Community

Bill Clifford named to BG school board

By  JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bill Clifford has been named to the Bowling Green Board of Education. The board voted unanimously this morning to name Clifford to the seat vacated by Ed Whipple. Clifford, a retired Wood Lane superintendent, said this morning that his first goal is just to listen and learn. “I need to listen, even though I have all this experience as a superintendent, I really need to listen and sit back,” he said. Clifford’s top priority for the school district is academic achievement. In order to achieve that, he wants to focus on school facilities, retention of quality staff, and creating opportunities for special needs students. “I firmly believe we need to provide the best possible environment for teachers to teach and for students to learn,” he wrote in his board application. “Second, retaining quality personnel is essential to a quality education. Balancing that need with the realization of our current tax structure will be challenging and well worth brainstorming options that provide for both. “Finally, we need to be acutely aware of the preparation necessary for the successful integration of students with special needs into their community upon graduation.” Clifford was selected among four applicants, the others being Joanna Craig, Barbara Moses and Bryan Wiles. Moses, a retired BGSU professor, ran for a seat on the school board last fall. The initial vote count showed her winning by 10 votes. However, after the provisional ballots were counted, Moses lost the seat to Ginny Stewart by nine votes. Clifford will fill the remainder of Whipple’s term, which ends December 2017. The board expressed appreciation…


Two BGSU football coaching staff cited for assault after bar fight, one put on leave

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two Bowling Green State University football coaching staff members were cited for assault over the weekend after getting into a bar brawl when they reportedly refused to leave at closing time. As a result, one of the coaches has been placed on administrative leave. Marcus White, 34, from Alabama, and Kenneth Williams II, 23, from Texas, were cited after the staff at Liquid bar, 238 N. Main St., called Bowling Green police for help Sunday at 2:22 a.m. According to BG Police Major Justin White, the report from the incident said Marcus White and Williams were reportedly refusing to leave the bar at closing time, so the bar staff attempted to escort them out. “They became belligerent with bar staff,” Justin White said. Marcus White allegedly punched one employee in the face, breaking his glasses. Williams reportedly punched another employee twice in the face, busting his lip. Marcus White reportedly told police that he felt the bar staff was being aggressive and wasn’t giving him enough time to leave the bar. Neither he nor Williams were taken to jail. Marcus White is the football co-defensive coordinator, and Williams is a graduate assistant football offense coach. Two other members of the BGSU football coaching staff were also present at the incident, but reportedly did not get involved in the fight. Nicholas Young, a football recruiting coordinator, did have a split lip, but said he was unsure how it occurred. Eddie Benavidez, a graduate assistant defense coach, was also present but not involved in the altercation, according to the police report. When contacted about…


Park district hands out 14 grants for playgrounds, picnic tables and more

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Little towns all across the county have been able to add playgrounds and picnic tables thanks to grants from the Wood County Park District over the last 25 years. Places that could never afford to add safety surfacing, backboards or soccer goals have turned to the district to help. This year, the grants will pay for improvements in 14 towns, including swings in Luckey, a scoreboard in Portage and bleachers in Jerry City. “Very few communities have not been impacted,” said Jeff Baney, assistant director of the park district. “Some of these parks would not be here if it weren’t for this program.” Baney explained the annual local park improvement grant program to the Wood County Park District board members during their meeting Tuesday afternoon at William Henry Harrison Park in Pemberville. The park district started giving out local park grants in 1989 when the district passed its first levy. Over the years, the grant funding has grown from $50,000 to $100,000 each year. As he drives through the communities now, Baney said he sees several parks where every piece of equipment was purchased with park grants. “A lot of these communities are so small,” that they rely on the park district for help, said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. All communities in the county may apply each year for grants, and may also use the county park expertise to do playground safety inspections, Baney said. The park district puts an emphasis on playground safety, he said, noting that some of the sites “were frankly dangerous.” “They get overwhelmed because…



Some feel sign sends wrong message about downtown BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News     Some Bowling Green citizens want to give the city a message – they don’t like the new message sign downtown. When a story was posted last week about new electronic signs being used by the city to communicate with residents, it created quite a stir of reactions on Facebook. Two electronic message signs have been erected, with one in front of the police station on West Wooster Street and the other by the public works area on East Poe Road. The negative comments were all aimed at the sign downtown in front of the police station. The sign was called ugly, a waste of money, distracting to drivers and detracting from the historic downtown. “So much for our quaint town,” one person wrote. “It really contrasts with the look of our downtown area. Did anyone consider aesthetics when this was approved,” another wrote. Some questioned the expense, with each sign costing $10,250, suggesting that the money would be better spent on paving or patrolling the city’s streets. “To me, the thing just doesn’t go with the style of that area downtown,” said resident and Realtor Andy Newlove. “We’ve got this vibrant downtown,” and then this sign goes up that looks like it ought to be selling hamburgers, he said. “To just throw that thing up there? It doesn’t look nice. Was it discussed?” Newlove said the city has worked to improve signage downtown and get rid of unattractive signs. While the new CVS also has an electronic message board, “at least that’s a private business.” The new LED signs will alert…


BG tries to sweeten smells from sewer plant

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Doug Clark takes it personally when people complain about the foul smells coming from the wastewater plant on the east side of Bowling Green. As superintendent of the Water Pollution Control Plant on Dunbridge Road, Clark is intensely proud of the violation-free operation that treated 2.2 billion gallons of wastewater and stormwater last year. He takes pride in the fact that nearly every step in the treatment is done with biological processes, not chemicals. Improvements at the plant have resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the total solids left from the process – creating a product the EPA has approved for sale to a local landscaper who blends the solids with topsoil and sand. None of the solids are applied to farm fields anymore. The finished liquid product looks like crystal clear water and meets EPA standards as it is sent down Poe Ditch to the Portage River. But there’s one thing that Clark gets prickly about – complaints about the stench from the plant. “It’s pretty amazing,” Clark said as he held up a cup of the clear finished liquid product that was the result of the very complex biological process at the plant. “We get it right a lot more than wrong. Yet the only thing we’re known for is odors every once in awhile.” Clark concedes that the odors are particularly pungent on some days, especially when the wind is coming from the north, sending the smell toward businesses along Dunbridge Road. “Typically, it’s wet heavy mornings when it’s most noticeable,” he said. “It’s those days when you…


Mosaic Consignment Studio in downtown BG to close

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A 60-mile commute and two full time jobs have convinced the owners of a downtown shop to consign the enterprise to their rear view mirrors. Mosaic Consignment Studio will close later this month. Details of the closing are pending. Bill Miller, who owns the shop with his wife, Colleen Miller, said the business was doing fine but “honestly not enough to warrant staying in business.” The couple lives in Trenton, Michigan, and each has a full-time job.  “It got to be a lot to handle,” Miller said. They opened the shop five years ago on the northwest corner of the Four Corners in downtown Bowling Green because of Colleen’s love of fashion. Bill Miller went to graduate school at Bowling Green State University, and they like the city. They were visiting when they saw the space was open. They were surprised there wasn’t already a consignment shop here. Trenton, they said, has three. So they decided to give the business a shot. They’ve enjoyed the business and the shop’s staff and customers. Miller said his involvement is usually outside of business hours. “My wife and the people who work here always glow about the people who come in and the things that come in and out of the shop.” He said in the five years they’ve had some “great people who worked for us.” Still the time had come to close. “It’s a monkey off our backs,” he said. “It’s bittersweet.” Customers bring clothing in to the shop. The items are consigned on a 60-day contract. At the end of that period the consigners…


Two BG curling teams to compete in nationals

If you didn’t get enough of curling in 2014 at the Sochi Olympics, then you are in luck—but you may have to drive to Pennsylvania. The Bowling Green Curling Club will be fielding both a men’s and a women’s team in the upcoming Arena National Curling Championships, set for May 10-15, at the Ice Line Arena in West Chester, PA. “We are very excited to have two teams representing our club at Arena Nationals this year,” said Shannon Orr, club president. “Both teams are highly competitive, and we look forward to a strong showing by all of them.” The championship games encompass 20 men’s and women’s teams each from around the nation, including other Great Lakes Curling Association teams from arena-based clubs in Lansing, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Tournament selection was made based on application and lottery. This event was initiated 4 years ago, in recognition that the ice in arena-based clubs poses more challenges than dedicated club ice, and the majority of club growth in the United States is occurring on arena ice. “Arena” ice is shared between hockey, skating, and curling. “We have a very supportive and encouraging club, and new members are always welcome,” Orr said. “We hope more folks will come and try one of our learn-to- curls.” Curling dates back to the 16th century, and is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., in part for its accessibility to curlers of all ages and physical abilities. A sport of precision, curling is sometimes referred to as “chess on ice,” and requires a combination of strategy, finesse, teamwork, and camaraderie. Teams must deliver each 40-pound…


Here’s some advice – don’t forget Mother’s Day

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Most mothers consider it their duty to pass on wisdom to their offspring. And sometimes, to the annoyance of their children, they repeat that advice to make sure it sticks. Over and over again. So in celebration of mothers and the wisdom they impart, a few people around Bowling Green were asked to share the best and worst advice from their moms. On the younger end of the scale, the advice tended to be more practical. Nine-year-old R.J. Agosti pondered a bit then it came to him. “Well, my mom always tells me to never cross the road without holding an adult’s hand. You could get crushed,” he said. Then he thought a bit more. “When you check out a library book, you should bring it back on time.” Not lifesaving advice, but important just the same. His mom, Cathy Agosti remembered some deeper advice from her own mom. “Always treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s the best advice I got from my mom,” she said. Kevin Guimbellot said his family moved a lot when he was young, so he was always the new kid at school. His mom taught him a valuable lesson in survival. “The best advice she gave me was, if they’re laughing with you, they’re not picking on you,” he said. “So she’s responsible for me being a comedian.” Guimbellot had no trouble recalling the worst advice his mother gave him. “She said, ‘your father knows where he’s going.’ We not only got lost, we got stuck in water.” Tavion Torrez, 9, said his…


Adventure therapy to reach out to traumatized kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Children who have gone through traumatic experiences can’t always be reached with traditional therapy alone. So Wood County agencies will soon be trying Adventure Therapy to help children who have faced trauma in their young lives. Wood County Children’s Services has received a $15,000 grant to pay for training in Adventure Therapy, according to Sandi Carsey, Children’s Services director. Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, and Renewed Mind in Perrysburg will provide the therapy, Carsey said. Adventure Therapy will not replace more traditional therapy, but will offer kids aged 12 to 18 a chance to work as a team with other children to do something they may not feel they can’t accomplish, such as climb a rock wall. “Kids will be challenged to do something,” Carsey said. “It will help build up their confidence.” Adventure Therapy, which has been around nearly 20 years, blends experiential activities and evidence-based treatment, according to Janelle LaFond, executive director at Children’s Resource Center. “It won’t be sitting down like talking therapy,” LaFond said. “It will be things that really challenge kids.” “We want to increase their resiliency and their own feelings of confidence,” she said. Adventure Therapy is used primarily with kids who have a traumatic history, such as being removed from their homes and placed in foster care, LaFond said. Children’s Services has found over the years that oftentimes when children age out of foster care they are not prepared to be on their own. This type of therapy could be helpful to them, LaFond said. “This is really the gravy on the potatoes,” she…


BG erects two LED message signs

Bowling Green city officials have a new way of communicating with city residents. Two electronic message signs have been purchased, with one in front of the police station on West Wooster Street and the other by the public works area on East Poe Road. The signs will alert residents about such items as traffic changes for construction or special events in the community, and about seasonal services such as brush pickup. The sign in front of the police station may also make public service announcements on buckling up and not drinking and driving. The signs cost $10,250 each, according to Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett.  


Communities caught in middle of tax tug-of-war

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Ohio Gov. John Kasich boasts about digging the state out of a deficit and cutting taxes, local government officials see little to brag about. To them, the state’s strategy was not tax cuts, but “tax shifts,” putting the burden onto municipal, township and county governments. The changes in tax revenue have affected every community in Wood County. On the larger side, Bowling Green has lost $964,764 in annual income, and Perrysburg has lost even more at $1,154,451. On the smaller side, Pemberville lost $43,924 a year, Weston lost $41,335, and Haskins lost $5,368, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. “This is putting the pressure on communities to raise those taxes,” said Kent Scarrett, director of communications for the Ohio Municipal League. “The state says we are cutting taxes left and right,” Scarrett said. “The fact is, that burden is put on local communities.” The three changes made by the state are: Elimination of Ohio estate tax, which is also called the “death tax.” Eighty percent of this money had gone to local communities. Bowling Green lost an estimated $382,848 a year. Big cuts in the state’s Local Government Fund, which made up sizeable portions of county, municipal and township budgets. The LGF was created during the Depression when the sales tax was enacted to share money with grassroots government. Bowling Green lost $563,480 a year. Elimination of local property taxes on business machinery and inventory, also called the CAT tax. The state had a planned phase out of the tax over a period of time, but hastened the cuts. Bowling…


Two BG students charged for bringing knives to school

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two Bowling Green students face charges after bringing knives to their schools this week. The first knife was discovered at Bowling Green Middle School on Monday, according to BG Police Major Justin White. An officer was on routine foot patrol at the school when the assistant principal notified the officer that a student was found with a fixed blade knife. School officials searched the 13-year-old boy’s locker and found another knife in his bookbag. The student reportedly told school officials he had the knives at school “for defensive purposes.” “We had no indication he made any threats,” White said. The boy was taken to the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center and charged with conveyance of a weapon in a school safety zone. The second knife was found Tuesday when the father of the alleged victim called police to report that his 10-year-old son had been threatened by another 10-year-old with a knife. The victim told police that he and another 10-year-old boy were walking home from Conneaut Elementary School and engaging in an ongoing argument. The alleged victim said the other boy threatened him by showing him the knife and saying something like, “I’m going to get you,” White said. During the investigation, police discovered that the boy with the fold-out pocket knife had the weapon at school, with a school official reporting that they saw the knife when the student left school. The boy has been charged with aggravated menacing and having a weapon in a school safety zone. He was also taken to the juvenile detention center. No one was…


Health district to build dental center that won’t turn away uninsured

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Health District has given local residents something to smile about. The district’s Health and Wellness Center has been awarded $824,997 to build a dental center to serve Wood County residents regardless of their ability to pay, according to Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The district had applied for two projects, one to build a new center and one to renovate existing meeting rooms. The new center was funded. There is also still a chance the health district will receive funds to help pay for dental staffing needs. The health district has been trying for decades to address dental needs. “This is a huge leap forward in meeting this,” Batey said. “It truly will be a benefit to our residents who are uninsured for dental or who have Medicaid, but can’t find a dental provider who will accept them as patients. It will be a whole new challenge, but we look forward to continuing to expand services to give our residents the greatest options for good health.” The dental clinic will be an expansion of the existing Health and Wellness Center that is part of the health district offices at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The dental clinic will have at least four patient chairs and will offer full services. “Just like your typical dental office,” Batey said. “It’s very exciting,” said Diane Krill, CEO of the health and wellness center. Krill said the need for dental services is great. “I just think with the community health assessment, it showed there was a dental need here.” Many Wood…


Community ride promotes need for improvements for bicyclists

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Thursday’s community bike ride is more than a pedal to the park. The organizers have some serious points to make about the need to make Bowling Green a better place for bicycling.               The second Community Ride will begin Thursday at 5 p.m. at the fountain in front of the Administration Building on the Bowling Green State University campus.  The riders will head west toward downtown, traveling eventually to Main Street, before reaching their destination, the green space at the corner of Church and West Wooster streets. The first ride came after Lily Murnen, president of the Environmental Service Club, was talking to Rick Busselle, a BGSU faculty member and bicyclist. Busselle was upset by a couple incidents. A student was struck while bicycling near the CVS on East Wooster Street, and then was ticketed for riding on the sidewalk. Busselle himself took a spill while trying to navigate past that spot. His accident occurred in part because he was unsure at what point cyclists were allowed to ride on sidewalks. The city lacks both clarity in the rules governing bicyclists and the bike lanes needed to make riding in the city safer, he said. Yet, the city officials didn’t really seem to think it was a problem. He and Murnen discussed a mass bike riding event. These can involve a large group of bicyclists taking over the streets and, at times, violating traffic laws. Instead they decided that it would be best to have the bicyclists adhere to the rules of the road, which in some…