volunteer at the festival – and for other community events. Donnelly said that first year: “At Lily’s suggestion, they loaded coffee vats, PB&J, bread and silverware onto the … delivery wagon and rolled back out with their hospitality upgrade. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. … Lily has been a go-to volunteer for me for six years. I admire her initiative and hard work, her character, and her passion for the festival.” That passion has been passed down to her through her family. Her grandfather Tom McLaughlin Sr. exhibited in the first show and chaired the visual arts committee during the early years. Both her mother, Penny Parker, and her father, Tom McLaughlin Jr., were volunteers. Her father, who died earlier this year, was a stalwart on the performing arts committee, and a regular presence backstage. Lily said it will be hard this year without him there. She shows a photo on her phone with her and her father and music legend Richie Havens backstage in 2006. Lily’s stepfather, Dave Shaffer, chairs the festival committee. “This is something I always really liked doing,” she said. She’s one of about 1,000 volunteers it takes to stage the annual event. The festival depends on people to assist with every aspect. Those wishing to volunteer should visit: http://www.blackswampfest.org/volunteer/ How much will Lily work festival weekend, Sept. 9-11? “Probably as much as I can, as much as they need me.” She expects on Friday she’ll head out with Donnelly to do shopping…


BG residents want action on neighborhood plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   By the end of the evening, each table was cluttered with huge sheets of paper listing ideas to revitalize neighborhoods in Bowling Green. The suggestions were widely varied, but linked by one common desire of local residents – they want action. “How many of you are sick of planning and want to see something happen?” asked Adam Rosa, from the consultant group Camiros, from Chicago. The question caused hands to shoot up around the Crim Elementary cafeteria, where nearly 100 people had gathered Tuesday to participate in the process. Rosa then showed an image from the “Animal House” movie. “This is kind of the opposite of what we are going for,” he said. Instead, the goals are to increase the livability, opportunity, vitality and education of the community. And to do that, the Camiros consultants need community input. “This is all about you telling us about your neighborhood,” Rosa said during the first public meeting of the revitalization process. The Bowling Green Community Action Plan will focus on the East Side of the city, where the needs have been identified as the greatest. But the plan will be applied to all areas of the city, Rosa said. Camiros has worked with the special challenges faced by university communities elsewhere, such as the homes to Notre Dame, Indiana State, University of Chicago, Bradley University and Lawrence University. The city of Bowling Green was compared with Kent – showing very similar demographics in population, income levels and percentage of student rental units. Though the statistics were almost identical, the photographs from the two communities showed very different uses of open space, business sites and areas uniting the city to the campus. The photos from Kent showed a bike boulevard to connect the community and university, a “Poetry Park” on open space, and attractive businesses. During their initial observations of Bowling Green, the consultants noted a very livable urban area…


Chloe Higgins still a winner to BG

Stacey and Jeff Higgins learned today that their 11 year old daughter, Chloe, did not receive the most votes in the NFL Rush Kid Reporter Contest. As previously reported, Chloe was chosen as one of three finalists in a national kids’ sports writing contest based on her essay about her favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks. The public was able to vote on their favorite story once per day per device. Chloe was the only female finalist. Chloe’s mother Stacey took to Facebook this evening upon learning the results in order to thank everyone for their support. “Jeff and I received the news today that Chloe was not the grand prize winner in the NFL RUSH Kid Reporter Contest. While this is disappointing, she is still a winner to us! We will let you know what game her finalist prize includes when we know. We do wish to sincerely THANK ALL OF YOU that voted, posted, shared. and cheered her on. This has been a great experience even without the grand prize, and we are so appreciative of your support and encouragement. Both our girls are pretty darn amazing and it’s a privilege to have them celebrated by you.” Chloe is certainly still a winner to her family, friends, and all of Bowling Green. According to the NFL Rush website, she will receive a finalist prize of two tickets to a nearby regular season NFL game.


School bus driver shortage causing route delays

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wanted: Someone willing to get behind the wheel of a school bus as early as 5:50 a.m., to drive 60 unchaperoned students to and from school each day. Not exactly a dream job. “I’ve always said bus drivers are the bravest people I know. They turn their back on 60 teenagers,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said Monday. Like many school districts, Bowling Green City Schools is having trouble filling the drivers’ seats in its buses. On Tuesday afternoon, Scruci sent out an email to all parents and guardians informing them of problems the shortage might cause. Some of the solutions to the shortage will result in some late drop off times on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to the email. Following are some of the problems expected: On Wednesday, Bus 22 has no driver. Buses possibly impacted will be 4, 8, 20, 21.  This will probably delay drop off times for Kenwood Elementary students riding those buses. On Thursday, Bus 22 has no driver. Buses possibly impacted will be 4, 8, 20, 21.  This will probably delay drop off times for Kenwood Elementary students riding those buses. Also Bus 3 for the high school has no driver.  Buses impacted will be 2, 4, 8,17.  This will likely delay high school and Crim Elementary students. On Friday, Bus 3 for high school has no driver.  Buses impacted will be 2, 4, 8, 17.  This will likely delay high school and Crim Elementary students. The email from Scruci ends with this plea: “If you know of anyone interested in becoming certified to drive bus, please forward them to me.” The district has 21 full-time drivers and 11 substitutes. The problem is that 23 full-time drivers are needed, and seven of the subs have other jobs. “They are substitutes for a reason, because they don’t want to work full-time,” said Toby Snow, interim co-director of the school transportation department….


BG refuse and recycling collection to be delayed next week due to holiday

The City of Bowling Green offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5 in observation of Labor Day. As a result, all refuse and recycling collection will be delayed by one day per the following: – Regular Monday collection will be collected on Tuesday. – Regular Tuesday collection will be collected on Wednesday. – Regular Wednesday collection will be collected on Thursday. – Regular Thursday collection will be collected on Friday. Questions about this schedule or the city’s refuse/recycling program may be directed to the Public Works Department at 419-354-6227.


Pipeline officials promise to treat land and landowners fairly

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Pipeline officials with Kinder Morgan don’t see the protests by Wood County landowners as a fatal flaw to the Utopia pipeline plans to cross their properties. When landowners say “no,” the pipeline officials hear “maybe,” according to Allen Fore, vice president of public affairs for Kinder Morgan. Often property owners hold out until the eminent domain process is underway, but end up entering agreements with pipeline companies, Fore said. In fact, 98 percent of the land acquisition done by Kinder Morgan never gets to the point of final court resolution, he added. “We have worked with tens of thousands of landowners,” Fore said during a recent stop in Bowling Green. Several landowners in Wood County are protesting Kinder Morgan’s efforts to access their land through eminent domain. Fore believes that’s because they aren’t aware of the compensation that will be offered and the mitigation to their property that will be provided. Some of the landowners from the Pemberville area have stated that no amount of money will convince them to let the pipeline be buried on their farmland or building lots. But Fore said these objections are no different than those he has resolved before. “There’s a lot of passion in the process,” he said. “The challenge is on us to make sure people have accurate information.” “It may start out adversarial, but often it doesn’t end that way,” Fore said. But this case may be a bit different since the proposed Utopia pipeline is not sending natural gas to sites to generate public power. The Utopia line will be sending ethane to a private company in Ontario that makes plastic products. Therefore, the local landowners are asking the courts to rule that the Utopia pipeline does not qualify for eminent domain authority. But Fore argued that gathering ethane is part of the natural gas production process when it’s extracted from shale in southeastern Ohio. “There wouldn’t…


First Community Action Plan meeting, Aug. 30

The City of Bowling Green is hosting the first community meeting for the Community Action Plan, Aug. 30 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Crim Elementary, 1020 Scott Hamilton Dr. The Community Action Plan will advance goals from the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update by identifying city-wide neighborhood improvements. Call the Planning Department at 419-354-6218 or visit the Planning Department webpage for questions. The City of BG hired Camiros, Ltd. (http://www.camiros.com/) for this project.